Statement of Theological Understanding

In harmony with the founders of the Christian Church, sometimes known as the Disciples of Christ or the Restoration Movement, we declare that our conscience is bound by no man-made creed or doctrinal statement. Our absolute and final authority in matters of faith and practice is Holy Scripture, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. We believe the Bible to be the divinely inspired Word of the Living God. Because the Bible is fully and verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit working in and through the human authors, it is without error, and thus stands alone as the supreme and final authority for the church and the individual Christian.

The affirmations which follow represent our understanding concerning the heart of the biblical message. Our purpose is to inform those interested in our movement how we understand the essentials of biblical faith, especially the New Covenant now in effect for the church of Jesus Christ. In this light, we make the following affirmations:
  • We believe that the God revealed in Scripture is the only God. We believe this God to be one in nature, yet existing in three persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe Scripture teaches clearly that God is eternal, unchanging, all powerful, all knowing, and everywhere present. We also find in Scripture such important attributes as love, mercy and justice. We believe that whatever we need to know about the nature and attributes of God can be found in Scripture. We reject any and all statements about God which cannot be supported by Scripture.
  • We believe the biblical God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) created the heavens and the earth, and all things visible and invisible. Everything that exists owes its existence to God, including those who rebel against the will of God. God is both the Creator and Sustainer of all reality.
  • Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, the Word who became flesh through His miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit and His virgin birth. He is God and man united in one person. We believe He lived His life without sinning, and freely and willingly went to the cross to atone for the sins of the world, thus satisfying divine justice and accomplishing salvation for all who trust in Him. While Jesus has many names and titles in Scripture, He is preeminently Lord and Savior. We believe He rose bodily from the grave, ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father where He possesses all authority in heaven and on earth. We believe Him to be the only mediator between God and man, and that apart from Him there is no salvation. We believe in the literal return of Jesus to the earth at the end of this age. He will come to bring salvation to His own people, and judgment to His enemies.
  • We believe in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We believe He works in the minds and hearts of persons when the Gospel is proclaimed and when biblical truth is taught. He draws unbelievers to faith in Jesus Christ, imparts new life to those who believe, and indwells every believer. He imparts to God’s people both the fruits of the Spirit which enable us to grow in Christ-like character, and the gifts of the Spirit which empower God’s people for Christian service. We admonish believers to expect the Holy Spirit to work in ways compatible with Scripture and to beware of false spirits and teachings which cannot be biblically substantiated.
  • We believe human beings were created in the image of God, but fell from that lofty position by disobeying God. Humanity’s fall into sin is taught in the book of Genesis and elsewhere in Scripture where we learn that sin has alienated us from God, placing us under divine condemnation. All humans need to trust in the sacrifice of Jesus for salvation, receiving also the regenerating and renewing work of the Holy Spirit. We believe the initial positive response to the gospel includes faith, repentance and baptism. Our churches have historically practiced baptism by immersion, believing that to be the mode of baptism taught in Scripture.
  • We believe salvation to be wholly a work of God’s grace. Salvation cannot be earned, merited or deserved, in whole or in part, through human good deeds or through religious ceremony. God credits His own righteousness to those who trust in Christ alone for salvation. We are justified by faith, apart from our own efforts to obey God.
  • We believe that the redeemed will live a new life of faithfulness and obedience to God, not to merit God’s favor but because they have already received God’s favor. True faith in Christ always leads to a new birth, and the mark of new birth is a new desire and ability to live according to the commands of Jesus. The redeemed love the Lord Jesus Christ and keep His commandments.
  • We believe Jesus Christ established His church on earth consisting of all persons who are joined to Him through saving faith. We believe God’s people must assemble together regularly for worship, partaking of the Lord’s Supper, edification from the Scriptures and for mutual support and encouragement. We believe God intends for His church to be united through a common faith in Jesus and a common commitment to live under the authority of God’s revealed Word. We affirm the right of each local church to be free to conduct its own affairs, being bound only by their faith in Jesus and their desire to be faithful to His Word.
  • We believe that those who die in faith enter into God’s presence, experiencing everlasting fellowship with our Lord and all the redeemed. Those who die in unbelief are forever separated from the Lord.
  • Jesus Christ has commanded His church to proclaim the gospel throughout the world and to make disciples of all nations, baptizing believers and teaching them to observe all the commandments of Jesus. We believe the local church is mandated to evangelize in the local community and throughout the world.

We make this statement to help others understand the basic spiritual emphasis which is the foundation of Disciple Heritage Fellowship. We recognize that there are differing interpretations on some doctrinal matters, and we accept that fact provided the interpretation is based on the Bible alone. While we recognize the place that human reason, human experience, and church tradition play in our understanding of the Christian faith, we affirm that Scripture alone is God’s divinely revealed word and that therefore reason, experience and tradition must bow to biblical authority. We reject the notion that reason, experience or tradition can be used to promote any teaching which is contrary to Scripture. Our overriding goal as Disciple Heritage Fellowship is to advance the cause of Christ, bringing glory, honor and praise to His Name.