Reformed Presbyterian

Our part of the organized body of Christ is known as the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America.

“Reformed” in our name refers to the Protestant Reformation of 16th and 17th century Europe. Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Knox were Reformers whose names you may recognize.

The fundamental conviction of the Reformation was that the Bible is the word of God and therefore the only standard for faith and life. All merely human words, however useful, are subordinate to this supreme word. We speak of our Confession of Faith and our Testimony as “subordinate standards.” Therefore, Christians enjoy liberty of conscience from the commandments and doctrines of men—except to the extent that these conform to the Scriptures.

One consequence of this conviction during the Reformation was the earnest study of the Bible in the original languages, Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek, for the purpose of right understanding for faithfulness. This careful study of the Bible in the original languages in preparation for teaching and preaching is a mark of Reformed ministry today.

Listen to Pastor Swartz explain the meaning of the term more fully in a a sermon titled, “Reformed.”

“Presbyterian” in our name is from the New Testament Greek word for “elder,” or “senior citizen.” From at least the time of Moses, the people of God were cared for by older men, like a shepherd wisely and tenderly cares for his sheep. These men were chosen by the people and recognized by those who served in this capacity before them. Elders were set in every city and also cooperated with those in other places for mutual help.

Listen to Pastor Swartz explain the meaning of the term more fully in a sermon
titled, “Presbyterian.”

The New Testament describes another group of servants, called “deacons,” who are responsible to make sure that everyone in the church has the basic necessities of life, namely, food, clothing and shelter. Women, called “deaconesses,” are included in this work since women and children often suffer the lack of necessary things.

Listen to Pastor Swartz explain the meaning of the term more fully in a sermon
titled, “The Diaconate.”


Reformed Presbyterians have also been referred to historically as Covenanters because of their identification with public covenanting in Scotland, beginning in the 16th century. This act was a protest for Christ’s crown rights over the state and the recognition of Christ as King over the Church without interference from the government. Our roots also include those referred to as the Seceders, who share in the testimony for Christ’s Crown and Covenant.

In America

In 1743 the first Reformed Presbyterian congregation was organized in North America. In this continent, too, the Kingship of Christ has been maintained as a foundational principle of our denomination. Today, congregations reach all across North America. We also acknowledge sister churches of Reformed Presbyterians in Ireland, Scotland, and Australia.

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