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Who is God?
A good place to start is to look at Jesus who is “the image of God.”1 Or to quote Jesus,
“Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”2
What about the Trinity?
At its heart the Trinity teaches that God in his essence is not a singularity, God is a community. “In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.” 3
Who is the Father?
“The Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.”4
Who is Jesus?
“The image of the invisible God”5, fully God and fully human.6 In his life, Jesus shows us how to be perfectly human. In his death, Jesus shows us the extent of God’s love for us. In his resurrection, Jesus joins us with himself in the very heart of God.
Who is the Holy Spirit?
God present on earth, doing stuff. The Holy Spirit, fully God, works to convince us of the depth of our sin and the deeper depth of God’s love for us. As we live each day, the Holy Spirit works through every circumstance to transform us more and more into the likeness of Christ. As we call on him, the Holy Spirit empowers us to bring the kingdom of God.7
What about being filled with the Holy Spirit?8
Also known as being baptized with the Holy Spirit. This is where we call on the Father to fill us with the Holy Spirit so we are able to live in holiness as Christ’s own9, proclaim the kingdom of God10 and break through obstacles hindering the kingdom of God with supernatural manifestations.11
- 1 2 Cor. 4:4
- 2 John 14:9
- 3 Westminster Confession 6.013
- 4 The Nicene Creed 1.1
- 5 Col. 1:15
- 6 A Brief Statement of Faith. 10.2, The Nicene Creed. 1.2
- 7 Westminster Confession 6.051-54
- 8 Acts 4:8
- 9 Gal. 5:22-23
- 10 Acts 4:31
- 11 1 Cor. 12:4-11
What is Scripture?
The Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are God’s Word12, inspired by God the Holy Spirit13, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the church universal, and revealing God’s will to his people.14
What is Sin?
Sin means to miss the mark. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”15 We were created as God’s children, to reflect his glory. Anything less misses this mark. Jesus came to restore our identities marred by our innate corruption, passed down from our first parents, which makes us unable to do or even to think anything good, making us by nature objects of wrath.16
How can one be forgiven?
By confessing our sins and receiving God’s forgiveness. This confession and assurance of pardon can be done between an individual and God but is especially effective when done to another believer.17
Why did Jesus die?
Jesus died to undergo the punishment of our sin, and to overcome him that was the author of death.18
Is death the end?
Death is not the end of life. At the last day, the eternal God will “stretch out his hand on the dust, and the dead shall arise incorruptible, and in the very substance of the selfsame flesh which every man now bears, to receive according to their works, glory or punishment.19
What’s the big deal about Resurrection?
It was impossible that the sorrows of death should keep in bondage the Author of life, that our Lord Jesus crucified, dead, and buried, who descended into hell, did rise again for our justification, and the destruction of him who was the author of death.20 As Christians we are joined with Jesus in his death and in his resurrection.21 Death no longer has a grip on us.
- 12 Directory of Worship. 2nd ordination question.
- 13 II Tim. 3:16.
- 14 Westminster Confession 6.001
- 15 Rom. 3:23
- 16 2nd Helvetic Confession 5.037
- 17 James 5:16
- 18 Scots Confession 3.08.
- 19 Scots Confession 3.25
- 20 Scots Confession 3.10
- 21 Rom. 6:5
What are the sacraments?
Sacraments are external, visible symbols of an internal, invisible grace. Presbyterians recognize Baptism and Communion as sacraments. By these believers are incorporated into the body of Christ and strengthened in their faith.
What is baptism?
Baptism is the sign and seal of incorporation into Christ. In baptism, we die to what separates us from God and are raised to newness of life in Christ. Baptism signifies our being cleansed from sin, our rebirth into a living hope, our adoption into the covenant family of the Church, our resurrection and illumination in Christ.22
What is Communion?
Communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist, is a meal with God where we remember Christ’s sacrifice for us, where we take in the life of Jesus by eating and drinking of his body and blood, and where we are joined with Christians throughout the world and throughout history as one body.
What is prayer?
Prayer at its heart is simply conversation with God. We speak and we listen. Throughout the Bible we read of God’s efforts to establish a living relationship with his children. Jesus promised that his sheep would hear and recognize his voice, the Good Shepherd.23 “In prayer, through the Holy Spirit, people seek after and are found by the one true God who has been revealed in Jesus Christ. They listen and wait upon God, call God by name, remember God’s gracious acts, and offer themselves to God.”24
What is worship?
In worship we joyfully give all praise and honor, glory and power to the triune God. In worship the Spirit of God quickens in us an awareness of God’s grace, his claim on our lives and his presence in the world. In worship, we offer ourselves to God and are equipped to serve God in the world.25
What about money?
