Real Life Otis has grown because God has added to our numbers (Acts 2:47). We have tried to glorify Christ in all we do. Our church has sought to be unified on salvation beliefs while permitting differing opinions on non-salvation beliefs. This Church has people with many different backgrounds, but we are a family. Jesus said that the world would know that we are His because we love one another and because we are one (John 13:35; John 17:21-22). Therefore, these Statements of Faith are our non-negotiable statements of belief.
The following doctrines are essential for salvation:
RLO (Real Life Otis) Doctrinal Statement: GOD
We believe God is self-existent, and by nature He is eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful, and everywhere. God has eternally existed in three persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are in agreement and unified with each other role in the Godhead. We believe these three are co-equal and are one God.
Supportive Scripture: Genesis 1:1, 26-27; 3:22; Deuteronomy 6:4; Job 38, 39, & 40; Psalm 90:2, 139:1-4, 7-10; Isaiah 40:13-17,45:18; Matthew 19:26, 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; I Peter 1:2 John 1:1, Colossians 1:15ff
RLO Doctrinal Statement: FATHER
We believe that God the Father holds all the attributes of God while exercising a unique role in the Godhead. He is the father of Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and yet still one with both as God. God the Father adopts believers in Jesus Christ into a relationship with Him as their Father (see Salvation).
Supportive Scripture: John 15:1-4; Deuteronomy 32:6; Isaiah 9:6, 63:16; John 20:17; Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 4:6.
RLO Doctrinal Statement: JESUS
We believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and He is God. He is coequal with the Father and Holy Spirit, present and participating in creation. Jesus took on human flesh in the fullness of time so that He could live a sinless life and offer Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on the cross. He was raised from the dead, after three days, victorious over the power of sin and death. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead and to make all things new.
Supportive Scripture: Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:22-23; John 1:1-5; 8:58; 14:10-30; Acts 1:9-11; Romans 1:3-4; I Corinthians 15:3-4; Colossians 1:15-23; I Timothy 6:14-15; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 4:14-15; Revelation 1:8.
RLO Doctrinal Statement: HOLY SPIRIT
We believe the Holy Spirit is coequal with the Father and the Son as God. He is present in the world to make all people aware of their sin and their need for Jesus Christ. His purpose in our time is to bring glory to Jesus and to intercede with God the Father on our behalf. He dwells in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He gives gifts to believers providing them with power to grow in Christlikeness, to understand spiritual truth, and to serve the mission of the church.
Supportive Scripture: Genesis 1:1-2; Psalm 51:10-12; John 14:16-17, 16:7-13, 17; Acts 1:8; Romans 5:5; I Corinthians 2:12; 3:16; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 1:13, 5:18; 2 Peter 1:19-21.
RLO Doctrinal Statement: SALVATION
We believe that all have sinned (willful disobedience to God). We believe that the wages of sin is death and eternal separation from God. Salvation is a free gift of God. Jesus Christ's death and his resurrection is the only sufficient payment for our sins. It's only by grace through faith that one can receive this free gift. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their life. This is evidenced by repentance, confession, baptism by immersion, and a life submitted to Christ. We believe a baby or a young child cannot understand sin or the need for Christ and are under God's grace until an age of accountability determined by God (2 Samuel 12:23; Matthew 18:2-3; 19:13-15).
Supportive Scripture: John 1:12, 14:6; Romans 5:1, 6:23; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Romans 10:9-13, Acts 2:38-40.
The following doctrines are essential for unity:
RLO Doctrinal Statement: MANKIND
People are made in the image of God, male and female He created them, to be in relationship with Him, to become like Him in character, and to bring Him glory. We believe we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Sin separates people from God, thus affecting all areas of life, resulting in suffering and hopelessness apart from Jesus Christ.
Supportive Scripture: Genesis 1:27; Genesis 3; Psalms 8:3-6; Isaiah 53:6; Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 3:23.
RLO Doctrinal Statement: BIBLE
We believe the Bible is God’s Word to us. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. Because it is inspired by God, the Bible is infallible, inerrant, and absolute truth. It is the ultimate and final authority for Christian beliefs and living.
