HERITAGE BAPTIST CHURCH, WAXAHACHIE, TEXAS
We, the members of the Heritage Baptist Church (Hereafter referred to as HBC) of Waxahachie, do
ordain and establish the following Articles of this Constitution, to which we voluntarily and solemnly
The name of this church shall be Heritage Baptist Church of Waxahachie. This church is a Texas not
for profit corporation organized under the laws of the State of Texas for religious purposes.
ARTICLE II: PURPOSE
Heritage Baptist Church exists for the broad purpose of glorifying God and is the fundamental
backbone of our ministry.
Statement: “HBC exists to spread a passion for the glory of God in all things, for the joy of all
people!” (Ps 22:23, 1 Cor 6:20, 1 Cor 10:31)
The Heritage Baptist Church exists to glorify the God of the Scriptures by maintaining and
promoting His worship both individually and corporately, by evangelizing sinners, and by edifying
His saints. Therefore, we are committed to the proclamation of God's perfect Law and of the glorious
Gospel of His grace through all the world, to the defense of that "faith which was once delivered unto
the saints" (Jude 3), and to the pure and faithful celebration of the ordinances of the New Covenant.
Statement: “The mission of Heritage Baptist Church is to develop disciples who passionately pursue
Jesus clearly told the church what they were to be doing. This purpose is seen in both the Great
Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) and the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40)
• Developing Disciples of Christ who passionately obey according to the Great Commission.
(Matthew 28:19-20… Go therefore and make disciples of all
the nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I
commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”)
• Developing Disciples of Christ who passionately love according to the Great
(Matthew 22:37-40 – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all
your soul, and with all your mind...and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus gave us His mission to make disciples calling them
to passionately pursue a relationship of love
and obedience with the Lord Jesus and love others as themselves.
We regard the “Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689” and “Doctrinal Statement of Heritage Baptist
Church” (Appendix A) as excellent, though not inspired, expressions of the teaching of the Word of
God. The Word of God is the supreme and final authority in all matters of faith, morals, and order.
We adopt these historical documents as assistance in controversy, a confirmation in faith, and a
means of edification in righteousness. For the purposes of HBC’s faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and
discipline, the leadership of HBC are the final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and
Heritage Baptist Church has chosen to voluntarily, but not exclusively affiliate itself with the Baptist
Missionary Association of America (BMAA). Fundamental to this affiliation is the understanding
that the BMAA is a fellowship of autonomous, biblically sound churches that choose to work
together to further God’s Kingdom. This affiliation includes Ellis Hill Association, the BMA of
Texas, and the BMA of America for the purpose of joint missions and ministry efforts.
Section 1: Requirements for Membership
A. To be eligible for membership, all persons (Acts 5:14; 8:3,12) must demonstrate repentance
toward God and the fruits thereof (Acts 26:20), as well as
that faith toward our Lord Jesus
Christ (Acts 20:21) which produces godly works (Eph. 2:8-10; James 2:18, 22). He must be
scripturally baptized as a believer and profess agreement with the essential “non-negotiable”
doctrines of the Christian faith listed below. Furthermore, he must not be under the biblically
warranted (Matt. 18:17,18; 1 Cor. 5:11-13; 2 Thess. 3:6,14,15; 3 John 9,10; 2 Cor. 2:6-8)
corrective discipline of a genuine church.
• The Trinity:
One God & Three Persons - God the Father, God the Son, God the
Holy Spirit. (Deut 6:4, Mt 28:19, 2 Cor 13:14)
• The Deity of
Jesus Christ. (Jn 1:1-4, Jn 20:28, Heb 1:1-4, Tit 2:13, 2 Pet 1:1,
• The Virgin Birth
of Jesus Christ: The uniting of full deity and full humanity in
one person. (Matt 1:18-25, Luke 1:27, 34)
• The Sinless Life
of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor 5:21, Heb 4:15, 7:26, 1 Pet 1:19, 2:22,
3:18, 1 Jn 2:1, 3:5)
• Salvation is by
Grace through Faith in Christ alone, not by works!
(Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 4, Galatians 2:16)
Substitutionary and Atoning Death of Jesus Christ. (Rom 5:8, Heb
9:25-28, 1 John 4:10, 2 Cor 5:18-21, 1 Peter 1:18-19)
• The Bodily
Resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Matt 28:1-20, Luke 24:1-53, John
• The Inspiration,
Inerrancy and Authority of the Bible as the Word of God.
(2 Peter 1:21, 2 Tim 3:16, Ps 12:6, John 17:17)
B. Church members must be in submission to the ordained
rule of the church to which they
belong (Heb. 13:17). He who cannot intelligently and freely submit to a church's government
should not belong to that church.
C. If one who is already a member of the church at any
time concludes that he no longer
satisfies the requirements for membership, he is under obligation to inform the elders of that
Section 2: Types of
A. Regular Members: All who are received into the membership of the church according to
the procedures set forth in Section 3 of this Article and
who do not come under the corrective
discipline of the church as set forth in Article VI, shall be considered regular members in
good standing and entitled to all the rights and privileges of membership in the church (Acts
B. Inactive Members:
A member of this church who shall absent himself from the services of
this Church for a period of one (1) year, without plausible reason or excuse, shall be
removable from the Church membership at the recommendation of the Council of Elders.
Prior to removal every effort shall be made by the Elders to encourage the inactive member
to return to the fellowship and examine themselves to see whether they are in the faith
according to 2 Corinthians 13:5. The inactive members will be removed from the Church
membership by the Church with a 75 % affirmative vote by qualified members present in a
formal business meeting.
Reception into Membership
A. The Elder Council, or their designees, will interview all persons making application for
church membership in order to establish that the candidate
has a biblical testimony of
salvation, has been scripturally baptized and agrees to accept the responsibilities of
membership (according to section 1 of this article). Because people often attempt to join the
church on any given Sunday, this interview may be performed after their initial “public”
coming. Not until this interview is complete and the Elder council gives their approval will
the candidates become official members of HBC. If the elders feel it is necessary to
investigate the candidates standing in his/her prior church, they will have the freedom to do
so. Furthermore, where it is possible and appropriate, a letter of transfer will be requested.
Once accepted, the name of the new member shall be added to the HBC roll. If the new
member had not been presented to the church officially, they will be presented during a
regular worship service.
B. All applicants will be required to go through
the “Discover Heritage” new member class
presented at least quarterly by one of the Elders.
Termination of Membership
A. By Transfer: Any member who desires to unite with another church of like faith shall
request a letter of recommendation. This letter shall be
granted by the elders if the member is
not under church discipline. A list of all letters granted shall be available to the church upon
B. Removal from
Roll: Members who move outside the area and fail to send for their letter
recommendation within one (1) year shall be removed from the membership role according
to Section 2, Paragraph B of this Article. In addition, if members join a church that does not
send for letters of recommendation, their names shall be removed from the membership roll
upon confirmation of their new affiliation.
C. By Exclusion:
According to the teaching of Holy Scripture, a church must cut off from its
fellowship and visible membership any person who teaches or insists on holding to false and
heretical doctrine (essential cardinal doctrines), or who blatantly or persistently conducts
himself in a manner inconsistent with his Christian profession, or who persists in disturbing
the unity or peace of the church (Matt. 18:15ff; 1 Cor. 5:1f; Rom 16:17; Titus 3:10, 11). The
procedure to be followed in such exclusion is set forth in Section D, of this Article.
