The Reformed Presbyterian Church (Hanover Presbytery) is a Constitutional Presbyterian denomination tracing its roots to the first presbytery organized for the South. The Hanover churches continue the Constitutional traditions in the Associate Presbyterians, Associate Reformed Presbyterians, Reformed Presbyterian Church (General Synod), and especially the United Synod of the South.
The original Form of Presbyterial Church-Government and of Ordination of Ministers approved by the General Assembly in 1645 remains in force without modification. The usages and customs to implement the document follow the patterns of early English Presbyterians.
Presbyterians have historically held to a view of Church government that limits the authority of the Church to that which is set forth either explicitly or implicitly in Scripture. Rather than attempting a modern “improved” exegesis of central passages, we believe that there is a history concerning the exegesis of those passages that Presbyterians have shared since at least the 17th Century.
Constitutional Presbyterianism is nothing other than the Reformation doctrine of Sola Scriptura applied to Church polity. Some in this generation have characterized the Reformed understanding of worship as “The Regulative Principle of Worship.” Constitutional Presbyterianism proposes that a “Regulative Principle of Polity” would look very much the same as the worship principle long espoused by Reformed and Presbyterian Churches. This is borne out by the Westminster Confession of Faith at I.6, where circumstances of both worship and Church government fall under the same rubric. While some of the circumstances of Church government belong to the areas of human wisdom and Christian prudence, the actual elements of Church polity, such as officers and jurisdiction, the Church must leave to Scripture alone to define.