THE BIBLE - Cumberland Presbyterians
accept the Bible as the only infallible rule of faith and practice.
We believe that the Scriptures comprise the 66 books of the Old and
New Testaments, and that the best rule of interpretation of
Scripture is the comparison of Scripture with Scripture.
THE GODHEAD - We believe in the divinity of Jesus and the
Holy Spirit as well as in God the Father. These three persons make
up the Trinity.
THE CHURCH - We believe we are a part of the Church of which
Christ is the head. All believers in Christ are a part of the Church
regardless of their denominational affiliation.
SALVATION - We believe that every person needs regeneration
and must make a personal commitment of his/her life to Christ in
order to be saved. All infants, those who have not reached an ďage
of accountability,Ē and all persons who have never had the faculty
of reason are eternally secured in Christ by His grace.
PRESERVATION OF BELIEVERS - We believe that a person who is
truly regenerated will not totally fall away from a state of grace,
but will be preserved to everlasting life. Christ is as interested
in keeping us saved as he is in saving us. This does not mean that
one can "do as he/she pleases" after he/she accepts Christ, but that
person, if truly saved, will not be satisfied with less than a life
which is pleasing to Christ. We do not believe that good works will
save our souls, but that good deeds are the result of a regenerated
SANCTIFICATION - We believe that every child of God will use
every means possible to grow in grace. We do not believe that a
state of sinless perfection is possible in this life. Sanctification
does not mean sinless perfection, but it does mean a setting apart
of life for sacred use, similar to the idea of consecration.
THE LORDíS DAY - We believe that after the resurrection of
Christ the Sabbath was changed to the first day of the week -
Sunday. It is to be set aside as a day of worship, prayer, Bible
reading and study, rest, good works, and renewal for the week ahead.
THE SACRAMENTS - We believe that there are two sacraments of
the Church - Water Baptism and the LordĎs Supper. They are signs and
testimonies of Godís covenant of grace. AS circumcision and Passover
were the sacraments of the Old Testament, baptism and the Lordís
supper are the sacraments of the New Testament.
WATER BAPTISM is a sign or symbol of the baptism of the Holy
Spirit and a seal of the Covenant of Grace. Since the Holy Spirit is
always represented in the Scriptures as being poured out on the
person, its renewal and cleansing is best symbolized by pouring or
sprinkling water upon the head of the one being baptized. We believe
that infant children of Christians should be given the seal of the
Covenant just as Hebrew children were in Old Testament days. Infant
baptism is now that seal, and represents an act of faith on the part
of the parents and the Church as the child is dedicated to the Lord.
Infant baptism is not an evidence of salvation but is an evidence of
non-communicant church membership. Those who have been baptized in
infancy must make a personal acceptance of Christ and concur in the
prior act of their baptism before sharing in the full fellowship of
There is no saving power in water baptism, yet it is the duty of all
believers not previously baptized to confess Christ in this solemn
ordinance and to present their infant children for baptism.
THE LORD'S SUPPER is the second sacrament. The symbols to be
used are bread and grape juice, which remain after consecration
literal bread and juice. Since it is the Lord's Supper and not an
ordinance of a particular church, all who acknowledge Jesus as
Christ and who have faith to understand the significance of this
sacrament are invited to partake of it with us, regardless of their
MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE - We believe that although marriage is
not a sacrament of the Church, it is a very sacred institution and
should be so regarded by all people. The marriage relation should
not be dissolved for any cause not justified by the teachings of the
word of God. The question of marrying divorced people is left to the
judgment of individual pastors and churches.
THINGS TO COME - We believe that the bodies of men after
death return to dust; but their spirits return to God who gave them.
The spirits of the righteous are received into heaven, and the
spirits of the wicked are cast into hell. The Scriptures speak of no
other place for departed spirits. We believe that God has appointed
a time for the resurrection of the just and the unjust when he will
judge the world in righteousness by Christ. Our Church has no
statement in its doctrines concerning the Second Coming of Christ or
the Millennium. Individual members hold various ideas on this
CHURCH ATTENDANCE - We believe that Christians should take
advantage of the opportunities provided for regular worship in the
church. Church attendance is given special emphasis in the vows
taken by the members because it is regarded as a means of spiritual
growth as well as a means of Christian witness.
FORM OF GOVERNMENT- Individual congregations are governed by
ruling elders who are members elected by the people and teaching
elders (ministers) who are called by the individual church itself.
These two make up the governing board called the Session. Each
congregation, through its elders, calls its pastor. Ministers and
church elders of an area are formed into presbyteries. Ministers are
received and ordained by presbyteries. Standards for ordination are
established by the General Assembly and include educational
requirements of a college education and a degree from a graduate
school of theology or the successful completion of the Program of
Alternative Studies as approved by our General Assembly. Ministers
are given authority to receive members by profession of faith and
baptism, conduct communion, and officiate at the marriage ceremony.
Ruling elders may receive members by letter and conduct communion in
the absence of their pastor.
The official statement of doctrine of the Cumberland Presbyterian
Church is called
THE CONFESSION OF FAITH, which the reader is invited to consult
for a more complete statement and the Scriptural supporting texts.
The above statements are partly in the words of THE CONFESSION OF
FAITH and are in part an interpretation of it.