At Red Door Church we recently approved a Statement of Faith that explains in some details where our church stands on a host of important spiritual issues. That Statement is posted in its entirety here in an easy to navigate format for your convenience. Please email our church leadership if you have any questions. Thank you for showing interest in our church!
Statement of Faith
Red Door Church 2017
Why have a statement of faith?
There are several reasons why the church has found creeds helpful throughout its history, dating back all the way to the time of the apostles. Creeds or statements of faith:
- summarize our beliefs,
- clarify and avoid confusion,
- protect our church from false teaching,
- help us adhere to the historic faith delivered “once for all”.
- help both visitors and seekers understand where we stand on various important theological and social issues.
The Christian confession (or “Statement of Faith”) is merely a response to God’s revelation. Thus, the confessions of a church and its individual members should correspond to the boundaries and contours of biblical truth that God has revealed to us. It is not enough to simply say “we believe the Bible”—all Christians everywhere say they believe the Bible, but creeds, confessions and statements of faith help to clarify what it is that we believe about the Bible in a succinct, easily readable form.
What is more, many churches like Red Door Church find themselves situated in a denominational context that differs widely from their own congregation’s faith. The need for a Statement of Faith becomes especially necessary so as to avoid confusion and unhelpful assumptions. This document represents our church’s beliefs and not necessarily those of the denominations with which we are associated.
Our Church History
Red Door Church is formally associated with the United Methodist Church (UMC) and the United Church of Christ (UCC). Our federated status (a single church with membership in multiple denominations) is the result of a merger which began in the 1920s and was officially contracted in the 1970s.
Our church has members from a diversity of backgrounds and experiences which together forge a powerful bond centered upon what we call “The Core” (explained in greater detail below).
We grieve at the many divisions that exist in the Christian Church and pray with Jesus the prayer recorded in John 17:21 that believers in Jesus Christ might “all be one.”
Four Concentric Circles
At Red Door Church we have four concentric circles which help us to define and understand the importance of certain beliefs we hold and their relationship to one another. The innermost circle, CORE, represents what is most important in the Christian life. It is the “sun” around which all the “planets” of the Christian worldview and life revolve. It is followed by CONFESSIONS, which are summaries of historic Christian teaching and practice. The first two circles are what we call the ESSENTIALS, that is, those beliefs that are essential for church membership and baptism. (A fuller statement of membership can be found at the end of this document.)
The third and fourth circles represent differences among Christians equally committed to the authority of the Bible and the historic Christian faith. The first is CONVICTIONS. This circle contains those issues that are addressed directly by Scripture but which Christians frequently disagree about. Issues such as baptism and the Lord’s Supper, the details surrounding the second coming of Jesus Christ, divorce and remarriage, etc.
The final circle, the outermost one, is CONSCIENCE. These are matters on which Christians express personal opinions on a variety of moral and social issues that the Bible does not speak directly to. Most Christians would argue that their opinions in this circle are compatible with the Bible, but the Bible does not give a clear, consistent answer on these questions.
The Inner Circle of Beliefs – The Core
Faith in Jesus Christ is the center of Christian faith.
But what does it mean to believe in Jesus Christ?
The first level of “faith” is to believe that Jesus was a real historical figure. The second level of faith is a general faith in the Bible’s witness about Jesus Christ; that He is who the Bible says He is. When describing what was of “first importance” to the Corinthian church, the Apostle Paul wrote:
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas (Peter), and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as a child born at the wrong time.” (1 Cor. 15:3-8)
Belief in these truths taught in Scripture is essential to Christian faith, yet still not the kind of faith God requires. The third and final level of faith clearly distinguishes generic belief in Jesus from genuine Christian faith. It is more than intellectual assent to the right content about Jesus, it’s a personal trust and reliance upon the person of Jesus Christ—this is the kind of faith God requires and is a sincere, Christian faith.
The Second Circle of Beliefs – The Confessions
The next concentric circle is labeled “confessions.” Confessions are the basic truths of our faith that the church has embraced and proclaimed throughout the twenty centuries of Christian history. Some writers call the confessions the “ancient Christian consensus.”
