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Beliefs

The ancient church father St. Augustine offers a helpful statement on any church’s shared beliefs. He said, “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In everything, love.”  This idea acknowledges that there exist essential teachings within Scripture that the Church must be united on if it is to remain faithful. It also highlights the fact that the Church has historically divided over secondary issues, for which there should be liberty within the family of faith. Finally, in everything, we are to be a community that is guided by love. Right belief, expressed pridefully, is not love. Likewise, wrong belief, expressed  freely, is not love. Right belief, bolstered by love, was Jesus' example. As a local church, this is our aim.

River Valley Church affirms the doctrinal statement of the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA). The following answers represent some of the core, orthodox beliefs of the Church from a biblical and historical perspective.

  • God
    We believe that there is only one living and true God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5-6; John 17:3). We believe in the unity of the Godhead: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We believe that they are three distinct persons, of one substance, and equal in power and authority (Genesis 1:26; Matthew 3:13-17).
  • The Bible
    We believe that the Scriptures are inspired, authoritative, and sufficient (2 Timothy 3:16).
  • The Human Condition
    We believe that we, along with all of humanity (Christ excluded), are sinners by nature and choice (Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:23; 5:8, 12-21; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 John 1:8-10) and that the deserved penalty for our sin is death, both physical and spiritual (Genesis 2:15-17; 3:19; Romans 5:12-14; 6:23; James 1:14-15).
  • Jesus Christ
    We believe that Jesus Christ is exactly who he claimed to be as the eternal Son of God, born of a virgin, both fully God and fully human, and without sin. We believe that in His first coming, Jesus inaugurated the fulfillment of the kingdom of God (Matthew 1:20; John 1:1-4; 14; Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 1:1-3).
  • The Work of Christ
    We believe that Jesus Christ was crucified, suffered, and died as a substitute to pay the penalty for our sin (John 1:29; 10:1-18; Romans 5:8). We believe that Jesus Christ physically overcame death, rose from the grave, ascended into heaven, and now sits at the right hand of the Father (Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:19; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
  • The Holy Spirit
    We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, co-equal in deity with God the Father and God the Son, is the promised Comforter, the Helper, the Spirit of Christ, who lives in those who follow Jesus. He convicts the world of its guilt. He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service (John 14:26, 16:7-13; Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:25).
  • Salvation
    We believe that only by trusting in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone can we be reconciled to God and experience true life and joy (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5-6).

The Apostles' Creed

The Apostles’ Creed is the foundational creed of Christian churches. The creed was used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome. Though many churches and flavors of Christianity throughout the ages have different interpretations of the Bible, and embrace various doctrinal nuances, the essence of what the Scriptures teach is found in the words of the Apostles’ Creed...

We believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth,

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic (universal) church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

Statements

Beyond our core doctrinal convictions are other theological statements that reflect what we believe and help to answer questions being asked within our church community and the broader culture.

Human Dignity

+ We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life (Psalm 139).

+ We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31). Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual or group are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the posture of River Valley Church.

Marriage

+ We believe in the historically Christian view of marriage and sexual expression; namely, that marriage is a lifelong, one-flesh covenant union between two sexually different persons (male and female) from different families, and that all sexual relationships and expressions outside of marriage are sin (Genesis 2:18-25; 1 Corinthians 6:18, 7:2-5; Hebrews 13:4).

Gender

+ We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God (Genesis 1:26-27).

Human Sexuality

+ We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other (1 Corinthians 6:18; 7:2-5; Hebrews 13:4).

+ We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, lustful thoughts, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God (Matthew 15:18-20; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

+ We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ (Acts 3:19-21; Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Questions

If you have any questions about our beliefs or statements, feel free to reach out. You can contact us by clicking the button below.

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