ASSIMILATION AND CHURCH MEMBERSHIP

We believe in the importance of serving the body of Christ by offering clear paths for people to develop healthy and growing relationships with others in the church body. We value an intentional plan to help every interested person enjoy godly relationships in the church. Church membership is a by-product of people who are growing in Christ and who grasp the importance of serving the Lord by using their gifts to serve others in the local church.

 

BAPTISM 

Along with communion, baptism is one of the two ordinances required in the church. Christian baptism, by immersion in water, is a public identification with Jesus Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. Although baptism is not required for salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9), it is commanded for all believers and further it is for believers only (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:38; Acts 2:41; Acts 18:8). The pattern in Scripture shows that a person was baptized after personally receiving forgiveness of sin by accepting Jesus Christ. The waters of baptism are symbolic of our death, burial and resurrection to newness of life that happens when we become a new creation in Christ (Colossians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:1-4).

 

COMMUNION

Communion is symbolic in nature and is taken in remembrance of Jesus' broken body and shed blood, with expectation of His return.

I. Communion is only for believers of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:27)

II. Communion is commanded for believers; it is not optional (Luke 22:19)

III. Communion should always be preceded by personal examination and confession of sin (1 Corinthians 11:28-32)

IV. Communion should only be taken after seeking restoration in our relationships (Matthew 5:23-24)

At Harvest Woodhull, we practice communion on the last Sunday of every month, and on occasion within our Small Groups.

 

CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT

Harvest Bible Chapel is a conservative, evangelical fellowship that welcomes all who know Jesus Christ as their Saviour and all who are seeking Him. Those who claim to possess the gift of tongues and other sign gifts are welcome to worship and fellowship with us if they are willing to be a source of unity rather than division within our church body. We believe that the Christian life is supernatural and that the Lord continues to perform miracles. We also believe that current displays of the gift of tongues distract from the main task of the local church, which is to glorify God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).

Current displays of the gift of tongues:

I. Gives unwarranted prominence to the gift, which is described in the New Testament as being only one of many spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1-31)

II. Emphasizes speaking in tongues as the primary manifestation of the Spirit's work in a person's life, while minimizing the Spirit's work in producing a holy life (2 Corinthians 3:17-18; 2 Timothy 1:9), and a life that displays the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22)

III. Often suggests that speaking in tongues is a required proof of being Spirit-filled or of possessing salvation in Christ, even though the Scriptures do not teach this

Harvest Bible Chapel seeks to prevent the propagation of doctrines that would cause divisions within an individual church. Therefore, members to and adherents of Harvest Bible Chapel are not to propagate the teachings and emphases of the current charismatic movement. Although we do not control personal, individual interactions with the Lord, the expression of tongues and other sign gifts are not to be overtly expressed at meetings that are under the organization and authority of Harvest Bible Chapel.

 

CHURCH PLANTING

The church exists to glorify God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission, and in the spirit of the Great Commandment (Matthew 28:19-20, Matthew 22:37-38). The Great Commission is fulfilled as disciples of Jesus Christ are made, and as they grow in their relationship with Him and likeness to Him. God is glorified as we manifest His presence in doing His work (2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Corinthians 10:31).

In seeking to act upon the church's purpose, we recognize the extraordinary value in multiplying the reach of His ministry by planting local churches and by associating with existing, like-minded local churches. God is glorified when Harvest Bible Chapels and other like-minded churches associate with one another in order to foster relationships that edify, protect, encourage, support and admonish.

The governing members, serving as directors of the Harvest Bible Chapel Elders Council, lead the association of Harvest Bible Chapels and affiliating churches and oversee church planting. The Elders Council assists affiliate churches to more effectively spread the Word of God and ways of God in order to build His kingdom. The Elders Council desires to bless all affiliate churches through the mutual exchange of pulpit and music ministry, consulting services, research, conferences and seed money devoted to church planting and pastoral education programs.

 

CREATION, EVOLUTION AND GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY

We believe God created the universe in six 24-hour days and that, before He created the universe, nothing except God existed (Genesis 1; Exodus 31:17; Psalm 33:6-9; Acts 17:24; Hebrews 11:3; Colossians 1:16).

God chose to create the universe and all that is in it to reveal His glory, divine nature, eternal power, infinite wisdom and supreme authority (Isaiah 43:7; Psalm 19:1-2; Jeremiah 10:12; Romans 1:20; Revelation 4:11).

We deny the theory of evolution, which states that nonliving substances gave rise to the first living material, which then reproduced and diversified to produce all living creatures. We believe that all people are descendants of Adam and Eve, whom God created personally and individually and as complete human beings (Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 2:7; Genesis 2:21-22; 1 Corinthians 11:8-9). The fall of Adam and Eve infected all people with sin and death, but the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ gives the opportunity to receive God's gift of eternal life (Romans 5:18-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22).

God rules over His creation and cares about and is involved in the lives of individual people (Job 12:10; Acts 17:25; Acts 25:28; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:13; Ephesians 4:6).

 

DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE

Marriage was designed by God to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:24). Sadly, divorce and remarriage are realities in our fallen world.  

Though every divorce is the result of sin, not every divorce is sinful. Although God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) and always desires reconciliation (Matthew 19:3-6), God does permit divorce under certain circumstances because of the hardness of man’s heart (Matthew 19:8). For example, divorce is permitted when sexual immorality has occurred (Matthew 19:9); however, God does not command or even prefer this as a solution. 

