THE RIVER ROOM CHURCH, INC. . What We Believe The following is taken from the Constitution of The River Room Church, Inc., titled “Article VII – Statement of Fundamental Truths The River Room Church, embraces the following statements concerning the truth. The Bible is our all-sufficient rule for faith and practice. This Statement of Fundamental Truths is intended as a basis of fellowship among us (i.e., that we all speak the same thing, I Corinthians 1:10; Acts 2:42). No claim is made that this Statement of Fundamental Truths contains all Biblical truth, only that it covers our need as to these Fundamental Christian Doctrines. We do not presume to say the phraseology employed in this Statement of Fundamental Truths is inspired or that it is the final work on Bible truth. However, we are persuaded it is proper and consistent with the Holy Scriptures to “set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us” (Luke 1:1). A. The Holy Scriptures We believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, the supreme revelation from God, and of God. It is the inerrant, infallible, and altogether authentic, accurate, flawless and authoritative Word of God, therefore the supreme and final authority in all things. It is the direct revelation of the Will of God for all men and for all time (II Timothy 3: 16-17, II Peter 1:21, II Peter 3:2, Revelation 22: 18-29). Both Old and New Testaments were written by Holy men inspired by the Holy Spirit, and are God’s revealed Word to man. They are the sufficient, infallible rule and guide to salvation and all Christian worship and service. B. God That Scripture teaches that there is one, and only one, true living God, who is self-existent, and the eternal “I AM,” the creator of heaven and earth and the redeemer of mankind. That He has chosen to reveal Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the same in essence, though distinct in personality (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10-l1; Matthew 28:18-l 9; Luke 3:22). These three are one God, having the same nature, attributes, and perfection and are worthy of the same homage and obedience (Mark 12:29; John 1:14; Acts 5:3, 4; II Corinthians 13:14; Revelation 1:4-6). The mode of His existence, however, is a subject far above the understanding of man. He is the fountain of all perfection and happiness. He is glorified by the whole of creation and is worthy to be loved and served by all intelligence. He, therefore, is the only proper object of worship (Jeremiah 10:10; Exodus 3:14; Psalms 90:2; Matthew 28:19, 20; Job l1:7; Psalms 19:1, 2; 145:10; 150:6; Exodus 34:14). C. Creation Of the World God spoke into existence the world and all things that it contains, for His own pleasure, and the enjoyment of His creatures (Revelation 4:11; I Timothy 6:17). Of Man God created man in His image according to Genesis 1:26 as a triune being consisting of spirit, soul (which is made of the mind, will and emotions), and a body. D. Primitive Man and His Fall Our first parents, in their original state, were upright. They naturally preferred and desired to obey their creator, and had no preference or desire to transgress His will, until they were influenced and inclined by Satan to disobey God’s commands. Previous to this, the only tendency of their nature was to do righteousness. In consequence of their first transgression, the state under which the posterity of Adam came into the world is so different from that of Adam, that they no longer had that righteousness and purity which Adam had before the fall; they are not willing to obey God but are inclined to do evil. Hence, none, by virtue of any natural goodness and mere work of their own, can become the children of God (Genesis 1:26-31; 3: l-7; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Psalms 51:5; John 6: 44; Romans 5:12-21; I Corinthians 2:14). E. Jesus Christ He is the Son of God and the Son of Man, was born miraculously of the Virgin Mary (Matthew 1: 23; Luke 1:31, 35). He lived a sinless life (Hebrews 7:26; I Peter 2:22). That He came into the world to save men from the guilt and condemnation of sin (John 3:16), offering His blood as an atonement (I Corinthians 15:3; II Corinthians 5:21) and making it available to all who exercise faith in Him. His bodily resurrection from the dead (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:39; I Corinthians 15:4). His exaltation to the right hand of God (Acts 1:9, 11; 2:33; Philippians 2:9-l1; Hebrews 1-3). Also that His divinity is proved from His titles, His attributes, and His works (John 1:14; Luke 1:26-35; Acts 4:12; Acts 16:31). That He is presently seated at the right hand of God the Father, interceding for His redeemed. We also acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord over all things in Heaven, and in Earth, and under the Earth (John 1:12-14; I Timothy 3:16; Acts 7:37-38; Philippians 2:9-10; Hebrews 7:25). F. The Holy Spirit 1. The Scriptures ascribe to the Holy Spirit, the acts and attributes of an intelligent being. He guides, knows, moves, gives information, commands, forbids, sends forth, reproves, as the instrumental segment of the “God Head” in the liberal dispersion of spiritual gifts, and can be sinned against (John 16:13; I Corinthians 2:11; Genesis 1:2; Acts 10:19; 13:2; 16:6; 13:4; John 16:8; Mark 3:29; Acts 7:51; Ephesians 4:30; I Corinthians 12). 