D. Process of
1) Purpose: The purpose of church discipline is to glorify God by maintaining (1)
purity in the church (1 Cor. 5:6), (2) protecting believers by deterring sin (1Tim. 5:20), and
(3) promoting the spiritual welfare of the offending believer by calling him or her to return to
biblical standards of doctrine and conduct. (Gal. 6:1)
2) Process: Members
and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or
fellowship at HBC who err in biblical doctrine or biblical conduct shall be subject to
discipline according to Matthew 18:15-18 (Such person hereafter will be referred to as an
“Erring Person.”). Before such discipline reaches its final conclusion:
• It shall be the duty of any HBC member who has knowledge of the Erring Person’s
unbiblical beliefs or biblical misconduct to warn and to
correct such Erring Person in
private, seeking his or her repentance and restoration. If the Erring Person does not
heed this warning, then,
• The warning member shall again go to the Erring Person
accompanied by one or two
witnesses to warn and correct such Erring Person, seeking his or her repentance and
restoration. If said Erring Person still refuses to heed this warning, then,
• It shall be brought to the attention of the Elder
Council. (It is understood that this
process will continue to conclusion, whether the Erring Person leaves HBC or
otherwise seeks to withdraw from membership to avoid the discipline process.) The
elders will appropriately investigate any allegation brought by one church member
against another. If these allegations are warranted, two or more of the Elder Council
will contact the Erring Person and seek his or her repentance and restoration. If the
Erring Person refuses to be restored, the matter will be presented to the Church by
the Elder Council. Upon a 75% ballot vote of approval from the qualified Church
members present on a Sunday morning special called meeting (Article VIII, Section
3), the erring person will be removed from the membership according to Matthew 18.
However, even at this point, HBC will pray for and continue to seek the restoration
of the Erring Person.
3) Reinstatement. If
such dismissed member heeds the warning, demonstrates
repentance and requests reinstatement, he or she shall be publicly restored to membership
through the affirmation of the Elder Council and notification of HBC.
Section 5: Records
of Membership. The church clerk shall keep a file of all past and present
members. This file shall have two divisions: regular members, and inactive members. The file of
former members shall include the date and reason church membership was terminated, as well as any
other necessary information (see Article VI, Sections 3 & 4).
Section 6: Responsibilities of the Membership. No member will be asked to do more than what
Scripture clearly requires of them. It should be the desire of every member to submit to what the
Word of God expects of us. Following is a general guideline:
A. To live holy lives: Each member has a duty according to Scripture to live a holy life as
commanded so as to exhibit genuine faith and a genuine
“new birth” in the Lord Jesus Christ
(1 Pet 1:15-16, 2 Pet 3:1, 1 John 1:6). According to Titus 2, it is vital that each member live
holy lives in order that (1) “the Word of God may not be dishonored (v. 5), (2) “that the
opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us” (v. 8), and (3) that we
“may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect” (v. 10). This is accomplished
by being faithful daily in the spiritual disciplines essential to the Christian life and faithful
attendance to worship services and the preaching of God’s Word necessary for spiritual
growth (Hebrews 10:25).
B. To protect the
unity of the Church: Each member of the church is responsible to protect
the unity of the Church (Rom 15:5). This is accomplished by acting with love toward each
other (1 Peter 1:22), serving one another and by refusing to gossip (Eph 4:29). It also
requires following and submitting to the leadership of the elders as they strive to serve the
Lord and lead the Church in the Lord’s will (Hebrews 13:7, 17)
C. To serve &
share in the ministry of the Church: Each member is a blessing to the Body
Christ and has been sovereignly endowed from the Lord with a spiritual gift that is necessary
for the Church to operate. Each member has a duty to discover what their gifting and talents
are and use them for the support of the Church and the testimony of Christ. Every member
should be willing to serve when called upon by the Church leadership if they are not
providentially hindered from doing so.
D. To support the
testimony of the Church: Each member should support the testimony of
the Church by faithfully attending worship services, and attending business meetings.
Members also have a responsibility to support by continually praying for the ministry and the
leaders of the Church. Each member should also support the Church financially by tithing
and giving regularly with joy, faith and love for the Lord Jesus and His continual work
through His Bride, the Church. Furthermore, each member should be helping the growth of
the church by welcoming visitors who attend and by inviting others to worship with us.
Privileges of the Membership
A. Decision Making: HBC decisions and affirmations are made by qualified members (Article
VIII, Section 5). To participate in such decisions, a
member must be at least 18 years old and
be in attendance at such meeting.
B. Office Holding:
Every qualified member is eligible for consideration as a candidate for
offices of leadership (Elder & Deacon) at HBC, subject to scriptural qualifications. (Acts
6:1-7, Eph 4:11, 1 Tim 3) Nonmembers are not allowed to hold any office in the Church.
Serving as an Elder or Deacon requires a minimum of a year of faithful attendance before a
candidate will be considered according to 1 Timothy 5:22 (see also Article IX, Section 5, &
Article X, Section 4).
C. Interest in HBC
Property: Members of HBC have no property rights in the property of
HBC and upon termination of membership, shall not be entitled to any interest in HBC’s
Leadership in the Church is a very serious duty,
not to be taken lightly (James 3:1). New members are required to participate faithfully for 6
months before leading out in any church ministry including the following: Teaching a class
of any type, or leading a ministry team (Missions, Hospitality, Worship, etc.). Other
ministries such as participating in the choir, or helping are not considered leadership
ministries and can be participated in by non-members.
There are two ordinances of special significance that our Lord has commanded us to observe,
namely, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Neither of them has saving merit, nor is any grace imparted
to the recipient through the water of Baptism or through the bread and the cup of the Supper. These
ordinances are not means of "special grace," but they are special "means of grace" and powerful aids
to the faith of the believers who participate in them.
CORPORATE CHURCH-WIDE BUSINESS MEETINGS
Section 1: Annual
Meeting. There shall be an annual meeting of HBC within forty-five (45)
of the end of its fiscal year at its principal place of worship in Waxahachie, Texas, at which time the
Elder Council shall provide the following:
A. Yearly Budget: The current year’s financial report will be presented to HBC. A proposed
yearly budget will also be presented and approved by a
majority vote of the body of HBC,
present at the meeting.
B. Past &
Future Ministries of the Church: The goal of the Elders in this meeting is
present a detailed vision of both successes and challenges within the ministry at HBC.
Detailed presentations of the activities of HBC during the current year will be reviewed.
Furthermore issues, events, and activities that are anticipated for the coming year will be
discussed. HBC members shall have the opportunity to discuss such issues as they may
consider important at this meeting. The Elder Council will moderate this “family meeting,”
in order to provide explanations, answers, insights, and comments as appropriate. The Elder
Council shall seek counsel, insights and guidance from the members of HBC, carefully
considering their opinions and desires. (See Section 7 of this Article for decisions and
affirmations reserved to HBC membership.) The minutes of this meeting will be published to
the HBC body by the Elder Council.
Quarterly Meetings. Business meetings shall be conducted quarterly for the
reviewing financial reports and any other business that is necessary. These meetings shall be
conducted during April, July, & October for the previous quarter’s review. The annual meeting will
serve as the last quarterly meeting.
Section 3: Special
Meetings. Special meetings of HBC membership shall be held at its principal
place of worship in Waxahachie, Texas. The Elder Council may call a special meeting. Also, the
Teaching Pastor, one third of the Elder Council membership, or ten (10) members of HBC can cause
a special meeting to be called by the Elder Council within thirty (30) days of such request.
Section 4: Notice. Notice
of the time of these business meetings shall be published in writing, in a
church-wide publication, to allow each member an opportunity to reasonably know of the meeting.
This official notice must be published at least fourteen (14) days prior to the meeting and not more
than thirty (30) days before the date of such meeting. If the place of the meeting is to be at a location
other than the principal worship center of HBC, such location must be provided in the notice. The
notice shall state the time and date of the meeting. Notice of a Special Meeting shall state the purpose
of the meeting.
Presiding Official. The Elder Council shall provide the moderation of all
meetings or their designated appointee.
Section 6: Voting. The
Elder Council will present issues calling for a decision of the HBC body.
These decisions shall be voted upon by the “Qualified Church Members.” A Qualified Church
Member is any person at least 18 years of age who has been received into church membership and is
not under the action of church discipline (Article VI, Section 4, Paragraph D). Each Qualified Church
Member shall be entitled to cast one vote. The method of seeking affirmation shall be determined by
the Elder Council & moderator of the meeting.
Section 7: Matters
to be considered by HBC. The Elder Council will secure the affirmation of
the HBC body regarding the following independently by vote:
A. Selection, rebuke, or dismissal of the Teaching Pastor
B. Selection, rebuke, or dismissal of deacons and elders
C. Selection of pastoral staff members
D. Building and facilities--major decisions relating to HBC properties
E. Financial budgets of HBC
F. Amending the Constitution (Article XIX, Section 1); and,
G. Other matters in which the Elder Council feel led to seek the members’ advice and counsel.
ARTICLE IX - ELDERS
Section 1: Plurality of Leadership Statement
“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among
which the Holy Spirit has made you over-
seers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”
(Acts 20:28 NASB)
“For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains,
and appoint elders in every city as I directed you.”
