During the business meeting on Monday, voting messengers approved an update to the GARBC’s official Purpose Statement. As national representative Mike Hess explains, there were several goals in articulating the updated purpose statement:

  • First, we are in no way bending or compromising our stand on personal or ecclesiastical separation from those who embrace or preach false doctrine. Our doctrinal position is clear and well-established.
  • We believe this new statement provides better clarity on what the purpose of the church is, along with how churches can work together with other doctrinally aligned churches.
  • Our doctrinal statement articulates what we believe the Bible teaches, and the purpose statement explains how that is fleshed out as an association—hence the focus on disciple-making, local church ministry, and collaborating with other doctrinally aligned ministries.

The messengers also approved an expansion to the association’s official doctrinal position on Creation (Article of Faith V) to address the issue of human gender more explicitly.

Updated Purpose Statement

The GARBC exists to glorify God by assisting churches in biblical and dynamic disciple-making as an association of autonomous, Bible-centered, Christ-exalting, gospel-proclaiming Baptist churches. Based on our commitment to doctrinal purity, we collaborate with likeminded ministries that share our beliefs and our passion for making disciples of Jesus Christ.

Updated Article V Text

[The new additions are in bold.]

We believe the Biblical account of the creation of the physical universe, angels, and humanity; that this account is neither allegory nor myth, but a literal, historical account of the direct, immediate creative acts of God without any evolutionary process; that Adam and Eve were created by a direct work of God and not from previously existing forms of life; and that all people are descended from the historical Adam and Eve, first parents of the entire human race.

Genesis 1; 2; Colossians 1:16, 17; John 1:3

We believe that our Creator established human gender biologically in fixed, binary categories: male and female. Seeking to confuse or change the God-given distinction of the two genders violates God’s creative design and revealed will.

In light of God’s creative design, we believe that the Bible teaches that marriage is the joining of one man and one woman and that sexual intimacy is to be expressed only within the bonds of a Biblically defined marriage. Any other form of marriage or sexual intimacy is immoral and a perversion of God’s gracious will.

Genesis 1:27; 2:18, 24, 25; 5:1-2; Matthew 19:4–6; Mark 10:6; Romans 1:24–29; 7:2; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10, 19, 20; 7:1–5; Ephesians 5:2–5, 22–33; 1 Thessalonians 4:3–8; Hebrews 13:4