Doctrines and Beliefs
The Five Solas
The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church is rooted in the Reformed tradition which arose from the Protestant Reformation. The Reformers, having returned to Scripture, attempted to carefully and faithfully rebuild the church upon the teachings of the New Testament. The five solas of the Reformation reclaimed the biblical view of:
Regulative Principle of Worship
Put simply, The Regulative Principle of Worship states that the corporate worship of God is to be founded upon specific directions of Scripture. In the public worship of God, specific requirements are made, and we are not free either to ignore them or to add to them. As the Westminster Confession of Faith states in Chapter 21, section 1, “The acceptable way of worshiping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshiped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.”
The overarching theme of the Bible is the concept of God’s kingdom, and how God administers his kingdom through covenants. Through covenants God condescends to reveal himself to humanity. The entire history of the Bible is divided into just two covenants: the “covenant of works” in Adam and the “covenant of grace” in Christ. The covenant of works was God’s arrangement with Adam and Eve before their fall into sin. The covenant of grace governed the rest of the Bible. All stages of the covenant of grace were the same in substance. The stages differed only as God administered his one covenant of grace in Christ in various ways throughout biblical history. Biblical covenants emphasized what was needed at specific stages of God’s kingdom by advancing the principles of previous covenants. God started with Adam to reveal his own kingship, the role of humanity, and the purpose he had planned for the earth (Genesis 1–3). These principles were then carried forward as God promised stability in nature for humanity’s service in Noah’s covenant (Genesis 6, Genesis 9). God further enhanced his previous covenants by promising that Abraham’s descendants would become a great empire and spread God’s blessings to all other nations (Genesis 15, Genesis 17). God built on these covenants by blessing Israel with his law in the days of Moses (Exodus 19–24). Every previous covenant was taken to new heights as God established David’s dynasty and promised that one of his sons would rule in righteousness over Israel and over the entire world (Psalm 72; Psalm 89; Psalm 132). All Old Testament covenants were then furthered and fulfilled in Christ (Jeremiah 31:31, 2 Corinthians 1:19–20). As the great son of David, His life, death, resurrection, ascension, and return eternally secure the transformation of the entire earth into God’s glorious kingdom.
Vocation: The Theology of the Christian Life
A Confessional Church