Statements of Basic Beliefs
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, completely God-breathed and without error in the original manuscripts, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, having supreme authority in all areas of faith and conduct.
Authority of scripture: Ps. 12:6; 19:7-11; 93; 119:18, 98, 100, 105, 130; Isa. 55:10-11; Jer. 23:29; 2Tim. 2:15;
Inspiration: Ex. 34:27; 2 Sam. 23:2; Prov. 30:5-6; Isa. 6:5-8; Jer. 1:7; 36:1-2; Mat. 8:17; John 8:47; 12:48; 14:10; 17:8; 1Cor. 2:4; 2Tim. 3:16; 2Pet. 1:21;
We believe that there is only one true and living God, existing eternally in three persons; who are equally and perfectly divine, each having a distinct but harmonious part in the work of creation, providence and redemption. We believe all things exist for His glory.
Gen. 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Deut. 6:4; Is. 6:3, 7; 7:14; 44; Mat. 3:16-17; 28:19; John 10:30; 14:9, 16; Acts 7:56; 2Cor. 13:14;
For His glory: Ps 148; Prov 16:4; Isa 61:3; Rom 11:33-36;1 Cor 10:31; 2Cor 5:15; Eph 1:3-14
We believe in God the Father, in Spirit, infinite and personal, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love. He mercifully considers all of man’s problems, hears and answers prayers, as well as saves and rescues from sin and death everyone who comes to Him through Jesus Christ.
Deut. 6:4; Ps. 14:1; 19:1; John 4:24; 5:26; Acts 17:27-28; Rom. 1:20, 28; 2Cor. 4:4; Gal. 3:26; Eph. 2:12, 19; 3:15; 5:1; 1Tim. 6:16; 1John 4:8, 16; 1Pet. 1:3
We believe in Jesus Christ as God, who existed eternally with the Father and the Holy Spirit, taking human form as the only begotten Son of God, conceived through the Holy Spirit. We believe that Mary gave birth while still a virgin, Jesus Christ’s sinless life, and in the reality of His signs and miracles. We believe in His vicarious and substitutionary death, His physical resurrection, His ascension into heaven, and His continuous intercession for His people.
Ex. 3:14; Micah 5:2; Isa. 6:13-14; 9:6; Mat. 1:15-25; 28:18, 20; John 1:1-4; 5:26; 8:58; 13:3; 14:6; 17:5; Col. 1:15-19; 1Tim. 3:1; Phil. 2:6; Heb. 1:3; 13:8; Rev. 1:8
We believe in the Holy Spirit, who was sent by the Father and Son to convince the world of sin, justice, and judgment, in order to regenerate, sanctify, and to fill with power everyone who believes in Jesus Christ. We believe the Holy Spirit resides in everyone that believes in Christ as their only Savior, and that He is a permanent Helper, Teacher, and Guide.
John 16:13-14; Acts 1:8; 5:3-4; 13:2;
The work of the Holy Spirit: John 3:6; 14:26; 15:26; 16:8; Acts 28:25-26; Rom. 8:14, 26; 1Cor. 2:9-11; Gal. 4:6; 5:18; Eph. 1:13; 4:30; 5:18
We believe that all humanity (Christ excluded) is a sinner through nature and choice, and are therefore under condemnation. We believe that those who repent of their sins and confide in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior are born again through the Holy Spirit.
John 1:12-13; 3:3, 5, 7-8; 5:24; Rom. 3:23; 6:4; 2Cor. 3:10-11; 5:17; Eph. 2:1, 5, 10; Col. 2:13; 3:10-11; Jam. 1:18; 1Pet. 1:3, 18; 1John 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18;
We believe in the global Church, a living and spiritual body in which Christ is the head and the born-again are the members. We believe in the local church, made up of one congregation of believers in Christ, publically confessing their faith through baptism, and united to worship, work and have communion. We believe that God has entrusted the local church members the primary responsibility of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
Mat. 16:17-19; 18:17; John 17:21; 1Cor. 3:12; Eph. 2:20; 4:11-16; 1Pet. 2:5;
We believe that a Christian should live for the glory of God, being an example for other believers and the world. We do this by:
-submitting to the authority of the Scriptures as the final arbiter on all issues (Ps 119; 2Tim 3:14-17; 2Pet 1:19-21).
-pursuing the Lord Jesus Christ through regular Bible reading, prayer, fellowship and practice of spiritual disciplines (Luke 18:1; Acts 17:11; 1Cor 9:24-27; Eph 5:1-21; 1Thess 5:12-22).
