What do we believe?
People who attend our church come from all different experiences and backgrounds.
Some come from Baptist backgrounds, some from other churches. Others come with no
church or religious background at all. Suddenly, they find themselves at a Baptist church.
What does that mean?
We believe church should be joyful and exciting, yet without compromising the truth and
grace of God’s Word, the Bible. We are a Christian, evangelical church—a church whose
mission is to share the love and good news of Jesus Christ.
We are also a Baptist church. And as Baptists have historically been non-creedal
churches, we have resisted the writing of any summary of our beliefs that, even
unconsciously, begins to substitute for “the scripture as our only statement of faith."
However, for clarity and communication purposes, the following statements can be
confidently made about our convictions and our Baptist beliefs.
We believe EVERYTHING STARTS WITH GOD!
He is the eternal, perfect, personal creator, sustainer and ruler of the universe. He is the
only true God. He is one in His essence, but has revealed Himself to mankind as three
distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each with distinct personal attributes, but
without division of nature, essence, or being. (Genesis 1:1, 26, 27, 3:22; Exodus 3:14;
Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 19:1; 90:2; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2; Matthew 28:19)
We believe JESUS CHRIST IS THE SON OF GOD!
Jesus Christ is God’s Son. He is co-equal with the Father. He is both God and man. He
was born of a virgin. He lived a sinless, human life and offered Himself as the perfect
sacrifice for the sins of individuals like you and like me by dying on a cross. He rose
from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended
to Heaven’s glory and will return again someday to reign as King of Kings and Lord of
Lords. (John 1:1-5; 1:14; 3:16; 14:6; Matthew 1:22-23; Romans 1:3-4, 5:6-8; Hebrews
4:14-15; Isaiah 9:6; Acts 1:9-11; Romans 5:6-8, 1 Corinthians 15:20-21)
We believe the HOLY SPIRIT IS THE SPIRIT OF GOD!
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with God the Father and God the Son. He convicts people of
sin and draws them to Jesus, and he lives in every Christian from the moment of
salvation. He guides us into truth and seals us for eternity. He is the divine assistant,
counselor, and instructor. He provides the Christian with the power for living in this
world and for understanding spiritual truths. (John 14:5-27; 16:7-13; 1 Corinthians 2:12,
3:16, 6:19-20, 12:1-11; Ephesians 1:13-14, 5:18; Acts 1:8; Galatians 5:25)
We believe the BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD!
The Holy Bible was written by men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and is God’s revelation of himself to mankind. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God
for its author, salvation for its purpose, and truth without any mixture of error for its
content. (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Psalm 12:6, 119:105, 160; Isaiah 40:8;
We believe MANKIND WAS CREATED IN THE SPIRITUAL IMAGE OF GOD!
People are made in the spiritual image of God, to be like Him in character. People are
the supreme object of God’s creation. Although every person has tremendous potential
for good, all of us are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God. This is called
sin. Sin separates people from God and causes problems in everyday life. (Genesis 1:27;
Psalm 8:3-6; Isaiah 53:6a; Isaiah 59:1-2)
We believe GOD GIVES US ENTERNAL LIFE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST!
All human beings are created in the image of God. However, each person is a sinner and
is separated from God. Only through accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior can a
person be restored into a relationship with God and receive the gift of eternal life. We
receive this gift through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Repentance means turning
away from our sin and turning towards Christ. Faith means trusting in Christ alone for
the remission of our sins. (John 1:12, 3:16; Romans 1:16-18, 3:23, 6:23, 10:9-13;
We believe in the PRIESTHOOD OF THE BELIEVER!
As each person is able to come to God through Jesus Christ for himself or herself, there is
no need for a third party to tell a person how to pray, how to interpret Scriptures or how
to vote in church. All believers are ministers of God. Therefore, the church does not have
a distinctive class of priests. All believers are made “priests unto God” by the death of
Christ. The church is a holy priesthood chosen by God to offer up spiritual sacrifices.
There is only one mediator between God and man, and that is Jesus Christ. (Revelation
1:5-6; Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Timothy 2:5; Romans 12:1; 1 Peter 2:5)
We believe the CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST ON EARTH TODAY!
Jesus established the church and it exists to perform God’s will on earth. Believers are to
invest themselves in the life and work of the church. We believe in the autonomy of the
local church. Each church has the right to manage its affairs with no central authority
except that of Christ Himself. Freedom does not rule out cooperation. We cooperate with
other Baptist churches in pooling and sharing money for the support of missionaries and
ministries at home, in our state, and around the world. (Matthew 16:17-18; Acts 2:42,
15:1-30; 1 Corinthians 12:27)
We believe BAPTISM IS A SIGN OF DISCIPLESHIP!
Baptism is a picture and an illustration—a symbolic act, and it is one of two ordinances
of our Church. Baptism by immersion in water best illustrates the death, burial and
resurrection of Jesus Christ on our behalf and our faith in Him. It is a public testimony to
our new life found in Jesus Christ.
We believe in believer’s baptism. A person must first exercise faith in Jesus Christ,
believing that He died for their sins, was buried and rose from the dead. An infant or
person who does not understand God’s plan of salvation cannot make that kind of
commitment. The Scriptural order is belief first, followed by baptism. Baptism is limited
to those who have personally believed in Jesus Christ as Savior. It is a requirement for
Church membership. (Matthew 3:13-17, 28:18-20; Mark 1:9-11, 16:15-16; Acts 8:12,
8:36-38; Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21)
We believe the LORD’S SUPPER SYMBOLIZES THE SACRIFICE OF JESUS!
