Adopted by the National Association November 7, 1935, at Nashville, Tennessee Revised 1948, 1956, 1958, 1969, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1979, 1981 and 1992 Originally Published by the Executive Office of the National Association of Free Will Baptists, Inc.
This Special Electronic Media Edition was prepared by Bro. Chuck Louviere 1996
The Free Will Baptist denomination is a fellowship of evangelical believers united in extending the witness of Christ and the building of His Church throughout the world. The rise of Free Will Baptists can be traced to the influence of Baptists of Armenian persuasion who settled in the colonies from England.
The denomination sprang up on two fronts at almost the same time. The southern line, or Palmer movement, traces its beginnings to the year 1727 when one Paul Palmer organized a church at Chowan, North Carolina. Palmer had previously ministered in New Jersey and Maryland, having been baptized in a congregation which had moved from Wales to attract on the Delaware River in northern Pennsylvania.
The northern line, or Randall movement, had its beginnings with a congregation organized by Benjamin Randall June 30, 1780, in New Durham, New Hampshire. Both lines of Free Will Baptists taught the doctrines of free grace, free salvation, and free will, although from the first there was no organizational connection between them.
The northern line expanded more rapidly in the beginning and extended its outreach into the West and Southwest. In 1910-1911 this body of Free Will Baptists merged with the Northern Baptist denomination, taking along more than half its 1,100 churches and all denominational property, including several major colleges. On December 28, 1916, at Pattonsburg, Missouri, representatives of remnant churches in the Randall movement reorganized into the Cooperative General Association of Free Will Baptists.
Free Will Baptist in the southeastern United States, having descended from the Palmer foundation, had often manifested fraternal relationships with Free Will Baptists of the Randall movement in the north and west; but the slavery question and the Civil War prevented formal union between them. The churches in the southern line were organized into various associations and conferences from the beginning, and had finally organized into a General conference by 1921. These congregations were not affected by the merger of the northern movement with the Northern Baptists.
Now that the remnants of the Randall movement had reorganized into the Cooperative General Association and the Palmer movement had organized into the General Conference, it was inevitable that fusion between these two groups of Free Will Baptists would finally come. In Nashville, Tennessee, on November 5, 1935, representatives of these two groups met and organized the national Association of Free Will Baptists.
This body adopted a treatise which set forth the basic doctrines and described the faith and practice that had characterized Freewill Baptists through the years. Having been revised on several occasions, it serves as a guideline for a denominational fellowship which comprises more than 2,400 churches in 42 states and 14 foreign countries.
The National Offices are located at 5233 Mt. View Road, Antioch, Tennessee 37013-2306. National departments operating here include the Executive Office, Foreign Missions, Home Missions, Retirement and Insurance, Free Will Baptist Foundation, Master’s Men and Woman’s National Auxiliary Convention. The mailing address is P. O. Box 5002, Antioch, Tennessee 37011-5002.Free Will Baptist Bible College is located at 3606 West End Avenue, P.O.Box 50117, Nashville, Tennessee 37205. The Sunday School and Church Training Department and Master’s Men are located at 114 Bush Road, P. O. Box 17306,Nashville, Tennessee 37217.
PART I – CHURCH COVENANT
Having given ourselves to God, by faith in Christ, and adopted the Word of God as our rule of
faith and practice, we now give ourselves to one another by the will of God in this solemn covenant.
We promise, by His grace, to love and obey Him in all things, to avoid all appearance of evil,
to abstain from all sinful amusements and unholy conformity to the world, from all sanction of
the use and sale of intoxicating beverages, and to “provide things honest in the sight of all men.”
We agree faithfully to discharge our obligations in reference to the study of the Scriptures,
secret prayer, family devotions, and social worship; and by self-denial, faith, and good works
endeavor to ‘grow ingrate and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
We will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together for church conferences, public
worship, and the observance of the ordinances of the Gospel; nor fail to pay according to our
ability for the support of the church, of its poor, and all its benevolent work.
We agree to accept Christian admonition and reproof with meekness, and to watch over one
another in love, endeavoring to “keep the unity of the Spirit” in the bonds of peace, to be
careful of one another’s happiness and reputation, and seek to strengthen the weak, encourage
the afflicted, admonish the erring, and as far as we are able, promote the success of the church and of the Gospel.
We will everywhere hold Christian principle sacred and Christian obligations and enterprises
supreme; counting it our chief business in life to extend the influence of Christ in society,
constantly praying and toiling that the kingdom of God may come, and His will be done on earths it is in heaven.
To this end we agree to labor for the promotion of education and denominational enterprises,
the support of missions, the success of Sunday schools, and evangelistic efforts for the
salvation of the world. And may the God of peace sanctify us wholly, and preserve us
blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
PART II – THE FAITH OF FREE WILL BAPTISTS
The Holy Scriptures
These are the Old and the New Testaments; they were written by holy men, inspired by the
Holy Spirit,1 and are God’s revealed word to man. They are a sufficient and infallible rule and
guide to salvation and all Christian worship and service.2
Since the Bible is the word of God, it is without error in all matters upon which it speaks,
whether history, geography, matters relating to science or any other subject.3
Being and Attributes of God
The Scriptures teach that there is only one true and living God ,4 who is Spirit,5 selfexistent,
6eternal,7 immutable,8 omnipresent,9 omniscient,10omnipotent,11 independent,12 good,13
wise,14holy,15 just,16 and merciful,17 the… Creator, 18Preserver, 19 and Governor20 of the Universe;
theRedeemer, 21 Saviour, 22 Sanctifier, 23 andJudge24 of men; and the only proper object of worship.25
The mode of His existence, however, is a subject far above the understanding of man26-finite
beings cannot comprehend Him.27There is nothing in the universe that can justly represent
Him, for there is none like Him.28 He is the fountain of all perfection and happiness. He is
glorified by the whole creation, and is worthy to be loved and served by all intelligence.29
Divine Government and Providence
1. God exercises a providential care and superintendence over all His creatures,30 and governs
the world in wisdom and mercy, according to the testimony of His Word.31
2. God has endowed man with power of free choice, and governs him by moral laws and
motives; and this power of free choice is the exact measure of man’s responsibility.32
3. All events are present with God from everlasting to everlasting; but His knowledge of them
does not in any sense cause them, nor does He decree all events which He knows will occur.33
Creation, Primitive State of Man, and His Fall
SECTION I: Creation
1. Of the World. God created the world, and all things that it contains, for His own pleasure
and glory and the enjoyment of His creatures.34
2. Of the Angels. The angels were created by God35to glorify Him36 and obey His
commandments.37 Those who have kept their first estate He employs in ministering blessings
tithe heirs of salvation38 and in executing His judgments upon the world.39
3. Of Man. God created man, consisting of a material body and a thinking, rational soul.40 He
was made in the image of God, to glorify his Maker.41
SECTION II: Primitive Man, and His Fall
Our first parents, in their original state, were upright. They naturally preferred and desired to
obey their Creator, and had no preference or desire to transgress His will42 until they were
influenced and inclined by the tempter to disobey God’s commands. Previous to this, the only
tendency of their nature was to do righteousness. Inconsequence of the first transgression, the
state under which the posterity of Adam came into the world is so different from that of Adam
that they have not that righteousness and purity which Adam had before the fall; they are not
willing to obey God, but are inclined to evil.43Hence, none, by virtue of any natural goodness
and mere work of their own, can become the children of God,44 but they are all dependent for
salvation upon the redemption effected through the blood of Christ, and upon being created
anew unto obedience through the operation of theSpirit;45 both of which are freely provided
for every descendant of Adam.46
SECTION I: His Divinity
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, possesses all divine perfections. As He and the Father are one,
He in His divine nature, filled all the offices and performed the works of God to His creatures
that have been the subjects of revelation to us. As man, He performed all the duties toward
God that we are required to perform, repentance of sin excepted.
His divinity is proved from His titles, His attributes, and His works.
A. His Titles. The Bible ascribes to Christ the titles of Saviour,47 Jehovah,48 Lord of hosts,49the
first and the last,50 God,51 true God,52great God,53 God over all,54 mighty God, and the everlasting Father.55
B. His Attributes. He is eternal,56unchangeable,57 omnipresent,58 omniscient,59omnipontent,60
holy,61 and to be worshipped.62
C. His Works. By Christ the world was created.63He preserves64 and governs65 it; He has
provided redemption for all men66 and He will be their final Judge.67
SECTION II: The Incarnation of Christ
The Word, which in the beginning was with God and which was God, by whom all things
were made, condescended to a state of humiliation in being united with human nature and
becoming like us, pollution and sinexcepted.68 In this state, as a subject of the law, He was
liable to the infirmities of our nature,69 was tempted as we are,70but lived our example,71
perfect obedience to the divine requirements.72As Christ was made of the seed of David,
according to the flesh, He is’ the Son of man,”73 and as the divine existence is the fountain
from which He proceeded, and was the only agency by which He wasbegotten,74 He is “the
Son of God,”75 being the only begotten of the Father,76 and the only incarnation of the Divine Being.
The Atonement and Mediation of Christ
1. The Atonement. As sin cannot be pardoned without a sacrifice, and the blood of beasts could
never wash away sin, Christ Himself a sacrifice for the sins of the world,77 and thus made
salvation possible for all men.78 He died for us, suffering in our stead, to make known the
righteousness of God, that He might be just in justifying sinners who believe in His Son.79
Through the redemption effected by Christ, salvation is actually enjoyed in this world, and
will be enjoyed in the next by all who do not in this life refuse obedience to the known
requirements of God.80 the atonement for sin was necessary.81 For present and future obedience
can no more blot out our past sins than past obedience can remove the guilt of present and
future sins. If God pardoned the sins of men without satisfaction for the violation of His law, it
would follow that transgression might go on with impunity; government would be abrogated,
and the obligation of obedience to God would be, in effect, removed.
2. Mediation of Christ. Our Lord not only died for our sins, but He arose for our justification,82
and ascended up to heaven,83 where, as the only mediator between God and man, He makes
intercession for us until He comes again.84
3. We believe that all children dying in infancy, having not actually transgressed against the
law of God in their own persons, are only subject to the first death, which was brought on by
the fall of the first Adam, and not that any one of them dying in that state shall suffer
punishment in hell by the guilt of Adam, and not that any one of them dying in that state shall
suffer punishment in hell by the guilt of Adam’s sin for of such is the Kingdom of God.85
The Holy Spirit
1. The Scriptures ascribe to the Holy Spirit the acts and attributes of an intelligent being. He
guides,86 knows,87moves,88 gives information,89 commands,90forbids91 sends forth,92 reproves,93
and can be sinned againsts.94
2. The attributes of God are ascribed to the Holy Spirit.
3. The works of God are ascribed to the Holy Spirit: creation,95inspiration,96 giving of life,97
4. The apostles assert that the Holy Spirit is Lord andGod.99
From the foregoing the conclusion is that the Holy Spirit is in reality God and one with the
Father in all divine perfections. It has also been shown that Jesus Christ is God-one with the
Father. Then these three-the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-are one God.
The truth of this doctrine is also proved from the fact that the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Ghost are united in the authority by which believers are baptized; and in the benedictions
pronounced by the apostles,100 which are acts of the highest religious worship.101
The Gospel Call
The call of the Gospel is co-extensive with the atonement to all men,102 both by the word and
strivings of the Spirit,103so that salvation is rendered equally possible to all;104 and if any fail of
eternal life, the fault is wholly his own.105
The repentance which the Gospel requires includes a deep conviction, a penitential sorrow, an
open confession, a decided hatred, and an entire forsaking of all sin.106 This repentance God
has enjoined on all men; and without it in this life the sinner must perisheternally.107
Saving faith is an assent of the mind to the fundamental truths of revelation,108 an acceptance
of the Gospel, through the influence of the Holy Spirit,109 and a firm confidence and trust in
Christ.110 The fruit of faith is obedience to the Gospel.111The power to believe is the gift of
God,112 but believing is an act of the creature, which is required as a condition of pardon, and
without which the sinner cannot obtain salvation.113 All men are required to believe in Christ,
and those who yield obedience to this requirement become the children of God by faith.114
As man is a fallen and sinful being, he must be regenerated in order to obtain salvation.115 This
charge is an instantaneous renewal of the heart by the Holy Spirit,116 whereby the penitent
sinner receives new life, becomes a child of God,117 and is disposed to serve Him.118 This is
called in Scripture being born again,119 born of the Spirit,120 being quickened,121passing from
death unto life,122 and a partaking of the divinenature.123
Justification and Sanctification
1. Justification. Personal justification implies that the person justified has been guilty before
God; and, in consideration of the atonement of Christ, accepted by faith, the sinner is pardoned
and absolved from the guilt of sin, and restored to the divine favor.124Christ’s atonement is the
foundation of the sinner’s redemption, yet, without repentance and faith, it can never give him
justification and peace withGod.125
2. Sanctification is the continuing of God’s grace by which the Christian may constantly grow
in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.126
Perseverance of the Saints
There are strong grounds to hope that the truly regenerate will persevere unto the end, and be
saved, through the power of divine grace which is pledged for their support;127 but their future
obedience and final salvation are neither determined nor certain, since through infirmity and
manifold temptations they are in danger of falling;128and they ought, therefore, to watch and
pray lest they make shipwreck of their faith and be lost.129
The Lord’s Day
This is one day in seven, which from the creation of the world God has set apart for sacred rest
and holy service.130Under the former dispensation, the seventh day of the week, as
commemorative of the work of creation, was set apart for the Lord’s Day.131Under the Gospel,
the first day of the week, in commemoration of the resurrection of Christ, and by authority of
Christ and the apostles, is observed as the Christian Sabbath.132 On this day all men are
required to refrain from secular labor and devote themselves to the worship and service of
A Christian Church is an organized body of believers in Christ who stately assemble to
worship God, and who sustain the ordinances of the Gospel according to the Scriptures.134
Believers in Christ are admitted to this church on giving evidence of faith in Christ, obtaining
consent of the body, being baptized, and receiving the right hand of fellowship.135
The Church of God, or members of the body of Christ, is the whole body of Christians
throughout the whole world, and none but there generate are its members.136
Both the Old137 and New Scriptures138teach tithing as God’s financial plan for the support of
The Gospel Ministry
1. Qualification of Ministers. They must possess good, natural and acquired abilities,139 deep
and ardent piety,140be especially called of God to the work,141 and ordained by prayer and the
laying on of hands.142
2. Duties of Ministers. These are to preach theWord,143 administer the ordinances of the
Gospel,144visit their people, and otherwise perform the work of faithful ministers.145
Ordinances of the Gospel
1. Christian Baptism. This is the immersion of believers in water, in the name of the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Spirit,146in which are represented the burial and resurrection of Christ,
the death of Christians to the world, the washing of their souls from the pollution of sin, their
rising to newness of life, their engagement to serve God, and their resurrection at the last
2. The Lord’s Supper. This is a commemoration of the death of Christ for our sins in the use of
bread which He made the emblem of His broken body, and the cup, the emblem of His
shedblood,148 and by it the believer expresses his love for Christ, his faith and hope in Him,
and pledges to Him perpetual fidelity.149
It is the privilege and duty of all who have spiritual union with Christ to commemorate His
death, and no man has a right to forbid these tokens to the least of His disciples.150
3. Washing the Saints’ Feet. This is a sacred ordinance, which teaches humility and reminds
the believer of the necessity of a daily cleansing from all sin. It was called an “example” on the
night of His betrayal, and in connection with the institution of the Lord’s Supper. It is the duty
and happy prerogative of every believer to observe this sacred ordinance.151
As a result of sin, all mankind is subject to the death of the body.152 The soul does not die with
the body, but immediately after death enters into a conscious state of happiness or misery,
according to the character here possessed.153
Second Coming of Christ
The Lord Jesus, who ascended on high and sits at the right-hand of God, will come again to
close the Gospel dispensation, glorify His saints, and judge the world.154
The Scriptures teach the resurrection of the bodies of all men, each in its own order; they that
have done good will come forth to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the
resurrection of damnation.155
The Judgment and Retribution
1. The Judgment. There will be a judgment, when time and man’s probation will close
forever.156 Then all men will be judged according to their works.157
2. Retribution. Immediately after the judgment, the righteous will enter into eternal life, and
the wicked will go into a state of endless punishment.158
APPENDIX TO CHAPTER XIII
Adopted July, 1969
1. We believe that salvation is a present possession by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior
and that a person’s eternal destiny depends on whether he has this possession. This we hold in
distinction from those who teach that salvation depends on human works or merit.
