What We Believe
An overview of our core beliefs and the scriptures that inform them.
The following are the core beliefs of Riverside Church based on the foundational truths taught in the Bible. All of our teaching and ministry is rooted in and flows out of these biblical doctrines.
In essential beliefs – we have unity. There is one Body and one Spirit. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of us all. (Ephesians 4:4–6)
In non-essential beliefs – we have liberty. It is not our job to pass judgment on anyone. Each of us will give an account of himself to God, and He will judge. Our job is to accept and love everyone without passing judgment. (Romans 14:1, 12)
In all our beliefs – we show charity. If I hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but also the very secrets of God, and if I have the faith that can move mountains—but I have no love, I amount to nothing at all. (I Corinthians 13:2)
The sole basis for our belief is the Bible, which is uniquely God-inspired, without error, and the final authority on all matters. As the Bible teaches, there is one God, eternally existing in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – each possessing all the attributes of deity.
God created humans to have fellowship with Him, but they defied God by sinfully going their own way. As a result, we need God’s saving grace to end our separation from Him. Salvation comes only through God’s grace – not human effort – and must be received personally by repentance and faith. (Genesis 1:1,26,27; 3:22, Psalm 90:2, Matthew 28:19, II Corinthians 13:14, I Peter 1:2
Jesus Christ is the second Person of the Trinity, who lived a sinless life on earth and voluntarily paid for our sin by dying on the cross as our substitute. His death on the cross accomplished salvation for all who receive grace by trusting in Him alone. He rose from the dead and is the only mediator between us and God. He baptizes believers in the Holy Spirit. He will return to earth to consummate history. (Isaiah 9:6, Matthew 1:22-23, John 1:1-5; 14:10-30, Acts 1:9-11, Romans 1:3-4, I Corinthians 15:3-4, I Timothy 6:14-15, Titus 2:13, Hebrews 4:14-15)
The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity, being completely equal to the Father and the Son as God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every believer from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He also equips believers for personal growth, service to the church, and ministry to others. (John 14:16-17, 16:7-13, Acts 1:8, I Corinthians 2:12, 3:16, II Corinthians 3:17, Galatians 5:25, Ephesians 1:13, 5:18)
Man is made in the image of God. He is the supreme object of God’s creation. Although God designed man to have fellowship with him, man became alienated from God through disobedience. As a result, all human beings are born with a sinful nature and choose to sin against God. Man is incapable of regaining a right relationship with God through his own efforts. (Genesis 1:27, Psalm 8:3-6, Isaiah 53:6a, 59:1-2, Romans 3:23, Colossians 1:21)
Salvation is a gift from God to man. Man can never make up for his sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can man be saved from sin’s penalty. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life by faith. (John 1:12, 14:6, Romans 5:1, 6:23, Titus 3:5, Galatians 3:26, Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5)
Baptism is not essential for salvation, but is a commandment for all those who come to faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism is a public declaration of faith in Jesus Christ. It is an act of celebration, obedience, and commitment, and we will celebrate together as we see others being baptized. (Acts 2:38, Colossians 2:11-13)
Communion is a spiritual discipline that all believers are to take part in to remind us of what Christ has done for us and to proclaim our belief in the Lord’s return. We will have communion available on the 3rd Sunday of the month. (Matthew 26:26-28, I Corinthians 11:23-26)
For the specific statement of faith we adhere to, please see the BF&M 2000.