But, Who Are We?
I am first a Christian, next a catholic, then a Calvinist,
fourth a paedobaptist, and fifth a Presbyterian.
I cannot reverse this order.
~John Duncan (1796-1870)
WE ARE CHRISTIAN
We believe in and confess Jesus Christ,
Savior and Lord, the only Redeemer of God's people,
as he is freely offered in the Gospel.
What is the Gospel?
The Gospel is the good news of God loving and saving lost humankind through the ministry in word and deed of his Son, Jesus Christ.
How does God save people?
God saves people by grace, which is his undeserved love given in and through Jesus to everyone who believes. God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
Is there any other way of salvation?
No. The Apostle Peter said of Jesus, There is salvation in no one else. Jesus is the only one who can save people and reconcile them to God.
How should people respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
They should repent of their sins and put their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand, Jesus says in Mark 1. Repent and believe in the Gospel…. Follow me.
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Romans 10:9-10)
WE ARE CATHOLIC
We believe and confess the faith entrusted by Jesus to the Apostles and faithfully delivered by them once for all
to the one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
What is the Church?
The Church is the whole community of faithful believers in heaven and on earth. The Church is, the Apostle Paul says, the pillar and support of the truth.
What do we believe concerning the Holy Catholic Church?
We believe that the Son of God, out of the whole human race, from the beginning of the world to its end, gathers, defends, and preserves for himself, by his Spirit and Word, in the unity of the true faith, a Church chosen to eternal life that begins now and everlasting life in the age to come.
Why is the Church called ‘Catholic?’
The term ‘catholic’ means ‘all-embracing.’ The Church is called ‘Catholic’ because it holds the whole faith once for all delivered to the saints, and maintains continuity with the Apostolic Church throughout time and space.
Where can I find a summary of the Catholic faith?
The creeds of the Church – the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed (you can find them here) – are faithful, clear, and concise summaries of the central teachings of the Catholic faith, received by Churches of Jesus Christ since ancient times.
What do these summaries of the Catholic faith teach?
First, we learn to believe in God the Father, who made us and all things. Second, to believe in God the Son, who is the Redeemer of all God’s people. Third, to believe in God the Holy Spirit, the Giver of life and Sanctifier of God’s people.
WE ARE CALVINIST
We believe and confess that God is sovereign over all he has made, and that he has a plan for the restoration of things, and that he shall bring his plan to its very good end.
How does God govern his creation?
God governs his creation through his decrees.
And what are the decrees of God?
God’s decrees are his wise, free, and holy decisions that he has made according to the purposes of his will. By them, from all eternity and for his own glory, he has unchangeably foreordained everything that happens in space and time, especially those things concerning angels and human beings.
How does God carry out his decrees?
God carries out his decrees in creation and providence, according to his infallible knowledge and the free and unchangeable purposes of his will.
Does this mean that we are merely God’s puppets?
By no means. God has graciously created us with a natural freedom of will, so that we are neither forced nor controlled by anything external to us; every person is free to will and to do according to the desires of his or her heart. But God in Christ has, by grace through faith alone, restored believers’ hearts and empowered them to will and to do what is pleasing to him. Therefore, for example, we are invited and enabled to pray, Thy Kingdom come.
When we pray, Thy Kingdom come, what are we asking God to do?
We are praying for the whole creation to be released from its bondage to corruption due to human sin and restored to its rightful Lord; and that God in Christ’s reign over the world and in the hearts of people, through the power and effective operation of his Spirit, would be established and acknowledged.
How do we, as God’s people, live as citizens of God’s Kingdom?
Our life, personally and corporately, consists in living by faith, with joy, and hope, and peace as a child and heir of God. In our daily callings we love and serve others: doing justice, loving kindness, and walking in humble obedience with our God, as the Prophet Micah has told us.
You can find more information about Calvinism, also called the Reformed Tradition here.
WE ARE PAEDOBAPTIST
We believe and practice infant baptism, as well as baptism for newly professing believers who have never before been baptized.
Who should be baptized?
Those who have never professed faith in Christ and have never been baptized should be baptized after they have publicly professed their faith in Christ and their intention to obey him. Likewise, the infant children of at least one professing believer are to be baptized.
Why are the infant children of professing believers to be baptized?
Infants as well as adults belong to God’s covenant and congregation. Through Christ's blood, the redemption from sin and the Holy Spirit, who works faith, are promised to them no less than to adults, because the covenant God made with Abraham is still in effect: I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you… to be a God to you and to your offspring after you; and … if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise. Those who are heirs of the covenant have the right to the sign and seal of the covenant.
WE ARE PRESBYTERIAN
We believe and practice Church government by elected officers through a graded series of bodies called courts.
How is the Church to be governed?
The Lord Jesus, for the building up of his Church, has appointed officers not only to preach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments, but also to exercise government for the preservation both of truth and duty. It is the duty of these officers and of the whole Church in whose name they act, to censure or cast out the erroneous and scandalous, observing in all cases the rules contained in the Word of God.
How are these officers to be chosen?
Though the character, qualifications and authority of church officers are laid down in the Holy Scriptures, as well as the proper method of installing them to office, the power to elect men to the exercise of authority in any particular church resides in that church.
What is the nature of authority and power within the Church?
All church authority and power is ministerial and declarative only. Because the Holy Scriptures are the only rule of faith and practice, no church court may make laws to bind the conscience.
All Scripture passages from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version