Three Rivers Church Core Beliefs
The Holy Scriptures
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the verbally and plenary inspired Word of God in its original manuscript form. The Scriptures are inerrant, infallible and God-breathed and, therefore, are the final authority for faith and life. The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament are the complete and divine revelation of God to man. The Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical-historical meaning, and all issues of interpretation and meaning shall be determined by the Pastoral Leadership Team. (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21)
We believe in one triune God, eternally existing in three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, and having the same attributes and perfections. (Deut. 6:4, Matt. 28:19, John 14:10, 25; 2 Cor. 13:14)
The Person and Work of Christ
1. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men. (Is. 7:14, 9:6; Luke 1:35; John 1:1-2,14; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; Gal. 4:4-5; Phil. 2:5-8)
2. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through his death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice; and, that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead. (Acts 2:18-36; Rom. 3:24-25; Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:3-5, 2:24)3. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate. (Acts 1:9-10, Rom. 8:34; Heb. 9:24; 1 John 2:1-2)
The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit.
1. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person who convicts the world of sin, of unrighteousness and of judgment; and that He is the supernatural agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption. (John 16:8-11; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:12-14; 2 Cor. 3:6; Eph. 1:13-14)
2. We believe that He is the divine Teacher who assists believers to understand and appropriate the Scriptures and that it is the privilege and duty of all believers to be filled with the Spirit. (Eph. 1:17-18; 5:18; 1 John 2:20, 27)
3. We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowing of spiritual gifts to every believer as He sees fit. God uniquely uses evangelists, pastors and teachers to equip believers in order that they can do the work of the ministry. (Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-11, 28; Eph. 4:7-12)
The Depravity of Man
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that in Adam’s sin, the human race fell and every person inherited a sinful nature inclined toward sin. Every person who is capable of moral action will sin and become alienated from God. Therefore, mankind is depraved and by himself, is unable to remedy his lost condition. (Gen. 1:26-27, Rom. 3:22-23; 5:12; 6:23; Eph. 2:1-3; 4:17-19)
We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of sin. We believe that all sin, except for the sin of unbelief, which is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, is forgivable. (Matt. 12:31-32; John 1:12; Rom. 10:9-10, Eph. 1:7, 2:8-10; Phil. 2:5-11, 1 Tim. 2:5-6, 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 Jo. 1:9)
1. The decision to choose Christ is the responsibility of man and is freely available to any and all who accept the gift. We do not believe God chose, elected, or predestined certain people to receive salvation and chose others for condemnation.
2. We believe the Gospel is the good news that God made a way of salvation through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for any person. No person can be saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel.
3. God’s grace is a generous gift to provide salvation to any person by providing atonement in offering the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit and uniting Christ to the believer by faith. Grace does not negate the necessity to respond by faith.
4. As an expression of His sovereignty, God endows each person with actual free will, the ability to choose between different options, which must be exercised in accepting or rejecting God’s gracious call to salvation by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel.
5. Any person who responds to the Gospel with repentance and faith is born again through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is a new creation in Christ and enters, at the moment he believes, into eternal life. There is no regeneration prior to belief and response to the Gospel.6. We believe God desires all men to choose salvation in Him, but acknowledge not all will be saved.
The Eternal Security and Assurance of Believers
1. We believe that all believers, once accepting the gift of salvation, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever. (John 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Rom. 8:1; 1 Cor 1:4-8; 1 Pet. 1:4-5)
2. We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh. (Rom. 13:13- 14, Gal. 5:13, Titus 2:11-15; Jude 4)
1. We believe the true church comprises all who have been justified by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone. They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The true church is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed only of believers. (1 Cor. 12:12-14; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 1:22-23; 5:25-27)
2. We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament. (Acts 14:27; 20:17; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11)
3. We believe in the autonomy of the local church free of any external authority or control. (Acts 13:1-4, 15:19-31; 20:28; Rom. 16:1-4; 1 Cor. 3:9-16; 5:4-7; 1 Pet. 5:1-4)
4. The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer. (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42; 8:36- 38; 1 Cor. 11:23-26)
We believe that all believers should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon Jesus Christ. God commands His people to separate from all religious apostasy, all sinful pleasures, practices and associations, and to refrain from all immodest and immoderate appearances. This separation however, should not include those circumstances in which mere presence or associations which are intended for evangelistic or missional purposes and or direct the work of the ministry of the Gospel. Christ’s ministry was to those who committed such practices and oftentimes in circumstances which were directly confrontational. Therefore, our ministry should be given the likewise liberty according to Scripture. (Rom. 12:1-2; 14:13; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 2 Jo. 9-11)