Supportive Scripture: Psalms 12:6, 119:105, 160; Proverbs 30:5; 2 Timothy 1:13, 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21.
RLO Doctrinal Statement: THE CHURCH
We believe the church is the body and bride of Christ and also serves as the household of faith. It is a living temple where God dwells in each of His people. We believe that everyone that has been saved by Christ is a member of His church and called to be a connected and beneficial part of His body. We believe that the church is commanded to love God and others, thus relationship is the primary vehicle through which we share the gospel, and through which the church will grow to maturity. We believe that His church exists throughout the world, and is witnessed and experienced in local autonomous gatherings of believers that are overseen by Elders. We believe submission to God's authority and the authority of the appointed Elders in the local church is essential for unity and reveals our spiritual maturity.
Supportive Scripture: Ephesians 4:16; Romans 12:4-5; Ephesians 5:24-32; Galatians. 6:10; 1 Peter 2:4-5; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Acts 14:23; Matthew 16:16–18; Acts 2:42–47; Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:12–27; Ephesians 1:20–23; 4:3–10; Colossians 3:14–15 Romans 13, Hebrews 13.
RLO Doctrinal Statement: THE ELDERSHIP MODEL OF THE CHURCH
We believe Christ is the head of the church. We believe the local Church should be governed by a plurality of male elders (who have been appointed by existing Elders) to oversee the carrying out His will in the local assembly of believers.
We believe men who have aspired to a Pastoral role, and have been confirmed through character and gifting by our existing Eldership and Pastoral staff must go through a ordination process before they are publicly set aside and ordained as Pastors at Real Life Ministries. Ordained Pastors have both the authority and the expectation to perform sacerdotal functions and ministerial services such as Weddings, Funerals, Preaching/Teaching, Baptism, Communion, Shepherding, Disciple-making, Pastoral Counseling and other ministerial services as needed.
Supportive Scripture: Acts 14:23; 1 Timothy 5:17; Ephesians 5:23-25; 1 Peter 5:1-4. Acts 13:1-3, 20:26-31; 1 Timothy 3:1-7,4:14,5:17,22.
RLO Doctrinal Statement: BAPTISM
We believe baptism, by immersion, was both modeled and commanded by Christ. We believe baptism is only for those who believe in Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We believe one who has believed, confessed and repented should be baptized,in a timely act of obedience.
Supportive Scripture: Matthew 28:18-21,Acts 2:37-38,Acts 8:35-39,Romans 6:4,Colossians 2:12,1 Corinthians 12:13.
RLO Doctrinal Statement: COMMUNION
We believe celebrating communion was both modeled and commanded by Christ. We believe communion is a memorial, a proclamation, and representative of the new covenant in Christ Jesus as defined by Scripture: "For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ''This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me" (1 Corinthians 11:23-25 NIV).
It is a distinction of our church that we take communion every week. We do not believe you have to take communion every week; however, when you do partake in it, do so in a correct manner. (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:25-28) When we take it, we do so in a distinctive manner.
"Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup." (1 Corinthians 11:27-28)
We do this by self-examination.
Do I have any sins to confess? (1 John 1:9)
Do I have any relationships to repair? (Matthew 5:23-24)
Do I need to recommit my life? (Romans 12:1)
Who should take it?
Only those who believe should take communion.
We do not recommend young children, who do not understand salvation and relationship with Christ, take it.
Supportive Scripture: Matthew 26:26-28; Acts 2:42-47; 1 Corinthians 11:23-30, 10:16; 1 Peter 2:24; Ephesians 1:7.
RLO Doctrinal Statement: PRIESTHOOD OF EVERY BELIEVER
We believe we have been given direct access to God through Jesus Christ, the great high priest. We believe it is God's design for every believer to play a role in the priesthood, living out the ministry and mission of His Church.
Supportive Scriptures: Ephesians 4:11-13; Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-30; 1 Peter 2:5,9; 1 Peter 4: 10-11; Hebrews 4; Hebrews 10.
