About Us

Who We Are

We're a multi-generational group of believers with a variety of interests, but the thing that unites us is our passion for God and our love for His glorious Gospel.

River Oaks' 3D Mission Statement

Declaring the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Disciple-Making at Home and Around the World.
Demonstrating the Father's Love in Spirit and Truth.

Our Passions

What a person values most is revealed by his passions. If you hang out with us for a while, we believe that our passions will be easy to recognize. Here’s what’s important to us:


We desire to cultivate growing affections for God as He has revealed Himself in Scripture as Father, Son, and Spirit. Exulting in the beauty, wonder, and perfection of His character is our greatest joy. This is expressed through our delight in worshiping Him on Sunday morning and by offering our lives to Him as living sacrifices every day.


Jesus Christ is the Gospel! We love the good news about Him and believe it is “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16). The hope of the Gospel is the central message we proclaim and the lens through which we view life. It permeates all aspects of body life at River Oaks from our worship, to our marriages and families, small groups, prayer, and all teaching contexts.

The good news is revealed in Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension. Christ’s crucifixion is the heart of the gospel, His resurrection is the power of the gospel, and His ascension is the glory of the gospel. Christ’s death is a substitutionary and propitiatory sacrifice to God for our sins. It satisfies the demands of God’s holy justice and appeases His holy wrath. It also demonstrates His mysterious love and reveals His amazing grace. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man. There is no other name by which men must be saved. At the heart of all sound doctrine is the cross of Jesus Christ and the infinite privilege that redeemed sinners have of glorifying God because of what He has accomplished. Therefore, we want all that takes place in our hearts, church and ministries to proceed from and be related to what Christ has accomplished on the cross. John 1:12, 3:16, 5:24, Acts 4:12, Romans 4:25, Ephesians 1:7-8, 13-14, Philippians 3:9-10

Biblical Community
Biblical Community

We love the body of believers God is forming at River Oaks. Authentic community is most notable through our growth groups and in our genuine desire to love and care for one another. This love overflows into service of our community in practical ways.

Compassionate Ministry
Compassionate Ministry

The adjective used to describe Jesus most often in the New Testament is the word translated “compassionate.” We desire to proclaim and demonstrate the good news of the Gospel through compassionate service, both locally and globally.

The Great Commission
The Great Commission

The authoritative call to “go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19-20) is one that we take very seriously. We encourage our families to do this as they go about their daily lives at home, at work, at play, and in their neighborhoods. We also strive to make disciples “to the ends of the earth” through our church partnership with Fountain of Hope Church in Kenya, as well as the other missionaries we support in various parts of the world.

Essential Doctrines

By essential doctrine, we mean a doctrine that you must affirm and believe to come into membership at River Oaks. We believe these doctrines stand squarely on the infallible word of God and fit comfortably within the rich history of Christian orthodoxy.

The Bible

We accept the Bible, comprised of the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament, as the Word of God. The Bible is the only inerrant and infallible written record of God’s self-disclosure to mankind. It leads us to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Being given by God, the Scriptures are both fully and verbally inspired by God and as such are entirely free from error. Each book is to be interpreted according to its context and purpose and in reverent obedience to the Lord who speaks through it in living power. All believers are exhorted to study the Scriptures and diligently apply them to their lives. The Scriptures are the authoritative and normative rule and guide of all Christian life, practice, and doctrine. They are totally sufficient and must not be added to, superseded, or changed by later tradition, extrabiblical revelation, or worldly wisdom. Every doctrinal formulation, whether creed, confession, or theology must be subject to the full counsel of God in Holy Scripture.

(Isaiah 55:11; John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:21.)

(Additional ref: Article X of The Chicago Statement on Inerrancy, October 1978)

Reason this statement is an essential doctrine: We believe Scripture is God’s Word and Final authority on all matters of life and doctrine. God’s Word is truth! (John 17:17) Scripture is God’s special revelation to humanity that most clearly presents the Gospel.

The Holy Trinity

There is one God: infinite, eternal, almighty, and perfect in holiness, truth, and love. In the unity of the Godhead there are three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, co-existent, co-equal, co-eternal. The Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Holy Spirit, yet each is truly Deity. One God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is the foundation of Christian faith and life. Though the word “Trinity” is not found in Scripture, this doctrine is progressively revealed throughout the Scriptures and is understood in three truths:

  1. God eternally exists in three Persons – Father, Son, and Spirit.
  2. Each of the three Persons is fully God.
  3. There is one God.