The Second Advent of Christ
We believe in the personal, bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service, and energetic mission. Christ will rapture His church and establish His Kingdom which was promised to the nation of Israel. (Ps. 89:3-4, Dan. 2:31-45, Zech. 14:4-11, 1 Thes. 1:10; 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; Rev. 3:10; 19:11-16; 20:1-6)
The Eternal State
1. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the believer to eternal life with God, the unbeliever to judgment and everlasting punishment. (Matt. 25:46; John 5:28; 11:25-26, Rev. 20:5-6,12-13)
2. We believe that the souls of believers at death are absent from the body and present with the Lord where in conscious bliss they await the first resurrection when spirit, soul, and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord. (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; 3:21; 1 Thes. 4:16-17; Rev. 20:4-6)
3. We believe that after death, the souls of unbelievers remain in conscious punishment and torment until the second resurrection when with soul and body reunited, they shall appear at the Great White Throne of Judgment and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, where they will suffer everlasting, conscious punishment and torment. (Matt. 25:41-46; Mark 9:43- 48; Luke 16:19-26; 2 Thes. 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Rev. 20:11-15)
The Personality of Satan
We believe that Satan is a person, the author of sin and the cause of the fall of man; that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man; and that he shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire. (Job 1:6-7; Isa. 14:12-17; Matt. 4:2-11; 25:41; Rev. 20:10)
We believe that God created the universe in six literal, 24-hour periods. We reject evolution, theistic evolution, and all other pseudo-deity or secular based theories of origin. (Gen. 1-2; Ex. 20:11)
We believe that God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions: (1) the home, (2) the church, and (3) the state. Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word. God has given each institution specific biblical responsibilities and balanced those responsibilities with the understanding that no institution has the right to infringe upon the other. The home, the church, and the state are equal and sovereign in their respective biblically assigned spheres of responsibility under God. (Rom. 13:1-7; Eph. 5:22-24; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 2:13-14)
1. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of marriage that is biblically defined as a union between one man and one woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgenderism, transsexualism, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of intimacy. (Gen. 2:24; Gen. 19:5; Gen. 26:8-9; Lev. 18:1-30; Rom. 1:26-29; 1 Cor. 5:1; 1 Thes. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4)
2. We recognize two genders: male and female. (Gen. 1:27)
3. We believe that the only scriptural marriage is the joining of one man and one woman. (Gen. 2:24; Rom. 7:2; I Cor. 7:10; Eph. 5:22-23)
1. We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to be the spiritual leader of the home and men are to be the spiritual leaders of the church. Accordingly, only men are eligible for licensing or ordination by the church. (Gal 3:28; Col. 3:18; 1 Tim. 2:8-15; 3:4-5)
2. We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. The wife is to willingly submit herself to the scriptural leadership of her husband as the church submits to the headship of Christ. Children are a heritage from the Lord. Parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values and leading them through consistent lifestyle examples and appropriate discipline, including scriptural correction. (Gen. 1:26-28; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 6:4-9; Ps. 127:3-5; Pro. 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; Mark 10:6-12; 1 Cor. 7:1-16; Eph. 5:21-33; Col. 3:18-21; Heb. 13:4; 1 Pet. 3:1-7)
Divorce and Remarriage
We believe that God disapproves of and forbids divorce and intends marriage to last until one spouse dies. Divorce and remarriage is regarded as adultery except on the grounds of fornication, abandonment, or should the original spouses reconcile and subsequently remarry. (Mal. 2:14-17; Matt. 19:3-12; Rom. 7:1-3; 1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6; 1 Cor. 7:15)
The Sanctity of Human Life
We believe that the direct taking of an innocent human life is a moral evil, regardless of the intention. We believe that a human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. We reject any teaching that propagates the taking of innocent life due to violent acts, birth defects, gender selection, or mental and physical well-being. Life must be respected as a gift from God that begins at conception until the moment of natural death. Discontinuing medical procedures that are extraordinary or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be a legitimate refusal of overzealous treatment. (Ex. 20:13; 23:7; Matt. 5:21; Acts 17:28; Ps. 139:13; Job 31:15; Jer. 1:5)
We believe in Christian liberty, but freedom always has its limitations. Responsible Christians do not abuse freedom. The Apostle Paul wrote forcefully about Christian liberty in the book of Galatians. He shattered the legalists with the doctrine of grace. But in First and Second Corinthians and Romans, the apostle also rebuked believers when liberty was abused. He declared boldly the principles of Christian liberty but spoke with equal forcefulness about Christian accountability. We desire to preserve our freedom in Christ and encourage our people to be responsible, godly men, women and young people who desire to live under the control of the Holy Spirit, in obedience to the principles and precepts of God’s Word and in harmony with God’s will for life as revealed in the Scriptures.
We believe that God has given the church a great commission to proclaim the Gospel to all nations. As ambassadors of Christ, we must use all available means to go to the ends of the earth to reach people for Christ. (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:20)
This statement of faith is current with the Constituion and Bylaws of Three Rivers Church adopted on June 11, 2017 (original).
Revision 1 was adopted on December 20, 2020.