2. The works of God are ascribed to the Holy Spirit; creation; inspiration, giving of life, and sanctification (Job 33:4; II Peter 1:21; I Peter 3:18; I Corinthians 6:11). 3. Of Sanctification: That sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we become partakers of His holiness; that it is begun at regeneration; and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the continual use of the appointed means, especially the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, and prayer (I Thessalonians 4:3; I John 2:29; Romans 8:5; Philippians 2:12-13). G. The Salvation of Man Man's only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the only Son of God. Salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of, regeneration, and renewing, of the Holy Spirit, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God according to the hope of eternal life. The inward evidence of salvation is direct witness of the Spirit and the outward evidence to all men of a life of righteousness and true holiness (Luke 24:47; John 3:3; Romans 10:13-l5; Ephesians 2:8; Titus 2:11; 3:5-7; Romans 8:16; Ephesians 4:24; Titus 2:12). 1. Salvation is an inclusive word, which gathers into itself all the redemptive acts and processes, i.e., justification, redemption, deliverance, imputation, sanctification, glorification, etc. The Hebrew and Greek words for salvation imply the ideas of deliverance, safety, preservation, healing, and soundness. Salvation is by grace through faith, is a free gift, and wholly without human works (Romans 3:27-28, 4:1-8, 6:23, Ephesians 2:8). Salvation is in these three tenses: a. Condition of Salvation - The grace of God, which brings salvation, hath appeared to all men, through the preaching of repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ; man is saved by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, and, being justified by grace through faith, he becomes an heir of God according to the hope of eternal life (Romans 10:13-15; Luke 24:47; Titus 2:11; 3:5-7; Ephesians 2:8-9). b. Evidences of Salvation - The inward evidence, to the believer, of his salvation, is the direct witness of the Spirit (Romans 8:16). The outward evidence to all men is a life of unconditional love, righteousness, and true holiness, demonstrated by the fruit of the Spirit (John 13:35; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 4:24). c. Final Result of Salvation - The spirit of the believer who dies in Christ immediately goes to be with the Lord (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Luke 23:42-43; II Corinthians 5:8). H. The Doctrine of Baptisms We believe the New Testament teaches three baptisms. First , there is the baptism whereby the repentant sinner, upon trusting Jesus Christ as his Savior, is baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13). Secondly , there is water baptism by immersion for Christian believers only. This we believe to be an ordinance of the Church, whereby the believer experiences the reality of co-crucifixion and co-resurrection with the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 6:3-6). Baptism in water by immersion shall be observed as commanded in the Scriptures by all who have repented of their sins and have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ to the saving of their souls and who give clear evidence of their salvation (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12). Those who have become partakers of Christ by faith in His shed blood are commanded to be water baptized (by immersion) into Christ. In this act of faith we participate in Christ’s burial and resurrection and receive a circumcision of the heart. The church retains the right to deny performing water baptisms to those who it determines are outside the body of Christ, (unbelievers), living in a state of unrepentant sin. (Genesis 17:1-4; John 3:1-6; Acts 19:4, Romans 2:28-29; I Peter 3:18-22; I John 5:8). Thirdly, there is the filling or baptism in the Holy Spirit by the Lord Jesus Christ, which may occur at, or subsequent to conversion. We believe that speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance is the normative evidence of this baptism. Further, we believe that by the believer’s continued submission to the Holy Spirit, his very weakness is transformed into strength to witness for Jesus Christ in power, and to live according to the will of God (Acts 1:5-6; 10:46; 11:28; 19:6). I. Ordinances of the Gospel 1. Baptism in Water - The ordinance of baptism is a symbolic burial with Christ, to be observed, whenever physically possible as commanded in the Scriptures by all who have repented of their sin, and truly believed in their heart on Christ as Savior and Lord. The symbolic immersion in water is a personal and public statement of faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ on our behalf, and is a commitment to lay down our lives to be one with Him in His death, burial and resurrection. (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 10:47-48; Colossians 2:11-12). 