“Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ.”

1 Peter 5:14


We, the members of Providence Reformed Baptist Church of Toledo, Ohio, do ordain and establish the following articles, to which we voluntarily submit ourselves.


The name of this church shall be Providence Reformed Baptist Church of Toledo, Ohio.


SECTION 1. Headship of Christ

We acknowledge no ecclesiastical authority other than our Lord Jesus Christ, who is Head of the Church (Eph 5:23) and who directs the affairs of the church through elders chosen and ordained according to the precepts of Holy Scripture. The elders themselves at all times and in all their activities stand under the authority of Holy Scripture.

SECTION 2. Mutual Assistance

The church may and does cooperate with other like-minded churches in matters of mutual interest and concern. We may seek the assistance and counsel of other churches in matters of special concern to us, but the decision of no other church or group of churches shall at any time be acknowledged as binding on this church.

SECTION 3. Formal Affiliation

When it is though desirable to have fellowship, consultation, and cooperation with local churches of like faith and order, this church may join itself to associations of churches. Upon recommendation of the elders, such affiliations may be entered by a vote of the congregation. Withdrawal from associations may be effected by the same procedure. Delegates to such associations shall be chosen by the elders.


The purpose of this church is to glorify the God of the Scriptures in promoting His worship, evangelizing sinners, and edifying saints. Therefore we are committed to the proclamation of God’s perfect Law and the glorious Gospel of His grace through all the world and to the defense of “the faith once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). “Unto Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Eph 3:21).


We do hereby adopt as the fullest expression of our faith the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689. The ultimate authority in all matters of faith, order, and morals is and must be the Bible alone, as articulated in the opening article of the Confession itself. This historic document is, however, an excellent summary of “the things most surely believed among us.” We accept it not as an infallible rule or code of faith, but as an assistance to us in doctrinal definition, a confirmation in faith, and a means of edification in righteousness. Here the members of our church will have a body of theology in compact form and, by means of Scriptural proofs, will be ready to give a reason for the hope that is within them (I Pt 3:15).


SECTION 1. Requirements for Membership

Any person who professes repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, who manifests a life transformed by the power of Christ, who has been baptized upon the profession of his faith, who expresses substantial agreement with the doctrines and aims of this church, and who is willing to submit to its government shall be eligible for membership in it.

SECTION 2. Types of Membership

Each member of the church is acknowledged to form a vital part of the body and to have a particular function in the life of that body (I Cor 12:14-27). Practical considerations, however, require that certain distinctions be recognized in the membership of this church.

Paragraph A. Regular Members. All who are received into the membership of the church according to the procedures set forth in Section 3 of this Article, who continue in regular attendance at the stated meetings of the church, and who do not come under the corrective discipline of the church as set forth in Article VI, shall be considered regular members in good standing and entitled to all the rights and privileges of membership in the church.

Paragraph B. Associate Members. Regular members who move away from our area and who cannot find another local church with which they can conscientiously unite will, at their request, be retained as associate members of this church. Such persons must maintain regular communication with the church in order to maintain their associate membership in it. Nevertheless, they are urged to diligently seek a church with which they can unite elsewhere. An associate member shall not be allowed to vote in any business meeting of the church. At the discretion of the elders, associate members may also be granted to invalids, Christian workers, and others whose relation to the church involves unusual circumstances.

SECTION 3. Procedures in the Reception of New Members

Paragraph A. Application for Membership. A person who desires to become a member of this church should apply in writing to the elders and request to be interviewed by them. During the interview the elders will seek to determine whether that person has a credible profession of faith in Christ, has been Scripturally baptized, is in substantial agreement with the doctrines of the church, and intends to give wholehearted support to its ministry and submit to its discipline.

Paragraph B. Current Members of Other Churches. If the applicant is or has been a member of another church, special effort will be made to determine the person’s standing in that church and his reasons for leaving. At the discretion of the elders, a letter of inquiry concerning the person’s standing may be sent to that church before his acceptance as a member in this church is determined.

