The Constitution of the International Baptist Church, an orthodox Christian association

We agree to live our corporate life according to the following rules.

1. The Name of the Church

This fellowship of believers shall be known as the International Baptist Church, an orthodox Christian association (IBC), and shall function according to the laws of all governing authorities and by the rules recorded in the IBC Constitution.

2. The Purpose of the IBC

The purpose of the IBC is to make disciples of all nations by ministering the gospel to all nations in Boston.

3. The Membership Covenant of the IBC

Since we have been brought together by God, and are joined together by our common relationship to Jesus Christ as our Savior and our mutual desire to serve Him faithfully as our Lord, we do now both solemnly and joyfully commit ourselves to each other as a body of baptized believers forming a New Testament local church.

We commit to live daily by the strength and guidance of God’s Holy Spirit, and to search the Scriptures regularly and faithfully for guidance in personal, family and church life. We will seek the salvation of souls, for whom Christ died. We will work to build up the Body of Christ in faith, hope and love, and will each of us function within the Body according to the gifts given by God for the benefit of the Church.

We commit to continually work to put away from us the thoughts and behavior of the “old life,” and instead live more and more the “Christ life.” We will do all things to the glory of God and in the name of the Lord Jesus. We will exercise our Christian liberty in such a way as not to grieve, offend, or cause our brother or sister to stumble, and will recognize the Bible as the final authority in all relationships with one another.

In order to accomplish these goals, we commit to give the local church a sacred priority over all institutions of human origin, and to consider the local church an essential part of our lives. We will pray for, encourage and submit to the rightful authority of church leadership, will attend its meetings, will financially support its ministry as God enables and directs, and will guard its public testimony. In any way possible, we will work to further its goals of communicating the gospel and making disciples of people of all nations.

This covenant we make gladly, in humble dependence upon the Spirit of God for help to fulfill these commitments.

4. The IBC Statements of Beliefs

This statement of faith is intended to help the IBC be a gospel-centered church, able to effectively minister to the world that is in Boston.

The Bible — The Bible is the record of God’s plan of salvation.

We believe in the verbal inspiration by God of the entire Bible, as contained in the original manuscripts of the Old and New Testament Scriptures, and that the original manuscripts are trustworthy and without error.

God — God, as Trinity, is the origin of all relationships, and is the One who seeks to restore the relationship between Himself and people.

We believe the one true and living God is Trinity. He is one in essence, but with three eternal, personal distinctions. These are revealed to us as Father, Son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit, who are equal in every divine perfection. They perform distinct roles, yet consistently work together in perfect relationship.

God is the creator of all things, and created people in His image to have fellowship with Him. Because of sin, the perfect relationship between God and man was broken. But God is seeking to restore the relationship through the work of the Trinity.

The Father — Within the Trinity, the Father is the leader in restoring the broken relationship between people and God.

We believe that the Father is the head of the Trinity. As the Father, God has a special relationship with the Son, with the Holy Spirit, and with humanity. The Father sent His unique Son to be the Savior of the world. The Holy Spirit, with His life-giving ministries, is said to proceed from the Father. While God is the creator of all humanity, He is the personal Father to those who believe in Him and in His Son, Jesus Christ. This is why we address God as “Father” in our prayers.

Jesus Christ — Jesus brought salvation to people by dying and then being raised from the dead.

We believe that Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, has always existed. His human body was supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit and born in Bethlehem of the virgin Mary. He is one Person possessing two natures, and so He is both fully God and fully man at the same time. Because of this, He lived a sinless life and was able to offer Himself as the perfect sacrifice. He died in our place, taking the punishment for our sins. He then physically came back to life, and went back up into Heaven. There He is seated on the right hand of God, appealing to God on behalf of those who believe in Him. He will return to the earth one day, in keeping with His promises.

The Holy Spirit — The Spirit is the giver of salvation who draws men back to God.

We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity. He has been and will continue to be active throughout eternity. He inspired the writing of the Bible. Today, the Holy Spirit is in the world convincing people of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. He is also calling out a people for God from among all people groups.

He regenerates those who believe, places them into the body of Christ, lives within them, and produces in them the fruit of the Spirit. He calls individuals believers to Christian service, and helps and guides them in that service. Although, by the time the New Testament Scriptures were written the revelatory (sign) gifts had ceased, the Holy Spirit continues to supernaturally gift believers for the building up of the body of Christ (the church).

Creation — God created all things in order to extend His life and love to the people He created.

We accept the Genesis account as being an historical record — that God created all things and that originally He created all things as good. We believe that God made all things in six literal days. Creation was meant to show the glory of God and to be a blessing to the creatures God created.

The Spirit Realm — Angels are beings created by God who try to either help or prevent the salvation of man.

We believe that God created an innumerable company of spirit beings known as angels. Many of these angels continue in their holy state and are the ministers of God. However, Lucifer (now known as Satan, the Devil or the Evil One) and many other angels rebelled against God. These fallen angels still continue to oppose God and His work of redemption, even though Jesus’ death and resurrection will ultimately lead to their defeat.

Man — Man, created in God’s image, is the central focus of God’s salvation.

We believe that man was created in the image of God. In the beginning, Adam, the first man, enjoyed a perfect relationship with his Creator. However, Adam chose to disobey God. Because of his disobedience, Adam’s relationship with God was broken, and he came under the sentence of death.

Because of the unity of the human race, and because all people are physically descended from Adam, everyone (with the exception of Jesus Christ) is born with an inclination toward sin. This sinful disposition, or nature, has caused each of us to disobey and dishonor God. Because of this, we all deserve the consequences of sin: physical death, separation from God, broken relationships with other people, and personal, psychological problems. However, since people are made in the image of God, we remain valuable to God. While there is nothing anyone can do to earn salvation, God’s work throughout history has been to provide salvation to all people by restoring the broken relationships between God and man.

Sin — Sin has broken our relationship with God.

We believe that every person sins. Sin is any action, thought or motive that goes against the moral character of God. We believe that sin entered history when Lucifer rebelled against God. Sin entered human history when Eve, Adam’s wife, followed the advice of the Evil One, and she and Adam disobeyed God. As a result of their sin, mankind’s relationship with God was broken. Throughout all of history, all of the problems and tragedies of the world are a result of this first sin. This is why we need the gospel — to fix our relationship with God.

Salvation — The gospel, accepted by grace through faith, is the only way of salvation.

Salvation is the complete restoration, or repairing, of the relationship between God and man. Grace is the unmerited, or undeserved, gift of God. We believe that salvation is only possible by the grace of God, through the death of Jesus Christ.

Because God is righteous, He requires that sin must be punished. Jesus fulfilled this requirement by dying in our place. He took the penalty of death that we deserved, completely paying the price for our sins. When we trust that Jesus died for us, God declares that we are righteous, Jesus covers us with His righteousness, and our relationship with God is restored. Even though we still sin, God will never punish us for our sins, because of the work of Christ on our behalf. As Christians, our relationship with God is eternally secure and can never be broken again. However, God continues to work in the lives of Christians to change them, over time, to be more like Jesus Christ.

Salvation is made effective to us only when we place our personal faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation is not something we can earn through doing good things, but is possible only by the grace of God.

Sanctification — God is at work in the lives of Christians, helping each of them to grow into an abundant and worthwhile life.

We believe that there is a progressive, or ongoing, sanctification, which allows Christians to become and act more like Christ. Just as we are saved through our faith and trust in Christ, we are also being conformed, or changed, by our faith and trust into the image of Christ. As we obey God and allow the Holy Spirit to work within us, He will help us to live our lives the way that God intends us to as Christians.

When Christ returns for His Church, each Christian will be fully and finally sanctified. Throughout eternity, every aspect of our lives will be in perfect relationship with God. Dispensations — Understanding God’s instructions for this age enables us to effectively proclaim the gospel.

Dispensations are periods of time in which God gives people certain responsibilities. These responsibilities are intended to help man in his relationships with God and God’s creation. We believe that God uses the dispensations to bring about His ultimate purpose on earth — the removal of sin and death, and the restoration of all things. Dispensations are not ways of salvation. Salvation has always been by grace through faith.

Although several dispensations cover the entire history of mankind, only three of these (Israel and the Old Testament Law, the current Church age, and a future 1,000-year kingdom) are thoroughly covered in the Bible. Understanding the unique nature of the Church age, in which God is using individual churches to spread the gospel to the world, enables Christians to be effective gospel witnesses.

The Church — The Church acts as God’s ambassador of salvation to all people.

We believe that the Church is a living body, established by Christ, in which Christians may become all that God desires them to be. As Christians grow and mature spiritually, the Church itself also is unified, built up and matured. In this way, both Christians and the Church are perfected together.

There is both a universal and individual aspect to the Church. The Universal Church is made up of all those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior during this Church-age dispensation. The Church will continue to grow and expand, as people become Christians, until Jesus Christ draws all believers to Himself, which happens at the end of the Church age. We believe that individual churches are gatherings of believers who desire to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Churches are organized for the purposes of united worship, fellowship, administration of the ordinances (baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper), edification, discipline, and effective promotion of the work of Christ throughout the world. Within each church, Christ is the supreme Head. Each member has direct access to God, and has the ability and responsibility to seek His will. God has established the offices of pastor and deacon to provide oversight and care for the church. Since every Christian has direct access to God, and has the privilege to seek His will, the business of the church is decided by the entire membership of the church. Each individual church is directly responsible to Christ. Although there is great value in fellowship and cooperation with other churches of similar/like convictions, we believe that churches should not limit their ability to share the life of Christ by ministering with those who are compromising gospel-centered truth.