2. We believe that a saved individual may, in freedom of will, cease to trust in Christ for
salvation and once again be lost. This we hold in distinction from those who teach that a
believer may not again be lost.
3. We believe that any individual living in the practice of sin (whether he be called
“backslider” or “sinner”) must be judged by that evidence to be lost should he so die in his
sins. This we hold in distinction from those who suggest that pernicious doctrine that a man
may live in sin as he pleases and still claim Heaven as his eternal home.
4. We believe that any regenerate person who has sinned again, whether he be called
“backslider” or “sinner” and in whose heart a desire arises to repent may do so and be restored
to favor and fellowship with God. This we hold in distinction from those who teach that when
a Christian sins he cannot repent and be restored to favor and fellowship with God.159
APPENDIX TO CHAPTER I
Adopted July, 1979
Free Will Baptists believe in the plenary, verbal inspiration of the Bible. By plenary we mean
“full and complete.” We hold that all parts of the Bible are inspired and that inspiration
extends to all its subjects.160 By verbal we mean that inspiration extends to the very words of
the Scriptures, not just to the thoughts and ideas expressed by human authors.161
We believe the scriptures are infallible and inerrant.162The bible is without error and
trustworthy in all its teachings, including cosmogony, geology, astronomy, anthropology,
history, chronology, etc.,as well as in matters of faith and practice. Being the very word of
God, it is God’s final revelation and our absolute authority.163
APPENDIX TO CHAPTER VII
Adopted July, 1979
Free Will Baptists understand the Bible teaches the following facts: On the Day of Pentecost
believers spoke in distinct foreign languages which were readily understood by the
Tongues were given as a special gift to the early churches only one sign which confirms the
witness of the Gospel to unbelievers.165
While tongues were bestowed by the sovereign will of God on some believers, all did not
speak with tongues.166 When this gift was abused, it became a source of disturbance in the
congregational meetings. To eliminate confusion and correct the error, Paul set particular
guidelines for the Christian church to follow.167 The gift of tongues was neither an evidence of
the baptism of the Holy Spirit, nor does it bring about sanctification.168
We believe that speaking in tongues as a visible sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an
erroneous doctrine to be rejected. Any implication of a “second work of grace” has never been
tolerated in our fellowship of churches, and will not be permitted.
We teach and preach the fullness of the Holy Spirit and heed the scriptural admonition, “Be
filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing
and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God
and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”169
1 2 Pet 1:18-21: And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy
mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a
light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this
first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old
time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
2 Tim 3:16-17: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for
correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished
unto all good works.
2 Exod 4:15: And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and
with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.
Ps 32:8: I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
Heb 1:1-2: God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the
prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by
whom also he made the worlds.
[NOTE: The last sentence in chapter 1, which was added in July, 1979 does not represent any change or
modification of thought in the doctrine of the Holy Scriptures as it has been historically believed by Free
Will Baptists. In view of the fact that some in the theological world have claimed to believe that the Bible
is an infallible rule of faith and practice, while at the same time professing to believe that the Bible
contains errors which were a part of the original manuscripts, this statement was added to make the
position already held by Free Will Baptists unmistakably clear.]
3 See APPENDIX TO CHAPTER I
4 Deut 6:4: The LORD our God is one LORD. 1Cor 8:4: …and that there is none other God but one. Jer
10:10: But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God. John 7:28; 2 Cor. 1:19; 1 John5:20; 1 Tim.
5 John 4:24: God is a Spirit. 2 Cor. 3:17.
6 Exod 3:14: And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM. Psa. 83:18; John 5:26; Rev. 1:4
7 Psa. 90:2: From everlasting to everlasting thou art God. Deut. 33:27; Isa. 57:15; Rom. 1:20; 1 Tim. 1:17.
8 Mal. 3:6: For I am the Lord, I change not.Num. 23:19; James 1:17
9 IKing 8:27: But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot
contain thee.Jer. 23:24; Psa. 139:7-10; Isa. 57:15; Acts 17:24.
10 Acts 15:18: Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. 1 Chron. 28:9; Psa.
94:9-10; Acts 1:24.
11 Rev 19:6: …for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.Job 42:2; Psa. 135:6; Matt. 19:26; Mark 14:36; Luke
12 Eph 4:6: One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Job 9:12; Isa.
14:13-14;Dan. 4:35; Rom. 11:33-36.
13 Ps 119:68: Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. Psa. 25:8; 106:1; 145:9; Matt. 19:17.
14 Rom 16:27: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen. Dan. 2:20; 1 Tim. 1:17;
15 Lev 19:2: Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy:
for I the LORD your God am holy. Job 6:10
16 Deut 32:4: He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without
iniquity, just and right is he. Psa. 92:15; 119:137; Zeph. 3:5.
17 Eph 2:4: But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us. Ex. 34:6; Neh. 9:17;
18 Gen 1:1: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Ex. 20:11; Psa. 33:6-9; Col. 1:16; Heb.
19 Neh 9:6: Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their
host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all;
and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.Job 7:20; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3.
20 Ps 47:7: For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding. 2 Chron. 20:6; Psa.
21 Isa 47:4: As for our redeemer, the LORD of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel. Psa. 78:35; Prov.
23:11;Isa. 41:14; 59:20; Jer. 50:34
22 Isa 45:21: …and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me. Isa.
23 Exod 31:13: …that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you. 1 Thess. 5:23; Jude 1.
24 Heb 12:23: To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to
God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. Gen. 18:25; Psa. 50:6;2 Tim. 4:8.
25 Exod 34:14: For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous
God. Ex. 20:4-5;Matt. 4:10; Rev. 19:10.
26 Job 11:7: Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? Isa.
27 Rom 11:33: O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are
his judgments, and his ways past finding out! Job 26:14.
28 Exod 9:14: For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon
thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth. Ex.8:10; 1 Chron. 17:20.
29 Ps 19:1-2: The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto
day utterethspeech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. Ps 145:10: All thy works shall praise thee, O
LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. Ps 150:6: Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise
ye the LORD.
30 Acts 17:28: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have
said, For we are also his offspring. Matt 10:30: But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Psa.
104:13-14; Job 14:5; Eph. 1:11.
31 Ps 22:28: For the kingdom is the LORD’s:and he is the governor among the nations. Ps 97:2: Clouds and
darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. Isa. 33:22; Ex.
34:6; Job 36:5.
32 Deut 30:19: I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and
death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.Isa. 1:18-20; John
5:40; Rom. 2:14-15; Prov. 1:24-28.
33 Ezek 33:11: Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the
wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will
ye die, O house of Israel? Acts 15:18; 1 Sam. 2:30; Ezek.18:20-25, 31; Jer. 44:4.
34 Rev 4:11: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all
things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Isa. 43:7; 1 Tim 6:17: Charge them that are rich in
this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us
richly all things to enjoy.
35 Col 1:16: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and
invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by
him, and for him.
36 Rev 7:11: And all the angels stood roundabout the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and
fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God.
37 Ps 103:20: Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening
unto the voice of his word.
38 Heb 1:14: Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of
salvation? Jude 6.
39 2 Sam 24:16: And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD
repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand.
And the angel of the LORD was by the threshing place ofAraunah the Jebusite. Rev. 16:1
40 Gen 2:7: And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the
breath of life; and man became a living soul.
41 Gen 1:27: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female
created he them.1 Cor. 6:20.
42 Eccl 7:29: Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many
inventions. Eph.4:24; Col. 3:10.
43 Ps 51:5: Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Rom 8:7: Because the
carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Eph 2:3:
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires
of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.Psa. 58:3; Gen. 8:21;
John 3:6; Gal. 5:19-21; Rom. 5:12.
44 John 6:44: No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise
him up at the last day. 1 Cor 2:14: But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for
they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
45 John 3:3: Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again,
he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:5; 1:13; Heb 12:14: Follow peace with all men, and holiness,
without which no man shall see the Lord. Col. 1:14;Titus 3:5.
