Whereas, we a body of believers in Jesus Christ, organized for the purpose of spreading the gospel
of our Lord and Savior, and the teachings and practices of our faith, deem it advisable that we have
definite laws to direct us so that "all things may be done decently and in order," therefore be it
resolved that we adopt the following constitution.
Article I - Church Name
The name of the church organization shall be, "Church of the Open Bible" of Athens, Maine,
Incorporated. (Voted April 1, 1964, recognized by the state October 19, 1964.)
Article II - Purpose
The purpose of this church is to glorify God in the salvation of souls, the edification of Christians
through the teachings of God’s Word, the world wide proclamation of God’s saving grace expressed
in the shed blood and finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary, the promotion of godly
worship, the defense of the "faith once delivered," and cooperation with Christian activity functioning
in harmony with God’s Holy Word, the Bible, until He comes.
ARTICLE III - STATEMENT OF FAITH
We live in a day when doctrine has come to be seen by some as a barrier to unity. The reaction on the
- Preface to the Statement of Faith
part of these has been to say that they don't believe in doctrine and to cast off doctrine for the sake
of peace. To say one doesn't believe in doctrine is to say that the Word of God doesn't convey any
truth that one may believe. The moment you embrace a truth in Scripture, at that moment you embrace
doctrine. We understand that our gathering together of these theological statements is a fallible
attempt to summarize and systematize the riches of an infallible divine revelation. We know only too
well the possibility that we may have blind spots concerning some of what follows. God may well
reveal to us in eternity that we have not seen everything as we should have. This does not, however,
preclude our responsibility to be true to the light that we believe God has given to us. We do not set
this forth for the purpose of bringing division to the true church of Christ. This is not some subtle
attempt to posture ourselves as more knowledgeable and right than others in the body of Christ who
may not share all these truths. We are making these statements so that those who would join with us
might have a clearer understanding of the convictions to which the Lord has brought us. Our passion
is for the unity of all true believers and we commit ourselves to work toward the oneness that is ours
in our triune Godhead. Our prayer is that the statements below will help us forward in that oneness as
we rejoice together in all that is ours in our preeminent savior, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
We believe that the Bible is God’s written revelation to man, and thus the sixty six books of the Bible
given to us by the Holy Spirit constitute the plenary (inspired equally in all parts) Word of God
(1Corinthians 2:7 14; 2 Peter 1:20 21).
We believe that the Word of God is an objective, propositional revelation (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1
Corinthians 2:13), verbally inspired in every word (2 Timothy 3:16), absolutely inerrant in the original
documents, infallible, and God breathed. We teach the literal, grammatical, historical interpretation of
Scripture which affirms the belief that the opening chapters of Genesis present creation in six literal
days (Genesis 1:31; Exodus 31:17).
We believe that the Bible constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice (Matthew 5:18; 24:35;
John 10:35; 16:12 13; 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15 17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20 21).
We believe that God spoke in His written Word by a process of dual authorship. The Holy Spirit so
superintended the human authors that, through their individual personalities and different styles of
writing, they composed and recorded God’s Word to man (2 Peter 1:20 21) without error in the whole
or in the part (Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16). The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently
applies the literal grammatical historical method of interpretation under the enlightenment of the Holy
Spirit (John 7:17; 16:12 15; 1 Corinthians 2:7 15; 1 John 2:20). It is the responsibility of believers to
ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture, recognizing that proper application is
binding on all generations. Yet the truth of Scripture stands in judgment of men; never do men stand
in judgment of it.
We believe in one God, Creator of all things, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in all His perfection,
eternally existing in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; three
distinguishable personalities in the one divine essence (I Timothy 2:5; Deuteronomy 6:4; Galatians 3:
20; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11; Colossians 2:2; Matthew 28:19; Luke 3:22).
We teach that Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, possesses all the divine excellencies,
and in these He is coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with the Father (John 10:30; 14:9).
