Our congregation is a member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA), a branch of the church which is known for many things. Among other things, we are known by the name “Covenanters”, because of our identification with the Scottish Covenanters of the seventeenth century. Our spiritual forebears steadfastly proclaimed their allegiance to King Jesus in both church and state—a stance which resulted in thousands of martyrs in Scotland, as men, women, and children were tortured, many unto death, for their refusal to submit to government tyranny.
Many observers today would say that the Reformed Presbyterian position on Christ’s kingship is actually its distinguishing characteristic. Forged in the fires of persecution, this doctrine proclaims that as the mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ rules over all things. This mediatorial kingship means that there is not one aspect of reality that is outside of the reign of the One who died on the cross, rose again from the dead, and is ascended into heaven.
This truth obviously has political implications. One of them has to do with whether a Christian can participate in the American political process, since to do so entails supporting a constitution which declares that its source of authority is “We the people” rather than the King of kings and Lord of lords.
For much of its history, the RPCNA, because of the failure of the U.S. Constitution to recognize the Lordship of Jesus Christ, refused to allow its members to vote in elections or hold office. However, in the twentieth century, an accommodation was reached whereby someone taking an oath of allegiance to the Constitution could also append an Explanatory Declaration, as follows:
In taking this oath I make no mental reservation. I am a member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, and I declare that I owe a supreme allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ, and in making that declaration I take the same God as my witness, invoking His assistance to help me to render due obedience to my country in all temporal matters. And I do further declare that I do not now know any matter in which I intend actual disobedience to any command of my country now known to me.
In allowing members to vote, however, the RPCNA specifies that “the Christian should support and vote only for such men as are publicly committed to scriptural principles of civil government. Should the Christian seek civil office by political election, he must openly inform those whose support he seeks of his adherence to Christian principles of civil government” (Reformed Presbyterian Testimony, Chapter 23, #29).
This statement is the practical outworking of a position that maintains that the Lord Jesus is the sovereign ruler in church and state, and that we dare not be ashamed of Him. In this election year where the leading candidates do not fit the qualifications of office as defined by the RP Testimony, Reformed Presbyterians are urged not to compromise, but to follow the principles mentioned above and to leave the results to God.