Our Statement of Faith
This is what the Session of the First Presbyterian Church of Orlando, Florida, believes about the essential tenets of the Reformed faith as expressed in the Bible, in the creeds, and in the confessions of our church.
We affirm that the Holy Scriptures are the inspired Word of God, the only infallible written rule of faith and practice.(1)
We affirm that the whole of Scripture and all its parts were given to human writers by Divine inspiration and are, therefore, absolutely without error in the original documents.(2)
We affirm that the Holy Spirit bears witness to the Scriptures,(3) assuring believers of its truth(4) and its usefulness (5) toward godly living.(6)
We believe that there is but one living and true God, who is infinite, all-knowing, and perfect in all His attributes.(7) God has revealed Himself to be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,(8) deserving our worship and obedience.(9)
God the Father
We believe that God the Father orders and directs all things according to His own purpose and grace.(10) As the only absolute and omnipotent ruler in the universe, God the Father(11) is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption. He continually sustains, directs, and governs all creatures and events.(13) And He saves from sin all who come to Him in repentance through Jesus Christ.(14)
God the Son
We believe that Jesus Christ possesses all the Divine attributes(15) and is coequal with God the Father.(16) We believe that in the incarnation-God becoming man-Jesus Christ represents humanity and deity in indivisible oneness.(17) We believe that Jesus Christ was virgin born,(18) sinless,(19) and that His purpose was to redeem from sin and reconcile humankind to the Father.(20) We believe that Jesus Christ accomplished this redemption through the shedding of His blood,(21) His sacrificial death on the cross,(22) and His bodily resurrection from the grave.(23) We believe in the singular and exclusive claims of salvation through Jesus Christ(24) and that He is now ascended to the right hand of the Father, where He mediates as our Advocate and High Priest.(25) And we believe that one day Jesus Christ will return to receive the church, His body, unto Himself.(26)
God the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is coequal with the Father and the Son.(27) We affirm that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict men and women of sin.(28) We believe that the Holy Spirit is the sovereign agent in salvation, forming all believers into the body of Christ.(29) We believe that the Holy Spirit sanctifies, instructs, empowers for service, and keeps believers until the day of Jesus Christ's return.(30) And we affirm that every believer possesses the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation.(31)
Sin and Salvation
We believe that humankind was created by God in His image.(32) But, because of disobedience, men and women incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death, becoming subject to the wrath of a holy God.(33) All men and women are therefore sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine declaration.(34) Humanity's salvation is only by God's grace through faith, exclusively through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.(35) Salvation comes by no other means including human merit or good works.(36)
And we affirm that genuine repentance and regeneration through the power of the Holy Spirit is evidenced by righteous attitudes and conduct.(37) This results in the believer being increasingly conformed(38) to the image of Jesus Christ.(39)
We believe that all who put their faith in Jesus Christ immediately become members of the church universal, the body of Christ, of which He is the head.(40) By the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, all believers are adopted into God's family(41) and fully equipped for the work of ministry.(42)
As signs and seals of the covenant relationship between God and His people, we believe in the sacraments of baptism(43) and communion.(44) We believe that the community of faith-those who profess Christ as Savior and Lord-is bound together to love and serve each other.(45) And we believe in the sanctity of human life(46) and in marriage, a covenant between a man and a woman(47) who are called to live in love and fidelity-a lifelong commitment to each other, publicly witnessed and acknowledged by the community of believers.(48)
And we believe that the one supreme authority for the church is Jesus Christ.(49) We believe that the leaders in the local church-pastors and teachers,(50) elders and deacons(51)-have a biblical mandate to meet specific and rigorous qualifications.
We affirm that the purpose of the church is to glorify God through corporate worship.(52) And we believe that the church's function is the faithful instruction of the Word,(53) communicating God's saving grace to a lost and broken world, selfless charity to those in need, and fellowship.(54)
We affirm the call of every believer to discipleship through faith, character, and practice-dependence upon God's saving grace,(55) holy living,(56) and service.(57) And we believe that all who put their faith in Jesus Christ are called to serve Christ and one another with their time, their talents, and their financial resources(58) with eagerness and humility.(59)
Addendum: The Statement of Faith of First Presbyterian Church of Orlando (adopted by Session, June 27, 2003), represents the framing of a symbol of faith, subordinate to the Scriptures, Essential Tenets of the EPC, the Westminster Confession of Faith, and Constitution of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Its formation does not replace the confessional standards of the EPC nor "bind the conscience" (G-16.1) of any Church member, nor is it a supplement to the Constitutional Questions for Ordination (G-14.1E). It does provide information about the church's theological position and invites dialogue relating to matters of belief.
