Presbyterians grew from the Reformation in the 16th century in Europe. These religious communities were protesting the way faith was practiced in their particular time and context. They came to be known broadly as the Protestant church. We share with others from this tradition the five core beliefs of the Protestant church (sometimes called the Five Solas):
- By Scripture alone
- By Faith alone
- By Grace alone
- By Christ alone
- All to the glory of God alone
We are trinitarian. That is, we believe that God is expressed in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We believe that Jesus was both fully human (the Son of Man) and fully divine (the Son of God). We believe that God is always moving to bring wholeness to the creation, and to each of our lives. We need only learn to trust in what God has done for us in Jesus to experience God's wholeness in our lives.
We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the word of God written for us and bear unique and authoritative witness to God's ultimate revelation: the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ.
Presbyterians believe that the ways people have expressed their faith in specific contexts throughout history is helpful for us today. Our current Book of Confessions contains thirteen statements of faith that span the church's history.
Christ the Victor
We believe that in his life, death and resurrection, Jesus makes it possible for us to be in full relationship with God and with each other. Whatever is broken because of sin, Jesus has set right. We do nothing to earn God's favor, that favor is extended to us as a free gift.
Jesus Christ came to reconcile us with God. He lived a life without sin and willingly died on the cross to pay the penalty for our transgressions. God raised him from the dead and now, by grace, offers as a free gift eternal life to all who follow Christ, by faith, as their Lord and Savior. That is why salvation can be found in Christ alone.
Presbyterians believe in communities that are connected together to encourage and provide accountability. Each individual expression of the PC(USA) is connected to the larger community so that we are both thousands of communities and one committed community. We are also an ecumenical community, seeking to know and encourage anyone who is on a journey of faith.