Evangelical: To be evangelical is to believe that Jesus is God the Son who became flesh and lived among us and died for us. Through Jesus Christ, the Kingdom of God has been inaugurated, thereby freeing people from the guilt and power of sin through personal faith and repentance. This good news of God's love needs to be shared (ideally in relationships) with those who are alienated from God. This salvation is found in no one else. As Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father but by Me" (John 14.6). We express this priority on evangelism by stating it in our governing documents as the first "duty" of the church. This priority is evidenced by our emphasis on church planting, church revitalization, and world missions.
Presbyterian: Presbyterian describes how we organize and govern ourselves. It comes from an ancient Greek word meaning "ruled by elders." A team of trusted servant leaders (our pastors and elders elected or called by the congregation) leads the church. These leaders work together as peers in directing the life and mission of the church.
This team approach is consistent with the vital connection we see in the New Testament, where followers of Jesus Christ are connected to one another in relationships built on mutual beliefs, trust, and accountability. Just as individual Christians are connected to one another, individual congregations are connected under Christ as the Head of His Church. Because of this connection, we believe we can accomplish more for Christ and His kingdom working together than working separately.
Reformed: Reformed means that we trace our roots to Protestant Reformation, when John Calvin and others led the movement to reform the Church according to Scripture. It also means that we believe in the absolute sovereignty of God, and that the highest good is His glory. This historical and theological heritage is often expressed in the solas of the Reformation: God's grace alone is the only way to be reconciled to Him; our faith alone (which itself is a gift of God's grace to us) is the only means of receiving God's grace; Christ alone is the ground of God's saving grace; Scripture alone as the only infallible authority for belief; and God's glory alone as the ultimate purpose for our lives.
Finally, to be Reformed is to be confessional. We have one confessional standard: the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. While it is subordinate to God's Word, it helps us maintain and defend the gospel as the Bible declares it. We affirm the value and use of creeds and other confessions that are biblical and orthodox. Our "Essentials of the Faith" statement is a summary affirmation of orthodox Christianity taken from the Westminster standards.
The "Essentials of Our Faith" are:
All Scripture is self-attesting and being Truth, requires our unreserved submission in all areas of life. The infallible Word of God, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, is a complete and unified witness to God's redemptive acts culminating in the incarnation of the Living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible, uniquely and fully inspired by the Holy Spirit, is the supreme and final authority on all matters on which it speaks. On this sure foundation we affirm these Essentials:
- We believe in one God, the sovereign Creator and Sustainer of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To Him be all honor, glory and praise forever!
- Jesus Christ, the living Word, became flesh through His miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit and His virgin birth. He who is true God became true man united in one Person forever. He died on the cross a sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures. On the third day He arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, where, at the right hand of the Majesty on High, He now is our High Priest and Mediator.
- The Holy Spirit has come to glorify Christ and to apply the saving work of Christ to our hearts. He convicts us of sin and draws us to the Savior. Indwelling our hearts, He gives new life to us, empowers and imparts gifts to us for service. He instructs and guides us into all truth, and seals us for the day of redemption.
- Being estranged from God and condemned by our sinfulness, our salvation is wholly dependent upon the work of God's free grace. God credits His righteousness to those who put their faith in Christ alone for their salvation, thereby justifies them in His sight. Only such as are born of the Holy Spirit and receive Jesus Christ become children of God and heirs of eternal life.
- The true Church is composed of all persons who through saving faith in Jesus Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit are united together in the body of Christ. The Church finds her visible, yet imperfect, expression in local congregations where the Word of God is preached in its purity and the sacraments are administered in their integrity; where scriptural discipline is practiced, and where loving fellowship is maintained. For her perfecting, she awaits the return of her Lord.
- Jesus Christ will come again to the earth—personally, visibly, and bodily—to judge the living and the dead, and to consummate history and the eternal plan of God. "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).
- The Lord Jesus Christ commands all believers to proclaim the Gospel throughout the world and to make disciples of all nations. Obedience to the Great Commission requires total commitment to "Him who loved us and gave Himself for us." He calls us to a life of self-denying love and service. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). These Essentials are set forth in greater detail in the Westminster Confession of Faith.
WE EXIST TO...
By God's grace alone and to His glory alone, the First Presbyterian Church of Rome exists to worship God in His greatness and holiness with Gospel-driven passion and integrity, to know Jesus Christ in his fullness, to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and to be united together as a community of faith.
In grateful response to the privilege of knowing God and being called according to His purpose, we long to grow as faithful, fruitful followers of Jesus Christ. To this end, through joyful submission, we will emphasize and strive as a corporate body:
- to live together in authentic and loving fellowship,
- to make and mobilize disciples,
- to share the Gospel in word and action locally and around the world, and
- to serve sacrificially the community in which God has placed us.