We believe that, as provided and purposed by God and as preannounced in the prophecies of the
Scriptures, the eternal Son of God came into this world that He might manifest God to men, fulfill
prophecy, and become the Redeemer of a lost world. To this end He was born of the virgin, and
received a human body and a sinless human nature (Luke 1:30-35; John 1:18; 3:16; Heb. 4:15).
We believe that, on the human side, He became and remained a perfect man, but sinless throughout
His life; yet He retained His absolute deity, being at the same time very God and very man, and that His
earth-life sometimes functioned within the sphere of that which was human and sometimes within the
sphere of that which was divine (Luke 2:40; John 1:1-2; Phil. 2:5-8).
We believe that in fulfillment of prophecy He came first to Israel as her Messiah-King, and that, being
rejected of that nation, He, according to the eternal counsels of God, gave His life as a ransom for all
(John 1:11; Acts 2:22-24; 1 Tim. 2:6).
We believe that, in infinite love for the lost, He voluntarily accepted His Father’s will and became the
divinely provided sacrificial Lamb and took away the sin of the world, bearing the holy judgments
against sin which the righteousness of God must impose. His death was therefore substitutionary in
the most absolute sense-the just for the unjust-and by His death He became the Savior of the lost
(John 1:29; Rom. 3:25-26; 2 Cor. 5:14; Heb. 10:5-14; 1 Pet. 3:18).
We believe that, according to the Scriptures, He arose from the dead in the same body, though
glorified, in which He had lived and died, and that His resurrection body is the pattern of that body
which ultimately will be given to all believers (John 20:20; Phil. 3:20-21).
We believe that, on departing from the earth, He was accepted of His Father and that His acceptance
is a final assurance to us that His redeeming work was perfectly accomplished (Heb. 1:3).
We believe that He became Head over all things to the church which is His body, and in this ministry
He continually intercedes and advocates for the saved (Eph. 1:22-23; Heb. 7:25; 1 John 2:1).
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, eternal, underived, possessing all the attributes of
personality and deity including intellect (1 Corinthians 2:10 13), emotions (Ephesians 4:30), will (1
Corinthians 12:11), eternality (Hebrews 9:14), omnipresence (Psalm 139:7 10), omniscience (Isaiah 40:
13 14), omnipotence (Romans 15:13), and truthfulness (John 16:13). In all the divine attributes He is
coequal and consubstantial with the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3 4; 28:25 26; 1
Corinthians 12:4 6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; and Jeremiah 31:31 34 with Hebrews 10:15 17).
We believe that the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the blessed Trinity, though omnipresent from all
eternity, took up His abode in the world in a special sense on the day of Pentecost according to the
divine promise, dwells in every believer, and by His baptism unites all to Christ in one body, and that
He, as the Indwelling One, is the source of all power and all acceptable worship and service. We
believe that He never takes His departure from the church, nor from the feeblest of the saints, but is
ever present to testify of Christ; seeking to occupy believers with Him and not with themselves nor
with their experiences. We believe that His abode in the world in this special sense will cease when
Christ comes to receive His own at the completion of the church (John 14:16-17; 16:7-15; 1 Cor. 6:19;
Eph. 2:22; 2 Thess. 2:7).
We believe that, in this age, certain well-defined ministries are committed to the Holy Spirit, and that it
is the duty of every Christian to understand them and to be adjusted to them in his own life and
experience. These ministries are the restraining of evil in the world to the measure of the divine will;
the convicting of the world respecting sin, righteousness, and judgment; the regenerating of all
believers; the indwelling and anointing of all who are saved, thereby sealing them unto the day of
redemption; the baptizing into the one body of Christ of all who are saved; and the continued filling
for power, teaching, and service of those among the saved who are yielded to Him and who are
subject to His will (John 3:6; 16:7-11; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:30; 5:18; 2 Thess. 2:7; 1 John 2:20-27).
