Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church in Abingdon, Virginia
Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church
136 East Main Street
Abingdon, Virginia 24210

Presbyterian Church (USA)

What Presbyterian Means | How does a person become a Christian

What Presbyterian Means

"In gratitude to God, empowered by the Spirit, we strive to serve Christ in our daily tasks and to live holy and joyful lives, even as we watch for God’s new heaven and new earth, praying, ‘Come, Lord Jesus,'" from A Brief Statement of Faith Presbyterians people claimed by Christ, and caring about Christ’s mission! It is a church of an inspiring past that is pointed towards God’s great future.

Where Did We Get This Name? What does the name "Presbyterian" mean? Presbuteros is from the original language of the New Testament.  It'spronounced "prez-b00-ter-oz, which in English means "an elder."  The word refers to how we Presbyterians make decisions, which is through a group of men and women elected and called to be "elders."  These leaders can be any age these days.

Presbuteros, the Greek word meaning elder, is used 92 times in the New Testament. It provided the name for the Presbyterian family of churches, which includes the Reformed churches of the world. Both Presbyterian and Reformed are synonymous with churches that have grown out of the Calvinist Protestant tradition.

Who are We Presbyterians?

In America, the first presbytery (our gathering of churches) was organized in 1706. Through the years there has been an interesting history of growth, change and development. Today’s Presbyterian Church (USA) was created by the 1983 reunion of the two main branches of Presbyterians in America, separated since the Civil War: The Presbyterian Church in the U.S. and the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. The Presbyterian Church (USA) is distinctly a confessional and a connectional church, distinguished by the representation of elders (presbuteros) - laymen and laywomen - in its government. The church today has a membership of over two million in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, with some 20,000 ordained ministers and over 100,000 elders.

Presbyterian Church (USA)

What Do Presbyterians Believe?

We are Christians who place our hope and trust in the Triune God: Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit. The Bible is the source of our church's faith. We also have the guidance of historic Christian confessions such as the Apostle’s Creed and the Westminster Confession.  The Presbyterian Church affirms the ancient truths of Christianity and seeks to apply those foundations to daily living and the difficult issues of the contemporary world. While our church government is representative and democratic, we cherish and uphold the belief in the "priesthood of all believers." Though our church has an orderly and well-balanced constitution, the government of our entire church looks to "the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Head of the Church."

Presbyterians are Believers And Doers!

Stated clearly in our Book of Order (constitution) are the Great Ends of the Church: the proclamation of the Gospel for the salvation of humankind; the shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God; the maintenance of divine worship; the preservation of the truth; the promotion of social righteousness; and the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world." As seen in this statement, we are proud of our fine theological and biblical heritage of beliefs. Beyond mere faith, however, we are called to action and to live out our beliefs. We do mission and pursue these great ends of the church in all sorts of ways: through prayer, gifts, and a lot of personal effort so that the gospel of Jesus Christ is carried throughout the whole earth. In "good Presbyterian order," we strive to plan well for ministries and programs that serve and address the real needs of society, that bring healing to those who are wounded, and that bring justice to the oppressed.

Seal of Presbyterian Church (USA)
The Seal of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
contains the following symbolic components:

The cross, the Bible, the descending dove (symbolizing God’s Holy Spirit), the pulpit, flames in a triangular configuration (symbolizing the Spirit’s power and the Trinity), early symbol of the Christian church), and a baptismal font or a communion chalice.

Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church, Abingdon, Virginia.

How does a person become a Christian?

On the most basic level, people become Christians when they accept three things about Jesus Christ. 1..When we accept Jesus Christ as the owner of our whole life, physically and spiritually, and acknowledge the authority of Jesus in every aspect of it. In fact the most ancient Christian declaration of faith was simply "Jesus is Lord!" 2.. When we accept Jesus Christ as the only Savior of our soul. That we are forgiven of our sins and given eternal life, based not on our own good works or intentions, but on his loving sacrifice for us. 3.. When we accept a personal relationship with God, through Jesus Christ. God does not want a simple mental affirmation of truth from us. He also wants us to return to Him a portion of the love that he has lavished upon us. To get to the point of accepting these things, there are generally many contributing factors. Some of those factors can be: seeing the truths of Jesus Christ modeled in the lives of Christians, being convinced of the truth about Jesus as taught in the Bible, working through the intellectual and historical issues of truth in Christianity, and personal experiences where Jesus has intervened in our life. One of the most basic things that we must understand in order to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is to know what God has accomplished for us in Jesus. The following outline gives a good summary of what God has done. [Note: God is neither male nor female, but we have used the traditional masculine pronoun in reference to God for ease of reading] God created the universe, and He created you and me. (Genesis 1:1, Psalms 100:3) God loves us deeply. (John 3:16, 1 John 4:9) God is perfect, holy and just. He punishes evil, removing it from His presence. (Romans 1:18, 6:23a)


We were created in God's image to have a relationship with Him. (Genesis 1:27, Revelation 21:3)
b.. We rebelled and turned away from God. (Isaiah 53:6, Romans 3:23)
c.. Our disobedience (sin) has separated us from God. (Isaiah 59:2)
d.. The penalty for our sin is death (physical and spiritual). (Romans 6:23)
e.. By ourselves, we are not able to repay God or repair the relationship. (Romans3:10-18)


a.. God became a human being in the person of Jesus to restore our life and fellowship with Him. He walked the earth as a Jewish man in the first century A.D. (John 1:14, Colossians 1:19-20, Luke 3:1)
b.. Jesus Christ, who lived a life without sin, died on the cross to take the punishment for our rebellion against God. Only through his sacrifice can we be forgiven for our sins. (Isaiah 53:5-6, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 5:8)
c.. Jesus rose from the dead, in order that we also might also be raised to eternal life with God. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Romans 6:5)

My Response

a.. I must confess my sin and repent, turning away from my life of rebellion. (Matthew 4:17, Isaiah 55:7)
b.. I must believe in what God has done for me in Jesus Christ. (John 1:12)
c.. I must personally receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and accept a loving relationship with Him. (Revelation 3:20)
d.. When I begin my new relationship with Jesus Christ, I also gain a new relationship with other believers. Part of this new life means that I am baptized into the Christian community and enjoy a new level of fellowship with the "family" of God, the Church. (Acts 2:38-47, Mark 3:35)

Cost to Me

a.. Nothing! My salvation has been paid for. There is no cost to me. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
b.. Everything! I must give my life totally to Jesus Christ and desire to obey Him. (Romans 12:1-2)

Cost to God

a.. He gave His Son Jesus Christ, to be killed for my sake. (John 3:16)

Church Steeple

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