The doctrinal statement of Harrison Hills Baptist Church exists to express both our teaching position on the major areas of Bible doctrine and what we believe the Bible has to say about various cultural and theological issues facing the church. Harrison Hills Baptist Church believes a detailed doctrinal statement is important for both its members and visitors alike for some of the following reasons:
A church’s view of creation and the meaning of the first three chapters of the book of Genesis has theological implications for the rest of the Bible, the authority of Scripture, the gospel, the truth claims of the authors of Scripture, and Jesus.
A church’s view of doctrine is necessary for true biblical unity to exist in the church. Biblical unity is “being of the same mind and same judgment,” not agreeing to disagree or tolerating all doctrinal views within the church (see Romans 15:5; I Corinthians 1:10; Ephesians 4:1-6; Philippians 2:2).
A church’s view of doctrine is necessary so that the elders of a local church can lead the church in the same direction, both doctrinally and philosophically, as well as obey the command to “exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict” (Titus 1:9).
A church’s view of doctrine is necessary for those looking for a church to attend because what and why a church does what it does is determined by its doctrinal beliefs. We want visitors to have a clear understanding of what they can expect to hear from the pulpit and taught in the various teaching ministries of Harrison Hills Baptist Church.
All elders of Harrison Hills Baptist Church must be in agreement with this doctrinal statement before being appointed to the office of Elder (Pastor). Members do not have to agree with every point of the doctrinal statement before becoming members but must agree not to teach contrary to the teaching positions of Harrison Hills Baptist Church.
The 66 books of the Bible are literally the Word of God, written down by men of God, who were moved by the Holy Spirit, and spoke from God (2 Samuel 23:1-3; 2 Peter 1:20-21). We teach verbal, plenary inspiration, which means that all of the Bible, in its original documents, both in part and in whole, is inerrant, infallible, the very Word of God (Psalm 119:160). The Scriptures are the only authoritative, objective, and sufficient standard for all matters of godliness, faith, practice, and doctrine throughout all generations (Psalm 19:7-11; Zechariah 7:12; Matthew 24:35; John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4, 19). The Bible is also the only source of objective truth from God (John 5:39; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 1:1; Jude 3; Revelation 1:19). God's Word stands in authority over all creation, men, and the church and is what all men will be judged by on the last day (John 12:48; Romans 2:16; 1 Timothy 3:15). Because the Bible is the Word of God we are under obligation before God to handle it accurately when we interpret it (2 Timothy 2:15). We teach the literal, historical, grammatical, contextual method of interpretation, which means the Bible is to be interpreted literally, unless there is clear reason in the context not to do so. Each text is to be interpreted in light of its near, far, and historical contexts, giving priority to the original languages, grammar, and inspired sentence structure. We teach that the interpretation of any given text of the Bible is one, though the principles and applications taken from that one interpretation may be one or many. We teach that the interpretation of a text is what the original author meant for his original audience to understand by what he wrote (authorial intent).
There is one God (Deuteronomy 4:35; 6:4; Isaiah 44:5-8), perfect and infinite in all of His attributes, who has chosen to reveal Himself in three distinct persons i.e., the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All three persons have existed from eternity and are separate in their identity and function, but one in purpose and substance, all three together being the one eternal God, worthy of all worship, glory, praise, and obedience (Genesis 1:26; 3:22; Psalm 2:7; Isaiah 48:16; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Titus 3:4-7). God created everything in heaven and on earth, out of nothing, in six, literal, sequential, twenty-four hour periods or days, by His spoken Word (Genesis 1:1-31; Exodus 20:11; Psalm 148:1-5; Ephesians 3:9; Hebrews 11:3). In all uses, descriptors, and titles (over 900) of God in Scripture, the language and pronouns used to describe God are exclusively in the masculine. God is neither male, nor female in a human sense, but is Spirit (John 4:24). In His desire to reveal Himself, and His attributes to humanity, He has chosen the masculine form. Any attempts to alter this clear teaching in Scripture should be viewed as rebellion against God’s revealed nature.
