Who Are We? We are part of the body of Christ. We are not the only Christians, but we are Christians only. As a part of the body of Christ, Disciples Heritage Fellowship of North Carolina (DHF of NC) is an affiliate of Disciple Heritage Fellowship in Shelbyville, Illinois. Disciple Heritage Fellowship is a descendant of the Stone-Campbell movement which flourished following the great Cane Ridge revival of 1801.
The affirmations which follow represent our understanding concerning the heart of the biblical message. However, no one who joins with DHF of NC is required to agree with every statement in this document. It is not intended to serve as a test of fellowship. 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:
In Genesis 1:1 we read that “God created the heavens and the earth” and at the end of the sixth day God finished his grand creation declaring that “it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). In this perfect environment, the children of God, Adam and Eve, sinned and were cast out of the garden. The fallen sin nature of Adam and Eve was passed on to succeeding generations where it festered into wickedness until it finally troubled God’s heart that he had made humanity. God chose Noah to put into action His plan to destroy all human flesh from the earth. God instructed Noah to build an Ark in which God would preserve Noah and his family and the animals. The aftermath of the Noah story reveals to us that Noah and his offspring still possessed the old sin nature, and so it became clear that there is no human who can bring God’s righteousness to humankind.
And so, in Genesis 12 begins the story of Abraham who would become the supreme example of righteousness through faith. Genesis 15:6 says, “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” Because of his example of faith and obedience, God promised that all the world would be blessed through Abraham. Galatians 3:7 says, “Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.”
So, where is our faith to be placed? Our faith is not to be in humankind because like our brother Adam, we are all sinners. We have a fallen nature. Paul said in Romans. 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And so, prophesied throughout the Old Testament and brought to fulfillment in the New Testament, we find the anchor for our faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” As believers in Jesus Christ we place all our faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ. Christ died on the cross for the sins of the world, was raised from the dead on the third day by the power of God, and ascended to the right hand of the Father. There He continually makes intercession for those who come to believe and accept Him through faith, and in the appointed time set by God alone He will return to earth to judge the living and the dead and establish His eternal kingdom.
All belief, all faith, is based on the Word of God as proclaimed in the Bible, the Holy Scriptures of God. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Luke 21:33). 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” As such, We Believe that the final authority in matters of faith and practice is Holy Scripture, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. Because the Bible is fully 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. 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. Therefore, human reason, experience and tradition must bow to biblical authority. (2 Peter 1:20-21).
We Believe that the God revealed in Scripture is the only true God. We Believe God to be one in nature, yet existing in three persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (1 John 5:7). We Believe Scripture teaches clearly that God is eternal, unchanging, all powerful, all knowing, and everywhere present. We Believe that through the Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) the heavens and the earth, and all things visible and invisible were created and are sustained (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-3; Mark 12:29).
We Believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God who was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit and born to the virgin Mary. We Believe that He is the promised Messiah who is Lord and Savior to all mankind. We Believe Jesus Christ is the Word become flesh. He was fully divine and fully human. We Believe He lived His life without sinning. He freely and willingly went to the cross to atone for the sins of the world. 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 that in God’s timing, Jesus Christ will literally return to the earth to establish his eternal kingdom (Matthew 1:22-23, 16:16, 17:22-23; Luke 1:26-36; John 1:14; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 1:3-4; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Timothy 6:14-15; Titus 2:13).
We Believe in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, reveals the truth of God to believers. The Holy Spirit comes to all those who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Jesus says in John 14:16 that the Spirit will come to us. He is the Spirit of Truth. The Holy Spirit is our counselor, our comforter and our guide. In the book of Acts, chapter two, the Holy Spirit comes upon the believers in Jesus as they had gathered themselves in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit then settled over and in each one and gave to each the power to proclaim Christ as Lord and Savior. 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 fruit of the Spirit which enables us to grow in Christ-like character, and the gifts of the Spirit which empowers God’s people for Christian service. (Acts 1:8, 2:38; 1 Corinthians 2:12, 3:16-17; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 1:13).
We Believe that salvation is the greatest gift and the greatest need of all humankind. Paul says in Ephesians 2:8-9 that “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.” The new birth is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through the conviction of sin to which the sinner responds with repentance to God and places faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus in faith we are saved. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into their life by faith (John 3:16, 14:6; Romans 5:1, 6:23, 10:9-10; Titus 3:5).
The early Church practiced baptism as a sign of obedience to Christ for the forgiveness and repentance of sin. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 6:3-4, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” When a believer is baptized, God adopts the believer as His child, and the same Holy Spirit that Jesus received to empower His life for God, the believer also receives. Baptism is a very special time in a believer’s life. It is by believing within one’s self and demonstrating that affirmation to others that the believer is God’s child and that there is a desire to live for Him and serve him. We Believe and practice baptism by immersion for new Christians (Matthew 3:13-17, 28:18-20; Acts 2:38-41, 8:12).
When Peter made his confession of faith in Jesus as the Christ, Jesus says in Matthew 16:18, “on this rock I will build my church.” The purpose of the Church is to fulfill Jesus’ prayer when he prayed, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). How do we do that? Jesus told us in Matthew 28:19-20; “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” The Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit calls us to pray and to preach the Gospel. We are to proclaim Christ as Lord and Savior so that “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). 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 are called to assemble together regularly for worship, which includes; 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 (Acts 2:42-47, 20:7, 20:28; Romans 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 10:17; Hebrews 10:25).
Adopted/approved by the Leadership Council, Disciple Heritage Fellowship of North Carolina (DHF of NC):