What We Believe

CONSTITUTION OF BIBLE FELLOWSHIP CHURCH OF REISTERSTOWN, MARYLAND

PREAMBLE

We, the members of Bible Fellowship Church of Reisterstown, Maryland, do ordain and establish the following articles, to which we voluntarily submit ourselves.

NAME

This organization shall be known as Bible Fellowship Church and located in Reisterstown, Maryland.

ARTTICLE 1 PURPOSE

The purpose of this church is to promote the work of God in the obedience to His commands through:

  1. The assembling of ourselves together (Hebrew 10:25) in the promotion of Godly worship (John 4: 23-24).
  2. The salvation of the lost through the world wide proclamation of God’s word (Matthew 28: 18-20; Acts 1:8).
  3. The instruction, edification, and discipleship of ourselves and others through Sunday School, Bible studies, and other Christian activities, in Jesus Christ (I Thessalonians 5:11; Romans 14:19;  I Corinthians 14:26; Matthew 28:19; Luke 11:1; John 8:31; II Timothy 3:16-17).
  4. Functioning in harmony with the teachings of the Holy Bible (II Timothy 3: 16-17; I John 5:13).
  5. With Godly love abounding (Luke 10:27-28; I John 4:7-12; John 3:16; I Corinthians 13:1-13) and fellowship with God and each other (I John 3:7).
  6. Standing in defense of the “faith once delivered” (Jude 3; Romans 15:14), until He comes (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).

ARTICLE 2 Church Doctrine

Each and every person, in order to become or remain a member of this Church should subscribe to the following articles of faith:

  1. We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are verbally inspired by God and are inerrant in the original writings, and that they are of supreme and final authority in faith and practice (II Timothy 3: 16-17; II Peter 1: 19-21).
  2. We believe in the infinitely perfect triune God (Matthew 28:19; II Corinthians 13:14) – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; each person being equal, yet there not being three Gods but one (Genesis 1:1; John 10:30).
  3. We believe in the virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:35), the sinless life (Hebrews 4:15; 7:26), the humanity (Matthew 26:12, 38; 27:50; Luke 19:10; Galatians 4:4), and the deity of Jesus Christ, the Lord, the Son of God (Matthew 16:16; John 14:6; 5:25; 10:30; II Corinthians 13:14).
  4. We believe in the shed blood of Jesus Christ as the only ground of atonement (carrying away, forever) of sins (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 9:14).
  5. We believe in the bodily resurrection and Lordship of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:32; I Corinthians 15:23), His ascension into heaven (Acts 1:9-11). His present advocacy and High Priesthood in the presence of God for us (I John 2:1; Hebrews 8: 1-2).
  6. We believe in that “blessed hope”, the personal, imminent, pretribulational, premillenial coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for all His saints, then to establish His millennial kingdom      (I Thessalonians 4: 13-18; Zechariah 14: 4-11; Romans 5:9; I Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9; Revelation 3:10).
  7. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person ( John16:13-14) who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8); and that He regenerates (John 3: 5-6), indwells (I Corinthians 3:16), enlightens (I Corinthians 2:13-14; Ephesians 1:13), empowers the saved; and that the conversion of the unbeliever and the indwelling and baptism of the Holy Spirit are simultaneous (Romans 8: 9; 15-16; I Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13; I John 2:27).
  8. We believe that Satan is a real personality (Job 1:6-7); that he was created perfect (Ezekiel 28: 14-15), but fell through pride (Isaiah 14:12-14); that he is the author of the fall of man     (Genesis 3: 1-6; Revelation 12:9), the archenemy of God (Isaiah 14:13-14) and the souls of men (I Peter 5:8; II Corinthians 11:14; Revelation 12:10).
  9. We believe in the fall of man through the sin of Adam (Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 5:12-14) and in the consequent necessity of the New Birth through Jesus Christ (John 3: 3-6).
  10. We believe that men are justified (declared and treated as righteous, nothing laid to his charge) on the single ground of faith (Romans 1:17; 3:28; 8:1, 31, 34; Acts 13: 38-39), and that this is entirely by the grace (unmerited favor) of God and not by any works that all boasting is exclude (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).
  11. We believe in the security of the believer on earth (John 10:27-30; 17: 15-17) and the eternal blessedness of the righteous in Heaven (Romans 8:35-39).
  12. We believe that those who are born again possess two natures and that they may be victorious over the old nature through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, but that eradication of the old nature, while we are in the flesh, is unscriptural (Romans 6:13; 8:12-13; Galatians 5: 16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:10; I Peter 1: 14-16; I John 3:5-9).
  13. We believe that the true church is a living organism made up of believing members of the body of Christ, united to one another and to the risen Christ by the baptism of the Holy Spirit ( Hebrews 12:23; I Corinthians 12: 12-14), and in fellowship with all who are believers  ( I John 1:3,7; Romans 12:12-13).
  14. We believe that the saved are called to a life of separation from all worldly and sinful practices (Romans 12:2; James 4:4; I John 2:2:16; II Corinthians 6:14; I Peter 3: 8-15).
  15. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men (Acts 24:15; I Corinthians 15: 51-54; I Thessalonians 4:13-18), the eternal felicity of the saved (John 14: 1-6; Philippians 3:20; Revelation 21:1-4), and the eternal conscious punishment of the unsaved (Matthew 25:46; Luke 16:19-31; Revelation 210:12-15).
  16. We believe that in view of the total depravity (Romans 3:9-18) and lost condition of the unregenerate ( John 3:3-5), the absolute obligation of the saved is to witness by life (Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:16; John 13:35), and word (Mark 16:15; Romans 1:16; 10:14-15), and through sound missionary agencies to the whole world of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28: 19-20).