We understand the Baptism of the Spirit as that work of the Holy Spirit at the moment of conversion
when He places us into the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13). We do not see the Baptism of the Holy
Spirit as a second blessing experience following our salvation. There are many fillings of the Holy
Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) but only one Baptism in the Holy Spirit and that at the point of conversion. We
understand the gifts of the Holy Spirit as those divine abilities sovereignly bestowed by the Holy Spirit
upon every believer for the edification of the body of Christ. Some gifts were clearly indicated to be
temporal in nature (Ephesians 2:20; Hebrews 2:4). These temporal gifts were either for the purpose of
exercising unusual authority, giving divine revelation or confirming the messenger with his message
(II Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:2-4). We do NOT recognize the present tongues movement as being
identical with the use of tongues in the New Testament and therefore we DO NOT endorse the use of
We believe that God created an innumerable company of sinless, spiritual beings, known as angels;
that one, "Lucifer, son of the morning"-the highest in rank-sinned through pride, thereby becoming
Satan; that a great company of the angels followed him in his moral fall, some of whom became
demons and are active as his agents and associates in the prosecution of his unholy purposes, while
others who fell are "reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great
day" (Isa. 14:12-17; Ezek. 28:11-19; 1 Tim. 3:6; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6).
We believe that Satan is the originator of sin, and that, under the permission of God, he, through
subtlety, led our first parents into transgression, thereby accomplishing their moral fall and
subjecting them and their posterity to his own power; that he is the enemy of God and the people of
God, opposing and exalting himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped; and that he who
in the beginning said, "I will be like the most High," in his warfare appears as an angel of light, even
counterfeiting the works of God by fostering religious movements and systems of doctrine, which
systems in every case are characterized by a denial of the efficacy of the blood of Christ and of
salvation by grace alone (Gen. 3:1-19; Rom. 5:12-14; 2 Cor. 4:3-4; 11:13-15; Eph. 6:10-12; 2 Thess. 2:4; 1
We believe that Satan was judged at the Cross, though not then executed, and that he, a usurper,
now rules as the "god of this world"; that, at the second coming of Christ, Satan will be bound and
cast into the abyss for a thousand years, and after the thousand years he will be loosed for a little
season and then "cast into the lake of fire and brimstone," where he "shall be tormented day and
night for ever and ever" (Col. 2:15; Rev. 20:1-3, 10).
We believe that a great company of angels kept their holy estate and are before the throne of God,
from whence they are sent forth as ministering spirits to minister for them who shall be heirs of
salvation (Luke 15:10; Eph. 1:21; Heb. 1:14; Rev. 7:12).
We believe that man was made lower than the angels; and that, in His incarnation, Christ took for a
little time this lower place that He might lift the believer to His own sphere above the angels (Heb. 2:6-
10). (Hebrews 12:23; I Peter 2:5; I Timothy 3:15; I Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 5:23,25,27,30; Philemon 1:
2; Revelation 1:4; Acts 2:41-42; Colossians 1:18; I John 4:20-21).
We believe that man was originally created in the image and after the likeness of God, and that he fell
through sin, and, as a consequence of his sin, lost his spiritual life, becoming dead in trespasses and
sins, and that he became subject to the power of the devil. We also believe that this spiritual death,
or total depravity of human nature, has been transmitted to the entire human race of man, the Man
Christ Jesus alone being excepted; and hence that every child of Adam is born into the world with a
nature which not only possesses no spark of divine life, but is essentially and unchangeably bad apart
from divine grace (Gen. 1:26; 2:17; 6:5; Pss. 14:1-3; 51:5; Jer. 17:9; John 3:6; 5:40; 6:35; Rom. 3:10-19; 8:6-
7; Eph. 2:1-3; 1 Tim. 5:6; 1 John 3:8).
