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What We Believe


The Scriptures

We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us, and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried.


The True God

We believe the Scriptures teach that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, whose name is Jehovah, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor confidence and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.


The Fall of Man

We believe the Scriptures teach that Man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker; but by voluntary transgressions fell from that holy and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint but choice; being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse.


The Way of Salvation

We believe that the Scriptures teach that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God; who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon him our nature, yet without sin; honored the divine law by his personal obedience, and by his death made a full atonement for our sins; that having risen from the dead, he is now enthroned in heaven; and uniting in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, he is in every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Savior.



We believe the Scriptures teach that the great Gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in him is justification; that justification includes the pardon of sin, and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood; by virtue of which faith his perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity.


The Freeness of Salvation

We believe that the Scriptures teach that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the Gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by cordial, penitent and obedient faith; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth, but his own determined depravity and voluntary rejection of the Gospel; which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation.



We believe that the Scriptures teach that in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel; and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith, and newness of life.


Repentance and Faith

We believe the Scriptures teach that repentance and faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God; whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger and helplessness and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy; at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our prophet, priest and king, and relying on him alone as the only and all-sufficient Savior.


God’s Purpose of Grace

We believe the Scriptures teach that election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies and saves sinners; that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that it is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy and unchangeable; that it utterly excludes boasting and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy; that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree; that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the Gospel; that it is the foundation of Christian assurance; and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence.



We believe the Scriptures teach that Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness; that it is a progressive work; that it is begun in regeneration; and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means especially the word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, and prayer.


Perseverance the Saints

We believe the Scriptures teach that such only are real believers as endure to the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.


The Law and Gospel

We believe the Scriptures teach that the Law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of his moral government; that it is holy, just and good; and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts, arise entirely from their love of sin; to deliver them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy Law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the Means of Grace connected with the establishment of the visible church.


A Gospel Church

We believe the Scriptures teach that a visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by his laws; and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word; that its only scriptural officers are Bishops or Reverends, and Deacons whose Qualifications, claims and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.


Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

We believe the Scriptures teach that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost; to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its effect, in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation; and to the Lord’s Supper, in which the members of the church, by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ; preceded always by solemn self-examination.


The Christian Sabbath

We believe the Scriptures teach that the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day, or Christian Sabbath, and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes, by abstaining from all secular labor and sinful recreations, by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private and public, and by preparation for that rest that remaineth for the people of God.


Civil Government

We believe the Scriptures teach that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interest and good order of human society; and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed; except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the Kings of the earth.


Righteous and Wicked

We believe the Scriptures teach that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in his esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in his sight wicked, and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in and after death.


The World to Come

We believe the Scriptures teach that the end of the world is approaching; that at the last day, Christ will descend from heaven, and raise the dead from the grave for final retribution; that a solemn separation will then take place; that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy; and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness.

Church History

First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church History; God’s Edifice

On Tuesday, April 24th, 1956, thirteen members of Mt. Olive Baptist Church met at the home of Mrs. Ray Garrett for the purpose of organizing a Missionary Baptist Church. At first they were known as “Christian Workers”, later they called themselves “Volunteer Baptist Missionary Movement.” This group of baptized believers in the Lord consisted of A. Calloway, Jetty M. Chick, A. Garrett, Bertha Hayes, Joseph Norman, Solomon Patillo, E.C. Robinson, Edith Robinson, H. Ross, W. C. Ross, Edward Waller, Rovenia Williams, and Bobbie Wilson.

These faithful few continued to meet at their homes, to work and trust in the Lord until they decided on the rental of the Eureka Lodge/Masonic Temple at 2014 Dwight Ave. Records indicates the name then was Trinity Baptist Church.

