A Brief History
Living Hope Christian Fellowship began in October of 2005 as a plant off of Charity Christian Fellowship in Leola, PA. After several years of meeting in rented facilities, we were able to purchase and rennovate our current building in Bowmansville, PA in 2011.
Confession of Faith
1. THE WORD OF GOD:
We believe and confess that the Bible is the verbally inspired Word of God. It is the only rule for faith and practice. The Word of God, especially the New Testament, is the standard by which the Christian orders his life. II Peter 1:21; II Tim. 3:16.
2. THE DEITY OF CHRIST:
We believe and confess that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, God in the flesh. He was conceived by the Holy Ghost in the virgin womb of Mary. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) Christ as Deity hung on the cross for our sins. If Christ be not God, then we are yet in our sins and without hope. John 1:1; Matt. 1:23.
3. FALLEN MAN:
We believe and confess that man is a fallen creature. Created in the image and likeness of God, man fell to a condition of spiritual death. This death passed upon all men. Man is a helpless creature set only on wickedness continually. He needs salvation. Gen. 6:5; Rom. 5:12; Eph. 2:3-5.
4. HEAVEN OR HELL:
We believe and confess that heaven and hell are real places. People who die without Christ will live eternally in a burning lake of fire, being tormented in the flames. People who die in the Lord will live eternally in heaven with Christ, experiencing blessings which no man can utter. Matt. 13:50; Matt. 3:12; Matt. 25:41; Rev. 14:11; John 14:1-3; Matt. 5:12; Rev. 21, 22.
We believe and confess that all who believe in Christ shall be saved. Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day. He is the sacrifice, the payment for the sins of fallen man. Man must respond with repentance (a change of heart) toward God and with faith (a heart attitude of belief) in our Lord Jesus Christ. Believing is a present, continuous act of the will. I Cor. 15:1-4; John 3:16; Romans 10:13; Acts 20:21; I Peter 1:5.
6. THE TRINITY:
We believe and confess that God is a Triune God expressed in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. II Cor. 13:14; Matt. 28:19; Matt. 3:16, 17.
We believe and confess that Satan is a real person, a fallen angelic being, who through rebellion lost his position in heaven. We recognize this foe and his kingdom of darkness; we are in a spiritual battle which demands our continual standing in Christ, our power. I Pet. 5:8; Eph. 6:10-18; II Cor. 10:3-5; Ezek. 28:12-17; Isa. 14:12-17.
8. THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST:
We believe and confess in a physical return of Jesus Christ to the earth. He shall come in like manner as He left. We should look to, hope for, and expect at any time the coming of the Lord. This hope will cause God’s people to purify themselves. John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11; I John 3:3.
9. THE KINGDOM OF GOD:
We believe and confess that the kingdom of God, or Christ, is a spiritual kingdom and stands in contrast to the kingdoms of the world. In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ presented a higher standard of holiness for His kingdom. Citizenship in the kingdom, therefore:
- Prevents participation in the affairs of state, serving in armed forces, and belonging to state-regulated churches. Matt. 6:33; John 18:36; II Cor. 6:14-18; II Cor. 10:3, 4.
- Further separates us from the course of this world in affection, occupation, and organizational yokes and affiliations. Matt. 6:19-21, 24; Rom. 12:1, 2; Col. 3:1-3.
- Enjoins returning good for evil, praying for persecutors, feeding and clothing the needy, and doing good to all men, including enemies. Matt. 5:38-48; Rom. 12:14-21; I Thess. 5:15.
- Forbids speaking evil of ANYONE, resisting evil or taking vengeance, suing at the law, or in any way demanding personal rights. Matt. 5:39-40; John 18:36; I Cor. 6:1-8; Titus 3:2; I Peter 2:18-20.
- Requires the non-swearing oaths, “Yea, Yea and Nay, Nay” honestly, and absence of idle words in speech. Matt. 5:33-37; Matt. 12:35-37; James 5:12.
- Enjoins an explicit trust in God for material and spiritual maintenance. Matt. 6:25-34.
