“For then shall be Great Tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world, to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt 24:21). The bible speaks of a coming “day” of calamity the likes of which the entire earth has never endured. This time of “Jacobs Trouble” (see jer 30:7)_ will last “one week” (or seven years – see Dan 9:24-27), and is most commonly known by Christians as, simply, the Tribulation hour. I thank the Lord Jesus Christ that I won’t be around for this (what I believe – soon) coming event! In a sense, the conclusion of the seven-year period marks the “End of the Beginning”. Call upon the Lord Jesus Christ to save you NOW! HE will!
-Pastor Martin Shott
This Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself is the sole and final source of all that we believe. However, this church holds the following statement of faith as being a summary of Christian doctrine whose authority consists only in its agreement with the Holy Scriptures.
SECTION 1 – THE BIBLE
We believe in the verbal, plenary, inerrant, infallible inspiration of the Bible. That is, we believe the writings of the Old Testament (39 Books) and New Testament (27 Books) are fully God-breathed to the extent that the very words themselves were chosen by God from the human writers vocabulary so that the Bible is the very word of God, without error in all its recording and infallible in all its assertions and teachings. The Bible is therefore, the sole infallible authority in all areas of doctrine and the Christian life.
Furthermore, we believe that God providentially and specifically preserved His Word in the Hebrew Masoretic text of the Old Testament and in the Greek Textus Receptus of the New Testament. Having been faithfully and diligently translated from these texts, we believe that the King James Version of the Bible is the preserved Word of God in English. Therefore, the King James Version of the Bible shall be the official and only translation of the Holy Scriptures used by this Church and all of its ministries. Psalm 12:6, 7; Psalm 119:160; Proverbs 30:5; Matthew 4:4; 5:18; Mark 12:36; John 10:35; 17:17; Acts 1:16; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21
The Bible shall be interpreted in a literal, grammatical, historical, plain/normal manner. 2 Peter 1:19-21
SECTION 2 – THE PERSON OF GOD
We believe that there is one (1), and only one (1), living and true God, who is inexpressibly glorious in holiness and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love. We believe that God is self-existent, supreme in His Person, Eternal in His being, absolute in His attributes, and glorious in His Perfection. We believe in the Trinity.
That is, we believe in one Triune God, the creator of heaven and earth. We believe that in the unity of the Godhead there are three (3) distinct persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection, in power, and in glory. We believe that the three (3) persons of the Trinity execute distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
We believe that God is personal, spirit, omniscient, sovereign, perfect, immutable. He is eternal in His holiness, love, wisdom, and power.
We believe that God is absolutely separate and above the world as its creator, yet everywhere present, at all times, as the sustainer of all things. God is self-existent and self-revealing in His relationship with His creation. Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 4:35; Matthew 6:4; 28:19; John 1:1-3; Romans 1:2-4; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:3-6
SECTION 3 – THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST
We believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, His Deity, His sinless life, His vicarious death, along with His bodily resurrection and ascension. We believe in the personal premillennial, pretribulational return of Jesus Christ.
That is, we believe the Lord Jesus Christ is the second person of the Godhead possessing all the attributes of Deity. That in order to redeem man from his (man’s) sinful nature, He willfully and voluntarily became God in the flesh (being both fully God and fully man simultaneously), virgin born as no other man has ever been nor ever will be born. That He lived an absolutely sinless life and became sinful mankind’s substitute on the Cross by His vicarious death for man’s sin.
We believe that Jesus Christ rose bodily from the dead on the third day, thus giving eternal assurance of redemption’s full payment and the satisfaction of God’s righteous indignation toward sin. That Jesus Christ ascended bodily into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father, continuously making intercession for His blood purchased redeemed ones.
We believe that Jesus Christ will come to rapture His saints to be with Himself forever. Furthermore, that this coming for His saints is imminent, and will be personal, pretribulational and premillennial. Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18; 18:20; 28:18, 20; Luke 1:35; John 1:1, 3, 15; 3:13; 5:19; 8:58; 14:3; 17:5, 24; Colossians 1:16-17; I Thessalonians 4:16; Hebrews 1:3, 12; 13:8; I Peter 2:22; 3:18
SECTION 4 – THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the executive of the Godhead. We believe that He executes the Plan of God for our conviction and salvation. Christians are partakers of the Holy Spirit and empowered for service by Him.
That is, we believe the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead, possessing all the attributes of Deity. That He convicts the unbelieving world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. That He regenerates, seals, indwells permanently, and fills the believer.
Furthermore, we believe that while the indwelling of the Spirit is instantaneous and permanent at the moment of repentance and faith in Christ for salvation, the filling of the Spirit is conditioned upon the believers conduct and adherence to the Word of God as the authority for his/her life. Therefore, the filling of the believer by the Holy Spirit is commanded, by the Word of God, to be sought continuously, so as to ensure the believer is controlled by the Holy Spirit rather than his (the believers’) sinful nature.
