NRBC Constitution
NOW DISBANDED

 

The ‘Northlake’s Reformed Baptist Church (NRBC)’ was formed on April 30, 2000, holding its first meeting for the purpose of divine worship on that day. The church accepts as its doctrinal and confessional standard ‘The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith’ and especially the abridged version in modern English that is contained in ‘The NRBC Members Pack.’ The Northlake’s Reformed Baptist Church (NRBC) also recognizes the appendix to the ‘Savoy Declaration of 1658,’ on the ‘Institution of Churches and the Order Appointed in Them by Jesus Christ’ as the standard (alongside the constitution and the said confession of faith) for church government and order for this church.

The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith is a representative summary of ‘the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3),’ ‘of those things which are most surely believed among us (Luke 1:1b)’ and we hereby affirm that the Northlake’s Reformed Baptist Church will, by the grace of Almighty God, ‘standfast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel (Philippians 1:27b),’ as this confession so helpfully summarises.

The purpose of this constitution is to state plainly and openly the principles by which we seek to fellowship together as a church of Jesus Christ and by which we seek to be a church doing all things in good order as unto the Lord. We recognize that no Christian is to be bound to any article of human invention and for that reason we will review any or all of these articles upon valid Biblical objections. However, we reserve the Biblical right to voluntarily associate under the following articles and to exclude those who freely and with full Christian liberty choose not to associate with us under them.

 

ARTICLE I: NAME

The name of this church shall be the Northlake’s Reformed Baptist Church (herein referred to as ‘NRBC,’ ‘the church,’ or ‘this church.’

 

ARTICLE II: PURPOSE

The purpose of this church is to glorify God in the manner revealed through the Bible by maintaining and promoting His worship both individually and corporately, by evangelising sinners and through edifying the saints and equipping them for His service.

 

ARTICLE III: ARTICLES OF FAITH

This church accepts the Holy Scriptures as the supreme and complete authority in all matters of doctrine and practice. We believe The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith to be an excellent summary of the teachings of the Bible and therefore accept it as the doctrinal standard for this church. We do not accept the confession as the authoritative rule of faith, but as a help in controversy, a confirmation of our faith and as a means of growing in righteousness. In the confession, believers have a concise theological summary of what the Bible teaches and using the Scripture references therein should be able to give a reason for the hope that is in them (Acts 4:20; 24:14-16; Galatians 6:14-16; 1 Timothy 3:16; 2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 3:15).

The church also recognizes the appendix to the Savoy Declaration of 1658, on the Institution of Churches and the Order Appointed in Them by Jesus Christ as the standard for church government and order, alongside the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith and this constitution.

 

ARTICLE IV: MEMBERSHIP

As regards membership of NRBC (though we recognize no such formal membership as seen in the churches today), direction is given to the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith (26:1-15) and to the Savoy appendix before mentioned (paragraphs 8, 20-25,28). The following points also apply.

 

A. Basic Requirements of Membership:

  • profession of allegiance to and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • has been baptised by immersion as a believer or a willingness to be baptised by immersion in water upon profession of his or her faith. This should be done as soon as is practicable.

  • is not under the Biblically warranted (Matthew 18:17,18; 1 Corinthians 5:11-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6,14,15; 3 John 9,10; 2 Corinthians 2:6-8) corrective discipline of a genuine church

  • can truthfully express substantial agreement with the teachings, aims and organization of this church as set out in the constitution, the 1689 confession of faith and the Savoy declaration appendix.

 

B. Method of Becoming a Member:

  • any person who meets the above mentioned requirements and who faithfully attends will be considered a member of the church unless they state otherwise. Such a Christian will be entitled to all the privileges of church membership and will be expected to submit to the eldership. Those not wishing to do so are free to attend another church.

  • any believer who has been a member of another church may be questioned concerning his/her previous standing in that church. The elders of NRBC may investigate his standing in that church before he is accepted as a member in this church. Where it is possible and appropriate, a letter of transfer may be requested. Reception by transfer does not negate any of the requirements for becoming an accepted member of this assembly.

 

C. Termination of Membership:

  • membership is considered terminated by reason of no longer attending the church.

  • any member who is habitually absent from the stated meetings of the church without good reason for a period of two months or more, or is unwilling to settle matters of private offence with others in a Biblical manner, or requests severance of membership may be excluded from the membership of the church at the discretion of the elders, subject to the approval of the church membership and may even be considered a subject of church discipline depending on the circumstances.

  • it is right and in harmony with the Scriptures for the elders, upon approval of the congregation, to exclude from this church any person who persists in holding false doctrine, or who obviously and persistently lives inconsistently with his or her Christian profession, or who persists in disturbing the peace and unity of the Church (see Matthew 18:15ff; 1 Corinthians 5:1ff; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; Romans 16:17).

