What We Teach

RCBC’s Affirmation of Faith

The Scriptures
We teach that the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are the revelation (Word) of God. Thus, every word of the original autographs (documents) was inspired by God and without error. Consequently, the whole of Scripture is authoritative for the faith of every believer and sufficient (via the teaching and illumination of the Holy Spirit) for addressing every need (spiritual, psychological, emotional, interpersonal, etc.) within the lives of God’s people. (2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:20,21; Mark 13:31; John 8:31,32; Acts 20:32)

We teach that, whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the literal grammatical-historical method of interpretation under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:7-15; 1 John 2:20). It is the responsibility of believers to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture, recognizing that proper application is binding on all generations.

The God of the Word (the Trinity)
We teach that there is only one living and true God Who is infinite, spiritual, eternally self-existent, unchangeable in His nature, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, holy, righteous, good, truth and love. God exists eternally as three distinct, yet inseparable persons known as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These three are one (indivisible) as to their nature, essence and attributes. While these three are equal in every divine perfection, they execute distinct yet harmonious functions in the work of creation (by divine fiat, not evolutionary process), providence and redemption. (Genesis 1:1,26; Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5-7; John 1:1,3; 4:24; Matthew 28:19; Romans 1:19-20; 2 Corinthians 13:14)

God the Father: We teach that God the Father, the first Person of the Trinity, orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace (Psalm 145:8-9; 1 Corinthians 8:6). He is the Creator of all things (Genesis 1:1-31; Ephesians 3:9). As the only absolute and omnipotent Ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Psalm 103:19; Romans 11:36). His fatherhood involves both His designation within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind. As Creator He is Father to all men (Acts 17:24-28), but He is spiritual Father only to believers (Romans 8:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18). He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (1 Chronicles 29:11). In His sovereignty He is neither the author nor approver of sin (Habakkuk 1:13; James 1:13-17), nor does He abridge the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (Romans 2:2-11; 1 Peter 1:17). He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Ephesians 1:4-6); He saves from sin all who come to Him through Jesus Christ; He adopts as His own all those who come to Him; and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own (John 1:12; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5).

Jesus Christ: We teach that Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, possesses all the divine excellencies, and in these He is coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with the Father (John 10:30, 14:9). His attributes of greatness and goodness also correspond to the Father’s. Through His Son, Jesus Christ, God the Father created the universe, and all things continue to exist and hold together by Christ’s power (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17). Christ’s emptying of Himself in Philippians 2:5-8 was not of His divine essence or the surrendering of His full Deity but pertained to the independent exercise of His Divine prerogatives during the First Advent - the incarnation (John 1:14). His incarnation was initiated by the Virgin Birth or Miraculous Conception in which He took upon Himself genuine humanity (Hebrews 2:9-18). He thereby became the unique God-man who consequently is the perfect Revealer, Savior, Mediator, and ultimately the Judge of all men (John 1:18; Titus 2:13; 1 Timothy 2:5; John 5:27). Through this loving condescension, He fully accomplished His task of grace which culminated in His sacrificial death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, furnishing the grounds for the forgiveness of believing sinners (Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Romans 6:1-11; Romans 1:4, 4:25; Acts 1:9). As our sole and perfect Mediator, Christ is Prophet, Priest, and King of the Church of God (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:24; Daniel 7:14; Acts 4:12; Luke 1:33; John 14:6).

We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled His priestly office by offering Himself a sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 5:7-9, 7:27) truly (i.e., actually, not potentially) accomplishing our redemption and reconciliation (Luke 1:68; Revelation 5:9) through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross. His death was voluntary, vicarious, substitutionary, propitiatory, and redemptive (John 10:15; Romans 3:24-25, 5:8; 1 Peter 2:24). As a result of these truths, we teach that Christ’s atoning death is sufficient to satisfy God’s eternal justice for the sins of all mankind but is efficient only for all who will believe - who constitute the elect people of God (Isaiah 53:8; Matthew 1:21, 20:28; Luke 1:68; John 10:15; Ephesians 5:25).

