The session of First Presbyterian Church, Morehead City, seeks to provide clarity as to the principles that will guide our congregation during a time when certain actions of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) have raised questions, concerns and confusion regarding the beliefs, practices and future direction of the denomination. These issues particularly focus upon the unique role of Jesus Christ in salvation within a pluralistic world, upon the authority of Scripture, and upon ordination standards for officers in the church.
Our desire as the spiritual leaders of the church is to glorify God through Jesus Christ, provide spiritual direction based upon our best understanding of the essential tenets of our Biblical and Confessional heritage, and build a Christian fellowship that maintains the unity of the faith under those essentials and promotes an attitude of grace among differing opinions regarding the non-essentials. Toward these ends, the session commits itself in repentance and prayer to seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance and wisdom, and adopts the following statement reaffirming the principles, purposes and mission guiding our church:
We will uphold the Church’s historic, orthodox, Biblical and Confessional teaching that Jesus Christ alone is the only means of salvation for all people.
We will promote understanding, respect, peaceful interaction, loving community and mutual mission among people of all faiths who seek to worship and serve the one God of all creation.
We will express a lavish grace and joyous hospitality that welcomes into the fellowship of the church all persons seeking faith, welcome as members of the church all who profess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and encourage all members and guests to use their gifts and talents for the sake of the Lord and His church as brothers and sisters in Christ.
We will teach the essential tenants of the Christian faith as revealed in Scripture, defined by the confessions of our Reformed theological tradition, and outlined in the “Essential Tenets and Reformed Distinctives” document adopted by the session of this church.
We will offer a strong and clear affirmation of the Church’s historic, orthodox, Biblical and confessional teaching regarding morality and sexuality: that God intends the gift of sexual intimacy to be expressed within a lifelong covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.
We will elect as officers of the church those members who are able to affirm the vows of ordination and the “Essential Tenets and Reformed Distinctives” adopted by the session, who abide by the ordination standards of our constitution, and who express their faith and commitments by living in fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman or living in chastity in singleness.
We will acknowledge that faithful Christians can question and disagree with certain non-essential aspects of Biblical interpretation, and that the church is to offer a place of understanding and embrace when differing interpretations are voiced in ways that are gracious and supportive of the church.
We will continue to explore ways that we as a church can best affirm our connections to and within the Presbyterian Church (USA), using our participation, energy, and resources to focus efforts on promoting the Kingdom of God through the denomination.
We will continue to explore ways that we as a church can best affirm our connections to and within the global church when those extended connections allow us to offer our highest and best in the service of Jesus Christ through other avenues of mission and service.
Approved by Constitution Committee November 17, 2011
Approved by Session March 20, 2012