We believe that, owing to universal death through sin, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless
born again; and that no degree of reformation however great, no attainments in morality however
high, no culture however attractive, no baptism or other ordinance however administered, can help
the sinner to take even one step toward heaven; but a new nature imparted from above, a new life
implanted by the Holy Spirit through the Word, is absolutely essential to salvation, and only those thus
saved are sons of God. We believe, also, that our redemption has been accomplished solely by the
blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was made to be sin and was made a curse for us, dying in our
place and stead; and that no repentance, no feeling, no faith, no good resolutions, no sincere efforts,
no submission to the rules and regulations of any church, nor all the churches that have existed
since the days of the Apostles can add in the very least degree to the value of the blood, or to the
merit of the finished work wrought for us by Him who united in His person true and proper deity with
perfect and sinless humanity (Lev. 17:11; Isa. 64:6; Matt. 26:28; John 3:7-18; Rom. 5:6-9; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal.
3:13; 6:15; Eph. 1:7; Phil. 3:4-9; Titus 3:5; James 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:18-19, 23).
We believe that the new birth of the believer comes only through faith in Christ and that repentance
is a vital part of believing, and is in no way, in itself, a separate and independent condition of
salvation; nor are any other acts, such as confession, baptism, prayer, or faithful service, to be added
to believing as a condition of salvation (John 1:12; 3:16, 18, 36; 5:24; 6:29; Acts 13:39; 16:31; Rom. 1:16-
17; 3:22, 26; 4:5; 10:4; Gal. 3:22).
We believe that when an unregenerate person exercises that faith in Christ which is illustrated and
described as such in the New Testament, he passes immediately out of spiritual death into spiritual
life, and from the old creation into the new; being justified from all things, accepted before the Father
according as Christ His Son is accepted, loved as Christ is loved, having his place and portion as
linked to Him and one with Him forever. (John 5:24; 17:23; Acts 13:39; Rom. 5:1; 1 Cor. 3:21-23; Eph. 1:3;
Col. 2:10; 1 John 4:17; 5:11-12).
This being said, we believe that all who are beyond accountability due to age or limited mental ability
are safe from the judgement of God. (Genesis 18:25; II Samuel 12:23)
We believe that sanctification, which is a setting-apart unto God, is threefold: It is already complete
for every saved person because his position toward God is the same as Christ’s position. Since the
believer is in Christ, he is set apart unto God in the measure in which Christ is set apart unto God. We
believe, however, that he retains his sin nature, which cannot be eradicated in this life. Therefore,
while the standing of the Christian in Christ is perfect, his present state is no more perfect than his
experience in daily life. There is, therefore, a progressive sanctification wherein the Christian is to
"grow in grace," and to "be changed" by the unhindered power of the Spirit. We believe also that the
child of God will yet be fully sanctified in his state as he is now sanctified in his standing in Christ
when he shall see his Lord and shall be "like Him" (John 17:17; 2 Cor. 3:18; 7:1; Eph. 4:24; 5:25-27; 1
Thess. 5:23; Heb. 10:10, 14; 12:10).
We believe that, because of the eternal purpose of God toward the objects of His love, because of
His freedom to exercise grace toward the meritless on the ground of the propitiatory blood of Christ,
because of the very nature of the divine gift of eternal life, because of the present and unending
intercession and advocacy of Christ in heaven, because of the immutability of the unchangeable
covenants of God, because of the regenerating, abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of all
who are saved, we and all true believers everywhere, once saved shall be kept saved forever. We
believe, however, that God is a holy and righteous Father and that, since He cannot overlook the sin
of His children, He will, when they persistently sin, chasten them and correct them in infinite love; but
having undertaken to save them and keep them forever, apart from all human merit, He, who cannot
fail, will in the end present every one of them faultless before the presence of His glory and
conformed to the image of His Son (John 5:24; 10:28; 13:1; 14:16-17; 17:11; Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 6:19; Heb. 7:
25; 1 John 2:1-2; 5:13; Jude 24).
