What We Believe

Doctrinal Statement of River Stone Community Church

(What We Believe about…)

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the Scriptures

We believe that the Bible is the Word of God. It was written by men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the verbally inspired word of God, the full authority for faith, doctrine, conduct and life.  It is without error in the original writings, infallible, and God-breathed.

2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; Matthew 5:18; John 16:12, 13.

the Godhead (the Trinity)

There is one God: infinite, eternal, almighty and perfect in holiness, truth and love. In the unity of the godhead there are three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, co-existent, co-equal and co-eternal.  One God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is the foundation of Christian faith and life.

Deuteronomy 6:4; 2 Corinthians 13:14.

the Person and Work of Christ

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful man. We believe He is the image of the invisible God. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice, and that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead. We believe that Salvation comes through Him and Him alone.  It is only because of His shed blood that we may approach the throne of grace and receive pardon for our sins from the Father. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry as Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate. We believe Jesus is coming again to judge the living and the dead

John 1:1–2, 14; Luke 1:35; 1 Peter 4:5; Romans 14:9; Romans 3:24; 1 Peter 2:24; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:3–52; Timothy 4:1, Acts 1:9, 10; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 9:24; Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1–2.

the Person and Work of The Holy Spirit

We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; He is the Supernatural Agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ, indwelling, teaching, helping, empowering, equipping and sealing them unto the day of redemption.  He persuades men to repent of their sins and confess Jesus as Lord.  By the same Spirit, a person is led to trust in divine mercy. The Holy Spirit also unites believers to Jesus Christ in faith.  He leads the Church into a right understanding and application of the truth of God’s Word.

John 16:8–11; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 1 Corinthians 12:12–14; Romans 8:9; Ephesians 5:18.

Creation

We believe that God created all things visible and invisible for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness.  He created every molecule and galaxy.  He created each species of life separately and finished His work by creating Adam from the dust and Eve from Adam.  We believe that the universe has its beginning and end in God’s will.  The universe is in no sense independent of Him, and creation does not reflect a prior deficiency, but its formation and maintenance represent a continuing exertion of His creative power and ability.  Both Adam and Eve were created equally in the image of God without sin.  He endued them with knowledge, righteousness, and holiness having God’s natural law of conscience written in their hearts and the power to fulfill that law.  They lived with the possibility of transgressing since they were left to the liberty of their own will.  The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man and woman in His own image and therefore ever person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.

Genesis 1, 2:7; Ecclesiastes 7:29, 12:7; Job 26:13, 33:4; Psalm 24:1-2, 33:5-6, 104:24; Isaiah 55:10-11; Jeremiah 10:12; Matthew 10:28; John 1:1-3; Acts 17:24; Romans 1:20, 2:14-15, Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 1:16, 3:10; Hebrews 1:2, 11:3; Revelation 4:11.

the Total Depravity of Man

God made man – male and female – in His own image, as the crown of creation, that man might have fellowship with Him. Tempted by Satan, man rebelled against God. Being estranged from his Maker, yet responsible to Him, he became subject to divine wrath, inwardly depraved and apart from a special work of grace, utterly incapable of returning to God. This depravity is radical and pervasive. It extends to his mind, will and affections. Unregenerate man lives under the dominion of sin and Satan. He is at enmity with God, hostile toward God, and hateful of God. Fallen, sinful people, whatever their character or attainments, are lost and without hope apart from salvation in Christ.

Genesis 1:26, 27; Romans 3:22, 23; 5:12; Ephesians 2:1–3, 12.

Salvation

We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins.  Salvation is a mystery.  While acknowledging our finite and incomplete understanding of God’s ways, in faith we believe that God, by His providence and eternal counsel, chose some persons to life and salvation before the foundation of the world.  These He effectually calls to Himself.  Whoever He calls, He will justify and keep by His power through faith to salvation.  His choice was of Himself, for His own pleasure and glory, and not with regard to, or with reference to, any foreseen works of faith or deeds in the creature as His motive.  His choice prevails and triumphs over human resistance to bring His own to saving faith.  Justification occurs by and through Christ and because of His work on the cross and is apprehended through faith.  No man is justified in the sight of God partly by Christ and partly by works.  Salvation is the gracious purpose of God according to which He justified, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners.  It is the glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness and grace, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable.  It precludes boasting and encourages humility.  The grace of redemption is that by which God effectually calls His chosen, converting them to Himself, and quickening them from spiritual death to spiritual life.  This grace is operative by and through God alone, not in cooperation with man, meaning that those who are redeemed always come to saving faith, as they are made willing to come to Christ by the drawing of God, and receive through faith their redemption and eternal salvation.

