WHAT WE BELIEVE
Along with our commitment to The Lausanne Covenant Statement of Faith, River Church holds to five core theological emphases:
- The Gospel of Jesus Christ is central for our motivation and practice.
- Man can be saved, only by the power of God.
- The continuing presence of the Holy Spirit equips and empowers the saints.
- God created men and women as equal and complementary image bearers of God.
- All believers are sent on Jesus’ mission to make disciples.
We believe the glory of God is seen most beautifully in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel is the good news of what God has graciously accomplished for sinners through the sinless life, sacrificial death, and bodily resurrection of his Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, namely our forgiveness from sin and complete justification before God; this gospel is also the foundation for our confidence in the ultimate triumph of God’s kingdom and the consummation of His purpose for all creation in the new heavens and new earth. This Gospel is centered in Christ, is the foundation for the life of the Church, and is our only hope for eternal life; this Gospel is not proclaimed if Christ’s penal substitutionary death and bodily resurrection are not central to our message. This Gospel is not only the means by which people are saved, but also the truth and power by which people are sanctified; it is the truth of the Gospel that enables us to do what is pleasing to God genuinely and joyfully and to grow in progressive conformity to the image of Christ. The salvation offered in this gospel message is received by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone; no ordinance, ritual, work, or any other activity on the part of man is required in order to be saved. (Mark 1:1; Luke 24:46–47; John 3:16–18; Romans 1:16–17; Romans 1:18–25; 1 Corinthians 1:18–25; 2:2; 15:1–4; 2 Corinthians 4:1–6; 9:13; Galatians 1:6–9; Ephesians 1:7–10; Colossians 1:19–20; 2 Timothy 1:8–14; 2 Peter 3:11–13; Jude 1:3–4)
We embrace God’s grace in saving sinners.
We affirm God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, according to his good pleasure and will. We believe through the work of the Holy Spirit, God will draw His people to faith in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, graciously and effectually overcoming their stubborn resistance to the gospel so they will believe most assuredly and willingly. We also believe that these, the people of God whom He gave to the Son, will persevere in belief and godly behavior and be kept secure in their salvation by grace through faith. As the Good Shepherd, Christ will keep the ones He has rescued. (John 1:12–13; 6:37–44; 10:25–30; Acts 13:48; 16:30–31; Romans 3:1–4:25; 8:1–17, 31–39; 9:1–23; 10:8–10; Ephesians 1:4–5; 2:8–10; Philippians 2:12–13; Titus 3:3–7; 1 John 1:7,9)
THE SPIRIT FILLED LIFE
We recognize and rest upon the necessity of the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit for all life and ministry.
The Holy Spirit is fully God, equal with the Father and Son, whose primary ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. He also convicts unbelievers of their need for Christ and imparts spiritual life through regeneration (the new birth). The Spirit permanently indwells, graciously sanctifies, lovingly leads, and empowers all who are brought to faith in Christ so they might live in obedience to the inerrant Scriptures. The model for our reliance upon the Spirit and our experience of His indwelling and empowering presence is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, who was filled with the Spirit and entirely dependent upon His power for the performance of miracles, the preaching of the kingdom of God, and all other dimensions of His earthly ministry. The Holy Spirit, who indwelt and empowered Christ in like manner, indwells and empowers all who belong to Christ through spiritual gifts. He has bestowed spiritual gifts for the work of ministry and the building up of the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit helps us by reminding us of all that Jesus taught, by bearing witness to our spirit that we are God’s children, by convicting us of our sins, and by producing obedience/bearing good fruit in our lives. (Matthew 3:11; 12:28; Luke 4:1,14; 5:17; 10:21; John 1:12–13; 3:1–15, 34; 14:12; 15:26–27; 16:7–15; Acts 2:14–21; 4:29–30; 10:38; Romans 8:9; 12:3–8; 1 Corinthians 12:7–13; 12:28–31; 14:1–33; 2 Corinthians 1:21–22; Galatians 3:1–5; Ephesians 1:13–14; 5:18)
MEN AND WOMEN
We are deeply committed to the fundamental spiritual and moral equality and complementary of men and women.
We believe that we are made in the image of God, both male and female. Both men and women are together created in the divine image and are therefore equal before God as persons, possessing the same moral dignity and value, and have equal access to God through faith in Christ. Men and women are together the recipients of spiritual gifts designed to empower them for ministry in the local church and beyond. Therefore both men and women are to be encouraged, equipped, and empowered to utilize their gifting in ministry, in service to the body of Christ, and through teaching in ways that are consistent with the Word of God.
We believe that God ordained marriage as a life-long union between one man and one woman and that sexual intimacy is to be experienced and enjoyed only within the covenant of marriage. Both husbands and wives are responsible to God for spiritual nurture and vitality in the home, but God has given to the man primary responsibility to lead his wife and family in accordance with the servant-leadership and sacrificial love characterized by Jesus Christ. This principle of male headship should not be confused with, nor give any hint of, domineering control. Rather it is to be the loving, tender, and nurturing care of a godly man who is himself under the kind and gentle authority of Jesus Christ. The elders of our church have been granted authority under the headship of Jesus Christ to provide oversight of the church. The office of elder is restricted to men. (Genesis 1:26–27; 2:18; Matthew 19:4-9; Acts 18:24–26; Romans 1:21-32; 1 Corinthians 11:2–16; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 5:22–33; Colossians 3:18–19; 1 Timothy 2:11–15; 3:1–7; Titus 2:3–5; 1 Peter 3:1–7)
River Church embraces a missionary understanding of the local church and its role as the primary means by which God chooses to establish his kingdom on earth.
The church has a clear biblical mandate to look beyond its own community to the neighborhood, the nation, and the world as a whole; thus mission is not an optional program in the church but an essential element in the identity of the church. We are called to make Christ known through the Gospel and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to bring His lordship to bear on every dimension of life. The primary way we fulfill this mission is through the equipping of the saints for ministry in our local church and seeking to make Jesus known in our local communities. Our aim is that Jesus Christ would be more fully formed in each person through the ministry of River Church and that God would empower us to share the good news of Jesus Christ in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and families, sharing in and celebrating His redemptive work together. We also believe we are responsible neither to retreat from our culture nor to conform to it, but with humility, through the Spirit and the truth of the gospel, to engage it boldly as we seek its transformation and submission to the lordship of Christ. (Isaiah 52:7; Matthew 10:5–25; 28:18–20; Luke 4:18–19; 24:46–47; Acts 28:31; Romans 10:14–15; 2 Corinthians 10:4–5; Galatians 2:10; Ephesians 3:10; 4:11–16; 2 Timothy 4:1–5; Hebrews 10:23–25; 1 Peter 2:4–5, 9–10)