What We Believe:
Upper Octorara is a member of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. We affirm the EPC’s Essentials of the Our Faith as what we believe:
All Scripture is self-attesting and being Truth, requires our unreserved submission in all areas of life. The infallible Word of God, the sixty-six 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 additional Essentials of our faith:
- 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.” (Rev. 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.” (Eph. 2:10)
- These Essentials are set forth in greater detail in the Westminster Confession of Faith.
We also uphold the Westminster Confession of Faith as a confessional document. That Confession, along with more information about beliefs and position papers, can be found in the Beliefs section of the EPC website (www.epc.org). The Bible is our ultimate authority. We are Reformed in our theology, Presbyterian in our form of church government, evangelical in spirit, and missional in our approach to life and ministry.
When Pastor Bill was working on a description of our life and ministry using the church’s initials, UOPC, as a memory aid, he came up with this statement of who we are:
We believe in the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. In worship, we respond to God. We reach up to the Lord, express our love for Him, and give thanks and glory to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When Jesus was asked which commandment is the greatest, He responded, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:39). Each believer is a disciple, a student, given the privilege of learning and growing in our relationship with God. Through prayer, Bible study, and putting into practice what we learn, we grow as His disciples and express our love for the Lord.
We do not live the Christian life in isolation. Jesus said that the second greatest commandment is, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:29). We reach out in friendship, build relationships, encourage and minister to one another. Various groups meet for study, service and fellowship. Jesus instructed His followers to go into the entire world to share His love with others (the Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20). We support local, national and international ministries, as well as participate in community service, work camps, mission trips, and other forms of outreach.
God gives us His power to enable us to live the Christian life. “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). By the work of the Holy Spirit, we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). God empowers us by the Spirit to live, love and serve according to His will. He has given us “a Spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). The Holy Spirit develops fruit in our lives as He transforms our character (the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23). Every believer receives gifts from the Spirit to be used to serve and glorify God (1 Peter 4:10).
Each one of us has a God-given purpose in life, a calling to fulfill. We have different gifts and abilities that we can use to serve the Lord. Our desire is to encourage and support each person in discovering and pursuing his or her calling to ministry. Just as David served God’s purpose in his own generation (Acts 13:36), we pray that each of us will faithfully and fruitfully serve the Lord in our generation.
Upper Octorara Presbyterian Church
Upreach. Outreach. Power. Calling
Serving the Purpose of God in Our Generation