(Titus 1:5 NASB)
The Scripture teaches the plurality of Elder leadership
within each local body. These leaders are
known by three titles, each of which reveals a separate aspect of their function. All three titles are
used in 1 Peter 5:1-2 - “Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness
of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock
of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will
of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness.”
They are first called “elders.” An elder (Greek “presbuteros”) is a godly leader, whose wisdom and
maturity are respected by God’s people. Next, these are men who give oversight. That is, they are
“overseers” (Greek “episkapos”). An overseer is a person who is a good manager of resources and
guardian of people. Finally, these leaders are called “shepherds,” which is also translated as
“pastors” (Greek “poimain”). This word refers to the role of caring for and leading the flock.
It is important to note that within the New Testament model of church organization, authority for
leadership is not granted to just one individual pastor, nor is it given as democratic rule by the
congregation. Instead, the Scripture states that authority for leadership is conducted by a plurality of
leaders who are appointed by the church and accountable to God (Heb 13:17). The Scripture further
teaches that when the elders are followed by the church, both the church body and individual
Christians will flourish (Heb. 13:17; 1 Thess. 5:12-13; 1 Pet. 5:1-5; Acts 20:28). These elders do not
form a separated “clergy class” of Christians. Instead, the elders, some of whom fill church
vocational roles, others non-vocational roles, are brothers with the people, always seeking God’s best
for the members of the church (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5; 2 Cor. 8:19).
Section 2: General Scope. Heritage Baptist Church seeks to be a New Testament church
committed to the teachings of the Bible. No other authority or tradition is to guide the means, faith or
structure of the Lord Jesus Christ’s Church. The administrative and pastoral structure for a New
Testament church is to utilize a plurality of leadership. HBC will follow this scriptural example. To
achieve this New Testament model, HBC requires qualified men to serve as an Elder Council. These
men must meet specific moral and spiritual qualifications before they serve (1 Tim. 3:1-7). They
must be publicly installed into office (1 Tim. 5:22; Acts 14:23). They must be motivated and
empowered by the Holy Spirit to do their work (Acts 20:28). After review, examination and
appointment, as noted in Section 5 hereof, men affirmed by HBC to serve as elders shall constitute
the “Elder Council.” To effectively perform their duties, the Elder Council needs the prayers, support
(1 Tim. 5:17-18) and assent of members of HBC (Heb. 13:17). HBC is called upon to honor their
Elder Council and to protect them against false accusations (1 Tim. 5:19). Finally, if an elder falls
into sin, and continues in sin, he must be publicly rebuked (1 Tim. 5:20).
Responsibilities. The New Testament clearly teaches that the church is to
be led by a
plurality of godly men. Their assignment falls into five categories.
First, these men are given both the responsibility and authority to skillfully and lovingly lead the
flock (Acts 20:28, 1 Tim 5:17, 1 Pet 5:2, Titus 1:7, 1 Thess 5:12).
Second, they are to feed the flock, offering accurate and insightful teaching of the Scripture (Titus
1:9, 1 Tim 3:2, 5:17-18).
Third, they are
to care for the flock (Acts 20:35,
James 5:14). This care is shown in the love,
concern, prayers, ministry, and skillful management of church resources.
Fourth, they are to protect the flock from harmful influences and beliefs (Acts 20:28, Titus 1:5,9,
Acts 15:6, Heb 13:17).
Fifth, they must be examples to the flock in both character and doctrine (1 Peter 5:3, Heb 13:7).
A. Provide leadership to the flock (Acts 20:28; 1 Thess. 5:12; Heb. 13:17)
• in practical matters (Acts 6:1-6; 11:29-30),
• in matters of doctrine (Acts 15; 16:4), and
• in matters of discipline and character (Heb. 13:17)
B. Feed the
flock (1 Tim. 3:2; 5:17; 1 Thess. 5:12; Titus 1:9)
C. Lovingly care for the flock (James 5:14-15; Acts 20:35; Heb. 13:17)
D. Protect the flock (1 Pet. 5:2-3; Acts 20:28)
E. Prove to be Examples to the flock (1 Pet 5:3, Heb 13:7)
Qualifications. Each elder must have a “calling” from God to this office.
qualifications of an elder are described in 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. He must be:
A. Blameless as a steward of God; above reproach (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6-7);
B. Husband of one wife (non-divorced); a one-woman man (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6);
C. Temperate, sober, vigilant (1 Tim. 3:2);
D. Sober-minded, prudent (1 Tim. 3:2: Titus 1:8);
E. Of good behavior; orderly, respectable (1 Tim. 3:2);
F. Given to hospitality (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8);
G. Apt to teach; able to teach; he can exhort believers and refute false teaching (1 Tim. 3:2;
H. Not given to much wine (1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7);
I. Not violent; not pugnacious (1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7);
J. Patient, moderate, forbearing, gentle (1 Tim. 3:3);
K. Not a brawler; uncontentious; not soon angry or quick-tempered (1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7);
L. Not covetous; not a lover of money; not greedy of base gain (1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7);
M. Manages his own house well. His children are faithful, not accused of rebellion to God
(1Tim. 3:4; Titus 1:7);
N. Not a novice; not a new convert (1 Tim. 3:6);
O. Has a good report or reputation with people outside the church (1 Tim. 3:7);
P. Not self-willed (Titus 1:7);
Q. Lover of what is good (Titus 1:8);
R. Just, fair (Titus 1:8);
S. Holy, devout (Titus 1:8); and,
T. Self-controlled (Titus 1:8).
A. The Elder Council shall seek the Lord’s leadership regarding the number of additional elders
needed to minister at HBC. While the Bible does not give
instruction as to the number of
elders a church should have, it is recognized that there must be a plurality. A determination of
the need for additional elders should be based upon the work of God in the HBC family and
the availability of those with a God-given desire to serve as an elder.
B. Men who aspire to be elders, due to the calling of God,
should express that desire to an elder
or the Teaching Pastor of HBC. (1 Tim. 3:1) All candidates must have been a member of
HBC for at least one year before they are considered, except for the Teacher-Pastor who
might be called from a different location by the church (NEW).
C. A potential elder will be examined by the Elder Council
in order to discover his calling and
qualifications. If the Elder Council and the man, in search of God’s will for his life in this
matter, are of like mind as to his calling, the Elder Council shall recommend him to the HBC
body to be affirmed as an elder. The appointment of a man to serve as an elder is a solemn
and serious matter (1 Tim. 5:21-22). Therefore, the Elder Council shall earnestly, without any
haste, bias or partiality, seek God’s will with regard to the potential elder’s appointment to the
D. In a Special Meeting of HBC (Article VIII, Section 3),
the Elder Council shall recommend
the potential elder to HBC. A three-fourths (75%) ballot vote of the qualified Church
Members in attendance is required for affirmation of the recommendation. (1 Tim. 5:21, 22,
Section 6: Initial
Elders or Reconstruction of Elder Council
A. Initial Elders. The Pastor-Teacher along with the Deacons and ministerial staff shall make
up an Elder Examination Team to seek the Lord’s
leadership, regarding the first Elder
Council. This team shall make this recommendation to HBC in a Special Meeting (Article
VIII, Section 3) for HBC’s determination of affirmation. This team will review scriptural
teachings pertaining to church elders and prayerfully recommend men to serve as elders to
form the initial Elder Council. Once a plurality of Elders has been affirmed by HBC, the
Elder Examination Team’s function will be assumed by the Elder Council, and the Elder
Examination team shall be dissolved.
Examination Team. When the Elder Examination Team reaches unanimous
agreement, they will seek the affirmation of HBC in a Special Meeting. A three-fourths
(75%) affirmative ballot vote of the Qualified Church Members attending the Special
Meeting is required to affirm a person to be an elder. These elders shall form the Elder
Council and shall begin the process prescribed in Article IX, Section 5, seeking to appoint
additional elders as God directs.
of Elders. In the event that it is necessary to reconstitute the Elder
an Elder Examination Team shall consist of the Pastor-Teacher, ministerial staff and Deacons.
