GENERAL STATEMENT OF FAITH
This is the doctrinal statement of faith affirmed by all who are members of The Response Church.
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)
These are the predominant doctrinal truths that define the preaching ministry of The Response Church.
What Do We Believe?
FIRST, we are Christians which distinguishes us from other world religions and cults. Therefore, we adhere to both the Apostles and Nicene Creeds.
SECOND, we are Evangelicals and in agreement with the doctrinal statement of the National Association of Evangelicals:
- We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.
- We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
- We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
- We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
- We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
- We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
THIRD, we are Missional:
- We believe that the local church must be faithful to the content of unchanging Biblical doctrine (Jude 3).
- We believe that the local church must be faithful to the continually changing context of the culture(s) in which they minister (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).
- We believe that our mission is to bring people into church so that they can be trained to go out into their culture as effective missionaries.
FOURTH, we are Reformed in our view of salvation:
- 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).
- 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.
- We believe that the salvation of the elect was predestined by God in eternity past.
- We believe that the salvation of the elect, by God’s grace alone, shows forth in the ongoing repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ that leads to good works.
- 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.
- We believe that the gospel should be passionately and urgently proclaimed to all people so that all who believe may be saved through the preaching of God’s Word by the power of God’s Spirit.
- 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.
What Do We Not Believe? To help clarify our beliefs we believe it may also be helpful to declare what we do not believe. In stating what we are not, we do not seek to attack those who disagree with us, but rather distinguish ourselves so that our members are aware of who we are, as well as who we are not.
- We are not ashamed and do proclaim a loving gospel of grace which sounds like foolishness and offensiveness to the unrepentant while also saving multitudes with ears to hear good news.
- 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 relativists 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 fundamentalists who retreat from cultural involvement and transformation, but rather missionaries faithful both to the content of Scripture and context of ministry.
- We are not moralists seeking to help people live good lives, but instead evangelists laboring that people would become new creations in Christ.
- We are not egalitarians and do believe that men should head their homes and male elders/pastors should lead their churches with masculine love like Jesus Christ.
- We are not evangelical feminists and do believe that God reveals Himself as a Father and is to be honored by the names He reveals to us without apology.
- We are not Open Theists and believe in the sovereignty and foreknowledge of God in all things.
- We are not eschatological fanatics and believe that divisive and dogmatic certainty surrounding particular details of Jesus Second Coming are unprofitable speculation, because the timing and exact details of His return are unclear to us.
- We are not hyper-Calvinists who get mired down in secondary matters, but rather pray, evangelize, and do good works because we believe that the sovereign plan of God is accomplished through us, His people.
- We are not polemicists who believe that it is our task to combat every false teaching but are passionate about preserving the integrity of the gospel of Jesus Christ.