We Believe… 2017-10-03T17:23:36+00:00

Second Church is part of the Presbyterian Church (USA), which is a Protestant church that could be considered a theological cousin of the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the American Baptist Church, the United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

The PCUSA’s Constitution is made up of the Book of Order and the Book of Confessions. The latter contains various historic statements of faith, starting with the Nicene and Apostles’ creeds and continuing through statements written more recently. These various statements contain the essential tenets of the faith of the Reformed Tradition, as it’s called. That tradition traces its roots back to such early Protestant theologians as John Calvin and John Knox. But the statements of faith in the Book of Confession are considered secondary in importance and authority to the Bible, which in turn must be interpreted to be understood. For much more about how we view the Bible, click here. There are some cradle Presbyterians at Second Church, but many of our members come from a wide variety of backgrounds and theological approaches.

So what do Presbyterians believe? In addition to discovering some answers to that question in the Book of Confessions, you may read articles on different subjects at this site from Presbyterians Today magazine. And, of course, you may make an appointment to discuss this subject with one of our pastors.

For the “Theocademy” site for lay theological education being created by the Synod of Mid-America and its partners, click here.

And now a little about some theologians…

The sometimes-uncomfortable fact is we’re all theologians. That’s because — just like everyone from the earliest days of human history until now — we think about and express opinions about God. When the task of pondering God takes a more structured, academic approach, it’s called theology, a word with Greek roots that means the study (ology) of God (theo).

Christian theologians have tried to help followers of Jesus think about what they believe and the implications of those beliefs for action.

After 2,000 years the number of theologians is large and growing. In the list below you’ll find a much-abbreviated collection of some of those who, first, have most influenced Protestants, including us Presbyterians. Then, to give you just a flavor of the broad spectrum of theologians who have added to the conversation over the years, we’ve named some who have helped to set the modern (and post-modern) theological agenda of ecumenical and interfaith dialogue as well as the Emergent Church Movement and various liberation theologies, including black, female and economic.

As for the reality that each of us is a theologian, the late Shirley C. Guthrie writes in his popular book Christian Doctrine that our task is to be “modest” theologians, quick to acknowledge what we do not and cannot know or say with certainty.

Some of Protestantism’s initiators

Martin Luther
John Calvin
Ulrich Zwingli
John Knox

A few important modern-era voices

Karl Barth
Reinhold Niebuhr
Rudolph Bultmann
Paul Tillich
Jurgen Moltmann
Raymond E. Brown

Some proponents of various liberation theologies

Leonardo Boff
James Hal Cone
Sojourner Truth
Mary Daly
Rosemary Radford Reuther

Some Emergent Church, alternative and popularizing voices

Brian McLaren
Tony Jones
Phyllis Tickle
Richard Rohr
Anne LaMott
Eugene Peterson
John Howard Yoder
Stanley Hauerwas
Thomas Torrance
Leonard Sweet
Sr. Joan Chittister
Diana Butler Bass
Luke Timothy Johnson