Essential Tenets – Introduction
In October of 2014 our board of elders approved Westminster becoming a Fellowship Community church within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) denomination. The Fellowship Community is a movement within the PCUSA that creates a supportive biblical community to meet the challenges of the
of the 21st century mainline church. As a minority voice in our secular and denominational culture the Fellowship Community seeks to provide an environment of encouragement and joy that promotes gospel-centered discipleship and mission.
Part of joining the Fellowship Community consisted of endorsing 8 Essential Tenets of the Reformed faith. Over the next 9 weeks we will be looking at those tenets via this blog.
So here we go….with a brief introduction.
Introduction to The Essential Tenets:
Presbyterians have been of two minds about essential tenets. We recognize that just as there are some central and foundational truths of the gospel affirmed by Christians everywhere, so too there are particular understandings of the gospel that define the Presbyterian and Reformed tradition. All Christians must affirm the central mysteries of the faith, and all those who are called to ordered ministries in a Presbyterian church must also affirm the essential tenets of the Reformed tradition. Recognizing the danger in reducing the truth of the gospel to propositions that demand assent, we also recognize that when the essentials become a matter primarily of individual discernment and local affirmation, they lose all power to unite us in common mission and ministry.
Essential tenets are tied to the teaching of the confessions as reliable expositions of Scripture. The essential tenets call out for explication, not as another confession, but as indispensable indicators of confessional convictions about what Scripture leads us to believe and do. Essential tenets do not replace the confessions, but rather witness to the confessions’ common core. This document is thus intended not as a new confession but as a guide to the corporate exploration of and commitment to the great themes of Scripture and to the historic Reformed confessions that set forth those themes.
The great purpose toward which each human life is drawn is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Each member of the church glorifies God by recognizing and naming His glory, which is the manifestation and revelation of His own nature. Each member of the church enjoys God by being so united with Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit as to become a participant in that divine nature, transformed from one degree of glory to another and escorted by Christ into the loving communion of the Trinity. So we confess our faith not as a matter of dispassionate intellectual assent, but rather as an act by which we give God glory and announce our membership in the body of Christ. We trust that when God’s glory is so lifted up and when His nature is thus made manifest in the life of the body, the church will be a light that draws people from every tribe and tongue and nation to be reconciled to God.
We were created for God not God for us. When we get that – we find fulfillment in this life!