unity

In his epistles, Paul established decrees on many facets of the faith to preserve the church's unity as Christ commanded. Paul encourages us in 1 Corinthians 1:10-11: "I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For... there is quarreling among you."

In light of this instruction, we agree to preserve our unity on the issues listed below that tend to cause division in churches today. While we may engage in respectful dialogue on the following issues we will not seek to divide or act divisively regarding our personal preferences on these issues.

Marriage, Sex and Divorce

Scripture says that marriage is a God-ordained institution that involves a life-long vow between a man and a woman (e.g. Gen. 2:24; Mic. 2:14) and sex is prohibited outside of this bond (e.g. 1 Cor. 6:15-7:5; Rom. 1:26-27). While scripture permits divorce in rare cases (e.g. Mt. 5:31-32, 19:3-9; 1 Cor. 7:15), we will first encourage reconciliation to a couple that's in trouble by exhorting them to rely upon God's readiness to forgive sin and restore lives (e.g. Mt. 19:3-9; 1 Cor. 7:10-16).

Corporate Worship

We will do our best not to focus on our own preferences in the style of music, use of art or other forms of worship, but focus on giving God glory and learning His truth (e.g. 1 Cor. 11:17-34).

Men & Women's Involvement

Both men and women will be welcomed by the leadership to serve in staff positions, lead small groups, lead worship, serve communion, baptize, teach and serve as deacons and in all of our ministries. While scripture says that only men will serve as elders/pastors (e.g. 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6), this practice should by no means dissuade women in our church to lead in any other venue and share their wisdom, gifts and commitment to fulfilling the church's mission.

Alcohol

Scripture includes many instances where alcohol is moderately consumed and doesn’t prohibit drinking alcohol (e.g. Deut. 14:26; Jn. 2:6-10; 1 Tim. 5:23).  Therefore, we are free to drink in moderation. However, scripture also commands us to be disciplined in order to avoid the sins of: drunkenness, alcoholism, violating governmental laws (such as under-age drinking) and becoming a stumbling block to the weak by refusing to love them well by abstaining (e.g. Ecc. 10:17; Eph. 5:18; Rom. 14:21; 1 Cor. 10:23-33; 1 Pet. 2:13-17).

Peacemaking

Scripture requires us to love as Christ has loved us by rescuing fellow Christians from sin in order to promote repentance and peace (Js. 5:19-20; 2 Cor. 5:18-20‪). So, from the outset of a conflict or offense, we will begin by removing any sin in our lives (Matt. 7:5) and praying for God’s wisdom (Js. 1:5). After that will we maturely approach the offender with a spirit of gentleness (Gal. 6:1) and follow the process that Jesus suggested in Matt. 18:15-17. This scripture tells us to first address the offender alone about his sin for the purpose of restoration. If that fails, we are to go to the offender again with one or two others in order to establish the charge with witnesses and bring him to repentance. If that doesn’t succeed, Jesus instructs us to “tell it to the church” (meaning Christians only, which is different from our public worship gatherings which include non-Christians). Since the elders oversee the church, they will lead the process at this point and may bring the matter before Redeemer’s Partners as a final effort to restore the offender. Should the offender still persist, Jesus tells us to ”treat them as a Gentile and tax collector” or non-Christian and therefore he will be excluded from communion (1 Cor. 11:27-32) and Partnership with Redeemer. If the offender could continue to harm others, cause division or jeopardize our Gospel mission to the world, the elders may also remove him from attending Redeemer (Titus 3:10;1 Cor. 5). Finally, if the offender is an elder himself, he will be rebuked in front of all Redeemer attendees (1 Tim. 5:17-20). Again, our aim is to restore the offender to a right fellowship with God and His church. So, at any point, if the offender repents, we will re-affirm our love, forgive, comfort and seek to prevent him or her from being overwhelmed by excessive sorrow (2 Cor. 2:7-8).

*Since issues that threaten church unity rise & fall over time, it is expected that the leadership of RCC will update this statement from time-to-time.