We believe the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments to be the full record of God’s
THE TRIUNE GOD
We believe in the one living and true God, eternally (John 17:3) existing in perfect unity as three equally and fully divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20). Each member of the Godhead, while executing distinct but complementary roles in redemptive history, has precisely the same nature, attributes, and being, and is equally worthy of the same glory and
GOD THE FATHER
We believe God the Father created all things in six literal days for His glory according to His own will (Revelation 4:11), through His Son, Jesus Christ. He upholds all things by the Word of His power and grace, exercising sovereign headship over all creation, providence, and redemption (Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3).
GOD THE SON
We believe that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, moved by love in accordance with the will of the Father, took on human flesh (John 1:1, 14, 18). Conceived through the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the
GOD THE SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ during this age. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He draws the unredeemed to repentance and faith, and at salvation imparts new spiritual life to the believer, bringing that person into union with Christ and the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit sanctifies, seals, fills, guides, instructs, comforts, equips, empowers, permanently indwells at salvation, and bestows spiritual gifts to the believer for Christ-like living and service (John 16:8; 13:15; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 1:22; 4:11-12; Romans 8:9-17; 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 12:4-5, 11-13, 19; Galatians 5:25; Hebrews 2:1-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12).
We believe that God created mankind-—male and female—in His own image and likeness, free of sin, to glorify Himself and enjoy His fellowship. Tempted by Satan, but in the sovereign plan of God, man freely chose to disobey God, bringing sin, death and condemnation to all mankind. All human beings, therefore, are totally depraved by nature and by choice. Alienated from God without
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, as the substitutionary atonement in our place, and that salvation is found in none other than Jesus Christ. Before Creation, God chose those who would be saved and granted this unearned grace solely based on His sovereign good pleasure. Jesus Christ’s death on the cross was the sole and complete payment for sins, fully satisfying God’s righteous wrath, for each person that turns from sin in repentance and places their faith in Christ alone by grace alone. At
We believe that upon placing one’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, that believer is made part of the Body of Christ, the one universal Church, of which Jesus Christ is the Head. The Scriptures command believers to gather locally in order to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, fellowship, the ordinances of baptism and communion, service to the local body through the development and use of talents and spiritual gifts, and outreach to the world to make disciples (Ephesians 1:22-23; Acts 2:42-46; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Matthew 28:18-20). Wherever God’s people meet regularly in obedience to this command, there is the local expression of the Church under the watchful care of a plurality of elders. A church’s members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ (Ephesians 4:16).
BAPTISM & COMMUNION
We believe that Christian baptism is a public declaration of the believer’s salvation in Christ, identifying with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection symbolized by immersion in water. The Lord’s Supper is the united commemoration by believers of Christ’s death until He comes and should be preceded by a careful self-examination (Acts 2:41; Romans 6:3-6; 1 Corinthians 11:20-29).
We believe it is the aim, duty, and privilege of every believer and local church fellowship to glorify God by responding as active participants in the Great Commission call of Jesus Christ to go and make disciples of all nations. We believe the primary focus and priority of this call is
THINGS TO COME
We believe in and expectantly await the glorious, visible, personal, premillennial return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The blessed hope of His return has
OUR 4 PILLARS
Proclaiming the authority of God’s Word without apology
“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
2 Timothy 4:2
Lifting high the name of Jesus through worship
Believing firmly in the power of prayer
“Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”
Sharing the good news of Jesus with boldness
“And also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
TWO CHURCH OFFICES
The biblical teaching on the subject of two church offices is found in I Timothy 3:1-16 and Titus 1:5-9. Though there are three terms used for the offices of the church, i.e. bishop, elder, and deacon, a careful analysis of these terms indicates that bishop and elder are used interchangeably, with the bishop simply being the ‘ruling’ or leading elder. The pastors of the church have the spiritual authority of the elders. However, with the exception of the Senior Pastor, they will serve on the board only as needed and at the request of the elders.
When the need arises for additional elders, a nominee will be recommended by the existing Board of Elders. In keeping with the clear biblical injunctions regarding authority structures within the
Since Scripture indicates no fixed term for elders, no specific fixed term of office is recommended. Instead, each elder, upon appointment, shall be asked for a
The Scriptures are clear that the elder’s responsibility is the spiritual oversight of the congregation. The elder’s responsibility can be broken down into three main areas:
Ensuring that the doctrine of the church remains purely biblical; all doctrinal issues in the church will be settled by the Board of Elders.
Ensuring that the direction of the church remains consistent with our statement of purpose and the four pillars statement as outlined in the Constitution.
