Evangelical in preaching the gospel.
The word of God teaches us that we are sinners who deserve God’s everlasting punishment, but the good news is that Christ Jesus freely offers forgiveness and salvation to those who will repent and believe. We emphatically reject that salvation rests on any work of man, ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God’ Ephesians 2.8.
Orthodox in our view of God
The roots of our faith reach back to the teaching of the apostles, which was summarised by the creeds of the early church. We believe that there is one God, in three persons. We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, who is co-equal with the Father in power and glory. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, glorified with the Father and Son as the third person in the Holy Trinity. We believe that our task is to say, ‘Behold your God’ Isaiah 40.9.
Conservative in our view of Scripture
We believe that the Scriptures penned by the Biblical authors are also the Word of God. We believe that because every word of scripture is inspired by God, it is kept free from error and falsehood, and therefore it must be precious to our souls. As a church we give primacy to the word of God in our congregational worship and in the devotional lives of individual believers. ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work’. 2 Timothy 3.16,17.
Calvinistic in our confessions
We accept the form of doctrine summarised in the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms. We accept that these documents were written by men and cannot be placed on the same level as scripture, but we regard them as subordinate standards to which elders and ministers must subscribe when they take up office. We believe the teaching of the Westminster Confession is that of historic Christianity, and is often summarised as follows:
- Total depravity: sin has corrupted us all so that we are hostile to God by nature.
- Unconditional election: God has chosen some to be saved, because of his great mercy and not because of any merit foreseen in us.
- Limited atonement: Christ died savingly on the cross, not for all men, but for those he loved in eternity.
- Irresistible grace: The working of the Holy Spirit is mighty and makes certain that all for whom Christ died will be saved.
- Perseverance of the saints: Those who are chosen and redeemed, cannot fall away from salvation but will continue in their walk with God throughout eternity.
Biblical in our attitude to worship
There is one simple principle which we believe ought to govern the worship of God in every age. It is found in Deuteronomy 12.32, ‘Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it’. In Reformation times this principle was expressed as ‘whatever is not commanded by God is forbidden’. At God’s command we sing the Psalms in praise to God; we offer prayers of adoration, thanksgiving, confession and petition: we read and preach the word of God. Because God’s word gives us no command we do not sing uninspired hymns, use set forms for prayer or liturgy or employ drama or instrumental music.
Presbyterian in our government
The kingship of the Lord Jesus Christ is a Biblical principle dear to the Reformed Presbyterian Church. The title Head of the Church is not to be claimed by any secular ruler, nor any so-called prince of the Church. The Bible teaches that men who exercise authority within the church must do so within a system of checks and balances. Congregations must be under the oversight of several elders, not just one man. These congregations, in turn, must be under the oversight of Presbyteries and Synods. We believe that the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 was an example of such Synodical supervision.
Covenanted in our view of society
We believe that covenanting is a proper response to God’s revelation of his grace and truth. It is appropriate for individuals, churches and nations to enter into covenants which recognise the kingship of the Lord Jesus Christ. We find great encouragement in the history of the British nations as we look back to the National Covenant of Scotland in 1638 and the Solemn League and Covenant of 1643 which was entered into by the public representatives of England and Scotland, the two founder nations of the modern United Kingdom. (The Solemn League and Covenant was adhered to by many in Ireland in 1644). Yet we grieve to think how these nations have rejected these covenants, formally in 1660, and practically in almost every political decision taken since then. Our nations are not just Covenant-breaking, they are Christ-rejecting because they reject the One whose royal authority is recognised in those Covenants.
This summary is quoted from ‘Introducing the Reformed Presbyterian Church’.