Springfield Presbyterian Church
Monday, January 21, 2019
Where God's Love Meets Your Needs

Our Faith

Distinctives About Our Faith

by Rev. Clay Stevens

                We Are Christians. That means we believe that God is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—triune in nature. We are Trinitarian in our doctrine.

                We are part of the Reformed Tradition. The Reformation began with Martin Luther, a German monk and Bible scholar who challenged the Catholic church and its practices by declaring that God’s Word has final authority over the believer and not the church. He strongly condemned the papacy for its continual disregard of Scripture and he is credited for having started the great Protest against the Roman church.

                Key points in the Reformed faith are that God is sovereign, His word is infallible, Salvation is by grace through faith, and a saved life is a life lived in gratitude to God through obedience to God and participation in the body of Christ.

                We are Connectional. Presbyterians are joined together by covenant. Our structure look s a lot like the way the US government is set up. That is not by accident. John Witherspoon was a signer of the US Constitution and it was his suggestions that the new nation base its form of government on the already existing form used by the Presbyterians.

                Every two years we hold a General Assembly. Each of the 173 presbyteries around the nation sends two delegates to go discuss and vote on policies and changes or additions to our Book of Order (our manual for operations). Many of the controversial headlines about the denomination come out of these meetings. The two delegates are comprised of one minister and one elder chosen by and voted on by the presbytery.

                A presbytery is a geographic area binding churches in proximity with each other for fellowship and church business. We are part of the presbytery of Mid KY. It was formerly called Louisville Presbytery until Ann Taylor Waters protested that churches not in Louisville felt like we were not part of the team. The name was changed shortly thereafter. There are three presbyteries in Kentucky. Transylvania to the east; historically we were one of the first Presbyterian churches in the state and therefore one of the first churches in the presbytery of Transylvania. Later we were moved to the Louisville Presbytery but the Perryville Presbyterians are part of Transylvania still. To our west is the Presbytery of Western KY.

                We are Confessional. We are a church that celebrates a rich history of faith. We stand on the insights and convictions of those who have gone before us. The Book of Confessions is a resource and a part of our church’s constitution. The Book of Confessions contains expressions of our faith written through the centuries so that we stand with the faith of the earliest believers. The confessions guide our faith today and instruct us in matters of doctrine.

                Each church is governed by a board of elders called the Session. The word Presbyterian appears in the Bible over 70 times. The Greek word from scripture is presbyteros which means elder. So our form of government is contained in our name. Elders are elected by the congregation and serve actively for three years after which they rotate off for at least one year. This keeps the leadership responsibility spread out across the congregation. We ordain both men and women to the position of elder.

                Membership in a local congregation is by profession of faith, renewal of baptismal vows, or simply transferring a letter of membership from another Christian church.

                We recognize two sacraments in our fellowship: Baptism and Communion. A sacrament is a picture of what Christ offers to us. In Baptism we are cleansed from our sin. It is a picture of washing away our iniquity and a picture of death and resurrection. In communion we see that Christ died for us and that we are part of His body.

                Baptism is by immersion, pouring, or sprinkling. It can be for both infants (peado baptism) or for believers (creedo baptism). We honor baptism from other Christian fellowships regardless of form. Communion or the Lord’s Supper is celebrated for our atonement in the breaking of the bread and the pouring of the wine. The bread is Christ’s body broken for us and the wine is his blood shed for us. Communion is the fulfillment of the Passover feast found in Exodus.