Have questions about Clovis Hills and what we believe? Look below for our most Frequently Asked Questions. Browse or click the link to go straight to the answer.
Have questions about something not on this list? Contact Pastor Dave Love, email@example.com
CLOVIS HILLS CORE BELIEFS
Clovis Hills Statement of Faith
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God.
Man is made in the spiritual image of God, to be like him in character. Man is the supreme object of God’s creation. Although man has tremendous potential for good, he is marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called "sin.” This attitude separates man from God.
ABOUT JESUS CHRIST
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the eternal forgiveness of the sins of all men by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate his power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven’s glory and will return again to earth to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Salvation is a gift from God to man. Man can never make up for his sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can man be saved from sin’s penalty. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life by faith.
Man was created to exist forever. He will either exist eternally separated from God by sin or in union with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with him is eternal life (heaven). Heaven and Hell are places of eternal existence.
ABOUT ETERNAL SECURITY
Because God gives man eternal life through Jesus Christ, a believer is secure in salvation for eternity. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the self-effort of the Christian. It is the grace and keeping power of God that gives this security.
ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is equal with the Father and the Son as God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christ-follower from the moment of salvation. He provides believers with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. A Christ-follower seeks to live under his leadership daily.
ABOUT THE BIBLE
The Bible is God’s word to all men. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because it is inspired by God, it is truth without any mixture of error.
Question: Why do you baptize by immersion?
Answer: Here’s a little Greek trivia- the word “Baptism” in our English versions of the Scripture is a transliteration, not translation of the Greek word used in Scripture, “Baptizo.” The literal translation of this word means to “put under” or to “submerge.” At Clovis Hills we only practice this Biblical form of baptism, immersion. We do not recognize other methods (sprinkling, pouring, etc.) as Biblical methods of baptism.
Question: To be a member of Clovis Hills, do I have to get baptized again?
Answer: Only if you were baptized as a child or infant before you actually came to know Christ. This is something parents do for children and is not a personal declaration of a commitment to Christ. In some cases, we may ask someone to be baptized if they come from a church in which the teaching about salvation and baptism differs greatly from what the Bible says. For instance, there are some churches that teach you can be baptized for someone else in order to secure their salvation or that you must be baptized again and again in order to keep your salvation. In these cases, even though someone may have been baptized as an adult, we would encourage them to be baptized again to make a declaration of their belief and trust in God's word at this point. We would not ask someone to be baptized again if they were recommitting their lives after they had fallen away from a lifestyle of faith. There are some people who choose to be baptized after falling away, but we do not believe that the Bible teaches that this is necessary.
Question: Will Clovis Hills Church baptize a person who is having sex outside of marriage? What if it is in a monogamous relationship?
Answer: You may be surprised, but the answer is “yes.” Baptism is a public declaration of our commitment to follow Christ. None of us are perfect before or after coming to Christ. God’s free gift of salvation is exactly that. Our faith journey is about our becoming all that God calls us to be. We don’t need to change our behavior before accepting God’s gift of salvation.
However, there are limitations for those caught in habitual sin. Habitual sin is where we know that God has commanded us not to do something and we still make a conscious decision to continue engaging in this particular sin. Once we surrender to Christ and give our life to him, this behavior is an act of rebellion against God. As long as those in habitual sin continue their behavior, they would not be able to join the church as a member. And if a person is already a church member, he would be asked to remove himself from ministry leadership until his life reflects Biblical behavior.
On Church Membership
Question: What does it mean to be a stakeholder/member of Clovis Hills?
Answer: When Christ ascended back to heaven, he left us with the responsibility of spreading his Word and leading people to discover their true purpose in relationship with Christ. We call this the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Therefore, we believe the local church is the hope of the world. Membership is your agreement to partner with the global Church by becoming an active participant and stakeholder in this local body of believers to accomplish the mission of Christ in the world.
Question: What is required to join Clovis Hills as a member?
Answer: We require these four things to become a member of Clovis Hills:
1. You have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of your life
2. You have been baptized by immersion
3. You have attended the Connect Class.
4. You have signed our Stakeholders Covenant where:
a. You agree with our Statement of Faith
b. You will Protect the Unity of Clovis Hills
c. You will Share in the Responsibility of the Church
d. You will Serve in Ministry of the Church
e. You will Support the Testimony of the Church
On the Lord’s Supper (Communion)
Question: What do you believe about The Lord’s Supper?
