What do Presbyterians Believe?
From the Presbyterian Church USA
God is the supreme authority throughout the universe. Our knowledge of God and God’s purpose for humanity comes from the Bible, particularly what is revealed in the New Testament through the life of Jesus Christ. Our salvation (justification) through Jesus is God’s generous gift to us and not the result of our own accomplishments. It is everyone’s job – ministers and lay people alike – to share this Good News with the whole world. That is also why the Presbyterian church is governed at all levels by a combination of clergy and laity, men and women alike.
What Do Presbyterians Believe About The Sacraments?
(Excerpt from Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church in Cary, NC)
Presbyterians believe that Christ is present with believers in the Sacraments just as He is in the written and preached word. In celebrating the Sacraments instituted by Christ, the Church commemorates the redemptive acts by which believers are united with their Lord and made one. These Sacraments, instituted in water and in bread and wine, are to be received in faith as exhibiting and offering the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The Sacraments are regarded as an essential part of the public ministry of the church, in which all Christians are expected to participate. Presbyterians do not maintain, however, that salvation is limited to those who have received these Sacraments.
From the Presbyterian Church USA:
“The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) recognizes two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper as these acts were actively demonstrated by Christ and in turn were asked to perform them. “The Reformed tradition understands Baptism and the Lord’s Supper to be Sacraments, instituted by God and commended by Christ. Sacraments are signs of the real presence and power of Christ in the Church, symbols of God’s action. Through the Sacraments, God seals believers in redemption, renews their identity as the people of God, and marks them for service.” (Book of Order W-1.3033.2) “The early Church, following Jesus, took three primary material elements of life–water, bread, and wine–to become basic symbols of offering life to God as Jesus had offered his life. Being washed with the water of Baptism, Christians received new life in Christ and presented their bodies to be living sacrifices to God. Eating bread and drinking wine they received the sustaining presence of Christ, remembered God’s covenant promise, and pledged their obedience anew.” (Book of Order W-1.3033.1)
All of those who proclaim Christ as their Lord and Savior are welcome at the table.
From the Presbyterian Church USA:
“In Baptism, the Holy Spirit binds the Church in covenant to its Creator and Lord. The water of Baptism symbolizes the waters of creation, of the flood, and of the Exodus from Egypt. Thus, the water of Baptism links us to the goodness of God’s creation and to the grace of God’s covenants with Noah and Israel. Prophets of Israel, amidst the failure of their own generation to honor God’s covenant, called for justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5:24) They envisioned a fresh expression of God’s grace and of creation’s goodness — a new covenant accompanied by the sprinkling of cleansing water. In his ministry, Jesus offered the gift of living water. So, Baptism is the sign and seal of God’s grace and covenant in Christ. (Book of Order W-2.3003)”
“Baptism enacts and seals what the Word proclaims: God’s redeeming grace offered to all people. Baptism is God’s gift of grace and also God’s summons to respond to that grace. Baptism calls to repentance, to faithfulness, and to discipleship. Baptism gives the church its identity and commissions the church for ministry to the world.” (Book of Order W-2.3006)
“The water used for Baptism should be common to the location, and shall be applied to the person by pouring, sprinkling, or immersion. By whatever mode, the water should be applied visibly and generously.” (Book of Order W-3.3605)
“Baptism is received only once. There are many times in worship, however, when believers acknowledge the grace of God continually at work. As they participate in the celebration of another’s Baptism, as they experience the sustaining nurture of the Lord’s Supper, and as they reaffirm the commitments made at Baptism, they confess their ongoing need of God’s grace and pledge anew their obedience to God’s covenant in Christ.” (Book of Order W-2.3009)
“As there is one body, there is one Baptism. (Eph. 4:4-6) The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) recognizes all Baptisms with water in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit administered by other Christian churches.” (Book of Order W-2.3010)
Members whom are interested in baptism can contact the church office and will be directed accordingly.