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Question and Answer

What is the OPC's policy on receiving former Roman Catholics?


What is the OPC's policy on receiving former Roman Catholics, now Reformed, for membership? Must they notify their former church and receive permission from the Catholics before being allowed by the OPC to become a member of the denomination? Or would it be acceptable for them simply to cease attending the Roman Catholic Church and begin membership classes at the OPC congregation? What if the Roman Catholic Church told them they shouldn't?


Thanks for your question about membership in the OPC. I assume that you are describing yourself, "a former Roman Catholic, now Reformed."

One becomes a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church when the Session (the local elders and pastor) of a congregation receive you into membership. If someone is moving from another church into the OPC, the session will inquire as to your standing with that church. If the church is a church of "like faith and practice," then a letter of transfer will be very helpful. This is good practice. It enables churches to commend members to another congregation when, for example, someone relocates. It also enables churches to help uphold the valid discipline of one another.

If you have come to an understanding of the principles of the Reformation, then you will know that the Roman Catholic Church is not a church of "like faith and practice." You are correct in assuming the Roman Catholic Church would not encourage someone to join the OPC and would not issue such a letter of transfer.

I think you would find it very helpful to attend classes at an OPC congregation. The pastor and elders will be able to give you more guidance on this matter. I am unsure if you have already found an OPC. If we can help you any further, please do not hesitate to contact us or use the online Church Locator . For more information on the subject of membership please see the OPC Directory for Public Worship, section IV, D.

About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those people who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.

You will receive an answer by e-mail. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two (2) weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references or from some source may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

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