Core Beliefs

This “Statement of Fundamental Truths” contains the 16 doctrines of the Assemblies of God. These are non-negotiable tenets of faith that all Assemblies of God churches adhere to. Four of these, Salvation, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Divine Healing, and the Second Coming of Christ are considered Cardinal Doctrines which are essential to the church’s core mission of reaching the world for Christ.

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Assemblies of God Statement of Fundamental Truths (1 – 16)

We also believe the following doctrines (17 – 31) are fundamental for our exercise of faith.

The Bible is our all-sufficient rule for faith and practice. This Statement of Fundamental Truths is intended simply as a basis of fellowship among us (i.e., that we all speak the same thing, 1 Corinthians 1:10 [KJV/NIV]; Acts 2:42 [KJV/NIV]). The phraseology employed in this Statement is not inspired nor contended for, but the truth set forth is held to be essential to a full-gospel ministry. No claim is made that it covers all Biblical truth, only that it covers our need as to these fundamental doctrines.

    1. The Scriptures Inspired
    2. The One True God
    3. The Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ
    4. The Fall of Man
    5. The Salvation of Man
    6. The Ordinances of the Church
    7. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit
    8. The Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
    9. Sanctification
    10. The Church and Its Mission
    11. The Ministry
    12. Divine Healing
    13. The Blessed Hope
    14. The Millennial Reign of Christ
    15. The Final Judgment
    16. The New Heavens and the New Earth
    17. Faith and Works
    18. Leadership of the Holy Spirit
    19. Laying on of Hands
    20. The Role of the Prophetic Ministry in the Church
    21. The Role of the Apostolic Ministry in the Church
    22. Financial Support
    23. Visionary and Government
    24. Relations of Church and State
    25. Membership
    26. Benevolence
    27. Counseling (Discipleship)
    28. Repentance
    29. Deliverance
    30. Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality
    31. Church Discipline

 

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1. The Scriptures Inspired

The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct.

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2. The One True God

The one true God has revealed Himself as the eternally self-existent “I AM,” the Creator of heaven and earth and the Redeemer of mankind. He has further revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The Adorable Godhead

a. Terms Defined
The terms “Trinity” and “persons” as related to the Godhead, while not found in the Scriptures, are words in harmony with Scripture, whereby we may convey to others our immediate understanding of the doctrine of Christ respecting the Being of God, as distinguished from “gods many and lords many.” We therefore may speak with propriety of the Lord our God who is One Lord, as a trinity or as one Being of three persons, and still be absolutely scriptural.

b. Distinction and Relationship in the Godhead
Christ taught a distinction of Persons in the Godhead which He expressed in specific terms of relationship, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but that this distinction and relationship, as to its mode is inscrutable and incomprehensible, because unexplained.

c. Unity of the One Being of Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Accordingly, therefore, there is that in the Father which constitutes him the Father and not the Son; there is that in the Son which constitutes Him the Son and not the Father; and there is that in the Holy Spirit which constitutes Him the Holy Spirit and not either the Father or the Son. Wherefore the Father is the Begetter, the Son is the Begotten, and the Holy Spirit is the one proceeding from the Father and the Son. Therefore, because these three persons in the Godhead are in a state of unity, there is but one Lord God Almighty and His name one.

d. Identity and Cooperation in the Godhead
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are never identical as to Person; nor confused as to relation; nor divided in respect to the Godhead; nor opposed as to cooperation. The Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son as to relationship. The Son is with the Father and the Father is with the Son, as to fellowship. The Father is not from the Son, but the Son is from the Father, as to authority. The Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son proceeding, as to nature, relationship, cooperation and authority. Hence, neither Person in the Godhead either exists or works separately or independently of the others.

e. The Title, Lord Jesus Christ
The appellation, “Lord Jesus Christ,” is a proper name. It is never applied in the New Testament, either to the Father or to the Holy Spirit. It, therefore, belongs exclusively to the Son of God.

f. The Lord Jesus Christ, God with Us
The Lord Jesus Christ, as to His divine and eternal nature, is the proper and only Begotten of the Father, but as to His human nature, He is the proper Son of Man. He is therefore, acknowledged to be both God and man; who because He is God and man is “Immanuel,” God with us.

g. The Title, Son of God
Since the name “Immanuel” embraces both God and man in the one Person, our Lord Jesus Christ, it follows that the title, Son of God, describes His proper deity, and the title, Son of Man, His proper humanity. Therefore, the title Son of God, belongs to the order of eternity, and the title, Son of Man, to the order of time.

