- Phone: (813) 362-3573
- Meeting Address:
Lightfoot Rec Center, 10901 N 56th St, Temple Terrace, FL
- Sunday Worship: 10:30 AM
- Sunday Prayer: 6:00 PM
People often ask, “What does Sojourner Presbyterian Church believe?” This question comes in many forms. Often people want to know what “makes us tick.” Others have questions about what it means to be “Presbyterian” or “reformed”.
Although this brief description will not answer all such questions, it is an attempt to set forth some of our basic commitments. The Session is convinced that our church must not be so broadly open that it fails to make vitally important distinctions which the Bible itself makes; nor are we to insist that every member share the same precise set of theological convictions.
Below is a description of those principles and priorities to which the Session is committed and which guide our decision making:
We believe in the power of the Gospel to transform our lives. The message of the gospel is that Christ has done what is necessary to bring us into a relationship with God. That means our sinfulness does not count against us and it also means our religious efforts do not count for us. By faith we are united to the living Christ by his Holy Spirit bringing us into a whole new world of grace (2 Corinthians 5: 17). The guilt of our sin is forgiven in the death of Christ, and the power of sin is broken through the resurrection of Christ.
We believe the Bible is the Word of God and thus, with respect to the life of our church as with our lives generally, a sufficient and trustworthy guide.
This means that the way we express our faith has been greatly influenced by many of the perspectives that came out of the 16th century Protestant Reformation. For example, we believe that God is sovereign over every aspect of creation including our salvation and service to him. Likewise, we believe that every aspect of our lives (not merely the explicitly religious aspect) is to be lived in accordance with our new found identity in Christ. We also believe that our doctrinal statement, the Westminster Confession of Faith, written as the fruit of this movement, is a faithful summary of the teaching of Scripture.
We believe God has ordained a simple and clear pattern by which Christ’s church is to be nurtured in her faith. We call this the “ordinary means of grace.” Acts 2:42 reveals the four primary means by which our faith will grow: i) the teaching of God’s Word, ii) the celebration of Christian worship, iii) prayer, iv) the development of genuine community among God’s people (fellowship).
We believe that the church is a “covenantal” community organized as a “family of families.” Whether the family is a single individual, a couple, or made up of parents and children, the family unit – not its individual members – must be considered in all aspects of church life.
We believe that the Christian life begins and ends in the worship of God which leads us to respond to his grace in love for him and our neighbors. Worship is also the end to which our service leads, as we call others to faith in Christ in order that they, too, may worship him.
This is simply a description (taken from the Bible – 1 Timothy 4:14) of the way our church is governed. It is based on the idea found throughout the Bible that God’s people are to be under the care and oversight of “elders”. Each local church is shepherded by a group of elders called the “session”. But, we are not independent churches. We are connected to other local churches in a regional body called a “presbytery”. And finally, there is a national body to which we are all accountable called the “general assembly”.
We believe that as individuals and as a church we are called to proclaim to all people in all places the salvation that is available in Jesus Christ. We hope that all members of our church will participate at some level in bringing the good news of the gospel to those who do not yet know Christ.
It is important to know that we believe these distinctives are good ones; that is to say, it is profitable and health producing for Christians to believe these things. We believe that as we come to appreciate them, we will grow to love and honor the Lord Jesus more fully and understand more richly what it means to live by grace.
Nevertheless, acceptance of all these distinctives is not required for membership in our church as long as one professes faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Ruling and teaching elders and deacons, however, must hold to all these distinctives.
Likewise, teachers in our Sunday School sign a Teacher’s Covenant by which they affirm their willingness to teach according to the confessional standards of our church and agree to discuss with the Session any area where they disagree. Teachers who agree to be gracious in matters where they take exceptions to our confessional standards may receive approval to teach by our Session, which must approve all teachers.
It is our deepest desire to be a warm, gracious, inviting, and open church; yet holding strong convictions that always come directly from the Bible. More than anything else, we desire that all who participate in the life of our church will experience the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.