Presbyterians are distinctive for their Reformed theology including:
Presbyterian church government is representative, rather than congregational or episcopal. There are no bishops or priests. Leadership is found in members who are called by God and the church as elders. There is equality among elders and Ministers of the Word and Sacrament. Our authority is the Bible. The Book of Order and Book of Confessions together make up the Constitution of the PCUSA.
Sovereignty of God
Presbyterians affirm the majesty, holiness, and providence of God who creates, sustains, rules, and redeems the world in the freedom of sovereign righteousness and love.
Presbyterians affirm Scripture alone as authoritative for the faith and practice of the Christian, and consider the Bible to be complete, authoritative and true. “All Scripture is ‘God breathed’ (given of inspiration of God) and is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness…” 2 Timothy 3:16
Presbyterians affirm the election of the people of God, according to God’s sovereign will, for service as well as for salvation. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:7-10
Covenant life is marked by life in community and for order in the church according to the Word of God.
Priesthood of all Believers
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” I Peter 2:9-10. The priesthood of all believers is a cornerstone of Reformed theology which should change how we live our lives each and every day, including how we pursue our daily vocations.
Presbyterians maintain Baptism and the Lord’s Supper as sacraments.
With regard to infant baptism, we understand the Bible declares that God claimed humanity as God’s own “before the foundation of the world,” (Ephesians 1:4), and that both Believers and their children are included in God’s covenant love.
The PCUSA recognizes the gifts of women in ministry and has ordained women as elders since 1930, and as Ministers of Word and Sacrament since 1956.