Our Beliefs

The Basics

There is one God, the Creator of all things, who is revealed as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is completely human and, at the same time, completely God. He is God’s only plan for bringing humanity back into a right relationship with God. He lived a perfect life, so that we can be shown the way to live and so He could be a perfect sacrifice by dying on a cross. He defeated death in His resurrection so that we can have abundant life.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is present in the world to make humanity aware of their need for Jesus Christ. The Spirit also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. The Spirit provides the Christian with comfort, the power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. The Spirit fills and empowers every believer with spiritual gifts when they are saved to fulfill their God-given calling.
The Bible
the Bible is the 66 books of the Old Testament and New Testaments are fully inspired by God and inerrantly reveal the will of God guiding us in all things necessary to our salvation.
Humanity is made in the image of God. We are the supreme object of God’s creation and love. Although we have tremendous potential for good, we are marred by brokenness cause by this world and an attitude of disobedience towards God called “sin.” This separates us from God until the relationship is restored through a personal commitment to Jesus Christ.
Salvation is God’s free gift to us, but we must accept it. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus’ death and resurrection as God’s offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty and ultimately freed from the control of sin on our lives. When we turn to Jesus in faith, we are saved. Eternal life begins the moment anyone receives Jesus Christ into their life by faith.
Believers need the fullness of God’s Spirit in their hearts. When we make a complete commitment to God, our spirit is cleansed, we are sanctified entirely, filled with God’s perfect love, and are given the power live abundantly through our life with God.
We were created to exist forever. We believe that forever is spent in one of two places: in union with God because of His forgiveness and salvation or eternally separated from God because of sin. When we die, we will either spend eternity with God or apart from God. In the same way, we believe that Jesus will return to the earth again, when he does, the final decision of who will be separate from or with God in eternity will take place.
Ridgeland Church is a part of the Church of the Nazarene, a global denomination in the Wesleyan-Holiness Christian Tradition.

Important Stances

We strive for transparency with where we locate ourselves and believe that we should be clear on where we stand on realities that our society and culture is facing.

