We believe there have always been true local churches since the time of Christ. Christ started his church during his lifetime and he has had his true churches continually since that time. We believe that true churches did not go extinct for 1000 years while the Roman Catholic Church dominated and distorted the truth. We believe that those who protested and broke away from the Catholic Church did not restore the true church but that the true church prevailed all along even when those who finally protested and broke away were members of the Roman Catholic Church. These were the reformer’s who today call themselves Protestants. As true Baptists we do not call ourselves Protestants since we were never in the Catholic church.
Although the true church has existed continually since Christ founded his church, we do not believe in the doctrine of succession of churches. We believe it would be impossible to prove that any present day church succeeded directly from a church in the day of Christ. We simply believe that a true church is a local church and that it must preach the true gospel and properly observe the true ordinances.
We believe that true churches are independent of all other bodies and receive their authority by divine appointment.
We believe there are certain essentials of a true church. It must preach the true gospel which includes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It must faithfully and properly practice true baptism by immersion and must baptize only those who profess faith in Jesus Christ and who give evidence of being regenerated. It must practice the Lord’s Supper according to the guidelines of Scripture and we believe the proper elements to be used in the observance of the Lord’s Supper are wine and unleavened bread.
We believe that the church of the New Testament is the local assembly of believers and that there is a distinction between the family of God which includes all of the elect of all ages and the church which had its beginning during the lifetime of Jesus. We do not believe the church is an invisible entity. Neither do we believe the church is a universal entity. The church is a visible and a local body of properly baptized believers.