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SECTION 1 – Name

                The name of this church shall be Pine Level Baptist Church, Inc. of Grady County, Georgia.


SECTION II – Declaration

                This church is a congregation of baptized believers in Christ, the Son of God; united by covenant for the worship of our Heavenly Father, Almighty God, and associated in the faith and the fellowship of the Gospel, to practice its precepts, to recognize and receive Jesus Christ as their supreme Law-Giver and Ruler, and to take the Bible and the Bible alone, as the standard by which all matters of belief and conduct are to be tried. 

                This church shall subscribe to The Baptist Faith and Message adopted June 14, 2000, by the Southern Baptist Convention.  We are Baptist because we believe that Baptists stand for certain distinctive truths to which other denominations do not necessarily adhere.  Because of this, we voluntarily cooperate with Southern Baptists worldwide for the purpose of maximum mobilization and effectiveness in evangelistic, education, missionary and benevolent ministries.  We also seek to lovingly and supportively cooperate with others who are committed to the Lord Jesus Christ and the same Biblical doctrines we hold to.  The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 does not exhaust the extent of our faith.  The Bible, itself, is the sole and final source of all we believe.  We do believe, however, that The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 accurately represents the teaching of the Bible and therefore is expected of all members.  All literature used in this church shall be in complete agreement with these articles of faith. 

                This church recognizes and adheres to the Holy Bible as the inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God as the sole authority for our faith and practice.  All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the only means of salvation and eternal life, and who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.

                This church being autonomous, maintains the right to govern its own affairs, independent of any denominational control.  Recognizing, however, the benefits of cooperation with other churches of like faith and order, we voluntarily affiliate with the Southern Baptist Convention, Georgia Baptist Mission Board, and the Grady County Baptist Association.

                We believe the term “marriage” has only one meaning and that is marriage sanctioned by God, which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture.  We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other.  We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. 

                We further believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography, or any attempt to change one’s sex or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God.  We believe that a person’s gender identity is determined in their biological birth as the Bible describes male or female only. 

                We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a Biblical role model to the church members and community, it is imperative that all members and persons employed by the church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide and agree to the preceding expression of belief on marriage and sexuality, and conduct themselves accordingly.  Furthermore, we reserve the right and responsibility to apply biblical discipline as described in MATTHEW 18:15-17. 

                We affirm God’s original design to create two distinct and complementary sexes, male and female, to glorify him.  (GEN 1:27; ISA 43:7; MATT 19:4-6; MK 10:6).  Marriage is the first divine institution, essentially rooted in the created order, uniting one man and one woman in an exclusive covenant commitment for their joint lifetime, for their good and for the good of any children who may be conceived and born into this union, or adopted.  (GEN 1:28; 2:19-24; MALACHI 2:13-16; MK 10:11-12).

                The assignment of biological sex at birth is a gift of God and part of God’s glory in creation.  The fall of man into sin and God’s subsequent curse have introduced brokenness and futility into God’s creation (GEN 3:1-24; ROM 8:20).  We extend love and compassion to those whose experience in this brokenness includes a perceived conflict between their biological sex and their gender identity (ROM 8:22-23).  We affirm God’s good design that gender identity is determined by biological sex and not by one’s self-perception – a perception which is influenced by fallen human nature in ways contrary to God’s design (EPH 4:17-18).  We affirm distinctions in masculine and feminine roles as ordained by God as part of His created order, and those distinctions should find an echo in every human heart (GEN 2:18, 21-24; 1 COR 11:7-9; EPH 5:22-33). 

                We believe that efforts to live contrary to birth sex, whether by behavior, attire, cosmetics, or even medical or surgical therapy, are rebelling against the gift of God and a central dimension of His will for that person; and therefore, such behavior is sinful.  We condemn efforts to alter one’s bodily identity, (e.g., cross-sex, hormone therapy, gender reassignment surgery) to bring it into line with one’s perceived gender identity.  We love our transgender neighbors, seek their good always, welcome them into our congregations as they repent and believe in Christ, and spur them onto love and good deeds in the name of Christ, (2 COR 5:18-20; GAL 5:17; HEB 10:24). 

                We continue to oppose steadfastly all efforts by any court, legislature, or policymaker to validate transgender identity as morally good, right, or praiseworthy (ISA 5:20).  We commit ourselves to making decisions about membership, personnel, and other church matters based on this Biblical perspective on human sexuality.