Today our Lord is building His Church (Matthew 16:18) and continually ministers to her as the heavenly Advocate interceding for the saints (Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1). He will return for His bride in glory (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) and will adjudicate the reward and retribution of all people (Acts 17:30-31; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-15).

The Holy Spirit: We teach that the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Godhead, is equal in nature with God the Father and God the Son (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 18; 2 Corinthians 13:14). His divine Personhood is attested by many references to His attributes of greatness and goodness. In His role within the economy of the Trinity, He bears divine witness to the Person and work of Christ in this age (John 15:26). In His relationship to the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit is their divine Author and Applier (2 Samuel 23:2; John 14:25-26, 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:6-16; Ephesians 6:17; 2 Peter 1:21).

He is the predominant divine Agent in the Father’s plan of salvation through the work of the Son (John 3:1-10; 16:8-11). The Holy Spirit has always been sovereignly active in regeneration and renewal, i.e., in personal salvation and sanctification in both the Old and New Testament eras. He is vitally associated with our adoption, sealing and service (Romans 8:12-17; Ephesians 1:13, 5:18). Historically, the Holy Spirit was intimately involved in the Church’s birth at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). In this present age, all genuine disciples permanently possess the full indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation as a spiritual grace of the New Covenant (John 16:13; Romans 8:9; Ephesians 1:13-14). It is the duty of all those born of the Spirit to be controlled by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). The Holy Spirit also sanctifies, fills, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption (Acts 4:31; Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13; 1 John 2:20, 27).

We teach that the Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts to the Church. He glorifies neither Himself nor His gifts by ostentatious displays, but He does glorify Christ by implementing His work of redeeming the lost and building up believers in the most holy faith (John 16:13-14; Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 3:18). In this respect, God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts for the purpose of mutual edification and the perfecting of the saints (1 Corinthians 12:4- 11; Romans 12:6-9).

Man & Sin
We teach that God created mankind in and according to His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27), and even after the fall, no matter how thoroughly distorted that image has become, it is not eradicated (Genesis 9:6; James 3:9).

Both male and female equally bear the image of God. Although they share the same essence of being, there are nevertheless functional distinctions and subordinations. These differences, biblically based upon creation and not cultural biases, are significant for both our families and our congregation (1 Corinthians 11:1-16; Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-6).

We teach that through Adam’s one act of disobedience, he not only fell from his estate of innocence into one of separation and alienation from God, but as our representative, he also plunged the whole race into sin and death (Genesis 2:17, 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-21). Consequently, all persons from their conception and birth are spiritually estranged from God, innately unholy and stand condemned by their sinful nature and their sinful acts before their Creator and Judge (Psalm 51:5; Romans 1:18-3:20; Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 1:21).

We teach that man’s depravity (i.e., corrupted sinful nature) is total in breadth (1 Kings 8:46; Psalm 14:1-3; Isaiah 1:2-6, 53:6; Romans 3:9-20) and depth (Ecclesiastes 9:3; Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:14-23). Sin, like a drop of poison deposited in a cup of water, has poisoned the entire cup. Similarly, all the faculties of fallen man’s heart (i.e., rational, volitional, emotional, etc.) are morally tainted by sin and perversity (Genesis 6:5; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Ephesians 4:17-19). Thus, fallen man is blind and helpless, utterly incapable of choosing or doing what is spiritually acceptable to God apart from divine grace. Man is wholly incapable of spiritual self-reformation or rescue and is wholly in need of God’s salvation (Isaiah 64:5-7; Jeremiah 13:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 1:21-22).

We teach that the salvation of sinful men has always ultimately depended upon the sovereign grace of God. A single divine method of salvation by grace through faith has been in effect since the fall of man (Romans 4:1-9, 9:16; Ephesians 2:8-9).

