I. PROLOGUE AND POSITIONS
God is to be worshipped (Doxology). The confessional response concerning the chief end of man is doxological. The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. The worship of the Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) represents man's highest aim and greatest gain. The FORC sets forth the following to that end. - Psalm 29:1-2; Matthew 4:10; John 4:23-24
God is to be known, believed, and obeyed (Doctrine) and therefore: - Micah 6:8; John 3:13-18; 17:3
a. The FORC adheres to the inerrancy and all-sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures (the 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament), which is the final authority in all matters of life and doctrine.
- Matthew 4:4; 2 Timothy 3:14-16
b. While the FORC considers no other written document to be of the same authority as Scripture, its members hold to the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Creed of Chalcedon.
c. The FORC believes that the historic Reformed confessions best define the system of doctrine taught in the Scriptures. The specific choice of these confessional documents resides with each member church.
God is the Alpha and Omega (Origins and Destiny). In addition to a fuller depiction of FORC positions which follows, Scripture proclaims that God has declared the end from the beginning.
a. Creation and Early Church History: We believe that the world was created out of nothing in six normal days thousands of years ago. This truth is the historical foundation for all that the Bible teaches. We reject as a contradiction of Scripture: any form of the doctrine of evolution; any attempt to reduce the creative acts of God to a naturalistic process; any use of the literary structure of Genesis to deny that it is also a description of the actual events of creation; and any attempt to circumvent or deny Scripture's literal days and their chronological continuity with the historical record of Genesis. Thus we condemn Theistic Evolution, the Day Age theory, the Framework Hypothesis, and the Gap Theory. - Genesis 1:1-11:32; Hebrews 11:3
b. An Optimistic Eschatology:
1. At His ascension to the throne on high, Jesus Christ received dominion, glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations and languages should serve Him. As King of kings and Lord of lords, He is now seated at God's right hand, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named. -Daniel 7:13-14; Ephesians 1:15-23; Revelation 19:16
2. By God's grace, believers have been delivered from the domain of darkness and translated into Christ's kingdom, which, by the power of the Holy Spirit in the proclamation of the Gospel, will extend throughout the whole earth. During this age God continues to pour out His Spirit upon all flesh, as Christ puts all enemies under His feet. -Joel 2:28-29; Matthew 13:31-33; Acts 1:8; Romans 3:21-26; 1 Corinthians 15:25; Colossians 1:13-14
3. At His final advent, the Lord will deliver the kingdom to His Father, having destroyed all His enemies. The dead in Christ will be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed into His likeness. -1 Corinthians 15:22-28, 50-58; 1 John 3:1-3
4. Meanwhile, the Church Militant is divinely commissioned with the task of "occupying till He comes," carrying the Gospel of the kingdom to the ends of the earth and discipling the nations until the earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. - Isaiah 11:9; Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 19:13; Acts 1:8
In addition to those positions presented in the prior section the following are equally important. These by no means represent the exhaustive list of FORC beliefs, nor do they establish the boundaries of our fellowship. They do, however, represent some of those key areas where beliefs and practices ought to be allowed, embraced and encouraged. It should be noted that Elders seeking FORC recognition, as well as those serving as FORC Presbyters should exhibit, demonstrate and maintain a suitable embrace and encouragement of these distinctives.
A belief in the Kingship of the Lord Jesus over all of life and culture now:
a. The Kingship of Jesus began definitively at His resurrection and ascension, continues progressively throughout human history, and will be consummated at His glorious return at the end of the world. Acts 2:32-36; 1 Corinthians 15:22-28; Hebrews 12:22-29
b. Jesus Christ has conquered death and hell, has given Himself for His people, and sits now at the right hand of the Father as King over all creation. -Isaiah 9:6-7; Matthew 1:21, 28:18-20; Acts 2:32-36; Galatians 1:3-5; 2 Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 1:8-9; Revelation 1:18; Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) VIII:4; Heidelberg Catechism (HC) 31, 46
c. This Kingship includes both heaven and earth. As the last Adam, Jesus is fulfilling the mandate to bring all of life under God's dominion. -Genesis 1:28; Psalm 2:7-12, 24:1; Isaiah 65:17-25; Matthew 6:9-10, 26:64; 1 Corinthians 15:22-28, 45-49; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 11:15-18; Westminster Larger Catechism (WLC) 45, 54, 191
d. Jesus Christ rules through His Word and Spirit, and through those spheres of authority upon earth which He calls to represent Him, especially the spheres of family, church, and state. -Matthew 16:17-19; John 16:5-15, 17:3; Romans 13:1-7; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28; Ephesians 5:18-19; Colossians 3:18-21; Hebrews 4:12; HC 31
e. As the historic Savoy Declaration (26:5) states: "As the Lord in His care and love towards His Church, hath in His infinite wise providence exercised it with great variety in all ages, for the good of them that love Him, and His own glory: so according to His promise, we expect that in the latter days, antichrist being destroyed, the Jews called, the adversaries of the kingdom of His dear Son broken, the Churches of Christ being enlarged and edified through a free and plentiful communication of light and grace, shall enjoy in this world a more quiet, peaceable and glorious condition than they have enjoyed."
