Biblical and Confessional
We believe that the Bible, contained in the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, is the inspired, inerrant, infallible, living, and all-sufficient Word of God. By the sovereign power of the Holy Spirit, God’s Word is the primary means by which the elect are united to the risen Christ and thereafter, in Him, nourished unto eternal life. The Bible alone is the sole rule for our faith and practice. What we believe about the Bible, however, is contained in the subordinate standards of the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms (1646). These documents, though not infallible, are a sound interpretation of biblical doctrine and a faithful expression of the historic Christian faith. In addition, we believe, and publicly confess each Lord’s Day, the words of the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds.
We believe that the Bible teaches a Presbyterian form of church government. The word Presbyterian is derived from the Greek word for elder (presbuteros). The Apostle Paul, in the pastoral epistles, not only gave explicit direction for the appointment of a plurality of elders in every church (i.e., Titus 1:5; Acts 20:17), but, in addition, provided clear qualifications for the office of elder (I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). We understand the office of elder to be divided into two distinctive roles, that of ruling elder and teaching elder or pastor (I Timothy 5:17). Both ruling and teaching elders are responsible to provide loving and encouraging spiritual oversight for every member of the flock (I Peter 5:1-3). However, the teaching elder or pastor is called, in particular, to “work hard at preaching and teaching” (I Timothy 5:17).
Under a Presbyterian or representative form of government, members of the local church are accountable to their session of elders, sessions are accountable to their local presbytery, and presbyteries are accountable to the General Assembly (c.f. Acts 15). In a day when moral and doctrinal oversight and accountability is rare in the church, God’s prescribed form of shepherding His people exalts His divine wisdom and care. The Apostle Paul charged the Ephesian elders to “pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).
We refer to ourselves as Reformed because our church and denomination (PCA) are confessionally and historically rooted in the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation. Under the spiritual leadership of men such as Martin Luther, John Knox, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Calvin, who sought to reform the church by bringing it back to the foundations of biblical Christianity, hundreds of thousands of people from all across Europe broke away from the doctrinal errors and moral corruptions of the Roman Catholic Church. Out of the teaching of the Reformers five slogans emerged that provide a summary of the “protest” against Rome. The five slogans teach that: 1. Salvation is by grace alone (sola gratia); 2. Salvation is through faith alone (sola fide); 3. Salvation is in Christ alone (solus Christus); 4. The Bible alone is the Word of God (sola Scriptura); and finally, 5. To God alone be the glory (soli Deo gloria).
Furthermore, we are Reformed because we hold a high view of the work of called, trained, and ordained leadership in the life of the local church. As the ordained leadership shepherd and feed the flock through spiritual oversight, discipline, doctrine, preaching, prayer, and the right administration of the sacraments (baptism and the Lord’s Supper), God promises to bless His redeemed children with growth in grace.
Our Biblical, Confessional, Presbyterian, and Reformed beliefs are meant to unite, not divide, Christians under the banner of a robust, loving, humble, warm-hearted, pious, repentant, Christ-centered, Spirit-filled, God-exalting, kingdom-advancing body of believers. We believe in a warm and positive expression of the Reformed Faith, that is, one that promotes and defends sound doctrine while at the same time exhibits sincere love, joy, humility, patience, and kindness.
Our Core Values
God-Centered Worship is Our Highest Priority
At Christ Church Presbyterian, worship is considered the highest priority and privilege of the Christian Church. Christ Church encourages the flock to worship in a three-fold manner, namely, in public, family, and private worship. Indeed, we believe our confession when it states that:
“God is to be worshipped everywhere, in spirit and truth, as, in private families daily, and in secret, each one by himself; so, more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly or willfully to be neglected or forsaken, when God, by His Word or providence, calls thereunto” (Westminster Confession of Faith: XXI. 6).
We promote the simple Christian life, that is, one where private and family worship are central in everyday home life. Private worship (personal devotions) and family worship help prepare the entire household for a more God-centered, Christ-exalting, and Spirit-filled observance of the Lord’s Day.
The Means of Grace Are Central
One of the primary tasks of the leadership of Christ Church is to keep the means of grace central in the life of the church. The means of grace (Word, sacraments and prayer) are the means that God Himself has personally appointed and promised to bless for the salvation, sanctification, and comfort of His people (c.f. Acts 2:42). It is through the Word (read and preached), sacraments, and prayer that God’s people are united to Christ and, in Him, nourished and kept unto eternal life. The unadorned means of Word, sacrament, and prayer are spurned by the world as a foolish waste of time (I Corinthians 1:18, 21). The means of grace are viewed by pragmatic church growth experts as ineffective and irrelevant. However, we understand the Word, sacraments, and prayer to be the very means by which the Holy Spirit unites sinners, through faith, to God’s crucified and risen Son (c.f. Westminster Shorter Catechism Q. 88).
Christian History and Tradition are Valued
Someone once said that the future never needed the past more than it does today. We believe that this is true of the Christian Church. Indeed, when the Church loses touch with her past, she easily forgets who she is and why she exists. This is precisely what has happened over the past half-century in evangelical America. The contemporary church has experienced a real loss of identity and connectedness to her roots. This ahistorical mindset has helped to foster high levels of superficiality and ignorance in the American evangelical church.
Since according to the Scriptures, the Christian Faith “was once delivered to the saints,” (Jude 3) and, therefore, does not change with every passing generation, we believe that we have much to gain from 2000 years of Christian history and tradition. For Christians to turn a cold shoulder to their rich theological and ecclesiastical heritage shows a kind of modern arrogance (C.S. Lewis called it “chronological snobbery.”) Indeed, there is much we can learn from those who went before us. The ministries of our church will seek to cultivate a greater appreciation for our Protestant and Reformed roots. Our corporate worship on the Lord’s Day, in particular, is an expression of our appreciation for the rich liturgical and musical heritage that has been handed down to us through the ages.
Evangelism / Mission is Important
We are committed to personal and corporate evangelism. However, we understand evangelism and mission to be more than just an event facilitated by a church or the handing out of a gospel tract. Gospel proclamation primarily entails the faithful reading and preaching of the Scriptures in the gathered public worship of God on the Lord’s Day. Worship is doxological evangelism. The Gospel is also proclaimed when God’s people scatter throughout the week to their homes, neighborhoods and vocations and share the gospel with others–– thus being salt and light in a corrupt and dark world (Matthew 5:16).
The end goal of our evangelistic endeavors, whether at home or abroad, is not simply to get people to make a decision or pray the sinner’s prayer. Rather, it is to lead people to committed church membership and a lifetime of repentance and faith in Christ through the ordinary, yet life-transforming, ministry of the Word, sacraments, and prayer.
The Body of Christ Loves One Another
Our Lord Jesus Christ says, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). At Christ Church we encourage strong unity and loving hospitality. We firmly believe that as Christ and His Word remain central, God’s people will stand faithfully with, and for, one another.