In the early days of the Church, Paul encouraged the Corinthians to “agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For…there is quarreling among you.” This instruction is just as necessary for us today as we experience life in community. We agree to preserve our unity on the following issues that often cause division. We want to foster respectful conversations on these topics rather than further divide ourselves over personal preferences.
Marriage, Sex, & 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).
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 and in all of our ministries. While scripture says that only 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.
Scripture includes many instances where alcohol is moderately consumed and doesn’t 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 others 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 will do our best not to focus on our own preferences in the style of music, use of art or other forms of worship, but focus on giving God glory and learning His truth (e.g. 1 Cor. 11:17-34).
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 will we maturely approach the offender with a spirit of gentleness (Gal. 6:1) and follow the process that Jesus suggested in Matt. 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).