Truth Reformed Bible Church adopts the “Ecumenical Creeds” — the Apostle’s Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Chalcedonian Creed, and the Athanasian Creed — as the creeds of the church, as we believe they summarize what is described in the Bible as “sound doctrine“. Truth Reformed Bible Church maintains that unless one believes the premises of these creeds, it is impossible to be saved.
Truth Reformed Bible Church rejects the practice of using confessions, catechisms, and other theological statements to bind the consciences of believers. However, many of these documents are excellent helps for the believer to mature in his theological understanding. The following (not an exhaustive list) are to be used only as an aid in the sanctification process. Other than the “Ecumenical Creeds,” no confession, catechism, or theological statement is to be the subject of any oath at any time, nor for any reason.
- Westminster Confession of Faith
- 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith
- Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms
- Belgic Confession
- Heidelberg Catechism
- Canons of Dort
- Institutes of the Christian Religion, by John Calvin
Form of Government:
The form of Government adopted by Truth Reformed Bible Church is modeled upon the “Church Order” adopted by the Synod of Dort in 1619. The Session of TRBC shall use the “Church Order” and this constitution as aids to government only. They are never to be used as a rule of government and are never to be the subject of any oath for any reason — the Bible is our only rule of government. Amendments may be made to the “Church Order” or this constitution by a simple majority vote of the Session at any time.
Truth Reformed Bible Church shall have three offices: elder, deacon, and deaconess.
The office of elder is the seat of authority within the local church. The elder(s) — by virtue of Christ’s authority delegated to him — has the authority to preach and teach the Scriptures, administer the sacraments of baptism and communion, and exercise discipline against the members of the church. The elder(s) shall be ultimately responsible for all of the official functions and operation of the church. Only men may be qualified to be elders.
The office of elder shall be divided into the categories of “teaching” and “ruling.” The distinction between the teaching and ruling elders shall be with respect to monetary support only and not with respect to function. The teaching elder shall be entitled to receive monetary support from the congregation. The ruling elders shall have equal authority with the teaching elder to conduct all ministries of the church. The Session of TRBC consists of all teaching and ruling elders in good standing. Candidates for the office of elder shall meet the qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 and must be approved by a majority of the Session after a period of testing.
The office of deacon is a ministry of service. The deacon(s) shall be responsible for the financial reporting of the church and the physical care of the congregation. Only men may be qualified to be deacons. Candidates for the office of deacon shall meet the qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3 and must be approved by a majority of the Session after a period of testing.
The office of deaconess is a ministry of teaching, ruling, and/or service to the women and children of the church. The deaconess shall only minister to women and children and shall not formally teach or exercise any other position of authority over any man. Only women may be qualified to be a deaconess. Similar to the doctrine and practice of baptism, any member of TRBC that does not believe in the office of deaconess shall not be required to submit themselves to the women installed to this office. Candidates for the office of deaconess shall meet the qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3 and must be approved by a majority of the Session after a period of testing. All members of the Session may vote regarding the qualifications of women seeking this office, but only members of the Session that believe in this office will participate in the testing and ordination of women to this office.
All ordination vows shall take place as part of the Lord’s Day Worship service. The Session (or a representative of the Session) shall administer the vows with the following questions (as appropriate for each office) and respond with the Session’s vow to the new office-holder.
Vows for the ordination of an elder shall be:
- Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as originally given, to be the inerrant Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice?
- Do you promise to be zealous and faithful in maintaining the truths of the Gospel and the purity, peace, and unity of the Church, whatever persecution or opposition may arise unto you on that account?
- Do you promise to faithfully discharge the duties of your office and to adorn the doctrine of God with a godly life?
- Do you promise to submit to the discipline of the Session of this church if you become delinquent in doctrine or life?
- Do you promise to “Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being an example to the flock?”
Vows for the ordination of a deacon shall be:
- Same as 1, 3, and 4 above.
- Do you promise to minister to the physical needs of this congregation, to maintain the financial records of the church, and to minister under the authority of the Session of this church?
Vows for the ordination of a deaconess shall be:
- Same as 1, 2, 3, and 4 above.
- Do you promise to minister to the women and children of this congregation, to teach, exhort, and/or serve them, and to minister under the authority of the Session of this church?
Vow by the Session of TRBC to the new office-holder shall be:
- We, the Session of TRBC, serve and protect this flock of God and promise to swiftly and justly exercise discipline against you in cases of heresy, apostasy, or if you attempt to bind the consciences of any in this flock.
