THE ARTICLES OF FAITH, CHURCH
COVENANT, AND CONSTITUTION
Adopted November, 1967.
Revised and reprinted February, 1981
Hallmark Baptist Church
P.O. Box 205 – Bridges Road
Simpsonville, South Carolina
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Since we believe the Holy Scriptures comprise the supreme standard by which all church affairs, human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried, it follows then that these Articles of Faith, this Church Covenant and this Constitution are not intended to be final in their authority, nor thought to be wholly infallible in their content.
1.1 THE ARTICLES OF FAITH are intended to set forth in a
brief and concise manner what we believe the Scriptures to teach, to help us to achieve a more nearly perfect unity, and to help others readily know how we understand the various subjects treated.
1.2 THE CHURCH COVENANT is an expression summarizing
the spirit of love, devotion, faithfulness, and service which each church member pledges to God and to one another as he enters this church union, according to the spirit of Christian unity and service exemplified in the New Testament Scriptures.
1.3 THE CONSTITUTION is intended as a guide for the execution
of the business and purposes of the church.
1.4 ALL OF THESE DOCUMENTS are believed to be in
harmony with the spirit and letter of the Scriptures, and therefore are authoritative directives for Hallmark Baptist Church, as long as the church so believes. At any time, however, that the church receives more nearly perfect understanding of Scripture truth and discovers an error in any of these documents, it is' to be changed promptly to conform to Scripture. The truth of Scripture is timeless and unchangeable; our interpretations of it are subject to correction as God gives us to see more perfectly His eternal truth.
2.0 THE ARTICLES OF FAITH
2.1 OF THE SCRIPTURES
We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men supernaturally and verbally inspired (II Timothy 3:16, 17; II Peter 1:19-21; II Samuel 23:2) that, being free from error, its total content is infallible truth (John 10:35; 17:17) and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the age (Matt. 5:18), the only complete and final revelation of the will of God to man, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all church affairs, human conduct, creeds and opinions should be tried.
2.11 The Holy Bible
By this we mean that collection of sixty-six books, from Genesis to Revelation, which, as originally written, does not only contain and convey the Word of God, but is the very Word of God.
By this we mean that the books of the Bible were written by holy men of old as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:19-21) in such a definite way that their writings are free from error as no other writings have been or ever will be.
2.13 Related References
Psalms 19:7-9; 119:89, 160; Proverbs 30:5,6; Isaiah 8:20; Luke 16:31; 24:25-27,44,45; John5:45-47; 12:48; Acts 28:25; Romans 3:4; I Peter 1:10,11,23; Revelation 22:18,19.
2.2 OF THE TRUE GOD
We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God (Deut. 6:4), an infinite, intelligent Spirit, the maker and supreme ruler of the entire universe—of heaven and earth (Gen. 1:1; Job 9:6-10; Psalms 83:18); that He is inexpressibly glorious in holiness and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love (Mark 12:30; Rev. 4:8,11); that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons (II Cor. 13:14; Matt. 28:19)—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—equal in every divine perfection and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
2.21 God The Father
We believe that God the Father is the eternal (Psalms 90:2), omnipotent (Matt. 19:26), omniscient, and omnipresent (Psalms 147:5; 139:7-10) Spirit (John 4:24), the source and fountainhead of all life and reality, from whom emanated all things (Neh. 9:6; Job 9:8,9; 26:7, 13; 28:4-7) and before whom all things must finally be resolved (I Cor. 15:24-28); that His existence, being revealed objectively both in the material universe (Psalm 19:1; Rom. 1:19,20) and in the Scriptures and subjectively to all men (Titus 2:11) through the Holy Spirit, is therefore the most thoroughly attested fact confronting men.
