When a person first visits Vestavia Church, they will notice a simple worship service that consists of congregational singing, prayer and preaching. Worship is family-integrated which means that families of all ages worship together. The singing portion of the worship service is acapella, meaning without the accompaniment of musical instruments. We strive to maintain the focus of worship on honoring Jesus Christ.
The Lord's Church is under the authority of her husband and head, Jesus Christ, and should be submissive to Him in all things (Ephesians 5:23-25). Therefore, the church should not desire to be like the world (Romans 12:2), but should be satisfied with the beauty and simplicity of the Lord's house.
The following is a brief description of what Vestavia Church believes regarding the doctrine of the Bible which includes the fundamental principles of salvation by grace, and the practice and order of the church.
The Purpose of the Church
The Church was established to give glory to God by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end (Ephesians 3:21). The church was also established by Christ to be a home (on earth) away from home (Heaven) for God's children. It is a refuge or sanctuary where one may receive spiritual comfort, rest and peace, and instruction in righteousness.
We believe the scriptures are inspired and preserved by God (2nd Timothy 3:16, 2nd Peter 1:20-21), without error or contradiction (Psalms 12:6-7, Proverbs 30:5-6). We also believe the King James 1611 translation of the scriptures to be a work of God's providence in preserving the scriptures for English speaking people. Everything people need to know about God, the after-life, the nature of man, relationships, attitudes, decisions, ethical values, problem solving, life, and death is addressed comprehensively in scripture (2nd Timothy 3:14-17).
The Purpose of the Gospel
The gospel is simply good news and glad tidings to the born-again child of God who feels to be poor and needy and unworthy of God's mercy and grace. It declares that Jesus paid the sin debt, saved His children from their sins and preserves them in Christ for all eternity. To those who know themselves to be sinners, the grace of God in Jesus Christ is their only hope. This gospel of grace is of utmost importance. It is the only message for sinners. To those whose eyes have been opened by the Holy Spirit to see the exceeding sinfulness of their sins, the message of sovereign grace is truly "a joyful sound." (Isaiah 40:1 & 9, Isaiah 52:7, Ephesians 4:11-12, 2nd Timothy 1:9-10, John 21:15-17, Acts 20:28, 1st Peter 5:1-3)
Basic Difference Between Us and Other Religious Groups or Denominations
The main doctrinal difference may be summarized by a look at the subject of cause and effect. What others may believe are the causes of eternal salvation (such as belief, faith, repentance, baptism, or any other acts by an individual), we believe are the effects of spiritual life and can only be performed sincerely by those already in possession of eternal life. In other words, eternal salvation is totally by the grace of God. We believe a person is born again first and then consequently has the ability to see by faith the Kingdom of God (John 3:3). Just like in natural life, in spiritual life, life precedes action. God creates spiritual life and then actions follow (love, faith, joy, etc.).
Why the name Primitive Baptist?
The name primitive simply means original and it was first used in the 1830s when a major division occurred within the Baptist family. Those that held to the original Baptist doctrines of particular redemption with salvation by the grace of God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ took the name "Old School" or "Primitive Baptists".
Doctrine of Salvation by God's Grace
1. The Fall of Man Resulting in Depravity: When Adam transgressed God's law, he and all the human race died as they fell under the law of sin and death. This act did not result in mere sickness or injury but in death and separation from God. Therefore, all mankind became incapable of recovering itself from this fallen condition by its own will or ability. (Genesis 2:17, Romans 5:12, Romans 3:9-18, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 58:3-5).
2. Unconditional Election and Predestination: This wonderful doctrine teaches that God, according to His own purpose and will, chose an innumerable people in Christ out of every kindred and tongue and people and nations, before the world began, and predestinated them unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ and to obtain an inheritance in heaven. (Ephesians 1:4-11, 1st Peter 1:1-5, Romans 8:29-30, Revelation 5:9)
3. Regeneration, New Birth, Being Born Again: These different terms define what happens when God imparts eternal life to one of his children. We believe this is done by the life giving voice of Jesus Christ and is always effectual and irresistible on the part of the individual. This is done separate and apart from the preaching of the gospel and without any aid of man. Once born again, a child of God is then able to receive and understand the message of the gospel. (John 3:6-8, John 5:25, John 6:37, Romans 8:30, Ephesians 2:1, 2nd Timothy 1:9)
4. Work of Redemption: The word "redeem" declares a price to be paid and prior ownership of that which is to be redeemed. The price of eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12) was the blood of Christ, and those He redeemed were His by covenant out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation (Revelation 5:9). All that Christ died for will live in heaven because the debt of sin was paid and the righteousness of Christ was imputed unto His family. (Hebrews 10:17-18, 2nd Corinthians 5:21, 1st Corinthians 1:30, Ephesians 1:7)
5. Preservation or Eternal Security: This comforting aspect of salvation by grace teaches that everyone Jesus Christ died for will be eternally saved without the loss of one. They shall never perish, be cast out, separated from the love of Christ, nor plucked from the hand of God. They are preserved in the blood of Christ and kept by His power. (John 6:37-39, John 10:27-30, Romans 8:28-39, 1st Peter 1:1-5, Hebrews 10:14, Jude 1)
The Practice of the Church
The worship service is patterned after the New Testament example. It consists of congregational singing, prayer, and preaching. Our singing is acapella because we believe in singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16)
The bible teaches that parents are to teach their children the scriptures (Ephesians 6:4). In the public assembly, the teaching and preaching is to be done by the gospel minister or under his supervision. The bible teaches that we are to give as God has prospered and as one purposes in his heart. This should be done cheerfully, not grudgingly. (1st Corinthians 16:2, 2nd Corinthians 9:7, Acts 20:35)
We believe that God's children should deny ungodliness and worldy lusts and live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. They should live unto Him that died for them and show forth praises of Him that called them out of darkness and into his marvelous light. (Titus 2:11-12, Romans 6:1-2, 2nd Corinthians 5:14-15, 1st Peter 2:9)
We believe that the Church has an identity that can be found in the New Testament and that God's children should worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23), believing and observing the doctrine and commandments of Jesus Christ. This will bring a peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and joy unspeakable and full of glory (1st Peter 1:8) to the child of God who walks in the ways of God.
We desire to emulate the first-century church in their commitment to one another. We believe the Scriptures teach that service to others is the means of service to God (Mathew 25:40) and that love to God is displayed in love to one another (I John 4:20-21).
We desire to practice a mutual brotherly love and concern for one another in the Spirit of Christ. In a world of detachment and loneliness, the support, understanding, prayers, encouragement, accountability, and actual person-to-person fellowship of this church community is a rich blessing.