FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

The Evangelical Reformed Presbyterian Church Formed;
New Denomination to Stand for “Authentic Protestant Gospel of Justification by Faith Alone”


Westminster, Maryland, May 17, 2005 — An organizing committee of pastors and elders today announced formation of The Evangelical Reformed Presbyterian Church (ERPC). The new denomination is being established in response to conservative Presbyterians’ increasing concern over the acceptance of the teaching of justification by faith plus works, and water baptism as an instrument of salvation, in denominations such as the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) and the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).

“Clearly, these teachings are un-Biblical. Scripture calls them ‘another gospel,’ ” said Dr. Clinton S. Foraker, pastor of Calvert Reformed Presbyterian Church in Calvert, Maryland and a member of the ERPC Organizing Committee. “These doctrines go by various names including Federal Vision Theology, the New Perspective on Paul, and Shepherdism. Collectively they represent the most serious and insidious attack on Protestant orthodoxy in the 500 years since the Reformation. The problems go far beyond justification and baptism, but those are the main issues. Sadly, too few people in the churches are really aware of what has been happening.

“The Bible does not leave these matters open to question,” Foraker continued. “The Council of Jerusalem in Acts chapter fifteen, and the Apostle Paul in the first chapter of Galatians, both condemn these kinds of teachings in no uncertain terms. The problem is that many ministers in the existing denominations say they fully agree with the Scriptures and the Confessional standards of their churches. But what they are actually preaching is contrary to the Bible and the confessional standards, and they are being allowed to do it. The existing denominations are trying to preserve unity at the expense of the thing that matters most – the Gospel, how the Bible says that people are saved. In contrast, the ERPC will be unequivocally committed to the authentic Protestant Gospel of justification by faith alone.”

Dr. Jeffery A. Sheely, pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Hanover, Pennsylvania and moderator of the ERPC Organizing Committee, said, “Many of us have attempted, over many years, to address this spiritual crisis from within our denominations. Some men have been fighting this battle since the 1970s. But these efforts have been blocked by those in positions of leadership who are, sadly, either committed to these false doctrines or are willing to tolerate them.

“Because these elements hold sway in the OPC, our congregation voted unanimously to separate from that denomination last year,” Sheely continued. “The present situation is very similar to what happened in the Presbyterian Church in the USA (PCUSA) three generations ago. In 1936, conservatives left the PCUSA to form the OPC. One of the founders of the OPC, Dr. J. Gresham Machen, said that when the liberalizing elements hold sway in a denomination, and the Gospel is at stake, conservatives have no choice but to separate and begin again. That is what we are doing. History is being repeated.”

“There is a groundswell of interest in forming a new denomination that will be true to the Gospel,” Sheely observed. “People from around the country have contacted us to say that they are interested in affiliating with the ERPC. A number of ministers have said they would like to bring their congregations out of the existing denominations because of the compromise of the Gospel. But they don’t feel they can do it without having a new denomination to join. We’ve also heard from groups of church members who have left existing congregations because they just couldn’t live with the compromise anymore. Many of these people are interested in forming new congregations. We hope that many people – existing congregations and new ones alike – will see the ERPC as their new denominational home.”

The ERPC Organizing Committee has been developing Articles of Affiliation and a Form of Government for the new denomination, and expects to make them available by September, 2005.

The ERPC has established a web site, www.erpchurch.org, which includes background on the beginnings of the ERPC, information on denominational distinctives, and a discussion of future directions. Interested persons can sign up to receive periodic e-mail updates on future developments.

For additional information, contact:

Paul M. Elliott

Secretary, Organizing Committee

The Evangelical Reformed Presbyterian Church

410-848-0193
pelliott@erpchurch.org


http://www.erpchurch.org




Any thoughts? Does anyone know the people from these congregations?