Essential doctrine

Note from the Elders:

This section is purposely entitled “Essential Doctrine.” However, if in reading these twenty bullet points you come across a concept you don’t fully understand or have never heard of, don’t be intimidated! Our heart in putting forth this body of doctrine is not to embarrass or intimidate potential new members. By publishing these twenty points we are not communicating that we only accept the most mature of believers into our fellowship.


This body of doctrine is published to communicate to you what we believe to be a helpful summation of the major categories of theology contained in the Bible. Certainly, the Bible contains more theology than these twenty points. But, as elders and as a church, we don’t want to reduce the Bible’s message down to less than this. 


Please know this as well, it is not required for membership that you comprehensively understand and affirm these twenty points of doctrine before you are welcomed as a member. We simply require our teachers, guest preachers, small group leaders, etc. to not teach contrary to these doctrines as stated.   


We encourage you to keep this list of essential doctrines and use it to guide your personal and/or family devotional times. Use it as a reference tool in your personal growth in Christian maturity. We have found it to be beneficial to use statements like these as a “teacher” in our progressive sanctification, and we hope you will too.    


I. 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. This affirms the verbal and plenary inerrancy for the sixty-six books of the Bible in the original autographs. The Scriptures endure forever. (2 Timothy 3:15-17; Isaiah 8:20, 40:8; Luke 16:29,31; Ephesians 2:20; 2 Peter 1:3, 19-2)


II. 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. (Deut. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:4, 6; Gal. 3:20; 1 Thess. 1:9; Jer. 10:10; Job 11:7-9, 26:14; Ps. 139:6)


III. 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. (1 John 5:7; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Exodus 3:14; John 14:11, 15:26; 1 Corinthians 8:6; John 1:14,18; Galatians 4:6)


IV. Providence

God from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not in any way to be the author or approver of sin nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures. (Neh. 9:6; Ps. 145:14-17; Heb. 1:3; Dan. 4:34-35; Ps. 135:6; Acts 17:25-28; Matt. 10:29-31; Prov. 15:3; Ps. 104:24; Acts 15:18; Is. 42:9; Ezek. 11:5; Eph. 1:11; Ps. 33:10-11; Is. 63:14; Eph. 3:10; Rom. 9:17; Gen. 45:7; Ps. 145:7)


V. 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. (Eph. 1:4,9,11,2:8-9; Rom. 8:28-30, 9:11,13,15-16; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Thess. 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2)


VI. 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 corrupt nature that is wholly opposed to God and His law, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors. (Gen. 3:13; Rom. 3:10-19, 23, 5:12, 8:7; 2 Cor.11:3; Gen. 2:17; Eph. 2:1-3; Acts 17:26)


VII. The Mediator

Jesus Christ, the one and only 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 lives to make intercession for His people. He is the only Mediator, the Prophet, Priest and King of the Church, and Sovereign of the Universe. (Is. 42:1; 1 Peter 1:19-20; John 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:5; Acts 3:20,22; Deut. 18:15; Heb. 5:5-6, Ps. 2:6, Luke 1:33; John 1:1-3,14; 1 John 5:20; Phil. 2:6; Gal. 4:4; Matt. 16:16; Rom. 5:19; Heb. 9:14; 2 Cor. 5:18; Col. 1:20)


VIII. Regeneration

Regeneration is a change of heart, brought about by the Holy Spirit, who makes alive those who are 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. (Ezek. 11:19, 36:26-27; Deut. 30:6; John 3:5; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:23; John 6:44-45; 2 Tim. 1:9; Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 9:11)  


IX. Repentance

Repentance is an evangelical grace, wherein a person being by the Holy Spirit, made sensible of the manifold evil of his sin, humbles himself for it, with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and abhorrence of the old self, with a purpose and endeavor to walk before God so as to please Him in all things. (Acts 11:18; 2 Cor. 7:10; Zech. 12:10; Ezek. 18:30-31, 36:31; Is. 30:22; Ps. 51:4, 119:6, 59, 106, 128; Jer. 31:18-19; Joel 2:12-13; Amos 5:15; 2 Cor. 7:11; 1 Thess. 1:9; 2 Kings 23:25)


