Purpose and Statement of Faith
The purpose of the church is summed up in the commission Christ gave His disciples just before He ascended to Heaven: ďAnd Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. AmenĒ (Matthew 28:18Ė20).
This last command of Christ should be our highest priority; every facet of church activity should in some way relate to this, the purpose of the church. Acts 5:42 records that the Jerusalem church was indeed fulfilling this purpose: ďAnd daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.Ē This young church was constantly engaged in making the Gospel known to the world.
The first step in knowing God begins in the heart, with a personal relationship with Him. This process begins with salvation and continues through the preaching of God's Word every week.
We grow together in Christ through the study of Godís Word. This occurs in weekly services, in smaller adult Bible classes, and through discipleship programs.
The last words of Jesus Christ on this earth were, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nationsÖ" Taking the Gospel to others is the single most important thing a Christian can do in his life.
As a church, our mission is to reach the world with the Gospel of Christ. We want to utilize every available biblical means, and we want to disciple and train every member to participate in accomplishing our churchís purpose.
Statement of Faith
The following paragraphs simply summarize what we believe as a church family. We believe the Bible and teach it to be perfectly true. Every belief and teaching of Harvest Baptist flows from Godís Word.
We believe the Bible to be the revealed Word of God, fully and verbally inspired of God. We believe the Scriptures to be the inerrant, infallible Word of God, as found within the 66 books from Genesis to Revelation. We believe God not only inspired every word, but has preserved them through the ages. We believe the King James Version is the preserved Word of God for the English-speaking people (Psalm 12:6-7; II Timothy 3:15-17; I Peter 1:23-25; II Peter 1:19-21).
We believe in one God, who is eternal, self-existent, infinite, and immutable. We believe He has one nature, one essence, and one substance, yet manifests Himself to man in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Deuteronomy 6:4; I Timothy 1:17; James 1:17; I John 4:4).
We believe Jesus Christ to be the one and only Saviour of mankind. We believe Jesus Christ to be eternally God and to possess all the attributes of Deity. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was virgin born, that He was God incarnate, and that the purposes of the incarnation were to reveal God, to redeem men, and to rule over God's kingdom. We believe Jesus Christ never relinquished any attributes of His Deity, but merely veiled them. We believe He lived a perfect, sinless life, at the end of which He was offered for all mankind as a substitutionary sacrifice for man's sin. This sacrifice was a just payment to God for the forgiveness of sin. It was activated by His death through the shedding of His blood on the Cross and was accepted by God upon His resurrection. We believe He ascended into Heaven after His resurrection to be seated at the right hand of the Father, waiting for the time of receiving His church at the Rapture, and returning seven years later to earth to rule and reign as King for 1,000 years (Psalm 2:7-9; Isaiah 7:14, 9:6, 43:11; Micah 5:2; Matthew 1:25; Luke 1:26-35; John 1:1, 1:3, 14, 18, 29; Romans 3:19-25; Romans 5:6-15; Philippians 2:5-11; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Timothy 2:5; I Timothy 3:16; Titus 2:10-15; Hebrews 7:26, 9:24-28; I Peter 1:19, 2:2; I John 1:3; Revelation 20:1-6).
The Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit of God is a person who has personality and all the attributes of Deity. We believe the Holy Spirit has always been involved in the affairs of mankind. However, we believe He has a special ministry which began at Pentecost and will continue until the Rapture. This ministry includes convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. The Holy Spirit was also sent to regenerate, sanctify, seal, and fill all who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:5-6; John 14:16; Acts 1:5; Acts 11:15; I Corinthians 3:16; I Corinthians 6:19-20; I Corinthians 12:13).