46 See Atonement (Chapter VI).
47 Isa 45:21: Tell ye, and bring them near;yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from
ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a
just God and a Savior; there is none beside me.Isa 43:10-11: Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and
my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before
me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there
is no savior. John 4:42: And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have
heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world. Phil. 3:20; 2 Tim.
1:10; Titus 2:13.
48 Ps 83:18: That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the
earth. Isa 40:3:The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD (Jehovah),
make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Luke1:76.
49 Isa 8:13-14: Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.
And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses
of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 1 Peter 2:4-6; Isa. 6:5; John 12:41.
50 Rev 22:13: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Isa. 44:6; Rev. 1:1,
51 1 Tim 3:16: And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh,
justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up
into glory. 1 John 3:16; John 1:1; Heb. 1:8; John20:28-29.
52 I Jn 5:20: And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may
know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and
53 Titus 2:13: Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior
54 Rom 9:5: Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God
blessed for ever. Amen.
55 Isa 9:6: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his
shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace.
56 Col 1:17: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. Micah 5:2; Heb. 1:8.
57 Heb 13:8: Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Heb. 1:12.
58 John 3:13: And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son
of man which is in heaven. Matt. 18:20; 28:20; Eph. 1:23.
59 John 16:30: Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee:
by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. John 2:24-25; 21:17; Rev. 2:23.
60 Col 2:8-10: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of
men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the
Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. Matt. 28:18;
Heb. 1:8; Rev. 1:8.
61 Acts 3:14: But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you.
Luke 1:35; Heb.7:26; Rev. 3:7.
62 Heb 1:6: And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels
of God worship him. John 5:23: That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that
honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Phil. 2:10-11; Matt. 28:9; Luke
63 Heb 1:8, 10: But unto the Son he saith,Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of
righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom… And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation
of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands. John 1:3, 10: All things were made by him; and
without him was not anything made that was made… He was in the world, and the world was made by
him, and the world knew him not. Col. 1:16
64 Heb 1:3: Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all
things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of
the Majesty on high. Col. 1:17.
65 Isa 9:6: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his
shoulder:.. 1 Peter3:22; Eph. 1:21.
66 Eph 1:7: In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the
riches of his grace.Heb. 9:12; Gal. 3:13; Isa. 44:6; 1 Peter 1:18; Rev. 5:9.
67 2 Tim 4:1: I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and
the dead at his appearing and his kingdom. Matt. 25:31-46; John 5:22.
68 John 1:14: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of
the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. Phil 2:6-7: Who, being in the form of God,
thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the
form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. 2 Cor. 8:9; Heb. 4:15.
69 Heb 2:17: Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a
merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the
people. Matt. 8:17; 4:2; 8:24; John 11:33, 35; 19:28;Isa. 53:3; Luke 22:44.
70 Heb 4:15: For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;
but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Matt. 4:1-11
71 1 Pet 2:21: For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example,
that ye should follow his steps. John 13:15; 1 John 2:6.
72 Isa 42:21: The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it
honourable.Matt. 5:17; 3:15; Gal. 4:4.
73 Luke 19:10: For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
74 John 16:27: For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came
out from God. Matt. 1:18, 20.
75 Luke 1:35: And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the
power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee
shall be called the Son of God. Mark 1:1; John 1:34; 20:31.
76 John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in
him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 1:18.
77 I Jn 2:2: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole
world. Isa. 53:5; 10:11; Rom. 4:25; Matt. 20:28; 1 Peter 3:18; John 1:29;Heb. 9:26; Rom. 5:6, 8.
78 Titus 2:11: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. Heb 2:9: But we see
Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and
honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 1 Tim. 2:6; Isa. 45:22; 2 Peter 3:9; 2
Cor. 4:14, 15; 1 Tim.4:10.
79 Rom 3:25-26: Whom God hath set forth tobe a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his
righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at
this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Rom.
5:9, 18; Matt.26:28; Eph. 1:7; Rev. 5:9; 1 Peter 2:24.
80 Rom 5:18: Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by
the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. Rom8:1: There is
therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after
the Spirit. Mark 16:15;Rom. 2:14,15.
81 Heb 9:22: And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no
remission. Eph1:7: In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to
the riches of his grace.
82 Rom 4:25: Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. 1 Cor. 15:17
83 Acts 1:11: Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus,
which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
84 Heb 7:25: Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he
ever liveth to make intercession for them. Rom. 8:34; Heb. 9:24.
85 1 Cor 15:22: For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
Matt 18:2-5: And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I
say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of
heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom
of heaven. And who so shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
Mark 9:36-37: And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his
arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and
whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.
Matt 19:14: But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the
kingdom of heaven.
86 John 16:13: Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall
not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to
87 1 Cor 2:11: For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so
the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
88 Gen 1:2: And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And
the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Acts 8:39
89 Acts 10:19: While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. 1
Cor. 2:13; Acts21:11; John 14:26.
90 Acts 13:2: As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and
Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
91 Acts 16:6: Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden
of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia.
92 Acts 13:4: So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they
sailed to Cyprus.
93 John 16:8: And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of
judgment. Gen. 6:3
94 Mark 3:29: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger
of eternal damnation.Isa. 63:10, Acts 7:51; Eph. 4:30.
95 Job 33:4: The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life. Job 26:13;
96 2 Pet 1:21: For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they
were moved by the Holy Ghost.
97 1 Pet 3:18: For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to
God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. Rom. 8:11
98 1 Cor 6:11: And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in
the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
99 Isa 6:8-9: Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then
said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and
see ye indeed, but perceive not. Acts 28:25-26: And when they agreed not among themselves, they
departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our
fathers, Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing
ye shall see, and not perceive. Compare John 3:16, with Matt. 1:18.
100 Matt 28:19: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 2 Cor 13:14: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the
communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. 1 Peter 1:2
101 See APPENDIX TO CHAPTER VII
102 Mark 16:15: And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Isa45:22: Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
Prov. 8:4; Isa 55:1; Rev. 22:17.
103 Joel 2:28: And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your
sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see
visions. John 16:8; John 1:9; Isa. 55:11; Luke 2:10.
104 1 Tim 2:4: Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. Acts
10:34: Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.
Ezek. 33:11; 2 Peter 3:9.
105 Hosea 13:9: O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. Prov. 1:24-31; Isa. 65:12; Jer.
7:13-14;Zech. 7:11-13; John 5:40: And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. Matt. 23:37.
106 2 Cor 7:10: For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of
the world worketh death. Psa. 51:17; Prov 28:13: He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso
confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.Psa. 32:3,5; Ezek 36:31: Then shall ye remember your
own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your
iniquities and for your abominations. Psa. 51:3-4; Ezek18:30: Therefore I will judge you, O house of
Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your
transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.
107 Acts 17:30: And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where
to repent. Luke 13:5:I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Acts3:19.
108 Heb 11:6: But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that
He is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Heb 11:1:Now faith is the substance of
things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. John 5:46-47; Rom. 10:9.
109 Rom 10:10: For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is
made unto salvation. Gal 5:22: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,
goodness, faith. 1 Cor. 12:8-9.
110 Acts 16:31: And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
John 3:16; Rom.4:20-22; Eph. 3:12.
111 James 2:17: Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Gal. 5:6; 1 Tim. 1:5.
112 Phil 1:29: For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer
for his sake. 2 Peter 1:1; Eph. 2:8.
113 John 3:36: He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not
see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. Mark 16:16; John 8:21, 24; Heb.11:6.
114 John 1:7: The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might
believe. Gal3:26: For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Acts10:43; Rom. 5:1; John
115 John 3:3: Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again,
he cannot see the kingdom of God. Heb. 12:14; rev. 21:27; Gal. 5:19-21.
116 John 3:5: Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the
Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John 1:13; Ezek. 36:26-27; Titus 3:5; Eph.2:10.
117 Rom 8:16: The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. John 1:12;
5:25; James1:18; 2 Cor. 5:17.
118 Ezek 11:19-20: And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take
the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes,
and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 1 Peter 2:25
119 John 3:3: …Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
120 John 3:6: That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:5-
8; 1John 4:7; 5:1.
