STATEMENT OF FAITH

Approved by Session of Westminster Presbyterian Church
Escondido, California
December 13, 2006
 

We believe in one God, our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer who is known through self-revelation as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God the Father is holy and sovereign. Yet in his wisdom, God has dared to reveal himself to us as Father in order to make clear to us his personal nature. We do not worship an abstract concept that can be molded to fit our needs, but a personal God who freely chooses us and adopts us as his children. God created everything that exists, including men and women who are created in God's own image.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made.  Though he was one with God, he humbled himself by taking human form and became man. Through word and deed, Jesus expressed God's love for us and lived a sinless life of perfect obedience to God. One of the deepest mysteries of our faith is the fact that the culmination of Jesus' earthly mission was his death on the cross. Through his death on the cross he paid the price for our sins. After his death, God raised Jesus from the dead, thus revealing Jesus as Lord and Christ and through him offered salvation to the world.  After appearing to his disciples for a period of forty days, Jesus ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father.
  
The Holy Spirit is God's continuing presence among us. The Spirit is the Comforter, the Counselor, and the Spirit of Truth. The work of the Holy Spirit is to bring to our remembrance all that Jesus did and taught. That is, the Holy Spirit does not glorify himself, but rather, points us toward Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Through faith in Christ, and through our baptism with water, the gift of the Holy Spirit is given to each believer.  The Holy Spirit grants to us various gifts, empowers us to live the new life in Christ, ministers with and through the people of God, and draws us together as God's family.   The gifts of the Spirit are for the building up of the body of Christ.  Though the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit are essential to the life of the church, no single gift of the Spirit should be singled out as the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit or put forth as a requirement for salvation.
 
We believe that God's perfect creation has fallen through human sin. We sin when through pride we seek to put ourselves in God's place, or when through sloth or false humility we refuse to be the people whom God has called us to be. We are lost and in need of salvation which God gives to all who believe in and confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
We believe that the church has been called into being as a covenant community by Jesus Christ. Her mission is to preach forgiveness of sins and repentance, and to proclaim the good news of God's redeeming love to the whole world in word and in deed. In our current generation, as in all generations, the church is tempted to forsake her primary mission in order to conform to the needs and trends of society. For this reason, the church, as the Bride of Christ, must always look, first and foremost, to the Word of God for the primary description of her purpose and motive. The church is true to her mission when she follows the example of her head, Jesus Christ, who not only proclaimed the truth but healed the sick and fed the hungry. All the people of the church are called to this life of proclamation and service.
 
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God written, without error in all that it teaches and affirms. It is the unique, authoritative and inspired witness to Jesus Christ. Its words are conditioned by the times and cultures in which they were written so we must approach the Bible with literary and historical understanding. Yet as we seek to faithfully interpret the scriptures in the church today, we must beware of setting any other human ideology or social construct in a higher place of authority than the Word of God. Through the illumination of the Holy Spirit we approach the Bible with confidence that God will speak to us afresh as we listen to his voice.
We believe that the sacraments are a gracious gift from God instituted by Jesus Christ where through ordinary elements of bread and wine the Holy Spirit strengthens and confirms our faith. We in turn, by receiving the sacraments attest our faith before the world and bear witness to the reconciling work of Jesus Christ.   We affirm baptism in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  In baptism our cleansing from sin is exhibited and offered to us and we are received into the life of the church. In the Lord's Supper we remember the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ and are nourished in our communion with Christ and those with whom we share the sacrament.
We believe that Jesus Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead. No one knows the hour of Christ's return except God the Father, yet our faith in Christ's return gives urgency to our mission of proclamation here on earth. As faithful stewards of the gifts entrusted to us, we press on with all the saints toward the goal of the kingdom of God on Earth and in Heaven. Amen.