The following questions have all been asked of us by those inquiring.
If you have a specific question, please send it along!
Here are some QUIK FAQS (PDF's) we
have published for our Sunday Worship Folder for "Why we do what
we do" in a worship service... HERE and
are some basic theological topics of interest: (Lord's Supper,
Baptism, Covenant Theology, etc.)
What are you all about?
What kind of music do you play?
What kind of Presbyterian are you?
How does the ARP compare with other Presbyterian denominations?
What are the Decrees of God?
you believe in "double
Are you "neo-Pentecostal?"
Do you allow for homosexual pastors?
Do you have midweek meetings?
What do you do with children during the service?
What is Covenant Theology?
What do you think about working on Sundays?
If there is a problem in your church, how do you solve it?
Why do you
observe the Lord’s
Table as you do?
How do you disciple your people?
So you like "liturgical worship." Why?
is the pastor called "Reverend?"
Why does the pastor wear a robe?
What are you all about?
A. There is a famous answer to this type of question: We are
here to glorify God and enjoy Him forever! We believe this is
an appropriate response for everyone, and what everyone should
be about. But
God? Very important things like believing in the Savior He has
sent; worshipping Him in spirit and in truth; loving Him with
all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; loving our neighbor
as our self;
obeying His commandments with gratitude... We believe
that these kinds of things are even more glorious when people
can do them together! That's why our fellowship is gathering
and growing -- we are a fellowship of people who want to share
in, participate with, and contribute to, a church that cares
about God's word, and cares about how
we treat others.
We come up with these answers and commitments by reading the
Bible and unpacking the themes, patterns, and directions we find
there. The whole Bible IS the core document of our church. Many
of our gatherings, and especially our Sunday service, will be heavily
dependent upon Bible readings and reflection -- by consulting the Bible,
we remind ourselves of "what we are all about."
To summarize what we are doing specifically on a Sunday morning,
we offer this: We are about worshipping the correct God, correctly.
Does this mean that our services are perfect expressions of worship?
Sometimes our singing is a little off; sometimes our children act up;
sometimes the sermon isn't a "home run" message. But it is our shared
desire to participate with a group of sincere people who, although
very far from perfect (in fact, admitted sinners), who still want to
honor God for His character and activity.
want to sing songs that focus on God and His saving work. We want to
and conviction. And we want to pray and establish a place of unity
for the purposes of reaching out to others.
There is so much more to write about this; but we'll let you ask the
What kind of music do you play?
A. ”Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,” (Eph. 5:19); “Let
the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish
one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual
songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (Col. 3:16). On
two occasions, the Scriptures teach that singing should be sung from
the heart to the LORD in such a way that it teaches and encourages
wisdom! How do we do that? By selecting songs that capture the words
of Scripture (whether it is a psalm, hymn, or a classic or contemporary
praise song), selecting music that reflects the message of the day
(the content must instruct as well as glorify God), selecting songs
that encourage the whole congregation to sing, and presenting the
music in a way that is reverent and beautiful. As we are a church
that must “set-up and tear down” each Sunday, we depend
on “portable” instruments. We also sing some songs
A cappella from time to time. Our desire is to have a more
orchestral musical accompaniment, so those gifted with these
encouraged to participate.
What kind of Presbyterian are you?
A. As a new church, we are mostly two types! We are first of
all members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church,
and conservative denomination that in the United States
has most of her influence in the South-East. But as a Californian
church, most of our original core team members came
from a conservative
and independent Presbyterian church in Orange County. Our
Team finds the ARP to be a faithful denomination with the
right kind of
convictions, goals, and attitude. Our Core Team also favors
a traditional order of worship that reflects the "covenant renewal"
pattern (please link to our Worship Service
tab to view our Order
As Presbyterians there are some things that are very important
to us: The proclamation of the Gospel is paramount – We
are saved by grace, through faith, on account of Christ
alone! The sacraments
are observed weekly. Our church is
committed to intergenerational ministry. Our Christian discipleship
is founded upon Reformed theology. The Westminster Standards
embraced, as are the
5 Points of Calvinism, the 5 Solas of the Protestant Reformation,
and a Covenantal ecclesiology. Our Teaching and Ruling
Elders are men who are devoted to teaching and
shepherding. We are
committed to preaching Scriptures from their original context regardless
of the changing values of our fickle culture. The Church
the Bride of
there is no salvation.
How does the ARP compare with other Presbyterian denominations?
A. There are so many ways in which to measure this! Naturally, since
we belong to the ARP, we think they represent the best expression
of Presbyterianism. Having said that, if someone wanted to join
a church of another denomination, we would recommend one with which
we have “fraternal relations” (http://www.arpsynod.org/fraternal.html).
If you are already familiar with the major Reformed / Presbyterian
denominations, we can report that when the need arises, if an ARP
a new pastor, it is not uncommon for an ARP church to post such
an opening with the PCA, EPC, or the OPC primarily. These four
Presbyterian denominations have much in common, and faithfully
adhere to the Westminster Standards. It is possible to point out
some important differences between these denominations – but
that would appear to be self serving on our part. Since most people
when asking this question are looking for the classic “scale” of “conservative
to liberal,” we’ll provide our take of the Reformed
denominations out there (with the understanding that it is a gross
generality as all denominations have individual churches that are
quite different from the “stereotyped norm,” and much “overlapping” exists.