Administering in love and humility the biblical process of church discipline as outlined in Matthew 18:15-20 and Galatians 6:1-4. All decisions affecting the overall doctrine, direction, and discipline of the church will be the responsibility of the Board of Elders.
All elders will have equal authority and responsibility. The Senior Pastor will work in cooperation with the Elder Board Chairman to ensure healthy ministry development and strong accountability. Agenda items for the elder meetings must be submitted to the Elder Board Chairman prior to the elders’ meeting. An elders’ meeting may not be held without a majority of the elders present and the entirety of the elders informed. The Elder Board Chairman will be selected by consensus decision of the Board of Elders with no fixed term and may not be one of the pastors. The Elder Board will consist of the Chairman, the Senior Pastor, the Chairman of the Deacons Board and additional elders, who will assume responsibility as agreeable and necessary.
Qualifications (Titus 1:6-9)
Able to teach
Husband to one wife
Not addicted to wine
Free from the love of money
Manage own household
Not a new convert
All members of the pastoral staff will be chosen by the Board of Elders. The Senior Pastor will automatically be a member of the Board of Elders. The elders may nominate
All pastoral staff members will serve for an indefinite period of time. The Senior Pastor is responsible and accountable in the performance of his duties to the Board of Elders. All other staff members are responsible to the Board of Elders through the Senior Pastor. A staff member may only be dismissed by a consensus decision of the Board of Elders.
The responsibility of the Senior Pastor will be to faithfully preach God’s Word and model the priority of discipleship within the church. He will give oversight and direction to all ministry staff and work with the Board of Elders in carrying out the overall vision of Hope Church Toronto West.
The qualifications are equivalent to the biblical qualifications of an elder.
Additional Pastoral Staff:
Ministry descriptions for the remaining pastoral staff will be established by the Board of Elders in keeping with the giftedness of the individual and agreed upon at the time of hiring.
The office of deacon is one that exists biblically to give leadership to the serving functions of the church (Acts 6). The qualification for deacons are the same as
When the need arises for additional deacons, a nominee will be recommended by the existing Board of Elders. Following an independent interview to determine if the nominee is biblically qualified, the congregation will be reminded of the biblical requirements for deacons and given 30 days to speak personally with the nominee if they are aware of any disqualifying characteristics. If the matter remains unresolved, the nominee or church member should approach the Board of Elders and request that their name
Since Scripture indicates no fixed term for deacons, no specific term of office is recommended. Instead, each deacon, upon appointment, shall be asked for a
During the review, both the individual and the other
A person leaving the Board of Deacons would not preclude his service as a future deacon, subject to the regular selection process.
Deacons shall serve a term of two years and be eligible for additional terms upon nomination of the Board of Elders. A deacon may only be dismissed by a consensus decision of the Board of Elders.
The Board of Deacons will be responsible for the oversight of all financial, benevolent, ordinance, and facility operations of the church.
The Board of Deacons shall consist of a chairman, who shall be a member of the Board of Elders. The church treasurer will be the deacon in charge of finances. The remainder of the deacons will assume responsibilities as agreeable and as needed.
Qualifications: (I Timothy 3:8-12)
Individual of dignity
First tested as servants
Not addicted to wine
Spouses must be faithful
Not fond of sordid gain
Holding to the mystery of the
faithwith a clear conscience
Husband of one wife
Manages household well
The Church Secretary will be any member of the church with the qualities of faithfulness, spiritual maturity, and a reputation for keeping confidences. The Church Secretary will attend board meetings and business meetings of the church and record the minutes of these meetings. The minutes will then be formally prepared by the Church Secretary and distributed to the appropriate people one week before their next meeting. Corporate offices, as required by law, will be subject to church offices as outlined by this Constitution. The Church Secretary will be chosen by the Board of Elders with no fixed term.
At the discretion of the Board of Elders, a Full Board meeting may be called. The Full Board consists of the three divisions of church leadership: the pastoral staff which is responsible for the day to day operation of the church; the deacons who direct the financial, benevolent, ordinance, and facility operations of the church; and the elders, who oversee the doctrine, direction, and discipline of the church. The Elders may also include, when needed, small group coaches and/or leaders or other key ministry leaders who are not on staff in a Full Board meeting. All are to be under the authority of, and in submission to, the Board of Elders.
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT…
ASSIMILATION AND CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
We believe in the importance of serving the body of Christ by offering clear paths for people to start and develop healthy and growing relationships with others in the church body. We value an intentional plan to help every interested person enjoy godly relationships in the church. Church membership is a by-product of people who are growing in Christ and who grasp the importance of serving the Lord by using their gifts to serve others in the local church.
