Reformed Presbyterian Church and Terms of Communion

In her testimony the Reformed Presbyterian Church embraces the plain and cardinal truths of the Bible and brings them to bear practically upon the lives of her members. From the following “Terms of Communion” and a brief statement of the distinctive principles of the Church, her true position may be learned:

Terms of Communion:

1. An acknowledgment of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and the only rule of faith and manners.

2. An acknowledgment that the whole doctrine of the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Catechisms, Larger and Shorter, are agreeable unto, and founded upon, the Scriptures.

3. An acknowledgment of the divine right of one unalterable form of Church Government and manner of worship — and that these are, for substance, justly exhibited in that form of Church Government and the Directory for Worship agreed upon by the assembly of divines at Westminster, as they were received by the Church of Scotland.

4. An acknowledgment of public covenanting as an ordinance of God to be observed by churches and nations ; and of the perpetual obligation of public covenants ; and of the obligation upon this Church of the Covenant entered into in 1871, in which are embodied the engagements of the National Covenant of Scotland, and of the Solemn League and Covenant, so far as applicable in this land.

5. An approbation of the faithful contendings of the martyrs of  Jesus, and of the present Reformed Covenanted Churches in Britain and Ireland, against Paganism, Popery, and Prelacy, and against immoral constitutions of civil government, together with all Erastian tolerations and persecutions which flow therefrom, as containing a noble example for us and our posterity to follow in contending for all divine truth, and in testifying against all contrary evils, which may exist in the corrupt con- stitutions of either Church or State.

6. An approbation of the doctrines contained in the Declaration and Testimony of the Reformed Presbyterian’ Church in North America, in defence of truth, and in opposition to error.

These, together with due subordination in the Lord to the authority of the Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America, and a regular life and conversation, form the bonds of our ecclesiastical union.

From this clear and concise declaration and testimony it is learned that the position of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in America is, and always has been, one of practical dissent from the Constitution of the United States. In this the practice of the Church has been uniform. The Constitution is radically and wilfully defective in that it does not recognize the existence of God, the supremacy of Christ the King of Nations, and the Word of God as the supreme law. On account of these radical defects, and the many immoralities which naturally flow from them. Reformed Presbyterians cannot recognize it as a scripturally constituted civil government, nor swear allegiance to it, however much they may admire its many excellencies.

– Glasgow, W. Melancthon (William Melancthon), 1856-1909, History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in America P. 53. 

Note: As I understand it American Covenanters’ dissented from participation in the federal government of the United States due to the Constitution’s failure to acknowledge the crown rights of Jesus Christ. For this reason (among others), they could not vote for anyone who had to swear an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States – an oath which they could not, in good conscience, swear themselves. Consequently, since taking office involved swearing a sinful oath, to vote for such candidates was to partake in the sin of upholding a Christ-despising constitution, that, whatever its virtues, was ultimately a covenant with death and an agreement with hell.

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