CATHOLIC (universal) CHRISTIAN BELIEFS
With Christians in all times and places, we believe in the…
- Trinity: God is “Triune,” or three persons in one being. God is revealed throughout the Bible in this way as Father (e.g., John 1:18), Son (John 1:34), and Spirit (John 1:33; all 3 in John 14:26), yet as one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; John 10:30).
- Incarnation: In Jesus Christ God “was made flesh” and became fully human (and still fully God). In Jesus, “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
*See also the Apostles’ Creed and Nicene Creed
PROTESTANT CHRISTIAN EMPHASES
In the 16th century, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and other notable Christian leaders brought about renewal and revival in the church through returning to and emphasizing the following biblical teachings:
- Grace Alone: we are saved by God’s grace (unmerited gift) rather than by an ‘work’ or earned righteousness (rightness/goodness) of our own. (see Ephesians 2:8-9)
- Faith Alone: the only ‘work’ (and it too is a gracious gift of God) of the human is to trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. (see Ephesians 2:8-9)
- Scripture Alone: the Bible is God’s Word, the one source of saving knowledge and revelation of Jesus Christ, and our authoritative guide for faith and life. (see 2 Timothy 3:14-17)
PRESBYTERIAN/REFORMED CHRISTIAN EMPHASES
- Theological: a well-thought out emphasis on God’s sovereignty which affirms the majesty, holiness, and providence of God who creates, sustains, rules, and redeems the world in the freedom of His sovereign righteousness and love.
- Practical: at least four noticeable outgrowths of Presbyterian/Reformed emphases…
- Worship and Service: God’s people are chosen and called for service as well as for salvation
- Community: we live life together marked by a disciplined concern for biblically-based order in the church
- Stewardship: we seek faithful and humble offering of resources at our disposal
- Discipleship (following Christ): while recognizing the human tendency to disobey God, we work and hope for personal and societal transformation through living in obedience to scripture
SPECIFIC LOCAL STATEMENT OF CHRISTIAN BELIEF
Good Shepherd is a “confessing church” in the Presbyterian Church USA. This simply means that, in a day and age in which even basic Christian belief is called into question, we “confess” or declare with Christians of every age that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord and the only name by which men and women are saved, that the Bible is God’s Word to us, and that God desires for all people to live pure and holy lives as followers of Christ, specifically through faithfulness in marriage or purity in singleness, as well as in every area of life.