Rainbow Forest is a church defined by Devotional Love, Discipling Believers, and Deploying the Church.
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The Scriptures: The Holy Bible, divinely inspired by God and written by men, is God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. All Scripture is true, without error, and unchanging. Scripture reveals God’s expectations and redemptive plan for the nations. Scripture is the supreme standard for human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation. (2 Timothy 3:16) God: There is only one living and true God. He is the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite, holy, and perfect. He is all-powerful and has perfect knowledge of the past, present, and future. We owe God the highest love, reverence, and obedience. God reveals Himself through the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, called the Trinity. (1 John 5:20) Man: God made mankind in His image and created humans as male and female as the crowning work of His creation. Gender is part of the goodness of God’s design. In the beginning, mankind was innocent of sin but given free will. By his free choice, man sinned against God and brought sin into humanity. Through the temptation of Satan, man transgressed God’s command and fell from innocence. Therefore, humans are incapable of moral action and have become transgressors under condemnation. Only the grace of God can restore man into holy fellowship with God. Christ died for all mankind; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love. (Genesis 1:27) Salvation: Salvation is the redemption of mankind and is offered freely to anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Jesus provides redemption through His death on the cross for the sinful world. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. In its broadest sense, salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. (Ephesians 1:7; Galations 2:20; Colossians 1:14) Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It occurs when a believer has a change of heart after the Holy Spirit convicts them of sin. The sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. By His righteousness, the believer is justified into a relationship of peace and favor with God. (Romans 5:1) Sanctification is the experience through which the believer is set apart for God’s purposes. It enables the believer to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him or her. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerated person’s life. (I Corthinthians 6:11) Glorification is the culmination of salvation and the final blessed and abiding affirmation of the redeemed. (Romans 8:30) The Church: A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel. This group observes the two ordinances of Christ (Baptism and the Lord’s Supper). Church members are governed by His laws, exercising gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. In such a congregation, each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors, elders, and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the offices of pastor, elders, and deacons are limited to men as qualified by Scripture. The New Testament also speaks of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all ages of the redeemed and believers from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. (Acts 2:42-47) Baptism and the Lord’s Supper Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour. It is a symbol of the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his or her faith in the final resurrection of the dead. As a church ordinance, baptism is a prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper. (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21) The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church partake of the bread and the fruit of the vine and memorialize the death of the Redeemer (Jesus) and anticipate His second coming.(Mark 14:22-25; Matthew 26:26-29) Gender/Marriage: Scripture teaches that God created mankind as male and female with distinct genders. The term 'marriage' has only one meaning and is sanctioned by God when He joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as outlined in the Bible (Genesis 2:27). God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other. Therefore, God has commanded that no sexual activity occurs outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography, or any attempt to change one's sex, or disagreement with one's biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God (Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20). We affirm God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be renounced and are not in accordance with scripture or the doctrines of the church. (Proverbs 18:22)
Devotional Love: Devotional love toward God and others is knowing and being known and serving and being served. Every believer experiences this love in and through worship. Worship should happen wherever the believer exists. Love gains its roots in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, where time for spiritual rhythms happen within each household through prayer, studying God’s Word, and song. God’s Word commands a pursuit of Christ that results in trusting God with our time, resources, and energy. Love is not expressed just in the individual but is fully realized when the church gathers to exercise the “one anothers” of Scripture in worship each week. Therefore, every member of Rainbow Forest should consistently worship individually and corporately. Discipling Believers: The Great Commission commands every believer and church to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Discipleship happens as we attend worship services, join a small group, and grow deeper in discipleship. Every member of Rainbow Forest should invest their lives and God’s Word into a small group (3-5 people) of same-gender believers. Jesus displays this model with Peter, James, and John. The goal is not only to see someone faithfully walking in obedience to the Lord but also ready to disciple another group on their own. The starting place of discipleship is within the home. Deploying the Church: A deployed church is one that seeks to share the Gospel wherever God sends them. We are called to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our neighbors and to the nations and then disciple them into faithful followers. Rainbow Forest has a passion to take the gospel to those with little or no access. The goal of our church is to see churches planted here and around the world. Every member takes part by praying, giving, and/or going. We should pray God will raise up cross-cultural workers to live and serve around the world for the glory of God.