When disputes arise between believers within an individual church, we do not believe that matters should be taken to civil court. Disputes should be settled within the church, as all believers in Christ are brothers and sisters in the Lord.

The Family — God has designed the family to provide humanity with its most important loving and nurturing relationships.

We believe that God as Trinity created the family as a primary way of communicating His goodness, and in order to provide caring and nurturing relationships. God designed the family based upon the marriage of one man to one woman. Sexual activity outside of a publicly recognized, biblically defined marriage is in violation of God’s will. Children are a good and natural result of a loving relationship between a married man and woman, with marriage providing a safe and stable relationship in which children may be raised in the nurture and discipline of the Lord. Both the family and the church, as the family of God, are to protect children from physical or sexual abuse.

Civil Government — Christians cooperate with civil government for the purpose of caring for the needs of people.

We believe that God gave us civil government in order to ensure a just and fair society. Therefore, it is important for Christians to interact with government and to submit to all civil authorities. God has directed that individual churches be a blessing to the world, and so churches should cooperate with civil authorities as they both work for the good of people. However, civil government should not take over the God-given role of the church.

The Future — Christians will never be judged for their sins, and will experience the fullness of their salvation in the Kingdom.

We believe that the Bible explains what will happen in the future. These future events include the Rapture (when all the Church will be gathered together to be with Jesus Christ), followed by the Tribulation (a time of God’s judgment on the world), the Kingdom (the literal one thousand-year rule of Jesus Christ on earth), and finally the Eternal State (when God’s children will live forever with Him, and nonbelievers will spend eternity apart from God). For Christians, the historical account of God and His relationship with man will end where it began: the perfect relationship between God and man is permanently restored and the curse of sin is removed forever. However, the unbelieving of all ages will suffer eternal punishment.

5. Membership of the IBC

Any individual who has received Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, followed the Lord in believer’s baptism, and agrees with the statements of beliefs of the IBC, and who is endeavoring to live a consistent Christian life may join the IBC; membership shall never be denied to any person on the basis of race, color, sex or social status. Individuals are accepted into membership by a majority vote of the members present at an official meeting of the IBC.

Members who are eighteen years of age or older, and who are physically present at a business meeting of the church, shall be entitled to vote. All voting will be open and transparent.

If a member becomes biblically heretical (divisive) or displays conduct contrary to the IBC Constitution or the clear teachings of the Bible, they will be subject to church discipline. Discipline will proceed according to the directions found in the Matthew 18:15–17. Therefore, when needed, a deacon or pastor will meet with the offending member, seeking to bring him into harmony with God, the Bible and the church constitution. If there is not a positive response, then two deacons, or a pastor and a deacon will meet with the offending member to seek reconciliation once more. If this fails, the pastor and deacons will bring the matter to the church membership for church discipline. Individuals who do not respond to church discipline will be removed from the membership of the church by a majority vote of the congregation. This is also true of those members who are no longer regularly involved in the services and ministries of the IBC. Church discipline resulting in membership removal will be managed by the pastor and deacons, but must be approved by the church body meeting corporately. The pastor and deacons will review the membership list once a quarter in order to keep it current.

6. The Officers of the IBC

Pastor

The pastor is responsible for the overall care and administration of the church. He must meet the qualifications found in 1Timothy 3:1–7. A pastor may be installed or removed by 75% of voting members present at an official business meeting. Such a vote may occur after at least two weeks notice to the voting membership of the church.

Assistant to the Pastor

By a majority vote of the members present at an official business meeting of the IBC, the congregation may establish the office of Assistant Pastor, along with the appropriate remuneration. It is the pastor’s responsibility to select his assistant. After receiving counsel from the deacons, the pastor may dismiss his assistant. The assistant pastor is directly accountable to the senior pastor.

Deacons

The deacons are the servants of the church. They serve the church by assisting the pastor in his administration of the church. The deacons are the legal trustees of the IBC. A member of the IBC may be elected to the deaconate if he meets the qualifications found in 1Timothy 3:8–13. A majority vote of voting members present at an official business meeting elects a deacon to a one-year term of service. A 75% majority of voting members present at an official business meeting removes an individual from serving as deacon.

The Pastor and Deacons

The pastor, with the help of the deacons, will administrate the ministries and business of the church, appointing individuals to various responsibilities as needed. At the annual business meeting, the pastor and deacons will provide the church with a list of individuals qualified to be deacons. The financial officer of the church will be selected from the deacons by the pastor and deacons. The financial officer will recommend to the deacons and pastor, for their approval, a treasurer, a financial secretary and any other assistant needed to fulfill his duties. The pastor and deacons will appoint a church clerk. Only members of the church are eligible to serve in an official capacity of the church.

