Darkness or Light? What it means to be a Christian. To claim to be a Christian is much more than attending a church, obeying a certain set of rules or simply trying to be a good guy, or girl. Instead, Christianity means a life that has been changed by the sovereign will of God. Christianity is understanding who God says that He is in His Word. A Christian understands the sinfulness of man and the salvation from sin found only in Jesus Christ. There is a distinct difference between the world and the Christian. The Bible describes this contrast as darkness and light.
The Sovereignty of God God rules and reigns over all aspects of all that He has created. Jesus is God and He has created the universe for His glory and His rule (John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:16, 17). Since God is sovereign, the Christian has peace.
God is Absolutely Holy The Gospel is God’s Gospel. God is Holy. Since God is Holy, this means that He is perfect, just, good, honorable, wise and worthy to be worshiped. Since God is Holy, man is not. In God’s absolute perfection, evil cannot be found in His presence (Isaiah 6:3, 1 Peter 1:16).
Man is Absolutely Sinful Not only does God’s Word show us that mankind is sinful, the works of men in the world prove that he is sinful. The Bible teaches that the entirety of man has fallen into sin condemned to just punishment for that sin against God (Romans 3:23). Of course, not every man is as sinful as he could be. But every human being born after Adam is incapable of coming to, or pleasing God on his own or by his fallen will.
Justice The penalty for sin is death. We know that death awaits us all. Because God is Holy, sin demands a punishment for wrong committed against Him. Simply “being good” cannot right this wrong or pay this penalty (Jeremiah 17:9). Those who live in darkness will spend eternity in hell. Those who have faith in Christ, will live with Him for all eternity.
Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23). “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
What We Teach
God’s Word, The Bible Here at Pleasant Hill Bible Church, we teach that the Bible is the Word of God. The Bible consists of 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. The Bible is inerrant, infallible and inspired. Inerrant from mistakes or error in its original writings. Infallible as the only source of truth and revelation from God. Inspired in that it is “God breathed” by the Holy Spirit through men.
The Bible is the only authorityof truth, in life, faith, and practice, never fading away.
The Bible is to be interpreted literally and in context with the whole of scripture. The Bible teaches a literal 6-daycreationaccording to the book of Genesis, followed by a 7th day of rest.
Though many applications may be derived from one text, individual texts and the entirety of the Bible is not of any private interpretation or multiplicity of meanings. The meaning of scripture is found as the believer is lead and taught by the Holy Spirit, as he or she gives themselves diligently to the study of the Bible, literally, contextually and historically.
God is the author of the Bible, while individual men of God were moved by the Holy Spirit to pen the Words of God, as though to not compromise the personality, style or characteristics of the human penman. (Matthew 5:18; John 1:1-3, 16:12-15, 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; Genesis 1; Isaiah 40:7).
God There is only One God. He is eternal, self-existent and sovereign. God is all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect in all his attributes and character. God existseternally as One God, yet three distinct persons – God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This triunity of the God head is affirmed in scripture as the Trinity.
God the Father As the first member of the Trinity, God the Father is sovereign, omnipotent ruler of His universe. He governs the affairs of all creation as to bring to pass His purpose and glory. God the Father has decreed his providence from eternity past. He is the Father of all humanity, but the spiritual Father to only those who believe.
God the Father is not the author of sin. Nor, will God the Father abridge the accountability of moral beings to Him as God.
He has graciously, lovingly and sovereignly chosen those whom He would have as his own from before the foundations of the world. We teach that God the Father saves from sin, forgives, adopts and chastens all who come to him by faith, believing in Jesus Christ. (Genesis 1:1; 1 Chronicles 29:11; Psalm 23; Isaiah 45:5-8; Ezekiel 36:26, 27; John 6, 8:38-47; Acts 2:23, 4:24-29; 1 Corinthians 6:8, 6; Ephesians 1:1-14; Hebrews 12:5-9)
God the Son We teach that God the Son is the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is coeternal, coequal and consubstantial with God the Father and the Spirit. Having laid aside only his glory, He humbled Himself and became a man through incarnation and the virgin birth.
