What We Believe
The Scriptures teach that God loves us unconditionally, and in the person of Jesus Christ, that love gives us new life. In response to God’s gracious gifts, we are called to lead transformed lives committed to loving God, loving one another and loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Statement of Faith
2ND TIMOTHY 3:16; LUKE 24:44; 2ND PETER 3:15-16
We believe that the Bible is the Holy Word of God, inspired by God through the Holy Spirit, and is God’s unique revelation to the world. Together, its sixty-six books are the final authority on all matters which they address. Although we are thankful for the guidance of our Presbyterian and Reformed tradition in interpreting scripture, it is the Bible alone which is the divine standard for our faith and practice.
God Is One and Triune
DEUTERONOMY 6:4; MATTHEW 3:16-17; 2ND CORINTHIANS 13:14
We believe in one God who exists eternally as three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – each fully God yet each personally distinct from the other. God created the heavens and the earth – all things visible and invisible – including human beings, and declared the entirety of creation good.
The Fallen Nature of Humanity
GENESIS 3:12-14; ISAIAH 64:6; ROMANS 3:23
However, human beings, represented by Adam and Eve, fell from their original perfection in an act of direct disobedience, and were exiled from God’s presence, with eventual physical death as their plight. The fall tainted everything. As a result of this original sin, all humans are born sinful, and are plagued by sin and separation from God.
Corruption in the Created World
GENESIS 3:17-19; ISAIAH 24:5; ROMANS 8:20-22
The creation also fell and is bound in corruption, which we experience alongside its majesty and greatness in cycles of death, environmental hazards and disasters, and disorder in the plant and animal world.
A Brief History of Salvation
JOHN 3:16; ACTS 7:1-53; 28:23-28; ROMANS 1:1-6
Nonetheless, God did not give up on humanity. Rather, through the family of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (renamed Israel), whom he chose, he began a plan of redemption for all humanity through his people, Israel. Despite repeated gestures of grace and forgiveness over the course of thousands of years, through prophets, priests, and kings, a detailed sacrificial system, countless miracles, and exile and return, the Israelites, despite their favored status in God’s eyes, refused as a people to turn from their sinful ways, and live as the representatives of God before the gentiles. So, the Father, in his infinite mercy, took the ultimate step, and sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to become human, to live among us, and to become the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all who trust and believe in him, Jew and gentile, so that we would not perish, but have eternal life.
God the Father
GENESIS 1-3; EXODUS 3:14-15; MATTHEW 6:6-15; JOHN 6:26; 10:25-38; 17:20-26; 1ST CORINTHIANS 8:5-6; EPHESIANS 4:4-6
God is introduced in Genesis as Elohim, a general Hebrew word for a deity of all power, might, and majesty, and the creator of heaven and earth, and all that is. He is later specifically identified as the God of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He established everlasting covenants with Abraham and later, David, and kept them perfectly. In Exodus, God reveals himself to Moses as Yahweh, meaning “I am who I am”. Throughout the Old Testament, he is the Lord, the ultimate, majestic God of Israel. In the New Testament, as the trinitarian concept develops, the Lord is identified by Jesus as “the Father”. Jesus was sent by the Father, but also is one with the Father. He does the will of the Father, and the Father is pleased with him. Jesus instructs us to pray to the Father in his name, and to ask whatever we want according to the Father’s will.
God the Son
LUKE 1:26-35; 24:50-51; JOHN 1:1-18; ACTS 2:22-36; ROMANS 8:34-39; HEBREWS 2:5-18; 9:22
Jesus Christ is the only Son of the Father, fully God and fully man, born of the virgin, Mary, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus lived a sinless life, yet willingly gave his life up for our sake. Jesus was brutally crucified, shedding his own blood as a perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. He was buried, then rose from the dead, thereby defeating death and reconciling those who believe and trust in him to an eternal life with God. We believe that Jesus ascended bodily to the heavenly realm after a forty-day period during which he gave many convincing proofs of his resurrection. There he sits at the right hand of the Father as priest and king, continually interceding on behalf of those who accept him as their savior. Someday in the future, Jesus will return in glory to judge evil and to establish his kingdom on earth.
God the Holy Spirit
JOHN 14:16-17,26; 16:7-15; ACTS 1:8; ROMANS 8:26-27; TITUS 3:5
We believe that the Holy Spirit, who is sent by the Father and the Son, plays a significant role in the lives of all who believe in Jesus Christ. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are awakened to respond in faith to the invitation of salvation through the good news – or Gospel – of Jesus Christ, which comes through preaching, teaching, personal ministry, Bible study, and in some cases, miraculous encounters. The Holy Spirit also indwells us, comforts us, empowers us, and helps us pray.
Salvation Is by Grace Alone Through Faith Alone
EPHESIANS 2:8-10; 1 JOHN 1:8-10; ACTS 16:30-31; TITUS 3:4-7
An important point: we believe that salvation in Jesus Christ is by grace, through faith. It is a gift from God which cannot be earned through personal goodness or human effort. This gift must be received by humble repentance, and trust in Christ and His finished work on the cross.
Transformed Lives and the Church
ROMANS 12:1-21; 1ST CORINTHIANS 12:27-13:13; 2ND CORINTHIANS 5:17-21; GALATIANS 5:16-26; MATTHEW 28:18-20
Key evidence of a vibrant Christian faith is a transformed life. We believe in personal renewal through the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit then actively transforms us over time into the likeness of Christ, gifting us for service to him as members of the body of Christ and the one true church universal. We believe in church renewal as the work of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit moves through the lives of those gathered as the local church and makes disciples engaged in worship, praise, prayer, Biblical preaching and teaching, mutual accountability, fellowship, and service to one another. Through the church, we believe in community renewal as the Spirit-enabled Christians reach out beyond church doors to live as ambassadors of Christ, welcoming friends and strangers to join us, proclaiming and advancing his kingdom through personal ministry and churchwide efforts locally and internationally as our witness to the world. Such activities include evangelism; ministries of compassion, reconciliation, justice, and peace; and care for creation and life.
MATTHEW 26:26-30; 28:19; JOHN 3:5; ACTS 2:38; 1ST CORINTHIANS 11:23-26
We believe God has ordained two sacraments – Baptism and the Lord’s Supper – as a sign and seal of our covenant with him and as a means by which we receive his grace. We celebrate the sacrament of Baptism for infants, children, and new believers of any age to mark their entry into the body of Christ and our community of faith. We do not believe that Baptism itself confers salvation, but that it is an act of obedience. We also celebrate the Lord’s Supper regularly in worship in remembrance of Jesus’ death and resurrection on the cross.
Ministry and Governance
ROMANS 16:7; 1ST CORINTHIANS 1:11; PHILIPPIANS 4:2-3; ACTS 14:23; 20:28; TITUS 1:5-9; 1ST PETER 5:1-5
We believe in the one true universal church, the priesthood of all believers, and that the Holy Spirit has equally gifted men and women for ministry and leadership. Following the model established in the New Testament, we govern our local church according to the Presbyterian form in which elders, or “presbyters” are elected to shepherd the flock and oversee the church, and deacons are elected to serve the needs of the people. We stand together with similarly organized congregations, and are therefore united in a denomination, the Presbyterian Church (USA), and are represented by the Presbytery of Philadelphia.