June 27, 2017

Beliefs

West Charlotte Church is committed to historic Christianity as summarized in the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed as the basic statements of Christian belief, the Lord’s Prayer as the basic form of Christian worship, and the Ten Commandments as the basic summary of Christian life. If you would like to read these basic summaries of Christian belief, worship, and life, you can find them below.

We are a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), and our beliefs are summarized in the Westminster Confession of Faith, Larger Catechism (Questions 1-115, Questions 116-196) and Shorter Catechism. Our form of government is contained in the PCA Book of Church Order.


Basic Christian Belief

The Apostles’ Creed

The words of the Apostles’ Creed find their roots in the writings of church leaders during the second century. An early version of the creed was being used by the 400s and the text as we know it today was in use by the early 700s. For hundreds of years it has served the Christian church as a basic summary of the faith, especially in the western church where it is believed by both Roman Catholics and most Protestants.

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and Earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

Amen.

The Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed is the most widely accepted summary of basic Christian beliefs and is believed by all the major Christian traditions (Roman Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, and most Protestants). It takes its name from the Council of Nicea in 325, which approved the earliest version of the creed. The text as we know it today includes a few additions made at later councils during the centuries that followed.

We believe in one God, The Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

Amen.


Basic Christian Worship

The Lord’s Prayer

When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, he gave them the Lord’s Prayer as a model, saying “pray then like this” (Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4). As a result, Christians throughout the centuries have used the Lord’s Prayer as a model for both personal and corporate worship.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.


Basic Christian Life:

The Ten Commandments (also known as the Decalogue, “Ten Words”)

At the most basic level, the Ten Commandments teach us to love God and to love others. Just as Jesus summarized the whole law in two commands, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:30), the Ten Commandments follow the same pattern. Commandments 1-4 teach us to love God (the “first table”), and Commandments 5-10 teach us to love others (the “second table”).

First Word or Commandment: And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:1-3, ESV)

Second Word or Commandment: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:4-6, ESV)

Third Word or Commandment: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. (Exodus 20:7, ESV)

Fourth Word or Commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11, ESV)

Fifth Word or Commandment: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12, ESV)

Sixth Word or Commandment: “You shall not murder. (Exodus 20:13, ESV)

Seventh Word or Commandment: “You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14, ESV)

Eighth Word or Commandment: “You shall not steal. (Exodus 20:15, ESV)

Ninth Word or Commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Exodus 20:16, ESV)

Tenth Word or Commandment: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s. (Exodus 20:17, ESV)