Paragraph C. Congregational Responsibility. If the elders are satisfied that the applicant meets the requirements for membership, they shall announce the same to the congregation at a stated meeting of the church. Time will be allowed for objections or questions to be raised by any member concerning the applicant’s manner of life or doctrine. If no objection is raised which the elders consider to be valid, the person will be publicly received into membership. The elders may postpone the reception of a person into the membership until proper investigation can be made concerning objections which in their judgment are sufficiently serious.

SECTION 4. Termination of Membership.

Paragraph A. By Physical Death. When a member of the church is removed from our midst by death, his name shall automatically be removed from the membership roll.

Paragraph B. By Transfer. When it is so requested, the elders may grant to a departing member in good standing a letter of dismissal to the fellowship of another church. No such letter may be given to a member who is at the time under the corrective discipline of this church. The elders may refuse to grant a letter of transfer to any church which is in their judgment disloyal to “the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints” or which does not exercise godly care over its members.

Paragraph C. By Exclusion. If a member is habitually absent from the stated meetings of the church without showing just cause, or if due to relocation ceases to maintain a vital contact with the church, he may be
excluded from the membership at the discretion of the elders. Also, any member who personally so requests may after due admonition be excluded from the membership. In such cases no congregational approval of the action shall be needed; the elders shall simply announce to the congregation that such a
person is no longer a member. If an excluded member applies again for membership, the procedures set forth in Section 3 of this Article will again be followed.

Paragraph D. By Excommunication. According to the teaching of Holy Scripture a congregation must cut off from its fellowship and visible membership any person who teaches or insists on holding false and heretical doctrine, who blatantly and persistently conducts himself in a manner inconsistent with his Christian profession, or who persists in disturbing the unity and peace of the church and is unwilling to settle differences on Scriptural grounds. (Mt 18:15-18; I Cor 5). The procedure to be followed in such excommunication is set forth in Article VI, Section 2 of this Constitution.

SECTION 5. Conduct Required of Members.

Paragraph A. Attendance at Meetings. All regular members are to strive to attend the Lord’s day meeting(s) of the church unless providentially hindered.

Paragraph B. Means of Grace. The church expects its members to make use of the various other means of grace which are available to them, such as the regular daily reading of the Bible, regular private and family prayer.

Paragraph C. Financial Support. Since it is clearly taught in Scripture that Christians should financially support the work of the Lord by systematic and proportionate giving made through the local church (Mal
3:8-10; I Cor 16:1,2; II Cor 8,9), all the members should strive to conform to this rule of Scripture. This act of worship is to be done according to one’s ability and the willingness of one’s heart (II Cor 8:1-5; Ex 36:2-7).

Paragraph D. Family Life. The church expects its members to obey the teachings of the Scriptures in respect to family life and government. As the God-appointed head of the family, the husband must rule over the household with gentleness and love, but also with wisdom and firmness (Eph 5:25ff, I Tim 3:4,5). The wife must be in subjection to her husband in all things according to the rule of Scripture (Eph 5:22-24; I Pt 3:1). The husband with the wife must “nurture their children in the chastening and admonition of the Lord” (Eph 6:1-4), by setting a godly example before them, by instructing them consistently in the Scriptures, and by wise and firm discipline, including the prudent use of corporal punishment (Eph 6:4) when it is needed (Prov 13:24; 22:15; Heb 12:7).

Paragraph E. Relationships and Ministries. Inasmuch as the church is represented in Scripture as a body having many members, each of the members having its particular function and yet having a concern for the health and protection of the whole (I Cor 12:12-27; Eph 4:4, 11-16), this church expects that each of its members will strive for the good of the entire body. The members must actively seek to cultivate acquaintance with one another so that they may better be able to pray for one another; love, comfort, and encourage one another; and help one another materially as necessity may require. They must refrain from speaking ill of one another and must keep in strict confidence all matters of private concern to the church and not discuss them with persons outside of this fellowship (Heb 12:15; Eph 4:29-30).

Paragraph F. Evangelism. It is the duty of every Christian individually and as a member of a local church to labor for the extension of the kingdom of God both at home and to the ends of the earth. Therefore, every member of this church is expected prayerfully to recognize and to seize every opportunity to bear witness to his faith in Christ both by consistent Christian conduct and by the testimony of his lips (Mt 28:19,20; Acts 1:8; I Pt 3:15; Col 4:5,6).

Paragraph G. Christian Liberty. Each member of the church is required to render in his daily life loyal obedience to all the moral precepts established in the Word of God (Rom 8:3,4). If God has not condemned or forbidden a practice in His Word, a Christian is at liberty to participate in it. The following principles must always guide the Christian’s exercise of liberty:

  1. Fear of God. As the servant of Christ, all actions must be moved by a motive of love for God, and all objects must be used for His glory. The term “liberty” is often used as a cloak of malicious self-indulgence, which is sin (I Cor 10:31; I Tim 4:4,5; I Pt 2:15,16). 
  2. Love of the Brethren. Though no man may dictate the Christian’s conscience, the welfare of fellow-saints must always deeply affect his decisions. In a spirit of serving the brethren, he must do that which he judges will edify them and prevent their stumbling (Gal 5:13; I Cor 8:9; 10:23).
  3. Compassion for Sinners. Use of liberty must always be regulated by its effect upon sinners, and the behavior chosen must be that which is most likely to win some (I Cor 9:19-22).
  4. Watchfulness Over the Soul. Though free in conscience to use all of God’s creation, carefulness in practice is demanded because of remaining lusts. Where the Christian judges himself weak through lust, he must abstain in order to persevere (I Cor 9:23-27; Jms 4:17; Rom 13:14; 14:22,23).

Paragraph H. Submission to Oversight. All who come into the membership of this church are required to recognize and submit to the Scriptural authority deposited in the offices of this church (I Thes 5:12,13; Heb 13:7,17).


SECTION 1. Formative Discipline.

Every disciple (follower) of Christ must be under discipline (His instruction and correction), which is administered to each one through the church, according to I Cor 12:12-17; Rom 12:3-21; and other passages. Mutual submission to one another and to the overseers whom the Lord has set over His church (Eph 5:21; I Pt 5:5) will result in the sanctification of each member individually and of the whole body of the church collectively. There are occasions, however, when failure in the application of this formative discipline makes the application of corrective discipline necessary.

SECTION 2. Corrective Discipline.

Paragraph A. General Statement. Corrective discipline becomes necessary when heretical doctrine or disorderly or scandalous conduct appears among the members of the church. In all such cases reasonable efforts must be made to resolve difficulty, correct error, and remove offense through counsel and admonition before more drastic steps are taken (Gal 6:1; Jms 5:19,20). The principles given to us in Mt 18:15,16 and I Cor 5:1-13 must be carefully followed in all cases of corporate discipline. Corrective discipline always has for its aims the glory of God, the welfare and purity of the church, and the restoration and spiritual growth of the offender. When admonition is not heeded, suspension of some of the privileges of membership may need to be imposed, and if this measure fails, excommunication from the membership of the church may be necessary.

Paragraph B. Restriction.

  1. Any conduct on the part of a member which disturbs the peace of the church or damages its testimony may require that the offending brother or sister be debarred by action of the elders from participating in certain activities of the church according to the gravity of the offense. A suspension shall be announced to the congregation by the elders and shall remain in force until the suspended member gives evidence of true repentance and change of conduct. When a suspended member can be restored to full fellowship, this shall also be announced to the congregation by the elders. While a member is under such discipline, he shall be treated by the congregation according to the directions given in II Thes 3:6-15. Although such a person is considered to be walking disorderly, he must still be regarded as a member and not cut off from the church.
  2. lf a member has sinned publicly but shows hopeful signs of repentance, including submission to the admonition of the elders, it may still be necessary to suspend him for a time from some of the privileges of membership lest reproach be brought upon the church, lest others be emboldened to sin, and lest the offender himself fail to test his own soul and realize the gravity of his offense. Those who humbly submit to the imposed discipline shall afterwards be wholly forgiven and publicly received back into full fellowship of the church.
  3. In the case where a person is accused or suspected of gross sin and absents himself from the congregation, refusing to meet with the elders that the matter may be investigated, the elders shall announce to the congregation that the person is suspended from the membership, and such suspension shall continue in force as long as the conditions giving rise to it continue.

