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What we 

believe

Heritage Church is a community of those who believe in the One True God and who have answered the call of the Holy Spirit to follow Jesus in a confused and lost world. We affirm the historic doctrines of the Christian faith found in the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed. Those who become members of Heritage Church join in our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, men, women, boys, and girls become fully submitted followers, loving God and loving others as themselves.

 

The vision of Heritage Church is to reach our community and beyond for Jesus in union with other followers from other churches, joined together in kingdom work. Our vow to one another as members of Heritage Church is to walk together through the difficult times in life without fear of judgement by discerning God’s truths through His Word, and to celebrate together through the victories.

 

Heritage Church is a place where every person is welcome and can discover and grow in relationship with the Living God. Because of support throughout the narrative of Scripture, Heritage Church supports the full inclusion of men and women in every aspect of church life and leadership.

 

Our life together consists of the following disciplines experienced through the Wesleyan way of serving Christ, as noted in John Wesley’s Standard Sermons and Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament:

 

  1. Worship where God is exalted, fellowship is experienced, gifts are given, and the Word is proclaimed.

 

  1. Small groups and classes where we focus on the details of a relationship with God, work on areas of struggle, experience loving accountability, and share in the daily lives of fellow believers.

 

  1. Outreach opportunities where we show God’s love in practical ways by intentional acts of kindness through service in our community and world.

The Triune God

 

Of the Holy Trinity – We believe in the one true God, both holy and living, eternal, unlimited in power, wisdom and goodness, the Creator and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. Within this unity there are three persons of one substance, power, and eternity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Genesis 1; Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19; II Corinthians 13:14; Hebrews 9:14)

 

Of the Father – We believe the Father is the Source of all that exists, whether of matter or spirit. With the Son and the Holy Spirit, He made Humans, male and female, in His image. By intention, He relates to people as Father, thereby forever declaring His goodwill toward them. In love, He both seeks and receives sinners. (Jeremiah 3:4; Matthew 5:16; Galatians 4:6; John 14:6)

 

Of the Son of God – We believe in Jesus Christ, eternal and of one substance with the Father. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, truly God and truly man. He died on the cross and was buried to be a sacrifice both for original sin and for all human transgressions, and to reconcile us to God. Christ rose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, and there intercedes for us at the Father’s right hand until He returns to judge all humanity at the last day. (Matthew 1:20-25; John 1:1-18; Romans 8:3; I Corinthians 15:3-9)

 

Of the Holy Spirit – We believe in the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son and is of the same essential nature, majesty, and glory as the Father and the Son, truly and eternally God. He is the Administrator of grace to all and is particularly the effective Agent in conviction for sin, in regeneration, in sanctification, and in glorification. He is ever present, assuring, preserving, and enabling the believer. (Genesis 1; Psalm 51:11; John 14:15-18; Galatians 3:1-5)

 

The Bible

 

We believe in the inerrant Word of God contained in the Old and New Testaments. These 66 books constitute the Holy Scriptures and were written by men, moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21; Exodus 4:10-12; Jeremiah 1:6-9). “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV). The Holy Scriptures are superior to all human authority and have been transmitted to the present without corruption of any essential doctrine.

 

The Church

 

We believe the Christian Church is the entire body of believers in Jesus Christ, who is the founder and only Head of the Church. The Church includes members of the Body of Christ who are joined to Christ in their salvation, who follow Christ as their Head and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Members of the Church are the physical representation of Christ in this world, dedicating themselves to the work which Christ committed unto his church until He returns. We possess a diversity of gifts and share a common bond with all other Christians, regardless of background, race, or ministry. The Church on Earth is to preach the pure Word of God, properly administer the sacraments according to Christ’s instructions, and live in obedience to all that Christ commands. A local church is a body of believers formally organized on gospel principles, meeting regularly for the purposes of evangelism, nurture, fellowship, and worship.

 

God’s Purpose for Humanity

 

We believe God’s greatest desire is to be in relationship with all people. We believe this relationship is lived out through the two great commandments which require us to love the Lord our God with all our heart and our neighbors as ourselves. These commandments summarize the divine law as it is revealed in the Scriptures. They are the perfect measure and norm of human duty, both for the ordering and directing of families, nations, social bodies, and individual acts. We are required to acknowledge God as our only Supreme Ruler and all persons as created by Him, equal in all natural rights. Therefore, Christians should fully submit their lives to God by the work of the Holy Spirit, seeking to live a life that honors God and points others to Him through their attitude, choices, and behaviors.

