What We Believe


Like other Christians, Presbyterians believe in:

God

:    Father and Creator of the universe

Jesus Christ

:    The incarnation of God and Saviour of the world

Holy Spirit

:    The presence of God in the world and in the believer

The Church

:    A universal fellowship of Christ’s followers

Forgiveness of sin

:    Made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus

Life everlasting

:    Promised by Jesus to all who believe in Him

Bible

:    The inspired Word of God

Sacraments

:    God’s means of grace. Presbyterians accept two sacraments only, baptism and holy communion.


Apostle Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the Communion of Saints, the Forgiveness of sins; the Resurrection of the body; and the Life everlasting.  Amen


Sacraments

As a Reformed Church, we celebrate two sacraments, the Lord’s Supper and Baptism.

Lord’s Supper / Holy Communion

The Lord’s Supper is the sacrament of communion with the risen Christ. Jesus instituted it as a fourfold act of taking, giving thanks, breaking, and sharing bread and wine that signify his body and blood. Just as baptism is normally in the face of the congregation, so the Lord’s Supper is normally a communal meal. Only those who know they are unworthy of the Supper, grieve for their sins and humbly trust in God’s promise of grace are ready for it. Those who eat and drink in unbelief, how­ever, dishonour the death of Christ to their own condemnation.

The Supper commemorates and proclaims Christ’s death and resurrection in the past as the ground of our salvation. But at it the exalted and living Lord himself is truly present, presiding at his Table in the power of his crucifixion and resurrection. In the act of Holy Communion, through the Spirit, he feeds us with his very body and blood, so that he lives in us and we in him. In this way he confirms and renews his covenant with us and assures us that he died for our sins and will raise us from death to live with him for ever.
For with Christ we receive the benefits of his death and resurrection: the forgiveness of our sins, the joy of mystical communion with him, and reconciliation and union with one another in the one body of Christ. All should therefore come to the Table at peace with one another. Through this sacrament Christ empowers us to overcome the temptations we face in this age, renews us to share his mission in the world and gives us a foretaste of the messianic banquet in the age to come.

By their material elements the sacraments remind us of the bodily nature of the incarnation, assure us tangibly of our salvation and bring home that the good news is not just a matter of words but a reality to be known and lived out in this world. The sharing of the bread reminds us both of our unity in Christ and of Christ’s command to share our bread with the hungry as we would with him.

The Lord’s Day in particular is ordained for corporate worship and the celebration of Holy Communion, as a time to delight in God, because on this day the Lord rose from the dead, made himself known to his followers and ate with them. The Supper is the centre and crown of the Church’s worship. In faithfulness to Christ’s example and the apostolic practice in Scripture, it should be celebrated regularly and frequently. Participation in the Lord’s Supper is open to all members of the holy catholic Church, including baptised children.

Baptised children whose parents are participating members of the congregation are able to participate in the Lord’s Supper with the accompaniment and under the guidance of their parents. It is the duty of the Session to ensure that parents are aware of their responsibility to lead their children into regular and meaningful participation in the Lord’s Supper.

The Meaning and Challenge of Baptism
What is Baptism? Is it a special way of showing gratitude to God for the gift of a child? A special way of asking God to bless your child? Is it some-thing more than this? Why do parents make a public confession of their faith when their child is baptised? Why in the Church rather than at home?


Baptism in the Old Testament We see the Israelites washing with water as a religious act, especially before worship, and the prophets and Psalms use washing with water as a metaphor for cleansing from sin (Isaiah 1: 16;

Psalm 61: 7). We see this symbolic cleansing from sin even in the time of Jesus (John 11:55; Acts 21:24, 26). This symbolic washing was also used when gentiles converted to the Jewish faith, and the whole family had to be baptised to wash away their pagan uncleanness. This baptism symbolised God's relationship with Israel, begun with Abraham, and had to do with turning away from sin and turning towards God. This was the core message preached by John the Baptist (Luke 3:1-9).

Baptism into the Church Jesus and his disciples also baptised people into a relationship with God (John 3:22-26) and on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38-41) Peter called people to repent of their sins and be baptised in the name of Jesus. In this Christian Baptism, through our faith, we are united to Jesus as our Saviour and Lord and become part of His Church. The Apostle Paul sees this as our dying to an old life and beginning a new life in Christ (Romans 6:1-11; Colossians 2:12-13). While it is true that Christian baptism was originally by immersion in a pool, there is clear evidence that the Apostles also poured water over people if necessary (Acts 16: 33). Water is the symbol of cleansing, and the amount of water used is not important!

Children and Baptism How can we baptise children who cannot understand faith and sin? Many Christian groups will only baptise adults because they cannot find an explicit instance in the New Testament of a child being baptised … but it is not that simple! There are a number of instances where whole households were baptised on the basis of the faith of the parents (Acts 10:47-48; 16:15, 33-34; 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:16; Acts 2:38-39)

God's gift of life in Christ is not only for the individual, but also for the family unit and the Church as a group of people in relationship with Him. Minor children, under the authority of their parents and because of the faith of their parents, are included in that relationship as symbolised by baptism!


Children and Sin How can the symbolism of cleansing from sin apply to a baby? We need to get away from 'event' thinking and see baptism as the start of a journey which lasts our whole life! It is a journey which includes many events, also the adult experience of turning away from my sin and submitting myself to Jesus.
BAPTISM IS THE START OF A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, BASED ON HIS LOVE