121 Eph 2:1: And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. Psa. 119:50, 93; Eph. 2:5;
122 John 5:24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me,
hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 1 John
123 2 Pet 1:4: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be
partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Heb. 3:14.
124 Rom 5:1: Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom 5:16:And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to
condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. Acts 13:39; Isa. 53:11.
125 Acts 3:19: Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of
refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. Heb. 4:2; 11:6, Rom. 9:31-32;Acts 13:38-39.
126 1Thes 5:23: And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul
and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Cor. 7:1; 2 Pet 3:18:But
grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and
for ever. Amen. Heb. 6:1; 1 John 5:4; Col.4:12; Prov. 4:18; 1 John 1:7,9; 1 Peter 1:16.
Gal 2:20: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life
which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
127 Rom 8:38-39: For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers,
nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to
separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 1 Cor 10:13: There hath no temptation
taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above
that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 2
Cor 12:9:And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in
weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest
upon me. Job 17:9; Matt.1:18; John 10:27-28; Phil. 1:6.
128 2 Chr 15:2: And he went out to meet Asa,and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and
Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but
if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. 2 Pet 1:10: Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make
your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall. Ezek 33:18: When the
righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. John 15:6; 1
Cor. 10:12; Heb. 6:4-6; 12:15;1 Chron. 28:9; Rev. 2:4; 1 Tim. 1:19; 2 Peter 2:20-21; 1 Cor. 9:27;
Matt.24:13; Acts 1:25; Rev. 22:19.
129 See APPENDIX TO CHAPTER XIII
130 Gen 2:3: And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his
work which God created and made. Mark 2:27: And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man,
and not man for the Sabbath. Neh. 9:14.
131 Exod 20:8-11: Remember the sabbath day,to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy
work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor
thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is
within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and
rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
132 Luke 24:1-6: Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the
sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the
stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And
it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining
garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why
seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he
was yet in Galilee.Luke 24:33-36; John 20:19,26; Acts 2:1; Acts 20:7: And upon the first day of the week,
when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow;
and continued his speech until midnight. 1 Cor. 16:2; Rev. 1:10; Psa. 118:22-24.
133 Isa 58:13-14: If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and
call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own
ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the
LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of
Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. Isa. 56:2; Ex. 20:8-11.
134 1 Cor 1:2: Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called
to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.
Acts 2:41, 47; 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2;Rev. 1:4.
135 Eph 5:25, 27: Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
… That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing;
but that it should be holy and without blemish. Eph.1:22, 23; 1 Cor. 12:27-28; Col. 1:18, 24; 1 Peter 2:5;
John18:36; John15:2, 6.
136 Acts 2:41: Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added
unto them about three thousand souls. Acts 8:12; Gal. 3:27.
137 Gen 14:20: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And
he gave him tithes of all. Gen 28:22: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house:
and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee. Deut 14:22: Thou shalt truly tithe
all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. Malachi 3:8-10.
138 1 Cor 16:2: Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath
prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. Matt. 23:23; 1 Cor. 9:9-14; Hebrews7:9-17; 2
139 2 Tim 2:15: Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth. 1 Tim 4:13-15: Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation,
to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of
the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting
may appear to all. Titus 1:9; 2:7-8; 2 Tim. 1:7; 2:2; 1 Tim. 3:2-7.
140 Ps 50:16: But unto the wicked God saith,What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou
shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? 2 Tim. 1:8-11, 14; 2:22; 3:5; Titus 1:5-9; 1Cor. 2:12-16.
141 Acts 20:28: Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost
hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.Heb.
5:4; 1 Cor. 9:16; Acts 13:2.
142 1 Tim 4:14: Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of
the hands of the presbytery. 2 Tim. 1:6; Acts 13:3.
143 Mark 16:15: And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 2
Tim. 4:2;2 Cor. 4:5; Ezek. 33:7
144 Matt 28:19: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Luke 22:19, 21: And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave
unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me… But, behold,
the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. Acts 20:11; 27:35; 1 Cor. 11:23-28;10:16.
145 Heb 13:17: Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your
souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is
unprofitable for you. 1 Pet 5:2: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof,
not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind. Acts 20:28; Jer. 3:15.
146 Matt 28:19: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Col 2:12: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him
through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. Acts 8:36-39; Matt. 3:16;
Mark 1:5; John 3:23;Acts 16:32-34; 2:41.
147 Rom 6:4: Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up
from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.Col. 3:3; 2:12;
Titus 3:5; Gal. 3:27; 1 Cor. 15:29.
148 1 Cor 11:23-26: For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord
Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and
said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same
manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this
do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye
do show the Lord’s death till he come. Matt. 26:26-28.
149 1 Cor 10:16: The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The
bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 1 Cor. 10:21;11:27-29.
150 1 Cor 10:17: For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
Matt 26:27And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it. Rom.
14:1, 10; 1 Cor. 12:12-17; Acts 2:42; 20:7.
151 Cf. John 13:4-8; 1 Tim. 5:1-10.
152 Rom 5:12: Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed
upon all men, for that all have sinned. Heb 9:27: And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this
the judgment. 1 Cor. 15:22; Psa. 89:48; Eccl.8:8.
153 Eccl 12:7: Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave
it.Phil 1:23: For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far
better. Luke 23:43; Matt. 17:3; 22:32;Acts 7:59; Matt. 10:28; 2 Cor. 5:8; Luke 16:22-26; Rev. 6:9.
154 Acts 1:11: Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus,
which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Matt. 25:31; 1 Cor. 15:24-28; 1 Thess. 4:15-17; 2 Thess.1:7-10; 2 Peter 3:3-13; Matt. 24:42-44.
155 John 5:28-29: Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall
hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that
have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. Acts 24:15; 1 Cor. 15:22-23; 2 Tim. 2:18; Phil. 3:21; 1
Cor. 15:35-44;Dan. 12:2.
156 Acts 17:31: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by
that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him
from the dead. 1 Cor. 15:24; Rev. 10:6; 22:11;2 Peter 3:11-12; Eccl. 9:10
157 2 Cor 5:10: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the
things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.Eccl 12:14: For God
shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Matt. 12:36; Rev. 20:12;Rom. 2:16.
158 Matt 25:46: And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. II
Th 1:8-10:In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of
our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord,
and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all
them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. Rom. 6:23; 2 Peter 1:11;
Mark 3:29; 9:43-44; Jude 7; Rev. 14:11;21:7-8, 27; Matt. 13:41-43; Rom. 2:6-10.
159 2 Pet 1:4-10: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might
be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And
beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge
temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness;
and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall
neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things
is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the
rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall
160 2 Tim. 3:16
161 2 Peter 1:21; 1 Cor. 2:13; 2 Sam. 23:2;Jer. 1:9.
162 John 10:35; Matt. 5:17-18.
163 John 17:17; Psa. 119:151, 150.
164 Acts 2:5, 8, 11.
165 1 Cor. 14:1-40; Heb. 2:4.
166 1 Cor. 12:10, 30.
167 1 Cor. 14:18, 19, 23, 33.
168 1 Cor. 12:13.
169 Eph. 5:18b-20.
PART III -ARTICLES OF FAITH
1. The Bible. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God,
and are our infallible rule of faith and practice.
2. God. There is one living and true God, revealed in nature as the Creator, Preserver, and
Righteous Governor of the universe; and in the Scriptures as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; yet
as one God, infinitely wise and good, whom all intelligent creatures are supremely to love,
adore, and obey.
3. Christ. Christ is God manifest in the flesh; in His divine nature truly God, in His human
nature truly man. The mediator between God and man, once crucified, He is now risen and
glorified, and is our ever present Savior and Lord.
4. The Holy Spirit. The Scriptures assign to the Holy Spirit all the attributes of God.
5. The Government of God. God exercises a wise and benevolent providence over all being
and all things by maintaining the constitution and laws of nature. He also performs special
acts, not otherwise provided for, as the highest welfare of men requires.
6. The Sinfulness of Man. Man was created innocent, but by disobedience fell into a state of
sin and condemnation. His posterity, therefore, inherit a fallen nature of such tendencies that
all who come to years of accountability, sin and become guilty before God.
