THE HOLY SPIRIT
Redeemer’s elders affirm the ongoing use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs at conversion for all Christians.
A good book: Are the Miraculous Gifts for Today? Four Views edited by Gundry and Grudem
Man’s Response to the Gospel
Redeemer’s elders affirm that man’s’ response to the Gospel is rooted and grounded in the free and unconditional election of God for His own glory. We believe God predestines all believers to be conformed to the image of Jesus. Synonyms for our position are: Reformed theology, Calvinism, Doctrines of Grace, and Sovereign Grace.
A good book: Putting Amazing Back Into Grace by Michael Horton
Redeemer’s elders affirm that growth is progressive. Faith and the resultant obedience to God will have an ebb and flow, but God will slowly move us forward in conformity to Jesus. We deny that it is possible for someone to be a genuine follower of Christ and fail to continue to believe and bear some measure of fruit.
A good book: The Race Set Before Us: A Biblical Theology of Perseverance & Assurance by Thomas Schreiner
The Meaning of Baptism
The elders of Redeemer affirm that the practice of baptism (see Session 1 for Doctrinal Statement) is an act of obedience. Baptism is not an act that secures salvation for the Christian, but it is an act of obedience that is practiced in the New Testament church and is considered a sacrament of the Christian church. Those who desire to be covenant members with Redeemer do affirm that they were baptized after professing faith in Christ as their Lord and Savior.
The Mode of Baptism
The elders also affirm that the mode of baptism that is most consistent with the Scriptures is water baptism by immersion for the Christian. As noted in the doctrinal statement, “Therefore, in obedience to Christ’s command and as a testimony to God, the Church, oneself, and the world, a believer should be immersed in water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” This will be the practice of Redeemer.
Baptism of Children
Baptism of children of Christian families is a difficult issue that has a variety of practices in the church including
- Baptizing infants
- Baptizing very young children as they profess faith (usually 4-5 year olds and common in many churches)
- Delaying baptism until children are a older
We favor the 3rd option of delaying baptism even for children that appear to believe in Jesus so that their baptism will be helpful to them as adults. Our guideline at Redeemer is 12 years old. Some children younger than this may be mature enough in terms of grasping the gospel and having a relationship with Jesus that they are ready to be baptized. In this case, our standard is that any baptism candidate will need to be able to adequately participate in a membership interview. If in the judgment of the parents and Redeemer pastors the child is ready for baptism, then we will go forward with the baptism just like we would for an adult.
The Institution of Marriage
The elders of Redeemer affirm that the word of God is our final authority on issues of sexuality, marriage, love and all other aspects of life. Therefore, we affirm and maintain that God’s good and perfect design for marriage is clearly defined for us in the Bible. It is our biblical conviction that God designed marriage to be a committed, covenantal relationship between one man and one woman. In the context of this covenantal union, a husband and wife are able to enjoy spiritual intimacy, emotional intimacy, and physical intimacy. Here are just a few of the Scriptures that clearly define the marriage relationship that God has intended.
1 Corinthians 7:3-4
We believe that God has ordained the institution of marriage for our human flourishing and his ultimate glory. This mandate cannot be revised or redefined by court systems, human institutions or cultural shifts. The God of the Scriptures is perfect in wisdom and he created the one-flesh union between a husband and wife knowing it would reflect his wisdom fully and completely.
Although we maintain this biblical view of marriage, we do want to acknowledge that same-sex attraction and same-sex desires are real and present feelings for many people who love Jesus. For those who struggle to honor God and not act on those desires, we want to say that the grace of Jesus is sufficient and the community offered here at Redeemer is a powerful ally in the fight against loneliness and unmet desires. You can trust Jesus to be patient and merciful as you walk with other believers in humility and dependence.