The Chester ARP Church is tied to the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Denomination, which is both evangelical and conservative. We hold to the great truths proclaimed as they have been divinely revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures. Our most fundamental doctrinal statements, The Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, The Form of Government, and Books of Discipline and Worship, are found in The Standards of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. These doctrinal truths emphasize the following:
- God is the sole Creator of all things, which he created for his own glory and good pleasure. He is in himself sustainable, leaving no other being greater than he. He is the source of life and the primary cause of all things.
- The triune God exists in three distinct persons (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost) with each person being co-eternal, co-existent, and co-equal in power, glory, and honor. The Son is eternally begotten from the Father and the Holy Ghost eternally proceeds from both the Father and the Son, leaving but one God and three distinct persons.
- God has revealed himself and his will to us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and through the Holy Scriptures, made up of the Old and New Testaments.
- The Holy Scriptures (Bible) are the infallible and God-breathed word of God profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training up in righteousness.
- The Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the incarnate Word of God, and our only Lord and Savior. He was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, crucified, resurrected on the third day, and ascended into Heaven. Through his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus Christ revealed to us God’s perfect love and served as our perfect sacrifice, making him our only redeemer.
- The Holy Ghost, who proceeds directly from the Father and the Son, initiates our salvation as he effectually calls us to himself, renews our spirits in Christ Jesus our Lord, unites us with, and binds us to, Christ, illumines our minds and hearts to the truths of Scripture, convicts us of our sin, and preserves us in Christ as we live the Christian life until the end.
- God created us (humanity), both male and female, after his own image in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. We, however, fell from the estate in which we were created as a result of Adam’s first sin, the eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Because of our ancestral link with Adam and Eve, we are by nature sinful beings, leaving us separated from God to suffer the pains of death.
- Sin is any transgression of the Law of God, which is summarized in the Ten Commandments.
- God, out of his love and good pleasure, does not leave us in the hopeless estate of sin and misery as he offers salvation to us through Jesus Christ our Lord. He suffered death on our behalf as the perfect sacrifice and substitute for our sinfulness, affording us life instead of death. In Christ, we have abundant life.
- Salvation is given freely by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and cannot be earned by any quantity of our own merit.
- All those who believe in Christ are united together by the Holy Ghost to form a body of believers called the Church. Our local congregation is a part of the universal and invisible body of believers that transcends time and space consisting of all those who have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ the head of the Church.
- Our Church practices the only two Sacraments that were instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
- Christian Baptism is a sacrament where the washing with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost does signify and seal our engrafting into Christ, our partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord’s. We administer baptism to both believers and their children.
- The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament, where, by giving and receiving bread and wine, Christ’s death is shown forth until he returns, and we, the receivers, are by faith, not corporally or carnally, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to our spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace.
- The Lord Jesus will return in glory to establish, once and for all, his kingdom on earth. We, who believe in Christ, will receive a resurrected body and will reign together with him in perfect communion for all eternity. Those, however, who do not believe in him will be cast aside and put away from him to live in eternal separation from God in Hell, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
At Chester ARP, we worship our Lord in a “traditional” manner, as we believe that public worship should be orderly, interesting, and inspiring toward spiritual ideals and Christian service. We attempt to direct it to the total person involving intellect, emotion, and will, leaving it meaningful and corporate in all its parts with both active participation and attentive silence. We include some, if not all, of the following acts of worship each time we meet together: Prayer and thanksgiving; singing of praise; the reading, hearing and preaching of the Word; the administering and receiving of the sacraments; the giving of tithes and sacrificial offerings; an appropriate response to the Gospel; an affirmation of faith; and the dismissing of the people with a Biblical benediction. Our common affirmation of faith is the Apostle’s Creed which confesses:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.