The New Testament clearly indicates that groups of people who were followers of the Lord Jesus Christ identified themselves with and committed themselves to a particular local body.
In order to implement the principles of accountability and commitment to the local body of Christ, as defined in the New Testament and practiced in the early churches, Hope Church Toronto West recognizes the need for formal membership. Membership at Hope Church Toronto West is for all who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and have visibly demonstrated that commitment through believer’s baptism.
The effectiveness of our joining together will be determined by the level of the commitment we make. In a society where so few make commitments and fewer still keep them, Hope Church Toronto West is seeking a group of people who are determined to know the joy Christ intended for His body, the church. To this end members of Hope
I have, by faith, become a follower of Jesus Christ and I have been baptized as a visible way of demonstrating that commitment.
I am committed to worship Christ. As part of my worship-lifestyle, attending Sunday services at Harvest is a high priority for me. Further, I am financially supporting the ministry of our church by giving back to the Lord a biblical portion of my increase.
I am continuing to walk with Christ and in fellowship with other Christ-followers through regular and personal study of the Bible, prayer, personal witness, involvement in a small group and by avoiding criticism of others and always seeking to Biblically resolve any conflict.
I am at work for Christ and have found my place of service at Harvest. I am committed to
fruitfulministry by using my spiritual gifts for God’s glory.
While the term of membership continues as long as the believer desires fellowship with Hope Church Toronto West, the membership
PROCEDURE FOR MEMBERSHIP
- Attend the STEP 2 class. This class is a clear and concise overview of who Christ is, how one becomes a Christian, and how to be meaningfully connected to the church.
- Upon completion of the class any person professing personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour who has expressed that commitment visibly by being baptized, or is willing to be baptized at the next available service, should indicate their desire for membership on the membership application form and submit it to the church office for further review and a follow up interview.
- Your name will be placed in the bulletin or posted at the church for a period of two weeks. During this period members will be encouraged to clear up any relational or other difficulties which could hinder your ministry among us. This is done in the spirit of Matthew 18:15-17 so that both you and the Hope Church family will benefit.
- At the end of the two week
periodthose who remain as candidates will be welcomed into membership.
BAPTISM AND COMMUNION
Baptism and communion are the two ordinances required in the church. We believe that Christian baptism by immersion in water is a public identification with Jesus Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.
Although baptism is not required for salvation, it is commanded of all believers and is for believers only (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:38, 41; Acts 18:8). Scripture shows that a person was baptized after personally receiving forgiveness of sin by accepting Jesus Christ. The waters of baptism are a symbol of death, burial, and resurrection to newness of life that happens when a person becomes a new creation in Christ (Colossians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:1-4).
Communion is the commemoration by believers of Christ’s death and a reminder—through the bread and the juice—of the Savior’s broken body and shed blood. Communion is to be a time of confession of sin and should be preceded by careful self-examination (Acts 4:13; Romans 6:3-6; 1 Corinthians 11:20-29).
SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE
We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures and that they contain all the words of God that we need in order to completely trust and obey Him. The Scriptures are inerrant in their original writings (Psalm 119:97-104; Psalm 119:160; Matthew 5:18; John 5:46-47; John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:15-16) and are infallible in their instruction (2 Peter 1:19), eternal in duration (Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:23-25); the final authority and the standard for faith and practice (Matthew 4:4; Psalm 119); and sufficient for counsel in every issue of life (Psalm 19:14-17; 2 Timothy 3:16).
We believe that the very words of Scripture in the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic are inspired by God. Therefore, we believe that the Bible versions which translate God’s Word most literally into modern English should be preferred.
CREATION, EVOLUTION AND GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY
We believe God created the universe in six 24-hour days and that, before He created the universe, nothing except God existed (Genesis 1; Exodus 31:17; Psalm 33:6-9; Acts 17:24; Hebrews 11:3; Colossians 1:16).
God chose to create the universe and all that is in it to reveal His glory, divine nature, eternal power, infinite wisdom and supreme authority. (Isaiah 43:7; Psalm 19:1-2; Jeremiah 10:12; Romans 1:20; Revelation 4:11). We deny the theory of evolution, which states that nonliving substances gave rise to the first living material, which then reproduced and diversified to produce all living creatures.