X. Faith

Saving faith is the belief, on God’s authority, of whatsoever is revealed in His Word concerning Christ; trusting and resting upon Him alone for justification and eternal life. It is brought about in the heart by the Holy Spirit, and is accompanied by all other saving graces, and leads to a life of holiness. (John 4:42; 1 Thess. 2:13; Acts. 24:14; John 3:5; 1 Cor. 12:3; Titus 3:5; John 1:12; Acts 16:31; Gal. 2:20; Acts 15:11; 1 John 5:4-5; Heb. 6:11-12, 10:22)


XI. 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 brought about 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. In justification God declares the sinner righteous. (Rom. 3:22-28, 4:5-8, 5:15-19, 8:30; 2 Cor. 5:19, 21; Titus 3:5, 7; Eph. 1:7; Jer. 23:6; 1 Cor. 1:30-3; Acts 13:38-39; Phil. 1:29, 3:9) 


XII. Sanctification

Those who have been regenerated, and thus justified, 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 joyful obedience to all Christ’s commands. (1 Thess. 5:23-24; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; Acts 20:32; Rom. 6:5-6; Phil. 3:10; John 17:17, 19; Rom. 8:13; Col. 1:10-11; Eph. 3:16-19; 2 Cor. 7:1; Col. 1:28; Heb. 12:14)


XIII. Perseverance of the Saints

Those whom God has accepted in the Son, 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 temporarily 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. (Phil. 1:6; 2 Peter 1:10; Rom. 8:28-30; John 6:37, 10:28-29; 1 Peter 1:5, 9; 2 Tim. 2:18-19; Ps. 51:14; Matt. 26:70, 72, 74; 2 Sam. 12:9, 13; Gal. 2:11-14; Eph. 4:30; Rev. 2:4)


XIV. 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 has given needful authority for administering the order of discipline and worship which He has appointed. The regular officers of a Church are elders and deacons. (Eph. 5:23, 27, 32; Col. 1:18; 1 Cor. 1:2, 12:12-13; Ps. 2:8; Rev. 7:9; Eph. 2:19, 3:15; Acts 2:47; 1 Cor. 12:18; Eph. 4:11-13) 


XV. Baptism

Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus, obligatory upon every believer, wherein he is baptized in water in the name of the Father, and of 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 membership, and to participation in the Lord’s Supper. (Rom. 6:2-5; Col. 2:12; Acts 8:36-37; Matt. 28:19-20)


XVI. The Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of Jesus Christ, to be administered with the elements of bread and wine, 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. (1 Cor. 11:23-26; Matt. 26:26-27; Luke 22:19-20; Heb. 9:22, 25-26, 28, 10:10-14) 


XVII. The Lord’s Day

The Lord’s Day is a Christian institution for regular observance, and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private, individually and corporately, every Sunday (the first day of the week). (Ex. 20:6; Is. 58:13-14; Matt. 12:1-13; Mark 3:1-5; Heb. 10:24-25; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; Acts 20:7; Rev. 1:10)


XVIII. Liberty of Conscience

God alone is Lord of the conscience; and He has left it free from the constriction of men, which are contrary to His word, or not contained in it. Civil authorities and government are ordained by God, as such we are to be in subjection to them in all lawful things commanded by them, not only to avoid civil consequences, but also for our conscience’s sake. (James 4:12; Rom. 14:4,10; 1 Cor. 10:29; Acts 4:19, 5:29; Matt. 15:1-6; Col. 2:20-23; Gal. 2:4-5)


XIX. 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. (Gen. 3:19; Acts 13:36; Luke 23:43; Eccl. 12:7; 2 Cor. 5:1-8; Phil. 1:23; Rom. 8:23; Luke 16:23-24; Acts 1:25; Jude 6-7; Acts 24:15; Phil. 3:21)


