5.01 There is one, holy, universal, apostolic church. She is the body of Christ, who is her Head and Lord.
5.02 The church is one because her Head and Lord is one, Jesus Christ. Her oneness under her Lord is manifested in the one ministry of word and sacrament, not in any uniformity of covenantal expression, organization, or system of doctrine.
5.03 The church is holy because she is founded on the finished and continuing work of Christ in setting her apart for God's glory and witness in the world. Her holiness thus rests on God's sanctifying her for her redemptive mission, not upon any personal holiness of her members.
5.04 The church is universal because God's act of salvation in Jesus Christ is universal and cannot be limited to any place or time. Her universal nature rests upon the universal activity of God's Holy Spirit to make Christ's atonement effective for all peoples. It is expressed in the church's commission to make disciples of all nations.
5.05 The church is apostolic because God calls her into being through the proclamation of the gospel first entrusted to the apostles. The church thus is built on the apostolic message which is faithfully proclaimed by messengers who follow in the footsteps of the apostles.
5.06 The church, as the covenant community of believers who are redeemed, includes all people in all ages, past, present, and future, who respond in faith to God's covenant of grace, and all who are unable to respond, for reasons known to God, but who are saved by his grace.
5.07 The church in the world consists of all who respond in faith to God's saving grace and who enter into formal covenant with God and each other. The children of believers are included in this covenant community and are under the special care and instruction of the church and their parents or guardians.
5.08 Because the church in the world consists of persons who are imperfect in knowledge and in the power to do God's will, she waits with eager longing for the full redemption of the family of God. Until that time God wills that all believers worship and witness through the church in the world and promises to guide her life and growth through the Holy Spirit.
5.09 The church in the world never exists for herself alone, but to glorify God and work for reconciliation through Christ. Christ claims the church and gives her the word and sacraments in order to bring God's grace and judgment to persons.
5.10 All who are united to Christ by faith are also united to one another in love. In this communion they are to share the grace of Christ with one another, to bear one another's burdens, and to reach out to all other persons.
5.11 The communion of believers has special meaning for members of the same organized body. Beyond this particular community believers have special relationship with other organized bodies who embrace similar creeds, historical heritage, and forms of the covenant community.
5.12 Christian worship is the affirmation of God's living presence and the celebration of God's mighty acts. It is central to the life of the church and is the appropriate response of all believers to the lordship and sovereignty of God.
5.13 In worship God claims persons in Christ and offers assurance of love, forgiveness, guidance, and redemption. Believers respond to God with praise, confession, thanksgiving, love, and commitment to service.
5.14 Christian worship includes proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, celebrating the sacraments, reading and hearing the scriptures, praying, singing, and committing life and resources to God. This common worship of the church validates and sustains such other worship as the church finds meaningful for celebrating the living presence of God.
5.15 God is to be worshiped both corporately and privately. Corporate worship is practiced in the gathered congregation, in small groups within the church, and in larger gatherings of believers. Private worship, through meditation, prayer, and study of the scriptures, is practiced in various settings, especially in the home by individuals and by the family.
5.16 Sacraments are signs and testimonies of God's covenant of grace. Circumcision and passover are the sacraments of the Old Testament; baptism and the Lord's Supper are the sacraments of the New Testament. They are given by God and through his presence, word, and will are made effective.
5.17 Jesus Christ ordained the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper for the church. They are administered by and through the church as part of her common worship, being entrusted to properly ordained ministers under the authority of a judicatory of the church.
5.18 Baptism symbolizes the baptism of the Holy Spirit and is the external sign of the covenant which marks membership in the community of faith. In this sacrament the church witnesses to God's initiative to claim persons in Christ, forgive their sins, grant them grace, shape and order their lives through the work of the Holy Spirit, and set them apart for service.
5.19 The sacrament of baptism is administered to infants, one or both of whose parents or guardians affirm faith in Jesus Christ and assume the responsibilities of the covenant, and to all persons who affirm personal faith in Jesus Christ and have not received the sacrament.
5.20 Water is the element to be used in this sacrament. The person receiving the sacrament is to be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
5.21 In administering the sacrament the pouring or sprinkling of water on the person by the minister fittingly symbolizes the baptism of the Holy Spirit; however, the validity of the sacrament is not dependent upon its mode of administration.
5.22 It is the privilege and duty of all believers to seek baptism for themselves and their children, and to accept its benefits. However, baptism is neither an indispensable condition of salvation nor effective apart from life in Christ and the church.
The Lord's Supper
5.23 The Lord's Supper was instituted by Jesus Christ on the night of his betrayal. It is a means by which the church remembers and shows forth Christ's passion and death on the cross. The sacrament is also a perpetual means given to the church to celebrate and experience the continuing presence of the risen Lord and her expectation of the Lord's return.
5.24 The elements used in this sacrament are bread and the fruit of the vine, which represent the body and blood of Christ. The elements themselves are never to be worshiped, for they are never anything other than bread and the fruit of the vine. However, because the sacrament represents the Savior's passion and death, it should not be received without due self-examination, reverence, humility, and grateful awareness of Christ's presence.
5.25 This sacrament is a means of spiritual nourishment and growth, an act of grateful obedience to Christ, and a commitment to the work and service of Christ's church for all who celebrate it.
5.26 All persons who are part of the covenant community and are committed to the Christian life are invited and encouraged to receive this sacrament.
5.27 Each congregation should celebrate this sacrament regularly. Every Christian should receive it frequently.
The Church in Mission
5.28 The church, being nurtured and sustained by worship, by proclamation and study of the word, and by the celebration of the sacraments, is commissioned to witness to all persons who have not received Christ as Lord and Savior.
5.29 Growth is natural to the church's life. The church is called into being and exists to reach out to those who have not experienced God's grace in Christ, and to nourish them with all the means of grace.
5.30 In carrying out the apostolic commission, the covenant community has encountered and continues to encounter people who belong to religions which do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord. While respecting persons who adhere to other religions, Christians are responsible to share with them the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.
5.31 The covenant community is responsible to give witness to the mighty acts of God in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Where and when this witness is lacking, God is not without a witness. Therefore, it does not belong to the covenant community to judge where and in what manner God acts savingly through Jesus Christ.
5.32 Jesus Christ as Lord and Head of the church has entrusted the government of the church to officers who make those decisions that will guide the life and ministry of the covenant community.
5.33 These officers have the responsibility to serve the church, to examine and receive members into the communion of the church, to care for and nurture them in the faith, and to discipline with love and justice those who offend the gospel and the laws of the church.
5.34 The Cumberland Presbyterian Church and Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America are governed by certain representative bodies: session, presbytery, synod, and General Assembly. Each of these church bodies in its special areas of responsibility has legislative, judicial, and executive authority, yet all are to be conducted in recognition of their interdependence and Christian mission.
5.35 It is the responsibility of these representative bodies, consistent with the church's constitution, to determine matters of faith, practice, and government, propose forms of worship and witness, exercise discipline, and resolve appeals properly brought before them.