Answer: Jesus never asked his disciples to remember his birth. But he did instruct them to remember his death and resurrection. He gave the church two visible symbols (called "ordinances") as reminders of his death. These two ordinances are: Baptism and The Lord's Supper. The Lord's Supper is a regular reminder of the price he paid for us to have a personal relationship with God.
Question: How often do you take the Lord’s Supper?
On Gifts and the Holy Spirit
Answer: Jesus held the first Holy Communion on a Thursday night, and then from then on the early Church practiced it in homes. Therefore, we don't land on a certain day or time to take communion. We practice communion in our small groups, and 3 to 4 times a year in our weekend services.
Question: What are your beliefs regarding the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
Answer: The Bible teaches that, at the moment you believe in Jesus, you are baptized and sealed by the Holy Spirit. This is a one time experience that comes at the moment of salvation. The Bible also teaches us that we must be filled with the Spirit on a continual basis as believers. You receive all of God's Spirit the moment you are saved, and throughout your life you will learn to trust more and more of yourself to Him.
Question: What do you believe about speaking in tongues and other gifts of the Spirit?
Answer: People have always been more impressed with the more spectacular spiritual gifts (healing, tongues, etc). God tells us in 1 Corinthians 12-14 that He is more impressed with the less noticeable gifts, and that He is most impressed with love. These chapters are filled with warnings about using the more spectacular gifts in ways that draw attention to ourselves rather than to the Lord. Paul says that he would rather speak in a few words that people would understand than in thousands of words in tongues. That is why we don't speak in tongues in our worship services - we want to speak in ways that people understand.
Question: How do you feel about healing at Clovis Hills?
Answer: We believe in God's power to heal. We do not make a public show of our praying for healing. It is a private time, usually of prayer and faith, with those who are facing the struggle and suffering in their lives. We believe that, when it comes to healing, there are times when God says “yes" and times when God says “no" to a physical healing on this earth. Obviously, even death is something Christ has already overcome, and we will spend eternity with Him in heaven. There will come a day for all of us when there will be something that he won't heal us of and we will go to spend eternity with him (unless the Lord comes again first). We need to have the humility to realize that we do not always know what God's answer is going to be on the question of healing. He has told us to put faith in him and to trust him for our heart's desires.
On God's Sovereignty
Question: Since God knows everything we’re going to do and say, what is the point of being put in this world?
Answer: God did an amazing thing when he made us. He gave us free will. Free will gives us the ability to choose to have a relationship with God or not. We can choose to do good things or bad. Why is our choice important? It determines how much we grow in character in this world. It determines where we are going to spend eternity. It determines the joy or lack of joy we have in our daily life. It determines how much we will show Christ or not show Christ to the people around us. But no matter what we choose, nothing can keep God from accomplishing his will in the world. Ultimately, he has the power to do what he knows is best. We call this God’s sovereignty. And we can trust him with this ultimate power completely because of the nature of his character.
Question: Why does sin separate us from God? Is it really that big a deal?
Answer: Sin is our choice to go against God’s best for us. Our sin creates a break in our relationship, just like betraying a best friend creates a rift. Often we sin because there is a lure that tells us we are missing out on things that we would really like. This goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when the serpent told Adam and Eve that God was trying to keep things from them. But this is an empty promise. When we get too far away from Christ, it seems like the freedom that we thought we’d enjoy actually becomes a prison that keeps us away from knowing the God who loves us. We end up facing an increasing sense of need to do evil things. Sin creates death in us, physically, emotionally and spiritually. God gave his only Son to pay this price on the cross and provide a way for us to start over as a new person in him.
Question: What is tithing?
Answer: The Bible describes tithing as giving God your first and your best in everything. He wants to be first in our hearts, in our minds, in our time and in our finances. The Bible is very clear about believers giving the first 10% of our income to the Him. In fact, the word “tithe" literally means 10%. It is a sign of our faith and trust that He uses to bless others. We are not limited to that amount. Also, the Bible often talks about giving an offering above 10% to the Lord for a specific purpose.
Question: Is tithing between you and the Lord, or you and the church? Can I give my tithe to another organization?
Answer: The short answer is it's between you and God. God does direct people in different ways about their giving. However, even most para-church organizations agree: first tithe to the church, and then give any gifts beyond that to meet other needs. One reason is that there was only one place to give in New Testament times...the church. All mission work, benevolence, etc. came through the church. Today, we believe giving to the church first because it is the Christ-ordained body for doing His work in the world. Also, to think practically, the healthier the church, the more people the church reaches, the more people there will be to give to outside ministries.