- Trusting in the arm of flesh or human securities is a violation of faith in Divine preservation. Matt. 6:25-34; Matt. 10:29-31; Luke 12:32, 33; Phil. 4:6, 19; I Peter 5:7.
We believe and confess that discipleship is a clear characteristic of all true Christians. A disciple willingly bears the cross and denies himself, forsaking all things that hinder his fellowship with God. This crucifixion of the flesh is the operation of God by faith, a moment-by-moment surrender of the will to God. Luke 14:26, 27, 33; Rom. 6:11-16; Gal. 2:20, 21; Col. 2:10-12; Gal. 5:24.
We believe and confess that the Great Commission given by Christ to His Disciples (Matt. 28:19, 20) was a commission to all Christians to go and tell the good news of salvation to a lost and dying world. Brothers and sisters alike are responsible to share Christ as opportunity arises in daily living. Psa. 126:6; Mark 16:15; Acts 5:42; Acts 8:4.
12. CHRISTIAN APPEARANCE:
We believe and confess that God’s people should regulate their appearance by clear scriptural principles.
- Gospel order and purity requires neatness and cleanliness. Matt. 6:17; I Thess. 4:7; I Tim. 2:9, 10; Rev. 19:8.
- Clothing and personal appearance shall maintain distinction between the sexes. Deut. 22:5; I Cor. 6:9; I Cor. 11:4, 5, 14, 15.
- Brethren and sisters wear modest apparel which covers and conceals the body. I Tim. 2:9, 10.
- Notice how God clothes the body. Mark 16:5; Rev. 1:13. Sisters are recommended to wear a double layer garment to conceal the form of the body. Thus modesty without question should be our expression.
- Clothing shall exemplify gospel simplicity and be free of all evidence of pride, display, or adornment. II Cor. 1:12; I Peter 3:3; I John 2:16.
- The Bible forbids the wearing of gold, pearls, or costly array. I Tim. 2:9. Notice the attire of the Babylonian harlot. Rev. 17:4. See also the rich man’s apparel. Luke 16:19.
- Further, the Bible forbids following the changing fashions of the world. Rom. 12:2; I Thess. 5:22; Titus 2:11, 12; I Peter 1:14.
- Brethren are to be free from the shame of long hair. Sisters will wear their hair long. They cover their heads with a distinctive Christian veiling. I Cor. 11:6, 14, 15.
13. THE CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE:
We believe and confess that the height of Christian experience is attained, maintained, and expressed in a life of devotion to God, which is a continual pressing of the heart in love and fellowship with God. Prayer, a study of the Word, meditations, fastings, and the singing from the heart are expressions of devotion to God. We believe then that this heart that is lifted up to God will gradually and consistently bring forth the holy actions commanded in the Scriptures. John 4:23, 24; I Cor. 3:18; Gal. 5:22, 23; Rom. 8:4.
14. THE CHRISTIAN HOME:
We believe and confess the importance of the godly home in the promotion of moral purity and faith. It is a haven of mutual love and godliness, a shelter from the corruption of the society. The home should be ordered according to the dictates of Eph. 5 and Col. 3. We believe that godly parents who see their responsibility will rear faithful children not accused of riot or unruliness. Titus 1:6; II Tim. 3:14, 15.
- Fathers must assume final responsibility for the direction of worship, for decisions, and the discipline of the children. I Cor. 11:3; I Tim. 3:4; Eph. 6:4.
- Wives are submissive and subordinate, demonstrating their chaste conversation (behavior) of godliness. Eph. 5:22; I Tim. 5:13, 14; I Peter 3:1-6.
- Children are to be in subjection and obedient to their parents with all gravity. Eph. 6:1; I Tim. 3:4, 5.
15. THE CHURCH:
We believe and confess that the church is the Body of Christ, both local and worldwide. I Cor. 12:27; Eph. 1:22, 23.