We’re only mentioning “larger, English speaking, and
Reformed” denominations here – feel free to challenge
Cons. – NRPCNA – RPC – OPC – URC – PCA – ARP – EPC – CRC – RCA – PCUSA – UCC
We would be happy to send you literature about our church and denomination
at your request, or you may obtain information from the ARP agency
known as Outreach North America: http://www.outreachnorthamerica.org/
What are the Decrees of God?
A. In short, we can answer
this question with the classic answer from the Westminster Shorter
Catechism: WSC #7: What are the decrees of God? A. The decrees of
God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will,
by which, for his own glory, he has foreordained everything that
(1)Eph. 1:4,11; Rom. 9:22,23.
In long, we answer it here: http://www.communionpres.org/decreesofGod.html
you believe in "double
A. Let’s start right out and say that our gospel presentation
does not start with this: “God can’t wait to send all
you reprobate to hell, and there is nothing you can do about it!” Now,
we do believe in a sovereign Lord who decrees everything that happens.
But when we make our appeal to trust in Christ, we try to persuade
people to embrace the Good News of the gospel, trusting that God
will call His elect through the faithful preaching of His word.
So this is really a question related to how God has “ordered
salvation.” What do we mean by this? Briefly, that God made
plans for His creation. In a linear way (admitting that God does
things in a way far beyond what we can comprehend), God determined
that certain things would happen according to a sequential ordering.
Try this: When Adam and Eve sinned, they needed a savior. Did God
send that savior after the Fall, or was the need for a savior already
in God’s plan before the Fall ever took place? Somehow, in
eternity past, God ordered every intricate detail of the entire universe
before He ever spoke it into existence, including the world's need
of a savior!
So at the heart of this question is another question, “Does
God decide from the beginning who will go to heaven and hell and
send them there without any opportunity of changing their predestined
outcome?” Is this Christian fatalism? Is this the scheme of
salvation portrayed in the Bible?
In eternity past, God truly decreed the very existence of every person
who ever lived and He knows where each person will spend eternity
(That is unless you want a God who is “open” to circumstances
beyond His immediate knowledge). Because God has the right over His
creation to do whatever He pleases, He could, for His own
pleasure, send everyone to hell, and
be justified for doing so because no one can earn their salvation
apart from His condescension.
However, it is also completely orthodox to present the plan of redemption
in the following way: God decreed the creation of a perfect world
and placed within it a righteous people who were capable of performing
either life long righteousness OR life ending corruption. According
will, God permitted their fall
into sin, and
justly cursed them for their
Graciously, God provides a Savior to redeem a lost people by applying
the benefits of salvation with those who believe; and condemns the
continued disobedience of unrepentant sinners with a just punishment
in Hell (This is a preferred presentation of the gospel –-
but you can send along your objections...)
Hell is the real focus of the “double predestination” debate,
isn't it? We do believe that hell is an awful, eternal reality.
We believe that a portion of humanity will reside there because of
choice to worship everything in this world rather than the true and
living God. But did God decide to send people to a place called Hell
before He even created the place? This again, is a question of “ordering” the
eternal decrees of God. Order the decrees of salvation one way, and
people are going to hell even before Adam and Eve were ever created
(double predestination). Order salvation another way and people are
rightly judged for their rebellion (single predestination). Does
anyone know the absolute ordering of God’s eternal decrees?
Only God does. Can we present “double predestination” as
a doctrine from scripture – sure (among many other things)!
But we are given foremost the charge to present the gospel of grace, “because,
if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in
raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
For a more technical discussion of this topic, please visit:
Are you "neo-Pentecostal?"
A. The person who asked this question came from a mainline denomination
which had "de-frocked" a pastor because he embraced, and
was trying to implement the methodology of "neo-pentecostalism" in
his parish. This movement became popular among many traditional and
who were intrigued with renewal movements that were primarily charismatic
in nature. So in answer to this question, No, we are not one of those
churches. Our denomination is historic, and has a wide range of worship
"styles," but none of them would be termed "charismatic" in
the Pentecostal sense. However, we do believe that worship should
be inspired and
directed by the Holy Spirit. It is the word and Spirit working together
which point us to Christ in the preaching, praying, and administering
of the sacraments. Our worship service does reflect a liturgical
outline, but our service is also accompanied with a passion for spiritual
Do you allow for homosexual pastors?
A. No. Please see http://www.communionpres.org/scripture.html for more reflection on this topic. Thank you!
Do you have midweek meetings?
A. Yes, we do -- on almost every night of the week there is some
group or ministry meeting. Please visit our GIFT
GROUP tab on the
Home Page to learn more!
What do you do with children during the service?
A. This answer comes in stages: 1. We are a church emphasizing "intergenerational"
ministry. Therefore, we invite children to stay in the worship service
and to participate in any way in which they are able. 2. Theologically,
the Bible repeatedly states that our children will ask parents why
they do the things they do in worship. But if they are never present
to observe, how will they ever ask the questions? 3.
