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Evangelical Presbyterian Church
Classification Protestant
Orientation Calvinism
Origin 29 September 1961
Launceston
Separations 1986 Southern Presbyterian Church
Congregations 18

The Evangelical Presbyterian Church is a small Reformed Christian denomination. In 2007 it had 18 churches spread across Australia concentrated in Tasmania and Queensland.

The EPC was constituted in Launceston, Tasmania on 29 September, 1961 with a doctrinal basis identical to the Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia.[1]. Its first ministers Reverends Rodman, Turnbull and McNeilly had been ordained the previous night.

The denomination was originally called the Reformed Evangelical Church, but soon changed its name because according to the church's official history "it was found that Australian society was not familiar with the term 'reformed' in its historical and church connection. Many associated the word with reform or correctional schools for example."[2]

The creation of the EPC was part of a revival in Reformed and Calvinist theology among Australian evangelical Christians in the mid 1900s.

Contents

Faith and Practice

The EPC professes adherence to the Westminster Standards, rejecting common grace and the concept of God having unfulfilled desires for the salvation of the reprobate.[3] That is, the EPC denies the free offer of the gospel.[4] The EPC is also committed to the biblically regulated worship set forth in Westminster Confession of Faith and exemplified in the Directory of Public Worship. This is interpreted to maintain exclusive psalmody and exclude musical instruments in worship.

The EPC's witness has included political action on moral issues such as making submissions to government on observing the Christian Sabbath and gambling and protesting against what it sees as anti-Christian activities, such as the rock opera, Jesus Christ, Superstar. It supports Bible translation through the Chinese Translation Society (formerly the Reformation Translation Fellowship), and Christian missions in places such as Uganda and the Middle East. Family and young people's camps and studies have been regularly held in Australia.

Relationships with other denominations

The EPC was formed because its members believed the large mainstream denominations from which they had come, including the Baptist, Presbyterian and Methodist churches in Australia, had departed from fundamental Christian truths and contain too much spiritual compromise. Instead they embraced the Reformed faith although its inclusion of infant baptism was problematic for some and early on the Reverend L Lincolne, former principal of the WEC International College in Launceston left the fellowship and established a new college and congregation based on the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith.

Early encouragement from the Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia (popularly known as "the Free Church") was significant in shaping the emerging EPC community. After contemplating joining, the EPC fellowship’s leaders did not proceed with an actual union but there was a desire to continue a fruitful ecumenical relationship with it and other reformed churches. However the largely Anglo EPC saw too many doctrinal, worship style, lifestyle and cultural differences to work closely with the Reformed Church of Australia populated as it was largely by Post-war migrants from the Netherlands.

The PCEA assisted in the formation of the EPC and contributed to the training of its ministers through the John Knox Theological College, but by 1964 the EPC was in significant conflict with the PCEA over the free offer of the gospel, which most in the EPC denied. Some of the EPC congregations split with members from Penguin and Winnaleah joining the PCEA, and the joint John Knox Theological College was abandoned. This controversy also led in part to the formation of the Southern Presbyterian Church in 1986.[1] In 1991 the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Sydney, which itself had previously split from the PCEA, was received into the EPC.

The EPC also hosts a Reformed Conference in Victoria for Christians from various professing reformed denominations.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Robert Humphreys and Rowland Ward, Religious Bodies in Australia, 2nd ed., p. 64.
  2. ^ 'A History Of The Evangelical Presbyterian Church Of Australia' by T D, A & A J Carins and C Coleborn (History Committee of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Australia)
  3. ^ Chris Connors, The Biblical Offer Of The Gospel,, p.8. Universalism And The Reformed Churches.
  4. ^ Modern Moderate Calvinism

External links








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