Being a Christian is more than identifying yourself with a particular religion or affirming a certain value system. Being a Christian means you have embraced what the Bible says about God, mankind, and salvation. Consider the following truths found in Scripture.
God Is Sovereign Creator. Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him. The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore, He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.
God Is Holy. God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3), therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13). God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Mankind Is Sinful. According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human kindness. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own. (Romans 3:10-12).
Sin Demands a Penalty. God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death: (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s why simply chang- ing our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences.
Jesus Is Lord and Savior. The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (Colossians 1:16). Therefore He owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obe- dience, and worship. Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior who paid the penalty and died for sinners (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice and Christ’s perfect life satisfied the demands of God’s holiness (2 Corinthians 5:21), thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26).
The Character of Saving Faith. True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin (Luke 13:3,5; 1 Thessalonians 1:9) and pursue Christ (Matthew 11:28-30; John 17:3) and obedience to Him (1 John 2:3). It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).
The church exists to glorify God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission, and in the spirit of the Great Commandment -- Matthew 28:19-20, Matthew 22:37-38.
The commission is fulfilled as disciples of Jesus Christ are made and grow in their relationship with Him and likeness to Him. God is glorified as we manifest His presence as we do His work -- 2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Corinthians 10:31.
In seeking to act upon the church's purpose, we recognize the extraordinary value in multiplying the reach of His ministry by planting local churches and by associating with existing, like-minded local churches. God is glorified when like-minded churches associate with one another in order to foster relationships that edify, protect, encourage, support and admonish.
Creation, Evolution and God's Sovereignty
We believe God created the universe in six 24-hour days and that, before He created the universe, nothing except God existed -- Genesis 1; Exodus 31:17; Psalm 33:6-9; Acts 17:24; Hebrews 11:3;Colossians 1:16.
God chose to create the universe and all that is in it to reveal His glory, divine nature, eternal power, infinite wisdom and supreme authority -- Isaiah 43:7; Psalm 19:1-2; Jeremiah 10:12; Romans 1:20;Revelation 4:11.
We deny the theory of evolution, which states that nonliving substances gave rise to the first living material, which then reproduced and diversified to produce all living creatures. We believe that all people are descendants of Adam and Eve, whom God created personally and individually and as complete human beings -- Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 2:7; Genesis 2:21-22; 1 Corinthians 11:8-9. The fall of Adam and Eve infected all people with sin and death, but the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ gives the opportunity to receive God's gift of eternal life -- Romans 5:18-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22.
God rules over His creation and cares about and is involved in the lives of individual people -- Job 12:10; Acts 17:25; Acts 25:28; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:13; Ephesians 4:6.
Eternal Security of the Believer
It is God's divine decision to save a person and it is God's kindness, forbearance and patience that lead that person to repentance -- Romans 2:4. All glory for the salvation and security of every believer belongs to God alone -- Romans 3:21-31; Ephesians 1:7-9; Ephesians 2:8-9, Jude 1:24-25. We believe that everyone who is born again by the Spirit through Jesus Christ is eternally assured of salvation from the moment of conversion. This assurance relies on God's decisive grace rather than on the works of the Christian. Obedience, good works and fruit-bearing do not earn or retain the believer's salvation, but indicate the reality of the person's love of Christ and profession of faith -- Luke 6:46; John 14:21; James 2:17-18.
Eternal security in salvation relies on the Lord's guarantee of each believer's adoption as His son or daughter -- Galatians 4:4-7, and His seal of the believer by the Holy Spirit -- 2 Corinthians 1:21-22;Ephesians 1:13-14, and the conviction that God gives the Holy Spirit to each believer as a down payment toward future bliss in heaven -- 2 Corinthians 1:21-22. A person who professes genuine faith in Christ immediately becomes His possession -- Luke 23:42-43; Acts 2:40-41; Acts 16: 30-34, and nothing can snatch that person out of His hands -- John 10:27-29. Having been bought with the price of Jesus Christ's crucifixion as complete payment for sin, Christians are not their own. They are Christ's possession -- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. This assurance is absolutely certain, reserved in heaven, protected by God's unlimited power -- 1 Peter 1:4-5.
Process of Sanctification and Maturity
Mature disciples walk with Christ, worship Christ and work for Christ. A person committed to a relationship with Christ focuses on personal walk with Him, worship of Him and work for Him. That person will experience significant growth in personal sanctification and, therefore, will experience a closer personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and will become "complete in Christ" (Colossians 1:28). We are committed to multiplying the godly characteristics of leaders' lives into others -- 2 Timothy 2:2. This multiplication of ministry is key to the healthy growth of the church. We believe the disciples of Jesus Christ should minister to one another in the local church, rather than one or a small number of professional pastors bearing total responsibility to care for the entire congregation. God has given spiritual gifts to all of His people to provide mutual ministry in the context of the healthy and strong local church -- Ephesians 4:11-12.
Sufficiency of Scripture
We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of that Scriptures and that they contain all the words of God that we need in order to completely trust and obey Him. The Scriptures are inerrant in their original writings -- Psalm 119:97-104; Psalm 119:160; Matthew 5:18; John 5:46-47; John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:15-16, and are infallible in their instruction -- Proverbs 6:32; 2 Peter 1:19, eternal in duration -- Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:23-25; the final authority and the standard for faith and practice (Matthew 4:4; Psalm 119); and sufficient for counsel in every issue of life (Psalm 19:14-17; 2 Timothy 3:16). We believe that the very words of Scripture in the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic are inspired by God. Therefore, we believe that the Bible versions which translate God's Word most literally into modern English should be preferred.
Women in Ministry
Harvest Plains Church affirms the God-ordained and significant role that women should play in establishing and leading the local church. Every leadership opportunity is open to women except those that are excluded by Scripture. The Scriptures clearly state that men are to serve in the office of Elder and that women are not to serve in church positions in which they exercise authority over men or in which they teach doctrine to men -- 1 Timothy 2:12; 1 Timothy 3:1-2; Titus 1:6-9. We do not see this as an issue of equality, for men and women are equal under God. The Bible is clear that men and women do not have the same roles. Qualified women should serve in any leadership position that is not forbidden in the Scriptures.
The Second Coming and Millennial Reign of Christ
We teach that, after the tribulation period, Christ will come to earth to occupy the throne of David (Matthew 25:31; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 1:10-11; 2:29-30) and establish His messianic kingdom for 1,000 years on the earth (Revelation 20:1-7). During this time the resurrected saints will reign with Him over Israel and all the nations of the earth (Ezekiel 37:21-28; Daniel 7:17-22; Revelation 19:11-16). This reign will be preceded by the overthrow of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and by the removal of Satan from the world (Daniel 7:17-27; Revelation 20:1-7).
We teach that the kingdom itself will be the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel (Isaiah 65:17-25; Ezekiel 37:21-28; Zechariah 8:1-17) to restore them to the land that they forfeited through their disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:15-68). The result of their disobe- dience was that Israel was temporarily set aside (Matthew 21:43; Romans 11:1-26), but will again be awakened through repentance to enter into the land of blessing (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:22-32; Romans 11:25-29).
We teach that this time of our Lord’s reign will be characterized by harmony, justice, peace, righteousness, and long life (Isaiah 11; 65:17-25; Ezekiel 36:33-38), and will be brought to an end with the release of Satan (Revelation 20:7).