(Matthew 28:19, 1 Peter 1:2, Romans 5:1-5, John 1:1-5, 14-18, John 14:26, 17:20-26; Ephesians 1:3-14, 2:18)

Reason this statement is an essential doctrine: The doctrine of the Trinity defines the object of our faith and our worship. This doctrine separates Christianity from all other religions.

God the Father

God the Father is the Creator of heaven and earth. By His Word and for His glory, He freely and supernaturally created the world out of nothing. Through the same Word He daily sustains all His creatures. He rules over all things as the only Sovereign. His plans and purposes cannot be thwarted. He is faithful to every promise, works all things together for good to those who love Him, and in His unfathomable grace gave His Son Jesus Christ for the redemption of all who believe. He made man for fellowship with Himself, and intended that all creation should live to the praise of His glory.

(Genesis 1:1, 3; Job 41:11; Psalm 50:10-12, 148:13; Isaiah 6:3, 43:7; Ephesians 1:11-12; Revelation 4:11) 

Reason this statement is an essential doctrine: God the Father is the Member of the Trinity that planned and foreordained salvation, and is the “First among equals”.

God the Son

Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the eternal Word made flesh, supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary. He is perfect in nature, teaching and obedience. He is fully God and fully man. He was always with God and is God. Through Him all things came into being and were created. He is before all things and in Him all things hold together by the word of His power. He is the image of the invisible God. All things were created through Him and for Him, and in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily. He is the only Savior for the sins of the world. Through his substitutionary death, He removed our guilt and reconciled us to God. On the third day, He rose bodily from the grave, victorious over death and the powers of darkness. Many, including over 500 people at one time, witnessed Jesus alive. Forty days after He rose from the dead, He ascended into heaven at God’s right hand. He now intercedes for His people and rules as Lord over all. He is the Head of His body the Church and should be adored, loved, served, and obeyed by all.

(Matthew 1:18-25; John 1:1-18; Romans 1:4, 3:21-26, 8:34; Hebrews 4:14-16, 7:25; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 3:5)

Reason this statement is an essential doctrine: God the Son is the Person of the Holy Trinity that accomplished the redemption of all who believe. Only through Jesus Christ can a person be saved.

God The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, convicts the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgment. Through the proclamation of the gospel He effectually calls men to repent of their sins and confess Jesus as Lord. By the same Spirit a person is led to trust in divine mercy. The Holy Spirit brings about the new birth, dwells within the regenerate and unites believers to Jesus Christ in faith. The Holy Spirit has come to glorify the Son who in turn came to glorify the Father. He leads the Church into a right understanding and rich application of the truth of God’s Word. He is to be respected, honored, and worshiped as God the Third Person of the Trinity.

(Matt. 28:19, John 14:15-17, 15:26, 16:4b-15; Eph. 1:11-14, Romans 8:12-17, 26-27)

Reason this statement is an essential doctrine: God the Spirit is the Person of the Trinity that executes works of regeneration and sanctification that are necessary for salvation.


God made mankind – male and female – in His own image, as the crown of creation, that mankind might have fellowship with Him and reflect His glory. Tempted by Satan, men and women rebelled against God. Being estranged from their Maker, yet responsible to Him, men and women became subject to divine wrath, inwardly depraved and apart from a special work of grace, utterly incapable of returning to God. This depravity is radical and pervasive. It extends to the mind, will and affections. Unregenerate men and women live under the dominion of sin and Satan. All people in this state are at enmity with God, hostile toward God, and hateful of God. Fallen, sinful people, whatever their character or attainments, are lost without hope, apart from salvation in Christ.

(Genesis 1:27, 3:1-19; Romans 3:10-11, 21-26, 8:5-8)

Reason this statement is an essential doctrine: To deny the sinful nature of fallen mankind would be to deny the necessity for Christ’s substitutionary atonement. To deny the need of Christ would be to deny Christ.

Human Sexuality and Marriage

We believe that God creates people in his image as either male or female, that sex and gender are indivisible and consistent with God’s design, and that this creation is a fixed matter of human biology, predetermined by God, not individual choice. We believe that marriage is instituted by God as a covenant between one man and one woman. Marriage is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide a framework for intimate companionship for the husband and wife. The covenant union of marriage reflects God’s covenant love for his people. Therefore, marriage is to be lived out in love and relational fidelity. Marriage is the only appropriate context for sexual intimacy.

