WHAT PRESBYTERIANS BELIEVE
A Starting Place
by Rev. Trey Hammond
Theology, our thinking about God, is important. Theology is not so much about doctrine (assertions about God that can easily become too far-reaching and dogmatic); theology is more about entering into the mystery of the divine and trying to find words and images to express our experience of God - humbly and haltingly. In general, the theology of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is progressive, inclusive, life affirming, world engaging, justice seeking, compassion centered, God directed, Christ embodied, and Spirit driven. At La Mesa, we have embraced many of the theological insights of modern Celtic theology, with its poetic, musical, and liturgical expressions of encountering the divine. Those encounters are known as "thin places." We have also embraced practices and ways of thinking about God and creation that come from the rich and varied spiritual practices of Native peoples.
Below you will find portions of a treatise entitled A Declaration of Faith, which is a modern, systematic statement of the overarching beliefs of the Presbyterian Church (USA). It was formulated in the late 1970's, so it is a document of its time, but it still is lively theology . The sections below focus on God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Bible. The gist of its theology shines through in this assertion under Jesus is Our Living Lord.
"We declare that Jesus is Lord. His resurrection is a decisive victory over the powers that deform and destroy human life. His lordship is hidden. The world appears to be dominated by people and systems that do not acknowledge his rule. But his lordship is real. It demands our loyalty and sets us free from the fear of all lesser lords who threaten us. We maintain that ultimate sovereignty now belongs to Jesus Christ in every sphere of life. Jesus is Lord. He has been Lord from the beginning. He will be Lord at the end. Even now he is Lord."