God the Father
God the Father is the initiator, planner, and organizer of all things, being sovereign over all of His creation (Job 38-41; Isaiah 14:24, 27; 37:26; Acts 4:27-28; Romans 8:29-30; 1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:5, 11; 2:10).
God the Son
Jesus Christ is God incarnate, which means that He is God become man in the flesh, fully God and fully man (Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2; Matthew 1:23; John 1:1, 14, 18; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 1:8). Jesus was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23) and conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). Jesus is the one and only Mediator between God and man and lives as an advocate for all who repent of their sins and believe in Him alone for salvation (1 Timothy 2:5; 1 John 2:1). Jesus is the Redeemer (Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 3:18-19), Judge (John 5:22-23; Acts 17:31), Priest (Hebrews 2:17; 3:1; 4:14-15; 5:10; 7:1, 3, 15, 21), Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18; John 6:14; Acts 3:22-26; 7:37), King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16), and the channel of creation (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2). Jesus lived a perfect life here on earth, both passively and actively obeying the Father’s will (Luke 2:21-32; 1 Peter 1:19; Hebrews 2:10; 4:15; 5:9; 7:28), died a vicarious or substitutionary death for the sins of men (Isaiah 53:4-6; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Corinthians 15:3), and was the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36). Jesus was buried and rose again with a glorified body on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:4), conquering death (Colossians 2:13-14), and having ascended into heaven He is now seated at the right hand of God (Acts 1:9-11; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 10:12). He has received all power, authority, and dominion in heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18). He lives as an advocate for the saints (I John 2:1) and He will come again to set up an earthly kingdom (Luke 22:28-30; Revelation 20:1-6), followed by an eternal kingdom and will rule and reign forever (2 Peter 1:10-11; Revelation 21-22).
God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is one of the three persons of the godhead, fully God in every way (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 12:11, 18; 2 Corinthians 3:18). The Holy Spirit assisted in creation (Genesis 1:2), was the agent of the virgin birth (Luke 1:35), and is the divine agent of the inspired revelation of God (Zechariah 7:12; 2 Peter 1:20-21). The Holy Spirit is active in convicting the world of sin and judgment (John 16:8) and regenerating and empowering those who are saved (Ezekiel 36:27; John 3:5-8; 2 Corinthians 12:1-7; Galatians 5:16; Titus 3:5). The Holy Spirit enables men, through His illuminating work, to understand the written revelation of God (1 Corinthians 2:10-16; 1 John 2:20,27). The Holy Spirit permanently indwells and enables believers in the process of sanctification (1 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 8:13-14; Ephesians 1:15-18; 3:14-21; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). He is the pledge and guarantee of our future inheritance (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30).
Man was created perfect and without sin on the sixth day of creation to give glory to God (Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:16-18). Man was formed by God out of the dust of the ground. God breathed into man the breath of life and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7). Man is unlike the animals, being created in the image of God, to rule over the earth and all living creatures (Genesis 1:24-31; Ecclesiastes 7:29; 1 Corinthians 15:39). Shortly after man was created, Eve was deceived by Satan into eating the forbidden fruit (2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:14), and Adam ate the forbidden fruit willingly (Genesis 3:17; Hosea 6:7). As a result of their sin, both died spiritually (Ephesians 2:1- 2; Colossians 2:13) and later physically because the wages of sin is death (Genesis 5:5; Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:27). Adam was the representative head of the human race and when he sinned the entire human race fell in him. Adam's sin is imputed to all of his descendants (Romans 5:12-14; 1 Corinthians 15:22), hence all men are totally depraved, which means every part of their being has been affected by sin. Men are conceived in sin (Psalm 51:5), born in sin (Genesis 8:21; Psalm 58:3), and sin because they are by nature sinners (Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-23; Romans 3:10-18, 23; Ephesians 2:1-3). All men suppress the truth in unrighteousness and are sinners both by imputation, nature, and choice (Genesis 6:5; Romans 1:18-25; Titus 1:15). The consequences of sin have made man unable to understand the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:14), unable to please God (Romans 8:5-8), and unwilling to seek God (John 3:19-21; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).
