The Meaning of Membership
Notice that we aren't inviting you to "become" a member, unless by that we mean that our desire for you is to trust Christ as Savior and to actively participate in the one-another ministry of Christ's Body.
If you join us in ministry, we aim to hold one another accountable to being the kind of Church member that God has designed for us to be individually so that together we can be all that he desires that we should be corporately!
To help ensure unity on these essentials, our elders make an effort to meet with individuals and families who are giving evidence of commitment to our local body, to understand clearly one another's convictions and to encourage active participation. So in that sense we also have an avenue for "formal membership," and we encourage it without requiring it.
While the elders and leadership of Branson Bible hold a more complete doctrinal statement, we understand that there is room for differing interpretations in what we consider "secondary doctrines." Consequently, it is possible to actively partner with us in ministry even though you may not agree with every detail of our full doctrinal statement. In order to function smoothly together in ministry, however, we believe that members should agree with the following seven essentials:
We believe the Bible to be the verbally inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, as well as the supreme and final authority in doctrine and practice (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21; John 17:17).
We believe that there is one God, that the Father and the Son and the Spirit are each God, and that the Father and the Son and the Spirit are each a distinct person (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Corinthians 13:14; see also 1 Corinthians 8:6, Colossians 2:9 & Acts 5:3-4).
We believe the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God, fulfill prophecy, and redeem sinful man. We believe He accomplished our redemption through His substitutionary sacrifice on the cross, burial, and bodily resurrection. We believe our redemption and salvation are guaranteed by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead and that He is the only means of salvation (John 1:1, 14, 18; Luke 1:35; Romans 3:24-26; 4:25; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Philippians 2:5-8; 1 Timothy 2:5).
We believe that Jesus Christ is the visible image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, the Creator, and Sustainer of heaven and earth, and the Head of the church. We believe the Lord Jesus Christ is now in heaven, exalted to the right hand of God where, as High Priest to His people, He serves as our Advocate and intercedes for us (Colossians 1:15-19; Hebrews 1:3; 3:1; 7:23-25; 1 John 2:1-2).
The Holy Spirit
We believe God the Holy Spirit is a person who restrains evil in the world and convicts men of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He dwells in all who believe in Jesus. From the moment of belief in the Son, the Spirit baptizes believers into the body, seals them for salvation, regenerates them to new life, bestows spiritual gifts on each one, and is fully present to continually fill (control and guide) His own (John 16:7-11; John 3:8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 13; John 14:16-17; Ephesians 4:30, 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).
We believe man was created innocent and in the image and likeness of God, but that man sinned, bringing both physical and spiritual death to himself and his posterity (Genesis 1:27, 2:17, 3:19), can do nothing to merit God’s favor and as such is in need of salvation. (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). We believe that mankind’s sinful nature is rebellious toward God, and His good design for life and worship (Romans 1:20-24; Ephesians 2:1-3). Mankind’s rebellion causes confusion about good and evil, and harm to people ultimately ending in judgment, despair and death. (Genesis 1:31; Galatians 5:16-21; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; James 1:13-15).
We believe God created mankind in His image, forming each person in the womb from conception (Psalm 139:13-16; Isaiah 44:2, 49:5; Jeremiah 1:4-5) until the point of death when they breathe their last (Genesis 25:8; Luke 23:46); and assigning gender to His people, male (man) and female (woman), as He created them sexually and biologically different, but with equal personal dignity and value (Genesis 1:26-28).
We believe that God ordained marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:18; Matthew 19:4-9; Ephesians 5:31-33). Those who accept and live within God’s design for sex, biological gender and marriage experience the blessing of His good design (Psalm 1:1-3, 128:1-4), and decisions to change, alter or modify God’s will in marriage, sex or gender are part of man’s brokenness and lead to despair. (Romans 1:21-22; James 1:13-15).
We believe that God loves and pursues mankind despite our rebellion (Romans 5:8). He offers forgiveness, healing and abundant life to anyone who turns to Him in humility. (John 3:17, 10:10; Titus 3:3-7; 1 Peter 5:6-7)
We believe salvation is a sovereign gift of God and is received by man through personal faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for sin. We believe man is justified by grace through faith apart from works (Acts 13:38-39; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 1:4-5 & 2:8-10). We believe that Jesus Christ is the only means of salvation and that no one is saved apart from a conscious and personal decision to trust in Christ as his or her one and only Savior (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 10:9-10). We believe all true believers elect of God, once saved, are kept secure in Christ forever (Romans 8:1, 29-30, 38-39; John 10:27-30).
The Second Coming
We believe in the future, visible, and bodily return of Jesus Christ to the earth, commonly called the Second Coming, to rule the nations and establish His kingdom on earth (Philippians 3:20; Matthew 24:15-31; Zechariah 14:4-11; Revelation 19:11-21).