Constitution and By-Laws of Harvest Baptist Church

CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS

OF

HARVEST BAPTIST CHURCH

7303 TAYLORS FERRY ROAD

BESSEMER, ALABAMA  35023

 

That all things may be done decently and in order, according to Scripture, and that we may be able to help each other in our Christian efforts as members of the Harvest Baptist Church, we adopt the following Statement of Faith and By-Laws of our work:

ARTICLE I

Name:

This body shall be known as the Harvest Baptist Church, 7303 Taylors Ferry Road, Bessemer, Alabama 35023.

ARTICLE II

Purpose:

The purpose of the formation of this local New Testament Church is that we as members may practice our Christian faith in preaching and teaching God’s Word, worshipping and serving our Lord and each other according to Biblical teaching, training our children daily in the temple through a Christian day school, carrying out the Great Commission by witnessing to the lost, locally and worldwide, through the support of Bible believing missionaries. (Matt. 28:19-20)

ARTICLE III

Government:

The government of this Church is vested in the body of believers who compose it.  It is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but seeks co-operation and fellowship with other churches of like faith.

We accept and adopt the Church Covenant:

“Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour, and on the profession of our faith in him, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we do now, in the presence of God, angels and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ.

“We engage therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this Church, in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the Church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through the nations.

“We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in out deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Saviour.

“We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Saviour to secure it without delay.

“We moreover engage that when we remove from this church, we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of the covenant and the principles of God’s Word.”

ARTICLE IV

Statement of Faith:

We accept and adopt the following Statement of Faith:

1.  We believe in the inerrant, verbal, plenary, inspiration of the 66 books of the Bible, and it is the sole authority in all matters of faith and practice.  We believe in a literal interpretation of the Scriptures unless otherwise indicated by the context. (II Tim. 3:16,17; Isa. 8:20; Rev. 22:18,19)  We use only the KJV.

2.  We believe there is only one true God, existing in three Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  These three are co-equal and co-eternal, each with distinct personalities, but of one essence. (Matt. 3:16, 17-28; 18-20; I Cor. 13:14; Heb. 1:8; Acts 13:2-4)

3.  We believe that Adam was created without sin, but fell by disobedience, carrying the whole race with him into spiritual death and condemnation and the need to be saved.  This fallen, totally depraved nature accounts for the sins of men.  (Rom. 5:12,19; Mk. 7:21,22)

4.  We believe Jesus Christ to be Co-Creator (Jn. 1:1-3), the Son of God (Lk. 1:35), and Redeemer (I Pet. 1:18,19); that He took on humanity through the virgin birth (Matt. 1:22,23; Jn. 1:14), and paid sin’s full penalty vicariously with His Blood that all men might be saved (Eph. 1:7; Isa. 53:5,6), that He was buried and rose again bodily and ascended to the right hand of the Father. (I Cor. 15:3-8, Lk. 20:39-42)

5.  We believe in the Person and work of the Holy Spirit which includes conviction of sin (Jn. 16:7-11), regeneration of sinners (Tit. 3:5), and indwelling believers (I Cor. 6:19).  We believe that the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” at Pentecost is set forth in the scriptures in two aspects: the experiential and positional.  In the experiential, Christ baptized the disciples with (or in) the Holy Spirit.  In the positional, the Holy Spirit baptized the disciples into the Body of Christ (Rom. 6:3; I Cor. 12:13; Col. 2:12).  The experiential is that which John the Baptist (Matt. 3:11) and the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 1:5) had promised and was realized by the waiting disciples in the initial “filling of the Spirit” (Acts 2: 1-4).  This is identical with “receiving the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38; Jn. 7:37-39; Acts 2:32,33).  Since Pentecost each new believer shares or participates in this baptism positionally by being incorporated by the Holy Spirit into the “One Body” (I Cor. 12:27) and experientially by being “filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).  We reject the charismatic movement with its claim of restoration of the sign gifts of I Cor. 12 including tongues (I Cor. 12:8-12).

6.  We believe that a soul is saved when Christ is accepted as personal Lord and Saviour and the Holy Spirit imparts eternal life (Jn. 1:12).  This  means the repentant and believing sinner is judicially declared righteous before God (Rom. 4:5) and in experience is born again (Jn. 3:3).  We believe the good works of a Christian are the results of salvation and contribute nothing toward saving him or keeping him saved (Eph. 2:8-10).

7.  We believe it is the plan of God for each believer to walk after the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of flesh (Gal. 5:16), that there is to be separation unto God and from the world (II Cor. 6:14-18).  This separation would be evidenced in attitude, conversation, conduct, dress, and habits (I Cor. 10:31; Rom. 14:13; I Tim. 2:9; I Cor. 8:13).

8.  We believe in the once for all regeneration and the eternal preservation of the saints (Jn. 10:27-29; Rom. 8:29,30; I Cor. 3:11-15).

9.  We believe that water baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the only two ordinances of the Church; that baptism consists in immersion to signify Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection and the believer’s identification with Him (Col. 2:10-14), and that the Lord’s Supper is for the saved and that each participant is to examine himself (I Cor. 11:27-30).

