Constitution of the Puritan Reformed Church

PREAMBLE

We the members of Puritan Reformed Church of Thoubal Dist, Manipur, Northeast India, do ordain and establish the following Articles, to which we voluntarily submit ourselves.

ARTICLE 1. NAME

The name of this congregation shall be “Puritan Reformed Church” (hereafter cited as PRC). We have chosen this name to describe our doctrinal convictions. By the name ‘Puritan’ we proclaim ourselves as our ministry heritage lies with Puritans who lived out what they taught according to the Scriptures in sixteen and seventeen centuries. By adopting their vision and commitment to the Scriptures, we stand to purify the whole congregation according to the teachings of Scriptures. We are ‘reformed congregation’ by which we mean that we embrace reformed theology of the reformation era, and our beliefs and practices are grounded in the reformed theology firmly rooted in Scriptures.

ARTICLE 2. DENOMINATIONAL AFFILIATION

PRC is an independent church and not under any denomination.

ARTICLE 3. PURPOSE AND MOTTO OF THE CHURCH

The purpose of the Church: Puritan Reformed Church exists to glorify God by purifying God’s people with God’s Word for God’s purpose (1 Cori 10:31; Jn 17:17; Eph 4:12, 13; 5:27; Col 1:28; Mtt 28:19, 20).

Motto: “Ardens Sed Virens” – ‘burning but flourising’

  • We are the believers who live for God’s purpose by purifying the Church with God’s word (Jn 17:17).
  • We are the believers committed to Puritan reformed theology.
  • We are the believers committed to bring reformation both in individuals and churches.
  • We are the believers committed to the great commission which is not only the proclamation of the Gospel but also includes discipleship (Matt 28: 19, 20).
  • We are the believers who use our Spiritual gifts that God entrusted to each believer according to His Will, for the edification of the Church and common good of the Church (1 Cori 12:7; 1 Cori 14:12).
  • We are the believers who seek God’s glory in everything (1 Cori 10: 31).

ARTICLE 4. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

The aims and objects of this Church shall be:
  • To ascribe glory to our great God as God’s worshiping community according to Scripture.
  • To take the good news to the unsaved fulfilling the great commission (Matt 28:19, 20).
  • To disciple the congregation who will be able to disciple others also.
  • To edify every believer of Christ in Christ likeness that we may be able to "present every one perfect in Christ".
  • To challenge every believer of Christ to Purity of life with His truth.

ARTICLE 5. AUTHORITY

A. Authority of Christ

We acknowledge no ecclesiastical authority other than our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the church (Ephesians 1:21-23, 5:23), and who directs the affairs of the church through elders chosen and ordained according to the precepts of Holy Scripture (Acts 14:21-23, 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9). The elders themselves at all times and in all their activities stand under the authority of Holy Scripture (Acts 16:4, 1 Corinthians 7:17, 11 Timothy 3:16, 17).

B. Articles of Faith

The ultimate authority in all matters of faith, order and morals are the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments which we acknowledge to be the inspired, inerrant Word of God. We subscribe to Westminster Confession of Faith (See the Statement of Faith page for more details on our articles of faith).

ARTICLE 6. MEMBERSHIP

Those who are repented towards God, have faith in Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:37-42, 5:14, 8:12), purify themselves according to the teachings of scripture (Jn 17:17), agree with the doctrinal teachings of PRC (1 Cori 14:40), participate in all the church meetings/ activities (Acts 2:42; Hebrews 10:24, 25), support Church work financially (Malachi 3:8-10; 1 Corinthians16:1, 2; 11 Corinthians 8 and 9, I Corinthians 9:13,14; Galatians 6:6; Exodus 36:2-7; 11 Corinthians 8:1-5,12; 9:7), and submit themselves to its government is eligible for membership (1 Cori 1:10; Heb 13:17). Further...

Those who are not members of PRC cannot vote at any congregational meeting. Members' children under the age of 18 cannot vote at any congregational meeting, though they are entitled to certain benefits of membership.

Note: Members are expected to support and submit to the overseers of the church. They should support the work of God’s servants by their prayers and labours (Ephesians 6:18, 19). They should highly estimate them for their work’s sake (1 Thess 5:12, 13). They should stand with them in all the afflictions (2 Tim 1:15). They should not damage their good name (Acts 23:5; 1 Tim 5:19). They should accept their scriptural teaching with readiness of mind and teachableness of spirit (Acts 17:11; James 1:19-21; 1 Thess 2:13). They should heed their scriptural rebukes (Col 1:28; Heb 13:17). They should seek their biblical counselling (1 Cori 7:1, 25).

ARTICLE 7. APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP

A. New Applicants

Those who qualify for membership should apply to PRC office with all the documents /proofs that are necessary (i.e., Baptism Certificate, Letter from former Church…etc). Application form can be obtained from the office. The church officers, by carefully examining the applicant’s knowledge of the gospel and salvation, knowledge of Bible on basic level, his spiritual life and his participation in the local church activities shall present the applicant at the Sunday services for the final approval of the congregation. If no objection is raised concerning the applicant's manner of life and doctrines that person shall be received into membership.