A Presbyterial form of church government (see Sections II - IV). - Acts 15:1-29; 1 Timothy 3:1-7
An adherence to Biblical ethics:
a. Under the Covenant of Grace, God's moral law is the perfect rule of righteousness for His creation. -WCF XIX:2
b. God also set forth typical/ceremonial laws. The ceremonies and symbols of these laws have come to an end with the coming of Christ. As the substance of these ceremonial laws remains in Christ, in Whom they were fulfilled, the use of them ought to be abolished among Christians. -Belgic Confession (BC) XXV
c. Man is justified by the grace of God, through faith, and created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Therefore God's ethical law remains as the standard for every area of culture and life. By striving to keep this law, we come to know our sinfulness and eagerly look to Christ for forgiveness of sins and for righteousness.-Ephesians 2:8-10; HC 114,115
d. The Bible, being all-sufficient, contains God's laws concerning every area of life and culture. Therefore these laws are to be obeyed in matters of government, education, business, economics, the arts, science, family relationships, personal holiness, and all else. God is covenantal in His dealings with mankind, and will bless those who keep His laws and curse those who break them. -Deuteronomy 28; WCF XIX:6
e. Christ does not dissolve God's law in the Gospel, but strengthens our obligation to it. Obedience to God's law is not contrary to the grace of the Gospel, but complies with it. -Matthew 5:17-19; WCF XIX:5
A Belief that the Lord's Supper is an essential part of Christian worship: God the Father has sent Jesus Christ, the living Bread, Who came down from heaven to give and to maintain the spiritual and heavenly life that belongs to believers. The partaking of the Lord's Supper is a means of grace by which Christ works in His people all He represents by the elements of His table. Therefore, with humility and reverence we recognize the need to receive this holy sacrament in the weekly gathering of God's people. John 6:32-35, 41-51; Acts 2:42-47, 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; BC 35; WCF XXIX:7; WLC 170
The practice of Paedo-Communion:
a. Like unto the sacrament of Holy Baptism which God graciously offers to all believers and their children, the Lord's Supper, or Holy Communion, is the covenantal meal of the visible Church of Jesus Christ, in which the people of God are ever more incorporated into Christ's body, participating together in the power of endless life. John 6:47-58; Acts 2:38-39; 1 Corinthians 10:14-22; HC 75, 76; WCF XXIX:1; WLC 168
b. As the whole people of God under the Old Covenant partook of the covenantal feasts, so the whole people of God under the New Covenant should partake of the covenantal feast of the Lord's Supper. - Exodus 12:43-48; Deuteronomy 16:1-17; Matthew 26:26-27; Acts 2:38-42
c. As the whole people of God under the Old Covenant partook of Christ, eating the same spiritual food from heaven and drinking the same spiritual drink from the Rock, so the whole people of God under the New Covenant partake of Christ, eating and drinking the spiritual food of the Sacrament of His Body and Blood. - 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, 16-17; HC 75, 79; WLC 170
d. Therefore, the Lord's Supper should not be withheld from any New Covenant member in good standing. Baptized children, feeble-minded, and senile persons are to be joyfully welcomed into the Eucharistic celebration. Matthew 15:21-28, 21:12-16; Mark 9:33-37, 10:13-16, 14:22-25; Luke 17:1-2; 1 Corinthians 7:12-14