10.  We believe the Church exists universally from Pentecost to the Rapture and is identified in the New Testament as the Body (Eph. 1:22,23), and Bride (Eph. 5:23-32) of Christ and as the Temple of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:19-22).  We believe that a local Church is a group of believers united for instruction, fellowship, and the spread of the Gospel with worldwide missions receiving equal emphasis with home ministry.  We believe the local Church is completely self-determining and responsible only to Christ, the Head – that it is completely independent with no other person, group, or body outside the local Church having any authority, right of intervention, or control in any form whatsoever (Acts 2:41-47; 6:1-7; Rom. 16:1,4,5,16; Acts 1:8).

11.  We believe in the premillineal view of Scripture relating to the Return of Christ.  We believe in two bodily resurrections, one for the saved and one for the unsaved (Jn. 5:28,29), separated by 1,000 years (Rev. 20:1-15), and in an endless and literal heaven (Rev. 21,22) for all the redeemed and literal, and endless and conscious punishment for the lost (Mk. 9:43-48; Rev. 14:1,11).

12.  We reject, as unauthoritative, the Revised Standard Version, Good News for Modern Man, and all other perverted translations of the original language such as The Way, The Living Bible, etc.  We believe that collaboration or participation with all forms of modernism, whether the National Council of Churches, or otherwise, is wrong and demands separation on our part (II Jn. 9:11).

13.  We reject the Hyper-Calvinistic teaching that destroys the vision and purpose of the Church as to its duty to bring men to Christ (Jn. 3:16).

ARTICLE V

We accept and adopt the following Statement of Separation:

Pastors, teachers, workers, staff, etc. are required to maintain a good Christian testimony in their public and private life.  They are specifically required to abstain from smoking, playing cards, dancing, use of slang language, wearing of immodest apparel, public swimming pools, the use of alcoholic beverages, attendance at movies or other questionable entertainment, purchase of or listening to rock music, meetings of secret societies, and other worldly practices that would hurt their testimony.  Members are to be taught and encouraged to do the same.  (Romans 12:1,2; 14:13, 21-23; I Cor. 6:12, 19, 20; 8:9-13; 10:23-31.)

ARTICLE VI

School:

It is our conviction that we must accept the God-given command to educate our children spiritually and academically through the ministry of a Christian school governed by this Church (Deut. 6:5-7a; Prov. 22:6).  We believe that it is Scripturally wrong to accept government funds for the financing of this school.

ARTICLE VII

Membership:

Individuals may publicly request membership.  Candidates shall be accepted by these terms:

By profession of faith in Christ as Saviour and Lord, followed by baptism by immersion. (or)

By statement of faith in Christ as Saviour and Lord, having been baptized by immersion. (and)

Having been made fully aware of these articles.

By final approval of the church.

ARTICLE VIII

Church roll:

            The church shall maintain a membership roll.  When a member fails to manifest a loyal interest in the church for a period of three months, unless providentially hindered, such member will automatically be removed from membership.  Reinstatement can be made by public request.  No multiple church memberships allowed.  Non-resident members will be treated in the same manner.

ARTICLE IX

Membership Voting Requirements:

We believe that God’s business must be carried on by faithful, loyal-to-Christ-and-His-Church Christians.

Members voting in Church business must, therefore:

Be faithful tithers to God.

Not have missed regular attendance in the previous three months prior to voting;

a.      Regular attendance: Attendance in at least one service weekly.

b.      No more than three consecutive weeks absent prior to voting during this three week period (unless providentially hindered.)

Be eighteen years old and above.

Voting can be by ballot at the choice of the moderator.

ARTICLE X

Election of officers:

Pastors and deacons:  selected when a vacancy and/or need occurs. 

1.      Pastor – a pulpit committee of three minimum, five maximum, shall be elected by the Church to bring a name (one at a time) to the Church for election.  This election shall be announced in two regular services before the vote.  75% of the qualified voting members present and voting, are required for the election of the pastor.

2.      Deacons – shall be elected by recommendation by the pastor to the church.

Trustees: shall be elected by recommendation by the pastor to serve for five year terms.  The trustees shall hold in trust property of the Church.  Their function grows out of the legal status of the Church.  A trustee may succeed himself.

C.     All other officers, teachers, etc.:  to be selected by the pastor, with the aid of a committee, if he so desires (Acts 20:28).

D.     Any officer, member, teacher, or staff, etc. moving from this Church residence to another vicinity where he cannot attend this Church, shall by such removal, automatically terminate his office.

E.      Any officer, member, teacher, staff, etc. who shall absent himself for three successive weeks, unless providentially hindered, shall be automatically terminated from his position.

In either of the above two events (D or E), a successor shall be appointed by the pastor, with the aid of a committee, if he so desires.

ARTICLES XI

Valuables:

All papers of value (such as deeds, insurance papers, copies, of Statement of Faith, By-Laws, etc.) shall be kept in a safe of safety deposit box.

ARTICLE XII

Effective Date:

This Statement of Faith and By-Laws go into effect immediately after their adoption by the Church.

ARTICLE XIII

Amendments:

Amendments to these articles may be made by a 75% vote of qualified voting members, present and voting, the proposed amendment being announced one week prior to the vote.