We, the elders of Hillside Chapel, after much prayer, study of the Word, review of the past year's decisions and discussion, believe the following:
- God has complete and eternal Sovereignty over all of creation (Col 1:15-18). In the exercise of this Sovereignty he has created four basic institutions: individual (Gen 1:27), family (Gen 2:24-25), Church (Acts 2:1-42) and civil government (Rom 13:1-5). These four institutions derive their specific authority, relationships and limitations from God, all of which are completely and clearly described in his Word.
- Christ alone is the only head of the Church (Eph 5:23; Col 1:18). Neither the agencies of civil government at any level, nor "the people" by way of any democracy, has any authority whatsoever to interfere with the Church's ecclesiastical decision-making.
- God's Word instructs us that the civil magistrate, in his/her capacities in all civil governments, are accountable to God and His Law for his/her actions (Matthew 22: 15-21; Rom 13:1,4; 1 Timothy 2:1-2).
- Church leadership, in carrying out their responsibilities described in Scripture, has no primary duty related to congregational health and safety (except in regard to making every effort to provide safety during public worship on church grounds). The chief responsibility for health and safety resides in and with the individual and family.
- Church leadership therefore, has no authority, right or duty to place restrictions upon, and thereby bind the consciences of its asymptomatic congregants/families who, based upon their own assessment before God, have concluded that nothing inhibits them from public worship.
- The Church, in its prophetic capacity, has a duty to civil authority to speak the Truth in love (Eph 4:15, 25-27, 29-32) when that civil authority oversteps its God-given authority (e.g. unlimited quarantine, mandatory mask-wearing and "social distancing" in the Church).
Therefore, in keeping with above, Hillside Chapel will resume normal (pre-Covid-19) practices. Specifically, seating will return to normal. Mask wearing and spacing will be left to each individual's/family's discretion before God. This return-to-normal decision applies to every ministry of the church.
The elders and staff are available and anxious to meet with anyone who may have comments or questions.