The Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) is a non-partisan organisation established by members of the Free Reformed Churches of Australia, a protestant Christian denomination of approximately 4000 members spread across 16 congregations in Western Australia and Tasmania.

Mission

1. ARPA aims to encourage members of the Free Reformed Churches of Australia to study and discuss political issues in the light of God’s Word, to educate these members about current political and social matters and to promote these scriptural views to the wider community as well as in the political arena.

 

2. ARPA aims to influence government in its decision making by promoting positions which agree with the teachings of the Bible as summarised in the creed and confessions adopted by the Free Reformed Churches of Australia. These are the Apostle’s Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed as well as the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dort.

Overview

ARPA accomplishes its mission by monitoring political developments and publishing regular newsletters, informing its members and supporters about current political matters and giving advice on appropriate ways for them to democratically share a Reformed perspective on these matters.

Where it is warranted, ARPA also prepares more in-depth articles or research reports to provide a well-grounded perspective. At federal and state elections APRA prepares election guides, summarising the key issues for Christians and identifying candidate positions on these issues. ARPA also uses these guides to educate voters about Australia’s preferential voting system.

ARPA also prepares submissions to inquiries and writes to politicians in relation to legislation where we feel a Reformed perspective is needed. Where possible we also seek to give a Reformed perspective in the media.

You can view ARPA’s publications, submissions to inquiries and media interactions on our Resources page.

Structure

ARPA is an incorporated association, established by members of the Free Reformed Churches of Australia. A committee of five members including a president, secretary and treasurer is elected by the association and is responsible for management of the association’s activities.

The committee employs two research officers on a part-time basis to carry out the day-to-day activities of the association including the publication of regular newsletters, research papers and political advocacy.

What about the separation of church and state?

One of the most frequently asked questions about Christian involvement in politics is whether doing so breaches the separation of church and state.

The separation of church and state is an institutional separation. The government has civil authority and the church has ecclesiastical authority, and these two institutions should not overlap. For this reason, ARPA is not a ministry of the Free Reformed Churches nor is it controlled by any synod or church body. It is established by members of these churches and speaks on their behalf.

However, any state and the citizens within it depend on a system of morals and ethics on which to base their decision making. Christians believe that following God’s will, as it is revealed in the Bible, is the best way to produce a truly just and harmonious civil society. This is why Reformed Christians have a long history of involvement in politics; they believe that all areas of life come under the sovereignty of God.

The Bible teaches that the task of government also comes under the sovereignty of God. In Chapter 1 of Paul’s letter to the Romans the government (which at that time was not democratic) was described as a servant of God: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed… for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Romans 1:1-4).

A reformed perspective on civil government is summarised in Article 36 of the Belgic Confession and explained in more detail in the booklet ‘Reformed Politics’ available for download here.

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