WHAT MAKES REDEEMER UNIQUE?
We believe that the Bible is inspired by God, without error, and is authoritative for living. It is to be passionately believed and obeyed. (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). We believe that the Bible has a story to tell that includes creation, fall, redemption, and restoration.
We believe that there is only one Creator God who is infinite in being and perfection. God exists as Trinity in the Persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who are of one substance and equal in power and glory. We believe that out of an expression of love, God created all people in His image (Gen. 1:1; Matt. 28:18-19; Jn. 1:3; Heb. 1:1-4; Gen. 1:27).
We believe that because of Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden, every aspect of creation has fallen from its original and glorious design, and all persons are totally depraved. This is why everyone is born spiritually separated from God and can incur an eternal punishment by dying in that condition. This means that salvation as well as fulfillment in life both totally depend on the grace of God (Gen. 3:1-7, 19; Rom. 3:9-19, 23).
We think of redemption as a great returning—a restoration of order. We fractured our relationship with God by choosing autonomy and self-trust, but God the Father sent his son, Jesus, into the world to reclaim it for his glory. Jesus was fully God and fully man and lived his whole life without sin. Eventually, he was killed because of his teachings but, as planned before time, became alive again to reveal God’s authority over death and sin and to compel humanity back toward himself.
We believe we’re saved by the exchange of Jesus’ perfect life for our imperfect life, and that this happens simply by believing in and asking for God’s grace. All who do this are immediately justified before God, promised an eternal and fulfilling relationship with him, and permanently sealed by the Holy Spirit as part of the body of Christ (Jn. 3:16; Eph. 2:8-9; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Rom. 3:21-26; 8:20-21; Eph. 1:1-13; John 15).
God will finish what he started. In his own timing and way, he will someday bring this world to an end in order to establish a new heaven and earth where all believers will spend eternity giving glory and honor to him.
This restoration is already happening when those who trust Jesus—for their worth, their identity, their salvation—become more like him as the Holy Spirit works to bring people together. Intentional friendship happens. People worship God together, learn and obey his Word, celebrate the sacraments of communion and baptism, and love one another like Jesus. This is how we work to make disciples of all nations and participate in God’s restoration of humankind (Tit. 2:13; Matt. 25:31-46; Rev. 20-22).
Where Foundational Beliefs are centered on truths of the gospel, Core Convictions, rooted in scripture, flow from these beliefs and find their importance through informing the way we worship, the way we counsel, and the way we live our lives. Some churches and denominations will agree with us and others will disagree. Therefore, providing clarity around these topics is helpful for our church and others to know where we stand and why we do some of the things we do. As new issues arise over time, the RCC leadership team will update this statement as necessary.
SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN SAVING SINNERS
We affirm that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, not on the basis of foreseen faith but unconditionally, according to His good pleasure and will. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, God will draw the elect to faith in Christ, overcoming our natural resistance to the gospel so we will believe. Our salvation is kept secure, not because of our faithfulness to God, but because of His faithfulness to us. However, God’s sovereignty in no way diminishes our responsibility to believe in Christ, pray, and share our faith as these are ordained means by which God accomplishes His ordained ends (John 6:37-44; 10:25-30; Acts 13:48; 16:30-31; Rom. 3:1 – 4:25; 8:1-17, 31-39; 9:1-23; 10:8-10; Eph. 1:4-5; 2:8-10; Phil. 2:12-13; Titus 3:3-7; and 1 John 1:7,9).
Divine forgiveness must satisfy divine justice. For this reason, Jesus died on the cross as a substitute for sinners who put their faith in him. God imputed the guilt of our sins to Christ, and he bore the punishment we deserved. This was a full payment for our sins, which satisfied God’s wrath towards sinners so He could forgive without compromising His own holy standard (Mark 10:45; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 John 2:2).
EMPOWERING PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit permanently indwells, graciously sanctifies, lovingly leads, and empowers all who are brought to faith in Christ so that they might live in obedience to God’s Word. Every believer has spiritual gifts for the work of ministry and the building up of the body of Christ. Spiritual gifts are to be eagerly desired, faithfully developed, and lovingly exercised according to biblical guidelines (Rom. 12:3-8; and 1 Cor. 12–14).
HEAVEN AND HELL
We believe in eternal life and the resurrection of the dead. Those who have placed their faith in Christ will spend eternity with God in His Kingdom in the presence of His grace and love. Those who have rejected Jesus will spend eternity separated from God’s grace and love and in the presence of His justice and wrath, which is an eternal and conscious state (Luke 16:19-31; John 3:36; Rom. 6:23; Acts 10:42; 2 Tim. 4:1; 1 Pet. 4:5; Rev. 14:10-11; 20:10).
MARRIAGE, SEX, AND DIVORCE
Scripture says that marriage is a God-ordained institution that involves a life-long vow between a man and a woman (e.g. Gen. 2:24; Mic. 2:14) and sex is prohibited outside of this bond (e.g. 1 Cor. 6:15-7:5; Rom. 1:26-27). While scripture permits divorce in rare cases (e.g. Matthew 5:31-32; 19:3-9; 1 Cor. 7:15), we will first encourage reconciliation to a couple that’s in trouble by exhorting them to rely upon God’s readiness to forgive sin and restore lives (e.g. Mt. 19:3-9; 1 Cor. 7:10-16).
