What We Believe
The short and more personal answer to what we believe is better said in our statement of mission and core values.
For those seeking a more technical, doctrinal answer, here goes…
Canvas is a New Worshipping Fellowship of the Presbyterian Church USA. The Presbyterians have been in the United States since not long after the Mayflower arrived and, in Europe, date back to the 16th century Reformation.
The one creedal formulation that all Christians (Protestants, Catholics, the various Orthodox traditions) share is the Nicene Creed (originally formulated in 325 AD) and we certainly add ourselves to that community.
As Presbyterians we also share the Confessions of the PCUSA which are intended not as the final word on any matter, but as authoritative guidance in what the Bible leads us to believe and do. Many of these confessional documents were written centuries ago and include some language we might alter in the 21st century, but we subscribe to the essential ideas they seek to communicate (ideas that many other denominations would share).
What really distinguishes Presbyterians is not really our theology, but our form of church government. Presbyterians are not independent congregations, free to make decision without any oversight. We are bound to each other ensure health and to promote collaboration. But unlike many other denominations, Presbyterians have no monarchs. That is to say, at no place in Presbyterian government does any one person hold sole power. We have no bishops, cardinals, pope… Rather, at every level, from the local congregation to the national offices, decisions are made by teams. Indeed the word Presbyterian comes from the Greek word for “elder” – those recognized as people of wisdom and maturity. It is gatherings of elders that discern the call of God for the body.
Such bodies are hardly foolproof! And committees are hardly the most efficient means of decision-making. But we think we are better deciding together than apart. And we trust that God can use even a team of imperfect humans to get stuff done. That Canvas even exists is proof that 500 year old dogs can learn some new tricks!
Have other questions? Feel free to ask!