STATEMENT OF FAITH AND COVENANT
Statement Of Faith
The following comprise the Scriptural beliefs of Harvest Baptist Church.
The Holy Scriptures
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the verbally, plenary, preserved, and inspired Word of God. The Scriptures are inerrant, infallible and God-breathed, and, therefore, are the final authority for faith and practice. The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments are the complete and divine revelation of God to Man. The Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical-historical meaning. The King James Version of the Bible shall be the official and only translation used by the church. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21)
We believe that the Scriptures, interpreted in their natural, literal sense, reveal divinely determined dispensations or rules of life which define manís responsibilities in successive ages. These dispensations are not ways of salvation, but rather are divinely ordered stewardships by which God directs man according to His purpose. Three of these dispensationsóthe law, the church, and the kingdomóare the subjects of detailed revelation in Scripture. (Genesis 1:28; 1 Corinthians 9:17; 2 Corinthians 3:9-18; Galatians 3:13-25; Ephesians 1:10; 3:2-10; Colossians 1:24-25, 27; Revelation 20:2-6)
We believe in one triune God, eternally existing in three personsóFather, Son, and Holy Spiritóeach co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; John 14:10, 26)
The Person and Work of Jesus Christ
1. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men. (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Luke 1:35; John 1:1-2, 14; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; Galatians 4:4-5; Philippians 2:5-8)
2. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice; and, that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead. (Acts 2:18-36; Romans 3:24-25; 1 Peter 2:24; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:3-5)
3. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate. (Acts 1:9-10; Hebrews 9:24; 7:25; Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2)
The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
1. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and, that He is the Supernatural Agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the family of God, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption. (John 16:8-11; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 26-27; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13-14)
2. We believe that the Holy Spirit is the divine Teacher who assists believers to understand and appropriate the Scriptures, and that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 1:17-18; 5:18; 1 John 2:20, 27)
3. We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowal of spiritual gifts as a manifestation of the Holy Spirit to every believer. God uniquely uses evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip believers in the assembly in order that they can do the work of the ministry. (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 28; Ephesians 4:7-12)
4. We believe that the sign gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as speaking in tongues and the gift of healing, were temporary. Speaking in tongues was never the common or necessary sign of the baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit. The ultimate deliverance of the body from sickness or death awaits the consummation of our salvation in the resurrection, though God frequently chooses to answer the prayers of believers for physical healing. (1 Corinthians 1:22; 13:8; 14:21-22)
The Total Depravity of Man
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God; but that in Adamís sin the human race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God. Man is totally depraved and, of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition. (Genesis 1:26-27; Romans 3:22-23; 5:12; 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-3; 4:17-19)
We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by repentance of sin and personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins. We believe that all sins, except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (which cannot be committed by a true believer), are forgivable. We believe that once in Christ, nothing can separate us from Him. (John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Matthew 12:31-32; Luke 13:3-5; 1 John 1:9)
The Eternal Security and Assurance of Believers
1. We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by Godís power and are thus secure in Christ forever. (John 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Romans 8:1; 38-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; 1 Peter 1:4-5; John 5:24)
2. We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of Godís Word, which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to serve the flesh. (Romans 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13; Titus 2:11-15)
1. We believe that the local church, which is the body and the espoused bride of Christ, is solely made up of born-again and scripturally baptized believers. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:25-27)
2. We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures. (Acts 14:27; 20:17, 28-32; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11)
3. We believe in the autonomy of the local church, free of any external authority or control. (Acts 13:1-4; 15:19-31; 20:28; Romans 16:1,4; 1 Corinthians 3:9, 16; 5:4-7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1-4)
4. We recognize water baptism (by immersion) and the Lordís Supper as the Scriptural ordinances of obedience for the church in this age. (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42; 18:18; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon the Lord Jesus Christ. God commands His people to separate from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices, secret societies, and associations, and to refrain from all immodest and immoderate appearances, inordinate piercings, and bodily markings. (Romans 12:1-2; 14:13; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11; Leviticus 19:28; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
The Second Advent of Christ
We believe in that blessed hope, the personal, imminent return of Christ who will rapture His people, the saved body of believers, prior to the seven-year tribulation period. At the end of the Tribulation, Christ will personally and visibly return with His saints to establish His earthly Messianic Kingdom which was promised to the nation of Israel. (Psalms 89:3-4; Daniel 2:31-45; Zechariah 14:4-11; I Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; Revelation 3:10; 19:11-16; 20:1-6)
The Eternal State
1. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment. (Matthew 25:46; John 5:28, 29; 11:25-26; Revelation 20:5-6, 12-13)
2. We believe that the souls of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious bliss they await the first resurrection, when spirit, soul, and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord. (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; 3:21; I Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 20:4-6)
3. We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain, after death, in conscious punishment and torment until the second resurrection, when with soul and body reunited, they shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment, and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting conscious punishment and torment. (Matthew 25:41-46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-26; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Revelation 20:11-15)
The Personality of Satan
We believe that Satan is a person, the author of sin, and the cause of the Fall of Man; that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man; and that he shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire. (Job 1:6-7; Isaiah 14:12-17; Matthew 4:2-11; 25:41; Revelation 20:10)
We believe that God created the universe in six literal, 24-hour periods. We reject evolution, the Gap Theory, the Day-Age Theory, Theistic Evolution, etc., as non-Biblical theories of origin. (Genesis 1-2; Exodus 20:11)
We believe that God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions: 1) the home, 2) the church, and 3) the state. Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word. God has given each institution specific Biblical responsibilities and balanced those responsibilities with the understanding that no institution has the right to infringe upon the other. The home, the church, and the state are equal and sovereign in their respective Biblically assigned spheres of responsibility under God. (Romans 13:1-7; Ephesians 5:22-24; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 2:13-14)
