Our Beliefs

Who Are The Cumberland Presbyterians?

Helena Cumberland Presbyterian ChurchWe believe in God as Creator and Caretaker; in Jesus Christ as divine Savior and Lord; and in the Holy Spirit as God present and at work everywhere in creation. Human beings disobey God, like Adam and Eve, and are in need of spiritual rebirth. God initiates salvation, sending the Holy Spirit to all persons, calling them to repentance and faith. They have the choice of acceptance or rejection. “Whoever believes” is redeemed. We are not, nor have we ever been, Predestinarian. Persons are set in the right relations with God by faith, not works. Salvation is a gift of God’s grace, not something earned. Once God makes a covenant with persons, and they with God, they will never fall totally away from the state of grace, nor withdraw permanently from God. God never forsakes and continually works to maintain the relationship.


We are a member of the Presbyterian and Reformed family of churches. Our roots go back to the Presbyterian beginnings in Switzerland and Scotland. We are Presbyterian in government rather than Congregational or Episcopal. Our units of government are session, presbytery, synod, and general assembly. We are a connectional Church, related on all levels. As congregations, we are related as a whole. We were the first Presbyterian body to ordain women for the ministry. This began in the late 1800s. We also ordain women as church officers. We came out of the old Presbyterian Church, February 4, 1810, as the result of differences over theology, ministerial education, methods of ministry, and the Great Revival of 1800. Almost 100 years later (1906), a union with the Presbyterian Church USA was consummated. The majority of our congregation, institutions, missions, and ministers conformed to this action. At the time, we were the third largest Presbyterian body in the nation. The majority of our parishes are small and medium membership churches. We have a few large congregations. We are a denomination with less than 150,000 members, serving in 19 states, with a concentration on congregations in Kentucky and Tennessee. We also have congregations in Hong Kong, Columbia, Japan, and Liberia. We are ecumenical, relating to and working with other communions in the local community and beyond; such as the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, The Association of Presbyterian Church Educators, World Vision, and more. We also maintain a significant communication and working relationship with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of America (Afro- American). We are non-liturgical, with no officially prescribed liturgy. This freedom of worship allows for a variety of patterns and practices, both formal and informal. A Directory of Worship is provided in the Confession of Faith as a resource. The Cumberland Presbyterian faith has implications for works. There is a growing sense of environmental and social responsibility in the denomination. The Church attempts to speak to the changing needs and problems related to society.


Our theology has been referred to as “Medium” – somewhere between Calvinism and Arminianism. We do not run to extremes nor do we serve as fanatics of theology, attitudes, or practices. Members reflect many denominations and theological backgrounds and concepts. We are tolerant and accepting of different notions. We are not dogmatic. However, we have an official creed in our Confession of Faith to which we require loyalty on the part of ministers and church officers. We are evangelical. We believe salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ and that we have been commissioned to preach this good news to all the world. We attempt to conserve established traditions while at the same time, try to adapt our methods and messages to the present day.