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Statement of Faith

Statement of Faith
Orthodoxy

The Bible – The Bible is the Word of God. The Holy Scriptures are inspired by God, (God-breathed), not only in the general sense, but in every word. The Bible is without error and infallible as originally given. Being the written revelation of God, it is the divine, final, and complete authority in all matters pertaining to mankind, salvation, and the church. For the purposes of our faith, practice, doctrine, policy, and discipline at Heritage Christian Fellowship, our elders are the final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application. (Zechariah 7:12; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:3-4,19-21; Hebrews 4:12-13)

God – There is only one true God who exists in three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who are equal in divine perfection, co-eternal, and execute distinct but harmonious offices. God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is holy, sovereign, and personal. God knows all things, is everywhere present, and is all-powerful. God is love, gracious, and merciful, and in every way good. God is spirit, self-existent, and transcendent. Being the Creator of all things, it is in Him that we live and move and exist. (Genesis 1:1; Exodus 34:6-7; Leviticus 11:44; Isaiah 9:6; 44:8; 45:5; Jeremiah 23:23-24; Daniel 4:35; Matthew 3:16-17; John 4:24; Acts 17:24-28; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Timothy 1:15-16; 1 John 3:20; 4:8; Revelation 4:11)

God the Father - God the Father is the first person of the Trinity (Godhead) who orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace. His plans and purposes cannot be thwarted. He is faithful to all His promises, works all things together for good for those who love Him, and in His unfathomable grace gave His Son Christ Jesus for mankind’s redemption. It was He who sent His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus, to be the Savior of the world, raising Him from the dead, glorifying His Son, and seating Him at His right hand. Recognizing the authority of God the Father, God the Son obeyed the Father in all things. It is also by God the Father that the Holy Spirit has come to dwell in us. God the Father being the only Sovereign, upholds, governs and oversees all creation and creatures, for all exists for His glory. (Matthew 6:25-32; 28:18; Mark 16:19; Luke 22:39-42; John 1:14; 3:16; 8:27-29; 11:42; 12:49-50; 17:18-23; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:26-28; Acts 1:4; 2:22-24,33; 3:13-15; 5:30-31; 10:39-41; 13:28-34; Romans 8:11; 11:36; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:3-14,18-23; 4:6; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 3:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; Hebrews 1:3; 2:9; 10:12; 1 Peter 1:20-21; 1 John 4:14)

God the Son – Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, fully God and fully man. As God incarnate, He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He therefore lived a sinless life and perfectly fulfilled God’s law, imputing this righteousness to those who believe. He glorified God by saving mankind from their sin, taking our sins upon Himself, and dying on the cross under the punishment of God as the atoning sacrifice. Having been raised from the dead, He ascended into heaven and is at the right hand of God where He ever lives to make intercession for His saints. Christ is the only means whereby mankind can be forgiven of their sins and their guilt removed. At the appointed time He will return bodily in power and glory to judge the living and the dead, and to consummate His redemptive purpose. (Matthew 5:17; Luke 1:26-33; 2:6-7; John 1:1-3; 5:22-29; 14:6; Acts 4:12; 17:31; Romans 3:21-26; 8:11,34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 1:15-18; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-10; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 2:21-24; 1 John 3:5)

God the Holy Spirit – The Holy Spirit is God, possessing all the characteristics and attributes thereof. The work of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, to convict men in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment, and to regenerate the sinner. The Holy Spirit baptizes the believer into the body, indwells the believer, and guides the believer into all truth. He instructs and empowers the believer for godly living and service. He is the One who imparts spiritual gifts to the body as He wills for the edification of the body and for various works of ministry in the world. These gifts are to be earnestly desired and practiced in love. (John 14:16-17,26; 16:7-15; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 12:7-13; Titus 3:4-6; 1 John 2:27)

The Creation – The creation (all material things, all mankind, and all angels), exist for the purpose of manifesting the glory of God. He created the physical universe (including mankind), in six literal days. God rules over the entire creation, being the rightful owner and proprietor thereof, bringing all things into conformity with the purpose of His will. (Genesis 1:1-2:3; Exodus 20:11; 1 Chronicles 29:11-13; Psalm 148; Proverbs 16:4; Isaiah 42:8-12; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 1:9-11; Revelation 4:11)

Man – Mankind, male and female, are distinct from all other living creatures, being created in the image of God. Therefore, mankind is of surpassing value before God, this being manifested in the price paid for his redemption, and when created by God was holy and good. Mankind is under God’s authority and is accountable to God for his actions, speech, thoughts, and motives. (Genesis 1:27; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Ezekiel 18:3-24; Luke 2:14; John 3:16; Romans 2:16; 3:19; Hebrews 4:12-13)

