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Handout 2: RiverTree Christian Church - What We Believe
From the website of the RiverTree Christian Church of Massillon, Ohio. Used with permission.
There is ONE GOD who is the source of everything
God is one and He exists as three equal persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God has existed eternally and is the creator of everything that exists in the universe, both physical and spiritual. He is actively involved in sustaining life and matter in the universe and also supernaturally intervenes in human existence to achieve His purposes. He has made mankind in His image and has gone to great lengths to demonstrate that He wants to be in a love relationship with his people.
(Genesis 1:26; Exodus 6:7; Matthew 3:16-17; John 3:16; Acts 17:24-30; Romans 1:20; 2 Peter 3:9)
The Bible is the ABSOLUTE TRUTH
The Bible is the source of truth about the origin and purpose of the human race and reveals the nature of our Divine Creator. It communicates God's perfect standards concerning human life and is the truth by which every person will be judged. We believe the Bible was written under the guidance of God himself, that it contains no errors in the original texts, and that it is sure, safe, and reliable in all matters when appropriately read and interpreted.
(2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 1 Peter 1:24-25; Isaiah 40:8)
The Bible is COMPLETELY RELEVANT to life
We believe the Bible is entirely relevant to human existence today and provides the best information for living the highest quality of life on this earth and for all eternity.
(Hebrews 4:12; Psalm 19:8; Psalm 119:105; 2 Timothy 3:16)
Jesus is the ONLY Son of God, the ONLY way to heaven
We believe that Jesus Christ is God's only Son who was physically born as human being while remaining fully God. Because He was both fully God and fully human, His death was able to make the perfect and only payment for our sin and He is, therefore, the only way a person may have his or her broken relationship with God restored and enter God's eternal presence in Heaven.
(John 14:6; Romans 3:21-25; John 11:25-26 ; Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 15:51-57)
We believe what the Bible says about Jesus is ENTIRELY TRUE
We believe that Jesus Christ was conceived and born of a virgin through the power of God's Spirit, that He lived a sinless life, that He physically died on a cross, that He rose from the dead, and that He currently sits at the right hand of God. We believe He did all of this because He loves us.
(Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-23; Luke 1:34-35; Luke 22:70; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 Peter 3:18; Romans 5:6-8; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8; Matthew 28:1-7)
Every human being is made in the IMAGE OF GOD and is also a SINNER
We believe that human beings are created in the image of God, but that through Adam's sin they now possess a sinful nature and also do actively sin. Because of this sin, without God's intervention, every person is doomed to an eternity of punishment and separation from God.
(Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:7; Genesis 2:16-17; Ephesians 2:1; Romans 1:17-3:12; Romans 3:23)
Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH
We believe that salvation is a free gift from God given to any person who puts their faith in Jesus Christ, accepting Him as Lord and Savior. This gift of salvation includes an immediate restoration of a person's relationship with God and, through yielding to the Holy Spirit, a lifetime of continuing transformation of that person's character into the character of Jesus Christ.
(Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 3:21-22; Romans 10:9; Acts 16:30-31; Philippians 1:6; Romans 8:29)
Faith is MORE than just believing
We believe that Biblical faith is more than just mental agreement with a list of facts about Jesus. It begins with a faith-decision to trust the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to be the final payment for your sin and to follow Him as the new leader of your life. This true faith in Jesus then naturally influences the thoughts and actions of the believer and is therefore evident in how the disciple actually lives.
(James 2:14-26; Matthew 7:21; Matthew 7:24-27; John 14:15)
Baptism is the PERFECT EXPRESSION of your faith
We believe that baptism by immersion is the perfect, outward expression of the faith decision to trust Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and that baptism of new believers was the clear practice of the New Testament church as an integral part of the conversion experience.
(Mark 16:16; Acts 2:37-38; 1 Peter 3:21; Romans 6:3-4)
God lives IN YOU
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third, equal part of the Trinity (God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit) who influences the lives of unbelievers and who comes to live within every Christian. The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to every believer so that the church might be built up and fully function as the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit also influences the thoughts and actions of every believer for the purpose of increasing the Christ-like character of that believer. The Holy Spirit's presence in a Christian is the assurance of God's acceptance and of a place with God in eternity.
(John 14:16-17; John 16:7-9; Ephesians 1:13-14; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Corinthians 12:4-7)
The LOCAL CHURCH is the hope of the world
We believe that the local church is the living, breathing body of Christ on this earth, whose purpose is to continue with the mission that Jesus had when He was here. We believe that all believers are meant to be an integral part of the local church where they will collectively use their God-given gifts to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the world around them and to grow together in community and character.
(Ephesians 4:4; Hebrews 10:25; Acts 2:41-47; John 14:12; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Matthew 28:18-20; Matthew 16:18)
Jesus WILL be back
We believe that Jesus Christ will return to this earth to judge the world, to gather those who have put their faith in Him and to punish those who have continued to rebel against Him. While the exact moment of his return will not be known, the fact that He will return should cause us to live with urgency and should be a great hope to everyone who trusts in Him.
(1 Thessalonians 5:1-3; Mark 13:32; Philippians 2:9-11; Titus 2:13)
Heaven and Hell are REAL
We believe that Heaven and Hell are both real places for human beings to exist after death and that every human being will exist for eternity either in God's presence or separated from Him. We believe that the Biblical descriptions of Heaven and Hell are meant to give us a basic understanding of these places; but that each will be more wonderful and more awful that we can comprehend.
(Ecclesiastes 3:11; Acts 24:15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Matthew 25:31-34,41,46; Revelation 21:3-5; Revelation 22:5; 2 Peter 2:13-17; 1 Corinthians 2:9; Revelation 14:9-12)