Redeemer is Jesus-ruled, elder-led, staff-served, and people-driven (1 Peter 5:4-5; 1 Cor. 12; and Eph. 5:11-16).
Baptism is an important outward sign of faith conversion, an external expression of an inward reality, that we have died with Christ, that he has washed away our sins, and we have now been raised to newness of life. While we love celebrating this symbol of our inward reality together, we believe that baptism doesn’t save you. Jesus saves you as a gift through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Communion reminds us of the death of Jesus Christ in our place for our sins, and, as a response, calls Christians to put our sin to death as we anticipate Jesus’ return. As we take the Lord’s Supper we are reminded of God’s loving grace in such a way that the gospel takes a deeper root in our lives, enabling spiritual transformation (1 Cor. 11:23-34).
MEN & WOMEN’S INVOLVEMENT
Both men and women will be welcomed by the leadership to serve in staff positions, lead small groups, lead worship, serve communion, baptize, teach, and serve as deacons in all of our ministries. While scripture says that only qualified men will serve as elders/pastors (1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6), this practice should by no means dissuade women in our church to lead in any other venue and share their wisdom, gifts, and commitment to fulfilling the church’s mission.
SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE
God created all humans, born and unborn, in His image; and therefore, all humans have equal value and dignity. We are for love, justice, and mercy. We believe abortion, racism, and oppression are all against God’s will. However, we also understand many have been impacted by abortion and have even had or supported an abortion. In light of this, we want everyone to know God’s great love and forgiveness. In Christ this is extended to you, and Redeemer longs to be an extension of God’s gracious posture towards everyone (Gen. 1:27; Micah 6:8).
In His wisdom, God created us in His image, male and female. In His design for humanity, He calls us to be fruitful and multiply, which is good! Sex is a gift! However, in God’s wisdom and kindness, He has designed sex to be between a husband and wife within the covenant of marriage. To operate outside of God’s design is sinful, causing pain and hardship. Examples of sexual sins would include, but are not limited to: sex outside of marriage, lust, pornography, and the practice of homosexuality (Gen. 1:27-28; Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).
While we hold fast to Scripture’s teaching around sexual sin, we welcome with open arms those who have given into and/or who struggle with any of these temptations. We are all a work in progress, and no one sin is greater than another.
Scripture requires us to love as Christ has loved us by rescuing fellow Christians from sin in order to promote repentance and peace (Js. 5:19-20; 2 Cor. 5:18-20). So, from the outset of a conflict or offense, we will begin by removing any sin in our lives (Matt. 7:5) and praying for God’s wisdom (Js. 1:5). After that we will maturely approach the offender with a spirit of gentleness (Gal. 6:1) and follow the process that Jesus outlined in Matthew 18:15-17.
Scripture tells us to first address the offender alone about his sin for the purpose of restoration. If that fails, we are to go to the offender again with one or two others in order to establish the charge with witnesses and bring him to repentance. If that doesn’t succeed, Jesus instructs us to “tell it to the church” (meaning Christians only, which is different from our public worship gatherings which include non-Christians). Since the elders oversee the church, they will lead the process at this point and may bring the matter before Redeemer’s Partners as a final effort to restore the offender.
Should the offender still persist, Jesus tells us to ”treat them as a Gentile and tax collector” or non-Christian, and therefore he will be excluded from communion (1 Cor. 11:27-32) and Partnership with Redeemer. If the offender could continue to harm others, cause division or jeopardize our Gospel mission to the world, the elders may also remove him from attending Redeemer (Titus 3:10; 1 Cor. 5).
Finally, if the offender is an elder himself, he will be rebuked in front of all Redeemer attendees (1 Tim. 5:17-20). Again, our aim is to restore the offender to a right fellowship with God and His church. So, at any point, if the offender repents, we will reaffirm our love, forgive, comfort, and seek to prevent him or her from being overwhelmed by excessive sorrow (2 Cor. 2:7-8).
Where we seek to be unified around our Foundational Beliefs and Core Convictions, we recognize there are an array of other topics we find liberty in exploring, discussing, and having friendly dialogue around. These include:
Old Earth or New Earth? We take a stance that God intentionally created the universe and we believe Adam and Eve were real historical figures. Outside of that, there is room for discussion and dialogue.
Amil, premil, postmil, mid trip, post trib, panmill? Jesus is coming back and we don’t know the date or time. When it comes to prophetic literature like Daniel or Revelation we don’t want to spend so much time deciphering the obscure to the point where we miss the obvious.
Scripture includes many instances where alcohol is moderately consumed, and it does not prohibit drinking alcohol (e.g. Deut. 14:26; Jn. 2:6-10; 1 Tim. 5:23). Therefore, we are free to drink in moderation. However, scripture also commands us to be disciplined in order to avoid the sins of drunkenness, alcoholism, violating governmental laws (such as under-age drinking), and becoming a stumbling block to the weak by refusing to love them well by abstaining (e.g. Ecc. 10:17; Eph. 5:18; Rom. 14:21; 1 Cor. 10:23-33; 1 Pet. 2:13-17).
We like the ESV, but no translation is perfect. If you prefer the NIV, the NLT, the CSV, NASB, or other good translations, that’s completely fine!
No political party is the “Christian Party.” If you are passionate about being a Republican or a Democrat, all we ask is that you view your political party through a Christian worldview with a willingness to critique your party where it doesn’t align with God’s heart.