2.22 God The Son
We believe that God visited man (Luke 1:68-70; John 1:14; I Tim. 3:16; I John 4:2,3) in the incarnate person of the Lord Jesus Christ; that Christ was miraculously conceived of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:31,35) and born of Mary, a virgin (Luke 1:27,34; 2:7; Matt. 1:18-21), as spoken by the prophet (Isa. 7:14; 9:6); that He is eternally pre-existent (John 8:58, 17:5) deity (Heb. l:8),co-equal with the Father (Phil. 2:6) and active in creation (Col. 1:16,17; Heb. 1:10); that He, nevertheless, condescended to suffer death as a man (Heb. 2:9, 17), at the hands of man (Acts 2:23), and for the sins of man (I Cor. 15:3); that He, who was Himself sinless (II Cor. 5:21), rose literally and bodily from death (Luke 24:6,34,39); that His resurrection was attested at first by numerous eye-witnesses (Acts 2:32; 3:15; I Cor. 15:4-8) and is now confirmed objectively by the Scriptures and by history and subjectively by the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32) in the conversion experience of innumerable believers. The Lord Jesus Christ is thus God's perfect revelation, final appeal, and ultimate confirmation of Himself as man (Heb. 1:1-3).
2.23 God The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person (II Cor. 3:17), equal with, and of the same nature as, God the Father and God the Son (Acts 5:3,4; I Peter 1:2); that He was active in the creation (Gen. 1:1-3); that in His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the evil one until God's purpose is fulfilled; that He convicts of sin, of judgment, and of righteousness (John 16:8-11); that He bears witness to the Truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony (John 16:13); and that He is the agent in the new birth (John 3:5,6); and that He seals, endues, guides, teaches, assures, sanctifies, and helps the believer (John 14:16,
17; 16: 31; Acts 5:32; Rom. 8:16; Eph. 1:13, 14).
2.24 Related References
Gen. 17:1; Ex. 5:11; 20:2,3; Psalms 90:1,2; 147:5; Jeremiah 10:10; Mark 12:30; John 10:30; 15:26; 17:5; Acts 5:3,4; Rom. 11:33; I Cor. 8:6; Eph. 4:5,6; Heb. 1:1-3,8.
2.3 OF CREATION
We believe in the Genesis account of creation (Gen. 1,2) and that it is to be accepted literally, and not allegorically or figuratively; that the creation fiat was accomplished in six days of approximately twenty-four hours each (Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31; 2:2; Ex. 20:11); that man was created directly in God's image and after His own likeness (Gen. l:26-27);that neither man's creation nor that of plant and animal life was a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species, or development through vast periods of time from lower to higher forms; that all life is the direct creation of God consisting of numerous original "kinds," each bringing forth faithfully after its own kind (Gen. 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25); that this position is supported both by the known facts of true science and by Scripture, and that there is no conflict between that which is witnessed by God's work-creation, and that which is witnessed by His revealed Word— the Bible (Rom. 1:19,20; Heb. 11:1-3).
2.4 OF THE DEVIL OR SATAN
We believe that Satan is an actual person; that he was once holy and enjoyed heavenly honors (Ezekiel 28:13-17), but, through pride and ambition to be as the Almighty, fell (Isaiah 14:12-15) and drew after him a host of angels (Jude 6); that he is now the malignant prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2) and the unholy god of this world (II Cor. 4:4); that he is the originator of sin (Ezekiel 28:15), man's adversary (I Peter 5:8) and tempter (Matt. 4:1-3; I Thess. 3:5), the enemy of God and His Christ (Rev. 12:7-9), the accuser of the saints (Rev. 12:10), the author of all false religions (II Cor. 11:13-15), the chief power behind all apostasy and the mystery of iniquity (II Thess. 2:7-10) and the author of all the powers of darkness (Eph. 6:12)—destined however to final defeat at the hands of God's own Son (I John 3:8) and to the judgment of an eternal justice in hell (Rev. 20:10), a place prepared for him and his angels (Matt. 25:41).
