Talk:Reformed Presbyterian Church

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RP Church of Cyprus[edit]

There was a claim that the RP church of Cyprus should be removed, as it's under jurisdiction of the RPCNA. My points are:

  1. Please cite a source that it's under RPCNA jurisdiction -- I had the impression it wasn't.
  2. If you find the source for this, please add it to the geographical list for the RPCNA —The preceding unsigned comment was added by TimNelson (talkcontribs) 04:55, 31 March 2007 (UTC).
I've added a source to show that the RPCNA has fraternal relations with it: you don't have fraternal relations with your own body, so it is recognised as different. Nyttend 13:38, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

What does this page document?[edit]

(some of this was pasted in from the talk pages of User:Nyttend and User:TimNelson)

Hi. I noticed your addition of the Steelites to the list of RP churches. I moved them from there to the new Disambiguation section, because they explicitly reject being part of the RP church (also, the others mentioned all recognise each other, but not the Steelites).

Good idea having them listed, though.


-- TimNelson 04:51, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

How do the Steeleites reject being RPs? Unless the new incarnation of the Steeleites have turned away from the old position(something I can't imagine), they hold that they're the only true RPs, and that we're not truly that. Otherwise they'd not have the name of Reformed Presbytery, and they wouldn't have names such as Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church of Albany. Nyttend 12:55, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, they certainly claim not to be associated with us anyway :). In a similar fashion, we (or the early RPs, anyway), claimed that we were the only true Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and the church calling itself that was actually illegitimate. But in order to avoid confusion, we took the "Reformed Presbyterian" name. I think that what the Steelites really care about in this is that they be identified as the true descendants of the Covenanters (I could be wrong, though).
The real question, I guess, is "What are we documenting on the page called Reformed Presbyterian Church?" I can see 3 options:
  • Anyone who calls themselves Reformed Presbyterian: This means the page should be moved to "List of Reformed Presbyterian Churches", and have all the doctrinal stuff removed. Additionally, that sort of list probably isn't anything we want in Wikipedia except as a disambiguation page. So we could turn the whole thing into a disambiguation page.
  • Anyone who calls themselves Reformed Presbyterian and is descended from the Covenanters: Problem; you'll note that the disambig section lists maybe 5 other groups calling themselves RPs. Now 2 or 3 of these are defunct, but the rest are descended from Covenanters. Again we may have to remove some of the doctrinal positions stuff, and I think we'd be better trying to construct a larger article about "splits in the Scottish Presbyterian Church and descended churches" which documents all this sort of thing.
  • Those churches that are part of the mutually-recognising worldwide Reformed Presbyterian Church, of common descent: This is the one I'm arguing for, and the one I've been modifying the page to reflect.
Anyway, now you know what I think. If you think I've misidentified the issue (ie. "What are we documenting?"), or selected the wrong option as to what we're documenting, I'm interested in talking about it further, either on our talk pages, or on Talk:Reformed Presbyterian Church.
-- TimNelson 13:22, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
It's definitely a POV, since we argue about who is a legitimate RPC. I can't imagine the Steeleites not being included, because they hold to all the old positions, while we (thankfully!) don't. Since there aren't any currently existing RPCs, other than the RPCNA/RPCS/RPCI/RPCA/TCCF and the Steeleites, the doctrinal positions shouldn't be too hard. Of course, the Steeleites are stricter than the RPCNA/RPCS/RPCI/RPCA/TCCF, but they do hold the positions listed. Also, someone needs to explain the Irish mission in Nantes and the connexion with churches in Hungary. I know very little about Hungary, other than that the RPCI has some connexion with at least one church in Miskolc.
By the way, completely off topic: you should fix your userboxes, so their right sides aren't off the edge of the screen. Nyttend 13:37, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Do you mind if I move the whole conversation to the Talk:Reformed Presbyterian Church? Mostly from the point of view that I want to archive this for future reference of anyone else on the page.
Hmm. If you examine the link to the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly (that I just corrected) and to Reformed Presbyterian Church (Hanover), you'll find that there are some differences. And what do we do when we start talking about Singapore and Uganda?
Now, the question still is, to my mind, what are we documenting?
Or, to put it a different way, what criteria are we using for including people on this page. The criteria I'm suggesting are:
  • Descended from a common root (Covenanters)
  • Mutually-recognising
Do you disagree with either of those?
Hopefully we'll end up with a better article when this is all done, anyway. Oh, and I agree that the Steelites definitely need to be somewhere, but the criteria in my head still say it belongs in disambig :).
-- TimNelson 14:04, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Good idea to move it.
Note, however, that the RPCGA gives a history but is a breakoff from the PCA, not the RPCES. Otherwise, we'd have to have every PCA breakoff listed. Moreover, since RP churches merged into the ARPC, we'd have to list them, and since they merged into the UPCNA, which merged into the UPCUSA, which merged into the PCUSA, we'd have to have any PCUSA breakoff listed. Also, I don't see anything on the Hanover Presbytery website (here, not the other link] that gives a history. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Nyttend (talkcontribs) 14:11, 31 March 2007 (UTC).
Ok, a few miscellaneous points:
  • Hungary: My impression is that the RPCI has some kind of interaction with the Reformed Church in Hungary(?), but I'm not sure. I'll try to remember to ask Rev. Andrew Stewart on Sunday, but I'll probably forget :).
  • The RPCGA page (which gives history for the Hanover people); note that they left in 1983, only one year after the RPC Evangelical Synod joined the PCA, and the RPCES was (IIRC) a Covenanter descended body. So I guess it depends on how you want to spin that :).
  • But, assuming we discount that, are you going for the "Descended from a common root" criterion, but not the "Mutually-recognising" criterion? I'm quite keen on the "Mutually-recognising" criterion, because to my mind, that means that we're documenting an existing relationship, not just collecting together some things which have common factors :). But as you said, that's one POV.
Thoughts? Especially on the Mutually-recognising? Are you not so keen on that?
-- TimNelson 14:31, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
  • I know that the RPCI have such a connexion, but you definitely need to ask him for a reference for that. Perhaps an Irish Minutes of Synod? Anyway, we have interaction with other churches in the United States, but that doesn't necessarily make them RP.
  • Leaving a year after the joining and keeping the old name doesn't make them a continuation necessarily. Especially note that they had the name "Covenant Presbytery" for some time after leaving, not RPCA or RPCES or RP anything else.
  • Not a good idea, because we still would have to define who is RP. Since we recognise the Steeleites as RP, but they don't recognise us as such, a criterion of mutual recognition from a Steeleite POV would list just the Steeleites. We don't want a Steeleite point of view, but we also mustn't have an RPCNA/RPCS/RPCI/RPCA/TCCF POV here. Nyttend 14:46, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
As far as mutually-recognising goes, I'm unaware of us recognising them.
I guess what I'm saying here is, when I, from the RPCA, look at eg. the RPCNA, I say "That's us, but over there". But when I look at the Steelites, I don't say that (except in the broader sense in which I'd say it to other paleo-presbyterian churches). I think we agree that the Steelites are "more separate" than the RPC* group (RPCNA/RPCS/RPCI/RPCA/TCCF). I'm keen for a page to just document the RPC* group (without the Steelites). I don't mind whether we call it "Reformed Presbyterian Church" or something else (possibly "Reformed Presbyterian Church (Covenanter)", which I've seen used to distinguish us from other churches who call themselves Reformed Presbyterian).
So maybe the real question is, "What should we be calling this page?"
Btw, I'll probably go to bed soon (2:15am), so don't expect a quick response :)
-- TimNelson 15:12, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, I know of no official recognition of the Steeleites as RP, but it's not like such a statement by an RPCNA member would receive a denial from a denominational body like a corresponding statement by an RPNA member would. Still, the Steeleites are more Covenanter than we. Anyway, the whole problem is a POV one: we cannot leave non-RPC* churches out any more than we can leave The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints out of a list of Christian churches, since they claim to be Christians as much as we do. Nyttend 18:22, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm not denying that they appear more similar to the Covenanters than we do. What I want to do, is have a page that documents the RPC* churches as a group. Can we talk about that? Because I think once we have that sorted out, the issues on this page will be less important.
As an alternative, we could seek input from other people. I'd suggest Emote (talk · contribs), but we could also consider others in Category:Reformed Presbyterian Wikipedians. Do you like either of those options?
