what we believe

As a Christ-centered church in the Baptist tradition, Riverside studies the following confessions:


2000 Baptist Faith and Message  |   1833 New Hampshire Confession of Faith  |   1689 Baptist Confession of Faith



I. SCRIPTURE:  We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us; and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried. 


II. GOD:  We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God, [an infinite, intelligent Spirit,] whose name is JEHOVAH, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness; and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love; eternally existing under the personal and relative distinctions of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious roles in the great work of redemption. 


III. MAN & SIN:   We believe that man was created in a state of holiness, under the law of his Maker; but by voluntary transgression, fell from that holy and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint but by choice, being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, wholly given to the gratification of the world, of Satan, and of their own sinful passions, therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse. 


IV. SALVATION:  We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; through the Mediatorial Offices of the Son of God, who (by the appointment of the Father) freely took upon Himself our nature, yet without sin; honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and made atonement for our sins by His death; being risen from the dead He is now enthroned in heaven; and uniting in His wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, He is every way qualified to be a suitable, compassionate, and all-sufficient Savior. 


V. JUSTIFICATION:   We believe that the great Gospel blessing which Christ of His fullness bestows on such as believe in Him, is Justification; that Justification consists in the pardon of sin and the promise of eternal life, on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through His own redemption and righteousness, [by virtue of which faith his perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God;] that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity. 


VI. UNIVERSAL GOSPEL CALL:  We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the Gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent, and obedient faith; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth except his own inherent depravity and voluntary refusal to submit to the Lord Jesus Christ, which refusal will subject him to an aggravated condemnation. 


VII. REGENERATION:  We believe that in order to be saved, we must be regenerated or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind; and is effected in a manner above our comprehension or calculation, by the power of the Holy Spirit, [in connection with divine truth,] so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel; and that its proper evidence is found in the holy fruit which we bring forth to the glory of God


VIII. REPENTANCE & FAITH:  We believe that Repentance and Faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God; whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy; at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King, and relying on Him alone as the only and all-sufficient Savior. 


IX. SOVEREIGN ELECTION:  Sovereign election is God’s gracious and free choice before creation, not based on foreseen faith (nor any other condition of men), to which traitors he will grant faith and repentance, pardoning them, and adopting them into his everlasting family of joy.  God's sovereign decree toward election before time, considers and includes all of His sovereign means in redemptive history to bring about the salvation and sanctification of all those whom He has chosen and predestined unto that end.


X. SANCTIFICATION:   We believe that Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of His holiness; that it is a progressive work; that it is begun in regeneration; and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means – especially the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, and prayer. 


XI. PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS:  We believe that all who have received the genuine gifts of saving faith and repentance from God shall endure in their faith and striving for righteousness unto the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from mere  false professors; that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. 


XII. HARMONY OF THE LAW & THE GOSPEL:  We believe that the Law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of His moral government; that it is holy, just and good; and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts, arises entirely from their love of sin; to deliver them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible Church. 


XIII. THE GOSPEL CHURCH:  We believe that a visible Church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by His laws; and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His word; that its only proper officers are Bishops or Pastors, and Deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus. 


XIV. BAPTISM & THE LORD'S SUPPER:  We believe that Christian Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water, in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its purifying power; that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation; and to the Lord’s Supper, in which the members of the church, by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ; preceded always by solemn self-examination. 


XV. CIVIL GOVERNMENT: We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society; and that these appointed leaders are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed, except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. 


XVI. THE RIGHTEOUS & THE WICKED:  We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked.  Only those individuals who, through faith in the Lord Jesus, and His righteousness on their behalf, are justified in His name, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in His esteem; while all who continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in and after their death. 


XVII. THE WORLD TO COME: We believe that the end of this world is approaching: that at the last day, Christ will descend from heaven, and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution; that a solemn separation will then take place; that the wicked will be judged unto endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principle of righteousness.


(Adapted from The New Hampshire Confession, 1833; Repentance & Faith and Sanctification added in 1853)