Historical Articles of Faith


   Rev. L.R. Gwaltney was the first pastor of DeSoto Baptist, known now as Fifth Avenue Baptist Church.  He was key in setting the theological tone not only of this church, but also very influential in the writing of the Abstract of principles with  James Boyce, the first President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Gwaltney knew Boyce from their time  serving in the ministry together in South Carolina. These articles of Faith are biblically grounded and historically Baptist. 



The Church receives the Scripture as its authority in matters of faith and practice. Its understanding of Christian truth as contained therein is in essential accord with the belief of the Baptist churches as indicated in the Articles of Faith, which are taken from the Abstract of Principles (1858), herewith. All teaching and preaching will be in agreement with the doctrines expressed in the Articles of Faith. 


1. The Scriptures


The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and are the only sufficient, certain and authoritative rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience. (II Timothy 3:16-17, Luke 24:27)


2. God


There is but one God, the Maker, Preserver and Ruler of all things, having in and of Himself, all perfections, and being infinite in them all; and to Him all creatures owe the highest love, reverence and obedience. (John 1:1-5, Isaiah 46:9-10)


3. The Trinity


God is revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit each with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence or being. (Matthew 28:19, II Corinthians 13:14)


4. Providence


God from eternity past, decrees and permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not in any wise to be the author or approver of sin nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures. (Isaiah 46:8-10, I John 1:5, Genesis 50:20, Romans 1:24-25)


5. Election


Election is God’s eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life—not because of foreseen merit in them, but of His mere mercy in Christ—in consequence of which choice they are called, justified and glorified. (Romans 8-9, Ephesians 1, John 6:43-44)


 6. The Fall of Man


God originally created Man in His own image, and free from sin; but, through the temptation of Satan, he transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and wholly opposed to God and His law, are under condemnation. (Romans 3:23, 5:12-14) 


7. The Mediator


Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the divinely appointed mediator between God and man. Having taken upon Himself human nature, yet without sin, He perfectly fulfilled the law; suffered and died upon the cross for the salvation of sinners. He was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended to His Father, at whose right hand He ever liveth to make intercession for His people. He is the only Mediator, the Prophet, Priest and King of the Church, and Sovereign of the Universe. (John 1:1,14, 20:28, I Timothy 2:5, Philippians 2:5-11, the book of Hebrews) 


8. Regeneration


Regeneration is a change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit, who quickeneth the dead in trespasses and sins enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the Word of God, and renewing their whole nature, so that they love and practice holiness. It is a work of God’s free and special grace alone. (Ephesians 2:4-5, John 3:4-8, Romans 8:14-15, 28-29, II Corinthians 5:17, I Corinthians 2:14)


9. Repentance


Repentance is an evangelical grace, wherein a person being by the Holy Spirit, made sensible of the manifold evil of his sin, humbleth himself for it, with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrence, with a purpose and endeavor to walk before God so as to please Him in all things. (II Timothy 2:25, Acts 11:18) 


10. Faith


Saving faith is the belief, on God’s authority, of whatsoever is revealed in His Word concerning Christ; accepting and resting upon Him alone for justification and eternal life. It is wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit, and is accompanied by all other saving graces, and leads to a life of holiness. (Ephesians 2:8-9, Hebrews 11:1-3, 6, Romans 10:17)


 11. Justification


Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal of sinners, who believe in Christ, from all sin, through the satisfaction that Christ has made; not for anything wrought in them or done by them; but on account of the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith. (II Corinthians 5:21, I Peter 2:24, Romans 3:25-26, 4:25, 5)


 12. Sanctification


Those who have been regenerated are also sanctified by God’s word and Spirit dwelling in them. This sanctification is progressive through the supply of Divine strength, which all saints seek to obtain, pressing after a heavenly life in cordial obedience to all Christ’s commands. (Romans 12:1-2, Philippians 1:6, I Thessalonians 5:23)


 13. Perseverance of the Saints


Those whom God hath accepted in the Beloved, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere to the end; and though they may fall through neglect and temptation, into sin, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the Church, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be renewed again unto repentance, and be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. (John 6:37, 10:28-29, Romans 8:28-29, Ephesians 5:30)


 14. The Church


The Lord Jesus is the head of the Church, which is composed of all His true disciples, and in Him is invested supremely all power for its government. According to His commandment, Christians are to associate themselves into particular societies or churches; and to each of these churches He hath given needful authority for administering that order, discipline and worship which He hath appointed. The regular officers of a Church are Bishops or Elders, and Deacons. (Ephesians 4, 5:22-33, Matthew 16:18, I Timothy 3:1-16, Titus 1, Revelation 21:1-4)


15. Baptism


Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus, obligatory upon every believer, wherein he is immersed in water in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, as a sign of his fellowship with the death and resurrection of Christ, of remission of sins, and of giving himself up to God, to live and walk in newness of life. It is prerequisite to church fellowship, and to participation in the Lord’s Supper. (Mark 1:9-11, Matthew 28:16-20, Colossians 2:6-15)


 16. The Lord’s Supper


The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of Jesus Christ, to be administered with the elements of bread and wine (for the sake of the conscience, a non-alcoholic alternative will be provided), and to be observed by His churches till the end of the world. It is in no sense a sacrifice, but is designed to commemorate His death, to confirm the faith and other graces of Christians, and to be a bond, pledge and renewal of their communion with Him, and of their church fellowship. (I Corinthians 11:17-34, Acts 2:42-47, Luke 22:14-23)


 17. The Gathering together of the Saints


The gathering together of the saints is commanded to us in Scripture for regular observance, and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion. It is our practice to meet on the Lord’s Day. (Acts 20:7, Hebrews 10:19-25, Revelation 1:10)


 18. Liberty of Conscience


God alone is Lord of the conscience; and He hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are in anything contrary to His word, or not contained in it. Civil magistrates being ordained of God, subjection in all lawful things commanded by them ought to be yielded by us in the Lord, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. (Romans 13:14, I Peter 2:13-14, I Timothy 2:1-7)


 19. The Resurrection


The bodies of men after death return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God—the righteous to rest with Him; the wicked, to be reserved under darkness to the judgment. At the last day, the bodies of all the dead, both just and unjust, will be raised. (I Thessalonians 4:13-18, II Corinthians 6:6-8, I Corinthians 15)


20. The Judgment


God hath appointed a day, wherein He will judge the world by Jesus Christ, when everyone shall receive according to his deeds; the wicked shall go into everlasting punishment; the righteous, into everlasting life. (Hebrews 9:27, II Peter 3:1-13, II Corinthians 5:10, Revelation 20:11-15)


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