Though we hold firm to our core doctrines, we are comfortable with disagreement on non-primary matters. Our stance on any given doctrine comes from a disposition, desire, and determination to grow in our love for God and love for others.
The one, true, and living God has revealed himself to us through his Word as Father, Son, and Spirit. He is perfect, eternal, infinite, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, immutable, holy, creator, uncreated, and love. God is the creator of everyone and everything; From Him, through Him, and to Him are all things. (Genesis 1:1, 26; Deuteronomy 4:35-39, 6:4; Matthew 3:16-17; Romans 11:36)
God is one, God is three in one. God has revealed himself to us as three persons united in himself: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, co-equal, co-existent, and co-eternal. Mysteries of this doctrine remain; yet, among other things, what we do know is that it is true. To quote the Heidelberg Catechism, “Since there is only one God, why do you speak of three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Because God has so revealed himself in His Word”. (Genesis 1:2; Matthew 3:16-17; 28:18-19; John 14:26; 15:26; 2 Corinthians 13:14)
God the Father is distinct from God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, while still being fully unified with them. The Father is the creator and originator of all things and is sovereign over all things. The Father sent the Son and the Holy Spirit. All of creation, especially humanity, was created for the purpose of His glory. (Genesis 1-2; Job 42:2; John 3:16-17; John 14)
God the Son, Jesus Christ, is fully God and fully man. In Him is the fullness of God pleased to dwell. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, lived a perfect and sinless life, died on the cross in our place, rose from the dead on the third day and has ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s Word and God’s People. Defeating the power of Satan, sin, and death, Jesus’s death on the cross fully absorbed the wrath of God against man’s sin. In his death, Jesus upheld the fullness of God’s justice and His love. Jesus is the Head of his Church and the only Savior to the world. He is our Great High Priest and Prince of Peace. (John 14:6; Colossians 1:15-20; 2:15-17; Hebrews 4:14-16; 10:1-18; 1 John 3:8)
The Holy Spirit
God the Holy Spirit is fully God and is unified with God the Father and God the Son in authority, power, and eternality. The Spirit is sent by the Father and the Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgement. Through the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit leads men to confession and repentance, and to trusting in the work of God in Christ for salvation. By the Spirit, we are unified with Christ to God, and are unified to one another. The Spirit is at work within us, His Church, for the building up of His Kingdom to the glory of God. The Holy Spirit is a gift to believers in Christ, in order that we might be taught, guided, disciplined, led, empowered, and sanctified by Him. (John 14:15-26; Acts 4:31; 7:51; 1 Corinthians 12:1-13)
The Bible, God’s Holy Scriptures are the true, authoritative, infallible, inerrant Word of God. Written by men, through the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures are a part of God’s special revelation to us. Scripture is unified in itself and its testimony about itself is true. Through the Scriptures, we are able to learn about God, about the history of man and all creation, as well as our future. The Bible informs everything we do and believe as The Church and has the highest authority in the life and faith of all Christians. (Deuteronomy 4:2; Matthew 5:17; John 10:35; Galatians 1:8; Revelation 22:18-19; 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
All things were created by God and for his glory; God created the universe and everything in it from nothing (Genesis 1:1; Romans 11:36). The universe and all within it are not random or accidental.
Christ is returning to make his people and all of his creation new. Therefore, there is a pending judgment, for which those who do not put their faith in Christ will experience great punishment and condemnation. For the Church, our hope of the penalty of our sin being paid and the reward of eternal life with God being won for us by Jesus Christ, we can and should live joyful lives, glorifying God and preaching the hope of his gospel to all. This perspective continues to centralize the message and need of the gospel, and it emphasizes the responsibility and necessity of our love for God and each other.
(Romans 2:6-8; Philippians 3:20-21; Hebrews 9:28; Revelation 22:12)
God made man in His image. Humanity is limited and dependent on God, but in His likeness. Not being only one or the other, man is both physical and spiritual, a whole person - heart, soul, and strength. As the greatest of all of his creation, God made man in order that man might share in God’s presence. However, in man’s disobedience, union and presence with God has been forfeited. All of humanity is stained with the sin of our first ancestors. Apart from Christ, we cannot escape our wayward, unfaithful, and disobedient tendencies. In our naturally broken state, we hate what is good and love what is evil, and have given ourselves over to sin and death. (Genesis 1:25-27; 3; Deuteronomy 6:5; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 1:18-23; 5:12-19; Ephesians 2:1-10)
Man, being created in the image of God, is set apart from the rest of creation - regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, capabilities, or any other man-made division. Being made in God’s image means that all humans have innate dignity and worth. Therefore, we are not simply animals along with the rest of God’s creatures, nor does our value equal that of any other aspect of God’s creation. This means that we have a responsibility to work for the good of all people.
(Genesis 1:26-28, 31; 5:1-2; 9:6)
Sin has left us, by nature, hopeless to choose God over sin. We are fully depraved, having our hearts hardened and our minds darkened. There is none who are good, no not one. We are broken and sinful in heart, soul, mind, and body, and all of creation is broken with us. Our nature and tendency is to wander, choosing our own evil way instead of God. We will also continually pass down this brokenness and sin to generations after us until redemption. It takes the work of the Holy Spirit and a lot of practice to put to death our flesh in order to follow in the way of Jesus.
