You can download a copy of the Reformed Presbyterian Constitution here. It contains all of our official teachings as a denomination. Of course, we don’t want to overwhelm you- so here are some points of interest to get you started in understanding who we are:
The Reformed Faith
Our beliefs stem from a full commitment to the authority of the Bible as the inerrant, infallible Word of God. Our full doctrinal statement as to what we believe the Bible teaches is the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, as well as the Testimony of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. You can find a copy of this document on-line. Nevertheless, here are a few details about “Covenanter” beliefs that have been historic distinctives of our denomination.
The Supremacy of Christ
The affairs of this world have been placed under the supreme control of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Ruler of nations and the Head of the church. All earthly sovereigns and civil governments are fatally at fault when they usurp the authority which belongs only to Christ, whereas the system of popes and bishops is without Scriptural authority. Christ is to be acknowledged as the “First and the Last” everywhere and always–the First and the Last in individual life, in business life, in social life, in political life; in short, as Head over all things for the sake of His church.
The Psalms in Worship
The greatest act in which a Christian can engage is that of the worship of God. One phase of worship is that of singing his praise as a congregation. At the center of the Bible, God has given one hundred and fifty songs indicted by the Holy Spirit to be sung in the praise of God. “Sing unto Him, sing Psalms unto Him” (Psalm 105:2)
Nowhere has God authorized any other manual of praise to be used in his worship. The “Psalms, hymns and spiritual sings,” twice mentioned by the apostle Paul, are songs indicted by the Holy Spirit and are we believe included in the Book of Psalms. When Christ and the disciples “had sung an hymn” it was doubtless included in “the Great Hallel” composed of Psalms 113 to 118.
For these reasons The Reformed Presbyterian Church continues to sing the Psalms exclusively in the worship of God. Click on the link below to hear samples of Psalm Singing.
Instrumental music has a large place in human society. The world would be dull without our organs and symphony orchestras. The question here is, does God authorize the use of instruments of music in the new Testament worship?
It is true that they were used in temple worship along with the sacrifices. They were not used however in the synagogue after which the New Testament church was patterned. The Orthodox synagogues of the Jews still use no instruments in their worship. We maintain that when the ceremonial service of the Old Testament passed away musical instruments in worship also ceased. (2 Chron. 25-28).
Although largely ignored today, acapella singing is the historic practice of Protestant churches.
Christ’s Kingship Over Nations
Covenanters bear testimony to the Crown as well as the Cross of Jesus Christ. If Christ is the “King of Nations” the nations should acknowledge His kingly rule. This doctrine can be read about extensively in the book, Messiah the Prince by William Symington. It may be downloaded here for free, or listened to here.
The covenanting spirit so prominent in the churches of Scotland and Ireland was carried also to America. The Covenants were renewed at Middle Octora, Pennsylvania, in 1743, under the leadership of Rev. Alexander Craighead.
The American Covenant was sworn at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 21, 1871. It was subscribed by seventy-four ministers, seventy elders, five licentiates and four students of theology. It was later subscribed by members in the various congregations. The Church enjoyed a period of unusual prosperity after the Covenant was signed. The fiftieth anniversary of the Covenant was celebrated by Synod at Pittsburgh, in 1921.
On July 18, 1954, the Synod in session with the National Conference at Grinnell, Iowa, subscribed to “A Brief Covenant” previously drawn and adopted. After a solemn and appropriate service, 657 members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church signed this new form at the Sabbath morning service.
This form of covenant was later sent down to the congregations for the signature of members not present at the national gathering. The wording of this “Brief Covenant” is found in the Minutes of Synod of 1953.
The Covenanter Church stands for peace. She believes that world peace will come only when the world accepts the Prince of Peace. Her members resort to arms only in defense of righteousness. In Scotland they fought against tyranny and for Christian freedom. In the Revolutionary War they fought for national independence. In the Civil War they fought for the deliverance of the slaves. In other wars of the 20th century they fought to save the world from military despotism. But Covenanters love peace and long for the time when the peace of Christ shall prevail. They believe that war should be forever outlawed as a Policy for settling difficulties between nations. “Peace be within thy walls, and Prosperity within thy palaces” (Psalm 122:7).