Our Beliefs

We are a church that believes in the authority of the Bible and the transforming power of Jesus to redeem us and to give us new life. You can explore more about our beliefs below.


To glorify God by serving our neighbors, upholding biblical truth, and growing in Christ together.


  • Relationships: Devote ourselves to people through the seasons of life.
  • Kids: Prioritize kids and youth and equip them to live Christ-centered lives.
  • Missions: Bring people near and far to a life-transforming relationship with Christ.
  • Truth: Uphold the Bible as truth and share that truth.
  • Discipleship: Help people mature spiritually and exercise their spiritual gifts.


First Presbyterian Church Tacoma is part of ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. Along with ECO, we affirm the essential tenets listed below. These essentials provide the foundation upon which all of the ministries and programs of First Presbyterian Church are built. Our leaders affirm them and find them to be a faithful exposition of the truths found in Scripture and in declaring them; we experience both confidence and comfort from our Lord.  We share them with you in a spirit of honesty and transparency, but do not expect you to affirm all of these beliefs for you to feel welcome here. What is of utmost importance to us is that you have an opportunity to experience a restored relationship with God through accepting the forgiveness freely offered to you through His Son, Jesus Christ. And it is our sincere hope that your experience with First Presbyterian (whether it is for one day or 80 years) will have helped you draw closer to Jesus.

  • The purpose of life. The great purpose toward which each human life is drawn is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. 
  • The authority for our lives. We glorify God by recognizing and receiving His authoritative self-revelation, both in the infallible Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and also in the incarnation of God the Son. 
  • The Trinity. With Christians everywhere, we worship the only true God–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–who is both one essence and three persons.
  • The incarnation. Jesus Christ is both truly God and truly human. The divinity of the Son is in no way impaired, limited, or changed by His gracious act of assuming a human nature, and that His continued divinity in no way undermines his true humanity. The risen Jesus, who was sent from the Father, has now ascended to the Father in His resurrected body and remains genuinely human.
  • The Holy Spirit. We can confess Jesus Christ as Lord and God only through the work of the Holy Spirit.
  • The problem of sin. The present disordered state of the world, in which we and all things are subject to misery and evil, is not God’s doing but is instead a result of humanity’s free, sinful rebellion against God’s will.  No part of human life is untouched by sin. Our desires are no longer trustworthy guides to goodness, and what seems natural to us no longer corresponds to God’s design.
  • The solution. Jesus offered Himself on the cross to free us from slavery to death and sin. Jesus takes our place both in bearing the weight of condemnation against our sin on the cross and in offering to God the perfect obedience that humanity owes to Him but is no longer able to give. In union with Christ through the power of the Spirit, we are brought into right relationship with the Father, who receives us as His adopted children. Jesus Christ is the only Way to this adoption, the sole path by which sinners become children of God.
  • The benefits of salvation. Through His regenerating and sanctifying work, the Holy Spirit grants us faith and enables holiness, so that we may be witnesses of God’s gracious presence to those who are lost. In Christ, we are adopted into the family of God and find our new identity as brothers and sisters of one another, since we now share one Father.
  • The church. Within the covenant community of the church, God’s grace is extended through the preaching of the Word, the administration of the Sacraments, and the faithful practice of mutual discipline. The ministries of the church reflect the three-fold office of Christ as a prophet, priest, and king–reflected in the church’s ordered ministries of teaching elders, deacons, and ruling elders.
  • Holiness. Jesus teaches us that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind. No part of human life is off limits to the sanctifying claims of God. Progress in holiness is an expected response of gratitude to the grace of God, which is initiated, sustained, and fulfilled by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit
  • Moral guidance. As we practice the discipline of regular self- examination, and confession, we are primarily guided by the Ten Commandments.  Most of the commandments are expressed in a prohibition, ‘you shall not,’ but behind each prohibition, we find a ‘grand positive’ calling us to freedom and new life.  Among the many vital and life-affirming truths expressed in the Ten Commandments, we find two of them to be especially relevant for the culture in which we live today.
    • #5 You shall not kill. This command calls us to eradicate a spirit of anger, resentment, callousness, violence, or bitterness, and instead cultivate a sense of gentleness, kindness, peace, and love; recognize and honor the image of God in every human being from conception to natural death.
    • #6 You shall not commit adultery. This command calls us to maintain purity in thought and deed, being faithful within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman as established by God at the creation or embracing a celibate life as set by Jesus in the new covenant.


We are a church that aspires to exist for the sake of those who are not already part of our community. We will not be satisfied with transfer growth alone, but a desire to be a place where a person beginning a relationship with Christ is a healthy and expected aspect of our life together. One of the first questions we will ask when making decisions is, “How will this help a newcomer to have a transforming experience with Jesus?” Personal preference will not be a significant factor in deciding how to invest our corporate energy and resources. This does not mean that we ignore the needs of our congregation, but we understand Inside Out to say that reaching out and congregational care are complementary goals. We believe that living out a caring, intergenerational life is one of the ways we demonstrate the Kingdom to newcomers.

  • Intergenerational: We are a church that values people from every generation. We believe friendships and relationships of mutual honor and respect can form among people of different ages. We appreciate the unique contributions made to our community young, old and everyone in-between. We are willing to patiently and lovingly participate in things that are not our preference to be together as a family.
  • Confidently Evangelical: We are a church that upholds an orthodox approach to theology. We trust the Bible even if it leads us to culturally unpopular positions. We believe true confidence in the trustworthiness of the Bible is best expressed through a transparent, humble, and gracious articulation of truth while maintaining a winsome and loving approach to those who may disagree. Therefore we refuse to make attacks on the person, character, or motive of those who hold different opinions. Our theological orthodoxy can be accurately described as conservative, but as a church body, we are careful not to align ourselves with any particular political platform.
  • Balanced Leadership: We are a church that seeks to be faithful to God by recognizing, entrusting, equipping, and supporting those whom He has called to lead. We believe leadership is a gift from God, not a right we demand, and we exercise leadership only by God’s gracious invitation. As disciples of Jesus, leaders do not wield naked power over others but are to be first and foremost, servants of all. We believe women and men are equally suited for all levels of leadership in church and society. We acknowledge natural distinctions between men and women do exist but believe through Christ women and men are made free to bring their unique giftings and experiences to every level of leadership.
  • Beautiful: We are a church that stewards a beautiful building in a beautiful setting for the glory of God. We recognize the church is not the building, and this building is not the church. The true church is the people of God who are called to participate in God’s plan to redeem the lost and restore all of creation. This building is a tool for God’s mission in the world. Our desire is for all people to feel welcome and comfortable in this place so they too can be drawn towards the glory of a beautiful God. We freely admit the attitudes of our hearts and the ways we treat others can often be a poor reflection of the God we worship, but we trust God in His grace accepts us just as we are and is working through His Spirit to transform us more and more into the beautiful image of His Son.