Matthew 22:14, John 1:12, 6:44, 14:6; Romans 8:2,30, 9:11, 11:7; Ephesians 1:4-12, 17-19, 2:1-5, 8–10; 1 Peter 1:18–19.

Sanctification

We believe that followers of Christ are called not only into Salvation, but also into Sanctification. The Holy Spirit is the active agent in our sanctification and seeks to produce His fruit in us as our minds are renewed and we are conformed to the image of Christ. Though indwelling sin remains a reality, as we are led by the Spirit, we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, freely keeping His commandments and endeavoring to so live in the world that all people may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven.  All believers are exhorted to persevere in the faith knowing they will have to give an account to God for their every thought, word, and deed.  The spiritual disciplines, especially Bible study, prayer, worship and confession, are a vital means of grace in this regard.  Nevertheless, the believer’s ultimate confidence to persevere is based in the sure promise of God to preserve His people until the end, at which time we will become like Him.

John 17:17, Matthew 5:16, Romans 12:1-2, Romans 14:12, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Ephesians 5:25-27, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Hebrews 10:10, 14.

the Ministry and Spiritual Gifts

We believe the Holy Spirit empowers spiritual gifts as God wills to His children.  These gifts are designed to testify to the presence of the Kingdom and distributed to equip the saints for worship and ministry to build up the body of Jesus Christ.  The miracles and revelatory gifts dispensed to the apostles and prophets of the early church are active today.  The use of spiritual gifts is for the purpose of edification within the body that it would be built up in Christ.  We believe that God uses these spiritual gifts to display His glory and anointing in individual saints for the work of His ministry established in the timeless message of the Bible.  We believe that is the privilege and responsibility of ever believer to minister according to the gifts and grace of God that is given to him.

Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-11, Ephesians 4:11-12, 1 Corinthians 14:12, Acts 2:1-4.

the Church

We believe the church, a spiritual organism, is the Body and Bride of Christ.  We believe it consists of all who are genuinely following Christ and trusting in Him for their eternal salvation.  This includes the redeemed of the ages, believers from among all peoples from every tribe, tongue, and nation.  The primary purpose of the Church is to worship God and glorify Him by building up believers and effectively reaching the world with the Gospel of Christ.  We believe that Jesus is the King, and the High Priest of the Church, effectively making Him the Senior Pastor of the Church.  God ordained the ministry of the local church to include taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost world and thereby accomplish His redemptive purposes among all peoples.  The local congregation is a gathering of believers who are associated by the New Covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Spirit; observe the ordinances of Christ; are governed by His laws; and exercise the gifts within them by the power of the Word and the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 16:15-19; Acts 2:41-42, 47; 3:22-23; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:17-32; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12:1-31; Ephesians 1:22,23; 5:25-27; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 3:1-3; Titus 1:5-11; Hebrews 4:14; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3.

Baptism and The Lord’s Supper

We believe by water baptism a believer is publicly identified with his Savior.  We believe infants of believing parents may be dedicated to the Lord but should not be baptized until they can personally articulate their faith and the purpose of baptism.  We believe in baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.  It is an act of outward obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior; death to sin; the burial of the old life; and resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus.  It is a testimony to a believer’s faith in an ultimate bodily resurrection to eternal life with Christ in His Kingdom.

The Lord’s Supper is an act of worship and obedience whereby believers, through partaking of the bread and the wine (or juice), memorialize the death of the Redeemer (Jesus) and anticipate His second coming.

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are significant expressions of salvation, worship, and submission to God for the believer.

Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12.

the Eternal State (Heaven and Hell)

We believe the souls of believers in Jesus Christ do, at death, immediately pass into His presence, and there remain until the resurrection of the body at His coming for the church, when soul and body shall be reunited and associated with Him forever in glory.  We believe that Heaven is a real place of eternal blessedness prepared by God for those who have been saved by grace through the shed blood of Christ.

We believe that Hell is a real place of eternal suffering for those whose names are not written in the book of life.  There is no intermediate state in which the unsaved can atone for his own sins.  They remain eternally separated from the presence of the Lord.

John 14:1-6; Revelation 7:13-17; 20:11-15; 21:22-27; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Luke 16:19-31.

the Return of the Messiah (Last Things)

We believe in the personal, visible and imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth and the establishment of His Kingdom.  He believe in the resurrection of the body, the final judgment, the eternal felicity of the righteous, and the eternal punishment of the unredeemed.

Matthew 16:27; Mark 14:62; John 14:3; Acts 1:11; Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:15; 2 Timothy 4:1; Titus 2:13; 1 Corinthians 15; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 20:4-6; 11-15.

*Influenced and adapted from our friends at Austin Stone Community Church, Mars Hill Church, Watermark Church, and The Village Church.

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