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Messengers to the 2013 GARBC Conference approved two amendments to the Articles of Faith, clarifying the association’s position on marriage and church leadership. Now the GARBC Council of Eighteen is recommending several related text changes.
The proposed changes (below) were read at the 2013 conference, and will be voted on by messengers attending the 2014 GARBC Conference in St. Petersburg, Fla. Each church in fellowship with the GARBC has the opportunity to discuss and consider the proposal, then send voting messengers to the 2014 GARBC Conference. A two-thirds majority is required for the amendments to be approved.
The Council of Eighteen is recommending a clarification for 10 uses of “man” or “men” in the doctrinal statement—instances where the usage is not intended to be gender-specific. For instance, where the current statement says “all men are descended from the historical Adam and Eve,” the council is recommending a change to “all people are descended. . . .”
“Our goal with this amendment is to bring the non-gender-specific references to man into line with the remainder of the Articles of Faith, and to clarify those times when the word man refers to males,” says Tom Alexander, outgoing chair of the Council of Eighteen’s Policy Committee.
Proposed Text Changes to the GARBC Articles of Faith
[Note the current wording with strikethrough, followed by the proposed wording in bold type.]
[Sections I – IV unchanged]
We believe the Biblical account of the creation of the physical universe, angels, and man humanity; that this account is neither allegory nor myth, but a literal, historical account of the direct, immediate creative acts of God without any evolutionary process; that man was Adam and Eve were created by a direct work of God and not from previously existing forms of life; and that all men people are descended from the historical Adam and Eve, first parents of the entire human race. Genesis 1; 2; Colossians 1:16, 17; John 1:3.
VI. The Fall of Mankind
We believe that mankind was created in innocence (in the image and likeness of God) under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression Adam fell from his sinless and happy state, and all men human beings sinned in him, in consequence of which all men human beings are totally depraved, are partakers of Adam’s fallen nature, and are sinners by nature and by conduct, and therefore are under just condemnation without defense or excuse. Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 3:10-19; 5:12, 19; 1:18, 32.
VII. The Virgin Birth
We believe that Jesus was begotten of the Holy Spirit in a miraculous manner, born of Mary, a virgin, as no other man person was ever born or can be born of woman, and that He is both the Son of God and God, the Son. Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:35; John 1:14.
[Sections VII – XII unchanged]
XIV. The Church
We believe that a local church is an organized congregation of immersed believers, associated by covenant of faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by His laws; and exercising the gifts, rights, and privilege invested in them by His Word; that its officers are pastors and deacons, godly men whose qualifications, claims and duties are clearly defined in the Scriptures. We believe the true mission of the church is the faithful witnessing of Christ to all men people as we have opportunity. We hold that the local church has the absolute right of self-government free from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations; and that the one and only Superintendent is Christ through the Holy Spirit; that it is Scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the gospel; that each local church is the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation; that on all matters of membership, of polity, of government, of discipline, of benevolence, the will of the local church is final. 1 Corinthians 11:2; Acts 20:17–28; 1 Timothy 2:12; 3:1–13; Titus 1:5–9; Acts 2:41, 42.
We believe in the unity of all New Testament believers in the Church which is the Body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12, 13; Ephesians 1:22, 23; 3:1-6; 4:11; 5:23; Colossians 1:18; Acts 15:13-18.
[Sections XV – XIX unchanged]
XX. The Righteous and the Wicked
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that only those who are justified by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and sanctified by the Spirit of our God are truly righteous in His esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men all people both in and after death, in the everlasting felicity of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost in the lake of fire. Malachi 3:18; Genesis 18:23; Romans 6:17, 18; 1 John 5:19; Romans 7:6; 6:23; Proverbs 14:32; Luke 16:25; Matthew 25:34-41; John 8:21; Revelation 20:14, 15.