What Does The Lakeland Church Believe?
The following summaries are brief but are included to assist persons wishing to understand where The Lakeland Church stands on various doctrinal positions. Each of these positions is supported by proof texts, available upon request, to any interested parties that are truly searching for the truth of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.Please make your request by phone at (863) 646-0526 or by mail to Pastor Henderson, 519 Chester Drive, Lakeland, FL 33803. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your Spirit.

Religion in General
The Lakeland Church believes: The motto of the Protestant Reformation is an excellent summation of the practice of Religion in general and Christianity in particular: Sola Scriptura, Tota Scriptura. Only the Scripture, All of the Scripture. We are a Baptist Church, and the Baptists have been in existence from the first century. We are, therefore, not Protestants, and have never been a part of the Roman Catholic Church, nor do we consider the Roman Catholic Church, or any of her daughters, the true church of Jesus Christ.

The Baptists were espousing the principle of Sola Scriptura, Tota Scriptura a millennia and a half before the Protestants departed from popery with that paean of praise upon their lips. Both the Jews of old and the Church of old were taught Sola Scriptura, Tota Scriptura from the mouth of Almighty God Himself.

Further, The Lakeland Church believes: That nothing whatsoever should be taught in Church, as Church or as Christianity, unless it is expressly commanded by Christ or His apostles in the Holy Scriptures - in other words, Sola Scriptura, Tota Scriptura.

The Holy Scriptures
The Lakeland Church believes: The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, only and exclusively, in whole and in part, are the divinely and verbally inspired, inerrant, written Word of God. They are the sole and total rule together of our faith and, in the New Testament, of our practice.

Further, The Lakeland Church believes: The Byzantine or Received Text of the New Testament is the only true Word of God in Greek; the Masoretic Text of the Old Testament is the only true Word of God in Hebrew; and the Authorized Version of 1611, or King James Version, is the only true Word of God in English.

Finally, The Lakeland Church believes: God, according to His promises, has providentially preserved and transmitted His Word through the scattered remnant of His true Church, and has providentially directed the collating, editing, and translating of the precious and essential text and manuscripts. The witness being that these are the only texts that God has ever used in all the great fruit bearing evangelical movements of history.

Further, these texts have never been the texts of the perpetrators of any of the awful and bloody ecclesiastical persecutions and wars of history. Therefore, any so called bible based in whole or in part on any other text or manuscripts, however ancient or accepted, is not the Word of God, but is a fraud or a counterfeit.

The Nature of God
The Lakeland Church believes: There is only One True and Living God. In the single, undivided essence of the godhead there are three self-subsistent Persons, these being the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, thus God is a Trinity. These three Persons are equal in nature, power and glory; and the Word and the Holy Spirit are as truly, properly, and eternally God as is the Father.

Further, The Lakeland Church believes: The Roman Catholic version of the Trinity, with it eternally begotten son and its eternally proceeding spirit is absurd, heretical, and blasphemous. It is absurd because the Scripture clearly states "that holy thing which SHALL be born of thee SHALL be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35) Both future tense construction. If Christ 's son-ship were begotten in eternity that holy thing would be the Son of God but the verse is future tense, not past. It is heretical because it clearly contradicts the proof texts relative to the Deity of Christ. And it is blasphemous because the very idea that any aspect of Eternal Deity has any conceivable or inconceivable sort of beginning flatly denies what God says about His Nature and, denies the definition of the word eternal and, if true, would make God a liar.

Election and the Eternal Covenant
The Lakeland Church believes: Before the world was created, God elected a certain and invariable number of people, out of Adams race foreseen as fallen, to be eternally saved. This choice was not based upon any possible, conceivable, or foreknown compliance of those chosen, but rather upon the free grace and sovereign will of God. In pursuance of this design, the Father contrived and made a covenant thereto, with the Word and the Holy Spirit, on behalf of the Elect alone; wherein all duties and necessary actions were severely appointed to the Trinity and all consequent blessings provided to the Elect, who were put into the hands of the Word and made His care and charge.

The Creation of the World
The Lakeland Church believes: The Triune God created out of nothing the heavens and the earth and all that in then is, in six days of 144 sixty-minute hours. This was accomplished with no gaps or unknown ages before, during, or between the six days; and God ceased from creation upon the seventh day. The Lakeland Church believes: The first eleven chapters of Genesis are actual and accurate history as is the rest of Holy Scripture.

