We are a Christian Church
We stand in continuity with the historic Christian faith that is set forth in the New Testament as the fruition and fulfillment of what was promised in the Old Testament. Christianity is rooted in historical events, especially Jesus Christ's birth, life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and return; other religions are rooted in the subjective experience and claims of their founders.
Christianity is the announcement of God's merciful descent to us in his Son, who is the only way to God; other religions are about man's attempts to ascend up to God by attaining secret knowledge, living up to some standard of good, or having certain kinds of experiences.
We affirm the early Christian creeds, namely the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed.
We are a Protestant Church
The Protestant Reformation was not about a new formulation of the Christian faith, but a recovery of the biblical gospel, which had been overlaid with manmade traditions over the centuries. We affirm concepts which are referred to as the Five Solas of the Reformation:
Sola Scriptura - Scripture Alone
The Bible is the sole written divine revelation, our only infallible rule for faith and life, and alone can bind the conscience of believers absolutely.
Sola Fide - Faith Alone
Justification (being accounted righteous) is by faith alone. By God's free grace, the righteousness of Jesus Christ is counted to us by faith and is the only basis of our acceptance by God, by which our sins are pardoned.
Solus Christus - Christ Alone
Jesus Christ is the only mediator through whose work we are redeemed.
Sola Gratia - Grace alone
Our salvation rests entirely and only on the work of God's grace for us, not our own works or merit.
Soli Deo Gloria - To God Alone be the Glory
Salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, therefore to God alone belongs the glory.
We are a Confessionally Reformed Church
We have an officially adopted confession of faith, The Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, whose substance has been derived from the church's reflection upon biblical truth.
While the Bible is the church's true and highest rule of faith and practice, our adopted confession is an accurate summary of our beliefs about what the Bible teaches.
The Westminster Confession of Faith contains thirty-three chapters that cover the major topics of Christian doctrine. The Shorter Catechism summarizes the Scriptures in two major categories: what we are to believe about God, and what duty God requires of us. The Larger Catechism follows the same structure as the Shorter Catechism, but gives more content on many of the topics.
We are a Presbyterian Church
The name "Presbyterian" comes from the Greek word for the office of elder, the office that the Bible establishes for the church's governance. Historically, Presbyterian churches have identified themselves by this name in order to distinguish themselves from churches that have either hierarchical (top-down) government, or congregational forms of government which resist all outside influence.
The Presbyterian form of government is the Biblical form of church government. There is no office above that of elder in our church (i.e. no Bishops, Popes, etc.), but we are in a relationship of mutual accountability and submission with the other churches in our denomination.
At our local church, we have a plurality of elders called a Session. Our Session is interconnected with other Sessions in our region (New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, and a portion of New York) through a Presbytery (namely, the Presbytery of New York and New England). At the denomination level, our Presbytery is connected with other Presbyteries from around the country, and this is called the General Assembly. Our denomination is called the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC).
The OPC is committed to upholding the Reformed faith as it is confessed in the Westminster standard; we enjoy fraternal relations with other confessionally Reformed denominations through membership in the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC).