Orthodox - the word orthodox in our name simply means “right teaching”. It is that part of our name which draws attention to the fact that we believe our Church to be a true spiritual successor of the Presbyterian Church when that church began to drift away from the teachings of Scripture. We affirm the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creedand hold to the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms as containing a true and faithful summary of the teachings of Scripture.
Presbyterian - we believe according to the command of Scripture, the church is ruled and served by elders or presbyters, men qualified and gifted by the Lord. We are not congregational but believe in a vital connection between churches; ministers and elders accountable to other ministers and elders. We are Presbyterian in our church government.
Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church is a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. She was started in the Tri-cities in May of 1995. A collection of families wanted the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to shine forth in all its glory. Our worship, teaching, fellowship, and ministry are all subject to God’s Word, which is our highest authority, the only infallible rule of faith and life. We believe Reformed theology or Calvinism, as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith, faithfully summarizes the teachings of the Bible. For more about our beliefs and our worship please continue to browse our Beliefs page.
The history of Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church must begin with the history of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in general. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church came about as a testimony to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and authority of God’s Word in the midst of increasing theological liberalism. In the 1920’s a battle was waged in the mainline Presbyterian Church between conservatives and modernists or liberals.
The modernists were exchanging orthodox Christianity with their own brand of man centered religion. Rationalism crept in from Europe and infected much of the mainline Presbyterian church. Any doctrine disagreeable with the modern mind was discarded or redefined according to what seemed more palatable.
Little was done to keep this decay in check and by 1924 theological liberalism has its hold on the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA). Some 1,300 (out of 10,000) ministers had signed the liberal document The Auburn Affirmation which denied that the Bible was without error and declared that belief in such essential doctrines as Christ’s substitutionary atonement and His bodily resurrection should not be made “tests for ordination or for good standing in our church.” Unbelief was taking over the church.
Out of such controversy arose the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. J. Gresham Machen stood against liberalism and modernism insisting that this new ‘Christianity’ was not Christianity at all but a denial of its basic and fundamental truths (cf. his Christianity and Liberalism. Through a series of events and a trial, Machen was deposed from his office in the PCUSA and in 1936, him and 34 other ministers broke away and began what is known as the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in order to “continue the true spiritual succession of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.”
For a more full recounting of the history of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church please go here.