h. Transgression of the Doctrine of Christ
Wherefore, it is a transgression of the Doctrine of Christ to say that Jesus Christ derived the title, Son of God, solely from the fact of the incarnation, or because of His relation to the economy of redemption. Therefore, to deny that the Father is a real and eternal Father, and that the Son is a real and eternal Son, is a denial of the distinction and relationship in the Being of God; a denial of the Father, and the Son; and a displacement of the truth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.

i. Exaltation of Jesus Christ as Lord
The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, having by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; angels and principalities and powers having been made subject unto Him. And having been made both Lord and Christ, He sent the Holy Spirit that we, in the name of Jesus, might bow our knees and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father until the end, when the Son shall become subject to the Father that God may be all in all.

j. Equal Honor to the Father and to the Son
Wherefore, since the Father has delivered all judgment unto the Son, it is not only the express duty of all in heaven and on earth to bow the knee, but it is an unspeakable joy in the Holy Spirit to ascribe unto the Son all the attributes of Deity, and to give Him all honor and the glory contained in all the names and titles of the Godhead except those which express relationship (see Distinction and Relationship in the Godhead, Unity of the One Being of Father, Son and Holy Spirit , and Identity and Cooperation in the Godhead) and thus honor the Son even as we honor the Father.

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3. The Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ

The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. The Scriptures declare:

His virgin birth,

His sinless life,

His miracles,

His substitutionary work on the cross,

His bodily resurrection from the dead,

His exaltation to the right hand of God.

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4. The Fall of Man

Man was created good and upright; for God said, “Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness.” However, man by voluntary transgression fell and thereby incurred not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God.

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5. The Salvation of Man

Man’s only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

Conditions to Salvation

Salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God, according to the hope of eternal life.

The Evidence of Salvation

The inward evidence of salvation is the direct witness of the Spirit.

The outward evidence to all men is a life of righteousness and true holiness.

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6. The Ordinances of the Church

Baptism in Water

The ordinance of baptism by immersion is commanded by the Scriptures. All who repent and believe on Christ as Saviour and Lord are to be baptized. Thus they declare to the world that they have died with Christ and that they also have been raised with Him to walk in newness of life.

Holy Communion

The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements –bread and the fruit of the vine– is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4 [KJV/NIV]), a memorial of his suffering and death (1 Corinthians 11:26 [KJV/NIV]), and a prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26 [KJV/NIV]), and is enjoined on all believers “till He come!”

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7. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit

All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the normal experience of all in the early Christian Church. With it comes the enduement of power for life and service, the bestowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry.

This experience is distinct from and subsequent to the experience of the new birth.

With the baptism in the Holy Spirit come such experiences as:

  • an overflowing fullness of the Spirit, John 7:37-39 [KJV/NIV], Acts 4:8 [KJV/NIV]
  • a deepened reverence for God, Acts 2:43 [KJV/NIV], Hebrews 12:28 [KJV/NIV]
  • an intensified consecration to God and dedication to His work, Acts 2:42 [KJV/NIV]
  • and a more active love for Christ, for His Word and for the lost, Mark 16:20 [KJV/NIV]

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8. The Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

The baptism of believers in the Holy Spirit is witnessed by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance.

The speaking in tongues in this instance is the same in essence as the gift of tongues, but is different in purpose and use.

  • 1 Corinthians 12:4-10 [KJV/NIV]
  • 1 Corinthians 12:28 [KJV/NIV]

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9. Sanctification

Sanctification is an act of separation from that which is evil, and of dedication unto God.

The Scriptures teach a life of “holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.”

By the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to obey the command: “Be ye holy, for I am holy.”

Sanctification is realized in the believer by recognizing his identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, and by the faith reckoning daily upon the fact of that union, and by offering every faculty continually to the dominion of the Holy Spirit.

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10. The Church and its Mission

The Church is the Body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Spirit, with divine appointments for the fulfillment of her great commission. Each believer, born of the Spirit, is an integral part of the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn, which are written in heaven.

