ABOUT OUR CHURCH
Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church is a member of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in the United States.
The “Reformed” in our name refers to our adherence to the biblical principles set down by the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Our spiritual fathers include Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Knox.
“Presbyterian” refers to our form of church government. Each congregation is under the oversight of those elected as elders, who are also part of higher courts known as Presbyteries and Synod.
The word “Covenanted” identifies us with the biblical practice of covenanting which is an important distinctive of the early Presbyterians in Scotland (c. 1556-1650).
We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are inspired by God and thus totally without error. The Bible (not human tradition, not human experience, not alleged subjective “revelation”) is the sole standard and authority for faith and life.
We believe that God is One God existing eternally in three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—the same in essence, equal in power and glory.
We believe in one mediator between God and man, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, of one essence and equal with the Father, in order to save sinners, assumed a human nature (a true human body and soul). Since His incarnation, Jesus Christ continues to be both God and man, in two distinct natures, yet one person forever.
We believe that we are saved solely through the sacrificial death and sinless life of Jesus Christ. The believer’s guilt is imputed to Christ on the cross and Jesus Christ’s perfect righteousness is then credited to the believer. Thus, our sins are forgiven and we are declared righteous in God’s heavenly court by the Father. Faith is the instrumental means whereby we lay hold of Christ and His benefits. Faith is a gift of God, therefore, God receives all the glory in our salvation.
We believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day, He ascended to the Father and sits exalted at the right hand of God. Jesus Christ, the divine-human mediator, now rules the nations. As King of heaven and earth, Jesus is expanding His church and subduing His enemies. Jesus will return physically at the end of the age to judge all men.
We wholeheartedly adhere to the regulative principle of worship, which is: whatever is not commanded by Scripture in the worship of God is forbidden (read Dt. 4:2; 12:30-32; Lev. 10:1-2). Anything that the church does in worship must have warrant from the Word of God. We must add nothing of our own to, or subtract anything from, what our Lord has established in His Word. Therefore, our church receives all worship ordinances from God in the Bible (read Gen. 4:3-5; 2 Sam 6:3-7; 1 Kgs. 12:32-33; 1 Chr. 15:13-15; Jer. 7:31; 19:5; Mt. 15:1-3, 6; Col. 2:8, 20-23).
Exclusive Use of the Psalms in Worship
God has provided His church with a manual of praise to use in His honor; that manual is the Psalter. Jesus and the New Testament church used only the Psalms of the Bible in the praise of God. Since uninspired hymns are not authorized for use in the Bible, they are forbidden in the public worship of God. Exclusive psalmody was practiced in the ancient synagogues, the apostolic and post-apostolic church and all Reformed or Presbyterian churches of the Reformation period.
Instrumental Music in Worship
The Christian church is the successor of the synagogue of the Jews, not of the temple, and in the former no musical instruments were used. The use of musical instruments in public worship was solely a function of the Old Testament levitical priesthood (cf. 2 Chr. 29:25). Instruments were played by the Levites during the sacrifice of animals in the temple (cf. 2 Chr. 29:29-30). The typical, ceremonial and sacrificial aspects of temple worship were fulfilled in Jesus Christ and done away (cf. Heb. 9-10). Since the New Testament church is not commanded to use musical instruments and since there is not even one historical example of the use of musical instruments by the apostolic church, they are forbidden in public worship.
Although we accept all the orthodox creeds (e.g. Apostles Creed, Nicene Creed, Chalcedon, etc.) our official statement of faith is the original 1646 Westminster Standards (which includes The Westminster Confession of Faith, The Larger Catechism, The Shorter Catechism, The Form of Presbyterial Church Government, The Directory for the Public Worship of God and The Directory for Family Worship). We hold to strict subscriptionism and thus reject doctrinal pluralism and modern forms of ecumenicalism (e.g. NAPARC).
1. We adhere to the establishment principle as defined by the Westminster Standards.
2. We believe that the Ten Commandments and all the Old Testament moral case laws still apply to society (i.e. all men and nations).
3. We believe in six literal (24 hour) days of creation, a young earth and a world-wide flood.
4. We believe in a postmillennial eschatology. In other words, the Great Commission and the dominion mandate will (by the Word and Spirit of Christ) be fulfilled in history before the second coming of the Savior.
5. We believe in presuppositional apologetics (i.e. one must stand on the truths of Scripture in order to prove that the Bible is true).
6. We believe that social covenanting is an ordinance of God, and obligatory on churches and nations in the New Covenant era. Because as Presbyterians we are under the lawful perpetual covenants made by our spiritual forefathers, we heartily bind ourselves to the National Covenant of Scotland (1638) and the Solemn League and Covenant (1643).
7. We believe in covenant headship and thus do not allow women to teach, vote in congregational elections or serve as deacons or elders. In addition, we do not have activities that split the family such as youth groups, age-segregated Sabbath school or women’s Bible studies.
8. We are committed to Christ-centered education for covenant children. Therefore, we emphatically reject the state school system as secular and anti-Christian and instead advocate for homeschooling or explicitly Reformed Christian schools.
Pastor Brian Schwertley is a graduate of Reformed Episcopal Seminary (Philadelphia, PA) with a Master of Divinity degree. He was ordained in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America in 1996 and has served as a church planter and minister in Michigan and Wisconsin. In January 2006, Rev. Schwertley, along with other ministers and ruling elders formed the Westminster Presbyterian Church in the United States in order to have a presbytery committed to biblical worship and full subscription to the Westminster Standards. In 2013, the WPCUS adopted the ordinance of covenanting and thus we adhere to the covenants of our spiritual forefathers. The WPCUS is the only Presbyterian denomination in America that holds to full subscription to the original Westminster Standards, exclusive a cappella psalmody, theonomy and social covenanting.
Pastor Schwertley has authored a number of scholarly books and monographs and has been published in The Christian Statesman, The Homeschool Digest, Semper Reformanda, The Chalcedon Report, The Puritan Journal of Brazil, The New Southern Presbyterian Review and The Counsel of Chalcedon. Rev. Schwertley’s works have been translated into several languages including Portuguese, German, Bulgarian, Spanish, Italian, Danish and Swedish. Pastor Schwertley and his wife, Andrea, have been married since 1984 and have five children, all of whom have been homeschooled. Rev. Schwertley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org (715)445-2851.