Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,... Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and,
Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.  Amen.
—Matthew 28:19-20.

[A Statement of our Reasons for Maintaining our Separate Standing.]
 
A STATEMENT OF OUR REASONS
FOR MAINTAINING OUR SEPARATE STANDING,
ALTHOUGH, IN THE PROVIDENCE OF THE MEDIATOR,
THE REFORMED PRESBYTERY HAS BEEN DISSOLVED.
 
Agreed upon and adopted by the
 
GENERAL MEETING
OF THE
REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH,
Meeting at the House of James Anderson,
North Union, Butler County, PA., June 13, 1888.
It is not necessary to state our reasons of dissent from each of the ecclesiastical bodies by which we are surrounded, for those which justify our separation from our former brethren will vindicate our standing aloof from the other flocks of the companions.

We cannot fellowship this body, which styles itself, "The Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America," because it holds fundamental error concerning the nature of that faith by which the terms of communion in the visible Church are received. This radical error may be stated thus: Nothing but what is matter of divine faith should be incorporated with the standards of the Church. Authentic history and sound argument, not being matters of divine faith, cannot, therefore, be incorporated with the symbols of her profession. From this it necessarily follows that as the Confession of Faith, and what they call the Declaratory part of the Testimony, are standards in this body, it must receive them with divine faith. "Certainly," says a prophet of their own, "because divine truth."

Now these standards tell us, "That all Synods and councils not only may err, but many have erred, and that the scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the only infallible rule of faith and practice." We maintain, in consistency with this teaching, that the Bible alone is the object of divine faith, that it is the supreme standard by which all subordinate standards are to be tried.

A didactic statement of doctrine cannot be either the object of divine faith or the formal testimony of the Church, which must consist essentially of facts.

How can we tell what progress the witnesses have made towards completing their testimony but from history? How can the true Church prove her identity with the witnesses, but by demonstrating from history that she is walking in the blood-stained footsteps of the flock of slaughter? It is acknowledged on all hands, we believe, that the 1260 years, mentioned in Rev. 11.3, commenced centuries after the close of the Canon of Scripture. Consequently, there is no way to ascertain our identity with them in faith and practice but by their own history, transmitted by the successive generations of these faithful men. We believe they are called witnesses, not only because they are a competent number to establish the claims of the Mediator in opposition to the usurpations of Antichrist, but also from their moral fitness to {3} transmit to their legitimate successors a faithful history of their own contendings to enable them to go forth by the footsteps of the flock.

This body [the RPCNA] has departed from these footsteps of the flock in permitting its people to gad about to hear all whom their itching ears incline them. That this practice is destructive to piety has not escaped the notice of some who, in theory, allow it.

We believe we may truly say that those who give evidence of sincere piety, to whatever denomination of professing Christians they belong, do not practice it [occasional hearing] to any extent, the new nature within them struggling against it. Show us a man who is noted for his indulgence in this practice, and we will show you one who is regarded as very unreliable, even by his own brethren.

There is no reason why those who can wait on each other’s ministrations should remain organically separate. If we may hear one sermon we may hear a hundred, and may become stated hearers. If we can commune in word, why not in sacrament? Union will infallibly take place among those who wait upon each other’s ministrations, either by "absorption" or by the party which makes the sounder profession, agreeing to a basis of union which attempts to conceal their perfidy.

We are commanded to withdraw from every brother that walketh disorderly. Much more from every society of brethren who walk disorderly. Whenever we wait upon their ministry, we nullify our testimony against their disorder. A minister does not stand in the pulpit simply as a minister of Jesus Christ, but as the public authorized advocate of all the errors maintained, and of all the disorders practiced by the ecclesiastical body to which he belongs.

This body [the RPCNA], notwithstanding the faithful testimony of Christ’s witnesses against it, the many proofs of its evil tendency, given in the providence of the Mediator, continues to unite with men of all religions, and no religion to accomplish moral reform—mingling with the heathen, learning their ways, and losing sight of the paramount importance of the testimony of the Church.

Its disregard of the law of the house in introducing continuous singing, repealing the law concerning the proclamation of Banns, and the way it has been winking at the exercise of the elective franchise among them, evince that it belongs to the outer court worshippers. We can affix no other meaning to treading the outer court under foot than that it is the willful disregard of the law and covenanted order of the Church.

We refuse to fellowship this body, because it permits its youth to form societies or "prayer-meetings" separate from those of their parents. {4} We believe all such meetings originate in the enmity of the carnal mind to the law of God, which requires youth in all the social duties of religion, to act under the inspection of their parents, and of those who are over them in the Lord. Further, we believe the developments of Divine providence have justified our testimony against the new covenant entered into by this body in 1871. The acknowledgment of some of themselves, "That their practice is not what it was," and the talk about "union to prevent absorption," prove the defects charged against that covenant.