Money is not evil, the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.26 Money should be our servant not our master.27
What about angels and demons?
Angels are ministering spirits, servants of God sent from God to serve those who are to obtain salvation.28 Demons are angels who rebelled against God, enemies of all good and of the faithful.29
What about miracles?
When Jesus commissioned his disciples proclaim the kingdom of heaven, he told them to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons, just like he did30. Miracles are a show of the Spirit’s power, so that our faith might rest on human wisdom but on God’s power.31 In fact, Jesus said that all who have faith in him will do the works he did.32
- 22 Directory for Worship W-2.3000-2.3004
- 23 John 10:4
- 24 Directory for Worship W-2.1001
- 25 Directory for Worship W-1.001 & 1.1002
- 26 1 Tim. 6:10
- 27 Matt. 6:24
- 28 Heb. 1:14. 2nd Helvetic Confession. 5.033.
- 29 2nd Helvetic 5.033
- 30 Matt. 10:7-8
- 31 1 Cor. 2:4
- 32 John 14:12
What about science?
God’s redeeming work in Jesus Christ embraces the whole of man’s life; social and
cultural, economic and political, scientific and technological, individual and corporate. The Scientific method itself comes from Christians who in ages past looked for orderly principles governing nature, believing that nature was created not by chance but with a wise plan.33
Who are human beings?
All human beings are created in God’s image, male and female.34 We are made of the dust of the earth, filled with the breath of life breathed into us by God.35
What is heaven?
Those who are joined with Christ will be received into the highest heavens, where they will behold the face of God in light and glory,36 and receive the fullness of joy and refreshing which shall come from the presence of the Lord.37
What is hell?
Those who are not joined with Christ will be cast into hell, where they will remain in torments and utter darkness.38
What about reincarnation?
We live life only once. “People are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”39
What about Predestination?
Simply put, this means that we do not choose God without him first choosing us.40 It is not intended to make us wonder who is in and who is out of God’s kingdom. This doctrine is to comfort us who believe, knowing that God has chosen us before the foundation of the world.41
So what is judgment?
Jesus told us not to judge others, meaning not to proclaim anyone’s ultimate destiny.42 At the end of this age, the Father has set a day when everyone who has ever lived will be raised bodily and stand before Christ where he will judge them according to everything they did and every word they spoke in this life.43
How do I avoid this judgment?
Let Jesus be your Savior. Accept God’s gift of forgiveness provided by Jesus’ death on the cross. Then let Jesus be your Lord. Put him in charge of your life. Walk with Jesus by the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit into a life of obedience.44
- 33 Rom. 1:20. Ps 104:24. Prov. 8:22-30, God’s Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science (London: Icon Books, 2009)
- 34 Gen. 1:27
- 35 Gen 2:7
- 36 Westminster Confession 6.177
- 37 Westminster Confession 6.181, Revelation 21:1-5
- 38 Westminster Confession 6.177
- 39 Heb. 9:27
- 40 John 15:16
- 41 Eph. 1:4
- 42 Matt 7:1-2
- 43 Rev. 20:11-15
- 44 Rom. 10:9-10
What is the Church?
The Church is the temple of the living God45, the bride of Christ46, Christ’s own body47. To walk with Christ, we must be an active part of a local church.48
Why are they so many denominations?
The institutions of the people of God change and vary as their mission requires in different times and places. We can still be one in Christ even if we belong to different Christian denominations. However, when a denomination condemns another denomination, this is the Devil’s work as accuser of those who follow Christ.49
What about other religions?
While the Holy Spirit may impart truth through the many religions throughout the world, the fullness of truth has come through Jesus Christ.50 The many world religions have humans seeking God. In Jesus, God seeks us. Also, of all the great religious leaders of the world, who, besides Jesus, died to break the power of our sin?51
What should we do about social injustice?
The life, death, resurrection and promised coming of Jesus Christ has set the pattern for the church’s mission. In his life, we are to give our lives for human well-being. In his death, we are to see the face of Christ in the suffering of others. In the power of his resurrection, we are to work to renew our life in society wherever we find ourselves. In his promised coming, we are to hope in God’s victory over all wrong.52
- 45 1 Pet. 2:5
- 46 Rev 19:7
- 47 Eph. 5:23
- 48 Heb. 10:25
- 49 Rev. 12:10
- 50 Confession of 1967 9.42, John 14:6
- 51 1 Cor. 15:3
- 52 Confession of 1967 9.32