Constitution of Christ's Heritage Church
1.1 The name of this church shall be CHRIST’S HERITAGE CHURCH.
2.1 The purpose of this church is to glorify the true and living God through worship, evangelizing the lost, building up believers, and promoting fellowship with Christand His people. Therefore, we are committed to the proclamation of His word, including both His perfect Law and His glorious gospel throughout the world, the advance of good works, the training of men for the ministry, and the defense of “the faith once for all delivered to the saints”.
3.1 The ultimate authority in all matters of faith, order, and conduct is and must be the Bible alone. However, we adopt as the substantial expression of our faith the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith. Although this Confession, as the work of fallible men, is not without blemishes, it provides an excellent summary of “the things most surely believed among us.” It is an assistance in controversy, a confirmation of faith, and a means of edification in righteousness. A brief summary of what we believe follows.
We believe in:
3.1.1 The Holy Scriptures of the Old and the New Testaments as originally given are the inspired and infallible Word of God, and are the sole, supreme, and all-sufficient authority in every matter of Christian faith and practice.
3.1.2 One living and true God, sovereign in creation, providence and redemption, subsisting in three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – same in substance and equal in power and glory.
3.1.3 The eternal sonship and essential, absolute, and eternal deity, and true and sinless humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ; His virgin birth, death, and burial; His physical resurrection and ascension into heaven; His present intercession for His people, and His coming again in power and glory.
3.1.4 The personality and deity of the Holy Spirit, through Whom the sinner is born again to saving repentance and faith, and by Whom the regenerated are sanctified through the truth.
3.1.5 The fall of mankind in Adam, by which all have lost their original righteousness and holiness, have come under the righteous condemnation of God.
3.1.6 The personal and unconditional election in Christ of a multitude which no man can number, unto everlasting salvation out of God’s pure grace and love, without any foresight of faith or good works in them.
3.1.7 The personal and eternal redemption from all sin and the penal consequence thereof, of all God’s elect, by the substitutionary sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
3.1.8 The effectual calling of all the elect by the irresistible grace of God.
3.1.9 The justification of sinners by faith alone through the atoning death and resurrection and imputed righteousness of Christ.
3.1.10 The Lord Jesus Christ as the Head of the Church which is composed of God’s elect in every age. According to His commandment, Christians are to gather in local churches. To each of these churches, He has given authority for administering order, discipline, and worship. The officers of the churches are elders and deacons.
3.1.11 The Lord Jesus Christ has instituted these symbolic ordinances to be observed by His church; that of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
3.1.12 The final perseverance in the state of grace of all those who have been elected by the Father, redeemed by the Son, and regenerated by the Holy Spirit, so that they shall never perish, but have eternal life.
3.1.13 The resurrection of the body, the judgment of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ with the eternal blessedness of the righteous, and the eternal punishment of the wicked.
4.1 Commitment. What church Membership means.
4.1.1 Committing ourselves to follow Christ and to covenant together as the people of Christ in a local community – a local church. This commitment is not something to be entered into lightly but is a commitment to love one another.
4.1.2 A church is a people who belong to Christ and hence to each other as brothers and sisters in a family. Hence, the unity of the church must be maintained and those so committed should not forsake the church.
4.2 Requirements for Membership.
4.2.1 Profession of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:37- 42, 5:14, 8:12, 16:30-34, 20:21).
4.2.2 Evidence that the profession is genuine, as seen in consistent Christian living (1 Cor. 1:1,2 with 6:11; Gal. 1:1,2 with 4:8,9; 1Thes. 1:1-9).
4.2.3 Baptism by immersion following repentance and faith (Mt. 20:18-20; Jn. 4:1,2; Acts 2:41, 8:12, 16:31-34, 18:8).
4.2.4 Regular attendance at the services for at least three (3) months. No one may be received automatically by transfer from another church. No one may apply for baptism apart from the consideration of church membership.