children, after a time of "encouragement and training" (Family
worship services at home are ideal for this!) will be able to sit
still and learn about their faith from the worship
service at church--
4. However, a child who is unfamiliar or unprepared to sit through
an hour long service, will most likely accomplish a few things: disrupt
the service, distract parents, interrupt the preaching of the word,
and take the focus of attention off the Lord. 5. Therefore, we
also provide a large children's room and nursery
(who have all passed background checks) available for families who
are not yet prepared to have their children sit (or wiggle) with
service (Just look for those wearing the blue Children's Ministry
smocks)! Additionally, we
"televise" the service via closed circuit TV for families to
view the service and preaching with their children (This also permits
parents to participate in the sacraments and to bring their children
with them at the appropriate times.) Finally, we reserve the back
rows of our sanctuary for families who
to train their young ones to participate in the service. 6. As we
read the Scriptures we are called to be "idealists," not
"idolaters" -- we DO NOT worship our children! But we can think of
no greater joy than to be worshipping God in heaven
with our families, therefore we are striving to establish
a church that is especially committed to encouraging the worship
for which God has called us. 7. Come join us to fulfill the scripture: Assemble
the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within
your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God,
and be careful to do all the words of this law, Deuteronomy
31:12; gather the people. Consecrate the congregation;
assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants... Joel
RESEARCH: Pastor John Piper has posted a sermon
on a related topic:
What is Covenant Theology?
A. This question is found in our "What
We Believe" section. But for a short and concise answer,
you'll find it here: "Covenant is
from the Hebrew [ber-eeth] meaning to cut, and by extension means
something. It is an agreement upon the promises concerning
the relationship between two or more parties. In Biblical terms the
covenant is the prime agency of God's self-revelation in history.
God reveals Himself to be the covenant God. The essence of the covenant
between God and man is "I will be your God, and you will be
My people." The probationary covenant of life by which man was
to keep God's commandments perfectly was ultimately and consummately
fulfilled by Christ, God in the flesh. The covenant of grace is that
by which God's elect are credited with Christ's satisfaction by faith.
An understanding of the covenant is central to understanding the
history of redemption. Covenant theology is that system of theology
which recognizes the successive covenants of Scripture as a unity,
and the means by which God orders His creation and brings about redemption
for His elect." (Lifted from Monergism.com) If you followed,
and understood this excursive, you are on the ball (And we would
love to meet you)!
What do you think about working on Sundays?
A. From a past sermon: Consider this: If God
is truly your master, it will NOT be work, work, work, all the time!
The Lord actually prescribes times of resting and reflection upon the
relationship we have with Him. It is quite interesting to note that
as God organizes His discipleship program in the book of Exodus, that
one of the first priorities was to teach the children of Israel
about Sabbath keeping! They
learned about organizing their year, about observing the Passover celebration,
and about redemption rituals for the first born – now He begins
to outline Sabbath reasons and regulations!
culturally, the Sabbath has defined the Jewish faith. It was a way
to mark them out from other cultures – they
acknowledged that this thing called “time” belonged
to God, and they needed to take “time” to worship Him – and
it was acknowledged weekly. This TIME that God set apart was a
NO WORK TIME. But – God
does call His people to PLAN for it, so they could rest on it.
designs a worship of Him that would allow His people to reflect
and recuperate, and devote themselves to spiritual pursuits – not
a meeting to get people worked up and in a frenzy! But a time for
worshipping that would be a renewal and reaffirmation
of a relationship – a
weekly reunion to celebrate and establish unity. This kind of worship
readied God’s people to provide good and honest work when they
were called to back to labor. But all this talk about RESTING can
be deceiving! Because, let’s all admit it – it is better
to rest in bed than getting up early in the morning, preparing the
kids, and driving the roads only to sit in an uncomfortable room
wondering what everyone is thinking of YOU! (So WE think.)
...Because it is asked so often, what do we say to people who
must work on Sunday? My response is this: What is the IDEAL? What
be the best possible answer to that question? I think it would be
this. Work on the other six days, assemble with God’s people
on the Sabbath – that is first of all a commandment for Israel!
The New Testment church also has a commandment, "Do not forsake the
assembly..." (Heb. 10:23-26. In fact, Heb. 3:13 says we ought to
encourage each other EVERY day! Now that would be the ideal).
What if we can’t?
What if we are in the station of life that prevents us from this
schedule? My reply is another question: IF you cannot be with the
the Church on Sunday, when are you making the commitment to observe
some kind of “Assembly
Israel marches in the wilderness, they are called the Assembly – they
are the church. God calls this assembly to heed regular fellowship
and worship times! If you cannot make a Sunday morning, when is
the other TIME that you will set aside to be with God's people?.
need us to provide something for you at a better time, we’ll
do it, no excuses!
...Now for further clarification: the
New Testament passages of Romans 14, Galatians 4, and Colossians
2, all acknowledge special
religious observance, but
onus of observing
them squarely on the conscience of the believer – Well, I want
us to have a conscience for the ideal day, and if that can’t
happen, in the meantime, what other “assembly time” will
you keep to identify with God’s people? when will you assemble
to build your faith by RESTING and RECEIVING? The casual observance
do it when it is convenient,” IS NOT supported from any text – and
please know, that I am preaching the observance of God’s word,
and not my agenda...
Now, to answer the question directly: Working on the Sabbath. Well
obviously, some work is necessary even on Sunday (we tip
our hat to public servants who rescue us from peril, even on Sunday).
But other people work on Sunday simply because they want some
extra cash -- but the, "You cannot serve both God and money," passage
seems very appropriate to quote to the one who purposely misses
weekly services simply because making money is the priority. NOW,
a true Sabbaterian will do no work on Sunday and will not do anything
else to work on a Sunday (so no Sunday Brunch, no buying gas, etc.)
