This past Sunday we distributed the changes to the By Laws and Statement of Faith that have been recommended by the Elders and Deacons. Below you will find a more detailed explanation as to why these changes have been proposed. Please take a moment to read this letter, then read the changes that have been proposed.
- Changes to the By Laws
There are primarily two changes that we are recommending to the By Laws.
- The addition of Hollywood Christian School as a ministry of Hollywood Community Church
Although Hollywood Christian School has been a part of the ministry of Hollywood Community Church for more than 50 years, there was no mention of the School in our By Laws. As we went through our recent accreditation, the Accreditation Committee of FACCS stipulated that the By Laws had to state that Hollywood Christian School was a ministry of Hollywood Community Church. Secondly, the Elder Board was designated as the School Board for Hollywood Christian School. This guarantees that the school will have the same vision and direction as Hollywood Community Church.
- We continue to transition the authority of the church away from the Senior Pastor, to the Elder Board.
This transition is based on our biblical understanding of leadership. Never in the New Testament do we find the authority of the church placed in the hands of one individual. Rather, we find the church being lead by a plurality of leaders, namely the elders.
Acts 14:23 – And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
Acts 20:17 – Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him.
Titus 1:5 – That is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained in order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you.
This transition does not eliminate the position of Senior Pastor, it just limits his authority and makes him more accountable to the Elder Board. As an Elder, the Senior Pastor serves as the Chairman of the Elder Board. His responsibility is to give spiritual direction. He is considered a leader among equals.
- Changes to the Statement of Faith
Admittedly, any changes to the church’s Statement of Faith is a cause for concern and diligence. Yet, I want to assure you that we are not changing what we believe. Although there appear to be many changes to the Statement of Faith (notice the sections in yellow and red), the majority of them are because of two reasons.
- We desire to simplify and clarify language.
The great majority of the Statement of Faith document was written more than 40 years ago. Although our doctrinal position has not changed, the way that words are communicated has changed. Our desire is to simplify the language in a way that makes it easy, so that both new and mature believers can understand it.
For example, look at section eleven on the Church. The paragraph that is highlighted in red is what we are recommending to remove. That whole paragraph is one long sentence. Quite frankly, I run out of breath before I can finish reading it :-). As you can tell, we simplified the statement, making it easier to read and easier to understand.
Let me also add that we have taken the majority of the additions from the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, which is the accepted doctrinal position of Southern Baptists in the USA. It is important to realize that we are not writing or adding anything bizarre that we have come up with. Rather, it is the universal position of Conservative Southern Baptists.
- We desire to amplify our position of last things (Eschatology).
You will notice that we removed much of section 14, the doctrine of Last Things. You may be thinking, how does removing so much, amplify it? Historically, our church has taken a very strict view of God’s plan for the future. Technically, we have been dispensational, pre-tribulational and pre-millennial. Additionally, we have made our views on eschatology a point of separation. In other words, you had to agree with us in order to be a member of Hollywood Community Church.
Today, our leaders recognize that evangelical Christians have many views on the future. None of them can be proven with any certainty from Scripture. Therefore, we have pulled back or amplified our explanation of God’s future events stating what we know for sure…
- We know that Jesus Christ is going to physically return to earth.
- We know that Jesus will judge all men in righteousness.
- We know that the unsaved will be eternally punished in hell.
- We know that the believers will be eternally rewarded in heaven.
- We know that Jesus will reign for all of eternity future.
The timing and the specifics of how those things are carried out are up for debate. We have determined to state what we know for sure and to not emphasize that which is uncertain.
I trust that this answers any questions that you may have. Please feel free to communicate any questions or concerns with any of the leaders of HCC. We gladly look forward to hearing from you and answering any questions you may have.
We will officially vote on these changes on Sunday, August 28th. Please be in prayer for God’s perfect will to be accomplished. God is at work at Hollywood Community Church. I can’t wait to see what He has for us in the future.