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What We Believe

'Presbyterian' refers to our form of government, in which clergy and lay members share responsibility equally.  Our understanding of the basics of Presbyterian belief is best summarized in our denomination’s most recent affirmation, "A Brief Statement of Faith," which gives voice to our convictions about who God is, who we are, and how we are to live as Christians in the world.

As a part of the Christian tradition, we believe that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their sins against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us” (2 Corinthians 5:19). We believe that through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have been set free from the power of sin and death, and have been empowered to walk in newness of life.

As a member congregation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Morningside is part of a denomination that traces its history to the Sixteenth Century and the Protestant Reformation. Our heritage, and much of what we believe, began with John Calvin (1509-1564), the architect of the Reformed Tradition. Some of Calvin’s principles remain at the core of our beliefs. These include:

  • The sovereignty of God, who created the world and who makes everyone equally in God’s image.

  • The authority of scripture, which testifies to the power and love of God, the lordship of Jesus Christ, and the constant presence of the Holy Spirit.

  • Justification by grace through faith, which proclaims that salvation through Jesus Christ is God’s generous gift to us and not the result of our own accomplishments.

  • Priesthood of all believers, which asserts that all people are called by God to proclaim the love of Christ in words and actions. This is why the Presbyterian Church at all levels is governed by a combination of ordained clergy and laypeople who share responsibility equally.

In addition to these core beliefs, many more can be found in our Book of Confessions, which includes eleven Christian and Presbyterian affirmations of faith dating from the Third Century to the Twentieth Century, and can be downloaded at this link to the PC(USA) site.

Our beliefs do not exist in a vacuum but rather compel us to active service and ministryin the world. Our Book of Order enumerates six “Great Ends of the Church,” which we at Morningside pursue:

  • The proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind

  • The shelter, nurture and spiritual fellowship of the children of God

  • The maintenance of divine worship

  • The preservation of the truth

  • The promotion of social righteousness

  • The exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world

Thus, we believe that Morningside Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the Christian Church in all times and places, exists not to glorify itself but to worship and glorify God — not to serve itself but to serve the world in Christ’s name.

As a member church in the denominational body Presbyterian Church (USA), Morningside suscribes to the aspirations expressed in A Social Creed for the Twenty-First Century, adopted in 2008 by the National Council of Churches as well as PC(USA).