The International Pentecostal Holiness Church is committed to Jesus Christ and His kingdom. This commitment involves a biblical lifestyle. We believe in the verbal and plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16,17). The Bible is God’s infallible Word, the believer’s guide and the final authority for both faith and conduct (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). People who teach in our institutions and who are credentialed ministers shall subscribe to this same position.
We believe that the top priority of Christians is to “make it our aim to be well pleasing to God” (2 Corinthians 5:9). Every facet of our lives must come under divine authority as we relate everything to the primary goal, maintaining it without interruption. Our worth to God publicly is measured by what we are in private. Our primary goal must be to please Him and be acceptable to Him.
OUR MINDS: Since it is our aim “to please God” in everything we do, we will strive to keep our minds pure and positive, avoiding all evils in our modern society which are designed to weaken or destroy our spirituality (Philippians 4:7,8). This must include a sensitivity to carefully judge the television, movie, music, and computer industry. Profane and pornographic materials will have no place in our lives. We hold a deep commitment to the study of the Bible.
OUR BODIES: We commit ourselves to maintaining a disciplined lifestyle with regard to our bodies. Since our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit and instruments of righteousness (1 Corinthians 6:19; Romans 6:13), we must keep our bodies pure and consecrated for the Master’s use that we might please Him (Romans 12:1,2; 2 Corinthians 7:1).
We expect our members to abstain from the use and promotion of tobacco, alcoholic beverages, and other addictive drugs (2 Corinthians 7:1). We maintain a strong position against abortion. We also maintain a strong position against premarital, extramarital, and deviant sex, including homosexual and lesbian relationships. We refuse to accept the loose moral standards of our society (Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 1 Corinthians 6:9).
OUR SPIRITS: Our “aim to please God” in our whole life will cause us to exhibit the “mind of Christ” in all our attitudes (1 Corinthians 2:12-14). Brotherly love as taught and exemplified by Christ is to be our example. Members are to be compassionate and charitable toward their fellowman. The greed and selfishness that motivate much of our modern culture is contrary to our Christian faith and testimony. We recognize racism as sinful and seek to treat all people with dignity and respect, demonstrating Christian love to one another. Hatred, prejudice, and hostility are inconsistent with our goal—to please God (Philippians 2:5-11).
OUR SPEECH: Our speech reveals much about us (Matthew 12:34-37). The Christian should be known by his wholesome conversation. Our members are to refrain from speaking anything that is unclean, untrue, unkind, or unprofitable. To please God, we must make sure that our communication affirms, rather than hinders our testimony (Romans 12:1,2).
OUR RELATIONSHIPS: The believer’s commitment to pleasing God stands above his commitment to any political party, economic structure or social institution. All commitments are governed by the highest commitment—to please God. All members are to be honest and ethical in all their relationships (Romans 12:17).
We expect our members not to hold active membership in, or fellowship with, organizations with objectives and activities not in harmony with Scriptures, or which require oath-bound allegiance that infringes upon a member’s total allegiance to God (2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Ephesians 5:11). No goal shall divert us even to the slightest degree from the central goal of being “approved unto God” (2 Timothy 2:15).
OUR FAMILIES: The family is the basic unit of society. The divine origin of the family makes it of vital concern to the church and to society. Our commitment to a biblical lifestyle profoundly impacts the family. We give priority to the sanctity of marriage and to the biblical pattern of relationships in the home. While the husband is recognized as the head of the home, he is also commanded to love and cherish his wife as his own body. Wives are to respect and honor their husbands (Ephesians 5:22-28).
Parents are to teach and correct their children, but at the same time refrain from provoking them to anger and resentment (Ephesians 6:1-4). Children are to respect and obey their parents. Christian families should worship together, play together, and work together. The relationships in the Christian family should reflect the healing that Christ brings to all human relationships.
OUR STEWARDSHIP: Our commitment to Jesus Christ includes stewardship. According to the Bible, everything belongs to God (Psalm 24:1). We are stewards of His resources and conscious of Him in the management of that trust. Our stewardship of possessions begins with the tithe (Malachi 3:8-10). All our members are privileged and responsible to return a tenth of all their income to the Lord. This tithe is to be paid into the “storehouse.” This storehouse is the treasury of the local church or conference to which this member belongs. In addition to the tithe, all members are blessed to give offerings out of the ninety percent of God’s wealth which He allows them to use (I Corinthians 16:2).
Stewardship also involves the protection of our reputation. Therefore, we are to be honest in all matters, avoiding unethical personal or business practices of any kind, including gambling. Stewardship also includes our time, talent, and spiritual gifts, as well as our money (Ephesians 5:16; Romans 12:3-8; Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27). This stewardship should be taken into account when drafting wills and bequeathing estates.
OUR LOYALTY: Loyalty to Christ and His church are basic to the success of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. The faithful participation of every member, both lay and clergy, and every local church and quadrennial conference in the various ministries of the church is necessary if the International Pentecostal Holiness Church is to fulfill its mission. Loyalty involves commitment to all the ministries of the denomination. Since leaders should be role models, all those in leadership in the local church, the quadrennial conference, and the general church should set an example by their faithfulness in supporting the ministries of the church.
Loyalty involves attendance at the gatherings of the church. This is vital at local church, quadrennial conference, and denominational gatherings (Hebrews 10:25). Loyalty involves affirmation. The morale of the church requires the positive affirmation of the leadership and ministries of the denomination. While negative criticism tears the church apart (Galatians 5:12-26), positive affirmation builds it up (Ephesians 4:16). We oppose the increasing commercialization and secularization of Sunday.
Loyalty involves financial support. Faithfulness in tithes and offerings is essential to the prosperity of God’s people (Malachi 3:8-12). This applies to local church members, quadrennial conferences, and all other individuals and entities of the church. In order to hold any official position in the church (local, quadrennial or general) or to serve as a delegate to General Conference, a member must follow the biblical principle of tithing.
CONCLUSION: This Covenant of Commitment and Guidance is intended as a guideline for all our members, not a system for monitoring or judging one another. Neither is this Covenant of Commitment and Guidance to be considered an exhaustive statement concerning a biblical lifestyle. The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is our complete and final authority. A careful, conscientious, and continual study of God’s Word will reveal to the believer a growing understanding of what it means to live worthy of our calling in Christ Jesus.
Any member having difficulty in following a biblical lifestyle or this Covenant of Commitment and Guidance should be given loving nurture and patient instruction, in order to lead him to maturity and restoration, if needed (Galatians 6:1,2).
There are times when, in spite of every effort to nurture and restore a member, no alternative but excommunication can be found. When a member refuses to heed the loving admonitions of the church to follow a Christian lifestyle, he or she may be excommunicated from the fellowship of the church. However, excommunication is a last resort, and is administered only in flagrant cases of heresy, divisiveness, or immorality (Matthew 18:15-17; Titus 3:10, Romans 16:17, 18; 1 Corinthians 5:1-5). No person who has been dismissed, or who has withdrawn under charges from one Pentecostal Holiness Church shall be permitted to unite with another Pentecostal Holiness Church, without first being reconciled to the church from which he/she was dismissed.
The primary purpose for this commitment to a disciplined lifestyle is to strengthen the position of our members in their aim to please God as Great Commission Christians; thus firmly establishing our denomination as a Great Commission movement. We feel that the International Pentecostal Holiness Church has a vital part in world evangelism. Our aim is to lead our people toward their primary goal of pleasing Christ, which will result in the multiplication of believers and churches.