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Constitution

PREAMBLE

 

We, the members of the International Baptist Church (Den internasjonale Baptistkirken), in order that the activities of our church may be conducted in an orderly manner do hereby establish the following rules and principles by which we mutually agree to be governed in the affairs of our church.

 

Article I

Name

 

The name of this church: International Baptist Church. The church will remain free of governmental institutions or home church boards.  International in that all nationalities are encouraged and invited to worship; Baptist, in that the church will adhere to traditional Baptist doctrines; and, a church of God, planted by God, nourished by God, directed by God, and dedicated to serve God according to His Word.

 

Article II

Purpose

 

The purpose of this church shall be to promote the worship of God by the preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ at home and abroad, trusting that as a result sinners shall be saved and believers edified.  Its purpose is further expressed in the “Church Covenant,” which shall be Article IV of this constitution.

 

Article III

Confession of Faith

 

I. Concerning the Scriptures

We believe that the 66 books of Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as originally written were God-breathed in every part.  We believe in verbal plenary inspiration, that is, that God superintended the very choice of words in the Holy volume.  We believe God, who is Truth, communicated through Spirit-controlled men so that the Scriptures are without error, admixture or omission, and therefore are authoritative in all they teach and in all matters they touch.  We believe the Bible is the supreme revelation of God’s will for man and constitutes the only infallible guide for faith and life.

 

II. Concerning the true God

We believe the Scriptures teach one God, the creator of heaven and earth that in the unity of the godhead there are three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, equal in being and essence and executing distinct and harmonious offices.

III. Concerning the Lord Jesus Christ

We believe the Scriptures teach that the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten and eternal Son of God, the creator of all things, was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He is very God of very God, being "God manifest in the flesh." He lived a life of absolute sinlessness and in His death made a full and vicarious atonement for our sins, dying not as a martyr, but as a voluntary substitute in the sinner's place. He rose from the dead on the third day and ascended bodily into heaven. He is coming again to rapture His saints, to set up the throne of David and to establish His kingdom.

IV. Concerning the Holy Spirit

We believe the Scriptures teach that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person possessing all the attributes of personality and of Deity. He is equal with the Father and the Son and is of the same nature. His relation to the unbelieving world is that He convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment. He is the agent of the new birth, and His work among believers is that He seals, indwells, infills, guides, strengthens, blesses, bears fruit, and teaches them the ways of righteousness. There is a unique work of the Holy Spirit in relation to the Body of Christ. We believe that the Holy Spirit endues believers with service gifts of administration, exhortation, giving, mercy, ministering, prophecy (preaching), teaching, evangelism, discernment, faith, knowledge, wisdom, etc. Talents are different from gifts, but they should still be used to the glory of God. We also believe that the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, faith, meekness and temperance) is the evidence of His indwelling.

V. Concerning man

We believe the Scriptures teach that man was created by a direct act of God and not from any previously existing form of life. By voluntarily transgression he fell from his state of innocence, in consequence of which all men are now sinners by nature from birth and by choice, utterly devoid of the holiness required by law, positively inclined to evil, and therefore under just condemnation to eternal punishment and everlasting existence separated from God without defence or excuse.

VI. Concerning salvation

We believe the Scriptures teach that salvation of sinners is divinely initiated, wholly of grace, and accomplished only through the mediatorial work of the Son of God, that it is wholly apart from works and is upon the sole condition of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and never without genuine repentance; that in order to be saved the sinner must be born again, being regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit through faith in God's Word and becoming the recipient of a new nature; that the great gospel blessing which Christ secures to such a belief in Him is justification, that judicial act of God accomplished by the pardon of sin and imputation of divine righteousness, not because of any works of righteousness on our part, but solely through faith in the blood of Christ; that the believer who has exercised personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is completely justified and in possession of a salvation which is eternally secure.

VII. Concerning the Church

We believe the Scriptures teach that the Church of Jesus Christ, distinct from Israel in the Old Testament, was inaugurated at Pentecost and must be considered in two aspects: the local church and "the church which is His body." The local church is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by a covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel, observing the ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, and exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by His Word. Its Scriptural officers are Pastors, sometimes called Bishops or Elders, and Deacons, whose qualifications, claims and duties are defined in the epistles to Timothy and Titus. God specifically assigned the headship and authority in the local church to men. This definition of the local church leads to the Scriptural distinctive:

  1. Sole authority of the Scriptures of faith and practice

  2. Believers' baptism by immersion before church membership

  3. Autonomy of the local church

  4. Two offices, Pastor (Elder, Bishop) and Deacon

  5. Two ordinances, baptism by immersion and the Lord's Table

  6. Individual priesthood of the believer

  7. Separation of church and state.

The "church which is His body," also called the Bride of Christ, is the entire company of believers in Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, regardless of denominational affiliation and present position in heaven or on earth.