XX. 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 and the righteous into everlasting life. (Acts 17:31; John 5:22, 27; 2 Tim. 4:1; Matt. 25:31-46; Rom. 2:5-6; Acts 3:19; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Mark 9:48; Matt. 24:36, 42-44; Mark 13:35-37; Luke 12:35-36; Rev. 22:20) 

To fully express our beliefs, we subscribe to the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, often referred to in shorthand as "the 1689 or 2LBCF". Though our ultimate authority in all matters of faith and life is the inspired, eternal, infallible, inerrant, all-sufficient Word of God alone, as recorded in 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, we find the 1689 to be an excellent summary of "the things most surely believed among us." 

The great British Baptist preacher Charles H. Spurgeon said of the confession;

"This little volume [The 1689] is not issued as an authoritative rule, or code of faith, whereby you are to be fettered, but as an assistance to you in controversy, a confirmation in faith, and a means of edification in righteousness. …Cleave fast to the Word of God which is here mapped out for you."

In addition to The 1689 and to remain steadfast in our commitment to the reformed tradition, we find value in consulting the Westminster Standards (Westminster Confession of Faith, Westminster Longer and Shorter Catechism), The Three Forms of Unity (Belgic Confession, The Canons of Dort, and The Heidelberg Catechism), 1693 Baptist Catechism (aka Keach’s Catechism), and The Historic Creeds (Apostles Creed, Nicene Creed, Chalcedonian Creed, and Athanasian Creed) as the elders of the church believe beneficial and necessary.


Note from the Elders:

Below are categories we believe to be distinctive about our church. They are not meant to be an indictment of other churches, but to help you understand more about us as a church which you are seeking to join. 

As with the Essential Doctrines, these are categories with which teachers, guest preachers, small group leaders, ministry leaders, etc. in our church must agree. We are not demanding full agreement with these distinctives from every member, but we are asking for members to not obstinately advocate for viewpoints contrary to these distinctives. 

And again, as with the Essential Doctrines, comprehensive knowledge of these distinctives is not prerequisite for membership at Reformed Baptist Church of McKinney. We only ask that members understand these to be our positions and not persist in opposition to them. 


Although God is immanent—accessible to us as Abba Father—Scripture also teaches He is transcendent—exalted far above us as our Sovereign King. Therefore, He must be treated with profound reverence and respect and never taken lightly. God’s transcendence is captured in the attribute we call His holiness. God is holy or transcendent in two related, but ultimately distinct ways: He is transcendent in His moral purity and also transcendent in His majesty. He is separate or distinct from and exalted above everything else in the universe. Our greatest prayer must always be that God’s transcendence is seen and known in the worship of this church and that He therefore is both loved and feared. It is our profound desire and chief concern that in our worship we treat God as separate, distinct, set apart, majestIc, and transcendent. It is only in understanding His transcendence that we can truly see the beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ through which we are reconciled and brought near to such a great and awesome God.


The inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of God provides the foundation and contours of our beliefs. As such, the Scriptures inform every facet of life and practice. Scripture provides the form and content for preaching, worship, and singing. The Bible is God’s self-revelation and states the purpose for which He created us. It also helps us to understand our own hearts of sin and the broken world in which we live because of man’s fall into sin. Through His Word, God has also revealed the way of salvation in Christ to restore sinful human beings into the image of Christ for His glory. (2 Tim. 3:16)


We believe Genesis is a straightforward, literal presentation of the historical events it describes. We teach, therefore, that God created everything in six literal days. We reject every form of theistic evolution. We believe this to be the position of the church throughout the majority of her history as well as the position of our confession and all of the Reformation era confessions and catechisms. 


  1. God has created humanity, in His image, according to His likeness, as male and female. Gender, Sex, and any other potential term that could be used in their stead, are defined by God as binary, existing as male and female, and cannot be transitioned between or changed, whether that be through medical, philosophical, or any other means. (Gen. 1-2)
  2. The term “marriage” has only one meaning: most simply distilled as a covenant, between a man and a woman consummated by a sexual union. God’s perfect will for marriage consists of the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. God intends sexual relations to occur only between one man and one woman who are married to each other. God has commanded that no sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman and any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God (Gen. 2:18-25; Matt. 15:18-20; 1 Cor 6:9-18, 7:2-5; Heb. 13:4).
  3. We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. We also believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31; Acts 3:19-21; Rom. 10:9-10; 1 Cor. 6:9-11)

Because God has so ordained marriage and defined it as the covenant relationship between a man and a woman, before God, the church will only recognize marriages between a biological man and a biological woman. Further, the pastors, officers or spiritual representatives of the church shall only officiate in weddings and solemnize marriages between one man and one woman. Finally, the facilities and property of the church shall only host weddings between one man and one woman.

We affirm the Marriage statements as expressed in chapter 25 of the 2LBCF, but we also understand that it is intentionally silent about divorce. All divorce cases will be determined under the discretion of the council of elders on a case by case basis. Therefore, we allow for divorce under the following exceptions:

  1. Sexual Immorality - Adultery, Unrepentant Use of Pornography (Matt. 19:9)
  2. Abandonment - Unrepentant and, or unrelenting Abuse, Leaving Without Contact (1 Cor. 7)


  • We affirm that the Scripture reveals a pattern of complementary order between men and women, and that this order is itself a testimony to the Gospel, even as it is the gift of our Creator and Redeemer. We also affirm that all Christians are called to service within the body of Christ, and that God has given to both men and women important and strategic roles within the home, the Church, and the society. We further affirm that the teaching office of the Church is assigned only to those men who are called of God in fulfillment of the biblical teachings and that men are to lead in their homes as husbands and fathers who fear and love God (Gen. 1:26-27, 2:18; Eph. 5:21-33; 1 Tim. 2:11-15; Titus 2:3-5).
  • We deny that the distinction of roles between men and women revealed in the Bible is evidence of mere cultural conditioning or a manifestation of male oppression or prejudice against women. We also deny that this biblical distinction of roles excludes women from meaningful ministry in Christ’s kingdom. Biblical clarity on these important gender issues is crucial for this church to faithfully preserve its witness to the Gospel (Rom. 16:1; 1 Cor. 11:7-9; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 5:25; Col. 3:18-21; 1 Tim 3:1-13; 1 Pet 3:1-7).


  • Human life is sacred and created by God in His image, which comes into existence at the moment of conception (Gen. 1:26)
  • Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death (Ps. 139:13-16; Prov. 16:31; John 9:2-3)
  • We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life from the various modern-day threats ranging from abortion (including abortifacient drugs, etc) to physician assisted suicide and euthanasia (including “aid in dying”, “right to die”, “dignity in death or dying” etc.) (Ex. 20:13)
  • Any scenario in which a human is potentially conceived, whether through surrogacy, IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), or other non-natural reproductive processes, which results in the intentional death and/or discarding of a human being, is against the law of God and deserving of His wrath.


    The Bible is the inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of God, and it is the only rule and authority for faith and practice. This means that we endeavor to submit unconditionally to everything the Bible teaches (2 Tim. 3:16).

    We can only be saved from sin and its consequences by the renewing work of the Holy Spirit. This manifestation of God's sovereign goodness to sinners, which excludes all human merit, the Bible calls the grace of God. Our salvation is altogether of God; from beginning to end, it is only by God's free mercy and grace (Eph. 2:8)

    Salvation is not the result of our own accomplishments or works, but is obtained only by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His atonement accomplished on Calvary's cross. By faith in the perfect obedience of Christ we become righteous before God, trusting only in the finished work of Christ (Heb. 4:2).

