Since “the church of the living God [is] the pillar and support of the truth” (1Timothy 3:15), it’s important how the teachers in a local church define and explain the truths of Scripture. Accordingly, Redeeming Grace Church’s teaching perspective is summarized below by this moderately-edited version of the 1833 New Hampshire Confession of Faith -- a statement which is succinct, balanced, Gospel-centered, and popular historically among Baptist churches.
Our current elder and deacons personally affirm all the items below and believe them to be a sound summary of “the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3). Future church elders will be required to make the same affirmation. Others doing public teaching in the church will be expected to not contradict these doctrinal positions in their teaching.
Not all the matters addressed here are essential for salvation, so not all RGC members necessarily agree with every detail. Though church members, being persuaded by Scripture, should generally be moving toward “attain[ing] to the unity of the faith” (Ephesians 4:13), everyone must extend gracious tolerance to brethren who differ in non-essential issues and “pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another” (Romans 14:19).
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We believe that the Holy Bible was written by divinely inspired men and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, Jesus Christ for its grand theme, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter, that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us; and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian unity and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried. Psalm 119; Proverbs 30:5-6; Luke 16:29-31; John 10:35, 12:48, 17:17; Romans 2:12, 4:3; 2Timothy 3:15-17; 2Peter 1:21; 1John 4:1; Revelation 22:18-19.
The True God
We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite intelligent Spirit, whose name is Jehovah, the Maker and supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; equal in every divine perfection and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. Exodus 15:11; Psalm 83:18, 147:5; Isaiah 6:3; Jeremiah 10:10; Matthew 10:37, 28:19; Mark 12:30; John 4:24, 10:30, 15:26, 17:5,10; Acts 5:3-4; Romans 1:20; 1Corinthians 2:10-11, 12:4-6; 2Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 2:18; Hebrews 3:4; 1Peter 1:15-16; Revelation 1:4-5, 4:11.
The Fall of Humanity
We believe that people were created in God’s image with a chief purpose of glorifying him, loving him, and enjoying him for time and eternity. Though man was created in holiness under the law of his Maker, by voluntary transgression he fell from that holy and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint but choice, being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined toward evil, and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin without defense or excuse. Genesis 1:27,31, 2:16-17, 3:6-24, 6:12; Psalm 51:5; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Isaiah 53:6; Acts 17:26-29; Romans 1:18,20,32, 2:1-16, 3:9-19, 5:12,15-19, 8:7; 1Corinthians 10:31; Galatians 3:10,22; Ephesians 2:1-3.
The Way of Salvation
We believe that the salvation of sinful people is entirely of grace through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God, who, by the appointment of the Father, freely took our nature upon himself, honored the divine law by his personal obedience, and by his death made a full atonement for our sins; that having risen from the dead, he is now enthroned in heaven; and that uniting in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, he is in every way qualified to be a suitable, compassionate, and all-sufficient Saviour. Psalm 89:19; Isaiah 53:4-5; Matthew 18:11, 20:28; John 1:1-14, 3:16; Acts 15:11; Romans 3:21-26, 4:25; 1Corinthians 15:1-4; 2Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 4:4-5; Philippians 2:6-10; Colossians 3:1-4; Hebrews 1:3,8, 4:14, 7:25-26, 9:13-15, 12:24; 1John 4:10.
The Freeness of Salvation
We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a penitent and obedient faith; and, though sinners are variously influenced, nothing ultimately prevents their salvation except their own inherent depravity, resulting in their rejection of light and increased condemnation. Isaiah 55:1; Proverbs 1:24; Matthew 11:20, 23:37; Mark 1:15; John 3:19, 5:40; Acts 13:46; Romans 1:15-17, 9:32; 2Thessalonians 1:8; Revelation 22:17.