                We affirm the Biblical truths that marriage is the first divine institution, essentially rooted in the created order, uniting one man and one woman in an exclusive covenant commitment for their joint lifetime, for their good and for the welfare of any children who may be conceived and born or adopted into this union.  Marriage is based on the truth that men and women are complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the lived experience that children need both a mother and a father.  Re-defining marriage to fit popular norms rejects these truths.  By encouraging the norms of true marriage – man-woman monogamy, sexual exclusivity, and permanence – the state strengthens civil society and promotes human flourishing, including the well-being of children.

                Christian marriage is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church, as illustrated by the wedding of a Christian man and woman in this exclusive and permanent covenant relationship.  As such, Pine Level Baptist Church believes that Christian wedding ceremonies on church property are spiritual observances of the worship of God who created this divine institution.  As worship services, weddings on church property must be officiated by one or more ordained ministers of the Gospel approved by the Pastor.

                The church may decline to make its facilities or ministers available to any wedding it is determined that one or both of the parties are not biblically qualified to marry.  Such determinations may be made by the pastor or deacons, subject to the direction of the church.

                The church may also decline to participate in or recognize any manner of marriage, so-called marriage, civil union, commitment ceremony, or other activity which may directly or indirectly affirm, approve, or communicate behavior or beliefs which are contrary to the church’s beliefs about biblical morality.  Such actions would violate the religious conscience of this body and its members.  We must obey God, who is Lord of our conscience, rather than man or man-made laws. 

                No minister or employee of the church shall officiate or participate at any marriage or similar ceremony unless such event or ceremony is consistent with this policy. 

                We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake sin, seeing His mercy and forgiveness through the Lord Jesus Christ.


SECTION III – Church Membership

                This is a sovereign, autonomous Baptist church under the leadership of Jesus Christ.  The membership retains unto itself the exclusive right of self-government in all phases of the spiritual and temporal life of this church. 

                Membership in Pine Level Baptist Church shall be by:

(a)    Profession of faith and baptism by immersion,

(b)   Letter of recommendation from another church of like faith and order, or

(c)    Statement of faith, which is defined as understanding, accepting, and submitted to The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and biblical teachings to which our church subscribes.

Having been led by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, and on profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we do now in the presence of God and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully, enter into these shared expectations of Christian behavior and fellowship with one another as one body in Christ.


SECTION IV – Dismissal of Members

                Membership shall be terminated in the following ways:

(a)    Death of the member,

(b)   Transfer of membership through a letter of request from another church of like faith and order,

(c)    Termination by action of this church,

(d)   Erasure upon request or reasonable evidence of membership in another church, or

(e)    By request of the member. 


SECTION V – Church Conference and Business Meetings

                The pastor, chairman of deacons, or designee of the church shall serve as moderator of church conference or all business meetings of the church.  All business shall be conducted in a Christ-honoring manner. 

                Any and all church members older than the age of 16 and above are eligible to vote in the transactions of the church.  A quorum in the church for transaction of business shall be fifty (50) members present.  Absentee voting will be allowed by those deemed to be providentially hindered to attend a scheduled vote.  Absentee ballots will be made available at the church office.  Absentee voting will take place in the church office, and no ballets will leave the church premises.  Absentee voting must be completed within five (5) days prior to the scheduled church vote. 

                Regular business meetings of the church shall be held quarterly on the first Wednesday night after the first Sunday of the month or as deemed necessary.

                The church may be called into a business meeting at any preaching service for the transaction of any emergency business.

                Any non-budgeted expenditure over three thousand dollars ($3,000) shall be announced at least one (1) service prior to the business meeting at which the vote will be held.

                All matters will be decided by a majority vote except as noted in the Constitution and By-Laws or Church Policy.


SECTION VI – The Handling of Finances and Contractual Obligations

                All monies collected by the church shall be reported and deposited by the church treasurer, or treasurer designee, and shall be disbursed through such treasurer as designated by the church.

                Pine Level Baptist Church, Inc. is a legally incorporated body and transacts business through its appointed officers for the benefit of the membership of Pine Level Baptist Church duly elected by the church.  All contracts must be approved by the church or its designee at a regular business meeting or church conference.


SECTION VII – Changes to the Constitution and By-Laws

                Changes to Constitution and By-Laws may be amended at any regular business meeting of the church or in church conference providing the amendment has been presented in writing a minimum of thirty (30) days in advance, read publicly at the time of the presentation, and after the thirty (30) days, a seventy-five percent (75%) vote is required to pass the amendment.  It then becomes effective immediately.