RETURN MINISTRIES, INC.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
Return Church is a family of diverse individuals, returning to what matters…an intimate, love relationship with Jesus Christ. Our purpose is to glorify Jesus in all we do through worship, evangelism, discipleship, ministry, fellowship and helping the vulnerable.
ARTICLES OF FAITH
The Bible Is God’s Holy Word
We believe the Bible, containing both Old and New Testaments is the inspired, infallible, inerrant, eternal, authoritative Word of God. It is without contradiction, and its origin is from the heart and mind of God. The Bible is the source of all Christian doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. It cannot be added to, subtracted from, or superseded in any regard. When studying the Bible, our objective is to find God’s intended meaning of the scriptures. No scripture should ever be taken out of context. Some scriptures are literal, some figurative and some historical. To understand the Bible, one must use proper and solid principles of Biblical interpretation while depending upon the Holy Spirit to give the revelation of the Word of God.
God Is Father, Son, And Holy Spirit
We believe there is only one true and living God who manifests Himself in three distinct eternal persons, the Father, the Son (or Word), and the Holy Spirit. Even though God manifests Himself as three, He is but one. Each person of the Godhead has a distinct purpose or function, yet all are in complete unity and harmony with the same attributes, purpose, will, and nature/name.
God the Father
The Father יהוה (YHVH) commonly translated, as LORD, is the supreme sovereign ruler of all creation. He is the self-existent one without beginning or end, who sustains all His creation. He is the mysterious, unknown God who has revealed Himself throughout history and then wholly in His Son, Jesus Christ. It is impossible for mankind to have a relationship with the Father apart from Jesus Christ. God is a loving Father who adopts believers into His family when they are saved. To know what God the Father is like, we look at His Son, for if you have seen the Son, you have seen the Father.
God the Son
Jesus Christ is the divine, eternal Son of God (the Word) who created all things. Jesus left heaven and came to this earth to redeem mankind of their sins. He is both divine Son of God and human Son of Man, 100% God and 100% man. He was born of a virgin and He is the only person to ever have lived a perfect sinless life. Jesus fulfilled the law, was crucified on a cross for mankind and atoned for our sins through the shedding of His blood. He was the substitutionary sacrificial Lamb of God. Jesus took our sins upon Himself paying the penalty for our sins as He went to death, hell, and the grave. After 3 days, He rose from the dead, is now seated at the right hand of the Father, and promises to return to earth again. Jesus Christ in the one and only true mediator between man and God. He is the way, the truth, and the life.
God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the 3rd person of the Godhead sent to the earth after the ascension of Jesus Christ during Pentecost. The Father sent the Holy Spirit to earth in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, as our comforter, teacher, and guide. His purpose is to regenerate us and lead us into all truth by revealing the Word of God to us. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of our sin and show us the righteousness of God we have in Christ and the judgment to come. It is the Holy Spirit that fills our hearts with love and empowers the saints for service to be a witness for Jesus. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is available to all believers and is subsequent to conversion.
Man Inherited A Sin Nature
Man was created by God in His image and likeness. Sinless man enjoyed a perfect relationship with God in the Garden of Eden until sin entered humans through Adam and Eve’s disobedience, severing their relationship with God. As a result, everyone has been born with a fallen sinful nature inherited from Adam. However, God did not leave mankind without hope as He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ into this world to redeem mankind from their sins.
Salvation Is A Gift Of God
We believe salvation is a gift from God. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation comes by the works or merits of Jesus Christ, not by our good works or effort. It is impossible to be saved by living a good life because we are all sinners and have broken God’s law. Salvation is a work of God as He initiates the process by sending the Holy Spirit to draw us to Jesus. When a person repents of their sins, puts faith in Jesus Christ, and gives their heart to Him, Jesus will forgive their sins and come to live in the believer’s heart. Everything changes for the believer on the day they get born-again as God places them in Christ and gives them a new nature, and a new identity. The Holy Spirit regenerates us as we are born-again, and God adopts us into His family, as we become a child of God, a joint heir with Jesus Christ.
The Baptism In The Holy Spirit Is Promised To All Believers
We believe that God has promised the baptism of the Holy Spirit to all believers subsequent to salvation, though not all believers will seek this gift. This experience is not required to be saved from the penalty of sin, but God makes this gift available to the believer for power to overcome sin and witness boldly for Jesus Christ. The evidence of this infilling is God’s love poured into and flowing out of the believer’s heart to others. We believe that all who experience this will be able to speak in a spiritual or heavenly language that the Bible calls unknown tongues (not to be confused with “the gift of tongues” which always follows with an interpretation, I Corinthians 12).
Gifts Of The Holy Spirit Are To Build Up The Church
The Holy Spirit is manifested through a variety of spiritual gifts to edify the church, demonstrate the validity of the resurrection, and confirm the power of the Gospel. All believers are commanded to earnestly desire the manifestation of the gifts in their lives. These gifts always operate in harmony with the Scriptures and should never be used in violation of Biblical parameters. Divine healing and deliverance are integral parts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as well as other major spiritual gifts such as the gift of prophecy, tongues, interpretation of tongues, discernment, miracles, the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge.