Also, it’s important to know that as a church we give 8% of our budget to organizations and ministries outside of our church to ministries like Fresno Rescue Mission, Poverello House, ESA/Love Inc and others. We also financially support missionaries in over 100 countries of the world and support new church plants in our own area, across the nation and in other countries such as India. Your tithe to Clovis Hills is going to all of these ministries
Question: Should I pay off all of my debts before I begin to tithe?
Answer: The Bible encourages us to do both, not one or the other. In fact, one of the keys to paying off debts is beginning to tithe. It not only brings God's blessing to a person's finances, it also helps them to begin to think more sacrificially, to plan more carefully and to see God's direction more clearly. At Clovis Hills one of our core classes is Crown Financial studies which assists people who are in debt to plan how to get out of debt.
Question: I know that tithing is supposed to be giving 10% to the Lord. Is it of the gross or the net after taxes? I don’t know that I could afford to give 10% of what I earn before taxes!
Answer: The practice that Christians have always carried out is the giving of 10% back to the Lord of all that the Lord has given to you – the gross. It's not really a tithe (our first and best) to subtract out our largest payments and then give 10% out of the remainder. However, God is not interested in our money so much as He is interested in what it represents: our heart and priorities. If you really fear you can’t afford to tithe a full 10%, start out at a lower percentage and see how God responds. He promises we can’t out give him! When you see how faithful God is, you can slowly increase your percentage as your faith and finances grow.
Question: My husband is not a believer. Should tithing be a family decision?
Answer: Finances are always a family issue and involve the decision of the whole family. Tithing is no different. Often when people have explained to their spouse that this is a commitment they have made out of a real genuine love for the Lord and not a feeling of requirement of by the church, most spouses are responsive and understand in a better way why this commitment is so important.
Try this: sit down and talk with your husband and see if he would be willing to tithe. Even though he is not a believer, who knows what God might do in his heart. God may use the fact that you are sharing your desire, to speak to his heart about what your commitment to Christ really means in your life. If he has some feeling against tithing, the next step is to ask if he might be willing for you to tithe on a certain portion of your income. We’ve found that most people are willing, at least at this point, to say, “yes, I would consider that because that is something on your heart.” You might even encourage him by saying, “Let's try this, and see what God does.” This could be a way God can prove that he is real not only to you but to your entire family.
HOT BUTTON OR CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES
On Drinking Alcohol
Question: What does the Bible say about drinking alcohol?
Answer: In Bible times everyone drank a watered down wine. Without refrigeration, there was no way to keep fruit juice without it fermenting. There is nothing biblically wrong with drinking alcohol, as long as it's not as a means of escape or you don't struggle with becoming drunk. The biggest problem is that we live in a society where alcohol is the chosen “drug of escape" for many people. We have seen Jesus free many from their alcohol addiction through our Celebrate Recovery program.
The Bible encourages us, "…be careful that your freedom does not cause those who are weak in the faith to fall." 1 Corinthians 8:9 To us, this means that while many things are permissible, we must exercise wisdom so we don't cause those around us to stumble in their faith. At Clovis Hills, our leaders know that we are never to have alcohol at any Clovis Hills sponsored event. It is a reason we don't use wine for the Lord's Supper (Communion) and instead use juice.
Question: What does Clovis Hills believe about divorce?
Answer: While the Bible does not say that it is okay for us to leave our spouse for just any reason, it does tell us it is acceptable in cases of adultery or desertion. God’s intention is not to trap us, but to help us to see the importance of marriage and the great pain that comes with a marriage break up.
God wants us to grow in our relationships, and He wants to grow us even through painful relationships. The most important thing for struggling couples to do is to get into counseling together. It is not enough for one spouse to go, both need to go. This is a problem that can't be dealt with alone or by having someone “fix” our spouse. There is nothing wrong with getting help, God has built us to need other people.
There is a third condition we believe makes separation advisable- physical abuse. Although the Bible does not specifically tell us to divorce if this is the case, our advice would STRONGLY be to separate from a spouse who is physically abusive. It is not God's will for you to allow your spouse (or anyone else) to physically abuse you. Hopefully, separation will be the wake up call that causes them to get counseling to rid their lives of this terrible sin. If you are in this situation, please get in touch with our staff and let us help you.
On Women’s Roles in the Church
Finally, if you are a person who has had a divorce and are feeling far from God due to fear or guilt, our Heavenly Father offers both grace and forgiveness. We encourage you to contact the church office for information on our Divorce Recovery Groups, and to come to know the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.
