Some words that we could use to describe what we believe would include: evangelical, reformed, Covenantal and Presbyterian.
By this we mean that we are Christians who look to God’s Word (as contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments) as our rule for faith and life. Scripture reveals to us…
- who God is (Father, Son and Holy Spirit)
- who we are (created in his image but now rebellious and sinful)
- the reality and effects of sin (lost fellowship with God, deserving of his wrath)
- God’s plan for our salvation (only through faith in Jesus Christ) and
- the consummation of all things (the return of Christ and establishment of his
This adjective hearkens back to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century. It was during that time that there was a clear call within the church, hearkening men and women to return to the authority and sufficiency of scripture in directing us as to what we are to believe and how we are to worship. A focus of reformed theology is the sovereignty of God in all things, including the salvation of people. This focus leads us to a greater understanding of the depth of God’s grace, the nature of his love, the victory of Jesus Christ and the real assurance we can have in salvation.
In saying that we are covenantal, we are pointing to the way in which we interpret and understand the story of Scripture. If we stand back and look at the grand narrative that includes Creation, Fall and Redemption, there is one overarching framework that helps us understand not only the Biblical account but also how we now fit into that story. That framework is the covenant. The word covenant refers to a relationship that includes promises and signs. Like a wedding in which a couple exchanges vows (promises) and then rings (signs), we find that God has chosen to relate to fallen people by way of covenant. From Genesis to Revelation, we see God’s Covenant of Grace in which he promises that “I will be your God, and you will be my people.”
The word Presbyterian comes from the Greek word, which means “elder.” In a local Presbyterian congregation, you will find a group of Elders (together referred to as the Session) who have been nominated, trained and then elected by the congregation to serve as spiritual leaders. These elders are given the responsibility of caring for, teaching the word to, and praying for the local body. But each church does not stand alone. Within a geographical region (known as the Presbytery), we are united with other churches in our denomination for mutual support, care, oversight and protection. Our church is a member of the Presbyterian Church in America, which also holds a General Assembly once each year in which the work of the church is evaluated and promoted.