CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS TRINITY BIBLE CHURCH
Article I-Name and Purpose
Section 1. Name The name of the church is Trinity Bible Church serving the greater Fredericksburg, Virginia area.
Section 2. Purpose The purpose of this church is to preach and teach the gospel and doctrine of the Bible, the training of believers in the faith, the administration of the New Testament ordinances, and the evangelization of the world by participation in local and foreign missions.
Article II-Doctrinal Statement
Section 1. God We believe in One indivisible God, eternally existing in Three distinct Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, having precisely the same nature, attributes and perfections; equal in power and glory. Gen. 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Deut. 6:4; Mt 28:18-19; Jn. 1:1; 2 Cor. 13:14; Tit. 2:13.
Section 2. Scriptures We believe in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, which are the Word of God, verbally inspired and inerrant in the original manuscripts; and that they are the supreme and final authority in all faith and practice. Mt. 4:4; Lk. 24:44; Jn. 10:35; 17:17; 2 Cor. l0:5-6; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 1:25; 2 Pet. 1:3, 20-2l.
Section 3. Father We believe that the first Person of the Trinity has revealed Himself in Scripture as God the Father from whom proceed the Son and the Spirit. It is the Father who plans and decrees all of history. A fuller revelation of the Father will occur in the Eternal State as believers will at that time see His face. Jn. 1:18; 6:37,44,47; 8:18-19,28, 38,42; 10:30, 38; 14:16; 16:3; 17:5-26; Eph. 1:3-6; Rev. 21:3; 22:3-4.
Section 4. Christ We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, proceeds from the Father, the Eternal Son of God, was begotten by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, and is undiminished Deity and true humanity, united in One Person forever, yet without confusion. Ps. 2:7; Isa. 7:14; Mt. 1:23; Lk. 1:35; Jn. 1:1, 14, 18; 3:16; 8:42; 10:30, 38; 14:16; 15:26; Cor. 13:14; Gal. 4:4; Tit. 2:13.
Section 5. Holy Spirit We believe that Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity who, proceeds from the Father and the Son, and although omnipresent from all eternity, now permanently indwells every believer. At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit baptizes all believers into Christ, thus uniting all into one body. He never takes His departure from the feeblest of saints, but is ever present in each believer to testify of Christ, seeking to occupy them with Christ and not with themselves or experiences, resulting in the growth and maturity of believers. Mt. 28:18-19; Jn. 14:16; 15;26; 16:7-11; Acts 1:8; 5;3-4; Rom. 8:9, 14, 16; 1 Cor. 12:13; 2 Cor. 1:22-23; Eph. 1:13; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Jn. 2:20,27.
Section 6. Man We believe that God created man as His image and likeness to rule over the earth. But, in Adam's sin humanity fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God. Thus, man is totally depraved and a sinner in thought, word and deed, totally helpless to remedy his lost condition. Gen. 1:26; 3:6; 5:1; 6:5; Ps. 14:1-3; 51:5; Jer. 17:9; Mt. 7:11; 15:19; Rom. 3:10-19, 23; 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 11:7; 15:22; Eph. 2:1-3; Jas. 3:9; 1 Jn. 3:8.
Section 7. Christ's Work We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice, and that all who put their trust in Him are justified on the ground of His shed blood. We believe that eternal life is guaranteed to us by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead. Christ ascended to heaven and was victoriously seated at the Father's right hand, and currently makes intercession for all believers. Ps. 22; Isa. 53; Mt. 20:28; Mk. 16:6; Lk. 24:25, 35, 46; Jn. 3:16; 20:9, 17; Acts 1:9, 11; Rm. 1:4; 5:1, 17; 8:27; 1 Cor. 15:1-9, 20; 2 Cor. 5:21; Eph. 2:8-9; Heb. 1:3; 2:17-18; 4:14; 5: 7:25; 8:1; 9:26; 1 Pet. 3:18; 1 Jn. 2:1-2; 3:1-2.