Question: What do you believe about women teaching in the church?
Answer: It's our belief that the Bible clearly teaches that only men should be the Lead Pastor of a church. We also believe that the Bible does not prohibit women from teaching in the church under the authority of the pastor and elders of that church. We have women in pastoral roles at Clovis Hills. They lead ministries and are licensed to perform pastoral functions such as weddings, funerals, etc. All pastors at Clovis Hills serve first and foremost under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. They are also under the authority of our Lead Pastor and the board of Elders.
Question: Aren’t there verses that say women should not speak, let alone teach, in church?
Answer: The verses most commonly associated with this question are these:
I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent." 1 Timothy 2:12 and “…women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home…” 1 Corinthians 14:34-35
Historical perspective really helps put these into context. In New Testament times, men and women sat on different sides of the church. For a woman to ask her husband a question, she would have had to shout it to the other side of the church or disrupt the church service by getting up and walking over to him. Apparently, this is exactly what was happening in the Corinthian church, and their worship services were becoming disrupted and chaotic. Paul is saying, "Listen during the worship service, and talk about your questions on the way home."
On Abortion and Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Question: What does the Bible say about abortion?
Answer: The Bible clearly teaches that life begins at conception and therefore abortion is wrong.
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it. You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion! You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe.” Psalm 139:13-16
If you are a woman who has had an abortion, and are feeling far from God due to fear or guilt, our Heavenly Father offers both grace and forgiveness. We encourage you to contact the church office for more information on Post Abortion Support Groups, and come to receive the love, forgiveness and compassion of Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches us “God is the Father who is full of mercy and all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us.” 2 Corinthians 1:2-4
The Bible is also full of examples on the principles of adoption- after all, believers are adopted into the family of God! We believe that adoption is not only the best option for an undesired pregnancy, but it is the spiritual picture of how God chose us when we didn’t know him and made us fully co-heirs with his son Jesus Christ.
Question: What do you believe about Embryonic Stem Cell Research?
Answer: This is a simple but deceptive question. Who wouldn't want to improve the quality of life by discovering a cure for cancer, or a way to grow a new heart or a new kidney? The deception lies in the implication that the only source of stem cell research is from embryos, which simply isn’t true. Embryonic stem cell potential remains theoretical, while adult stem cell treatments are already being used to successfully treat many diseases. The critical point here is the production of adult stem cells does not require the destruction of an embryo. Also, adult stem cells pose no medical dangers to the patient.
As with the above question, the Bible tells us life begins at the moment of conception. Since that is true, an embryo is no less life because it is out of the womb, and should be protected as such.
Question: What does the Bible say about homosexuality?
Answer: The Bible very clearly says that homosexuality is a sin. Leviticus 18:22 says, "Homosexuality is absolutely forbidden, for it is an enormous sin." However, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 warns us, “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders… will inherit the kingdom of God.” This scripture includes not only homosexuality, but all sexual immorality: adultery, sex without marriage, and pornography. We must not act as if homosexuality is the only serious sexual sin, and we must not act as if homosexuality is not a serious sexual sin.
Question: Isn't being homosexual something that a person is physically born with?
Answer: There is absolutely no scientific data, regardless of some studies hypotheses, that link sexual orientation to biology. Secondly, even if some physical difference were discovered, it would be no excuse for sin. All of us are born with certain weaknesses. Many are born with susceptibilities to certain addictions, such as alcoholism. However, it is obviously still not an excuse for living an alcoholic lifestyle.
Also, a word about being judgmental. It's not judgmental to say that what the Bible calls a sin is a sin. That is simply speaking the truth. However, there is no excuse for not being willing to talk to someone caught up in sin (unless you are tempted by that sin), not believing that they can be forgiven, or thinking that you are not just as much in need of Jesus as they are. Sin has no distinction to God. It all separates us from him.
Question: Can homosexuals attend Clovis Hills? And can they be members?
Answer: Absolutely they can attend Clovis Hills. In fact, we know that some do. Christ desires that all come to him, no exceptions! However, there are limitations for those caught in habitual sin. Habitual sin is where we know that God has commanded us not to do something and we still make a conscious decision to continue engaging in that particular sin. Once we surrender to Christ and give our life to him, this behavior is an act of rebellion against God. As long as those in habitual sin continue their behavior, they would not be able to join the church as a member. And if a person is already a church member, he would be asked to remove himself from ministry leadership until his life reflects Biblical behavior.