We believe that the true Church is composed of all persons who through saving faith in Jesus Christ
have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and are baptized by Him into the body of Christ of which
Christ is the Head. The church is distinct from Israel, a mystery not revealed until this age (Ephesians
3:1-7). The local manifestation of this church is a company of immersed believers, called out from the
world, separated unto the Lord Jesus, voluntarily associated for the ministry of the Word, the mutual
edification of its members, the observance of the ordinances, and the propagation of the Gospel. We
see the local church as an independent body free from all outside ecclesiastical control. While the
local church is independent it is yet totally dependent up the Lord Jesus Christ and interdependent
with all true believing local churches (Hebrews 12:23; I Peter 2:5; I Timothy 3:15; I Corinthians 12:13;
Ephesians 5:23,25,27,30; Revelation 1:4; Acts 2:41-42; Colossians 1:18; I John 4:20-21).
We believe that water baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the only sacraments and ordinances of the
church and that they are a scriptural means of testimony for the church in this age (Matt. 28:19; Luke
22:19-20; Acts 10:47-48; 16:32-33; 18:7-8; 1 Cor. 11:26).
We believe that, according to the Word of God, the next great event in the fulfillment of prophecy will
be the coming of the Lord in the air to receive to Himself into heaven both His own who are alive and
remain unto His coming, and also all who have fallen asleep in Jesus, and that this event is the
blessed hope set before us in the Scripture, and for this we should be constantly looking (John 14:1-
3; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Titus 2:11-14).
We believe that the translation of the church will be followed by the fulfillment of Israel’s seventieth
week (Dan. 9:27; Rev. 6:1-19:21) during which the church, the body of Christ, will be in heaven. The
whole period of Israel’s seventieth week will be a time of judgment on the whole earth, at the end of
which the times of the Gentiles will be brought to a close. The latter half of this period will be the time
of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7), which our Lord called the great tribulation (Matt. 24:15-21). We believe
that universal righteousness will not be realized previous to the second coming of Christ, but that the
world is day by day ripening for judgment and that the age will end with a fearful apostasy.
We believe that the period of great tribulation in the earth will be climaxed by the return of the Lord
Jesus Christ to the earth as He went, in person on the clouds of heaven, and with power and great
glory to introduce the millennial age, to bind Satan and place him in the abyss, to lift the curse which
now rests upon the whole creation, to restore Israel to her own land and to give her the realization of
God’s covenant promises, and to bring the whole world to the knowledge of God (Deut. 30:1-10; Isa.
11:9; Ezek. 37:21-28; Matt. 24:15-25:46; Acts 15:16-17; Rom. 8:19-23; 11:25-27; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-5;
We believe that at death the spirits and souls of those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for
salvation pass immediately into His presence and there remain in conscious bliss until the
resurrection of the glorified body when Christ comes for His own, whereupon soul and body reunited
shall be associated with Him forever in glory; but the spirits and souls of the unbelieving remain after
death conscious of condemnation and in misery until the final judgment of the great white throne at
the close of the millennium, when soul and body reunited shall be cast into the lake of fire, not to be
annihilated, but to be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from
the glory of His power (Luke 16:19-26; 23:42; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Rev. 20:11-
All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in
- Christian and the Social Order
human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of
righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the
regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ,
Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual
immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the
orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of
the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every
Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the
principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians
should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the
spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth. (Exodus 20:3-17; Leviticus 6:2-
5; Deuteronomy 10:12; 27:17; Psalm 101:5; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 8:16; Matthew 5:13-16,43-48; 22:36-40;
25:35; Mark 1:29-34; 2:3ff.; 10:21; Luke 4:18-21; 10:27-37; 20:25; John 15:12; 17:15; Romans 12-14; 1
Corinthians 5:9-10; 6:1-7; 7:20-24; 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:12-17; 1
Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27; 2:8.)
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of
persons related to one another by marriage, blood or adoption. Marriage is the uniting of one man
and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God's unique gift to reveal the union
between Christ and His church, and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework
for intimate companionship, the only channel for sexual expression according to biblical standards,
and the means for procreation of the human race.
The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The
marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as
Christ loves the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his
family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the
church body willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her
husband and thus equal to him concerning the realm of salvation, has the God-given responsibility to
respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next
Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to
demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual
and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to
make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.
Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28;
Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:
6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5;
19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-
21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7.