Hartshill Bible Church
Hartshill Bible Church
c/o 121 Hartshill Road
Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs. ST4 7LU
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What we believe
If you are new to the Christian faith please take time first to look at our Gospel page.
We are all used to shopping now-a-days and seeing a long list of ingredients and additives on the side of the packet. Some people are happy just to go with the "low-fat" sticker on the front, whilst others want more detail. Companies provide the extra details to ensure that the customer is informed. Well, we're not thinking of HBC as a product but there is a similarity when it comes to labelling.
The big bright sticker on the front is "Bible". We chose this rather than "Baptist" or "Evangelical" (both of which we are) as it communicates what is central in our church life. We believe the Bible and seek to live out its teaching. It is in the Bible that we find all we need to know our Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation he brings. So don't be surprised to find the Bible playing a prominent role when you come to HBC!
But don't all Christians believe the Bible? Sadly, no. Some take only what they think is sensible and reject the accounts of miracles. Others believe only what the Church tells them whether or not it is found in the Bible. Still others say they are "led by the Spirit" and believe only what they feel he is saying to them. In these ways the Bible takes a secondary place at best.
Statement of Faith
But in saying we believe the Bible, the obvious question is, "What do you believe the Bible teaches?" It is to answer this that we have produced a simple summary of the teaching of the Bible in our Basis of Faith. This statement is not unique to HBC and is widely used by churches throughout the UK and beyond.
Alongside this statement we have produced a Family Covenant which is a summary of what we believe it means practically to be a Christian. As Jesus said, we must not be merely 'hearers' but 'doers' - those who put into practice the teaching of the Bible. These two documents reflect the belief of all at HBC.
But now we come to the more technical list on the side of the packet. Churches exist to teach Christians and instruct them to observe all that Jesus taught. To this end the pastor and elders are required to have a much deeper and extensive knowledge of the Bible and this is reflected in their teaching. A more detailed summary of the Christian Faith is found in the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith which governs the teaching at HBC.
Finally, back to the big labels. I mentioned we are an Evangelical and Baptist church. What do these labels mean? Well, Evangelical is from the Greek word for gospel, the "good news", that is the message of Christianity. It is a label applied to churches that take the Bible as their sole authority in what they believe and who believe that salvation comes through personally trusting in Jesus Christ and what he has done, not because of any good works they have done. Many churches are therefore Evangelical which do not have that label in their title.
Baptist is a label applied to churches that believe a person should be baptised once they believe in Jesus and own him as Lord. Any adult or child may be baptised who believes in Jesus Christ and knows their sins forgiven. We do not, however, baptise infants as these cannot yet personally profess faith. The order is understood to be "believe and (then) be baptised".
Though few attend a church for the first time because they have read the statement of beliefs, those beliefs are vitally important. At HBC we take our beliefs (doctrine) seriously as we know that error destroys lives.
Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them. (The apostle Paul writing to Timothy in the New Testament)
Finally, for clarity's sake we have certain policies that we list in order to avoid confusion for those attending or seeking to become members. These can be found in our Policies Section.