What we Believe
The churchy word for this page is our “statement of faith.” It’s important because
it provides the foundation on which WHC is built, and continues to grow.
God is the Creator of the world we live in. He controls what happens
with His creation (the churchy word for that is sovereignty). He is eternal,
meaning that He has always existed and always will. And He exists in three forms,
all at the same time – God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ) and God the Holy
Mankind (that is, all human beings, male and female) was
made in the spiritual image of God. His intent was that we would conform to His
character. Mankind was made to give God glory – to be living, walking, breathing
reminders that He exists. We fall short of that standard because of sin,
an innate predisposition to disobey God. It’s part of us and wasn’t caused by anything
we’ve experienced after we were born. Our sinful attitude separates us from God.
We can’t have a right relationship with God on our own; we need to be forgiven of
our sin, and that is only possible by believing that Jesus’s sacrificial death on
our behalf at Calvary was for each of us, individually.
Eternal life is promised to all of us. We are not earthly beings
having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having an earthly experience!
We have two possible destinations when our lives on Earth end: Heaven and Hell.
The difference between destinations doesn’t depend on whether you were a “good person”
or a “bad person;” it depends on whether or not you have asked Jesus Christ to accept
the penalty for your sins. If you have, you are as sure to live forever in Heaven
as if you were there right now!
Jesus Christ is the only Son of God the Father. He came to this
Earth in human form more than 2,000 years ago, lived a sinless life and died a sacrificial
death for every sin that mankind had committed to that point and would commit afterward.
He then rose from the dead and resides in Heaven with God the Father. He has promised
to return to Earth to establish a Kingdom here, and all who have accepted a relationship
with Him (or, as we often say, those who are “saved” or “born again) will be part
of that Kingdom.
Salvation is the condition of being forgiven of one’s sins. It’s
not the end of your life as a Christian; it’s the beginning! Men, women and children
who are saved express their love for God by serving Him, telling others about Him
and worshipping Him – thanking Him for who He is and what He has done. Church services
involve many ways of worshipping God – through music, the sharing of His Word, fellowship
with others and financially supporting His work. A true worship service isn’t about
any individual; it’s about God.
The Holy Spirit is the presence of God here and today, as described
in chapter 2 of the New Testament book of Acts. Becoming a more mature Christian
involves allowing the Holy Spirit to take control over every aspect of your life.
It’s a long and difficult process – in fact, it never ends! – because even after
we’re saved, we retain our sinful nature. When we become more familiar with the
Holy Spirit, He provides us with power for living, understanding of God’s ways,
courage to share His love with others and guidance to live right.
The Bible is God’s Word for His people. It was written over the
course of centuries by human authors under the guidance and direction of the Holy
Spirit. More churchy words here: the Bible is inspired (meaning it reflects
God’s heart for how we should live and not the opinions of the human authors) and
inerrant (meaning that it is absolutely true in all respects). The Bible
is the Christian’s rule book, and our challenge is to obey it fully, rather than
to selectively obey only the parts we agree with or understand. The Bible is God’s
standard, and we experience more success in our spiritual lives as we conform our
lives to its teachings. There are many translations of the Bible available, but
you can find His heart and His directions for us in any of them.
The Church (capital “c”) is the fellowship of all Christians around
the world. All men and woman who have sincerely accepted Jesus Christ as Lord (ruler)
and Savior (salvation-maker) of their lives are members of what is also called the
Body of Christ and the Family of God. As in any other family, we can disagree about
many things. But also as in any other family, when we have the same Father we have
a common bond that never goes away.
The church (small “c”) is also the most common term for an individual
body of Christian believers – like the individual campuses of World Harvest Church.
More than just a building, a church is a community of faithful men and women united
to worship God together and make Him known to others in a variety of ways.
Baptism is a ritual, or sacrament, practiced in Christian churches
to demonstrate that an individual life has been transformed by salvation through
Jesus Christ. It is not a substitute for salvation, but a public recognition that
salvation has transformed an individual life. At World Harvest Church we believe
baptism can only be made by a man, woman or child with the capability of understanding
what salvation means. We call it believer’s baptism or water baptism
(because it involves immersion in a body of water). There is nothing wrong with
dedicating an infant or young child to God, but it doesn’t take the place of that
child’s eventual need to make his or her own decision for Jesus Christ.
Baptism in the Holy Spirit, or “Holy Ghost” baptism, is a noticeable
indication of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life, such as happened in the second
chapter of the book of Acts. It can show in many ways. At WHC you’ll commonly hear
members speaking in tongues, a means of communication with God
that doesn’t use any humanly recognizable language. That is just one of many manifestations
of Holy Ghost baptism you’ll find at our church. Speaking in tongues is not a spiritual
badge of honor, indicating some level of Christian maturity that those who don’t
do it don’t have (we’re sorry if you’ve ever had it presented to you that way).
It does permit those who practice it a dimension to their relationship with God
they didn’t have before.
Communion is a sacrament practiced within the Church to remember
the sacrificial death and promised return of Jesus Christ. There are many different
ways to observe communion, but each way is modeled on a ceremony Jesus led His disciples
in the day before His death, and uses bread or wafers and juice. Communion is most
commonly observed during worship services of a local church, but at World Harvest
Church we believe it can and should be celebrated individually and among families
– any time Christians choose to remember Him together – and can be done as often
as one is led to do it.
Tithing is God’s command for His people to give to His work through
local congregations. A tithe is 10 percent of one’s gross (before taxes) income.
We believe the Bible supports paying one’s tithe to his or her local congregation.
Offerings are financial gifts above and beyond the tithe. They
are commonly targeted toward a specific church project, such as a compassionate
outreach or other event, or the purchase or construction of facilities. They can
also be given as an indication of trusting God for a specific need in your personal
Biblical Sexuality is expressly defined by God. Before birth, God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female through genetic encoding and physiological manifestation. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.
The Family is God’s foundational institution for human society.
Marriage has only one meaning: the uniting of one biological man and one biological woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only within the confines of marriage. Because marriage is a covenant between one man, one woman, and God, the church has the responsibility, in its sole discretion, to evaluate the readiness of those seeking to enter into the marriage covenant. The church may decline to solemnize or host a marriage ceremony that is contrary to the church’s Statement of Faith or the Bible.