1. We believe that God created man and woman separately and that they are two distinct creations.
2. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of Godís gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter oneís gender by surgery or appearance. (Genesis 2:24; Genesis 19:5, 13; Genesis 26:8-9; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1: 26-29; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4)
3. We believe that the only legitimate marriage is the joining of one man and one woman. (Genesis 2:24; Romans 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:10; Ephesians 5:22-23)
1. We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God, but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to be the leader of the home, and men are to be the leaders (i.e. pastors and deacons) of the church. Accordingly, only men are eligible for licensure and ordination by the church. (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; 3:4-5, 12)
2. We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. The wife is to Scripturally submit herself to the leadership of her husband as the church submits to the headship of Christ. Children are a heritage from the Lord. Parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values, providing for their physical needs, and leading them, through consistent lifestyle example and appropriate discipline, including Scriptural correction. (Genesis 1:26-28; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Psalms 127:3-5; Proverbs 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; Mark 10:6-12; I Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; Hebrews 13:4; I Peter 3:1-7)
Divorce and Remarriage
We believe that God disapproves of and forbids divorce and intends marriage to last until one of the spouses dies. Although divorced and remarried persons or divorced persons may hold positions of service in the church and be greatly used of God for Christian service, they may not be considered for the offices of pastor or deacon. (Malachi 2:14-17; Matthew 19:3-12; Romans 7:1-3; 1 Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6)
We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn human life. Abortion is murder. We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the physical or mental well being of the mother are acceptable. (Job 3:16; Psalms 51:5; 139:14-16; Isaiah 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jeremiah 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44)
Love & Harmony
We believe that we should demonstrate love for others, not only toward fellow believers, but also toward both those who are not believers and those who oppose us. We are to deal with those who oppose us graciously, gently, patiently, and humbly. God forbids the stirring up of strife, the taking of revenge, or the threat or the use of violence as a means of resolving personal conflict or obtaining personal justice. Although God commands us to abhor sinful actions, we are to love and pray for any person who engages in such sinful actions. (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 5:44-48; Luke 6:31; John 13:34-35; Romans 12:9-10; 17-21; 13:8-10; Philippians 2:2-4; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Titus 3:2; 1 John 3:17-18)
Lawsuits Between Believers
We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or the church to resolve personal disputes. We believe the church possesses all the resources necessary to resolve personal disputes between members. See Exhibit One. (1 Corinthians 6:1-8; Ephesians 4:31-32)
We believe that God has given the church a great commission to proclaim the Gospel to all nations so that there might be a great multitude from every nation, tribe, ethnic group, and language group which believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. As ambassadors of Christ we must use all available means to go to all nations and not wait for them to come to us. (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:20)
We believe strongly that Scriptural giving is a work of grace from the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer, and that it should always be an expression of love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Harvest Baptist Church is solely sustained by voluntary and free-will offerings from those who are touched by its ministry. This method of tithes and offerings is the only Scriptural basis for the support of a church. We believe that the giving of an individual member is a personal matter before God. We also believe that every man must give account of himself to the Lord Jesus Christ. Our members are never contacted personally about their giving, except when that individual is being considered for or is in a leadership position. In the course of a year the pastor and church leaders will endeavor to teach the Biblical approach to the grace of giving and will encourage every member to be involved in financially sacrificing for the cause of Christ. We believe that a Christian relinquishes all rights to direct the use of the tithe or offering once the gift has been made. (II Corinthians 9:7; I Timothy 3:2-3,8,5:17-18; Mark 12:17; I Corinthians 9:7-14; Galatians 6:6)
Priesthood Of The Believer
This doctrine assures the right of each individual believer to worship the Lord without the help of any other person. Jesus Christ is our Great High Priest and has offered once and for all the necessary sacrifice. Every believer today is a priest of God and may enter into His presence in prayer through our Great High Priest. There is equal access for all children of God. (Hebrews 10:19,22)
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on profession of our faith, having been Scripturally baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we do now, in the presence of God, angels, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.
We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; to give the church a sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin; and to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.
We also engage to maintain family and private devotions; to religiously educate our children; to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; to seek the salvation of our kindred, acquaintances, and all others; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful to our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and unrighteous anger; to refrain from worldly amusements and sinful lusts, to be free from all oath-bound secret societies; to not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers; abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating drinks and illegal drugs, and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the Kingdom of our Savior.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy of speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rule of our Savior to secure reconciliation without delay.
We moreover engage, that when we remove from this place, we will as soon as possible unite with another Baptist church of like faith and practice where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of Godís Word.