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WHO WE ARE

OUR STATEMENT OF FAITH

WIPC Statement of Faith

As a congregation, we reaffirm what the church in all ages and places has proclaimed as a foundation of the Christian faith — the Apostles 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 (universal) church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

We recognize that humanity is created in the image of God, separated from God by sin, lost and in need of forgiveness. In the person of Jesus Christ and his teachings, we see the Trinity of God (the Three Personal God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) most plainly; through His atoning death on the cross and physical resurrection from the dead we receive forgiveness and eternal life. The church is the Body of Christ on Earth to spread His Kingdom, and embody His love for the world.

It is important to emphasize our commitment to two additional doctrines:

The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ

We believe God has spoken to people of the world, so that human beings know of God’s goodness and existence (Hebrews 1:1-3, Romans 1:19-21). We affirm that salvation comes by God’s grace to sin-filled people, through faith in Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12, John 14:6).

We believe Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God who became fully human in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. What made His humanity unique was that He was without sin. In perfect obedience to His Father’s will, Christ limited His power and knowledge so that He might share our human limitations. Jesus was/is the embodiment of God’s character that was conveyed in human terms (John 1:1-14; 14:9; Romans 1:2-5; I John 1:1-3). Jesus is the final word on God. He is the visible, tangible image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15-23). Our search for God, for truth, and reality ends in Christ (Philippians 2:6-11).

The Authority of Scripture

In confusing times, it is imperative to define how we make difficult decisions. We affirm that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are inspired by God and authoritative to direct the behavior of God’s people in matters of faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Psalm 119:2-4,105-106). We also affirm the primacy of the Scriptures over all other creeds, which exist to reflect the teaching and affirmations of the Scripture in certain times and situations (Isaiah 40:6-8; II Peter 1:16-21).

In everything we seek humility and reliance on God’s Spirit to guide us. God is our judge; thus our faith compels us not to pass judgment upon others, but to convey God’s Word to others and live the gospel in loving relationships, with urgency and respect for all. Like the Reformers we proclaim: in essentials, unity; in non-essentials, diversity; in all things, charity. ________________________________________

WHY A STATEMENT OF FAITH?

Christians periodically need to reaffirm what has defined Christianity since the time of the first disciples and apostles long ago. At the beginning of the 21st century, West Isle Presbyterian Church’s leadership (elders, pastor, and staff) faces four important cultural realities:

•We believe that the mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ.

•We live in a post-modern culture, where the recognition of moral absolutes and ultimate truths are no longer recognized. The authority of Biblical truths needs to be emphasized and explained in order to effectively apply to our lives.

•The increased diversity of our denomination brings a variety of perspectives, many with limited knowledge of historical, biblical Christianity.

•WIPC is a Presbyterian church (PCUSA) at a time when many denominations are theologically divided even as they decline number and relevance.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR THE STATEMENT OF FAITH

We are defined theologically by our center in Christ, not by our boundaries. Boundaries only become important when issues divide us, or are potentially inconsistent with these core beliefs. While Christians are in various stages of spiritual growth, we also ask them to step toward a biblical, God-centered worldview.

This Statement will be used as:

•Information to allow visitors to discern our core beliefs,

•Guidance for teachers and leaders, so they may affirm their accord with our core theology before teaching and setting curricula,

•An educational tool for the congregation at all ages,

•To give guidance to the staff and Session when matters of dispute come before them, so we are more consistent in our deliberations, and

•To help define our center as we interact with various denominational issues.

WIPC vows of membership and core beliefs focus on four questions:

1.Who is your Lord and Savior?

2.Do you trust Him?

3.Will you be His disciple?

4.Will you be a faithful member of this congregation?

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