Over the years, I have spent many years as a participant and observer in various churches – black and white, rich and poor, urban and suburban – sundry houses of worship spanning a wide range of ecclesial practices. During one period of intense seeking, I wandered from one church to the next. The Bible was my only constant factor as I moved from place to place, and it became my standard of Truth.
Ironically, the more churches I visited, the more I noticed inconsistencies in the way various pastors interpreted and applied the Word of God. I heard people quoting scripture out of context, without regard for the original circumstances or the underlying message for the original readers. I saw members of congregations being encouraged to live in the present based on literal prescriptions from thousands of years ago. I saw the Bible used as a weapon to condemn all as sinners in the hands of an angry God. Succinctly, I saw the message of God’s love being applied in hateful ways in some congregations.
At Rivertree Christian Chapel, we embrace the Word of God as Scripture and acknowledge the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to further the church’s redemptive work in the world. We encourage people to read the Bible and listen for the Word of God. Doing so promotes the position that “God is still speaking” through God’s holy Word.
Much wisdom is to be found in the Bible. We believe it is wise to heed the words and deeds of the prophets and apostles, thereby seeking discernment of standards for righteousness and justice. To that end, we use the Bible as a conceptual framework for present-day decision-making. Hence, for us, the Bible is the living word.