Small Print

This page is like the small print at the bottom of a contract. It’s probably not the most exciting part, but it contains some important definitions, and technical details about what we believe and how the church works.

evangelical

This word was first used during the Reformation to describe Christians who rediscovered the good news that God rescues people from sin by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Evangelicals celebrate that salvation is an act of God alone, not a joint effort between God and man. The final authority for the evangelical is the word of God written, rather than church traditions, spiritual experiences, or human reason.

 

reformed

This word refers to a family of churches that adhere to one of the Reformed statements of faith produced in the 16th & 17thcenturies. These detailed statements share a high view of God, Christ, the Bible, the created world, the church and the sacraments, and a low view of humanity in its fallen condition; they are beneath the Bible’s authority, but beautifully summarise what the Bible says. Our particular statement of faith is the Westminster Confession of Faith, with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.

presbyterian

This word refers to the specific way the church is governed. It comes from the Greek word – presbuteros – which means “elder”, and is a system to make sure our elders continue to hold the statements of faith. It makes them accountable to a wider group of elders from other churches, who have the power to remove them should their life or teaching fall short of what the Bible requires of them. The specific way a presbyterian church works is set out in its Book of Church Order (BCO).

 

The church is a congregation of the International Presbyterian Church, a denomination with churches in England, Scotland, and Europe. You can find out more about the denomination here. If you want to know more about what presbyterianism is, here’s an excellent article.

If all these terms mean nothing to you, please do not worry. Like the small print in a legal document, they do have significance, but they’re not the main point!