We hold firmly to a position of Christian compassion for people of all races. We believe that God is the Creator of all people, and that of one blood are all people created.
We believe that each individual, regardless of race, color, gender, or creed, should have equality before law, including the right to vote, equal access to educational opportunities, to all public facilities, and to the equal opportunity, according to one’s ability, to earn a living free from any job or economic discrimination.
We strive to continue and strengthen programs of education to promote racial understanding and harmony. We also feel that the scriptural admonition of Hebrews 12:14 should guide the actions of our people. We urge that each member of our church to humbly examine their personal attitudes and actions toward others, as a first step in achieving the Christian goal of full participation by all in the life of the church and the entire community.
We reemphasize our belief that holiness of heart and life is the basis for right living. We believe that Christian charity between racial groups or gender will come when the hearts of people have been changed by complete submission to Jesus Christ, and that the essence of true Christianity consists in loving God with one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength, and one’s neighbor as oneself.
Therefore, we renounce any form of racial and ethnic indifference, exclusion, subjugation, or oppression as a grave sin against God and our fellow human beings. We lament the legacy of every form of racism throughout the world, and we seek to confront that legacy through repentance, reconciliation, and biblical justice. We seek to repent of every behavior in which we have been overtly or covertly complicit with the sin of racism, both past and present; and in confession and lament we seek forgiveness and reconciliation.
Further, we acknowledge that there is no reconciliation apart from human struggle to stand against and to overcome all personal, institutional and structural prejudice responsible for racial and ethnic humiliation and oppression. We call upon Nazarenes everywhere to identify and seek to remove acts and structures of prejudice, to facilitate occasions for seeking forgiveness and reconciliation, and to take action toward empowering those who have been marginalized.
Responsibility to the Poor
We believe that Jesus commanded His disciples to have a special relationship to the poor of this world; that Christ’s Church ought, first, to keep itself simple and free from an emphasis on wealth and extravagance and, second, to give itself to the care, feeding, clothing, and shelter of the poor. Throughout the Bible and in the life and example of Jesus, God identifies with and assists the poor, the oppressed, and those in society who cannot speak for themselves. In the same way, we, too, are called to identify with and to enter into solidarity with the poor and not simply to offer charity from positions of comfort. We hold that compassionate ministry to the poor includes acts of charity as well as a struggle to provide opportunity, equality, and justice for the poor. We further believe that the Christian responsibility to the poor is an essential aspect of the life of every believer who seeks a faith that works through love.
Finally, we understand Christian holiness to be inseparable from ministry to the poor in that holiness compels the Christian beyond his or her own individual perfection and toward the creation of a more just and equitable society and world. Holiness, far from distancing believers from the desperate economic needs of people in our world, motivates us to place our means in the service of alleviating such need and to adjust our wants in accordance with the needs of others.
Sanctity of Human Life
We affirm the sanctity of human life as established by God the Creator and believes that such sanctity extends to the child not yet born. Life is a gift from God. All human life, including life developing in the womb, is created by God in His image and is, therefore, to be nurtured, supported, and protected. From the moment of conception, a child is a human being with all of the developing characteristics of human life, and this life is dependent on the mother for its continued development. Therefore, we believe that human life must be respected and protected from the moment of conception. We oppose induced abortion by any means, when used for either personal convenience or population control. We oppose laws that promote abortion. Realizing that there are rare, but real medical conditions wherein the mother or the unborn child, or both, could not survive the pregnancy, termination of the pregnancy should only be made after sound medical and Christian counseling.
Responsible opposition to abortion requires our commitment to the initiation and support of programs designed to provide care for mothers and children. The crisis of an unwanted pregnancy calls for the community of believers (represented only by those for whom knowledge of the crisis is appropriate) to provide a context of love, prayer, and counsel. In such instances, support can take the form of counseling centers, homes for expectant mothers, and the creation or utilization of adoption services.
We also recognize that many have been affected by the tragedy of abortion. We urge everyone to offer compassion, care, and support for each person who has experienced abortion. We are to be a community of redemption and hope to all who suffer physical, emotional, and spiritual pain as a result of the willful termination of a pregnancy.
For the full position, read here: Sanctity of Human Life
Human Sexuality
We view human sexuality as one expression of the holiness and beauty that God the Creator intended. Because all humans are beings created in the image of God, they are of inestimable value and worth. As a result we believe that human sexuality is meant to include more than the sensual experience, and is a gift of God designed to reflect the whole of our physical and relational createdness.
We affirm that the human body matters to God. Christians are both called and enabled by the transforming and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit to glorify God in and with our bodies. Our senses, our sexual appetites, our ability to experience pleasure, and our desire for connection to another are shaped out of the very character of God. Our bodies are good, very good.
We affirm belief in a God whose creation is an act of love. Having experienced God as holy love, we understand the Trinity to be a unity of love among Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Therefore, we are made with a yearning for connection with others at the core of our being. That yearning is ultimately fulfilled as we live in covenanted relationship with God, the creation, and loving one’s neighbor as one’s self. Our creation as social beings is both good and beautiful. We reflect the image of God in our capacity to relate and our desire to do so. The people of God are formed as one in Christ, a rich community of love and grace.
Within this community, believers are called to live as faithful members of the body of Christ. Singleness among the people of God is to be valued and sustained by the rich fellowship of the church and the communion of the saints. To live as a single person is to engage, as Jesus did, in the intimacy of community, surrounded by friends, welcoming and being welcomed to tables, and expressing faithful witness.
Also within this community, we affirm that some believers are called to be married. As defined in Genesis, “a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) The marriage covenant, a reflection of the covenant between God and the people of God, is one of exclusive sexual fidelity, unselfish service, and social witness. A woman and a man publicly devote themselves to one another as a witness to the way God loves. Marital intimacy is intended to reflect the union of Christ and the Church, a mystery of grace. It is also God’s intention that in this sacramental union the man and woman may experience the joy and pleasure of sexual intimacy and from this act of intimate love new life may enter the world and into a covenantal community of care. The Christ-centered home ought to serve as a primary location for spiritual formation. The church is to take great care in the formation of marriage through premarital counseling and teaching that denotes the sacredness of marriage.
Theology of Women in Ministry
We support the right of women to use their God-given spiritual gifts within the church and affirms the historic right of women to be elected and appointed to places of leadership within the church, including the pastoral roles of both elder and deacon.
The purpose of Christ’s redemptive work is to set God’s creation free from the curse of the Fall. Those who are “in Christ” are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). In this redemptive community, no human being is to be regarded as inferior on the basis of social status, race, or gender (Galatians 3:26–28). Acknowledging the apparent paradox created by Paul’s instruction to Timothy (1 Timothy 2:11–12) and to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 14:33–34), we believe interpreting these passages as limiting the role of women in ministry presents serious conflicts with specific passages of scripture that commend female participation in spiritual leadership roles (Joel 2:28–29; Acts 2:17–18; 21:8–9; Romans 16:1, 3, 7; Philippians 4:2–3), and violates the spirit and practice of the Wesleyan-holiness tradition. Finally, it is incompatible with the character of God presented throughout Scripture, especially as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.
Abuse of the Unempowered
We abhor abuse of any person of any age or sex and call for increased public awareness through its publications and by providing appropriate educational information.
We affirm a policy that all those who act under the authority of the Church are prohibited from sexual misconduct and other forms of abuse of the unempowered. When placing people in positions of trust or authority, we will presume that past conduct is usually a reliable indicator of likely future behavior. We will withhold positions of authority from people who have previously used a position of trust or authority to engage in sexual misconduct or abuse of the unempowered, unless appropriate steps are taken to prevent future wrongful behavior. Expressions of remorse by a guilty person shall not be considered sufficient to overcome the presumption that future wrongful conduct is likely, unless the expressions of remorse are accompanied by an observable change of conduct for a sufficient length of time, to indicate that a repeat of the wrongful misconduct is unlikely.
Gender-Inclusive Language
We affirm and encourage the use of gender inclusive language in reference to persons. Publications and public language should strive to reflect this commitment to gender equality.
Affirmation and Declaration of Human Freedom
We embrace the divine call to a life of holiness, wholeness, and restorative living where all things and all peoples are reconciled to God. In response, the Holy Spirit brings freedom to the marginalized, oppressed, broken, and hurting, and justice to right injustices and cease selfish influence caused by sin, until all things are restored in God’s reign.