7. Business Meetings

The official year of the church shall begin January 1st and end December 31st. The church will meet in January for the election of officers and the transaction of other business. Quarterly meetings will also be held in April, July and October, at times set by the pastor and deacons. At each quarterly business meeting, financial reports will be provided to the church. All business meetings will be communicated to the membership of the church two weeks before they occur. There must be at least 20% of eligible voting members present to do the business of the church.

Special business meetings may be called by the pastor and deacons or upon the written request to the pastor and deacons of four voting members. The purpose and intent of the meeting shall be stated in the request, and the business shall be limited by the stated intent of the meeting. There must be at least two weeks notice given before a special business meeting may be convened.

The pastor and deacons will manage the church business meetings, and have the right to review and make recommendations concerning all items of business.

8. Finances

The fiscal year of the church shall begin on January 1 and end on December 31. The IBC ministries shall be financed through the giving of Christians. Additional monies may be borrowed when approved by vote of the church. The annual church budget will be presented to the congregation for approval. The financial officer shall be responsible for the orderly conduct of the church finances. Finances shall be managed according to the policies and procedures manual.

9. Indemnification

Indemnity Clause

Members of this church agree not to pursue civil litigation against this corporation, its members, its officers, its paid staff, its deacons or its pastor(s).

Insurance

The church may purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of any person who is or was a pastor, deacon, officer, employee or agent of the church against any liability asserted against him and incurred by him in that capacity, or arising out of his status in that capacity, whether or not the church would have the power to indemnify him against liability under the provisions of this Article.

Actions Subject to Indemnification

The church may indemnify any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action, suit, or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative, or investigative, including all appeals (other than an action by or in the right of the church) by reason of the fact that the person is or was a pastor, deacon, officer, employee or agent of the church, against expenses, including attorneys’ fees, judgments, fines, and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by him in connection with the action, suit or proceeding, and if that person acted in good faith and in a manner he reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the church and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe his conduct was unlawful.

The determination shall be made (a) by a majority vote of a quorum consisting of the pastor and deacons who were not and are not parties to or threatened with the action, suit or proceeding; (b) if the described quorum is not obtainable or if a majority vote of a quorum of disinterested deacons so directs, by independent legal counsel in a written opinion; or© by a majority vote of the members of the church.

Timing of indemnification

Expenses of each person seeking indemnification under this Article may be paid by the church as they are incurred, in advance of the final disposition of the action, suit or proceeding, as authorized by the board of deacons in the specific case, on receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of the pastor, deacon, officer, employee or agent to repay the amount if it is ultimately determined that he or she is not qualified to be indemnified by the church.

Extent of indemnification

The indemnification provided by this Article shall be deemed to be discretionary unless otherwise required as a matter of law or under any agreement or provided by insurance purchased by the church.

10. Binding Arbitration

Submission to Arbitration

Believing that lawsuits between believers are prohibited by Scripture, all members of the IBC agree to submit to binding arbitration any matters which cannot otherwise be resolved between members of the IBC, and expressly waive any and all rights in law and equity to bringing any civil disagreement between members of the IBC before a court of law, except that judgment upon the award rendered by the arbitrator may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof.

Notice of Arbitration

In the event of any dispute, claim, question or disagreement arising out of or relating to this constitution or any other church matter, the parties shall use their best efforts to settle such disputes, claims, questions or disagreement as befits Christians. To this effect, they shall consult and negotiate with each other in good faith and, recognizing their mutual interests not to disgrace the name of Christ, seek to reach a just and equitable solution. If they do not reach such solution within a period of sixty (60) days, then upon notice by either party to the other, disputes, claims, questions or differences shall be finally settled by mediation and/or arbitration as described above, and such Procedures for Arbitration as are adopted pursuant to the information below.

Limitation on Arbitration Decisions

Should any dispute involve matters of church discipline, the arbitrators shall be limited to determining whether the procedures for church discipline as outlined above were followed. Should any dispute involve the removal from office of the pastor or any church officer, the arbitrators shall be limited to determining whether the procedures set forth in this constitution were followed.

Arbitration Procedures

The procedures for arbitration shall be as adopted by the pastor and the deacons of this church.

11. Amendments

This constitution may be amended by a75% majority vote of members present at an official business meeting of the IBC. Two weeks must be allowed for every voting member to consider the proposed changes.

12. Dissolution

Based upon the recommendation of the pastor and deacons, the IBC may be dissolved by a majority vote of the membership present at an official business meeting. Upon the dissolution of the IBC, the trustees shall, after paying or making provision for payment of all the liabilities of the IBC, dispose of all of the assets of the IBC to organizations which are in agreement with its Statement of Faith, and are operated exclusively for charitable, educational, or religious purposes.

Adoption

This constitution was adopted by the Charter Members of the IBC on 11/17/2013.