1. One God
There is one true God who has revealed himself as the eternally self-existent, all-powerful, all knowing, perfectly good, self-revealed “I AM,” and has further revealed himself as the very definition of relationship and community, by simultaneously existing as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He created the universe and is the ultimate authority in it.
Isa 45:21-22; Matt 28:19; John 1:1-3, 8:58; 1 John 1:5; Acts 5:1-5; Rom 8:26-27; 1 Cor 2:10-12; 2 Cor 13:14; Titus 2:13; Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29; Isa. 43:10, 11; Matt. 28:19
2. Broken and Alienated State of Humanity
Humanity was created by God in his image to show God’s glory and share his story. Initially, humans walked in close relationship with God and everything they did reflected well on God. Despite this beginning, the earliest humans chose to betray God and walked away from his love. They declared independence from him, set aside relationship with God and everything God wanted for us. As a result, humanity has since languished in destructive self-focus. We suppress the truth about God, we don’t worship him as our source or as the Power he is and we aren’t in any way thankful toward him. Humanity has been given over to a rebellious way of life and we live with a debased mind. We worship – that is, we place at the center of our lives – our selves and other created things rather than our Creator. Relationally, we are alienated from God and live in isolation from one another.
Gen. 1:26-31; Gen. 3:17; Ro. 5:12-21; Ro. 1:18-32
3. Redemption in Jesus the Christ
In spite of all humanity has done to offend God, he remains gracious. In his grace, he provided a solution. Jesus, the Son of God, has come, bringing with him a message reconciliation between God and humanity. Through the work of Jesus, we can once again become friends and children of God.
The gospel is the good news that God is extending grace and forgiveness to all people to reconcile rebels back to himself. This gospel was promised by God beforehand in the Scriptures and was fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God. He is fully man, a descendant of King David, and he is fully God, equal in essence to the Father. He lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father, but at the age of 33, was murdered via public crucified for crimes he didn’t commit. He was buried but then rose from the dead three days later and was seen alive by hundreds of witnesses. Jesus went through all of this willingly, flawlessly following the plan of our Father God. He did this as a sacrifice, taking our place, to bear the wrath of God for our rebellion, to deliver us out of our hopeless state of alienation, and redeem us again to God for all eternity. After his resurrection he returned to Heaven and is now seated at the right hand of the Father, where he reigns as Lord with authority over all things. He will come to earth again as Savior or Judge of every person who has ever lived, when he will deliver up the kingdom to the Father, having abolished all earthly governments and authority.
Rom 1:1-5, 3:21-30; 4:24-25; Gal 1:1-5; 2 Cor 5:17; Eph 1:1-3:23; Col 1:9-10; 1 Tim 3:16; 1 Pet 1:1-5; Titus 2:11; 3:5-7; Ro. 10:13-15; Luke 24:47
4. The Bible
We define the Bible as the sixty-six (66) canonized books of the Old and New Testament. As such, we believe and teach that the Bible is our ultimate authority and guide for all of life. While we recognize a place in human life of philosophy, science, and the working out of personal perspectives and preferences, these are not the ruling factors in our lives. We believe God gave us the Bible to reveal himself – all he is and all he has done – and to inform us of who we are and what we should do to love him and love others.
2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:21; Math. 4:4; 5:17-18; John 10:35; 1 Pet. 1:23-25; Heb. 4:12
5. The Need and Impact of Faith
Those who hear the message of Jesus and put their faith in Jesus work vs. depending in their own ability to establish a reputation before God are forgiven of their rebellion to God, given eternal life and are adopted into God’s family. They are made new creations, and given the Holy Spirit as evidence. Jesus will return, and when he does, those whose faith in him has remained will join him as he reigns as King in the New Heaven and New Earth forever. Those who do not believe in him will forever be separated from God and all his goodness. Believing in Jesus is the only way to be reconciled to God.
Rom 1:1-5, 3:21-30; 4:24-25; Gal 1:1-5; 2 Cor 5:17; Eph 1:1-3:23; Col 1:9-10; 1 Tim 3:16; 1 Pet 1:1-5; Titus 2:11; 3:5-7; Ro. 10:13-15; Luke 24:47
6. Spirit Baptism
All those who truly believe in Jesus receive the Promise of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit takes up residence with the believer becomes his or her constant companion. He brings comfort, helps us communicate with God, teaches us to love and serve others and wrestles daily within the believer giving them more and more freedom over unbelief and the resulting negative consequences of past alienation from God. Each believer should seek to be increasingly controlled by the power of the indwelling Spirit. His control produces power for life and service, boldness of witness and assurance of faith and he grants various gifts and that are powerful tools in the work of the ministry. Though all believers receive the Spirit, experience with the indwelling may at times present as distinct from and subsequent to the initial experience in the form of “breakthroughs” or special manifestations. Special Spirit power is most often given for the sake of mission and is never a sign of a superior walk with God. Those who are engaged in the work of ministry are encouraged to consistently pursue the Spirit as their only means to accomplish the works set before them to do, for without Jesus’ Spirit, he/she can do nothing.
Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:1-31; Acts 2:38; 10:44-46; 11:14-16; 15:7-9
7. Evidence of a Redeemed Life
The evidence to the believer of his/her salvation is the direct witness of the Spirit who, if present, will be breathing new life into the individual and increasingly taking leadership over the flesh of which the Spirit himself will give assurance. The Spirit will also cause a hunger, a thirst and a wonder for the things of God in the true believer so that one’s heart, soul, mind and strength will move in rhythm with the things of God. The outward evidence is a life increasingly consistent with a walk of faith in Christ, a life increasingly controlled by affection for God, passion for Jesus’ continuing mission and love for all humanity, and particularly for those of the true family of God; all this is evidence of the indwelling Spirit of holiness.
Ro. 8:11; Ro. 8:14; Ro. 8:16; 1 Thes. 4:7, 2 Tim.1:9
8. Water Baptism
Engaging in water baptism is not required for salvation. Nor is it a mandated prerequisite for entering into the Christian life. It is an outward act of faith that demonstrates a person’s arrival at a place of internal belief. Having embraced the gospel of Jesus and seeing themselves as members of God’s new humanity, the act of baptism is a symbol that they desire to lay aside the old humanity and immerse themselves in the new. Baptism for all participants is a symbol of dying to the old and rising to live for the new; it is also a symbol of being washed clean, renewed and refreshed.
Matt. 28:19; Ro. 6:4
9. Remembering Jesus through the Meal
Remembering Jesus, as he commanded his followers should forever do “until he comes,” consists of regular, intentionally focused fellowship on the elements symbolic of Jesus’ body and blood sacrifice; bread and the fruit of the vine. Celebration around these symbols expresses our shared memorial to the suffering and death of Jesus Christ and our shared hope that his work has been, and will continue to be, effectual in our lives; it is enjoined to all believers to remember him in this way whenever we gather.
John 6:48,51,53-57; Luke 22:19,20; 2 Pet. 1:4; 1 Cor. 11:25
10. Human Restoration
The New Birth and the indwelling Spirit turns a dead soul to one that is alive to God. Nonetheless, strongholds of self-worship remain hidden and will strive against the Spirit for control of heart, mind, soul and strength. By the power of the Holy Spirit we will become increasingly committed to love God with our whole beings, submitted to the will of Jesus and the Father. These are not works we can produce by striving to reach ever-higher levels of faithfulness, but gifts received as we humbly submit to the inward call of the Spirit to bring all of life under obedience to the rule and reign of our King, Jesus Christ. Change is the will of God for all believers, yet such change is the result of earnestly pursuing relationship with the Father through Jesus, turning from self-worship (repentance) to God-worship (faith). Resulting fruit is “not the forced nurslings of human industry” (James Buchanan). Saving faith will always produce an ever-deepening restoration process, but no human should expect to be completely restored, completely released from sinful passions in this life.
Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:15, 16; 1 Thess. 5:23, 24; 1 John 2:6
11. The Church
Called to Assemble. The Church is the ekklesia, literally the “called out ones,” or “the assembly.” Since believers have been united with Christ through spiritual baptism, they are collectively referred to as the Church or the Body of Christ. Believers throughout the world constitute the physical representation of Christ on earth, his hands and feet, his messengers.
Eph. 5:3; Heb. 10:25; Acts 2:42; Matt. 18:20; Acts 14:27; Matt. 16:18; Acts 14:23; 1 Cor. 11:18; 1 Cor. 14:23; 1 Cor. 16:19
The Assembled Live as a United Body. The Body (the Church) and its many parts is to be seen as a metaphor demonstrating our rich diversity in gifts, talents and role and at the same time demonstrating our interdependence. It is impossible to live out the tenets of the Christian faith, the call of Jesus and the mandates of the Apostles’ teaching without a commitment to assembly.
Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Col. 1:8
The Assembled are Active Image Bearers. As the called together assembly, the Church IS, in fact, the “salt of the earth,” the “light of the world,” a “city set on a hill.” As such, we teach the world who God is by what we do, by how we live in community. We must take seriously the image we portray to the culture beyond our assembly so that the world’s response is to give glory to our God.
Matt. 5:13-16; John 13:34-35; 1 Peter 2:9-17
The Assembled are Sent as Message Bearers. The Church has received from the Lord a clear biblical mandate to look beyond its assembly to the neighborhood, the nation, and the world as a whole; thus an actively replicating 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 saints are to be equipped for this ministry so that that Jesus Christ would be more fully formed in each person through the ministry. The Church is responsible neither to retreat from the worldly culture nor to conform to it, but with humility, through the Spirit and the truth of the gospel, to engage it boldly.
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
Jesus has provided for us a general blueprint for ministry that is articulated in the Bible. That ministry includes provision of leadership, the role of those leaders to equip and encourage the members for the day-to-day work of ministry and, in turn, the role of the entire body to carry out that ministry, including both loving and caring for one another within the body as family, as well as actively serving and engaging the surrounding community, intentionally bringing the good news of Jesus beyond the confines of the body to all who will hear.
Acts 20:28-31; Eph. 4:11-13; Matt. 28:18-20; 1 Cor. 11:1; 1 Peter 2:20-24; Matt. 10:38; Matt. 5:16; Mark 3:34-35; Matt. 11:29
13. Physical and Emotional Healing
Deliverance from sickness and disease as well as healing of the emotional trauma of neglect and/or mistreatment at the hands of others is possible as a result of the atoning work of Christ. There is no prescribed methodology given to God’s people, no mechanism by which humans can effectually move the hand of God to heal. We know he can, should he desire to do so. We also recognize that he may well withhold healing when he feels continued endurance in the trial is best. We must persist in asking for healing for ourselves and others.
Isa. 53:4, 5; Matt. 8:16, 17; Mark 16:17-18; John 5:14
14. The Resurrection
The resurrection of those who have died in Christ and their translation, together with those who are alive and remain, is imminent and is the sure hope of every believer.
1 Thess. 4:16; Ro. 6:23; Titus 2:13; 1 Cor. 15:51,52
15. Eschatology (Concerning the end of time)
The Kingdom of God was inaugurated in Jesus’ first coming and will be consummated in his second coming. We exist in the in-between where we can experience the reign of Jesus in part while longing for its complete fulfillment in the future. We experience the reality that things are not yet fully as they will be within the new heaven and new earth. Beyond this general truth, we acknowledge there are variety of viewpoints within inaugurated eschatology and allow for this variety.
2 Thess. 1:7-10; Rev. 19:1-16; Ro. 11:20-25; Rev. 20:1-7
16. Statement on Marriage and Sexuality
We fully believe that every person created in God’s image must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity, regardless of his or her lifestyle choices. This statement on marriage and sexuality should not be in any way construed as license or grounds for bigotry, bullying, or hate toward any person or group. Hateful and/or harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual or group are to be repudiated as sinful and will not be tolerated. Such behavior and attitudes are neither in accordance with the Scripture nor the doctrines of Redeeming Mercy Communities. The work of Jesus provides redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Members, employees, volunteers, and participants of the church wrestling with any manner of sexual temptation will find a church ready to point them to Jesus and join with them to fight for their obedience to Christ.
Having stated this, it is the clear teaching of the Scripture that marriage involves the union of one man and one woman in permanent sacred fidelity. It is God who created humanity in his own image, and in his image he made them man and woman. It is this Creator God alone who has the ultimate authority to establish and delineate the boundaries of the marital relationship. Furthermore, this same Creator God has clearly communicated in the Scriptures that sexual intimacy is only properly exercised and pursued within the confines of this marital relationship. Jesus and the Apostles clearly and expressly prohibit sexual immorality, which is defined as any sexual activity outside of the boundaries of the sacred marital relationship between one man and one woman. In order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local body of Christ and to provide a biblical example to members of this church and to the communities we serve, it is vitally important that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, joined to the church in membership or affiliated with Redeeming Mercy Communities abide by and agree to this article and conduct themselves accordingly. This means, in part, that no person employed by the church to do ministry shall officiate or solemnize any wedding between persons of the same gender.
Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:19; Mark 10:1-12; Matthew 15:19; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; Hebrews 13:4; Ephesians 2:1-10; Titus 3:37; Matthew 11:28-30; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 2:17-18; Hebrews 4:14-16.