RLO Doctrinal Statement: SPIRITUAL GIFTS
We believe there are a variety of gifts, given by the Holy Spirit, to be used to serve and build up the body of Christ and bring glory to God. We believe God has designed the local church like a physical body, consisting of many members, with Jesus Christ as the head. We believe we are interdependent on each other and all believers must be the part God has designed and gifted them to be, if not, the body suffers.
Some in our church believe all the 'extraordinary' spiritual gifts are for today, others believe some of these gifts are for today, while others believe none of these gifts are for today. We believe you can hold any of the views below and still be a Christian.
The non-negotiable regarding the 'extraordinary' spiritual gifts:
• You can believe some of the gifts are for today, and be wrong, and still be a Christian.
• You can believe that all of the gifts are for today, and be wrong, and still be a Christian.
• You can believe that none of the gifts are for today, and be wrong, and still be a Christian.
• For those who believe that the gifts are present today: Remember, the Spirit of God does not work contrary to the Word of God.
At Real Life, it is okay to believe differently on this issue, but we will act in this way:
• Because this is a non-salvation area of contention between believers, we will not have a place in our church where the gift of tongues is encouraged.
• We will not allow the discussion of a non-salvation issue to destroy the Lord's work.
• We do believe God performs miracles and answers our prayer, and, through the work of the Holy Spirit, empowers us to serve Him and do good works.
For churches where the gift of tongues and prophecy are used, there are rules for their use:
1. If someone speaks in a tongue, it will be one at time. (1 Corinthians 14:27, 33, 40)
2. There must be an interpreter. (1Corinthians 14:28)
3. There must be one who discerns whether it comes from God. (1 John 4:1)
4. If it is a prayer language, there is a place to pray. (Matthew 6:6)
5. All the gifts must be used to edify the church, not the individual. (1 Corinthians 14:4-5, 26)
6. No one has all the gifts, but the church is to be a body. (1 Corinthians 12:27-30)
7. For those who believe prophecy is a gift active today, then the rules of a prophet apply. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)
Supportive Scripture: Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4:1-16; 1 Peter 4:7-11.
RLO Doctrinal Statement: STEWARDSHIP & GENEROSITY
We believe our whole lives; our time, talents and treasures are to be given obediently and generously in response to God's grace, mercy and love for us. We believe that giving 10% of our income is defined as a "tithe", the Biblical starting point of giving to the local church (the storehouse). We believe that any giving over 10% is an "offering" of gratitude for the great things God does for us daily and can be directed at the givers discretion to any worthwhile ministry, church or organization. We believe that generosity and stewardship are essential to maturity and the accomplishment of Christ's mission.
Supportive Scripture: Leviticus 27:30; Malachi 3:7-12; Acts 4:32-5:11; 2 Corinthians 8:1-9:15; 2Corinthians 9:6-15; Mark 12:43; 2 Samuel 24:24; Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42.
RLO Doctrinal Statement: MARRIAGE, GENDER and SEXUALITY
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God (Gen. 1:26-27). Rejection of one's biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.
We believe that the term "marriage" has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture (Gen. 2:18-25, Matthew 19:4-6). We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other (1 Cor. 6:18; 7:2-5; Heb. 13:4). We believe that God has commanded that no sexual activity, of any kind, be engaged in outside of marriage.
We acknowledge that there are some individuals that do not have a physical attraction towards the opposite sex, or who do not wish to marry. We believe these brothers and sisters are wholeheartedly supported and encouraged to remain voluntarily celibate as delineated in Scripture. (Matthew 19:10- 12, 1 Corinthians 7:1-8, 32-38, Isaiah 56:3-5)
We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God (Matt. 15:18-20; 1 Cor. 6:9-10). Therefore, known or suspected habitual and unrepentant practice of these sexual sins will be reason for denial of membership and/or a revocation of membership and/or employment at Real Life Otis, together with the benefits that accrue therefrom.
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ (Acts 3:19-21; Rom. 10:9-10; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).
We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect and dignity (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31). Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of Real Life Otis.
We believe that neither the federal government, the state, nor the church, nor any other individual possess the authority or jurisdiction to set or alter Scripture's definition of marriage. Therefore, unions or partnerships that do not conform to the Biblical definition of marriage are not acknowledged by Real Life Otis as marriage.