ARTICLE 3 Church Covenant

Having been led by the Spirit of God to be born again by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, we hereby enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ under this Constitution.

ARTICLE 4 Church Ordinances

God has ordained two ordinances for the church, neither of which is a prerequisite for salvation. The first is water baptism by immersion (Matthew 28:19; Acts 8:37-38). The second is the Lord’s Supper        (I Corinthians 11:23-28).

ARTICLE 5 Membership

  1. Any person who has accepted Jesus Christ as his or her only personal Savior, and who is in agreement with the stated purpose, covenant, and doctrines of the faith of this assembly shall be eligible for membership.
  2. Membership shall be based on statement of faith in Jesus Christ by proof of regeneration by word of testimony, and agreement of our doctrinal statement in Article 2. Candidates will meet with the church council (Elders and Deacons) to share their statement of faith. Approval of membership resides with the church council. (Hebrews 10:25; 13:17).
  3. Any member who willfully and continually violates God’s Word shall be counseled according to Matthew 18.

ARTICLE 6 Government

  1. The government of this church will be the New Testament principle of Christ as head of the Church, with Elders and Deacons taken from within the membership as leaders (Hebrews 13:7,17; Acts 20:28; Philippians 1:1). The Church shall not be run as a duplicate of a worldly business corporate or government, but shall adopt God’s principles, not man’s, for the Church is developing an eternal, not a time-bound, work.
  2. This church shall not be associated with or subject to the control of any other secular or ecclesiastical body, organization, or government. It shall be self-governing in respect to its affairs, and shall first and foremost obey the laws and commandments of God as stated in His Word.
  3. The officers of the Church are:
    1. Pastor (teacher, under-shepherd) (Acts 20:28)
    2. Elders (spiritual overseers) (I Timothy 3:1; 5:17; Titus 1:5,9) (Trustees)
    3. Deacons (ministers, real property overseers) (Acts 6:1-6; Philippians 1:1) (Trustees)
    4. Treasurer (appointed from within the Deacons)
    5. Secretary (appointed from within the Elders or Deacons)
    6. Sunday School Superintendent (appointed by the Elders)