Becoming a servant, Jesus lived a sinless life, assuring the world of His deity by countless miracles, He willingly went to the cross to accomplish redemption through His life and shed blood for all those who believe in Him.
Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, slain before the foundation of the world for the accomplishment of salvation through a vicarious, substitutionary, propitiatory sacrifice. Jesus is the only Savior of mankind.
Jesus physically rose from the dead three days after His death by crucifixion. Having risen from the dead, Jesus secured the justification and eternal security of all God’s chosen people.
With the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, we teach that God the Father confirmed the deity of Jesus Christ, accepting His fully atoning sacrifice for the redemption and forgiveness of sinners. As believers we look to the hope of future resurrection in Christ from the dead.
Having ascended to the right hand of God the Father, Jesus ever lives, making intercession for His saints. Jesus is ruling and reigning His creation as Advocate, Mediator, High Priest and King.
We teach that Jesus Christ is the only authoritative head of His body, the Church. He is coming again imminently as King who is the rightfully reign from David’s throne. He will one day judge the quick and the dead. (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6, 7; Luke 24:6,7, 38, 39; John 1:3, 5:22, 23; 10:30; Acts 2:23, 24, 29-36, 5:31, 20:28; Romans 3:24, 25, 8:29; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:15-18; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 1:1-3; 1 Peter 2:24; Revelation 20:11-15).
God the Holy Spirit We teach that God the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is co-eternal, co-equal in attribute, power and deity. The Holy Spirit is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. He has emotion and will.
We teach that the Holy Spirit is sovereign in creation and His work in this present age began at the day of Pentecost. He convicts the world of sin and unrighteousness.
We teach that the Holy Spirit is the sovereign initiator and finisher of the miracle of regeneration and the new birth of every believer. He is the power, comforter and sanctifier of the believer. Every Believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit at salvation, forever.
The Word of God was given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He teaches, leads and grows every believer in the Word of God. Every believer should be filled with the Spirit.
We teach that the Holy Spirit is sovereign in bestowing gifts to the Church for the once perfecting of the saints within the body of believers. Tongues and sign gifts of miracles, as performed in the early church, were for the authentication of the ministry and teaching of the apostles. Those gifts ceased with the death of the apostles. Those gifts were never intended to be a sign of salvation or a presence of a second baptism of the Holy Spirit. (Psalm 139:7; Isaiah 42:1; John 3:3-8, 14:16, 17, 15:26, 16:7-9; Acts 1:8, 2:1-47; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13, 13:8-10; 2 Corinthians 3:18, 12:12; Galatians 4:6, 5:22-25; Ephesians 5:18; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 2:1-4).
Man Man was created in the image and likeness of God. He was created for the purposes of glorifying God, fellowship with God, fulfilling the will of God and enjoying God.
Adam was the first man created by God from the dust of the earth. He was created free of sin, with a rational nature, intelligence and moral responsibility to God.
We teach that when Adam, as the head of all mankind, disobeyed the command of God, all of mankind fell out of fellowship with God. As a result of that disobedience, man incurred not only physical death but spiritual death. The wrath of God now abides on all men born after Adam.
We teach that mankind in his naturally born condition, cannot come, reconcile or cause himself to be pleasing unto God. His will, desires, and body are infected completely with sin. Man is now a sinner by choice, apart from the sovereign regenerating work of God.
Apart from the God-man, Jesus, no man is without sin. The Bible is clear: There is none righteous no not one.
We teach that God created mankind in His image. He created them male and female, specifically and deliberately. Marriage is to be only between one man and one woman. (Genesis 2:7, 15-25; 3:15-19; Psalm 14:1-3; Isaiah 43:7; John 3:3, 36; Romans 3:10, 23, 5:12-14 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1-10; 1 Timothy 2:13, 14; 1 John 1:8).