Sin – Mankind forfeited his original state of righteousness by willfully sinning against God. Sin is either a transgression of God’s law or His character. Beginning with Adam and Eve, all have sinned, bringing death (physical and spiritual) on the human race. God holds mankind accountable to pay the debt of their sins, death. Since mankind’s nature is corrupt, he naturally desires to do what is contrary to God’s will. Mankind is completely incapable of delivering himself, in whole or in part, from either his guilt or corrupt nature. In this condition, mankind is under God’s wrath and is liable to all of the miseries of this life, to death itself and to the pains of hell forever. (Genesis 3:6; 8:21; Ezekiel 18:20; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 25:46; Romans 3:9-12,19-23; 5:12-21; 6:23; 7:7-13; 8:6-8; Ephesians 2:1-3; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10)

Salvation - God is sovereign in all things, which includes the salvation of men. In eternity, God the Father, knowing that all men, if left to themselves, would reject Him, and coming under His judgment would die in their sin, by an act of His own will graciously determined to save a people for Himself. Being a free gift of God, salvation from sin is offered to all men, which God Himself provided by His grace (alone), through the granting of faith (alone), because of the redemptive work of His Son, Christ Jesus (alone), to His glory (alone). In its broadest sense, salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. Regeneration is the divine act of God whereby the sinner is granted the capacities needed to repent and exercise saving faith. Justification is an act of God whereby He declares the sinner righteous based on the merits of Christ and imputes that perfect righteousness of Christ to the sinner. Sanctification is the work of God in which the believer cooperates with God in the practical outworking of his/her new birth. Glorification is the work of God, which is the consummation of one's salvation whereby the believer is given a glorified, spiritual body that is immortal and no longer subject to sin. The believer lives in this state of glory thereafter, forever, world without end. (John 3:3-6,14-21; 6:37,44,65; Romans 3:19-30; 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4,11; 2:1-10; 3:10-11; Philippians 1:29; 2:12-13; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; 2:25)

The Lordship of Christ – The Christian life has at its core the desire to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, always being eager to honor and please God. This is accomplished by the power and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer as they walk by faith. Christians are God’s instruments to lead others to a saving knowledge of Christ and to nurture and disciple them to maturity. Christians live always and continually striving against sin and by God’s grace are being transformed progressively into the image of Christ. Self-sacrificing love to God and others, humility, joy, the desire to seek peace, the ability to forgive others as Christ has forgiven them, are among the fruit which are to be evident in the true Christian’s life. Genuine faith will produce good works, although they in no way merit salvation. (John 20:28; Romans 6:12-23; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 5:22-24; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:10-12; 3:12-17; Hebrews 13:21; James 2:14-26; 2 Peter 1:5-9; 1 John 3:21-24)

Man's Eternal Future - The Lord Jesus Christ will one day return visibly and bodily to the earth with His powerful angels and all mankind will be resurrected and face God's judgment. The present heavens and earth will be destroyed and a new heavens and earth created. Those who have not been saved will be eternally damned for their sins in the lake of fire, the penalty demanded by divine justice for sin. Those who have been saved will live eternally in the presence of God, worshipping and enjoying Him. (Matthew 24:29-31; 25:31-46; John 5:28-29; Romans 6:23; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Hebrews 9:27; 2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 20:12-15)

The Ordinances – Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the two ordinances of the church that we observe. Christian baptism by immersion is the public testimony of a believer’s faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life. It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible Body of Christ. The Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes, and should be always preceded by solemn self-examination, private confession of sin, and the recognition of our need for divine grace. (Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:1-23; Acts 2:38-42; 8:36-39; Romans 6:1-11; 1 Corinthians 11:20-34)

The Church – The Church is the universal body of Christ, those who by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, and who upon repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus have been baptized into Christ, the only Savior from sin and who are unified in submission to His Lordship and the Word of God, the Bible. At the same time the Church is comprised of autonomous local gatherings of believers who are governed by Christ in accordance with His Word through the service of its officers, the elders and deacons, and accountable to all its members. The Church assembles for the purpose of instruction in the Holy Scriptures, prayer, fellowship, worship, exhortation, encouragement, and the observance of the ordinances. The Church is responsible to propagate the Kingdom of God in the world, through evangelism and discipleship, by the Spirit and through the preaching of the Word, being the only voice of the Gospel message to the nations of the world. The Church is the bride of Christ, endowed with all the gifts and privileges afforded to her by Christ, the head of the Church. She eagerly awaits her triumphant victory when she will be united to Christ forever at His second coming. (Matthew 28:19-21; Acts 4:12; 15:19; 20:21; 20:28; Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 12:13,27; Ephesians 4:7-12; 5:32; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Timothy 4:1-4; 1 Peter 3:15; 5:1-4; Revelation 19:7-8)

Orthopraxy

In keeping with our submission to our only Sovereign Lord, Jesus Christ and His Holy Word, we are committed to upholding His will as we carry out the requirements of our ordination as shepherds over His Church.

