The RTI SoF (SoF) is a brief summary of various key doctrines held in one form or another by the majority of RTI members. The RTI SoF is a useful tool from which the new member or interested visitor may determine if their participation at RTI will be fruitful. It is the opinion of RTI management that the RTI SoF is generally in accord with the Scripturally-based Westminster Standards.
RTI does not require its members to explicitly state that they subscribe to any of the various Reformed Confessions. Nevertheless, the RTI SoF should be reviewed carefully before a person decides to join RTI or begins posting in our doctrinal forums. The RTI Statement of Faith, is the initial litmus test for the appropriateness of any discussion of doctrine. While members may disagree with various aspects of the RTI SoF, members are not free to openly challenge its underlying Scriptural truths or to publicly hold in disdain anyone agreeing with the RTI SoF. Anyone considering joining RTI having personal concerns with the RTI SoF is encouraged to contact the author of the SoF here: AMR AT askmrreligion DOT com
When discussions are consistently drifting beyond the bounds of the RTI SoF, RTI moderators will post an appropriate warning in the discussion thread and/or contact the member privately. All members must comply with the moderator's guidance. Persons that attempt to test these boundaries, especially via brinking, in order to hold our beliefs up to ridicule, calling for repentance, etc., will be subject to moderation discipline, up to and including banning.
Given the brevity of the RTI SoF, and excluding any discussion topics that have been granted exceptions, e.g., credo/paedo baptism (ask if you have doubts about a topic), when and if doctrinal discussions are determined by the moderators to be within the bounds of the RTI SoF, yet drifting beyond the bounds of the aforementioned Westminster Standards, said Standards will be the final deciding factor as to the acceptability of doctrinal content being discussed.
Lastly, RTI does not permit the typical level of inappropriate conduct found on many internet discussion sites. All members will be held to the RTI Standards of Conduct described here.
The RTI Statement of Faith
• We believe in the verbal plenary inspiration of the Scriptures, comprising the Hebrew and Greek tongues of the Old and New Testaments, respectively, as the authentic and infallible Word of God committed to the church and received as such, which are to be translated from their original tongues into common languages to be read, searched, appealed to, and obeyed by all mankind.
• We believe that through the singular care and providence of God, the process of transmitting God’s word through the ages has not diminished the infallibility and authority of the original message.
• We believe that God used a variety of fallible human writers and editors with differences in background, personality, interest, setting and linguistic idiom in producing the Scriptures, and yet God the Holy Spirit was in each case the author of the Scriptures, and kept the writers of Scripture from error, thus requiring that the Scriptures be acknowledged as completely true in what they teach and interpreted as one book with unity, harmony and consistency, not many.
• We believe that the teaching of one Scriptural writer may not be set in conflict with the teaching of another Scriptural writer, as though they contradict each other rather than complementing and enriching each other in their distinctive styles, themes, and assertions. Therefore any view that any writer of Scripture misunderstood, misinterpreted, misapplied any previous portion of Scripture which he quotes or to which he alludes is contrary to the Scriptures.
• We believe that God is not the author of confusion, nor can He lie, thus as God is the Author of Scripture, when all the facts are known and proper interpretations are applied, the Scriptures are completely true in all that they assert or affirm, including Scriptural assertions/affirmations of doctrine, morality, social, life, or physical sciences. Therefore any view that would infer that because the Scriptures do not present themselves as a textbook in a certain field of study, that any of the erroneous beliefs and historical limitations of an author’s society or his own personal misperceptions were incorporated as truth into the text of the Scriptures, thereby calling for the correction by modern experts in various fields of endeavor as what the Scripture teaches in that field may be dismissed as erroneous is contrary to the Scriptures.
• We believe that the extraordinary revelational gifts of the Spirit were not to continue beyond the Apostolic age—they were attached by God to the office of the apostle in order that these gifts might guide, encourage, support the young church and confirm the Word which the apostles brought. At the completion of the New Testament canon, God has spoken completely though His Son, and the Son through His apostles. Thus the revelation from God has been completed and sealed and there are no more apostolic signs today. Therefore, any view that there was or is continuing additions to special revelation beyond the historical completion of the canon the Scriptures or that Scriptures contains secret wisdom or hidden, subtle meanings which are ascertained by approaching the Scriptures on some supposed higher or spiritual plane, such as the so-called "speaking in tongues" claimed by non-cessationists, is contrary to the Scriptures.
• We believe that God created all the heavens and the earth out of nothing by the word of His power in the space of six ordinary days for the sole purpose that God may be glorified.
• We believe that God's knowledge is omniscient, that is, infinite and perfect. God does not know things because they are, but rather, things are because God knows them. God knows infallibly and exhaustively all things that are merely possible and also all those things that are part of the created order whether they be past, present, or future.
• We believe God is omnipresent, that is, He is everywhere present at all times and in all places equally.
• We believe God is omnipotent, able to do whatever He wills in accordance with His nature.
• We believe that God is eternal and immutable, unchangeable in His attributes and characteristics. The immutability of God does not mean that He exists in an eternal frozen pose, incapable of anything. God certainly can and does act in our ongoing history, yet all divine action, such as the act of creating the universe, or the Incarnation, are transitive, that is, they induce no change in God but only on that which is external to Him.
• We believe that there is one wholly sovereign God, eternally existing in three Personal subsistences: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
• We believe in one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the essence of God. In this Trinity no Person is ontologically before or after another, no Person is ontologically greater, or less than another; all three Persons are co-eternal, co-equal, and co-partakers of the single divine essence of God.
• We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory at the Second Coming.
• We believe that any doctrinal teaching that agrees with the heresies of Arius, Marcion, Eutyches, Nestorius, Apollinaris, and such others that either deny the eternity of Christ’s Godhead, or the truth of Christ’s full humanity, His full divinity, or confounds these two natures, or else confuses, mixes, or divides these two natures, is contrary to the Scriptures.
• We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
• We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of eternal life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of eternal damnation.
• We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
• We believe that God created man and woman in a state of sinless perfection with particular dignity as His image bearers on the earth.
• We believe that any doctrinal teaching that denies or deviates from the covenant of works, wherein Adam transgressed God's commandment, resulting in sin and condemnation for himself and all his posterity before a just God, leaving all persons totally unable to merit acceptance with God (justification) as a result of this legal breach, whether by word or deed (thought or action), is contrary to the Scriptures.
• We believe that any doctrinal teaching that denies or deviates from the historical Reformed interpretation that teaches God's covenant of grace (salvation by a sovereign God) was eternally founded, wherein the Father elected individuals in Christ (the elect), the Son agreed to redeem the elect as their Federal representative, being the only acceptable mediator between God and man; in the fullness of time, being born of a woman, Christ fulfilled all the necessary requirements for Divine justice and restitution in His atoning work upon the cross; wherein the Father and the Son sends the Holy Spirit to renew them and the Father imputes Christ's righteousness to them, whereby all their sins, past, present and future, are forgiven, once and for all time; wherein they are declared righteous by God and are sealed by the Spirit as a guarantee of their promised eternal inheritance, that is, the salvation of their souls and their bodily resurrection, is contrary to the Scriptures.
• We believe that the old and the new covenant are one in purpose and substance, constituting a unified covenant of grace established by God, with both Testaments testifying to the person and saving work of Christ as the central message of the whole Scriptures. Moreover, any view that Christ’s accomplishment of the salvation anticipated throughout the Old Testament has cancelled the moral instruction previously revealed by God is contrary to the Scriptures.
• We believe that under old covenant administrations, the redemptive precepts and marks of ritual purity or consecration were temporary foreshadows of the Savior, being a tutor which taught justification by faith and led to Christ, who was the aim or purpose to which the entire old covenant Scriptures pointed. Therefore, any view that the old covenant foreshadowings which are found in redemptive precepts or regulations for ritual purity or consecration are obligatory after the advent of the reality they anticipated, the establishment of the new covenant in Christ are contrary to the Scriptures.
• We believe that our first parents sinned against God and that everyone since is a sinner by nature and choice. Sin has totally affected all of creation including marring human image and likeness so that all of our being (e.g. reasoning, desires, and emotions) is stained by sin.
• We believe that God’s general revelation so clearly, effectively, and inescapably displays the deity, attributes, glory, and moral will of God that all men are left without excuse for sin and unbelief, and stand under His wrath and condemnation.
• We believe that, apart from God’s saving grace, fallen men naturally respond to God’s general revelation by seeking in a variety of unrighteous ways (ranging from open repudiation to false religiosity) to suppress and distort the truth about God, resulting in vain reasoning and darkened understanding. Therefore any view that God’s general revelation communicates His saving grace or plan, and that general revelation can relieve man’s spiritual, intellectual or moral plight is contrary to the Scriptures.
• We believe that because all people have sinned and separated themselves from the Holy God that He is obligated to save no one from the just deserved punishments of Hell. We also believe that God in His unparalleled love and mercy has chosen to elect some people for salvation.
• We believe the eternal decree of predestination of God's elect was made both before man's fall by the self-determination of his own will and in view of the Fall. In other words, when considering the enactment of the decree in human history, those predestined to salvation actually needed to be saved through God's gracious active intervention in the lives of the elect to ensure their salvation. Those not elected to salvation, the reprobates, are left to their own wicked devices, because God does not create unbelief in their hearts, as this wickedness was already present in their hearts. Also, from time to time, as we see from Scripture (for example, Exodus 7:2-5), God removes His restraining influence from the wicked, thereby giving them further over to their sin for His own glory and purposes.
• We believe that the salvation of the elect was predestined by God in eternity past without consideration of any merit of those elected, but was strictly by God's own counsel and for His own glory.
• We believe that the salvation of the elect was fully accomplished solely by the sinless life, substitutionary atoning death, and literal physical resurrection of Jesus Christ in place of His people for their sins.
• We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, monergistic regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
• We believe that God's saving grace is ultimately irresistible by His chosen elect and that God does soften even the hardest heart and save the worst of sinners according to His will.
• We believe that the gospel should be passionately and urgently proclaimed to all people so that all who believe may be saved through the preaching of God's Word by the power of God's Spirit.
• We believe that Reformed theology, commonly called Calvinism when limited soley to the doctrines of grace, is the fullest expression of the true gospel.
• We believe that since God Himself is immutable, omniscient, and omnipotent, his election of His people cannot be interrupted, changed, recalled, or canceled. Accordingly, we believe that true Christians regenerated of God's Spirit will be kept by God throughout their life, as evidenced by personal transformation that includes an ever-growing love of God the Father through God the Son by God the Spirit, love of brothers and sisters in the church, and love of lost neighbors in the culture.
• We believe that the salvation of the elect, by God's grace alone, through faith alone, shows forth in the ongoing repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ that leads to good works.
• We believe that there are only two sacraments, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord that may only be dispensed by a lawfully ordained minister of the Word.
• We believe that God is Lord over all of life and that there is nothing in life that is to be separated from God.
• We believe that the primary purpose and goal of the church is the worship of the triune God according to His explicit or implicit commands in Scripture.
• We believe that the worship of God to His glory is the end for which people were created and that abiding joy is only to be found by delighting in God through all of life, including hardship and death, which is gain.
AMR (a.k.a. Patrick)
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