-- TimNelson 04:12, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't know much about the Steelites except that they branched off from the RPCNA with the complaint that it was liberalizing (or had already liberalized to some degree). I am unaware of any explicit, perpetual, cooperative relationship between the two groups. My guess is that the RPCNA (and probably the RPC*) would have no qualms about referring to the Steelites as a sister denomination, but I don't know whether the Steelites would entertain a reciprocal sentiment. (In other words, I'm highly ignorant on this subject, so don't take my comments too seriously.)
At the very least, I'm sure that the Steelites aren't invited to the RPC* synod meetings or vice versa. There are two separate denominations here, so a distinction needs to be made between them. I think this page should be a disambig page which lists all denominations that have "Reformed Presbyterian" in their name. (Perhaps Nyttend can make a map that shows the relationships between all these groups.) A separate article can be made for the RPC* denomination, although I don't have any great ideas about how to name that page appropriately.—Emote Talk Page 20:07, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I mostly agree with the solution suggested by Emote, ie. that we need two pages:
  • One disambiguation page disambiguating all the denominations labelled "Reformed Presbyterian"
  • One page documenting the RPC* group
As to what to call those pages, I don't much mind, as long as we can come up with something that makes sense. The two options that spring immediately to my mind are:
  • Call the disambig page "Reformed Presbyterian Church", and document the RPC* group as "Reformed Presbyterian Church (Covenanter)"
  • Call the disambig page "Reformed Presbyterian Church (disambiguation)", and document the RPC group as "Reformed Presbyterian Church".
However, I don't much mind which of those we select, and I'm entirely open to suggestions as to other options. I notice the Steelites refer to themselves as the "Reformed Presbyterian Church (Covenanted)", which is different than "Covenanter" (although not much). I also notice that when searching for Reformed Presbyterian Church in Google, the first three hits are the RPC* group, which I think justifies us in taking the generic RPC name.
I just dug out some old family trees of the US churches. There are two different sources (photocopied from somewhere about 10 years ago, but probably published long before). Neither of them documents the Steelites, but one refers to "RPCNA (Covenanters)", and the other refers to "RPCNA (Old Light)". They both spelled RPCNA out in full, though.
Unfortunately, it's really a question that should be worked out over a number of years by interactions between the top-level bodies in the different RPC churches. But in the meantime, we'll have to do the best we can.
-- TimNelson 01:58, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I can't imagine a name for the RPCNA and associated bodies that would exclude other similar bodies. The "Covenanter" bit cannot properly be used, since it more rightly applies to the Steeleites than to us. As far as the old sources: for a good while, the RPCNA rejected other groups' being RP, whether more liberal or more conservative (see Glasgow,, for a description of those who wanted to vote), so that would exclude the Steeleites. As far as Old Light (forgive me if you already know this): in 1833, the RPCNA split over voting and civic participation: the New Lights (voters) eventually became the RPCES, and the Old Lights (nonvoters) eventually realised (only 130 years late) that the New Lights were right, and continue as the RPCNA today.
As far as two separate pages, I say IF a good title can be found for the RPC*, this would be a good idea. Otherwise, there would be no way of doing it. Remember again: just because we're larger than all the other groups put together doesn't mean that we have exclusive right to the name — otherwise Georgia would link to the state, rather than the state being located at Georgia (U.S. state). Nyttend 03:16, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I'd argue that the Covenanter one could rightly be used, depending on a) your view of the Covenanters, and b) whether semantic shift has occured, and c) whether it's already often used to refer to us. But OTOH, I agree it could be confusing, so if we can think of something better, great! As for Old Light, well, I think we could still legitimately use it regardless of the initial issue, but with no new lights, it's kinda silly :).
I'd argue that we don't have an exclusive right to the name, but we do (or at least, may) have the primary right to it. See Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Primary topic for details. Ok, how's this: Reformed Presbyterian Church Group. We can have the RPC* group there, and have Reformed Presbyterian Church be a disambig page. Does that work, to your mind?