Let it be known to all that we unwaveringly hold to the following positions and their respective doctrines as stated in Scripture. As to:

Marriage

We hold to the sanctity of marriage as part of God’s creative order (Gen. 1:26-28, 2:18-25) to be a covenantal union between one man and one woman only (Mal.2: 14b, Matt. 19:4-6). Marriage is ordained, established and regulated by God to be a life-long commitment (I Cor. 7:39) of two becoming “one flesh” united physically and spiritually (Gen. 2:18-25). The physical union is given by God for procreation (Gen.1: 28), for raising a godly heritage (Mal. 2:15), and for conjugal rights (I Cor. 7:3). It is only within the covenant of Marriage that the “marriage bed” is held in honor and undefiled (Heb. 13:4). Within the Christian community marriage should only be allowed between two Christians (II Cor. 6:14-18) with no provision to dissolve it through divorce except by two provisions given by God and those being marital unfaithfulness, sexual immorality (Matt. 19:9) and abandonment by the unbelieving spouse (I Cor. 7:13-15). In the event that a divorce should occur between two professing Christians without Scriptural grounds they are required by God to remain unmarried or be reconciled to each other (I Cor. 7:10-11). Marriage follows God’s order of creation in that Christ is the head of man and man is head of the woman with each reflecting the love of Christ to each other (Eph. 5:22-33) maintaining interdependence to God’s glory (I Cor. 11:3, 9-12). Marriage is a reflection of Christ and His bride, the Church (Eph. 5:3132). This we will teach, uphold, preserve, and maintain.

Preparation for Marriage
Preparation for Marriage Policy
1. Heritage Christian Fellowship (HCF) has adopted the following Preparation for Marriage Guidelines (A through H below) to be administered by an HCF Pastor-Elder for all engaged couples who:
a. Desire to be married by an HCF Pastor-Elder regardless of venue location
b. Desire to be married at HCF by a non-HCF Pastor-Elder at HCF
2. Each HCF Pastor-Elder is free to apply the Preparation for Marriage Guidelines at his discretion and wisdom and will determine the extent of their application.
3. The Preparation for Marriage Guidelines are considered general practice with a complete understanding that Scripture is the ultimate standard in this and all matters.

Preparation for Marriage Guidelines

A. The engaged couple must make an appointment with the HCF church secretary to complete the Pre-Marital Questionnaire.
B. The engaged couple must complete the questionnaire independent of each other at HCF.
C. Completed questionnaires are to be handed to the HCF church secretary.
D. The HCF church secretary will deliver the completed questionnaires to the Pastor-Elder the couple has chosen, and who has agreed, to conduct the pre-marital introductory interview and pre-marital classes.
E. The HCF Pastor-Elder will contact the engaged couple and will make an appointment to conduct the pre-marital interview.
F. Upon successful completion of the pre-marital interview, the HCF Pastor-Elder will make arrangements with the engaged couple to conduct pre-marital classes.
G. The engaged couple must successfully complete the pre-marital interview and pre-marital classes or they will not be approved for marriage by an HCF Pastor-Elder or be approved to be married at HCF.
H. Upon a successful completion of the pre-marital classes, the engaged couple may be married by an HCF Pastor-Elder of their choosing who has agreed to conduct the marriage ceremony.

Divorce and Remarriage

We teach that all divorces are based on sin although not all divorces are sinful (Matt. 19:8-9). A divorce is not sinful when it is acquired on biblical grounds. There are two provisions that grant permission (not require) to divorce: 1) unrepentant sexual sin (Matt. 19:3-9) and 2) desertion by an unbelieving spouse (I Cor. 7:15).

Remarriage is permitted only when the divorce is established on biblical grounds (Matt. 19:9, I Cor. 7:15). God regulates all unbiblical divorces (I Cor. 7:11) and makes no provision or grants permission to remarry. Remarriage without biblical grounds to divorce will result in adultery (Matt. 19:9).