The Need of Salvation
Unrepentant sinners have God's wrath abiding on them, and hence, all men are in need of salvation from sin and its consequences (John 3:36; Romans 3:23-24; 6:23; Ephesians 2:3). The ultimate consequence of sin is to suffer the holy wrath of God's justice for eternity in the lake of fire (Nahum 1:3; Revelation 20:14-15).
Predestination of the Elect to Salvation
God chose and predestined some to be saved from before the foundation of the world (Romans 8:29-30). All men are universally called to repent and believe in Jesus Christ, crucified and resurrected from the dead (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 17:30), but only the elect, who are predestined to salvation, believe and are saved (Matthew 22:14; Acts 13:48; Ephesians 1:4-5).
Provision of Salvation
God's only provision for salvation is Jesus Christ. Jesus is the promised Seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15), the Redeemer (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 1:18-19), and Savior of all those who believe in Him for eternal life (John 3:16). The Lord Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one can come to the Father but through Him (John 14:6). There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved (Matthew 11:27; John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
The Gospel of Salvation
The only way to be delivered from the wrath of God is by hearing and believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God for all who believe (Romans 1:16; 10:14-17; 1 Corinthians 1:18-24). The essence of the gospel is that Jesus Christ, out of love for mankind, died for the sins of the world on the cross as our substitute, was buried, and rose again on the third day, conquering death (Acts 2:22-32; Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 1 Peter 3:18). The gospel message is a call to repent of our sin and believe in Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:1-2; 4:17; 11:20; Acts 2:38; 3:19-21; 17:30- 31; 20:21; 26:19-20; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:9-10).
Appropriation of Salvation
Salvation is not a result of works, but is an undeserved, unearned gift, received by God's grace and mercy, through faith, which God supplies to the elect (Galatians 5:4; Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5). Saving faith is not only an intellectual assent to the facts of the gospel (James 2:19), but a volitional heart commitment to trust in the gospel of Jesus Christ alone for salvation (Luke 9:23; 14:26) and includes a willingness to repent of one’s sin and submit to and obey the Lord of the gospel, who is Jesus Christ (Luke 13:1-5; 24:46-47; John 3:36; 1 John 2:3-5). Salvation is only appropriated through the ministry of the Holy Spirit whereby God draws the elect to His Son (John 3:5-8; 6:44). Men, apart from the grace of God, do not seek Him (Romans 3:10; John 3:19). God seeks men (Luke 5:31-32; 19:10) and men respond to the irresistible grace of God, which effectually draws them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:27; 13:11; John 6:37; Acts 13:48; Philippians 1:29; 2 Timothy 2:25; 1 Corinthians 1:18). Repentance is to have a change of mind, having acknowledged one's sin and error, and to turn from sin to pursue a life of obedience and faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (Isaiah 55:6-9; Joel 2:12-13; John 1:12; 8:24; Romans 14:8-9; 2 Corinthians 4:5).
The Call to Salvation
God calls all men everywhere to repent and believe in the gospel (Acts 17:30-31). God is not willing for any to perish (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9) and takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23; 33:11). Men are without excuse before God because the natural revelation of creation, conscience, and the law of God written in their hearts is enough to show them that God exists. All men, however, suppress the natural revelation of God in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18- 20, 25; 2:14-16). Therefore, the only way a person can be saved is by hearing and believing in special revelation, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, accompanied by the Holy Spirit’s power (Matthew 24:14; Romans 1:16-17; 10:8-17; 1 Corinthians 1:18).
Atonement of Sins
Christ's sacrificial atonement is sufficient for all mankind, but applied only to the elect who place their faith in the gospel (Romans 5:6, 8; I John 2:2). The Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Christ (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus shed His blood to redeem those who would be saved (Leviticus 17:11, 14; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Jesus came to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29), died for the world of men (John 3:16-17; 1 John 4:14), is the Savior of all men (1 Timothy 4:10; Titus 2:11), tasted death for everyone (Hebrews 2:9), and is the all-sufficient sacrifice who satisfies the wrath of God for everyone who believes (propitiation). Jesus is the actual propitiation for those who believe and are born again, and the only Savior to be offered to the world of men through the gospel (I John 2:1-2). The gospel is good news for all men, that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, and rose again on the third day, according to the Scriptures” (I Cor. 15:1-14).
