Atoka Presbyterian Church beliefs are summarized by the five pillars of the reformation known as the “Five Solas.” These are Latin phrases the reformers believed described the only things necessary for salvation.
Sola Scriptura – “By Scripture Alone”
The Bible is the only inspired and authoritative Word of God, is the only source for Christian doctrine, and is accessible to all — that is, it is clear and self-interpreting. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (ESV)
Sola Gratia – “By Grace Alone”
Salvation comes by God’s grace or “unmerited favor” only—not as something merited by the sinner. This means that salvation is an unearned gift from God. (Romans 3:23-24) 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (ESV)
Sola Fide – “By Faith Alone”
Justification for the sinner is only by faith alone, which is a gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (ESV)
Solas Christus – “By Christ Alone”
Christ Jesus is the only mediator between God and man and salvation is by none other (Acts 4:12) 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (ESV)
Sola Deo Gloria – “Glory to God Alone”
God is sovereign over all things, therefore, all glory is due to God alone, since salvation is accomplished solely through his will and action—not only the gift of the all-sufficient atonement of Jesus on the cross but also the gift of faith in that atonement, created in the heart of the believer by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 11:36) 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (ESV)
What We Believe
Essentials of Our Faith As a local body of believers we hold to a reformed understanding of theology, an evangelistic understanding of our call to reach the lost, and a missional understanding of how we are to live out this faith the Lord has given us.
As a member church of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church we hold essential beliefs. The purpose of “Essentials of Our Faith” is to define core beliefs of the Christian Faith. It expresses historic Christian beliefs common to all true believers and churches throughout the world. For further information on the Essentials of the EPC go to: www.epc.org
All Scripture is self-attesting and being Truth, requires our unreserved submission in all areas of life. The infallible Word of God, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, is a complete and unified witness to God’s redemptive acts culminating in the incarnation of the Living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible, uniquely and fully inspired by the Holy Spirit, is the supreme and final authority on all matters on which it speaks. On this sure foundation we affirm these additional Essentials of our faith:
1. We believe in one God, the sovereign Creator and Sustainer of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To Him be all honor, glory and praise forever!
2. Jesus Christ, the living Word, become flesh through His miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit and His virgin birth. He who is true God became true man united in one Person forever. He died on the cross a sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures. On the third day He arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, where, at the right hand of the Majesty on High, He now is our High Priest and Mediator.
3. The Holy Spirit has come to glorify Christ and to apply the saving work of Christ to our hearts. He convicts us of sin and draws us to the Savior. Indwelling our hearts, He gives new life to us, empowers and imparts gifts to us for service. He instructs and guides us into all truth, and seals us for the day of redemption.
4. Being estranged from God and condemned by our sinfulness, our salvation is wholly dependent upon the work of God’s free grace. God credits His righteousness to those who put their faith in Christ alone for their salvation, thereby justifies them in His sight. Only such as are born of the Holy Spirit and receive Jesus Christ become children of God and heirs of eternal life.
5. The true Church is composed of all persons who through saving faith in Jesus Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit are united together in the body of Christ. The Church finds her visible, yet imperfect, expression in local congregations where the Word of God is preached in its purity and the sacraments are administered in their integrity; where scriptural discipline is practiced, and where loving fellowship is maintained. For her perfecting, she awaits the return of her Lord.
6. Jesus Christ will come again to the earth-personally, visibly, and bodily to judge the living and the dead, and to consummate history and the eternal plan of God. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev. 22:20) 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (ESV)
7. The Lord Jesus Christ commands all believers to proclaim the Gospel throughout the world and to make disciples of all nations. Obedience to the Great Commission requires total commitment to “Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.” He calls us to a life of self—denying love and service. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10) 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (ESV)
In Essentials, Unity; In Non-Essentials, Liberty; In All Things, Charity
These Essentials are set forth in greater detail in the Westminster Confession of Faith.