Basis of Union
I – Doctrinal Declaration
1. We confess the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God written, the only infallible rule of faith and life.
2. We declare the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms to be founded upon and agreeable to the Word of God in setting forth the system of truth taught in Holy Scripture.
3. We affirm our adherence to and determination to continue the simplicity and purity of worship hitherto practiced in these congregations.
4. We accept the Westminster “Directory for the Public Worship of God” as a scriptural and suitable guide for the conduct of public worship.
5. We adopt the Presbyterian form of church government as the form of government instituted by Christ for the government of His church to the end of the age.
II – Formula of Subscription for Office Bearers
1. Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God written, the only infallible rule of faith and life?
2. Do you receive and adopt, as subordinate standards, the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, believing them to be founded upon and agreeable to the Word of God in setting forth the system of truth taught in Holy Scripture?
3. Do you sincerely own the purity of worship presently authorized and practiced in this Church and also the presbyterian form of government as the form of government instituted by Christ and prescribed in the New Testament, and do you promise faithfully to adhere thereto?
4. Do you accept the Westminster “Directory for the Public Worship of God” as a scriptural and suitable guide in the conduct of public worship?
5. Do you promise to study the purity, peace and unity of this Church and to exercise discipline according to the Scriptures?
6. Do you accept the office of elder (or deacon, as the case may be) in this congregation and promise, through grace, faithfully, diligently and cheerfully to discharge all the duties thereof?
In case of a deacon, on being ordained, Question 5 will omit the last clause, namely, “and to exercise discipline according to the Scriptures”.
The following question will be addressed to the congregation on the occasion of ordination to office of elder or deacon:
1. Do you, the members of this church, acknowledge and receive this brother as a ruling elder (or deacon), and do you promise to yield him all that honour, encouragement and obedience in the Lord, to which his office, according to the Word of God and the constitution of this Church, entitles him?
In the case of a minister, on being ordained, Questions 1-5 as above will be the same and the following will be added:
6. Do you promise subjection to your brethren in the Lord?
7. Have you been induced, as far as you know in your own heart, to seek the office of the holy ministry from love to God and a sincere desire to promote His glory in the gospel of His Son?
8. Do you engage to be faithful and diligent in the exercises of all private and personal duties which become you as a Christian and minister of the gospel, as well as in all relative duties and the public duties of your office, endeavouring to adorn the profession of the gospel by your conversation, and by walking with exemplary piety before the flock over which God shall make you overseer?
When a minister is being inducted as pastor of a congregation a further question will be added:
9. Are you now willing to take the charge of this congregation, agreeable to your declaration when you accepted their call, and do you promise to discharge the duties of a pastor to them as God shall give you strength?
The following question shall be addressed to the congregation on the occasion of such induction:
1. Do you, the people of the congregation, continue to profess your readiness to receive , whom you have called to your minister?
2. Do you promise to receive the word of the truth from his mouth with meekness and love, and to submit to him in the due exercise of discipline?
3. Do you promise to encourage him in his arduous labour and to assist his endeavours for your instruction and spiritual edification?
4. And do you engage to continue to him, while he is your pastor, that competent worldly maintenance which you have promised, and whatever else you may see needful for the honour of religion and his comfort among you?
III – Form of Government
The uniting congregations shall adhere to the principles of presbyterian government, recognizing that the rule which Christ has instituted in His church is that exercised by presbyters, commonly called elders, who exercise this oversight on a parity the one with the other. Until a more satisfactory “Form of Government” and “Book of Discipline” can be adopted, the directions of The Book of Forms (Toronto, 1933) shall be followed in so far as appropriate and relevant to the situation of the Churches uniting. The congregations, when united, shall constitute a Presbytery, and, until the Presbytery embraces a sufficient number of congregations to make other provisions advisable or necessary, an equal number of the elders of each session shall be eligible to participate in the deliberations and actions of the Presbytery, the number being in no case larger than the number of elders on the session which is numerically the least.
All the ministers of the Presbytery shall be members of Presbytery.
IV – Denominational Name
The name to be adopted by the uniting congregations shall be the Presbyterian Reformed Church.
V – Property and Real Estate
Church buildings and real estate connected therewith, owned and operated by the congregations, shall remain the exclusive property of the congregations and shall not become the property of the Presbytery. Funds now possessed or in the future collected by each congregation shall be the property of that congregation and shall be administered by it. Funds collected or set apart by each congregation for undertakings of the Presbytery shall belong to the treasury of the Presbytery and shall be used for such purposes as Presbytery determines.
Each congregation shall have the right to make its own by-laws governing the maintenance and use of its property and the administration of its funds without any interference on the part of another congregation or of Presbytery, provided these by-laws in no way contravene the constitution of the denomination or Christian principles.