WE ARE UNITED IN THE ESSENTIALS OF THE FAITH AND EXTEND LIBERTY IN THE NON-ESSENTIALS WHILE REMAINING CHARITABLE IN ALL THINGS
Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church, affirms and upholds the Constitution of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, which is comprised of the biblical doctrines of the Christian faith, providentially reaffirmed in the Reformation, and attested to with remarkable precision in the Westminster Standards (The Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger and Shorter Catechisms,and Subordinate Documents), adjoined by the distinctives of historic Presbyterian polity enumerated in the Book of Order.
As Presbyterians, we hold ourselves accountable to one another in matters of faith and practice. Therefore, we submit ourselves to the biblical authority of Elders (both Ruling and Teaching) in our local church, the Presbytery of the West and the General Assembly of the EPC. We also embrace The Essentials of the Faith, which entitles us to be viewed as "orthodox" in our Christian beliefs. These beliefs are as follows:
All Scripture is self-attesting and being Truth, requires our unreserved submission in all life. The infallible Word of God, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, are a complete and unified witness to God's redemptive acts culminating in the incarnation of the living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible, uniquely and fully inspired by the Holy Spirit, is the supreme and final authority on all matters on which it speaks.
On this sure foundation we affirm these additional Essentials of our faith:
- We believe in one God, the sovereign Creator and Sustainer of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three Persons: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To Him be all honor, glory and praise forever!
- In Jesus Christ, the living Word, who became flesh, being born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit. He who is true God became true man united in one Person forever. Who, by God's free grace alone, suffered and died on the cross, a perfect and sinless substitute, sufficient and efficient in His efficacious act, whereby His sacrifice is the propitiation of the sins of His people, as His righteousness alone is imputed to those of His choosing, who by divine import are enabled to be accounted justified in Him alone, by faith alone, to the Glory of God alone, so that no man may boast, as is testified of in the Holy Scriptures. He did then, on the third day, rise bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father, where He now serves righteously and with all authority, as both King and High Priest supreme.
- The Holy Spirit has come forth to glorify Christ in the application of the benefits of His salvific accomplishments. From the Spirit comes the effectual application of the benefits of redemption, by way of the divine and effectual call, bringing forth life to those of His choosing who were dead in sin, alone freeing those without hope, who were helplessly bound to sin and its constraint, without either the will or desire to turn from sin to Christ. The Spirit imparts to the elect life, leading those so enlivened to repentance, and an odious sense of their unrighteousness, made by inflamed and lively affections to love their gracious Redeemer. The Spirit, by ordinary means of the word and its declaration, instructs and guides us into all truth, so that we are made to die more and more to sin and live to Christ, having sealed us with an inseparable union to Christ, whereby His elect are assured of the coming day of their final redemption.
- Being estranged from God and condemned by our sinfulness, our salvation is wholly dependent upon the work of God's free grace. God credits Christ's righteousness to those who put their faith in Christ alone for their salvation, thereby justifying them in His sight. Only those who are born of the Holy Spirit and receive Jesus Christ become children of God and heirs of eternal life.
- The true Church is composed of all persons who through saving faith in Jesus Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit are united together in the Body of Christ.The Church is found first in her visible form is comprised of both the regenerate and unregenerate alike, within which is found the true church, an invisible number of which live by faith alone, regenerate, and enlivened in godlyy affections. Thus, the local congregation is where the visible church assembles, in order that the Word of God might be, with all profit to the soul, preached in its purity and authority, along with the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper, which are administered in their integrity, where scriptural discipline is practiced, and where loving fellowship is maintained. By the predominant use of these ordinary means comes the sanctifying, consoling, and constraining work of God's Spirit. advances the true church in the pursuit of holiness and godly affections until the return of her Lord.
- Jesus Christ will come again personally, visibly, and bodily, to righteously judge the quick and the dead, to cast them into the torments of hell forever, while ushering in His beloved and chosen bride in her eternal felicity. He shall magnify the justice and mercy of a sovereign and glorious God, while putting an end to sin, sorrow, and suffering, and death itself. so that all the elect of God are heard to cry, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).
- The Lord Jesus Christ commands all believers to proclaim the Gospel throughout the world and to make disciples of all nations. Obedience to the Great Commission requires total commitment to "Him who loved us and gave Himself for us." He calls us to a life of self-denying love and service. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10).
These Essentials are set forth in greater detail in the Westminster Confession of Faith.