VIII. Concerning baptism and the Lord's Supper

We believe the Scriptures teach that Christian baptism is the single immersion of a believer in water, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem his identification with the crucified, risen Savior, thus illustrating the believer's death to sin and his resurrection to a new life. It is after one trusts Christ as personal savior and a prerequisite to membership and privileges in a local church. We believe that the Lord's Supper is the commemoration of His death until He comes and should be preceded by solemn self-examination. Observance of the Lord's Supper is for believers only. The ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper must be observed under the discipline of the local church.

IX. Concerning the eternal state

We believe the Scriptures teach the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust. All those who through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will spend eternity in a literal Heaven in full enjoyment of God's presence and those who through impenitence and unbelief refused to accept God's offer of mercy will spend eternity in everlasting punishment in a literal Lake of Fire.

X. Concerning Satan

We believe the Scriptures teach that the devil is a real person who is "the god of this age" and "the prince of the power of the air," who is full of all subtlety, who seeks continually to frustrate the purposes of God and to ensnare the sons of men, who was conquered by Christ on the cross and condemned to everlasting punishment.

XI. Concerning the end times

We believe the Scriptures teach the imminent return of Jesus Christ just preceding the rapture of the church and the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is followed by the 7 year tribulation period, the return of Christ to earth, the binding of Satan temporarily and a literal millennial (1000-year) kingdom. Still following will be a loosening of Satan briefly and Satan's final defeat and confinement in the Lake of Fire. We also believe the Scriptures teach after this will be the Great White Throne judgment where the unsaved are judged and cast into the Lake of Fire forever; old creation is destroyed and a new Heaven and a new earth are created and the saved in Christ will enjoy Eternity in a literal Heaven.

XII. Concerning personal separation

We believe the Scriptures teach that every believer should be separated unto God from the world, and by the aid of the Holy Spirit, should walk in Christian love and holiness, exhibiting qualities of honesty, integrity, forgiveness and loving-kindness. We further believe that any achievement in these characteristics will be evidenced by sincere humility and genuine zeal for the advancement of the cause of Christ. We also believe the Scriptures admonish every believer not to love the world or the things in the world, but rather to flee evil desires, avoid every kind of evil and refrain from practices which destroy one's testimony, offend one's brother and fail to glorify God.

 

XIII. Concerning ecclesiastical separation

We believe the Scriptures teach that the believer and the local church should be separated from apostasy as exemplified in ecclesiastical organizations which include those who sanction theological compromise. This doctrine is based upon God's eternal principle of division between truth and error, and His specific command to be separated from unbelievers and disobedient brethren. This truth is to be practiced with an attitude of devotion to God, humility, compassion, and yet with conviction, to create the proper condition and atmosphere of God. We believe ecumenical evangelism which involves apostates violates the principles taught in God's Word.

 

ARTICLE IV

CHURCH COVENANT

 

Having been led as we believe by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized by immersion in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we do now in the presence of God and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter Into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.

We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to, walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church, In knowledge, holiness and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain Its, worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines, to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, and the expenses of the church and to promote the spread of the gospel through all nations.

 

We also engage to maintain family and private devotions; to rear our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, to seek the salvation of our family and friends, to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements and exemplary in our behavior; to avoid all tattling, backbiting and sinful anger, and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.

 

We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of the Savior to secure it without delay.

 

We moreover engage that when we move from this place, we will, as soon as possible unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God's Word.

 

Humbly confessing our sins, we pray for grace and strength to keep this covenant in

letter and In spirit to the glory of God.

 

 

ARTICLE V

MEMBERSHIP

 

SECTION I

A person may become a full member of this church in one of four (4) ways:

  1. Admission by Baptism: Any person professing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and accepting the confession of Faith, Covenant and views of this constitution, may upon baptism by immersion, be received into the membership of this church.

  2. Admission by letter: Members of churches of like faith may be received into membership upon their testimony of Christian faith and baptism by immersion, and letter of recommendation.

  3. Admission by Restoration: A former member of this church whose membership has elapsed for any reason, may be restored to membership of this church only by: repentance and public confession of the sin (or sins) against the church of Jesus Christ, and by following the constitutional procedure for membership of this church.

  4. Admission by Experience: Any person who is not a member of another church of like faith, but who has been baptized by immersion, upon public profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and having accepted the Confession of Faith, Covenant, and views of this constitution, may be received into membership of this church by virtue of his/her experience.

 

 

SECTION II

Membership procedure: Persons desiring to be united with this church shall be counseled by the Pastor and/or the deacons. Upon their recommendation the person’s name shall then be presented to the church at any regular worship service at which time a short testimony of salvation may be given. Immediately following, the full members shall then vote on the person being considered. The vote must be by majority of those present.