This team will research and review the scriptural teachings on church elders and prayerfully
recommend elders to HBC following Section 4 & 5 of this Article. Once HBC has affirmed a
plurality of elders to the reconstituted Elder Council, the Elder Examination Team shall be
Section 7: Term of
Office. Each Elder shall be called by the membership of the Church to a
of three years. As the Lord leads, an Elder can serve as many consecutive terms in office upon
affirmation by the Church. In order to serve a consecutive term, a vote of reaffirmation by the church
is required with a three-fourths (75%) affirmative ballot vote during the annual meeting. In the event
that the church does not reaffirm a particular elder for any reason that does not merit “removal”
according to Article IV, Section 12, the Church body is not to consider this Elder disciplined but
should affirm their love for him. Additionally, by the improper actions of an elder, he can be
removed from office (Article IX, Section 12).
Section 8: Number
of Elders. As God calls men to serve in this office of Elder, they shall be
considered, examined, and utilized in service. The number of elders is not determined; it is a matter
of the revealed will of God. The Bible indicates a plurality of leadership, which implies more than
one leader. However, among the Elder Council, non-vocational elders must make up the majority of
Agreement with the Doctrinal Statement. All elders must be in complete
with the “non-negotiable” doctrines of Christianity (Article VI, Section 1), and in substantial
agreement with the expanded doctrinal statement of the Church (Appendix A).
Authority & Responsibilities. The Elder Council shall have the
responsibility to oversee the spiritual and administrative activities of HBC unless otherwise reserved
to the HBC body elsewhere in these Bylaws. This authority is able to be delegated by the Elder
Council. In summary, the Elder Council is to shepherd the “flock” of God (1 Pet. 5:1-5). It is
recognized by HBC and Elder Council that there is only one Lord and Master in God’s Church: the
Lord Jesus Christ. All others are His servants. (Philippians 2:5-11)
Training & Education. There are no specific requirements for formal
education to be an elder. Becoming an elder is a matter of God’s preparation of the man and His call
to the place of service. However, it will be the responsibility of the elder council to implement
training for the purpose of raising up future elder candidates.
Ordination. Elder candidates, who have been affirmed shall be ordained (set
service), by the Elder Council in the presence of the membership.
Discipline & Removal. Any elder may be removed from office if he
incapacitated, spiritually unqualified or his inability to serve is established in the minds of the
remainder of the Elder Council. Removal of a particular elder including the Pastor-Teacher must be
brought before the Church with a majority vote of the qualified church members voting. HBC has
the right to rebuke an elder due to a continuing sin in his life, based upon the procedure established in
1 Tim. 5:19-20. HBC also has the right to remove an entire Elder Council in a Special Meeting
(Article VIII, Section 3), with a majority vote of the qualified Church Members voting. The Teaching
Pastor is not automatically removed with the removal of the Elder Council.
Meetings & Organization. The Elder Council shall establish written
procedures for the conducting of their activities. All meetings shall have written or other-wise
recorded minutes of the matters considered. These minutes shall become a part of the permanent
records of the Elder Council.
Section 15: Trustees. The Elder Council shall function as the trustees of HBC. They manage HBC
property, both real and personal, as fiduciaries. They shall represent HBC in all of its legal matters.
Other HBC members may be appointed by the Elder Council to be Trustees as necessary.
ARTICLE X - DEACONS
Section 1: General Scope. Deacons are the servant-ministers of the church. Their purpose is to
relieve the elders of the multitude of practical duties of caring for the flock. Deacons are to give their
primary attention toward caring for the congregation’s physical welfare. Deacons have the honor of
modeling, for the local church and the lost world, God’s compassion, kindness, mercy, and love. As
the church compassionately cares for people’s needs, the world sees a visible display of Christ’s love,
which will draw some people to the Savior. Deacons are to be an example of commitment, unity, and
harmony in their service.
Section 2: Duties
& Responsibilities. The Deacons are to effectively and carefully
church’s charitable activities. They shall oversee the collecting and counting of funds, and be the
distributors of relief and agents of mercy. They help the poor, the jobless, the sick, the widowed, the
elderly, the homeless, the shut-in, and the disabled. They comfort, protect, encourage people, and
help to meet their needs. Although they do in many ways meet spiritual needs of those whom they
serve, their primary service is related to physical needs. Specific duties include, but are not limited
A. Service to the physical needs of the membership exhibiting the love and compassion of
Christ. Specific attention is to be given to widows and
widowers, the needy, and the aged.
Collection and administration of the benevolent fund is included.
B. Assisting the Elder Council in the preparation and
serving of the Lord’s Supper to the
C. Other such duties and responsibilities shall be determined by the Elder Council.
Qualifications. Deacons must be members in good standing of HBC and possess
qualifications stated in I Timothy 3:8-10, 12-13. These qualifications are listed below:
A. A man of dignity. (1 Tim 3:8)
B. Not double-tongued. (1 Tim 3:8)
C. Not addicted to much wine. (1 Tim 3:8)
D. Not fond of sordid gain. (1 Tim 3:8)
E. Holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. (1 Tim 3:9)
F. Tested (1 Tim 3:10)
G. Beyond reproach. (1 Tim 3:10)
H. Husbands of only one wife (non-divorced). (1 Tim 3:12)
I. Good managers of their children and their own households. (1 Tim 3:12)
Selection. As needed, nominations will be made by a cooperative effort from
Elder Council and Deacon body, annually, from those members in good standing, who are perceived
to meet the qualification of deacon and have proved themselves to have a heart to serve others. After
examination by the Elder Council those whom they have determined to be qualified and who confirm
that they sense the Lord’s calling to serve as a deacon will be nominated in a Special Meeting
(Article VIII, Section 3) for the purpose of affirming the deacon candidates. All candidates must
have been a member of HBC for at least one year before they are considered. Individual deacon
candidates will be affirmed to serve by a three-fourths majority (75%) ballot vote of all qualified
Church Members voting present at the meeting.
Ordination. Deacon candidates, who have been affirmed shall be ordained
for service), by the Elder Council in the presence of the membership.
Transition Period. Deacons who are active at the time of the adoption of
laws, shall continue to serve their previously established term of service. At the completion of their
term, continuance of service will be as stated in Section 7 of this Article. Deacons, who have less
than six months lapse in active service at the time of adoption of these Bylaws, may be recommended
for continuance of service, according to the provisions of Section 7.
Section 7: Term of
Office. The initial term of office of deacon shall be three years.
terms are acceptable and encouraged, for those who are serving well as deacons. At the completion of
their three-year term of service, with the recommendation of the Deacon Officers and the Deacon’s
affirmation that God’s leading is for them to continue serving as an active deacon, the Deacon
Officers will present the names of those deacons, whom they recommend to continue to serve, to the
Elder Council for concurrence. Deacons recommended and approved for continuance of active
service will not require reaffirmation by a vote of the membership. Following any lapse of service by
a deacon, the procedures stated in Section 4 will be followed for return to active service.
Section 8: Number
of Deacons. The number of active deacons will be as determined by the
Deacon Officers with the concurrence of the Elder Council.
Section 9: Training
& Education. No special education or training is required to serve as a
deacon. The deacon must have a heart to serve others and be committed to work together with the
other deacons in fulfilling the deacon ministry.
Discipline & Removal. A deacon may be removed from active service upon
meet the qualifications stated in Section 3 or for reasons as stated in Article IX, Section 12,
Discipline and Removal of an Elder. Removal of a Deacon from active service other than by
completion of a term of service or resignation shall be by action of the Elder Council at the
recommendation of the Deacon Officers.
Meetings & Organization. Deacons shall meet regularly for prayer, Bible
discussion of the fulfillment of the duties and responsibilities of deacons. Frequency of meetings
shall be as determined by the Deacon Officers. A chairman of the Deacons will be selected from
among the Deacons on a as needed basis. The Deacon Officers shall prepare written policies and
procedures for submission to the Elder Council for concurrence. These shall be submitted to the
Elder Council within one year from the adoption of these Bylaws.
Section 1: General.
