Beliefs & Practices

Distinctives of Faith and Practices of

Narrow Gate Baptist Church

Adopted on April 19, 2004

Updated and Revised 06/12/08


We believe in the God of the Bible. We believe He is the one and only God who does, or ever has, or ever will exist, and apart from Him there is no other. We believe He has forever existed from eternity past and will continue to exist through eternity future. We believe in His triune nature in the form of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe that mankind has caused himself to be separated from God, and guilty before God through the sin of disobedience, both his own and that inherited from Adam. We believe that through the Grace of God, mankind may be restored to proper relationship and exonerated of sin before God through repentance and faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, whom God designated as the sole and only Mediator between Himself and fallen mankind. We firmly hold that Christ is the only way to God as explicitly declared by Himself in the Bible. We believe that genuine saving faith is a work performed in the heart and mind of mankind by the Holy Spirit, and as such is authenticated by a permanent and evident change of nature, behaviors, and affections in the recipient.



1. We believe that the 66 Books of the Bible are the inspired and inerrant Word of God and form the entire body of doctrine and divine revelation of God to humanity. We believe the canon of inspired scripture is complete and therefore sealed from any further additions or modifications. Nevertheless we believe the Spirit of God continues to interact with mankind providentially and circumstantially, inwardly and outwardly for the sanctification and maturity of His chosen people. It is our hermeneutic style to always interpret the Bible literally unless there is clear and compelling evidence that it is speaking allegorically or metaphorically, which we agree that it often does.


2. We believe that the Bible is wholly sufficient, in and of itself, to instruct mankind in the means of salvation and everything else necessary for the sanctified godly living that issues from repentance and faith in Christ Jesus. We reject the notion that the Bible must be supplemented by other additional teachings of human psychology and worldly philosophy to adequately deal with the complexities of modern life.  The Bible teaches, and thus we believe that everything necessary for coming to salvation and for the making of all of lifes' difficult choices and decisions can be found, either directly or indirectly, in the teachings and principles as put forth in the Holy Scriptures.


3. We believe that the Bible teaches that God’s salvation, which is afforded to humanity, is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. We believe that the faith to believe is part of the gift, and that man, on his own, is incapable of responding favorably to the offer of salvation, because of his own fallen sin nature which perverts his willingness to believe. Therefore, all mankind is rendered incapable of achieving salvation with their own resources, and but for the grace of God, none would be saved. We acknowledge God’s sovereignty in this election process while maintaining that it in no way diminishes man’s accountability for his own actions before God. We believe that genuine saving faith is a gift of grace and always produces appropriate fruits. We believe that perseverance in the faith is afforded by the Redeemer, through the power of the Holy Spirit, but not absent of man’s participation. We believe that the Bible teaches that repentance and faith are so inextricably linked together as to make one without the other impossible, yet both are the gift of God to His chosen, and not the best efforts of man.


4. We believe the Bible teaches that God saves some and judges others for the specific purpose of displaying both His abundant mercy and His omnipotent power. We believe that He has a specific predetermined plan that He is accomplishing, and that all things whatsoever are ultimately by His grace and for His glory.  We believe that a proper understanding of the sovereignty of God over all His creation is foundational to a proper understanding of our own place in His overall master plan of creation.  Therefore, we believe that He saves sinners, first and foremost, for His own specific purposes, which includes His glorification and His preparation of an eternal body of acceptable worshipers who thoroughly understand that His interests must be their first priority, not their own.  Hence His call for self-denial of every disciple. We believe this to be a distinctive of faith that very significantly influences the priorities a church sets. We believe that a proper perspective here is the source from which all the spiritual gifts and functions must flow. We believe the Bible teaches that acceptable worship may only be offered by genuine reborn Christians, who are diligently seeking to be obedient to the Lord and are earnestly desiring, and continually and actively striving, by rejecting sin and choosing obedience, to walk in a manner that is pleasing in His sight.


