We the undersigned members in good standing of Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Burtonsville, Maryland, along with our covenant children, do hereby, in obedience to God and His Word, declare our commitment to submit in the Lord to elder Stephen W. Brown as the true shepherd of Christ for this congregation and to our former pastor, Barry R. Hofford, an elder in the Orthodox Presbyterian Mid-Atlantic Regional Church, of which Covenant Church, Burtonsville is a part.
In making this commitment we also reject the oversight and jurisdiction of any other elders of Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Burtonsville, Maryland (Romans 16:17, Titus 3:10). Our rejection of these elders as true shepherds is based on the following actions which disqualified them. The elders at Covenant Church, Burtonsville, with the exception of Stephen W. Brown, rejected the Complaint of October 15, 1982, regarding the proper administration of the Lord's Supper without giving satisfactory biblical reasons, and they refused to repent of their errors in this matter, or to even discuss them, when they were shown publicly in writing why their arguments from Scripture for rejecting the Complaint were wrong (viz., "Explanation of the Complaint of October 15, 1982" by Barry R. Hofford, Dec. 1982; "Critical Review of the Reply of the Session of the OPC in Burtonsville to the Complaint" by A. van der Jagt, December 1982; Letter of Stephen W. Brown to the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic setting forth his view of the Complaint, Dec. 1982). Furthermore, the elders failed to instruct the congregation in any view of the Lord's Supper during the time of this controvery. Thus, these elders, despite repeated public and private reminders, failed to fulfill their God-given responsibilities as outlined both positively and negatively in Titus 1:9. And when the Complaint was appealed to the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Fiftieth General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, it was denied, thus aborting the efforts of the complainants in seeking the correction of the Burtonsville Session.
We do solemnly declare ourselves, now known as Tri-County Reformed Church, to be the true succession of Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Burtonsville, Maryland.
By this act of succeeding, we also do solemnly declare our secession from the organization known as the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and set forth the following grounds for our action. First, the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church at its April 1983 meeting denied the Complaint of October 15, 1982, having been carried from the Burtonsville Session to the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic by the complainants, giving absolutely no reasons or grounds for its action. This denial without grounds came despite the presence of a Minority Report from the Presbytery's own study committee, and three critical responses to the Majority Report of the Presbytery's study committee (viz., "A Critical Analysis of the Majority Report of the Special Committee of Five" by Barry R. Hofford, April 1983; "Review of the Report of the Special Committee of Five" by A. van der Jagt, April, 1983; Letter of Elder Stephen W. Brown to the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic responding to the Majority Report, April 1983). Furthermore the Presbytery rejected two specific proposals to meet again in order to study and discuss the matter further. Thus, the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic, along with the elders of the Burtonsville Church, failed to fulfill their God-given responsibilities as outlined in Titus 1:9. In addition they have failed to fulfill the spirit, if not the letter, of their own Form of Government (XIV:5) which states, "The Presbytery has the power to resolve questions of doctrine or discipline seriously and reasonably proposed." Secondly, the Fiftieth General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, to which the aforementioned Complaint was carried in June 1983, also denied the Complaint. Although four grounds were adopted by the Assembly in support of the denial, none of the grounds contained any biblical argumentation. Furthermore, the Fiftieth General Assembly rejected two motions to study the Lord's Supper question further, one before the denial was adopted, and one after the denial was adopted. Thus, the Assembly failed to resolve Biblically a seriously and reasonably proposed question of doctrine, and they cut off all official consideration of the matter leaving us no further recourse other than to secede.
By signing this declaration, we solemnly call upon God as our witness and as our strength in this reaffirmation of our vows to be faithful covenant keepers according to His Word, the Bible, in response to His covenant grace.
[What followed were signatures
of Communicant Members of Tri-County Reformed Church, and names of Covenant