HBC is committed to accomplishing its stated goals through the ministry of
members. To accomplish these goals, HBC is determined to organize into “Teams” to be more
effective. Teams are focused upon accomplishing a stated or determined goal, or set of goals, to
fulfill the ministry that God has called those participating to do.
Section 2: Empowerment. Teams organize and function under policies and procedures established
by the Elder Council.
Section 3: Ministry. Teams perform the ministry best when it is performed by a plurality. Teams
are the basic organizing units of HBC to accomplish its goals within the guidelines of our Purpose
Statement. Teams are not policy-setting entities. Rather, they are the “hands and feet” of the body of
Christ. These teams devise and carry out the actions to further determine HBC ministries. HBC
policies and procedures provide a framework within which teams successfully operate.
Section 4: Dissolution. Teams may be dissolved upon a determination of the Elder Council.
THE TEACHING PASTOR
Selection. In the event that HBC is without its Teaching Pastor, the Elder
act as a search group to seek the Lord’s will regarding the Teaching Pastor. If they desire they can
chose other qualified members of the congregation to assist them in this process. When they are
unanimous in their recognition of God’s leadership toward a candidate, they will seek the affirmation
of the members of HBC in a Special Meeting (Article VIII, Section 3). A vote by written ballot of at
least three-fourths (75%) majority of all Qualified Church Members voting is required to call a
Teaching Pastor (Eph. 4:11).
Section 2: The
Nature of the Office. It goes without saying that the Teaching Pastor will
“Leader among Leaders.” However, the Teaching Pastor is only one elder among the many elders of
Section 3: Term of Office. The Teaching Pastor shall remain in office an indefinite period of time
subject to the following reservation: If at any time the Elder Council secures a majority vote among
the council members (excluding the Teaching Pastor) to remove the Teaching Pastor from his
position, they can make a recommendation to the Church body. Only after a majority ballot vote of
HBC in a Special Meeting can the Teaching Pastor be dismissed. Grounds for dismissal would
include grave doctrinal error or moral sin. The Teaching Pastor shall give notice of his resignation to
HBC, after having informed the Elder Council.
Section 3: Duties. In
addition to his shepherding role, as an elder the Teaching Pastor’s primary
responsibility is the ministry of the Word and prayer, in order to provide strategic leadership and
vision to the body. He is called to help believers mature in their faith, through insightful and accurate
presentation of biblical truths, equipping them to be the true “ministers” of the body. Because of
these primary roles, the ministry of the Word, prayer, and his leadership, the Teaching Pastor will
need to prioritize his time, focusing upon these duties first. (Eph. 4:11-12)
As shepherds of the flock, the elders are responsible to pick up the slack or appoint other leaders,
with complimentary spiritual gifts, to undertake areas and aspects of the ministry that cannot be filled
by the Teaching Pastor.
Identification. Church staff includes all personnel who are paid by the
includes ministerial staff and all other ministry servants (administrative assistants, etc.).
Section 2: Selection. The Elder Council, and/or their appointees, will serve as a search committee
for all Church staff positions. According to Article VIII, Section 8, the affirmation of the HBC body
is required for hiring ministerial staff. A three-fourths (75%) affirmative ballot vote of the qualified
Church Members attending the meeting will be required. If the approved budget allows, the Elder
Council is not required to obtain a vote by the Church to hire other ministry servants as needed
Section 3: Supervision. All staff members will be supervised and evaluated by the Elder Council.
The Teaching Pastor will have the authority with the assistance of the Elder Council to oversee all
staff members on a daily basis.
Ministerial Staff as Elders. All male ministerial staff members should be
qualified to be
elders. However, staff members are not automatically accepted as an elder upon hiring. If they
desire to be on the Elder Council they must go through the selection process according to Article IX,
Section 5. It is also required that newly hired staff members (excluding the Teacher Pastor) be a
member of the Church for at least one year before they are qualified to be on the Elder Council.
Section 5: Affirmation/Dismissal. All staff including the Pastor Teacher requires a continual
affirmation by the Elder Council. If at any time the elder council does not affirm a ministerial staff
member with a majority vote, the elder council can bring a recommendation to the Church body for
their dismissal. Only after a majority ballot vote by the Church body will the ministerial staff
member be dismissed. The dismissal of any paid non-ministerial servant does not require a vote by
the Church body, but does require majority vote by the Elder Council.
RECEIPT, INVESTMENT, AND DISBURSEMENT OF FUNDS
Section 1: Receipt
of Money. HBC shall receive all monies or other properties transferred to
the purposes that are consistent with God’s Word. The Elder Council shall determine whether to
accept such money or property.
Management of Funds. The Elder Council shall manage and distribute any
property only for the benefit of HBC consistent with the expressed purposes of HBC.
Section 3: Review
of Financial Matters. The Elder Council will ensure that a quarterly
report be provided to the congregation regularly.
Any person receiving compensation directly or indirectly
from HBC shall not be in a position to
determine the nature or amount of such compensation or remuneration.
RECORDS AND REPORTS
Section 1: Records.
HBC shall maintain adequate and correct accounts, books and records of its
business and properties. All such books, records and accounts shall be kept at its principal place of
business in Waxahachie, Texas. The adequacy and accuracy of the books and records shall be
overseen by the Elder Council. The location of the principal place of business of HBC may be
changed from time to time as determined by the Elder Council.
Inspection of Books & Records. Every member shall have the absolute
right, at any
reasonable time, to inspect all books, records, documents of every kind (with the exception of
personnel and contribution records) and the physical properties of HBC. The Elder Council, if
necessary to maintain good order, may restrict and limit the number of inspections or establish an
orderly manner for such to be conducted. But in no event shall a reasonable inspection of the books
and records be denied to a member.
INDEMNIFICATION OF ELDERS
The elders acting together in the Elder Council shall be
indemnified and held harmless for actions
consistent with the purpose and vision of HBC. HBC shall be primarily responsible for liability
arising from such actions or inaction of the Elder Council. Reasonable expenses to litigate or other-
wise resolve issues arising from the Elder Council’s performance of its duties and responsibilities
shall be paid by HBC. At the election of the Elder Council, this same indemnification shall extend to
all individuals performing within the scope of their duties and responsibilities for the benefit of HBC.
Upon dissolution of HBC, the Elder Council shall cause the
assets herein to be distributed to the
Baptist Missionary Association State Missions Department, located in Waxahachie, Texas.
Amendment Process. These Bylaws may be amended and new and additional
may be made at any time by the Elder Council, with affirmation of such change, as reflected by a
(75%) majority vote of the Qualified Church Members voting.
Section 2: Record
of Amendments. Whenever an amendment or new Bylaw is adopted, it shall
be copied into the books and records of HBC, with the original Bylaws. If any Bylaw is repealed or
amended, the fact of repeal or amendment, with the date of the meeting at which the repeal or
amendment was confirmed, by HBC, shall be stated in HBC’s books and records with the By-laws
and the repealed or amended provision, clearly marked as repealed or amended, in the original
HERITAGE BAPTIST CHURCH
ARTICLES OF FAITH
♦ We believe in one God, eternally existent as God the Father, God the Son, and God
the Holy Spirit.
♦ We believe that the Bible, composed of the Old and New
Testaments, is God's
inspired and infallible Word, and is the supreme standard and final authority for all
conduct, faith, and doctrine.
♦ We believe in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, in His
virgin birth, in His sinless life,
in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death, in His bodily resurrection, in his
ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His premillennial personal return in
power and glory.
♦ We believe that man was created in the image of God, but
by willful transgressions
became sinful and is justly under the condemnation and wrath of Almighty God.
♦ We believe that the only salvation from this guilt and
condemnation is through faith
in the righteousness and atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that this salvation
is the free gift of God's love and grace.
♦ We believe in the personality of the Holy Spirit and
that His ministry is to reveal
Christ to men, to convict of sin, to regenerate repentant sinners and, by His presence
and power, to sanctify the lives of the redeemed.
♦ We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ instituted the
ordinances of baptism and
communion; that baptism is only to be administered upon profession of faith in
Christ, by immersion, thereby declaring our faith in a crucified, buried, and risen
Savior; that communion is only for believers, is to be preceded by faithful self-
examination, and is in remembrance of the Lord's death until He comes.
