God gave us a thinking mind as a gift so that we might understand and be thoughtful about who He is, what He has done for us, and the life He calls us all to live. As a church made up of thinking individuals, we may have differences of opinion on one matter or another, but we all agree on the major tenants of the Christian faith as understood from a Reformed and Presbyterian perspective.
As members of the Presbyterian Church in the USA (PCUSA), we adhere to several historic, reformed creeds, such as the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed, among others; which we use as guides to the proper interpretation of the teachings of the Scriptures. These creeds, being man-made, and therefore not infallible, do not carry the authority of the Scriptures, but are reliable guides to them.
As Christians, we adhere to the basic teachings of the Scriptures as we understand them, with the help of the illumination of the Spirit of God. In our life of faith, and in our preaching and teaching, we emphasize five important historic, Reformed beliefs.
Sovereignty of God’s Grace. God and His grace reign supreme over the affairs of broken humanity living in a broken world. In such a spiritual state we are incapable of a saving relationship with God by our own efforts. Yet in His grace He reaches out to us, draws us, creates a saving faith within us and enables us to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and confess Him as Lord. Once we are so called by God, His grace is irresistible; God will never give up on us and will continually work in our lives to keep us in the faith. We have been saved by grace, through faith; and this is not of our own doing. It is the gift of God, lest anyone should boast.
Lordship of Jesus Christ. The Risen Christ is Lord of the church and has provided the means of salvation through faith in Him, as He has died for the forgiveness of our sins, and has been raised from the dead for our salvation. Jesus is alive, and through faith in Him we will also share in a new life, both in this world and in the world to come. There is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved. We await the return of the Risen Jesus at the end of the age, when death will be done away with and God will redeem all of creation, establishing a new heaven and a new earth.
Authority of the Bible. The Bible is God’s Written Word, and is the only infallible rule for our faith and practice. The books of Old and New Testaments, as written in the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, do not err in what they teach, and are reliable witnesses to guide us properly in the Christian faith and life. The Bible is God-breathed and is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness, that the person of God might be complete, equipped for every good work. Each passage of scripture is interpreted righty only when read in the context of the rest of scripture, and under the illuminating guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Importance of the Sacraments. We believe in two Sacraments; Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (also called Communion or the Eucharist). In Baptism, God begins the process of creating faith in the recipient, as He claims us as his own, and works within us to one day be able to confess Jesus as Lord. This is true for infants as well as adults. In Reformed tradition, this rite is usually performed by means of sprinkling, but we also accept any mode of Christian baptism, including immersion, as being a valid Christian experience. In The Lord’s Supper, as we partake of the elements of broken bread and poured wine in faith, we enjoy the presence of the Risen Lord, as we commune with all believers of all ages; to be reminded of what Jesus has done for us, to be strengthened in our faith, and to foreshadow God’s great banquet for all the redeemed at the end of the age when Jesus returns.
Salvation for Anyone. In God’s eyes, through the work of Jesus Christ, all are worthy to receive the salvation of God through Christ Jesus when they confess Jesus as Lord. God loves every person that He has made just the same, whether in the world’s eyes they are considered saint or sinner. All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God, so all are in need of this salvation. No matter whom we are or what we have done in this life, God and His grace stand in readiness to embrace us and make us fit for the Kingdom of God. God shows His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Any qualification, or any conditions that is placed on God’s grace to obtain membership in the Christian church, is a scandal to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.