Since God’s purpose concerning man is to seek and to save that which is lost, to be worshipped by man, and to build a body of believers in the image of His Son, the priority reason for being of the Assemblies of God as part of the Church is:

  1. To be an agency of God for evangelizing the world.
    Acts 1:8 [KJV/NIV]
    Matthew 28:19,20 [KJV/NIV]
    Mark 16:15,16 [KJV/NIV]
  2. To be a corporate body in which man may worship God.
    1 Corinthians 12:13 [KJV/NIV]
  3. To be a channel of God’s purpose to build a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son.
    Ephesians 4:11-16 [KJV/NIV]
    1 Corinthians 12:28 [KJV/NIV]
    1 Corinthians 14:12 [KJV/NIV]

The Assemblies of God exists expressly to give continuing emphasis to this reason for being in the New Testament apostolic pattern by teaching and encouraging believers to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. This experience:

  1. Enables them to evangelize in the power of the Spirit with accompanying supernatural signs.
    Mark 16:15-20 [KJV/NIV]
    Acts 4:29-31 [KJV/NIV]
    Hebrews 2:3,4 [KJV/NIV]
  2. Adds a necessary dimension to worshipful relationship with God.
    1 Corinthians 2:10-16 [KJV/NIV]
    1 Corinthians 12 [KJV/NIV]
    1 Corinthians 13 [KJV/NIV]
    1 Corinthians 14 [KJV/NIV]
  3. Enables them to respond to the full working of the Holy Spirit in the expression of fruit and gifts and ministries as in New Testament times for the edifying of the body of Christ.
    Galatians 5:22-26 [KJV/NIV]
    1 Corinthians 14:12 [KJV/NIV]
    Ephesians 4:11,12 [KJV/NIV]
    1 Corinthians 12:28 [KJV/NIV]
    Colossians 1:29 [KJV/NIV]

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11. The Ministry

A divinely called and scripturally ordained ministry has been provided by our Lord for the threefold purpose of leading the Church in:

Evangelization of the world.

Worship of God.

Building a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son.

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12. Divine Healing

Divine healing is an integral part of the gospel. Deliverance from sickness is provided for in the atonement, and is the privilege of all believers.

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13. The Blessed Hope

The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the church.

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14. The Millennial Reign of Christ

The second coming of Christ includes the rapture of the saints, which is our blessed hope, followed by the visible return of Christ with His saints to reign on earth for one thousand years.

This millennial reign will bring the salvation of national Israel,

and the establishment of universal peace.

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15. The Final Judgment

There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works. Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, will be consigned to the everlasting punishment in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

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16. The New Heavens and the New Earth

“We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

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17. Faith and Works

We believe that faith without works is dead. We do not believe, as a matter of the fundamental beliefs and doctrines of this church that any matter can be believed without there being an accompanying and corresponding action. Our faith is an active faith that requires the doing of acts in the world.  Our faith is not a passive or complacent system of intellectual belief or assent to doctrine but is an active force in our lives that requires and results in actions being taken.  A living, active faith will be manifested not only in belief and mental assent but in actions expressed and based upon that belief.  If a belief is truly held, it will be acted upon.  The act is as much a fundamental aspect of our faith as the belief upon which the act is based.

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18. Leadership of the Holy Spirit

We believe that in all matters concerning the Body of Christ, in its direction, discipline, ministry and functioning, that specific guidance, instruction, revelation, and discernment of truth from falsehood is available by the leading of the Holy Spirit who enables us to know spiritual things by the Spirit.

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19. Laying on of Hands

Laying on of hands is a biblical practice.  Jesus practiced it in Mark 10:13-16 [KJV/NIV] as a blessing and it is our grounds for baby dedication instead of baptism.

We believe in the laying on of hands for healing.

We believe in the laying on of hands to believe words spoken, to receive anointing, to cultivate the anointing and for appointment to eldership. (1 Tim. 4:14 [KJV/NIV])

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20. The Role of Prophetic Ministry in the Church

We believe that God speaks today.  There are at least five channels of prophecy by which God speaks to His people today. They are: the office of the prophet, prophetic preaching, prophetic presbytery, the gift of prophecy and the spirit of prophecy.  All five avenues are received and encouraged in this church.  We believe that hearing from God, both individually as members and corporately as a church, through prophecy or any other biblical means chosen by God to communicate, is essential to our faith and walk with God.  Prophecy is only one method of discerning God’s will and direction.  It is recognized that none of the methods or channels of prophecy will always be 100 percent accurate and actions should not be taken on the basis of prophetic words alone without other confirmation.  We believe the prophetic presbytery serves the purpose in the body of Christ in activating, establishing, releasing, commissioning, and ordaining gifts to their office, function, and place of relationship and/or leadership.

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21. The Role of the Apostolic Ministry in the Church

We believe in the apostolic ministry for today as one which functions in one or more localities through foundational ministry as of a father laying the foundation which is Christ and equipping the saints for the work of ministry.  We seek to relate to the apostles of Christ and to be apostolic ourselves.

