Hartshill Bible Church

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The following policies reflect the understanding and practice of Hartshill Bible Church on certain issues affecting the church today.

1. Child Protection

At Hartshill Bible Church we really value the children and young people in our care and seek their protection, safety and well-being at all times. In order to ensure this we have produced a Child Protection Handbook and require all our members working with children to be CRB checked. Our Child Protection Policy Statement is available on line.

2. Baptism

We recognise that baptism is an issue upon which Christian differ. Some hold that baptism is appropriate for infants, especially in the case of the children of believing parents. Whilst we respect this view this is not the practice of Hartshill Bible Church. Only believers are baptised, whether they be adults or children, and that upon a credible profession of faith.

Baptism is required in order to be a member of the church though an exception is granted to this requirement where a believer holds to the validity of infant-baptism and who, for this reason alone, believes they should not to be baptised as a believer. It is important that they have considered the case for believers' baptism in the Scriptures and that despite this they continue to hold to the validity of their baptism as an infant. This exception does not apply in cases where such baptism was understood as conferring regeneration (i.e. the belief that one is born-again through baptism). By making this exception, the church is not accepting the validity of infant baptism as being true baptism, but is rather respecting their fellow-believer's conscience in this matter. It is the desire of the church that such a person would in time come to see the need to be baptised as a believer, but until that time fellowship will not be withheld or restrained.

3. The Lord's Supper

We believe it is desirable that all who partake of the Lord's Supper should have been baptised as believers in obedience to the teaching of the Scriptures, however, all those who profess to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their own personal Saviour are welcomed to partake of the Lord's supper.

4. Charismatic Gifts

As a church we believe that God is able to grant gifts to His church for whatever He wishes to do. To divide these gifts into miraculous and non-miraculous is difficult and unhelpful. The New Testament contains more than one list of such gifts (1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12) but we believe that neither, nor both together, is an exhaustive list. Gifts such as public prayer and intercession are not mentioned, though most accept that these are spiritual gifts. In the two passages quoted Paul's concern is to deal with how the church, Christ's body, functions and how spiritual gifts should be viewed and used and therefore chooses a selection of gifts to illustrate his points.

That some gifts have ceased is evident. The Old Testament records the gifting of those constructing the tabernacle furnishings by the Spirit with the gift of "all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of artistic workmanship." (Exodus 35:31) Why has this gift ceased? It has ceased because God is no longer building an earthly, physical tabernacle or temple. In like manner those gifts associated with the writing of Scripture have ceased as Scripture is now complete.

But then all believers presumably believe in the continuation of some gifts, for instance liberality and exhortation listed in Romans 12. The question is thus which gifts have ceased and which remain to be received and exercised.

We welcome those with charismatic beliefs to worship with us but would wish it to be understood that we do not practice the modern gifts which imply verbal inspiration, neither do we hold the present-day gift of tongues to be the same as the biblical gift. For further information please contact the pastor.

5. Sexual Ethics

We teach and uphold the traditional Christian teaching that the only context in which sexual behaviour is legitimate is within the marriage of one man and one woman.