2. The Lord’s Supper - The center of the Lord’s Supper is truly a communion, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In his rich mercy, God made us alive together with Christ, and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:4-6). It is from this position that we come to the Lord's Table, to feed upon the body and blood of Christ in a spiritual manner, because we believe that Jesus Christ is the bread of life, the One who feeds our souls with His heavenly life, and brought salvation with His death. As the faithful eat the bread and drink the wine, we feed on Christ by faith (John 6:48, 51, 53-57; Luke 22:19-20; I Corinthians 2:1l-l2). We acknowledge the ordinance of the Lord's Supper in remembrance of Jesus and as a testimony of our communion (common-union) with Him in His body, the church, looking forward to the soon return of our Savior and a looking back at the work Jesus did for us on the cross. J. The Promise of the Father All believers are entitled to, and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the Promise of the Father, the baptism in "the Holy Ghost and fire", according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. To be baptized with the Holy Ghost, and with fire,” means that Jesus has the ability to immerse (baptize) people in the presence of God so that they are aware of their sin and convicted of the need to be cleansed of that sin ( John 16:8 ). The Promise is the filling of the Holy Spirit, to be filled with the fire of love, the fire of God’s power, the fire of suffering, the fire of purification, the fire of judgment, and the overwhelming glory of God. The fire refines and purifies, giving him or her a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17). This was the normal experience in the early Christian Church. With it comes the endowment of power for life and service, and the bestowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5, Acts 2:4). With the baptism of the Holy Spirit comes such experiences as: 1. an overflowing fullness of the Spirit (John 7:37-39, Acts 4:8) 2. a deepened reverence for God (Acts 2:43, Hebrews 12:28) 3. an intensified consecration to God and dedication to His work (Acts 2:42) 4. a more active love for Christ, for His Word and for the lost (Mark 16:20) 5. speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance (Acts 2:4, 1 Corinthians 12:4-10). K. Sanctification Sanctification is an act of separation from that which is evil, and a dedication unto God (Romans 12:1-2; I Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:12). The Scriptures teach a life of “holiness without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). By the power of the Holy Ghost we are able to obey the command: “Be Holy, for I am Holy” (I Peter 1:15, 16). Sanctification is realized in the believer by recognizing his identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, and by faith, reckoning daily upon the fact of that union, and by offering every faculty continually to the dominion of the Holy Spirit (Romans 6: l-l1,13; 8: l-2, 13; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 12:12-l3; I Peter 15). L. The Church and the Ministry We believe that all who are united by the new birth to Jesus Christ are members of the “Universal Church”, the “Body of Christ”. We also believe that the local congregation of Christian believers is divinely instituted and is the chosen instrument of God for the furtherance of God’s work here on Earth. While appreciating the work of para-Church groups, we believe that the local Church is God’s chosen vehicle for world evangelization and the nurture of Christians. We further believe in the spiritual unity of all believers and in working together with others who believe in salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ for the causes of evangelism, missions and benevolence (Matthew 16:16-l8; John 17:21; Ephesians 1:20-23; 4:3-10; Colossians 3:14-l5). The Church is the Body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Spirit, with divine appointments for the fulfillment of her great commission and purpose. Each believer, born of the Spirit, is an integral part of the Church of the Firstborn, whose name is written in heaven in the "Lamb’s Book of Life". As such, the Bible reveals that we are members one of another, and the basis of our fellowship is in Christ, in the power of the Spirit (Ephesians 1:22; 2:19-22; Hebrews 12:23). M. Responsibility of the Believer We believe that it is essential that each believer lay a foundation of Biblical truth and experience upon which he/she builds his/her life. These foundation stones are: repentance from dead works, faith toward God, doctrine of baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment, all of which are prerequisites to going on to perfection (spiritual