Greeting: Grace, Mercy
and Peace be multiplied upon you!
the National Presbyterian Church takes her place among the family
of Churches of the Lord Jesus Christ, we take this opportunity
to address all Churches by way of a testimony.
gather as a true branch of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We affirm our allegiance to Him as the sole Head of the Church and
the sole Law-giver in Zion. We remember that the gates of
hell shall not prevail against His Church.
constituency of this new denomination for the most part have separated
themselves from the Presbyterian Church in the United
States. The decision to separate has come only after long years
of struggle and heartache on the part of many of us to return the
Church to purity of faith and practice. Principle and conviction
entered into that decision, reached only after much soul searching
and earnest prayer. We have reluctantly accepted the necessity of
separation, deeming loyalty to Christ to take precedence over relationship
to any earthly institution, even to a visible branch of the Church
much prayer and with great sorrow and mourning we have concluded
that to practice the principle of purity in the Church visible,
we must pay the price of separation. We desire to elaborate upon
those principles and convictions that have brought us to that decision.
are convinced that our former denomination as a whole, and in its
leadership, no longer holds those views regarding the nature and
mission of the Church, which we accept as both true and essential.
When we judged that there was no human remedy for this situation,
and in the absence of evidence that God would intervene, we were
compelled to raise a new banner bearing the historic, Scriptural
faith of our forefathers.
we declare the basis of the authority for the Church. According
to the Christian faith, the Bible is the Word of God written and
carries the authority of its divine Author. We believe the Bible
itself asserts that it has been given by inspiration, or,
more literally, has been God-breathed (II Timothy 3:16).
No prophecy ever came by the will of man; but men spake from
God, being moved by the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:21). We declare,
therefore, that the Bible is the very Word of God, so inspired in
the whole and in all its parts, as in the original autographs, to
be the inerrant Word of God. It is, therefore, the only infallible
and all-sufficient rule of faith and practice.
was the position of the founding fathers of the Presbyterian Church
in the United States. We affirm with them in their Address
to All Churches the application of this principle to the Church
and her mission:
Let it be distinctly borne in mind that the only rule of judgment is the written
Word of God. The Church knows nothing
of the intuitions of reason or the deductions of philosophy,
except those reproduced in the Sacred Canon. She has a positive
constitution in the Holy Scriptures, and has no right to
utter a single syllable upon any subject except as the Lord
puts words in her mouth. She is founded, in other words,
upon express revelation. Her creed is an authoritative testimony
of God, and not speculation, and what she proclaims she
must proclaim with the infallible certitude of faith, and
not with the hesitating assent of an opinion.
have called ourselves Continuing Presbyterians because
we seek to continue the faith of the founding fathers of that Church.
Deviations in doctrine and practice from historic Presbyterian positions
as evident in the Presbyterian Church in the United States, result
from accepting other sources of authority, and from making them
coordinate or superior to the divine Word. A diluted theology, a
gospel tending towards humanism, an unbiblical view of marriage
and divorce, the ordination of women, financing of abortion on socio-economic
grounds, and numerous other non-Biblical positions are all traceable
to a different view of Scripture from that we hold and that which
was held by the Southern Presbyterian forefathers.
in the Presbyterian Church in the United States came as a gradual
thing, and its ascendancy in the denomination, over a long
period of time. We confess that it should not have been permitted.
Views and practices that undermine and supplant the system of doctrine
or polity of a confessional Church ought never to be tolerated.
A Church that will not exercise discipline will not long be able
to maintain pure doctrine or godly practice.
a denomination will not exercise discipline and its courts have
become heterodox or disposed to tolerate error, the minority
finds itself in the anomalous position of being submissive to a
tolerant and erring majority. In order to proclaim the truth and
to practice the discipline which they believe obedience to Christ
requires, it then becomes necessary for them to separate. This is
the exercise of discipline in reverse. It is how we view our separation.
Some of our brethren have felt that the present circumstances do
not yet call for such a remedy. They remain in the Presbyterian
Church in the United States. We trust they will continue to contend
for the faith, though our departure makes their position more difficult.
We express to them our hope that God will bless their efforts, and
that there may come a genuine spiritual awakening in the Presbyterian
Church in the United States.
trust that our departure may cause those who control and direct
the programs and policies of the Presbyterian Church in the United
States to reexamine their own position in the light of the Word.
