WHAT WE BELIEVE
Basic Statement of Faith
As a congregation, we reaffirm what the church in all ages and places has proclaimed as a foundation of the Christian faith — the Apostles' Creed:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic (universal) church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
We recognize that humanity is created in the image of God, separated from God by sin, lost and in need of forgiveness. In the person of Jesus Christ we see the Trinity of God most plainly; through His atoning death and physical resurrection we receive forgiveness and eternal life. The church is the Body of Christ on Earth to spread His Kingdom, and embody His love for the world.
We also feel it important to emphasize our commitment to three additional doctrines:
The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ
We believe God has spoken to people of the world, so that human beings know of God’s goodness and existence (Hebrews 1:1-3, Romans 1:19-21). We affirm that salvation comes by God’s grace to sin-filled people, through faith in Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12, John 14:6).
The Authority of Scripture
In confusing times, it is imperative to define how we make difficult decisions. We affirm that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are inspired by God and authoritative to direct the behavior of God’s people in matters of faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16, Psalm 119:2-4). We also affirm the primacy of the Scriptures over all other creeds, which exist to reflect the teaching and affirmations of the Scripture in certain times and situations.
The Primacy of the Gospel
“The gospel is the power of salvation of everyone who believes… for in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last.” (Romans 1:16,17) At Union Church the gospel will be prized and proclaimed as we invite all people to a life-long journey of gospel transformation, for it is the very power of God. God is the initiator. We are the recipients of his loving and merciful action. Specifically, God has provided everything necessary for us to be made right with God through the sacrificial death and resurrection of his son, Jesus Christ.
In everything we seek humility and reliance on God’s Spirit to guide us. God is judge, not human beings. Our faith compels us not to pass judgment, but to preach and live the gospel in loving relationships, with urgency and respect for all. Like the Reformers we proclaim: in essentials, unity; in non-essentials, diversity; in all things, charity.
WHY A STATEMENT OF FAITH?
Christians periodically need to reaffirm what has defined Christianity since the time of the first disciples and apostles long ago. At the beginning of the 21st century, Union Presbyterian Church’s leadership (elders, pastors, and staff) faces three important cultural realities:
•UPC is a Presbyterian church (PCUSA) at a time when mainline denominations are theologically divided even as they decline in number and relevance.
•The increased diversity of our congregation brings a variety of perspectives, many with little clarity of historical, biblical Christianity.
•We live in a post-modern culture, where moral absolutes and ultimate truths are no longer recognized. The authority of biblical truths needs to be emphasized and explained in order to apply effectively.