The final authority for the faith and life of any evangelical church is the Bible. The Bible is a large book, however, and there are different interpretations of its message, even among evangelical Protestant Christians. For that reason, it is not sufficient to simply declare that we believe the Bible is the Word of God. There is a need for summary statements of its teachings, which, although subordinate to the Bible itself, set forth the teachings of the Bible.
While most churches may have a simple, short, statement of faith, the statement of faith of Hartsville Presbyterian Church is The Westminster Confession of Faith with its Larger and Shorter Catechisms. The Westminster Assembly of Divines, convened by the English Parliament in 1643, completed the Confession of Faith, Shorter Catechism and Larger Catechism in 1647. These documents have served as the doctrinal standards, subordinate to the word of God, for Presbyterian and other churches around the world. All men in leadership positions at Hartsville Presbyterian Church must hold fast to this Confession as a summary statement of the truths of Scripture.
These are the doctrinal standards for Hartsville Presbyterian Church:
- The Westminster Confession of Faith: The First General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, (December 4-7, 1973) adopted the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism and the Shorter Catechism as the doctrinal standards of the Church. (You may also wish to look at the Westminster Confession of Faith with historical notes, maintained by the Presbyterian Church in America.)
- Westminster Larger Catechism: The Westminster Larger Catechism was completed in 1647 by the Westminster Assembly and continues to serve as part of the doctrinal standards of many Presbyterian churches.
- Westminster Shorter Catechism: The Westminster Shorter Catechism was completed in 1647 by the Westminster Assembly and continues to serve as part of the doctrinal standards of many Presbyterian churches. (You may also wish to review the Westminster Shorter Catechism Project, sponsored by Bible Presbyterian Church for in-depth commentary on the Shorter Catechism with notes by Thomas Boston, James Fisher, John Flavel, Thomas Watson, John Whitecross and others.)