major documents of our faith
There has been renewed interest of late (Jan. 2002) in the "Subordinate Standards and Statements of our Church". The Presbyterian Church in Canada in
its document Basis of Union (1875), indicates its belief that "the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, being the
Word of God, are the only infallible rule of faith and manners". It also states that "the Westminster Confession
of Faith shall form the subordinate standard of this Church; the Larger and the Shorter Catechisms
shall be adopted by the Church and appointed to be used for the instruction of the people". These three documents were drafted between 1643 and
1646 by the Westminster Assembly of Divines, a general assembly commissioned by the English Parliament, at which assembly certain representatives from
the Church of Scotland took a prominent role. The Basis of Union goes on to say "the government and worship of this Church shall be in accordance with
the recognized principles and practice of Presbyterian Churches, as laid down generally in the "Form of Presbyterial Church
Government" and in "The Directory for the Public Worship of God", also products of the Westminster Assembly.
These documents may be accessed through the PCC's "Official Documents" page.
Our three official "subordinate standards"
- The Westminster Confession of Faith
- The Declaration of Faith Concerning Church and Nation (1955)
- Living Faith (1984), a "statement of Christian belief" that was accepted as a subordinate standard in 1998
Catechisms of the Presbyterian church (Catechisms are summaries of doctrinal statements, usually in a question and answer format, and designed to be used as a teaching tool.)
The Westminster Larger Catechism
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
"A Catechism for Today" (contained in the Acts & Proceedings of the 2004 General Assembly)
Other historical Presbyterian church documents, from reformed.org:
There are also a number of "parallel subordinate standards", documents of sister churches in the reformed family deemed to be in accord with our own subordinate standards. These include
Another interesting document that can be downloaded from the PCC "Official Documents" page is a study document produced in 2003 entitled "Confessing the Faith Today: The Nature and Function of Subordinate Standards".
The 2003 General Assembly commended the report "to be circulated for use in the church" (2004 A&P, page 272).
The national website of our church contains a page entitled "More about he PCC" with links to our official documents as well as short descriptions of Presbyterians in Canada,
What we believe, What is Important to Us, Symbols of the Church and historic Creeds.
Rev. Robin Ross, Oversight and Technical Editor of the PCCWeb's Daily Devotional pages, has produced an excellent article entitled
"Being a Christian and a Presbyterian in Canada Today". Robin's article covers the following six topics:
- Presbyterian Distinctives
- The Authority Of Scripture
- Our Living God
- The Church
- The Christian Life