CONSTITUTION & BYLAWS
Receiving by faith the Lord Jesus Christ and relying wholly on Him for salvation, believing the Bible to be the divinely inspired, plenary, infallible, and authoritative Word of God; accepting Biblical Baptistic principles; and knowing that all things should be done decently and in order; we do voluntarily band ourselves together as a body of immersed believers and adopt this constitution as a declaration of our faith and practice.
NAME: The name of this church is Heritage Baptist Church.
PURPOSE: The purpose of Heritage Baptist Church shall be the preaching of the Gospel of Christ as a soul-saving institution, the edification of born-again believers, through the teaching of the Holy Bible, the promotion of worship of God, the worldwide proclamation of God’s saving grace, administering the ordinances, licensing and ordaining qualified men of like faith to the Gospel ministry, establishing other independent, fundamental Baptist churches, and exposing religious error and apostasy. A further purpose is to be a regular church with the authority to operate and maintain a children’s home, Christian school, and any other necessary co-related ministries needed to accomplish the Lord’s work.
COVENANT: Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we do now in the presence of God, and this assembly most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ. In doing so, I commit myself to God and to the other members to do the following.
- I will protect the unity of my church
By acting in love toward other members
By refusing to gossip
By following the spiritual leadership
(Romans 14:19; Romans 15:5, I Peter 2:22; Ephesians 4:29; Hebrews 13:17)
- I will share the responsibility of my church
By praying for its growth
By inviting the unchurched to attend
By warmly welcoming those who visit
(I Thessalonians 1:2; Luke 14:23; Romans 15:7)
- I will serve in the ministry of my church
By discovering my gifts and talents
By being equipped to serve the Lord
By developing a servant’s heart
(I Peter 4:10; Ephesians 4:11,12; Philippians 2:3-7)
- I will support the testimony of my church
By attending faithfully
By living a godly life
By giving regularly
(Hebrews 10:25; Philippians 1:27; I Corinthians 16:2; Leviticus 27:30)
We engage, therefore, as the Holy Spirit directs us, 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 regularly and cheerfully to support this ministry, the church expenses, the missionary work, and the relief of the poor.
We also seek to maintain family and secret devotions; to spiritually train our children; to seek 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 our deportment; to avoid all tattling and backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale and/or use of intoxicating drink as a beverage, and from the sale and/or use of non-prescribed drugs; and to zealously promote the cause of Christ in every aspect of our lives.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love, to remember each other in prayer, to aid one another in sickness and distress, to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and when we remove from this place, we will as soon as possible unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
DECLARATION OF FAITH
Section 1. Doctrine of the Bible:
We believe in the verbal (every word) and plenary (complete) inspiration of the Old and the New Testaments in the original manuscripts (the sixty-six canonical books); that the Bible is reliable in science, history, and every other matter it discusses; and that the Bible is of supreme and final authority in faith and life. II Timothy 3:16,17; II Peter 1:19-21; Psalm 119:105,160
Section 2. Doctrine of God:
We believe in one Triune God, eternally existing in three Persons, co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory. Deuteronomy 6:4; II Corinthians 13:14; Matthew 28:19,20; I Corinthians 8:6; John 16:7-15; Revelation 4:11.
- God the Father:
We believe that God the Father is Father only to those who receive Jesus Christ as Savior, that He is perfect in holiness, infinite in wisdom, measureless in power, that He hears and answers prayer, and that He saves from Hell all who come to Him by faith through Jesus Christ. John 17:11; I John 3:2; Matthew 6:26,28-30; Romans 5:8; I Timothy 2:5; John 14:6.
- God the Son:
We believe in the absolute Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, His eternal existence as God, co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, His incarnation by the virgin birth, His sinlessness, His vicarious atonement for the sins of mankind by the shedding of His blood on the cross, His literal bodily resurrection from the dead, His ascension, His present high-priestly ministry in Heaven for believers, and His personal, visible return to the earth. I John 5:20; John 1:18; Hebrews 1:8; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; I Peter 2:22; Romans 3:25; Acts 10:40,41; Acts 1:9, Luke 24:51; Hebrews 8:1,2; I John 2:1; I Thessalonians 4:16.