4.2.5 Willing submission to the teaching and government of the church (1 Cor. 14:40; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 1:10; Heb. 13:17; Mt. 18:15-18; Acts 5:13,14). Members of a local church must submit to the oversight of that church, as commanded by the Scriptures (Heb. 13:17). Anyone who cannot intelligently and freely submit to a church’s government should not belong to that church. The church is responsible to strive to maintain unity within its membership (Eph. 4:3). Therefore, members must agree with the church’s purpose, confession, and constitution.
4.2.6 An obligation to inform the church elders if at any time he or she no longer satisfies the requirements for membership.
4.3 Associate Membership.
4.3.1 Regular members who move away from the area of this church and who cannot find another church with which they can in good conscience unite will, at their request, be retained as associate members of this church. However, members should not move from the area for personal advantage at the expense of their spiritual welfare.
4.3.2 Such persons must maintain regular communication with the church in order to retain their associate membership. However, they are urged to diligently seek a church with which they can unite elsewhere.
4.4 Procedure for Acceptance into Membership.
4.4.1 At least two (2) elders will interview the applicant. If the church does not yet have a multiplicity of elders, members will be appointed to interview the applicant. But if there is only one elder, he can choose to invite one to two (1 to 2) able men to accompany him during an interview.
4.4.2 Applicants recommended for membership will be asked to study this constitution and discuss any points about which they may not be clear. They will also be given a copy of our Confession of Faith in English or Tagalog, based on their preference. However, no applicant is expected to understand all that is in the Confession as a pre-requisite for membership. Applicants must communicate to the elders any matters of doctrine taught by the church with which they disagree.
4.4.3 Applicants recommended for membership will give a short account of their faith to the church, after which the application will be left in abeyance for at least one (1) month so members can fulfill their duty of making known to the elders any information which throws light on the application.
4.4.4 If in the opinion of the elders there are no serious objections, then baptism (if the applicant has not been previously baptized) and membership will proceed as soon as possible.
4.4.5 If the applicant has been or is a member of another church, special effort will be made to determine the applicant’s standing in that church and his reasons for leaving. At the discretion of the elders, a letter of inquiry may be sent to that church before he is accepted into the membership of this church.
4.5 Responsibilities of Members.
4.5.1 Members will be regularly present at services for public worship, especially the Sunday services, the Lord’s Table, prayer meetings, and church meetings. Attendance is not only a duty but a privilege that is given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 10:25; Acts 2:42).
4.5.2 Members will regularly pray together with other members of the church.
4.5.3 Members will regularly practice proportionate giving according to their means as part of what God requires of true worshipers. Cheerful giving of one’s substance is commended (1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 9:6-7; Mal. 3:8-11).
4.5.4 Members will honor elders and submit to their spiritual authority. Elders are ordained by the Holy Spirit to rule and pastor the flock of Jesus Christ. Members will pray for elders and deacons in the discharge of their duties (1 Thess. 5:12; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:1-4; Acts 20:28)
4.5.5 Members will seek to avoid all causes of division in the body and strive to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. All members are to discern their place and gifts in the body of Christ and honor one another (Rom. 12:10; Eph. 4:1-3; 1 Cor. 12:11ff).
4.5.6 Members will work and pray zealously for the welfare and the coming of the kingdom of God and seek all possible means to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
4.5.7 Members will undertake all their Christian service in fellowship with the church and under the guidance of the elders.
4.5.8 Members who are compelled to be away for a sustained period will keep regular personal contact with the elders or members delegated by them.
4.5.9 Members will promote holiness, edification, and love among themselves by praying for one another, by encouraging one another to love and good works, by admonishing one another, by showing hospitality, and by bearing each other’s burdens.
4.5.10 The behavior of believers in the church will be consistent with scriptural precepts (Tit. 2:5-8; 1 Thess. 5:22; 1 Pet. 2:12-13).
