What is a Presbytery?
There are over 300 Orthodox Presbyterian Churches in the United States. They are divided into 16 regions called presbyteries. The Presbytery of the Southwest is made up of all of the churches in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.
Presbyterian refers to a church government by a plurality of elders (presbyters in Greek). There are many different kinds of Presbyterian churches covering the range from very liberal to very conservative. We are part of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church which is one of the most conservative presbyterian denominations, having been born out of the liberal Northern Presbyterian Church in 1936. At that time, many pastors in that denomination did not consider it important to believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, the virgin birth of Jesus, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, or the truth of the miracles in the Bible. In fact, missionaries were being sent out who did not believe the basics of the historic Christian faith. After fighting to reform the church, our founding churches left everything behind including all of their buildings and property in order to start the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Read more of our history on the OPC website.
As the OPC continues to grow, new presbyteries are formed. The original churches of the Presbytery of the Southwest were part of the Presbytery of the Dakotas, until we were formed in 1986. As the Lord continues to provide for the planting of new churches, we pray we will grow large enough to give birth to a new presbytery in the coming years. In 2011, a video was created to celebrate our 25th anniversary.
All who join an Orthodox Presbyterian church are required to affirm the following five membership vows:
- Do you believe the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, to be the Word of God, and its doctrine of salvation to be the perfect and only true doctrine of salvation?
- Do you believe in one living and true God, in whom eternally there are three distinct persons—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—who are the same in being and equal in power and glory, and that Jesus Christ is God the Son, come in the flesh?
- Do you confess that because of your sinfulness you abhor and humble yourself before God, that you repent of your sin, and that you trust for salvation not in yourself but in Jesus Christ alone?
- Do you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your sovereign Lord, and do you promise that, in reliance on the grace of God, you will serve him with all that is in you, forsake the world, resist the devil, put to death your sinful deeds and desires, and lead a godly life?
- Do you promise to participate faithfully in this church’s worship and service, to submit in the Lord to its government, and to heed its discipline, even in case you should be found delinquent in doctrine or life?
All ordained officers in the OPC are required to subscribe to the Westminster Standards which are comprised of the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism, and the Shorter Catechism.