The Basis of our Faith is as Below
Our system of doctrine is the Reformed faith, also called Calvinism (because Calvin was the most important exponent of it during the Reformation). It pulls together the most significant doctrines taught in the Bible. These doctrines are set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms (with accompanying biblical references). Our system of doctrine is summarized as follows.
The supreme standard for belief and practice is the Bible, received as the inspired and inerrant Word of God. In common with all Reformed Faith 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. These documents are the subordinate standards of the denomination.
Our theology is apostolic, Protestant, Reformed and evangelical. There is a desire to maintain in its depth and purity the Christian faith handed down from the beginning.
We give prominence to the kingship of Christ. This has implications for human life in all its spheres. Areas which we continue emphasizing includes Worship, Education and Health. Guided by Words from Colossians 1:18 which express the core of Covenanting theology: ‘that in everything he (Christ) might have the supremacy’.
We believe that the Bible is the written revelation of who God is.
The Presbyterian faith goes back behind all denominational divisions and interpretations to the Bible. The Bible inspires and guides us in what we believe and how we live. Presbyterians think of the Bible as the written Word of God. They consider it the most authoritative source for faith and practice. The writers of the Bible were guided and inspired by God to record events and God’s instructions. By reading the Bible, succeeding generations know what God has done and what God requires.
Scripture is partly shaped by its particular historical and cultural circumstances. We are also conditioned by our own time and culture. We bring to Scripture our own presuppositions. The task of joining text with reader involves four major components that are constantly interrelated.
- We are prompted by the Spirit working on our experience to listen afresh for God’s Word witnessed to in Scripture.
- We seek to understand the Bible in its original historical setting, recognizing the variety of material it contains. For this, a wise use of historical-critical methods is essential.
- We look at the biblical material as a canonical whole. The dangers of quoting isolated proof texts are well known. We look for the underlying unity and diversity, continuity and discontinuity in Scripture, paying particular attention to the relationships between the Old and New Testaments.
- We bring the biblical materials to bear on our contemporary situation. The gift of discernment is especially needed here. We must pray for the guidance of the same Holy Spirit who inspired Scripture.
From 1994 Acts and Proceedings, The Church Doctrine Committee, pp. 252-253.
A sacrament is a rite or ceremony instituted by Jesus, and observed by the church as a means of or visible sign of grace. As a visual aid, it illustrates and confirms the spiritual truths and promises contained in the gospel. The English word sacrament is from the Latin sacramentum, which means to make holy, or to consecrate.
Sacraments are ceremonial in nature, which separates them from other things that Jesus instructed believers to do (for example, “go and make disciples of all nations”, Matthew 28:18).
The Presbyterian Church of East Afrca celebrates two sacraments, Baptism and Communion.
- This are the only two sacraments instituted by Christ are baptism and the Lord’s supper. Baptism is given to unbaptised adults who profess faith in Christ. It is also administered to the children of believers, who are recognised as included in God’s covenant of grace, of which baptism is a sign and seal. The sacrament is performed with water, which may properly be administered by immersion, pouring or, preferably, sprinkling.
- Holy Communion, also called the Lord’s Supper, is open to all those who love the Lord Jesus Christ and have made public profession of faith.The frequency of observance of the Lord’s supper is decided by each Session, present practice ranging from two to four times a year. In addition to members of the church, believers from other denominations are welcomed to the table, provided that their Christian testimony and practice are known to the elders.
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.
The parish minister / elders are responsible for leading worship although increasingly, church members including deacons, and readers are involved in both planning and helping to lead worship. Regular services of worship are at the heart of the life of the Church, but congregational life often includes prayer groups, Sunday schools for children, youth groups, the Guild, social activities and support groups for people facing problems.
Music is an essential part of the Church’s worship and can take a wide variety of different forms. Increasingly, multimedia, such as the use of video, is used during church services to help spread the word of God in the 21st century.
Preaching is central to our worshipping God. The preacher, usually the minister, will share a message drawn out of a passage from the Bible. Preaching aims to help people interpret and apply the Bible’s teaching to modern life today.
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.
We beleive It is important to gather weekly for worship and to also regularly experience the sacraments of communion. Baptism is seen as a visible sign of God’s promise to God’s people.
The primary responsibility of the church to the community is that of evangelism and each local congregation is a centre from which the gospel is communicated to the surrounding neighbourhood. Missionary work outside the bounds of established congregations is being carried on in the sister churches including outside east Africa. This includes …
Central to the our church is our love and worship of God through following the teachings and examples of Jesus Christ. We express our love for God by our love and practical care for each other and for those we live with and encounter in our daily lives.
A monthly denominational magazine, the way, is published quatery for the benefit of the whole church and missionary works updates.
There are several categories of professing Christians with which the Reformed Presbyterian Church can have no official fellowship. Liberal theology, with its attack upon the authority of Scripture and its denial of the gospel, has placed itself outside the faith and under the condemnation of God. Roman Catholicism’s failure to accept such cardinal doctrines as the sole authority of Scripture and justification by faith alone, together with innovations such as its teaching on Mary and the development of the papacy, render it impossible for Reformed Presbyterians to accept it as a Christian church. It is recognised, however, that there may be individual Roman Catholics who are true believers and all harshness and ill-feeling between Protestants and Roman Catholics is to be deplored.
Closest relations in the family of Christ are Reformed Presbyterian Churches in Scotland, North America, Australia, Japan and Cyprus. The denomination is a constituent member of the International Conference of Reformed Churches, which brings together churches from as far apart as North and South America, South Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe. Ministers serve on the boards of such bodies as Scripture Gift Mission, Christian Witness to Israel and the Evangelical Fellowship of Ireland. Links are continually being strengthened with Christians in many other denominations and increasing co-operation with biblical churches is actively pursued.
Pastoral care of parishoners is an essential part of Christ’s calling to the Church, particularly in times of need. As part of their caring task, local churches also aim to mobilise resource and run projects relating geared to alleviating suffering and overcoming addictions.
The Supreme Standard for Belief and Practice is the Bible Received as the Inspired and Inerrant Word of God.