We believe that all people are descendants of Adam and Eve, whom God created personally and individually and as complete human beings (Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 2:7; Genesis 2:21-22; 1 Corinthians 11:8-9). The fall of Adam and Eve infected all people with sin and death, but the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
God rules over His creation and cares about and is involved in the lives of individual people (Job 12:10; Acts 17:25; Acts 25:28; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:13; Ephesians 4:6).
SALVATION AND SECURITY
It is God’s divine decision to save a person (John 6:37; John 6:44; John 6:65; Romans 8:29-30; Romans 9:11-18; Acts 13:48; Acts 16:14; Ephesians 1:4-6; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Peter 1:3) and it is God’s kindness, forbearance and patience that lead that person to repentance (Romans 2:4). The Bible also teaches that each person is responsible to embrace or reject Jesus as Savior and Lord and that God welcomes all who come to Him by faith apart from works (Matthew 22:1-14; Luke 15:7; Luke 20:9-18; John 6:37; John 7:37; Romans 10:9-13; Acts 16:30-34; Acts 17:30.) Both of these two truths—God’s sovereignty in salvation and man’s decision to embrace Christ—are taught in the Scriptures. Their co-existence is a mystery and is completely understood only in the mind of our omniscient God.
All glory for the salvation of every believer belongs to God alone (Romans 3:21-31; Ephesians 1:7-9; Ephesians 2:8-9, Jude 1:24-25).
Those who are born of God’s Spirit through Jesus Christ persevere in the faith (Matthew 13:13; John 15:4-8; 2 Thessalonians 1:4; 1 Timothy 4:16; 2 Timothy 2:10-13; 1 John 4:13; 2 John 9). God is faithful to His people, and empowers them to persevere in the faith (1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 1 John 2:19-20).
We believe that everyone who is born of God’s Spirit through Jesus Christ is assured of salvation from the moment of conversion (Ephesians 1:13-14). This assurance relies on God’s decisive and faithful grace rather than on the works of the Christian. Obedience, good works and fruit-bearing do not earn or retain the believer’s
Eternal security in salvation relies on the Lord’s guarantee of each believer’s adoption as His son or daughter (Galatians 4:4-7), and His seal of the believer by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14) and the conviction that God gives the Holy Spirit to each believer as a down payment toward future bliss in heaven (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).
A person who professes genuine faith in Christ immediately becomes His possession (Luke 23:42-43; Acts 2:40-41; Acts 16:30-34), and nothing can snatch that person out of His hands (John 10:27-29). Having been bought with the price of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion as complete payment for sin, Christians are not their own. They are Christ’s possession (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This assurance is absolutely certain, reserved in heaven, protected by God’s unlimited power (1 Peter 1:4-5).
PROCESS OF SANCTIFICATION AND MATURITY
Mature disciples walk with Christ, worship Christ and work for Christ. A person committed to a relationship with Christ focuses on a personal walk with Him, worship of Him and work for Him. That person will experience significant growth in personal sanctification and, therefore, will experience a closer personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and will become complete in Christ (Colossians 1:28).
We are committed to multiplying the godly characteristics of leaders’ lives into others (2 Timothy 2:2). This multiplication of ministry is key to the healthy growth of the church.
We believe the disciples of Jesus Christ should minister to one another in the local church, rather than one or a small number of professional pastors bearing total responsibility to care for the entire congregation. God has given spiritual gifts to all of His people to provide mutual ministry in the context of the healthy and strong local church (Ephesians 4:11-12).
The chief purpose of mankind is to glorify God by loving Him with the entire heart, soul, mind and might (Deuteronomy 6:5; Isaiah 43:7; Matthew 22:37). All believing men, women and children are to glorify God and thus fulfill the purpose of their existence.
Worship glorifies God through adoration (Psalm 95:6), praise (Psalm 99:5), prayer (Daniel 6:10-11),
We seek to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (Exodus 15:1-21; 2 Samuel 6:14-16; Psalm 5:7; John 4:23-24; Revelation 4:11; 5:12).
Several tenets guide our worship. We seek to:
Lift high the name of Jesus Christ (John 4:22-26; John 12:32; John 14:6);
Lead God’s people to lift their hearts and voices to Him, giving Him praise and thanks in music and lyric (Nehemiah 12:45-46; Psalm 66:1-4; Psalm 95:1-2);
Prepare hearts to hear the Lord speak through the proclamation of Scripture (Psalm 95:6-9; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42);
Emphasize fresh and contemporary expressions while retaining traditional elements that recognize the richness of our heritage in the faith (Deuteronomy 32:7; Psalm 33:3; Isaiah 46:8-9; Matthew 13:32, Ephesians 5:19; Revelation 5:9);
Pursue excellence in worship, knowing that God is worthy of our best (Exodus 12; Deuteronomy 17:1; Psalm 33:3, 1 Timothy 4:14-15; Hebrews 11:4).