2.5 OF THE FALL OF MAN
We believe that man was created in innocence under the law of his Maker but fell from his sinless and happy state by his voluntary transgression (Gen. 3), in consequence of which, all men are now sinners (Rom. 3:9-19; 5:12,19; Gal. 3:22), not by constraint, but of choice (John 3:19; Rom. 1:21, 28); and are therefore under just condemnation without defense or excuse (Rom. 1:20, 32, 2:5).
2.6 OF REDEMPTION
We believe that at the fall of man, God at once began fulfilling His plan of redemption which was conceived in divine love according to His foreknowledge before He had created man (Rom. 8:29, 30; Ephesians 1:4, 5; Revelation 13:8); that the central theme of the Scriptures is the working out of this redemption through the Lord Jesus Christ who was the Redeemer promised to Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:15), who, with all the Old Testament saints, looked with faith toward Christ's redemptive work (Heb. 11:13; Rom. 4:20-25), whereas, we with like faith are privileged to look backward with greater insight to this same redemption wrought on Calvary (Heb. 11:39, 40; Rom. 4:16; Gal. 3:8, 13, 14).
2.61 Atonement For Sins
We believe the central work of God in redemption was the providing of Himself in the person of Jesus Christ as an atonement for the sins of mankind (John 12:27; Mark 10:45; I Tim. 1:15); that this act was wholly of grace (Heb. 2:9), wherein Christ, yet without sin, freely took upon Himself our nature, wherein He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and wherein He made a full and vicarious atonement for our sins by His death (II Cor. 5:21). We believe furthermore that His atonement did not consist of the mere setting of an example by His death as a martyr, but of the voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinner's place, the just dying for the unjust (I Peter 3:18)—that is, Christ the Lord bearing our sins in His own body on the tree; that this work was essential so that God, while pardoning the guilty, might remain just, vindicating His holy nature (Rom. 3:26).
2.62 Salvation By Grace
We believe that salvation is totally of grace apart from merit or works on man's part (Eph. 2:8-10; Rom. 4:4-8, 16); that the
blessings of salvation are made free to all through the Gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:16; 3:24; Isa. 55:1, I John 2:2; Heb. 2:9; Rev. 22:17); that it is the immediate duty of all to receive salvation by a sincere, penitent, and obedient faith (Rom. 16:26; Mark 1:15; Rom. 1:16, 17); and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the Gospel of Christ (John 5:40; Rom. 9:32; I John 5:10), which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation (John 3:19; Matt. 11:20; Heb. 10:29).
2.63 Repentance and Faith
We believe that repentance and faith are solemn and essential obligations (Isa. 55:6,7; Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3; John 3:18; Acts 20:21) and also inseparable graces, wrought in our hearts by the power of the Gospel and the quickening Spirit of God (Rom. 1:16; 10:17; John 6:44), whereby, being deeply convicted of our guilt, danger, and helplessness, and of the goodness and grace of God in salvation through Christ (Rom. 2:4), we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, godly sorrow, confession, and supplication for mercy (II Cor. 7:10), and we, at the same time, receive the Lord Jesus Christ through faith and openly confess Him as our only and all-sufficient Saviour (John 1:12; Acts 2:41; Rom. 10:9, 10).
We believe that upon repentance and faith, God immediately acts through the Holy Spirit to bring into being by the New Birth a new spiritual creation in Christ (II Cor. 5:17); that, in order to be saved, sinners must be born again (John 3:3-5); that the new birth is an instantaneous act of God and not a process; that in the new birth one dead in trespasses and sins is made to be a son of God (Rom. 8:14, 16; Gal. 4:5-7) and becomes a partaker of the divine nature (II Peter 1:4), receiving eternal life (I John 5:1, 11, 13), the free gift of God (Rom. 6:23); that the new creation is brought about in a manner above our comprehension, not by culture, not by character, not by natural birth, nor by the will of man (John 1:13), but wholly by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth (Titus 3:4-7; I Peter 1:23), so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel; that the proper evidence of the new birth appears in the holy fruits of a new life (Gal. 5:22,23; I Peter 1:2,22); that this new life is worked out continuously in the heart through sanctification of the believer by the presence and power of the
Holy Spirit (II Thess. 2:13; II Cor. 3:17,18); that the believer receives justification through the pardon of sins and the imputed righteousness of Christ (Rom. 4:5; 5:1,2, 9).
