What Is a Cumberland Presbyterian?

We are a small denomination and here in the Bible Belt, we are way outnumbered by Baptists. I would encourage you to not let that unfamiliarity scare you. Cumberland Presbyterians have a rich heritage and a wonderful ministry. You can learn more about the Cumberland Presbyterian Church below!

Considered “Modified Calvinists,” our theology is somewhere on the theological spectrum between Calvinism and Arminianism

This means that we are Moderate or Middle-of-the road in that Cumberland Presbyterians generally do not run to extremes in theology or social practices. Some of our congregations are more conservative while others are more liberal, and we are fine with that.

We are a diverse group with many members from many different denominational and theological backgrounds.

We have an official creed in our Confession of Faith to which we require loyalty on the part of ministers and church officers. It is a guide for instruction and for publications, but the ultimate guide is always the Bible.

In addition, we may recite The Apostle’s Creed during our worship service as an affirmation of our beliefs. We consider ourselves to be evangelical, although we certainly come from the reformed tradition..

We believe that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ and that we have been commissioned to preach this good news to all the world.

Our mode of worship is firmly planted in the Reformed/Presbyterian tradition, but that can take many different forms.

Within our denomination one would find traditional worship, contemporary worship or a combination of the two, sometimes within the same congregation — and always with a focus on God, our Creator, Father and Redeemer.

Our Beliefs

Take a look at our theological position and read more about our basic beliefs….

A look at the fundamental elements of our faith.

  • The Bible

    Cumberland Presbyterians accept the Bible as the only infallible rule of faith and practice. We believe that the Holy Scriptures comprise the 66 books of the Old and the New Testaments, and that the best rule of interpretation of Scripture is the comparison of Scripture with Scripture. This means that we do not depend upon a particular verse as literal proof of all beliefs and practices, but we do seek the whole teaching and spirit of the Bible as our guide. We do not limit ourselves to any one translation of the Bible but seek always for a deeper understanding of God’s word.

  • The Trinity

    We 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.

  • The Church

    We believe the Cumberland Presbyterian Church is a part of the Church of which Christ is the head and all believers in Christ are a part. We believe in cooperation with all who accept Jesus as Christ and Lord.

  • Salvation

    We believe that every person needs regeneration and must make a personal commitment of their life to Christ in order to be saved. We do not believe that any are saved or lost regardless of their own will. All infants dying in infancy and all persons who have never had the faculty of reason are regenerated and saved through Christ. God initiates salvation, sending the Holy Spirit to all persons, calling them to repentance and faith. They have a choice of acceptance or rejection.

  • Preservation of Believers

    We believe that a person who is truly regenerated will not totally fall away from a state of grace, but will be preserved to everlasting life. In other words, “Once saved, always saved.” We do not believe that “good works” will save our souls, but are the result of a regenerated life.

  • Baptism

    Water Baptism is a sign or symbol of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and a seal of the Covenant of Grace. Because the Holy Spirit is always represented in the Scriptures as being poured out on the person, its renewal and cleansing is symbolized by pouring or sprinkling water upon the head of the one being baptized. We believe that infant children of Christians should be given the seal of the Covenant just as Hebrew children were in Old Testament days. Infant baptism is now that seal, and represents an act of faith on the part of the parents and the Church as the child is dedicated to the Lord. Infant baptism is not an evidence of salvation, but is an evidence of non-communicant church membership. Those who have been baptized in infancy must make a personal acceptance of Christ and accept the act of their baptism before sharing in the full fellowship of the Church. There is no saving power in water baptism, yet it is the duty of all believers not previously baptized to confess Christ in this solemn ordinance and to present their infant children for baptism.

  • The Lord’s Supper

    The Lord’s Supper is the second sacrament of the church. The symbols used are bread and grape juice (wine can also be used). The elements remain, after consecration, literal bread and juice. Since it is the Lord’s Supper and not an ordinance of a particular church, all who acknowledge Jesus as Christ and who have faith to understand the significant of this sacrament are invited to partake this meal with us, regardless of their denominational affiliation.

  • Church Government

    The term Presbyterian in our name refers to our form of government. This same form of government is used by a number of denominations which are identified as being of the Reformed/ Presbyterian tradition including but not limited to the PCUSA, PCA, and RCA. The term is taken from the Greek word “presbuteros,” which is usually translated “elder.” A Presbyterian church governs its congregation by both teaching elders (the pastor) and ruling elders (men and women elected by the congregation). Together they make up the “Session” and join with “Sessions” of other regional churches in their denomination forming a “Presbytery.” Our church is currently a member of Presbytery of the Midsouth. Presbyteries are joined to form “Synods” which act as church courts of review. The “General Assembly” is the highest church court and meets yearly. ( This is very similar to local and state governments that you are probably more familiar with)

    The Cumberland Presbyterian Church has approximately 80,000 members in the United States, Columbia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Liberia. We recently were recognized as a Christian Denomination in Mexico. Our headquarters are in Cordova, Tennessee. We support Bethel University (McKenzie, TN), Memphis Theological Seminary(Memphis, TN), and the Cumberland Presbyterian Children’s Home (Denton, TX).

  • Still Want More?

    Take a moment to read from the formal Cumberland Presbyterian Confession of Faith, which also offers some historical perspective about our denomination.