The Creation and Fall of Man: Total Depravity
The Lakeland Church believes: God created the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, after His own image and likeness; and they were upright, holy, innocent, and possessed of undying natural life. Adam and Eve were capable of continuing therein, but sinned against God, and their nature changed to one of sinful and mortal natural life. Adams race, without exception, sinned in him seminally; and the guilt of that sin was imputed, and a corrupt nature there from derived, upon all desending from him by ordinary and natural generation.

The Lakeland Church believes: The entire human race from their conception are carnal and unclean, averse to all that is good, incapable of doing any good, prone to every sin, totally unable to recover themselves, without strength, enemies of God, by nature the children of wrath, under a sentence of condemnation, and therefore subject to physical death, involved in spiritual death, and appointed to eternal death; from all of which there is no deliverance but by the blood and works of Christ, the Second Adam, and Him alone.

The Person and Work of Jesus Christ
The Lakeland Church believes: The Lord Jesus Christ was set up from everlasting as the Mediator of the Eternal Covenant. Pursuant thereto, the Word, having engaged to be the Surety of His elect people, in the fullness of time did really assume human nature; and not before, neither in whole nor in part. His human spirit and soul, being created things, did not exist from eternity, but were created and formed in His human body by Him Who forms the spirit of man within him; and this occurred when that body was conceived in the womb of the Virgin.

Therefore, His human nature consists of a true body, soul, and spirit, all of which, together and at once, the Word of God assumed into union with His Divine Person, when made of a woman and neither before nor at any point in them thereafter. This dual-natured Being is the Lord Jesus Christ, the prophesied Son of God (His Son-ship by nature as opposed to Son-ship by eternal generation) beginning with and proceeding from the conception of the Virgin, and being everlasting in duration.

The human nature of the Lord Jesus Christ really suffered and really died as the covenant substitute for His elect people, in their room and stead, bearing their sins by imputation both legally and in principle. Thereby He has made all the satisfaction for their sins required by the Law and Justice of God, as well as made way for all those blessings which are needful for them in both time and eternity.

Limited Atonement or Particular Redemption
The Lakeland Church believes: The eternal redemption and salvation which the Lord Jesus Christ has obtained by the shedding of His blood is special and particular. It was intentionally designed exclusively for the elect of God, the Sheep of Christ, and they only share the benefits and blessings of it, and that infallibly.

The Sovereignty of God in Salvation
The Lakeland Church believes: The justification of the Elect of God is exclusively accomplished by the mutual covenant faith of the Father and the Son in One Another, whereby the Son provides His own righteousness and the Father imputes it graciously to the Elect. This is done without consideration of any works of righteousness, any response, inclination, disposition, or appropriation done by the elect whatever. The full and free pardon of all their sins and transgressions (past, present, and future) is an accomplished fact and that solely by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, according to the riches of His grace.

Regeneration, Conversion, and Gospel Salvation
The Lakeland Church believes: The word of Regeneration, which produces the sanctification of the spirit and soul and a born-again person, is not an act or effect of mans will or ability, but is solely wrought by the mighty, effectual, and irresistible grace of God. Conversion is an educational process which follows Regeneration, and is solely wrought by hearing and believing the Gospel (both the abilities to hear and to believe the Gospel being gifts of grace and not deriving from the innate ability of man.) Regeneration accomplishes the eternal salvation of all the Elect.

The Lakeland Church believes: In addition to the salvation in eternal glory, there is a salvation here in time to fellowship with God and Jesus Christ for those regenerate elect who exercise the gifts of grace, hearing and faith, when the Gospel is preached to them. Those regenerate elect who believe and are baptized (Conversion) will be saved to this fellowship; but those regenerate elect not believing, but hardening their hearts, will lose that salvation and be severely chastised by God in this life.

Final Preservation of the Saints
The Lakeland Church believes: All those chosen by the Father, redeemed by the Son, and regenerated and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, shall be preserved forever, so that not one of them will be lost nor ever perish, but have everlasting life.

