PREAMBLE, AFFIRMATIONS AND DENIALS OF THE REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH GENERAL ASSEMBLY, CONCERNING THE DOCTRINES OF BIBLICAL REVELATION, COVENANT OF WORKS, COVENANT OF GRACE, JUSTIFICATION, BAPTISM, GOOD WORKS, THE CHURCH AND THE WESTMINSTER STANDARDS.
In response to the current justification controversy that has engulfed the Reformed Church, arising from doctrines propagated by the New Perspective on Paul, Shepherdism, and what has come to be commonly called the Auburn Avenue Theology, or any combination thereof, which has compromised the pure Gospel of the satisfactory work of Jesus Christ as the sole basis for salvation, this Assembly of the Reformed Presbyterian Church (GA), has enacted the following affirmations and denials for the protection and preservation of the Gospel and this ecclesiastical body in accordance with the Holy Scripture, the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Book of Church Order.
Whereas some individual views may vary from person to person, nevertheless, the aforementioned theological issues have reintroduced the doctrine of semi pelagianism and a latent form of Roman Catholicism in both theory and practice, which has already been condemned by the historic Evangelical and Reformed Church as is manifested in their creeds.
Biblical Revelation and Interpretation
Whereas, any doctrinal teaching that denies or deviates from Biblical Revelation as propositional and logically systematic in nature, whether verbal or written, or asserts that such teaching is Greek and/or Hellenistic in nature, identifies historic Reformed teaching as some type of ‘Gnostic theology’, denies the grammatico-historical method of interpretation, belittles or denies Christianity as that system of doctrine taught in the Scripture, is contrary to the Bible and the Westminster Standards.
Covenant of Works
Whereas, any doctrinal teaching that denies or deviates from the Covenant of Works or Life, wherein Adam transgressed God’s commandment, resulting in sin and condemnation for himself and all his posterity before a just God, leaving all men totally unable to merit acceptance with God (justification) as a result of this legal breach, whether by word or deed (thought or action), is contrary to the Bible and the Westminster Standards.
Covenant of Grace
Whereas, any doctrinal teaching that denies or deviates from the historical Reformed interpretation that teaches God’s covenant of grace (salvation by a sovereign God) was eternally founded, wherein the Father elected individuals in Christ (the elect), the Son agreed to redeem the elect as their Federal representative, being the only acceptable mediator between God and man; in the fullness of time, being born of a woman, He fulfilled all the necessary requirements for Divine justice and restitution in His atoning work upon the cross; wherein the Father and the Son sends the Holy Spirit to renew and impute Christ’s righteousness to them, whereby all their sins, past, present and future, are forgiven, once and for all time; wherein they are declared righteous by God and are sealed by the Spirit as a guarantee of their promised eternal inheritance, that is, the salvation of their souls and their bodily resurrection, is contrary to the Bible and the Westminster Standards.
Whereas, any doctrinal teaching that denies or deviates from the historical Reformed formula of justification by faith alone, that is, that man is forensically (legally) declared, not made, right with God through faith alone (which is the instrument and not the object), based wholly on the imputed righteousness of Christ’s work through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, is adopted into the family of God, and sealed eternally in those covenant promises given to Christ as the Federal Head of the Elect, is contrary to the Bible and the Westminster Standards.
Whereas, any doctrinal teaching that defines justification by faith as a synthetic, co-operative work, as “faithful obedience” or “covenantal faithfulness” through the meritorious works of God and man, or by man alone, in salvation, or teaches that man keeps or maintains his redemptive status in God’s covenant of grace as a means to final vindication, that is to say, “a progressive justification”, is contrary to the Bible and the Westminster Standards.
Perseverance of the Saints
Whereas, any doctrinal teaching that denies or deviates from the historical Reformed interpretation, which errantly teaches that a Christian may lose their salvation, or the elect may become un-elected, or that any individual in covenant with Christ can apostatize or break the covenant of grace that was established in Christ’s covenant of redemption from eternity is contrary to the Bible and the Westminster standards.
Whereas, any doctrinal teaching that asserts that Baptism regenerates, initiates or infuses Christ’s righteousness, resulting in a personal righteousness, thereby making him acceptable to God in salvation, is contrary to the Bible and the Westminster Standards.
Whereas, any doctrinal teaching that asserts justification is a process (progressive justification) beginning with baptism, whereby all who are baptized with water are considered incorporated in Christ and the recipients of all the benefits of Christ’s accomplished work, being contingent upon continual obedience unto the law of God or “covenantal faithfulness” (wherein salvation or election might be lost due to apostasy), and which is not complete until Judgement Day, is contrary to the Bible and the Westminster Standards.
Whereas, any doctrinal teaching that asserts “our good works” result in or contribute to our justification, rather than resulting from the imputed righteousness of Christ through the renewing and indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, being a manifestation of our faith and full acceptance with God, and are the fruits of the indwelling Spirit, is contrary to the Bible and the Westminster Standards.
Whereas, any doctrinal teaching that denies or deviates from the existence of both, the universal or invisible church made up of all true believers, the elect in Christ Jesus our Federal Head, and the visible church, which is universal (not confined to one nation) and made up of all those who profess the true faith, together with their children, is contrary to the Bible and the Westminster Standards.
Whereas, any doctrinal teaching that promotes the use of sacraments in a way that denies or deviates from the doctrine of the spiritual presence of Christ in the meal, or that teaches that salvation is infused, merited, or conveyed as a result of receiving the elements therein, is contrary to the Bible and the Westminster Standards and our Book of Church Order.
We believe and maintain that the Westminster Standards are the purest human expression of Biblical Christianity as interpreted in the Historic Reformed theological tradition. Further, we assert and adhere to the doctrines of sola gratia, sola fida, sola Christo, sola Scriptura, and soli deo Gloria as the common expression of the Reformation Church.