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What We Believe

We believe the Scriptures of the Old & New Testaments are God-given and so are divinely inspired, authoritative, infallible and a sufficient rule for faith and duty as summarised in:


The Westminster Confession of Faith

The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith, in the Calvinist theological tradition.

In 1643, the English Parliament called upon "learned, godly and judicious Divines" to meet at Westminster Abbey in order to provide advice on issues of worship, doctrine, government and discipline of the Church of England. Their meetings, over a period of five years, produced the Confession of Faith as well as a Larger Catechism and a Shorter Catechism. For more than three centuries, various churches around the world have adopted the Confession and the Catechisms as their standards of doctrine, subordinate to the Bible.

We subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith as a clear and accurate statement of the teaching of Scripture, and require all who would hold office in the Church that they make an open profession of subscription to the Confession of Faith. The following summary of the beliefs of the Church is not to be taken as a substitute for the Confession of Faith, but is to be read in the light of the full content of that Confession.

  • The Sacred Scriptures - Their verbal inspiration in the original language, their consequent divine inerrancy and sufficiency, and their supreme authority in all matters of doctrine, worship and conduct. The Apocrypha is rejected, because it is no part of the canonical scriptures.
  • The Triune God - The three Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one God, and these three Persons are the same in substance or essence, and equal in majesty, wisdom and power.
  • The Creation - The Triune God created the whole universe, by the exercise of His almighty power, to manifest His glory. Man was created directly by God, in His image and therefore rational, holy and happy, and was given dominion over all earthly creatures.
  • The Covenants - God made a covenant with Adam, whom He had constituted the head and representative of the whole human race, promising life to him and his descendants on condition of perfect obedience. Adam failed to obey, and sin, suffering and eternal separation from God ensued as penal consequences.

    God in His infinite mercy made another covenant, called the Covenant of Grace, in accordance with which the Son of God having taken to Himself a perfect human nature, became the covenant-head and representative of God's elect people, for whom He died as a sin-bearer, rose and intercedes. In Christ, all His people are justified, adopted, sanctified and ultimately glorified.

  • God the Father - God the Father, as the sovereign of all, foreordained all which comes to pass, decreed to permit sin and sorrow to come into human lives, and to overrule them so that they contribute to the accomplishment of the ends He foreordained, especially His glory and the good of His people.

    God the Father elected from all eternity His people, sent His Son to redeem them, and the Holy Spirit sovereignly to apply that redemption to them and to maintain them in faith to life eternal.

  • God the Son - The eternal Son of God became incarnate by uniting to His perfect divine nature a perfect and sinless human nature, and being born of the Virgin Mary. His divine nature was not humanised, nor His human nature deified. He lived a substitutionary life on earth, whereby He achieved a flawless righteousness for His people. Likewise His death was substitutionary, and was expiatory and redemptive because He bore the sins of His elect people. He bodily rose from the dead, ascended and is now exalted as the God-man, at the right hand of God the Father, where he performs His ministry of intercession; thence He will come to perfect the blessedness of His people and to punish eternally the unsaved.
  • The Holy Spirit - The Holy Spirit, according to the divine purpose, sovereignly regenerates the elect, giving life to them who formerly were dead spiritually, and persuading and enabling them to receive Christ Jesus as the Saviour and Lord. The Holy Spirit indwells and sanctifies them whose minds, hearts and wills were formerly corrupted by sin as a result of Adam's fall.
  • The Church - The true church of God is composed of all the elect and constitutes a real, essential and spiritual unity of all who have been redeemed by Christ and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Christ Jesus is the Head of the Church, which owes loyal obedience to Him in all things. Thus it is the duty of the Church to see that its doctrines, worship, government, discipline and all its actions are in accord with the will of God as set forth in His word. The primary task of the Church is to honour God by obeying His commands which are expressive of His will.
  • The Lord's Day - There is one holy day known as the Sabbath (rest) day. It is a great Divine institution. The Sabbath referred to in the Ten Commandments was the weekly day of rest from the Creation. The seventh-day Sabbath was superseded by the first-day Sabbath - the Christian Sabbath - at the bringing in of the Christian dispensation, and is the Lord's Day. Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week, and that day became the Divinely-appointed memorial of His resurrection. Hence it is of much richer significance than the pre-Christian Sabbath. The law of the Sabbath is of binding authority on all, even as it was in the pre-Christian era. Therefore the Lord's Day is to be treated as holy, and as appointed for God's glory and man's good. All so-called holy days such as Christmas and Good Friday we do not observe, because they lack the sanction of Scripture.
  • Worship - The worship rendered to God should be Scriptural, for there is revealed in the Bible the authoritative and therefore the acceptable way in which God is to be worshipped. As to the quality of worship, the ideal is the spirituality which characterised the Apostolic worship. As to the mode of worship, it is to be Scriptural, even as was Apostolic worship. What is not of divine appointment is excluded, on Scriptural principles. Therefore we refrain from the use of the cross as a religious symbol, and exclude the use of musical instruments and hymns of mere human composition. Because the Psalms only are Divinely appointed to be used in praising God, we employ them only in the praise portion of our worship. In this we conform to the Apostolic practice. We do not use set forms of worship or liturgies, because they lack Scriptural authority. In order that all parts of our worship may be in accord with Scripture, our postures in prayer are standing and kneeling.
  • The Sacraments - There are only two Divinely appointed sacraments: Baptism and the Lord's Supper. They were instituted to promoted the growth in grace of believers. They do not convey saving grace, but they signify the blessing of the new Covenant. It is not true that people are united through the sacraments to the church, and through the church to Christ. The sacraments are not conveying ordinances.

