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 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
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
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
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.
- 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
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
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"
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 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 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 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,
Full Text of The Second Book of Discipline
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Church of Eastern Australia. All rights reserved.