A Confessional Church
So nothing new here…
The Associated Presbyterian Churches is a confessional church whose doctrine is summed up in the Westminster Confession of Faith. Our ministers and elders subscribe to that confession because it is biblical. We confess that the Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testaments have been given by God to His Church by inspiration and that they are the sufficient and only infallible rule of faith and practice and arbitrator of all of all controversies with respect to our Most Holy Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In agreement with the Scripture as the basis of all true churches, we identify our theology as being catholic, evangelical and reformed.
Our theology is “catholic” in the sense that it reaffirms the doctrines of the historic Christian Faith which spans across generational, geographical, language or racial boundaries. Thus, we take seriously the apostolic admonition recorded for us in Jude 3 to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”
Our theology is “evangelical” in the sense that affirms the vital and biblical doctrines of historic Protestantism such as Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide. Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) maintains that Scripture alone (consisting of the Old and New Testaments, inerrant in their original autographs) is the inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of God; that it is the only recorded revelation of God; that it is the only infallible rule for the catholic Church on all matters relating to the historic Christian faith and practice; and that it alone is binding on the conscience (2 Timothy 3:15-16). Sola Fide (Faith Alone) maintains that the justification (salvation) of sinners before the Holy God is by faith alone. Upon casting himself at the mercy of God and committing himself to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith, the sinner is justified by the grace God through the Lord Jesus Christ. The righteousness of Jesus Christ, “the Lamb of God who came to take the sin of the world” (John 1:29), is then imputed to the believing sinner. The sinner is then gradually transformed into a saint by the power of Holy Spirit through God’s Word in a process called sanctification. The Westminster Shorter Catechism defines sanctification as the work of God’s grace whereby believers are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness (Q & A 35). For more on this, see The Five Solas of the Reformation.
Our theology is “reformed” in the sense that it is God-centered to the core. Reformed theology is mainly (not exclusively) distinguished from other Protestant systems of belief by the fact that it places great emphasis on the doctrine of God. The magisterial Reformers like Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Knox embraced this theology in their day. We count it a great blessing from the Lord and are unashamedly committed to carrying on this legacy of faith in our day by upholding this emphasis in our system of belief. The biblical structure of God’s covenant of grace, which is at the very heart of Reformed theology, provides the framework for our theology. The Five Points of Calvinism, though non-exhaustive, provide a good summary of and greater insight into Reformed theology.