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22. Financial Support

We believe that scripture requires all members of the congregation to support the programs and needs of the church in proportion as the Lord shall prosper them through tithes and offerings, thereby acknowledging that any institution can stand or be of full service only in proportion as all of the members of the congregation accept their responsibility of maintaining it.

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23. Visionary and Government

We believe that there is always a person who is the presiding leader on any leadership team raised up by God.  That person will be the first among equals-the leader of the leadership team. We believe that the leader will be an ascension gift, not necessarily a pastor, though that is the title given to the leader in this church.  The leader will be the person through whom the main vision of the church is received, articulated and developed.   They will be the one with the final responsibility and decision making authority in all matters concerning the church.  They will be recognized by the grace, anointing, ability and vision given to them by God (Num. 27:15-22 [KJV/NIV]; 1 Cor. 12:18 [KJV/NIV]; Eph. 4:11 [KJV/NIV]; Acts 13:1 [KJV/NIV]).  God will raise up elders and other ascension gifts to function with, and in relationship to, the visionary.  We believe that there will be mutual submission within the leadership team consisting of the visionary and elders. Within the team, we believe that there will be submission of the visionary to the others in the governing leadership and that there will be submission of the others to the visionary. We believe that they are to seek the mind of God together for the church in all areas of its affairs.

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24. Relations of Church and State

God has entrusted the church the solemn Biblical responsibility of being the conscience of society, church, and government.  As such the church has a duty before God to speak to the issues that arise from and relate to society, culture, and government.  Specifically, the church, in the tradition of the prophets, is required to call government to account before God for the actions taken by the government with the view toward keeping the government in its proper role and relationship as a steward under God of the resources of the nation.

The church has a divine mandate to practice its religion as dictated by God.  The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. The church is the blood-bought bride of Christ of whom Jesus is the head, the Lord, and the only master.  As such we categorically reject any and all claims by the state to headship or sovereignty over the church.  When earthly governments leave their God-ordained sphere of responsibility and seek to restrain, hamper or limit the church’s obedience to Christ in all areas of life, then the church must and will obey God rather than man.

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25. Membership

The church, by its very composition, is a membership organization.  The local church is the manifestation within our society of The Church.  The Church is the Body of Christ and all born-again believers are recognized as being members thereof.  We recognize that there are various local churches, and, while belonging to The Church, each local church exists for an express purpose.  We acknowledge that individual members of the Body of Christ will wish to associate with our congregation and be recognized as members thereof.  All believers are members of The Church.  The Lord will set some of those members of The Church into this local congregation as members as it pleases him.  As members of this local congregation, they are given into the care and oversight of the leadership which must give an account to God for their souls.  The elders of this church shall have the right to determine who may attend church meetings and functions.  This church is owned by the Lord Jesus Christ who has entrusted the care of the flock to the leadership he has raised up here.  It is not a place of public accommodation, nor is it a public institution, and its property is not a public place but is, rather, private property belonging to this church.

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26. Benevolence

We believe that the Scriptures are clear concerning helping those in need.  We are commanded to do good to all people as we have opportunity, with a special emphasis upon caring for those who profess to be fellow Christians, especially those of our own fellowship of believers.  We are commanded to be generous and willing to share, laying up treasure for ourselves in the coming age by our kindness and generosity in this life.  This is true for the church as an organization as well as for the individual members of the church.  Therefore, in accordance with the biblical commands, as a fundamental aspect of the practice of our faith, we will share of our material goods with those in need and will minister to them to the best of our abilities, whatever the need.

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27. Counseling (Discipleship)

We believe that the scriptures clearly define that members of a congregation can seek out advice, consultation, direction, purpose, resolution, and guidance from amongst the shepherds, elders, mature men and women, and Five-Fold Ministry Gifts within the Body of Christ (1 Kings 1:12 [KJV/NIV]; Prov. 27:9 [KJV/NIV]; Prov. 11:14 [KJV/NIV]; Ps. 55:13-14 [KJV/NIV]).  We further believe that consultation and instruction are applicable by the scriptures through sessions, a company of persons in close deliberation set together, to lay a foundation, set in place and give wise counsel.  This also provides safety, defense, rescue and freedom from trouble (Ps. 55:13-14 [KJV/NIV]; Prov. 1:11-14 [KJV/NIV]; Prov. 12:15 [KJV/NIV]).  The personal care of the saints is the sanctification of the whole person, body, soul, and spirit, (1 Thes. 3:13 [KJV/NIV]; 1 Thes. 5:23 [KJV/NIV]) through the love that flows from faith, patience and hope, and the redemptive power of the Cross of Christ, (Rom. 3:25 [KJV/NIV]; Luke 9:23 [KJV/NIV]) the atoning blood of Jesus (Eph. 2:13-16 [KJV/NIV]; 1 Peter 1:18-19 [KJV/NIV]), the transformation of the soul through the word of God, (Rom. 12:1-2 [KJV/NIV]), the denying of the old nature; Gal. 2:20 [KJV/NIV], Gal. 5:24 [KJV/NIV]; 1 Peter 1:13-15 [KJV/NIV]) salvation through grace not works, (Eph. 2:1-8 [KJV/NIV]) and the promise of the resurrection, (John 3:16 [KJV/NIV], John 10:25-26 [KJV/NIV]) are the effective working mechanisms that characterize pastoral care ministry.  Such ministry is foundational to the practice of our faith.

