Reformed Southern Baptist

CFC Dahlonega is currently a member of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Georgia Baptist Mission Board through the Chattahoochee Baptist Association. CFC Oakwood, as a new and autonomous church, is likewise looking to be associated with those three entities.  And while we identify as Southern Baptists and align with the Southern Baptist Convention, we also are more distinctivley; Reformed Southern Baptists. 

  
​​ By “Reformed” we mean that we trace our theological roots back to the 16th Century Protestant Reformation. It was during this powerful movement of God, trough the use of men such as; Luther, Calvin, Knox, Zwingli, and other Reformers of the Church, that men and women turned from the traditions and commandments of men and began to look once again to the Holy Scriptures as their only certain and infallible rule of faith and practice. We also use the word "Reformed" to refer to certain theological distinctives that have marked Reformation believers, particularly those who embrace what have come to be referred to as "the Doctrines of Grace." These doctrines however, in no way exhaust the full content of the Reformed tradition or theology. As Reformed Baptists we hold to the reformation principal of “Semper Reformanda” which is Latin for “Always Reforming.” We believe the Church is called to continually reform all aspects of it’s worship, practice, and living, to better conform to the teachings of the Scriptures to the glory of God.
 
 
In the Reformed tradition we affirm the 5 “solas” of the Protestant Reformation and the Doctrines of Grace.

The 5 Solas are:
 
Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone

When the Reformers used the words sola Scriptura they were expressing their concern for the Bibles authority, and what they meant is that the Bible alone is our ultimate authority not the pope, not the church, not the traditions of the church or church councils, still less personal intimations or subjective feelings, but Scripture only. Other sources of authority may have an important role to play. Some are even established by God such as the authority of church elders, the authority of the state, or the authority of parents over children. But Scripture alone is truly ultimate. Therefore, if any of these other authorities depart from Bible teaching, they are to be judged by the Bible and rejected.

Solus Christus – Christ Alone

The church of the Middle Ages spoke about Christ. A church that failed to do that could hardly claim to be Christian. But the medieval church had added many human achievements to Christs work, so that it was no longer possible to say that salvation was entirely by Christ and his atonement. This was the most basic of all heresies, as the Reformers rightly perceived. It was the work of God plus our own righteousness. The Reformation motto solus Christus was formed to repudiate this error. It affirmed that salvation has been accomplished once for all by the mediatorial work of the historical Jesus Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification, and any gospel that fails to acknowledge that or denies it is a false gospel that will save no one.

Sola Gratia – Grace Alone

The words sola gratia mean that human beings have no claim upon God. That is, God owes us nothing except just punishment for our many and very willful sins. Therefore, if he does save sinners, which he does in the case of some but not all, it is only because it pleases him to do it. Indeed, apart from this grace and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit that flows from it, no one would be saved, since in our lost condition, human beings are not capable of winning, seeking out, or even cooperating with Gods grace. By insisting on grace alone the Reformers were denying that human methods, techniques, or strategies in themselves could ever bring anyone to faith. It is grace alone expressed through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ, releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from death to spiritual life.

Sola Fide – Faith Alone

The Reformers never tired of saying that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. When put into theological shorthand the doctrine was expressed as justification by faith alone, the article by which the church stands or falls, according to Martin Luther. The Reformers called justification by faith Christianity’s material principle, because it involves the very matter or substance of what a person must understand and believe to be saved. Justification is a declaration of God based on the work of Christ. It flows from Gods grace and it comes to the individual not by anything he or she might do but by faith alone (sola fide). We may state the full doctrine as: Justification is the act of God by which he declares sinners to be righteous because of Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone.

Soli Deo Gloria – Glory to God Alone

Each of the great solas is summed up in the fifth Reformation motto: soli Deo gloria, meaning to God alone be the glory. It is what the apostle Paul expressed in Romans 11:36 when he wrote, to Him be the glory forever! Amen. These words follow naturally from the preceding words, For from him and through him and to him are all thing (v. 36), since it is because all things really are from God, and to God, that we say, to God alone be the glory.

"These summary statements are adapted from the book, “Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace” by James Montgomery Boice."
 

What are the Doctrines of Grace?

The Doctrines of Grace are simplified in the acrostic TULIP. These historic five points of what is often nicknamed “Calvinism” include:

T - total depravity
U - unconditional election
L - limited atonement
I - irresistible grace
P - perseverance of the saints

Briefly,
Total depravity declares that all men are corrupted by the Fall to the extent that sin penetrates the whole person, leaving them in a state by which they are now by nature spiritually dead and at enmity with God. This results in the bondage of the will to sin by which the sinner is morally unable to incline himself to God, or to convert himself, or to exercise faith without first being spiritually reborn by the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit (Ps. 51:5, Rom. 5:12, Col. 2:13, John 3:5-7).
 
Unconditional election refers to God's sovereign and gracious work of election by which, from all eternity, God determines to exercise saving grace to a particular group of people chosen from out of the mass of fallen humanity. God gives this saving grace according to the good pleasure of His will, and not according to some foreseen actions, responses, or conditions met by men. God's election is based purely on His sovereign grace and not upon anything done by humans. The elect are brought to true repentance and saving faith by the work of the Holy Spirit. The elect receive special saving grace from God. The non-elect receive common grace, experience the common benefits of sun and rain, but in the end are passed over, remain in their sin, and receive the justice of God (Deut. 7:6,7; Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:4; 1 Peter 2:8,9; John 6:44; Matt. 5:45).
 
Limited atonement means that though the value and merit of Christ's atonement are unlimited and sufficient to save the whole world and are offered to all who repent and believe, the efficacy of the atonement is applied only to the elect, and that, by God's design. This means that in God's eternal plan of salvation the atonement was designed to accomplish redemption for the elect and that God's plan of redemption is not frustrated by the refusal of the impenitent to avail themselves of its benefits. In this sense all for whom the atonement was designed to save, will be saved (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18; Gal. 3:13; John 11).
 
Irresistible grace refers to the grace of regeneration by which God effectually calls His elect inwardly, converting them to Himself, and quickening them from spiritual death to spiritual life. Regeneration is the sovereign and immediate work of the Holy Spirit, working monergistically. This grace is operative, not cooperative, meaning that those who are regenerate always come to saving faith, as they are made willing to come to Christ to Whom they most certainly flee and cling for their redemption (Ez. 36:26-27; Rom. 8:30; John 3:3-8; Titus 3:5; Eph. 2:1-10).
 
Perseverance of the saints means that those who are truly regenerate and truly come to saving faith will never lose their salvation. They may fall into manifold temptations and spiritual weakness, even into radical sin but never fully and finally because God, by His grace, preserves them. The intercession of Christ for the elect is efficacious unto eternity (John 3:16; John 10:27-30; Rom. 8:35-39; 1 Jn. 5:13).
 
"These summary statements are adapted from Ligonier Ministries."