The Essence of Presbyterian Church Government
The Presbyterian system of church government is a biblical, representative, and connectional system.
Presbyterians do not believe that they are the only Christians, or that churches with other types of Church Government are not valid Christian churches.
Presbyterians do believe, however, that the Presbyterian, biblical, representative, and connectional system is that which conforms most consistently to the Scriptures.
Presbyterian Church Government is biblical because it is based on biblical directives and principles drawn from both the Old and New Testaments (not just the New Testament). The historical development of Church Government is informative, but not determinative for us. Both our form of government and our theology are based on the entire Bible.
Presbyterian Church Government is representative because the people choose their spiritual leaders to govern the church (its members and officers) on the local, regional, and national levels. We practice mutual accountability and discipline through our representative government.
Presbyterian Church Government is connectional; local churches see themselves as part of the larger Church. We hold to (1) a common binding doctrinal, confessional standard of the Reformed Faith, the Westminster Standards (2) mutual accountability and discipline, and (3) cooperative ministry. Local churches, no matter what size they may be, do not minister best alone, but in cooperation with the larger Church. We engage in cooperative ministry as a body of churches to carry out the Great Commission Christ gave to the Church.
*This excerpt was taken from The Uniqueness of PCA Polity 12/15/09 by L. Roy Taylor, Stated Clerk, Presbyterian Church in America (PCA)
The Doctrine of Church Government
1-1 The scriptural form of church government, which is representative or presbyterian, is comprehended under five heads: a. The Church; b. Its members; c. Its officers; d. Its courts; e. Its orders.
1-2 The Church which the Lord Jesus Christ has erected in this world for the gathering and perfecting of the saints is His visible kingdom of grace, and is one and the same in all ages.
1-3 The members of this visible Church catholic are all those persons in every nation, together with their children, who make profession of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and promise submission to His laws.
1-4 The officers of the Church, by whom all its powers are administered, are, according to the Scriptures, teaching and ruling elders and deacons.
1-5 Ecclesiastical jurisdiction is not a several, but a joint power, to be exercised by presbyters in courts. These courts may have jurisdiction over one or many churches, but they sustain such mutual relations as to realize the idea of the unity of the Church.
1-6 The ordination of officers is ordinarily by a court, except in the case of ordination by a presbytery’s evangelist (see BCO 8-6).
1-7 This scriptural doctrine of Presbytery is necessary to the perfection of the order of the visible Church, but is not essential to its existence.
*This excerpt was taken from the PCA Book of Church Order (BCO) Chapter I – Form of Government.
Presbyterian Church in America (PCA)
Loch Raven is a member of the Presbyterian Church in America [PCA]. This denomination provides our church with structure, accountability and encouragement by being connected to a larger organization of churches. The PCA is a reformed denomination that was formed in 1973. The Presbyterian Church in America strives to be ”true to the Scriptures, the reformed faith, and obedient to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ”
Here is the the PCA Book of Church Order (online PDF)
The Chesapeake Presbytery is contained within Maryland, the city of Baltimore and the counties of Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Anne Arundel, and Howard, excluding that area of Howard County west of US Route 29, south of MD Route 216, and east of MD Route 108; and Kent Island in Queen Anne’s County.
This scriptural doctrine of Presbytery is necessary to the perfection of the order of the visible Church, but is not essential to its existence. BCO 1-7. The visible Church defined: It is according to scriptural example that the Church should be divided into many individual churches. BCO 2-3.
Loch Raven Presbyterian Church (LRPC)
The Loch Raven Presbyterian Church exists to glorify God and to make known His eternal and unchanging purpose, fulfilled through a living relationship with Jesus Christ. In working towards “Keeping Christ Pre-eminent in All Things”, we desire to conduct everything we do in a spirit of God’s love.
LRPC elected in March, 1981, to become affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) that endeavors to be “faithful to the Scriptures, true to the reformed faith, and obedient to the Great Commission.”