God’s sovereign plan of salvation was divinely drafted in eternity past (Ephesians 1:4), including all of its provisions (the work of Christ and the Spirit) and processes (Titus 3:3-7). Furthermore, on an individual, historical basis, His grace stands behind all the stages of salvation, i.e., past - justification; present - sanctification; and future - glorification (Romans 8:29-30). Thus, our salvation is entirely accomplished by the almighty power of the sovereign and gracious triune God. “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy” (Titus 3:5). Some vital elements of His salvation plan include:

Election & human responsibility: We teach that election is the gracious act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously calls, regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2).

We teach that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the free offer of the blessings of the gospel to all people, the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord, or the responsibility of believers to communicate the gospel to the lost (Ezekiel 18:23, 32, 33:11; John 3:18-19, 36, 5:40; Romans 10:8-15; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Revelation 22:17). Nevertheless, since sovereign grace includes the means of receiving the gift of salvation (i.e., repentance and faith), sovereign election will result in what God determines (Acts 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:24-25; Philippians 1:29; 2 Peter 1:1; Ephesians 2:8). All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith, and all who come in faith the Father will receive (John 6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:28-30; 1 Corinthians 1:30).

While we teach that the unmerited favor God grants to totally depraved sinners is unconditional (i.e., not related to any initiative of their own part nor to God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own will, but freely bestowed by God according to His own purposes, Romans 9:10- 16; Titus 3:4-7), we also teach that Scripture affirms human responsibility. We must accept both sides of the truth, though we may not understand how they correspond to one another. People are responsible for what they do with the gospel – or with whatever light they have (Romans 2:11-16), so that punishment is just if they reject the light. And those who reject do so voluntarily out of their own evil free choice. Jesus lamented, “You are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life” (John 5:40). He told unbelievers, “Unless you believe that I am [God], you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). In John 6, our Lord combined both divine sovereignty and human responsibility when He said, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (v. 37); “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life” (v. 40); “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (v. 44); “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life” (v. 47); and, “No one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father” (v. 65). How both of these two realities can be true simultaneously cannot be understood by the human mind – only by God.

Above all, one must not conclude that God is unjust because He chooses to bestow grace on some but not to everyone. God is never to be measured by what seems fair to human judgment (Romans 9:14-15, 19-24). In Psalm 50:21 God says, “You thought that I was just like you.” But God is not like man, nor can He be held to human standards. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Regeneration: We teach that regeneration (i.e., the new birth) is the gracious supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 5:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). The new birth results in the believer’s union with Christ (Colossians 2:13) in His death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:1-11), thus receiving the spiritual graces of the New Covenant (i.e., reconciliation, peace with God, a new heart, new affections, and deliverance from the dominating power of sin, etc.; Deuteronomy 30:6; Ezekiel 11:19-20; Romans 2:28-29, 5:1, 6:5-7, 11, 14; Colossians 2:11-12).

Because genuine regeneration involves the imparting of a new life, a new heart, and saving faith, it will be manifested by fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 5:17-21; Philippians 2:12; Galatians 5:6; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:4-10). This grace-empowered obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Such conformity is climaxed in the believer’s glorification when he/she is with Christ thru death or at His return (Romans 8:17; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:2-3).

Justification: We teach that justification is the gracious act of God (Romans 8:33) by which He declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sins (Luke 18:9-14; Acts 2:38, 3:19, 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Isaiah 55:6-7) and confess Him as sovereign Lord (Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Philippians 2:11). This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20-21, 4:6-8) and involves the placing of our sins on Christ (Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24) and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us (1 Corinthians 1:2, 30, 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21). By this means God is “just, and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

Sanctification: We teach that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and identified as a saint. This sanctification is positional, permanent, and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. This sanctification has to do with the believer’s standing, not his/her present walk or experiential condition (Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30, 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 2:11, 10:10, 14, 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2).

We also teach that the Holy Spirit performs His work of progressive sanctification in the life of a believer wherein the believer is brought into actual conformity with the Person of Christ (Romans 8:29). This sanctification is an effect of the love of God manifested in the soul, whereby through the gracious empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is enabled to live a life of increasing holiness in accordance with the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:17, 19; Romans 6:1-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, 5:23). In this respect, we teach that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict. He is a new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 7:15-25), but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer throughout this earthly life and is never completed or ended this side of heaven. While eradication of sin is not possible in this life, the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9).

