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What We Believe:
We believe in one God who exists eternally as three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This God is infinite, eternal, unchangeable, all wise, all powerful, all knowing, and perfect in holiness, justice, and faithfulness.
We believe that God reveals Himself most fully and clearly in the Bible. The Christian Scriptures, which are the Old and New Testaments, teach us what we are to believe about God and what He would have us do. The Scriptures, while written by men, were breathed out by God, and therefore God is the primary author of Scripture. Because God is the primary author of Scripture, it is without error and is the timeless truth, the final authority for all belief and practice.
We believe that man and woman were created in the image and likeness of God. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, were historical figures who were created in original righteousness and holiness, and were given the ability to keep God’s commands.
We believe that when Adam sinned against God by breaking His command to not eat of the forbidden fruit, he lost the original righteousness and holiness in which he was created as well as the ability to keep God’s commands. In the fall, sin entered the world, as well as death and misery, which are the wages of sin. Adam, in his fall, did not act for himself only, but as the covenant representative for the entire human race. Therefore, everyone who comes from Adam, every man, woman, and child brought in this world, inherits the sinful nature of Adam and is guilty before God.
We believe that sin is the failure to conform to or the breaking of God’s law. Sharing in the fallen and sinful nature of Adam, all mankind is inherently disposed to sin. From our sinful nature flows sinful thoughts, words, and actions. While we are by nature guilty sin, we add to our guilt by committing sins.
We believe that God hates sin and that all sinners deserve God’s wrath and condemnation. Scripture teaches that God will judge sinners according to His holy law. If we bear our own guilt, God is right to throw us into Hell for all eternity.
We believe that because of His love for sinners, God sent His Son into the world to save sinners. The Son of God, who is fully God, took on a human nature by being conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary. He is, therefore, fully man. He is like us in every way according to His human nature, yet without sin. Jesus, like Adam, stands as a covenant representative for His people. He lived a perfect life as the spotless lamb of God, and as the lamb of God, He took on the sins and guilt of His people and offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin on the Cross. After His sacrificial death for His people, He was physically raised from the dead on the third day. After a period on earth, the resurrected Christ ascended into Heaven, where He sits at God’s right hand, waiting until the day when He will return to judge the living and the dead.
The New Birth
We believe that because all of mankind is dead in sin, for anyone to be able to believe in Jesus for salvation God must make them alive by His Holy Spirit. We must be born again by the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit if we are going to be made able to believe in and be saved by Jesus Christ. In this work of regeneration, God imparts to us a new nature that is able and willing to believe and obey Him.
Justification by Faith Alone
We believe that there is nothing man can do to save himself. No one can be good enough to be saved from God’s wrath. We are made right with God through faith in Jesus Christ alone. When a sinner rests his faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, his sin and guilt are removed, and Christ’s perfect righteousness is given to him. Through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone we have all we need to stand before the holy and righteous God on judgment day.
We believe that the Christian life is a life of repentance. A sinner who is born again is drawn to grieve and hate his sin, and turns toward the God of mercy by endeavoring toward new obedience. Repentance, which is a grace of God, is a necessary fruit in the life of every Christian.
We believe that, through the Holy Spirit who abides in those who are saved by Jesus Christ, Christians are to pursue a life of holiness out of gratitude for the free grace of God. Christians are called to subdue the remaining corruption within us, to put sin to death, and to live unto righteousness. A Christian can only do this by the grace of God in Christ. While sanctification will not be complete in this life, God will perfect us in the life to come.
We believe that God has not merely saved individuals, but has called his people to gather together as the church. The church, understood in its broadest sense, consists of all the redeemed of all the ages. In a more narrow sense, the church is the gathered body of professing believers and their children. The Scriptures teach that connection to and membership with a local congregation is not an option, except in extreme circumstances. It is expected that Christians would join with a local congregation.
We believe that Christ has instituted the sacrament of baptism as a sign and seal of His grace. It is properly administered by the pouring of water on the head in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit by a minister of the Gospel. It represents our entrance into His covenant community, much like circumcision did in the Old Covenant. It is to be administered to those who come to Christ by faith who have not been baptized previously, and to the children of believing parents. The sacrament of baptism should be administered only once.
The Lord’s Supper
We believe that the Lord’s Supper is the covenant meal instituted by Christ, and is a sacrament through which we commune with the resurrected Christ by His Spirit. In the Lord’s Supper, we take the bread and the cup by faith to remember Jesus’ broken body and shed blood for our sins. The Lord’s Supper is not a mere memorial of Christ’s, but we actually receive grace as we take the Lord’s Supper by faith. Because we must be able to discern the meaning of the body and the blood of Christ, and because the unworthy reception of the Lord’s Supper profanes the sacrament, only those who have been baptized, who have made a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ, and who live a life of repentance may partake in this sacrament.
The Last Things
We believe that Jesus Christ will return in glory to judge the living and the dead. Those whom He has saved who have died will be resurrected to glory, and will enter into the eternal rest of their Savior in heaven. Those who have not come to Christ for salvation will be cast into eternal judgment, away from the blessed presence of the Lord.
What is the ARP?
“Things improved somewhat under King William III in 1688 A.D. as he reorganized the Church of Scotland into the Established Presbyterian Church of Scotland. In spite of the improvement, however, a great number of problems still existed, and in 1733 a pastor by the name of Ebenezer Erskine led a group of Christians in forming a separate Associate Presbytery (from thence comes the first part of our name). Ten years later, another group of Christians who for years had suffered problems with the established church organized themselves into the Reformed Presbytery. The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church as we know it today comes to us across a lengthy history of service in two lands, the British Isles and North America. It had its beginnings in the preaching of John Knox in Scotland when the Scottish Church became the official church of Scotland in 1560 A.D. As [is] always the case when the church and state become too closely allied, controversy and bitter strife over control became a way of life for church and state alike.
Both churches spread to Northern Ireland as the Scots were forced to emigrate and both came to America with those “Scots-Irish” folks. The immigrants came to the Pennsylvania area at first, and it was there that both the Associate and the Reformed Presbyteries of Pennsylvania were organized in the 1750-1770 time period.
It was a heady time in the new world, and all the “old alliances” were being called into question. The new America was emerging and at the same time our forefathers were seeking to create a new church as well. Formal union talks between the “Associates” and the “Reformed” began in 1777 and by 1782 the Associate Reformed Synod came to be in Philadelphia. This Synod, even though all “Associates” and “Reformeds” did not join, included churches in Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, North and South Carolina and Georgia.
Eight years later, the Associate Reformed Presbytery of the Carolinas and Georgia was formed in Abbeville County, S.C., followed some twenty years later (1803) by the division of the entire church into four Synods and one General Synod. The Synods were those of the Carolinas, Pennsylvania, New York and Scioto with the headquarters of the church in Philadelphia. In 1822 the Synod of the Carolinas was granted separate status, and by the end of the century was the sole remaining body of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church as several mergers over the years had absorbed the rest of the denomination into the old United Presbyterian Church. The remaining “A.R.P.s” in the Southeast continued on as the denomination we have today.”
Who We Are. Retrieved from http://arpchurch.org/who-we-are/