(practical examples of how we apply our doctrinal position)
Hope Bible Church delights in fellowship with believers of like faith. Sometimes we are asked: "But what determines "like faith?" To answer that question, we turn to Ephesians 4:3-6, which states:
- Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
- There is one body, and
- one Spirit,
- even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
- one Lord,
- one faith,
- one baptism
- one God and Father of all...
Therefore, if we find that we can agree with someone on these seven major doctrines, we have the basis of fellowship. Ecclesiastical fellowship, however, depends on other factors.
Being a member of Hope Bible Church is a privilege, not a right. To qualify for membership, one must be:
1. saved by faith in Jesus (John 3:18)
2. biblically baptized (by immersion-Acts 2:41, 47)
3. committed to serve the Lord in cooperation with the congregation (Ephesians 4:11-16; 1Peter 4:10)
4. accepted by the voting membership after giving adequate testimony of the first three
Hope Bible Church is a loving church, recognizing that love is NOT an emotion (John 3:16; 13:34-35; 1John 5:1-2; etc). This means that we choose to care about and benefit one another by righteous, truthful, and compassionate thoughts, words, and actions.
Hope Bible Church recognizes that we are all sinners, and from time-to-time, we all need assistance in overcoming sin problems in our lives. Because we love each other, we do not condemn each other in this process, but neither do we condone sin. Therefore, we are learning to put Galatians 6:1 into practice..."Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." Thus, when one of our brothers or sisters is struggling with sin, we come alongside him or her to assist in the removal of that sin, recognizing that we are all naturally sinners.
Contrary to popular opinion, church discipline IS NOT a form of excommunication or shunning. Church discipline is a process; it is the process of training a person to be a mature believer in Jesus. That process includes teaching, rebuke, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2Timothy 3:16-17). Unfortunately, sometimes believers rebel against God's Word and must be corrected; some even resist the correction of God's Word and will not repent from their sins. When this occurs, a process explained in Matthew 18:15-17 must be followed. If, after all these steps are taken (with the goal of restoration), the sinning believer will not repent, it may be necessary to avoid that person until he or she repents. If that person is a church member, it may be necessary to remove the person from membership until repentance takes place. The goal is NEVER to get rid of sinners, for we are all sinners in our old nature, however, it may be necessary as a last step in this process in order to protect the church as a whole.
1. Eternal Security: "once saved, always saved." Many people today do not like this statement, largely because they do not understand it. When a person trusts Christ as Savior, the LORD accomplishes many spiritual tasks instantly, including:
- The Father ADOPTS the believer, and the Holy Spirit CONVINCES the believer of his security (Romans 8:15-16)
- The Holy Spirit seals the believer for all eternity (Ephesians 1:13-14).
- The Lord promises to keep the believer's soul (2 Tim 1:12; Jude 24)
- The Father does not allow ANYONE to remove that believer from His hand (not even the believer himself; John 10:27-30)
2. Dispensational View of the Future: Jesus is returning soon. A literal interpretation of Scripture results in this view of future things. The Bible clearly teaches the following sequence of events still to be completed:
- the "Rapture" of the Church (Acts 1:10-11; Romans 5:9; 1Corinthians 15:51-52; 1Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation 4:1)
- the seven year Tribulation on Earth (Daniel 9; Revelation 6-18)
- the Bema (Judgment Seat of Christ) and Marriage Feast (of Christ) in Heaven (1Corinthians 3:11-15; Revelation 19)
- the War of Armageddon, the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, and the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 19-20)
3. Separation, not Isolation: "come out from among them and be separate." Believers are exhorted to live exemplary lives, progressively further away from sin as time passes, and increasingly closer to God as they mature. This is the result of learning six biblical disciplines, allowing the believer to be led by the Spirit. All of this is summed up by Galatians 5:16..."
1. Every Member Evangelism: "always be ready..." The Lord saved us to serve Him. He tells us we are his witnesses (Acts 1:8) and His Ambassadors (2Corinthians 5:18-20). Therefore, we must ALWAYS be ready to share our faith with those around us (1Peter 3:15).
2. Godly Music Standards: "singing in the Spirit..." We will not depend on the latest style of music to attract people to our worship services. We come to church for two purposes: to worship God and edify one another. When we are filled with the Spirit, our music changes: not necessarily the style, but the way it is presented. In Ephesians 5:19, we learn that the three elements of music (lyrics, accompaniment, and voice) have definite audiences, motives, and methods. Contrary to the most modern trends, godly music includes these three elements:
- lyrics are to be sung to the congregation; that means the words must be clearly spoken so that the message is unmistakable
- instruments are played to the LORD; that means they are not played to excite or stimulate the people, but to please the LORD
- our voices are used to please the LORD; that means the vocals must be presented to God, not to the human audience
3.Creation vs. Evolution: six days, not six eons. The Bible teachest hat God created the universe in six, literal, 24-hour periods of time (Genesis 1-2). Nothing evolved: theories of evolution contradict the Bible and form the basis of secular humanism.
4. Pastors are to be men. The Apostles established and organized the Church, as Jesus had taught them. They gave the qualifications of pastors and deacons, one of which was a gender requirement. Pastors "must be the husband of one wife..." (1Timothy 3:2) and women are not to exercise authority over men in the church (1Timothy 2:12).