 

SECTION III

Dismissal to other churches: A church letter of recommendation may be granted for any member in good standing who wishes to unite with a church of like faith and practice upon recommendation of the Pastor and Deacon Fellowship and upon a majority vote at any regular or special business meeting. Such letters shall be sent to the church that the member seeks to join.

 

SECTION IV

Active membership of this church: All full members who manifest spiritual interest in the welfare of this church by regular attendance shall be classed as active members. All who without reasonable excuse (being determined by the Pastor and Deacons) do not regularly attend the services of this church for a period of four (4) months, may be placed on an inactive list without voting privileges. Any member who has been placed on an inactive list shall again be classified as active upon his/her renewed interest and regular attendance for a period of two (2) months. However, if no interest is shown within a period of one (1) year, the name shall be removed from the membership of this church.

 

SECTION V

Non-resident members: Members who become non-resident shall be retained on the church roll for a period of one (1) year; after which time they shall cease to be members, and shall be so advised by the church clerk, if address is known. This rule will not apply to students away in school, persons in the military service who will return, or missionaries. Other exceptions to the  above policy can be made only by special arrangements with the Pastor.

 

SECTION VI

Discipline of members: The matter of discipline of the membership shall be in the hands of the Pastor and Deacons, but in cases of expulsion from membership, final action must be taken by the church members. No member shall ever be expelled until every effort has been made, including if physically possible, personal visits to reclaim him or her for Christ and the church.

 

Matters for discipline shall be:

  1. Public sins or sin known by the church or general public.

  2. Holding and persistently propagating false doctrine.

  3. Any persistent failure to abide by the church covenant.

An excluded member can be received back into membership only after following the procedure of Section I, Article V, of this constitution.

 

All discipline of members and between individuals shall be done according to the Scriptures. Matthew 18:15-17 and Galatians 6:1-2 must be followed in all matters of this sort.

 

SECTION VII

Voting qualifications: All full members eighteen (18) years or older shall be ­eligible for voting on matters of business concerning the church provided they are In good standing in accordance with this constitution and present at the time of business transacted.

 

Proxy voting shall be permitted where a member has written consent in the form of a Proxy Note from another member. The Church Secretary, or nominated assistant, shall issue one ballot paper in exchange for each Proxy note. A proxy note may be sent by e-mail to the voter’s nominee.

 

ARTICLE VI

OFFICERS

The officers of this church shall consist of: Pastor, Deacons, Treasurer and Church Clerk/Secretary. All the officers of this church shall be full members in good standing of this church, not given to much wine (1 Timothy 3:8, KJV), from the use of tobacco, and from unprescribed narcotics, understanding that they are harmful to their bodies and their witness. Other officers may be created from time to time as may be deemed necessary. No person shall be of more than two (2) of the above offices at one time.

 

SECTION I: PASTOR

The pastor shall be elected for an indeterminate term. Notice of the proposed choice of Pastor shall be given from the pulpit for two (2) successive Sundays preceding the election. Voting shall be by ballot and two-thirds (2/3) of the votes cast shall be required for election.

 

The Pastor shall give the church a notice in writing not less than thirty (30) days prior to his resignation, should he ever choose to discontinue as Pastor.

 

The church may, by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of its membership, declare the pulpit vacant at a called meeting which has been announced for two (2) successive Sundays prior to the meeting. The Pastor shall have then thirty (30) days to vacate the same.

 

The Pastor, in cooperation with the Deacon Fellowship, shall assume the spiritual oversight of the church. He shall be a member ex-officio of all boards, fellowships and committees with voting privileges. It shall be the duty of the Pastor to preach and teach the Word of God, administer the ordinances, disciple the Deacons as to their duties, perform the baptisms, and to perform the other duties incumbent to his office.

The Pastor shall be relieved from all duties of the church for four weeks of every year for vacation and during times of furlough. In the temporary absence of the Pastor, the Pastor and Deacons shall determine the pulpit supply.

The qualifications of the Pastor are those given in 1 Timothy 3:1-7-and Titus 1:5-9.

 

SECTION II: DEACON FELLOWSHIP

The church shall elect Deacons from its membership at its annual meeting, each of whom shall serve for two years. In order to maintain continuity, the term of office shall be so arranged that one-half (½) of the deacons will be elected each year while the other one-half (½) shall continue another year. The number of deacons may vary from year to year according to the need of the church and according to the availability of qualified men. The names of those nominated shall be presented to the church for approval. Voting shall be by ballot and a majority vote of 2/3 of the members present is required.  A deacon, upon successful re-election, may serve unlimited consecutive terms of office.