--TimNelson 04:02, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree that RPC* has a primary right to the name. The Google test is a good indication of that fact. As for the new name, I think Reformed Presbyterian Church Group sounds a bit too informal (or something). Perhaps we could go with Reformed Presbyterian Church Denomination or Reformed Presbyterian Church (Denomination). Either one of these would be okay. I would also suggest redirecting Reformed Presbyterian Church to this new page. At the top, we can slap a link to the disambig.—Emote Talk Page 05:50, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Hmm. Well, it's better, anyway. I'm in favour of Reformed Presbyterian Church (denomination) (note lowercase d in denomination) and Reformed Presbyterian Church (disambiguation), but am unsure to which the current page should link. I think I agree with Emote, but I'd like to see what Nyttend says after reading the "Primary Topic" link above. I'll create the new pages in another hour or two.
-- TimNelson 07:51, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Ok, I've created the other two articles. Where do we want Reformed Presbyterian Church to point?
Also, my plan is to leave this talk page here, and refer to it from the RPCdenom page
-- TimNelson 09:05, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry to say this, but the RPC* does not have an undisputed primary right to the name. The Google test is not and should never be considered definitive. Please email someone at or and you'll find that they will disagree that the RPC* have such a right. They still hold the RPC* to be a group in defection and stand in line with a statement by Samuel Rutherford that it is the majority that is the factionalists in a split when the majority is wrong. As the truecovenanter site says, "The one Synod remaining in America that continued to make some pretension at carrying on this Testimony has now abandoned all and espoused a course of defection and compromising with open deniers of the Gospel and Idolaters."
While I like the idea of having a separate page for the RPC*, I strongly disagree with the name of "Reformed Presbyterian Church (denomination)", because it implies that the RPNA are not RP. Some definitely agree with this, and some may well disagree. However, because this is disputed, Wikipedia cannot prefer one side's claim over the other, as the new "denomination" page does by its very name. Consider, for example, Macedonia (region): the various claimants give different ideas for the boundaries of the region named "Macedonia", but the article under that name discusses all of them, rather than giving any majority view.
I have in mind the passage in Acts where Paul is taken to the proconsul in Corinth by the Jews, only to see them told that he will not judge their own laws; this is the same, since I don't expect the average Wikipedia editor to be capable (or interested!) of judging between these. However, the average Wikipedia editor can see from these presents that there is dispute and a lack of consensus here, and I believe that the creation of articles such as these is NPOV. I'm sorry to say this, and I'm not trying to make threats, but I will be placing a request for outsiders to look at this very soon, unless this is resolved. Nyttend 12:25, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm still happy to change it if you can think of anything better. My point is, I think we *do* have the primary right to the name, the relevant criterion being "significantly more commonly searched for and read than other meanings" (see Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Primary topic). Since there are well over 100 RPC* congregations worldwide, and only one Steelite congregation, and we additionally have a university and a seminary, I'd argue that we're more than 100 times more commonly searched for :). I agree, though, that the Steelites a secondary right to the name. But if anyone else could rightfully dispute the name, it's the Ugandans, since they at least have 5000 members. In relation to your Samuel Rutherford quote, I'm aware of his opinion on the topic; I'm not arguing about who's a factionalist, I'm arguing about who gets the name; I think the two are separate issues. When the Covenanters and the Presbyterians went their separate ways, the Covenanters were the non-factionalists (see the ruling in the Ferguson Bequest case), but the Presbyterians got to keep the name. You can see the analogy, I presume; whether the Steelites were factionalists is irrelevant to the discussion; but IMHO, we got the name.
One more question: do you agree on the usefulness/correctness/whatever of Reformed Presbyterian Church (disambiguation)?
Anyway, since consensus doesn't rest on "Reformed Presbyterian Church (denomination)", lets try some other ideas. "Group" was rejected as too informal. I think the Business group usage makes it sufficiently formal, but if you think it's too corporate, I could agree with that. Hmm. How does Reformed Presbyterian Church (denominational group) sound? The title makes it clear that the "denominational group" part is not part of the actual name, just a disambiguator. The Steelites et. al. can't complain, because they're only one denomination, not a whole group.