Section 8. Salvation and Sanctification We believe sinners are saved by grace through faith alone, apart from any of our own works. Once saved, however, all believers should pursue and maintain good works. That all true believers once saved are kept secure in Christ. That we are to live a holy life, increasingly being conformed to the image of Christ. Jn. 1:12; 10:27-30; 14:16-17; Rm. 6:23; 8:1, 29-30, 38-39; 12:1-2; Eph. 2:8-10; 4:1,23-24; Col. 1:10,28; 3:10; Tit. 3:54; Heb. 7:25; 1 Pet. 1:23.
Section 9. The Church We believe the church is the universal bride and body of Christ, composed of all the redeemed everywhere during the current age, from the day of Pentecost until the return of Christ for His church. Scripture teaches that there are local assemblies of believers who gather for the purpose of edification, which includes: worship, Bible study, prayer, evangelism, fellowship and service. Mt. 16:18; Acts 2:46-47; 20:28; 1 Cor. 1:1-2; 12:12-13; Eph. 1:22; 3:10; 4:11-16; Col. 1:18; 1 Thess. 4:17; Tit. 1:5; Heb. 13:7, 17.
Section 10. Miraculous Gifts We believe that God still physically heals people and performs miraculous works today, and that it is appropriate and right for believers to pray for Him to do these acts. We believe that God, at His discretion, is not performing or bestowing certain kinds of miracles and temporary sign gifts at this time in history, including the gift of healing, prophecy, and tongues. We believe this is the teaching of His Word on this matter. Matt. 16:18-19; Mk. 16:17; Jn. 20:21 -23; Acts 2:1-13; 10:9-22, 33-48; 15:5-14; 19:1-7; 1 Cor. 13:8-13; 14:20-22; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; 12:12; Eph. 2:20; 4:10-12; Heb. 2:3-4; 13:8; Jam. 1:17.
Section 11. Ordinances We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ instituted the ordinances of Baptism (i.e., immersion) and the Lord's Supper, to remember our Lord's death, which shall be observed by believers until His return. Mt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26.
Section 12. Christ's Return We believe in the personal, imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ for His church. We teach that it is to be followed by the seven-year Tribulation on earth which will culminate in the return of Christ to earth with the church to set up His Millennial Kingdom. Dan. 7:13; 12:1-3; Zech. 14:4-11; Mt. 24:15-31; Rm. 13:11-14; 1 Thess. 4:1318; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 1:13-16; 1 Jn. 3:1-3; Rev. 20:l-6.
Section 13. Eternal State We believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust, the everlasting blessedness of the saved who will reside in the new heavens and new earth, and the everlasting punishment of the lost in the lake of fire. Dan. 12:2; Mt. 25:30,46; Lk. 16:19-25; 1 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 20:4, 11-15; 21:1-8.
Section 14. Biblical Marriage
1. We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning and it is: marriage sanctioned by God which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture, and intended by God. (Genesis 2:22-24; Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:22-33)
2. We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. (Matthew 15:19-20; 1 Corinthians 7:2,9; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6; Hebrews 13:4)
3. We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God. (Genesis 1:27; Leviticus 18:23; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
4. We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to this Statement on Marriage and Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly. (Ephesians 5:27; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 1:14-16)
5. We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. (Isaiah 55:7; Matthew 11:28-30; Romans 10:13; Ephesians 1:7)
6. We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with scripture nor the doctrines of the church. (1Corinthians 13; 1 John 4:7)
Section 1. Qualification Membership will be conferred upon anyone who confesses his/her faith in Jesus Christ for salvation from sin, agrees with the doctrinal statement of TBC, and is approved by the elders. Moreover, a prospective member will agree not to teach or advocate in a church setting (at TBC or any church sanctioned Bible Study) anything contrary to our Doctrinal Statement.
Section 2. Reception of Members Prospective members may present themselves for membership to an elder of the church and he will institute the following:
1. Individual is presented with a copy of the constitution and by-laws.
2. Upon reading these documents the prospective member contacts an elder to discuss any questions or issues, and makes a profession of faith in Christ.
3. If an individual has not been baptized since salvation, then this will be recommended before membership is granted.
Section 3. Termination of Membership
1. Transfer: Members in good standing shall be granted, on written request, a letter of transfer to an evangelical church of their choice.
