Heart of a Shepherd Ministry
The True God
We believe that there is one, and only one, true and living God; that He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, immutable, and infinitely holy; that He exists eternally in Three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and that these Three, though One, are yet Three Distinct Persons, equal in every divine perfection. (Genesis 17:1; Deuteronomy 4:35; Psalm 99:9; 102:26-27; 139:1-7; Isaiah 44:6; Jeremiah 23:23; Matthew 28:19; John 1:1-3; Revelation 1:8)
A. HIS IDENTITY
We believe that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God Who exists eternally with the Father; that He is the Savior Whom the Father sent into the world to redeem the world. (John 1:1-34; 14:6-7; 17:3, 5)
B. HIS INCARNATION
We believe that He took upon Himself flesh, without sin, and dwelt among men here on earth; that He was at one and the same time both truly God and truly Man. (Luke 2:11; John 1:14; Philippians 2:5-7)
C. HIS VIRGIN BIRTH
We believe that He was born of a virgin, a woman who had never known man; therefore, He had no earthly father but was conceived in the womb of this virgin by the Holy Spirit. (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Matthew 1:18-23; Luke 1:34-35)
D. HIS DEATH
We believe that He was crucified and died on the cross at a place called Calvary; that He died as man’s substitute, suffered the full wrath of God, and thereby paid the penalty of sin. (Matthew 27:33-54; Romans 5:6-8; I Corinthians 15:3)
E. HIS BLOOD
We believe that His blood, which He shed in death at Calvary, is the only atonement for the sins of man and that it is sufficient to wash away the sins of any person who truly believes. (Romans 5:9; Hebrews 9:22; Ephesians 1:7; I John 1:7)
F. HIS RESURRECTION
We believe that He arose bodily from the dead, and through His resurrection a sure hope of immortality and everlasting life is given to all who have been saved by Him. (Matthew 28:6-7; Luke 24:1-7; Romans 4:25; I Corinthians 15:4)
G. HIS ASCENSION
We believe that He ascended bodily back into Heaven from whence He came and is now at the right hand of the Father, carrying on His ministry of intercession. (Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9; 2:31-33; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 12:2; I John 2:1)
The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Holy Trinity, the promised Comforter and not an abstract power or influence. He is sent into the world to convict men of sin, to regenerate the believing sinner, to seal the believer until the day of redemption, and to baptize the believer into the body of Christ. (Matthew 28:19; John 15:26; 16:7-14; I Corinthians. 12:13; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30)
A. CONCERNING SANCTIFICATION
We believe that immediate, positional sanctification is that act of God whereby believers are at the time of regeneration eternally set apart as belonging to Him by redemption, thereby being placed in the family of God as children, joint heirs with Jesus Christ (I John 3:2; Romans 8:14-17; Hebrews 10:10-14). We believe that progressive sanctification is the process by which, according to God’s will, we are made partakers of His holiness, that it is progressive, that it progresses if the believer is yielded to the Holy Spirit’s control, that it carries on in the heart of the believer by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, self-examination, watchfulness and prayer (I Thessalonians 4:3; 5:23; Proverbs 4:13; I John 2:29; Philippians 2:12-13; Ephesians 6:18; John 17:17).
We believe that ultimate sanctification will be the portion of every believer when he is finally in the presence of the Lord, complete and entire, with soul and spirit united in the resurrected body free from every trace or effect of sin and rebellion. (I John 3:2; I Corinthians 15:52-54; Ephesians 5:18-20; 4:11-13).
B. CONCERNING SPIRITUAL GIFTS
“We believe that God bestowed temporary spiritual gifts upon His churches in apostolic times. These included ministry gifts of apostleship and prophecy as a means of communicating divine revelation and foretelling future events (Ephesians 4:11-13). Other gifts included “signs and wonders, and with diverse miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit” (Hebrews 2:1-4). These gifts were exercised by those who heard the Lord (Hebrews 2:1-4), namely apostles (II Corinthians 12:12). Scripture also speaks of prophecy, tongues, and knowledge (1 Corinthians 13:8). These gifts were needed only by the churches in the period of infancy. They served to establish the apostolic ministries and to serve as a sign to the Jews and unbelievers (Mark 16:15-20; 1 Corinthians 14:21-22). The ministry gifts of apostles, prophets, signs and wonders, and tongues ceased with the completion of the Word of God.