4.5.11 As the “unequal yoke” is forbidden by Scripture (2 Cor. 6:14; 1 Cor. 7:39), members will not marry an unbeliever, and therefore will not court such. Those converted after marriage will remain with their partners and pray for their salvation. Scripture recognizes adultery as the only ground for dissolving the marriage union (Matt. 5:32; 19:9). In the family, the husband is the head of the wife and the parents the head of the children. Wives will obey their husbands in all things. Parents will bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
4.6 Termination of Membership.
4.6.1 Membership can be terminated only by disciplinary action or by integration with another church. Membership cannot be terminated by the resignation of the member concerned except with approval of the elders.
4.6.2 Members should not move from the area for personal advantage at the expense of their spiritual welfare.
5.1 Church Officers.
5.1.1 The Lord Jesus Christ is the sole King of His people. He governs His church by the Word of God. His government, through His churches, is exercised through elders who apply the Word of God in their teaching and ruling. Such leadership is only possible as members are persuaded by the Scriptures of its Biblical validity (Acts 14:23; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:1-5).
5.1.2 Deacons are appointed to care for the administrative, practical, and temporal affairs of the church (Acts 6:1-6; 1 Tim. 3:8-10).
5.1.3 A church, therefore, is comprised of a company of believers, some of whom are acknowledged as elders and deacons. Members commit themselves to each other in a loving and permanent bond (Phil. 1:1; 1 Cor. 12:12-27).
5.1.4 All elders, deacons, and any who have a teaching function in the church must subscribe wholeheartedly to the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith and the Constitution of this church.
126.96.36.199 The qualifications for eldership are revealed in the Word of God (1 Tim. 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9). As the guide to recognizing elders, these passages will be read out and explained to the church whenever someone is being considered for eldership.
188.8.131.52 Elders are subject to each other, none having superior authority.
184.108.40.206 The Triune God is alone able to raise men for the office of the eldership, but the church must recognize the work of God in equipping potential elders with the necessary graces and abilities.
220.127.116.11 Existing elders will recognize those who are functioning in the use of their gifts and bring such before the church for recognition. After presentation to the church, the voting on the elder’s appointment will be left in abeyance for at least one (1) month so members can fulfill their duty of making known to the elders any objections to be raised and questions to be asked.
18.104.22.168 An eighty percent (80%) majority vote will be required to confirm the elder’s recommendation, but unanimity is regarded as the aim. The appointment of the elder will be publicly ratified and he will be set apart for his duties by the prayer of the whole church. He will be ordained publicly and formally by the laying of hands of elders.
22.214.171.124 The church will be responsible to provide for the support of elder(s) who devote themselves to the ministry (1 Tim. 5:17-18, 1 Cor. 9:9,14). Provisions will be made for their retirement.
5.2.3 Relinquishing of the Office
126.96.36.199 An elder may be removed from office should he neglect his duty, be guilty of sinful behavior, fall into error, or hold views contrary to our confession and constitution.
188.8.131.52 If an accusation is made against an elder, the directions of 1 Tim. 5:19-21 are to be followed. The other elders are to approach the matter with great caution, firmness and impartiality.
184.108.40.206 An elder who is unable to fulfill his commitments should relinquish his office. Just as men grow in gifts and abilities with respect to eldership, these decline through old age and may render a man incapable of fulfilling his office. Such retirement must be ratified by the church.
220.127.116.11 An elder is not free, on his initiative or for his ends, to forsake the flock over which the Holy Spirit has made him an elder. Whether or not receiving financial support from the church, he must not court or accept an invitation from another church to join it without consultation and approval of the other elders and should make known to the other elders any such approach by another church.
18.104.22.168 The church may send out elders if church planting is contemplated, providing an adequate plurality of elders is left.
22.214.171.124 Elders should not extend their activities without prior consultation with the eldership.
126.96.36.199 The function of the elders is to exercise shepherd-like care over the flock. This involves:
188.8.131.52 Giving themselves to prayer, the ministry of the Word, and the nurture of souls.
184.108.40.206 Regulating all gatherings for public worship.
220.127.116.11 Interviewing applicants for membership and maintaining discipline.
18.104.22.168 Administering the symbolic ordinances and supervising admission to the Lord’s Table.
22.214.171.124 Recommending to the church additional elders and deacons.
126.96.36.199 Leading and overseeing the church in all its ministries and functions, including local evangelism.
188.8.131.52 The qualifications for deacons are revealed in the Word of God (1 Tim. 3:8-13, Acts 6:1-6). As the guide to recognizing deacons, these passages will be read out and explained to the church whenever someone is being considered for deacon.
