Statement of Faith

Huntington Community Church (HCC) is a church under the lordship of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we are committed to contending for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).


The basic doctrines within HCC Statement of Faith represent what we believe to be core elements of biblical teaching. We expect all members of HCC to affirm these doctrines.


The theological distinctives within HCC Statement of Faith reflect what distinguishes HCC from other churches who would affirm the basic doctrines. These distinctives indelibly shape the way that HCC is led and the direction the church is headed. We do not expect all members to embrace all aspects of these distinctives, but members should expect that the distinctives will be maintained in all ministry environments at HCC, and members may not teach contrary to them.


Doctrine of Revelation


God has made Himself known to the world in Jesus Christ, the Scriptures and creation.

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We believe that God has made Himself known to His creation. He has revealed Himself to us in His Son, the incarnate Word (Heb.1:1-2), in Scripture, the inspired Word (2 Tim. 3:16), and in creation (Ps. 8; Rom. 1:20).


We believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the perfect revelation of who God is. Jesus Christ is the “image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15), “the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb. 1:3) and a perfect reflection of God the Father (John 5:19).


We believe the Scriptures, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, are the inspired Word of God and are therefore without error in their original writings. These writings alone constitute the verbally inspired Word of God, which is utterly authoritative and free from error. The Scripture is sufficient for all that God requires for us to believe and do and is therefore to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it teaches; obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; and trusted, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises (Is. 40:6-8). As God’s people hear, believe and obey the Word, they are equipped as disciples of Christ and witnesses to the gospel (Rom. 10:14-17).


Additional Biblical References;


2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Timothy 3:15; Proverbs 30:5-6; Romans 2:12; 1 John 4:1



Doctrine of God


We believe in one God eternally existing as one essence and three distinct persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, each of whom is fully God, yet there is one God.

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We believe in one God eternally existing as one essence and three distinct persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Each person is fully, equally and eternally God, yet there is one God. Each person has precisely the same nature and attributes and is worthy of precisely the same worship, honor and praise. The entire Christian faith is bound together with the confession of God’s Trinitarian nature (Matt. 28:18-20).


We believe in God the Father, the Creator of heaven and earth. 


We believe in the Son, God from God, eternally begotten but not made, who in history assumed to Himself a human nature for the sake of our salvation (John 1:14; Heb. 1:3). He is fully God and fully man. Through Him, all things came into being and were created. He was before all things, and in Him, all things hold together by the word of His power (Col.1:15-20). He suffered, died, was buried, resurrected, ascended and sits at the right hand of the Father until He returns for the final judgment and consummation of the Kingdom.


We believe in the Holy Spirit who eternally proceeds from the Father and the Son and is sent by the Father and Son to give new life (John 15:26-27). The Holy Spirit unites believers to Jesus Christ in faith, brings about the new birth and dwells within the regenerate (Eph. 1:13-14). The Holy Spirit has come to glorify the Son who, in turn, came to glorify the Father. He will lead the Church into a right understanding and rich application of the truth of God’s Word. He is to be respected, honored and worshiped as God, the third person of the Trinity.


The triune God, Father, Son and Spirit, is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible. As the immortal and eternal Creator, He sovereignly rules over all of His creation (Ps. 24:1).


Additional Biblical References;


John 4:24; Psalm 83:18; Hebrews 3:4; Romans 1:20; Jeremiah 10:10; Exodus 15:11; Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 6:3; 1 Peter 1:15-16; Mark 12:30


Doctrine of Creation and Providence


We believe that God created the world from nothing and governs all things at all times in all places.

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God created the whole world from nothing (Gen. 1:1-2; Ps. 24:1). God’s creative work is the overflow of the love present within the Trinitarian fellowship. Creation, according to the design of God, was good (Gen. 1:3-31).


God doesn’t let the world exist, He makes the world exist. He upholds the universe by the word of His power, and He holds the world together in himself (Col. 1:17).


Doctrine of Humanity


We believe that all humanity is created in the image of God and possesses intrinsic dignity and worth.

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God made humanity—male and female—in His own image (Gen. 1:27-30). Set apart as His image bearers, every human being is sacred. All men and all women, bearing the image of God, are meant to represent God in His creation (1 Cor. 10:31). 


