Only one belief is required for membership in the Presbyterian Church: “faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and acceptance of His Lordship in all of life.” (Book of Order, G - 5.0101a) .
Our tradition cherishes several tenets of faith but does not prescribe that all must believe them in order to be part of the church.
God is Sovereign. God is in ultimate control of creation. He created the universe and continuously sustains it. God is not accountable to human standards, but rather we are accountable to his. God in his sovereignty freely loves us but also righteously judges us.
God is Triune. God is one God who is manifested in three personalities: God the Father , God the Son (Jesus), and God the Spirit . Each is equally God, but each is distinct and different.
Human Sinfulness. In contrast to God’s perfection and holiness, humanity is sinful in both nature and conscious action. We are made in God’ s image, and its remnant within us prompts us to seek beyond our selves; but w e inherited a sin nature from the spiritual fall of Adam and Eve . T his nature infects our thoughts and motives and causes us to act contrary to God’s perfect will . Sin breaks t he relationship between God and humanity and places humanity into a state of alienation from God, His love, and His laws.
Jesus Christ: The Only Means of Salvation. Out of God’s love and desire to be reconciled to humanity, God provided a single means of salvation in the historic person Jesus Christ. As God in human form, Jesus Christ reveals the true nature of God and His ways. The sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross atoned for the sinfulness of humanity. This salvation becomes effectual for a person when he or she receives Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Salvation by Grace through Faith. Salvation is deliverance from the ruin of sin and empowerment for true life. We cannot achieve salvation for ourselves by any effort or virtue; it is the free gift of God, achieved for us by Jesus Christ. We gain access to this grace through personal faith, which is a life-changing trust in God’s grace toward us.
The Transformed Life. When we are “born again” through faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit enters our lives and begins to change our attitudes, habits, and desires. We begin to obey God’s will not out of guilt but out of genuine desire. We do not gain complete freedom from our sin nature in this life; however, sincere love begins to become possible for us. Still, good works are the byproduct of a saved life, not a means to salvation.
The Bible: The Rule of Faith and Life. The 66 books of the Bible are authoritative and infallible in all they seek to teach . Inspired by the Holy Spirit and written by humans, the Bible is the ultimate guidebook for Christians. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to live under the Bible’s authority
The Church. Presbyterians believe that Christ’s Church is comprised of all true followers of Jesus Christ past, present, and future, regardless of denomination. The Church ’s purpose is to advance God’s kingdom on earth by preaching the gospel of salvation, nurturing Christ-like character, modeling Christian community, worshiping God, preserving the truth, caring for the needy, and promoting social justice and peace.
Social Responsibility. We seek to extend God’s kingdom into t he world by sharing the hope of salvation, working on behalf of the poor and needy, and by working for justice in society.
The Sacraments. Presbyterians recognize two sacraments instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ: baptism and communion. In baptism we affirm God’s covenant with humanity and profess our faith as believers. In communion we remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and enjoy his special presence .
The Second Coming of Christ. We affirm Christ’s return as promised in the Scriptures. At his coming Christ will win victory over all sources of evil. He will judge all people. The unfaithful will be excluded from his realm, but the faithful will be joyously welcomed, healed , and rewarded. No one knows the time of the Lord’s return.
The Eternal Hope. Our greatest hope is that we will spend eternity with God in the perfect happiness of his kingdom . We will enjoy fullness of life and love not only with God but also with each other and the rest of creation.
Adapted from First Presbyterian Church of Greenville, North Carolina.
Parkminster’s Stance on Two Current Issues: We uphold the sanctity of human life and the importance of life-long fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman.