If you’re looking for a church we’d like to tell you all about the things that make our church so precious to us–and we can’t describe these with a few bullet points or a clever tagline!
Of first importance to us is the gospel. We are amazed that Jesus would die for us and take sinners like us for His precious and beloved bride! And so our constant focus as a church is to sing about the glorious gospel of His grace, to proclaim the gospel through expository preaching and personal witness, and to memorialize the gospel every week by partaking of the Lord’s Supper.
One of the effects of the gospel–wonderfully illustrated in the Lord’s Supper–is that every local church becomes a visible and vital expression of the body of Christ. In fact, it’s only through being united to a particular local church that Christians are able to experience and express the fullness of what it means to be the body of Christ.
Since the community of God’s people, the church, reflects such high and glorious realities–the process of looking for a new church should be soberly and seriously evaluated. Church membership is not like club membership or party affiliation. Church members become attached to one another in spiritually vital ways–like a hand to a wrist, or an arm to a shoulder. Within the life of the local church we are called to love one another like a family–to care for one another, to help one another, and yes sometimes to bear with one another!
Because local church membership binds us and knits us together in spiritual unity, we encourage Christians seeking a church to consider this weighty decision slowly and carefully. To that end we have written this letter.
What follows is a fairly detailed, specific, and open description of our church’s character, doctrines, and values. We’re “putting it all out there” for you. Please know that we do not expect that you would necessarily agree with, understand, or value all the things we describe below right now. And we do not require that those who do decide to become members here agree with everything we’ve described. Rather, we simply want to make as many things as clear as possible–so that your evaluation and expectations are robustly informed. And please know that we’re well aware that some of our distinctives, particularly the combinations of some of them (Reformed and charismatic, for example) are historically and denominationally unusual. So we’re more than willing to walk through these things patiently, and accept a range of convictions around these things within our membership.
What Redeeming Grace Church is Like
Redeeming Grace is a small church that longs to live in light of a big gospel. Since we’re small we have to keep church life simple. We can’t maintain lot of programs and extra activities. But rather than focusing on what we don’t have, we appreciate all the more how the ordinary means of God’s grace are more than sufficient for every believer to grow in grace in every season of their lives. So we preach the word, worship the Lord together, partake in the Lord’s Supper, eagerly pursue all the spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament, fellowship together both formally in our home groups and also informally in one another’s homes, and we exercise the disciplines of the church.
We provide teaching for younger kids on Sunday mornings, and occasionally we get our youth together for fellowship and teaching. From time to time, we’ll gather for a men’s or women’s meeting, hold a Saturday morning seminar, engage in service projects, perform acts of mercy and outreach, or go on a retreat together. But most of these extra events are initiated and led by our members, rather than formally as church-directed, staff-organized events. The Proverb, “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered” (Prov. 11:25) is an apt description of our mutually edifying corporate life as a church.
That is what Redeeming Grace is like. But it’s also important for you to know what we believe.
What Redeeming Grace Church Believes
First we believe that you ought to care very much about what your church believes. Though it’s doubtful that you will ever find a church where all their doctrines line up perfectly with yours–nevertheless doctrinal unity is very important.
But in order to keep this to a long letter and not a book, we’ll shorthand our theological distinctives and let you explore them more as needed.
Please note: This is not a list of all our doctrines, or even the most important doctrines. If that were the case we’d begin with the doctrine of God, the Trinity, and the doctrines about Jesus Christ. You can find a synopsis of these doctrines in our statement of faith. Rather this list is the combination of doctrines that make Redeeming Grace church (and all Sovereign Grace Churches) somewhat distinct from other denominations
- With respect to theology we are Reformed.
- With respect to practice we are charismatic.
- With respect to governance we are a part of Sovereign Grace Churches. (Best described as semi-presbyterian–which will require some explaining).
- With respect to gender we are complementarian.
- With respect to baptism we are Baptist.
- With respect to the christian life we are heavily influenced by the Puritans.
- With respect to mission we are church-centered.
We’re eager to engage in further teaching, exploration, discussion, and clarification on any of these distinctives with you. Please come and visit us! We would love to meet you and help you find a church in Durham, and if that’s Redeeming Grace we eagerly anticipate adding you to our family!
Jim Harford, Elder, Pastor