God declares the created order to be very good, distinguishing men and women as His agents to care for, manage and govern over it. They enjoy equal access to God by faith in Christ Jesus and are both called to move beyond passive self-indulgence to significant private and public engagement in family, church and civic life. 


Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union in the covenant of marriage that establishes the only God-ordained pattern of sexual relations for men and women. In God’s wise purposes, men and women are not simply interchangeable, but rather they complement each other in mutually enriching ways.


Distinctive | Complementarianism

Men and women are absolutely equal in essence, dignity and value but are distinct by divine design. As part of God’s good created order, men and women are to have different yet complementary roles and responsibilities in the home and church. As it relates to the church, men and women are both expected to lead; however, the office of elder is reserved for qualified men (1 Tim. 3; Titus 1). For more on this distinctive, read HCC's Vision for Complementarian Ministry.


Doctrine of Sin


We believe that sin has fractured all things, leaving the world in desperate need of salvation. Human beings are sinful by nature and choice, and live in rebellion to God apart from Christ.

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Through the temptation of Satan, humanity transgressed the command of God and fell from their original holiness and righteousness (Gen. 3). Now the entire human race inherits a corrupt nature that is opposed to God and His law (Rom. 3:9-20). 


Therefore, all humans are under the condemnation. This depravity is radical and pervasive. It extends to the mind, will, body and affections. Unregenerate humanity lives under the dominion of sin and Satan (Eph. 2:1-3). He is at enmity with God, hostile toward and hateful of God.


Additional Biblical References;


Acts 17:26-29; Genesis 3:6-24; Romans 5:12; Romans 5:15-19; Psalm 51:5; Romans 8:7; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:9-18; Ephesians 2:1-3


Doctrine of Salvation


We believe that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

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We believe that, due to universal death through sin, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless born again (John 3:5-8); that salvation is only by grace through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ; and that all who receive the Lord Jesus Christ through faith are declared righteous by God and become children of God (Heb.10:19-25).


We believe the Scriptures teach that regeneration, or the new birth, is that act of God by which the Holy Spirit imparts a new nature and a new spiritual life, not before possessed, and the person becomes a new creation in Christ Jesus (Gal. 2:20). The mind is given a holy disposition and a new desire to serve God, the dominion of sin is broken, and the heart is transformed from a love of sin and self to a love of holiness and God.


Distinctive | Sovereignty of God in Salvation


The salvation of humanity is fundamentally the work of God. Before the foundation of the world, God elected His people, setting His affection and grace upon them (Rom. 8:29-30). In love God predestined His people for adoption (Eph. 1:4-6). Faith is a gift of grace that is given by the mercy and pleasure of God, so that no one may boast. Apart from the intervention of God, humanity cannot choose of his own accord to worship God and pursue righteousness (Rom. 3; Eph. 2:1-3). God’s sovereignty in salvation is comprehensive: from first to last, all of salvation is the work of God.


Additional Biblical References;


Ephesians 2:3; Matthew 18:11; 1 John 4:10; 1 Corinthians 3:5-7; Acts 15:11; John 3:16; John 1:1-14; Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 12:24; Philippians 2:9


Doctrine of the Church


We believe that the Church is the body of Christ sent into the world to shine forth the glory of God.

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God, by His Word and Spirit, creates the Church, calling sinful humanity into the fellowship of Christ’s body (1 Cor. 12:12-31). By the same Word and Spirit, He guides and preserves that newly redeemed humanity. The Church is made up of those who have become genuine followers of Jesus Christ and have personally appropriated the gospel. The Church exists to worship and glorify God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The ministry of the Church is an extension of the ministry of Jesus in the power of the Spirit. The ultimate mission of the Church is to bring glory to God by making disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). The Church is called to make disciples through worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, observance of the ordinances, fellowship, the exercise of our gifts and talents, and the proclamation of the gospel both in our community and throughout the world.


We believe there are two ordinances of the Church. One is that of believer’s baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and the other is the Lord’s Supper.