-- TimNelson 12:59, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
"Denominational group" sounds like a good idea to me, as does the disambiguation page of that name.
What I was arguing is that because there are different claimants to the name, the name shouldn't go to any specific denomination. My objection has never been to a page for the RPC* — it's been that I couldn't think of any name that would fit the RPC* well but not include any other claimants to the Reformed Presbyterian name. The point in bringing in the quote about being factionalists is that the Steeleites consider us to be factionalists and therefore undeserving claimants of this title, so their POV stands to show that not all people see the RPC* as the rightful owners of "Reformed Presbyterian", and therefore that a NPOV encyclopedia shouldn't favor the claims of one group, and shouldn't give preference to editors' personal positions. The difference between this and the case you mention is that the Covenanters didn't keep using the old name unmodified, while the Steeleites use the same name as the RPCNA had when it was only one presbytery.
All that said, I support the idea of "Denominational group". Great idea! Nyttend 13:51, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
The fact that a page with a popular name redirects to one article instead of another does not imply that the particular target page is the only legitimate claimant to the name. Consider the case of Providence. You will see that it redirects to Providence, Rhode Island as opposed to, say, Divine Providence or a disambig page. The reasoning is that Providence, Rhode Island is (based on the Google test) the most likely target for someone who types providence in the search box. Therefore, making this page redirect to the RPC* article does not "favor the claims of one group." It simply facilitates the search process for the majority of searchers.—Emote Talk Page 15:23, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Emote here. I've renamed the page as suggested by Nyttend and myself. Now the only question is, "Where should the Reformed Presbyterian Church page go? I'm in favour of redirecting it to the denominational group. I know the Steelites argue otherwise, but I still go with the Wikipedia criterion of "significantly more commonly searched for and read than other meanings" (see Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Primary topic). My claim is that it's NPOV to say that the denominational group fits that criterion.
While I'll continue to argue in favour of the denominational group, I don't mind as much what happens now that we have separate pages for the two things -- that's what I wanted. I *am* keen to see this page redirercted *somewhere*, but the where doesn't bother me as much.
-- TimNelson 01:14, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I think that this page should be merged with the disambiguation page, with this page being the disambiguation. I'm fine with having that redirect (since that's the most common usage), but I just think that making this page disambiguation would be less confusing. Nyttend 04:15, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Hmm. I guess I still like it the other way better, but if you change it the way you want, I expect to leave it alone. I'll leave it to you and Emote to decide what to do :).
-- TimNelson 06:31, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't intend to make any changes one way or the other. I'm just here as a third party tie breaker to help find the right solution.—Emote Talk Page 13:17, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Fine. Nyttend, if you want to run with the moving of the disambig page, go for it. If you don't do it in the next few days, I'll point "RPC" at "RPC (dis)", but even if I do, feel free to change it.
-- TimNelson 13:27, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Disambiguation pages[edit]

Please note Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Page naming conventions, it is not necessary to call the page "Reformed Presbyterian Church (disambiguation)" it should just be called "Reformed Presbyterian Church". DrKiernan 16:26, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Other Denominations[edit]

There are denominations named the "Reformed Presbyterian Church North East India Synod" (43 congregations) and the "Reformed Presbyterian Church of Central and Eastern Europe" (28 congregations. They can both be found referenced on, towards the bottom, and the RPCCEE has a website at Are these worthy of inclusion? X.spasitel 17:35, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Sure. I've added them in. But I removed RPCCEE from the Reformed Presbyterian Church (denominational group) page, unless you have some evidence that they're connected with them. I have evidence myself that indicates that they're probably linked somehow, but I wonder if it isn't possibly more on the order of inter-church relations rather than a denominational grouping.
-- TimNelson 14:10, 25 July 2007 (UTC)