184.108.40.206 Deacons must fulfill the duties of their office in cooperation with and subjection to the elders.
220.127.116.11 Elders have the responsibility of recognizing when the need arises for deacons to be appointed and accordingly to make recommendations to the church.
18.104.22.168 The ability to serve as a deacon is a gift of the Lord Jesus Christ to His church. Elders will choose the men who will serve as deacons from those who display the necessary gifts and abilities.
22.214.171.124 The procedure for appointment of deacons is the same as that for eldership.
126.96.36.199 Deacons may occupy their office for as long as they are able to fulfill their duties.
5.3.3 Relinquishing of the Office
188.8.131.52 A deacon may be removed from office should he neglect his duty, be guilty of sinful behavior, fall into error, or hold views contrary to our confession and constitution.
184.108.40.206 Deacons are subject to the same disciplines as outlined in Article 6.
220.127.116.11 Disciplinary action is to be carried out by the elders or if there is no elder, by the deacons who will bring the matter to the church for ratification.
18.104.22.168 The procedure for removal of deacons from office is the same as that for eldership.
22.214.171.124 A deacon unable to fulfill his commitment for legitimate reasons such as declining health and ability should relinquish his office. Such retirement must be ratified by vote at a meeting of the church.
126.96.36.199 The function of the deacons is to administer the ordinary business, secular affairs, and benevolence concerns of the church so that the elders may devote themselves without distraction to more spiritual matters (Acts 6:2-4). This involves:
188.8.131.52 A ministry of mercy towards those in physical need, especially in the church.
184.108.40.206 The auditing of all accounts in accordance with the law of the land.
220.127.116.11 The maintenance of church premises and property.
18.104.22.168 Not extending their activities without prior consultation with the eldership.
6.1 Discipline arises out of the responsibilities of church membership. Its purpose is to uphold the glory and rule of the Lord Jesus Christ in His church, to maintain its purity here on earth, to sanctify each member, and to reclaim and restore those who fall into sin (Heb. 12:5-12; Rev. 3:19; 1 Cor. 5:12; Gal. 6:1; 1 Thess. 5:12-15; Heb. 3:12,13, 10:24,25).
6.2 Formative Discipline. Formative discipline is that aspect of Church Discipline whereby church members are instructed and trained in the Christian faith by both public and private means, through both formal and informal methods, to present every person mature in Christ. Discipline implies instruction and correction; the training which improves, molds, strengthens, and perfects character. The means used are the ordinary means of grace such as private reading of the Word of God, meditation, corporate and private prayer, the symbolic ordinances, preaching of the Word of God, encouraging, warning, and private instruction such as admonishing, encouraging and counseling by fellow members as well as that of the elders. There are occasions, however, when failure in the application of this formative discipline makes corrective discipline necessary.
6.3 Corrective Discipline. Corrective discipline becomes necessary when any member willfully neglects the responsibilities of church membership, falls into doctrinal error or open sin. They will be subject to the discipline of the church as exercised by the elders. In general, admonition and counsel should precede any further discipline unless the case warrants otherwise. Corrective discipline always has as its goal the glory of God, the welfare and purity of the church, and the restoration and spiritual growth of the offender.
6.4 How it is to be administered:
6.4.1 Any disciplinary action will be carried out in the spirit of Christian love and humility. It may involve anguish of heart and many tears (2 Cor. 2:4).
