what we believe
The Bible is the inspired Word of God, God’s recorded Will, through holy men of old who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. The New Covenant, as recorded in the New Testament, we accept as our infallible guide in matters pertaining to belief and conduct. (2 Tim. 3:16, 1 Thess. 2:13, 2 Peter 1:21).
Our God is one, but manifested in three persons – the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit, being co-equal (Phil. 2:5-6). God the Father is the creator and the One Who sent the Word (John 14:28; John 16:28; John 1:14). The Son is the Word made flesh, the One Begotten, and has existed with the Father from the beginning (John 1:1, John 1:18, John 1:14). The Holy Spirit proceeds forth from both the Father and the Son and is eternal (John 15:26).
Man, Fall, and Salvation
Man is a created being, made in the likeness and image of God. Through Adam’s transgression and fall, sin came into the world. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was manifested to undo the work of the devil and gave His life and shed His blood to redeem and restore man back to God. Salvation is the gift of God to man, separate from works and the law, and is made operative by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, producing works acceptable to God (Rom. 5:14, Rom. 3:10; Rom. 3:23; 1 John 3:8; Eph. 2:8).
Eternal Life and the New Birth
Man’s first step toward salvation is repentance from sins and faith toward God, resulting in the New Birth. Our faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection, as full payment for our sins results in the “New Birth”. This is when someone passes from death to life spiritually, and begins to know God in a personal way. The New Birth is necessary to all men, and when experienced, results in eternal life (John 3:3-5; II Cor. 5:17; II Cor. 7:10; Gal. 2:20; 1 Jn. 5:12).
Baptism in water is by immersion, is a direct commandment of our Lord, and is for believers only. The ordinance identifies the believer with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection (Matt 28:19; Rom. 6:4; Col 2:12; Acts 8:36-39).
The Infilling of the Holy Spirit
We believe in sanctification (conformity to God’s standards) as a definite, yet progressive work of grace, commencing at the time of regeneration and continuing until the consummation of salvation at Christ’s return (Heb. 12:14; 1 Thess. 5:23, II Peter 3:18; 2 Cor. 3:18; Phil. 3:12-14; 1 Cor. 1:30).
We believe that divine healing is available for the physical ills of the human body and is wrought by the power of God through the prayer of faith, by the laying on of hands, anointing with oil, and other means. (Mark 16:18; James 5:14,15; 1 Peter 2:24; Matt. 8:17; Isa. 53:4,5).
We believe that, while the early apostles were especially gifted to birth the New Testament church, that all of the spiritual gifts listed in the New Testament are still in operation today, and are intended by God to edify believers, meet people’s needs, and further the gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe that God has enabled believers today to pray and worship in what the New Testament refers to as ‘other’ or ‘unknown’ tongues, which is, as other forms of prayer, profitable for intercession, worship, and communion. We believe the public exercise of spiritual gifts should be done in an orderly fashion, as defined in scripture. (I Cor. 12:7-11; Mark 16:17-18; I Cor. 14:1-3, 12, 14-16, 27-29, 32, 39-40).
Resurrection of the Church and the Return of Our Lord
Those who die “in Christ” will be resurrected to a glorious, eternal state, to be forever with the Lord. Our Lord Jesus shall return to earth as Sovereign Lord & Ruler. (Acts 1:11; I Cor. 15:22-58; 1 Thess. 4:16,17).
Hell and Eternal Retribution
The Bible teaches that those who physically die in their sins without being reconciled to God through Jesus Christ are hopelessly and eternally lost in the Lake of Fire and therefore have no further opportunity of hearing the Gospel or repenting. The terms “eternal” and “everlasting”, used in describing the duration of the punishment of the condemned in the Lake of Fire, carry the same thought and meaning of endless existence as used in denoting the duration of joy and ecstasy of saints in the presence of God (II Thess. 1:8-10; Heb. 9:27; Rev. 20:15).
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female, and that these two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God (Genesis 1:26-27).
We believe that God created marriage to be exclusively the union of one man and one woman, and that intimate sexual activity is to occur exclusively within that union. (Genesis 2:18-25, Matthew 19:3-6, Ephesians 5:21-33).
Final Authority for Matter of Belief and Conduct
The preceding statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible, itself, as inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe. We seek to interpret the Bible’s meaning and application in a spirit of truthfulness and humility. As such, for the purposes of River in the Hills faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our overseeing board (elder body) is River in the Hill’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application.