Results of Salvation
Salvation includes total forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 2:13-14), adoption into the family of God (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5-6), reconciliation to God (Romans 5:10-11; 11:15), one time, permanent justification before God based on the merits of Christ (Romans 3:28; Galatians 2:16); propitiation before God (I John 2:2; Hebrews 2:17-18); eternal life with God (John 3:16, 36; 10:27-28); redemption from the curse of the law and slavery to sin and Satan (Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 2:1-9; Titus 2:14); sanctification—initial, progressive, and final (1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Peter 1:14-16; I John 3:2-3); deliverance from the lake of fire (John 5:24; Romans 5:9), and glorification (Romans 8:29-30).
The Manifestation of Salvation
Salvation is the supernatural work of God in a person that manifests itself in a transformed life (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:24). All true believers will bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance and will be known by the fruit that the Holy Spirit and saving grace produces in their life (Matthew 3:8-10; 7:16-23; 12:33-35; Luke 6:43-45). The kinds of fruit salvation produces in the life of every believer is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25), a hunger for God's Word (1 Peter 2:2), a pursuit of righteousness (Proverbs 4:18), increased godliness and Christ-likeness (Philippians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 3:18), a desire to be with the saints (Hebrews 10:24-27; 1 John 2:19), and a desire to obey God in everything (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 5:9; 1 Peter 2:12).
Assurance of Salvation
We can know we are saved by the internal witness of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16-17; 1 John 3:24; 4:12-13) and by the righteousness which true saving faith produces in the life of every believer who receives the truth of the gospel (John 17:17; Colossians 1:3-6; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 John 2:3-4). A person who practices sin and rebellion against God has no assurance of salvation (James 2:14-26; 1 John 2:29; 3:4-10; 5:2). Everyone should regularly examine themselves to see whether they be in the faith (Psalm 139:23-24; Lamentations 3:40; 1 Corinthians 11:28, 31; 2 Corinthians 13:5).
THE PRESERVATION OF THE SAINTS
God saves men while they are His enemies (Romans 5:8). Once a person is saved by grace their salvation can never be lost or rejected (John 6:37, 39; Romans 8:38-39). God seals all believers with the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption and He is given to believers as a pledge of their future inheritance (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). God enables every believer to persevere unto the end (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24) and loses none whom He has called (John 6:37, 39; 10:27-30). The saints persevere in their salvation not because of what they do, but because of the grace of God given to them (John 6:44, 65; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 1 Peter 5:10; Jude 1).
The Purpose of the Church
The ultimate purpose of the Church is to give glory to God (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14) by submitting to the Lord Jesus Christ out of love and obeying His Word (John 14:15, 23-24; 1 John 5:3). The Church gives glory to God by worshiping Him in spirit and truth (John 4:21-24; Romans 12:1-2), by evangelizing the lost (Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:46-48; Acts 1:8; Colossians 1:23), and by equipping the saints for work of service (Matthew 24:45-47; 25:21-23; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; Ephesians 2:10; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 4:7-8; Titus 2:11-14). As the earthly representation of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world it is the purpose of the Church to protect, preserve, and declare the truth contained in the Word of God (1 Timothy 3:15).
The Universal Church
There is a Universal Church comprised of all true believers in heaven and on earth, who have been baptized by the Holy Spirit and placed into the one spiritual body of Christ through repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Ephesians 2:11-16; 4:4-6). The Church did not exist in the Old Testament, but was a mystery, born at Pentecost (Acts 2; Romans 11:25; 16:25- 27). The Church-age will continue until the rapture of the Church (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 5:13-18).
The Local Church
We teach the existence and autonomy of the local church. Local churches are comprised of all those in a specific geographical location who profess faith in Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1). In every local church, there may be those who profess to be believers, but are not (Matthew 7:21-22; Titus 1:15-16; Jude 1:4).
Church Discipline and Restoration
The local church is responsible to look after the spiritual welfare of any of its members and discipline those who continue in unrepentant sin as instructed in the Scriptures (Matthew 18:15- 20; Acts 5:1-11; Romans 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 5; Galatians 6:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1 Timothy 5:20; Titus 1:13; 3:10-11; Revelation 2:2, 14-15, 20).
