So what do Presbyterians believe?
The central affirmation of Presbyterians is belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The only requirement for membership is affirming this belief. We also believe the following:
We believe that God, while in three persons, is one. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are of the same substance, continually unified in perfect community. We believe that this Trinitarian God creates, redeems and sustains us.
Unique among Presbyterian belief is an emphasis on the sovereignty of God. That means we believe God is more powerful than anything– and is the creative source of all things. There is absolutely nothing that happens in the universe that is outside of God’s influence and authority.
Presbyterians believe God loved humankind enough to come to earth in the person of Jesus — fully human and fully divine. Jesus was born, lived an exemplary life, died and rose from the dead for us and for our salvation.
The Holy Spirit
We believe that God sent us an advocate in Christ’s name, the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the world and leads us in joyous discipleship. The Holy Spirit is the presence of God in the world and in the believer.
The Human Condition
We believe that God created the world good. Humans, as God’s created children, are intended to worship the one true God who is the source of all things, but (by our own choice) we turn to idols of our own creation. This is sin. In following our own will, rather than that of God, we not only move out of right relationship with God, but also diminish our relationships with one another. Our choices leave us and our relationships broken and in need of healing.
God grants the gift of grace (unmerited favor), which enables us to gain the faith necessary for salvation. We are saved by grace rather than by good deeds, correct beliefs, or human ceremonies. It is not possible to earn salvation–it can only be accepted with thanksgiving and joy.
Presbyterians believe that God speaks to us through biblical scripture, the authoritative word of God. Scripture points us toward God’s living Word, Jesus Christ. We believe that all scripture is inspired by God.
Worship and Sacraments
Presbyterians worship joyfully each Sunday, or Lord’s Day, and on special occasions. Services focus on God:
- Coming before our Lord with praises and confession;
- Hearing the word of God both read and proclaimed (or preached);
- Responding to the word with song, prayer and offerings;
- And carrying the word of God out into the world.
We recognize two sacraments: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Both were instituted by God and commanded by Jesus during his time on earth. Both are outward, visible signs of God’s inward, invisible grace. The Lord’s Supper (communion) is shared on the first Sunday of each month, and at other designated occasions.
The Seal of the Presbyterian Church (USA) contains the following symbolic components:
- The cross,
- The Bible,
- The descending dove (symbolizing God’s Holy Spirit),
- The pulpit,
- Flames in a triangular configuration (symbolizing the Spirit’s power and the Trinity),
- A fish (an early symbol of the Christian church),
- And a baptismal font or a communion chalice.
For more information about Presbyterianism, see the Presbyterian Church (USA) http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/101/theology
Grace welcomes all people
No matter who you are where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here!