Remarriage is always allowed for widows (Romans 7:3), since the marriage covenant is dissolved by death (1 Corinthians 7:39). Otherwise, remarriage is possible only when specific biblical conditions are met. 

Decisions surrounding divorce and remarriage should never be made in haste or without first exhausting all resources available to the believer: namely, a careful study of biblical texts surrounding these issues, sound biblical counselling, and prayer.  

However, we all stumble in many ways (James 3:2). In light of the grace they have received, believers should not stigmatize these issues or condemn those who have been so unfortunate to experience them.  Similarly, believers who have divorced or remarried under circumstances not supported by Scripture should repent and seek forgiveness from God, who is faithful to forgive when we ask Him (1 John 1:9).

 

ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER

It is God's divine decision to save a person and it is God's kindness, forbearance and patience that leads a person to repentance (Romans 2:4). All glory for the salvation and security of every believer belongs to God alone (Romans 3:21-31; Ephesians 1:7-9; Ephesians 2:8-9; Jude 1:24-25). We believe that everyone who is born again by the Spirit through Jesus Christ is eternally assured of salvation from the moment of conversion. This assurance relies on God's decisive grace rather than on the works of the Christian. Obedience, good works and fruit-bearing do not earn or retain the believer's salvation, but indicate the reality of the person's love of Christ and profession of faith (Luke 6:46; John 14:21; James 2:17-18).

Eternal security in salvation relies on the Lord's guarantee of each believer's adoption as His son or daughter (Galatians 4:4-7), His seal of the believer by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14), and the conviction that God gives the Holy Spirit to each believer as a down payment toward future bliss in heaven (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). A person who professes genuine faith in Christ immediately becomes His possession (Luke 23:42-43; Acts 2:40-41; Acts 16: 30-34), and nothing can snatch that person out of His hands (John 10:27-29). Having been bought with the price of Jesus Christ's crucifixion as complete payment for sin, Christians are not their own. They are Christ's possession (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This assurance is absolutely certain, reserved in heaven, protected by God's unlimited power (1 Peter 1:4-5).

 

PROCESS OF SANCTIFICATION AND MATURITY

Mature disciples walk with Christ, worship Christ and work for Christ. A person committed to a relationship with Christ focuses on personal walk with Him, worship of Him and work for Him. That person will experience significant growth in personal sanctification and, therefore, will experience a closer personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and will become "complete in Christ" (Colossians 1:28). We are committed to multiplying the godly characteristics of leaders' lives into others (2 Timothy 2:2). This multiplication of ministry is key to the healthy growth of the church. We believe that disciples of Jesus Christ should minister to one another in the local church, rather than one or a small number of professional pastors bearing total responsibility to care for the entire congregation. God has given spiritual gifts to all of His people to provide mutual ministry in the context of the healthy and strong local church (Ephesians 4:11-12).

 

SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Satan and his demonic servants viciously oppose the work God performs in and through His people (1 Peter 5:8; Genesis 3:1-7; Ephesians 6:12). God, who by His nature is infinitely more powerful than Satan, in due time will have complete and total victory over Satan (1 John 4:4; Revelation 20:1-10).

Although it is appropriate to pray in Jesus' name for protection against demonic activity, the Scriptures do not instruct the Christian to "bind Satan in Jesus' name." Rather, the Scriptures instruct the Christian to combat Satan by:

I. Humbly drawing near to God, knowing that He will give grace, mercy and strength (2 Corinthians 12:7-9; Hebrews 4:15-16; James 4:8; 1 Peter 5:6-10)

II. Resisting his temptations (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9)

III. Rightly applying the truth of the Scriptures (Matthew 4:1-11; John 8:44; Ephesians 4:24-27)

IV. Forgiving offenses (2 Corinthians 2:10-11)

V. Putting on the armour of God's truth, righteousness, readiness to share the Gospel, faith, salvation and prayer (Ephesians 6:11-20)

VI. Demonstrating faithfulness to the Lord by enduring trials (Revelation 2:10,13; 3:9-10)

 

SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE

We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures and that they contain all the words of God that we need in order to completely trust and obey Him. The Scriptures are inerrant in their original writings (Psalm 119:97-104; Psalm 119:160; Matthew 5:18; John 5:46-47; John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:15-16), infallible in their instruction (Proverbs 6:32; 2 Peter 1:19), eternal in duration (Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:23-25), the final authority and the standard for faith and practice (Matthew 4:4; Psalm 119), and sufficient for counsel in every issue of life (Psalm 19:14-17; 2 Timothy 3:16). We believe that the very words of Scripture in the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic are inspired by God. Therefore, we believe that the Bible versions which translate God's Word most literally into modern English should be preferred.

 

WOMEN IN MINISTRY

Harvest Bible Chapel affirms the God-ordained and significant role that women should play in establishing and leading the local church. Every leadership opportunity is open to women except those that are excluded by Scripture. The Scriptures clearly state that men are to serve in the office of Elder and that women are not to serve in church positions in which they exercise authority over men or in which they teach doctrine to men (1 Timothy 2:12; 1 Timothy 3:1-2; Titus 1:6-9). We do not see this as an issue of equality, for men and women are equal under God. The Bible is clear that men and women do not have the same roles. Qualified women should serve in any leadership position that is not forbidden in the Scriptures.