Essential Beliefs of the Reformed
Reformed theology recognizes that the primary authority for us in all
our faith and life is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, God's Living
Word, as the Scriptures bear witness to him. However, there have
been times throughout history when it has been necessary for the
Reformed Church to articulate its faith and witness as lead by the Holy
Spirit in response to different circumstances and challenges at certain
times and in certain places. These articulations of faith and
witness are found in the various
confessions of the PCUSA in it's Book of Confessions.
These confessional statements are subject to the authority of Jesus
Christ and subordinate to Scripture, nevertheless, they are standards
giving witness to the faith of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic
Church. These statements reflect our
understanding of God and what God expects of us at different times in
history, but all are faithful to the fundamental beliefs described
The Reformed tradition has certain characteristics and convictions
found in ten essential beliefs or tenets, which are reflected in the
PCUSA's creeds and confessions. Even though
we share these common beliefs, Presbyterians understand that God alone
is lord of the conscience, and it is up to each individual to understand
what these principles mean in his or her life.
The first two beliefs we share with Christians in all times and in
all places taken from the faith of the Church universal, particularly
the Apostles' Creed and the
||Trinity - God the Father, who is over
us, God the Son, who is with us and for us, and God the Holy Spirit,
who is in us and among us.
||Incarnation - In Jesus Christ, the Word
of God became flesh and dwelt among us. In Jesus Christ, the
Triune God is revealed.
The next two we share with those who took part in the Reformation of
the Church in the 16th century in their re-affirmation of God's grace in
Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture.
||Salvation by grace through faith.
||Scripture is the Word of God, and our
only rule of faith and obedience.
In the remaining six beliefs, the PCUSA affirms the faith and witness
of the Reformed tradition. Central to this tradition is the
affirmation of the majesty, holiness, and providence of God who creates,
sustains, rules, and redeems the world in the freedom of sovereign
righteousness and love.
||Sovereignty and Providence of God
||The election of the people of God for
service as well as for salvation.
||God's involvement in the covenant
community of God's people.
||A faithful stewardship of ourselves,
our gifts, our resources, and the earth.
||The recognition of the human sin of
idolatry, tyranny, and disobedience.
||The commitment of believers to justice,
liberation, and obedience.