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 66 books of the Old and New Testaments are a record of this speech which occurred in many times and in various ways; culminating in Jesus Christ. We believe that these books were written by men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and reliably reveal God and his work of salvation in our world. For this reason, the Bible has authority in matters of faith and conduct, and as a church, we seek to submit to its teachings in our private lives and 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.
If you would like to know more about what Red Door Church believes please contact us at ucsr (at) myfairpoint (dot) net. Thanks!