Whereas the Church was promised by Jesus Christ (Matt. 16:18) and was realized on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) with the filling of the Holy Spirit of those believers gathered in Jerusalem; and
Whereas it is the Church which is the focus of most of the New Testament writings regarding doctrinal instruction, conduct, organization, growth and future events; and
Whereas it is the Church that has been given the task of fulfilling the Great Commission; and
Whereas it is the Church which has been uniquely honored above all human organizations, agencies, schools, etcetera, by such expressions as the Body of Christ (Col. 1: 18), Household of God (Eph. 2:19), Habitation of God (Eph. 2:22), the Flock of God (1 Pet. 5:2), Pillar and Ground of the Truth (1 Tim. 3:15) and Bride of Christ (Eph. 5:23, 27); and
Whereas in conjunction with the esteem of the Church in the Scriptures, can also be found the honor bestowed upon the office of pastor, elder and bishop, as an undershepherd in service to His Church in local assemblies (1 Pet. 5:2), as the highest office to which godly men may aspire (I Tim. 3:1); and
Whereas all other organizations, including associations, conventions, mission boards, social agencies, colleges, universities and seminaries, are for the convenience and furtherance of the work of the Churches and the fulfillment of the Great Commission,
Be It Therefore Resolved that we, the members of the Independent Baptist Fellowship of North America meeting in Blootnington, MN, June 22-24, 2004, do hereby acknowledge the Scriptural esteem of the Church and the pastoral ministry as the organism and leadership the Lord has chosen to accomplish His work in this present age and commend brethren everywhere to honor and respect the means of His choosing above all other means of earthly origin and expediency.
Be It Further Resolved that we determine never to let any other organization usurp the place or authority of the local Church. We encourage the preaching and teaching of the worth of the Church and pastoral ministry to our congregations, lest they be led astray by contemporary movements that either dismiss or redefine the Church, Church membership and the role of the Church contrary to the doctrine of the Word of God.