DOCTRINAL DISTINCTIVES OF THE BIBLE-PRESBYTERIAN MOVEMENT
The word “Bible” precedes the word “Presbyterian”, denoting the church’s firm stance on the Word of God. The Bible alone is our supreme standard for all matters of faith and practice. It is from the Bible alone that we know who God is, and how we can serve Him and discern His will. Thus, we endeavour to ensure that everything the church does is thoroughly Bible-based. This will extend to all points of doctrine and teachings, including our practices and lifestyles.
As such, we uphold the Word of God as divinely inspired and perfectly preserved by God, down to every last jot and tittle as taught in holy writ, such that what we have in our hands today is the BIBLE, the Word of God, infallible and inerrant. We believe the Bible preserved by God is the Hebrew Masoretic Texts of the Old Testament and the Greek Textus Receptus of the New Testament underlying the King James Bible.
Therefore, we uphold the King James Bible to be the Word of God – the best, most faithful, most accurate, most beautiful translation of the Bible in the English language, and do employ it alone as our primary scriptural text, whether for public or private use.
The B-P Movement arose out of the modernist-fundamental controversies in the 1930s. Its founders took a stand against the liberal theologies in the mainline Presbyterian Church, and thus separated to form the B-P Church. To this day, we continue to earnestly contend for the faith, maintaining a firm stance on the fundamentals of the faith, which we will defend strongly against those who would preach or teach otherwise.
Every church has been given the divine mandate by God not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. We are to be a people called out and set apart from the world. Thus, we see biblical separation to be a defining distinctive of the B-P Church. Separation involves two main aspects:
1. Personal: We have been called as Christians to lead a holy life, consecrated unto God; to love not the world and the things of the world. Personal separation, thus, involves abstaining from all evil and all appearance of evil. We are to maintain a pure testimony, and to be transformed by the Word of God. This principle applies to our personal lives, and extends to our business and marriage.
2. Ecclesiastical: As a church, we must also be careful to maintain our effectiveness as a witness and testimony to the world. This is our defence in ensuring the purity and faith of the church. Therefore, we will associate ourselves, and have ecclesiastical relationships only, with like-minded brethren. We must separate ourselves from all forms of apostasy, unbelief, disobedience and compromise. More specifically, we must be wary of unbiblical movements rampant in Christendom today: the ecumenical, charismatic, neo-evangelical movements, and other false movements that contradict the Holy Scriptures and the historic Christian Faith.
Presbyterian Form of Government
The B-P Church holds on to a Presbyterian system of church government, whereby the church is ruled by the plurality of elders. These are to be the most spiritual men in the church who are chosen by the church and voted into office, thus forming the Board of Elders. This board would include the pastor(s), who is the moderator of the board, and a group of elders from the congregation. They have the duty of leading the church, tasked with spiritual responsibilities of protecting, feeding and nurturing the flock of God.
Forming the Session of the church together with the Board of Elders would be deacons; elected office-bearers who have a more administrative role in the church. Deacons ensure all things are run smoothly and in order. Ideally, at a higher level of church government, there should be a synod overseeing B-P churches. Sadly, since the dissolution of the B-P Synod in 1988, most B-P churches are now completely autonomous.
As Protestants and Presbyterians, we hold firmly to that which is known as the “Reformed Faith” –teachings that arose out of the 16th Century Reformation. The documents that we adhere to are the Westminster Standards that include the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms. What we therefore promote is a very God-focused, Christ-centred and Bible-based theology, where it is by grace alone, through faith alone, that man can be saved. Thus, we are covenantal in our understanding of the Bible, not dispensational; we are Calvinistic in understanding salvation, not Arminian.
Pro -Israel Pre -millennialism
A simple, consistent, literal interpretation of the Bible would naturally lead one to a pro-Israel, Pre-millennial view of prophecy, as opposed to views of the Historic Premillennialists, Post-millennialists and A-millennialists. What this means is that we believe that the promises given to Israel in the Old Testament hold today. These promises belong to Israel and have not been reassigned to the church. God has not entirely cast away His chosen nation of Israel, but has a specific plan for them at Jesus’ Second Coming.
At the Second Coming of Christ, all the dead in Christ and the believers who are alive will be raptured. That will trigger a period of seven years commonly called The Great Tribulation. During this period, many Jews will come to believe in Christ, as denoted by the 144,000 witnesses mentioned in Revelation. At the end of the seven years, the Lord Jesus Christ will descend with the saints for the final Battle of Armageddon, where Satan will be defeated and cast into the bottomless pit. The world will then enter into a literal 1,000 year period of the Millennium, with Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. He will restore Israel to greatness, rule the whole world from His throne in Jerusalem, and bring peace to all nations.
Our style of worship can be described as traditional or conventional, emphasizing the need for reverence and respect, worshipping the Lord in the beauty of holiness. We reject modern practices of introducing contemporary music with drums and bands into our worship as a means to “attract the crowd” or liven the worship, which is often sensual, fleshly and panders to the wants of man. Instead, worship ought to be reverential and orderly, maintaining the sanctity of worship before our thrice holy God. The focus must not be man but God alone!