Our faith and practice are based entirely on the teachings of the Bible. We affirm the historic statement of these truths expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms (1647-8), which our church officers are required to uphold.
We are called Presbyterian because we believe that Christ commits the government of his Church to councils of ordained men (Greek: presbuterion = a council of elders).
The Westminster Confession of Faith and the Catechisms are the most widely-accepted standards for English-speaking Presbyterian churches throughout the world, and are compatible with continental Reformed standards such as the Belgic Confession (1561), the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), the Second Helvetic Confession (1566) and the Canons of the Synod of Dort (1619).
The following is a concise overview of our beliefs expressed in words from our standards:
- The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Word of God, the only rule of faith and obedience. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added.
- There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, everywhere present, almighty, knowing all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.
- There are three persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.
- The work of creationis God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.
- Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the estate in which they were created by sinning against God, and brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery, and justly liable to all punishments in this world, and that which is to come.
- It pleased God to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, to be the mediator between God and man: unto whom he did from all eternity give a people to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified and glorified.
- The Son of God, being very and eternal God, took upon himself man’s nature, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion; very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and man.
- This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake; he was made under the law and did perfectly fulfil it; he endured most grievous torments, was crucified, and died, was buried, and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption. On the third day he rose from the dead with the same body in which he suffered, with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sits at the right hand of his Father making intercession; and shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the world.
- The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, fully satisfied the justice of his Father; and purchased not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance.
- God was pleased to make a covenantin which he freely offers to sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, the only mediator of the covenant; requiring faith of them in him, that they may be saved, and promising to give to all those that are ordained unto eternal life his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe in Christ according to the gospel.
- As an act of God’s free grace to sinners, only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of Christ imputed to them and received by faith alone, he pardons all their sins and accounts their persons righteous in his sight.
- True believers, by reason of the unchangeable love of God and his decree and covenant, are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation; are renewed in their whole man after the image of God; are joined to Christ as their Head; and are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God, made heirs of all the promises, and fellow heirs with Christ in glory.
- God requires faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with diligent use of all the outward meanswhereby Christ communicates the benefits of redemption, especially the Word, sacraments and prayer.
- The Lord’s supperis a sacrament in which, by giving and receiving bread and wine according to the appointment of Jesus Christ, his death is showed forth; and they that worthily communicate feed to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace, and have their union and communion with him confirmed.
- Baptismis a sacrament, rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water, that signifies and seals ingrafting into Christ, partaking of the covenant, and engagement to be the Lord’s, whereby the parties baptized are solemnly admitted into the visible church. Infants descending from parents professing faith in Christ are in that respect within the covenant, and to be baptized.
- The visible Church, which is catholic or universal, consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion, and of their children, and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.
- At the last day there shall be a general resurrection of the dead, and the general and final judgment. Believers, being raised up in glory, shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoyment of God to all eternity.