The most important questions you can ask regarding a church are, "What does the church say it believes and what do they do in response?” The fact that you are reading this article is a good indication that you, too, believe this to be an essential issue. While this article may not answer every question you have about Redeemer Church, we do want to assist guests and inquirers in learning more about us. We are convinced that the church must not be so broadly open that it fails to make vitally important distinctions that the Bible itself makes. At the same time, however, we do not insist that every person share the same precise set of theological convictions on every matter. In other words, there are negotiables and non-negotiables when it comes to doctrinal distinctives. To be more specific, Redeemer Church is characterized accurately with the following statements:
We seek to be centered on God's glory.
We believe that God’s glory consists of the overwhelming beauty that flows from the sum total of all His attributes (e.g., His love, wrath, mercy, justice, eternality, etc.) working together in perfect harmony and on display. We believe that we exist to glorify God by enjoying him forever. This belief is inevitably expressed through praise. We praise what we enjoy because our delight is incomplete until it is expressed in worship (C.S. Lewis). Therefore, we seek to promote the enjoyment of our all-glorious God in all that we say and do at Redeemer.
We are committed to doctrinal soundness.
Every church summarizes its convictions in some form in order to distinguish its members from those who are not believers or those who do not embrace their church’s distinctives. This is primarily expressed by means of a doctrinal statement that we believe is a good and accurate summary of the Bible’s teaching on certain core beliefs. We recognize that our expression of biblical truth is not flawless, yet we believe it to be a carefully worded summary of wparticular aspects of the Bible’s content. We believe it is important to note that every church has a doctrinal confession or statement, even though some may claim they have “no confession but Christ” or “no creed but the Bible.”
We recognize that knowledge alone leads invariably to pride. It is our sincere desire to affirm biblical truth in genuine Christian love. We believe that truth properly applied will issue forth from a heart whose affections have been stirred to obedience, thus yielding a life that glorifies God. Such a God-glorifying, God-enjoying life is the very purpose for our existence.
We are evangelical.
To say that we are evangelical means that we take our stand with those who believe in what are called “the fundamentals” of the Christian faith: the existence of the triune God, the complete deity and humanity of Jesus Christ, the virgin conception of Christ and His incarnation as the eternal Son of God, the pervasive sinfulness of all humanity, the substitutionary death of Christ as the only way of salvation, the physical resurrection of Christ, His sure and bodily return, salvation by God’s grace alone through faith in Christ alone, and the infallibility and divine authority of the Bible as a faithful and true guide to what we are to believe and how we are to live.
We joyfully affirm our unity with those from every tradition and denomination that hold these fundamentals, including those true believers in Christ who are members of denominations or churches with which we might have certain theological or doctrinal disagreements in other areas.
We are evangelistic.
This means we take seriously the Great Commission of Matthew28:18-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” Without compromising the sovereignty of God, we affirm the responsibility of each person to repent and believe on Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. We further affirm our responsibility to extend the message of the Gospel as a call to salvation to everyone who hears its message. To this end, we call all, without distinction, to drink freely of the Water of Life and to live eternally in the presence of their Creator.
This privilege and responsibility is realized not only in our immediate context, but also in the mandate from our Lord to declare his glory to our neighbors and the nations. Therefore, we seek to provide regular opportunities for the community of believers at Redeemer Church to go on mission to other parts of the world.
We are Baptist.
This is expressed in three specific ways:
1We affirm the Southern Baptist confessional statement contained in The Baptist Faith & Message (2000);
2We give financially to the Cooperative Program, the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention;
3Our understanding of the ordinances of the church are baptistic in nature as expressed in the following: 1) Baptism does not save us, but evidences our union with the Lord in his death, burial and resurrection. Therefore, we practice believer’s baptism by immersion as the means by which such union is best pictured. Christian baptism, in the name of the triune God, is the visual representation with water of the believer’s identification with Christ spiritually. Believer's baptism is a requirement for membership into Redeemer Church. 2) The Lord’s Supper is celebrated by the believing community of Redeemer Church on the first Sunday of each month. It is a time in which we recognize our bonds within the covenant community of believers who have been brought into fellowship with God and his people solely by the sacrificial work of Christ. We believe that the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Christ for commemoration of his death. In its observance, we declare Christ’s death until he comes again (cf., 1 Corinthians 11:26). We do not affirm either of these ordinances as being salvific in nature.
We are Reformed.
The word “Reformed” can be defined simply in two ways:
1It is a reference to our historical link to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century and describes us as heirs of the tradition that comes from Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, Ulrich Zwingli, and other Reformers of the Church.
2The word “Reformed” is used most commonly to refer to certain theological distinctives that have marked Reformation believers, particularly those who embrace what have come to be referred to as “the doctrines of grace.” These distinctives can be summarized by our glad affirmation of the responsibility of every person to repent and believe, and that it is God who, by his sovereign electing grace, draws men and women, otherwise dead in sin, to faith in his Son. By this faith alone are God’s people justified. Reformed distinctives include the sovereignty of God in his creation, providence and election of believers apart from any merit of their own; the irresistible grace of God provided for and preceding the faith of the individual; the sufficiency of God’s grace apart from which every person is dead in sin and wholly defiled in all his/her faculties of soul and body; the efficacy of Christ’s death for all those who believe in him by grace; the safe-guarding of all those for whom Christ died for eternal life.
We affirm biblical covenantalism.
To say we are covenantal means we believe that the unifying principle in the Scriptures is the glory of God’s grace in the one covenant that God made with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and finally, and most importantly, in Jesus Christ. The covenant is God’s pledge to His people of a relationship of loving loyalty throughout eternity. To speak of the unity of the covenants means that there is, and always has been, only one way to salvation in both the Old and New Testaments—that is, by God’s grace alone through faith alone. This covenantal understanding of the Bible is in distinction from any system of organizing Scripture that would attribute differing ways of salvation to a succession of historical biblical eras.
We are elder-led.
This concept refers to our form of governance. We believe that the most clear biblical pattern is for churches to be governed by elders. Therefore, the spiritual oversight is provided by a council of elders, or a plurality of elders. We have regularly-scheduled members’ meetings, whereby the congregation is able to interact with and provide input to the elders regarding ministry matters pertaining to the body. Thus, it would be accurate to say that Redeemer Church exercises congregational involvement under the spiritual care of elders.
How We Hold to these Theological Distinctives
We affirm these distinctives as important in the sense of being profitable and health-producing for Christians to believe. We are further convinced that as one comes to appreciate these beliefs, he/she will grow to love and honor the Lord Jesus Christ more fully and understand more richly what it means to live by His grace. Acceptance of all these distinctives, however, is not required for membership in Redeemer Church. One can join and be a participating member of the church without holding to any but the evangelical distinctives mentioned earlier in this article. Elders and deacons, however, must hold to all these distinctives.
It is our absolute and unwavering conviction that to be strong in truth without being gentle in manner is unbiblical. It is also our profound conviction that to be gentle in manner while not adhering to scriptural truth is also unbiblical. By God's grace, we desire to be both as we press on in the Lord's glorious design for Redeemer Church to be used "to equip His people to delight in His glory and declare that glory to our neighbors and the nations!"Share