WEPC - West End Presbyterian Church - Hopewell, VA (PCA)

A HISTORICAL CHURCH

WEPC Affirms The Sola’s of the Protestant Reformation:

Sola Scriptura

The Bible is the sole written divine revelation from God and it alone can bind the conscience of believers absolutely because it is inerrant, infallible, and authoritative.

Sola Fide

Sinful man is justified by faith alone by the merit of Jesus Christ being imputed to a believer received by the gift of faith and is the sole ground for our acceptance by God and by which our sins are forgiven.

Solo Christo

Jesus Christ is both God and man and He alone is the mediator between God and men through His perfect and finished work of His life, death, and resurrection.

Sola Gratia

Salvation rests solely on the sovereign work of God’s grace as He freely and according to His purpose and for His own glory gives faith and repentance to believers.

Soli Deo Gloria

Gloria God alone deserves our worship and adoration because He alone is worthy to be praised and He alone will receive all the glory. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.

“Without these five confessional statements--- Scripture alone, Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone, and glory to God alone---we do not have a true church, and certainly not one that will survive for very long.

For how can any church be a true and faithful church if it does not stand for Scripture alone, is not committed to a biblical gospel, and does not exist for God's glory?

A church without these convictions has ceased to be a true church, whatever else it may be.” (James M. Boice)

 

A CONFESSIONAL CHURCH

West End Presbyterian Church is a confessional church. As such, we adhere to a written confession of faith that we believe to be a good and accurate summary of the Bible’s teaching. Our confessional standards consist of the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms. We believe these standards contain carefully worded summaries of the contents of the sacred Scripture. The confessions adopt a theology that may be defined as catholic (universal), evangelical, and reformed.

Acceptance of every confessional distinctive is not required for membership in our church. One may be a participating member of West End Presbyterian Church by affirming the evangelical distinctive that salvation is accomplished by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. Nevertheless, the officers of West End Presbyterian Church must adhere to the system of doctrine taught by the Westminster standards.

The confessions adopt a theology that may be defined as catholic (universal), evangelical, and reformed. Its theology is “catholic” in that is reaffirms the doctrines of historic Christian orthodoxy such as those defined by the Apostles’ Creed and the great ecumenical councils of the first millennium of Christian history such as the Councils of Nicea, Chalcedon, Constantinople, and others. These catholic (universal) doctrines include such affirmations as the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the atonement of Christ, and other doctrines that are integral to historic Christianity.

This theology is “evangelical” in that is affirms with historic Protestantism such vital doctrines as Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide. Sola Scriptura refers to the article that the Bible, as the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God, is the sole written revelation that rules the faith and practice of the Christian community and alone can bind the conscience. Sola Fide refers to the doctrine of justification by faith alone whereby the believer is justified before God by the free grace of God by which He imputes the righteousness of Christ to the believer. The sole ground of our justification is the merit of Jesus, which is imparted to all who put their trust in Him. Though good works flow necessarily and immediately from all justified persons, these works are not the meritorious ground of our justification.

The theology is “reformed” in that, in addition to catholic and evangelical doctrine, the distinctive doctrines of the magisterial Reformers such as Luther, Calvin, and Knox are also embraced in a way that distinguishes the Reformed tradition from other Protestant bodies. Reformed theology places great emphasis on the doctrine of God, which doctrine is central to the whole of its theology. In a word, Reformed theology is God-centered. The structure of the Biblical covenant of grace is the framework for this theology. The concept of God’s grace supplies the core of this theology.

 

THE FIVE POINTS OF CALVINISM

The historic five points of Calvinism, simplified in the acrostic TULIP, distinguish Reformed theology at the key points of issue, but in no way exhaust the content of the Reformed Faith. These five points include: T-total depravity, U-unconditional election, L-limited atonement, I-irresistible grace, P-perseverance of the saints.

Briefly, total depravity declares that all men are corrupted by the Fall to the extent that sin penetrates the whole person, leaving them in a state by which they are now by nature spiritually dead and in opposition with God. This results in the bondage of the will to sin by which the sinner is morally unable to incline himself to God, or to convert himself, or to exercise faith without first being spiritually reborn by the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit.

Unconditional election refers to God’s sovereign and gracious work of election by which, from all eternity, God determines to exercise saving grace to a particular group of people chosen from out of the mass of fallen humanity. God gives this saving grace according to the good pleasures of His will, and not according to some unforeseen actions, responses, or conditions met by men. God’s election is based purely on His sovereign grace and not upon anything done by humans. The elect brought to saving faith by the work of the Holy Spirit. The elect receive special grace from God. The non-elect receive common grace, but in the end receive the justice of God.

Limited atonement means that though the value and merit of Christ’s atonement are unlimited and sufficient to save the whole world and are offered to all who repent and believe, the efficacy of the atonement is applied to only the elect, and that, by God’s design. This means that in God’s eternal plan of salvation the atonement was designed to accomplish redemption for the elect and that God’s plan of redemption is not frustrated by the refusal of the impenitent to avail themselves of it benefits. In this sense, all for whom the atonement was designed to save, will be saved.

Irresistible grace refers to the grace of regeneration by which God effectually calls His elect inwardly, converting them to Himself, and quickening them from spiritual death to spiritual life. Regeneration is the sovereign and immediate work of the Holy Spirit, working monergistically. This grace is operative, not cooperative, meaning that those who are regenerate always come to saving faith, as they are made willing to come to Christ to whom they most certainly flee and cling for their redemption.

Perseverance of the saints means that those who are truly regenerate and truly come to saving faith will never lose their salvation. They may fall via manifold temptations and spiritual weakness, even into radical sin but never fully and finally because God, by His grace, preserves them. The intercession of Christ for the elect is efficacious unto eternity.

A Synopsis of the Beliefs of the Presbyterian Church in America
(www.pcanet.org/general/beliefs.htm)

A Brief History of the Presbyterian Church in America
(www.pcanet.org/general/history.htm)

Westminster Confession of Faith
(www.pcanet.org/general/cof_preface.htm)

Book of Church Order
(www.pcanet.org/BCO)

 

To see more information on Our Theological Identity follow the link below:

Distinctives of Biblical Presbyterianism