West Oaks Baptist Church is a Reformed Baptist Church. Let us explain a little about what that means.
Reformed - This means that we hold to the teachings that were foundational to the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. These teachings have been described before in the form of ‘5 Solas’ from the latin word for ‘only’ or ‘alone’. The 5 Solas are
1.Scripture Alone (Sola Scriptura) - We believe that the scriptures (also called the Bible) are the only infallible and perfect guide to teach us who God is and how we can know and worship him.
2.Grace Alone (Sola Gratia)- All mankind (men, women, children) are born in sin and because of that are unable to please God. Not only are we unable to please God but because of his holiness God must judge us for our sin against him. The only way we can be saved from God’s judgement and be made pleasing to him is by an act of his grace. Grace is an merciful act of God giving us what we don’t deserve. What God the Father has done is to send his perfect and holy Son, Jesus Christ, who is God himself to die in the place of sinners and take the punishment for sin on himself. Because of this gracious act alone can we be saved.
3.Faith Alone (Sola Fide) - Ever since the sin and fall of Adam people throughout the centuries have been trying to save themselves by their own work or effort. Jesus, however, taught us that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. As an acknowledgement of this complete inability to save ourselves Jesus calls on us to instead trust and believe in him to save us. It is by faith in Jesus alone and not our own works that we can be saved.
4.Christ Alone (Solus Christus) - People like to think that there are many ways to God or many paths to salvation. Jesus, however, says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” It is by trusting in Jesus alone, and no one else, that we can be saved.
5.To the Glory of God Alone (Soli Deo Gloria) - The Bible teaches us that everything God does is ultimately for his glory alone. Why does he do all things for his glory? Because he is ultimately valuable and glorious. He deserves it! He shows us great kindness and mercy; he delivers us from sin; he gives us eternal life by the death of his Son. Yet all of this has an ultimate purpose beyond the goodness that we experience. All of the salvation that God gives us in Jesus Christ is so that he will receive praise and honor and glory for all eternity. That is what God deserves!
Baptist - The term Baptist has many connotations associated with it but for us it primarily indicates how we believe someone becomes a Christian. This can be seen in our practice of ‘believer’s baptism’. When someone becomes a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and makes a profession of faith then we follow the commands of Jesus and baptize the new believer. Baptism involves submersing the believer briefly in water. This is a wonderful symbol that God has given us to show outwardly what God has done inwardly. It is both a symbol of our sins being washed away and our being born again by the Spirit of God.