Presbyterians are “people of the Book.” We believe the Bible to be God’s Word. We study it, it forms the center of our worship, and we seek to live its teachings as we are led and guided by the Holy Spirit.
Presbyterians are distinguished by our custom of choosing elders (from the Greek word “presbuteros” in the New Testament) to lead and guide the church. This representative form of government was, to an extent, the pattern for our nation’s government.
Presbyterian doctrine is outlined in our Book of Confessions—a collection of faith statements dating from the third-century Apostles’ Creed. Presbyterian government is contained in our Book of Order.
Presbyterians trace our historical roots to Jesus Christ and the Apostles. John Calvin, “the father of Presbyterianism,” and much of his theology is at the heart of the Reformed theological tradition of which we are a part. Settlers in America during the American Revolution brought Presbyterianism with them from their native lands.
Presbyterians believe in a Triune God: one God in three Persons—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This God created us in love; redeemed us from sin and death in his Son, Jesus Christ; and sustains us daily through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. This God wants to be in relationship with each and every one of us.
Presbyterians recognize two sacraments: Baptism unites us with Christ and his church and through the power of the Holy Spirit washes us of our sins. The Lord’s Supper (or communion or the Eucharist) is spiritual food for our journey of faith. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ is present uniquely in this holy meal, as we gather at his table and thank God for his forgiveness and salvation.
Presbyterians emphasize “the priesthood of all believers.” This Reformed phrase means that all church members are “ministers,” so that they join the pastors in serving as the hands and feet of the Lord. Indeed, members and pastors serve together in the worship, life, and mission of the church—both SPC and the church universal.
Presbyterians are committed to “praying without ceasing”; reading, studying, and exploring God’s Word, the Bible; worshiping the Lord “in Spirit and in truth”; loving God and neighbor; working for justice and peace, and telling others “the old, old story of Jesus and his love.”
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