At the Bethlehem Baptist Church annual meeting on December 10, 2003, the congregation approved the recommendation of the Council of Elders to add the following underlined sentences to the Church By-Laws, Article II, Section 4 Council of Elders, paragraph b. Qualifications:
Elders and nominees for Elder shall be qualified for the office as specified in the Bible. Relevant texts include I Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9 and I Peter 5:1-4. Elders are also required to be in agreement with the Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith. The Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith shall only be amended by a recommendation of the Council of Elders to the church, following the same procedure to amend the By-Laws.
Because of this historic move, the Bethlehem Baptist Church elders are officially united under the teaching of the BBC Elder Affirmation of Faith and to be held accountable to maintain it through life and doctrine. As Section 15 of the Affirmation states, the aim of this document is to preserve the unity of the church through sound doctrine. In the words of the Affirmation,
“We believe that the cause of unity in the church is best served, not by finding the lowest common denominator of doctrine, around which all can gather, but by elevating the value of truth, stating the doctrinal parameters of church or school or mission or ministry, seeking the unity that comes from the truth, and then demonstrating to the world how Christians can love each other across boundaries rather than by removing boundaries” (15.2).
This document, then, and the Council of Elders’ adherence to it aims to preserve the unity of the church through a commitment to biblical truth.
Revisions to the TBI Affirmation of Faith (8-28-00) were approved by the elders on 11-11-03.
The following represents the revised edition and should act as a replacement of previous versions.