Perseverance: We teach the biblical doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints. This doctrine has two parts: (1) God will so work with His people in His grace that they will inevitably be preserved to the end and be finally saved (1 Peter 1:5; Jude 1:24; John 10:28-30; Philippians 1:6). Thus no true child of God, born of the Holy Spirit, will ever be lost (Romans 8:29-30). (2) At the same time, it is equally true that no person will be saved without persevering to the end. In order to be saved, believers must persevere to the end in faith and obedience (Mark 13:13; Colossians 1:22-23; Hebrews 3:14, 12:14). The means God uses to bring about our perseverance are His magnificent promises (2 Peter 1:3-4) and His terrifying warnings (Hebrews 10:26-27).

The Church
We teach that the Church is a spiritual body of people comprised of those who have received life from Jesus Christ. All who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed into this one united spiritual body by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). The Church exists both universally (i.e., the total number of genuine believers throughout history, Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 12:13) and locally (i.e., localized assemblies, Matthew 18:15-18; Acts 14:23; 20:17; Galatians 1:2).

Although salvation is bestowed and appropriated individually, the scriptural focus is always upon the corporate Body (local church) within which the individual is to be a complementary, contributing member (Romans 12:3-8; l Corinthians 12:4-27). Christ establishes and oversees this unity and diversity in order that the local church might become the main context for worship and service, and a springboard for evangelism (Ephesians 4:1-16). The primary purpose of the Church, whether viewed from the local or universal perspective, is to glorify God (Ephesians 1:3- 14, 3:21; 1 Peter 4:11).

The Scriptures establish two offices within the local church: Elders (Pastors) and Deacons. Those who serve in these capacities must be biblically qualified (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5). The Pastors (Elders) are especially accountable for the spiritual welfare of their Master’s congregation. He will judge not only them and their guidance of His sheep but also the congregation’s expected submission to their spiritual direction (Acts 20:28; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; Hebrews 13:7, 17). Deacons, on the other hand, are official servants within the church, helping the Pastors (Elders) to care for the many needs within the church body (Acts 6:1-6).

Within the context of its assembled fellowship (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 14:23, 28-35; Hebrews 10:24-25), the primary ordinances of believers’ baptism and the Lord’s Supper (i.e., Communion, breaking of bread) are to be perpetuated (Matthew 26:26-29; 28:16-20; Romans 6:1-14; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34). Christian baptism by immersion (Acts 8:36-39) is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a believer showing forth his/her faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life (Romans 6:1-11). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible body of Christ (Acts 2:41-42). The Lord’s Supper calls our attention to the atonement of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:28-32). This worship service is one in which we look back to the finished work of Christ and also forward to the consummation of our redemption (Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 11:23-30). We also teach that, whereas the elements of Communion are only symbolic of the flesh and blood of Christ, the Lord’s Supper is nevertheless an actual Communion with the risen Christ who is present in a unique way, fellowshipping with His people (1 Corinthians 10:16).

Each local church is independent or autonomous in status, although there should be occasions of interdependence among local assemblies of the same mindset and loyalty to the Lord and His Word (Acts 15:19-31; Romans 15:26-27).

The Family
We teach that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. Marriage is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church. The marriage relationship is to model the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, protect, and lead his family. A wife is to respect and graciously follow the servant leadership of her husband as the church does so toward Christ. The wife is to serve as her husband’s helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation. Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents. (Genesis 2:18-25; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Psalms 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 13:24; 14:1; 22:6,15; 31:10-31; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 19:3-9; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7).

The Last Things
We teach the personal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth; the establishment of His millennial kingdom; and the eternal rule of God. We teach the resurrection of the body, the final judgment, the eternal joy of the righteous, and the endless suffering of the wicked. (Matthew 16:27; 25:31-46; Acts 1:11; John 14:3; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 19:11-16; 20:11-21:4)