Usually the church takes up a theological issue only when there is great controversy — a time when a lack of consensus on an issue embroils the church in an intractable debate. … About this the church must have no doubt: The doctrine of the Trinity proclaims to us the very heart of God, made known to us and to the world in the self-sacrificial love of Jesus Christ and poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. God’s creative work is expressed all around us. Were divine beings sent from heaven to earth like relay runners, one carrying on after another one finished? Early Christians found some of their oral and written traditions puzzling. God – God exists in the trinity of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.. Christ – Presbyterians believe that Christ is the Son of God, the revealer of God, and the Savior of humanity.. Holy Spirit – the presence of God in the world and in the believer.. Bible – the inspired word of God. “The doctrine has often confused the thinking of the individual Christian as much as it has clarified and strengthened it,” she observes. What do Presbyterians believe about abortion, euthanasia, violence in the media, human sexuality, and global economics? }. Even when we speak about “the Spirit,” we are using an alternative term for our generalized understanding of God. We recognize that we share much with Jews and Muslims. When we sing, “God in three Persons” in the hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy!” (the tune “Nicaea”), we might think of three performance or relationship modes of one actor or person. Consider the process involved in an experience of art: First there is the initial idea in the creator’s mind. It is the very nature of God as revealed to us in Scripture. These objections can lead to bland liturgical compromises that rob Scripture and tradition of their richness. (2 Corinthians 13:14). 1. Presbyterians believe in voting and elections to make decisions. While understandable, this impulse does not serve us well. An African Muslim once said that the main difference between his religion and Christianity was that he had several wives and one God, while Christians had one wife and several gods. It is Trinitarian in the sense that each person of the Trinity is involved in the functions of creation, redemption and sustaining us. They are products of disciplined reflection, yet are vivid and rooted in Scripture. God is indeed closer to us than our skin — the three-in-one and the one-in-three. At last the bishops took a vote on the relationship of God the Father and the Son of God–a Presbyterian-like, democratic manner of decision-making. Ultimately, however, every Presbyterian must find a personal set of beliefs through study, contemplation and worship. He had become a Christian in the hope that Christianity would help to unite his Roman government, which was disintegrating from civil wars. Don’t all people of faith worship the same God? Legend has it that when Saint Patrick told the King of Ireland about the Trinity, the king could not believe three Persons in the Godhead could exist as one. “Ruling elders are so named not because they ‘lord it over’ the congregation, but because they are chosen by the congregation to discern,” says the Presbyterian Book of Order, which guides the structure of the church. The central ring affirms monotheism. No, Presbyterians believe that Christ is spiritually present in the Lord’s Supper. Lifting up a sprig of shamrock, Saint Patrick said: “Here is a perfect leaf with three perfect parts.” The shamrock became a well-known symbol of the Holy Trinity. “And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’ ” — 1 Samuel 3:10, © 2021 Presbyterian Mission Agency   Privacy Policy | GDPR Privacy Policy | Legal Notices. Wouldn’t our lives be simpler if we didn’t have this three-fold God to explain? Be the first to answer! In fact, Presbyterians probably take more votes than any other religious group. This is quite different from seeing it as light in a light bulb or feeling it as heat from a stove. First of all, Presbyterians have always stressed that the will and action of Jesus (the Son) are the same as the will and action of God. Some Non-Subscribing Presbyterians would regard themselves as Trinitarian* while others would call themselves Unitarian**. Volunteer with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Volunteer for Elected Service at the General Assembly Level. Christians were in a dilemma as to what to believe. Who doesn't love being #1? Reflecting on the historical experiences of the early Christians, he writes: “The doctrine of the Trinity sums up the gospel by telling us that the God of grace, who was revealed through the Incarnation and Pentecost as the One who paradoxically works in us what he demands of us, is the same from all eternity and for ever more; so . Thomas Jefferson, for example, embraced Unitarianism after concluding that the doctrine of the Trinity was mathematically inane; he maintained that one plus one plus one always equals three. What is a Cumberland Presbyterian and what do they believe? (One of the participants was “Santa Claus,” from Myra, Turkey, where he was known as Bishop Nicholas. We are politically, economically, and theologically diverse. Belief in the Trinity and a closed canon are the two main markers of mainstream Christianity, held in common by Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestant churches. }. new google.translate.TranslateElement({pageLanguage: 'en'}, 'google_translate_element'); To be fair, I often hear Presbyterians talk about “following Jesus” and “listening to the Spirit.” But far rarer are references to all three persons of the Trinity in an integrated way. Misrepresentations by outsiders of the Christian doctrine of God may have arisen from the bewilderment of many church members from the first century onward. Asked by Wiki User. Baptism is an outward sign of the inward grace of God at … However, according to the Nicene formulation, there are three simultaneous expressions of the divine substance. Read 7 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Our faith always finds a particular way of being expressed and lived out in the world. The Trinity – God exists in the trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Christadelphians believe God is one indivisible unity, not three distinct persons existing in one God. Register to join beta. We cannot dispose of the Trinity any more easily than we can dispose of our confession of God as the author of life. Often the Trinity is taught in confirmation class or in Sunday school (for children and adults) more as a mathematical problem to be solved than the living reality of God. [Thus] no one should think it absurd that we should call the Father God, the Son God, the Holy Spirit God, and that these are not three gods in the Trinity, but one God and one substance.”. The longest season of the church year, Trinity begins eight weeks after Easter and continues for about half of the calendar year. But we might say: “Be comforted, for God is always with you.”. What Do Presbyterians Believe? There is, however, a distinct deficiency in comparing God to the sun or to electricity; a personal analogy is needed to point to our personal God. Be the first to answer this question. A medieval diagram often found in European cathedral windows expresses the gist of the Nicene formulation. Some think it means Presbyterians see themselves as the “elite” or “chosen” of God and so we do not care about other Christians—just ourselves. In many Presbyterian churches, elders are chosen from among the congregation or elected. Consider the several roles that an individual can play on the stage of life: In relation to our parents we are a son or a daughter; in relation to our boss or teacher we are an employee or student; in relation to our spouse we are a husband or a wife. The three terms must have an inner relationship. We have two main sources of inspiration and guidance in our faith - The Bible and Creeds and Confessions. 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