 

D. Privileges of Membership

Membership in this church includes the following privileges:

  • participation in the Lord's Supper (Acts 2:41-42; 1 Corinthians 11:18-26, 33).

  • attendance at, and appropriate participation in all church membership matters (Acts 6:1-6 {cf Acts 2:41; 4:4; 5:13-14}; 1 Corinthians 5:4-7; 13 {cf 1 Corinthians 1:2}).

  • labouring to extend God's Kingdom in the various ministries of the church as one's gifts, graces and calling make appropriate (1 Corinthians 12:4-27 {cf 1 Corinthians 1:2); Ephesians 4:7; 11-12; 16; 1 Peter 4:10-11).

  • submission to the committed oversight and care of the elders/pastors of the church (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2-3).

  • submission to the committed care and discipline (as needed) of the membership of the church (Acts 6:1-2 {cf Acts 2:41; 5:13-14; 9:26}; 1 Corinthians 5:4-5 {cf 1 Corinthians 1:2}; Galatians 6:10).

 

E. Expectations of Members

There are also biblical expectations upon every member:

  • all members are expected and encouraged to attend the corporate meetings of the church whenever possible.

  • each member is expected to regularly read the Bible and pray, and to tell others what God has done for them in Jesus Christ.

  • all members are expected to support the church financially as the Lord prospers them.

  • all the members of this church are required to obey the teachings of Scripture in respect to the life and government of the family.

  • it is the duty of every Christian, as an individual and as a member of a local church, to labour by prayer, word and deed for the extension of the kingdom of God in ever widening circles, beginning at home and stretching forth to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 54:1-3; Acts 1:8). Therefore, every member of this church is expected prayerfully to recognize and to seize every opportunity to bear witness to his faith in Christ, both by consistent Christian conduct and by the testimony of his lips.

  • each member of the church is required to render loyal obedience to all the moral precepts and principles of God's Word in his daily life (Romans 8:3, 4; 1 Corinthians 9:20, 21; James 2:12). If God has not condemned or forbidden a practice in His Word, a Christian is at liberty to participate in it. The exercise of Christian liberty, however, must at all times be governed by an earnest desire to walk in the fear of God and to glorify Him in all things (1 Peter 1:17; 1 Corinthians 10:31), a loving regard for the consciences of weaker brethren (1 Corinthians 8:9; Romans 15:1-3), a compassion for the lost (1 Corinthians 9:19-22), and a zealous regard for the health of one's own soul (Romans 13:14; 1 Cor. 6:12; 9:24- 27; Galatians 5:22, 23; 1 Peter 2:16).

  • all who come into the membership of this church are expected to recognize and to submit to the authority of the elders of the church (1 Corinthians 16:15,16; 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13; Hebrews 13:17). This responsibility will include willingly scheduling an oversight meeting with an elder(s) when requested.

  • we who have been joined to Christ by faith and are members of this church are also members one of another (Romans 12:5). With this privileged relationship come particular responsibilities. We must maintain mutual transparency and honesty (Ephesians 4:25). We must rejoice in each other's honour and bear one another's sorrows (1 Corinthians 12:26). We must discreetly confess our faults one to another (James 5:16). We must mutually oversee each other, faithfully admonish and encourage one another, avoid all backbiting and gossip, and keep in strict confidence all matters which the elders determine are of private concern to the church (Proverbs 11:13; Matthew 18:15ff; 1 Thessalonians 5:14, 15; Heb. 3:12, 13; 10:24, 25). Also, we must, when necessary, help meet the material needs of our brethren (Galatians 6:10; James 2:14-16; 1 John 3:16-18).

 

ARTICLE V: THE ORDINANCES.

A. Regarding the Lord’s Supper

All who profess faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour are welcome to join this church in taking of the Lord’s Supper in accordance with our doctrinal and church order standards. However, unbelievers must not partake otherwise they eat and drink judgment upon themselves.

 

B. Baptism

Following the direction of the Scriptures we practice baptism of believers by immersion. Any person who professes allegiance to and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is expected to be baptised by immersion as a public profession of faith and in obedience to Jesus Christ. This should be preformed as soon as practicable after coming to faith in Christ and having repented of sin.

 

ARTICLE V: OFFICERS IN THE CHURCH

A. General Statement

Jesus Christ alone is the Head of His Church (Colossians1:18). He has ordained that individual churches should be governed by Himself through officers whom He appoints, who are endowed by His Spirit with the gifts and graces needed to accomplish their work. Christ has ordained that local churches are to be administered by elders and deacons. Beside these two offices the Scriptures acknowledge no office which continues in the church today (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13).

 

B. General Prerequisites:

  • all officers of this church must be members of it.