We believe that the Holy Spirit bestows gifts upon believers for service. That He teaches the believer and sets him/her apart for a holy life.
Moreover, we believe that the Bible repudiates the charismatics’ emphasis upon the experiential oriented tongues and ecumenical practices as any ministry of the Holy Spirit. Further, we reject the notion that tongues and other “charismatic” gifts are to be sought as evidence of salvation.
We believe the Holy Spirit is the Commander-in-Chief of missions and that His testimony is not of Himself but of Jesus Christ and the redemptive truths Biblically centered on Christ. Genesis 1:2; Job 33:4; Psalm 104:30; Psalm 139:7-10; Luke 1:35; John 3:5; 14:16-17, 26; 16:8, 12-13; Acts 1:8; 5:3-4; Romans 1:4; 8:9, 11; 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 2:10; 3:16; 13:8-11; Ephesians 1:13-14; 5:18; Hebrews 9:14; Titus 3:5
SECTION 5 – THE FALL OF MAN
We believe that man was created in the image of God and by voluntary choice, rather than constraint, fell into sin and death. Hence, every person is sinful and under condemnation to eternal judgment.
That is, we believe that man was created by a direct and willful act of God in His image and likeness. That by disobedience to the revealed will of God, man forfeited his reign over the earth and fell from his created state and standing with God. Therefore, all men are universally sinful both by nature and choice, utterly devoid of the righteousness required by the law of God, and positively inclined to evil. Moreover, all men are thus alienated from the life and family of God, they are without excuse, and are under the righteous judgment and wrath of God.
Furthermore, we believe that man has within himself absolutely no possible means of securing his own salvation. Genesis 1:27; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:23; 5:12-19; Ephesians 2:1-3
SECTION 6 – THE SALVATION OF SINNERS
We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of Grace, and that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation.
That is, we believe in the salvation of man by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, by way of His vicarious death, His burial and bodily resurrection from the dead. We believe that salvation is a free gift of God neither merited nor secured in part nor in whole by any virtue or work of man, but received only by personal faith, which itself is a gift from God, in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Furthermore, we believe that the Bible requires man to repent of his sins, not as a means of work by which salvation is earned, but as recognition of his lost and hopeless state in and of himself. In fact, the Bible declares the action of repentance and faith, in the matter of salvation, to be one in the same act — “Ye turned to God from idols” (I Thessalonians 1:9) — to turn to God requires faith and to turn from idols is repentance.
Moreover, we believe that in Jesus Christ all true believers have as an immediate and present possession the gift of eternal life, a perfectly righteous standing, and sonship in the family of God by the new birth. We believe that the Cross of Christ is redemptive, substitutionary, propitiatory and the only basis of reconciliation for all lost men who believe.
Finally, we believe that there is no possible salvation outside of Jesus Christ and His shed blood. Matthew 9:13; John 3:3-6, 16; 10:28-29; Acts 2:38; 5:31; 16:31; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20; Ephesians 2:8-10; I Timothy 2:5-6;I Peter 1:18-23; II Peter 3:9
SECTION 7 – THE FREENESS OF SALVATION
We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free by the Gospel, that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the Gospel.
That is, we believe that salvation was accomplished on the Cross by Jesus Christ and is offered to all men as a gift to be received by faith. The basis of this salvation is wholly and uniquely the grace that provided the cross.
Furthermore, we believe that although all men are responsible to receive the gift of salvation in Christ, only those who do respond to the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit of God, by way of repentance from sin and trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, in the presentation of the Gospel, as declared in the Bible, can and will be saved.
Finally, we believe that salvation is the free and completed gift of God to all who will believe. John 1:12; 3:16; 5:24; 12:46; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9-13, 17
SECTION 8 – THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION
We believe that the great Gospel blessing, which Christ secures to such as believe in Him, is justification; that justification includes the pardon of sin and the promise of eternal life in principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed not in consideration of any works of righteousness, which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood, by virtue of which faith His perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God. We believe that justification brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity. John 1:16; Acts 13:39; Rom. 4:4-5; 5:1-2, 9
SECTION 9 – THE DOCTRINE OF SANCTIFICATION
The word “sanctify” means: “to set apart to a sacred office or to religious use or observance, to hallow” (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Fifth Edition, 1936, p.880). The Word of God clearly teaches that believers are to live sanctified lives. Therefore, we believe that sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of His holiness; that it is a progressive work; that it is begun in regeneration; and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means – especially the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, and prayer.
