What Presbyterians Believe

The Presbyterian family encompasses a wide range of the Reformed tradition of Protestant Christianity. Our Book of Order and our Book of Confessions lay out our core beliefs.

In its confessions, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) gives witness to the faith of the Church catholic. The confessions express the faith of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in the recognition of canonical Scriptures and the formulation and adoption of the ecumenical creeds, notably the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds with their definitions of the mystery of the triune God and of the incarnation of the eternal Word of God in Jesus Christ.

In its confessions, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) identifies with the affirmations of the Protestant Reformation. The focus of these affirmations is the rediscovery of God’s grace in Jesus Christ as revealed in the Scriptures. The Protestant watchwords—grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone— embody principles of understanding which continue to guide and motivate the people of God in the life of faith.

In its confessions, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) expresses the faith of the Reformed tradition. Central to this tradition is the affirmation of the majesty, holiness, and providence of God who creates, sustains, rules, and redeems the world in the freedom of sovereign righteousness and love. Related to this central affirmation of God’s sovereignty are other great themes of the Reformed tradition:

  1. The election of the people of God for service as well as for salvation;
  2. Covenant life marked by a disciplined concern for order in the church according to the Word of God;
  3. A faithful stewardship that shuns ostentation and seeks proper use of the gifts of God’s creation;
  4. The recognition of the human tendency to idolatry and tyranny, which calls the people of God to work for the transformation of society by seeking justice and living in obedience to the Word of God.

Book of Order (G-2.0300 – G.2.0500a)

To learn more about Presbyterian history and beliefs, visit Presbyterian 101.