The Resurrection and General Judgment
The Lakeland Church believes: The Lord Jesus Christ will return a second and final time. At that time there will be a single resurrection of the dead, both the just and the unjust. The just will be caught up on His right hand and the unjust separated on His left, and then there will be a general judgment. The just will be judged innocent and received into eternal glory and rejoicing, and the unjust will be judged guilty of their sins and cast into Hell, where they shall suffer torment consciously and forever.

Baptism and Communion
The Lakeland Church believes: Baptism and the Lords Supper (communion) are ordinances of the Lord Jesus Christ to be observed by His Church until His Second coming. Baptism is absolutely prerequisite to the Lords Supper. Only those who have professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation and have been immersed thereupon in the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by a duly ordained minister of the Gospel, are to be admitted into the communion of the church and into fellowship with it. A church member should not absent themselves from the Lord 's Supper without pressing cause; and after communion, ought to follow the Lord and Masters example of washing the saints feet.

The Church and its Business
The Lakeland Church believes: The government of the Church is independent congregational, each local Church having the sole responsibility under the leadership of the Spirit of appointing its officers and exercising discipline over its members. The officers of the Church are only two, Pastor, elder or bishop (synonymous terms) and Deacon. Christ, through His apostles, commands that the women of the Church have no positions of authority in the Church and are to keep silent during meetings of the Church. Only ministers who have been duly ordained, i.e., elected by the Church and certified by the laying on of hands and prayer by one or more elders, may administer baptism, the Lords Supper, ordination and constitute Churches. Absolutely nothing should be practiced by the Church as a church activity except what was done by orderly churches as described in the New Testament.

Further, The Lakeland Church believes: The Scriptures of the New Testament, and especially the writings of the Apostle Paul, are all the revelation necessary to guide the Church in an orderly and decorous manner in any business necessary to perform. The Lord Jesus Christ has appointed the pastor to be the overseer of the flock, through example and teaching the Word of God; and it is his duty to guide the Church in business deliberations. Therefore, any business brought before the Church is to be handled under the pastors guidance, as long as his manner of life and teaching are in accord with the Word of God.

Finally, The Lakeland Church believes: There is no hierarchy over the local Church taught anywhere in the New Testament. Indeed, Christ has plainly stated that He hates the idea. Further, the Bible warns against joining churches together in associations, fellowship meetings, preacher organizations, or such like, declaring that such practices will lead to a decrease in the fruitfulness of the churches and will result in divisions among them.

Alas, the Welsh Baptist Churches of the Midland serve as a terrible monument to the judgment of God on this point. On April 26, 1655, scarcely two months after publishing the Midland Confession, they met together at Moreton Church and joined themselves into the Midland Association. By the late 1700s, under the heretical leadership of Andrew Fuller and William Carey, the Midland Association slipped beneath the cold waves of Calvinism; and the Midland Confession of 1655, that great testimony of the ancient faith of their Welsh forefathers, was cast aside (irrefutable proof that it was not Calvinist!). By the middle 1800s, the Association crunched into the rock bottom of Freewillism, merging with other Arminian churches to form the West Midland Association in 1851. Thus, in less than two centuries, associationism accomplished what sixteen centuries of blood, slaughter, persecution, imprisonment, and Catholic prelates and kings could not; the apostasy and destruction from the Apostolic Faith of the Welsh Baptist Churches.

The Lakeland Church believes: All forms of associationism and similar fellowships and government, past, present, and to come, are from the pit of Hell, and are not to be tolerated in the slightest degree.

Incorporating a Church
The Lakeland Church believes: It is an act of apostasy to incorporate a church. The courts have ruled repeatedly that a corporation is a creature of the state and subject to every whimsical regulation the state be pleased to impose. An incorporated church is a state church, as people foolish enough to incorporate their churches have learned to their dismay. It is not for nothing that the state offers tax breaks and other accounting incentives to entice churches to become a slut of the state. An unincorporated Church, organized solely upon New Testament principles and nothing else, is recognized by sixteen centuries of Western Jurisprudence as being under the legal jurisdiction of Heaven and not the secular state. Therefore, an unincorporated Church is not regulable or taxable in the United States of America, as long as it confines itself to its distinctive activities. An unincorporated Church may have to forswear tax-free gifts, tax-free contributions, and bank accounts (all which require a Tax I.D. number): but that should only serve to remind Christians that Freedom is not free.