- God the Holy Spirit:
We believe the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, equal with the Father and Son, that He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgement. He bears witness to the truth. He is the agent of the New Birth. He baptizes all true believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and sanctifying all of them, sealing and thus securing them unto the day of redemption. He endues. guides, teaches and strengthens believers. It is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit, the evidence being love, joy, peace, and soul-sinning power, and not in the speaking of tongues. Matthew 28:19; II Corinthians 13:14; John 14:26; John 16:7-13; Acts 1:5,8; Ephesians 1:13,14; Ephesians 4:30; Ephesians 5:18; I John 2:20,27.
Section 3. Doctrine of Creation:
We believe in the Genesis account of creation and that the Godhead created the universe and earth, including all life, by direct act and not by a process of evolution. Genesis 1:2; Colossians 1:16,17; John 1:1-5.
Section 4. Doctrine of Man:
We believe that man was created by God in His image, sinless and innocent, but that by disobedience to His Creator he incurred both physical and spiritual death; that all men through choice and an inherited sinful nature are totally depraved, so that all who reach the age of moral understanding and are not saved will endure eternal punishment in the lake of fire. Genesis 1:26,27; Genesis 2:7; Genesis 3:24; Psalm 51:5; Matthew 18:10-14; Romans 3:10,23; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:5-8; Galatians 5:17; Revelation 20:14,15.
Section 5. Doctrine of Sin:
We believe sin is the transgression of the law of God, that all men are sinners by nature and choice, that sin separates man from God, that there is no remission of sin apart from the shed blood of Jesus Christ and man’s repentance. Ezekiel 18:4; I John 3:4; Romans 3:10-26; Romans 7:23,24; Hebrews 9:22.
Section 6. Doctrine of Salvation:
We believe the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace through faith in the blood sacrifice, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ; that salvation is individually received by repentance from sin and personal faith in Christ; that all who receive Him are regenerated by the Holy Spirit; that no rite, ceremony, or work can avail for the sinner’s salvation or make the believer’s salvation more secure; that Christ is the only and all-sufficient Savior; and that all who are truly saved are kept forever by the power of God. Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5-7; Philippians 3:9; Galatians 2:20; John 5:24; John 1:12; Romans 10:9-13; II Timothy 1:12; John 10:28,29.
We believe that a man is born again instantaneously at salvation; that the one dead in sins is made a partaker of the divine nature, and receives eternal life; and the person becomes a new creature and Son of God. Ezekiel 11:19,20; John 3:7; Titus 3:5.
We believe Sanctification is the process whereby a believer becomes more like Christ as he submits himself to the power of the Holy Spirit. I Corinthians 1:2; I Corinthians 6:11; I Thessalonians 3:12,13; I Thessalonians 4:1-12; II Peter 3:18.
We believe this is the final, eternal, incorruptible state of the redeemed, and it will occur when Christ comes for the Church, at which time we will be like Christ when we see Him. I Corinthians 15:51-54; I John 3:2.D. Two Natures:
We believe every saved person possesses two natures; the sinful nature received at birth, and the holy, righteous nature received at the time of the new birth. The new nature will be victorious when we yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Romans 6:13; Romans 8:12,13; Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:10; I Peter 1:14-16; I John 3:5-9.
Section 7. Doctrine of the Church:
The church is a called-out assembly composed of regenerated, immersed believers, voluntarily united for the purpose of worship, edification, observing the ordinances, the establishment of Christian education and service, that the local church has the mission of witnessing for Christ in the local community and unto the uttermost parts of the earth; that the local assembly has the absolute right of self-government, free from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals, religious or governmental; that Christ is the true Head, and that on all matters of membership, polity (policy?), discipline, and benevolence the will of the local church is final. Acts 2:41-47; Romans 1:7; Colossians 1:2; I Corinthians 1:2; Acts 4:4; Acts 20:7; Acts 11:26; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:5-8; I Peter 5:1-5; Acts 6:1-7; Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 5:23-26; Acts 15:1-27; Acts 11:29,30.
Section 8. Doctrine of Church Ordinances:
We believe Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; that it sets forth in picture the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; that it gives outward testimony to what has taken place in the heart of a believer; death to sin and resurrection to walk in newness of life. There is no saving power in baptism but it is an act of public obedience and a prerequisite for local church membership. Matthew 28:19,20; Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12; Acts 8:26-29.