(Genesis 1:26-28, 2:18-25, Matthew 19:1-12, Ephesians 5:1-12, 22-33)

Reason this statement is an essential doctrine: God’s good design in the creation of marriage, gender, and sexuality should be celebrated, defended, and lived out in our lives as Christians.

The Gospel

The good news of the gospel is revealed through the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Christ’s crucifixion is the heart of the gospel; His resurrection is the power of the gospel, and His ascension is the glory of the gospel. Christ’s death is a substitutionary and propitiatory sacrifice to God for our sins. It satisfies the demands of God’s holy justice and appeases His holy wrath. It also demonstrates His mysterious love and reveals His amazing grace. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and all people. There is no other name by which any person must be saved. At the heart of all sound doctrine are the person and work of Jesus Christ and the infinite privilege that redeemed sinners have of glorifying God because of what He has accomplished. Therefore, our desire is for everything that takes place in our hearts, churches and ministries to proceed from and center on what Christ has accomplished in His perfect life, atoning death, and victorious resurrection.

(John 1:12, 3:16, 5:24; Acts 4:12; Romans 4:25; Eph. 1:7-8, 13-14; Philippians 3:9-10)

Reason this statement is an essential doctrine: Jesus Christ alone is the only means of salvation!

Man’s Response to the Gospel

Mankind’s response to the gospel is rooted and grounded in the grace of God for His own pleasure and glory. It is also true that the message of the gospel is only effectual for those who place saving faith in Christ. The fruit of that faith is repentance. This gospel of grace is to be sincerely preached to all peoples from all nations, and all men and women are commanded to believe. Biblical repentance and faith are characterized by turning toward Christ and turning away from sin. This is expressed in a life of obedience to Christ and good works.

(Eph. 1:3-7, 2:8-10; Galatians 3:1-14, Romans 4:1-8, Titus 3:4-8, James 2:14-26)

Reason this statement is an essential doctrine: Salvation is secured only by responding in faith to the Gospel.

Man’s Inheritance Through the Gospel

Salvation, the free gift of God, is provided by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, for the glory of God alone. Anyone who trusts in Christ and His substitutionary death receives the gift of eternal life and is declared righteous by God as a free gift. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to him. He is justified and fully accepted by God. Through Christ’s atonement for sin an individual is reconciled to God as Father and adopted into God’s family. The believer is forgiven the debt of his sin and via the miracle of regeneration liberated from the law of sin and death into the freedom of God’s Spirit. Indwelt by the Holy Spirit at conversion, believers are now united to Christ. Our union in Christ encompasses every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. The Holy Spirit Himself is the guarantee of the believer’s inheritance in Christ, to the praise of God’s glorious grace.

(Romans 5:1, 9, 18, 8:15-17; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians. 1:3-14; 2:8-10; Titus 3:5, John 10:28-30)

Reason this statement is an essential doctrine: Justification is attained by faith alone in Christ alone. Mankind adds nothing to the sufficiency of Christ’s finished work of redemption.


God is the active agent in our sanctification as the Holy Spirit progressively produces His fruit in our lives. As we live out our union with Christ, we are increasingly conformed into His image. The God of peace who called us is faithful to sanctify us completely. Though indwelling sin remains a reality, as we are led by the Spirit, we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, freely keeping His commandments from the heart. We endeavor to live in the world in such a loving manner that all people may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven. Ultimately, our holiness brings God glory as His character is increasingly displayed in our lives. Our battle against sin involves Spirit-led action on two fronts: putting sin to death and cultivating increased desire and affection for Christ. As the Holy Spirit increases our love for Christ, He changes our hearts and untwists our desires, thoughts, and actions. Our pursuit of holiness intensifies our joy as we become more amazed at God’s forgiveness, more intimately acquainted with our God, and more free from the sin in our lives.

We also have two main weapons in the battle against sin: the means of grace and the spiritual disciplines. The means of grace are the ministry of the word, the administration of the sacraments, prayer, song, and fellowship–in the context of the gathered church. These are the means God ordinarily uses to grow and sustain his people. The practice of the spiritual disciplines—especially time spent in God’s word and prayer—also helps the Christian to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is nothing special about the means of grace or the spiritual disciplines in themselves; rather, God, by His Spirit, uses them as He has promised in His word.

