in one God who is expressed in three different persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and who is revealed to us in the pages of the book we commonly called the Holy Bible. The Bible contains both the Hebrew or Jewish experience of God (the Old Testament), and the Christian experience of God (the New Testament).
The Old Testament tells the story of God, who created everything good; and human beings, who were to be the caretaker of all that God created. However, the story goes on to tell that the first humans were disobedient to God allowing Sin (separateness from God) to enter the world. The rest of the Old Testament is the story of God's attempt to restore a relationship with humanity through a special relationship with the Jewish people. It is the story of God's faithfulness, humanity's rebellion, and God's continuous offer of saving love.
The New Testament is the fulfillment of God's desire to establish a relationship of saving love through Jesus of Nazareth, whom we believe is the Christ which means "chosen one" (the Messiah of the Old Testament). Jesus lived a sinless life (that is, no separation from God). He was executed by the Roman government because he claimed to be King of the Jews, and this was a threat both to Rome and to the religious leaders of Judaism. While he was not separate from God (sinful), he accepted the sins of humanity in his death.
Christians believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and thus conquered human sinfulness (separateness) once and for all. Those who accept Jesus as their personal savior are reunited to God through His death and resurrection. After Jesus had been raised from the dead, this relationship with God has been sustained by the Holy Spirit which is the presence of God with us now.
Presbyterian comes from the Greek word presbyter, which literally translated means elder. It refers to the way we govern ourselves. People like you are elected by the congregation to help the pastors guide and direct the spiritual life of the congregation. They are the presbyters or the elders of the church.
Probably our diversity. Our Book of Confessions includes seven different expressions of Christian faith from eleven different periods of history. Our heritage is Scottish and Irish from the Reformation in the 16th century. However, we encompass a wide range of beliefs and opinions. Some have described us as "a thinking person's church." We move forward in the creative tension that Jesus Christ is Lord and reveals His will for our lives through our inquiry into the Bible and our dialogue with each other.
Yes. There are several. We are part of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PCUSA). We are the oldest and the largest of Presbyterian denominations, but others have split from us over matters of belief and practice.
For example, the Presbyterian Church in America, the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church are known as Presbyterian churches, but we believe differently about some key issues. Most people call us the more inclusive of the Presbyterian denominations. We believe in allowing a wide range of opinions on various issues, and we decide where God is leading us through the study of the Bible and open discussion of issues.
We would rather you be interested first in a living faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Presbyterian is simply one expression of a faith in Christ that can make a difference in your life. Becoming a Presbyterian or part of First Presbyterian Church on Orange Street simply means that these are the people and this is the place where you can live out the implications of that faith in worship and service.