2.65 Security of the Believer
We believe that the work of regeneration is by nature an eternal transaction wherein God imparts everlasting life to the believer so that he will never come into condemnation (John 5:24); that he is sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13, 14) and is kept by the power of God through faith unto eternal salvation (II Tim. 1:12; John 6:39, 40); that all true believers will continue in the faith of Christ (John 10:27, 28; I John 5:4) and such faithful continuance is the grand mark that distinguishes them from those who superficially and falsely profess to be Christians (I John 2:19).
2.7 OF THE CHURCH
We believe that the church of Jesus Christ is a visible, localized assembly or body of baptized believers, having gladly received the Word of God, and continuing with one accord in the apostolic doctrine which is the basis of fellowship as set forth in the Scriptures, and observing the ordinances in a scriptural manner (Acts 2:41, 42) as delivered to the church by the Lord Jesus Christ (I Cor. 11:23); that the church was founded by Christ to propagate the message of redemption to the entire world, to teach all things He has commanded (Matt. 16:18,19; 28:19,20; Acts 1:8), to be the custodian of the affairs of the kingdom of God on earth (Matt. 16:19; 18:17,18; Luke 12:32), and to perpetually remain the citadel and pillar of Scripture truth (1 Tim. 3:15) until the end of the age; that no person or institution has Scriptural authority to assume these functions apart from the church; hence every believer has the solemn obligation to identify with a church of Jesus Christ. We also believe that the church is an autonomous, self-governing, democratic body, answerable to Christ, as Head, and bound by His Word, the Scriptures.
We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer (Matt. 3:5,6; Mark 1:9,10; Acts 8:36-39) in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matt. 28:19), by a scripturally ordained administrator with the authority of the church, to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our
faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life (Rom. 6:3-3; Col. 2:12); that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation (Acts 2:41) and is the voluntary response of a clear conscience toward God (I Peter 3:21); that baptism has no saving efficacy, yet the rejection of this commandment is in no way characteristic of a true believer.
2.72 The Lord's Supper
We believe that the Lord's Supper is the provision of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine which are respectively symbolic of Christ's broken body and shed blood (Matt. 26:26-31; Mark 24:22-26; Luke 22:19, 20); that this ordinance was delivered and entrusted to the church (I Cor. 11:23) to be administered to church members whose outward lives are consistent with Scripture (I Cor. 5:1,12) and who will examine their own secret hearts for sins (I Cor. 11:28, 31); that this ordinance is a testimony to the common faith and fellowship of the churchd Cor. 10:16,17); that it is a perpetual rememberance of the Lord's death until He comes (I Cor. 11:25, 26).
2.73 Church Officers
We believe the Scriptures set forth two and only two types of officers within the church; that these are the offices of elder (bishop, pastor) and deacon; that in each New Testament church there was a plurality of both deacons and elders (Acts 6:3; 11:30; 14:23; 20:17,28; I Tim. 5:17; Phil. 1:1; James 5:14; I Peter 5:1) each meeting the specific qualifications set forth in the Scriptures for these offices (I Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:6-9); that the officers, as all Christians, are to fill their positions in a spirit of humility as Christ commanded of all those who would be leaders (Matt. 20:25-28; Mark 10:43; I Peter 5:2); that the elders are overseers of the church in spiritual matters (Acts 20:28; Heb. 13:7,17), and the deacons labor in practical matters (Acts 6:2-4).
2.74 Church Discipline
We believe the church has the grave responsibility to judge and discipline the lives and doctrines of those within its communion or fellowship (I Cor. 5:1-13; Matt. 18:17, 18; Rom. 16:17; I Thess. 5:14; II Thess. 3:6-15; I Tim. 5:20,21; 6:3-5; Titus 3:10); that this discipline is to be firmly and consistently done, but always in a spirit of tenderness and longsuffering, ever seeking to help and admonish the offending party (II Cor. 2:6, 7; Gal.6:1).