Salvation We teach that salvation is entirely a work of God by His grace through the finished work of Jesus Christ.
We teach that regeneration precedes faith. Faith and repentance are both gifts from God by His Spirit, enabling dead sinners to place their faith in Jesus and believing Him for that redemption which is only found in Him.
We teach that salvation is of the Lord. God is successful in bringing all those whom He has chosen from before the foundation of the world to trusting relationship in His Son Jesus Christ. We teach that the electing grace of God is in perfect harmony with the changed will of man after regeneration.
God’s sheep hear His voice and they come to Him, and no man is able to pluck them from the Father's hand.
We teach that justificationis an act of God whereby He declares one righteous through faith in Jesus Christ. This righteousness is a foreign righteousness that is not merited or gain from works of the believer. This righteousness is the righteousness of the Son of God imputed to the sinner upon faith in Christ alone accompanied by repentance of sin.
We teach that as a result of salvation being from start to finish completely a work of God, that the life of the born again believer is one of sanctification.
Though the sanctification from the world and to God takes place and is final at the moment of salvation, one is being sanctified as God conforms us into the image of His Son. This is a continual work of the Spirit in the life of the believer. Since God has begun the good work of sanctification in us, He will finish it as well. Every, truly born again believer cannot lose their salvation.
As a result of the saving work of God in our lives, we teach that it is right and Biblical to separatefrom sin and the ways of the world system. (Jonah 2:9; Ezekiel 36:26, 27; Luke 1:69; John 3:3-8, John 6:29, 44, 10:14, 27-30; Acts 5:31, 9:15, 16; Romans 5, 8:28-33; Philippians 1:29, 2:12, 13; 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14; 2 Timothy 2:25, 3:1-5; Titus 2:11-14, 3:5; Hebrews 2:11, 10:10-15; 1 Peter 1:2, 5:13; 1 John 3:1-10).
The Church The church is the body and bride of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus is the only head and authority of His body. The church is comprised of all born again, or regenerate believers. The purpose of the church is to bring glory, honor and worship to God.
We teach that the local church is independentof any overseeing governing body apart from the authority of Christ Jesus and the Word of God. We teach that it is Biblical for true churches to fellowship themselves with each other for the purposes of propagatingthe gospel and edifying the saints.
We teach that the Lord Jesus will build His church in this present church age and the gates of Hell will not stand against it. This present time in which we live started on the day of Pentecost and will continue until the Lord Jesus returns to rapture His Church before the tribulation period. We distinguish between the church and Israel. All true, ethnic Israel will be saved in Christ, the true Messiah.
We teach that God has sovereignly called men to hold office and lead every true local body of believers. The two offices are elders and deacons. Scripture clearly lays forth their qualifications and the mandate for the church to obey their leadership, while they themselves are servants of Christ. Each man who is called to lead within the local body of believers is to lead as a servant of Christ.
God has bestowed gifts to His church by the Holy Spirit for the edifying and equipping of the saints. Some gifts were temporary in that they were used by God for the authentication of the apostle’s ministry. While other gifts remain today such as leadership and individual gifts and abilities to every believer to edify the body of believers.
We teach that no person possesses the gift of healing today. However, we do teach that believers are to beseech God in faithful prayer for the healing of the sick, afflicted and suffering in the world.
We teach that the Lord has directed two ordinances to be observed in the church; Baptism by immersion and the Lord’s supper.
We teach that the Bible encourages church discipline be administered to those who are living in open and unrepentant sin and claiming Christ as Savior, for the restoring of such a one through the giving over to that sin. (Matthew 16:18, 18:15-22; 28:19, 20; Acts 2:1-47, 5:1-11, 20:28; Romans 8:28, 29, 11:1-36; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 12:12-13; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-27; Colossians 1:18; 1 Thessalonian 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; Hebrews 10:25, 13:7, 17; 1 Peter 5:1-5; Revelation 19:7, 8).
