Vanguard Presbytery – Vows for Teaching and Ruling Elders

SCRIPTURE

1) WHEREAS, the Scriptures of the sixty-six (66) books of the Old and New Testaments are the 

inspired, inerrant, and authoritative Word of God, our only infallible rule of faith and practice; and

2) WHEREAS, Scripture expresses the truth concerning creation and the origin of man, science must be interpreted by Scripture, rather than Scripture being interpreted by science.  For instance, we affirm that God created all things in six literal twenty-four (24) hour days by the power of His spoken word. We also affirm the origin of man as male and female, made in the image of God, and reject all ideas of man’s origin from evolutionary processes; and

3) WHEREAS, Scripture expresses the truth concerning morality, Scripture dictates morality rather than morality being interpreted by the culture; and

STANDARDS

4) WHEREAS, the Westminster Standards as adopted by the OPC in 1939, and the PCA in 1973, is the system of doctrine declared in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments; and

5) WHEREAS, officers give full subscription* to the Westminster Standards, without exception, and promise to never teach anything which contradicts, directly or indirectly, this system of doctrine; and

FORM OF GOVENMENT

6) WHEREAS, the Proposed Book of Church Order of Vanguard Presbytery consists of three parts, the Form of Government, the Rules of Discipline, and the Directory of Worship, these shall comprise the Constitution of the new denomination when perfected and adopted, along with the Westminster Standards, and

7) WHEREAS, we believe that true Presbyterianism is expressed in the will and actions of the presbytery(ies) (i.e., grassroots), any bureaucratic hierarchy of the General Assembly, or any lower court that is ruled by independent committees, commissions, and agencies is contrary to Scripture; and

THE CHURCH

8) WHEREAS, God disciplines those whom He loves, the Church of Jesus Christ must do the same. Courts at every level must make sure that Scriptural discipline, both positive and negative, is faithfully carried out; and

13) WHEREAS, all Christians struggle with sin in the battle of the flesh against the Spirit, a Christian overcomes those sins through the ordinary means of grace and the power of the Holy Spirit.  Any individual who finds his or her identity in any sin, whether of the heart, or by deed, is a contradiction of how the Scripture describes believers; and

10) WHEREAS, it is biblical to minister to physical needs and to practice justice, man’s greatest need is to be reconciled to a holy God, against whom all have transgressed and stand in mortal danger of hell; and

11) WHEREAS, Christ, the Apostles, and the early church give us examples that the Church is to pray for the outpouring of the Spirit and the conversion of the lost, it is incumbent on us to seek the Lord with humility, confession of our sins, and fervency as the first priority of our daily walk and in all meetings of the Church and her courts, and

OFFICERS

12) WHEREAS, we believe that officers of the Church are held to a higher standard in doctrine, morality and spirituality than other church members as there are specific requirements given for them in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9; and

14) WHEREAS, We do further promise that if at any time we shall find ourselves out of accord with any of the fundamentals of this system of doctrine, we will, on our own initiative, make known to our church or Presbytery the change which has taken place since the assumption of our ordination vow.  We will also oppose all efforts to change in substance or otherwise debase our historic doctrinal commitment.

BE IT RESOLVED

THEREFORE, we the undersigned do covenant together to form an Association to be known as VANGUARD PRESBYTERY, INC., a provisional presbytery for Presbyterian and Reformed Churches uniting, and

THEREFORE, this Association shall have as its purpose to perpetuate the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as it was once for all delivered to the saints in Holy Scripture.

Signed: __________________________________

Dated on the _______ day in the ___________ month in the year of our Lord ___________.

The Meaning of Full Subscription to the Westminster Standards

In fully subscribing to the Westminster Standards, we are not receiving them as an equal authority to the Scriptures themselves. Every word of Scripture, ipsissima verba, is God-breathed and inerrant. The Westminster Standards are not ipsissima verba. The language within the Westminster Standards itself teaches that Scripture is our single rule for faith and life (WCF Chapter 1, sections 2 and 10). The Standards teach the doctrines of the Word of God and is not being elevated to a position that it itself denies. The intent of full subscription is to prohibit any teaching contrary to the Bible. Full subscription to the Westminster Standards affirms that the doctrinal teachings therein are fully biblical, and are to be received without exception.

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