maturity) (Hebrews 6:1-2). We believe each Christian is called and chosen in God to be a priest unto God to offer up the sacrifice of praise, to give of their time, strength, and material possessions to the service of the Lord. All believers have been purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ and are no longer their own, but belong to the Father to be used for His glory; and as possessions of the Lord, must give themselves to serving Him, finding their place in the Church, His body, and making themselves available by being present when the Church comes together, that they might be able to minister their gifts and talents for the building up of the Body of Christ (John 15:16; Ephesians 1:4-5; I Corinthians 6:20; 12:18; Hebrews 13:15; I Peter 2:5,9). We believe that the whole purpose of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Therefore, we believe in the act of praising and worshipping God with one’s total being as set forth in the Holy Scriptures. (Psalms 149; 150; Mark 12:29-31; Ephesians 5:18-21). N. Five-Fold Ministry The Church is to be taught and led by the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers for the purpose of every believer seeing and exercising their priestly or kingly ministry (I Peter 2:5,9 and Revelation 16). The five-fold ministry is to teach and train its people to do the work of the ministry with maturity and unity in mind. Working with these ministries will be Elders, Deacons, and the gifted men and women of the Church (Romans 12:3-8; I Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:11-13; I Timothy 3:2-12; Titus 2:1-15). O. Divine Healing Deliverance from sickness is provided for in the atonement, and is the privilege of all believers. The ministration of the laying on of hands accompanied with the anointing of oil for the healing of the sick shall be granted as request is made, and as the need may require (Isaiah 53:4-5; Matthew 8:16-17; Mark 16:17-18; James 5:14-15). P. The Total Prosperity of God We believe that the Gospel of the Kingdom is God’s absolute answer to man’s total need and total prosperity. 1. Spiritually -(John 3:3,11; II Corinthians 5:17-21; Romans 10:9-l 0) 2. Mentally - (II Timothy 1:7; Romans 12:2; Isaiah 26:3) 3. Physically - (Isaiah 53:4-5; Matthew 8:17; I Peter 2:24) 4. Financially - (III John 2; Malachi 3:10-11; Luke 6:38; II Corinthians 9:6-10; Deuteronomy 28:1-14) 5. Socially - (Proverbs 3:4; I Samuel 2:26; Romans 14:18; II Corinthians 8:21) Q. The Blessed Hope The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ, and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, "The Rapture", is the imminent and the blessed hope of the Church (I Thessalonians 4:16-17; Romans 8:23; Titus 2:13; I Corinthians 15:51). R. Laying on of Hands A simple belief that God's power or anointing can be transmitted from one person touching or praying over another. First practiced by the Levitical priesthood (Numbers 8:10-l1, 27:22-23). Jesus practiced it as a blessing, (Mark 10:13-16) and it has been used by Him and others for healing (Mark 5:22-23; 16:18; Acts 14:3; 19:11-l2; 28:8; Luke 4:40), conferring office (Acts 8:16-l8), receiving anointing (I Timothy 4:14) and for Ordination (I Timothy 4:14). We believe in the doctrine of the laying on of hands for: 1. The confirming of believers to commitment and ministry in the local Church. 2. The confirming of one’s call by God to special ministry in the local Church (Acts 13:1-3). 3. The imparting of spiritual gifts (I Timothy 4:14; II Timothy 1:6). 4. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17-l8). 5. The ministry of healing of the sick through the Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 16:16). 6. The blessing and dedicating of children to the Lord (Mark 10:16). S. Deliverance The need for deliverance is manifested by an inability to be free from bondage: e.g. mental (emotional), physical or spiritual normally associated with demonic activity. It is God’s desire to bring deliverance to His people (Job 5:19; Psalms 91:3; II Timothy 4:18; Hebrews 2:15; II Peter 2:9). We have been granted the authority in the name of Jesus to bring deliverance to others (Mark 16:17; John 14:12; I Corinthians 12:8-l 1. We must understand that our warfare is with the forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12), our weapon is the Word of God, our authority and power is from Jesus Himself (Mark 16:17; Acts 1:8) and that the battlefield is in the spiritual realms (Ephesians 6: 10-l8; II Corinthians 10:3-5; Romans 8:9; Galatians 5:22-23). T. Gifts of the Spirit The nine gifts of the Spirit set forth (I Corinthians 12) should and must be operative in the Church to enjoy the fullness of God. These gifts are imparted by the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit and only work, or are operated by this one, and the self-same Spirit (I Corinthians 12:11). U. The Millennial Reign of Christ The second coming of Christ includes the rapture of the saints, which is our blessed hope. Followed by the visible return of Christ with His saints to reign on the earth