Frequently Asked Questions

Below, you will find a listing of words and terms that a Christian, who is not familiar with reformed theology, may, or may not, know. As such, we took it upon ourselves to provide you, our site visitors, with some simple definitions and common explanations.

OPC stands for Orthodox Presbyterian Church, which is the denomination of our church.
The word presbyterian comes from the New Testament Greek word presbyteros, meaning “elder.” The Orthodox Presbyterian Church has followed this biblical pattern for church government. Local church elders, along with the pastor, form a “session” to care for the spiritual welfare of our members. Matters of common concern for churches in a given region, such as establishing new congregations and ordaining ministers, are regulated by a body of ministers and elders called a “presbytery.” Annually, representatives of our sixteen presbyteries form a “general assembly” to give the whole Church direction and advice.
An orthodontist is concerned about straight teeth. The “ortho” in orthodontist comes from the Greek word for “straight.” The “dox” in orthodox comes from the Greek word for “thinking.” So, in an Orthodox Presbyterian Church you will find straight teaching following the long-accepted pattern given in the Bible. We are a church that believes what the Bible says, and we try to put it into practice.
Our system of doctrine is the Reformed faith, also called Calvinism (because Calvin was the most important exponent of it during the Reformation). It pulls together the most significant doctrines taught in the Bible. For more about these doctrines, visit www.opc.com.
A designation for Christians who hold to basic conservative interpretations of the Bible, including the belief in the literal supernatural conception (virgin birth) of Jesus, his resurrection from the dead, and the proclamation of the “evangel” or “good news” of salvation through Christ. This term arises out of the Greek word euangelion, meaning “good news”.
Our church accepts the Westminster Confession of Faith, Larger and Shorter Catechisms (1647), as its secondary standards (the Bible itself being the only infallible rule of faith and practice). Officers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church take a vow to “sincerely receive and adopt” these confessional documents “as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures.”
MVPC are the initials of our local church body. Merrimack Valley Presbyterian Church.
Our church is governed by the session, which consists of our pastor (teaching elder) and several ruling elders. Elders must meet the scriptural qualifications for the eldership. They are ordained for life and installed to office. Pastors (ministers) are licensed and ordained by regional presbyteries and are called by congregations; ruling elders are elected by congregations.