The Jew, the Church, and the Kingdom
The Lakeland Church believes: The nation of Israel was only a temporary type of Gods covenant salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. They are not all of Gods true Israel which are of the nation or race of Israel, but the true Jew always has been, is, and always will be the Elect only (some Jews plus some Gentiles), with no regard for their natural race. The Gospel Church is the visible portion of the kingdom which both fulfills the prophets and will be glorified at the Lords return. The millennial reign is a spiritual reign, spanning the age from John the Baptist to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and is synonymous with that kingdom.

Musical Instruments in Worship
The Lakeland Church believes: The Scripture teaches that all music in the Church worship should be singing a cappella, with no use of musical instruments whatever. There are tree good reasons for this.

Reason One:
The church is to observe only what Christ commanded the Apostles to teach. If the Church is to observe all things Christ commanded the Apostles, then there is no Scriptural warrant for doing anything in the Church, as church, that was not clearly commanded by Christ or an Apostle as a proper church activity or ceremony Sola Scriptura, Tota Scriptura Only the Scripture, all of the Scripture. The widespread practice of adding whatever activity or ceremony somebody thinks is neat, fresh, worshipful, or in keeping with the needs of the times, is both unbiblical and unchristian.

Reason Two:
There are only three passages in the New Testament which say anything definitive about the purpose of music in the Church. All of them involve singing, but none of them involve musical instruments. In these verses, there are a total of six purposes for singing: 1) Sing with the Spirit; 2) Sing with the understanding; 3) Teaching one another; 4) Admonishing one another; 5) Speaking to each other; 6) Singing and making melody in your heart. Observe that not one of these six things can be done on a musical instrument! These are all the instructions there are from Christ and the Apostles concerning music in the New Testament Church.

Reason Three:
If you read Ephesians 5:19 you will notice the phrase, singing and making melody in your heart. The connective and joins the two in a way that excludes musical instruments. If you are making melody in your heart, you certainly are not making melody on a musical instrument. The Greek, however, leaves no doubt. The Greek word translated Singing means to sing or chant. The Greek word translated Making Melody means to pluck; to twang the strings of a musical instrument; to sing to the music of a stringed instrument; to sing. Hence, the Apostle Paul has so constructed his sentence as to exclude musical instruments, specifying that the melody is to be made in the heart.Only six purposes for music in the Church, none of which are possible on a musical instrument, and the last usage so described as to exclude musical instruments, that is pretty plain. The use of musical instruments in the Church service was never taught by Christ or the Apostles and appears nowhere in the New Testament.

Therefore, The Lakeland Church believes: The Church should obey the words of the Lord Jesus Christ and should observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. Nothing more and nothing less.

Observance of Religious Holidays
The Lakeland Church believes: Religious Holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, are not proper observances of Christianity taught by Christ or the Apostles; rather, they are the inventions of popery, adopted from pagan practices to make Romes pretensions more palatable to the heathen.

The ROMAN POPE states:
In 597 A.D., when Pope Gregory wrote instructions to Augustine, the first Catholic missionary to Britain, he said:

Do not destroy the temples of the English gods; change them to Christian churches. Do not forbid the harmless customs which have been associated with the old religions; consecrate them to Christian uses.

The World Book Encyclopedia states:

In A.D. 345, Pope Liberius of Rome ordered the people to celebrate on 25 December. He probably chose this date because the people of Rome already observed it as the Feast of Saturn, celebrating the birthday of the sun. Christians honored Christ, instead of Saturn, as the Light of the Word.

The Encyclopedia Britannica states:

Christmas, the festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, is celebrated by a majority of Christians on December 25 on the Gregorian calendar. But early Christians did not celebrate his birth, and no one knows on which date Jesus was actually born (some scholars believe that the actual date was in the early spring, which would place the occurrence of the holiday closer to Easter, the holiday commemorating his resurrection).

The origins of the holiday and its December date lie in the ancient Greco-Roman world, as commemorations probably began sometime in the 2nd century. There are at least three possible origins for the December date. The Roman Christian historian Sextus Julius Africans dated Jesus conception to March 25 (the same date upon which he held that the world was created), which, after nine months in his mothers womb, would result in a December 25 birth.