- The Lord’s Supper:
We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of the Lord’s death until He comes again; that the elements-bread and grape juice (the fruit of the vine) - are symbols of His broken body and shed blood; and that our observance of it is a pictorial testimony of the believer’s fellowship with the crucified Savior; and that the Lord’s table is open to all regenerated persons after self-examination. Luke 22:14-20; I Corinthians 10:16-21; I Corinthians 11:17,34.
Section 9. Doctrine of Satan:
We believe that Satan, a fallen angel, is a distinct and real personality, the god of this age, the adversary of Christ and all believers; and his destiny is eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire. Ezekiel 28:1-19; I Peter 5:8; Matthew 4:1-11; James 4:7; II Corinthians 4:4.
Section 10. Doctrine of Spirit Beings:
We believer that angels and demons are spirit beings. Angels of Heaven are ministering spirits, sinless and ever seeking to praise God in their ministries for Him and His people. Some angels by choice rebelled against God and kept not their first estate and these will share the ultimate doom of Satan. Matthew 18:10; Matthew 22:30; Acts 12; Hebrews 1:14; Colossians 1:16; II Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Jude 9.
Section 11. Doctrine of Future Events:
Because not all issues relating to future events are crystal clear, we accept into our membership those who have varying eschatological views but who believe in the soon coming of Jesus Christ and his eternal reign in heaven. Furthermore, we believe God has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ. The righteous will go into everlasting life and the wicked who know not God will be cast into the Lake of Fire. For the sake of unity, the pre-tribulational and pre-millennial return of Jesus Christ will be the position taught from the pulpit or any class or church held Bible study. Titus 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Acts 17:31; Revelation 20:11-15.
Section 12. Doctrine of Missions:
We believe that it is the desire of Almighty God to save sinners; that He has commissioned us to publish this good news throughout the world; that we are to be zealous in our evangelistic efforts both personally, and by giving prayer and material support to mission endeavors around the world. Matthew 28:19,20; Mark 16:15,16; Acts 1:8; I Timothy 2:3-6; II Peter 3:9.
Section 13. Doctrine of Stewardship:
We believe that stewardship is the active recognition of the Lordship of Christ over all believers, and that it is our joyous privilege to give back to God our tithes and offerings of our money, talents and time. Malachi 3:10; Genesis 28:22; I Corinthians 4:4; I Corinthians 16:1-3; II Corinthians 8:2-9.
Section 14. Doctrine of Separation:
We believe that we are commanded by God to separate ourselves unto Christ and to be holy, as God is holy. Believers are not to enter marriage or partnerships with unbelievers. We urge every member of Heritage Baptist Church to keep himself from the appearance of evil in dress, music, conversation, business, or amusement. We also believe that we are to be separated from ecclesiastical organizations or religious personalities that deny the faith or compromise its message. Romans 12:1,2; Romans 14:13; II Corinthians 6:14-18; Ephesians 4:17-32; Philippians 2:12-16; II Thessalonians 3:11,12; James 4:4; I John 2:15-17.
Section 15. Doctrine of the Lord’s Day:
We believe that the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week, the day of our Lord’s resurrection, is the proper day for Christians to worship and service, and that it ought to be set aside for the Lord. Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 16:1,2; Colossians 2:13-17; Hebrews 10:25; Matthew 28:1; Luke 24:1.
Section 16, Doctrine of Marriage:
Marriage is the exclusive God ordained institution between one man (husband) and one woman (wife) in a mutually consented “one flesh” relationship, consisting of mutually supportive companionship and physical union (Genesis 1:27; 2:24; 1 Cor. 7:1-6; Romans 1:26,27; Ephesians 5:22-33)
Marriage is a monogamous, heterosexual, covenant relationship between the man and the woman, which is intended to be lifelong and which is publicly entered into before God as witness and enforcer (Prov. 2:17; Mal. 2:16; Matt. 19:6) and recognized by God’s institution of human government (Deut. 22:13-17; Gen. 29:25-26; Rom. 13:1; Matt. 22:21).
Section 1. Reception of Members:
Any person professing faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who gives evidence of having been born again, may, by the vote of the church, be received into membership of the Heritage Baptist Church after baptism, provided they will subscribe to the Constitution and Bylaws set forth herein.
- By profession of faith in Christ followed by baptism.
- By statement of Christian experience if already a baptized believer.
- By a letter of recommendation from another church which holds to similar faith and practice.
By restoration, if having been excluded from this church, and upon confession of his/her errors, giving evidence of repentance.
Section 2. Dismission of Members:
- By death.
