Our Beliefs

We believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, authoritative Word of God and it is therefore our ultimate authority for faith (what we believe) and practice (how we are to live, worship, witness, etc.).

Our church’s statement of faith is expressed in the Reformed Confessions of the 16th-17th Century Protestant Reformation, namely the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Westminster Larger & Shorter Catechisms. We believe that these Westminster Standards faithfully & accurately teach the system of doctrine found in God’s Word.

Also, as a member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, Keystone Heights Presbyterian Church also affirms the following statements:  The Cambridge Declaration and the Chicago Statement on Biblical Innerancy.

 

The Solas of the Protestant Reformation

Sola Scriptura– The Bible is the sole written divine revelation, our only infallible rule for faith and life, and alone can bind the conscience of believers absolutely (Matt. 4:4; 2 Tim. 3:16).

Sola Fide– Justification is by faith alone. By God’s free grace, the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to us by faith and is the sole ground of our acceptance by God, by which our sins are pardoned (Rom. 5:1; Gal 2:16).

Solus Christus– Jesus Christ is the only mediator through Whose work we are redeemed (John 14:6; John 3:16).

Sola Gratia– Our salvation rests solely on the work of God’s grace for us (Rom. 2:4; Eph. 2:8-10).

Soli Deo Gloria– Salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, therefore to God alone belongs the glory (Isa. 42:8; Col. 3:17).

 

The Marks of the Church

The Church consists of all those individuals whom God has saved throughout the world. The marks of the Church in her individual congregations are those defining characteristics of the body of Christ throughout history. These marks are, especially, the right preaching of God’s Word and the faithful declaration of the Gospel, the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, the discipline of her members, and her submission to Christ as her only true and rightful head (1 Tim. 3:13; Matt. 28:19; 16:19; 1 Cor. 11:24-26).

 

TULIP

As a Reformed church, we affirm the historic “Five Points Of Calvinism“. These five categories do not comprise Reformed theology in totality. They simply represent some of its main points.

These five points include:

T – total depravity
U – unconditional election
L – limited atonement
I – irresistible grace
P – perseverance of the saints

*Total Depravity: Sin has affected all parts of man. The heart, emotions, will, mind, and body are all affected by sin. We are completely sinful. We are not as sinful as we could be, but we are completely affected by sin.

The doctrine of Total Depravity is derived from scriptures that reveal human character: Man’s heart is evil (Mark 7:21-23) and sick (Jer. 17:9). Man is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:20). He does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12). He cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). He is at enmity with God (Eph. 2:15). And, is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3). The Reformed Christian asks the question, “In light of the scriptures that declare man’s true nature as being utterly lost and incapable, how is it possible for anyone to choose or desire God?” The answer is, “He cannot. Therefore God must predestine.”

Reformed theology also maintains that because of our fallen nature we are born again not by our own will but God’s will (John 1:12-13); God grants that we believe (Phil. 1:29); faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29); God appoints people to believe (Acts 13:48); and God predestines (Eph. 1:1-11; Rom. 8:29; 9:9-23).

Unconditional Election: God does not base His election on anything He sees in the individual. He chooses the elect according to the kind intention of His will (Eph. 1:4-8; Rom. 9:11) without any consideration of merit within the individual. Nor does God look into the future to see who would pick Him. Also, as some are elected into salvation, others are not (Rom. 9:15, 21).

Limited Atonement: Jesus died only for the elect. Though Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for all, it was not effective for all. Jesus only bore the sins of the elect. Support for this position is drawn from such scriptures as Matt. 26:28 where Jesus died for ‘many‘; John 10:11, 15 which say that Jesus died for the sheep (not the goats, per Matt. 25:32-33); John 17:9 where Jesus in prayer interceded for the ones given Him, not those of the entire world; Acts 20:28 and Eph. 5:25-27 which state that the Church was purchased by Christ, not all people; and Isaiah 53:12 which is a prophecy of Jesus’ crucifixion where he would bore the sins of many (not all).

Irresistible Grace: When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist. God offers to all people the gospel message. This is called the external call. But to the elect, God extends an internal call and it cannot be resisted. This call is by the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts and minds of the elect to bring them to repentance and regeneration whereby they willingly and freely come to God. Some of the verses used in support of this teaching are Romans 9:16 where it says that “it is not of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy“; Philippians 2:12-13 where God is said to be the one working salvation in the individual; John 6:28-29 where faith is declared to be the work of God; Acts 13:48 where God appoints people to believe; and John 1:12-13 where being born again is not by man’s will, but by God’s.  “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out,” (John 6:37).

Perseverance of the Saints: You cannot lose your salvation. Because the Father has elected, the Son has redeemed, and the Holy Spirit has applied salvation, those thus saved are eternally secure. They are eternally secure in Christ. Some of the verses for this position are John 10:27-28 where Jesus said His sheep will never perish; John 6:47 where salvation is described as everlasting life; Romans 8:1 where it is said we have passed out of judgment; 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God promises to never let us be tempted beyond what we can handle; and Phil. 1:6 where God is the one being faithful to perfect us until the day of Jesus’ return.

Elders

Our form of government is presbyterian in nature; or, in other words, our church is governed by elders. Presbyterian comes from the Greek word meaning, simply, “elder.” Paul emphasized a plurality of elders in the early church (Titus 1:5; Acts 20:17). An elder is a biblically qualified man who has been nominated, trained, examined, and ordained to oversee the affairs of the church. The Bible gives explicit qualifications for such men (1 Tim. 3:1-7).

Deacons

A deacon is a biblically qualified man who has been nominated, trained, examined, and ordained to minister to the physical needs of the church. Deacon means, literally, “one who waits on tables.” The Apostles appointed the first deacons so that the Apostles could better attend to prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6). The Bible gives explicit qualifications for deacons (1 Tim. 3:8-13).

 

*The descriptions given on T.U.L.I.P. are copyrighted by Matthew J. Slick, B.A., M. Div., 2012