(John 13:34-35, 14:16-17, 15:26, 16:7-15; Romans 6:1-14, 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:11; Galatians 2:20, 5:22-23; 2 Peter 3:18, Heb. 10:10-14, 24; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)

Reason this statement is an essential doctrine: The Spirit’s sanctifying work is the foundation for our growth as Christians and our mutual discipleship as a church.

The Church

The Lord Jesus is building His church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. We believe that those who have been saved by the grace of God through union with Christ by faith and through regeneration by the Holy Spirit enter the church and delight in the blessings of the New Covenant: the forgiveness of sins, the inward transformation that awakens a desire to glorify, trust, and obey God, and the prospect of the glory yet to be revealed. This “universal church” is manifest in local churches of which Christ is the only Head; thus each “local church” is, in fact, the church, the household of God, the assembly of the living God, and the pillar and foundation of the truth.

The church is the body of Christ, the apple of his eye, graven on His hands, and He has pledged Himself to her forever. The gospel that we cherish has both personal and corporate dimensions, neither of which may be overlooked. Christ Jesus is our peace: He has not only brought about peace with God, but also peace between alienated peoples. His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both Jew and Gentile to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. The church is a new humanity united in Christ, redeemed from every tribe, people, language, and nation. The church universal is made up of those who have become genuine followers of Jesus Christ and have personally appropriated the gospel.

The church exists to worship and glorify God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It also exists to serve Him by faithfully doing His will on earth. This involves a commitment to see the gospel preached and churches planted in all the world as a testimony to God’s glory. The ultimate mission of the church is the making of disciples through the preaching of the gospel. Upon conversion, newly redeemed men and women are to join a local church in which they devote themselves to the practices of discipleship through biblical teaching, godly fellowship, the Lord’s Supper and corporate prayer. All members of the universal church are to be vital and committed parts of a local church and are to be nurtured and equipped for the work of ministry.

In the context of the local church, God’s people receive pastoral care, leadership, and the opportunity to employ their God-given gifts in His service to one another and the world. Redeemed men and women serve as the primary means of societal transformation. The ascended Christ has given leaders to his church for the equipping of Christ’s body that it might mature and grow. The biblical offices of leadership in the church are elders/pastors and deacons. Elders lead, shepherd, and oversee the church through the ministry of the word, corporate worship and prayer. Deacons assist the elders by serving the church in manifold practical ways. The qualifications and duties of both elders and deacons are outlined in Paul’s epistles to Timothy and Titus.

(Matthew 16:18, Ephesians 2:11-22, 4:1-16, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, 12:12-27, Acts 2:42-47, 1 Timothy 3:1-15, Titus 1:5-9, Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Peter 2:4-5, 4:10)

Reason this statement is an essential doctrine: The church is at the center of God’s purposes for the world and is the means by which the Great Commission is fulfilled, the kingdom of God comes near, and the saints are built up.

Ordinances of the Church

We believe that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordained by the Lord Jesus Christ. The former is connected with entrance into the new covenant community, the latter with ongoing covenant remembrance. Together they are simultaneously God’s pledge to us as divinely ordained means of grace and our public vows of submission to the once crucified and now resurrected Christ. As His followers, we eagerly await the return of Jesus to earth in glory and the consummation of all things.

Baptism is only intended for individuals who have received the saving benefits of Christ’s atoning work and become His disciple. Therefore, in obedience to Christ’s command and as a testimony to God, the Church, oneself and the world, a believer should be immersed in water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Water Baptism is a visual demonstration of a person’s union with Christ in the likeness of His death and resurrection. Water baptism doesn’t possess any regenerative power; rather, it signifies that the believer’s former way of life has been put to death and vividly depicts a person’s release from the mastery of sin.

(Matthew 26:26-29, 28:19; Acts 2:38, 8:12; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Corinthians 10:16- 17, 11:23-24; Colossians 2:12)

The Lord’s Supper is to be observed only by followers of Christ who are in good standing with their local church. This ordinance symbolizes the giving of Christ’s body and the shedding of His blood on our behalf, and is to be observed repeatedly throughout the Christian life as a sign of continued participation in the atoning benefits of Christ’s finished work on the cross. As we partake of the Lord’s Supper with an attitude of faith and self-examination, we remember and proclaim the death of Christ, receive spiritual nourishment for our souls, and signify our unity with other members of Christ’s body.

