What we believe at Riverside Community Church about Jesus, the Bible, and the Church
God inspired the authors of Scripture by His Spirit to speak to all generations of believers, including us today. God calls us to immerse ourselves in this authoritative story individually and communally to faithfully interpret and live out that story as we are led by the Spirit of God.
In the beginning God created all things good. He was and always will be in community with Himself – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God created us to be in community and marked us with an identity as His image bearers. God created humans in His image to live in fellowship with Him and one another. We recognize that through human sin, darkness and evil entered the story and are a part of the world, fracturing our relationships with God, ourselves, and others.
God did not abandon His creation to destruction and decay; rather He promised to restore this broken world and took action to accomplish this purpose. As part of this purpose, God chose a people, Abraham and His descendants, to represent Him in the world. We believe that through Jesus we are grafted into this nation. God promised to bless us as a nation so that through us all nations would be blessed. In time we became enslaved in Egypt and cried out to God because of our oppression. God heard our cry, and He moved in power to set us free into the Sinai where he gave us an identity and a mission as His treasured possession, a Kingdom of priests, a holy people. We acclaimed his name and sought to obey Him. At times we were faithful and at other times we failed Him. Throughout the story of Israel, God refuses to give up on us despite our frequent acts of unfaithfulness.
God brought his people into the promised land. Our state of blessing from God was intimately bound to our calling to embody the living God to other nations. We made movement toward this missional calling, yet we disobeyed and allowed foreign gods into the land, overlooked the poor, and mistreated the foreigner. The prophetic voices that emerge from the Scriptures held the calling of Israel to the mirror of how we treated the oppressed and marginalized. Through the prophets, God’s heart for the poor was made known, and we believe that God cares deeply for the marginalized and oppressed among us today.
That in Israel’s disobedience we became indifferent and in turn irrelevant to the purposes to which God had called us. For a time, we were sent into exile; yet a hopeful remnant was always looking ahead with longing and hope to a renewed reign of God, where peace and justice would prevail.
These longings found their fulfillment in Jesus the Messiah, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, mysteriously God in the flesh. Jesus came to preach good news to the poor, to heal the sick and raise the dead, to bind up the brokenhearted and to set captives free, proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven in power and bringing about a new exodus to restore our fractured world. He and His message were rejected by many as He confronted the oppressive nature of some of the religious elite and the empire of Rome. Yet his path of suffering, death, burial, and resurrection has brought hope to all creation. Jesus is our only hope for bringing reconciliation between God and humanity. Through Jesus we have been forgiven and reconciled to God. God is now reconciling us to each other, ourselves, and Himself.
That all who trust Jesus, the Spirit of God calls children of God, empowers with gifts, convicts, guides, comforts, counsels, and leads into truth through a communal life of worship and a missional expression of our faith. Filled with that same Spirit then we are to partner with God in bringing his restoration to the world in power. The church is a global and local expression of living out the way of Jesus through love, sacrifice, and healing as we embody the resurrected Christ, who lives in and through us, to a broken and hurting world.
The day is coming when Jesus will return and judge the world, bringing an end to brokeness and restoring all things to God’s original intent. He will continue to reclaim this world and rule forever. The earth’s groaning will cease, and God will dwell with us here in a restored creation. On that day we will beat swords into tools for cultivating the earth, the wolf will lie down with the lamb, there will be no more death, and God will wipe away all our tears. Our relationships with God, others, ourselves, and creation will be whole. All will flourish as God intends. We believe that the gates of Hell will not prevail against the advancing body of Christ. We believe that heaven is not simply something we are waiting for at death but is a reality we are called to join with God to bring into the world now.
This is worth all our heart, all our soul, and all our might.
When the Methodist movement in America became a church in 1784, John Wesley provided the American Methodists with a liturgy and a doctrinal statement, which contained twenty-four “Articles of Religion” or basic statements of belief. These Articles of Religion were taken from the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England–the church out of which the Methodist movement began–and had been the standards for preaching within the Methodist movement. When these articles were voted on by the American conference, an additional article was added regarding the American context, bringing the total number of articles to 25. These articles became the basic standards for Christian belief in the Methodist church in North America. First published in the church’s Book of Discipline in 1790, the Articles of Religion have continued to be part of the church’s official statement of belief.
Have a question about what we believe at Riverside Community Church? Get in touch with a person on our leadership team directly by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org