The members of Truth Reformed Bible Church are those who have formally sworn an oath and submitted to the authority of the Session of TRBC. The Session shall recognize two classes of members: communicant and non-communicant.
Communicant members are all who have made a profession of faith, received the sacrament of baptism, and have been admitted to the sacrament of communion. Communicant members may join the church as new members or via transfer from another evangelical congregation. If the believer has not been baptized, membership vows shall be accompanied by baptism. In all cases, the Session shall meet with and examine any that desire to join TRBC as a communicant member to confirm their profession of faith before swearing the membership vows.
Non-communicant members are all children of communicant members in good standing whose parents desire their children to join the church via the sacrament of baptism. No believing parents shall be required to submit their children for baptism and membership. The decision with respect to the doctrine of baptism and membership shall remain with the parents of the child. Nobody shall be required to violate the principles of their conscience in regards to the doctrines of baptism and membership.
Apart from rejecting heresy and apostasy, the Session of TRBC has only two explicit requirements for membership in good standing: attendance at the Lord’s Day Worship service and the tithe. Members are expected to make every effort to be in regular attendance at the Lord’s Day services. All other ministries of the church (fellowship groups and evening Bible studies) are highly encouraged but optional. There are no exceptions for the tithe, though each member is free to follow their conscience in regards to the calculation of the 10% portion of their increase.
All membership vows shall take place as part of the Lord’s Day Worship service. The Session (or a representative of the Session) shall administer the vows with the following questions (as appropriate) and respond with the Session’s vow to the new communicant member or parent of a newly baptized child (as appropriate).
Vows for a communicant member shall be:
- (Read the Apostle’s Creed). Do you believe the Apostle’s Creed?
- (Read 2 Timothy 3:16,17). Do you believe this passage?
- Do you believe that the Bible is your only rule of faith and practice and promise to read it, study it, and apply it diligently to your life?
- Do you promise to submit yourself to the authority of the elders of this church and to obey them insofar as their injunctions are consistent with the Word of God?
Vow by the Session of TRBC to the new communicant member shall be:
- We, the Session of TRBC, promise to love, serve, and protect you, never to bind your conscience to our interpretation of the Scriptures, and only to exercise discipline against you in cases of heresy and/or apostasy.
Vows for believing parents at the baptism of their child shall be:
- Do you re-affirm your original vows of membership into this church, and promise to continue to live faithfully according to God’s revealed will in the Scriptures?
- Do you affirm that your child was conceived and born in sin and, though sanctified by baptism, will remain in sin unless and until they are regenerated by the Holy Spirit?
- Do you promise to submit yourself to the discipline of this church should you become delinquent in your duty to train and discipline your child?
- Do you promise to “train up your child in the way they should go,” “to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord,” “and to teach the Scriptures to them diligently and to talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up?”
Vow by the Session of TRBC to the parent of a newly baptized child shall be:
- We, the Session of TRBC, promise to serve and assist you as you train up this child, never to bind your conscience to our interpretation of the Scriptures, and only to exercise discipline against you or your child in cases of heresy and/or apostasy.
Lord’s Day Worship Service:
All members of Truth Reformed Bible Church are expected to attend and participate in all parts of the Lord’s Day Worship service. The Session of TRBC has arranged services on Sunday morning in an attempt to best renew our covenant with our God on a weekly basis. Each part of the service is considered a vital part and should not be separated or neglected.
Visitors are welcome to attend Lord’s Day services. Visitors that are members in good standing of another Evangelical church are welcome to participate in all parts of the service including Communion and are encouraged to bring a letter from the Session of their church attesting to their standing. Visitors that are believers but not a member of another Evangelical church are welcome to participate in all parts of the service except Communion. Visitors that are non-believers are encouraged not to participate in any part of the service — including singing, prayer, and offerings — and mock God with false worship.
The typical order of service consists of:
- 09:00 am to 10:15 am – Worship through singing, prayer, and tithes; preaching of the Word.
- 10:30 am to 11:30 am – Teaching of the Word to adults and children’s groups as needed.
- 11:45 am to 12:15 pm – The Fellowship and Sacrament of Communion.
The location of the Lord’s Day Worship service may be any suitable location that is in the best financial interest of the church.
Revised February 7, 2017