As part of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), we are a church in the Reformed tradition. For a fuller statement of our theological convictions, please see the Westminster Confession of Faith. Below is a brief summary of those beliefs. Regardless of whether questions or confusion remain, we invite you to join us for worship.
The direct communication that Adam and Eve enjoyed in the Garden was broken because of sin. However, God continued to make himself known, revealing himself to people at various times in order to make known his plan of redemption (Hebrews 1:1-2). Jesus himself is God’s final word on our salvation and brings Scripture to its fulfillment (Matthew 5:17). All of Scripture is a witness to Christ (Luke 24:25-27, 44-47; 1 Peter 1:10-12).
What we have in the Bible is God’s very word, delivered by the Holy Spirit through particular individuals (2 Peter 1:21). Because Scripture is God’s word, it is trustworthy and speaks to us with authority (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It tells us the true story of God’s creation, our fall into sin, God’s plan to redeem in Christ, and its completion in glory. As we hear God’s word, it should confront the many false stories, or myths, that shape our lives as it points us to Christ (2 Timothy 4:2-4).
Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God who takes upon himself our image through the incarnation (Luke 1:30-35). He was made like us in every way, yet without sin (Philippians 2:6-11; Hebrews 4:15). He came to fulfill the role that Adam failed in, living obediently in our behalf. He also takes upon himself the judgment that we deserve, dying as a sinner upon the cross (Romans 5:21-21). His death and resurrection are central to the gospel and is the foundation for our lives as Christians (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). As his death atones for our sin, his resurrection secures our righteousness and brings about new life (Romans 3:21-25; 4:22-25; 6:10-11).
The Triune God
Although we trust in Christ alone for our salvation, Jesus was never alone as he accomplished the work that saves us. Redemption is the plan of the Triune God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus himself is clear that his mission is from the Father and that his goal is to bring us to the Father (John 6:37; 10:28-29; 14:1-3). Jesus also promises the Holy Spirit, whom we need to lead us into truth and bring conviction (John 14:15-17; 16:7-15). The Spirit is the one who brings Christ to us, enlivens us, and begins to remake us into the image of the Son as those who are now counted as God’s children through the Son (Romans 8:9-17; Galatians 5:22-23). This is why we are baptized into “the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). We are saved by, and worship and serve, the Triune God.
While the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are each essential in our salvation, the plan of salvation is centered on the work of the Son, Jesus Christ, who took upon himself our humanity to deliver us from sin and all of its consequences. This salvation is entirely the work of God. According to the Bible, we are dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:1). We play no role in the plan. We are the objects of God’s mercy and those who need to be rescued (Ephesians 2:4-5). This is what it means to be saved by grace. At every point, salvation is God’s initiative. We contribute nothing. We simply receive and rest on what God has done for us. This is faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).
We place our faith in Christ as the one who took our sin upon himself and was judged for it on the cross. There is no judgment left for us through him. Also, through faith in Christ, all of his righteousness is laid upon us. Not only is there no penalty left for sin. But through Christ we are also counted righteous because of his perfect obedience (2 Corinthians 5:21).
As those counted righteous in Christ, God through the Spirit begins to remake us into the likeness of Christ (Romans 8:29). We continue to struggle with sin and fail in many ways (Romans 7:14-25), but God is at work in us by the Spirit enabling us to strive against sin, to put it to death, and to live more and more for him (Romans 6:10-11; 8:13; Ephesians 4:20-32). This is what the death and resurrection of Christ looks like presently in our lives. As we continue to struggle, we are called to live our lives looking forward to glory (Romans 8:30). There is a greater day of salvation yet to come when Christ returns (1 Peter 1:3-5). This should motivate us to live our lives presently seeking his kingdom (Luke 12:29-31).
Sin separates us from God as well as from one another. This is seen throughout Scripture. At the very beginning, when Adam and Eve sin, not only do they hide from God but from one another as well. This theme is found throughout the Bible. Sin always scatters. But as Jesus comes, he calls people to himself and tells his disciples, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18).
The church is not simply a place we go to hear about the gospel. The church itself is part of the gospel, as those scattered are reconciled to God as well as to one another (Ephesians 2:13-22). The church is also a witness to the gospel, as the world sees the love and mercy of God embodied in the life of those gathered together as the body of Christ (John 17:20-23). This does not come naturally. In fact, our struggle with sin will show up most clearly in our relationships, including those within the church. Here too we need grace!