CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS
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:
This body shall be known as the Harvest Baptist Church,
7303 Taylors Ferry Road, Bessemer, Alabama 35023.
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)
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.”
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
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;
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).
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.)
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.
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.
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.
Membership Voting Requirements:
We believe that God’s business must be carried on by faithful,
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
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.
Election of officers:
Pastors and deacons: selected when a vacancy and/or need
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
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
This Statement of Faith and By-Laws go into effect
immediately after their adoption by the Church.
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.