7. The Works of Christ. The Son of God by His incarnation, life, sufferings, death, and
resurrection effected for all a redemption from sin that is full and free, and is the ground of
salvation by faith.
8. The Terms of Salvation. The conditions of salvation are: 1. Repentance or sincere sorrow for
sin and hearty renunciation of it. 2. Faith or the unreserved committal of one’s self to Christ as
Savior and Lord with purpose to love and obey Him in all things. In the exercise of saving
faith, the soul is renewed by the Holy Spirit, freed from the dominion of sin, and becomes a
child of God. 3. Continuance of faith and obedience unto death.
9. Election. God determined from the beginning to save all who should comply with the
conditions of salvation. Hence by faith in Christ men become His elect.
10. Freedom of the Will. The human will is free and self-controlled, having power to yield to
the influence of the truth and the Spirit, or to resist them and perish.
11. Salvation Free. God desires the salvation of all, the Gospel invites all, the Holy Spirit
strives with all, and whosoever will may come and take of the water of life freely.
12. Perseverance. All believers in Christ, who through grace persevere in holiness to the end
of life, have promise of eternal salvation.
13. Gospel Ordinances. BAPTISM, or the immersion of believers in water, and the LORD’S
SUPPER, are the ordinances to be perpetuated under the Gospel. FEET WASHING, an
ordinance teaching humility, is of universal obligation, and is to be ministered to all true
14. Tithing. God commanded tithes and offerings in the Old Testament; Jesus Christ endorsed
it in the Gospel (Matt. 23:23),and the apostle Paul said, “Upon the first day of the week let
everyone of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him” (1 Cor.16:2a).
15. The Christian Sabbath. The divine law requires that one day in seven be set apart from
secular employments and amusements, for rest, worship, holy works, and activities, and for
personal communion with God.
16. Resurrection, Judgment, and Final Retribution. The Scriptures teach the resurrection of all
men at the last day. Those who have done good will come forth to the resurrection of life, and
those who have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation; then the wicked will “go away
into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
PART IV -THE PRACTICES OF FREE WILL BAPTISTS
The following is a description of the organizational practices generally followed in the Free
Will Baptist denomination. It is recognized that there is considerably greater variety in actual
practice than can be expressed in this section. It is not intended that the following description
should require that every organization conform in every detail, so long as there is not variance
from the basic principles which underlie these practices. Each organization, including the local
churches and the various associations, will define its own practices by usage and/or by a
formal constitution and by-laws.
The Local Church
SECTION I: Its Authority and Independence
A. The local congregation of believers is the only visible form of the “church” founded
by the direct authority of Scripture. Free Will Baptists, therefore, recognize the local
church as the sole source of authority possessed and exercised within the visible church.
B. The local church is an independent and self-governing body, with full authority to
transact its business, choose its pastor and officers, receive, discipline, and dismiss
members, hold free title to all its properties, and conduct all its internal affairs.
SECTION II: Its Relationships
The local Free Will Baptist church bears two important relationships to other churches:
A. Christians within the local church are members of the universal and invisible church,
known as the body of Christ.
B. Local churches voluntarily form associations which organize and cooperate as the
Free Will Baptist denomination. (See Chapter III: Associations of Churches.)
SECTION III: Its Organization
A. The authority to organize a local church lies within the group of Christians who
covenant together, as they believe themselves directed by the Spirit of God, to form a
B. Whenever such a group of Christians wishes to be organized as a regular Free Will
Baptist church in fellowship with the denomination, these steps are followed:
1. The Quarterly Meeting or District Association is requested to send a committee to
examine the group as to character, doctrine, and fellowship.
2. If the examination proves satisfactory, the formal organization proceeds as follows:
a. The Bible is presented as the only rule of faith and practice.
b. The Free Will Baptist Church Covenant is adopted.
c. A prayer of consecration is offered.
d. The hand of fellowship is given by the associational committee or its chairman.
C. Occasion often arises when a local church already organized, desires to unite with the
denomination. A committee is requested from the Quarterly Meeting or Association for
the purpose of examining the church as to its doctrine, character, reputation, fellowship,
stability, and organization. The committee, if the examination is satisfactory, makes
recommendation to the body which sent it; and the body votes whether to receive the
church into fellowship.
Great care should be exercised by associations in examining and receiving into fellowship
local churches already organized, especially when those churches have been in fellowship
with other associations of churches in either the Free Will Baptist denomination or other
D. Many local churches find it helpful to adopt a constitution and by-laws; such a
document serves as a guide to government and procedure within the congregation. Some
Free Will Baptist churches also find it helpful to be legally incorporated.
SECTION IV: Its Officers
One of the primary duties of an organized local church is the election of officers from
within its membership. All officers, including the pastor, are elected by majority vote of
the congregation. Some of the most usual and important officers are listed below,
although there are many others used in various churches.
A. The Pastor, who preaches the Word of God, ministers to the needs of the members,
and exercises general leadership within the congregation. It is expected that he will unite
with the local church if he is not a member when called. The church should not call a
man who is not at least licensed to preach within the denomination. (See further Chapter
II: The Minister.)
B. Deacons are ordained—usually by the local church—to minister to the congregation
and exercise general spiritual leadership. They assist the pastor in administering the
ordinances, and may have to conduct worship services in the pastor’s absence. Regular
practice insists that deacons be men who meet the qualifications outlined in 1 Timothy
C. A clerk (secretary) and treasurer, offices which may be combined if desired. Duties
include the keeping of careful records of all business and financial affairs of the local
D. Trustees, officers elected by many churches to receive and hold title to property
owned by the local church, but which may be disposed of only by decision of the church.
SECTION V: Its Meetings
Meetings of the entire congregation of a local church are of two main types:
A. Worship services, which are times set aside by the local church according to the
schedule it finds most satisfactory. Included, wherever possible, are services in the
morning and evening on the first day of the week, and a mid-week service for prayer and
Bible study. Although discouraged as a regular thing, any item of business may be
carried on by the congregation at any regularly scheduled worship service.
B. Business meetings (conferences), which are held at regular times scheduled by the
1. Meetings should be frequent enough to insure that the congregation’s authority over
its business affairs is not usurped by any person or board. Usually such meetings are
held at least once each quarter.
2. All members are obligated to be present, and have a right—regardless of age—to
speak and vote, unless otherwise decided by the local church.
3. All matters not specifically delegated to some officer or board by the congregation
must be handled by the congregation.
4. The decisive authority of the local church lies in the majority vote of those present and
voting at any session where business is legally conducted.
5. Special business meetings may be called for times other than regularly scheduled
business or worship sessions, but only in the manner agreed upon by the majority of the
6. The pastor generally acts as moderator for business meetings.
SECTION VI: Its Ordinances
The Gospel ordinances to be practiced in local Free Will Baptist churches are described
in Chapter XVIII of the “Faith” section of the Treatise.
A. Baptism is administered by an ordained minister to the individual as soon as possible
after his conversion.
B. Provision should be made for regular observance of the Lord’s Supper and washing of
the saints’ feet by the congregation. Ministers and deacons administer these.
SECTION VII: Its Membership
A. An individual may be received into the fellowship of a local church by decision of the
congregation according to its regularly prescribed method. This generally applies to
either of two situations:
1. Upon profession of faith in Christ, reception into full fellowship not being final until
the convert is baptized by immersion.
2. Upon receipt of a letter of good standing from any church recognized as Christian,
with the qualification that the applicant must have been baptized by immersion and
B. In no case should an individual be received into membership if there remains any
doubt as to the genuineness of his conversion and Christian character. Persons expelled
from any sister churches, for example, should not be received into full membership
without giving satisfaction to the church from which they have been expelled.
C. Reception into full fellowship should be made final, if possible, by the extending of the
hand of fellowship, at least from the pastor and preferably from the congregation.
D. Letters of commendation are granted, concerning members in good standing, to
churches making such requests about members desiring to move their membership. The
local church should not grant such a letter if there is doubt concerning the profession
and character of the member.
SECTION VIII: Its Disciplinary Authority
The local church occasionally finds itself responsible to exercise its solemn right to
discipline members. In such cases, the regular procedures of the local church are
followed in keeping with the teachings of the Scripture.
