The truths of Scripture, rightly handled, do not leave man dwelling upon himself and his problems, but transcends man from his needs to the throne of grace and focuses upon the God of our salvation.
Although we would prefer not to have any “labels” at all, to be known only as a biblical church, we do recognize that in a culture that extensively uses labels, it is merely impossible to accurately communicate who we are without some identifying terms. In fact, every church faces this problem. People will perceive, whether accurate or not, ideas about a church based on its “terms” of description or identifying “labels.” So Heritage has chosen to use certain “labels” to help communicate who it is to aid others in discerning the biblical character of the ministry.
Reformed theology is a “system” of theology. A system of theology details how someone unifies the Scripture—that is, how one understands the Bible as a whole, from Genesis to Revelation. Everyone has a “system” of theology—the way he/she sees Scripture unified, whether he realizes it or not, whether it is implicit or explicit. The covenant God made with Abraham (Genesis 15) is applicable to all believers today, for Galatians 3:7 says, “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.” Scripture itself identifies how it is unified and this, we believe, is through covenants. This aspect of what the “reformed” label describes about Heritage is how we interpret the Scriptures, that is, by comparing Scripture with Scripture and seeing that covenants are the unifying element. This covenantal system is upheld and taught by our confession, The Westminster Confession (1647) and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. Covenant theology not only helps us understand how the Scripture is unified, but aids us in the practical outworking of our doctrine.
Two popular “systems” in Christianity today are Dispensationalism and Covenant (or Reformed) Theology. We believe that the biblical approach to understanding the Scriptures is what Scripture reveals about itself through the covenants. Scripture reveals that God always relates to man through covenants, and because the nature of the Bible is redemptive, God has revealed Himself through the course of history in covenants. In fact, the Bible is divided into two major sections: the Old Testament (or covenant); and the New Testament (or covenant). These two testaments are not mutually exclusive but are unified in the Person and Work of Christ Whom they both reveal.
This aspect of what the “reformed” label describes about Heritage is how we interpret the Scriptures, that is, by comparing Scripture with Scripture and seeing that covenants are the unifying element. This covenantal system is upheld and taught by our confession, The Westminster Confession (1647) and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. Covenant theology not only helps us understand how the Scripture is unified, but aids us in the practical outworking of our doctrine.
In the early to mid 17th century, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Baptists in England emerged from the Church of England and were persecuted by the official religion of the state. Between the years 1644 and 1648, an Assembly of English and Scottish Presbyterian divines, as they were then called, drew up the Westminster Confession of Faith in order to doctrinally unite themselves in resisting the governmental tyranny.
The Westminster Confession has been one of the most important works in the history of the church. Along with the articles of faith, the Westminster divines also made shorter and longer catechisms to accompany their confession. A catechism is a resource in question/answer format to help young people and adults alike to learn their doctrine and be able to give a “reason for the hope that lies within them” (1 Peter 3:15). Today the Westminster is still the standard confession of faith for the Presbyterian segment of the Church.
Presbyterians have used confessions since their beginning in order to state clearly what they believe. Likewise, our church has adopted The Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) as that which most represents our beliefs. We affirm that it is the right of any congregation to adopt a corpus of beliefs according to their conscience and understanding of the Scriptures.