2.8 OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interest and good order of human society (Rom. 13:1-7; Deut. 1:16, 17; II Sam. 23:3); and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed (Matt. 22:21; Titus 3:1; I Peter 2:13; I Tim. 2:1-8), except in matters contrary to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 5:29; Matt. 10:27,28; Dan. 3:15-18; 6:7-10), who is the only Lord of the conscience and the Prince of the kings of the earth (Matt. 23:10; Rom. 14:4, Rev. 19:16; Psalm 72:11).
2.9 OF FINAL EVENTS
We believe that at a time known only to God (Matt. 24:36), the Lord Jesus Christ will return "in the clouds of heaven" (Matt. 24:30; Acts 1:11; I Thess. 4:17) and the dead in Christ shall be raised at the "last trump," and they with the living saints shall be caught up with the Lord (I Cor. 15:52; I Thess. 4:16, 17); that "all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:28, 29; Dan. 12:2).
2.91 Destiny of the Righteous
We believe that there is a basic and intrinsic difference between the righteous and the wicked as defined by Scripture; that the righteous are counted righteous by virtue of their faith (Rom. 4:5); that the righteous are those, who having believed God and repented of their sins are thus reconciled to God (II Cor. 5:18, 19), who also love, trust, and obey Him with earnestness and therefore are perfectly compatible with the heavenly environment (Heb. 11:16) in the presence of God; that the righteous will dwell with Him forever (Rev. 21:3, 4).
2.92 Destiny of the Wicked
We believe that all who do not repent of their sins and, in faith, trust in Jesus Christ are continually calling God a liar (I John 5:10) and are willfully in rejection of light, truth, and grace which have appeared to all men (John 3:19; Rom. 1:18-20; Titus 2:11); that it is this false and rebellious attitude of heart that the Bible knows as heinously wicked, irrespective of an outwardly moral life (Matt. 23:27-36); that when one thus despises the reality of the all-pervading principles of truth and righteousness that have emanated from God, he has placed himself at the focal point of disaster where these irrevocable principles will ultimately converge upon him with devastating consequences (Psalm 22:8; Hosea 8:7; Gal. 6:7, 8); that such a one, being at enmity with God, is thus totally incompatible with the environment in the presence of God (Psalm 5:4,5); that, therefore, God has no choice but to relegate an eternal being in eternal rebellion to eternal separation from Himself (Matt, the truth" (II Thess. 2:10) by the rebellious is the antithesis of faith in that the rejection of the evidence that points to reality, truth, and light is manifest enmity against God and is the most atrocious attitude of heart a created being may possess before his Creator (Rom. 1:25, 28; II Thess. 2:10-12), who would be less than perfect—who would be an accomplice—if he did not hate this attitude (Psalm 11:5), who must focus upon it the principle of retribution (Psalm 11:6); that the focusing of the principle of retribution on the wicked and impenitent is called hell, with all that is said or implied concerning it in the Scriptures (Luke 16:23-31; Mark 9:43-48; Matt. 8:12; 13:42,50; Rev. 20:14, 15); that, while God has no pleasure in it (Ezekiel 33:11), this must be the eternal abode of the wicked with their chosen element: the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41).
3 0 THE CHURCH COVENANT
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we do now in the presence of God, angels, and this assembly, most joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ. We engage therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this Church, in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to give it a sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the Church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations. We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating drink as a beverage; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Saviour. We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconcilation, and mindful of the rule of our Savior to secure it without delay. We, moreover, engage that when we remove from this place we will as soon as possible unite with some other Church, where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God's Word.
4 0 THE CONSTITUTION
4.1 NAME OF CHURCH
This church shall be called Hallmark Baptist Church.
The purpose of this church shall be to carry out the commission of Christ given in Matthew 28:19,20.
