Last week I started this series of reports by listing the fraternal addresses that were given at General Assembly. I stated at the end of that report that this week I would share how the OPC works with other denominations. Every so often the question or questions come up regarding how we as a congregation deal with the issues of fellowship and worship with other Christian Churches. In other words, “what about ecumenicity?” There are many definitions to the word “ecumenical.” I like the simple definition, “a tendency towards co-operation with other denominations.”
Personally in my own past I have been in churches that didn’t work at all with other denominations and also in other churches where in an effort for Christian unity they cast too wide a net and I found myself in worship services that were not God honoring and we did not all have the same standards of Christianity.
The OPC takes the issue of ecumenicity very seriously. I encourage you to take the time to read the article: Biblical Principles of the Unity of the Church. http://www.opc.org/relations/unity.html
Ecclesiastical Fellowship is a relationship in which the churches involved are Reformed in their confessional standards, church order and life though there may be such differences between them that union is not possible at this time and there might be considerable need for mutual concern and admonition.
The OPC has a relationship of ecclesiastical fellowship with the following churches:
1. The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARPC) [www.arpchurch.org]
2. The Canadian Reformed Churches (CanRC) [www.canrc.org]
3. The Christian Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (CRCN) [www.cgk.nl]
4. The Evangelical Presbyterian Church in England and Wales (EPCEW) [www.epcew.org.uk]
5. The Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Ireland (EPCI) [www.epcni.org.uk]
6. The Free Church of Scotland (FCS) [www.freechurch.org]
7. The Independent Reformed Church of Korea (ICRK) [www.sybook.org]
8. The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) [www.pcanet.org]
9. The Presbyterian Church of Brazil (IPB) [www.ipb.org.br]
10. The Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia (PCEA) [www.pcea.org.au]
11. The Presbyterian Church in Korea (Kosin) (PCKK) [www.new.kosin.org]
12. The Reformed Church of Quebec (l’Église Réformée du Québec (RCQ) [www.erq.qc.ca]
13. The Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS) [www.rcus.org]
14. The Reformed Churches of New Zealand (RCNZ) [www.reformed-churches.org.nz]
15. The Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland (RPCIre) [www.rpc.org]
16. The Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA) [www.reformedpresbyterian.org]
17. The United Reformed Churches in North America (URCNA) [www.urcna.org]
At this General Assembly we voted to invite two other churches into Ecclesiastical Fellowship:
18. Free Church of Scotland Continuing (FCC) [www.freekirkcontinuing.co.uk]
19. The Bible Presbyterian Church (BPC) [www.bpc.org]
(As the Bible Presbyterian Church has great bearing on the OPC and our congregation in particular, I will write about this in greater detail next week.)
We also accepted the invitation and entered into Ecclesiastical Fellowship with:
20. The Evangelical Reformed Church Westminster Confession (ERKWB) [http://www.reformiert.at/] .
Corresponding Relations is that relationship in which mutual contact with another church is undertaken to become better acquainted with one another with a view towards entering into Ecclesiastical Fellowship at some time in the not-too-distant future.
The OPC is in “Corresponding Relationship” with the following Churches:
1. The Africa Evangelical Presbyterian Church (AEPC) [www.africaevangelicalpresbyterianchurch.org]
2. The Free Reformed Churches of North America (FRCNA) [www.frcna.org]
3. The Heritage Reformed Congregations (HRC) [www.heritagereformed.com]
4. The Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (Liberated) (de Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland, Vrijgemaakt / RCN) [www.gkv.nl]
5. The Presbyterian Church of the Reformation of Colombia (IPRC) [www.opccolombia.org]
6. The Presbyterian Church in Japan (PCJ) [www.chorokyokai.jp/]
7. The Reformed Churches in South Africa (RCSA) [www.gksa.org.za]
8. Reformed Presbyterian Church, North East India (RPCNEI).
We invited into Corresponding Relations:
9. The Christian Reformed Churches in Australia (CRCA).
(The GA also offered an apology to the CRCA for neglecting to clarify and pursue more diligently its Ecclesiastical Relationship.)
Ecumenical Contact is that relationship in which mutual contact is maintained with other member churches of the International Conference of Reformed Churches (ICRC) and/or the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC) with which the OPC does not presently have either Ecclesiastical Fellowship or Corresponding Relations, in fulfillment of our stated “responsibility to call all churches, including our own, to faithfulness in order to seek the unity of the whole church”
At present the OPC is in “Ecumenical Contact” with the following Churches:
1. Confessing Reformed Church in Congo (URCC)
2. Presbyterian Free Church of India (PFCI)
3. Free Church in Southern Africa (FCSA)
4. Free Reformed Churches in South Africa (FRCSA)
5. Gereja-Gereja Reformasi Calvinis (CRCI)
6. Gereja-Gereja Reformasi di Indonesia (RCI)
7. Reformed Churches of Brazil (RCB)
8. Reformed Churches of Spain (RCS)
9. Reformed Presbyterian Church of India (RPCInd)
10. Reformed Presbyterian Church North-East India (RPCNEI)
11. Korean Presbyterian Church in America (KPCA) [www.kpca.org]
12. Korean American Presbyterian Church (KAPC)
13. Presbyterian and Reformed Church (PRC)
14. The Sudanese Reformed Churches (SRC)
The OPC is a member of The North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC), and The International Conference of Reformed Churches (ICRC).
As you can see, the OPC has relationships of various degrees with 43 different denominations around our world. I hope that this may help in showing you the deep connections our denomination has with other Churches and that it answers some of the questions of why we don’t enter into interdenominational worship services or gather with the Baptists or the Lutherans up the street for Bible Studies or prayer meetings. We do not deny in any way that there are many Bible believing churches and Christians in various Churches around our world, but corporately as a Church body, we do not have formal relationships with every group that professes to love Christ. As an individual I have many Christian friends that are in various churches not listed above and I love the opportunities I have for fellowship and prayer with them. As we continue to pray for the unity of Christ’s Church, His Bride, may we enjoy the corporate relationships we have with Churches of “like faith and practice” and also the individual relationships that God gives us to foster faith in our fellow believers.