Angels We teach that there are two angel groups mentioned in the Bible; Holy Angels and Fallen Angels. Holy angels are referred to as being ministering spirits. These angels were created by God for glorifying God and ministering to the heirs of salvation. They are masculine in character, powerful in being, numerous, not to be worshiped and though created by God, they are above the order of man.
We teach that the second class of angels is that of Fallen angels. Satan is a created angel, the author of sin. Upon Satan’s rebellion, he lead a multitude of angels from with him. Having rebelled against God, Satan is declared to be the enemy of God and man and under judgement. He is currently lurking in this world as the prince of the power of the air. He has been defeated by the work of Christ and His ultimate end is punishment in the lake of fire. (Genesis 3:1-13; Job 1:6-9; Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Luke 2:9-14, 4:1-13; Matthew 4:1-11, 25:41; Hebrews 1 and 2; Revelation 5:11-14, 12:1-14, 19:10, 20:10, 22:9).
Last Things Death We teach that all of mankind will suffer physical death. At the death of the believer in Christ, that soul will be instantaneously in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ for eternity. The bodies of all mankind will return to the earth (unless members of the body of Christ and raptured), to await the future resurrection. Those souls whose bodies die that do not believe in Christ, will suffer punishment until the second resurrection. Upon the second resurrection, unbelievers will be judged and cast into Hell.
Hell We teach that Hell is a real place. It is a place of torment, wailing and gnashing of teeth. Hell is where the unbeliever will spend eternity. Hell is the immediate and eternal residence of all those who do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Rapture of the Church We teach the imminent, pretribulation, premillennial second coming of Christ and rapture ofthe church. Though the word rapture is not used in the Bible, the passages that depict a sudden, powerful catching up of the church to meet with Christ in the air at His return are easily found in the Bible. Between the moments of the rapture and the second coming of Jesus, believers will be judged according to their works.
The Tribulation We teach that there will be a seven-year tribulation period, such as never has been in the history of the world. This time of great tribulation will take place after the rapture of the church and the full second coming of Jesus. This tribulation period of God's judgments being poured out upon the earth will end with the return of Jesus in His glory. This tribulation period will fulfill the prophecy of the prophet Daniel.
The Second Coming We teach that after the tribulation period, in fact, to end the tribulation period, the Lord Jesus will come again to reign on the throne of David. We teach that the Lord Jesus will come again to judge the quick and the dead. He will come personally to the Mount of Olives in order to establish His 1000-year earthly kingdom. This second coming will overthrow the antichrist and remove the False prophet and Satan. Jesus will then rule the nations from the throne of David in justice, peace, harmony and righteousness.
The Millennial Kingdom We teach that upon the second coming of Jesus Christ, He will establish a 1000 year earthly kingdom. In this kingdom, Israel will be restored to God. This will take place in a manner that will restore Israel to their promised land, under the rule of their King, King Jesus. Satan, antichrist and the false prophet will be bound during this time. Satan only to be loosed for a little season upon the completion of the 1000-year reign of Jesus, only to be cast into the lake of fire for eternity.
Judgment of the Lost We teach that after Satan is loosed for a little season, he will go about to deceive the nations and turn them to battle against the Lamb. This will be futile, as Satan will be judged and cast into the lake of fire for all of eternity in punishment. We teach that all those who will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment will be justly condemned to eternity in the lake of fire.
Eternity We teach that after the judgment and condemnation of Satan and the Lost, the earth as we know it will be dissolved in fire and burned. After which a new heaven and a new earth will be ushered in and the new heavenly Jerusalem will come from Heaven where only righteousness dwells. It is here where all the saints will dwell together in fellowship with King Jesus for all of eternity. The Lord Jesus, having accomplished His redemptive purpose will deliver up the Kingdom of God to the Father. (Daniel 9:24-27, 12:1-3; Matthew 24:27-31, 25:31-46; John 5:29, 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; Philippians 1:21-24; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; Revelation 20:4-15).