Others are quite content and are spiritually fed by attending Saturday
night services, and other mid-week meetings -- both of these decisions
are clearly the choice of the Christian conscience -- And the reason
why we as a church refrain from advocating just one conviction as
the ONLY conviction. "God alone is lord of the conscience, and has
left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men... in matters
of faith or worship..." (WCF 20.2)
In all honesty, churches are primarily Sunday
operations. This has become the norm throughout Christendom. However,
we trust that the proceeding material provides both a context and
placing the Sabbath in it's proper place -- within our hearts
and weekly devotion.
We invite further conversation! Please drop us a note.
If there is a problem in your church, how do you solve it?
A. What problems?
Actually, even among the regenerate, problems arise. Some are matters
of philosophy, some are matters of oversight, others are matters of
public sin -- many types of problems require different remedies. Of
course, pursuing the truth in love, seeking to build each other
up, and avoiding gossip are hallmarks of Christian behavior and must
So let's invent a problem, and see if we can set out general principles
for "solving" it.
Let's say we have a teenage daughter of a member family who is attending
church each week; but is living like the devil -- morally, ethically,
socially, and notoriously... How would we deal with a hypocritical
If we value this person's soul, and the purity of the church, we would
want to follow some basic principles laid down by Jesus Christ, and
then, if needed, pursue a protocol administered by the government of
an ARP church.
First, as Christ mentions in Matthew, chapter 18, a Christian friend
who is close to this girl, who could give first hand testimony to her
lifestyle, ought to speak privately to her about her behavior and commitments
(even list the commandments of Scripture being violated). If this friend
can communicate properly the daughter's need of repentance
and faith in Christ, then she has represented a goal of church discipline.
If this daughter rebuffs the admonition, and continues in a rebellious
lifestyle, and still claims membership in Christ's Church; the first
friend must again approach the daughter with another witness to lovingly
confront her. If at the hand of two witnesses she refuses to
repent and seek the Lord's face, these two friends ought to approach
the elders of the church about a third meeting with the rebellious
teen. The purpose for these meetings is to see the daughter restored
and rightly reconciled to the communion of the saints.
If upon a meeting
with the elders, this daughter refuses to live according to Christ's
command -- the elders are to tell her plainly that she is not permitted
to participate in the Lord's Table -- for there in her unrepentant
state, she will will eat and drink judgment upon herself. Furthermore,
of the church should be called upon to pray for this daughter and be
informed that she is undergoing church discipline.
Is she welcomed to
the church? Yes (That is unless she creates some type of public disturbance
-- which is rare, but possible). But the members of the church are
to treat her as an "unbeliever."
Well, what does that mean? Actually, most churches are hoping to minister
to unbelievers! Churches are pleased to minister to unbelievers; but
with the knowledge that they need to become followers of Jesus Christ
through faith and baptism. But this daughter is different. She was
once a member, and has ignored the discipline of the church -- she
should not be welcomed as a typical unbeliever off the street. She
should be treated with a type of "tough love" that would
cause her to honestly reflect on her relationships. She should not
be "encouraged" by
church members to do anything except repent and return to
the fellowship with a new obedience.
According to God's grace, this daughter will be moved to repent and
return, and upon proper confession, she should be acknowledged by all
as a member in good standing, and welcomed to the Table.
Let's throw in a twist. Let's say this daughter was not hypocritical,
but actually heretical. Let's say she was adamant about some public
teaching that did not square with the Scriptures.
Again, someone close to her should confront her with the truth of Scripture
just as Matthew 18 proscribes. Again, if there is a requirement to
eventually call in the elders; they would meet with this daughter to
understanding of the faith. If the elders deem her to be not simply
confused, but a thoroughgoing heretic -- again, she would undergo church
discipline -- no coming to the Table, and the church membership praying
and "tough loving" her toward repentance.
Let's say she believed that her "trial" before her elders
was inconclusive for some reason, what could she do? In the ARP,
there are a series
of courts to
which she could appeal. If she desired, she could contact her church's
presbytery (a geographic gathering of denominationally affiliated churches).
ARP churches must send representatives to presbytery meetings which
are held four times a year. Her "case" would be assigned
to a commission which would research and review her complaint. If this
her complaint compelling, they could convene the court for her and
her elders at presbytery. After hearing the case, the entire presbytery
would make an appropriate
in favor of the daughter or the elders (to be honest, the organization
of such a commission is rare; but the procedure is in place). If for
some reason she thought her entire presbytery was out of their minds,
to the national level which is called Synod (it is not beyond reason
that an entire presbytery could be out of step with the synod
-- extremely rare -- but possible). If anything got to this level in
THIS fashion -- then there REALLY would be problems in the church!
The implications would be profound.
Our Synod does make decisions on denomination wide policy every year
and usually as a result of a presbytery dealing with a local problem.
problems are usually "procedural" rather than dealing with
individual cases of heresy or hypocrisy (On occasion, something "theological" is
considered (as with a recently proposed draft on public worship --
which is a "streamlining and clarification" on our historic
approach to worship), but when considering the ARP's more than 200
years of existence, and
concerns have been "tried" -- then again, there are always rebellious
As with the presbytery, a synodical commission
would "hear" this daughter's case, and produce an appropriate
response that would become
THE theological position clarified for the entire denomination (realize
that at the synod level, an actual "case" would not be
heard, but a "memorial" (which is a written overture requiring the
synod to consider and clarify a presbytery matter) would be sent
to a commission of synod. By the next meeting of synod a year later,
pronouncement would be issued.
There it is. Sorry for creating a problem in answering this question!