B. The Pastors, Elders and Deacons shall be elected based on Scriptural qualifications.

  1. The Pastor is an Elder as expressed in I Timothy 5:17, the under-shepherd of the Church (under Jesus Christ- John 10: 11, 14, 16, and 27), and with the rest of the Elders, is an overseer of the flock. His responsibility is preaching the Word (Titus 1:7; Acts 20:28; I Peter 5:12). His other duties are as stated in the Word of God (I Timothy 3:1; 5:17; Titus 1:9 Jude 3; Psalm 23; John 10; others).
    The Pastor shall be elected for an indeterminate term. Notice of the proposed choice of Pastor shall be given from the pulpit for two successive Sundays preceding the election. Scriptural qualifications shall be the same as for Elders, and shall be reviewed with the candidate by the Elders prior to the above notice to the Body. Voting shall be by ballot, with two-thirds’ of the votes of the voting membership required for election. The Pastor shall give the Church notice in writing not more than sixty days nor less than thirty days of his intention to discontinue as Pastor.
    The Church may, by one-half or more vote of the voting membership at a duly called business meeting (see Article 8), declare the pulpit vacant, provide a notice of not less than sixty days be given the Pastor occupying the pulpit when such action is taken. Under certain circumstances wherein the activities (public or private) of the Pastor are as such that his teaching or conduct is definitely contrary to God’s Word, or the intent of God’s Word in context, and such action does or may do spiritual harm to those inside and outside the congregation both directly and influentially, the Pastor may be required to immediately vacate the pulpit by the Elders, after review, exhortation, and counseling by the Elders, using Biblical principles, and exercising their duties to oversee and Shepard the flock of God (Matthew 18; I Timothy 5:19-20).
  2. The government of the Church, the conduct of its business, and the supervision of its work and organizations, and the management and control of its properties shall be vested by the congregation in the official Church council, which shall consist of two bodies, the Elders and Deacons. The elected and appointed leaders of the Church shall administer the Church business and spiritual welfare in accordance with the contextual stated purpose and intent of the written Word of God.
  3. The Elders shall be elected for an indefinite term by the voting membership by a two-thirds vote. The Elders shall have the ruling, administrative, and control of all spiritual welfare of the Church. The number of Elders shall be determined by the members at a duly called business meeting (see Article 8), and may be changed by two-thirds vote of the voting membership. Elders shall be elected after long and careful consideration of the candidates, duties, and investigation of Scriptural qualifications (Hebrews 13:7, 17, 24; Romans 12:8; I Timothy 5:17; 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). Elders may be counseled according to Matthew 18 and may be removed as stated in the section on the Pastor (I Timothy 5:19-20).
  4. The Deacons shall be elected, and serve and function as the Church deems necessary to fulfill the duties assigned to this group. Those chosen for this office must meet the qualifications set forth in I Timothy 3: 8-13, as determined by the Elders (Acts 6:3-7). The Deacons shall consider the conduct of the business of the Church and shall have control of its real properties. They shall have the oversight of the ushering in all services. The Deacons shall elect from their members a chairman at its first regular meeting following the annual Church business meeting each year.
    Deacons shall be elected by a two-thirds vote of the voting membership after due and careful consideration of Scriptural qualifications, and may be removed as stated in the section on the Pastor.
  5. The Secretary shall be an Elder or Deacon and shall keep the records of the Church council meetings and business meetings.
  6. The Treasurer shall be a Deacon elected by the Deacons and shall keep an accurate and full account of monies received and paid out. The books shall be audited annually by three members selected by the Elders.
  7. The Sunday School Superintendent shall be appointed by the Elders. He shall supervise the operation of the Sunday School of the Church. Sunday School teachers shall be approved by the Elders.

ARTICLE 8 Meetings

Meetings of members may be called by the Elders and Deacon. Members may make request to the Elders for special meetings. Business meetings shall be conducted using parliamentary procedures, and shall be held after two weeks notification to members from the pulpit.

ARTICLE 9 Voting

Voting by the membership shall be by show of hands or ballot except where otherwise specially stated in this document. Motions and elections must have two-thirds of the votes of the voting membership to be carried, unless otherwise stated herein. Voting membership shall consist of members of eighteen years of age and older.

ARTICLE 10 Missionary Policy

This Church is committed to the “Great Commission” of Matthew 28:19-20, and will consider and provide support for specific missionaries or other Christian work when properly agreed upon by decision of the voting membership.

ARTICLE 11 Committees

Committees shall be established as needed by proper membership vote. They shall be dissolved at completion of their responsibilities.

ARTICLE 12 Adoption and Amendments

  1. This Constitution shall be considered adopted and in immediate use upon two-thirds vote of the voting membership in its favor.
  2. This Constitution may be revised and amended upon a two-thirds vote of the voting membership, if the revision can be substantiated on Scriptural grounds and deemed necessary by the Elders.
  3. The doctrinal statements of this Church may NOT be amended or revised.

ARTICLE 13 Dissolution

In the event the voting membership votes to dissolve this Church, all assets will be held until all financial and legal obligations are fulfilled. All remaining assets will be disposed of by the trustees of the said body to a truly Christian non-profit organization.

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