Who We Are

Anugraha Reformed Presbyterian Church is a carefully chosen name with each word signifying a unique aspect of our church identity and conveys who we are.

Anugraha Reformed Presbyterian Church

Anugraha is the Sanskrit word for ‘grace’. Anugraha Reformed Presbyterian Church is, first of all, a community of people who have experienced God’s lavish grace of salvation in Jesus Christ. We are sinners who have become saints through our faith in Christ. Even though we are now saints, we still struggle with our indwelling sin nature. We constantly plead with God for more grace so that we may overcome remaining sin and lead a victorious and a joyful Christian life. As a community of grace in Bangalore, we are eager to share this message of grace — the Gospel — with you. Hence, our name ‘Anugraha’.

Anugraha Reformed Presbyterian Church

Anugraha Reformed Presbyterian Church belongs to the Reformed tradition of the Protestant Reformation, the spirit of which we seek to carry forward in India.

The Protestant Reformation movement began with the posting of the Ninety-five Theses. In 1517, Martin Luther, a monk in Germany, posted his ninety-five theses in which he challenged some of the traditions of the Roman Catholic church from the Scriptures. A few years later, Luther questioned the whole doctrine of salvation as taught by the church. Luther argued that man is saved by grace alone (not grace and merits supplied by the Roman Catholic church), through faith alone (not faith and works), in Christ alone (not Christ and Mary, or the saints), as commanded by Scripture alone (not Scripture and tradition) for God’s glory alone. Luther’s teaching marked a break with the Roman Catholic church, and gave birth to the Lutheran tradition and the Lutheran churches.

However, the Protestant Reformation quickly spread to rest of Europe, to France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, England, and Scotland. The churches that emerged in these parts largely agreed with the Lutheran tradition but differed on key points such as the Lord’s Supper, worship, and church government. Anugraha Reformed Presbyterian Church belongs to the Reformed tradition because of her convictions on these disputed subjects even as she stands shoulder-to-shoulder with believing Lutheran brothers in their understanding of the Gospel.

Anugraha Reformed Presbyterian Church

Anugraha Reformed Presbyterian Church is presbyterian in church government. Presbyterianism is a form of church government that arose in Scotland during the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation. Although Presbyterianism arose fairly late in church history, we we believe that this pattern of church government is the biblical one. We are presbyterian not merely out of preference, but out of conviction.

In Presbyterianism, local churches are ruled by a plurality of elders. There are two types of elders in a Presbyterian church

  • Ruling elders: These elders oversee the spiritual well-being of the flock (1 Peter 5:1)
  • Teaching elders: In addition to overseeing the spiritual well-being of the flock, these elders also labour in preaching and teaching (1 Timothy 5:17).  The teaching elders also carry the title ‘Pastor’, even though they share many pastoral activities with ruling elders.

The elders of a local church are collectively called the ‘session’. The word session refers to the elders sitting around a table and deliberating the affairs of the congregation. The session is collectively responsible for overseeing the spiritual health of the congregation. Session is the lowest court of a Presbyterian church. According to our constitution, a body of believers cannot be called a ‘church’ unless they have elders ruling over that body. These session members ordinarily are elected by the members of the congregation. In some extraordinary cases, elders can also be ‘borrowed’ from other churches.

Presbytery is the next higher court in a Presbyterian church. Presbytery is a coming together of select elders (both ruling and teaching) from different local churches, often in one geographical area. A presbytery usually oversees the affairs that are common to local churches such as doctrinal standards (Acts 15: 1-29), examination of pastoral candidates (1 Timothy 5:22), and ordination of elders (1 Timothy 4:14). The presbytery also acts as a court of appeal to members of local churches (Acts 15).

A General Assembly or a Synod is the highest court in a Presbyterian church which is a collection of all the presbyteries in a denomination. The General Assembly/Synod has similar functions to the Presbytery, but at a much higher level.

Anugraha Reformed Presbyterian Church

The Reformed tradition of the Protestant Reformation identified three marks which define a church. These three marks are as follows: preaching of the Word, administration of sacraments (Baptism and the Lord’s Supper), and oversight by a plurality of elders. By God’s grace, we have these marks in our congregation, and thus we humbly call ourselves a church.

At present, Anugraha RP Church is a church-plant. A church-plant is a semi-organized church where the elders (ruling and teaching elders) are not yet elected by the congregation but are ‘borrowed’ from another body. Anugraha RP church is presently overseen by four such borrowed elders: Venkatesh Gopalakrishnan (Teaching Elder or Pastor) and three more ruling elders. We hope to become a fully organized church in God’s time, when our congregation elects her own elders.