Heritage Baptist Church of Woodstock, IL - Rooted And Built Up In Christ
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Articles of Faith
I.  The Scriptures
Being God-breathed, the Scriptures of both the Old and New Testaments are infallible and inerrant in all their parts and are, therefore, trustworthy in all they affirm concerning history, science, doctrine, ethics, religious practice, or any other topic. They are the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinion should be tried. They alone are sufficient to make the man of God throughly furnished unto all good works. Jesus Christ is the criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted.
II.  The Triune God
There is only one true and living God, Jehovah. He is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. We owe Him the highest love, reverence, and obedience. God exists in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one God, being the same in substance and equal in power and glory.

A. God the Father
God the Father has made all things out of nothing by the Word of His power, in the space of six literal days, and through the agency of the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, God the Father providentially cares for all His creation. This providence involves His most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing of all His creatures, including all their actions. Furthermore, God the Father has ordained whatsoever comes to pass, according to the counsel of His will and for His own glory.

B. God the Son
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself the demands and necessities of human nature and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, partaking of the nature of God and of man, and in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.

C. God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior, and effects regeneration. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the assurance of God to bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
III.  Man
Man was created by the special act of God, in His own image, and is the crowning work of His creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by His Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice, man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. By this sin Adam and Eve fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin and wholly defiled in all the parts and faculties of soul and body. Adam being the federal head of all mankind, the guilt of his sin was imputed to all. Furthermore, both spiritual death and a corrupt nature are conveyed to all his posterity, except Jesus Christ. This original sin leaves us unable to do any good and wholly inclined to evil. From this original corruption all actual sins and transgressions do proceed. Only the grace of God in salvation can bring man into a holy fellowship with God and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God.
IV.  Salvation
The blessings of salvation are offered freely to all by the gospel. It is the immediate duty of all to accept them by sincere, repentant, and obedient faith. Nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel, which rejection involves him in an increased condemnation. Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man. In its broadest sense salvation includes election, regeneration, justification, sanctification, perseverance, and glorification.

A. Election
Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man. It is a glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, and it is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.

This election was not founded upon foreseen faith and the obedience of faith, holiness, or any other good quality or disposition in man, as the prerequisite, cause, or condition on which it depended; but men are chosen to faith and to the obedience of faith, holiness, etc. Therefore, election is the fountain of every saving grace. From it proceed faith, holiness, the other gifts of salvation, and finally eternal life itself, as its fruits and effects, according to the testimony of the apostle: “He hath chosen us (not because we were, but) that we should be holy, and without blemish before him in love” (Eph. 1:4).

The good pleasure of God is the sole cause of this gracious election. He was pleased out of the common mass of sinners to adopt some certain persons as a peculiar people to Himself, leaving the non-elect in His just judgment to their own wickedness and obstinacy.

B. Regeneration
In order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again. This regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind, emotions, and will. It is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth. Furthermore, it secures our voluntary obedience to the gospel. Its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, and faith, and newness of life.

Repentance and Faith are sacred duties and inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God. Being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy. At the same time we heartily receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King, relying on him alone as the only and all-sufficient Savior.

C. Justification
God freely justifies sinners not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous. This is not based upon anything wrought in them, nor done by them, nor by imputing faith itself, or any other evangelical obedience to them as their righteousness. Rather it is based upon the imputed obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, which they receive and rest on Him and His righteousness, by faith.

This faith is not of themselves; it is the gift of God. Faith, which is receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification: however, faith is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces. Furthermore it is not a dead faith, but works by love.

Christ, by his obedience and death, fully discharge the debt of all those that are justified. Furthermore, Christ made a proper, real, and full satisfaction to his Father's justice in their behalf. Because the Father freely accepted His obedience and satisfaction in their stead, their justification is only of free grace so that both the exact justice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.

D. Sanctification
Christ sanctifies those who have been regenerated, justified by faith, and engrafted into Him. Sanctification is a work of God's through the powerful operation of his Spirit who applies the death and resurrection of Christ unto them and renews in their whole man after the image of God. Having the seeds of repentance unto life and all other saving graces put into their hearts, the Holy Spirit stirs up, increases, and strengthens these graces so that they more and more die unto sin and rise unto newness of life.

It is by faith that the justified person receives the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit. This sanctifying faith does not make men lax in living a holy life. On the contrary, without it they would never do anything out of love to God, but only out of self-love or fear of damnation. Therefore it is impossible that this holy faith can be unfruitful in man. Rather, such a faith excites man to the practice of those works that God has commanded in His Word. These works, as they proceed from the good root of faith, are good and acceptable in the sight of God, forasmuch as they are all sanctified by His grace.

E. Perseverance
All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptations, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the cause of Christ, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

F. Glorification
Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.
V.  The Church
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a local body of baptized believers who are associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel, observing the two ordinances of Christ, committed to His teachings, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend His gospel to the ends of the earth.

This church is an autonomous body, operating through democratic processes under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In such a congregation members are equally responsible. Its Scriptural officers are pastors and deacons.

The New Testament speaks also of the church as the body of Christ that includes all of the redeemed of all the ages.
VI.  Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership.

The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His Second Coming. All who make a sound profession of faith shall be admitted to the Lord's Supper.
VII.  The Lord's Day
The first day of the week is the Lord's Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private, and by refraining from worldly amusements, and resting from secular employment, work of necessity and mercy only being excepted.
VIII.  Last Things
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
IX.  Evangelism and Missions
It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man's spirit by God's Holy Spirit means the birth of love for the souls of men. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by personal effort and by all other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.
X.  Stewardship
God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a binding stewardship of their possessions as well as a trusteeship of the gospel. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally.
XI.  Religious Liberty
God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.
XII.  Separation
Out of deep gratitude for the undeserved grace of God in Christ Jesus, all the saved should live in such a manner as to demonstrate our adoring love to God and so as not to bring reproach upon our Savior and Lord. The people of God are called to separate from all religious apostasy and compromise, all worldliness, and all disobedient brethren. This separation is unto our Lord Jesus Christ. The Christian life is a life of righteous obedience to Jesus and a continual pursuit of holiness through and for Him.
XIII.  Marriage
Marriage has been ordained (or established or instituted) by God. This church defines “marriage” as the exclusive covenantal union of one man and one woman in which such union is a lifetime commitment. A civil government’s sanction of a union will be recognized as a legitimate marriage by the church only to the extent that it is consistent with the definition of “marriage” found in these Articles.
XIV.  Human Sexuality
Legitimate sexual relations are exercised solely within marriage. Hence, sexual activities outside of marriage (referred to in the New Testament as “porneia”) including but not limited to, adultery, premarital sex, homosexuality, and pedophilia are inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible and the Church. Further, an unrepentant homosexual disposition, lascivious conduct, transgender behavior, and the creation and/or distribution and/or viewing of pornography, are incompatible with the biblical witness and subject to immediate dismissal from membership.
Below you will find more information about our faith and practice. If you have further questions about our ministry, please contact us.
Church Constitution (PDF* - 172 KB)
Includes information on the church's purpose, our covenant with one another, our articles of faith, and more.
Philosophy of Ministry (PDF* - 155 KB)
Includes information on the church's philosophy of worship, evangelism and biblical separation.
Philosophy of Music (PDF* - 40 KB)
Includes information on the church's philosophy of music including: the priority, morality, balance, sanctity and excellency of Christian music.
* PDF format requires Adobe® Acrobat Reader, available free.
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Heritage Baptist Church
"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake."
- 2 Cor. 4:5
"A Congregation of Bible-Believing Protestants Separated unto the Gospel."
© 2012 Heritage Baptist Church, Woodstock, IL