Presbyterian theological beliefs come from Reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) who articulated above all else that God is the supreme authority throughout the universe. It is this understanding that gives knowledge of God, whose purpose for us comes from the Bible, particularly what is revealed in the New Testament through the life of Jesus Christ. Presbyterians enjoy God’s gift of salvation through Jesus and not from personal accomplishments. It is everyone’s job – ministers and lay people alike – to share this good news with the world, and the reason why Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is governed at all levels by a combination of clergy and laity, men and women alike.
As believers and doers, Presbyterians put their faith in…
- The Gospel for the salvation of humankind; the shelter, nurturing and spiritual fellowship of the children of God; the maintenance of divine worship; the preservation of truth; the promotion of social righteousness; and the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world.
- A theology of mission through the General Assembly, synods, presbyteries and local churches. Always looking to the future, Presbyterians have four mission priorities: Evangelism and Witness, Justice and Compassion, Spirituality and Discipleship, and Leadership and Vocation.
Members of The First Presbyterian Church come to know that Presbyterians:
- Insist (following the apostle Paul) that no one is good enough to deserve salvation. We are saved only by grace.
- Believe that Scripture does not teach reincarnation; it points us toward eternal life in the presence of God.
- Support a doctrine of predestination that says God chose to redeem us long before we could understand the meaning of predestination. We are predestined to life and given the freedom to fulfill our destiny.
- View the Lord’s Supper taking place at a table rather than at an altar.
- Believe God will redeem us and cleanse us from all our sins and we will be readied for heaven without the worry of purgatory or hell.
- Submit problems to prayer as an act of worship and devotion. While it is perfectly OK to ask your friends to pray for you, praying can be offered only to God.