Paragraph C. Excommunication. Excommunication is the strongest statement of church discipline and is the final act of corrective discipline. It shall be enacted Scripturally as an act of the church toward a member who teaches or insists on holding false or heretical doctrine; who blatantly or persistently conducts himself in a manner inconsistent with his Christian profession; or who persists in disturbing the unity and peace of the church (Tit 3:10,11; Rom 16:17,18). Excommunication must be enacted in the following cases:

  1. Suspended members who have persisted in unrepentant, sinful behavior may, by the decision of the elders, have their status reviewed and be dealt with as in item #2 below.
  2. Some types of conduct must be categorized as “immoral” (I Cor 5:9-11; 6:9,10; Gal 5: 16ff) and a member guilty of such conduct must be cut off from the fellowship of the church (I Cor 5:3-5; Mt 18:17). In such a case the elders shall make earnest efforts to bring the offender to true repentance and reformation, but if these efforts fail, they shall report the same to the congregation at a regular or specially called business meeting of the church and recommend that the offender be excommunicated – which must be done, according to Scripture by action of the entire church (Mt 18:17; I Cor 5:4). To be valid, an act of excommunication must have the approval of at least two-thirds of the members present and voting. 
  3. Likewise, some wrong opinions regarding the doctrines of Scripture are so serious that they must be categorized as “heretical” (Gal 1:6-9; I Tim 4:1), and a member who persists in propagating or holding any such opinion, in spite of earnest and patient admonition in the same manner as an immoral person.

Paragraph D. Restoration. It is the duty of the church to forgive and restore to membership those persons who give satisfactory evidence of being penitent (II Cor 2:6-8). The elders may review the status of those who have been excommunicated or suspended to judge whether the aims of the discipline have been accomplished. Such action is to be reported to the church. Upon recommendation of the elders, the congregation shall have the right to restore a suspended member by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting at a duly called congregational meeting. Excommunicated members shall be eligible for membership under the provisions of Article V.


SECTION 1. General Statement.

There are two ordinances of special significance which our Lord has commanded us to observe, namely Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. (These are sometimes referred to as “sacraments.”) Neither of them has saving merit, nor is any grace imparted to the recipient through the water of Baptism or the bread and the cup of the Supper. These ordinances are not means of “special grace”, but they are “special means of grace” and powerful aids to the faith of the believers who participate in them.

SECTION 2. Baptism.

Only confessed disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ are proper candidates for Baptism, and all such persons should be baptized (Acts 2:38). Believing that Baptism is the God-ordained door of entrance into the visible community of the people of God, we shall receive into membership of the church only those who have been baptized by immersion and ‘into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19).

SECTION 3. The Lord’s Supper.

Whereas Baptism is the initiatory ordinance by which one enters the visible church and should be observed only once by each believer, the Lord’s Supper should be celebrated frequently by the assembled church (I Cor 11:26). While this is a most holy ordinance and should be observed with solemnity and dignity, the bread and the cup of the Supper are and remain only symbols of the broken body and the shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.


SECTION 1. General Statement.

Jesus Christ alone is Head of the church (Col 1:18), and He governs His church through office-bearers whom He appoints and who are endowed by His Spirit with the gifts and graces needed to accomplish their work.
Office-bearers in the church are of two kinds: elders (also called “bishops”) and deacons (Phil 1:1; I Tim 3:3-13). It is the duty of the church to seek and discover among its members those to whom Christ the Lord has imparted the necessary gifts of office-bearing, and after formally recognizing them by common sufferage, to set them apart by united prayer, and then to submit to their authority.

SECTION 2. Elders.

Paragraph A. Number, Source, and Calling. Whereas in new or small congregations only one man may have the gifts requisite to his being recognized as an elder (such a congregation may, in fact, invite a man who has the necessary gifts to come and labor among them), the Scriptures indicate that normally there should be a plurality of elders in the church (Acts 20:17; Phil 1:1). These are also called “bishops” (meaning “overseers”) because they are charged with the oversight of the assembly (Acts 20:28; I Pt 5:2). They are the “pastors and teachers” given to the church “for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ” (Eph 4:11,12).

