In our long effort to become more Biblical and Confessional in our ecclesiology, we have as of March, 2018, entered into the status of Affiliate Relations with the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly in the first formal step of seeking to join the denomination. As of April 1, 2021 (no foolin’!) we took the next step by making our Declaration of Association as a new entity toward closing the old incorporated identity (as required by the RPCGA per Erastianism; see these articles that helped our study and decision to make this change: Four Ways to Organize a Ministry by Dr. Roger Sapp and Covenant Presbyterian Church Partial Report on Incorporation by Dr. Phillip Kayser (which includes not only the denomination’s considerations but also a helpful study report by the RCUS in Appendix C, which found particularly persuasive). See also The Problems with Church Incorporation by Dr. Phillip Kayser).
OUR NAME: In short, we are Puritan in spiritual heritage and earnest, Reformed in theology and doctrine, Presbyterian in government and practice, and a confessional Church in profession and witness.
Puritan: The name ‘Puritan’ is borrowed from the nickname given to Reformed ministers in 17th century England, who sought to purify the visible church from that which was contrary to the Holy Scriptures. Based on the work of many before them, the Puritans gave us as a heritage the King James Version of the Bible (agreed to by King James in God’s gracious providence).
Reformed: The motto of the Protestant Reformation against the Roman Catholic Church was semper reformanda, “always reforming”, and that meant to keep going back to the Bible and rediscovering the old good paths and same right ways that God’s people returned to walk within and enjoyed during any time of revival in the Scriptures and in Church history. Reformed means constantly going back to the Bible and not adding or taking away from God’s commands, and restoring things when we learn we have by sinful imagination or neglect (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Joshua 1:7; Proverbs 30:6; Jeremiah 6:16; Philippians 3:16; Revelation 22:18-19). Thus the Reformation not only restored “Sola Scriptura” as it relates to “justification by faith alone”, but so much of the movement wherever the Reformation moved by the Spirit included significant reformation (going back to the Bible and removing unscriptural elements) in church worship and government and included also an influence on how the State should mind the Scriptures for its sphere of authority and its responsibility as well as its limits.
Presbyterian: Presbyterians were the major and most influential group joining the Puritan assembly from 1643 to 1649 to produce the Westminster Confession of Faith, which they adopted as their own, as we still do. Our church is ruled and served by a plurality of elders (a Session), of which the pastor is one – this form of church government, which the Bible clearly teaches, is called Presbyterian (we are in the process of seeking its logical extension from the local church level by endeavoring to be yoked with a Presbytery/denomination, per Acts 15 and Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 31). For a list of qualifications for elders, see Exodus 18 and also Paul’s first letter to Timothy, and his letter to Titus. Elders are responsible for overseeing all aspects of church life and protecting her holiness as Christ’s beautiful bride. One of the terms that best describes the work of an elder is “shepherding”, as we are told by the Lord Jesus Christ to prove we love Him by feeding His sheep, which involves instruction and counseling through the Word, discipleship, visitation, discipline, and prayer. (See Matthew 18:15-20; Acts 20:17-35–especially vs. 28; 1 Timothy 5:1, 17; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Hebrews 13:7, 17, 24.)
Church: Sadly this should be self-explanatory but these days it is not. Christians are saved by Christ into His Body to be His one Temple and assembly in member covenanted worship and service. We are formally accountable to Him and one another. Jesus works in this world through His Church, the pillar and ground of the truth and family and household of God. (See Matthew 16:18; Acts 7:38; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; 12:12-27; 1 Tim. 3:15; Ephesians 2:19-22; 3:14-15, 20-21; Hebrews 10:24-25; Revelation 22:16.)