The Belle Center Reformed Presbyterian Church is just one congregation of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA). The RPCNA has been around since the mid-1700's, and is related to other Reformed Presbyterians in other parts of the world. We all started in Scotland. For an overview of some of our past, take a look at Religious Principles of the Scottish Martyrs by the late Prof. Andrew Symington.
We're called "reformed" because we hold to the truths of the Bible re-emphasized a long time ago in the "Protestant Reformation". We still hold to the Westminster Confession of Faith, Larger Catechism, and Shorter Catechism as faithful summaries of what the Bible teaches. We do not put these documents on the same level as God's Bible, which is without mistakes. We do believe, though, that they are the best summary of the Bible's teaching, and tell all people what we think the Bible has to say. Among other things, we're "five point Calvinists". See a booklet by the Rev. Brian Schwertley on this.
We're called "presbyterian" because we see that the Bible teaches that all the Church of Christ should be governed by elders locally, regionally, and universally. We do not see any Bible basis for independent churches, nor do we see any Bible basis for higher "clergy" than ruling elders or teaching elders, who are more commonly called pastors or ministers of the Word. Some good articles to read on this are Biblical Church Government and Apostolic Presbyterianism.
We have a nickname, "Covenanters". We're sometimes called this because we are under covenants or contracts to seek to have all the Church of Christ unified with the same Scriptural teaching, worship, government, and discipline. Wherever and whenever we can be shown from the Bible that we have misunderstood something, we change to be in obedience to God's Word. Further, we believe each nation, each country, must give allegiance to Jesus, Who even now reigns over all things. Those nations must and shall support the true religion, as opposed to tolerating all sorts of other falsehoods. Two basic covenants we're still bound by are the National Covenant of 1638 and the Solemn League and Covenant. Feel free to give them a look. By the way, this is what the Blue Banner is all about. It was carried into battle against King Charles II of Scotland when he reneged on his swearing the Covenants and sought to wipe out the faithful Covenanting remnant. Under him and his brother, James VII, over 18,000 people suffered persecution, many to cruel and murderous death. We in the RP Church still honor the martyrs who bore the Banner and use it as the Church's logo.
Many people notice our worship practice the first time they visit. We sing only the Psalms of the Bible without any musical instruments. You can download a copy of the Scottish Version of 1650 which is still used in our British churches. You can get your own modern version by going to Crown and Covenant Publications and asking for information on the Book of Psalms for Singing, which we use here mostly in North America. We do this, not because we lack creativity to write hymns, and not because we're too cheap to buy a sound system. We believe the Bible teaches that worship is to center on God and His glory, not man's uplifted feelings. Therefore, since God knows best how He should be praised, we do only what He says. We don't do more, and we don't do less. We have no command to make hymns, so we don't. In these New Testament days, where the Temple ceremonies are over and we really have the Savior and His salvation, as well as the joy of the fulness of the Holy Spirit, we don't use instruments. They were a picture of the joy Christians would have in the Holy Spirit. We have the reality, now. To use the picture denies the reality. For more on this topic, feel free to read and download Biblical Worship or Worship: The Regulative Principle of Worship in History.
Return to home of Belle Center, OH, Reformed Presbyterian ChurchLast Updated 14-Feb-2007 firstname.lastname@example.org