What “We” Believe
You might wonder what “we” believe at Pres House. We understand the desire to know what is most important to a particular church or faith community. But too often statements of belief are used to draw boundaries around who is in and who is out. At Pres House we want to throw the door wide open. We are a big tent. There are folks deeply committed and connected in the community here that believe a wide range of things. So we put “we” in quotes. Because there is no way to totally describe what “we” all believe here at Pres House. Pres House is an open and affirming community where the full diversity of God’s people are welcome. Members of our community are from various backgrounds and perspectives including diverse religious traditions (or none), socio-economic status, racial-ethnic identity, political affiliation, gender identity, sexual orientation, and more. And all are welcome! Join us to find out who we are as people first, and then we can continue the conversation about what “we” believe, together.
That said, Pres House is an outreach mission of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. and as such draws on the rich and deep well of confessional statements of the larger church. The earliest doctrinal statement of the Presbyterian Church, The Apostles’ Creed, dates, in part, to the third century. The most recent confessional statement*, A Brief Statement of Faith, was written in the 1980’s. These statements of belief that were located in specific times, places and contexts, along with seven other confessional statements, make up the PCUSA Book of Confessions. Some of the confessional statements reflect the faith of the entire church of Jesus Christ, while others reflect the understanding of Christianity that is particular to the Reformed family churches, in which tradition the Presbyterian Church stands.
And so we share the most recent confessional statement — The Brief Statement of Faith:
In life and in death we belong to God.
Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, we trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel, whom alone we worship and serve.
We trust in Jesus Christ, fully human, fully God. Jesus proclaimed the reign of God; preaching good news to the poor and release to the captives, teaching by word and deed and blessing the children, healing the sick and binding up the brokenhearted, eating with outcasts, forgiving sinners, and calling all to repent and believe the gospel.
Unjustly condemned for blasphemy and sedition, Jesus was crucified, suffering the depths of human pain and giving his life for the sins of the world.
God raised this Jesus from the dead, vindicating his sinless life, breaking the power of sin and evil, delivering us from death to life eternal.
We trust in God, whom Jesus called Abba, Father. In sovereign love God created the world good and makes everyone equally in God’s image, male and female, of every race and people, to live as one community.
But we rebel against God; we hide from our Creator.
Ignoring God’s commandments, we violate the image of God in others and ourselves, accept lies as truth, exploit neighbor and nature, and threaten death to the planet entrusted to our care.
We deserve God’s condemnation. Yet God acts with justice and mercy to redeem creation.
In everlasting love, the God of Abraham and Sarah chose a covenant people to bless all families of the earth. Hearing their cry, God delivered the children of Israel from the house of bondage.
Loving us still, God makes us heirs with Christ of the covenant. Like a mother who will not forsake her nursing child, like a father who runs to welcome the prodigal home, God is faithful still.
We trust in God the Holy Spirit, everywhere the giver and renewer of life, sets us free to accept ourselves and to love God and neighbor, and binds us together with all believers in the one body of Christ, the Church.
The same Spirit who inspired the prophets and apostles rules our faith and life in Christ through Scripture, engages us through the Word proclaimed, claims us in the waters of baptism, feeds us with the bread of life and the cup of salvation, and calls women and men to all ministries of the Church.
In a broken and fearful world the Spirit gives us courage to pray without ceasing, to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior, to unmask idolatries in Church and culture, to hear the voices of peoples long silenced, and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace.
In gratitude to God, empowered by the Spirit,we strive to serve Christ in our daily tasks and to live holy and joyful lives, even as we watch for God’s new heaven and new earth, praying, “Come, Lord Jesus!”
With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.
* In 2016, the PCUSA adopted the Confession of Belhar into its Book of Confessions as a condemnation of racial injustice and call for reconciliation.