On June 8th, 1956, Reverend L. W. Pryor, Reverend of Antioch Baptist Church and a member of the Ministers Council, met with the members in their new church home. Other Reverends and Ministers of the city were in attendance also: Reverend Avery Aldridge, Associate Minister of Antioch (who later became Reverend of Foss Ave. Baptist Church) Reverend Isaac Epps, Reverend Good Hope Baptist Church, Reverend J.C. Curry, Reverend Macedonia Baptist Church, Reverend Matthew Montgomery, Reverend Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, Reverend Booth and Reverend Robinson of New Zion Baptist Church, Reverend C.R. Neal, Reverend of Shiloh Baptist Church, Reverend Gordon Robertson, Reverend of St. Paul Baptist Church and a representative from Mt. Olive Baptist Church. They were there to give counsel to the church and to lead them in becoming a duty organized church. The official date was set for June 15th, 1956. It was then the official name of the church would be First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, the Articles of Faith and the Church Covenant would be their guide, and Reverend L. W. Pryor would be the church Moderator. He advised them to elect officers and offered guidance in selecting a Reverend: Reverends and Ministers of the churches represented volunteered to preach until then.

Reverend Alfred F. Thomas

Our First Reverend of Missionary Baptist Church

Reverend Alfred F. Thomas, a native of Dallas, Texas, arrived in Flint to actively become the church Reverend. Reverend Thomas came from Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Longview Texas where he supervised the construction of the House of Worship, regarded as the most modern church in that city, at that time. He held a Bachelor of Theology and studied at Moody Bible Institute and graduated from Bishop College in Texas. At the time of his arrival there were twenty-six members and the membership steadily increased under his leadership: there was an apparent need for a more accommodating church home. A building was purchased at 1601 Clifford St. The Congregation vigorously repaired and decorated it at a cost of $5,000.00. The church family officially moved in March, 1957. Reverend Thomas made a recommendation and it was approved to purchase the first parsonage at 707 E. Third St. in June 1957. It is written that Reverend Thomas was a good man of God, dependable, untiring and unselfish. He was a counselor and a loyal friend that aided the members of the church and others within the community. He served in the District as an Instructor of Deacons, Corresponding Secretary for Wolverine State and Chairman of the Home Mission Board. The membership grew, (600) the existing Auxiliary’s expanded and new ones were organized, and the church debt grew. Baptismal Services were held at Antioch Baptist Church for a donation for the maintenance of the pool. On March 18, 1961, after five years, First Trinity negotiated the purchase price of the Central Church of the Nazarene; 1226 Beach St. @ Eighth St. for $48,200.00, down from the asking price of $90,000.00. The structure was erected in 1926, it included two adjacent houses. They were used for the parsonage and activities building. They relocated January 1, 1962.

After leading God’s people for five years and ten months, Reverend Thomas submitted his resignation to the church effective September 30, 1962.

Reverend L.W. Pryor was present again and presented a Service Agenda to the members, listing the Reverends of the city that was willing to serve the Church, during Worship Services, each Sunday. The Reverends that volunteered were; Reverend R.R. Gordon, Reverend Seldon Williams, Sr., Reverend L.W. Pryor, Reverend Alfred Robbs and Reverend E.B. Allen.

Reverend Grady L. Bennett

Our Second Reverend of First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church

Reverend Grady L. Bennett Jr., a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, graduate of Morehouse College and Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia arrived in Flint, Michigan on March 10th, 1963 to become the second Reverend of First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church.

Dignitaries from Flint and Detroit took part in the nightly Installation Services that lasted one week. Reverend A.A. Banks, Reverend of Second Baptist Church in Detroit and President of the Wolverine State Baptist Convention, preached the sermon for his Installation. Under the Leadership of Reverend Bennett, the Lord continued to bless First Trinity and the church continued to progress.

Many souls were led to Christ and the membership continued to increase. Reverend Bennett and the Officers of the Church consecrated on liquidating the Church debts and redecorating the church. The Congregation led a devoted prayer life and was obedient to the will of God and celebrated their seventh Church Anniversary. In 1968, Reverend Bennett lead the Church in purchasing property on Center Road, in order to build a new Church, but resigned before the project was carried out. The property was later sold for use in renovating and updating the current church. On September 8, 1968, Reverend Bennett made the decision to resign and became a Civil Servant in the Flint Community.

