What we believe:
- The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him – now and for all eternity.
- The Westminster Standards, including the Westminster Confession, Larger and Shorter Catechisms, Directory for Public Worship, Directory for Family Worship, and the Directory of Church Government are agreeable to the Word of God. The Bible is the centerpiece of absolute truth and is the source from which these standards have been derived.
- The Church is central to a Christian’s life. As Christ’s body, it is to be cherished above any other institution on earth, as it is the apple of God’s eye.
- The institutions set up by God include the family, the church, and government. All are to be governed by God’s laws.
- God has providentially kept “pure and entire” His words. The King James Bible is a faithful translation based on manuscripts available to the Christian church in all ages.
- Only God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, can bring people to faith in Jesus Christ.
- Worship is to be regulated by the Word of God (sola Scriptura).
- Daily family worship has been instituted by Christ.
- Man-made holy days are forbidden by the Word of God.
- Church officers must meet the requirements set forth in the Bible and confess that the standards noted above are their own confession.
- Governments are under the kingship of Christ. While supporting the church, governments must not interfere with the governance of the Church, whose head is also Christ.
- Ecumenicist organizations are contrary to the Word of God.
- In addition to the covenants initiated by God, man-initiated covenants (before God) are noted as positive moral acts in Scripture for corporate/national sanctification.
The “Original” Westminster Standards
Most Presbyterian churches in North America have some formal statement that they hold to the Westminster Standards. What this usually means is that they hold to the American edition of the Westminster Confession, and the American edition of the larger and shorter catechisms. The Americans, upon independence from Britain, cut their ties with their Christian brothers in Britain and revised their confession in 1768 to reflect the “independence” and Anabaptist ideals of the time. The confessional revisions were spearheaded by John Witherspoon, the only minister to sign the U.S Declaration of Independence. The American version completely revised the Westminster Confession chapter on church government, changing the theological position to complete separation of church and state with express opposition to a national church. To avoid any implication of sin within the new Confessional section, the American framers removed the portion of Larger Catechism question 109, on “tolerating a false religion”. There is much more that could be said on this topic; please refer to our Resources page for further information.
By “original” Westminster Standards, we not only mean the original Confession and Catechisms, but also three other important standards – the Directory of Pubic Worship, the Directory of Family Worship and the form of Presbyterian government. These additional standards are almost never included in the constitutions or practices of North American Presbyterian Churches. Instead, these denominations write their own standards for worship (or have none) and governance, and exclude any formal reference to the directory for Family Worship. We believe all of the original Westminster Standards are biblical and edifying for the church. They have served the FPCS and Scottish Presbyterians for hundreds of years, and will serve the Vancouver Reformed Church, God willing, in the years ahead.