  • any individual set apart to one of these offices must be able to conscientiously affirm his agreement with the church's Constitution, the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith and the appendix to the Savoy Declaration. If he should at any time move from this position, he would be under spiritual and moral obligation to immediately make that fact known to the elders in an orderly manner. Such a person will no longer be able to serve as an officer of this church.

  • while we acknowledge the valuable gifts which God has given women and the valuable assistance they may render to the officers of the church (Romans 16:1-6; Philippians 4:3; 1 Timothy 3:11), the Bible prohibits women from holding the office of elder in the church (1 Corinthians 14:33b-35; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; 3:1-7). Also, since it is a violation of the Scriptures for a woman to exercise authority over a man in spiritual things, no woman shall be appointed to a teaching or authoritative function in a ministry of the church where adult men would be regularly under her ministry. Nevertheless, we acknowledge and encourage the valuable gifts and assistance of women in the formal instruction of children and other women (Titus 2:3-5), in the informal instruction even of men (1 Corinthians 11:5; Acts 18:26), and in the benevolent ministries of the church (1 Timothy 3:11; 5:9, 10).

 

C. Elders:

  • those who have been called of God to rule and teach in the church are called elders, pastors or bishops. These are three interchangeable names designating one and the same office in a New Testament church (Acts 20:17, 28; Ephesians 4:11, 12; Titus 1:5, 7).

  • anyone desiring the office of an elder must evidence to God's people the personal, domestic and ministerial qualifications that are set forth in the Scriptures (1 Timothy 3:1- 7; Titus 1:5-9).

  • one crucial aspect of the elders' duties is personally overseeing the flock of God. Fulfilment of this duty shall include regularly and systematically meeting with each member of the church on at least an annual basis, except when physically impossible due to distance or illness.

  • elders will be maintained in material necessities and disentangled from the cares of another vocation according to their gifts, the needs and capability of the church, and the direction of Christ her Head (1 Timothy 5:17ff).

  • though a plurality of elders is the New Testament norm for every church, the New Testament does not specify the number of elders each church should have, nor does it dictate the length of an elder's term of office. One truly called to this office is usually called to it for life. He is a gift of Christ to the church. Only when an elder fails to meet the necessary Scriptural qualifications for his office does he disqualify himself from being an elder.

 

D. Deacons:

  • deacons are responsible primarily to administer the benevolent concerns of the church as well as its business affairs (Acts 6:1-4) and in other matters that free up the eldership to the Word and to prayer. They must fulfil the duties of their office in cooperation with, and in subjection to, the elders.

  • the number of deacons shall not be fixed. The church shall set apart according to its need those who evidence the Scriptural qualifications for that office (Acts 6:1-7; 1 Timothy 3:8-13).

 

E. Appointment of Officers

1. General Statement

The appointment of elders and deacons is the prerogative of the Lord Jesus Christ alone. However, He has ordained that each local church exercise the responsibility of recognizing those whom He is appointing to be elders and deacons in that particular church. Elders and deacons are ordained to office by the laying on of hands by the eldership (1 Timothy 4:14). This is an expression of approval for which the elders are responsible (1 Timothy 5:22). Therefore, each officer must have the approval, not only of the church as a whole, but of the eldership in particular. The Lord's appointment of an individual to either of these offices is recognized by means of that individual's possession of those graces and gifts required by Scripture for the particular office and his own conviction that the Lord is calling him to minister in that office. The recognition of officers is a matter of such importance that it should never be dealt with without much fasting and prayerful waiting upon God, an honest perusal of the relevant passages of Scripture, and a frank evaluation of those who are being considered. Each member of the church has a spiritual responsibility to be intelligently informed regarding these matters.

 

2. Procedure of Appointment

The recognition of those whom the Lord has appointed to bear office in this church is executed in three steps: nomination, recognition and ordination.

 

a. Nomination

  • nominations to either office are to be made by any member to the eldership at any time. This does not mean that such nominated candidates will be immediately considered as ‘officer material,’ but that the elders will consider the nominated person for suitability in reference to the Biblical qualifications for the nominated role.

  • it is the responsibility of the elders to assess all potential officers for eligibility for office before notifying the church for its recognition of that person to that particular office. If the nominated candidate is deemed unsuitable for office for whatever reason, the process of recognition and ordination is to be terminated.

  • the nominator shall be kept informed of the evaluation process in general terms at such times as the eldership deems required.

 

b. Recognition

  • any church meeting for the recognition of officers shall be announced on six consecutive Lord's Days previous to its being held to allow the membership to prayerfully consider the nominated candidate for office before his recognition to that office.

  • during this six week period, the membership will have opportunity to raise any valid Biblical objections to the recognition of the nominated candidate to the stated office. These must be taken up with the nominated candidate privately first, then directed to the eldership for further investigation. Should a valid objection be raised, the recognition and ordination process may be put on hold until investigation of the objections is completed, or it may even be terminated depending on the veracity of the objection.

