Doctrinal Statement of Riverside Fellowship: We hold and teach these beliefs which direct our attitudes and actions.
There is one true God who created everything and holds all things together. God is three in one—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Being Spirit, He is beyond gender or race, and beyond our comprehension or ability to define. He is revealed to mankind by His Word to be holy, just, perfect, eternal, forgiving, and merciful. He is the source of all truth, love, knowledge, wisdom and power. God loves us unconditionally.
God revealed Himself to us in His Son Jesus Christ, fully divine and fully human, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of Mary, a virgin. Though He was without sin, Jesus was crucified to pay for the sins of the world. He died and was resurrected on the third day, overcoming sin and death. He is now sitting at the right hand of God, the Father, and will return at the last day to judge all people.
The Holy Spirit is given to all who believe and profess that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. This is God living in us, providing comfort, guidance, and constant connection with God.
God created mankind as the crowning work of His creation. He created them as male and female, made equally in God’s own image and without sin. They were created to be in relationship with God, to glorify Him and to enjoy Him in all His fullness. But we choose self, our own way instead of God’s way. This is original sin, into which all humanity is born. Sin separates us from God. We are powerless to overcome sin on our own. We need a Savior to restore us to right relationship with God. Jesus Christ is that one and only Savior.
By His death on the cross, Jesus atoned for the sins of the whole world, past, present and future, once and for all. We are forgiven and reconciled to God by faith in Jesus. We can accept or reject this salvation. This free gift of God’s love and grace is available to all, giving us eternal life with Him. Our response is to surrender our lives to His perfect will, that is, to choose His way instead of our own.
4. Grace and Sanctification
Grace may be described in three stages: prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying. Prevenient grace is present before we even realize we need a Savior or repent of our sins. It is the grace that “goes before,” the grace that led Jesus to the cross. Justifying grace makes us right in God’s eyes. It is received when we repent and accept God’s salvation through His Son Jesus Christ, assured by the Holy Spirit now living within us that we are forgiven and reconciled to God.
Sanctifying grace is accomplished by the work of the Holy spirit living in us, enabling us to grow into the likeness of Christ. We do not expect to be perfect in the absolute sense, but to become mature disciples, prompted by our growing love for God. This journey of sanctification, propelled by the power of the Holy Spirit, produces a life that is characterized by the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
God continues to reveal Himself to us through the Bible, through the Holy Spirit within us, as well as through nature, other believers, and circumstances. We connect directly with God through prayer, giving Him thanks and praise, and seeking His wisdom and intervening work in our lives. Bible study, prayer, fellowship with the community of believers, and service to others are means of growing toward sanctification. These help us to become mature disciples of Jesus Christ.
5. The Bible
The Bible is the inspired Word of God, authoritative and infallible in its original manuscripts. Through the Bible, God reveals Himself to mankind. It guides and teaches us, and contains all truth necessary for salvation. The Bible serves as the supreme authority in all matters of faith and church conduct.
The Sacrament of Baptism is a sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ that signifies our entrance into a covenant relationship with God and His Church. Water, being a symbol of cleansing, is the means of baptism. It is an outward symbol of the inward grace. Since salvation takes place in one’s heart, salvation is not conditional on baptism. Baptism may be accomplished by sprinkling, pouring or immersing. It may be administered to any person professing faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, regardless of age. Parents who wish to do so may have their infant or child sprinkled as a sign of the covenant grace of God on that child’s life, calling both the parents and the church to raise that child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Holy Communion or The Lord’s Supper is both a means of grace and an act of worship. Through it we remember with thanksgiving Jesus’ death and resurrection, and reorder our hearts to align with His. The elements of bread and juice symbolize His body, broken for us, and His blood, poured out for our sins. All who profess faith in Jesus Christ are welcome to participate in Holy Communion.
We are a holy priesthood of believers. We are all indwelled by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, each of us is qualified to administer the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion. These sacraments are not to be taken lightly, but reverently and in accordance with Holy Scripture.
7. Our Relationship with the World
We welcome as members of Riverside Fellowship all who profess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and covenant to participate in fulfilling our mission and vision. As we are led by the Holy Spirit, we will collaborate with and support individuals and organizations that share the good news of Jesus Christ while also seeking to improve lives by providing for physical and emotional needs.
All people are of sacred worth. All people have sinned and are in need of salvation. We are called to share God’s love and grace with all people by forming welcoming, loving, supportive, and forgiving relationships. We affirm that marriage between a man and a woman is part of God’s plan for humanity. Guidance for roles within the family is in the Bible. While we acknowledge that people sometimes choose alternative lifestyles and that same-sex marriage is legal, we do not affirm same-sex marriage as being ordained by God.
We are called to be good stewards of God’s creation, and therefore are responsible to make choices that protect, preserve and enhance balance in the natural environment.
We recognize the authority of our local, state and federal governments. Christians are responsible for participating in our democracy by voting and for obeying laws. We acknowledge the right of individuals to peacefully protest unjust laws and situations. We are called to be faithful first to God, even when our culture is not.