History Pleasant Hill Bible Church has a long and interesting history. Dating back to the mid 19th century, Pleasant Hill has been meeting for nearly 168 years. Originally founded in “Dutch Corner” Pennsylvania, Pleasant Hill was founded as a German Reformed Congregation. Our founding name was Pleasant Hill Reformed Church. Ties to our original foundation still exist, as our leadership holds to the Biblical offices of Elder and Deacon. We call the meeting of these leaders, the “Consistory.” Consistory is a term used by our founders with regard to the assembly of overseeing leaders of the local, independent church.
Our original church congregation was established around God’s word in 1861.Decedents of those first members still attend our church today. Among those original members and builders were significant names to the Bedford, Pennsylvania area. Some of these special individuals were the Koontz’s, Croyle’s, Weisel’s, Diehl’s, Ritchey’s, Philip’s, Reighard’s, Schnably’s, Imler’s and Dibert’s.There are records of Indian attacks and hard times surrounding the years when our church was first founded. Not far from the church house lies the oldest cemetery in Bedford. It is there where local families were laid to rest after Indian raids.
The original building was framed at the present location in 1861. However, a new brick building was constructed on that same site in 1910. From 1861 to 1910, the Lord grew the congregation to 130 members. During this time, the church had a school with 136 children at its highest enrollment. But our journey has been widespread to say the least. At the turn of the 20 th century, the church went through a major change, having merged with the the United Church of Christ. The next several years showed the departure from the truth as church attendance began to decline sharply. Though the church managed to survive through a civil war and both World Wars, by the early 1950’s church attendance had fallen from 130 to 66, in 40 short years.
Though the stain glass windows said “Reformed” the church had departed from the truth. Here the Lord moved in a mighty way to bring His people back to Him. Men like pastor Clarence Whetstone and Emmett Cleveland were used by God to teach the truth found only in the Bible, by the power of the Holy Spirit. By 1970, the church had left the United Church of Christ and became part of a three-church charge. In 1973 the Lord blessed Pleasant Hill with a full-time pastor by the name of Rev. John P. MacRae. Under pastor MacRae, the health of the church began to resurrect. One member wrote this of the times: “For many years we were spiritually dead, but the Lord graciously used pastors…to bring us back to himself.” With Pastor MacRae’s leadership under the sovereignty of God, the church regained life through the truth of God’s Word. Attendance climbed to 115 members and 125 regularly attending. Pleasant Hill was directed back to the doctrines of grace to which it was originally founded upon. One member at the time wrote: “We are an independent congregation with a background of allegiance to the Heidelberg Catechism.”
Much has changed since 1973. We now go by the name Pleasant Hill Bible Church.We no longer adhere to the Heidelberg Catechism, but the doctrines of grace and the word of God remain true and the same. Pleasant Hill Bible Church has recently gone through another change as God draws His people back to His truth. Pastor Deken George now brings us God’s Word with great passion and zeal. As we grow together, we grow in God’s truth. Pastor George believes that the truth of God’s Word is exactly what is needed for this current generation and time in which we live. As we continue to write our history here at Pleasant Hill Bible church, we acknowledge that everything is about Jesus. Since our existence is entirely about Jesus, our history is in fact, His-story.
Cemetery With 168 years of history and family, Pleasant Hill Bible Church is surrounded by history and sobriety. As we await the return of Christ, we are continually reminded of the reality and frailty of life. There is no greater reminder of our need for the Savior than when we see a tombstone. Eternity is real and men desperately need salvation from their sins. The Pleasant Hill Bible Church cemetery is a place of rest for those brothers and sisters who have gone on to eternity before us. Surrounded by the beautiful scenery of Dutch Corner, our church cemetery is truly a place of peace and history. Men and woman who shaped our country and secured our present-day freedoms are awaiting the resurrection from their home church cemetery. If you have questions about our church cemetery or loved ones buried here, please feel free to contact us with those questions or concerns. If you have historical information regarding an individual buried here, we would love to hear their stories.
Leadership Elder, President of Consistory Chad Swope and his wife Michelle