Trinity belongs to the Presbyterian Church (USA), which is part of the Reformed tradition. In many ways, this tradition is like a big umbrella affording all kinds of room for all sorts of people and perspectives. So please note that not everybody has to agree on everything (in fact, it’s rare that you’ll find unanimity about anything in a community our size). But here’s an abridged glance of what our tradition holds dear.
Trinity: Is it Mysterious? Yes! Confusing? You bet! One of the most confounding doctrines of the Christian tradition is the belief in a Triune God – a God who is three in one. The three persons of the one, singular God, as revealed in Scripture, are:
- Creator (God the Father) – God the Creator not only created the world, but rules over it with truth and grace.
- Redeemer (God the Son) – Jesus Christ, God incarnate (or God in the flesh) who was fully human and fully divine. Christ came to reveal the fullness of God’s love for creation, and to show humanity how to live in and out of this love.
- Sustainer (God the Spirit) – The Holy Spirit is the very presence of God alive and at work in the world and in us, empowering us to use the blessings of God to be a blessing for God.
Sovereignty of God – In short, this means that God is the ultimate ruler over all the world. However, this doesn’t mean that God is the puppeteer and we are all the marionettes. God doesn’t rule with an iron first, but loves us enough to give us the freedom to either live amid God’s love or according to our own wills. Things don’t often go the way we hope when we chase after our own pursuits. Thankfully, that God is sovereign means that, while bad things may and do occur, we can trust that God’s will of love and grace will ultimately reign supreme.
Scripture – Contained in two testaments (Old and New), Scripture reveals the covenantal history of God’s relationship with Israel (Old), as well as God’s incarnation in Jesus and early formation of the Church (New). While we don’t necessarily believe the Bible is to be interpreted literally, we do believe that Scripture gives us the clearest revelation of the truth and will of God. As such, Scripture stands with authority over the Church.
Priesthood of All Believers – We believe that everyone – every single person – is blessed with special gifts from God as well as the call to use them. As such, we reject that ministry is just for a select few. The pastor is no holier than those in the pews (or those who never set foot in a church, for that matter). Rather, we are all invited to enter into a direct relationship with God and use our gifts in service as ministers for God. Think this doesn’t include you? We humbly do!
Grace – Grace is God’s free and unmerited gift of love and forgiveness to humanity. God’s grace is what transforms old into new, and provides for new possibilities where previously none existed! In the Reformed tradition, we reject that we can do anything to earn God’s grace–God just gives it, because God is that awesome! What’s more, we don’t believe that anyone is beyond the reach or realm of God’s grace. Think you’re too sinful? Nope! Think God can’t possibly love or want someone like you? Think again! We believe God’s grace is not just for us or some; GOD’S GRACE IS FOR YOU!
Salvation – We believe that God offers to one and all the gift of fullness of life in the here and the now, uncovered as we live into God’s will and love for us. This is one form of salvation. We also believe that God blesses us with the gift of salvation in heaven upon death. This means that while death may be scary, it doesn’t have the last word. God does. And God’s word leads to life!
Sacraments – Sacraments are mysterious gifts that connect us to God in special ways. We believe in two sacraments. In baptism, infants, children, or adults are sealed with the sign of God’s covenantal love, and engrafted into the body of Christ, the Church in the world today. Baptism is the ultimate sign that nowhere we go and nothing we do can ever separate us from the love of God. In the Lord’s Supper (also called Communion and the Eucharist), we commemorate the last meal Jesus shared with his disciples by remembering his atoning death and celebrating the gifts of grace and love Christ came to reveal, symbolized in broken bread and wine poured out for all.