Paragraph B. Teaching Elders. Any man thus called to this office must join the church as a member and must conscientiously affirm his agreement with the Articles of Faith and the Constitution of this church. Should he at any time move from this position, he is under spiritual and moral obligation to make this fact known to the church.

Paragraph C. Roles and Responsibilities. Elders are responsible for the spiritual ministrations of the church, the implementation of discipline, and the oversight of the souls of the church’s members “as they that shall give an account” to God (Acts 20:28; Heb 13:17; I Pt 5:2,3). While every elder should be “apt to teach”, some will be more engaged in formal and public teaching, while others will be more engaged in pastoring (that is, private teaching and admonishing) and governing. Gifted men who are not recognized as elders may engage in public preaching and teaching, provided they are godly in character and walk, but the exercise of their gift must be under the direction and control of the elders.

Paragraph D. Oversight of Elders. While elders are overseers of the flock, they are themselves members of the flock. Therefore, each elder as an individual is under the oversight of his fellow elders and is subject to the same discipline as are all the members of the church.

Paragraph E. Number and Term of Elders. The church should endeavor to discover and then formally recognize all the men whom the Holy Spirit has endowed with the requisite gifts and graces to oversee the church, but only such men. Thus when men have been ordained to this office, the church will have the confidence that it has recognized the overseers whom the Holy Spirit has set over it (Acts 20:28). It is evident, therefore, that neither the number of elders nor the length of their term of office can be fixed by the church.

Paragraph F. Qualifications. The qualifications for a man chosen to fill the office of elder are clearly set forth in Scripture, particularly in I Tim 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.

SECTION 3. Deacons.

Paragraph A. Responsibilities. Deacons are responsible to administer the ordinary business, secular affairs, and benevolent concerns of the church so that the elders may devote themselves without distraction to the matters of spiritual oversight (Acts 6:3,4). They must fulfill the duties of their office in cooperation with and subjection to the elders.

Paragraph B. Number of Deacons. The number of deacons shall not be fixed. The church shall choose as many as are needed for the work to be done from among those who give evidence of having the Scriptural qualifications for that office (Acts 6:3).

Paragraph C. Qualifications. The qualifications for one chosen to fulfill the office of deacon are particularly set forth in Acts 6:3 and I Tim 3:8-13.

SECTION 4. Appointment of Office-bearers.

Paragraph A. Guidance on Appointments. The local church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is responsible to appoint men to the offices of elders and deacon. Each individual involved should have an inward conviction that the Lord is calling him to the particular office, and the church should recognize that call as it observes in the individual evidence of the gifts and graces which Scripture requires for the particular office. This is a matter of such gravity that it should be accompanied by much prayerful waiting on God for guidance, a careful perusal of the relevant passages of Scripture, and an objective evaluation of each man nominated to a particular office. These activities are the responsibility of each individual member of the church as well as of the church as a whole.

Paragraph B. Nominations. Nominations to the offices of elder and deacon for consideration at the Annual Business Meeting may be made by the elders or by the congregation.

  1. The elders alone may at any time during the year present a candidate or candidates to either or both offices and call a special congregational meeting for their consideration. In no case may a man be presented for either office without his knowledge and prior consent.
  2. At least once each year, in conjunction with the required announcements prior to the Annual Business Meeting, the congregation will submit written ballots to determine the mind of God’s people as to who they regard as qualifying for office. On this ballot each voting member may write the name of any male member and the office for which he believes that member to be qualified. Those thus recognized by 25% or more of the total voting members of the church shall be considered.
  3. Prior to presenting the candidate(s) to the congregation, the elders will meet with the man and his family to confirm his willingness to undergo congregational examination and his readiness to serve in church office. He may, without prejudice, decline nomination. If the man consents, he will be presented to the congregation as a nominee for office.

Paragraph C. Discussion of Qualifications and Voting. When the time comes to consider a nomination during a business meeting of the church, the candidate for office and any members of his immediate family who are present shall be requested to leave the room while his qualifications are openly discussed by the entire congregation in the fear of God and the light of Scripture. After that a written ballot shall be taken. It is hoped that the vote of the congregation will in such matters always be unanimous, but if unanimity is not realized, no less than a three-fourths majority of the members present and voting shall be required for the recognition of an office-bearer. Paragraph D. Public Installation. Following the recognition of an office-bearer by vote of the congregation, he shall be publicly installed in his office at a regular worship service by the prayer of the whole church and the laying on of the hands of the elders (I Tim 4:14; 11 Tim 1:6).

