Statement of Beliefs
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three persons: the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God.
Scripture references: Genesis 1:1; Genesis 1:26–27; Genesis 3:22; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on the cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven's glory and will return again someday to claim His own and take them to that same Heaven.
Scripture references: Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:22–23; John 1:1–5, John 14:10–30; Acts 1:9–11; Romans 1:3–4; 1 Corinthians 15:3–4; 1 Timothy 6:14–15; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 4:14–15
About the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, guidance in doing what is right, and is our intercessor. As Christians we seek to live under His control daily.
Scripture references: John 14:16; John 16:7–17; Acts 1:8; Romans 8:26–27; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 3:16–17; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 5:18
About the Bible
The Bible is God's Word to us. Human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit, wrote it. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because it is God-inspired, it is the truth without any mixture or error.
Scripture references: Psalm 119:105, 160; Proverbs 30:5–6; Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:20–21; 2 Peter 3:15–16
About Spiritual Gifts
Few areas of theology within the church have caused more division than the subject of spiritual gifts. Some in our church believe all the spiritual gifts spoken of in 1 Corinthians 12–14 are for today. Some believe some of the gifts are for today, while others believe none of the gifts are for today. You can see the potential for problems.
The non-negotiable: We do not believe that this subject constitutes a salvation issue.
- You can believe some of the gifts are for today, and be wrong, and still be a Christian.
- You can believe that all of the gifts are for today, and be wrong, and still be a Christian.
- You can believe that none of the gifts are for today, and be wrong, and still be a Christian.
For those who believe that the gifts are present today: Remember, the Spirit of God does not work contrary to the Word of God.
At Real Life, it is okay to believe differently on this issue, but we will act in this way:
- Because this is a non-salvation area of contention between believers, we will not have a place in our church where the gift of tongues is encouraged.
- We will not allow the discussion of a non-salvation issue to destroy the Lord’s work.
- We do believe God performs miracles and answers our prayer, and, through the work of the Holy Spirit, empowers us to serve Him and do good works.
For churches where the gift of tongues and prophecy are used, there are rules for their use:
- If someone speaks in a tongue, it will be one at time. (1 Corinthians 14:27, 33, 40)
- There must be an interpreter. (1 Corinthians 14:28)
- There must be one who discerns whether it comes from God. (1 John 4:1)
- If it is a prayer language, there is a place to pray. (Matthew 6:6)
- All the gifts must be used to edify the church, not the individual. (1 Corinthians 14:4–5, 26)
- No one has all the gifts, but the church is to be a body. (1 Corinthians 12:27–30
- For those who believe prophecy is a gift active today, then the rules of a prophet apply. (Deuteronomy 18:20–22)
About Eternal Security
This is a non-salvation issue. You can be wrong about this issue and still be a Christian.
Some have an Arminian background.
- They believe salvation can be gained and lost.
- Arminians do not believe a bad decision means you lose your salvation.
- The way you can tell a person is a Christian is by their fruit (growth).
Scripture references: Luke 15; Romans 11:22–23; Hebrews 6:4–7; 2 Peter 2:20
Some have a Calvinistic background.
- They believe salvation cannot be lost.
- Calvinists do not believe you can do whatever you want and be a Christian.
- If a person is not showing fruit and growth, they were never saved to begin with.
Scripture references: John 10:28; Romans 8:29–30; 1 John 2:9
Either view leads to knowing people are Christians by their fruit. In our church, we encourage everyone to grow in Christ.
Communion at Real Life is defined as scripture defines it.
“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:23–26)
- Communion is a memorial.
- Communion is a new covenant.
- Communion is a proclamation.
When we take it, we do so in a distinctive manner.
“Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.” (1 Corinthians 11:27–28)
We do this by self-examination.
- Do I have any sins to confess? (1 John 1:9)
- Do I have any relationships to repair? (Matthew 5:23–24)
- Do I need to recommit my life? (Romans 12:1)
It is a distinction of our church that we take communion every week. We do not believe you have to take communion every week; however, when you do partake in it, do so in a correct manner. (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:25–28)
Who should take it?
- Only those who believe should take communion.
- We do not recommend young children, who do not understand salvation and relationship with Christ, take it.
About the Priesthood of Every Believer
The Bible teaches that 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 member to find a place of service and ministry. Every believer has direct access to God through prayer and Bible reading. We believe people are called to witness and to minister.
At Real Life, we believe we can never be all that God intended for us to be spiritually unless we are serving in a ministry of some kind. This is not “works righteousness.” It is simply a reality of healthy spiritual development. (Ephesians 2:8–10)
“…and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father…” (Revelation 1:6)
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
About the End Times
We have people with many views on this issue in our church. Some are pre-millennial, others are amillennial, and there are many more views. However, this is not a salvation issue. We believe there will be a literal return of Christ, a rapture, and a Judgment Day.
People are made in the spiritual image of God, to be like Him in character. Although every person has tremendous potential for good, all of us are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called “sin.” This attitude separates people from God and causes many problems in life.
Scripture references: Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3–6; Isaiah 53:6; Isaiah 59:1–2; Romans 3:23
People were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is hell. To be eternally in union with Him is heaven. Heaven and hell are real places of eternal existence.
Scripture references: John 3:16; John 14:17; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:17–18; 1 Corinthians 2:7–9; Revelation 20:15
At Real Life, we practice tithing for the support of Christ's body, the church, as God commands. We recognize that giving 10% of our income is the biblical standard of giving. (Leviticus 27:30)
“ ‘Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘But you ask, “How are we to return?” Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, “How do we rob you?” In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,’ says the LORD Almighty.” (Malachi 3:7–12)
For those who claim tithing is an Old Testament concept:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” (Matthew 23:23)