WHAT WE BELIEVE
How We Understand Ourselves and Our Purpose
The historic beliefs of the Presbyterian Church are detailed and lengthy. What follows is from the Book Of Order, the constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It’s wordy…but answers the question as to what we believe and how we live out our beliefs.
The Church is called to be a sign in and for the world of the new reality which God has made available to people in Jesus Christ. The new reality revealed in Jesus Christ is the new humanity, a new creation, a new beginning for human life in the world:
- Sin is forgiven.
- Reconciliation is accomplished.
- The dividing walls of hostility are torn down.
The Church is the body of Christ, both in its corporate life and in the lives of its individual members, and is called to give shape and substance to this truth. The Church is called to tell the good news of salvation by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, proclaiming in Word and Sacrament that
- The new age has dawned.
- God who creates life, frees those in bondage, forgives sin, reconciles brokenness, makes all things new, is still at work in the world.
The Church is called to be Christ’s faithful evangelist
- going into the world, making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all he has commanded;
- demonstrating by the love of its members for one another and by the quality of its common life the new reality in Christ; sharing in worship, fellowship, and nurture, practicing a deepened life of prayer and service under the guidance of the Holy Spirit;
- participating in God’s activity in the world through its life for others by
- healing and reconciling and binding up wounds,
- ministering to the needs of the poor, the sick, the lonely, and the powerless,
- engaging in the struggle to free people from sin, fear, oppression, hunger, and injustice,
- giving itself and its substance to the service of those who suffer,
- sharing with Christ in the establishing of his just, peaceable, and loving rule in the world.
The Church is called to undertake this mission even at the risk of losing its life, trusting in God alone as the author and giver of life, sharing the gospel, and doing those deeds in the world that point beyond themselves to the new reality in Christ.