What we Believe

Doctrinal Position

The supreme standard for belief and practice is the Bible, received as the inspired and inerrant Word of God. In common with all historic Presbyterian churches, the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms are held to be a systematic and accurate summary of the teaching of Scripture. Further expansion of the church's teaching is found in her 'Testimony', which applies these doctrines to various specific topics. These documents are the subordinate standards of the denomination.
Reformed Presbyterian theology is apostolic, Protestant, Reformed (or Calvinistic) and evangelical. There is a desire to maintain in its depth and purity the Christian faith handed down from the beginning. The basic principles of the denomination are not different from those held by many other churches. Such distinctives as there are lie in the application and implementation of these truths.
In particular, Reformed Presbyterians give prominence to the kingship of Christ. This has implications for human life in all its spheres. Areas which have received special attention (and where Reformed Presbyterian practice is, in this century, somewhat unusual) are worship and politics. The worship of the King must be governed in every detail by what he has required in his Word. The nation is under obligation, once admitted but now repudiated, to recognise Christ as her king and to govern all her affairs in accordance with his will. Words from Colossians 1:18 express the core of Covenanting theology: 'that in everything he (Christ) might have the supremacy'.

Worship

Like most historic reformed churches, worship centres on the reading and preaching of the Bible, with the response of the people to God in praises, prayer and giving. Two areas of distinctiveness in the matter of praise are that the only words used in singing are from the Book of Psalms and that no instrumental accompaniment is used. This is the original practice of Presbyterian churches, which the Reformed Presbyterian church, alone in Ireland, maintains to this day. Her rationale, however, is deeper than loyalty to a historic tradition. Since God has revealed in Scripture how he is to be worshipped, nothing is to be introduced which he has not specifically commanded. Nowhere has he instructed his people to praise him with songs other than those provided in the Book of Psalms. Instrumental music was an integral part of Old Testament sacrificial worship, which was fulfilled in Christ, and there is no example of such accompaniment in the church of the New Testament.
The Book of Psalms provides songs which are inspired, Christ-centred, timeless, non-sectarian and continually relevant, the property of the universal church. Reformed Presbyterians experience profound spiritual fulfilment in singing, usually in four-part harmony, these glorious praises. The basic version used is the Scottish Metrical Psalter, with supplementary alternative versions. The Church has just completed a major process of Psalter revision.

These and a more complete description of what the church believes and teaches can be found at the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland Website