Not all Reformed are from the Reformers

wcrclogoLet it be known that my denomination, the United Reformed Churches in North America (URCNA), and those churches and denominations with whom we are associated, have no ecclesiastical fellowship whatsoever with the newly emerging World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC). We both have the word “Reformed” in our names, but that’s about all we have in common.

The two largest Reformed church bodies in the world, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC), have agreed to formalize their merger in June 2010 and be known as the WCRC. After the merger, the WCRC intends to invite Reformed movements, agencies and theological institutions to affiliate with the group.

Though these two groups claim to be descendants of the 16th century Protestant Reformation, only tiny vestiges of Reformed doctrine, worship and practice remain in their churches. Reading their new website, one would find all the codewords of liberalism, seemingly lofty ideals of:

  • transformation of the world, economic and ecological justice, eradication of poverty
  • ecumenism
  • gender equality in church leadership

Some of the well-known bastions of liberalism are at the forefront of the WCRC: PCUSA, RCA, CRCNA, and Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In the Philippines, one of the most liberal Presbyterian denominations, the United Churches of Christ in the Philippines, is a member of WARC.

Just as Paul condemned proud, unbelieving Jews in saying, “For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel” (Rom 9:6), not all who call themselves “Reformed” are true descendants of the Protestant Reformation.

So if you hear about the WCRC, or worse – if you get invited to affiliate with them – caveat emptor! Instead of Luther, Calvin and Knox, you will get Kant, Schleiermacher and Bultmann.

There’s an alternative though: North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC).


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10 thoughts on “Not all Reformed are from the Reformers”

  1. you mention the UCCP! i am a uccp seminarian.. your right too much liberalism in our church leads to destruction…

    1. “The consciousness of sin was formerly the starting-point of all preaching; but today it is gone. Characteristic of the modern age, above all else, is a supreme confidence in human goodness; the religious literature of the day is redolent of that confidence. Get beneath the rough exterior of men, we are told, and we shall discover enough self-sacrifice to found upon it the hope of society; the world’s evil, it is said, can be overcome with the world’s good; no help is needed from outside the world.”

      The above are not words of a pastor or theologian today. They were actually written almost 100 years ago (1923) by Gresham Machen, the great Princeton professor and pastor of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. in his famous booklet, Christianity and Liberalism. Liberalism is not destroying the PCUSA; it has destroyed it.

  2. Pastor Nollie, thank you for promoting NAPARC. Both the denomination that you belong to, URCNA, and the denomination that I belong to, OPC, are members of NAPARC. There is a formal relationship that exists between the denominations within NAPARC and they often term it as fraternal relations. The few times that I have come for Presbytery meeting, there had always been delegates from these other denominations, like the RCUS and the Canadian Reformed Church, that we have fraternal relations with. And, our ministers and elders have always valued the opinion and advice of such delegates. In fact, it is sometimes the case that a minister would transfer from one of these denominations to the other especially when there is a need that requires it.

    The Christian Reformed Church (CRC) used to be part of NAPARC but because they have turned liberal, they are no longer part of this group since 1998 (I believe). I am not surprised to find that both CRCNA and the CRC in the Phils. are members of REC and CRCNA is also a member of WARC; As the blog states, WCRC is basically a merger between REC and WARC.

  3. That’s true.  The growth of a church is not always visible.  The size and number of membership is not the only defining factor of  church growth.  Though there  are many true Reformed congregations that are growing both quantitatively and qualitatively, there are also true Reformed congregations, like ours, that are small yet very rich and growing fast spiritually.

  4. Yes, thanks for the heads-up! It is indeed sad to see how the word “Reformed” is being misused and abused, and used to deceive people. Praise God for truly Reformed denominations like yours who take a stand against these compromisers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    I don’t know much about the NAPARC, but I’m a little confused about this statement: “Out of a concern to build the church of Jesus Christ rather than our own denominations…”.

    If you take church membership seriously, you will be in the denomination that you consider to be the most biblical; thence, in order to fulfill the Great Commission (“teaching them to obey ALL…”), you will want your own denomination to grow even more than other true denominations, since you consider yours to be more biblical than others and therefore more qualified to fulfill the Great Commission….

    Please correct me if I’m wrong. That’s just what came to my mind when I read it.

    God bless and thank you again for this amazing blog! I always read your posts with joy 🙂

    1. Thanks, Manuel. I believe NAPARC’s statement about building the church refers to the universal church that Christ is building. Yes, we believe that since our churches are part of the true universal church, that we are to strive for church growth with all our might, but at the same time, our goal is not to compete with other true churches (as the NAPARC statement continued to say). Our goal is to build the universal church of Christ united in one baptism, one faith, and one Lord.

  5. This emerging WCRC is misleading people just by using the term “Reformed.”

    It might be confused with World Reformed Fellowship (with Rev. Bill Green).

  6. Thank you for the heads up. So much going on and its nice to catch up with the latest news and info.

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