Our prayer is that God may use this movement to promote spiritual
awakening, not only in the new Church, but also in that from which
we have separated. If in the providence of God, such were to occur,
we would gladly acknowledge that the grounds for separation and
division would have to be reassessed.
declare also that we believe the system of doctrine found in Gods
Word to be the system known as the Reformed Faith. We are
committed without reservation to the Reformed Faith as set forth
in the Westminster Confession and Catechisms. It is our conviction
that the Reformed faith is not sectarian, but an authentic and valid
expression of Biblical Christianity. We believe it is our duty to
seek fellowship and unity with all who profess this faith. We particularly
wish to labor with other Christians committed to this theology.
further renew and reaffirm our understanding of the nature and mission
of the Church. We have declared that Christ is King and only Law-giver
in Zion. He has established the Church. His Church is a spiritual
reality. As such it is made up of all the elect from all ages. This
spiritual entity is manifested visibly upon the earth.
The Church visible is found wherever there are those who profess
the true faith together with their children. As an assembly of those
who do so profess this faith, we have established this denomination
in the belief that it is a true branch of the Christian Church.
believe the Church in its visible aspect is still essentially a
spiritual organism. As such, its authority, motivation and power
from Christ, the Head, who is seated at the right hand of God. He
has given us His rulebook for the Church, namely, the Word of God
written. We understand the task of the Church to be primarily declarative
and ministerial, not legislative or magisterial. It is our duty
to set forth what He has given us in His Word and not to devise
our own message or legislate our own laws.
declare that the ultimate purpose of the Church is to glorify God.
We believe this includes giving top priority to Christs Great
Commission. We reaffirm the substance of the position taken by the
founding fathers of our former Church regarding the mission of the
desire distinctly and deliberately to inscribe on our Churchs
banner, as she now unfurls it to the world, in immediate subservience
to the authority of our Lord as Head and King of the Church His
last command: Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever
I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end
of the world. We regard this as the great end of our organization,
and obedience to it, as the indispensable condition of our Lords
promised presence. It is the one great comprehensive objective,
a proper conception of whose grandeur and magnitude is the only
thing which, under the constraining love of Christ, can ever sufficiently
arouse our energies and develop our resources so as to cause us
to carry on with that vigor and efficiency, which true loyalty to
our Lord demands, those other agencies necessary to our internal
growth and prosperity at home.
a Church, we consciously seek to return to the historic Presbyterian
view of Church government. We reaffirm in the words of that
earlier Address to All Churches the following:
only thing that will be at all peculiar to us is the manner
in which we shall attempt to discharge our duty. In almost
every department of labor, except the pastoral care of congregations,
it has been usual for the Church to resort to societies
more or less closely connected with itself, and yet logically
and really distinct. It is our purpose to rely upon the
regular organs of our government, and executive agencies
directly and immediately responsible to them. We wish to
make the Church, not merely a superintendent, but an agent.
We wish to develop the idea that the congregation of believers,
as visibly organized is the very society or corporation
which is divinely called to do the work of the Lord. We
shall, therefore, endeavor to do what has never been adequately
done--- bring out the energies of our Presbyterian system
of government. From the session to the Assembly, we shall
strive to enlist all our courts, as courts, in every department
of Christian effort. We are not ashamed to confess that
we are intensely Presbyterian. We embrace all other denominations
in the arms of Christian fellowship and love, but our own
scheme of government we humbly believe to be according to
the pattern shown in the Mount, and, by Gods grace,
we propose to put its efficiency to the test.
this new member of the family of Churches of the Lord Jesus Christ
comes into being, we necessarily profess the Biblical doctrine
of the unity of all who are in Christ. We know that what happens
in one portion of His Church affects all of the Body of Christ.
We covet the prayers of all Christians that we may witness and serve
responsibly. We desire to pursue peace and charity with love towards
fellow Christians throughout the world.
the Presbyterian Church in the United States, in particular, we
express our continued love and concern. You are our spiritual mother,
in your arms we were nurtured, under your ordinances we were baptized,
in your courts we were ordained to serve our Lord and King, and
to your visible organization we thought we had committed our lives.
We sever these ties only with deepest regret and sorrow. We hope
that our going may in some way recall you to that historic witness
which we cherish as our common heritage.
greet all believers in an affirmation of the bonds of Christian
brotherhood. We invite into ecclesiastical fellowship all who maintain
our principles of faith and order.
now commend ourselves to God and the Word of His power. We devoutly
pray that the Church catholic may be filled afresh with
the Holy Spirit, and that she may speedily be stirred up to take
no rest until the Lord accomplishes His Kingdom, making Zion a praise
in the whole earth.
December 7, 1973