Sin and Salvation
We believe all men were born with an inherited sin nature received from our common ancestor, Adam. We believe that because of his nature, man is a sinner by choice, and he is totally incapable of reforming himself or ceasing from his sin by his own power. We believe the only hope of deliverance for man is a total change of mind concerning his sinful condition and inability to change it, and a turning to Jesus Christ as the only Saviour. We believe that only through the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on the Cross can a man be delivered from his sin. We believe that all those who reject Jesus Christ as their Saviour are already condemned to an eternity in the Lake of Fire (Genesis 5:1-5; Acts 4:19; Acts 16:31; Romans 3:10-23; Romans 5:6-12; Romans 6:23; Romans 10:9-10; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-6; Revelation 20:11-14).
The New Testament Church
We believe the church began with the calling out of the twelve apostles by Jesus Christ and was empowered on the day of Pentecost. We believe the local church is God's only institution to carry out His work today. We believe the local church is composed of members who have been saved and baptized according to the command of Christ, and have voluntarily united together for the purposes of worship, fellowship, service, and the Lord's Table. We believe all true believers will be taken up at the Rapture, just prior to the Tribulation (Matthew 16:16-18; Acts 1:15; Acts 2:41-43; Acts 11:15; Acts 20:28; I Corinthians 15: 51-58; Ephesians 1:12-14; Ephesians 5:25-30; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Timothy 3:4-15).
The Last Days
We believe in the literal interpretation of the Scriptures in their grammatical and historical context. We believe in the pre-tribulational Rapture of the church saints, followed by the seven-year Tribulation. We believe in the pre-millennial return of Christ to the earth and His literal rule of one thousand years. Following this one thousand years is the Great White Throne judgment and then the new Heaven and new earth (I Corinthians 15:51-58; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Thessalonians 5:1-9; Revelation 19-22).
We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Saviour and Lord. God commands His people to separate from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices, and associations; and to refrain from all immodest and immoderate appearances, 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)
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, and intelligent design not attributed to God as unscriptural 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 these 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 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, 19:5, 13, 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)
2. 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)
3. In keeping with our beliefs regarding human sexuality as expressed in this statement of faith we have the following practical policies:
a. All people are welcome to attend our regular worship services
b. Those who attend may not display behavior that is indicative of the sinful behaviors listed in (1) of this section in church services, at church functions, and on the church grounds.
c. Church representatives are not to display overt disrespect for those who are involved in the sinful behaviors listed in (1) of this section.
d. The pastor of the church will preach consistently against all forms of sinful behavior as listed in (1) of this section, as well as other sinful behaviors.
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 in the church. The husband is to be the leader of the home, and men are to be the leaders (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 submit herself to the Scriptural leadership of her husband as the church submits to the headship of Christ. Children are an heritage from the Lord. Parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values and leading them, through consistent lifestyle example and appropriate discipline, including Scriptural corporal correction. (Genesis 1:26-28; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; Mark 10:6-12; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4, Colossians 3:18-21; Hebrews 13:4; 1 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 or those administrative positions within the church that would consist of pastoral duties. (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; Psalm 51:5; 139:14-16; Isaiah 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jeremiah 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44)
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. We do believe, however, that a Christian may seek compensation for injuries from another Christianís insurance company as long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander. (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 who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. As ambassadors of Christ we must use all available means to go to the foreign 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 that every Christian, as a steward of that portion of Godís wealth entrusted to him, is obligated to support his local church financially. We believe that God has established the tithe as a basis for giving, but that every Christian should also give other offerings sacrificially and cheerfully to the support of the church, the relief of those in need, and the spread of the Gospel. We believe that a Christian relinquishes all rights to direct the use of the tithe or offering once the gift has been made. (Genesis 14:20; Proverbs 3:9-10; Acts 4:34-37; 1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7; Galatians 6:6; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; 1 John 3:17)
We believe that the direct taking of an innocent human life is a moral evil, regardless of the intention. Life is a gift of God and must be respected from conception until natural death. Thus we believe that an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder contrary to the will of God. Discontinuing medical procedures that are extraordinary or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be a legitimate refusal of over-zealous treatment. (Exodus 20:13, 23:7; Matthew 5:21; Acts 17:28)