Hill Country Membership & Commitment
We hope Discover Hill Country has given you a clearer picture of how God is using Hill Country to share His love in Greater Austin and beyond and how God could use Hill Country to point you toward growth and greater purpose in your own life. The most important step in this process is becoming a follower of Jesus by entering into a personal and eternal relationship with Him through faith. Another pivotal step is making the decision to join your story with the story of Hill Country by becoming a member.
Because our understanding of church membership varies based on our background and experiences, we offer a summary of our definition and commitment of membership here at Hill Country, developed from the clear teaching of the Bible.
A member of Hill Country Bible Church is someone who has personally received Jesus Christ as Savior, who is connecting to the church family, and who has made a formal commitment to this church.
Believing that out of His deep love for me and through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God offers me the gift of forgiveness of my sin (Romans 3:23; 5:8; 6:23), spiritual life and purpose (2 Corinthians 5:17; 4:6-7), and an eternal relationship and future with Him (John 3:16), and having personally received that gift by placing my faith in Christ alone as my Savior who brings me into relationship with God (John 1:12),
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Having completed Discover Hill Country and being committed to the mission, vision, core beliefs, and people of Hill Country Bible Church, I commit myself to God and to the other members to continue to take steps spiritually in these areas:
• Following Jesus by daily time with Him and weekly participation in Sunday worship service,
• Growing with others in a small group community,
• Impacting others through volunteering and outreach,
• Giving financially to support the mission and ministry of Hill Country.
OUR CORE BELIEFS
This document outlines the core teaching distinctives of Hill Country Bible Church Austin. As such, they represent what we believe the Bible teaches regarding the key doctrines of the Christian faith.
We believe that the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments that comprise the Bible are the inspired, inerrant and infallible Word of God. We believe that the Holy Spirit supervised the writers of the Bible in what they wrote so that, using their own unique personalities, the very words recorded in the original manuscripts are the direct revelation of God. We believe the Bible not only contains the Word of God but actually is God’s Word and, therefore, is the complete and final authority for belief and behavior. As such, it can be completely trusted. We believe that inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility extend equally and fully to all parts of Scripture: historically, poetically, doctrinally and prophetically (2 Tim. 3:16, 2 Pet. 1:21, 1 Cor. 2:13, John 17:17).
We believe that there is one and only one true and living God, an infinite Spirit who is the Maker and Supreme Ruler of the universe. We believe the Bible reveals Him to be holy, sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, immutable and full of love, justice, goodness, mercy and truth. This is only a representative list of His eternal and unchanging attributes. Although there is only one God, He exists eternally in three persons as the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We believe these members of the Trinity are coequal in essence, having precisely the same nature, attributes and perfections, but are distinct in subsistence, executing different but harmonious functions (Mark 12:29, John 4:24, Matt. 3:16-17, Matt. 28:19, 2 Cor. 13:14).
We believe that Jesus Christ has existed eternally as the Son of God. At a specific point in time, Jesus became a man (the incarnation) in order to reveal God and redeem humanity. We believe He was supernaturally conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, Mary. In His incarnation, He forever possesses both full deity and full humanity in such a way that the properties of each nature are fully retained and undiminished by the union. We believe Jesus died on the cross as a substitute for sinful humanity, was buried, rose bodily from the tomb, ascended into Heaven where He ministers on the behalf of those who have trusted in Him, and someday will come again for His own (John 1:18, 8:58, Matt. 1:23, Col. 1:15-17, 1 Tim. 1:15, 3:16).
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, fully coequal with God the Father and God the Son in terms of divine being, but distinct from the Father and the Son in His personhood. We believe the Holy Spirit actively ministers to the world. This ministry includes restraining evil, convicting the unsaved of sin and bestowing God’s goodness on mankind. We also believe He ministers to every believer in Jesus Christ in numerous ways: regenerating, sealing, indwelling, baptizing into the Body of Christ, and the giving of spiritual gifts. Other ministries to believers include filling, assuring, teaching, guiding and comforting (Acts 5:3-4, 2 Thess. 2:3-9, John 16:7-11, Matt. 5:45, Tit. 3:5, Eph. 1:13, 1 Cor. 6:19, 12:13, Eph. 3:20, 1 Cor. 14, James 5:14, Eph. 5:18, Rom. 8:16, 14, John 16:13, 7).
We believe that God, according to His sovereign will and for His own glory, created the heavens and the earth without the use of pre-existent material. We also believe that all living things came into being by the creative act of God and not by a random process. Creation has an existence distinct from Him and yet is always dependent on Him (Gen. 2:4, Prov. 16:4, Acts 17:24, Col. 1:16-17).
We believe that humanity was created in the image and likeness of God and in a state of innocence. Through deliberate disobedience, humanity fell from its sinless state and as a consequence lost its fellowship with God and became subject to spiritual and physical death. We believe that through Adam’s transgressions the entire human race has inherited a corrupt nature, which is prone to do evil and unable to please God (Gen. 1:26-27, 3:24, Rom. 5:12, Eph. 2:1-3).