Are you guys “theonomic”?
A. First some definitions. "Theo-Nomy" would be an English
word meaning, "God's Law." Here is the question: To what
degree should societies establish and require its citizens to abide
by the laws of God written in the Bible, including
laws presented to Moses? At first blush, those familiar with the
application of the civil and ceremonial laws from Mt. Sinai might
determine that such laws are rather harsh in their application.
However, these same laws are described by the
Psalmist as, "perfect, wise, and holy."
Most Christians would quickly cite that these Mosaic laws were given
directly to the Jewish people who were commanded to pursue a theocracy
in our modern pluralistic societies, governed by democratic principles,
the church has not been given the mandate to force unbelieving societies
to abide by their laws.
The Theonomist would reply, "If we preach the gospel, and as
a result, people see the societal benefits of living according to
God's perfect law, a majority of a society could decide to VOTE
for the observance of Old Testament laws, and do this democratically
thing?" After all, isn't God THE SAME yesterday, today, and
forever? Are there not national benefits from seeking God's face
A non-theonomist would reply by saying,
"Of course our personal observance of God's law will bring
personal benefits by observance;
but many Old Testament laws have been cancelled out by the words
of Christ and the Apostles. We are not supposed to live like the
Jews of the Old Testament; but as Christians of the New Testament
God's law is supposed to convict people of sin and cause sinners
to embrace Christ as their Savior and as their fulfillment of the
A Theonomist would also endorse the proceeding
paragraph; but would go on to say that a Christian loves God's
law, and desires
to walk according to them in order to bring glory to God --
not as a system by which someone could earn salvation.
The Theonomist states pretty plainly,
"If all of a society embraces the Lordship of Christ, what other
law would they want to live by but the very laws that Jesus cited
in the New Testament -- which were also complete endorsements of
Old Testament law?"
Then again, what if a majority of a society
wants to vote for Muslim Sharia
should we permit
It is here that we welcome a healthy debate among Christians! We
encourage this debate at our church. We do NOT have
an official position on THEONOMY (And to our knowledge,
neither does the ARPC). Some of
our church members do in fact articulate the value of Theonomic
ideals, others readily reject its full application -- The debate
among the two camps does occur -- And wouldn't you know
Because above all, we all are seeking
the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
If you want to seek more conversation about this topic, please
Why do you observe the Lord’s Table
as you do?
A. We observe the Lord's
Supper nearly every week. There are a few reasons for this: First,
we want our preaching
Too many sermons in churches today are about other things. These
things may be important and beneficial -- but we want to discuss
what is MOST
important and beneficial; we want to regularly remind
our congregation that salvation is a gift of God's grace -- purchased
Jesus Christ. When a sermon finds itself ending at the Lord's Table,
it pushes away the simple "skills for life / pep talk" message,
and gets at, and to, the heart of the gospel: Christ's prophesied
advent, righteous life,
atoning death, victorious resurrection, compassionate intercession,
confident reign, imminent return, and his abiding presence with us
individually and corporately as the church. This kind of preaching
and observance is part of a "covenant renewal" service.
It affirms that God has called a people unto Himself. He has cleansed
them. His desire is to commune with His children so that they would
be assured of His compassion for them, and inspire them to carry
out His commission. (Please see our worship folders for our service
order reflecting these values on our "Worship
We also observe the Lord's Supper frequently because there are some
things that we should just do frequently! Eat, say "I love you,"
keep appointments, recall commitments, take a shower,
finish a meal with dessert... We all like doing certain things very
regularly. When a sermon is preached, and the gospel has been
announced, and sinners and saints are called to examine their relationship
with God and their brothers and sisters -- the invitation to a common
meal helps to order our most important commitments and priorities.
We also partake
frequently because we should never neglect our communion with God
Weekly observance teaches
us throughout the week that we have a date for an upcoming banquet
-- it is heavenly in nature. Christians must set their desire on
being in the presence of the Lord and being reconciled to fellow
family members. When we "practice" this
banquet regularly, in the local, earthly manifestation of
Christ's kingdom (the church), we set our hearts on knowing that
Christ is with us, and that we will all be with him soon.
We also "fence" the Table. This
means that those who are not "walking"
with Christ are encouraged NOT to participate. The Table is set
apart for those who identify with Christ's Body through baptism and
membership. Those who have been welcomed into the church through
these means (or those desiring to do so) are welcomed to partake.
However, there are those who may have met this prerequisite,
but are "willfully" living in sin -- having no regret or
pain of conscience about their rebellious lifestyle. For these, we
the Table, asking that they not partake since the grace communicated
in this meal is also a source of judgment upon those who refuse to
This meal is NOT for perfect
people -- but for admitted sinners who have as their true desire
to be in the presence of the King,
desiring to behold the purity of His holiness, desiring to walk in
righteousness, and yearning to be free of the entanglements of sin.
Another feature of our observance of the Lord's Supper is coming
forward to the table, instead of passing plates. We do this for a
few reasons too.
As we do attempt to "fence" the
Table, we believe that passing the plate down a row often compels
people to partake when they shouldn't.
Secondly, we do not come to the front table in a "pew by pew" fashion
-- people come when they are ready. If they are not ready, they don't
come. No one monitors anyone's "approach." If there ever
came a day when a church member was under discipline by our church,
they came forward to partake, they would be verbally discouraged
from taking the elements by an elder at the Table (the New Testament
has among the strongest rebukes for the one who partakes of the Lord's
Each week, we partake as directed by the presiding
minister. Sometimes people partake at the same time, sometimes
together in groups, sometimes individually. Our observance of this
sacrament is always corporate in nature during
In conclusion, we think that it is important
to be a "sacramental" church.
