DISTINCTIVES

The Bible

We understand the Bible to be the inspired and inerrant Word of God. As such it is the sole source and standard for matters of faith and practice for the believer. It is sufficient to meet every spiritual need of the Christian (II Peter 1:3).

The Bible should be understood plainly and literally unless there is reason in a given passage to believe that it was intended to be taken otherwise (e.g., figures of speech, prophetic language, etc.). The meaning of the Scripture can be understood through careful (II Tim. 2:15) and prayerful (I John 2:27) study by anyone.

The Church

The Church is described in the Bible as the “body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12; I Cor. 12:27). The Apostle Paul explains this metaphor in I Corinthians 12. Just as the physical body has only one head but has many individual parts that perform different functions, even so the “Body of Christ,” the Church, has one head but is made up of many individual members. The head of the Church is Jesus Christ. He is the central organizing and directing influence of the Church. The body, made up of eyes and ears and hands and feet, constitutes the wide diversity of individual Christians. We are individually gifted and enabled by Christ to perform specialized functions in the Church so that the Church functions in a healthy manner.

The Apostle Paul also describes the Church as the “pillar and support of the truth” (I Tim. 3:15). For this reason we see one of the great privileges and responsibilities of the Church to be the preaching and teaching of the Word (II Tim. 4:2). Therefore, we see the teaching and preaching of the Bible as one of the central focuses of the various ministries of the Church.

The Leadership

Grace Harvest Baptist Church is an elder lead congregation.  We recognize the Biblical pattern of God calling out men to serve in positions of greater responsibility.  We endeavor to pray regularly for those whom God sets over us.  Every elder shall be exemplary in his person:  a man mature in faith, above reproach, devoted to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, and able to teach.  Each must manage his own family well, see that his children obey him with proper respect and have a good reputation with outsiders.  [1 Timothy 3]  As the elders express the leadership of God for the church, we will seek to unite with that direction.  The elders are given responsibility of the care of the church, and will seek to be available to all church members for help, counsel, encouragement and intercession at all times.  The elders will faithfully pray for the church members.  They will seek to encourage and build up each member.  They will teach and preach the Word of God faithfully, trusting its transforming power through the Holy Spirit in the lives of members.

Theological Distinctives

Broadly understood, theology is simply the message of the Bible understood in all of its various elements and details. It is a man-made understanding of the whole of the Bible (all 66 Books—Old Testament and New Testament) set out topically and systematically. Christians and churches have traditionally recognized various theological movements or schools of thought that are helpful in describing important biblical ideas (e.g., salvation, redemption, sanctification, End Times, etc.).

This being said, Grace Harvest Baptist Church is:

  1. Reformed (Salvation only). Grace Harvest Baptist Church holds to a reformed stance in our doctrine of salvation.  We believe that the Protestant Reformation was a real recovery of the Biblical truth concerning salvation and the role of the Scriptures in the life of the believer and the Church. We firmly embrace the 5 Solas (Latin for “alone”) of the Reformation: Sola Scriptura, the Bible is our sole source of truth; Sola Fide, one is saved only by faith; Sola Gratia, one cannot earn their salvation through any work rather it is by grace alone; Solus Christus, it is only through Christ that one may be saved; and Soli Deo Gloria, all that the believer does should be done to the glory of God. We also recognize that the Bible places a strong emphasis on the sovereignty of God.
  2. Non-charismatic. The Greek word underlying this word literally means grace—”the unmerited favor or blessing of God.” The New Testament describes God as individually gifting believers with certain spiritual gifts for the benefit of the Church. Among the various spiritual gifts described in the New Testament we see some that were more vividly supernatural manifestations of the power of God and the influence of the Holy Spirit. Some of these gifts were intended to be temporary and were uniquely suited to the founding of the Church during the lifetime of the Apostles. Other gifts were intended to be permanent and have been manifested in every age of the Church from the first century forward. By “non-charismatic” we mean to indicate that we acknowledge this distinction.
  3. Dispensational. Dispensationalism refers to the observation that God seems to have related with man throughout history in different ways throughout different ages or dispensations. These dispensations are typically characterized by certain distinct organizing principles. It does NOT suggest or infer that man was saved in different ways at different times. Man has always—in every age—been saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9). Dispensationalism is characterized by a clear distinction between Israel and the Church and by a consistent use of a literal principle of interpretation. We hold to a belief that there are still unfulfilled promises made to national Israel by God.  In addition we also add that Dispensationalists may differ on the specific number of dispensations.
  4. Premillennial. A large portion of the Bible speaks of events that were future at the time they were written. Of these passages a significant portion refer to future events yet to be fulfilled. These passages are generally understood as referring to the “End Times. Two of the most significant end-time events yet remaining to be fulfilled are the return of Jesus Christ to the earth (the Second Coming) and the establishing of a physical kingdom by Jesus Christ here on earth (the “Millennium). By premillennial we understand the ordering of these events to be such that the Second Coming precedes the Millennium.