- The church consists of those persons from all nations who are redeemed by the blood of Christ and who have responded to the call of salvation with the obedience of faith. John 3:16; Acts 10:34, 35; Rom. 10:13; Rev. 5:9; Acts 20:28.
- We also recognize a great apostasy in these last days. Not all who name the name of Jesus are true Christians, but only those who manifest true scriptural fruit. (See I John).
- We stand in opposition to the liberal theology that leads to worldliness and the traditional theology that leads to formalism and deadness.
16. CHRISTIAN ORDINANCES:
We believe and confess that ordinances were instituted by divine authority for the purpose of expressing heavenly thoughts and meanings, given to draw our attention toward spiritual pictures of divine truth. These ordinances are as follows:
- Baptism. Rom. 6; Matt. 28:19; I Peter 3:21; Col. 2:12.
- Communion. I Cor. 11:23-26.
- Feet washing. John 13:14-16.
- The devotional covering. I Cor. 11:2-16.
- The holy kiss. Rom. 16:16; I Peter 5:14.
- Anointing with oil. James 5:14, 15.
We believe and confess that marriage is an institution ordained of God. It was set apart, or sanctified, in the creation. It was set forth by God for the propagation of the human race, for the purity of the human family, and for the bringing up of godly children. Gen. 2:24; Heb. 13:4. God recognizes all first marriages where vows have been made and the marriage consummated. In God’s eyes only death can break the marriage covenant. We further believe that God forbids divorce or marriages with divorced persons having former companions still living. Marriage by or with such persons is the forming of an adulterous relationship. We admonish all to scriptural meditation on this subject. Matt. 19:8, 9; Mark 10:11, 12; Rom. 7: 2, 3; I Cor. 7:39
18. THE BROTHERHOOD:
We believe and confess that the church is a brotherhood, submitting one to another in the fear of God. Each individual is set for the edification of the whole.
- Brethren address each other privately concerning inconsistencies or error that they may observe in one another. Matt. 18:15; Heb. 3:13; II Tim. 3:16; I Peter 5:5.
- Church discipline must be exercised, and the Bible gives specific guidelines for different types of discipline. The motivation for such discipline is love, restoration, and purification of the church. Matt. 18:15-20; James 5:19, 20; Gal. 6:1.
- All property is held in stewardship as God’s. There is a conscious effort made to discern the needs of others and to share to the point of an equality of living standard. The Bible warns of the danger of accumulating riches and therefore demands distribution according to ability. Matt. 5:42; Matt. 6:19-21; Luke 12:33; Acts 20:35; Rom. 15:26; I Cor. 16:1-3; II Cor. 8:11-15; I Tim. 6:17-19; Heb. 13:16; I John 3:16, 17.
- Christian love is a servant. It seeks opportunities to help all men and to inspire courage and faith in others. Matt. 20:26-28; Luke 10:25-37; Gal. 6:10.
- The Brothers sense their responsibility to the hungry and naked. Matt. 25:35, 36; Luke 3:11; Luke 14:13, 14; Luke 16:19-25; Gal. 2:10.
- Love guards its speech. The brethren do not gossip, slander, or even speak ill of one another or of any other person. I Tim. 5:13; Titus 1:10; Titus 2:8; Titus 3:2; James 4:11; I Peter 2:1; I Peter 3:10.
- Brethren desire to honor others, esteem others before themselves, and live in humble submission. They readily forgive and rejoice in the blessings of others. Rom. 12:10; I Cor. 13:4-7; Col. 3:12, 13; Phil. 2:1-4.
- This brotherhood is maintained on the human level in a community of love. Acts 4:32. Herein lies the strongest appeal of truth to the world. John 13:34, 35.
19. GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:
We confess the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit found in I Cor. 12 to be valid through the New Testament dispensation.
20. DIVINATION AND WITCHCRAFT RENOUNCED:
Brethren are free from all types of witchcraft, sorcery, divining, and other occultic and New Age practices. These practices shall be renounced in the name of Jesus to maintain church purity. Ephesians 5:11,12; Galatians 5:19-21.