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What Presbyterians Believe

Prayer and the Korean Church

What time do Korean churches gather to have morning prayer? Five o’clock in the morning? How could you possibly pray that early? It’s an ungodly hour of the day! This is the common response I get from non-Koreans asking about the prayer life in Korean churches.

Mary’s valuable lesson

If anyone has the right to think she had an extra-special connection to Jesus, it’s Mary. After all, she carried him in her body, birthed him in the stable and nourished him with her breast milk. As he grew up and engaged his ministry, she scolded him when he disappeared, commanded him at Cana, stayed with him when he hung on the cross and rejoiced in him when he rose again. 

A complete baptism

Presbyterians believe that baptism envelops our lives as Christians. As part of the covenant community, we baptize children as they grow into their faith. Believers are baptized as they make a decision to enter the covenant community and to follow Christ. When Christians die, we say that they have completed their baptism in death.

Reformed and always being reformed

Believing we can change things for the better is risky. When we hope that individuals, communities, and institutions are capable of living more wholly, acting more rightly, and treating others more kindly, there is a good chance we will be disappointed and might even look foolish. It is safer to think people and circumstances will never change than to expend the energy that comes with believing they will. It is safer to minimize our own capabilities and responsibilities than to “be the change we want to see in the world,” as Gandhi challenges us.

Beginning and Ending in God

Reconciliation is a word frequently invoked but seldom understood. Paul’s words from 2 Corinthians beautifully capture a defining aspect of reconciliation: its cosmic significance. In Christ, “there is a new creation” because “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor. 5:17–19). Reconciliation is part of who we are as Christ’s church.