COTR is submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authoritative truth of God’s Word, the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments of Holy Scripture. We believe that the Bible contains all that we need for all matters of faith and practice. We are also a confessional church, and believe that the 1689 London Baptist Confession of faith faithfully represents what the Scriptures teach. We hold to the 1689 LBC insofar as it agrees with the Bible. The pastor-elders have compiled a list of exceptions & amendments that supplement our confessional statement.
Please refer to the 1689 LBC and our exceptions & amendments document for a more comprehensive statement about what we believe and teach. Because these documents are rather lengthy, the following is a brief statement of what we believe and teach at COTR.
The Bible is God’s Word. Scripture is inspired by God (God breathed) not only in its general sense, but in every word. The Bible is God’s written revelation of Himself and His will to mankind. It is the highest authority in the church and the final judge of all church teaching. Every individual has the privilege and duty to study the Bible to know God and His will. (2 Tim 3:15-17; 2 Pet 1:20-21; John 12:48)
There is only one God. God is personal, eternal, holy, just, sovereign, and loving. God knows all things, is everywhere present, and is the source of all life. God is spirit and exists independently of the material universe. There are three coequal, coeternal yet distinct persons in the Godhead; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.(John 4:24; Matt 28:19; 1 Cor 8:4-6)
The material universe (all things, all life, mankind) was created by God in six days. The chief purpose of the universe is to bring glory to God. God rules over the entire created universe including mankind and He causes all things to work according to His will.
Man, male and female, was created in the image of God. Thus man is distinct from all other living creatures. Man’s being consists of body and spirit. As originally created by God man was holy and upright and had dominion over all other creatures. Man is under God’s authority and is accountable to God for his actions, thoughts, and motives.
Man (Adam and Eve) fell from his originally created state of uprightness by willfully disobeying God. All disobedience of God is sin. Man’s original sin and his continuance in sin brings death upon every member of the human race. God holds man accountable to pay the debt of his sins. Man’s nature is corrupt so that he naturally desires to do what is contrary to God’s will. He is completely incapable of delivering himself, in whole or in part, from either his guilt or his corrupt nature. In this state man is under God’s wrath and curse and is liable to all the miseries of this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever.
Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, equal with God. As the Son of God He came into the world and took upon himself the nature of man yet without sin. The purpose of His coming was to save men from their sin by living in their place, taking their sin upon Himself, dying on the cross under the punishment of God in their place, rising from the dead and presently living as their High Priest and Leader who will bring them to glory. The death of Jesus Christ upon the cross is the only means whereby men’s sins can be forgiven and their guilt removed. Jesus Christ, the God-man, is presently Lord of the universe, sits at the right hand of God and will one day judge the living and the dead. (Phil 3:20-21; John 1:1-14; Isa 53; Acts 10:36-43)
God the Father, knowing that all men if left to themselves would reject Him, determined in eternity past to save a people for Himself. The Father gave His Son Jesus Christ to die for the sins of His people; that is, to die under His wrath in their place. The Holy Spirit is sent by both the Father and the Son to convict men of their sin, to recreate their hearts (new birth), and to direct and enable them to believe (trust) in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. This salvation is freely offered as a gift to all men. Men must cease endeavoring to earn salvation by good works, religious ceremonies, refraining from certain sins, etc. Instead they must repent and turn to God and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. They must depend solely upon Jesus Christ to save them as an infant depends solely on its mother for life. Since this salvation is not based upon anything in man, no one is too wicked to be saved and no one is too good to not need to be saved. (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Eph 2:8-10; Rom 3:21-26; 10:9-13; 1 Pet 3:18)
The Christian’s life is lived by faith in Jesus Christ with the goal of pleasing and honoring God. Believers manifest that they are disciples of Christ by word and deed. They are used by God to lead others to a saving knowledge of Christ. Christians possess the glorious hope of one day living eternally in the presence of God; their life on earth is seen to be temporal. The Christian life is a life of continually striving against sin and by God’s grace being progressively made into the image of Jesus Christ. Self sacrificing love to God and others, humility, the ability to forgive others as Christ has forgiven them, and joy are among the chief traits of true Christians. Although not the basis of one’s salvation, good works are an inseparable result of genuine faith in Jesus Christ.
The Lord Jesus Christ will one day visibly return and all men will be resurrected and will face God’s judgment. The present heavens and earth will be destroyed and a new heaven and earth created. Those who have been saved by the grace of God will live eternally in His presence, serving Him, worshiping Him, and enjoying Him. In this state of glory all aspects of sin will be absent. Those who have not been saved will be eternally punished under God’s wrath for their sins.