Every church has a distinctive biblical and theological platform from which it carries out its purposes. Here is a look at ours.
Covenant Presbyterian is a confessional church in the sense that we have adopted a confession or creed (the Westminster Confession) as the public statement of our faith. We believe that creeds are necessary for the Church today. They provide both a public statement of Christian beliefs and a standard of doctrinal accountability for ministers and teachers. In addition to the Westminster Standards, we also affirm the great creedal confessions of the early church, the Apostles’ Creed and Nicene Creed. Our creeds are not inspired, nor do we treat them as such. But they serve as a sound summary of what we believe the Bible teaches. Historical Bill Moyers famously observed that we Americans know everything about the last twenty-four hours, not that much about the last twenty-four years, and almost nothing about the last twenty-four centuries. We believe that church history is necessary for the Church today. A healthy appreciation of church history is essential to all modern expressions of Christianity, lest we simply mimic the spirit of our age. Since the Holy Spirit has been actively involved in the Church for the last several thousand years, there is much to be learned from the past. We cannot see where to go in the twenty-first century without properly understanding where we have already been.
The word “Presbyterian” simply means that the church is led by a group of presbyter, or elders. Elders are elected from the congregation and by the congregation for service. Additionally, Covenant Presbyterian is part of a Presbyterian denomination, rather than functioning as an independent community church. We believe that the biblical pattern is for churches to remain connected to other churches. Through this, we are provided with moral and doctrinal oversight by a Body greater than ourselves, as a safeguard against the lack of accountability present today.
By calling ourselves ‘reformed’ we mean that we are consciously living in the wake of the Protestant Reformation. Under the spiritual leadership of men such as Martin Luther, John Knox, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Calvin, the Church and world were profoundly changed for the better. We believe in the Five Solas of the Reformation, that:
- Salvation is by grace alone (sola gratia);
- Salvation is through faith alone (sola fide);
- Salvation is by Christ alone (solus Christus);
- The Bible alone is the Word of God (sola Scriptura);
- To God alone be the glory (soli Deo Gloria).
We are committed to the Great Commission: the command of Jesus to disciple all the nations, teaching them to obey all that Jesus commanded, baptizing them, preaching the gospel to every creature.
We greatly appreciate Dr. Francis Schaeffer’s example of seeking to understand our present culture, intently listening to and winsomely engaging our non-believing neighbors, and treating each person as the being they are: a bearer of God’s image worth more than the entire universe.