East Texas Reformed Fellowship

Statement of Belief and Practices of
the East Texas Reformed Fellowship

The East Texas Reformed Fellowship is a church in the process of being gathered and established as a fully organized church. As we endeavor to do all things decently and in order, we publish this statement as a brief summary of the beliefs and practices upheld by us.

Doctrinal Standards

The holy scriptures are the written word of God, and are our infallible rule of faith and practice.a We understand the scriptures to teach the great truths of the Protestant Reformation as found in the historic Reformed creeds. These truths are summarized in the Westminster Confession and Catechisms in the form adopted by the Reformed Church of Scotland in which the earlier creeds of the reformed churches were to still to be retained, and the Westminster Standards seen as principally consistent with them. Other documents which form a part of our Reformation heritage include the Confession of the English Congregation at Geneva (1556), the French Confession (1559), the Scottish Confession (1560), the Belgic Confession (1561), the Geneva Catechism (1545), the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), and the Canons and Decrees of the Synod of Dort (1619).

a. 2 Tim 3:15-16; 2 Pet 1:19-21; Prov. 30:5.

Worship

We endeavor to conduct our worship "in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him."a To this end, in our public worship, we include only those elements of worship which have express warrant from the word of God, as summarized in the Westminster Directory for Public Worship. The ordinary elements of worship include prayer; the reading, preaching, and hearing of the word of God; the singing of psalms; and the administration of the sacraments.b On extraordinary occasions, there may be special thanksgiving or fasting, as the providence of God renders appropriate.c

Instrumental music formed a part of the ceremonial observances of the Old Testament which served as types and shadows of Christ's work and glory.d Because these ceremonial observances have found their fulfillment in Christ's finished work, we do not include instrumental music in our worship services.

Further, based upon our commitment to scriptural principles of worship, we reject any use of images purporting to depict the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit.e Likewise, we reject other man-made "aids" to worship, such as crosses, ecclesiastical vestments, humanly-authored hymns, and the liturgical year (including Christmas and Easter week services), because they are not instituted in the word of God.f

a. John 4:23.
b. Acts 2:42; 1 Tim. 2:1; Col. 4:16; 1 Thess. 5:27; 2 Tim. 4:2; Col. 3:16; Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 11:23ff.
c. Matt. 9:15; Acts 14:23.
d. 1 Chron. 16:37, 42; 1 Chron. 23:6ff.; 25:1; 25:6; 2 Chron. 5:12-14; 7:6; 34:12
e. Ex. 20:4-6; Deut 5:8-10; Ps. 115:4-8; Hab. 2:18; Acts 17:29.
f. Deut. 12:1-4, 28-32; Lev. 10:1-2; Matt. 15:8-9; John 4:23-24.

Church Government and Discipline

We recognize the divided and confused state of professing presbyterian and reformed churches today, and the attendant difficulties for a small church in the process of being organized. We are laboring to establish a congregation that upholds scriptural principles of government, discipline, and mercy. We believe these principles are expressed in the historic presbyterian and reformed orders on church government. Church officers should be men who exhibit both the knowledge and piety required in the Bible.a Discipline should be conducted in a manner consistent with scriptural precepts.b

It is also our desire to foster fellowship with other churches according to reformed and presbyterian practices. We will work to form wider connections with other congregations, when we are able to do so in a manner consistent with the gospel, right worship, and other biblical principles of polity. At such times as our fellowship is without its own pastor, elders, and deacons, the congregation will seek ministry of the word and sacraments, and counsel in weighty matters, from ministers and elders who have a like-minded commitment as our church.

a. Ex. 18:21; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9.
b. Col. 3:16; Heb. 3:13; 2 Thess. 3:14-15; Matt. 18:15-35; 1 Tim. 5:19-21; etc.