Hickory Hollow Baptist is a Southern Baptist church, so we work with other Baptist churches here in the Nashville Baptist Association, the Tennessee Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention. We believe that churches working together can do more to share the Good News about what Jesus has done for the world than they can do by themselves. We ascribe to the 1963 version of the Baptist Faith and Message, a document written to explain the core beliefs of Southern Baptists. What follows are a collection of highlights of our beliefs designed to introduce us to you.
We believe that the Bible was written by men divinely inspired to deliver us a guide book for life. By following its teachings, we learn how to be right with God, with others, and with ourselves. The Bible is God’s final and fully trustworthy expression of Himself and how to be right with Him. II Timothy 2:15; II Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12; I Peter 1:23 – 2:2; II Peter 1:19-21.
We believe that there is one God who chooses to reveal Himself to people and through the Bible. He is and always has been the one and only God. Though He is one eternal being, He exists in the mystery of the trinity. As the old hymn puts it, “God in three persons, blessed trinity.” God the Father created the world through His co-eternal son, Jesus Christ. God the Son became flesh, lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death, and rose from the dead three days later. After 40 days of further instruction for His followers, Jesus returned to the right hand of the Father where He intercedes for believers. God the Holy Spirit is the eternal and ever present force of God. He was active in creation, worked with God’s people in Old Testament times, and dwells in believers when they give their hearts to Jesus as Lord. It is safe to say that God is not like us!
People hold a very special place in God’s creation. We are made in the image of God, the world was made for us, and we are to rule over and care for it. God created us to know Him and to enjoy Him forever. Unfortunately, we chose to disobey God and walked out of His perfect garden. As a result, sin entered the world, God broke the world, and we became subject to the power of death. The Bible is very much the story of a loving God chasing after a rebellious people. People are so valuable to God that He sent His Son Jesus to show us how to live and to die on our behalf. Because each of us rejects God, we bury ourselves in behaviors and habits that ruin our lives. We cannot save ourselves; we all need a deliverer.
Because everyone rejects God and His ways of living, everyone builds for herself hell on earth and hell after earth. Therefore, everyone needs to be saved from her disobedient choices, from the consequences of those choices, from the powers of darkness that fuel those choices, and from the eternal destination determined by those choices. Jesus came to save us from ourselves and the darkness we have chosen. The Bible teaches that the paycheck we get for disobeying and rejecting God is death in this life and the next. Jesus died to take that paycheck from our hands so that we can live forever with God, starting now. Romans 3:10-12, 21-25; 6:23.
The Bible says that when we trust what Jesus did for us to save us, we are given a divine and permanent pardon. Our sins, past, present, and future, receive a full pardon. We are declared right with God. There is no work for us to do; we simply trust the work Jesus has already done for us. We believe that the simplest way to trust Jesus to save us is to pray a prayer similar to this one: God, I disobey You. I don’t want to do that stuff anymore. Jesus, come into my life, be my boss, and save me. John 1:11-13; 5:24; Acts 3:19; Romans 10:9-10, 13; Ephesians 2:8-9.
Once a person becomes a Christ-follower, he begins the process of becoming like Jesus. Through Bible study, prayer, worship, training in spiritual disciplines at church, service, and trust in God to change us day by day, we become more and more like Jesus who is not just our savior from sin, death and hell, but our model for living. We are eternally secure. There was nothing we could do to earn our salvation; therefore, there is nothing we can do to lose it. John 3:16-18; 6:37-40, 44; 10:27-30; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 5:9; 7:25; 10:14; I John 5:12.
The New Testament teaches that believers will gather together in groups called churches. The majority of the New Testament is a collection of letters to various churches (at Rome, Ephesus, Corinth, etc.). Therefore, the church is a local group of baptized believers who are spiritually the Body of Christ to their community. The church is like a hospital where sin-sick people come to get well. It is like a martial arts training hall where believers come to train, to learn how to defeat the devil and the darkness in their hearts. The church is like a hall of firemen and fire women who each week charge into a world that is on fire, build relationships with those who need Jesus, and try to bring them into the safety of a relationship with Jesus. We believe that the church as an organization should be organized for the people who are not there yet.
As a church, we are completely autonomous, which means that we follow the leadership of Jesus as the head of our church. We do not follow mandates handed down from some office in Nashville or Brentwood. Our church voluntarily joins with other churches to financially support the efforts of Southern Baptists to tell people about Jesus in Nashville through the Nashville Baptist Association, in Tennessee through the Tennessee Baptist Convention, in America through our Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board, and around the world through our Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
We believe that Jesus gave to the church the Lord’s Supper as a picture of His sacrificial death. The crackers and grape juice we use help us to visualize Jesus’ body which was broken and Jesus blood which was shed, all to make us right with His Father. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is an act of worship and of remembrance. We observe the Lord’s Supper once a quarter.
Baptism is a physical picture of the miracle that has already taken place in the life of a new Christ-follower. Once a person has invited Jesus into his life, he should be baptized. When he is lowered beneath the water, that pictures that he has died to his old way of life and the powers of darkness to which he was committed. When he is raised out of the water, that pictures the reality that he has received a new and eternal life from Jesus. Romans 6:1-7; Ephesians 2:1-9.
We believe baptism is not required for salvation, but it is required to be obedient. Though we welcome all to our church, we require members to be believers who have been biblically baptized.