What Do We Believe?

The following are statements of belief that have been formed and established as Essential Tenets for our denomination, A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO). They are taken from the reformed tradition, and guide us in our teaching, learning, and sharing of the Gospel.

At Bethel, We Believe:

  • Sovereignty of God
We believe that God is King and Lord of all. He is the Almighty.  He reigns supreme over all creation, providence, redemption, and judgement.  Nothing happens without God’s willing it to happen (past, present, and future).  Nothing is a surprise to Him.
  • The Scriptures as the Word of God
The written Word grants us the treasurers of Godly wisdom and knowledge, proclaims the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, and graciously teaches all that is necessary for faith and life. We glorify God by recognizing and receiving His authoritative self-revelation, both in the infallible Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and also in the incarnation of God the Son—the Word made flesh.
  • The Trinity
With Christians everywhere, we worship the only true God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—who is both one essence and three persons. The three persons are consubstantial with one another, being both coeternal, and coequal, such that there are not three gods, nor are there three parts of God, but rather three persons within the one Godhead.  The Son is eternally begotten from the Father, and the Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son.  All three persons are worthy of worship and praise.
  • The Incarnation
We believe that Jesus Christ is both truly God and truly human. As to His divinity, He is the Son, the second person of the Trinity, being of one substance with the Father; as to His humanity, He is like us in every way but sin, of one substance with us, like us in having both a human soul and a human body.  He is eternally begotten of the Father; He is born of the virgin Mary, conceived by the Holy Spirit.  In His divinity, His glory fills heaven and earth; in His humanity, His glory is shown in the form of a suffering servant, most clearly when He is lifted up on the cross in our place.
  • God’s Grace in Jesus Christ
We believe that we all have fallen short of God’s standard of righteousness and goodness, and that we all need the saving grace and forgiveness for our sins that comes from faith in Jesus alone. No part of human life is untouched by sin, and therefore, a remedy is needed.  This is found in Jesus Christ, who took on the punishment for our sins, and through our union with Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are brought into right relation with the Father, who receives us as His adopted children.  Grace is the gift of forgiveness we don’t deserve, and could not obtain on our own.
  • Election for Salvation and Service
We believe that the call of God to the individual Christian is not merely an invitation that each person may accept or reject by his or her own free will. Having lost true freedom of will in the fall, we are incapable of turning toward God of our own volition.  God chooses us for Himself in grace before the foundation of the world, not because of any merit on our part, but only because of His love and mercy.  He also gathers His covenant community to be an instrument of His saving purpose.  The Holy Spirit grants us faith and enables holiness, so that we may be witnesses of God’s gracious presence to those who are lost.
  • Covenant Life in the Church
We believe that in Christ, we are adopted into the family of God and find our new identity as brothers and sisters of one another, since we now share one Father. Our faith requires our active participating in that covenant community.  Within the covenant community of the church, God’s grace is extended through the preaching of the Word, the administration of the Sacraments, and the faithful practice of mutual discipline.
  • Faithful Stewardship of all Life
We believe that the ministries of the church reflect the three-fold office of Christ as prophet, priest, and king—reflected in the church’s ordered ministries of teaching elders, deacons, and ruling elders. We affirm that men and women alike are called to all the ministries of the Church, and that every member is called to share in all of Christ’s offices within the world beyond the church.  Jesus teaches us that we also are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind.  There is no part of human life that is off limits to the sanctifying claims of God, which brings all of our affections under His authority, and where we are cleansed and purified in order to love God and others properly.
  • Living in Obedience
We believe that progress in holiness is an expected response of gratitude to the grace of God, which is initiated, sustained, and fulfilled by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus Christ, we see the perfect expression of God’s holy will for human beings offered to God in our place.  His holy life must now become our holy life.  In Christ, God’s will is now written on our hearts, and we look forward to the day when we will be so confirmed in holiness that we will no longer be able to sin.  Jesus leads us along the path of life toward that goal, bringing us into ever deeper intimacy with the Triune God, in whose presence is fullness of joy.