- By letter of recommendation. Such a letter shall be granted by vote of the church in a regular business meeting for any member in good standing to any church of like faith and practice which requests it.
- By erasure in the case of a member who unites with another church to which Heritage Baptist Church cannot grant a letter of recommendation.
- Discipline - Jesus Christ commanded for the church to exercise discipline, including the exclusion from its fellowship of any member who persists in sin and disobedience to God’s Word. Matthew 18:15-20; I Corinthians 5.
- Grounds - Any member who is an offense to the church and a stumbling block to the ministry, by reason of immoral and unchristian conduct, by consistent breach of his/her covenant vows, or by reason of heretical beliefs, the church may terminate his/her membership.
- In all considered cases of church discipline, the pastor and deacons shall exercise every spiritual means of persuasion to draw the errant member back into the fellowship with Christ. Matthew 18:15;16; Galatians 6:1.
- There shall not at any time be an open church trial in the regular church services as this could be a stumbling block to those who know not our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Once a person is discharged, the church shall deal lovingly with him/her and seek to win him/her back into fellowship with Christ and the church. II Thessalonians 3:13,14.
- Inactive Membership. Any member failing to attend one church service or to contribute financially to the church for any six (6) month period shall be placed on the inactive list of member with a loss of voting privileges. The pastor and deacons will counsel with any such member, according to Matthew 18:15-17, and if the situation does not improve, they shall be removed in the next business meeting. This only applies to those members who are not providentially hindered from attending.
Section 1. Regular Services:
- Sunday services.
- A mid-week prayer and Bible study service.
- Baptismal services, when needed, usually in conjunction with the regular services.
- The Lord’s Supper shall be commemorated on the first Sunday of each month or such times as the pastor and deacons determine.
- Special meetings such as Bible conferences, missionary conferences, evangelistic or revival services, etc. can be held as the pastor is directed of the Lord.
Section 2. Business Meetings
- Regular business meetings shall be held as the pastor and deacons see fit.
- Annual business meeting for adopting the church budget shall be held once each year. The church fiscal year shall begin on January 1 and conclude on December 31.
- Moderator - the pastor shall moderate all business meetings.
- Voting - All members will be allowed to vote on any items of business of a minor nature. Only those members 16 years or older may vote on major items of business, such as calling a pastor, dismissal of a member, incurring major indebtedness, disposal of church property or acceptance of the church budget.
Section 3. Quorum
In all business meetings, twenty percent (20%) of all voting members shall constitute a quorum.
OFFICERS AND DUTIES
Since officers are in positions of respect, it is expected they meet up to a faithful Christian walk and to meet spiritual standards set forth in Scripture. I Timothy 3; Titus 1.
Section 1. Pastor:
- Qualifications - Must be a male called of God to preach, meeting the Scriptural standards as set forth in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1.
- Call - If necessary a pulpit committee, composed of deacons, shall recommend a qualified man to the church. After hearing him preach and sufficiently viewing his life, a three-fourths (3/4)-majority vote of the quorum is necessary to call a new pastor. Only one man may be considered at a time.
- Tenure - The pastor shall be elected for no specific term. The church may request his resignation upon three-fourths (3/4) majority vote in a special meeting for that purpose and announced at least two weeks in advance. When the pulpit is vacated, except on moral grounds, the departing pastor is entitled to one month’s pay.
- Responsibility - As under-shepherd responsible to Jesus Christ, the pastor is to preach the Word, administer the ordinances, advance the spiritual life of the church, and oversee all phases of the church work. The pastor is ex-officio member of every committee and organization of the church. The pastor has the right to call the man he feels led of the Lord to hold meetings and fill the pulpit in his absence.
Section 2. Staff:
The pastor along with the deacons have liberty to fill salaried and unsalaried positions with qualified personnel in areas such as church secretaries, music directors, youth directors, etc. The pastor has responsibility of dismissing staff members who violate expected conduct.
Section 3. Deacons:
- Qualifications - Males meeting the qualifications in I Timothy 3:8-13 who have been active members for at least six (6) months.
- Election and Tenure - The pastor and present deacons shall present a list of nominees for the office at the annual business meeting. The vote will be by secret ballot and the term of office last for three (3) years.
