Essential Beliefs

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Our Christian faith is over two thousand years old. The Church, the followers of Jesus, have summarized their faith several times when there was a need to be clear about its essentials. For sake of brevity, clarity and simplicity, below is RiverStone Church’s statement of our core beliefs.

God has revealed Himself, His way to enjoy fellowship with Him, and experience life as He intended through Holy Scripture, commonly known as the Bible.  We understand it too be inspired by God, though written by men.  Scripture contains all things necessary for salvation and is the final authority for determining our Christian beliefs and how we are to live.

+Isaiah 40:8 + Psalm 119:105 + Isaiah 55:11 + 2 Timothy 3:14-17 +  2 Peter 1:20, 21

There is one living and true God, eternal, almighty, having infinite power, wisdom, and goodness.  He created all that is, seen and unseen. He is revealed in Scripture as Trinity (three Persons of one substance): the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  God the Father represents the “headship” of the Trinity as Jesus repeatedly refers to Him as “My Father”.

+ Genesis 1:1, 26, 27 + Psalm 90:2 + Matthew 28:19 + John 16:26  + 1 Peter 1:2 + 2 Corinthians 13:14 + John 16:28-32

He is the unique Son of God. He was united to human nature by being miraculously born to a virgin. He lived in perfect obedience to God the Father and did not sin.  As a part of His work of salvation for humankind, He suffered, was crucified, died, was buried so that we may be reconciled to God the Father.  After three days, He physically rose from the dead and was seen and heard by more than five hundred witnesses. He later physically ascended to heaven to sit at the Father’s right hand until He returns to judge all humanity at the last day.

+ John 1:1-3; 14 + Luke 2 + Hebrews 4:15 + Ephesians 2:4-10 + Colossians 1:21 + Luke 24:1-7 + 1 Corinthians 15:6 + Acts 1:9

The Holy Spirit is present in the world to make people aware of their need for Jesus Christ.  When we receive Jesus as the leader of our lives and the forgiver of our sins, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us.  He provides power for living, enables us to understand spiritual truth, and guides us in doing what pleases God.  As Christians we seek to daily yield our lives to His control and be transformed to have Christ-like character.

+ John 14:16, 17, 23; 16:7-13  + Ephesians 1:13  + Acts 1:8  + Galatians 5:13-25 +  2 Corinthians 3:17  + Ephesians 5:1

People are made in the spiritual image of God – we are rational and moral beings.  That is, we have the capacity to relate to God and innately know what is right and wrong.  Because we are God’s creation made in God’s image, each person possesses great self-worth.  Although every person has tremendous potential for good, all of us are marred by an attitude of self-centeredness which the Bible calls “sin.” This attitude and actions it causes separate us from God, others and ourselves.

+ Genesis 1:26, 27  + Romans 3:23 + Romans 6:23 + Ephesians 2:1-5

Becoming right with God and having our relationship with God restored is what the Bible calls salvation.  Salvation is God’s free gift to us.  We can never earn it or achieve it by self-improvement or good works.  We accept God’s gift of a new life when we turn from our self-ruled life and accept Jesus as our Savior.  When we do, we enter God’s family becoming His sons and daughters.  The new life that God gives us is an abundant life in this world and eternal life in the world to come.

+ Acts 2:21, 37-38  + Romans 5:1-2 + Ephesians 2:8-9 + John 1:12 + John 10:10

At the core of our being, the Holy Spirit works a miracle.  He enlivens our soul so powerfully that it’s like being born again. But we have just begun the journey to become fully devoted Christ-followers. There is much to learn and experience.  The Holy Spirit, fellow Christ followers and experience can assist us to grow in our maturity becoming more and more like Jesus.

 + John 3:8 + 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 + Romans 5:20-6:3 + Ephesians 4:11-15

Baptism is our initiation into the church and our identification as children of God. God initiates this relationship and chooses us as daughters and sons, beginning our life-long journey of faith. God’s choice happens regardless of our age or our response. Because God chooses us once and for all, this is an act that should not be repeated. Those that are baptized as children must make the choice to confirm their belief in Christ to continue as members of the church.

+ Matthew 25:34 + Mark 16:16 +Matthew 6:13-16 + Romans 6:4-5 + Ephesians 4:4-6

Communion is an opportunity for us to renew our relationship with Jesus Christ.  On His last night before His death, Jesus ate a special meal with His disciples.  He charged His church with repeating this meal to remember His sacrifice and celebrate our new life through Jesus and His death. God offers this relationship to everyone, so all who desire to receive are welcome to participate.  The elements, bread and fruit of the vine, are signs of Jesus’ body and blood.  The shedding of His blood is remembered as the establishing the New Covenant between God and humanity.  Jesus is spiritually present with those at the meal.

+ Luke 22:14-22 + Matthew 18:20 + 1 Corinthians 11:23-26