(1 Corinthians 10:16-17, 11:17-34, Acts 2:42, Luke 22:14-23)

Reason this statement is an essential doctrine: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper were instituted by Christ Himself as a means of grace to build up His church and as visible pictures of the gospel to mark out His church from the world.

The Consummation

The Consummation of all things includes the visible, personal and glorious return of Jesus Christ; the resurrection of the dead and the glorification of those alive in Christ; the judgment of the just and the unjust; and the fulfillment of Christ’s kingdom in the new heavens and the new earth. Then shall the eager expectation of creation be fulfilled and the whole earth shall proclaim the glory of God who makes all things new.

In the Consummation, Satan with his hosts and all those outside Christ are finally separated from the benevolent presence of God, enduring eternal punishment, but the righteous, in glorious bodies, shall live and reign with Him forever. Married to Christ as His Bride, the Church will be in the presence of God forever, serving Him and giving Him unending praise and glory.

(Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 16:19-31, 23:39-43; John 5:24-30, 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:12-58; Colossians 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 3:10-14; Revelation 22:20) 

Reason this statement is an essential doctrine: The blessed hope of every Christian is that Christ will personally, physically, and visibly return to bring eternal punishment to His enemies and eternal joy to His redeemed people.

Core Convictions

The following Core Convictions have a significant impact on our church’s ministries, vision, and values, as well as in the life of believers. These shared convictions guide how the elders will teach and shepherd you and your family. While you may not hold to each of these core convictions, your respect and support of the elders as they teach and shepherd consistent with these core convictions is mandatory for membership at River Oaks.

Empowered by the Spirit

In addition to regeneration and sanctification, the Holy Spirit also empowers believers for Christian witness and service. Being indwelt by the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit are theologically distinct experiences. While all believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit at conversion, the New Testament indicates the importance of an ongoing, empowering work of the Spirit subsequent to conversion as well. The Holy Spirit desires to fill each believer continually with increased power for Christian life and witness, and imparts His supernatural gifts for the edification of the Body and for various works of ministry in the world. All the gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in the church of the first-century are available today, are vital for the mission of the church, and are to be earnestly desired and practiced according to biblical standards, under biblical authority.

(John 1:13, 3:3-8, 16:12-14; 1 Corinthians 12:11-13, 14:1; Galatians 3:5, 5:16-18; Ephesians 4:11-12, 5:18; James 5:14-15, 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21, 1 Peter 4:10-11)

Election and Responsibility

Before the foundation of the world, God elected a great multitude of men and women to eternal life as an act of His free grace alone – to the praise of His glorious grace. God’s sovereign choice to save sinners in Christ was in no way dependent upon His foresight of human faith, decision, works, or merit. Though a genuine believer might persist in sin even for a season, all who are chosen, called, regenerated, and justified shall persevere in faith and never finally fall away.

Perseverance is not ultimately a human accomplishment but a work of God through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who creates, sustains, and nourishes a living, growing, and enduring faith in all true believers. Yet, God’s word is exceedingly clear that all people remain responsible beings, subject to God’s commands to repent and believe, and are accountable to God for their rebellion, impenitence, and rejection of Christ. After conversion, the believer is to work out one’s salvation with fear and trembling because of the holy reality that Jesus has saved us through His blood, made us His own, and that God is at work in the believer both to will and to work for His good pleasure. These truths of election and responsibility are a mystery that provides joy, encouragement, comfort, and assurance to God’s people.

(Matthew 11:25-30; John 3:36, 15:16; Acts 17:30, Romans 9:1-23, 10:10-13; Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12, 2:1-10; Philippians 1:6, 2:12, 3:12)

The Old and New Covenants

The Old Covenant, with the Law of Moses as its core, was revealed to the nation of Israel, promising earthly blessings for obedience, and threatening curses for disobedience. The purpose of the Old Covenant was never to offer eternal life, but rather to govern the life and worship of the Old Testament nation of Israel, to reveal the extent of man’s depravity, and to foreshadow Christ and the New Covenant. The New Covenant, established through the person and redemptive work of Christ, provides eternal blessings which are acquired by grace through faith.

