What we believe
What is a Presbyterian and What do Presbyterians believe?
A little about the denomination:
Presbyterians are a group of Protestants whose church is founded on the concept of democratic rule under the Word of God. The Presbyterian denomination is a form of Christianity democratically organized to embrace the faith common to all Christians.
All that is required to be Presbyterian is to: confess the Christian faith; trust in Jesus Christ as our forgiving Savior; promise to follow Jesus and his example for living; and, commit oneself to attend church and to become involved in its work and mission.
The Presbyterian Church, like all Christian churches, traces its roots back to the early church in Jerusalem. John Calvin, called the father of Presbyterianism, converted to Protestantism in 1533. He interpreted the Bible as the revelation of God, emphasizing theology, worship, education, thrift, ethical behavior and representative government for his followers.
The first presbytery in America was established in Philadelphia in 1706. During the 1800s, disagreement over slavery and evangelism broke the church into northern and southern branches. The two branches reunited in 1983 to form the Presbyterian Church (USA).
What we believe:
*The good news of the Gospel is that the Triune God creates, redeems, sustains, rules and transforms all things and all people. The mission of God in Christ gives shape and substance to the life and work of the church. In Christ, the church participates in God’s mission for the transformation of creation and humanity by proclaiming to all people the good news of God’s love, offering to all people the grace of God at font and table and calling all people to discipleship in Christ. We have no higher goal in life than to glorify and enjoy God now and forever, living in covenant fellowship with God and participating in God’s mission. (Book of Order F-1.01)
The mystery of the Triune God: We affirm that there is only one living and true God, whom alone we worship and serve. We believe in the trinity, that there is one God who has eternally existed in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, who are the same in substance, equal in power and glory. Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer.
The incarnation of the eternal Word of God on earth is Jesus Christ: We affirm that Jesus Christ is truly divine and truly human. Jesus lived a sinless life of perfect righteousness and obedience to God, teaching, performing miracles, ministering as a servant and declaring that the kingdom of God is at hand. Jesus willingly sacrificed himself, dying on the cross, as our substitute and thereby making atonement for our sin. Jesus’ physical body was resurrected from the dead and Jesus ascended into heaven. He will come again to earth and will judge all of humanity, the living and the dead.
The Holy Spirit: We affirm the presence of God in the world and in the believer. The Holy Spirit is always at work and the power of the Holy Spirit cannot be thwarted.
The Bible: We affirm that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, the inspired record of the revelation of God to all. Presbyterians have always believed that the Bible is the most authoritative source of faith and practice for all people. Matthew 4:4, 2 Timothy 3:15-17, Luke 24:44-45
Salvation by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone: We affirm that in the gospel, God declares His love for the world and reveals fully and clearly the only way of salvation. He promises eternal life to all who truly repent and believe in Christ. He invites and commands all to embrace the offered mercy. Justification does not come through any of our works. We cannot by our best works merit pardon for sin or eternal life. Even our best works in this life are imperfect and defiled with sin. Galatians 2:16, John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9.
Humanity: We affirm that God created humanity, male and female, in his own image and likeness, in true righteousness and holiness, so that humans might rightly know God their Creator, love him and live with him in eternal blessedness. Genesis 1:26-27; Romans 5:18-19.
The Church: We affirm that the church is the temple of the living God and the body of Christ. The true church is distinguished by three marks: the true preaching of the Word of God, the right administration of the sacraments of Christ, and church discipline uprightly administered as God’s Word prescribed. The great ends of the church are: (1) the proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind, (2) the shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God, (3) the maintenance of divine worship, (4) the preservation of the truth, (5) the promotion of social righteousness, and, (6) the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world. Christ has commissioned his Church to go into all the world and to make disciples of all nations. Matthew 28:19
The Sacraments: We affirm that sacraments are holy signs (sacred acts) and seals of the covenant of grace immediately instituted by God to represent Christ and his benefits. The sacraments of the New Testament are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Baptism: Baptism is the sacrament that unites us with Jesus Christ and makes us members of God’s family, the Church. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, baptism: initiates us into the church, assures us that God forgives our sins, bestows the promise of God’s grace upon us, and calls us to a life of Christian service and fulfillment. Because at baptism we receive the promise of God’s love, this promise enables us to find new life in Christ. The sacrament of baptism is given only once to a person, but it is a source of strength throughout life, such is the power of God’s love! No matter at what age you are baptized, baptism celebrates the start of new life with Christ.
The Lord’s Supper: The Lord’s Supper was instituted by our Lord Jesus on the night on which he was betrayed. The sacrament of his body and blood is to be observed as a remembrance of the sacrifice of himself in his death. The bread and cup represent the sacrificial body and blood of Christ and recall that last meal Jesus shared with the apostles. Together they symbolize the new covenant between God and all people. United Presbyterian celebrates communion once a month, usually on the first Sunday of each month and at special times such as Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Christmas Eve.
Prayer: We affirm the power of prayer! Prayer is the dialogue between God and God’s people. Prayer is a spiritual exercise that draws us closer to God. It is the fellowship of our minds and our hearts with God’s purpose. Prayer is our response to God and the way God works in our lives. The people of God pray to glorify God, to feel God’s presence, for comfort in time of need, and to experience God’s forgiveness. We share prayers in our worship services, encourage disciples to pray without ceasing and we offer special prayer opportunity on Tuesday evenings in our sanctuary at 7:00 p.m.
*Come and grow with us as we strive to faithfully serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!