In the 3rd century, the Roman Empire, which at the time had not adopted Christianity, celebrated the rebirth of the Unconquered Sun (Sol Invictus) on December 25th. This holiday not only marked the return of longer days after the winter solstice but also followed the popular Roman festival called the Saturnalia (during which people feasted and exchanged gifts). It was also the birthday of the Indo-European deity Mithra, a god of light and loyalty whose cult was at the time growing popular among Roman soldiers.

As the church in Rome only formally celebrated December 25th in 336 during the reign of the emperor Constantine, who made Christianity the effective religion of the empire, some have speculated that choosing this date had the political motive of weakening the established pagan celebrations. The date was not widely accepted in the Eastern Empire, where January 6th had been favored, for another half-century, and Christmas did not become a major Christian festival until the 9th century.

The Lakeland Church believes: It is disobedient to God and contrary to Scripture for a Church to adopt pagan fertility cult holidays and pretend it somehow honors God, when He Himself has told us plainly that He hates such practices.

The Sign Gifts
The Lakeland Church believes: To identify Israel under the New Covenant, God promised a forty-year period of sign-gifts, similar to that which accompanied the Exodus from Egypt. These gifts were, predominantly: Casting out devils, speaking in tongues, taking up serpents, immunity to poisons, and healing of the sick. The sign-gifts were given, not for the encouragement of believers, but as a sign and conviction to unbelieving Jews. These sign-gifts endured the prophesied span from the beginning of the Lords ministry to the destruction of Jerusalem, forty years later. The Lord Jesus Christ foretold an end-time use of sign-gifts by the forces of Satan. Therefore, any miraculous exercise by men of these sign-gifts since 70 A.D., which is claimed to be a normal part of the Christian ministry, is after the working of Satan, part of the Satanic Lie, and an evidence of the damnation of those individuals continuing persistently therein.

Secret Orders
The Lakeland Church believes: It is a denial of Christ and grave disobedience to God for the Church to hold fellowship with any individual or organization, however sincere and misled, that trusts for salvation in any other name under heaven, in earth, or under the earth, save only the Lord Jesus Christ, or that holds fraternal relationship with any that do. The Church and all Christians should stand strictly separate and apart from all fraternal orders, secret societies, and esoteric and occult rites; however otherwise benevolent, however otherwise educational, however otherwise ancient and accepted; knowing the Scriptures teach that such are of Lucifer.

The Christian Life
The Lakeland Church believes: All and each of these doctrines and ordinances, together with the entire Holy Scripture, Christians should covenant together as a local Church in common faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, to embrace, maintain, and defend; it being their duty to stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith once delivered to the saints.

In regards to each other in their fellowship union, Christians should esteem it their duty to walk with each other in all humility and brotherly love, to watch over each others conversation, to stir up each other to love and good works, overlooking one another for good and not for evil. Christians should not forsake the assembling of themselves together as they have opportunity to worship God according to His revealed will; and when the case requires should warn, rebuke, and admonish one another according to the rules of the Gospel. They should also earnestly desire to contribute together to the need of poor saints, to the support of the ministry, and to the furtherance of the Gospel as the possessions of life and the providence of God may enable and direct.

Because true Christians are very sensible that their conversation both in the world and in the Church ought to be as becometh the Gospel of Christ, they should judge it their incumbent duty to walk in wisdom toward them that are without, and to exercise a conscience void of offense toward God and man, by living soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. In keeping with their duty and privilege as the witnesses of God in the midst of a wicket world, Christians should witness the Gospel and support its preaching so that the regenerate elect may be found, converted, and saved to church fellowship in the Lord. Christians should pray that if it please God they thus may be savory salt to preserve their nation to the greater glory of God and to the setting aside of His awful wrath upon the children of disobedience.

Moreover, Christians should sympathize with each other in all conditions, both inward and outward, into which God in His providence may bring them. They also should bear with one anothers weaknesses, failings, and infirmities; and particularly should pray for each other that the Gospel and its blessings might be to the comfort and godly edification of their souls, and to the saving of many to fellowship with them.

All of these duties, doctrines, and ordinances Christians should be performing as a faithful body of believers, praying the gracious assistance of the Holy Spirit, while they admire, adore, and praise the grace which has given them a name and a place in the house of God, that they should be the sons and daughters of God.

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