When we do not observe the Lord's Supper, then it will be a baptism.
The sacraments are important in communicating gospel truths and
the promises that believers possess by faith - yet we experience
these truths and promises in a tangible way as designated by Christ.
How do you disciple your people?
A. We make them read every single scratch of this entire website
and then we quiz them!!
In reality, we consider our church to be a "Disciple
Making" operation. The goal of the Christian is to reflect
the very glory of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Theologically, this
'sanctification.' Practically, this is called 'leaving everything
about my old life in order to become like Jesus.'
To this end, proper instruction about Christian salvation, the worship
of God, God's purposes for His church, and the embrace of a Biblical
morality and 'world view' are
paramount tasks for us. This type of instruction is proclaimed
from our pulpit,
talked about in our curriculum, and constantly echoed in our homes
with our families. Every member of our covenant community is considered
a disciple and will be trained in how to inculcate the mind and heart
This means that we provide multiple avenues
for learning about, and training ourselves to, have the conviction
and conduct of Christ.
We not only offer instruction, but designate funds toward training
our people to think and act as a follower of Christ in every area
life -- as family members, students & teachers, employees &
employers, at home & away. We strongly encourage attendance and
participation in a CORE set of GIFT Groups that are offered throughout
(focusing on: The Basics of Christianity, Bible Survey, Westminster
Standards, Apologetics, Finances, and the Christian Home); Service
trips (you really should have a passport because we go international);
and 'outreach' events designed to invite those unfamiliar with the
claims of Christ to hear the gospel presented. Raising and training
fellowship to adopt these values is a foundation for discipleship.
Making disciples also means that we champion
some values over others. Education is more important to us than
entertainment. A disciple
is a "learner." If one is taught to think rightly, they
will certainly be equipped to live rightly. So if a person is
planning to attend a Sunday service
or a mid-week Bible study, they are going to get
a healthy dose of TEACHING. Naturally, this kind of instruction will
have appropriate application because this is the purpose of our teaching
text -- the Bible: To learn what we must believe about God, and to
what God requires
Secondly, this means that we also place a
value on TRUTH over "friendship." This is not an attempt
to sound harsh or uncompassionate; but to state a bottom line conviction:
We are here to walk the path of faith
together; but once someone diverges from the path by demonstrating
values and beliefs condemned by the Bible -- we WILL exercise discipline
(notice that discipline and discipleship are
pretty much the same thing!) An example of this value would be the
following: We would like to have a growing church with lots of friendly
people attending. However, we are not just a social club, and if
several of our friends begin believing and behaving in a
way that mock the TRUTH of the scriptures; we would ask them choose
the path of purity
over popularity, or choose to walk away from us until they are ready
to come back.
Finally, we place a value on being serious
over being "sincere."
Again, this is an attempt to communicate that eternity is at stake!
This is not about doing what we think is "fun" or "personally
(Which is a very fine line to walk since living the Christian life
is personally satisfying on so many levels). Too often, however,
people in churches get hurt and offended because their "goals" were
not met. Too often, a mis-spoken, unintended word can wound a person
that they choose to leave a fellowship. All of this is SINCERELY
unfortunate; (and even pastors receive and dish out too much unintended
hurt) but we need to train ourselves to be serious about
our commission, just as
not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for
This is a short treatment on the topic of discipleship. If you are
seeking to be "discipled" toward maturity and faithfulness, then
we invite you to grow with us. We pray that the Lord will send workers
into our part of the field!
So you like liturgical worship.
A. Someone coming to us from
a broadly evangelical church background might think we are "liturgical" in
our worship service. However, someone who comes from a creedal or historic
Christian church background would certainly have reservations about
describing our service as "liturgical." We seem to have found
Here is what we should all acknowledge: 1) No matter which church you attend,
someone who is "in charge" will plan out the elements of a service
(when to pray, when to sing a song, who will play the song and at what tempo,
etc.). This fact is at the heart of the word "liturgy," which when
defined means, "the work of the people;" someone (or some group, or
some past tradition) plans the pattern for worship. 2) Most people associate
the description of "liturgy" with formal religious ceremonies steeped
in ancient rituals. That's fair. But there are plenty of modern churches that
have developed their own "formal religious ceremonies steeped upon ritual," it
just happens to be the ritual they have adopted based upon their theological
convictions, and their desired goals for a service. For example, the classic "altar
call" has become a primary ritual in some churches -- in fact, it is observed
so ritualistically, that it is safe to call it part of a new liturgical tradition.
Some churches observe other "rituals and traditions" so consistently,
that every service has the same liturgical sequence (1/2 hour of singing, announcements,
skit or multi-image presentation, testimony, scripture reading, sermon, time
of response (w/ appropriate mood music), final song, benediction). 3) How a service
order gets constructed relates to the core convictions already outlined: the
leadership's theological convictions - and - their desired goal of the service.
Upon these values a service is structured.
Some churches may place an emphasis on one priority over the other. For example,
one church may be so concerned about theological precision, that a complete service
could take place even without a congregation being in the room! Another church
may be so interested in getting the congregation to perform a certain "spiritual" exercise,
that they may not concern themselves with any theological content, just a service
planned to target a desired result. We would like to avoid both of these extremes.
