GENERAL STATEMENT OF FAITH
We believe the Bible is God’s written revelation to man. It is composed of sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament. It is verbally inspired in every word and absolutely inerrant in the original manuscripts. We affirm the infallibility, sufficiency, and authority of Scripture. We affirm its supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct. (Isaiah 40:8; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Jude 1:3; Psalm 119:105; 2 Peter 1:19; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 5:17-18, 7:24; Luke 11:49-51, 24:27; John 10:34-35; Acts 20:32; Romans 15:4)
We believe that there is but one living and true God, an infinite, all-knowing being, perfect in all his attributes, one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – each equally deserving worship and obedience. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:21-22; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 1:17, 2:18; John 14:26; Acts 2:33; Mark 1:10-11; Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19; John 14:24; 1 Peter 1:1-2)
God the Father
We believe in God the Father, an infinite, personal spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, and love. We believe that he, in keeping with his justice, possesses righteous anger toward all those who do wicked. Yet, according with his steadfast love, he concerns himself mercifully in the affairs of men. He hears and answers our prayers, and he willfully and joyfully saves from sin and death all that come to him through faith in Jesus Christ. (1 John 3:1; Matthew 6:8-9, 32; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3,4; James 1:17; John 4:23, 5:21,46, 6:44, 14:2; Acts 1:6-7)
We believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, and that as such, he possesses precisely the same nature, divine characteristics, and perfection as God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. We believe that he is not only fully God but also fully man, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of a virgin. We also believe in his sinless life, his substitutionary atonement, his bodily resurrection from the dead, his ascension into heaven, his priestly intercession on behalf of his people, and his personal and visible return from heaven which the church eagerly waits for. (Luke 1:35, John 1:1, 2, 14, 3:16, 14:6, Romans 3:24-26, Isaiah 53:5, 1 Peter 1:3-5, 2:24, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Acts 1:9-11, Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25, 9:24)
The Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit is a person and is fully God. As the supernatural and sovereign agent in regeneration, the Holy Spirit baptizes all believers into the Body of Christ at the moment of salvation. The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers for service, and seals all believers unto the day of redemption. (Genesis 1:2; Psalm 139:7; John 15:26, 16:7-11, 13-14; Romans 8:9-16; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13-14, 2:22, Acts 1:8)
We believe that every person is a sinner by nature and by choice and is, therefore, under condemnation. We believe that those who repent of their sins and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and empowered to live a new life. We believe that the salvation of man, who is sinful and lost, is instantaneous and accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God when the repentant sinner — enabled by the Holy Spirit — responds in faith. This salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redeeming work of Jesus Christ, the merit of his shed blood and perfect obedience, and not on the basis of human merit or works. (Titus 3:3-7; Romans 6:5-11, 10:9; 2 Corinthians 3:18, 5:17; Colossians 3:9-11; John 1:12-13, 3:5-8; Ephesians 4:20-24)
We believe that all who put their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual body, the church, of which Christ is the head. The purpose of the church is to glorify God by building its members up in the faith, by instruction of the word, by fellowship, by keeping the ordinances, and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world. We believe in the local church consisting of a company of believers in Jesus Christ, baptized on a credible profession of faith and associated for worship, discipleship, ministry, fellowship, and evangelism. (1 Corinthians 1:2, 3:9, 16, 5:4-7, 10:16-17, 12:14-27; 1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Peter 2:9, 5:1-4; Ephesians 3:10, 4:4-6, 5:23-32; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 20:28; Hebrews 10:24-25)
The Last Things
We believe in Jesus’ visible and glorious return to judge the living and the dead. This will be accompanied by the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the unsaved; the saved unto the resurrection of life and the unsaved unto the resurrection of damnation. (Job 19:25-26; Daniel 12:2; Zechariah 14:4-11; John 5:29, 11:24; Acts 24:14-15; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44; 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 4:13-18, 5:9; Revelation 3:10, 19:11-16, 20:1-6)
Marriage and Sexuality
We believe that the term, “marriage” has only one valid meaning and that is a covenantal union sanctioned by God which joins one biological man and one biological woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. (Genesis 2:18-24; Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16, 39)
We believe that God intends marriage between a biological man and a biological woman to be the only context for sexual intercourse to occur. We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God in any context. (Proverbs 5:15-19; Hebrews 13:4; Matthew 5:27-30; Ephesians 5:3; Galatians 5:19; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 18-20; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5)
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to this Statement on Marriage and Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly. (Ephesians 5:23-32, Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-7; Hebrews 13:7)
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking his mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual who is struggling with the above sins is to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of the Church. (Proverbs 28:13; Acts 3:19; 1 John 1:8-9; James 5:16; Hebrews 3:12-14; Galatians 6:1)
We believe the Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God, speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind. In matters of secondary and tertiary church doctrine and practice the Elders of The Response Church are the final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application. In matters of primary doctrine, such as our church’s General Statement of Faith and Membership Covenant, the Members of The Response Church are the final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application. (Isaiah 8:20; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Jude 1:3;1 Timothy 4:12-16; Titus 1:9; Isaiah 55:11)
SPECIFIC STATEMENT OF DOCTRINE
SECOND, we are CONFESSIONALLY REFORMED, which distinguishes us from some other Christian churches and individuals. Therefore, our Elders and Deacons adhere to a hybrid of the 1689 2ND LONDON BAPTIST CONFESSION OF FAITH, and the HEIDELBERG CATECHISM.
Total Depravity We believe that God created man and woman in a state of sinless perfection with particular dignity as his image bearers on the earth. We believe that our first parents sinned against God and that everyone since is a sinner by nature and choice. Sin has totally affected all of creation including marring human image and likeness so that all of our being is stained by sin (reasoning, desires, and emotions). Therefore the mind of sinful man is not merely indifferent toward the things of God, but hostile. Man in his fallen state is both unwilling and unable to please God, or even seek for God. (Genesis 2:16-17, Genesis 6:5, Jeremiah 17:9, John 6:44, Romans 3:11, Romans 5:12, Romans 8:7-8, Ephesians 2:1-3, Colossians 2:13, 1st Corinthians 2:14)
Unconditional Election We believe that because all people have sinned and separated themselves from the Holy God that he is obligated to save no one from the just deserved punishments of hell. We also believe that God in his unparalleled love and mercy has chosen to elect many people for salvation. God’s choice of certain individuals for salvation was not based on any foreseen response of obedience on their part, but was based solely in his good and sovereign will. (Matthew 24:22-24, Matthew 24:31, John 6:37-39, Romans 8:28-33, Romans 9:11-16, Ephesians 1:4-5, Ephesians 2:10, 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14)
Limited Atonement We believe that in the mercy and justice of God the Father, he was not willing to subjugate his Son to suffer under his wrath on behalf of those whom he had not decreed to save. We affirm that Christ freely laid down his life for all of his sheep who are promised to hear his voice and respond to his call. Therefore, not a single drop of Christ’s blood will ever be found to have been wasted in Hell. (Luke 19:10, John 6:35-40, John 10:11-18, John 17:1-11, Romans 5:8-10, Colossians 1:21-22, Galatians 3:13, Hebrews 9:12)
Irresistible Grace We believe that God’s saving grace is ultimately irresistible and that God does soften even the hardest heart and save the worst of sinners according to his will. (Ezekiel 36:26-27, John 3:3-8, John 6:37, John 6:44, John 10:16, Romans 8:28-30, 2nd Corinthians 5:17-18, Ephesians 2:10, 1 Peter 1:23, Titus 3:5)
Perseverance of the Saints We believe that true Christians born again of God’s Spirit will be kept by God throughout their life, as evidenced by personal transformation that includes an ever-growing love of God the Father through God the Son by God the Spirit, love of brothers and sisters in the church, and love of lost neighbors in the culture. (John 3:16, John 5: 24, John 6:35-40, John 10:27-30, Romans 8:29-30, Romans 8:35-39, Philippians 1:6, 1 John 2:19, 1 John 2:25)
POPULAR TEACHINGS & PHILOSOPHIES WE REJECT
We are not relativists and do gladly embrace Scripture as our highest authority above such things as culture, experience, philosophy, and other forms of revelation.
We are not religious pluralists and do believe that there is no salvation apart from faith in Jesus Christ alone.
We are not Universalists and do believe that many people will spend eternity in the torments of hell as the Bible teaches.
We are not egalitarians and do believe that God has created male and female equally as his image-bearers, but distinct from one another in terms of both design and role. Therefore, the Bible plainly teaches that men should lead their families and churches with masculine love like Jesus, and by properly understanding a whole biblical theology, this leadership should ordinarily extend to many other positions of authority outside of the home and the church. Likewise, women should seek to complement this leadership by humble submission, not to all men, but to those particular men who have been sovereignly appointed by God in positions of authority over them.
We are not evangelical feminists and do believe that God reveals himself as the Father, the Son, and He, the Holy Spirit. God is to be honored by the masculine names and masculine character he reveals to us without apology.
We are not Open-Theists and do believe in the sovereignty and foreknowledge of God in all things.
We are not Pelagian and do believe that all people are dead in their trespasses and sins, and that no one seeks for God apart from his regenerating work by the Holy Spirit.
We are not Arminians and do believe that the doctrine of “prevenient grace” is found nowhere in Scripture.
We are not hyper-Calvinists, but rather, we pray, evangelize, and do good works because we believe that the sovereign plan of God is accomplished through us, his people.
We are not cowards and do believe that God’s people have been dressed for battle with not only defensive armor but also the offensive weapon of the “Sword of the Spirit.” We are not careless polemicists, but rather, we choose our battles wisely, fight our opponents strategically, and call those who are in error to repentance in a manner that is loving and bold. We are not ashamed of Christ and do proclaim a loving message of judgment and mercy which sounds like foolishness and offensiveness to the unrepentant while also saving multitudes with ears to hear good news.
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