Our Beliefs

Our Beliefs2018-02-26T10:41:29-06:00

We hold

to the absolute authority and sufficiency of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inerrant Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice, which centers on the Word of God become flesh – Jesus Christ.

We embrace

the teachings of historic, orthodox Christianity: the Trinity, the deity and humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ, his substitutionary death on the cross and bodily resurrection, the doctrines of free and sovereign grace, and salvation by grace alone through faith alone, just to name a few.  God, through His Son, has redeemed fallen humanity and demonstrates His glorious and merciful character.

We believe

that an accurate and comprehensive summary of the teaching of the Bible is to be found in the Westminster Confession of Faith .

The Word preached

should boldly speak of our sin and depravity, followed by the grace of God and our utter dependence upon that grace.  In other words, our guilt, His grace and our gratitude.  We believe that through the proclamation of the good news of the gospel, the Holy Spirit renews our faith, and fills us with gratitude and reverence so that we do those good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.  In addition, the sacraments of baptism and communion are administered as ordained by our Lord to increase our faith and confirm God’s covenant promises.  To understand this faith, to internalize it, and to work it out into our daily activity, so that we can pass it down to our children, outweighs every other interest – including the numerical success of the church.

The Scriptures teach

us that God seeks those who worship him in Spirit and in truth.  Accordingly, we are called to worship God in an orderly manner, “with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”  We therefore use historic Reformed worship as our guide.

The Biblical pattern

for ministry demands “checks and balances” and a structure of accountability higher than ourselves, therefore, we belong to the Presbyterian Church in America.  Creeds, confessions, catechisms and a historic liturgy link us to other believers not only in this time and place, but across time, geographical boundaries and cultures.

Covenant theology

as interpreted by the historic Reformed tradition, provides us with a solid theological basis from which to discuss marriage, family, children and other personal relationships within the church.

Making disciples

by growing in our own understanding of the faith, and sharing that faith is a Scriptural mandate.  We must not only be prepared to give to everyone an answer for the hope that we have, but we must be zealous to see that our non-Christian friends, families and neighbors hear the message of Christ crucified with the prayerful and confident expectation that God will be pleased to call many to faith in His Dear Son through the ministry of our congregation.

The Lord’s day

is set apart for sacred purposes and is therefore God’s gift to us for the building of our families in the faith.  The acceptable way of worshiping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.

A confessional church

We adhere to a written confession of faith that we believe to be a good and accurate summary of the Bible’s teaching. Our confessional standards consist of the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms. We believe these standards contain carefully worded summaries of the contents of sacred Scripture. To be sure, acceptance of every confessional distinctive is not required for membership at Christ Presbyterian. One may be a participating member by affirming the evangelical distinctive that salvation is accomplished by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone.  Nevertheless, the officers of Christ Presbyterian must adhere to the system of doctrine taught by the Westminster standards. The confessions adopt a theology that may be defined as catholic (universal), evangelical, and reformed.

  • It is “catholic” (universal) in that it reaffirms the doctrines of historic Christian orthodoxy such as those defined by the Apostles’ Creed and the great ecumenical councils of the first millennium of Christian history such as the Councils of Nicea, Chalcedon, Constantinople, and others. These catholic doctrines include such affirmations as the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the atonement of Christ, and other doctrines that are integral to historic Christianity.
  • It is “evangelical” in that it affirms with historic Protestantism such vital doctrines as Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide. Sola Scriptura refers to the article that the Bible, as the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God, is the sole written revelation that rules the faith and practice of the Christian community and alone can bind the conscience. Sola Fide refers to the doctrine of justification by faith alone whereby the believer is justified before God by the free grace of God by which He imputes the righteousness of Christ to the believer. The sole ground of our justification is the merit of Jesus, which is imputed to all who put their trust in Him. Though good works flow necessarily and immediately from all justified persons, these works are not the meritorious grounds of our justification.
  • It is “reformed” in that the distinctive doctrines of the magisterial Reformers such as Luther, Calvin and Knox are also embraced in a way that distinguishes the Reformed tradition from other Protestant bodies.  Reformed theology places great emphasis on the doctrine of God, which doctrine is central to the whole of its theology.  In a word, Reformed theology is God-centered.  The structure of the biblical Covenant of Grace is the framework for this theology.  The concept of God’s grace supplies the core of this theology.

Covenantal theology

As Scripture indicates, God interacts with His people by means of covenant.  A covenant is simply a legal agreement, or a binding contract, between two parties.  Each party agrees to take upon him or herself the obligations of the covenant based upon the terms of the covenant. When God makes a covenant, He is the One Who delineates the terms since, after all, He is God.  The Westminster Confession (7.1) states,

The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto Him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of Him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which He has been pleased to express by way of covenant.

God established the first covenant, the Covenant of Works, with Adam (Gen. 2:4-25). When Adam broke the covenant and fell out of fellowship with God, God promised to Adam a New Covenant—a covenant not based upon our own works but upon the work of another.  The Old Testament is a continued unveiling of God’s character through covenants which express more fully God’s righteous requirements, but also foreshadow and prophecy the coming Messiah.  As one reads the pages of the Old Testament, one comes to the realization again and again that God keeps His covenant promises, while His people do not.  The New Testament is the record of God’s fulfillment of His promise given in Genesis—to provide a New Covenant for His people that is not based upon our own works but upon the work of a savior.

Jesus Christ is this Savior. He is the ultimate revelation of God’s character because He is God Himself; and, thus, He perfectly fulfills the requirements of the Old Covenant, the Covenant of Works.  To put it another way, God keeps His promises made to His people by means of Himself.  The work of Christ Jesus satisfied the justice of God and ushered in the New Covenant, the covenant in which God’s grace is poured out upon sinners who could not keep the Covenant of Works.  Rather than His people standing condemned, God has saved His people unto Himself by the finished work of Jesus Christ.  The New Covenant is based upon faith in the work of Christ rather than our own meritorious works.

Sacraments

are holy ordinances instituted by Christ Jesus which function as signs and seals of the New Covenant, and, thus, they are given for the benefit of God’s people. They signify spiritual realities while also confirming participation in what they represent. The Westminster Confession states that the sacraments exist “to put a visible difference between those that belong unto the Church and the rest of the world; and solemnly to engage them to the service of God in Christ, according to His Word.”

There are two sacraments in Scripture: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  Baptism is a rite of initiation which replaces circumcision (Col. 2:11-12), a sign of the Old Covenant with Israel, as the unique mark placed upon God’s people and their children (Acts 2:39).  Baptism is a sign and seal of the New Covenant given in Christ Jesus and also of entrance into the visible church.  The Lord’s Supper, on the other hand, is a rite of fellowship.  The Jewish Passover, as an Old Covenant meal, corresponds to the Lord’s Supper, as is made clear in the Gospel accounts of its institution (Matt. 26; Mark 14; Luke 22).  Bread and wine represent the body and blood of Jesus.  Worthy receivers of this meal are those who profess faith in Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 11:26-30).  By faith in Christ alone, believers spiritually feed on Christ, show forth His death, and receive nourishment as they partake of the elements (John 6:35, 53; 1 Cor. 11:26).