(Genesis 3:6; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:9-12; Galatians 5:19-21; James 1:14-15)
The Church is a Chosen People, a Holy Nation made of people who have faith in Christ and work to glorify him by the preaching and advancing of the gospel throughout all people and nations. The Church exists as the Church Universal (or Global) and the Church Local. It is made of all who believe in and trust Christ, believers who have died in Christ and believers who are living. The Goal of the Church is to make disciples of all nations, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey the commands (the way) of Jesus. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church works to loose the bonds of sin, oppression, and injustice for the marginalized and persecuted. Together, the Church gathers in local bodies to worship God, teach and preach the gospel, and share in the sacraments of Baptism and Communion, in order to remember and proclaim the life, death, resurrection, and return of Jesus Christ for the world.
(1 Peter 2:9-10; Ephesians 4:11-14; Hebrews 10:24-25; James 1:27; Matthew 28:19)
The gospel is the story and work of God’s redemption and restoration of man through the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and reign of Jesus. Through the death of Christ, expiation (satisfaction of debt), propitiation (appeasing God), and justification (being made right with God) has been made on our behalf. The gospel is the center of the life and death of the believer. The believer’s response to the gospel in faith in Christ brings him into the reality of the reward of eternal life with the Father.
Salvation is a free gift from God, not anything that we have deserved or earned by our own doing. We who were once far off have now been brought near by the blood of Christ. Only in the death of Jesus are our sins covered, the wrath and anger of God toward our sin being spent in full on Jesus, in his death on the cross. Through faith in Jesus we have access to an eternally peaceful presence and relationship with God, being set free from sin, Satan, and death.
(Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 53:10-12; John 3:16; 19:30; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 1:3-9; 2; Revelation 21:3-4)
Baptism and Communion
Both Baptism and Communion (the Lord’s Supper) are specifically practiced by individuals who believe and confess Jesus as their Savior and Lord of their life. There are many theological layers to the biblical commands and parallels/motifs involved in the institution and observance of the sacraments, but we cannot confidently link salvation to their observance/practice. We do believe that the sacraments exist to remind us of particular and fundamental truths of our faith.
Baptism is a physical expression of a spiritual reality: “I have died and have been raised to new life with Jesus”. It is a symbol of the reality of our being rescued from the domain of darkness and brought into the Kingdom of God’s Beloved Son. The baptism of believers is for the edification of the church and a witness to the watching world. Upon confession and repentance of sin and putting faith in Jesus Christ, individuals are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, preferably in the presence and witness of the church. Baptism is typically a one-time event for Christians. (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:37-38)
Communion (The Lord’s Supper), like baptism, is a physical expression of a spiritual reality. Jesus commands his disciples to regularly participate in communion in order to remember the life he lived and led them to live, and the sacrifice that he made on the cross. Communion typically is a regular, recurring event for Christians. Communion will be practiced weekly as a part of the worship gathering. Communion is to be taken and shared only by those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It is an ordinance for the church to practice together, the centerpiece of the worship gathering, as we remember the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, confessing our sins to him, repenting, and turning to him in faith.
(Luke 22:14-23; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34)
THE LOCAL CHURCH
The (local) church is a body of believers, a spiritual family in a specific area who are committed to life with Christ and one another. The role of the church is to love God and love each other, to the glory of God. In doing this, we are called to make disciples of all peoples and nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey the Scriptures. (Acts 2:41-47; Romans 12:4-5; Hebrews 10:25, 13:17)
We are called to preach and live the gospel to all people for the glory of God. We should not divide amongst ourselves, having prejudice towards or against any other, because we are all made in God’s image and have the same hope for life with Christ. We should pray for the salvation of every nation, tribe, people, and language as we strive together to preach the gospel and make disciples to all people-groups.
Therefore, we work to emphasize the importance of all peoples by establishing a presence and/or consistent relationship with those people groups, making disciples who are equipped to make disciples within those contexts. We also pray for and work to identify and install a diverse leadership at all levels, especially elders.
(Genesis 1:26-27; Galatians 3-4; Colossians 3:11-15; Revelation 5:9; 7:9; 10:11; 11:9; 13:7; 14:6; 17:15)
Men’s and Women’s Roles in the Church: A Complementarian Approach
Complementarianism is the faithful, biblical expression of manhood and womanhood working together in equal, yet distinct ways. Men and women are both created in God’s image and therefore equally hold innate value, and are equally worthy of dignity and respect. True, biblical complementarity does not support, nor does it defend universal patriarchy and male oppression of women. The primary office of leadership (namely, eldership and teaching and preaching authority) in the home and church is given specifically to men. Because the distinct roles of men and women are God-designed and God-given, it is for our good and our flourishing that we live within these divinely ordained boundaries. Specifically, the role of preaching during the gathering of believers is reserved for elders. It is important to remember that not only are women reserved from preaching duties during a weekly church gathering, but the vast majority of men are also reserved from preaching duties. This reservation is a healthy expression of complementarianism, not male domination. Outside of the gathering, women are encouraged to lead and teach.
Outside of holding the primary shepherding office of pastor/elder, Redeemer commits to providing equal opportunity of equipment for men and women. This will likely look like the opportunity to engage in: theological training, missional engagement, community leadership, devotional development, and volunteer and paid service opportunities. We will be vocally and practically public in our practice of biblical complementarity in order to edify the church and encourage women to passionately bear responsibility for advancing the gospel in San Angelo.
(Genesis 1:26-27; 1 Timothy 2; Titus 2)