What It Means To Be RPCNA

In this series of sermons you will discover the distinguishing doctrines of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America.

1. Mediatorial Kingship of Jesus Christ

One of the distinguishing doctrines of the Reformed Presbyterian Church is the doctrine of the mediatorial kingship of Jesus Christ. In its most basic form, this doctrine teaches that Jesus Christ, as mediator and God-man, is King of the nations. Isaiah 55:4-5 speaks of this great doctrine in prophetic form as the Lord through His prophet proclaims that He will set forth the son of David as the leader and commander of the peoples. As King of nations, Christ’s rule extends to the ends of the earth and calls upon the nations to explicitly acknowledge Him as King and lawgiver.

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2. Public Covenanting

Historian David H. Fleming notes well that Scotland is pre-eminently the land of the Covenant. Clearly, the 16th century Reformation in Scotland led by John Knox galvanized around public covenants taken by nobility and commoners alike. The rationale for such public, civil covenants taken in support of the Reformation is found in Knox’ reading of the OT narratives of the kings of Judah leading national renewal through public covenanting. Knox argued that “that whatsoever God required of the Civil Magistrate in Israel or Juda concerning the observation of true religion during the time of the Law, the same doth he require of lawful Magistrates professing Christ Jesus in the time of the Gospel.” This practice of public covenanting not only prevailed under the leadership of Knox, it continued in Scotland all the way into the middle of the 17th century, culminating in the Solemn League and Covenant in 1643 between the Scottish and the British, which provided the legal framework for the Westminster Assembly. It is evident from reading the historical record of the 16th and 17th centuries in Scotland that Presbyterianism and public covenanting were inseparably related. To be a Presbyterian then, is to be a covenanter. This message provides a Biblical argument for the propriety of public covenanting and for the renewal of public covenanting in our day.

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3. Uniformity in Doctrine

When Presbyterians were united in the middle of the 17th century in Scotland, England, and Ireland, they took a covenant to promote the Reformation in these three kingdoms. They swore to uphold uniformity of religion according to their place and station in life. A part of that covenanted uniformity was a commitment to a unified confession of faith. This faith they swore to unite in confessing was that system of doctrine which is contained in the Scriptures. In this installment of the series WIMTBRP, New Testament passages are examined to establish the proposition that Scripture contains a system of doctrine and that the church is obligated to unite covenantally in confessing it.

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4. Presbyterian Church Government, Pt. 1

The Solemn League and Covenant entered into and signed by both England and Scotland in 1643 called for a specific kind of government which was Biblical, according to the best reformed churches on the continent, and most likely to secure the peace of the church. Such a form of government would also lack the hierarchy of Episcopacy and a kind of independency which contributed to sectarianism and anarchy. Working within these parameters, the Westminster Assembly of Divines formulated what is known as “Presbyterianism.” Presbyterianism is the form of church government instituted by Christ and revealed in Scripture which consists of two permanent officers, elders and deacons, and a system of graded courts which rule the church according to Scripture. This message focuses on Christ’s institution of church government as revealed in Scripture and the two permanent church offices. Attention is also given to the functional distinctions contained within the eldership and the application of presbyterian principles to officers and church members.

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5. Presbyterian Church Government, Pt. 2

Presbyterian church government is rule in the church by elders. The elders are organized in courts (the session, the presbytery and the Synod) to which is committed the power of governing the church and of ordaining officers. This power is moral and spiritual, and subject to the law of God. (RPCNA Testimony, 25:10)

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6. Presbyterian Church Government, Pt. 3

When teachers came down from Judea to Antioch and started teaching that Gentiles had to be circumcised in order to be saved, it set off a a firestorm of controversy. The presbytery of Antioch met to analyze this new teaching, but the heated debate did not lead to a resolution. In order to resolve this difficult theological problem, the presbytery appealed to synod which met in Jerusalem. Acts 15 records the important details of this synodical meeting along with its results. Presbyterians hold that the principles of synodical government are contained in this passage and that the church is bound to structure its government according to the model set forth here.

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7. Regulated Worship

From the outset of the Reformation, Calvin wrote that the first concern of the Reformed church was worship. One hundred years later, in the 1640’s, the Westminster Assembly formulated a Directory for Public Worship which affirmed the regulative principle and its application in a series of elements taken exclusively from Scripture. Presbyterian worship is worship that in principle and practice is strictly regulated by the word of God. This sermon surveys the Biblical basis for the regulative principle of worship and shows the textual basis for the various elements of Presbyterian worship.

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8. Catechism

The fourth component of the covenanted uniformity called for by the Solemn League and Covenant was catechism. The rationale was that catechism was the link between the pulpit and the home and is the divinely appointed means for perpetuating the faith from one generation to the next. This message explores the Biblical basis for weekly catechism in the church and regular catechism in the home.

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