We believe that Jesus Christ secures justification for those who believe in him; that it includes the pardon of sin and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood; that, by virtue of which faith, his perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us by God; and that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity. Isaiah 53:11-12; Zechariah 13:1; Matthew 9:6; John 1:16; Acts 10:43, 13:39; Romans 3:24-26, 4:4-5,23-25, 5:1-2,6-11,17-21, 6:23; 1Corinthians 1:30-31; Philippians 3:7-9; Titus 3:5-7; 1John 2:12,25.
We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind; that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel; and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, faith, and a life progressively conformed to Christ. Deuteronomy 30:6; Ezekiel 36:26; Matthew 3:8-10, 7:16-20; John 1:13, 3:3-8; Romans 2:28-29, 8:9,29; 2Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:16-23; Ephesians 4:20-24, 5:9; Philippians 2:13; Colossians 3:9-11; 1Peter 1:22-25; 1John 4:7, 5:1,4,18.
Repentance and Faith
We believe that repentance and faith are sacred duties and also inseparable graces, produced in our souls by the regenerating Holy Spirit, whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with genuine contrition, confession and supplication for mercy, at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest and King, and relying on him alone as the only and all-sufficient Savior. Psalm 51; Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3, 15:18-21, 18:13, 24:47; John 16:8; Acts 2:37-38, 11:18, 16:30-31; Romans 10:9-13; Ephesians 2:8; 2Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 7:25, 11:6.
God’s Gracious Purpose
We believe that election is the eternal purpose of God according to which he graciously saves sinners; that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with that salvation goal; that it is a most glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy and unchangeable; that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy; that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree; that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the gospel; and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves deserves the utmost diligence. Jeremiah 31:3; Matthew 20:15; Luke 18:7; John 6:37-40, 10:16, 15:16; Acts 13:48, 15:14; Romans 4:16, 8:28-30, 9:10-24, 11:5-6,32-36; 1Corinthians 1:26-31, 3:7; Ephesians 1:3-14; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:12; 1Thessalonians 1:4-5; 2Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2Timothy 1:8-9, 2:10; James 1:17-18; 1Peter 1:1-2, 2:9, 5:10; 2Peter 1:10-11; 1John 4:19.
We believe that sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness; that it is a progressive work; that it is begun in regeneration; and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, in the continual use of the appointed means, especially the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, putting on the full armor of God, and prayer. Proverbs 4:18; Matthew 26:41; Luke 9:23; John 3:6; Romans 8:5; 2Corinthians 3:18, 7:1, 13:5; Ephesians 1:4, 4:30, 6:10-18; Philippians 1:9-11, 2:12-13, 3:12-16; 1Thessalonians 4:3, 5:23; Hebrews 6:1; 1Peter 2:2; 2Peter 1:5-8, 3:18; 1John 2:29.
Perseverance of the Saints
We believe that only those who endure to the end are genuine believers; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial false converts; that a special providence watches over their welfare; and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. Job 17:9; Psalm 91:11-13, 121:3; Jeremiah 32:40; Matthew 13:18-23; John 6:66-69, 8:31; Philippians 1:6, 2:12-13; Hebrews 13:5; 1John 2:19, 3:9, 4:4, 5:18; Jude 24-25.
We believe that a local church is a congregation of baptized believers, committed to one another in the faith and fellowship of the gospel, functioning together as a unified body with a diversity of gifts, observing the ordinances of Christ, governed by his laws, and exercising the rights and privileges described by his word; that its only Biblical officers are elders (also called pastors or overseers) and deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the epistles to Timothy and Titus. Matthew 18:15-20, 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-47, 14:23; Romans 16:17; 1Corinthians 4:17, 5:1-13, 12:4-26, 14:12,26; Galatians 6:2; Ephesians 4:2-16; Philippians 1:1; 2Thessalonians 3:6; 1Timothy 3:1-15; Titus 1:5-9.