While we do embrace other confessions (more on this below), at Red Door Church the most important confession that influences everything we believe and do is the Holy Bible. We are a church that believes, emphatically, that God has spoken!
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, ²but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.” (Hebrews 1:1-2)
We believe that the Bible is a record of this speech which occurred in “various ways” culminating in Jesus Christ.
For this reason, throughout Christian history going back even to the time of Jesus himself, the Bible has been considered the final authority for faith and practice. We are a Bible believing church and seek to submit to its teachings in our private lives and our public worship.
The Third Circle of Beliefs – Our Convictions
These differences often divide one believer or group of believers from others. The circle marked “convictions” is designated “non-essential,” but it is more important than the circle marked “conscience.”
While a belief in Scripture as the “final rule of faith and practice” is essential, we recognize that some matters in Scripture are not as clear as others. In all things, Christians should seek to be fully convinced in their own minds where they stand on the issues (Romans 14:5). Through the wisdom and guidance given by the Holy Spirit we believe Christians can hold their convictions firmly and remain united in love.
We at Red Door Church do not believe that differences over convictions are serious enough to divide over, that’s why they are not part of “the essentials.”
That being said, we are a church that generally holds to the following convictions:
Baptism – Our church baptizes both believers and infants. We sprinkle and we immerse. We accept both the baptism of the children of believers and the baptism of believers alone as legitimate interpretations of Scripture.
The Lord’s Supper – As a protestant church we embrace the Lord’s Supper as one of two sacraments, the other being baptism (above). We believe that these two sacraments operate alongside God’s Word (the Bible) to extend God’s grace to His people, the Church. We believe the Lord’s Supper is vital to the life of every believer and every church. We believe that through the Supper believers are strengthened, comforted, taught, and reminded of our oneness in Jesus Christ.
Spiritual gifts – Our church believes that the “miraculous gifts” of the Holy Spirit, like speaking in tongues, healing and miracles have a place today in the life of the church albeit a more peripheral one than during the time when the apostles walked the earth. Our church believes firmly in the miraculous, however the miraculous gifts are not a prominent feature of our weekly worship.
The second coming of Jesus Christ – Our church believes that Jesus Christ will return in bodily form and will judge all peoples, that much he has promised. As a church we take no formal position on the timing of his return, the Millennium, the Rapture, or other details, and you will find a diversity of views represented in our congregation.
The Fourth Circle of Beliefs – Conscience
The final circle, the outermost one, is “conscience.” These are matters on which Christians express personal opinions on a variety of moral and social issues that the Bible does not speak directly to. Most Christians would argue that their opinions in this circle are compatible with the Bible, but the Bible does not give a clear, consistent answer on these questions.
Here are some examples of what we consider to be issues of “conscience”:
On these subjects, Red Door Church takes no formal stance. Our members will answer these questions differently, each in their own way seeking to honor God.
- How should Christians observe a weekly Sabbath?
- Should Christians drink alcoholic beverages or watch rated “R” movies?
- How wide should our circle of Christian fellowship be?
- What kind of public worship best honors God, a more formal and liturgical worship, a more spontaneous and free worship, or something in between?
- Which English Bible translation should I read for personal devotion?
“Convictions” and “conscience” are both “non-essentials,” but they are unequal in importance. The question of divorce and remarriage is more significant than whether I mow my lawn on Sunday.
In all things, Charity
Before all else God asks us to love Him with all of our being, and second only that is the call to love our neighbor (Deuteronomy 6:5 and Matthew 22:37-39). No matter where you are in your journey with God or how your faith fits into the four circles, we the people at Red Door Church, invite everyone, in love, to join us in seeking God in Christ as revealed in the Scriptures.
Doctrine and Life
We at Red Door believe that the bible communicates authoritatively not only what we ought to believe, but also how we ought to live.
The scriptures teach that Christians should “watch your life and doctrine closely.” The bible makes no division between faith and practice and doctrine and life. These two arenas are not mutually exclusive. What we believe influences how we live, and how we live is based on what we believe.
Over the course of two millennia Christians have had a strong consensus not only about what a person must believe to be Christian, but also about how a person must live. For this reason the concentric circle labeled “confessions” is not just about the content of our faith but also the type of life that results from that faith.