The Church's Head, and Leaders
Jesus Christ is the Head, King, and Lord of the Church (Acts 2:36; Ephesians 4:15-16; 5:23; Colossians 1:18). All born-again believers are members of Christ’s spiritual body (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). Jesus speaks to and leads the Church through biblically qualified elders who are His under-shepherds. God’s under-shepherds, elders, pastors, or overseers must possess certain spiritual qualifications (Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-3). Elder qualified men must demonstrate a high level of commitment to the local church before being appointed to the office of elder. They must be men who are spiritually mature, sound in doctrine, gifted, trained, and faithful teachers of the Word of God. Those appointed to the office of elder must be spiritual examples to the flock, regularly practicing hospitality, leading the church in prayer, discipling, and shepherding the church as those who will give an account to God (2 Timothy 2:24; Hebrews 13:17). Elders are to be an example of what it means to humbly serve Jesus Christ (1 Peter 5:3). The church must also appoint faithful men who meet the qualification of deacon (1 Timothy 3:8-10, 12-13). Deacons are appointed to primarily help meet the physical and operational needs of the church and to assist the elders/pastors/overseers so they can focus on prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4; 1 Timothy 4:6, 10-13, 15-16).
The Ordinances of the Church
The church has two ordinances: water baptism (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 8:38) and communion, or the Lord's supper (1 Corinthians 11:20-26; Matthew 26:26-29). Both water baptism and communion should be observed in the local church by believers.
Water baptism is for believers who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ and are born again by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Baptism is not a means of salvation or a means of receiving grace, but is an act of obedience, whereby a believer makes a public profession of his faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38, 41). Baptism symbolizes the inward reality of being united with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-6). Baptism is to be by immersion (Mark 1:10; John 3:23; Acts 8:39).
Lord's Supper or Communion
Communion is an act of obedience, whereby a Christian remembers the sacrifice of Christ, proclaims the death of Christ, and anticipates the glories of Christ's kingdom to come (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24). Communion is not a means of salvation or grace. Communion is only for believers who are not living in unrepentant sin, and are members in good standing at a like-minded, orthodox church (1 Corinthians 11:17-34).
Angels are created spirit beings who worship God and minister to believers (Exodus 20:11; Job 38:4-7; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 7:11-12). All angels were at one time holy, but when Satan rebelled, a third of the holy angels rebelled with him (Revelation 12:3-4). Fallen angels are called demons or evil spirits and will be judged along with Satan and thrown into the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).
DOCTRINE OF THE LAST THINGS
Matters of eschatology are of incredible importance to believers as we look to the coming fulfillment of biblical prophecy, and of Christ’s return. Over the centuries, the most learned theologians have come to varying conclusions concerning the nature of the promises to Israel, the Kingdom of God, the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Second Coming of Christ, and the exact timing and nature of the Millennium. While these matters can have large impacts on how one reads and understands their Bible, they are not to divide Christians. There can be unity and charity concerning such matters. Harrison Hills Baptist Church has members that range from premillennial dispensationalists to postmillennial covenantalists, and everything in between. This does not diminish the incredible importance of these doctrines. They are vital, and it is important for each member to study the matters through in all humility.
HEAVEN AND HELL
All mankind will end up in one of two eternal destinies—heaven or the lake of fire (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:28-29). It is appointed for all men to die once and be judged (Hebrews 9:27). All unbelievers will appear before the Great White Throne to be judged according to their deeds (Revelation 20:11-15). Those who have repented of their sins and placed their faith in Jesus Christ will enjoy perfect happiness in heaven forever and receive rewards in accordance with their faithful service on earth (Matthew 24:45-47; 25:21-23; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; Romans 8:18; 1 Corinthians 2:9; Revelation 22:5). Those who reject the gospel of Jesus Christ and will not submit to Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior will suffer conscious, eternal torment away from the presence of Christ and His angels in the lake of fire (Matthew 13:42; Mark 9:47-48; Luke 16:24; 12:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10; Revelation 14:11; 20:10, 15).