Furthermore, we believe Christians are to be personally separated from all worldly practices that hinder spiritual growth and stability. We believe that God’s people should not love the world or the things that are in the world (I John 2:15-16). In addition, we believe that a Christian should live a holy life and maintain a testimony consistent with the New Testament. This affects such areas as dress and appearance, associations, amusements, language, and all other such areas as would be considered worldly. John 17:15-19; Romans 8:5; Philippians 2:12-13; 1 Thessalonians. 4:3; James 4:1-10; 1 John 2:29
SECTION 10 – THE DOCTRINE OF THE SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER
We believe that those who receive Jesus Christ as personal Savior are eternally secure. Our security rests on the finished work of Jesus Christ. As a result, we have assurance.
That is, we believe that the true believer is eternally secure as a redeemed possession of God. This eternal salvation is founded on the full payment of the believer’s sin by the Cross of Christ in His substitutionary atonement and God’s proof of receipt of said payment is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We believe that the sole condition of salvation is repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ . This positive expression of faith has as its contrary side repentance and rejection of any other basis of salvation. Therefore, the security of the believer is not conditioned upon any circumstances, nor any emotional experiences, nor his own strength, nor his own weakness, but rests solely upon the completed work of Christ in redemption’s plan, which is the basis of man’s reconciliation and has already been accepted by God.
Finally, we believe that the believer is in the possession of God, which is the opposite of lost. That he/she is secure because God has taken the responsibility for His own and will never allow anything or anyone to separate His own from Himself. John 10:27-30; Romans 8:31-34; 38,39; 1 Corinthians 6:19;Hebrews 2:10; I John 2:-12
SECTION 11 – THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH
We believe that the church is a local, visible congregation of baptized believers, called out from the world and separated unto Christ, practicing New Testament Principles, believing its doctrines, observing its ordinances, is autonomous, and is actively engaged in the world wide proclamation of the Gospel.
That is, we believe that a local church is an organized body of believers immersed upon a credible profession of faith in Jesus Christ, recognizing only two (2) offices (the pastor and the deacon), sovereign in polity, and bonded together for work, worship, mutual edification, observance of the two (2) local church ordinances (the Lord’s Supper and Believer’s Baptism) and the worldwide proclamation of the Gospel.
Furthermore, we believe in the perpetuity of the Lord’s churches, i.e. that there have been local churches from the days of Christ until the present who essentially believe what Harvest Baptist Church believes; and that such churches will continue until the Lord returns.
Finally, we believe that the church is distinct from Israel in the Old Testament, and is autonomous with Christ as its head. Matthew 16:18; 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-47; I Corinthians 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:11-13
SECTION 12 – THE DOCTRINE OF BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER
We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water, in the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost, to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life.
Furthermore, we believe that the ordinance of baptism is limited uniquely to those who have already placed their faith in Christ as personal Savior. That baptism is the first step of obedience of the Christian after salvation.
We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a memorial, in which the members of the church by the sacred use of the bread and wine (unfermented juice from fruit of the vine) commemorate the death of Christ. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is to be preceded always with solemn self-examination.
Finally, we believe that both baptism and the Lord ’s Supper are ordinances to be obeyed, and reject the unscriptural teaching that they are sacraments to be offered. That these are the only two (2) ordinances given to the church. That while said ordinances are to be observed by all believers after salvation, they in no way add to salvation which is wholly complete in Christ and His sacrifice (Hebrews 10:12, 14). Matthew 28:19; John 3:22-23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:36-39; Romans 6:4; 1 Corinthians 11:26, 28
SECTION 13 – THE DOCTRINE OF THE WORLD TO COME
We believe that the end of this age is approaching. We believe in “the blessed hope” – the personal, imminent, premillennial return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and of the unjust, the everlasting blessedness of the saved, and the everlasting punishment of the lost.
Furthermore, we believe that the church shall have no part in the tribulation period, as it shall have already been raptured (taken-up), by Christ, to Heaven before the start of the said period. We believe that the tribulation is a continuation of the “seventy weeks” described in the book of Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27), and shall last for a period of seven (7) years.
Moreover, we believe that the Millennial Kingdom, during which Christ shall rule and reign on the earth from the city of Jerusalem is a literal period of one thousand (1,000) years. Matthew 24:31-46; Acts 1:11; 24:15; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Peter 4:7; Revelation 20:1-6; 22:11
SECTION 14 – THE DOCTRINE OF THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and sanctified by the Spirit of our God are truly righteous in His esteem, while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked and under the curse; and that this distinction holds among men both in and after death. Malachi 3:18; Luke 16:25; John 5:19; Romans 1:17
SECTION 15 – THE DOCTRINE OF HEAVEN AND HELL
We believe in the eternal blessedness of the saved in Heaven and the eternal punishment of the lost in Hell.