The Old Covenant was fulfilled in Christ, thus becoming obsolete. God’s final words of revelation, given through Christ and His New Testament apostles and prophets, have become the authority concerning Christian conduct, and the interpretive lens through which the Old Testament must be understood and applied. Calling His people into covenant relationship is the essential means by which God reveals His eternal love for His chosen people, blesses His people and fulfills His glorious promises to His people forever. God’s character is unchanging and consistent throughout the whole of redemptive history. All believers, both before and after the coming of Christ, were saved by faith alone. New Covenant believers are saved by looking to Christ as revealed in the gospel, and Old Covenant believers were saved by putting their faith in God’s promises that would ultimately be fulfilled in Christ.

(Deuteronomy 7:6-16, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Luke 22:20, Hebrews 8:6-13, 2 Corinthians 1:20, 3:1-18, John 1:16-17, Romans 4:2-3)

The Distinction of Law and Gospel

The law and the gospel are both revealed in the pages of Scripture—in both the Old and the New Testaments. Simply defined, the law is the revelation of God’s standard for holiness and righteousness. In it, God communicates what He requires of human beings if we are going to be in right relationship with Him and inherit eternal life. The law summons us to love and honor God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength— and to love our neighbor as ourselves. The law requires complete and perfect obedience. Since every person has failed to keep the law, it is impossible to earn eternal life through it. The gospel, on the other hand, is the message about what Jesus has done for us, in our place, to accomplish our salvation. It is the message of God’s salvation that He has worked through His Son that is grounded completely in His grace and is applied to sinners by faith apart from works. The gospel is entirely about Jesus and what He did, not about what we must do.

The distinction then between law and gospel can be summarized as follows:

The law reveals the standard of righteousness, the demands of God’s just character required to please and honor Him, yet provides no power whatsoever to meet the standard it reveals. The gospel, in contrast, actually contains nothing whatsoever in it for us to do to earn or keep God’s favor or forgiveness. Rather, it is gloriously good news, a free gift that we simply receive by grace through faith. In this sense, in terms of saving and sanctifying power, the law demands everything and gives nothing; the gospel demands nothing and gives everything.

The law of God is holy and has three biblical purposes:

The first purpose of the law is to be a mirror, as it reflects the perfect righteousness of God, and also illuminates human sinfulness. The law acts as a severe schoolmaster, highlighting our weakness so that we might seek the grace found only in Christ who fulfilled the law on our behalf. The second purpose of the law is the restraint of evil. The law cannot change human hearts. It can, however, serve to protect the righteous from the unjust, which allows for a limited measure of justice on this earth, until the final day of judgment. The third purpose of the law is to reveal what is pleasing to God. As born-again children of God, we delight in the law as God Himself delights in it. This is the highest function of the law, to serve as an instrument for the church to glorify God by showing us what pleases Him. If we confuse the categories of law and gospel, we end up effectively losing both.

An improper understanding of law and gospel leads us to soft-pedal the law. If we think that our own efforts to keep the law, in any way, to any extent, are a part of the righteousness that justifies us before God, we are mistaken. Sinners attempt to lower God’s standards by relativizing the law and lowering its requirements so they can actually keep it! In doing so, however, the law is gutted of its holiness, goodness, and glory. An improper understanding of law and gospel also results in our turning the gospel into a covenant of works, where the gospel becomes a covenant in which we earn righteousness before God through our obedience. The gospel is made to sound hard. All of this results in the saints being robbed of the peace and rest that is ours in Christ.

(Galatians 3:1-9, 15-26, Philippians 3:3-11, 1 Timothy 1:3-11, Romans 7:1-6)

The Kingdom of God

The kingdom of God, already present but not fully consummated, is the exercise of God’s sovereignty in the world toward the eventual redemption of all creation. The kingdom of God is an invasive power that plunders Satan’s dark kingdom and regenerates and renovates through repentance and faith the lives of individuals rescued from the kingdom of darkness. It therefore inevitably establishes a new community of human life together under God. Living as salt in a world that is decaying and light in a world that is dark, believers should neither withdraw into seclusion from the world, nor become indistinguishable from it: rather, we are to follow Christ as we seek to do good in the world. The glory and honor of the nations is to be offered up to the living God. Recognizing whose created order this is, and because we are citizens of God’s kingdom, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, doing good to all, especially those who belong to the household of God.

