We Are Biblical, Creedal, & Confessional
We believe that the Bible, contained in the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, is the inspired, inerrant, infallible, living, and all-sufficient Word of God. By the sovereign power of the Holy Spirit, God’s Word is the primary means by which the elect are united to the risen Christ and thereafter, in Him, nourished unto eternal life. The Bible alone is the sole rule for our faith and practice. What we believe about the Bible, however, is contained in the subordinate standards of the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms (1646). These documents, though not infallible, are a sound and reliable interpretation of biblical doctrine and a faithful expression of the historic Christian faith. In addition, we believe and confess the following Creeds: Apostles', Nicene, Chalcedonian, and Athanasian.
Being Creedal & Confessional means that we are not trying to reinvent Christian teaching. Rather, we believe that God's truth has always been God's truth for all peoples in all ages. While there have been periods, movements, and individuals where the teaching has not been biblical, we believe that on the whole the orthodox Creeds and Reformed Confessions have been duly tested to be an accurate summary of God's Word. That means that these are the truths that we seek to minister to our people. We do not merely use them as boundaries but we positively use them to build up a people for Christ.
We Are Presbyterian
We believe that the Bible teaches a Presbyterian form of church government. The word Presbyterian is derived from the Greek word for elder (presbuteros). The Scriptures not only gave explicit direction for the appointment of a plurality of elders in every church (i.e., Titus 1:5; Acts 20:17), but, in addition, provided clear qualifications for the office of elder (I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). We understand the office of elder to be divided into two distinctive roles, that of ruling elder and teaching elder or pastor (I Timothy 5:17). Both ruling and teaching elders are responsible to provide loving and encouraging spiritual oversight for every member of the flock (I Peter 5:1-3). However, the teaching elder or pastor is called, in particular, to “work hard at preaching and teaching” (I Timothy 5:17).
Along with the ordained office of elder is the ordained office of deacon. This office also has clear qualifications (Acts 6:1-7; I Timothy 3:8-13). Deacons are also to receive the laying on of hands (Acts 6:6). They are to labor in caring for people who are in need, sick, friendless, and any who are in distress.
Under a Presbyterian or representative form of government, members of the local church are accountable to their session of elders, sessions are accountable to their local presbytery, and presbyteries are accountable to the General Assembly (Acts 15). In a day when moral and doctrinal oversight and accountability is rare in the church, God’s prescribed form of shepherding His people exalts His divine wisdom and care. The Apostle Paul charged the Ephesian elders to “pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).
In our Presbyterian church government, our session is held accountable by the Presbytery (our particular Presbytery is the Hills & Plains Presbytery which makes up all of Oklahoma, Northwest Arkansas, and Southwest Missouri). The Presbytery also is held accountable by the General Assembly (i.e. the entire denomination). When done well this form of government provides great shepherding for the people and the officers.
We Are Reformed
We refer to ourselves as Reformed because our church and denomination (PCA) are confessionally and historically rooted in the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation. To be Reformed does not mean that we are only part of something that has existed for the past 500 years. Under the spiritual leadership of men such as Martin Luther, John Knox, William Tyndale, Heinrich Bullinger, and John Calvin, who sought to reform the church by bringing it back to the foundations of biblical Christianity, hundreds of thousands of people from all across Europe broke away from the doctrinal errors and moral corruptions of the Roman Catholic Church. We like to say that we are "catholic" (i.e. to be Creedal) but we are not "Roman". The Reformers' teachings were summarized in what is popularly known as the "Five Solas". They are: 1. Salvation is by grace alone (sola gratia); 2. Salvation is through faith alone (sola fide); 3. Salvation is in Christ alone (solus Christus); 4. The Bible alone is the Word of God (sola Scriptura); and 5. To God alone be the glory (soli Deo gloria).
We are Reformed because we hold a high view of the work of called, trained, and ordained leadership in the life of the local church. As the ordained leadership shepherd and feed the flock through spiritual oversight, discipline, doctrine, preaching, prayer, and the right administration of the sacraments (baptism and the Lord’s Supper), God promises to bless His redeemed children with growth in grace.
Our Biblical, Confessional, Presbyterian, and Reformed beliefs are meant to unite, not divide, Christians under the banner of a robust, loving, gracious, humble, warm-hearted, pious, repentant, Christ-centered, Spirit-filled, God-exalting, kingdom-advancing body of believers. We believe in a warm and positive expression of the Reformed Faith, that is, one that promotes and defends sound doctrine while at the same time exhibits sincere love, joy, humility, patience, and kindness.