What do Presbyterians believe?
Some of the principles expressed by John Calvin remain at the core of Presbyterian beliefs. Among these are:
- The sovereignty of God,
- The authority of Scripture,
- Justification by grace through faith,
- The priesthood of all believers.
Collectively, these beliefs affirm that God is the supreme authority throughout the universe and our knowledge of God and God’s purpose for humanity comes from the Bible, particularly as revealed in the New Testament through the life, teachings, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Our salvation (justification) through Jesus is God’s generous gift to us and not something that we can earn through doing good works. (For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it. Ephesians 2:8-9)
What are the essential principles of the Presbyterian Church?
The Book of Order is Part II of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the opening chapter outlines the preliminary principles. It begins by affirming that Jesus Christ is Head of the Church, which is his body. This affirmation is followed by what Presbyterians call the “Great Ends of the Church,” which include the core principles at the heart of all activity within and beyond a particular congregation. The Great Ends include:
- The proclamation of the Gospel for the salvation of humankind;
- The shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God;
- The maintenance of divine worship;
- The preservation of the truth;
- The promotion of social righteousness;
- The exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world.
[Book of Order G-1.0200]
Here are the two websites on the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that provide more information on what we believe as Christians living out our faith in the Reformed faith.