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of Real Life Otis as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a Biblical role model to Real Life Otis members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by Real Life Otis in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by Real Life Otis Doctrinal Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality
Supportive Scripture: Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 2:18-25; 1 Corinthians 6:18, 7:2-5; Hebrews 13:4; Matthew 15:18-20, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:22; Acts 3:19-21; Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31.
RLO Doctrinal Statement: SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE
We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God, in His image (Genesis 1:26-28). We believe human life is of immeasurable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. Therefore, we believe that we are called to teach about the value of all human life. (Psalm 139)
Supportive Scripture: Genesis 1:26-28 ; Psalm 139.
RLO Doctrinal Statement: ETERNITY
We believe people were created to live forever. People will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or exist eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is eternal death in Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life in Heaven. We believe that Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence. We believe that as we walk out our faith we can have assurance of eternal life with God.
Supportive Scripture: John 3:16, 14:17; Romans 6:23; Romans 6:23, 8:17-18; 1 Corinthians 2:7-9; Revelation 20:15.
RLO Doctrinal Statement: ETERNAL SECURITY
We believe a person is saved by grace through faith, and faith is evidenced by action and fruit in a person's life. We believe faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior is eternal security. Below we address the most predominate views of this doctrine:
Some who have an Arminian background believe:
• Salvation can be gained and lost (rejected).
• The way you can tell a person is a Christian is by their fruit (growth).
• Arminians do not believe a bad decision means you lose your salvation.
• Scripture references: Luke 15; Romans 11:22-23; Hebrews 6:4-7; 2 Peter 2:20
Some have a Calvinistic background believe:
• Salvation cannot be lost.
• If a person is not showing fruit and growth, they were never saved to begin with.
• Calvinists do not believe you can do whatever you want and be a Christian.
• Scripture references: John 10:28; Romans 8:29-30; 1 John 2:9
NOTE: Both views believe a person is saved by grace through Christ, and this is reflected in a life that is bearing fruit of the Spirit. In our church, we encourage everyone to grow in Christ. We believe you can hold either view about this issue and still be a Christian.
Supportive Scripture: Luke 8:13&14, John 10:27&28, Ephesians 2:8-10, James 2:14, Romans 1:5.
RLO Doctrinal Statement: THE END TIMES (The Return of Christ)
We believe there will be a literal return of Christ and a judgment day. We also believe there will be a literal rapture (a catching up of the saints). As to the day and the hour, only God the Father knows.
Supportive Scripture: Matthew 12:36; Matthew 24:36; John 5:22, 16:8; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1Thessalonians 4:16-17; 2 Peter 3:7; Jude 6.
RLO Doctrinal Statement: RELATIONSHIPS
We believe that God created us for relationship-relationship with God and with one another. We emphasize the greatest commandments, which are to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength and to love others as ourselves. It is by our primary relationship with God, through Jesus, with the Holy Spirit working in us, that love and all Godly fruit is possible. It is by our love for one another as Christians that people will know we are true disciples of Jesus Christ. We bring glory to God by living our lives in authentic, life changing relationship with Him and with one another.
Supportive Scripture: 13:34-35; 1 Corinthians 13; 1 John 1:5-7. Genesis 1-2; Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:34-40; John
RLO Doctrinal Statement: ORDINATION
Ordination through Real Life Otis is reserved for men who serve as paid full-time staff for the church. It is overseen and bestowed by the laying on of hands by the Elders. Men who have been identified to serve in pastoral positions in a supported staff role are required to complete ordination. Regular participation and leadership in the following sacerdotal duties are required to maintain ordination: Weddings, Funerals, Preaching/Teaching, Baptism, Communion, and Pastoral Counseling.
Real Life Otis ordains men for ministry under the oversight of our Eldership. If a pastor disqualifies himself, his ordination will be removed. If a pastor moves to another Church ministry outside the oversight of Real Life Otis Elders, we will recommend that their ordination continues under the leadership of that Church, and that they should reissue his certificate of ordination. In certain cases where a para-Church ministry is involved ordination will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Supportive Scripture: Acts 13:1-3, 20:26-31; 1 Timothy 3:1-7, 4:14, 5:17, 5:22.