 

It shall be the duty of the Deacon Fellowship to:

  1. Serve as an advisory board to work with the pastor in superintending all the affairs of the church.

  2. Assist the Pastor In guarding and fostering the Spiritual life of the church.

  3. Prepare the elements and table for the Lord's Supper and assist in the serving of the same.

  4. Assist the Pastor in administering baptism and in the spiritual supervision of the church.

  5. Help the Pastor examine all candidates for church membership (both full and associate candidates), recommending to the church such as they consider eligible for church membership.

  6. Attend to the necessities of the poor.

  7. Act as pulpit committee when the church is without a Pastor.

  8. Elect a chairman from their number who shall act as church moderator in the absence of the Pastor.

  9. Be at all times servants of the church and subject to its corporate actions.

  10. To oversee all business in connection with the holding, handling and improving the church property and shall disburse all funds as directed by the church.

The qualifications of a Deacon are those given in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.

 

SECTION Ill: TREASURER

At each annual meeting the church shall elect a treasurer from its membership. He shall keep an accurate record of all moneys received into the church and shall deposit same in the bank for the church, and shall keep accurate records of all expenditures of the same money. The treasurer shall give a full report to the church at each annual meeting and as the membership may by majority vote call for it. The treasurer shall make proper disbursements of the moneys received.

 

SECTION 1V: CHURCH CLERK/SECRETARY

The church shall elect a church clerk (or secretary) from its membership at each annual meeting for the ensuing year. He/she shall record accurate and complete minutes of the business meetings of the church, keep a current registrar of all members of the church, write letters of dismissal and perform such other particular duties as may be prescribed by the church. In the absence of the church clerk (or secretary) the moderator shall appoint a temporary clerk who shall record the business at hand and give the same to the elected church clerk (or secretary).

 

ARTICLE VII

FINANCES

 

The fiscal year shall begin on January 1, and end on the following December 31st.

 

No money shall be raised by the church or an auxiliary organization except by free will offerings.

 

No financial obligations shall be placed on the church either as a mortgage, note, or outstanding bill unless money is in hand to meet the same, or proper action taken as a corporate act of the church.

 

ARTICLE VIII

MISSIONS AND AGENCIES

 

It shall be the policy of this church to work with or cooperate only with churches, missions and agencies that are In agreement with our Confession of Faith, both in doctrine and in practice.

 

ARTICLE IX

BUSINESS MEETINGS

 

The annual business meeting shall be held in two phases:

  1. The annual business meeting for the sole purpose of electing officers shall be held during the month of November. The date of election shall be announced not less than two (2) Sundays prior to the election. All newly elected officers shall take office on January 1. In the case of omission in the holding of the annual business meeting as mentioned above, the meeting shall be called and held on the earliest available date thereafter.

  2. There shall be an annual business meeting of the church during the month of April, or before if possible, for the purpose of transacting all business for the fiscal year. The date of election shall be announced not less than two (2) Sundays prior to the business meeting. The fiscal year starts on January 1. In case of omission in holding this annual meeting as mentioned above, the meeting shall be held on the earliest available date thereafter.

 

Special business meetings can be called at any time provided that public notice is given of the same on the Lord's Day preceding the special meeting, with the exception of the meeting called for calling or dismissing a Pastor or Deacon, which shall be given public announcements for two (2) preceding Sundays.

 

Quorum.  No meeting will be deemed valid for the purpose of making any changes to this Constitution or the procedures described therein unless at least one third (1/3) of the church’s members are present, either in person or by proxy.

ARTICLE X

AMENDMENTS

These above articles may be changed or amended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote at any regular business meeting, provided, however, that written notice of such change shall have been proposed and read at a regular business meeting of the church, at least one month previous; and provided, also that such alteration shall not conflict with the articles of incorporation of this church.

 

ARTICLE XI

THE CHURCH BOARD

In order to comply with the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises (Brønnøysundregisteret), the church board shall comprise the following elected officers:

  1. Chairman

  2. Manager

  3. Committee Members.

There shall be one (1) Chairman, one (1) Manager, and preferably two (2) Committee Members. These board members, who have signatory responsibility, shall be proposed by the church officers (as defined in Article VI of this constitution). Members of the Board may or may not be church officers per se, but shall be persons of experience and responsibility who are currently active in the church. Nominees shall be presented to the church for approval at a constituted business meeting. Voting shall be by ballot and a majority vote of the members present is required.

The members of the board may each serve for an unspecified period, so long as they continue as active members of the church or until deemed unsuitable for such positions of responsibility.

 

ARTICLE XII

THE DISSOLUTION OF THE CHURCH

 

Church funds have been raised in Norway and may only be transferred to another Christian organization or church in Norway. If the church cannot continue its missionary work in Norway, all assets shall be transferred to New Tribes Mission (NTM), at Valderøy, Norway. Should NTM’s theological point of view differ from that of IBC, then another mission will be selected.  

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