What We Believe

Westminster Presbyterian Church in Greenwood, South Carolina, is proud to be part of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Indeed, if you read our history, you will see how committed we truly are to the inclusive understanding of faith embraced and practiced by our particular branch of Reformed Christianity. Click here to learn more about PC(USA).

Reformed Beliefs

 

With all Christians, Presbyterians believe in the Triune God. (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) revealed in Holy Scriptures and made known in Jesus Christ.

 

With all Protestants, we hold to some basic beliefs which are:

 

  1. The Continual Reformation of the Church - “The church reformed but always reforming in light of God’s word.” The church is not a perfect institution, so it must continually judge its life and practice in light of scripture and make necessary reforms.

  2. The Authority of the Holy Spirit Speaking through Scripture – The Bible is the source and standard for the life and ministry of Christians and the life and ministry of the church. Scripture is the sole authority, and all other authorities must be judged in light of its witness.

  3. Salvation by Grace through Faith – We are not saved by what we do but by what God has done in Jesus Christ. Salvation is an undeserved and unmerited gift which is accepted through faith inspired by the Holy Spirit.

  4. The Priesthood of All Believers – All Christians are priests, meaning they can stand for themselves before God. They do not need a priest or minister in order to confess their sins or pray to their God. But all Christians are also priests for their neighbors, praying to God on their behalf.

  5. The Sanctity of Common Life – All aspects of life are sacred. Christians are to serve God in every activity of life. Luther wrote, “Whether you are digging a ditch or preaching a sermon, all should be done for the glory of God.”

 

There are some characteristics unique to the Reformed Faith.

 

  1. The Emphasis Placed on the Sovereignty of God

    • God is Sovereign in Creation – The world and everything in it is the result of God’s intentions. The reason we are is because God wills us to be.

    • God is Sovereign in History – God rules the world and his purposes will ultimately prevail.

    • God is Sovereign in Salvation - God comes to us before we come to him and does for us what we cannot do for ourselves (saves us from the power of sin and death.) And God elects us to be his people in service to God and neighbor.

  2. The Emphasis on the Praise and Majesty of God –The chief end of a person is not to have their soul’s saved, but to praise and glorify God by a life of discipleship.

  3. The Emphasis on the Freedom of God – We cannot manipulate God by way of superstitions, magic formulas or what we do. God is free and will act when and wherever he chooses.

  4. The Emphasis placed on the Commandments – Obedience to the law of God does not save us. Obedience to the law of God is the way we express our gratitude to God for all he has done. A thankful life is an obedient life.

  5. The Use of our Minds in the Service of God – We serve God with our hands, feet and voices, but we also serve God with our minds, using the best thinking of which we are capable. Learning is a Christian responsibility. We should know what we believe and why we believe it.

  6. Preaching is the Focal Point of Worship – As God proclaims, “My word shall not return to me empty but shall accomplish that which I purpose.” Presbyterians believe that the Holy Spirit is especially present and at work when God’s word is read and proclaimed.

  7. The Emphasis on a Disciplined Life - Christians are to make deliberate and economic use of the gifts afforded to them by God. Nothing should be done in excess, but in moderation.

  8. Simplicity in Speech, Lifestyle, and Presentation of the Gospel – Presbyterians oppose ostentation because they believe it covers up the truth. Christians are to live and preach the Gospel in a simple and unadorned way so that people can make a conscious and responsible decision about Jesus Christ.

Presbytery Polity

 

The Presbyterian form of government is representative and connectional. Elders (Presbyters) are men and women elected by the congregation from its membership. These ruling elders serve on the session of the local church. The session makes the most of the decisions which govern the church. The session is ordinarily composed of three classes, each class ordinarily serves for a term of three years.

           

The Presbytery is the governing body of churches in a geographic regional Ministers (teaching elder) are member of presbytery and each church elects ruling elder commissioners to presbytery meetings. Presbytery not only makes decisions which govern the churches within bounds, but it also supports and assists the churches with their mission and ministry.

           

The next highest governing body is the synod which is composed of three or more adjacent presbyteries. The synod is mainly composed of representatives of presbyteries and reviews the work and mission of presbyteries.

           

The General Assembly is the national governing body which meets every two years and is composed of presbyteries’ representatives. The GA crafts position statements, votes on amendments to the constitution of the PCUSA and supports the various agencies of the denomination.

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2330 Cokesbury Road

Greenwood, SC 29649

864.229.3595

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