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28. Repentance

Repentance is a gift from God.  It is simply not true that a person can repent at any time.  Repentance is dependent upon the convicting action of the Holy Spirit in the lives of sinners and believers.  The conviction of the Holy Spirit, which often accompanies the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, will result in the revelation of the sinfulness of self which should lead to Godly sorrow.  Remorse, or worldly sorrow, is a feeling of deep regret, hopelessness or even despair.  It does not lead to constructive change.  On the other hand, Godly sorrow, which may at times be mistaken for worldly sorrow, produces repentance which causes us to turn away from sin and selfishness and to receive faith for change.  Worldly sorrow is destructive but repentance is life-giving.  Repentance changes the way we feel and act about sin, self, and God. Repentance is a total change of heart, mind, attitude, emotions, will, action and lifestyle flowing from the turmoil and sorrow of Holy Spirit conviction of sin.

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29. Deliverance

The need for deliverance is manifested by an inability to be free from a bondage e.g., mental (emotional), physical or spiritual, normally associated with demon activity it is God’s desire to bring deliverance to his people.  (Job 5:19 [KJV/NIV]; Ps. 91:3 [KJV/NIV]; 2 Tim. 4:13 [KJV/NIV]; Heb. 2:15 [KJV/NIV]; 2 Peter 2:9 [KJV/NIV]). We have been granted the authority in the name of Jesus to bring deliverance to others.  (Mark 16:17 [KJV/NIV]; John 14:12 [KJV/NIV]; 1 Cor. 12:8-11 [KJV/NIV]).  We must understand that our warfare is with the forces of evil (Eph. 6:12 [KJV/NIV]), our weapon is the word of God, our authority and power is from Jesus himself (Mark 16:17 [KJV/NIV]; Acts 1:8 [KJV/NIV]) and that the battlefield is first of all in the spiritual realms.  (Eph. 6:10-18 [KJV/NIV]; 2 Cor. 10:3-5 [KJV/NIV]; Rom. 8:9 [KJV/NIV]; Gal. 5:22-23 [KJV/NIV]).

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30. Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality

We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complimentary genders together reflect the image and nature of God.  (Gen. 1:26-27 [KJV/NIV]).  Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.  We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning; the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture.  (Gen. 2:18-25 [KJV/NIV]).  We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other.  (1 Cor. 6:18 [KJV/NIV]; 1 Cor. 7:2-5 [KJV/NIV]; Heb. 13:4 [KJV/NIV]).  We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.  We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God.  (Matt. 15:18-20 [KJV/NIV]; 1 Cor. 6:9-10 [KJV/NIV]).  We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of River of Life as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the River of Life members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by River of Life in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to abide by our statement of faith, including this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality and to conduct themselves in accordance with it. (Matt. 5:16 [KJV/NIV]; Phil. 2:14-16 [KJV/NIV]; 1 Thess. 5:22 [KJV/NIV]).  We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ by confession and repentance.  (Acts 3:19-21 [KJV/NIV]; Rom. 10:9-10 [KJV/NIV]; 1 Cor. 6:9-11 [KJV/NIV]).  We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity.  (Mark 12:28-31 [KJV/NIV]; Luke 6:31 [KJV/NIV]).  Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accordance with Scripture nor the doctrines of River of Life.

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31. Church Discipline

We believe in church discipline administered within the relational group in a spirit of meekness and confidentiality.  The purpose of such discipline is the restoration of the one subject to the discipline and/or the purification of the church.  The steps of discipline are one-on-one private confrontation, private confrontation with witnesses, and finally, exposure to the church for judgment leading to restoration or separation.

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