What is a Presbyterian?

“Reformata semper reformanda”
Reformed and always being reformed
(by the power of the Holy Spirit)

All that is required to be a Presbyterian is to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, to trust in his forgiveness and salvation, and to seek to follow Christ and Christ’s example for living. Anyone who can be a Christian can be a Presbyterian!

The word Presbyterian comes from “presbuteros” – Greek for “elder.” It refers to the system in apostolic times of choosing leaders from among the wisest members of the church. First Presbyterian Church of Fort Walton Beach, Florida is a Christian community of believers founded on the ideals of the Protestant Reformation and based on the concept of democratic rule under the authority of God.

Some Basic Beliefs:

God the Father: Creator of the universe.
Jesus Christ: The incarnation of God on earth; fully human and fully divine; and the Head of the church.
Holy Spirit: The presence of God in the world and in the believer.
The Church: A universal company of Christ’s followers.
The Bible: The inspired word of God.
Forgiveness of Sin: Made possible by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Life Everlasting: Shown by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
The Trinity: One God existing in 3 persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Heaven: The souls of the faithful are reunited with God in a loving relationship.
Hell: Separation from God, which may exist now as well as in the hereafter.

Two Sacraments: Baptism and The Lord’s Supper
Baptism (including Infant Baptism): The visible sign and seal that we have been united with Christ through water and the Spirit by God’s invisible grace and made members of the household of God.
The Lord’s Supper (also called Communion or Eucharist): The visible sign and seal that we continue to be united, by God’s invisible grace, with the Risen Christ and with all believers of every time and place as we share the Bread and the Cup.

(Some information from About Being a Presbyterian, a Scriptographic Booklet and The History of the Presbyterian Church, a Scriptographic Booklet. South Deerfield, MA: Channing L. Bete Co., Inc. 1983.)

Becoming a Member of the First Presbyterian Church

  • Pubic profession of faith in Jesus Christ. If not already baptized, the person making the profession of faith shall be baptized.
  • Certificate of transfer, when a person is a member of another Christian church.
  • Reaffirmation of faith for persons previously baptized in the name of the triune God and having publicly professed their faith.

G-1.0303, Book of Order, Part II of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)