Water Baptism Follows Repentance
We believe every believer should be water baptized through immersion. This is a separate experience after salvation, not necessary for redemption from the penalty of sin since that comes only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Water baptism is not just a symbolic religious ritual, an ordinance or a liturgy that signifies the believer’s public profession of faith. Rather, in water baptism, the believer takes on the Name, Death, and Life of our LORD Jesus Christ. It is in water baptism that we are buried, planted, crucified, and baptized with Jesus Christ, so we can be raised in His resurrection power to walk in newness of His life. It is in water baptism that the new believer is crucified with Christ and identifies with His death and resurrection life. Water baptism has nothing to do with whether God is one or three because God is both. The Bible clearly states that Jesus directed us to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and Peter said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins”.
God Intends For Believers To Grow Spiritually
Christ in us
We believe when a person receives salvation, Jesus Christ comes to live in the believer’s heart which is referred to as instant sanctification. He is planted in our hearts as the incorruptible seed of the Word of God. It is God’s intention for Christ to grow to spiritual maturity in the believer’s life, but this is conditional upon the believer being faithful to study, pray, humble themselves, and repent of sinful deeds, thinking or believing. A mature Christian will have the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, and peace growing in their lives continuously. A lack of fruits of the Spirit demonstrates a lack of spiritual maturity. Jesus taught through the parable of the sower, a clear process of growth where Christians attain different degrees of spiritual maturity, some 30-fold, some 60-fold and some 100-fold fruitfulness.
Us in Christ
Another miraculous phenomenon, being placed into Christ, occurs concurrently with salvation. The Bible says we are dead and our life is hid with Christ in God. We are placed in the beloved Son of God to receive His imputed righteousness and holiness. From this point, all believers are called saints rather than sinners, because when God looks at us, He sees His Son. Not only do we allow Christ to grow in us, but we must learn to grow in Christ. Our journey toward sanctification and spiritual growth begins with this understanding that we need to grow to become more like Christ. All believers have a carnal soul with a lifetime of bad memories and habits, so the soul needs to undergo a process called progressive sanctification for the rest of our lives. Progressive sanctification and spiritual growth are the ongoing processes of yielding to God’s Word and His Spirit to complete the development of Christ's character in us. Man cannot possibly sanctify himself or make his own soul holy; this is a work of God’s grace in the believer’s life appropriated by faith after salvation.
God desires intimacy and communion with His children which is only possible through the broken body and the poured-out blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus instructs us to take communion in remembrance of Him. As we call to remembrance the cross of Calvary, the broken body and poured out blood of Jesus Christ, we become aware of His grace and goodness toward us. This creates gratitude in our hearts and enhances our relationship with God. The bread and the wine (juice) are symbolic of His body and blood. We extend an ‘open’ communion table, meaning the invitation to receive communion during a service is open to any follower of Christ, regardless of membership. People who have accepted His forgiveness and surrendered their lives to Him are invited to share the Communion table at Return Church.
Jesus Will Return To The Earth
We believe in the visible bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ to this earth, known as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus will rule and reign on the earth for 1,000 years, in the Millennium Reign during a time of peace, prosperity, and blessing. We believe in a final judgment where the eternal status of both saints and unbelievers will be determined. There will be a resurrection of the saved and the lost, one to everlasting life and the other to everlasting death. We believe in the final eternal state of the new heavens, the new earth and the new city for the saved, and the lake of fire for the lost.
Marriage & Family
We believe that family is an important component of the Church, and we promote and embrace the Christian Biblical family order. Return Ministries believes in the sanctity of the marital union, between one man and one woman, as defined in the following Scriptures: The holy institution of marriage is between one man and one woman, rooted as it is in God’s creation of man and woman in His image and in the relationship between Christ and His Church, Matthew 19:4-6, Ephesians 5:22,23. God created the first marriage as a sacred covenant relationship between one man and one woman for the purposes of procreation, companionship, and dominion over creation in keeping with the covenant relationship that God Himself established with His own creation, Genesis 2:15-24, Romans 1:16-32. Society historically has embraced this traditional definition of marriage, eschewing all other unions as unnatural, inappropriate, and anti-social, and has advocated the family unit of husband and wife and their children as the chief building block of society. Leviticus 18:22-30, Psalm 127: 3-5; I Corinthians 7:1,2; Hebrews 13:4. Return Ministries recognizes that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. Accordingly, this Church, its pastors, staff, and members will not participate in same-sex unions or same-sex marriages, nor shall its property or resources be used for such purpose.
We believe that the Church is the embodiment of the Word of God. Once a person is born again, he is automatically a member of the body of Christ, the Church. Jesus proclaimed that He would build His Church on the revelation of Himself. The church is not centered on any person other than Jesus Christ. All born-again believers are a part of the body of Christ in which Jesus is the head. The Church is not a religious society or a denomination, rather the universal body of Christ made up of all those who are redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ. We believe all members of the church should assemble frequently with other believers to worship God in Spirit and in Truth. We believe the purposes of the church are worship, discipleship, evangelism, ministry, and fellowship and helping the vulnerable.
This document is simply a summary of the foundational beliefs and tenets of faith adopted by Return Ministries, Inc. These articles establish a basis for Christian fellowship and unity. These articles in no way imply that our beliefs are all there is to know or believe about God. God is infinite and cannot be placed in a box of man’s doctrinal limited understanding.
December 25, 2017