6.4.2 Matters of personal offense will be settled by members according to the procedure laid down in Matt. 18:15-18.
6.4.3 Disciplinary action may take the following forms according to the seriousness of the case (1 Tim. 1:3):
22.214.171.124 Admonition and rebuke, either private or public. According to Matt. 18:15-20; private offenses begin with private rebuke, which may escalate to public rebuke before the church if the offender remains unrepentant. Also, public offenses, especially of office bearers, deserve public rebuke (Gal. 2:11-14; 1 Thess. 5:14; 1 Tim. 5:19-20). If there is no repentance upon rebuke for sin, then a more severe form of discipline is required.
126.96.36.199 Suspension from membership, in which case the member may not partake of the Lord’s Supper, attend church members’ meetings, or undertake any service in the church. He will be encouraged to attend the preaching services. Suspension may be for a stated period or indefinitely. If there is evidence of repentance then forgiveness and restoration to membership will be granted (2 Thess. 3:6,14,15).
188.8.131.52 Exclusion from membership. If there is no evidence of repentance, the elders may recommend to the church that the offender’s name be removed from the membership (1 Cor. 5:1-5; Matt. 18:17). Upon the recommendation of the officers, this will be enacted in a congregational meeting by a three-fourths (3/4) majority of the members present and voting.
184.108.40.206 The Relationship of the church to those excluded from membership. Those excluded from membership who continue in their sin will be considered in the same way as unbelievers (Matt. 18:17). Yet it is realized that not all may be unbelievers, but believers who are walking disorderly and living in sin. It may yet be that they will prove not to be apostates, but true believers by repenting of their sin and turning back to Christ. The Scripture teaches that while they are still living in a disorderly fashion, we are not to associate with such a person that they may be put to shame (2 Thess. 3:14). 6.4.4 In some cases, great discretion is required and therefore the elders are not obliged to give the church all the details but must be trusted with the government of the church (Heb. 13:17). At church meetings on these matters, the elders will inform the church of their proposed action and will invite members to approach them to gain further information or make their opinions known.
6.5 Restoration to Membership.
6.5.1 The church will pray for the repentance, reconciliation and restoration of those under discipline (Gal. 6:1).
6.5.2 When true repentance is evidenced, that disciplined member will be restored to the full privileges of membership. There will be much rejoicing and joy that a brother or sister in Christ has been restored to the fellowship (Luke 15:1-10; James 5:19-20).
6.5.3 When restoration is made, it may be appropriate for a testimony to be given to the church.
6.5.4 However, due to the nature or reason for the discipline, such a person may well not be restored to a position of office or special function within the body of Christ.
6.6 Discipline and other Biblical Churches.
6.6.1 The elders will encourage unity with other biblical churches and the recognition among the churches of biblical procedures concerning discipline, so that these are made effectual and that the name of Christ will not be dishonored.
7.1 Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the only two symbolic ordinances (Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:41; 1 Cor. 11:23-26; Luke 22:19-20).
7.2 Baptism by immersion will be administered only to those believers who are becoming members of the church.
7.3 The Lord’s Supper will be celebrated as often as is considered advisable. Only believers who have been baptized by immersion and who evidence a consistent life are eligible to commune at the Lord’s Table. This is normally only the members of the church.
7.4 A transient visitor who is a baptized believer and a member in good standing of a properly constituted gospel church may, only on the recommendation of one of the members, be invited by the elders to take part in the Lord’s Supper. No one may be invited to the Table without the knowledge of the elders.
7.5 The elders of the church may reach out to the pastor of the visitor to ascertain their current standing in their local church.
8.1 Calling of Meetings.
8.1.1 The Lord is present in power at every gathering together of the church; therefore, all meetings will be carried out in a spirit of worship and unity (Matt. 18:20; 1 Cor. 14:40).
8.1.2 The elders will summon the church for all matters of importance, such as considering the appointment of officers, the hearing of testimonies in support of application for baptism, church membership (receiving members), matters of discipline and expulsion, the settling of doctrine, the organization of evangelism and proposals to undertake church planting, the consideration of sending missionaries, and major practical matters.
