At Decatur Presbyterian Church (DPC), we recognize that not everybody is going to agree with our doctrinal positions. We don’t expect that. In fact, we gladly and warmly welcome those who believe differently, or who are not yet certain of what they believe. However, just as with every other church, we have certain theological beliefs that will perhaps make us distinctive in our community.
DPC is committed to the doctrines of GRACE.
1. The Condition of Humanity
Because of the fall, we are more sinful than we could ever imagine (Jeremiah 17:9). Not only have we been credited with Adam’s sin (Romans 5:12-19), but we are also responsible for our own sin. Our nature, in its original state, not only will not choose to obey the Gospel, it is unable to do so (Romans 3:9-20, 8:5-8). We are all in this same boat – desperately in need of God’s grace.
2. The Initiative of God, the Father
Because of our inherent brokenness and sin, we need our God to pursue us, which he certainly does. Why does he do this? Because, while we are more sinful than we could ever imagine, we are also more loved than we had ever dreamed! In His grace, God takes the initiative in establishing relationship with us, reaches down, captures our heart, and invites us into a love relationship with Himself (John 6:37-39, II Thessalonians 2:13-14).
3. The Work of Jesus, the Son
God didn’t just come up with the idea of salvation. He actually provided the way of salvation through Jesus Christ (John 10:14-15, Ephesians 5:25-27). On the cross of Jesus Christ, we see the benediction of God to all who would believe: “My child, I love you and have forgiven you” (I John 4:10, Romans 5:10, Galatians 3:13). In other words, the cross was not just an act of goodwill, it was a fully effective act of redemption.
4. The Ministry of the Holy Spirit
Through the Holy Spirit, God is still in the business of transforming lives. How? By convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ and by capturing our hearts with the love and mercy of God (Ezekiel 36:25-27). The Spirit of God open our eyes to the beauty of Jesus Christ (John 6:44-45, Philippians 2:13).
5. The Promise of the Gospel
He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it (Phil. 1:6). In other words, the One who has captured your heart will never leave you or forsake you. Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, God has promised his love for you. And he will keep that promise. He will never let you go. How do I know He has embraced me? I have embraced Him. (I Corinthians 1:8-9).
DPC is committed to CATHOLIC doctrine.
By Catholic, of course, we’re not referring to the Roman Catholic Church, but to the original meaning of the term, which is “according to the whole” or “universal.” In other words, we hold to those basic teachings which have been believed by all those churches throughout history that have proclaimed historic Christianity. These teachings have been confessed in the ecumenical creeds of the early church, particularly the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed.
These are the three basic teachings of the catholic tradition:
1. The Trinity (one God in three persons of Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
2. The Incarnation (that Jesus is both God and man).
3. The Atonement (that Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead in order to save sinners).
DPC is committed to APOSTOLIC doctrine.
By “apostolic,” we are referring to those doctrines taught by the Apostles in the Scriptures and so forcefully reclaimed in the Reformation of the 16th century. By using the word "apostolic," we are also stating that we reject the downplaying of these doctrines by some 19th and 20th century “modern” critics. Specifically, we believe that the Scriptures are without error, completely trustworthy and the ultimate authority for our beliefs and our lifestyles. We believe that salvation is only by God’s grace and is received solely by faith in Christ. We believe in the historicity of the biblical miracles, of the virgin birth, and in the reality of Christ’s Second Coming.
DPC is committed to REFORMED doctrine.
We believe that God is sovereign in all things, including salvation and that the sacraments of baptism and communion not only represent God’s grace, but also seal and apply that grace to our lives. We are committed to a Presbyterian system of church government and to living out the implications of God’s radical grace in every area of life.
A complete statement of our beliefs can be found in the Westminster Confession of Faith.