- Responsibilities - The deacons assist, help, and advise the pastor in the spiritual interests and advancement of the church, assist in administering church ordinances, examine candidates for membership, labor with wayward members, and involve themselves in the soul-winning activities of the church. Deacons will also serve as the legal trustees of the church.
Section 4. Other Officers:
The pastor and deacons acting together have the discretionary right to appoint or request the election or hiring of such officers as church clerk, treasurer, financial records secretary, and Sunday School Superintendent, etc.
Section 5. Committees:
The pastor and deacons acting together have the discretionary right to appoint church members to function on whatever church committees may be deemed necessary.
All ministries are subservient parts of the church, and under no circumstances shall they be considered separate from the church.
Section 1. Christian School:
In the event Heritage Baptist Church shall have a day school, kindergarten, elementary and high school, it shall be operated as a branch of the overall church program. The school’s board of directors shall be approved by the deacons and the church, and its chairman shall be the pastor of Heritage Baptist Church.
Section 2. Other Ministries:
Other ministries such as bus ministries, radio or television ministries, etc. shall be added as the Holy Spirit leads. Lay ministries can be established by members of Heritage Baptist Church as God leads and directs them. Every believer is a minister for Jesus Christ. These ministries must maintain doctrinal agreement with the church and be united in purpose with Heritage Baptist Church. (Visitation, Small Group Bible Studies, Children Bible Clubs, Tape Ministry, Hospital Visitation, etc.)
AUTONOMY AND ASSOCIATION
This church shall be completely autonomous and non-affiliated and remain an independent Baptist Church. It shall not, as a church, become a member of any convention, fellowship, or religious alliance.
Only literature that is fundamental and true to the Scripture will be used in this church. Literature that used liberal and/or unorthodox translations of the Bible will not be acceptable.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT AND POLICY
Section 1. Tithes, offerings and love gifts shall be the only plan of finances.
Section 2. The church shall not be supported by door-to-door solicitation, bake sales, auctions or bingo.
Section 3. Budgets: The annual budget shall be observed for financial allocations. Major changes may be made in advance if approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the congregation at a regular business meeting.
LICENSING AND ORDINATION
Any male giving evidence of a divine call to the gospel ministry and accepting the Articles of Faith of Heritage Baptist Church may be licensed to preach by recommendation from the pastor and a majority vote of members present. An ordination council composed of ordained ministers whom the pastor considers wise to invite shall thoroughly examine the candidate for ordination with regard to his doctrinal, moral and personal soundness. After examination, he shall be recommended and ordained to the gospel ministry at a duly called service.
PROPERTY, BUILDINGS AND EQUIPMENT
Decisions relative to the acquisition or sale of property shall require a majority vote of the members at a business meeting announced in advance. All buildings, property and equipment shall be used only by permission of the pastor and deacons. They shall be used principally for church functions and related activities.
We are opposed to the following movements in the "Christian" society:
- All cults - Those which teach contrary to the Scripture and deny the Deity of Christ, the blood and supreme place of Jesus Christ.
- Neo-Evangelicalism - A spirit of toleration and co-operation with liberalism.
- Liberalism - An outright denial of fundamental Biblical truth.
- Pentecostalism - An emphasis upon healing and tongues speaking.
- Ecumenical Movement - A desire to unite with all denominations and religions.
ADOPTION AND AMENDMENT
Section 1. Adoption:
Adoption of this constitution, including Articles of Faith, shall be by unanimous approval of the charter members.
Section 2. Amendments:
This document may be amended so long as the proposed amendment is consistent with the teaching of the Word of God, and it does not violate the purpose for which Heritage Baptist church was founded. Any amendment that would be added will be done at a business meeting announced beforehand and must be approved by a three-fourths (3/4) vote.
In the event of the dissolution of Heritage Baptist Church, as a non-profit organization the assets of the corporation shall be given and paid over to a non-profit corporation of like faith and order which would satisfy the remaining membership and qualify under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and its regulations.
No part of the net earnings of the organization shall inure to the benefit of any member, trustee, director, or officer of the organization or any private individual (except that reasonable compensation may be paid for services rendered to or for the organization), and no member, trustee, officer of the organization or any private individual shall be entitled to share in the distribution of any of the assets on dissolution of the organization.
RESTRICTIVE LEGISLATION PROVISION
No substantial part of the activities of the organization shall be carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided by Internal Revenue Code section 501(h) or participating in, or intervening in, including the publication or distribution of statements), any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.