The Lord’s Supper was instituted when the Lord ate the Passover meal before His
crucifixion; it is an ordinance of the church. We observe the Lord’s Supper on a regular
basis in remembrance of Jesus Christ’s atonement for our sins. It is a proclamation of His
death and an assurance of His second coming. We ask only those who have made a
profession of faith in Jesus Christ to participate in the Lord’s Supper. The elements of the
Lord’s Supper are symbols of Christ’s body that was broken and His blood that was shed
for the remission of our sins. (Luke 22:14-23; 1 Corinthians 1:21-32, 5:11-13, 11:23-26;
We believe EVANGELIZING LOST PEOPLE IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF
EACH FOLLOWER OF JESUS!
Believers are to share the Gospel message with those who are lost. We begin in our own
communities; however, Jesus commanded us to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth.
We are to join our efforts with other believers to ensure all nations hear the good news of
Jesus. (Matthew 10:32; 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Romans 1:16-17; Colossians 1:6)
We believe EACH FOLLOWER OF JESUS IS ON A PATH OF SPIRITUAL
Believers are striving to become Christ-like and to follow His commandments to love
and worship God and to love one another. This involves a life-long process of discovery.
We are to be disciplined in learning spiritual truths and integrating them into our daily
lives. This process leads to our transformation and offers us a life of spiritual
productivity. (John 3:3, 7, 14-6; Matthew 22:34-40; Romans 8:28-30; 2 Corinthians 3:17-
18; Colossians 3:1-10)
We believe STEWARDSHIP OF OUR EARTHLY GOODS IS A GOD-GIVEN
God has blessed us with earthly resources. We are to honor Him in how we handle our
money and our possessions. As obedient stewards, we are to invest our time, talents and
treasures regularly in the local Church and in God’s Kingdom. (Psalm 24:1-2; Malachi
3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-4; Luke 16:13-21; 2 Corinthians 8:1-7)
We believe GOD HAS ORDAINED THE FAMILY!
We believe God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society.
It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.
Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a
lifetime where the husband is the spiritual head of the household. It is God's unique gift
to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the
woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual
expression according to Biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human
race. (Genesis 2:18-25, Matthew 5:27-32, Mark 10:6-12, 1 Corinthians 7:1-16, Ephesians
5:21-33, Colossians 3:18-19, Hebrews 13:4)
We believe in the RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST!
In God’s perfect timing and in God’s perfect way, Jesus Christ will return to the earth as
Lord. His return will be the fulfillment and final consummation of the purposes of the
Kingdom of God. (Matthew 24:29-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:11; Revelation 21:1-4;
A Brief History of
First Baptist Church, Galveston
The First Baptist Church located near the downtown area on Galveston Island is one of the oldest Baptist Churches in Texas. It was organized on January 30, 1840, in a private home with nine people joining by letter and two for Baptism. Of this number, only one came from the old south. All the rest were from such states as New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, New York and Connecticut. From this humble beginning came a church, which has grown across the years.
The first pastor, Dr. James Huckins, a graduate of Brown University in Rhode Island, later established the First Baptist Church of Houston and was one of the founders of Baylor University. Huckins served as the church’s pastor from January 30, 1840 until December 31, 1847, and again from July 1, 1853 until December 31, 1859.
The first persons baptized into the membership of this church were Gail Borden and Penelope Borden. Borden was the city’s first Collector of Customs, appointed by the President of the Republic of Texas. He was the inventor of condensed milk, and after his death the company was renamed the Borden Milk Company. His baptism (in February 1840) was the first recorded west of Mississippi River. The church’s Sunday School was organized in 1846.
In 1847 Huckins resigned his duties as pastor and devoted himself full-time to raising funds for the fledgling Baylor University. On January 1, 1848, the church called the Reverend John Freeman Hillyer as pastor; he served until his resignation September 24, 1848.
The first House of Worship, a small wooden structure on 22nd Street between Avenue H and Avenue I, was dedicated on September 12. The building cost about $4,800 to build; it had 60 pews, a gallery across the back and an outer baptistery that was filled with water from a nearby well.
Pastors who have served since 1849 include:
Robert H. Taliaferro, 1849 – 1850
Jacob Beverly Stiteler, 1851 – 1853
James Huckins, 1853 – 1859
Pastor Stribling, 1859 – 1862 ?
Dr. William Howard, 1867 – 1879
William Overton Bailey, 1879- 1880
Dr. Albert Theodore Spalding, 1881-1889
Dr. Abner Whatley Lamar, 1892-1895
Dr. William Mercer Harris, 1896-1905
Dr. Luther Little, 1905-1907
Dr. Edward Stubblefield, 1908-1918
Julian Harrison Pace, 1918-1920
Edwin Frank Adams, 1921-1925
Thomas F. Harvey, 1925-1929
Dr. Harold Lord Fickett , 1929-1955
John W. Salzman, 1955-1962
Dr. James Richard Perkins, 1962-1965
Grayson Glass, 1966-1978
Dr. James D. Springfield, 1979-1982
Dr. James McGlothin, 1982-1985
Dr. Max Brown, 1985-1992
Dr. Bobby R. Smith, 1993-1996
A. Ben Henderson, 1998-2000
Peter Jory, 2000-2004
Dr. Ray Meador, 2005 – 2016
John Turner, 2016-2018