All believers receive the benefits of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit at conversion (1 Corinthians 12:13) and the gift of tongues was never the required outward demonstration of either the baptism or the filling of the Spirit (Mark 16:15-20; 1 Corinthians 12:13, 28-31; 13:8-13; 14:21-22; II Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:11-13; 5:18-20; Hebrews 2:1-4;).
We believe that the Bible is the divinely, verbally plenarily inspired, inerrant Word of God, written by holy men of old as they were moved by the Holy Spirit of God. The primary message is the Gospel that sinners might believe and be saved. The Bible does not merely contain the truth; it is the truth, the standard by which all truth must be tested.
The Way of Salvation
We believe that the only way man can be saved from eternal damnation is by truly repenting of his sin and trusting Jesus Christ, God’s son, as his personal Savior; that an exercise of faith in Christ’s finished expiatory work is sufficient unto salvation. Man is regenerated by God’s spirit and becomes a true child of God. This so great salvation is wholly by the grace of God, a free gift of God’s love and cannot be obtained by any good works or deeds of men. We further believe that, since salvation is by God’s grace alone, salvation is for eternity as the believer is kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. (Luke 13:3; John 1:12; 5:24; 10:28-29; Acts 4:12; 16:31; Titus 3:5; I Peter 1:3-5; Ephesians 2:8-9)
A. PROSPECTIVE CHURCH
We believe the New Testament teaches that a prospective church, composed of all believers from this dispensation, will assemble in Heaven with Jesus Christ. Some of those believers are now there, millions are still on earth, and many are yet unborn. The prospective church does not function in this age. (Hebrews 12:22-24; Ephesians 5:25-27)
B. LOCAL CHURCH
We believe the local church is an organized assembly of baptized believers; united in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; having biblical officers consisting of the pastor and deacons observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by His laws; and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word. (Acts 5:11; II Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:2; Hebrews 10:25; Revelation 2:1, 8,12,18; 3:1,7,14)
We believe that the ordinances enjoined by the gospel, given to the church by Christ, and to be observed by the church are two: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; that these are sacred ordinances, and that the obligation to honor and observe them comes directly from the authority of Christ who appointed them. Both ordinances are to be administered by the pastoral staff.
We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of one who truly has had a personal, saving relationship with Christ; that it symbolizes the believers being buried with Christ and raised to walk in newness of life; and that this ordinance must be administered in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19)
B. THE LORD’S SUPPER
We believe the Lord’s Supper commemorates the death and the dying love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Its elements, which are symbolic, shall be unleavened bread symbolizing the broken body of the Lord Jesus, and unfermented grape juice symbolizing His shed blood. These, being taken together, show forth His death until He comes again. While we do not have closed communion, we believe that all the participants must be born-again believers who have been baptized by immersion upon their profession of faith in Christ. This ordinance is to be observed only after a solemn self-examination. (Matthew 26:26-29; Luke 22:17-20; I Corinthians 11:23-30)
The World to Come
We believe that the end of this present world will come by fire and that the world to come will be eternal. In the age to come, there will be two eternal places: one of endless joy for all the people of God who have been saved by His grace, and the other of endless punishment for all who have never been reconciled to God by the Blood of Christ. These two places are known as heaven and hell.