-following the command and example of Jesus by participating in the ordinances of baptism and communion.
-regularly participating in the life of the a local church by attending weekly services, engaging in gospel-centered community and serving those within and outside of the church (Acts 2:42-47; Heb 10:23-25; Tit 3:14).
-stewarding the resources God has given me, including time, talents, spiritual gifts and finances. This includes regular financial giving, service and participation in community that is sacrificial, cheerful and voluntary (Matt 25:14-30; Rom 12:1-2; 2Cor 8-9).
-walking in holiness in all areas of life, by God’s grace through the power of the Holy Spirit, as an act of worship to Jesus Christ (1Pet 1:13-16, 4:1-3). Believers should strive to put certain attitudes and actions to death while stirring and stimulating love and good deeds through the Spirit. This includes pratcticing complete chastity unless married, and complete fidelity within heterosexual and monogamous marriage. Regardless of marital status, we must pursue purity and abstain from sexually immoral practices such as adultery, premarital sex and pornography (Rom 13:11-14; 1Cor 6:15-20, 10:8; Eph 5:3; 1 Thess 4:1-8; Heb 13:4).
–refraining from illegal drug use, drunkenness, gossip and other sinful behavior as the Bible dictates (Rom 1:28-32, 13:13, 14:14-23; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:18; James 3:3-18)
-taking seriously the responsibility of Christian freedom, especially actions or situations that could present a stumbling block to another (1 Cor 8:1-13)
-submitting to the discipline of God through His Holy Spirit by: following the biblical procedures for church discipline where sin is evident in another (the hope of such discipline being repentance and restoration) and by receiving righteous and loving discipline when approached biblically by fellow believers (Ps 141:5; Matt 18:15-20; 1Cor 5:9-13; Heb 12:5-11).
-confessing my sin to God and to fellow believers, repenting and seeking help to put my sin to death (Rom 8:13; Col 3:5; James 5:16; 1John 1:6-10).
-submitting to the elders and other appointed leaders of the church and diligently strive for unity and peace within the church (Eph 4:1-3; Heb 13:17; 1Pet 5:5).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has left two ordinances to the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We believe the biblical definition of baptism is by completely immersing the believer under water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We believe that the Lords supper was instituted by Christ to commemorate His death. We believe that these two ordinances ought to be observed and administrated until His coming.
Baptism: Mat. 3:13-17; 28:18-20; Rom. 6:1-14; Acts 2:37-42; 8:26-40; 1Pet. 3:21;
Lord’s Supper: Mat. 26:17-29; 1Cor. 11:23-24
We believe that every human being can have a direct relationship with God, and is responsible to God alone in all acts of faith. We believe that every church is independent and should be free from all interference from ecclesiastical and political authority. Therefore, we believe that church and State should be kept separate as they have completely different functions, and each should be able to fulfill their duties free from dictating or controlling the other.
John 8:32, 36; Rom. 8:2; Gal. 5:1-15; Jam. 1:25;
We believe that local churches can better further the cause of Jesus Christ, cooperating one with another, forming a denominational organization. Such an organization, whether regional or Conference District, exist and function under the will and wishes of the churches, and they may end the relationship at any time. The churches may also cooperate with other denominations in one way or another, independently and voluntarily.
Acts 4:24-31; 1Cor. 3:1, 23; 2Cor. 1:11; Gal. 5:13; Eph. 3:17-19; 4:2,15; Phil. 2:2, 29; Col. 2:2; 3:12; 1Thes. 5:13; 1John 4:7; 3John 8;
We believe in the personal and visible return of our Lord Jesus Christ to earth and the establishment of His kingdom. We believe in the resurrection of the saints, in the final judgment of the wicked, and the eternal happiness of the saints, and the eternal suffering of the wicked.
John 5:25; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Cor. 15:50-58; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; Rev. 1:7; 20; 21; 22;
While the doctrines expressed in the Statements of Basic Beliefs are recognized to be universal and primary within the Church, there are a number of secondary beliefs that we are passionate to proclaim. Not all Christians hold these beliefs, but they are nonetheless important and true as we understand the Scriptures. Complete agreement is not required for the sake of membership, but it should be known that we will preach, teach and counsel in accordance with these convictions.
Refuge members must understand the importance of submission to church leadership and must be diligent to preserve unity and peace; they must adhere to the Statement of Basic Beliefs and will not be divisive over the theological distinctives.