The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit applies the redemption Christ accomplished within the hearts and lives of believers; that specifically the Spirit convicts of sin, produces the new birth, casts out demons, indwells the saints, reveals and glorifies Christ, gives understanding of truth, assures of salvation, sanctifies from remaining sin, distributes and energizes spiritual gifts, helps in prayer and worship, guides in decision-making, empowers evangelism, strengthens the inner person, and unifies all true Christians; and that all believers have a duty to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit. Matthew 12:28; John 3:7-8, 7:38-39, 15:26, 16:14,7-8; Acts 2:16-18; Romans 8:14-16, 26-27; 1Corinthians 2:3-5, 10-14, 12:4-11; 2Corinthians 3:6-8, 18; Ephesians 3:16, 4:3-4, 5:18; Philippians 3:3; 1Peter 1:2; 1John 2:27.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
We believe that water baptism is for believers; that it is a solemn and beautiful symbol of what is believed to have happened inwardly: our union with the crucified, buried and risen Saviour, with the result that our old sinful self has been buried and we have been raised up to a new life in Christ. We believe that the Lord's Supper symbolizes Christ’s broken body and shed blood and may be received by believers upon their solemn self-examination. Matthew 3:5-6, 26:26-29, 28:19-20; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20; John 3:22-23; Acts 2:38,41-42, 8:12,36-39, 10:47-48, 16:32-34, 18:8, 22:16; Romans 6:4; 1Corinthians 10:16-17, 11:17-34; Colossians 2:12.
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment for the benefit and good order of human society; that government officials should be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed, except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of the kings of the earth; and that the church’s mission is not the promotion of political causes but the proclamation of God’s Word. Exodus 18:23; Psalm 2, 72:11; Daniel 3:15-18, 6:7-10; Matthew 22:21; Acts 4:18-20, 5:29; Romans 13:1-7; 1Timothy 2:1-4; Titus 3:1; I Peter 2:13-17; Revelation 19:16.
The World to Come
We believe that the end of the world is approaching; that at the Last Day Christ will descend from heaven and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution; that a solemn separation will then take place; that the wicked will be adjudged to endless conscious punishment and the righteous to endless joy with the Lord; and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell. Daniel 12:2; Matthew 13:37-43,49, 24:30-31,35, 25:31-46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 14:14; John 5:28-29, 6:40, 11:25-26; Acts 1:11, 3:21, 10:42, 17:31, 24:15; Romans 2:2-10, 6:23; 1Corinthians 4:5, 15:12-58; 2Corinthians 4:17-18, 5:10; 1Thessalonians 4:13-18, 5:1-11; 2Thessalonians 1:6-10; Hebrews 9:28; 1Peter 4:7; II Peter 2:9, 3:3-13; 1John 2:28, 4:17; Revelation 1:7, 20:11-15, 22:12.
In addition to the core doctrines above, church teaching takes the following positions on these matters of particular contemporary importance:
Creation and the Flood
We believe that the events described in the first eleven chapters of Genesis should be interpreted as historical narrative and not as allegorical literature. Exodus 20:11; Matthew 24:37-39; Mark 10:6-9; Luke 17:26-27; John 8:44; Acts 17:26; Romans 5:12-14,17; 1Corinthians 11:8-9, 15:21-22; 2Corinthians 4:6, 11:3; 1Timothy 2:13-14; Hebrews 11:3-7; 1Peter 3:20; 2Peter 2:4-5.
We believe that God created marriage; that Jesus Christ declared the Creator’s intention for marriage to be the inseparable and exclusive union between male and female, meaning a natural man and a natural woman; and that marriage testifies of the union between Christ and the church. Genesis 1:27-28, 2:23-24; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9; Romans 1:25-27; Ephesians 5:25-32.
We believe that loving our neighbors includes caring about their sufferings and injustices (as defined by Scripture) perpetrated against them; that God leads individual believers to remedy these problems by various means; and that any social cause or ideology must be tested by the sufficient standard of Scripture so that no unbiblical concepts are promoted in the church. Ezekiel 18:1-9; Micah 6:8; Matthew 5:13-16; Luke 10:27-37; Romans 12:2; 2Corinthians 10:5; Galatians 2:10,3:28; Ephesians 2:11-22; Colossians 2:8; 2Timothy 3:16-4:4; James 2:4,9,15-17; 1John 3:17.
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