♦ We believe that a New Testament church is a body of
believers, baptized by
immersion, associated for worship, service, and the spread of the gospel of the grace
of God to all the world.
♦ We believe that there will be a resurrection of the just
and the unjust; the just, having
been redeemed by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, to be with Him
throughout eternity in glory; the unjust, having died impenitent and unreconciled to
God, to eternal condemnation in hell.
WHAT WE TEACH AT
HERITAGE BAPTIST CHURCH
The Doctrine of the
We teach that the Bible is God's written revelation to man, and thus the sixty-six
books of the Bible given to us by the Holy Spirit
constitutes the plenary (inspired equally in
all parts) Word of God (1 Corinthians 2:7-14; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
We teach that the Word of God is an objective,
propositional revelation (1
Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Corinthians 2:13), verbally inspired in every word (2 Timothy 3:16),
absolutely inerrant in the original documents, infallible, and God-breathed. We teach the
literal, grammatical-historical interpretation of Scripture which affirms the belief that the
opening chapters of Genesis present creation in six literal days (Genesis 1:31; Exodus 31:17).
We teach that the Bible constitutes the only infallible rule
of faith and practice
(Matthew 5:18; 24:35; John 10:34; 16:12-13; 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17;
Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
We teach that God spoke in His written Word by a process
of dual authorship. The
Holy Spirit so superintended the human authors that, through their individual personalities
and different styles of writing, they composed and recorded God's Word to man (2 Peter
1:20-21) without error in the whole or in the part (Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16).
We teach that, whereas there may be several applications
of any given passage of
Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. The meaning of Scripture is to be found as
one diligently applies the literal grammatical-historical method of interpretation under the
enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 7:17; 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:7-15; 1 John 2:20). It is
the responsibility of believers to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of
Scripture, recognize that proper application is binding on all generations. Yet the truth of
Scripture stands in judgment of men; never do men stand in judgment of it.
The Doctrine of God
We teach that there is but one living and true God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5-7; 1
Corinthians 8:4), an infinite, all-knowing Spirit (John 4:24), perfect in all His attributes, one
in essence, eternally existing in three Persons--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19;
2 Corinthians 13:14) -- each equally deserving worship and obedience.
God the Father
We teach that God the Father, the first person of the Trinity, orders and disposes all
things according to His own purpose and grace (Psalm
145:8-9; 1 Corinthians 8:6). He is the
creator of all things (Genesis 1:1-31; Ephesians 3:9). As the only absolute and omnipotent
ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Psalm
103:19; Romans 11:36). His fatherhood involves both His designation within the Trinity and
His relations with mankind. As Creator He is Father to all men (Ephesians 4:6), but He is
Spiritual Father only to believers (Romans 8:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18). He has decreed for His
own glory all things that come to pass (Ephesians 1:11). He continually upholds, directs,
and governs all creatures and events (1 Chronicles 29:11). In His sovereignty He is neither
author nor approver of sin (Habakkuk 1:13; John 8:38-47), nor does He abridge the
accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (1 Peter 1:17). He has graciously chosen from
eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Ephesians 1:4-6); He saves from sin
all those who come to Him; and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own (John 1:12;
Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Hebrews 12:5-9).
God the Son
We teach that Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, possesses all the divine
excellencies, and in these He is co-equal, consubstantial,
and co-eternal with the Father
(John 10:30; 14:9).
We teach that God the Father created "the heavens and
the earth and all that is in
them" according to His own will, through His Son, Jesus Christ, by whom all things
continue in existence and in operation (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2).
We teach that in the incarnation (God becoming man) Christ
surrendered only the
prerogatives of deity but nothing of the divine essence, either in degree or kind. In His
incarnation, the eternally existing second person of the Trinity accepted all the essential
characteristics of humanity and so became the God-man (Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 2:9).
We teach that Jesus Christ represents humanity and deity
in indivisible oneness
(Micah 5:2; John 5:23; 14:9-10; Colossians 2:9).
We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ was virgin born
(Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23, 25;
Luke 1:26-35); that He was God incarnate (John 1:1, 14); and that the purpose of the
incarnation was to reveal God, redeem men, and rule over God's kingdom (Psalm 2:7-9;
Isaiah 9:6; John 1:29; Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 7:25-26; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
We teach that, in the incarnation, the second person of
the Trinity laid aside His right
to the full prerogatives of coexistence with God, assumed the place of a Son, and took on an
existence appropriate to a servant while never divesting Himself of His divine attributes
We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our
redemption through the
shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross and that His death was voluntary,
vicarious, substitutionary, propitiatory, and redemptive (John 10:15; Romans 3:24-25; 5:8; 1
Peter 2:24; 3:18).
We teach that our justification is made sure by His
literal, physical resurrection from
the dead and that He is now ascended to the right hand of the Father, where He now
meditates as our Advocate and High Priest (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:38-39; Acts 2:30-31;
Romans 4:25; 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1).
We teach that in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the
grave, God confirmed the
deity of His Son and gave proof that God has accepted the atoning work of Christ on the
cross. Jesus' bodily resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all
believers (John 5:26-29; 14:19; Romans 4:25; 6:5-10; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23).
We teach that Jesus Christ will return to receive the
church, which is His body, unto
Himself at the rapture and, returning with His church in glory, will establish His millennial
kingdom on earth (Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 20).
We teach that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one through
whom God will judge all
mankind (John 5:22-23):
a. Believers (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10);
b. Living inhabitants of the earth at His glorious return (Matthew 25:31-46); and
c. Unbelieving dead at the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15).
As the mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), the
head of His body the
church (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23; Colossians 1:18), and the coming universal King who will
reign on the throne of David (Isaiah 9:6; Luke 1:31-33), He is the final judge of all who fail to
place their trust in Him as Lord and Savior (Matthew 25:14-46; Acts 17:30-31).
God the Holy Spirit
We teach that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, eternal, underived, possessing all
the attributes of personality and deity including intellect (1 Corinthians 2:10-13), emotions
(Ephesians 4:30), will (1 Corinthians 12:11), eternality (Hebrews 9:14), omnipresence (Psalm
139:7-10), omniscience (Isaiah 40:13-14), omnipotence (Romans 15:13), and truthfulness
(John 16:13). In all the divine attributes He is coequal and consubstantial with the Father
and the Son (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; 28:25-26; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14;
and Jeremiah 31:31-34 with Hebrews 10:15-17).
We teach that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to execute
the divine will with relation
to all mankind. We recognize His sovereign activity in creation (Genesis 1:2), the
incarnation (Matthew 1:18), the written revelation (2 Peter 1:20-21) and the work of
salvation (John 3:5-7).
We teach that a unique work of the Holy Spirit in this age
began at Pentecost when
He came from the Father as promised by Christ (John 14:16-17; 15:26) to initiate and
complete the building of the body of Christ. His activity includes convicting the world of
sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ, and transforming
believers into the image of Christ (John 16:7-9; Acts 1:5; 2:4; Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18;
We teach that the Holy Spirit is the supernatural and
sovereign agent in
regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Holy
Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto
the day of redemption (Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13).
We teach that the Holy Spirit is the divine teacher who
guided the apostles and
prophets into all truth as they committed to writing God's revelation, the Bible. Every
believer possesses the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation,
and it is the duty of all those born of the Spirit to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit
(John 16:13; Romans 8:9; Ephesians 5:18; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 1 John 2:20, 27).
We teach that the Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts
to the church. The Holy
Spirit glorifies neither Himself nor His gifts by ostentatious displays, but He does glorify
Christ by implementing His work of redeeming the lost and building up believers in the
most holy faith (John 16:13-14; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 2 Corinthians 3:18).
We teach, in this respect, that God the Holy Spirit is
sovereign in the bestowing of all
His gifts for the perfecting of the saints today and that speaking in tongues and the working
of sign miracles in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of pointing to and
authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and were never intended to be
characteristic of the lives of believers (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 13:8-10; 2 Corinthians 12:12;
Ephesians 4:7-12; Hebrews 2:1-4).
Doctrine of Man
We teach that man was directly and immediately created by God in His image and
likeness. Man was created free of sin with a rational
nature, intelligence, volition, self-
determination, and moral responsibility to God (Genesis 2:7, 15-25; James 3:9).