Consistent with our Wesleyan-holiness heritage and character, we confront the contemporary scourge of modern slavery, illegal or forced labor, and the trafficking of human beings and bodies.

And, in keeping with these affirmations, we resolve, along with our Global Church, we will:
  1. As a holiness people, in our pursuit of justice, recognize that we are called to repent of any injustices in our past, amend our present, and create a just future;
  2. Call to account those who oppress others;
  3. Engage in compassionate care for those caught up in illegal or forced labor, organ harvesting, and sex slavery (along with any other emerging oppression as yet unknown to us);
  4. Listen actively for and amplify the cries of the oppressed;
  5. Denounce injustices and work humbly against the causes of injustice;
  6. Act in solidarity with our sister and brother against whatever binds in order to move together toward freedom; and
  7. Come alongside those who are vulnerable through godly practices that bring redemption, restoration, healing, and freedom (1 John 3:8).

Built upon our Wesleyan-holiness Christian heritage and call to holiness, we make the following affirmations:
  1. We affirm that the pursuit of justice, reconciliation, and freedom is at the heart of God’s holiness being reflected in people. We commit ourselves and our ecclesial resources to working for the abolition of all forms of slavery, trafficking, and oppression, and to participate in intentional networks, conversations, and actions that provide hopeful alternatives.
  2. We affirm that churches should faithfully respond to the impulse of God’s holy love by working for God’s reign to be ever more visible. We are called to be faithful witnesses in thought, word, and deed, to the holy God who hears the cries of those who are oppressed, imprisoned, trafficked, and abused by economic, political, selfish, and evil systems and persons. God calls us to respond in humility with compassion and justice.
  3. We affirm that acting justly involves the compassionate care for those in our immediate surroundings and also being able to name injustice, and denounce the powers that cause it. Acting justly and loving mercy have often brought the people of God in conflict with the ruling powers and principalities of the day. God’s justice calls us beyond equal treatment, tolerance of one another’s differences, or simply reversing the role of oppressed and oppressor. By Jesus’ example, we are called to a justice whereby we are willing to give ourselves up for the sake of another.
  4. We affirm that Christian justice requires a deep commitment to both personal and corporate confession, repentance, and forgiveness as necessary steps.
  5. We affirm that we must advocate for just and hopeful practices in all areas of life. Reflecting the compassionate hope of Christ and love for all people, we identify with the conditions that bring dehumanizing circumstances. We will speak for those who are not heard, and come alongside the vulnerable by offering practices that bring redemption, restoration, healing, and freedom.
  6. We affirm that we are called to become a people who embody a hopeful alternative to oppression and injustice. We are called to reflect the holy God in holy lives, bringing justice in motive and practice to people, circumstances, systems, and nations. While we may not end all suffering, as the body of Christ we are compelled to bring the holiness of God in healing fashion to the redemptive enterprise of restoring all things.
  7. We affirm that as a collaborative network we must think deeply, work holistically, and engage locally and globally. Complex issues drive modern slavery; therefore, multiple solutions must be undertaken.

These will proceed from the fabric of who we are in Christian community naturally flowing into what we do.
We therefore pledge:
  1. To work separately and together, as individuals and institutions, consistent with our Wesleyan-holiness identity to serve with compassion and to prophetically challenge oppressive systems;
  2. To support, encourage, resource, plan, and engage together in effective, wise, sustainable action;
  3. To labor as a worshipping community, with Christ at the center, infused with the power of the Spirit as a movement of hope;
  4. To think deeply, pray with expectation, and act with courage.
For this we live and labor until God’s reign comes “on earth as it is in heaven.”
Creation and Creation Care
We believe in the biblical account of creation (“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”—Genesis 1:1). We are open to scientific explanations on the nature of creation while opposing any interpretation of the origin of the universe and of humankind that rejects God as the Creator.

With deep appreciation of God’s creation we believe we are to strive to exhibit the stewardship qualities that help preserve His work. Recognizing we have been given a stake in sustaining the integrity of our surroundings, we accept the individual and collective responsibilities of doing so.
Use of Social Media
First and foremost, the content that we share should be respectful. As in all interpersonal relationships, we believe that the content of our social media should also be a reflection of the sanctified hearts for which we strive. Clergy and laity alike must be mindful of how their activities on social media affect the image of Christ and His church and impact its mission within their communities. Our activities should be life giving and affirming and should seek to uplift all persons.

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