What are the NAPARC distinctives

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Puritan Board Freshman
Can we compile a list of distinctives within NAPARC denominations (and also some of the small micro denominations like RPUS, Westminster Presbyterian... etc.)

I'll start with what I know

Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America: We believe in the Mediatiorial Kingship of Jesus Christ, meaning that we believe Christ actively reigns and should be head over any legitimate government. We used to not vote or participate in government because of the mediatorial kingship (lack thereof). We are more famous for our exclusive Psalmody, by a capella, where we affirm (by exegesis, not practicality) that the Psalms are what are to be sung in worship without musical accompaniment. We hold historically that deaconesses are allowed, but the practice is dying, and I can't think of a single deaconcess anywhere. We use grape juice (practical not exegetical). We used to be Teetotalers but aren't anymore

Orthodox Presbyterian: (up for expansion) they are confessional, with their own slightly modified version that is shared with the PCA. Wine or grape juice. Hymns are allowed and used primarily, but psalmody is also common. More conservative than the PCA or ARP (both of which are exceedingly similar). Almost always have two services.

Associate Reformed Presbyterian: a break off of the RPCNA over the issue of voting (mediatorial kingship) and psalmody. More evangelical in attitude than the OPC, but otherwise similar

Reformed Presbyterian Church in the U.S.- Overtly Christian Reconstructionist. Not historically associated with the RPCNA. They do not practice exclusive Psalmody. No deaconesses. Mostly in Georgia and the south.

Thanks to any who continue this


Tempus faciendi, Domine.

Just to tweak your information a bit, the Associate Reformed Presbyterians are not a break off from the RPCNA.

Both Associate Presbyterians and Reformed Presbyterians migrated from Scotland in the 18th century. Early on, as both groups were getting established in America, a realignment created the ARPC in 1782.

See Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia for what is essentially a fairly helpful article on the ARPC


Puritanboard Botanist
Unlike OPC and PCA ARP allows deaconess and (I think?) use Reverend rather than Pastor for the TE. I met with the leader of the ARP church in SoCal a year ago and it seems to me that all three denominations get Pastors/Reverends from the same core pool, and one denomination isn't different enough from the other to make a big difference in where a man will choose to serve. Between the three there are about or a bit over 400,000 members and a union would be strategically useful. Especially if we could get the RPCUS for (the good kind of) leaven :)

Scottish Lass

Puritan Board Doctor
The ARP does allow deaconesses, but it varies from presbytery to presbytery as to how common it is (I don't think we have any in MVP, for example). Not sure about the pastor/reverend distinction; I never noticed. We have about 30, 000 members.

N. Eshelman

Puritan Board Senior
I think that it is important to know what each of our denominations believe; but more importantly to the purpose of NAPARC- what do all of these churches have in common?

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
With regard to the RPCNA/ARP alignment -- most of the Covenanter churches united with the Associate (Seceder) churches in the 1782 merger; it was mainly because the Revolutionary War was over and there was no longer a king that led to the unification. Psalmody was most certainly not an issue at the time (ARPs practiced EP until around 1950).

The ARP Form of Government generally refers to Ruling Elders as simply "elders" and Teaching Elders as "ministers." Of course, you will get the TE/RE usage in practice at times, but I usually refer to myself as a minister. Most folks call me "pastor"; "reverend" is generally reserved for formal correspondence (and no one ever really calls me that).

The female deacon issue is a genie that was released back in the less-than-conservative 70's and refuses to return to the bottle. The FoG is non-specific on the issue, basically leaving the issue up to individual Sessions to decide (i.e., the FoG defines a deacon as a "person" and then footnotes that to state that Session must decide upon the definition of "person" -- I'm not kidding). Our presbytery does have a couple of churches with female deacons, but Anna is correct in that it varies greatly from presbytery to presbytery. Our presbytery presented a memorial back around 2000 to rescind the practice, but it did not pass.

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
One distinctive of NAPARC churches is they do not allow denominations that ordain women as pastors/elders. That is the reason you do not have the EPC or the CRC as members.


Puritan Board Junior
The RPCUS is in NAPARC? New to me.

---------- Post added at 01:16 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:08 PM ----------

Free Reformed Churches of North America

Descendants of the Dutch Second Reformation & Secession of 1834 in Holland. Sister federation to the CGK in the same.
Psalmody (Blue Psalter)
No Deaconesses
3 Covenant View
Puritan in emphasis in preaching (experiential)

19 Churches, 3 preaching stations.
I think around 3000 members.

N. Eshelman

Puritan Board Senior
Pastor Lewis- I do not believe the RCUS is in.


There were two denominations: The AP and the RP that merged in 1782 to make the ARP. There were APs that stayed out. There were RPs that stayed out. In the words of WM Glasgow, "A decision to make one denomination out of two made three."

BUT- in the 1960s the remaining APs came into the RPCNA- thus making, essentially, two ARP denominations.

Now we are back to square one- making two denominations, one.

You figure it out. :think:

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
Nathan, I knew there were RPs that stayed out (and only a very few congregations, If I recall correctly), but I did not know there were APs who stayed out. Do you recall where they were located (geographically)?

N. Eshelman

Puritan Board Senior
Nathan, I knew there were RPs that stayed out (and only a very few congregations, If I recall correctly), but I did not know there were APs who stayed out. Do you recall where they were located (geographically)?
I checked Glasgow. He said that two AP congregations stayed out, but did not say where they were.


Puritanboard Commissioner
Current Members

* The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
* The Canadian Reformed Churches
* The Reformed Church of Quebec (ERQ)
* The Free Reformed Churches of North America
* The Heritage Reformed Congregations
* The Korean American Presbyterian Church
* The Orthodox Presbyterian Church
* The Presbyterian Church in America
* The Reformed Church in the United States
* The Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America
* The United Reformed Churches in North America

Membership Pending

* The Presbyterian Reformed Church

Member churches

Guido's Brother

Puritan Board Junior
Here's what I can tell you about the Canadian Reformed Churches:

Members: approximately 17,000
Churches: 54 + 3 mission posts in Canada and several overseas (Brazil, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea)
Confessional affiliation: Three Forms of Unity -- strict subscription is practiced for office bearers. Members are expected to affirm these standards.
Historical roots: Liberation of 1944 and post-war immigration from the Netherlands
Worship: traditionally Reformed, covenantal, predominantly use Psalms sung to Genevan melodies, although 65 hymns are also in use, most churches use an organ.
Other: Christian schools are highly valued, federational seminary (in Hamilton) results in a high degree of theological homogeneity although in principle the TFU are viewed as a big tent under which a variety of views may be held and expressed, ecumenicity is highly valued.
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