Gender and sexuality

The language of the Bible makes it abundantly clear that God created mankind as male and female, calling them to multiply through procreation, (Gen. 1:26-28). Sexuality is designed by God and to be experienced between one man and one woman within the context of marriage. The Bible makes no provision for a third gender or for the crossing over of genders. When mankind transgresses God’s Word through unbridled desires and or physical sexual intimacy they do so against God’s expressed design and will, resulting in abomination, (Rom. 1:18-32). Any expression of sexual intimacy outside of marriage is fornication, whether heterosexual or homosexual, is forbidden and falls under the sin of sexual immorality. We recognize no other rule of sexual conduct outside of God’s authoritative word, (II Tim. 3:16-17). God has created male and female purposefully (Gen 1:27-28), and as sexual beings, designed intentionally to procreate and produce offspring, each in their own role according to their gender. God is sovereign in the assignment of gender and for anyone to reject, seek to redefine, or act in a way clearly contrary to God’s good Providence in such assignment, is to rebel against Him and reflect an idolatrous arrogance and contempt against His right as Creator to fashion His creatures as He wills (1 Cor 6:9-11, Eph 5:4-5, Gal 5:19).

Family

Sanctity of Life

We believe that life is sacred because of its origin and reflection. The Bible is our authoritative source of this declaration. We believe mankind was created by God and bears the image of the triune God, (Gen.1: 26-27). Because God is holy His creation is holy. God not only created man by fashioning him but also breathed life into the man that he should be a living being, (Gen.2:7). Man originated from God therefore it holds that man belongs to God and is accountable to Him for the life He has granted. We believe that God does not grant permission for man to act autonomously in the taking a life through homicide or suicide, both being an act of murder. We believe abortion is homicide, murder, (Ex. 20: 13).

Membership

Heritage Christian Fellowship has an official membership roll. This roll and the purpose of it are outlined below. Members join the roll by verbal affirmation, in the presence of the congregation, after a successful interview with the elders, having given a credible profession of faith and hearty agreement with authority of the Bible and the HCF Statement of Faith. Members do not sign any documents or affirm any church covenants. Members are received on a regular basis.

The primary and general purpose of the membership roll is for people who attend HCF and consider it their own local church, to have a formal introduction into the church and identify HCF as their own local church, and for the church to have such introduction and receive them into biblical church fellowship. There are also other benefits which flow out from this, but are secondary to the general affirmation and identification with HCF as our own local church. Such secondary benefits would be, but not limited to;
• Members to put a name with a face and to make a point to know who is willfully a part of our church family, so that they can fulfill their biblical responsibility to love, serve and care for them as members of their own church family, and to know from whom they can expect/receive the same.
• Pastor-Elders to know exactly who has willfully committed to our fellowship as their own local church and submitted themselves, according to the Word, to their pastoral authority in their official office, to serve them by leading, teaching, healing and protecting them, and to give an account for their soul. Also, for such members to support, respect, help and pray for the Pastor-Elders in their official office.
• Deacons to know exactly who has willfully committed to our fellowship as their own local church and submitted themselves, according to the Word, to their diaconal authority in their official office, to serve them by meeting the practical needs of HCF. Also, for such members to support, respect, help and pray for the Deacons in their official office.
• To establish a list of active members who are therefore approved to serve in official ministry positions.
• To establish an actual membership role to form a quorum for the congregational vote related to the purchase or sale of properties owned by HCF.
• Official communications about a member’s standing and history at HCF, should they need or desire to leave and be recommended to another church fellowship.
The issue of church discipline is obviously related to the membership role, but only insomuch as members who are disciplined to the point of excommunication are removed from the roll, until reconciliation takes places. HCF does not distinguish between members on the role and non-members when it comes to the practice of church discipline, or for any biblical act of love or service. We are not discriminating of people who attend but are not yet members as to whether or not we will love them as fellow members of the body of Christ.

We believe it is an issue of utmost importance, and also self-evident, for people who consider HCF to be their own local church, to publically identify as such, for the purposes stated above.

Church Discipline

We here at Heritage Christian Fellowship, in obedience to the rule of Jesus Christ, are committed to practicing church discipline, regardless of church membership. Jesus Christ commanded that all believers be given the privilege and responsibility of being disciplined if those believers are found to be in unrepentant sin. It is our firm commitment to honor Jesus Christ in seeking to win our brothers and sisters caught in unrepentant sin and to restore them to obedience to Christ and proper fellowship within the body of Christ. Upon refusal to listen to individual admonitions, we will seek to admonish individuals in the presence of two or three witnesses. If there is continued refusal to repent, we will seek to include the entire fellowship in the process of calling a believer to repentance. With continued refusal, we are committed to the final step of removing a person from fellowship, to be treated as an unbeliever, in hopes that so doing will cause the unrepentant to repent and be restored to fellowship. We are also committed to publically dealing with public sins and to avoiding already divisive individuals who can seek to do harm to the local body of Christ. (Matt 18:15-18, Rom 16:17, 1 Cor 5, 2 Thes 2:6-14, 1 Tim 5:19-22, Tit 3:10).