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Pastors' Exceptions to thE
Westminster Confession of Faith
To be a member of Providence Church, one must express complete agreement with our Statement of Faith, which is intended to distill the essentials of the Christian faith. Our Church confessions serve a different purpose: the confession is a description of that which the Church substantially teaches. Therefore, members should be familiar with the confession and be in general agreement with it. It is incumbent on the pastors of the church, however, to subscribe to the confession. The confession enumerates the doctrine that Providence Church teaches. This being the case, it is needful for the pastors to express their substantial disagreements with the confession. Pastors need to be upfront about the exceptions they take to the confession. The Session of Providence takes only relatively minor exceptions to the Westminster Confession.
Chapter 21: Paragraph 8
We believe that along with “exercises of… worship” and “duties of necessity and mercy” we have a responsibility to rest our bodies on the Lord’s Day. We do not believe that the intention of Scripture is to exclude recreation necessarily and especially in the context of the fellowship of God’s people. Believers can be members at Providence and have differing convictions about their behavior on the Lord’s Day and the particular applications of the fourth commandment.
Chapter 24: Paragraph 6
Delete the last sentence, which reads, “The man may not marry any of his wife’s kindred nearer in blood than he may of his own, nor the woman of her husband’s kindred nearer in blood than of her own.”
Chapter 25: Paragraph 6
We believe that the Pope of Rome is anti-Christian, we do not believe that he is the Antichrist or the Beast of Revelation, etc.
Chapter 28: Paragraph 3
We believe that baptism is rightly administered through pouring or sprinkling water upon a person. Immersion (dipping) is not necessary since it does not comport with the biblical imagery and practice of the Bible. If the candidate for baptism believes immersion to be the proper mode for he/his family, he must decide in consultation with the session what the best option is. The Session encourages such members to find a faithful credobaptist body who will baptize via immersion. Our position does not, however, prohibit any credobaptist from joining Providence Church as members nor are their children discouraged from being baptized upon profession via pouring. Credobaptist families will be made aware of Providence’s position on the mode and the proper recipients of baptism, though they are free to disagree. Since this new policy may affect long-time members of Providence, the Session will accommodate by baptizing via immersion any current member who joined before 2018.
Chapter 28: Paragraph 4
Providence is a Church composed of both paedobaptist and credobaptist families. Views on baptism that differ with the Session’s should not hinder families from joining Providence Church.