That is, we believe in the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the lost, secured by the bodily resurrection of Christ. That the spirits of the saved at death go immediately to be with Christ in Heaven. That the bodily resurrection of New Testament saints will occur when Christ comes to rapture His own, prior to the tribulation (I Corinthians 15:23, I Thessalonians 4:13-17). That the bodily resurrection of Old Testament saints will occur at the second coming of Christ, prior to the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom (Daniel 12:1-3; 13, Revelation 20:4-6). That the saved will stand before the Judgment seat of Christ, not for the matter of salvation which is eternally settled and can not be lost or revoked, but for the determination of rewards — gained or lost, based upon service (and motivation thereof ) for Christ after salvation. We believe that the saved shall consciously experience the blessedness of God’s presence for all eternity.
Furthermore, we believe that the spirits of the unsaved at death descend immediately into Hades where they are kept under punishment until the Great White Throne Judgment, which occurs at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. At said time, their bodies shall be raised from the grave, judged by the Word of God, found utterly lacking, and be cast into the eternal lake of fire, where they shall suffer conscious everlasting punishment. Matthew 25:46; John 5:28; 14:2; Revelation 20:14-15; 21:4
SECTION 16 – REGARDING CREATION
We believe that that God exists uniquely, being separate from the universe, as well as being independent of any external conditions or limitations which characterize the existence and life of everything else in the universe. That according to His wise plan and simply by His all-powerful act of speaking, God created from nothing, and as completely distinct from Himself, every finite thing which exists, whether physical or spiritual, and that all are dependent upon His will, His power, and His providence.
Furthermore, we believe that the account of creation as detailed in Genesis 1:1-2:3 is a literal and historically accurate account of said act. That the days described in said passage are literal twenty-four (24) hour periods, and that the six (6) days of said creative act occurred sequentially and consecutively without any gap existing between each day.
We utterly and categorically reject the theory of evolution, and all theistic evolutionary theories (e.g. “the gap theory”, “the day age theory”). Genesis 1-2; Exodus 20:11; Hebrews 1:3
SECTION 17 – REGARDING HUMAN SEXUALITY AND MARRIAGE
We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity should be engaged in outside of a one-man, one-woman marriage. We believe that any form of adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest and/or pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance.
Furthermore, we believe that the only legitimate marriage is the joining of one man and one woman for life. Genesis 2:24; 19:5, 13; 26:8-9; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; 7:2; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:9; 7:10; Ephesians 5:22-23; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4
SECTION 18 – REGARDING ABORTION
We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. That abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn human life. That abortion is murder. We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the mental well being of the mother are acceptable. Job 3:16; Psalm 51:5; Psalm 139:14-16; Isaiah 44:24; 49:1,5; Jeremiah 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44
SECTION 19 – REGARDING LAWSUITS BETWEEN BELIEVERS
We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or the Church to resolve personal disputes. We believe the Church possesses all the resources necessary to resolve personal disputes between members. We do believe, however, that a Christian may seek compensation for injuries from another Christian’s insurance company as long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander. I Corinthians 6:1-8; Ephesians 4:31-32
SECTION 20 – REGARDING CIVIL GOVERNMENT
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment for the interests and good order of human society; and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed, except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the only Lord of the kings of the earth. Matthew 22:21; 23:10; Acts 5:29; Romans 13:1-7
SECTION 21 – REGARDING CURRENT TRENDS IN THEOLOGY
A. Neo-Orthodoxy – This theological persuasion is a futile attempt to reconcile the higher scientific Biblical criticism with the true Biblical interpretation. Such an appeal to Biblical revelation is based on half-truths and as such is false and deceptive. We utterly reject this method and position.
B. The Ecumenical Movement – We believe that this movement is an attempt to unite different faiths and religions on the basis of the least common denominator of doctrine. That it emphasizes love at the expense of truth. That it is a betrayal of the unity of believers based upon sound doctrine of the historic Christian Faith. That its method of operation is subversive. That its concept of an ecclesiastical Kingdom is not supported by Scripture. We reject all cooperation with this movement. 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1
C. Neo-Evangelicalism – This movement, while claiming to be fundamental in theology, has actually compromised the underlying principles of the Christian faith. It questions inspiration and literal interpretation; it accepts liberals as Christians, takes a new attitude toward the ecumenical movement, promotes ecumenical evangelism, denies both ethical and ecclesiastical separation, restructures eschatology, and over-stresses the social aspects of the Gospel. We hold this stand to be unscriptural.
D. The Modern Tongues And Charismatic Movement – We believe that the gift of tongues was given as a sign to Israel and like the gifts of Apostleship and prophecy, which were for the founding of the church, is not being given today. We believe that the current resurgence of the practice of tongues, which is not Scripturally regulated and which is usually divisive, is not the Scriptural gift (1 Corinthians 12-14). Furthermore, we also reject the charismatic renewal movement with its unscriptural emphasis on emotionalism, and healing.