top margin

What We Believe

Submitted by admin on Wed, 2010-12-22 23:36

Grace Presbyterian Church: A member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America

What is a Reformed Presbyterian Church?

1. We are Christian.

We are a Trinitarian Church, believing in God the Father (Galatians 1:1), the first person of the Godhead, who revealed Himself to us through the Scriptures of the Holy Bible, as JEHOVAH, the I AM (Exodus 3:14), the only living God (Deuteronomy:5:6) to whom men have duty. He sent forth His own eternally begotten Son (John 3:16), Jesus of Nazareth, called Christ, the second person in the Godhead (John 1:1), who makes for us, a substitutionary atonement for the sins of men. From the Father and the Son eternally proceeds the third person in the Godhead, the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost (Romans:8:9, Genesis:1:2), the helper and sustainer of our spirit (John 14:16), who continually strengthens us. All three persons of the Godhead are equal in power and strength, though separate in personal properties.

We believe that God is the creator of the universe in which we reside (Genesis 1:1), and the ruling king who presides over its care, maintenance, history and fate. In this, God is sovereign over the entirety of His creation. His nature is infinite, eternal and spiritual (though able to be physically discerned) omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, merciful, gracious, holy, just (in both wrath and love), immutable, unfathomable, unshakable.

We believe His Son, Jesus Christ, is the only means by which mankind can be saved both previous to his incarnation and after his incarnation. He came bodily, born of a virgin, Mary (Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:31, Luke 1:34), as Scripture prophesied, He suffered for the sins of man, having been sinless himself (Romans 3:25). He died and was resurrected bodily after three days so that the sins of man could be atoned for (1 Corinthians 15:12-15). After forty days He ascended bodily (Acts 1:3, Luke 24:51), and will return bodily to judge the living and the dead (Revelation 20:1-15).

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the helper and sustainer sent forth by the LORD to build, mortify, sanctify, and glorify His church (John 14:16, Romans 8:1-15) for whom the Spirit makes constant intercession in the form of prayer too deep for words (Romans 8:26).We believe that Adam, our first father in failing to keep God's command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil did indeed fall of his own accord (Genesis 3:1-24), and imputed his 'Original Sin' unto all his progeny, both the fallen nature and the guilt of the sin of Adam unto all mankind (Psalm 51:1-11, Romans 5:10-19).

2. We are Reformed Protestants.

We are confessionally Reformed, holding to the Constitution of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, which contains the Westminster Confession of Faith alongside the Testimony of the RPCNA, and the Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms. This means:

We believe in the 5 points of Calvinism in the reformed tradition

  • Total Depravity- We believe that because of the fall of our first father Adam, who did so willingly, and against the covenant established with him by God we all fell fully and really. We inherit both the fallen nature, which apart from Christ must sin because we are slaves to sin, and the guilt of the sin of Adam's covenant betrayal. In this, and apart from Christ we are rightly condemned for our universal hatred of God, and do not desire his salvation, blessings or presence. Regardless of the situation we are all equally accountable to God for our depraved nature, and that we have together become totally worthless. (Ephesians 2:1-4, Romans 5:10-19)
  • Unconditional Election- We believe that God, in His omnipotent sovereignty, has divinely elected and predestined His children to be adopted to salvation, the children of the promise and of mercy, through the agency of Christ's work on the cross. Those who are not chosen for this are children of wrath destined for eternal damnation, who go to hell willingly and with all hatred for God in Total Depravity. This Unconditional Election is given to us from eternity past and gives no regard to our works because of the equality of our depravity. (Romans 3:20-25, Romans 8:1-9:33, Ephesians 1:5, Ephesians 2:10)
  • Limited Atonement- Better described as definite atonement. We believe that those to whom God's Unconditional Election is upon definitely receive the positive effect of Christ's substitutionary atonement, such that none whom Christ died for will see hell, and none in heaven are the ones for whom Christ did not die. Atonement is given on the basis of the work of Christ on the cross and has nothing to do with the depraved works, no matter how seemingly good, of the saved person. (Romans 9:9-23, Ephesians 2:3, John 6:44)
  • Irresistible Grace- We believe that God's saving grace, though not His common grace, does naturally and permanently change the nature of the unregenerate man so that he is regenerate and will hence, by the Holy Spirit, fight his Total Depravity in sanctification and be a part of the adopted family of God, co-heirs with Jesus Christ. (John 10:10-18, Romans 8:1-15)
  • Perseverance of the Saints- We believe that though Christians struggle and falter, even after the change given in Irresistible Grace, that all true Christians bought in Limited Atonement and chosen in Unconditional Election will keep their Christian faith till their worldly death, going on to be glorified in the presence of the Father. (Jeremiah 31:3)

We believe the Five Solas of the Protestant Reformation

  • Sola Scriptura- We believe that Scripture is the only infallible rule for faith and life. It is the inspired, perfect and authoritative word of God. It is presented in the Holy Bible and the books presented as part of that canon in the Westminster Confession of Faith. (Revelation 22:18-19)
  • Sola Fide- We believe that the Justification which Christ provides by His death and resurrection is to be received by faith (that is trust) in that action and the power of the person (Christ) making the atonement. This Justification is done apart from any good works we do. The rejection of this principle is cause for Paul to call a person 'Anathema', an accursed man, to be rejected from the church. (Galatians 1:8-9)
  • Sola Gratia- We believe that even the faith that justifies is a gift from God. This is called God's grace, or unmerited favor. The entirety of salvation is a gift of God apart from the works of man, so that His purposes in Election would be made known, and He alone would be glorified.
  • Solus Christus- We believe that salvation comes through Christ alone, as the only mediator between God and man. There are no Co-mediators in other Christians, priests, or saints of special recognition.(John 14:6)
  • Sola Deo Gloria- We believe that the entirety of creation and redemption is for the purpose of glorifying God alone. We do this best by enjoying God's gracious love towards us for all eternity. (Romans 11:36, 1 Corinthians 10:31)

Other Distinctives

We believe in the regulative principle of worship, meaning we worship only as the LORD commands in scripture, in singing the book of Psalms exclusively in acapella format rendered in English.

We as Protestants believe only in two sacraments prescribed in the New Testament for blessings. One is Baptism, the washing and symbolic cleansing of your sin that has happened in Christ for all true believers. Baptism does not secure salvation, it is merely a sign and symbol of it. The other is the LORD's Supper, a communal meal to be enjoyed by all publicly professing believers in good standing with the church, that confers the blessings of Christ sanctifying power, in the Holy Spirit, to the believer upon good self-examination. To the unbeliever, the LORD's Supper creates only further damnation to the soul.

3. We are Presbyterians

This means:

We elect elders (presbyters) to rule over our congregation both in governance and teaching by congregational election. The teaching elder is our pastor and minister. The ruling elders are to love and serve the congregation by correcting false doctrine, praying over the sick, guarding the LORD's table at His supper, interviewing those interested in membership and caring for the spiritual needs of the congregation. They also rule over the decisions of the congregation in a court. They are elected to permanent positions, unless removed, and rule the congregation by a majority vote. The meetings our elders attecnd to discuss congregational business is called 'The Session'.

The Presbytery is a court which oversees the elders of the local congregation and it is established from ruling elders and teaching elders within a defined region. The Presbytery meets once every six months to to oversee its congregations, to guard doctrinal purity, to oversee men preparing for the ministry and facilitate the planting of new churches.

The Synod is the highest court of Reformed Presbyterian government, it meets annually, and is run in a like manner to the Presbytery.