Water baptism is only intended for those who have received the saving benefits of Christ through the new birth of the Holy Spirit. In obedience to Christ’s command and as a testimony to God, the Church, oneself and the world, believers are baptized by water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Water baptism is a visual and symbolic demonstration of a person’s union with Christ in the likeness of His death and resurrection. It signifies that a former way of life has been put to death and vividly depicts the release from the mastery of Satan, sin and death.


As with water baptism, the Lord’s Supper is to be observed only by those who have become genuine followers of Christ. This ordinance symbolizes the breaking of Christ’s body and the shedding of His blood on our behalf and is to be observed repeatedly throughout the Christian life as a sign of continued participation in the atoning benefits of Christ’s death. As we come to the table with an attitude of faith and self-examination, we remember and proclaim the death of Christ, receive spiritual nourishment for our souls and signify our unity with other members of Christ’s body.


Distinctive | Baptism by Immersion


The precedent we find in the New Testament is baptism following conversion by immersion into water. Baptism by immersion is meant to symbolically depict the believer’s real union to Christ in His death and resurrection (Rom. 6:1-14). For more on this distinctive, consider setting up a meeting with an Elder or a member of the HCC Staff.


Additional Biblical References;


1 Corinthians 1:1-3; Matthew 18:11; Acts 5:11; Acts 8:1; Acts 11:21-23; 1 Timothy 3:5; Acts 2:41-42; 2 Corinthians 8:5; 1 Corinthians 5:12-13


Doctrine of Resurrection and Consummation of the Kingdom of God


We believe that Jesus Christ is returning to the world in the future to judge the living and the dead.

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The consummation of all things includes the future, physical, visible, personal and glorious return of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the dead and the glorification of those alive in Christ, the judgment of the just and the unjust, and the fulfillment of Christ’s kingdom in the new heavens and the new earth. In the consummation, Satan, with his hosts and all those outside Christ, is finally separated from the benevolent presence of God, enduring eternal punishment (Rev. 20:7-15), but the righteous, in glorious bodies, will live and reign with Him forever, serving Him and giving Him unending praise and glory. Then the eager expectation of creation will be fulfilled, and the whole earth shall proclaim the glory of God, who makes all things new (Rev. 21:1-5).


Additional Biblical References;


1 Peter 4:7; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Hebrews 1:10-12; Matthew 24:35; 1 John 2:17; Matthew 28:20; Matthew 13:39-40; 2 Peter 3:3-13; Acts 1:11


Huntington Community Church is a Southern Baptist Church, in full agreement with The 2000 Baptist Faith & Message. The Baptist Faith & Message is a statement of generally held convictions specifically prepared for and by Southern Baptists. 

Vision for Complementarian Ministry

Introduction


The Bible teaches that God created two complementary sexes of humans, male and female, to bear His image together (Gen. 1:27-28; Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6). This distinction in gender represents an essential characteristic of personhood and reflects an essential part of being created in God’s image.

As outlined in Scripture and in accordance with our Statement of Faith, we believe that men and women are absolutely equal in essence, dignity and value and are complementary by divine design. Gender does not merely represent a social construct but, instead, represents a reality present in every human from birth. Men and women are not interchangeable.

From the opening pages of Scripture, we find that God, in His wisdom and providence, created two complementary sexes for our good and His glory. In light of His good created order, and the fact that men and women both share in divine image bearing, God intends for men and women to have different yet complementary roles and responsibilities in the church and home. These role distinctions do not arise from cultural definitions of masculinity and femininity but are an integral part of God’s plan for humanity, as revealed in Scripture. We should recognize them as God’s grace to men and women, protecting, preserving and practicing them for His glory, our joy and for the sake of human flourishing (Gen. 2:18-25; 1 Cor. 11:2-16, 14:33-35; Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18-19; 1 Tim. 2:8-15; 1 Pet. 3:1-7).


To reflect God’s beautiful design as Huntington Community Church (HCC), we desire to articulate and embody a theological vision of complementarianism. Specifically, when it comes to the consideration of women in ministry, we want to be obedient to Scripture, honor the Lord and give opportunities for women to flourish in their role(s) at HCC. This paper seeks to describe that vision by explaining what we believe Scripture teaches about gender complementarity as it relates to women in ministry at HCC.