5. We are Pre-Tribulational in that we interpret literally the scriptures regarding the bodily catching up of the living believers into the air to be with the Lord, as happening sometime prior to the commencement of the time period described as the seven years of tribulation. Thus we see the catching away event to be with Him in the air, and the physical return with Him to earth (second coming) as two distinct events separated by at least seven years. As to when all this will occur, only the Father knows, but we are explicitly told to be living expectantly, ever watchful, anticipating, and prepared, so that we will not be ashamed of ourselves at His glorious appearing.


6. We are Pre-Millennial in that we interpret literally (not allegorically or symbolically) the scriptures regarding Christ’s ruling bodily and visibly on earth, with His church, for one-thousand years at His second coming. After this comes the new heaven and the new earth in which resides the eternal heavenly kingdom of God. Furthermore we believe in a literal Heaven and a literal Hell, and every human ever conceived will reside eternally in one or the other. We do not accept notions of oblivion, universal salvation, or temporary purgatory, as these have no foundation whatsoever in scripture.


7. We believe that the primary reason for selecting a church is what that church believes and teaches. We believe that a church must be God-centered, not man-centered. We believe that sound doctrine is the essential foundation of the Christian faith and life, and that a church only remains as godly as it remains doctrinally pure and accurate to the Word of God. We believe that the church is the central place instituted by Christ himself where believers are to learn godly living and godly thinking, and they do so by the continual expository teaching of the Word of God, which is able to make mankind wise in the ways of godliness. We believe the Bible teaches that a church must identify, confront, and reject teachings and practices that are in error, and at the same time be diligent to teach all the council of God, whether popular or unpopular with the world. Furthermore, we believe that all Christians, as individuals, have every right, and civic duty, to participate in the activities of their government as they feel inclined, but we do not believe that politics or social reform should become the business of the church. We believe that the Bible teaches by example that the church, as a corporate body, is not to encumber itself with politics or social reform, but rather with the preaching of the gospel for the salvation of sinners and the teaching of the Word for the edification of the saints.


8. We believe that the Bible, not our denominational traditions, customary procedures, perceived pragmatic needs, nor contemporary worldly trends, is the last word on appropriate church practices and human behaviors. While we have considerable freedom in Christ to assemble and practice as seems fitting, nevertheless we believe that all practices must be held to the test of scriptures, and made to conform to those teachings to the best that our human understanding permits. We believe that the church, as the body of Christ, belongs to Christ, and ultimately answers to Christ; that it must display and honor Him, which it does in large part by ministering to the needs of the saints, exhorting and admonishing one another unto godliness, teaching of divine Biblical truth to His people, and proclaiming His salvation to all those seeking unbelievers who have an ear to hear. Furthermore, we believe that the church must teach that Sin is still the problem between God and man, and obedience to God by observance of His word is the verification of genuine saving faith. The Bible teaches, and thus we believe, that a genuine love of God, bestowed by His grace, will always be demonstrated by a genuine heart felt desire to know more about Him, and to faithfully obey Him.


9. We believe that a church is a place for genuine believers to learn and worship, and for those genuinely seeking Christ to find Him. We believe that the church should be distinctly and obviously different from the world. We believe that the reverent fear and awesome holiness of God should be immediately discernable by the attitudes, speech, demeanor, dress and behavior of the saints within the church. We believe that only genuine baptized believers can be members of the church. We enthusiastically receive visitors, but we accept into actual membership only those who have been baptized and show bonafide evidence of rebirth and a desire to further their relationship with Him. We hold the ordinance of the Lord’s Table in high regard and therefore offer it to confessed believers of adequate age to understand the significance. We practice church discipline strictly as defined by scripture when the needs demand.  We believe that a church can only be a holy place when all of the members are sincerely seeking holiness.  Although we certainly desire to have a respectable attendance, we will not let attendance figures influence our distinctives of worship.  Jesus said to count the cost of being His disciple before making that committment.  Having done so, let it be said that we have decided to follow Jesus.