for one thousand years (Zechariah 14:5; Matthew 24:27, 30; Revelation 1:7; 19:1l-l 4; 20:1-6). This millennial reign will bring the salvation to the nation of Israel (Ezekiel 37:21-22; Zephaniah 3:19-20; Romans 11:26-27) and the establishment of universal peace (Isaiah 11:6-7; Psalm 72:3-8; Micah 4:3-4). V. The Final Judgment and Eternal State We believe that at death, the spirit and soul of those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, pass immediately into His presence and there remain in conscious bliss until the resurrection of the glorified body, when Jesus Christ comes for His own, whereupon soul and body reunited shall be with Him forever in glory. But the spirits and souls of the unbelieving remain after death, conscious of condemnation, and in misery until the final judgment of the Great White Throne when soul and body reunited shall be cast into the lake of fire, not to be annihilated, but to be eternally punished, and totally removed from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power (Luke 16:19-26; 23:42; II Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; II Thessalonians 1:7-8; Jude 6, 7; Revelation 20:1l-l 5). There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works. Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast, and the false prophet, will be consigned to everlasting punishment in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:43-48; Revelation 19:20; 20:1l-l5; 21:8). W. The New Heavens and the New Earth We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness (II Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:22). X. Tithing and Offerings Both the Old and New Testament Scriptures teach tithing as God’s financial plan for the support of His work. These are to be practiced continually by all believers, and are outward expressions of the unity of the Church, the Body of Christ, as it joins together in support of the work of the Lord (Malachi 3:8-10; I Corinthians 16:2; Genesis 28:22; Matthew 23:23; Deuteronomy 26; 14:28-29; 15:7-11; Numbers 18:8-l1; Ezekiel 44; Proverbs 14:21; 29:7; Luke 11:41; 12:33). Y. Death As a result of original sin, all mankind is subject to the death of the body. The soul does not die with the body, but immediately after death enters into a conscious state of happiness, or misery according to the character here possessed either by rejection, or acceptance of the Savior (Romans 5:12; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Philippians 1:23). Z. Of the World to Come We believe that the end of this age is rapidly approaching (I Peter 4:7). We believe in “That Blessed Hope” -the personal, imminent return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Acts 1:ll; I Thessalonians 4:13-l8). We believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and of the unjust, the everlasting blessedness of the saved, and the everlasting punishment of the lost without Christ (Acts 24:15; Matthew 24:31-46; Revelation 22:11). AA. Help to the Poor We believe that it is the intent of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to feed the hungry (Matthew 25:34-40; Isaiah 58:7-8); to care for the poor (Matthew 19:21; Psalm 112:9; II Corinthians 9:6-9); and to care for the widows and orphans (James 1:27). We further believe that such ministry should be toward His name to both saints and unbelievers (Hebrews 6:l0). ORDINANCES AND PRACTICES We hold that the following sacraments (ordinances and practices) are in harmony with the Scriptures and are to be observed by the Church. These sacraments are to be administered by those Scripturally qualified (I Timothy 3:1-l1; Titus 1:5-6). A. Water Baptism by immersion, shall be observed as commanded in the Scriptures by all who have repented of their sins and have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ to the saving of their souls and who give clear evidence of their salvation (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12). Those who have become partakers of Christ by faith in His shed blood are commanded to be water baptized (by immersion) into Christ. In this act of faith we participate in Christ’s burial and resurrection and receive a circumcision of the heart (Genesis 17:1-4; John 3:1-6; Romans 2:28-29; I Peter 3:18-22; I John 5:8). The church retains the right to refuse performing water baptisms to those who it determines are outside the body of Christ, (unbelievers), living in a state of unrepentant sin. B. The Lord’s Supper is a memorial of the covenant made with God through the blood of Christ. It is a continuation of the Passover Feast, which God commanded His covenant people to observe. Those who have made covenant with God through the blood of Christ and have been water baptized are instructed to participate. The Church participates in the Lord’s Supper as a body or family, with each believer, in fellowship adding to the blessedness of the experience (Exodus 11, 12; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:19-20; I Corinthians 10:16; 11:23-26). The church retains the right to refuse serving communion to those