8.1.3 The elders will call all meetings of the church. They will give at least ten (10) days’ notice of any church meeting, except in an emergency. One of the elders will preside as chairman at all business meetings or a chairman whom they designate in their absence. Where any major decisions in which the church would need to be consulted are to be made, either the matter will be made known before the meeting or sufficient time will be given before the church as a whole will be asked to vote.
8.1.4 A quarterly business meeting will be held.
8.1.5 The Annual General Meeting and other meetings are strictly private. However, the elders may allow others to hear the testimony of applicants for membership.
8.2 Conduct of Business Meetings.
8.2.1 All matters presented before the church at church meetings will be brought through the eldership.
8.2.2 Meetings will be controlled by the chairman who should encourage the members to speak but once on the same subject, unless they are required to explain the matter further.
8.2.3 An appointed secretary will keep minutes of the meetings held. These will be approved at the next quarterly meeting.
8.2.4 Meetings of the church are confidential. Members are therefore permitted to speak of these matters only to fellow members. Members who break this trust will be subject to discipline.
8.3 The Annual General Meeting.
8.3.1 All the business and activities of the church will be reviewed at the Annual General Meeting. This will be held as early as possible in the year when all financial accounts will be presented to the church. This meeting is distinct from meetings for discipline and admission to membership.
8.4.1 The quorum for all church meetings and voting will be set at fifty percent (50%) of the membership entitled to vote. No vote will be received except from a person who is present at the time of voting.
8.5.1 When the elders deem it necessary, a vote will be taken. When a vote is taken, a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the members present and entitled to vote at the meeting will be required to carry any motion, although unanimity is regarded as the aim (Acts 6:5).
8.5.2 Voting will normally be done by publicly raising hands. If there is an important matter that requires secrecy, a secret ballot (may be digital) can be brought before the church by the elders.
8.5.3 Those entitled to vote are members who:
220.127.116.11 Have attained the age of eighteen (18) years. Those who are below eighteen (18) years of age may vote only by the discernment of their parents and the elders.
18.104.22.168 Have been regular members of the church for at least six (6) months.
22.214.171.124 Have been present in the church for some period during the past three months prior to the church meeting.
126.96.36.199 The elders may censure people from voting especially if they are under discipline.
9.1 We acknowledge no ecclesiastical authority other than our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the Church and who directs the affairs of the local church through elders chosen and ordained according to the Scriptures. The elders themselves, at all times and in all their activities, stand under the authority of Christ in the Scriptures. The members are likewise under the same authority (Eph. 5:23; Acts 14:21-23; 1 Tim. 3:1f; Tit. 1:5f; Acts 16:4; 1 Cor. 7:17).
9.2 The church may and should cooperate with other like-minded churches in matters of mutual interest and concern. We may seek the assistance and counsel of other churches in matters of special concern to us, but no decision by another church or group of churches at any time will be acknowledged as binding on this church. This church may, in keeping with this provision, enter into association with other churches. Upon recommendation of the elders, such affiliations may be entered into by a vote of the congregation. The elders would then choose any delegate to such an association (2 Cor. 8:18-24; 1 Cor. 16:1,2; 1 Thess. 1:7, 2:14; Acts 14:21-24; Phil. 4:15).
10.1 In order to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”, this church has agreed to incorporate under the name “REFORMED CHRIST’S HERITAGE BAPTIST CHURCH CORP.” (RCHBPCC), which will represent CHRIST’S HERITAGE CHURCH under the laws of the Philippines.
10.2 The Board of Directors for the corporation will perform such legal and business transactions as are peculiarly designated to them by the laws of the Republic of the Philippines. In the discharge of their duties, they will act only at the direction of the officers of the church.
10.3 The membership for the RCHBPCC Board of Directors will be composed of three (3) deacons, and two (2) church members.
11.1 Any amendment to the constitution will only be made by an eighty percent (80%) majority vote at a duly called church meeting. A minimum of seventy percent (70%) of the members who are eligible to vote must be present for the vote to be valid.
11.2 All members must be circulated with the proposed amendment in writing, at least one (1) month before the meeting at which a vote is taken.