4.3 CHURCH GOVERNMENT
Having been organized under the authority of a previously existing church which recognizes Jesus Christ as its only head (Eph. 5:23), this church, likewise, now recognizes no authority over it, ecclesiastical or otherwise, but Jesus Christ. Neither will it ever seek to exercise any authority over other institutions or persons not within its membership or jurisdiction. This church will therefore henceforth be autonomous and self-governing, under Christ, and independent of all para-church or unscriptural institutions. Yet, this church shall continually strive for the unity of all churches in the truth and seek friendly cooperation or associational fellowship with all churches of like faith and order. It has no power to enact laws, but only to administer those which Christ has given.
4.4 RULES OF DECORUM
This church shall observe the following rules of decorum in all of its business meetings: The Scriptures shall be considered the final authority on all subjects discussed. Only one person shall speak at a time; he shall address the moderator, and be recognized by the moderator. While speaking, the member shall confine himself to the subject under discussion and shall in no way maliciously defame the character of another person, or have an unchristian attitude, or show anger without biblical cause, but shall fairly state his view. Any member violating these rules or at any time manifesting a spirit contrary to scriptural demeanor shall be deemed out of order. All decisions are to be confirmed by a majority vote of those present and voting, except where otherwise designated in the constitution. The voting age shall be fifteen (15) and older. Parliamentary
rules will be observed as follows:
4.41 Main Motion
All business shall be presented by a motion, made by one member and seconded by another. Generally only one question may be before the meeting at a time. The only motions allowed to interrupt one already under discussion are a motion to amend, a motion to refer to a committee, a motion to call for the previous question, a motion to lay the question under discussion on the table, and a motion to adjourn.
4.42 Amendment to a Motion
The original meaning of a motion may be changed at any time during the discussion of a motion by the use of an amendment. A motion may be amended by omitting, adding to, or substituting words or sentences in the original motion.
4.43 Referring the Motion to a Committee
Immediate action on a motion under discussion may be deferred by two methods: referring it to a committee, or laying it on the table. A motion is referred to a committee when it is desirable to obtain more information on the subject before any action is taken.
4.44 Laying a Motion on the Table
Immediate action on a motion may also be deferred by a vote to lay the motion on the table. This vote disposes of the motion for the present and ordinarily is in effect, a final dismissal of it. Any motion that has ever been laid on the table may be taken from the table at any time, if no other motion is before the house.
4.45 Previous Question
Any time during the discussion of a motion that a member wishes to have discussion stopped and the original motion voted upon, he may call for previous question. If the motion for previous question carries by a two-thirds majority, the main motion must be immediately voted upon without further discussion.
4.46 Point of Order
Any member who believes that a speaker is out of order may, at any time, without being recognized or waiting until there is no one speaking, rise to a point of order. He must distinctly statehis objection, the validity of which the moderator will decide.
4.47 Appealing the Decision of the Chair
The moderator announces all votes and decides all questions as to rules of proceedings and points of order. But any member who is dissatisfied with the moderator's decision may appeal. The moderator then puts the question, "Shall the decision of the chair be sustained?" The vote of the body, whether negative or affirmative, is final.
4.48 Motion to Adjourn
A simple motion to adjourn is always in order except while a member is speaking or when the body is voting. A motion to adjourn takes precedence of all other motions. A special business meeting may be called provided it is publically announced at a regularly scheduled service of the church for the next or any subsequent, scheduled meeting or service.
4.51 Conditions for Church Membership
4.511 Knowledge of the salvation experience and true regeneration through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
4.512 A public confession of this before men.
4.513 Submission to scriptural baptism after the example and in obedience to the command of the Lord Jesus Christ.
4.514 Christian deportment consistent with the Scriptures.
4.52 Modes of Admission to Church Membership:
4.521 By baptism upon profession of faith in Christ.
4.522 By letter from any other church of like faith and order.
4.523 By a satisfactory statement of faith, prior scriptural baptism, and a scriptural purpose or grounds for coming by statement.