WOMEN IN MINISTRY
Hope Church Toronto West affirms the God-ordained and significant role that women should play in establishing and leading the local church. Every leadership opportunity is open to women except those that are excluded by Scripture. The Scriptures clearly state that men are to serve in the office of Elder and that women are not to serve in church positions in which they exercise authority over men or in which they teach doctrine to men (1 Timothy 2:12; 1 Timothy 3:1-2; Titus 1:6-9). We do not see this as an issue of equality, for men and women are equal under God. The Bible is clear that men and women do not have the same roles. Qualified women should serve in any leadership position that is not forbidden in the Scriptures.
Satan and his demonic servants viciously oppose the work God performs in and through His people (1 Peter 5:8; Genesis 3:1-7; Ephesians 6:12). God, who by His nature is infinitely more powerful than Satan, in due time will have complete and total victory over Satan (1 John 4:4; Revelation 20:1-10).
Although it is appropriate to pray in Jesus’ name for protection against
humbly drawing near to God, knowing that He will give grace, mercy and strength (2 Corinthians 12:7-9; Hebrews 4:15-16; James 4:8; 1 Peter 5:6-10);
resisting his temptations (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9);
rightly applying the truth of the Scriptures (Matthew 4:1-11; John 8:44; Ephesians 4:24-27);
offenses(2 Corinthians 2:10-11);
putting on the
armorof God’s truth, righteousness, readiness to share the gospel, faith, salvation and prayer (Ephesians 6:11-20);
demonstrating faithfulness to the Lord by enduring trials (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 2:13; Revelation 3:9-10)
The Lord changes lives and accomplishes His purposes directly through reading and applying the Scriptures, meditating on the truths of the Scriptures and prayer. The Lord also uses those who minister His Word as they encourage, exhort, admonish, edify, implore, reprove, rebuke, console and support others toward godliness.
God needs no new or unique insight into the human condition in order to change lives, regardless of whether that insight is gained through psychology or some other tool of human origin. Psychological theories that may help people live healthier and more effectively are embellishments of principles already revealed in the Scriptures. Although some forms of human wisdom are true, they are not the Word of God. They are infinitely subordinate to, and not to be compared with, the matchless value of the Scriptures (Psalm 119:160; Isaiah 40:8; John 17:17).
Problems that are approached by integrating the Scriptures with psychological theories tend to deceive individuals into diminishing the God of the Scriptures and into believing that He has not provided and cannot provide sufficient truth, insight and wisdom to change their lives (Colossians 2:8-10).
There are occasions when a medical doctor may diagnose a physical problem that manifests itself in attitudinal,
God has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). He changes us as we discipline ourselves through obedience to the Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Timothy 4:7; 2 Peter 1:5-11). Each Christian’s passion should be to become more like Christ (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2) and fulfill the Great Commandment to love the Lord will the entire heart, soul, mind and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5; Mark 12:30; Matthew 22:37-38). The Christian who learns and applies the Word becomes mature and, in turn, can help others mature (2 Timothy 2:2).
The Lord’s church is a community of faith—a living body with Jesus Christ at the head (Colossians 1:17-18)—that influences, supports and helps bring men, women and children into healthy relationships with the Lord and with others of the church. A healthy church body applies biblical principles to relationships at all levels, i.e. the overall church context, ministries within the church, families within the church and individuals within the church.
We believe that the Christian life is supernatural and that the Lord continues to perform miracles. We also believe that current displays of the gift of tongues distract from the main task of the local church, which is to glorify God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).
Current displays of the gift of tongues:
give unwarranted prominence to the gift, which is described in the New Testament as being only one of many spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12);
emphasize speaking in tongues as the primary manifestation of the Spirit’s work in a person’s life, while minimizing the Spirit’s work in producing a holy life (2 Corinthians 3:17-18; 2 Timothy 1:9) and a life that displays the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22);
often suggest that speaking in tongues is a required proof of being Spirit-filled or of possessing salvation in Christ, even though the Scriptures do not teach this.
Hope Church Toronto West seeks to prevent the propagation of doctrines that would cause divisions within an individual church. Therefore, members to and adherents of Hope Church Toronto West are not to propagate the teachings and emphases of the current charismatic movement. Although we do not control personal, individual interactions with the Lord, the expression of tongues and other sign gifts are not to be overtly expressed at meetings that are under the organization and authority of Hope Church Toronto West.