Header photos courtesy of Martin Sojka
Hills Bible Church (HBC)
-an evangelical Baptist church affiliated as a ‘church fellowship’ with the Baptist Union of Victoria.
Unfortunately, in our contemporary world, the term ‘evangelical’ has taken on a meaning not ever considered by the historic use of the term.
Historically, the term ‘evangelical church’ meant a group of believers who believed and proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ as He is revealed in the Bible, declaring that there is no hope for people in this world except in being united to Christ in his life, death and resurrection. One could correctly argue that the first century churches were ‘evangelical’ – these roots go back to John 4 and the use of the term ‘born again’ used by Jesus. In other words, to be evangelical is to go right back to the foundation of the New Testament gospel!
In our day the word ‘evangelical’ has become so inclusive as to have lost its meaning. Because of this crisis and because of our love of Christ, his gospel and his church, we assert anew our commitment to the central truths of historic evangelicalism.
We affirm these truths because we believe they are central to the Bible. The contemporary use of the word ‘evangelical’ often refers to a vague mass of people with different convictions, confessions and beliefs about the Gospel. Sometimes this even includes persons who do not believe in the authority of the Bible and, like liberal theology of old, believe in a theology based on consensus, modern psychology or worldly politics.
A Brief Definition
To the reformers it was related to gospel recovery, that is, one who adhered to the Reformation’s tenets, which means that historically, Evangelicals confessed a belief in the truth of the five solas:
- Sola gratia
- Sola fide
- Solus Christos
- Sola Scriptura
- Soli Deo Gloria
In short, with them, we confess that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in the Person and work of Christ alone as revealed in the Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone.
We are a Baptist Church
We practice ‘believer’s baptism’ understanding that Scriptures teach that those who believed in Jesus are baptised as an outward sign of an inward conversion through faith. (Click this link for a fuller understanding of our Statement of Faith.)
While we agree with many of the creeds, we are not a ‘creedal church’. As Baptist, we hold to the understanding that individuals are free to individually interpret the Bible, which is regarded as the ultimate religious authority in matters of faith and practice. This is in contrast to other possible authorities, such as tradition, reason, and human experience. Whilst some Baptists have adopted creeds to give expression to their faith and to clarify their beliefs, they have not elevated these to a place of equal or superior authority to the Scriptures.
There is a great deal of harmony between the Baptist distinctive of individual freedom to interpret the Scriptures and this blog. This blog is written by four individual members of Hills Bible Church. Each author writes from a distinct perspective on wide ranging topics. (See the disclaimer concerning their posts in the footer below.) To help you get to know the three of us, here’s a brief thumbnail of each writer.
MARTIN – I am the Pastor at HBC, married to Jennie, we have two children: Asher & Rachel; I am a reformed Evangelical Christian. I was brought up Jewish and became a Christian whilst studying at the University of Sydney. I have a BSc, BTh, MTh and Dip Min. I like the Beatles, science fiction and people (not necessarily in that order!). I am deeply grateful to God that Jesus died and paid for my sins and rose again to give me new life. I love studying God’s word and teaching it. I would value your prayers for that and for putting what I learn into practice! MORE ABOUT MARTIN HERE.
DON – Church planter/servant-leader, moderator of this blog, retired CEO, conservative. In a past life, when a young man, I was a recreational mountain-climber in Canada until I was almost killed in a serious mountaineering accident; during my middle adult years, was a keen sailor until I emigrated to Australia (go figure??) and now have taken up woodworking – MORE ABOUT DON HERE.
STUART – A father of two, with a medical career, a church leader, a promoter of small groups knowing that they are the building blocks of the church. I am passionate about theology – understanding more about God and how He goes about things which hopefully impacts how I live my life. I enjoy playing Australian Football and watching AFL. I barrack (for our non-Aussie readers, this word means “support”) for Hawthorn and am a sucker for technology… when it works!!
JAMES – I am a charismatic, complimentarian Calvinist who is a reformed resurgent and pop culturalist (not to mention a lover of alliteration and literature). I am a father of one (so far), husband of one (for good) and Christ follower (forever). I have had three years full time university ministry experience but am now working at Australia’s largest pay TV company. My passion lies in taking the timeless truth of the gospel of Christ and seeing it correctly contextualised for a post-modern, post-church western world. YOU WON’T SEE JAMES HERE.
SIMON – I am a Reformed, Evangelical Christian. I live and work in Melbourne, am married to my lovely wife Hayley. I love books, especially ones that involve theology, philosophy, history or Charles Dickens. I also enjoy playing futsal, watching football (pick your code), and music. I have a BA in politics, and have also studied music.