We believe that sin is anything contrary to the character of God. Every person is alienated from God because of their depraved nature as well as personal acts of sin. Everyone is separated from God and completely incapable of meriting salvation and avoiding the judgment of God. This sinful nature is never eradicated, even for those who have trusted in Christ alone for salvation. It remains until the end of life on earth. However, we believe God has made provision for forgiveness of sin through the blood of Jesus Christ and victory over sin through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Rom. 3:10, 23, 6:23, Eph. 4:18, 1 John 1:8-10, Gal. 5:16-17).
We believe that salvation from the penalty and power of sin is available through faith in Jesus
Christ alone. This salvation was made possible through the blood of Jesus Christ, which He
shed on the cross. It is through this act that He became sin for us and died in our place.
There is nothing a person can do to earn this salvation (including good works, moral achievement or religious status). The one and only condition for salvation is personal faith in Jesus Christ as one’s own substitute for sin and savior from sin. At the time of salvation, a person is spiritually regenerated, sins are forgiven, God’s righteousness is imputed, and he/she is declared righteous in the sight of God. This salvation is complete and a present possession of all believers which remains his/hers forever. All who have trusted Christ as Savior are kept secure and will never lose their salvation (1 Pet. 1:18-19, 2 Cor. 5:21, 1 Pet. 2:24, Eph 2:8-9, Tit. 3:5, Eph. 4:32, Rom. 5:1, Rom. 8:38-39).
We believe that the Church is a unique organism composed of people who have placed their faith in Christ alone as Savior. The Church began on the day of Pentecost and will continue its distinct purpose until Christ’s return. We believe that the Church exists in both a universal aspect, as the Body of Christ, and in a local assembly of believers in Jesus Christ. The local church has the twofold purpose of the edification of believers and the evangelization of the unsaved. We practice water baptism by immersion, and the Lord’s Supper, which we believe to be a memorial of Christ’s death. Both are open to all believers (1 Cor. 12:13, Acts 2:1-4, 1 Thess. 4:13-17, Col. 4:16, Eph. 4:7, Heb. 13:17, Matt. 28:19-20, 1 Cor. 11:23-28).
Marriage & Sexuality
Marriage is a picture of Christ’s relationship with His Bride – the Church. It is defined from the beginning of Scripture as a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman. God designed sexual intimacy for a marriage relationship and does not endorse or condone it in any other context (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, Ephesians 5:22-23, Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4-5).
We believe that God created an order of spirit beings (without physical bodies) known as angels, before the formation of the world and for the purpose of worshipping and serving Him. Angels possess individual personalities and are intelligent and powerful. They are inferior to God but superior to humans. These angels (also known as elect or holy angels) carry out the will
of God by ministering to humankind (Col. 1:16, Heb. 1:6, 2 Pet. 2:11, Isa. 14:12-15, 1 Pet. 5:8, Eph 6:12, Heb. 1:14).
Satan and Demons
We believe Lucifer was one of the highest ranking of all the angelic beings, but he sinned through pride and rebelled against God, thereby becoming Satan (or the adversary) (Isa. 14:12-20). We believe that Satan’s declared purpose is to oppose the plan of God and to promote his own evil designs by deceiving and attacking humanity (2 Cor 4:4, Rev 20:3, Acts 5:3). In carrying out his work, Satan is aided by other fallen angels known as demons or evil spirits (Eph. 6:11-12). We believe these demons can influence and tempt people, exerting a greater degree over unbelievers (Matt 4:24).
We believe that God accomplishes His purposes in the world through and for humanity under varying dispensations or administrations. These administrations are sometimes referred to as the age of the Mosaic Law (former times); the Age of Grace (the present time); and the future millennial kingdom (the time to come). We believe that these dispensations span the entirety of human history but that dispensations are not different ways of salvation. Rather, they are ways of life which test the obedience of man to God’s revealed will during a particular time. We believe that it is necessary to observe the dispensational distinction in order to properly understand the teaching of the Scriptures (1 Cor. 10:32, Eph. 1:10, 3:2, Gal. 4:2, Luke 12:42, Heb. 12:22-23).
We believe that the next major event in God’s prophetic calendar is the Rapture of the Church. The Rapture will occur when living and dead believers are caught up to meet the Lord and receive rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Following the Rapture, a seven year period of Tribulation (or distress) will commence upon the earth at which time God’s wrath will be poured out on mankind. God’s millennial kingdom will be ushered in by Jesus Christ when He returns to the earth in power and glory to rule sovereignly over the world for a thousand years. The unsaved dead of all ages will be raised after the millennium to face the final judgment also known as the Great White Throne Judgment. Those who have not trusted in Jesus alone for their salvation will be cast into the lake of fire where there will be eternal and conscious punishment. We believe that the redeemed of all ages will exist in an eternal state of joy and bliss in the new heavens and new earth where they will worship and serve God forever (John 14:3, Heb. 10:37, 2 Cor. 5:10, Matt. 24:21-31, Rev. 20-22).
*Strict agreement with these doctrines is not required for membership at HCBC; however, we affirm these beliefs as taught in Scripture and have established them as the official positions of our church.