    The Lord Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between God and man, who has made an effective, complete and final atonement for sin. Therefore, He is the only One through whom we can be reconciled with our Creator, whom we have offended by our sins. Only Christ's perfect sacrifice and righteousness are acceptable to God, and through Him we have direct access to God (John 14:6; 1 Tim. 2:5)

    The primary purpose of our existence is to live to God's glory, which therefore is the primary purpose of our salvation. This means that all honor and glory for our salvation must be given to God alone (Rev. 7:12)


    Man is so depraved and corrupted by sin in every part of his being that he is by nature incapable of doing any spiritual good and cannot affect any part of his salvation (Gen. 6:5)

    From eternity past, God chose to save certain individuals irrevocably to everlasting life and glory in Christ Jesus without seeing any intrinsic goodness in them, and He ordained the means by which they would be saved (Rom. 9:15-16)

    While the death of Christ is sufficient to cover the sins of the world, its saving efficacy is intentionally limited to His elect sheep whose sins He bore and for whom He fully satisfied the justice of God (John 17:9)

    God irresistibly calls the elect to saving faith and salvation in Christ with such sovereign power that they can no longer resist His grace, but are made willing in the day of His power (Ps. 110:3; John 6:44-45)

    Those whom God saves, He graciously preserves in the state of grace so that they will never be lost. They may be troubled by infirmities as they seek to make their calling and election sure, but they will persevere until the end, fighting the good fight of faith until the final victory shall be realized in the coming again of their Savior and Lord as Judge (John 10:28)


  • God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints today and that speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers. Thus they (the miraculous or sign gifts) have ceased to be present in the life of the Christian church (1 Cor.12:4-11, 13:8-10; 2 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 4:7-12; Heb. 2:1-4)
  • This does not mean that Christian do not pray for the physical healing of others. God has commanded us to pray for this. It means that we believe that no individual Christian has the spiritual gift of healing today (John 16:24; 2 Tim. 4:20; James 5:14-15)
  • The gift of tongues was the miraculous, God-given capacity to communicate the truth of God's Word in human languages the speaker had never learned or studied. It was a manifestation of God's power and blessing to validate the gospel message the Apostles taught and to establish the early church. We believe that ecstatic outbursts and private prayer languages share nothing in common with the New Testament gift of tongues, and that they are patently unbiblical (Acts 2:4-12, 8:15-17, 10:44-46, 14:3, 19:1-7; 1 Cor. 14:5-27; 2 Cor. 12:12; Heb. 2:3-4). 


  • RBCM takes no formal stance upon the point of doctrine often discussed under the “question of the Millennium.” We affirm our confession’s statement in 1.7, “All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all,” outside of all doctrines pertaining to salvation. And since we live in a day wherein western Christians have rashly and unnecessarily divided from each other over the question of the millennium, we do not formally endorse any of the four major millennial stances: amillennialism, postmillennialism, historic premillennialism, or dispensational premillennialism.
  • This, however, does not mean we impugn the mind of God nor His ability to clearly communicate to His creatures. Quite the contrary. Rather we recognize the fallenness of men and their limitations in “rightly handling the Word of truth”. As well as recognizing the propensity of fallen men to quarreling and the command of God to quell such divisiveness in the church (1 Tim. 6:4; 2 Tim. 2:14-15)
  • Neither is this position an attempt to avoid division at all costs. There are plenty of doctrines and interpretations of scripture that we are and must be willing to divide over, should it come to that. However, we do not believe that specificity on the “millennial question” rises to such a level as to necessitate division. 
  • Thus, RBCM fully affirms chapters 31 and 32 in the 1689 2LBCF which define an eschatology wherein a charitable disagreement on the “millennial question” can exist. Also, we are greatly helped in our formal eschatological position by chapter 37 of the Belgic Confession and questions 87-90 in the Westminster Larger Catechism.

Reformed Baptist Church of McKinney is a member of the G3 Ministries Network