Gender and the Role of Women in Scripture


Our foundation for life and ministry starts with the understanding that the Bible is God’s inspired and authoritative Word. As affirmed in our Statement of Faith, we believe the Scriptures are inerrant and authoritative (Ps. 19:7-11; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). Any attempt to understand personhood and gender must begin with divine revelation and God’s created order.


First, we believe that all Christians are charged with the Great Commission. All Christians, both men and women, participate in the ministry of the church. We believe the Bible explicitly encourages and assumes that women will be involved in the ministry of the church. Jesus welcomed women among His disciples, teaching them (Luke 10:39) and involving them in His ministry (Luke 8:1-3). Paul’s words to Titus teach that older women teaching biblical wisdom to younger women is a noble, beautiful and necessary task (Titus 2:3-5). Phoebe, a patron and deacon of the church of Cenchreae, is commended by Paul and was likely the courier for Paul’s epistle to the Romans, indicating her participation in gospel ministry (Rom. 16:1-2). Euodia and Syntyche labored with Paul “side-by-side” in the gospel (Phil. 4:3). Priscilla is described as “explaining the way of God more accurately”

to Apollos (Acts 18:26). We celebrate the biblical picture of men and women serving the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ together. We rejoice in biblical examples of men and women using their gifts in the Church for the glory of God.


The Bible depicts a vision of men and women laboring alongside one another in the world and the Church for the sake of the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 12:4-31). When we don’t empower both sexes to engage and use their gifts, in complementarian partnership, both genders suffer, and the mission of the Church—to proclaim the gospel and make disciples of all nations—suffers.


Second, in light of the belief that male and female image bearers flourish in partnership, we expect that the primary relationship between Christian men and women is that of brotherly and sisterly love. We note that the Bible upholds the metaphor of siblinghood as the primary descriptor for male-female partnering in the Church. The concept that is taught in the New Testament is that the Church ought to have the kind of love for one another that is reserved for blood brothers and sisters. This uniquely Christian disposition reminds us that we ought to see each other as a family in a special sense. Therefore, the primary relationship in the local church between men and women is the relationship of brothers and sisters, united in Christ, not subordinates. We affirm that cultivating an environment of brotherly and sisterly love is at the heart of complementarianism. These relationships should be marked by honor, care and sacrifice for one another.


Third, we affirm that equal involvement in the church between men and women does not entail interchangeable involvement. Although men and women are portrayed as equals throughout Scripture, we believe the Bible reserves the office of elder/pastor specifically for qualified men. Scripture calls elders to lead the church (1 Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:7; 1 Pet. 5:1-2), preach the Word (1 Tim. 3:2; 2 Tim. 4:2; Titus 1:9), protect the church from false teaching (Acts 20:17, 28-31; Titus 1:9) pray for and visit the sick (Jas. 5:14; Acts 20:35), equip the saints for ministry (Eph. 4:11-12) and use proper judgment in theological and doctrinal matters (Acts 15). In shepherding, overseeing, leading, caring for and praying for the local church, elders practice sacrificial male headship. Therefore, although we encourage all men and women to actively participate in the life of the church, we reserve the office of elder, and the responsibilities unique to it, for certain qualified men within the church. Apart from the role of pastor/elder, we believe the Bible explicitly encourages and assumes that women will be involved in the ministry of the church.


A qualified man is a man who has been trained, has been vetted and meets all of the specific qualifications of an elder at HCC. However, not all qualified men hold the office of elder. There are men on staff and in the congregation who meet the qualifications of elder but do not hold the office. Though they are not currently in the office of elder (and may never be), we believe these men are trustworthy to teach the Word of God at HCC. A man who does not meet the qualifications of elder does not meet the requirements of being a qualified man. If a non-elder has been vetted and trained and meets the qualifications of elder, we do not want to restrict his ability to teach and preach at HCC by restricting preaching/teaching to only those who hold the office of elder.


Affirmations and Denials


Based on the conclusions drawn from Scripture, we have created a list of affirmations and denials that encompass our beliefs on gender and the role of women in ministry.


We affirm that both men and women have been created in the image of God and are entitled to the privileges and held accountable to the responsibilities that come with reflecting our Creator.


We deny that either gender has been given or is entitled to greater dignity in society, the home, the church or the kingdom of God.

                                                 


We affirm that both men and women are needed and necessary for the health and ministry of the church. Godly men and women should be visible partners in the corporate life of the church, deploying their diverse gifts for the good of the body. Simply put, all Christians contribute to the ministry of the church.


We deny that the church can flourish without brotherly/sisterly partnership.


We deny that a church can exist in which the men flourish and the women do not, or vice versa.

                                                 


We affirm that the role/function of elder is reserved for qualified men. Elders are distinctly responsible for overseeing the church (1 Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:7; 1 Pet. 5:1-2) and preaching the Word (1 Tim. 3:2; 2 Tim. 4:2; Titus 1:9).


We deny that the role of elder being withheld from women diminishes their importance or their influence in the church. The indispensable help women were created to give can and should be exercised in all manner of roles/offices in the church, excepting those reserved for qualified men.

                                                 


We affirm that all members of the church should be in glad submission to the elder body, and that all should be in glad and sacrificial submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church.


We deny that all women are subject to the leadership and authority of all men. Further, biblical submission is not indicative of subordination or inequality, as seen in the Son’s submission to the Father (Phil. 2:1-11).

                                                 


We affirm that complementarianism, rightly practiced, will lead to the recognizable flourishing of both sexes.

 

We deny any version of complementarianism or theological position that leads to the subjugation, abuse or neglect of any man or woman. We strongly denounce any distorted view of Scripture that contributes to the belief that biblical manhood or womanhood includes or permits practices such as marginalization, subjugation, intimidation, neglect or any form of abuse.

                                                 


We affirm that all men and women have been created in the image of God, whether single or married.


We deny that single men and women must be married to be meaningful participants in the corporate life of the church. 


We deny that single men possess any authority over single women. The way that they love and serve their sisters should not patronize, victimize or show force, but rather should be the fruit of brotherly love, and vice versa.

                                                 


Ministry at HCC


In coming to these conclusions and how to implement them, we recognize that some will find our position and practice on women in ministry far too conservative. We also recognize that others will find our position and practice on women in ministry far too progressive. 


We ask for charity from both as we focus on the primary task of making disciples of Jesus Christ.


Additionally, we believe it is important to note that a theological confession of complementarianism does not necessarily result in uniform complementarian practice. We are eager to work with brothers and sisters, churches and other ministries who view these issues differently than we do.


Ministry Development


The Elders and Ministry Directors, which includes women leaders, have designated the roles of Campus Ministry Director and Student Ministry Director as reserved for elders/qualified men. The elders vet men for these roles and positions using a formal process. 


We seek to designate/hire both men and women for every other role, for the health of the church within the framework outlined in this document. This gives both men and women opportunities to advance and grow in leadership and includes women participating in every level of the ministry organization (except for the role of elder/pastor/qualified man).


The Gathering


Every member of the church body actively participates in our weekend worship services, not just those who are on the platform. Every role is open to both men and women, except the roles of preaching the Word of God and officiating the ordinances (baptism/the Lord’s Supper). Every member is invited to baptize and distribute the elements of communion, but the roles of preaching and officiating the ordinances are reserved for elders/pastors/qualified men.


Teaching Environments in Community Groups and Ministry Training


Mixed-gender teaching environments are overseen by elders and will be led by qualified men. These men should seek out, equip and utilize gifted men and women to help lead, teach and shape these ministries. 


Gender-specific teaching environments are taught by a leader of the same gender. Men teach men’s environments, and women teach women’s environments.


Community Groups


Gender-specific groups are led by a leader of the same gender. Men lead men’s groups, and women lead women’s groups. Mixed-gender groups are led by both a man and woman. In mixed-gender group leadership we expect for there to be a co-discipleship relationship between the man and the woman. Co-discipleship in the group doesn’t mean that male and female leaders are interchangeable or lead in the exact same way, but as co-disciplers, the man and the woman operate in their roles according to gifting. Both men and women may serve as group leaders and group directors.