4.524 By restoration of an excluded member.
4.525 By proxy, when not personally present, upon the affirmation of fulfilled conditions for church membership.
4.53 Process of Admission to Church Membership:
4.531 In every case members will be received by vote of the church. Note: No new members should be received to the grief of one already a member. Hence, members should ideally be received by a unanimous vote. If the application is protested by any member, the case should be postponed and the facts ascertained. If the protest is found to be invalid and unreasonable, it should not be further regarded.
4.532 In every case (except where received by proxy) the applicant must appear before the church and make a verbal declaration of his salvation experience, as evidence to the church of his "like precious faith."
4.533 A new convert may be received by baptism as a member as soon after his conversion as he makes request and gives evidence that he is genuinely born again. Immediately after his baptism, he should be strongly urged to attend a series of membership classes that he might be shown from the Scripture the practical and doctrinal position of the church.
4.534 Applicants for membership by letter or by statement will be urged to attend a series of membership classes before the church acts upon their applications. In no case will a person coming by letter be received into the church before his letter is received and read before the church.
4.535 A person having been excluded from the fellowship of the church is to be joyfully restored in love, upon his sincere repentance and restitution (when possible), the acknowledgement of his errors before the church, and his, request for restoration.
4.536 A public invitation may be given during regular church services at the discretion of the presiding pastor for those who may desire to unite with the church that they may be recognized, that their names may be obtained or letter requested from the respective churches, and that they may be given further instructions concerning membership.
4.537 In no case shall decisions of membership, granting of letters, exclusions, or restorations be made by a committee or board. Each case shall be acted upon separately by the church. A mission arm may do so only if previously authorized to do so by the church.
4.54 Modes of Dismissal of Members:
4.541 By a letter of commendation to any other church of like faith and order. This letter shall be a personal appraisal of the faithfulness of the individual concerned, written by one of the elders and read before the church and approved by it before sending.
4.542 By exclusion of those who have been proven to be unworthy of the privilege of church membership—who have brought reproach upon the testimony of Christ and His church, either by deportment or by heretical teachings contrary to Scriptures as understood by the church and who persist in such things without repentance. Every such case must be brought before the church for disposition.
4.543 By death—the names of deceased members should be promptly removed from the roll of the church.
4.6 CHURCH OFFICERS
4.61 The Offices
4.611 In accordance with the New Testament, and hence our articles of faith, two and only two types of offices are recognized in the church.
4.612 The office of elder—also called pastor or bishop
4.613 The office of deacon
4.62 Elected by church
4.621 Both offices are to be filled by a plurality of men (when there is a
plurality of qualified men available) elected by the church.
4.631 Those men who are aware of God's call to the gospel ministry and who meet the qualifications set forth in I Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9 for a bishop should be ordained to this office by the
church in accordance with Acts 13:3, 14:23, and I Tim. 4:14. 4.64 Position and duties of the elders
4.641 All the elders shall be of equal rank within their office, (as were, for example, the twelve Apostles within their office) and shall together in one accord take the oversight of and feed the flock, as set forth in Acts 20:28, and in the manner set forth in I Peter 5:2,3, and in the spirit set forth by Christ in Mark 10:42-44; Luke 22:25-27; Matt. 20:25-27. Equality of the rank of office, however, should not be construed to mean equality in gifts, experience, maturity, or wisdom, or equal participation in all phases of the pastoral work as is clear from I Tim. 5:17,1 Thess. 5:13,1 Peter 5:5, etc. Hence it is the responsibility of the church to establish the measure of participation, particularly in the public preaching ministry, of the respective pastors at any given time so that the impact of the pastoral ministry is always maximized as, by normal course, young men are ordained, mature through experience to the zenith of their powers, then age and decline to pass off the scene. The church in the wise exercise of this responsibility must thereby seek to maintain that measure of participation of the respective pastors which will be of optimum value to the kingdom of God without respect of persons, despising neither the youth nor the aged, but utilizing fully an appropriate number of those men near the zenith of their ministries to God's greatest glory.