A. Cases involving personal offense are to be handled according to Matthew 18:15-17.
B. In some cases, the church may have to effect a “break” in fellowship with a disorderly
brother who is yet not an “enemy” (2 Thess. 3:6-15).
C. In other cases, the member is expected to submit to the discipline of the church. If the
member does not choose to submit, the only course of action open to the church is to
withdraw fellowship from the member.
D. In all cases, the member is expected to submit to the discipline of the church, If the
member does not choose to submit, the only course of action open to the church is to
withdraw fellowship from the member.
E. Withdrawal of fellowship from a member can take place only by majority vote of the
congregation (see Section V) and should take place only after every effort is exercised in
a humble Christian spirit to restore the member and give him adequate opportunity to
F. When a member, without providential reason, absents himself from the meetings of
the church or refuses to support it for one year, it is considered a violation of the
covenant and sufficient reason for dismissal.
G. A member (or minority group of members) dissatisfied with the action of the majority
against him, may appeal to the association for a hearing among the sister churches. The
nature of the association’s powers in such a case is described in Chapter III: Associations
H. The actual “trial” of a member, when necessary, should be carried on in the sole
presence of the membership and involved parties.
1. A written notice of the exact charges should be furnished to the accused at least a week
2. The pastor, unless personally involved as a witness, should be impartial moderator of
the meeting. He should read the charges, without comment.
3. The pastor should call for volunteer witnesses who wish to sustain the charges by
testimony, allowing the accused, in an orderly way, to question the witnesses.
4. The pastor should allow the accused to speak in his own behalf and ask for witnesses
who wish to sustain his position.
5. When both sides are presented, the pastor asks whether there is a motion concerning
some type of discipline for the accused. If there is, and it is seconded, the motion is
discussed and voted upon.
I. The local church should always stand ready to forgive a genuinely repentant member
and restore him to full fellowship in the congregation (2 Cor. 2:6, 7).
SECTION I: His Ordination
A. The authority to ordain ministers has its source in the local church.
B. Free Will Baptist churches, in most areas, have traditionally delegated this authority
to the associations in which they voluntarily unite themselves. This is done because the
local churches desire the assistance of their sister churches and ministers.
C. Ordination procedure varies greatly from one district association to another,
depending on the traditions of the various areas. In most cases, something like the
following takes place:
1. The candidate must usually be licensed for a period prior to ordination, often at least a
year. In some areas, license is issued by the local church directly; in others, it is issued by
the association upon the request of the local church.
2. Before ordination, the candidate is examined by a committee of ministers appointed by
the association for that purpose.
3. This committee usually makes recommendation directly to the association, which body
votes whether to ordain. Usually, a request for ordination must also be received from the
local church of which the candidate is a member. (In some areas, the association’s
“ordination council” makes recommendation back to the local church, which then
proceeds to ordain.)
4. The ministers of the association usually administer the actual ordination ceremony
when the association has voted approval.
5. The actual ceremony generally includes the “presentation” of the Bible and a formal
“charge.” In many places, a sermon by a brother minister is preached. The service
usually concludes with the “laying on of hands” and a prayer of consecration.
D. Ordination requirements also vary greatly within the Free Will Baptist denomination.
1. Examinations generally include sufficient materials to determine a reasonable
acquaintance with the Bible, Christian doctrine, and Free Will Baptist teachings.
2. Some associations require some type of ministerial educational preparation, or at least
manifestation of a desire for self-improvement and study.
3. All areas recognize the necessity of a definite conviction on the part of the candidate
that he is divinely “called” to the ministry.
4. Some areas have certain specific requirements about special items of conduct, such as,
for example, whether a minister can use tobacco. All areas require consistent Christian
conduct and character.
5. Many associations require that the candidate already be involved in some specific
ministry, usually either as a pastor or evangelist.
E. A minister transferring from one association to another within the denomination
generally undergoes the following:
1. He is examined by the local association’s ordaining committee, though usually not so
closely as the new ordination candidate.
2. He is required to present a letter of good standing from the association of which he
was last a member. (Associations should exercise great care in granting such letters of
standing; an unqualified letter should not be granted if there are any questions about the
minister’s reliability.) In general, no association should receive a minister into full
ministerial standing who cannot secure a letter of good standing because he has been
disfellowshipped or had his credentials revoked or who is in the process of being
disciplined by another association. In no case should his credentials be ratified without
consultation with the association which disciplined him.
3. His ordination credentials may then be “ratified” by the association upon
recommendation of the ordaining council.
F. A minister from another denomination wishing to unite with the Free Will Baptist
denomination must first unite with a local Free Will Baptist church and will then be
subject to procedure similar to that outlined above in E. He can expect to be examined
SECTION II: His Discipline
A. As in the case of ordination, the authority to discipline a minister has its source in the
authority of the local church. Again, however, this is delegated to the association along
with the authority to ordain.
B. In most cases, any accusation against a minister that is offered concerning his
conduct, character, profession, or doctrine (and which should be considered against his
good standing), should be brought to the association by the local church. The only
exception that should be made arises when an offense involves a fellow minister (as
object or witness) in a situation unknown to the local church. In this case, charges should
be preferred by three ministers jointly, with the local church fully apprised of the fact.
C. As with all other matters of church discipline, the minister accused should first be
dealt with privately according to the principles outlined in Matthew 18:15-17.
D. If a formal “trial” becomes necessary, it should proceed in the same way as that
described for members of a local church in Chapter I, Section VIII, except that here the
moderator of the association presides (rather than the local pastor) and the delegates to
the association hear the trial (rather than local members). All steps in part H of the
Section just referred to should be followed.
E. The association’s disciplinary action against the minister can deal solely with his
ordination and fellowship in the association as a minister.
1. If an intermediate and temporary act of discipline is needed, the minister may be
retained on the roll of ministers but listed as not in full fellowship and denied the right to
vote as a standing delegate.
2. The final act of discipline, if labors are not fruitful in bringing satisfactory resolution
of the problem, consists in the revoking of the minister’s ordination and withdrawal of
fellowship from him as a minister in good standing in the association.
3. The association’s discipline cannot deal with the minister’s relationship to the local
church, either as pastor or member. It can make recommendations concerning this to the
local church, and the church’s fellowship in the association might be endangered if those
recommendations were not followed, but no force can be applied.
F. The minister is expected to submit to the decision of the association and relinquish his
“credentials” of ordination if they are called for. Civil action is not recommended,
however, if he should refuse.
G. The minister who feels he has not been justly treated may, in union with at least one
other sustaining minister, appeal to the next broader organization of which his district
association is a member (such as the state association) for a hearing among the sister
associations. The nature of the broader organization’s powers in such a case is described
in Chapter III: Associations of Churches.
SECTION III: His Relationships
The minister has unique relationships to many persons. As a divinely-called preacher, he
is subject foremost to the Lord and His Word. This relationship qualifies all the others.
A. To his church. Most Free Will Baptist churches recognize their responsibility to
support their pastors with such financial means as are available to them.
B. To the association. When the minister becomes pastor of a given local church, it is his
responsibility to obtain good standing in the association of which that church is a
member if he is not already in good standing therein.
C. To fellow-ministers. Many associations maintain “ministers’ conferences,” organized
for the fellowship and cooperation of the ministers in the area of that association. These
conferences should remain subservient to and responsible to the association.
Associations of Churches
SECTION I: Their Nature
Free Will Baptist churches, while independent, do not practice isolation. They form
associations with one another in several levels of organization described in this chapter.
It is to be remembered, however, that these associations are voluntary, both at the
beginning and in their continuation. The local church remains at liberty to withdraw
from the association it has voluntarily joined.
SECTION II: Their Organizational Structure
There is considerable variety within the denomination as to the exact number and nature
of associational organizations.
A. The plan which seems to work best calls for four levels of organization, which can be
Level 1 — The Local Church
Level 2 — The District Association
Level 3 — The State Association
Level 4 — The National Association
1. According to this plan, the local churches in a given district form the district
association; several (two or more) district associations in a given state form a state
association; and the several state associations form the national association. Each of the
levels is said to be the broader or larger (not “higher”) than the former.
2. In this plan, the district association usually bears a proper name that includes the
word Association, although Conference is often used.
