Documents of Synod:
Study Papers of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (1965 to 1982)


155TH GS MINUTES, MAY 20, 1977, pp. 172-182

SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON DEFINITION FOR RECEPTION TO CHURCH MEMBERSHIP

The report was presented by the Rev. Mr. George Miladin.

This committee takes its rise from the 154th General Synod when certain questions were raised concerning specific terms relative to membership in "the particular church." What does it mean to receive communicant members by reaffirmation of faith or by letter of transfer from a church not deemed heretical. . .? Does heretical mean the same as apostate or is it to be taken more broadly so as to include major but not damnable doctrinal deviations? (e.g., Arminian-Dispensationalism)

Unable to present a complete report to the 155th General Synod, the committee was extended and given an additional question to consider -- "What form(s) should be employed for a public profession of faith?"

Since there is nothing more basic to church membership than this profession, the committee deemed it necessary to include in its definition of terms a consideration of a "credible profession of faith," which in fact is taken as our starting point.

OUTLINE:
I. DEFINITION OF TERMS

A. Credible Profession of Faith

1. Biblical data.

2. Reception to church membership data drawn from 19th and 20th Century American Presbyterian Church Practice.

3. Relationship of the RPCES F.O.G. statement to the biblical data.

B. Reaffirmation of Faith

1. Biblical data.

2. P.C.U.S. statement

C. Letter of Transfer From a Church Not Deemed Heretical

1. Biblical data.

2. Data drawn from Presbyterian Church Practice.

3. The meaning of the word heretical.

a. Biblical usage

b. Ecclesiastical usage

II. AN ALLEGED CONTRADICTION OR AMBIGUITY WITHIN THE F.O.G.
A. The Problem Stated
B. The Problem Resolved
III. A PROCEDURE SUITABLE IN PREPARING A PERSON FOR FULL CHURCH MEMBERSHIP INCLUDING EXAM QUESTIONS
A. Procedure
B. Exam Questions
IV. FORMS SUITABLE FOR PUBLIC PROFESSION OF FAITH
V. RECOMMENDATIONS
VI. BIBLIOGRAPHY

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[Documents of Synod, pp. 117 - 127]

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