Beliefs

What Presbyterians Believe…

Presbyterians are distinctive in two major ways: they adhere to a pattern of religious thought known as Reformed theology and a form of government that stresses the shared leadership of both ministers and members. We have a vision of ministry that is vibrant and inviting and reflects the love and justice of Jesus Christ.

Evangelism and Witness – We are called to invite all people to faith, repentance and the abundant life of God in Jesus Christ, to encourage congregations in joyfully sharing the gospel, and through the power of the Holy Spirit to grow in membership and discipleship.

Justice and Compassion – We are called to address wrongs in every aspect of life and the whole of creation, intentionally working with and on behalf of poor, oppressed and disadvantaged people as did Jesus Christ, even at risk to our corporate and personal lives.

Spirituality and Discipleship– We are called to deeper discipleship through Scripture, worship, prayer, study, stewardship and service and to rely on the Holy Spirit to mold our lives more and more into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

Leadership and Vocation – We are called to lead by Jesus Christ’s example, to identify spiritual gifts and to equip and support Christians of all ages for faithful and effective servant leadership. With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or death can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ!

To explore the web site of PCUSA, go to www.pcusa.org.

  • Reformation Celebration!

    There is something wonderful for us to celebrate this month!  October 31st is the 500th anniversary of an event that many look to as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.  On that date—All Hallow’s Eve—in 1517, the German monk, priest, and theology professor nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the church door in Wittenburg, Germany, an event that sent the Church (the Roman Catholic Church) and much of Europe into decades of chaos.  It’s not clear if Luther actually nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the church door or if the paper was distributed amongst the university and others posted it on the door, but many scholars believe it was Luther.  
    These 95 theses were list of topics which Luther wished to engage in debate with others within the Church.  His meticulous study of scripture led him to believe that the church was mistaken in many of it’s practices, and Luther wished to challenge those teachings and reform the church from within.  As one might understand, the Church did not wish to undertake such reform at the time.  Those who followed the teachings of Luther became known at Protestants (because of their protests), and later formed into denominations such as as Lutherans, Anabaptists, and Presbyterians. 
    What came out of the Reformation (actually a number of reformations throughout Europe, rather than one solitary path) altered the history of the world.  Lutherans, Anabaptists, Presbyterians, and even the Anglican (Episcopal) church all were formed in the decades after 1517.  There are well over 500 million Protestant Christians in the world today, descendants in the faith from Martin Luther’s pivotal theological work.
    Luther’s work—along with others such as John Calvin and Huldrych Zwingli—led to many of the strong theological themes of Protestantism.  We are saved by grace alone, and not by our works.  We are both saint and sinner (simul justus et peccator, in the Latin), and the three-headed Latin theme: sola scriptura, sola fides, sola gratia (scripture alone, faith alone, grace alone)—those being the three claims upon which Christians base our faith in God.  Luther also preached an idea called the priesthood of all believers, meaning that we all can interact with God in ways that the Church thought were reserved only for priests.  Luther wanted everyone reading the Bible and thinking deeply about their faith in God, not just listening to a priest for all of the answers about faith.
    I invite each of you to join us at First Presbyterian Church on the evening of October 28th for movie night.  We will be watching the 2003 film Luther, starring Joseph Fiennes as Martin Luther.  This film tells a fairly accurate and very entertaining story of Martin Luther’s life and his role in the Protestant Reformation.  The film will show in Bruner Hall, at 6:30pm.  Join us!
    May the grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you all.
    Pastor Derek
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