Key Theological Commitments:
The Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God.
Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone.
The Church is God’s ordained means of gathering and perfecting believers.
The Church is to rely upon the ordinary means of grace (the Word, Sacraments, and Prayer) for the building of the kingdom.
The Westminster Confession of Faith (including the Larger and Shorter Catechism) is the most accurate understanding of what the Scriptures principally teach. (A copy can be found here)
We believe the Bible is the written word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit and without error in the original manuscripts. The Bible is the revelation of God’s truth and is infallible and authoritative in all matters of faith and practice.
We believe in the Holy Trinity. There is one God, who exists eternally in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We believe that all are sinners and totally unable to save themselves from God’s displeasure, except by His mercy.
We believe that salvation is by God alone as He sovereignly chooses those He will save. We believe His choice is based on His grace, not on any human individual merit, or foreseen faith.
We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, who through His perfect life and sacrificial death atoned for the sins of all who will trust in Him, alone, for salvation.
We believe that God is gracious and faithful to His people not simply as individuals but as families in successive generations according to His Covenant promises.
We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells God’s people and gives them the strength and wisdom to trust Christ and follow Him.
We believe that Jesus will return, bodily and visibly, to judge all mankind and to receive His people to Himself.
We believe that all aspects of our lives are to be lived to the glory of God under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
We hold to the historic “Solas” of the church. The following theses are taken from the Cambridge Declaration, the product of a meeting in Cambridge, MA, on April 17-20, 1996. The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, which called the meeting, asks all Christians to give consideration to implementing this Declaration in the church’s worship, ministry, policies, life and evangelism.
Sola Scriptura (Scripture Only)
We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.
We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian’s conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.
Solus Christus (Christ Alone)
We reaffirm that our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father.
We deny that the gospel is preached if Christ’s substitutionary work is not declared and faith in Christ and his work is not solicited.
Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)
We reaffirm that in salvation we are rescued from God’s wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.
We deny that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature.
Sola Fide (Faith Alone)
We reaffirm that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God’s perfect justice.
We deny that justification rests on any merit to be found in us, or upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ’s righteousness in us, or that an institution claiming to be a church that denies or condemns sola fide can be recognized as a legitimate church.
Soli Deo Gloria (To God Alone Be Glory)
We reaffirm that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God’s glory and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone.
We deny that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem or self-fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel.
We believe in Prayer.
We believe in the power of prayer, expecting God to accomplish surprising things when His people express their total dependence on Him. Therefore we boldly ask God to do things so magnificent that we know we could not possibly achieve them in our own wisdom and strength.
We believe in Personal Discipleship.
We believe we are to nurture every Christian, for all who embrace Him are called to be disciples of Jesus Christ. Disciples are people who are being transformed into radically committed, fully devoted, lifelong followers and learners of Jesus Christ, and who are growing in Christlike character and in their ability to minister to others.
We believe in sharing the gospel.
We believe that our neighborhood, community, nation and world are our mission fields. We are not to live self-centered lives, but are to reach out to our families, friends, neighbors and the world by word, deed, and example. This means we take seriously the Great Commission, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Without compromising the sovereignty of God, we affirm the responsibility of each person to repent and believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and our responsibility to extend the Gospel invitation as a call to salvation to everyone who hears its message. We invite all, without distinction, to drink freely of the Water of Life and to live eternally. In this way, we seek to “extend the transforming presence of the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We are reformed.
The word “reformed” can be defined simply in two ways: 1) It is a reference to our historical link to the Reformation of the 16th century and intends to describe us as the heirs of that tradition which comes from Luther, Calvin, Knox and other reformers. 2) The word “reformed” is used most commonly to refer to certain theological distinctives which have marked reformation believers, particularly those in the Calvinist tradition. These distincitives can be summarized by our glad affirmation of the responsibility of every person to repent and believe, and that it is God who, by His sovereign electing grace, draws men and women, otherwise dead in sin, to faith in His Son. By this faith alone are God’s people justified.
Reformed distinctives include the sovereignty of God in His creation, providence and election of believers apart from any merit of their own; the irresistible grace of God provided for and preceding the faith of the individual; the sufficiency of God’s grace apart from which man is dead in sin and wholly defiled in all his faculties of soul and body; the efficacy of Christ’s death for all those who believe in Him by grace; the safe-guarding of all those for whom Christ died for eternal life.
We seek to hold to our reformed convictions humbly, recognizing the sincerity and earnestness of Godly men and women who have other positions.
We are confessional.
This means that we have a written confession of faith which we believe to be a good and accurate summary of the Bible’s teaching. Our confession consists of the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. These documents (available in our bookstore and library) are not without flaw; yet we believe they do contain carefully worded summaries of the Bible’s content. All ruling and teaching elders in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) must vow that they hold to these standards and are required to indicate to their presbyteries or sessions where they take exceptions. It is important to note that every church has a confession, formal or informal, even though some claim they have “no confession but Christ” or “no creed but the Bible.” Every church summarizes its convictions in some form in order to distinguish its members from those who are not believers or those who do not believe in their church’s distinctives.
We are covenantal.
To say we are covenantal means we believe that the unifying principle of the Scriptures is the one covenant of grace that God made with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and finally, and most importantly, in Jesus Christ. The covenant is a pledge or bond of loyalty which God made to His people through each of the above named persons. The covenant is a relationship of loving loyalty that God has initiated with us as His people throughout human history. To speak of the unity of the covenants means that there is one way and one way only to salvation in both Old and New Testaments-that is, by faith alone in Jesus Christ. This covenantal understanding of the Bible is in distinction from any system of organizing the Scriptures which would attribute differing ways of salvation to a succession of historical Biblical eras.
We are Kingdom centered.
We believe that the Kingdom of God is not only a future hope but is also a present reality. We believe that the ascension of Jesus Christ means that He is presently reigning from Heaven and, therefore, we are called upon to honor and obey Him in every area of our personal lives and to plant the banner of Christ’s Kingdom rule in every area of human endeavor. Christ’s present heavenly reign is at the heart of our Purpose Statement as a church, that “we exist to extend the transforming presence of the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We are Presbyterian.
This word refers to our form of governance. We believe that the most clear biblical pattern (Acts 15) is for churches to be governed by presbyters (elders) who rule jointly in what are called “church courts” from lowest to highest: sessions, presbyteries and the General Assembly.