A. THE RAPTURE OF THE BELIEVER
We believe in Christ’s Pre-millennial, Pre-tribulational return for the true believer (both Old and New Testament believers). The dead in Christ will rise first and then all true believers who are alive will be caught up with them in the air. This is the blessed hope of the Christian. (John 14:1-3; I Corinthians 15:51-53; II Corinthians 5:6-8; Colossians 1:21-29; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Jude 24-25)
B. CHRIST’S SECOND COMING
We believe in Christ’s Pre-millennial return, that this will be a personal and visible return of Jesus in like manner as He ascended back up into heaven. Thus, in fulfillment of His own promise He will return at the end of the seven-year Tribulation in company with His bride (His body, all believers) and His holy angels. He will, at this time, set up His Kingdom on earth where He will rule for a thousand years, which time is known as the Millennium. (Acts 1:10-11; Revelation 19:11-16, 20:4-6)
We believe this is a place of beauty, bliss, and righteousness, where God will dwell with His people forever. (John 14:1-3; II Corinthians 5:1; Revelation 21:1-22:5)
We believe this is a place of ceaseless torment, characterized by fire and brimstone, where all who have not trusted Christ will suffer forever. (Luke 16: 19-31; Matthew 5:22, 29, 30; 23:33; Revelation 20:14-15; 21:8)
We believe in the existence of Satan and that he is not merely an abstract power or influence but a living, personal being; that he is the god of this world and the prince of the power of the air and that he is constantly going up and down in the earth seeking whom he may devour. He does not possess the attributes of God and was defeated by Christ at Calvary. He shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire. (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:14-19; John 8:44; II Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 2:15; I Peter 5:8; Revelation 20:10)
A. HOLY ANGELS
We believe that the angels are an innumerable host of created beings, possessing characteristics of personality (intellect, emotion, and will), and are superior to man in power. They exist to praise and glorify God, to serve as ministering spirits on behalf of believers, and to serve God in whatever ways He desires. (Psalm 103:20-21; 148:2; Matthew 22:28-30; Luke 20:36; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:13-14; II Peter 2:11)
B. FALLEN ANGELS
We believe that demons are fallen angels who followed Satan in his rebellion against God, that they are unclean and deceiving spirits, and that they continue to serve Satan in carrying out his evil purposes. Their ultimate destiny is the lake of fire. (Matthew 10:1; 12:24; 25:41; Luke 4:36; Acts 5:16; 8:7; I Timothy 4:1; Revelation 12:9)
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God but that he fell from his perfect state by voluntary transgression. Since that first transgression, all men have been born in sin and have, through inheritance, a totally depraved nature utterly devoid of the holiness required by the law of God. Man is a sinner by nature, choice, and practice and is, therefore, under just condemnation, without defense or excuse. (Genesis 1:26-27; 3:1-6; Romans 3:10, 23; 5:12; Psalm 51:5)
We believe that a person, once he has truly accepted Christ as Savior, is a new creation in Christ, that he should live a holy, consecrated life, and that he should separate himself from the world and all its lusts in obedience to the command of God. (I Corinthians 6:19-20; II Corinthians 5:17; 6:14, 17-18; II Timothy 2:19; I Peter 2:9; I John 2:15)
We believe that everyone, saved and unsaved, shall face God in judgment. According to the Scriptures, the judgment of the saved will be separate from the judgment of the unsaved. We believe the Scriptures teach that these judgments shall be as follows:
A. JUDGMENT OF CHRISTIANS (THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST)
We believe Christians shall be judged according to their works from the time they received Christ Jesus as their Savior until the time they stand before Him in judgment. They shall be rewarded or shall suffer loss according to their works. (Romans 14:10-12; I Corinthians 3:11-15; II Corinthians 5:10)
B. JUDGMENT OF THE UNSAVED (THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT)
We believe all who have rejected Christ shall be judged according to their works and cast into the lake of fire to suffer forever. (John 3:18, 36; 5:24; Revelation 20:11-15)
B. Beliefs on Cultural Issues
1. MARRIAGE AND SEXUALITY
a. We believe that the term “marriage” has only one, legitimate meaning, and that is marriage sanctioned by God, which joins one man and one woman in a single, covenantal union, as delineated by Scripture. Marriage ceremonies performed in any facility owned, leased or rented by this organization will be only those ceremonies sanctioned by God, joining one man with one woman as their genders were determined at birth. Whenever there is a conflict between the organization’s position and any new legal standard for marriage, the organization’s statement of faith, doctrines and biblical positions will govern. (Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:22-23; Mark 10:6-9; I Cor. 7:1-9)
b. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of marriage as defined in (i) above. We believe that any other type of sexual activity, identity or expression that lies outside of this definition of marriage, including those that are becoming more accepted in the culture and the courts, are contradictory to God’s natural design and purpose for sexual activity. (Gen. 2:24; Gen. 19:5; Lev. 18:1-30; Rom. 1: 26-29; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:9-10; 1 Thess. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4)
c. We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two-distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God and the rejection of one’s biological gender is a rejection of the image of God within that person. (Genesis 1:26-27)
2. FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
a. We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to be the leader of the home, and men are to be the leaders (pastors and elders) of the church. (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:18; 1 Tim. 2:8-15; 3:4-5, 12)
b. We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. The wife is to submit herself to the Scriptural leadership of her husband as the church submits to the headship of Christ. Children are a wonderful gift and heritage from the Lord. Parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values through consistent lifestyle example and appropriate training and discipline. (Gen. 1:26-28; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 6:4-9; Ps. 127:3-5; Prov. 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; Mk. 10:6-12; 1 Cor. 7:1-16; Eph. 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Col. 3:18-21; 1 Pet. 3:1-7)
3. DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE.
We believe that God disapproves of and forbids divorce except on the grounds of adultery. Although divorced and remarried persons or divorced persons may hold positions of service in the church and be greatly used of God for Christian service, they may not be considered for the offices of pastor or Board member in a church. (Mal. 2:14-17; Matt. 19:3-12; Mark 10:11-12; Rom. 7:1-3; I Tim. 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6; I Cor. 7:10-16)
We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living, human being. Abortion is the taking of unborn human life. Abortion is murder. We reject any teaching that rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the mental well-being of the mother are acceptable justifications for abortion. (Job 3:16; Psalm 51:5; 139:14-16; Isaiah 44:24; 49:1,5; Jeremiah 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44)
We believe that God is the Author and Finisher of all life and that the taking of any human life for the purpose of “showing mercy,” regardless of age, physical condition, or mental capacity, is murder and not acceptable with or pleasing to God. (Genesis 2:7; Exodus 20:13; II Samuel 9:3,13; Job 33:4; Matthew 9:1,2; Acts 17:25,28,29; John 10:18)
We believe that we should demonstrate love for others, not only toward fellow believers, but also toward those who are not believers, those who oppose us, and those who engage in sinful actions. We are to deal with those who oppose us graciously, gently, patiently, and humbly. God forbids the stirring up of strife, the taking of revenge, or the threat or use of violence as a means of resolving personal conflict or obtaining personal justice. Although God commands us to abhor sinful actions, we are to love and pray for any person who engages in such actions. (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 5:44-48; Luke 6:31; John 13:34-35; Rom. 12:9-10; 17-21; 13:8-10; Phil. 2:2-4; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; Titus 3:2; I Peter 3:8-9; 1 John 3:17-18)
7. LAWSUITS WITHIN THE CHURCH.
We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits within the Church. We do believe, however, that a Christian may seek compensation for injuries from another Christian’s insurance company as long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander. (1 Cor. 6:1-8; Eph. 4:31-32)
8. PROTECTION OF CHILDREN.
We believe that children are a heritage from the Lord and must be absolutely protected within this organization from any form of abuse or molestation. This organization has zero tolerance for any person, whether paid staff, volunteer, member, or visitor, who abuses or molests a child. (Ps. 127:3-5; Matt. 18:6; Matt. 19:14; Mark 10:14)
This Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself is the sole and final source of all that we believe. We do believe, however, that the foregoing Statement of Faith accurately represents the teaching of the Bible, and, therefore, is binding upon all Directors, officers, and employees of the corporation.