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Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America

The Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America is a Christian, Protestant, Reformed denomination which adheres to the biblical principles first enunciated during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. The Church's doctrines embodied in the Westminster Confession of Faith[?], are based upon the writings of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Knox.

The form of church government is Presbyterian, in that each congregation is under the oversight of those elected as elders, who are also part of the higher courts known as presbyteries and Synod.

Reformed Presbyterians have also been referred to historically as Covenanters because of their identification with public covenanting in Scotland, beginning in the 16th century. In response to the King's attempts to change the style of worship in the churches that had previously been agreed upon (covenanted) by the free assemblies and parliament, a number of ministers affirmed their adherence to those previous agreements by becoming signatories to the "National Covenant" of February 1638 at Greyfriars Kirk[?], in Edinburgh. In August, 1643, the Covenanters signed a political treaty with the English Parliamentarians, called the "Solemn League and Covenant". Under this covenant the signatories agreed to impose Presbyterianism on England and Ireland. In exchange, the "Covenanters" agreed to support the English Parliamentarians against Charles I of England in the English Civil War. The Solemn League and Covenant asserted the privileges of Christ's "crown rights" as King over both Church and State, and the Church's right to freedom from coercive State interference.

In 1691, Presbyterianism became the Established Church in Scotland. But because there was no acknowledgment of the sovereignty of Christ in terms of the Solemn League and Covenant, a party of dissenters ("Seceders") refused to enter into the national arrangement, on the grounds that it was forced upon the Church without a covenanted settlement. Charles II of England declared the Scottish Covenant illegal, resulting in bloodshed. Tens of thousands of Scottish covenanters fled to Ulster, between 1660 and 1690. The seceding Covenanters eventually formed the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Scotland and Ireland.

In 1743 the first Reformed Presbyterian congregation was organized in North America. The Church has congregations in many locations throughout North America, as well as "sister churches" of Reformed Presbyterians in Ireland, Scotland, and Australia. The RPCNA is renowned for their historical commitment to strict subscription to the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the singing the psalms only, unaccompanied by instruments. They have also been historically important for their stance for the abolition of slavery, and their advocacy and development of organized, contractual labor guilds (labor unions).

Related topics: Associate Presbyterians[?], Associate Reformed Presbyterians[?], United Presbyterian Church of North America[?], Presbyterian Church USA, Presbyterian Church, Killing Time[?], Andrew Melville[?], Oliver Cromwell

Web site: http://www.reformedpresbyterian.org/

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