Members of the South Main Baptist Church of Pasadena, Texas, are not coerced to agree on every point of biblical interpretation and understanding of Christian faith. We do generally agree on the doctrinal statements of common faith and practice that are held by most Baptists and are contained in the twenty two articles of the Baptist Faith and Message statement adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1963 and affirmed by the Baptist General Convention of Texas (1980, 1999). These twenty two articles contain statements regarding Scripture, God, Jesus, Salvation, Grace, the Church, and other subjects. The entire statement can be read or downloaded free from the BGCT.
South Main Baptist Church is heir to the 400 year heritage of Baptists. We are committed to the four freedoms that Baptists have historically emphasized to be gifts from God and freedoms to be defended.
This is the historic Baptist affirmation that the Bible is the unique record of the revelation of God and the only authority for what we believe and how we behave. The written Word (Scripture) giving witness to the Living Word (Jesus our Savior) must be central in the life of the individual and church. Christians are both free and obligated to study, interpret, and obey the Scriptures for themselves and in community with others.
This is the historic affirmation that local churches are free, under the Lordship of Christ, to determine their membership and leadership, to order their worship and work, to ordain persons whom they perceive as gifted for ministry, and to participate in the larger Body of Christ, of whose unity and mission Baptists are proudly a part. We have called it church autonomy, the freedom of an individual church from any larger denominational group.
This is the historic affirmation that every individual has the right and responsibility to relate directly to God without the interference of any human creed or human minister or human government. We enjoy this right through what is called "soul competency" or the equal access we have to God through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The reality of this equal access is known as "the priesthood of all believers" before God.
This is the historic affirmation that Christians should be free to exercise their faith in personal conscience without the coercion or the prohibition of any civil government. We believe that faith is a voluntarily made commitment of life. This freedom OF religion, freedom FOR religion, and freedom FROM religion is implemented through the practice of the separation of church and state.
You are most welcomed to attend South Main regularly without becoming a member. At the same time, we want you to know that we would love to tell you what we think is valuable about becoming a member of this church.
The Prerequisites of Church Membership
Southmainers are different in so many ways, but we all have two things in common. Each of us has professed a commitment to declare that Jesus is Lord, and each of us has given evidence of that most important decision by being baptized in water. This spiritual or inside decision is admitting your sinfulness to God, believing that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and confessing the risen Jesus as the Lord (Boss) of your life. It is the experiencing of God's forgiveness of your sins and letting God lead you to live out His purpose for your life. The symbolic or outside demonstration is for the purpose of announcing your inside decision to others through doing what Jesus commanded His followers to do, to be baptized in water.
Privileges of Church Membership
If God should lead you to join South Main, we will make two promises to you.
We Will Promise to Love You
We will attempt to show our love for you by reaching out to you in Christian friendship and fellowship. We will challenge you to spend time with God in prayer and the study of His Word. We will support you in whatever way we need to support you in your journey through life. We will minister to any needs you may have whether they are material, emotional, or spiritual needs. We will challenge you to make progress or mature in your faith formation, in your personal relationship with Jesus.
We Will Promise to Let You Love Us
We will attempt to let you love us by providing opportunities for you to serve Christ in the way He has gifted you. We will prayerfully help you discover a place of ministry leadership. In this way you can invest your energies in the Kingdom of our God. We will encourage you to love others by sharing your financial resources, with that shared by others, to show Christian love both here and around the world.
The Pragmatics of Church Membership
We talk about joining a church through making a declaration of faith in Jesus and being baptized, through believer’s baptism, through a transfer of membership from another church, or through a statement of your faith and previous baptism. What do these things mean?
When you determine that God wants you to become a member of this church, to join South Main, you can do one of several things. You may respond to the public invitation at the conclusion of the worship service and speak with the Pastor. You can call the Pastor on the telephone or email him requesting a conversation about your spiritual journey. The Pastor will be quite happy to counsel you in the most appropriate way that you can become a member of South Main and to guide you along that process.