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What do we believe at McIlwain?

God has been gracious to McIlwain Presbyterian Church—for over 100 years he has kept our leadership faithful to his holy and inerrant Word and true to the Reformed faith. We affirm the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms as subordinate to but reflecting the doctrines of Scripture. In summary, we believe:

About the Bible, God, and Man

  • The Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit and inerrant in all that it affirms in matters of faith, history, and science. As God's Word, it contains all we need for life and Godliness, and is authoritative over the Church.
  • There is only one God, yet three persons in the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As creator and sustainer of the universe, God is the absolute Sovereign.
  • Jesus Christ, the second person of the Godhead, is fully God and fully man, the Messiah of the Old Testament prophecies. 
  • The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, regenerates, indwells, and sanctifies God's people, leading and teaching them in the truth of God's Word.
  • All men and women are created in God's image, a truth which establishes the sanctity of human life.
  • All of mankind are sinners, spiritually dead because of Adam's sin, and are unable to respond to God by their own initiative.

About Salvation and the Christian Life:

  • Salvation is by God’s grace alone, through none of man's efforts.
  • We are justified by faith alone in the sacrificial atonement of Jesus Christ alone.
  • Although we contribute nothing to our salvation, the reality of our being born again is manifested by the fruit of good works 
  • The Holy Spirit regenerates and fully indwells all believers once forever at salvation, and bears fruit in their lives as they are continually sanctified by God's grace.

About the Church

  • The Lord Jesus Christ himself established the Church as his representative body on earth, equipping it to be the believer's source of fellowship, growth and service.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ is to be humbly governed by elders. “Presbyterian” comes from the Greek word presbuteros, which is translated in Scripture as “elder”. The apostle Paul appointed elders in each church he planted (Acts 14:23).
  • God calls elders to the work of oversight (Acts 20:28), equipping them to shepherd God's people through instruction in His Word, encouragement, and discipline.
  • Through the elders’ faithful pastoring God nurtures and leads His Church into mature worship, selfless work, and effective witness (Ephesians 4:11-16)
  • God gives spiritual gifts to every individual member of the local Church, so that, as the manifestation of the body of Christ, the church grows in interdependency in its work and maturity (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-12).

About Outreach and Culture

  • God chooses his elect before the foundation of the world (Rom. 8:29, 30; Ephesians 1:4, 85), but he uses the means of evangelism to draw his waiting elect to himself (Rom. 10:14, 15). Therefore, a failure to engage in evangelism is not only direct disobedience, it is also ultimately disbelief in election (Matt. 9:37).
  • God calls his redeemed people to be light in our dark world, declaring his “excellencies” (1 Peter 2:9), not hiding ourselves from the world but demonstrating to that world the truth of who he is by the fruit of good works (Matt. 5:15, 16).
  • God has made the church to be “the salt of the world,” which means she is to have a preserving and flavoring influence in the culture (Matt. 5:13). Believers should therefore be engaged in every area of life—common and skilled labor, academics, economics, politics, the arts and entertainment, doing everything they do with excellence and as unto the Lord (Eccl. 9:10; 1 Cor. 10:31).
  • God has called believers to be in the world but not of the world (John 17:14, 15; 1 Corinthians 5:9), engaging individuals and influencing institutions with the truth of the Gospel and the claims of Christ.
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