3. The district association, in this plan, is the body which deals directly with the local
church and would be the first level of appeal from the local church. It is also the body to
which the local church delegates its authority to ordain and discipline ministers (see
Chapter II: The Minister).
4. In this plan, the district association may meet quarterly. Some district associations
cover such larger geographical areas, however, that it is found preferable to subdivide
voluntarily into smaller groups for three quarterly meetings between the annual
meetings of the entire association each fourth quarter. In this case, these smaller
quarterly meetings are mostly devoted to fellowship and inspiration. While the local
churches are expected to report to these smaller quarterly meetings, their main annual
reports are presented directly to the annual meeting of the association.
B. Another plan of structure followed in some areas calls for five levels of organization,
which can be diagrammed thus:
Level 1 — The Local Church
Level 2 — The Quarterly Meeting
Level 3 — The Yearly Meeting
Level 4 — The State Association
Level 5 — The National Association
This plan works much like the four-level plan outlined above, except for the fact that the
quarterly meeting is given considerably greater status in the associational structure and
stands between the local church and the yearly meeting (equivalent to the district
association). Here, the churches form and report only to the quarterly meeting.
Quarterly meetings form and make all reports to the yearly meeting. In other particulars
the two plans are identical.
C. The organizational structure in many areas reflects a mixture of elements from both
these plans, thus adding to the variety. In all plans, state and national associations meet
annually, and most include representation from the local churches as well as from the
smaller associations composing them.
SECTION III: Their Purposes
These associations of churches at the various levels are all organized for cooperation
among the churches. These denominational meetings serve for mutual edification and
inspiration. They also provide opportunity for the churches to accomplish cooperatively
what they might not be able to do individually.
SECTION IV: Their Relationships
A. The district association (or quarterly meeting) and the local churches.
1. The association has no authority to interfere in the internal affairs of the local church
(see Chapter I, Section I-B).
2. Once organized, the association of churches is constituted a body distinct from the
local churches that compose it, and:
a. can speak only for itself, not for the churches;
b. can commit only itself to a course of action, not the churches;
c. is composed—at any session—of the “delegates” sent from the churches and who can
act and vote only as a part of the association itself without the ability to legally commit
the churches they represent;
d. can deal only with the local churches as members of the association, and not with the
individual members of the local churches.
3. The association’s only “power” over the local church is limited to dealing with the
church’s rights as a member of the association:
a. The association may set whatever requirements it wishes as conditions for the church’s
“Good standing” in the association although it has no power to force the church to meet
b. The association may, for example, refuse to seat delegates from a local church if there
is a breach of fellowship being dealt with.
c. Ultimately, the most extreme power of the association is to withdraw fellowship from
the local church as a member of the association.
4. An aggrieved minority within a local church may appeal to the association for a
hearing among the sister churches, and reasonable appeals ought to be heard according
to the association’s regular procedures.
a. The association may desire, or be requested by the aggrieved minority of the church,
to send a committee to meet with the church and investigate the difficulties. In such case,
the church is more proper to receive and meet with such a committee, although it is
understood it cannot be forced to do so.
b. If the association agrees with the aggrieved minority, it may exercise all suitable labors
to persuade the majority to reconsider. But if persuasion fails, and the matter is serious
enough, the association’s only recourse is to withdraw fellowship.
5. When a church violates its covenant, or becomes corrupt in doctrine or practice, or
discontinues reporting to the association, the association will have to deal with the
church in a similar manner. But, again, if advisory and persuasive labors fail, the only
recourse for the association is to withdraw fellowship from the church.
If a “trial” of a church becomes necessary, procedures should be followed as
nearly identical as possible with those outlined in Chapter I, Section VIII-H.
B. The broader associations, at each successive level, bear exactly the same relationships
to the bodies composing them as that defined above between the district association (or
quarterly meeting) and the local church.
SECTION V: Their Organization
A. A group of local churches may voluntarily form an association of churches (quarterly
meeting or district association, depending on the structure followed in the area, as
outlined in Section II) when they feel it helpful to their common cause.
1. If they wish to be in fellowship with the denomination at the time of their organization,
they should request the broader association in which they will desire membership (yearly
meeting, if a quarterly meeting is being organized; state association, if a district
association is being organized) to appoint a committee to assist them in setting the
organization in order. This committee can assist in such things as the drafting of a
proposed constitution and by-laws for the association before the organizational meeting
2. The organizational meeting should be set for a date acceptable to all the churches and
the assistance committee, and should include at least these items of procedure:
a. Each church desiring fellowship in the association to be formed should have elected
delegates to accompany the minister to the organizational meeting.
b. Each church should have written a letter stating its purpose to unite in forming the
association and naming the delegates that will represent it.
c. The meeting should begin with the chairman of the assistance committee presiding and
reading the letters sent by the churches, followed by the recognition and listing of the
d. The assistance committee should examine the delegates as to the character and
doctrine of their respective churches, and should examine the constitution and by-laws
which are to be presented for adoption by the delegates. Any churches who have
previously belonged to other associations should have letters of commendation from
e. If the examination is satisfactory, the Bible is presented as the only perfect rule of faith
f. The proposed constitution and by-laws are adopted.
g. The Treatise of the Faith and Practices of Free Will Baptists is adopted.
h. The assistance committee extends the right hand of fellowship to the delegates and
leads in a prayer of consecration.
i. Officers for the new association are elected (as provided in the constitution and bylaws)
beginning with the moderator, who will preside over the remainder of the meeting.
j. Delegates for the newly formed association are elected to attend the next meeting of
and ask for membership in the broader association (from which the assistance committee
[Note: Other advice concerning the formation of a new organization is given in Robert’s
Rule of Order (Revised).]
3. A group of churches organized into an association without assistance from some larger
association in fellowship with the denomination may request membership in such a
broader association at any time. The following steps should be included in this
a. Delegates are elected to attend the association (yearly meeting or state association, as
the case may be) and petition for membership.
b. A letter requesting membership is sent by the delegates, including a statement that the
Treatise of the Faith and Practices of Free Will Baptists has been adopted.
c. The delegates are examined by the broader association, as are the constitution and bylaws
of the association requesting membership. (If information is not complete, the
examination may be continued over a specified period.)
d. When the examination is completed and satisfactory, the delegates are seated and the
e. Caution in receiving previously organized associations is urged. The examination
should be thorough. It should be clearly determined that the churches of the association
seeking membership have all been in good standing with any other associations to which
they have belonged, and that they have departed from those associations in peace.
4. Once an association of churches has been organized, new churches may be received
into fellowship at will, according to the provisions of the constitution and by-laws of the
association, and in keeping with the practice described in Chapter I, Section III-C.
B. A group of associations desiring to form a broader association (yearly meeting or state
association, as the case may be), will follow procedure identical to that described above
for churches forming an association.
C. The constitution and by-laws of the various associations at any level give detailed
provisions for membership, officers, activities, meetings, and the like. These vary greatly
from place to place, but should not be repugnant to the basic principles underlying the
general practices outlined in these “Practices.” The Constitution and By-Laws of the
National Association of Free Will Baptists, Inc. are given in this booklet (Part V) and
may serve as a model for any of the smaller associations.
D. When a church or association wishes to transfer membership to another association, it
should obtain a letter of good standing.
E. A church or association which has been expelled by another association should not be
received by another association without first giving satisfaction to the association from
which it was expelled.
SECTION VI: Their Business
A. Associations of churches within the denomination have varied ways of conducting
business, as provided in their respective constitutions and by-laws. In general the
following items are basic:
1. Letters are sent from each local church to each meeting of the association in which it
retains membership. The letter reports, as requested by the association, information
concerning the state and progress of the church. The letter also names the lay delegates
who will officially represent the church.
2. In all associations (and at any level within the denomination), ministers in good
standing within the association are standing delegates.
3. The business of the association is decided by majority vote of the standing and lay
delegates present and voting at any given session, as provided in the constitution and bylaws
of the association.
B. The broader associations (yearly meetings, district associations, state associations, and national
association) follow the same principles of business as in the associations composed directly of local
churches, except that reports and lay delegates come from the associations composing them rather than
directly from the churches (as noted in Section II-C, provision is also made in most of the broader
associations for direct lay representation from the local churches).