We teach that God's intention in the creation of man was
that man should glorify
God, enjoy God's fellowship, live his life in the will of God, and by this accomplish God's
purpose for man in the world (Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11).
We teach that in Adam's sin of disobedience to the
revealed will and Word of God,
man lost his innocence; incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death; became subject
to the wrath of God; and became inherently corrupt and utterly incapable of choosing or
doing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace. With no recuperative
powers to enable him to recover himself, man is hopelessly lost. Man's salvation is thereby
wholly of God's grace through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Genesis
2:16-17; 3:1-19; John 3:36; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Timothy
2:13-14; 1 John 1:8).
We teach that because all men were in Adam, a nature
corrupted by Adam's sin has
been transmitted to all men of all ages, Jesus Christ being the only exception. All men are
thus sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine declaration (Psalm 14:1-3; Jeremiah 17:9;
Romans 3:9-18, 23; 5:10-12).
We teach that Jesus Christ declared the Creator’s
intention for marriage to be the
inseparable and exclusive union between a man and a woman (natural man and natural
woman) (Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9). Marriage testifies of the union between Christ and
the church (Ephesians 5:31-32; Romans 1:25-27).
We teach that salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redemption of
Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not on the
basis of human merit or works
(John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
We teach that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the
divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3-7; Titus
3:5). It is instantaneous and is
accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the
Word of God (John 5:24), when the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit, responds
in faith to the divine provision of salvation. Genuine regeneration is manifested by fruits
worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct. Good works will
be its proper evidence and fruit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 5:17-21; Philippians 2:12b;
Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:4-10). This obedience causes the believer to be increasingly
conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Such a conformity is
climaxed in the believer's glorification at Christ's coming (Romans 8:17; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John
We teach that election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world,
He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates,
saves, and sanctifies (Romans
8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-11;
2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2).
We teach that sovereign election does not contradict or
negate the responsibility of
man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11; John 3:18-19, 36;
5:40; Romans 9:22-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Revelation 22:17). Nevertheless, since
sovereign grace includes the means of receiving the gift of salvation as well as the gift itself,
sovereign election will result in what God determines. All whom the Father calls to Himself
will come in faith and all who come in faith the Father will receive (John 6:37-40, 44; Acts
13:48; James 4:8).
We teach that the unmerited favor that God grants to
totally depraved sinners is not
related to any initiative of their own part nor to God's anticipation of what they might do
by their own will, but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Ephesians 1:4-7; Titus
3:4-7; 1 Peter 1:2).
We teach that election should not be looked upon as based
merely on abstract
sovereignty. God is truly sovereign but He exercises this sovereignty in harmony with His
other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love
(Romans 9:11-16). This sovereignty will always exalt the will of God in a manner totally
consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew
11:25-28; 2 Timothy 1:9).
We teach that justification before God is an act of God (Romans 8:33) by which He
declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ,
repent of their sins (Luke 13:3; Acts
2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Isaiah 55:6-7) and confess Him as sovereign
Lord (Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Philippians 2:11). This
righteousness is apart form any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20; 4:6), and involves the
placing of our sins on Christ (Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24) and the imputation of Christ's
righteousness to us (1 Corinthians 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21). By this means God is
enabled to "be just, and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26).
We teach that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is
therefore declared to be holy and is therefore identified
as a saint. This sanctification is
positional and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification.
This sanctification has to do with the believer's standing, not his present walk or condition
(Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 2:11; 3:1; 10:10, 14;
13:12, 1 Peter 1:2).
We teach that there is also by the work of the Holy Spirit
a progressive sanctification
by which the state of the believer is brought closer to the obedience to the Word of God and
the empowering of the Holy Spirit, enabling the believer to live a life of increasing holiness
in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (John
17:17, 19; Romans 6:1-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 5:23).
In this respect, we teach that every saved person is
involved in a daily conflict - the
new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh - but adequate provision is made for
victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle nevertheless stays
with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely ended. All claims to
the eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural. Eradication of sin is not possible, but the
Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24;
Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1;14-16; 1 John 3:5-9).
We teach that all the redeemed once saved are kept by God's power and are thus
secure in Christ forever (John 5:24; 6:37-40; 10:27-30;
Romans 5;9-10; 8;1, 31-39; 1 Corinthians
1:4-8; Ephesians 4;30; Hebrews 7:25; 13:5; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24).
We teach that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice
in the assurance of their
salvation through the testimony of God's Word, which however, clearly forbids the use of
Christian liberty as an occasion for sinful living and carnality (Romans 6:15-2; 13:13-14;
Galatians 5:13, 25-26; Titus 2:11-14).
We teach that separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Old and New
Testaments, and that the Scriptures clearly indicate that
in the last days apostasy and
worldliness shall increase (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5). We teach that out of
deep gratitude for the undeserved grace of God granted to us and because our glorious
God is so worthy of our total consecration, all the saved should live in such a manner as to
demonstrate our adoring love to God and so as not to bring reproach upon our Lord and
Savior. We also teach that separation from any association with religious apostasy, and
worldly and sinful practices is commanded of us by God (Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians
5:9-13; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 John 2;15-17; 2 John 9-11).
We teach that believers should be separated unto our Lord
Jesus Christ (2
Thessalonians 1:11-12; Hebrews 12:1-2) and affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedient
righteousness demonstrated by a beatitude attitude (Matthew 5:2-12) and a continual
pursuit of holiness (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John
The Doctrine of the
We teach that all who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the
Holy Spirit into one united spiritual body, the church (1
Corinthians 12:12-13), the bride of
Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2;
Ephesians 5:23-32; Revelation 19:7-8), of which Christ is the head (Ephesians 1:22;
We teach that the formation of the church, the body of
Christ, began on the day of
Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21, 38-47) and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own at
the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
We teach that the church is thus a unique spiritual
organism designed by Christ,
made up of all born-again believers in this present age (Ephesians 2:11-3:6). The church is
distinct from Israel (1 Corinthians 10:32), a mystery not revealed until this age (Ephesians
We teach that the establishment and continuity of local
churches is clearly taught
and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:23, 27; 20:17, 28; Galatians 1:2;
Philippians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1;
2 Thessalonians 1:1) and that the members of the one scriptural body are directed to
associate themselves together in local assemblies (1 Corinthians 11:18-20; Hebrews 10:25).
We teach that the one supreme authority for the church is
Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3;
Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18) and that the church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and
worship are all appointed through His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures. The
biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the assembly are elders (males,
who are also called bishops, pastors, and pastor-teachers; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11) and
deacons, both of whom must meet biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1
We teach that these leaders lead or rule as servants of
Christ (1 Timothy 5:17-22) and
have His authority in directing the church. The congregation is to submit to their
leadership (Hebrews 13:7, 17).
We teach the importance of discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20;
2 Timothy 2:2), mutual
accountability of all believers to each other (Matthew 18:5-14), as well as the need for
discipline for sinning members of the congregation in accord with the standards of
Scripture (Matthew 18:15-22; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1
Timothy 19-20; Titus 1:10-16).
We teach the autonomy of the local church, free from any
external authority or
control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any
hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Titus 1:5). We teach that it is scriptural for true
churches to cooperate with each other for the presentation and propagation of the faith.
Local churches, however, through their pastors and their interpretation and application of
Scripture, should be the sole judges of the measure and method of their cooperation (Acts
15:19-31; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 5:4-7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
We teach that the purpose of the church is to glorify God
(Ephesians 3:21) by
building itself up in the faith (Ephesians 4:13-16), by instruction of the Word (2 Timothy 2:2,
15; 3:16-17), by fellowship (Acts 2:47; 1 John 1:3), by keeping the ordinances (Luke 22:19;
Acts 2:38-42), and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world
(Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8; 2:42).
We teach the calling of all saints to the work of service
(1 Corinthians 15:58;
Ephesians 4:12; Revelation 22:12).
We teach the need of the church to cooperate with God as
He accomplishes His
purpose in the world. To that end He gives the church spiritual gifts. First, He gives men
chosen for the purpose of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians
4:7-12) and He also gives unique and special spiritual abilities to each member of the body
of Christ (Romans 12:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; 1 Peter 4:10-11).