B. Transfer (from other states of country)

If the applicant has been a member of another church in another state(s) of country, he shall provide any such proof of its identity, with the proper reason for leaving the church. He also must fill in the application form requesting membership in PRC, and submit it with all the documents/ proofs that are necessary (i.e., Baptism Certificate, Letter from his former Church…etc). The church officers, by carefully examining the applicant’s knowledge of the gospel and salvation, knowledge of Bible on basic level, his spiritual life and his participation in the local church activities shall present the applicant at the Sunday services for the final approval of the congregation. If no objection is raised concerning the applicant's manner of life and doctrines that person shall be received into membership.

ARTICLE 8. TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP

Membership is terminated by death, transfer, exclusion or excommunication. In case of transferring one member to another church, the member should have gained good testimony from the local church, being loyal to the doctrinal standards. Members, who are not in good standing, cannot get recommendation letter from the Church. The church shall issue recommendation letter only to those who are in fellowship with the Lord and co believers. Due to various factors, those who are excommunicated from the Church and are under discipline (Mtt 18:15-18; 1 Cori 5:1-13; 2 Cori 2:6; 2 Cori 7:8-12; 2 Thess 3:6-15; 1 Tim 5:19-24) will not be provided recommendations from Church. However, if they are restored back to the fellowship, on the acceptance and final approval of the congregation, the church can recommend the concerned individual.

ARTICLE 9. MEMBERSHIP RECORD

In order to keep an accurate membership roll, there shall be an annual review of the membership roll by the Elders prior to the Annual Congregational Meeting. All who have been inactive for whatever cause will be classified as such and will be notified of this action.

ARTICLE 10. ANNUAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING

A General meeting shall be conducted yearly once. In this meeting, all the members of PRC should be present for discussing about various church activities or taking some important decisions for the Lord’s work in the Church. The date to be announced by the church. Members shall speak standing. The non-members of PRC are not permitted to attend the meeting.

Note: A special meeting of the congregation can be conducted at any time when an important matter to be discussed. A special meeting can be called at any time by at least agreement of three members for a very specific purpose with a signed letter.

ARTICLE 11. OFFICES OF THE CHURCH

The offices of the Church may be classified under two heads: Pastor and Deacons. Only Communicant Members of the Church who meet the biblical requirements for office-bearers are eligible for office. Those who are not educated in the Bible cannot be Ministers of the Word.

The duties of the Pastor
  • Expounding the Holy Scriptures
  • Preaching Gospel
  • Administering the sacraments
  • Vindicating sound doctrine against heresies and errors
  • Exercising the Christian discipline
  • Continuing in prayer
  • Visiting the members of congregation
  • Visiting and comforting the sick and distressed
  • Provide biblical counselling to those who are caught in need
  • Watching over his brethren, the elders and deacons as well as the congregation
  • Maintaining the purity of doctrine
  • Approving or rejecting applications for membership of the church
  • Seeing that everything is done decently and in order.

Further,

1) Anyone desiring the office of an Elder must evidence the personal, domestic, and ministerial qualifications as set forth in I Timothy 3:1-7 and in Titus 1:5-9.
2) Elder must seek to discharge their duties as set forth in the Scriptures, particularly such passages as Acts 20:17, 28ff, I Peter 5:1-4, and Hebrews 13:17.

The duties of the Deacons
  • Serving the table
  • Diligently collecting alms and other contributions of charity
  • Faithfully and diligently distributing the same to the poor as per their needs with proper counselling and encouragement.
  • Visiting and comforting the sick and distressed
  • Encouraging the congregation to show Christian mercy.
  • Providing proper care of all property and church funds
  • Keeping proper books of accounts and records that provide accurate indication of the finances of the church.
  • Seeking to provide the material needs of the church
  • Co-ordinating and participating various church activities

Further,

1) Deacons must evidence the qualifications of the office as set forth in I Timothy 3:8-13.
2) Deacons are responsible for the business and secular affairs of the church, which are to be administered with spiritual grace and in cooperation with and subjection to the Eldership.

ARTICLE 12. TWO ORDINANCES

We believe that there are two ordinances that Christians are exhorted to observe, namely, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Baptism may be administered in infancy or at any age of responsibility (Gen. 17:12-14; Col. 2:11-12; Acts 16:31-34; Acts 2). When administered at an age of responsibility upon profession of faith, the baptised person at once enters into the full privileges and responsibilities of membership. When administered to an infant, he or she is placed under the nurture of the Church until old enough to make his/her own profession of faith in Christ as Saviour and Lord and so enter into full privileges and responsibilities of membership. The Lord's Supper is commemorative and is to be observed often as a memorial to the broken Body and shed Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cori 11).

ARTICLE 13. AMENDMENTS

Amendments to this Constitution may be adopted by a 2/3 vote of the congregation at any regular congregational meeting or special meeting called for this purpose, provided in either case that such amendment shall be distributed in written form to the membership at least two weeks prior to such meeting.