Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod
Classification Protestant
Orientation Calvinist
Polity Presbyterian polity
Origin 1965
Merge of Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Synod and Evangelical Presbyterian Church
Merged into Presbyterian Church in America (1977)
Congregations 145 in 1977
Members 25,448 in 1977
Ministers 385 in 1977[1]

The Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod was a Reformed and Presbyterian denomination in the United States and Canada between 1965 and 1982.


The RPCES was formed in 1965 with the union of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Synod and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (formerly the Bible Presbyterian Church-Columbus Synod) and experienced immediate growth.

Tenth Presbyterian Church building in Philadelphia, PA become affiliated with the Evangelical Synod

The denomination subscribed to the 1647 version of the Westminster Confession of Faith; however, the plan of union to form the denomination, in a concession to the largely premillennial Evangelical Presbyterian Church, called for modifications to the Larger Catechism to make it more hospitable to those who held to a premillennial eschatology.[2] It practiced traditional worship and was conservative in its theology.[3] The RPCES had also planned to include resolutions warning members against the evils of dancing, liquor, television, gambling and tobacco, again, in a concession to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church's Bible Presbyterian heritage, yet these resolutions, despite being a basis for the merger, had no binding legislative power.[4]

The RPCES had its own seminary, the Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, along with Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, which had been under EPC auspices prior to the merger.


In 1975, the RPCES joined the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, the Presbyterian Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church in North America in forming the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC), an alliance of conservative Reformed denominations in the U.S, as an alternative to both the liberal National Council of Churches and the National Association of Evangelicals, a more broadly based conservative group encompassing theologies considered objectionable by Reformed devotees, namely Arminianism.

Year Membership number of churches[5]
1965 10,400 109
1968 14,927 115
1971 17,800 129
1973 21,564 140
1974 22,452 140
1975 23,719 151
1976 24,248 142
1977 25,448 145

Almost all United Presbyterian Church of North America-heritage congregations - wich was more conservative than the PC-USA - entered into the present Presbyterian Church (USA) (which succeeded the UPCUSA in 1983), but some of more evangelical conservative orientation departed in the 1970s to denominations such as the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod later the Presbyterian Church in America and the EPC. In 1979, the General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America ruled that all congregations must elect both men and women to the office of ruling elder. The ruling resulted in an exodus of approximately forty congregations, including Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Tenth and with many others affiliated with the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod.[6]


After three years of talks, in 1982, the RPCES was received into the Presbyterian Church in America in a process known as "joining and receiving." At that time the church had 189 congregations (perhaps the most notable being Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia) with 25,000 communicant members and 482 ministers. From its founding date, the RPCES experienced a rapid membership growth, more than 400 percent. The Evangelical Synod had 17 presbyteries; 13 of those voted for, and 4 voted against, the PCA union.[7][8] Notable members were Francis Schaeffer and Gordon H. Clark.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod Denominational Profile. The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA). Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  2. ^ D.G. Hart & John Meuther Seeking a Better Country: Three Hundred Years of American Presbyterianism (P&R Publishing, 2007) pg. 221
  3. ^
  4. ^ Hart & Meuther, pg. 221
  5. ^
  6. ^ ibid, pgs 239-240
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^