But the conversation must start first of all, with theological convictions: Who
is God? Who are we? What does God want from us? How will we accomplish it? Has
already established a pattern for worship? Does God put a priority on evangelism?
Teaching? Informal gatherings? Should we meet in a home? A cathedral? A coffee
house? We could ask these questions all day! So let's get straight to our convictions:
God is Holy. God is righteous. God rules over all. God is gracious. God is for
His people! We approach God remembering to revere His attributes and acknowledging
our need! That means that the words "casual worship" will not be a
part of our lexicon. This is not a discussion about what a person wears to church;
but a discussion about our approach and meeting with the sovereign King of the
universe. As we are coming into His court, we will acknowledge certain protocols
-- just as we do in an earthly courtroom, or at a special celebration such as
a wedding or graduation; this is a time to contemplate upon the "weight" of
God's glory and a time to acknowledge our utter dependence upon Him. We depend
upon His language (the words of Scripture), we comply with His ceremonies (the
sacraments) and we listen to His address (a sermon). The goal is that those assembled
would engage in a conversation with the Lord and hear about the preciousness
of their faith. Not simply listening to others presenting; but with corporate
prayer, the reading of scripture, the songs that we sing, and the creeds we confess,
our service will be a movement of God calling us, His people confessing, God
cleansing us with His words, the people re-covanenting with the Lord, and God
commissioning His people to service!
Our theology requires that we use the words of Scripture for the purpose of engaging
in conversation with the Lord. (You can see this pattern by accessing our worship
folders on the "Worship
Final thought: There is a wide variety
of worship "styles" from a variety of traditions. On occasion, some
well meaning Christian might say, "Why can't all the churches get along?
Why do they have to be so different?" We actually like that question and
have taken on the challenge. We started with a blank slate, and then decided
what our theological perspective and purposes were, only then did we craft
believe reflects the priorities of the Bible -- we think it is the best of the
Why is the pastor called "Reverend?"
A. There is a funny answer to this and a traditional
First, there happened to be three "Kents"
on our launch team. In such a small group, when someone said,
three guys turned around! This was becoming a bit comical. So
the Pastor of Communion Presbyterian took the historic title of
an ordained Presbyterian clergy and stylized it for him, "RevK."
It's also his Disco DJ name...
The real answer is found in a larger paper
I've written available upon request. I'll put an edited version
"As Presbyterians, we have determined that
Church must reflect a proper government. Within the Westminster
Standards we read that a church is governed by her “officers,” and
that preaching and the sacraments are to be administered by “ministers.” In
my older version of the confession and catechisms, we do NOT
find a reference to pastors, preachers, evangelists, elders,
However we do read about the government of synods, councils,
and the denunciation of Papal rule. Presbyterians have sought
both worship and government upon the Biblical record, but in
their foundational documents, they have only listed “officers” as
those acknowledged to rule over the church, and “ministers” as
those responsible for preaching and administering the sacraments.
I think that we can all agree that some men, for the welfare
are elevated to the position of “minister” and “officer.”
...Now, when we address a minister as Reverend
So-and-so, we are using “Reverend” simply
as a title not much different from “Mister (Mr)” or “Doctor
(Dr).” “Mr.” tells us that the person is a man. “Dr.” tells
us that he has a Ph.D. "Minister" in some governments represent
an elected or appointed official. “Rev.” traditionally
tells us that he is an ordained minister of the Gospel. Of course,
the etymology of the word suggests to us that he is someone who should
be respected. I think few of us would object that it is proper that
we should respect all ministers, whether those of the Gospel or government
on account of the authority vested them by God.
...The Westminster Standards are particularly
interested in promoting a proper reverence in the churches of God.
And in the following three
entries from the Standards we can also sum up our conversation:
WCF 31.3 It belongeth to synods and councils, ministerially to determine
controversies of faith, and cases of conscience; to set down rules
and directions for the better ordering of the public worship of God,
and government of His Church; to receive complaints in cases of maladministration,
and authoritatively to determine the same: which decrees and determinations,
if consonant to the Word of God, are to be received with, reverence
and submission; not only for their agreement with the Word, but also
for the power whereby they are made, as being an ordinance of God
appointed thereunto in His Word.(1)
(1)Acts 15:15,19,24,27,28,29,30,31; Acts 16:4; Matt. 18:17-20
WLC 112 What is required in the third commandment? A. The third
commandment requires, That the name of God, his titles, attributes,(1)
ordinances,(2) the word,(3) sacraments,(4) prayer,(5) oaths,(6) vows,(7)
lots,(8) his works,(9) and whatsoever else there is whereby he makes
himself known, be holily and reverently used in thought,(10) meditation,(11)
word,(12) and writing;(13) by an holy profession,(14) and answerable
conversation,(15) to the glory of God,(16) and the good of ourselves,(17)
(1)Matt. 6:9; Deut. 28:58; Ps. 29:2; Ps. 68:4; Rev. 15:3,4 (2)Mal. 1:14; Eccl.
5:1 (3)Ps. 138:2 (4)1 Cor. 11:24,25,28,29 (5)1 Tim. 2:8 (6)Jer. 4:2 (7)Eccl.
5:2,4,5,6 (8)Acts 1:24,26 (9)Job 36:24 (10)Mal. 3:16 (11)Ps. 8:1,3,4,9 (12)Col.