who it determines are outside the body of Christ, (unbelievers), living in a state of unrepentant sin. C. The Dedication of Children, is the presentation of a child to God, and therefore establishes a covenant between God and Christian parent(s). God promises blessing and protection to the child whose parents are faithful to rear him/her in the services of the Lord. Such a child is made holy and is part of the covenant family of God by the Godly faith of his parents until he/she reaches the age of accountability, whereupon he/she becomes responsible as an individual before God and is commanded to repent. The Church retains the right to refuse dedicating a child or children to the Lord if it determines the parents are not living a Christian lifestyle as identified in Article VII the Statement of Fundamental Truths. (Psalms 34:11; Isaiah 54:13; Matthew 19:14; Mark 10:13-l 6; Luke 18:15-l 6; I Corinthians 7:14). D. Anointing Oil, is administered for healing. If there have been sins committed against Christ or His Body they are to be confessed. The anointing oil is then administered for both physical and spiritual restoration with the laying on of hands when required (Mark 16:18; James 5:14). E. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit, is a necessary and vital experience for every believer, is evidenced by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance. Those who seek the fullness of the Spirit shall receive prayer for the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:15-17; 19:2-6). F. Marriage is a covenant made between two people, one man and one woman, with God. The Christian marriage covenant requires the married parties to be faithful, loving and helpful to each other as long as they both shall live. (Malachi 2:15-16; Matthew 5:32; 19:5-6,9; Romans 7:2-3; I Corinthians 7:10-11, 15; II Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:22-25). Marriage is a union ordained by God. It was first instituted by God in the early chapters of Genesis, codified in the Levitical law, the Old Testament prophets compared it to a relationship between God and his people, examples of it are in the historical narratives, and, the scripture discusses the unique unity of this relationship. Jesus explained the original intention and core elements of marriage, and several New Testament Epistles give explicit instructions on this union. Marriage is a typology of Jesus Christ and the Church. As such, the Church views marriage as a profound spiritual institution established by God. We believe the term “marriage” has only one meaning, and that is marriage sanctioned by God which joins one man, and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. Due to the importance of marriage in the biblical witness, this church adopts the following: Only currently Licensed or Ordained River Room Church Pastors may officiate a marriage ceremony or renewal of vows ceremony. Staff Pastors shall be subject to dismissal and loss of Licensing/Ordination for officiating a same gender or transgender marriage ceremony, or a same gender or transgender renewal of vows ceremony. Marriage applicants wishing to have a marriage ceremony or renewal of vows ceremony performed by a River Room Church Pastor, or to use any of the Church facilities or properties, shall affirm their agreement with the above noted Ordinances and Practices marriage section and the church’s Foundations of Faith, and shall conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent therewith . The River Room Church welcomes homosexuals, seeking to become more Christ like and striving to follow the beliefs of this church, but its facilities, or properties may not be used by any individual, group, or organization that advocates, endorses, or promotes homosexuality or transgender life as an alternative or acceptable lifestyle, as this comes against our beliefs through scripture. This policy applies to events including but not limited to: Birthday parties, Classes, Reunions, Anniversaries, Baby Showers, Weddings, and Renewal of Vows services. All marriage applicants must receive premarital counseling by a River Room Church Staff Pastor. Upon completion of premarital counseling a recommendation to proceed with the ceremony will be submitted to the Executive Pastor of Ministries for review and final approval. No marriage ceremonies will be permitted without Executive Pastoral approval first. Any marriage ceremony or renewal of vows ceremony performed on Church premises shall be officiated by a River Room Church Staff Pastor. The River Room Church Staff Pastors assigned by the Church to implement the procedures contained in this Marriage statement may, in his or her sole discretion, decline to make Church facilities available for, and/or decline to officiate at, any ceremony when, in his or her judgment, there are significant concerns that one or both of the marriage applicants may not be qualified to enter into the sacred bond of marriage for theological, doctrinal, moral or legal reasons.
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