What We Believe
The epicenter of our faith is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God Incarnate. Every other belief we hold is centered around this truth. River House recognizes that it cannot, and does not desire to, bind the conscience of individuals in areas where Scripture is silent. Rather, each believer is to be led in those areas by God, to whom he or she alone is ultimately responsible. We believe these core beliefs to be an accurate summary of what Scripture teaches.
The Bible – The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are the inspired and infallible revelation of God to man and the authority of faith and conduct. River House accepts the Bible as the revealed will of God, as the all-sufficient rule of faith and standard for daily living. (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13, 2 Peter 1:21)
The Trinity – The one true God has revealed Himself as the “I Am” – the Creator and Redeemer of mankind. We believe God eternally exists in three persons (called the Trinity) which is comprised of God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. He is perfect, holy, righteous, merciful, loving, and just. (Isaiah 43:10,11; Genesis 1:1; Ephesians 4:5-6)
Jesus – The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. The Scriptures declare His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of God. (Revelation 1:8; Hebrews 1:3)
Sin – Humankind was created good and upright; however, humankind voluntarily transgressed and fell, and thereby, is spiritually dead and away from God. (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:17, 3:6; Romans 5:12-19)
Salvation – Humanity’s only hope is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Salvation is a free gift by faith -through grace- and demonstrated in repentance leading to a relationship with Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-9: Acts 4:12: 1 Timothy 2:5)
Water Baptism – We believe that following faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the new believer is commanded by the Word of God to be baptized in water by full immersion in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Communion/The Eucharist – We believe in a unique time of communion in the presence of God when the symbolic elements of bread and wine (the body and blood of Jesus Christ) are taken in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. (Mark 16:16; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit – Given at Pentecost, we believe the baptism in the Holy Spirit is the promise of the Father available to all Christians. It was sent by Jesus after His Ascension to empower the Church to preach the gospel throughout the whole earth. (Luke 3:16: Luke 24:49: Acts 1:8)
Sanctification – This is the act of separating from that which is evil and dedicating oneself to God and that which is good, upright, and morally pure. Christians are on a journey of progressive sanctification (Romans 12:1, 2; 1 Peter 1:16; Hebrews 12:14)
The Church and Its Mission – The Church is the representative of Jesus on earth and is called to carry out the Great Commission. (Matthew 28:19; Luke 19:10)
5 Fold Ministry – A divinely called and scripturally ordained minister has been provided by God to equip the saints for the work of the Gospel by leading the church in evangelization, worship, building the body, and general leadership of the church. (Mark 16:15-20; John 4:23-24; Ephesians 4:11-16)
Divine Healing – Is provided for today by the Scriptures and is included in the atonement for our sins. (Isaiah 53:4-5; Matthew 8:16-17; James 5:14-16)
The Second Coming – The resurrection of all Christians dead and alive to meet Christ in His glory is the Blessed Hope. The Second Coming of Christ includes the return of Christ Jesus as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (Romans 8:23; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; Zechariah 14:5; Matthew 24:17, 30). There will be a final judgment at which all men will be judged. (Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:43-48; Revelation 19:20)
The New Heaven and Earth – All of God’s children will reign forever in a new heaven and a new earth. (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21, 22)
INTIMACY + MYSTERY
God desires to be known by us. His dream is holy union with His people (Jer 31:34). Like marriage—man and woman sharing in the beauty and vulnerability of sacred companionship—so Christ loves the Church, His Bride. God is not distant, rather He exposes His heart and pursues man relentlessly to see the dream fulfilled: intimacy. At the same time, God is infinite and boundless. He is a cloud of unknowing, seated above and beyond comprehension. In all our knowing of His holy nature, like pioneers forging into a great frontier, we are continuously exposed to all we do not know, understand, or have ability to explain. He is mystery.
SUFFERING + JOY
In this life, to love is to suffer. Our sin-sick planet is full of agony, trauma, and fear. People are dead in their sins, addicted and dying. This world is full of pain. Our God is full of compassion: the uncontrollable desire to alleviate suffering. Jesus so loved that He came to suffer with us. He was a wounded Healer and now calls us to follow His footsteps, take up our cross, and love in the same manner. As Christians, we are promised trial and suffering throughout our lives. We are also given the promise of His Presence in which lies fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). The joy of the Lord is what strengthens us to endure and prosper through every season (Neh 8:10). It outweighs and outlasts the very worst of human suffering and energizes us to continually press on toward the goal of the upward call in Christ Jesus. We are given joy in the midst of every situation because Jesus is joy and He has promised to never leave our side. We, above all people, are called to abound in joy!
WORD + SPIRIT
The Word of God is living and active, an unchanging anchor of truth that has spoken across generations. Jesus is the Word (John 1:1). Holy Scripture is a paradox within itself, being both human and Divine, composed of many genres yet inspired by one Author. To become versed in them requires patience, process, and study. Good theology and sound doctrine are essential to healthy spirituality but cannot be formed overnight. Like leaven worked into dough, these take time to mature. God loves using process to form us. He also delights in suddenly appearing like rushing wind. The Holy Spirit anoints and empowers the people of God. The power of the Spirit flows through gifts of many varieties releasing knowledge, wisdom, prophetic revelation, healing, and the manifest Presence of God. The Spirit is He who Authored and will help us understand the Word (Luke 24:45). The Word is our guide to interpret the manifold ministry of the Spirit. Word and Spirit reveal Jesus. We must have both.
POWER + DEPENDENCE
Our faith is meant to rest upon power and not words alone (I Cor 2:5). Jesus’ resurrection is not a history lesson, but a living testimony that our lives are designed to proclaim and invite the world into. The same power that rose Jesus from the grave lives inside of us! Our God is a God of miracles. Signs accompany the lives of those who believe what the Bible proclaims. God wills that Kingdom fruitfulness flows through our lives (John 15:8). This dynamic expression exudes through weak and humble vessels. Fruitfulness only flows through branches that abide in—and depend upon—the Vine. Dependence on God demands the emptying of self, the eradication of pride and independence, the crucifixion of the flesh. The goal of life is to become perfect worshippers of God, all for the glory of His Name. He is our only good (Psalm 16:2).
HONOR + HONESTY
We have never met a “mere human.” We live in relationship with image-bearers of God. Honor holds this truth before our eyes. Honor speaks this truth out loud. No matter the story or behavior exemplified, honor sees the beauty inherent within and acknowledges it. Jesus modeled this with Peter, gazing through the debris of his insecurity and cowardice, to call forth the rock that would lead the people of God forward (Matthew 16:18). We are instructed to do the same with those He has placed in our lives. Choosing honor does not equate to the denial of one another’s flaws, rather it includes an unwavering commitment to speak the truth in love. Providing honest feedback is an act of courageous love. It says, “I value the image of God in you more than you liking me right now. I’m committed to you becoming all you were created to be.” Because Jesus saw and honored Peter, He rebuked him (Matthew 16:23). The power of life and death is in the tongue. God created our mouths to be fountains of grace, releasing life to all who cross our path (James 3:11).