W.4.0404 a.  Do you trust in Jesus Christ your Savior, acknowledge him Lord and Head of the Church, and through him believe in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

This constitutional question for ordination may have a familiar ring. Perhaps you recognize it as an echo of the affirmation of faith found in the Nicene Creed, one of the oldest creeds of the universal church and a foundational confession of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.):


·       “We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty ...” (Book of Confessions, 1.1)

·       “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God ...” (Ibid., 1.2)

·       “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life ...” (Ibid., 1.3)


Or perhaps you recognize it from the Apostles’ Creed, the affirmation of faith declared during baptism. These words are spoken by adults or youth baptized upon profession of their faith, or by the parents or guardians of those who are baptized as infants or children. In fact, when we celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism, the whole congregation is invited to reaffirm their faith through these ancient words. The act of baptism with water “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” is yet another echo of our faith in the Triune God—a way of signing and sealing the new believer with the name of the Trinity.


While baptism and ordination may seem as though they are individual rites of passage, they are better understood as acts of the church, a communal experience of the whole people of God. They are meant to be witnessed and affirmed by the congregation in order that membership and service is entered into with humility. Christ’s call to leadership in the church is a summons to service in and for Christ’s body. Ordination is a public recognition of our commitment to this service and a celebration of the particular gifts of the Spirit who equips us for this ministry. We undertake these things in the spirit of prayer “so that [our] faith might not rest on human wisdom but on the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:5).