About Our Denomination
Presbuteros, the Greek word meaning elder, is used 72 times in the New Testament. In apostolic times leaders were chosen from among the wisest members of the church. It provided the name for the Presbyterian family of churches, which includes the Reformed churches of the world. Both Presbyterian and Reformed are synonymous with churches of the Calvinist tradition.
The Ten Essential Beliefs of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
From the Church catholic (universal)
1. Trinity - We believe in one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer).
2. Incarnation - The eternal Word of God became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is fully divine and fully human.
From the Protestant Reformation
3. Justification - Salvation is by grace alone through faith, not through our good works.
4. Scripture - The Bible is the sole and final authority for salvation and the life of faith.
From the Reformed Tradition
5. Sovereignty of God - The Lord creates, sustains, rules and redeems the world in sovereign righteousness and love, reflecting God's majesty, holiness, and providence.
6. Election - God chooses people for salvation and service. Election is through grace alone, not because of our merit or good works.
7. Covenant - God's covenant of grace is revealed in both the Old and the New Testaments (one covenant in the whole Bible). The Sacraments are related to the theme of covenant.
- Baptism is God's act of bringing us, whether as infants or adults, into the covenant community.
- The Lord's Supper reminds us of God's covenant of grace through Christ's broken body and shed blood. The real, spiritual presence of Christ is felt to a greater degree when this sacrament is celebrated.
8. Stewardship - In gratitude for salvation through God's grace, we respond by living simply and by being good stewards of all that God has given us. We seek to be faithful steward's of God's creation by shunning ostentation and using God's gifts properly.
9. Sin - We take seriously the fact of sin in our lives and in our world, especially:
- The sin of idolatry, which is worshiping anything or anyone other than God
- The sin of tyranny, which denies the Lordship of Christ over all of life.
10. Obedience - We are called to live in obedience to Jesus Christ. In obedience to Christ, we work for justice and peace in the transformation of society.
The Reformed Tradition today
The Presbyterian Church in America has many sister churches and denominations around the world.
Together we form the living hope of the Reformed Tradition. This tradition finds its roots in the sixteenth century and is mostly identified with John Calvin as its' founder. Hence, we are Protestants from the beginning of the Reformation who believe in the Word preached and the Sacraments rightly administered.
Hallmarks of our tradition include:
- "sola scriptura" which means our order of the church is found only in the Bible;
- we are "reformata, semper reformandum" which means we are called by God to live as the church of the people who are always seeking to be closer to Christ.