Reverend Dr. Hockenhull

Our Third Reverend of First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church

In January, 1969, Reverend Dr. F.O. Hockenhull, a native of Detroit, Michigan, embarked on his spiritual journey with God and First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church. Reverend Hockenhull had an extensive spiritual experience: He was the Reverend of Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit, president of the Michigan District of the Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress, a member of the Inner-City Crime Commission, Chaplain for the Wayne County Jail and Contact Representative for the W.J. Maxey Boys’ Training School before relocating to Flint. As a member of the National Baptist Publishing Board, he had been an Instructor in the Congress for 10 years and later became a member of the Board of Directors.

Dr. Hockenhull attended Arkansas State AM&N College, studied at Wayne State University and the University of Detroit. He was a Graduate of Detroit Bible College and received an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Arkansas Baptist College on May 26, 1976. He was appointed Second Vice-President of the Great Lakes District Baptist Congress during this time also.

He brought a vision from God for First Trinity and he implemented that vision tirelessly. This man of God was not only a Preacher, but a Teacher, and a Lecturer; he loved God and First Trinity and they loved him in return. Each conversation had with him was “a mini-sermon.”

Under Reverend Hockenhull leadership, God bless First Trinity: the congregation of First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church broke ground for a $250,000 Educational Wing, (on the same site) the first of two units planned for construction, in September 1975. (The church was 49 years old/erected in 1926) The construction was erected on the parking lots to the north and the west of the sanctuary and later the sanctuary was replaced. The new building housed more than 20 classrooms, plus a Fellowship Hall to seat 350 people and a kitchen. On June 3rd, 1989, First Trinity dedicated its new $700,000.00 sanctuary, which seats approximately 650 people. The large contemporary building can be easily seen from I-69, the brick exterior soars over three stories. According to Reverend Hockenhull, “the front has the following representation to the Bible: the three stain windows represent the Trinity and the four brick pillars in between represent the four Gospel writers-Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.” During the 43 years Reverend Hockenhull led God’s people at First Trinity, he made sure the church had a (class A) representation at the local, state and national level.

On October 31, 2010, the mortgage of all the renovations and construction were burned. The Lord kept His Promise: We showed our faithfulness, of Reverend’s teaching of God’s Word, by bringing the Lord our tithes and offerings. We can say the Lord has showed us His faithfulness by blessing it and rewarding us with the burning of the mortgage. We have been bless, as will be future generations of Christians, as they enjoy the fruits of Reverend Hockenhull’s labor of love.

Then on March 16, 2012, after 43 years as First Trinity Reverend, the Lord transitioned him from labor to reward.

Pastor Ezra L. Tillman

Our Current Pastor of First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church

On May 1, 2014, the Lord gave First Trinity another Pastor that loves the Lord, the church and the members. One who supports us with prayer and spiritual guidance: Pastor Ezra L. Tillman, Jr. He has enhanced our spiritual growth with his preaching and teaching and tirelessly reaches out to spread God’s Word when requested by others. By the time we celebrated our 60th Church Anniversary (June 2016) he had updated the business office and had the church to purchase the following instruments: drums, a keyboard and a Leslie speaker to further improve and intensify the sounds of our Music Ministry and our Worship Services. He has instilled in us “Christians are merely Servants of the Lord.” As Servants, we focus on Pastor Tillman’s leadership skills and teachings: where Christ is the message, Ministry is the mission. We love and appreciate our Pastor and his support as he fulfills the vision that the Lord has given him; Pastor continues to encourage and inspire us to grow in God’s Word. In Pastor’s own encouraging words, he has stated, “In order to grow spiritually, we’re tested and tried. The test allows storms in our life, but our faith in God is the storm breaker. We must hold on to our faith! We are full of gratitude, for we have seen the hands of the Lord working through Pastor Tillman daily.

The Lord has led and guided him to accomplish Certificates of Recognitions from the local, state and national level for his dedication to the community during the Flint Water Crisis and because of his love for the Lord, to preach and teach throughout the United States and Jerusalem. He is preparing him for even greater things ahead. The Lord has blessed us with a Leader and a Teacher, and we shall continue to follow his leadership! Also see Pastor Tilllman’s Biography.