While the Core is the hub of the entire circle of beliefs we hold as Christians and the most important, one cannot disparage the other circles for that reason, particularly the Confessions.
The Confessions are equally important (as the Core) because they protect the Core from distortion or corruption or misinterpretation. In other words, the Confession spell out in greater detail what exactly may be considered a genuine, biblical faith in Jesus Christ and the way a follower of Christ should live.
Here at Red Door Church we accept the Apostle’s Creed as a clear and concise statement of Christian belief. The Apostle’s Creed states:
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
He descended to hell.
The third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
We are also a church that embraces the Nicene Creed as an accurate summary of Christian belief and faithful to the teaching of Scripture. This creed, along with the Apostle’s Creed has been recited by Christian churches in their worship services throughout the world for centuries. It states:
We believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
begotten from the Father before all ages,
God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made;
of the same essence as the Father.
Through Him all things were made. For us and for our salvation
He came down from heaven;
He became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made human.
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate;
He suffered and was buried.
The third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again with glory
to judge the living and the dead.
His kingdom will never end.
And we believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life.
He proceeds from the Father and the Son,
and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified. He spoke through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and to life in the world to come. Amen.
Ancient confessions regarding Christian living are harder to come across outside of the bible. The main reason for this is because the Christian way of life was obvious, clear, and undisputed until recent history.
The bible speaks of this in places like Galatians 5:19-25:
“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” (NLT)
Also in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:
“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (NIV)
While we at Red Door Church believe that the teaching of Scripture on how a follower of Jesus ought to live is generally clear, we recognize the complexity of modern life and the need for more explicit statements regarding our stance on various foundational issues related to life. Therefore, below, we also have included excerpts from modern confessions to make our position on various important issues related to Christian living clearer.
The Chicago Statement on Biblical Application
Below you will find excerpts from The Chicago Statement on Biblical Application (December, 1986). Please note that not every affirmation or every denial from each Article in the original Chicago Statement is printed here—we’ve only included the ones that represent the general beliefs of Red Door Church members and which we believe are a product of sincere Christian faith.
Article V: Sanctity of Human Life
We affirm that God the Creator is sovereign over all human life and mankind is responsible under God to preserve and protect it.
We affirm that the sanctity of human life is based on the creation of mankind in the image and likeness of God.
We affirm that the life of a human being begins at conception (fertilization) and continues until biological death; thus, abortion (except where the continuance of the pregnancy imminently threatens the mother’s physical life), infanticide, suicide, and euthanasia are forms of murder.
We affirm that because advancing medical technology has obscured the distinction between life and death, it is essential to evaluate each terminal case with the greatest care so as to preserve the sanctity of human life.
We deny that the quality of human life has priority over its sanctity.
We deny that those who reject a divine basis for moral law are exempt from the ethical and social obligation to preserve and protect innocent human life.
Article VI: Marriage and the Family
We affirm that the purpose of marriage is to glorify God and extend His Kingdom on earth in an institution that provides for chastity, companionship, procreation and Christian upbringing of children. We affirm that loving nurture and discipline of children is a God- ordained duty of parents: and God-ordained obedience to parents is a duty of children.
We affirm that honor to parents is a life-long duty of all persons and includes responsibility for the care of the aged.
We deny that pleasure and self-fulfillment are the basis of marriage and [we also deny] that hardships are justifiable cause for breaking the marriage covenant.
We deny that the biblical ideal of marriage can be fulfilled either by a couple living together without a lawful marriage covenant or by any form of same-sex or group cohabitation.
We deny that changing social conditions ever make God-ordained marriage or family roles obsolete or irrelevant.
Article VIII: Sexual Deviations
We affirm that Scripture reveals God’s standards for sexual relationships, deviation from which is sinful.
We affirm that sexual intercourse is legitimate only in a heterosexual marriage relationship.
We affirm that God’s grace in Christ can deliver men and women from bondage to deviant sexual practice, be they heterosexual or homosexual, and the church must assume responsibility for restoring such members to a life that honors God.
We affirm that God loves those who struggle with all kinds of sexual deviations just as he does other sinners, and that all sexual temptations can be resisted in the power of Christ to the glory of His grace, just as other temptations can.