4.642 The church may appoint any of several elders according to their personal qualities (in accordance with I Tim. 5:17) to tasks or positions requiring special leadership in spiritual matters such as the following:
4.6421 Ministry of preaching and counseling
4.6424 Sunday School director
4.6425 Youth director
4.6426 Other positions as deemed advisable by the church
4.643 Any elder consistently violating the spirit or letter of the Scriptures as understood by the church, or manifesting the spirit of Diotrephes (III John 9-11) shall be deemed unworthy of the office, which he may otherwise occupy for an indefinite period.
4.644 Those elders coming into the church, having been previously ordained by another church of like faith and order, may be appointed at the discretion of the church to exercise the office of elder within the church.
4.65 Position and Duties of the Deacons
4.651 The church may elect and ordain as many faithful men as are needed to serve as deacons, in accordance with Acts 6:3-6 with qualifications as set forth in I Tim. 3:8-13.
4.652 The office of deacon is by nature one of service and stewardship. Therefore, deacons shall perform their duties within the directives of the church. There shall be no such thing as a "deacon board" recognized by the church as an official entity. Yet, this is not intended to forbid the deacons to confer in meetings as often as they wish.
4.653 Those elected as deacons may be further appointed by the church for one-year terms or longer over special tasks of a practical nature such as the following:
4.6531 Church treasurer
4.6532 Church clerk
4.6534 Head usher
4.6535 Minister of music
4.6536 Responsibility of the provision and serving of the elements of the Lord's Supper
4.6537 Other tasks as the church may direct
4.654 It is intended by this listing of special positions to recommend
filling them with ordained deacons when practical. However, it is understood that it may not always be practical to do this. In such instances it is intended that these positions be filled with mature men of wisdom and godliness, whether they are ordained or not.
4.655 Election to the office of deacon is for an indefinite period; however, any deacon consistently in violation of the spirit or letter of Scripture as understood by the church, shall be deemed unworthy of the office.
4.66 Church Staff
4.661 The church shall elect from the membership such persons as needed to assist the officers of the church in carrying out the various activities of the church. The persons so elected shall be known as the church staff.
4.662 The staff positions may consist of:
4.6621 Sunday School teachers
4.6622 Musicians—organist, pianist, etc.
4.6624 Special committees
4.6625 Other positions as the church deems necessary
4.663 The staff members will work in cooperation with the church officers most closely related to the position.
4.664 Members of the staff will be elected for one-year terms, except in the case of any special committee which will be dissolved when the special task is completed.
The church, in order to preserve its Christian influence and testimony, shall exercise the right and obligation to discipline its unruly members. Members who bring reproach upon the name of Christ and His church shall be dealt with according to the Scriptures (See 2.74 "Church Discipline," p. 8). If after being admonished of his wrong, the offender continues in his sin, the church shall withdraw fellowship. All discipline shall be done in Christian love, seeking to "restore such a one in the spirit of meekness" (Gal. 6:1).
Amendments to this constitution may be proposed by members of the church at the regular monthly business meeting. Amendments may be made by a two-thirds majority vote by secret ballot of members present and voting. Announcements concerning the proposed changes must be made from the pulpit at both the Sunday morning and evening worship services preceding the business meeting.
4.9 GENERAL PROVISIONS
4.91 No member or group off members shall commit any money of the church, unless previously authorized by the church.
4.92 The word "church" includes all organizations in the church, such as Sunday School, Training Union, School, Committee, Mission, etc. Hence, all such activities come under the direct jurisdiction of the church.
4.93 The use of such means as contests, gifts, attendance drives, awards, or other appeals to the flesh are not to be employed as motivation for Christian service. The church will teach, as do the Scriptures, both by word and example, that the love of Christ is the only motivation for service acceptable to God (Matt. 6:1; John 14:15; I Cor. 13:1-3; II Cor. 5:14; Gal. 16:14; II Tim. 4:8).