There is much confusion today when it comes to the spiritual gifts, especially those typically called “sign gifts,” such as prophecy, healing and tongues. Theological convictions are diverse, but basically they fall along a single spectrum. On the one end of the spectrum is cessationism, which teaches that these sign gifts have ceased. On the other end is a form of hyper-charismaticism, which teaches the necessity of a second baptism or speaking in tongues for salvation, sanctification or Christian maturity. Neither of these extremes is biblical.
To locate ourselves along the spectrum, we need to avoid two dangers: The first is a non-biblical restriction of the gifts – cessationism. The second is a non-biblical exaltation of the gifts – hyper-charismaticism.
The position that best avoids these dangers is continuationism as it teaches that the gifts continue. This is the view held by the Refuge Church. According to this position, the gifts of the Spirit are available today and are to be desired by God’s people, but we must be careful to practice them according to the Scriptures.
Restriction of the Gifts
Scripture nowhere states that the gifts have ceased. In fact, we have implicit evidence that they will continue until the future return of Christ.
Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:8-12
When will the gifts cease? The gifts will discontinue when “the perfect comes” and we see “face to face” and “will know fully.” When is this?
Cessationists teach that this refers to the advent of Scripture. With the canonization of the Bible, the gifts are no longer active.
Though a common interpretation in the Christian community, this view does not represent Paul’s thought. With the Scriptures, can we now say that we know fully and see face to face? It seems to be a much more convincing argument that the coming of the perfect refers to the return of the Son of God. As He has not returned, the gifts have not ceased.
Exaltation of the Gifts
Gifts are given according to the sovereign distribution of the Spirit for the purpose of edifying the body and advancing the gospel. Unfortunately, many churches today exalt the gifts beyond their proper biblical grounds.
There are various ways this can occur. Some teach that tongues are a necessary sign of salvation, sanctification or maturity, whereas the Scriptures explicitly deny that tongues are universally possessed by all believers (1 Corinthians 12:27-30). Some center on the Spirit to the neglect of the Son, whereas the Spirit’s primary testimony is to the person and work of Jesus Christ (John 15:26). Any teaching that focuses on the work of the Holy Spirit to the relative disregard of the incarnation, ministry, crucifixion, resurrection, exaltation and future return of the Son is dangerous and unbiblical.
Walking in the Gifts
How therefore are we to live? The Scriptures say to pursue the gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31; 14:1, 39), exercise them in an orderly manner (1 Corinthians 14:40), and subject them to the Word (1 Corinthians 14:37). As long as gifts are exercised in an orderly and humble manner, subject to the Scriptures, the context of the congregation and a spirit of love, we certainly encourage all members to pursue and practice them.
One of the best settings for the exercise of spiritual gifts is within the context of a group. To grow in an understanding and appreciation of the gifts, it is helpful to be walking in community with others who can grow together.
We encourage you to study more on this topic, especially the biblical passages we have included, and seek to serve one another in love. As you do so, constantly come back to the gospel. The gifts should continually push us back to the person and work of Jesus Christ. Where they do not do so, they are not functioning as they were intended.
Men and women are absolutely equal in essence, dignity and value but are different by divine design. As part of God’s good created order, men and women are to have different yet complementary roles and responsibilities in the home and church, especially as it comes to teaching and authority. These role distinctions are God’s grace to man and woman and are to be protected, preserved and practiced for His glory and our joy (1Cor 11:2-16; 14:33-35; Eph 5:22-33; Col 3:18-19; 1Tim 2:8-15; 1Pet 3:1-7).
Baptism is intended only for those who have professed faith in Jesus Christ and can give sufficient testimony to the basics of Christian beliefs. We also baptize by immersion because it is the original meaning of the word and best symbolizes the reality to which baptism points: our death and resurrection in Christ (Matt 28:18-20; Acts 2:38; Rom 6:1-11).
The salvation of humanity is fundamentally the work of God. Before the foundation of the world, God elected His people, setting His affection and grace upon them (Rom 8:29-30). In love God predestined His people for adoption (Eph 1:4-6). Faith is a gift of grace that is given by the mercy and pleasure of God, so that no one may boast. Apart from the intervention of God, humanity cannot choose of his own accord to worship God and pursue righteousness (Rom 3; Eph 2:1-3). God’s sovereignty in salvation is comprehensive: from first to last, all of salvation is the work of God.