God loved the world so much that He gave His son – Jesus Christ – to die as an atonement for our sin. He sent His son into the world in order to save the world through Him. Christ’s prayer in this was that His followers would be united as one, just as He and God the Father are united as one. We believe we are to be united in Christ, agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and one purpose.
Being united means extending grace to one another when differing opinions arise over Biblical teachings. That’s not to say we will be tolerant of false instruction or misguided doctrine – we will always follow the Bible on what it clearly teaches about right and wrong. But there are parts of scripture where believers can land on different sides of a debate and still remain in fellowship when Jesus remains at the center.
We must strive to find common ground on the topics that matter (many of which are listed below) and extend grace on the ones that don’t. We must pursue unity, humility, and service to one another, avoiding the judgement and dogma that so frequently divide Christians today (Christian nationalism, expository vs. topical preaching, political movements, etc.). As Jesus said, the world will know we are Christians by our love for one another.
John 3:16, John 17:20-21; Philippians 2:1-2; John 13:34-35
God is Creator and Ruler of the universe. There is one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe that God is the Creator and Sustainer of all things. He is Holy and Righteous. The only way to have an authentic relationship with God is through Jesus Christ.
Genesis 1:1; Colossians 1:16; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14
Jesus Christ was with God in the very beginning, and God created the universe through Him. Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, took on flesh and blood, and made His dwelling among us. His physical death on the cross saves us from our sin. His bodily resurrection changed the course of history and created the path to eternal life with God.
Colossians 1:15-20; Matthew 1:18-2; John 1:1-4, 14:6, 3:16; I Corinthians 15:1-8
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is equal with the Father and the Son as God. He makes us aware of our need to follow Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. He gives us guidance and leadership on a daily basis so we can obey God’s Word and do what is right. He gives each of us spiritual gifts for the purpose of serving the Body of Christ. We seek to live under His control in all situations.
John 16:8-9; Acts 2:38; Romans 8:26-27; Ephesians 1:13-14, 3:16, 4:30, 5:18; Galatians 5:16,25; I Corinthians 12,13
We believe that man, created by God, willfully sinned, and as a result, is lost and without hope apart from Jesus Christ.
Genesis 1:27; Isaiah 53:6, 59:1-2; Romans 3:23, 5:8
Salvation is a free gift of God. The death of Christ on the cross is the only sufficient payment for our sins. Every person has sinned, but every person also can be forgiven and saved by Christ. By placing your faith in Jesus you will have your sins forgiven, you will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and you will receive eternal life. Faith is both internally experienced and externally displayed through belief, repentance, a public confession of faith, and baptism.
Romans 3:23, 6:23; John 3:16; Romans 10:9; Acts 2:38; Matthew 28:19; Matthew 3:13-17
We believe the Bible is the inspired word of God and the final authority for all matters of faith. The Bible is God’s Word to all people.
Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16; Psalm 119:105, 160
The church is the body of Christ on earth, empowered by the Holy Spirit to continue the task of leading others to faith in Christ and teaching followers of Christ to obey and serve Him. Involvement in a local church is critical to individual growth, fellowship, and support for life’s day-to-day challenges.
Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Ephesians 4:1-16; Ephesians 2:19
People were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally with God through the forgiveness of our sin. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally with God is eternal life. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence.
John 3:16; John 14:17; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:17-18; Revelation 20:15; 1 Corinthians 2:7-9
PRIESTHOOD OF EVERY BELIEVER
Every Christian is called to “full-time” Christian service, regardless of his or her vocation. We practice the truth that every believer is a minister by encouraging every person to find a place of service and ministry. Every believer has direct access to God through prayer and Bible reading. Every Christian is an evangelist as they share their faith with those around them by word and by action.
Revelation 1:6; 1 Peter 2:9
ABOUT COMMUNION OR THE LORD’S SUPPER
Communion is the remembrance of Christ’s death on the cross. The bread symbolically represents His broken body and the juice symbolically represents His shed blood. Communion is offered to all believers upon personal reflection.
1 Corinthians 11:23-28
The church is to exist on the tithes and offerings of the people attending the church. Tithing is the practice of giving 10% of your income for the support of Christ’s body, the church, and doing so because you believe it is God's command and is a part of worship. Offerings are gifts given that are above and beyond the tithe. These gifts are often sacrificial and/or spontaneous. Both tithes and offerings are critical to Christian stewardship.
Numbers 18:6, 21; Malachi 3:7-12; 1 Corinthians 9:3-10, 13-14; 2 Corinthians 9:6-9
MARRIAGE, GENDER, AND SEXUALITY
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. (Gen 1:26-27.) Rejection of one's biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.
We believe that the term "marriage" has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. (Gen 2:18-25) We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other. (1 Cor 6: 18; 7:2-5; Heb 13:4.) We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.
We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God. (Matt 15:18-20; 1 Cor 6:9-10.)
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of Valley Real Life as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the VRL members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by VRL in any capacity, or, in most roles, who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality. (Matt 5:16; Phil 2:14-16; 1 Thess 5:22.)
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. (Acts 3:19-21; Rom 10:9-10; 1 Cor 6:9-11.)
We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31) Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of Valley Real Life.
The Elders hold the ultimate responsibility for the Church’s statement of faith and in areas that the statement of faith does not directly address, the Bible itself is the sole source of all that we believe. As the inspired and infallible Word of God, the Bible speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind. For the purposes of Valley Real Life’s faith, doctrine, practices, policy, and discipline, the Elders serve as the final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application.