    The mode of Baptism, in strict accordance with Scriptural teaching and example, should be by the sprinkling of water. The adult believer who was not baptised in infancy should be baptised, also the children of believing parents should be baptised.

    The Lord's Supper is to be observed as set forth in the word of God, and its participants should be God's people. It is not a sacrifice, but a memorial - a reminder - of Christ and His atoning death as the sin-bearer. In the right observance of this sacrament, believers have fellowship with their Lord and with each other, to the glory of God. This sacrament confirms to believers their eternal interest in Christ.

  • The Nations - Christ's sovereignty over all nations and their rulers is declared repeatedly in the Old and New testaments. Also there is set forth the duty of rulers, legislators and people to recognise Christ's leadership, to acknowledge publicly His sovereignty and to order their legislation, administration and conduct in accordance with the will of God as set forth in the Scripture. Consequently it is the duty and privilege of nations to foster the Christian Religion. God blesses those nations who honour Him. Failure on the part of nations to recognise, or to fail to perform the duty of honouring Christ as their Supreme Sovereign does not annul this duty.

Note - These statements are not to be regarded as a compendium of all the doctrines and practices of St Georges Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia and are taken from A Statement of Beliefs by Rev MC Ramsay MA, Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia.

Those who desire a fuller statement of the Church's position are directed to the full text of the Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms (see below).

Full Text of the Westminster Confession of Faith with Scripture references


The Larger and Shorter Catechisms

In 1647 the Westminster Assembly produced the Westminster Confession, as well as a directory of "catechising". The Westminster Larger Catechism was "more exact and comprehensive" and the Shorter Catechism was "more easy and short for beginners". They were adopted by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1648.

The purpose of the Shorter Catechism is to educate lay persons in matters of doctrine and belief. It is written in a simple question and answer format to facilitate memorisation. Parents and the church use the Shorter Catechism to train their children and members in the ways of the Lord. The catechism is composed of 107 questions and answers. The first 12 questions concern God as Creator. Questions 13-20 deal with original sin and the fallen state of man's nature. Questions 21-38 concern Christ the Redeemer and the benefits that flow from redemption. The next set of questions, 39-84, discuss the ten commandments. Questions 85-97 teach concerning the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. The final set of questions 98-107 teach and explain the Lord's prayer.

Full Text of the Larger Catechism

Full Text of the Shorter Catechism


The Westminster Directory for Family Worship

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland approved of the Directory of Family Worship in 1647, and appointed her ministers and ruling elders to take special care that the Directions be observed and followed in the households of their churches.

Full Text of The Westminster Directory for Family Worship


The Westminster Form of Presbyterial Church Government and The Directory for the Public Worship

The Presbyterial Form of Church Government and the Directory for Public Worship were approved by the Westminster Assembly in 1645.

The spiritual leaders of the Church are called ministers (who are particularly responsible for preaching) and elders (who join with the ministers in exercising pastoral care and oversight in the congregations and courts of the church). They are elected by members of congregations from among themselves, being those whom the members believe are spiritually qualified to lead and care for them. Each congregation looks after its own affairs under the general guidance and oversight of the Presbytery, a gathering of ministers and elders from the several congregations in the local area. These meet annually as a Synod and deal with matters of doctrine, training of ministers, missionary endeavour, and church wide administrative matters.

The temporal affairs of congregations are administered by deacons, elected in the same way as elders.

The Directory for Public Worship is a manual of Directions for public worship and covers the assembling and behaviour of the congregation, reading of the scriptures, public prayer, preaching of the Word of God, administration of the sacraments (baptism and communion or the Lord's Supper), the sanctification of the Lord's Day, marriage, visitation of the sick, burial of the dead, fasting, days of public thanksgiving and the singing of psalms.

Full Text of The Westminster Form of Presbyterial Church Government

Full Text of The Directory for the Public Worship


The Second Book of Discipline

The Second Book of Discipline was agreed upon by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1578. Historically it stands between the First Book of Discipline (1560) and the Westminster Form of Presbyterial Church Government (1645). Its standpoint is that church polity is no mere matter of expediency, but a matter of faith: God's word is its rule. It covers Church Polity as distinct from Civil Polity, Office-bearers, Discipline, etc.

Full Text of The Second Book of Discipline

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