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Our Denomination

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Crete Protestant Reformed Church (Crete) belongs to the denomination of churches known as the Protestant Reformed Churches of America (PRCA). We believe in the autonomy of the local congregation, that is, each local church is a complete manifestation of the universal body of Jesus Christ and is self-governing. We also believe that local congregations are required to federate into denominations. This explains the name of our denomination: Protestant Reformed Churches (plural). The denomination is a federation of churches, each of which is self-governing and each of which freely joins in federation with her sisters to form a denomination.

In an age of independentism among Reformed churches and non-denominationalism among evangelicals, the PRCA in general and Crete in particular are denominationally minded churches. They esteem denominational unity as the carrying out of their calling to manifest the unity of the church (Eph. 4:3). They esteem the denomination as the work of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. They view the denomination as having as legitimate and necessary a place in the life of a congregation as the congregation herself has a right to exist.

The PRCA is a Reformed denomination. This means that it holds to the truth of the word of God as that is authoritatively summarized in the Reformed creeds, known collectively as the three forms of unity. Those three creeds are the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dordtrecht. The Belgic Confession (1562) is a systematic explanation of the Reformed faith, the Heidelberg Catechism (1563) is a manual of instruction in Christian doctrine from the viewpoint of the Christian’s comfort, and the Canons of Dordtrecht (1618–19) are the doctrinal pronouncements of the Reformed faith adopted by the Synod of Dordtrecht that teach the Reformed conviction concerning the sovereign and particular grace of God in salvation and the covenant, and that condemn the popular false doctrine that salvation depends on the free-will—decision—of the sinner, known as Arminianism.

The Protestant Reformed Churches hold to and are freely bound by the three forms of unity. All her officebearers freely and gladly subscribe to these creeds as fully agreeing with the word of God in all their articles and points of doctrine according to the Formula of Subscription established by the Synod of Dordtrecht for this purpose.

Protestant in the name of our denomination has reference to the peculiar beginnings of the PRCA when in 1924 in a theological controversy over the truth of God’s sovereign grace in salvation the Christian Reformed Church deposed three ministers and their consistories for their opposition to a doctrinal error known as the three points of common grace. The “three points” taught that the grace of God is common (given to the elect and reprobate alike). With this these three ministers and their consistories disagreed. For their maintenance of the truth that the grace of God in salvation is for the elect alone and their opposition to the teaching that the grace of God is common they were deposed. Almost immediately these three churches banded together to form the Protesting Christian Reformed Churches, which name was subsequently changed to the Protestant Reformed Churches.

Having their origins in 1924 the Protestant Reformed Churches trace their spiritual lineage through the great Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century and the biblical teachings of Martin Luther and John Calvin, through the Reformed branch of the Reformation and back to the doctrine of the apostles of Jesus Christ. Standing in the old paths these churches preach and teach the sovereign and particular grace of God in the salvation of elect sinners, the truth of God’s covenant of fellowship and friendship with his elect people, and the hope and assurance of everlasting life in covenant with God in the new heavens and new earth.

Believing that the word of God requires that the word be committed to faithful men who will teach others also (2 Tim. 2:2), with our sister churches in our denomination, we support a fully staffed theological school for the training of ministers of the word by professors who have served in the ministry of the word and were called to train ministers of the word full time. As churches we value as the Bread of Life the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and consider the worst famine of all to be a famine of the word. For this reason ministers must be educated and trained not to be professional theologians, but ministers of the word of God, pastors and teachers, pastors who pastor by teaching.

In obedience to the command of Christ in the great commission, the PRCA actively and enthusiastically engage in mission labors both at home and abroad. Currently the churches support two missionaries in the Philippines in and around Manila, and an Eastern home missionary centered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We labor with sister churches in Singapore, Northern Ireland, the British Isles.

The PRCA are also active in church contact work with other denominations around the world. They have a corresponding relationship with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Australia and enjoy sister church relationships with the Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena, Northern Ireland, and the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church of Singapore.

Together the Protestant Reformed Churches in the United States and Canada with their sister churches in other lands stand for the gospel of sovereign grace to the glory of God and the salvation of his elect church.

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