We teach that there were two kinds of gifts given the
early church: miraculous gifts
of divine revelation and healing, given temporarily in the apostolic era for the purpose of
confirming the authenticity of the apostles' message (Hebrews 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12);
and ministering gifts, given to equip believers for edifying one another. With the New
Testament revelation now complete, Scripture becomes the sole test of the authenticity of a
man's message, and confirming gifts of a miraculous nature are no longer necessary to
validate a man or his message (1 Corinthians 13:8-12). Miraculous gifts can even be
counterfeited by Satan so as to deceive even believers (1 Corinthians 13:13-14:12; Revelation
13:13-14). The only gifts in operation today are those non-revelatory equipping gifts given
for edification (Romans 12:6-8).
We teach that no one possesses the gift of healing today
but that God does hear and
answer the prayer of faith and will answer in accordance with His own perfect will for the
sick, suffering, and afflicted (Luke 18:1-6; John 5:7-9; 2 Corinthians 12:6-10; James 5:13-16; 1
We teach that two ordinances have been committed to the
local church: Baptism and
the Lord's Supper (Acts 2:38-42). Christian Baptism by immersion (Acts 8:36-39) is the
solemn and beautiful testimony of a believer showing forth his faith in the crucified, buried,
and risen Savior, and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life
(Romans 6:1-11). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible body of
Christ (Acts 2:41-42).
We teach that the Lord's Supper is the commemoration and
proclamation of His
death until He comes, and should be always preceded by solemn self-examination (1
Corinthians 11:28-32). We also teach that whereas the elements of communion are only
representative of the flesh and blood of Christ, the Lord's Supper is nevertheless an actual
communion with the risen Christ who is present in a unique way, fellowshipping with His
people (1 Corinthians 10:16).
Doctrine of Angels
We teach that angels are created beings and are therefore
not to be worshiped.
Although they are a higher order of creation than man, they are created to serve God and to
worship Him (Luke 2:9-14; Hebrews 1:6-7, 14; 2:6-7; Revelation 5:11-14; 19:10; 22:9).
We teach that Satan is a created angel and the author of sin. He incurred the
judgment of God by rebelling against his Creator (Isaiah
14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19), by
taking numerous angels with him in his fall (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:1-14), and by
introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of Eve (Genesis 3:1-15).
We teach that Satan is the open and declared enemy of God
and man (Isaiah
14:13-14; Matthew 4:1-11; Revelation 12:9-10), the prince of this world who has been
defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 16:20), and that he
shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Matthew
25:41; Revelation 20:10).
Doctrine of the
Last Things (Eschatology)
We teach that physical death involves no loss of our
(Revelation 6:9-11), that the soul of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of
Christ (Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8), that there is a separation of soul and
body (Philippians 1:21-24), and that, for the redeemed, such separation will continue until
the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17), which initiates the first resurrection (Revelation
20:4-6) when our soul and body will be reunited to be glorified forever with our Lord
(Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:35-44, 50-54). Until that time, the souls of the redeemed
in Christ remain in joyful fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8).
We teach the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to
eternal life (John 6:39;
Romans 8:10-11, 19-23; 2 Corinthians 4:14), and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting
punishment (Daniel 12:2; John 5:29; Revelation 20:13-15).
We teach that the souls of the unsaved at death are kept
under punishment until the
second resurrection (Luke 16:19-26; Revelation 20:13-15), when the soul and the resurrection
body will be united (John 5:28-29). They shall then appear at the Great White Throne
judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) and shall be cast into hell, the lake of fire (Matthew 25:4-46),
cut off from the life of God forever (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
The Rapture of the Church
We teach the personal, bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ before the seven-year
tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Titus 2:13) to
translate His church from this earth (John
14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-5:11) and, between this event and His
glorious return with His saints, to reward believers according to their works (1 Corinthians
3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
The Tribulation Period
We teach that immediately following the removal of the church from the earth (John
14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) the righteous judgments
of God will be poured out upon an
unbelieving world (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27; 12:1, 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; Revelation 16),
and that these judgments will be climaxed by the return of Christ in glory to the earth
(Matthew 24:27-31; 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12). At that time the Old Testament and
tribulation saints will be raised and the living will be judged (Daniel 12:2-3; Revelation
20:4-6). This period includes the seventieth week of Daniel's prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27;
Matthew 24:15-31; 25:31-46).
The Second Coming and the Millennial Reign
We teach that after the tribulation period, Christ will come to earth to occupy the
throne of David (Matthew 25:31; Luke 1:31-33; Acts
1:10-11, 2:29-30) and establish His
Messianic kingdom for a thousand years on earth (Revelation 20:1-7). During this time the
resurrected saints will reign with Him over Israel and all the nations of the earth (Ezekiel
37:21-28; Daniel 7:17-22; Revelation 19:11-16). This reign will be preceded by the overthrow
of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and by the removal of Satan from the world (Daniel
7:17-27; Rev. 20:1-7).
We teach that the kingdom itself will be the fulfillment
of God's promise to Israel
(Isaiah 65:17-25; Ezekiel 37:21-38; Zechariah 8:1-17) to restore them to the land which they
forfeited through their disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:15-68). The result of their
disobedience was that Israel was temporarily set aside (Matthew 21:43; Romans 11:1-26) but
will again be awakened through repentance to enter into the land of blessing (Jeremiah
31:31:34; Ezekiel 36:22-32; Romans 11:25-29).
We teach that this time of our Lord's reign will be
characterized by harmony, justice,
peace, righteousness, and long life (Isaiah 11; 65:17-25; Ezekiel 36:33-38), and will be
brought to an end with the release of Satan (Revelation 20:7).
The Judgment of the Lost
We teach that following the release of Satan after the thousand year reign of Christ
(Revelation 20:7), Satan will deceive the nations of the
earth and gather them to battle
against the saints and the beloved city, at which time Satan and his army will be devoured
by fire from heaven (Revelation 20:9). Following this, Satan will be thrown into the lake of
fire and brimstone (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10) whereupon Christ, who is the judge of
all men (John 5:22), will resurrect and judge the great and small at the Great White Throne
We teach that this resurrection of the unsaved dead to
judgment will be a physical
resurrection, whereupon receiving their judgment (Romans 14:10-13), they will be
committed to an eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41;
We teach that after the closing of the millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and
the judgment of unbelievers (2 Thessalonians 1:9;
Revelation 20:7-15), the saved will enter
the eternal state of glory with God, after which the elements of this earth are to be dissolved
(2 Peter 3:10) and replaced with a new earth wherein only righteousness dwells (Ephesians
5:5; Revelation 20:15, 21-22). Following this, the heavenly city will come down out of
heaven (Revelation 21:2) and will be the dwelling place of the saints, where they will enjoy
forever fellowship with God and one another (John 17:3; Revelation 21,22). Our Lord Jesus
Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God
the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28), that in all spheres the triune God may reign forever and
ever (1 Corinthians 15:28).
Approved May 16, 2010
Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality
We teach that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or
female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of
God. (Gen 1:26-27.) Rejection of one’s biological sex (natural man or natural woman) is a
rejection of the image of God within that person.
We teach that the term “marriage” has only one meaning:
the uniting of one man
and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. (Gen 2:18-25.) We
believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman
(natural man and natural woman) who are married to each other. (1 Cor 6:18; 7:2-5; Heb
13:4.) 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 teach that any form of sexual immorality (including —
but not limited to —
adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of
pornography) is sinful and offensive to God. (Matt 15:18-20; 1 Cor 6:9-10.)
We teach that in order to preserve the function and
integrity of HBC as the local
Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the HBC members and the
community, it is imperative that all persons employed by HBC in any capacity, or who serve
as volunteers, agree to and abide by this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality.
(Matt 5:16; Phil 2:14-16; 1 Thess 5:22.)
We teach that God offers redemption and restoration to all
who confess and forsake
their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. (Acts 3:19-21; Rom
10:9-10; 1 Cor 6:9-11.)
We teach that every person must be afforded compassion,
love, kindness, respect,
and dignity. (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31.) Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes
directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture
nor the doctrines of HBC.
Sanctity of Human Life
We teach that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life
is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the
physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception
through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life.
These additional statements were amended to Appendix A: Articles of Faith