The Reformed Baptist Fellowship of Indiana is a network of ministers, laymen and congregations throughout Indiana committed to promoting a renewed interest in the historic theology and doctrines once commonly held by Baptists throughout Indiana as preserved and expressed in the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith.
"The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience..."
1689 LBC 1:1
In this sense the RBFI understands that any and all confessions of faith are always subordinate to the Holy Scriptures.
Properly understood, confessions of faith are never considered equal with nor above the Word of God.
The doctrinal framework, founded upon the Scriptures, that shall govern the preaching and teaching of this fellowship will be those as expressed in the 1689 Baptist Confession and the 1693 Baptist Catechism.
In this sense we are Reformed Baptists, owning and promoting those things "which are most surely believed among us".
C. H. Spurgeon once said concerning the 1689 Baptist Confession:
"This ancient document is the most excellent epitome of the things most surely believed among us. It is not issued as an authoritative rule or code of faith, whereby you may be fettered, but as a means of edification in righteousness. It is an excellent, though not inspired, expression of the teaching of those Holy Scriptures by which all confessions are to be measured. We hold to the humbling truths of God's sovereign grace in the salvation of lost sinners. Salvation is through Christ alone and by faith alone."
Our Position on the Nature of the Local Church:
According to the New Testament, the church is an assembly of baptized disciples, and thus demands that the priority and autonomy of the local church be emphasized over any fellowship, association and/or denomination.
The local church is the only earthly, visible organization that has Jesus Christ as it's Head, carrying His authority. Although we believe in the church universal, we do not believe in ecclesiastical authority beyond the local church. In Revelation 2 and 3, Jesus is seen as the Head of each of the seven churches. No church was more important to Him than another because it was bigger or richer or had fewer problems. They all had problems, and He dealt directly with each one as their direct Head.
This means that each local church has Christ as its Head and has all authority of His Word to govern its life without being dictated to by another church, fellowship of churches, or association of churches.
Our Position on the Fellowship and Communion of Local Churches:
While respecting the autonomy of each local church, we also acknowledge the plain pattern revealed to us in the New Testament of interdependency among the local churches for the purpose of helping one another when invited for advice in doubtful matters and times of controversies, to offer and supply practical help in cases of physical needs and/or relief, to combine our prayers for the advancement of Christ's kingdom, to combine our volunteered financial support in planting new churches as God so chooses to raise up missionaries from among our members and thus sent out under the authority of their respective local church.
At the core of our fellowship are those precious biblical truths most surely believed among us which have been preserved in the 1689 Baptist Confession. Therefore, we fully agree with all the doctrines contained in this document which has served as a standard for Baptists for over three hundred and twenty five years.
Such clear and well defined confessional unity also affords us the opportunity to preserve uniformity among our churches in both faith and practice within the confines of our common Confession of Faith while also allowing for acceptable differences in non-essentials which do not contradict our confession of faith.
Our Position on Worship:
Wherever in the church biblical authority has been lost, Christ has been displaced, the gospel has been distorted, or faith has been perverted, it has always been for one reason: our interests have displaced God's and we are doing his work in our own way.
The loss of God's centrality in the life of today's church is common and lamentable. It is this loss that allows us to transform worship into man-centered entertainment, gospel preaching into marketing, believing into technique, being good into feeling good about ourselves, and faithfulness into being successful. As a result, God, Christ and the Bible have come to mean too little to us and rest too inconsequentially upon us.
Particularly regarding His worship, God does not exist to satisfy human ambitions, cravings, the appetite for consumption, or our own private spiritual interests. We must focus on God in our worship, rather than the satisfaction of our personal needs and desires. This then causes us to employ mature and careful Christian prudence in our worship of God according to the general rules contained in Holy Scripture which excludes using external means to 'create' or 'foster' God's presence among us. Such inventions are a reproach to the work of the Holy Spirit and serve as evidence regarding our lack of faith in His sovereign ability, apart from our schemes and methods.
God is sovereign in worship; we are not. Our concern must be for God's kingdom, not our own empires, popularity or success. (adapted from the 1996 Cambridge Declaration).
Lord willing, we pray that several purposes will be accomplished through this Reformed Baptist fellowship:
First, that the glory of God would be honored as we endeavor to be faithful in expounding the Holy Scriptures at each of our meetings.
Secondly, that the Holy Spirit will work all things together in the hearts and minds of those who attend, so as to further the proclamation of the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ throughout our region.
Thirdly, we pray that our Triune God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit would bring all in attendance to hate sin more and more and love that which is righteous.
Finally, that this fellowship would foster genuine inter-church communion among Confessional Reformed Baptist churches. That all the participating churches would become better acquainted one with another and also pray for one another as they share in precious like faith. Furthermore, we pray that new Reformed Baptist churches would be planted as God so chooses to raise up men from within our assemblies to spread the Gospel throughout Indiana in addition to reforming existing churches in our area.