We affirm that Christians must exercise a compassion, kindness, and forgiveness in the ministry of God’s grace to those whose lives have been scarred by sexual deviations.
We affirm that human fulfillment does not depend on satisfying sexual drives; hedonism and related philosophies encouraging promiscuous sexuality are wrong and lead to ruin.
Official Statements of the United Methodist Church (UMC) and Other Methodist Organizations
In the United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline we agree with paragraph 304.3 which says: “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”
We agree with paragraph 4, Article IV in the Book of Discipline which states:
“The United Methodist Church is a part of the church universal, which is one Body in Christ. The United Methodist Church acknowledges that all persons are of sacred worth. All persons without regard to race, color, national origin, status, or economic condition, shall be eligible to attend its worship services, participate in its programs, receive the sacraments, upon baptism be admitted as baptized members, and upon taking vows declaring the Christian faith, become professing members in any local church in the connection. In The United Methodist Church no conference or other organizational unit of the Church shall be structured so as to exclude any member or any constituent body of the Church because of race, color, national origin, status or economic condition.”
We also appreciate certain ethical statements made by The Confessing Movement, a movement within the UMC:
“We repudiate teachings and practices that misuse principles of inclusiveness and tolerance to distort the doctrine and discipline of the Church. We deny the claim that the individual is free to decide what is true and what is false, what is good and what is evil. We reject widespread and often unchallenged practices in and by the Church that rebel against the Lordship of Jesus Christ. For example:
- experimenting with pagan ritual and practice
- consuming the world’s goods without regard for the poor
- accommodating the prevailing patterns of sexual promiscuity, serial marriage and divorce
- resigning ourselves to the injustices of racial and gender prejudice
- condoning homosexual practice
- ignoring the Church’s long-standing protection of the unborn and the mother
Any new teachings in the Church that seek to set aside the biblical witness cannot be established by votes, or appeals to personal experience, or by responding to contemporary social pressures. According to the apostolic faith, such teachings and practices are false and unfaithful to the Gospel.”
Faithful and Welcoming Churches (FWC) of the United Church of Christ (UCC)
Red Door Church is a supporting church of the Faithful and Welcoming Churches of the United Church of Christ.
We agree with many of their beliefs and practices, one of which is that as a Faithful and Welcoming Church we will be faithful to:
“…the preservation of the family, and to the practice and proclamation of human sexuality as God’s gift for marriage between a man and a woman.”
Membership at Red Door
Membership is an important step for every follower of Jesus Christ to take. For most believers, the local church is the primary source of Bible teaching, worship, discipleship, accountability, admonishment, encouragement, and fellowship. Because of this, the local church plays an indispensable role in the individual believer’s life.
However, we exercise limited exclusiveness as a prerequisite for membership. Members of Red Door Church must profess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and promise to live the Christian life and share in the responsibilities and privileges of the community.
To attain to the office of elder at Red Door Church a person must not only be a member but must affirm our Statement of Faith, have a valid testimony of faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, be well versed in the Scriptures and demonstrate a good understanding of the gospel. All leaders in the church must also be members and heartily agree to the core and the confessions so that the church will possess a clear witness to the gospel and pass the deposit of the historic faith to the next generation.
In non-essentials (convictions and conscience), we are inclusive. We lovingly include in our circles of fellowship and cooperation those who may differ in matters of conviction and conscience. Diversity is not an unfortunate by-product of what it means to be the church. Diversity is at the heart of the church’s identity.
This document serves as the basis for membership in our church. As a member, you have a commitment to one another and to live by our church’s core convictions.
As a member of Red Door Church you are not affirming the beliefs of the United Church of Christ or the beliefs of the United Methodist Church per se. Rather, you are affirming the core beliefs of this church. By formally joining the church a person is making a statement to a local community that they are seeking to live a life that holds to these beliefs. When we faithfully believe and live, we have fellowship with God and with one another.
A church member who continually lives contrary to this commitment can have their membership revoked. This discipline is given in love and is designed to move the person to repentance and encourage them to return to practicing a godly lifestyle and to fellowship with the body of Christ.