  • the Lord’s Day previous to the recognition to office of the nominated candidate is to be given over to the prayerful consideration of the candidate to the nominated office. This will include an address on the office for which the candidate is being considered, as well as a time of discussion concerning the eligibility of the candidate to the office.

  • at the conclusion of the six week period, the eldership will officially recognize the nominated candidate on behalf of the church to the office for which he was nominated and announce the date for official ordination.

  • the church will then officially recognize the brother by both prayer and thanksgiving to God.

 

c. Ordination:

  • following the recognition of an officer there shall be a portion of a regular worship service set aside at which time the officer shall be ordained by the laying on of the hands of the eldership. This solemn act should always be accompanied by the special prayers of the whole church (Acts 13:1-3). The laying on of the elders' hands shall signify their recognition of an officer.

 

F. Term of Office:

  • officers shall hold office only as long as they meet the Biblical qualifications for their office in the esteem of the church.

  • there may arise reasons that would require an officer’s term of office to be reviewed. Such a review may be called by a majority of the elders (or a majority of the other elders in the case of an elder). The members may also request such a review. This request must be set forth in writing. It must be presented to the elders, who shall in a timely and constitutional way investigate the reason or reasons.

  • any meeting for the review of an officer shall be announced on two consecutive Lord's Days previous to its being held.

  • During the discussion at such a review meeting, the officer under consideration and members of his immediate family shall leave the presence of the church while the meeting is conducted. The Scriptural qualifications shall be read and expounded, and the officer's qualifications openly discussed in the fear of God and with due respect for the reputation of the officer. Any member who publicly suggests in such a meeting that the officer being reviewed is unqualified for his office must have previously spoken with the officer himself and informed the elders of the church of his concerns (1 Timothy 5:19). He must also present Biblical and factual warrant for his concerns at the review meeting. Just as it is wrong for a church to retain an officer who is not Biblically qualified, so also it is rebellion against the Head of the church to reject an officer for any but Biblical grounds. Additionally, any officer about whom such concerns are raised must be permitted, if he wishes, to return to the meeting and defend himself. The church should seek unity of mind concerning the matter, but should such unity not be fully realized, no fewer than 50% of those present shall be required to express confidence in the officer for the confirmation of an officer in his office. Any officer failing of confirmation no longer holds office in the church. This vote of confidence shall take place by the raising of hands; and the expression of confidence shall stand as it is first given. an officer may resign his office without prejudice if he does so in an orderly fashion and for good and valid reasons. This resignation together with its reasons and the date upon which he wishes his resignation to be effective shall be submitted in writing to the elders of the Church, who shall then announce it to the church on the next Lord’s Day.

 

G. Plurality of Elders

  • this Constitution assumes, and the norms of Biblical church order require, that a plurality of elders oversee this local church. Therefore, if at any period in the life of the church, there no longer exists a plurality of elders in office, the lone elder must continue alone only until such time as another elder is recognized.

 

ARTICLE VII: FINANCES

The organization of this church shall be carried on without purpose of financial gain for any of its members. Any profits or other financial gains to this church shall be used in promoting its objectives as outlined above.

This church depends on the prayers, personal services and the gifts of God's people.

The finances of the church shall be under the management of the deacons or of a person selected by the deacons, with the approval of the eldership.

At times when there are no deacons in office, the eldership may appoint a suitable person to manage the finances on behalf of the church.

 

ARTICLE VIII: AMENDMENTS

This constitution may be amended, modified or rescinded by the unanimous decision of the church after prayerful consideration. Such amendments must be submitted to the church two weeks prior to any meeting by a public and written announcement.

 

ARTICLE IX: CHURCH MEETINGS

A. The Annual Business Meeting

An annual business meeting of the church shall be held in May or June of each year. At this annual meeting, a report shall be given by the elders, which shall contain an account of the membership of the church. The status of those whose membership involves unusual circumstances will be reviewed. A financial report for the previous year and the proposed budget for the coming year shall also be presented. These reports including the proposed budget, shall be discussed by the church. Any suggested changes to the budget or other matters raised shall be reviewed by the deacons and elders of the church.

 

B. The Occasional Members Meetings

Church meetings may be called by the elders or when the majority of the church call for such a meeting. The request by the members must state the reason for the meeting and must be presented to the elders, who shall in turn make the proper announcement of the meeting. Every meeting shall be announced at regular services for at least two successive Sundays prior to a meeting taking place.

On occasion there may be a need for an immediate meeting to be held. This shall be called at the discretion of the elders and may only be called if it is absolutely necessary.

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UPDATED: 18 April 2014

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