Paragraph E. Discipline and Confirmation of Office-bearers. Office bearers are subject to the same rules of discipline as are the other members of the church. They shall hold office as long as they are faithful to their calling and have the confidence of the congregation. The church shall reconfirm (or express the withdrawal of) its confidence in each of its office-bearers at its annual meeting four years thereafter in the manner designated in Paragraph C. of this section. An officer may, however, resign his office without prejudice if for good and valid reasons he finds he is no longer able to discharge the duties of it. In the event that an officer fails to receive an expression of confidence from the congregation, he remains a member in the church, unless disciplinary proceedings under Article VI are in effect. In these cases, these proceedings take precedence. In the event that a full time elder fails to receive an expression of confidence, he is removed from his office and is no longer entitled to ongoing financial support from the church. Arrangements for his financial settlement shall be the responsibility of the elders. The financial severance will not exceed three (3) months of compensation.


SECTION 1. Composition of the Board.

The board of trustees shall consist of three members, one-third of whom shall be elected by the church at each Annual Business Meeting for a term of three years. Each member so elected shall hold office until his successor shall be elected and qualified. A trustee may be elected to succeed himself. Trustees may be elected from among the office-bearers or from the congregation at large.

SECTION 2. Duties of Trustees.

The trustees shall perform such legal and business transactions as are peculiarly designated to them by the laws of the State of Ohio. In the discharge of their duties, they shall act only at the direction of the elders and deacons of the church.

Suspended by church vote at the annual business meeting.


SECTION 1. General Statement.

There shall be an Annual Business Meeting of the church for the hearing of reports, the electing of officers, and the transaction of such other business as may properly be brought before the congregation. Special business meetings may be called at other times at the discretion of the elders.

SECTION 2. Notice of Meetings.

Paragraph A. Business Meetings. Notice of all business meetings shall be given at regular worship services on two successive Lord’s Days immediately prior to the meetings. However, in the case of an emergency, a meeting may be called on shorter notice by notifying each member by mail or phone of the time, place, and purpose of the meeting.

Paragraph B. Special Meetings. Meetings for the hearing of special reports or for seeking the counsel of the congregation may be called on shorter notice, but no vote may be taken or other business transacted at such meetings.

SECTION 3. Quorum.

The regular members present at any properly convened congregational meeting shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

SECTION 4. Maintenance of Order.

One of the elders shall preside at all business meetings.

SECTION 5, Voting.

Paragraph A. Eligibility. All regular members who have reached the age of eighteen years and are in good standing in the church may vote on any question brought before the congregation.

Paragraph B. Decision Standards. Unanimity of heart and mind under God shall at all times be sought and prayed for (Acts 6:5), but when unanimity is not realized, not less than a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting shall be required to make a resolution valid.


The Elders shall draft and amend from time to time, with the advice and consent of the deacons, such by-laws as they deem necessary for the efficient implementation of this Constitution; but no by-law which is in violation of any of the terms of this Constitution shall be valid. These by-laws shall be added to this Constitution under the auspices of Article XII.


SECTION 1. Procedure.

This Constitution may be amended by a two-thirds majority of the regular members present and voting at a duly convened business meeting of the congregation.

SECTION 2. Notification.

No proposed amendment may be voted on which has not been distributed to the members in written form at least two weeks prior to such a meeting.


If Providence Reformed Baptist Church of Toledo, Ohio, should conclude its ministry and be dissolved, none of its assets remaining after meeting all responsibilities and payment of all just obligations shall inure to the benefit of an individual member of the church, its officers or other private individuals. Such assets, if any, shall in the event of its dissolution, be assigned by action of its members, at a properly called meeting, to such other organization(s) which are in harmony with the objectives and doctrinal position as stated in this Constitution. Such organization(s) must also be recognized by the United States Internal Revenue Service as entitled to income tax exempt status under section 501 (c) (3) or amendments thereto of the revenue code.