(Matthew 5:13-16, 13:1-50, 19:23-30; Luke 11:20-23, 17:20-23; Galatians 6:10, Colossians 1:12-14, 1 Peter 2:11-12)

As we seek first the kingdom of God, we should seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism and all other forms of partiality, every form of greed, selfishness and vice, all sexual immorality and perversion, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and those who are sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.

(Exodus 20:3-17, Leviticus 6:2-5, Deuteronomy 10:12; 27:17; Psalm 101:5, Micah 6:8, Matthew 5:13-16, 43-48, 22:36-40, 25:35; Mark 1:29-34, 10:21; Luke 4:18-21, 10:27-37, 20:25; John 15:12, 17:15; Romans 12–14, 1 Corinthians 5:9-10, 6:1-7, 7:20-24, 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-28, Ephesians 6:5-9, Colossians 3:12-17, 1 Thessalonians 3:12, Philemon, James 1:27, 2:8)

God's Good Design for Men and Women

We believe that God created human beings, male and female, in His own image. Men and women enjoy equal value as persons and equal access to God by faith in Jesus Christ. Adam and Eve belonged to the created order that God Himself declared to be very good, serving as God’s agents to care for, manage, and govern creation, living in holy and devoted fellowship with their Maker. Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one flesh union that establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations for men and women, such that marriage ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and His church. In God’s wise purposes, men and women are not interchangeable, but rather complement each other in mutually enriching ways.

Our conviction is to help men and women flourish as men and women in every area of life. God ordains that men and women assume distinctive roles which reflect the loving relationship between Christ and the church; the husband exercising headship in a way that displays the caring, sacrificial love of Christ, and the wife submitting to her husband in a way that models the love of the church for her Lord. In the ministry of the church, both men and women are encouraged to serve Christ and be developed to their full potential in the manifold ministries of the people of God. The distinctive leadership role within the church given to qualified men (elders) is grounded in creation, fall, and redemption and must not be sidelined by appeals to cultural developments. Both men and women are called to move beyond passive self-indulgence to significant private and public engagement in family, church, and civic life.

(Genesis 1:26-28, Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:18-19, 1 Timothy 2:12-15)

The Civil Government, The Social Order, and Religious Liberty

God has established three institutions within human society: the family, the state, and the church. Each institution has a sphere of authority delegated to them by God, with jurisdictional limits that must be respected. Parental authority is limited to one’s own family. Church leaders’ authority is limited to their local church. The state is specifically tasked with the oversight and protection of civic peace and well-being within the boundaries of a nation or community, for the purpose of rewarding good and punishing evil, and to protect the God-given rights granted to all people. God has not granted authority to civic rulers over the doctrine, practice, or polity of the church. The biblical framework limits the authority of each institution to its specific jurisdiction. Neither the church nor the state has the right to exercise unlawful authority in the affairs of individual families and ignore parental authority. When any one of the three institutions exceed the bounds of its jurisdiction, it is the duty of the other institutions to call them back into their God-appointed boundaries. As the church, it is our responsibility to be a prophetic voice to both the family and the state as stewards of God’s word.

(1 Peter 2:9-3:7, Romans 13:1-7, Ephesians 5:22-6:4, 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Hebrews 13:17, 3 John 1:9-10, Luke 3:18-20, Acts 5:27-29, 16:35-40)

The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ belongs to Him at the cost of His life and is accountable to Him alone in all matters of faith and practice. We believe that Christ’s command to give to Caesar (i.e. the civil authority) what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God establishes the functional independence of the Church from the State. Since civil government has been ordained by God, it is the duty of Christians to render obedience in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to civil authority to carry on its work, since it uses God’s appointed means alone for the pursuit of the Great Commission. We should pray for all those who are in authority, so that under their rule we may live a quiet and peaceful life, godly and dignified in every way. Christians may lawfully accept and carry out the duties of public office when called on to do so.

(Colossians 1:18, Matthew 22:15-22, Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-17, Titus 3:1-2, 1 Timothy 2:1-4, Daniel 3:16-18, 6:10-13; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, John 18:33-37)

The Ancient Creeds of the Church

Our church stands in continuity with historic Christian orthodoxy and thus affirms the following four ancient creeds of the universal church:

The Apostles’ Creed, The Nicene Creed, The Definition of Chalcedon and The Athanasian Creed.