Statement of Faith References and Footnotes
- All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17)
- First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:20, 21)
- The Scriptures manifest themselves to be the Word of God, by their majesty and purity; by the consent of all the parts, and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God; by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto salvation. But the Spirit of God, bearing witness by and with the Scriptures in the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that they are the very word of God. (The Larger Westminster Catechism [7.113-114])
- We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God's word, which is also at work in you believers. (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
- Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalms 119:105)
- I treasure your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you. (Psalms 119:11)
- I am the LORD, and there is no other; besides me there is no god. (Isaiah 45:5a)
- We confess and acknowledge one God alone, to whom alone we must cleave, whom alone we must serve, whom only we must worship, and in whom alone we put our trust. Who is eternal, infinite, immeasurable, incomprehensible, omnipotent, invisible; one in substance and yet distinct in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. (Scots Confession [3.01])
- If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
- There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection . . . almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute, working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his own glory, most loving, gracious, merciful . . . abundant in goodness and truth. God hath all love, glory, goodness, and blessedness, in and of himself; and is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient. (Westminster Confession of Faith [6.011-012])
- "I will be your Father, and you shall be my sons and daughters," says the Lord Almighty.
(2 Corinthians 6:18)
- The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. (Psalms 103:19)
- Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of our ancestor Israel, forever and ever. Yours, O LORD, are the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might; and it is in your hand to make great and to give strength to all. (1 Chronicles 29:11, 12)
- When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law. (Galatians 4:4, 5a)
- [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers-all things have been created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:15, 16)
- Jesus said to him, "The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me." (John 14:10, 11a)
- For in [Jesus] the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily. (Colossians 2:9)
- Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means "God is with us." (Matthew 1:23)
- For our sake [God] made [Jesus] to be sin who new no sin, so that in [Jesus] we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
- So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- Under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (Hebrews 9:22)
- Just as one man's transgression led to condemnation for all, so one man's act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. (Romans 5:18)
- As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him." (Mark 16:5, 6)
- Jesus said to [Thomas], "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
- Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:17)
- As it is written, "No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)
- We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified. (Nicene Creed [1.3])
- Jesus said, "The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you." (John 14:26)
- For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-Jews or Greeks, slaves or free-and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13)
- In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13)
- You are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. (Romans 8:9)
- So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)
- For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God's anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us.
(Romans 3:25a [NLT])
- As it is written: "There is no one who is righteous, not even one; there is no one who has understanding, there is no one who seeks God." (Romans 3:10, 11)
- For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all. (1 Timothy 2:5,6)
- For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God-not the result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8, 9)
- The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25)
- Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God-what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
- Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. (Romans 8:29)
- Just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12)
- Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27)
- You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9, 10)
- Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit." (John 3:3)
- And when Jesus had given thanks, he broke [the bread] and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
(1 Corinthians 11:24-26)
- For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.
(Romans 12:4, 5)
- For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
(Psalms 139:13, 14)
- Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
- Christian marriage should be celebrated in the place where the community gathers for worship. As a service of Christian worship, the marriage service is under the direction of the minister and the supervision of the Session. The marriage ordinarily takes place in a special service which focuses upon marriage as a gift of God and as an expression of the Christian life. (Book of Order [W-4.9003])
- Now until him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. (Ephesians 3:20, 21)
- If you put these instructions before the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with profane myths and old wives' tales. Train yourself in godliness. (1 Timothy 4:6, 7)
- The saying is sure: whoever aspires to the office of elder(B) desires a noble task. Now an elder must be above reproach, married only once, temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an apt teacher, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way-for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the Devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace and the snare of the Devil. Deacons likewise must be serious, not double-tongued, not indulging in much wine, not greedy for money; they must hold fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them first be tested; then, if they prove themselves blameless, let them serve as deacons.
(1 Timothy 3:1-10)
- God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)
- And Jesus came and said to the disciples, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)
- Then the king said to his slaves, "The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet." Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. (Matthew 22:8-10)
- Without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
- Rid yourself, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation-if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Peter 2:1-3)
- No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. (John 15:13, 14)
- For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)
- If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14)
A) All scriptural quotes are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible, Copyright © 1989
B) Also "bishop"