2. Dismissal through discipline: Scripture commands the church to exercise discipline over its members with a view to restoration. Any member who recants his previously expressed commitment to the doctrine and purposes of this church or evidences a lack of purpose to live a holy life, shall be disciplined as follows:
a. The offending member should be admonished privately to return to the biblical standard concerning the matter under consideration (Rom 15:14; 1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Thess. 3:15).
b. With Matthew 18:15-19 as our pattern, if a member will not repent of the sin after a fellow believer, a group of fellow believers, and the elders have urged him to do so, the member will be denied membership of TBC until he repents. Therefore, the individual will be asked not to partake of communion (1 Cor. 11:27); the other church members will be asked to terminate social relationships with the unrepentant member (1 Cor. 5:9-11; 2 Thess. 3:6-7).
c. Any person, not a member, but who is a regular attender at TBC will be approached and dealt with in the manner prescribed above. Note: a "regular attender" is defined as anyone who attends the morning services at TBC at least half the time for a period of three months or more.
Article IV-Church Government
Section 1. The Church's Authority The church recognized Christ as the Head over all things including His church (Mt. 21:42; Eph. 1:22; 4:15; Col. 1:48; 2:19), the Scripture as the guide to all the church's functions (2 Tim. 3: 14-17), and the Holy Spirit as the Teacher/Convicter of each individual member (1 Jn. 2:20, 27).
Section 2. The Church's Leadership The church will be governed through the Board of Elders (Acts 20:17-38; 1 Tim. 5:17; Heb.13:7; 1 Pet. 5:1-6).
Article V-Church Officers
Section 1. Elders Elders will be selected by the board of elders, confirmed by the Congregation, and shall be considered an elder for life. Elder selection shall be Consistent with the qualifications provided in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. Elders will be named in sufficient numbers to adequately serve the needs of the congregation at the discretion of the elders. The board of elders is charged with general oversight of the church and will develop a rotation schedule.
The Pastor shall serve as a co-equal elder and will not rotate off of the board.
Section 2. Deacons The deacon body will be made up of the number of men considered necessary to perform ministries to the congregation. Deacon selection shall be consistent with the qualifications provided in 1 Timothy 3:8-12. The board of elders will seek out, interview, and appoint those needed to serve. All deacon appointees will be confirmed by the congregation. The deacon body will serve under the general direction of the elders and will develop a rotation schedule.
Section 3. Trustees Trustees will be any member appointed by the elders and approved by the congregation. Trustees will attend to all legal matters pertaining to property of the church. Trustees shall operate under supervision of the elders.
Section 4. Treasurer The treasurer will be any member appointed by the elders. The treasurer shall have custody of funds contributed to the church for any purpose and shall pay out the same as directed by the elders.
Section 5. Clerk The church clerk will be any member appointed by the elders. The clerk shall record the minutes of any congregational meeting and perform other duties as specified by the elders.
Section 6. Pastor The Pastor is the spiritual leader and primary teacher of the congregation. He shall be qualified to be an elder in accordance with
Article V, Section 1. He will be responsible to the congregation through the elders. The Elders reserve the right to dismiss the Pastor or another Elder upon giving him one month's written notice of its intention to dismiss. The decision will be made by a unanimous vote of the remaining Elders. The Pastor or Elder must give one month's notice if he intends to resign. The time limit of a resignation or dismissal is subject to a lesser time if both the Elders and the departing Pastor or Elder agree."
Article VI-Congregational Meetings Section 1. Annual Meeting and Special Meetings The annual meeting shall be held once a year as decided by the elders. Special congregational meetings shall be called by the elders or upon written request to the elders by fifteen per cent of voting members to deal with any matter they or the congregation may deem important. At least 40 per cent of the voting membership will make a quorum. A simple majority is needed to transact any issue or decision, except for the approval of elders, deacons, and the calling of a new pastor, which shall require 75 per cent approval. All congregational voting will be conducted through secret ballet and the right to vote is restricted to members of this church 18 years of age or older.
Article VII-Amendments This constitution may be amended by a two-thirds majority vote of the members present at a congregational meeting called for that purpose. Copies of the proposed amendment(s) must be distributed to all members at least two weeks prior to the congregational meeting at which the vote will be taken. Adopted March 1997, Revised December 2011, June 2014