3:17; Ps. 105:2,5 (13)Ps. 102:18 (14)1 Pet. 3:15; Micah 4:5 (15)Phil. 1:27
(16)1 Cor. 10:31 (17)Jer. 32:39 (18)1 Pet. 2:12
WLC 127 What is the honour that inferiors owe to their superiors?
A. The honour which inferiors owe to their superiors is, all due
reverence in heart,(1) word,(2) and behaviour;(3) prayer and thanksgiving
for them;(4) imitation of their virtues and graces;(5) willing obedience
to their lawful commands and counsels,(6) due submission to their
corrections;(7) fidelity to,(8) defence,(9) and maintenance of their
persons and authority according to their several ranks, and the nature
of their places;(10) bearing with their infirmities, and covering
them in love,(11) that so they may be an honour to them and to their
(1)Mal. 1:6; Lev. 19:3 (2)Prov. 31:28; 1 Pet. 3:6 (3)Lev. 19:32; 1 Kings 2:19
(4)1 Tim. 2:1,2 (5)Heb. 13:7; Phil. 3:17 (6)Eph. 6:1,2,5,6,7; 1 Pet. 2:13,14;
Rom. 13:1-5; Heb. 13:17; Prov. 4:3,4; Prov. 23:22; Exod. 18:19,24 (7)Heb. 12:9;
1 Pet. 2:18,19,20 (8)Tit. 2:9,10 (9)I Sam. 26:15,16; 2 Sam. 18:3; Esther 6:2
(10)Matt. 22:21; Rom. 13:6,7; 1 Tim. 5:17,18; Gal. 6:6; Gen. 45:11; Gen. 47:12
(11)1 Pet. 2:18; Prov. 23:22; Gen. 9:23 (12)Ps. 127:3-5; Prov. 31:23
are Scriptural grounds too. Although the word “reverend” occurs only once in the Authorized Version,
it is a verb (yare’,) that occurs 314 times in the Hebrew Bible.
While it usually describes the fear due to God, it is general enough
to speak of respect and honor due to the representatives of God.
For example: NAS Joshua 4:14 On
that day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; so that
they revered him, just as they
had revered Moses all the days of his life. NKJ
Proverbs 24:21a My
son, fear the LORD and the king; Both God and His appointee’s
are to be revered. Similarly, the two New Testament equivalents of
the word (entrepô, and phobeô,),
are also used to describe the reverence due to God as well as to
those He has set in authority. Thus, Hebrew 12:9 describe the “reverence” that
we give to our earthly fathers who chastise us; and Ephesians
5:33 instructs the wife to "see that she reverence her husband."
Now, finally, many would prefer to use the
title “Pastor.” However,
note that “Pastor” is also never used as a title in the
Scriptures. It is used to designate an office (or a function of a
person's calling "to shepherd," Eph 4:11), but it is not used as
any one person's title (at least not in the Scriptural record).
The only titles
used in the Scripture for men in the ministry of the Gospel are “Apostle”(e.g.
2 Cor 1:1), “Evangelist” (Acts 21:8), and “Prophet” (Acts
21:10), but these references speak to those who held foundational
offices of the New Testament Church. These “offices” have
passed away with the Apostles and their associates.
On a final personal note, I’m quite pleased to be regarded
as a minister, an officer, a servant, a steward, and even a slave
for Christ. It is not my intention as an ordained minister to pursue
a lofty, honorific title – but to be a simple shepherd among
the flock to whom God has called me. But since my Biblically informed
tradition seeks to worship God reverently; and as an ecclesiastically
ordained, appointed, and elected officer of Christ’s church,
the people of God must regard the “office” as a function
of God’s spoken word and presence (in the sacraments). In all
honesty, I regard the title of Reverend with more humility and fear
than our congregation will ever know – but for the sake of
the members of Christ’s church, they ought to place reverent
confidence in my “office as a minister,” as the intended
leader for which Christ has called his officers to represent.
ESV Hebrews 12:28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom
that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship,
with reverence and awe,
ESV Hebrews 13:7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the
word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate
ESV Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they
are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give
an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for
that would be of no advantage to you.
Why does the Pastor wear a robe?
A. For an extended answer that we believe speaks well to the issue,
link here: Why
does the Pastor Wear a Robe? The summary of the article
is posted here:
"In Christian worship, biblically and
historically, ministers wear distinctive garments to testify to
of Christ. The robe serves to hide the personality of the man and
highlight his special calling. The pastor represents Christ, the
Husband, to the church, his bride. When the pastor leads worship,
the robe helps remind us that it is not "my friend Jeff" up
front. God in Christ calls us to worship, to confess, to hear his
word, to give, etc., and he does so by means of his ordained servant.
The pastor does not act for himself, but for Christ. A judge or a
policeman wears a uniform because he does not act for himself. He
is under orders. He represents the law and government of the county,
city, or state in which he serves. In the same way, a minister represents
the law and government of another kingdom. The clothing he wears
testifies to this. He also is under orders. The pastor's authority
does not derive from his economic or social status (expensive suits
and starched shirts). It does not derive from his natural charisma
(impressive hair or flashing dark eyes). It most certainly does not
derive from the fact that he looks and acts like other leaders in
the world (business suits), even though this is what happens too
often in America. Just as the location of the pulpit and table have
symbolic significance, so also the minister's clothing communicates
that he is the ordained servant of the risen Christ, called to lead
God's people in covenant renewal worship."
Or as stated by another 'man of the cloth,' "I'm a pastor, not a surfer!"