 

Marriage and the Family

 

We believe that all people are created in the image of God and are of sacred worth (Genesis 1: 26-27). We believe that God, in his infinite wisdom, created two genders: Male and Female (Genesis 1:27). We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful and harassing behaviors and attitudes toward any individual or group are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture or the doctrines of Heritage Church (Matthew 5:43-48). We believe marriage and sexual intimacy are good gifts from God. In keeping with the

Scriptures and historic, orthodox, Christian teaching through the ages, we believe that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union (Genesis 2:24-25; Matthew 19:5; 1 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 5:31). We believe that God intends for His children to practice sexual purity - faithfulness in marriage and celibacy in singleness. We believe any sexual expression outside of these standards is not in line with the teachings of Scripture. Therefore, we denounce all forms of sexual expression in conflict with the Scriptures (cohabitation, pornography, extra-marital relationships, homosexuality, etc.). We believe that all people are individuals of sacred worth and affirm that God’s grace is available to all. All persons

need the ministry and guidance of the church in their struggles for human fulfillment, as well as the spiritual and emotional care of a fellowship that enables reconciling relationships with God, others, and self. We believe that family is the natural outgrowth of marriage and is the foundational structure of society. Family is the scripturally ordained unit for the rearing of children. We acknowledge the difficulty inherent to single-parent households in this broken world. Heritage will endeavor to minister grace, love, and care to all families. We believe the support of a church family is essential to the growth and spiritual development of children. (Deuteronomy 4:9-10, Mark 10:14-16)

 

Free Will

 

We believe that humanity’s creation in the Image of God included the ability to choose between right and wrong. Thus, individuals were made morally responsible for their choices. We believe original sin is not simply following Adam’s example, but rather the corruption of the nature of each mortal and is reproduced naturally in Adam’s descendants. Because of original sin, humans are far gone from original righteousness and by nature are continually inclined to evil, but through Jesus Christ, the prevenient grace of God makes possible what human self-effort cannot do. It is bestowed freely upon all, enabling all who will repent of their sins and turn to Christ to be saved.

 

Salvation and Grace

 

Salvation – We believe that salvation is by grace alone through faith and a gift from God. Salvation is the gracious work of the Trinity to forgive our sins, to purify our

 

hearts of the sinful nature, and to prepare believers to dwell with God forever. (2 Corinthians 5:8, John 3:16)

 

Atonement – We believe that Jesus Christ, by His suffering, the shedding of His own blood, and His death on the cross, made a full atonement for all human sin. This atonement is the only ground of salvation, and it is sufficient for every person who calls upon the name of the Lord. (Isaiah 53:12-14; Mark 10:45; Luke 24:46-48; Romans 10:13)

 

Prevenient Grace – We believe that the grace of God through Jesus Christ is freely bestowed upon all people. This grace which attracts us to God while we are yet lost in our sin is called prevenient grace, the grace that goes before our meeting with God. Prevenient grace is God’s unconditional love convicting us of our sin and drawing us to the atoning work of Christ. (Romans 5:6-8)

 

Justifying Grace – We believe that justification is the gracious and judicial act of God by which he grants full pardon of all guilt and complete release from the penalty of sins committed, bringing acceptance as righteous to all who believe in Jesus Christ, repent of their sins, and trust Him alone as Lord and Savior. (Acts 3:19; Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:1-10)

 

Sanctifying Grace – We believe that sanctification is the work of God through the Holy Spirit which purifies the heart of a believer and fills them with the Holy Spirit. Sanctifying grace is God’s means of dealing with the influence and power of the sinful nature. Sanctification means “to be made holy,” thus fulfilling God’s mandate that “without holiness, no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14; Acts 15:8-9; Acts 1:8; Romans 6-8)

 

The Sacraments

 

Baptism – We believe that Christian baptism, commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ, is a sacrament and means of grace signifying acceptance of the atonement into the Body of Christ. Baptism is not a means of salvation, rather an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s death to sin, the washing away of guilt, and the new life in Jesus. (Romans 6:3-5). Baptisms will be conducted only by those ordained through or appointed by Heritage Church and only in a gathered body of believers. Special exceptions may be made when a person whose health is failing requests to be baptized. Heritage Church affirms both infant baptism and believer’s baptism, as well as immersion, sprinkling, and pouring as methods of baptism. At the request of parents, baby dedications are performed for those who wish to wait until their child chooses baptism for him/herself. We acknowledge and accept all Christian baptisms when someone seeks to join Heritage Church or transfers membership from another Christian church. Because we believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins, we do not re-baptize, though we will regularly engage in the practice of remembering our baptisms.

   

The Lord’s Supper – We believe that the Lord’s Supper, or communion, is a sign of the new covenant instituted by God through Jesus Christ and is viewed as a means of grace through which God works in us. Through communion, we remember the body and blood of Jesus Christ given on our behalf for the remission of sin. Communion reminds us of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross and the work of sanctification through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Those appointed through Heritage Church may preside over communion. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

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