Synod spent some time discussing how the kingship of Jesus Christ applies to us in a culture growing ever more hostile. A seven man committee was recommended to study current applications of the mediatorial kingship of Christ. At least three of the committee members will be from countries outside North America. The charge to this committee is to attempt to solidify ways we can biblically apply Christ’s kingship to our current cultural climate.
Day two of the 183rd RPCNA Synod began with Rev. Scott Wilkinson of Kitchener, ON preaching on John 3: 22-36. He described the text as the greatest revival and reformation in the history of the church. John the Baptist is decreasing as Jesus Christ and his kingdom are increasing. He used the opportunity to talk about jealousy in the ministry and how jealousy can destroy men and ministries. Humility is the antidote to jealousy in the ministry.
Three principles for cultivating humility in the ministry were put forth:
- You must have clear thoughts about the source of your ministry. A person cannot receive a thing unless it is given from heaven.
- You must have clear thoughts about who you are. We are friends of the bridegroom.
- You must have clear thoughts about the privilege of your ministry. We are unworthy to unstrap Jesus’s sandals.
The Home Mission Board reported on the significant church planting that has been going on in the RPCNA. A number of years ago the synod adopted the 20/20 Vision which was 20 new congregations by 2020. The RPCNA is only four congregations away from meeting that vision.
The Home Mission Board President, Rev. John Edgar (Elkins Park, PA), also encouraged the presbyteries in their church planting work. “Go slow and go fast.” A number of lessons learned from closed church plants were shared and wisdom was offered for when to move ahead with church planting. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church’s pamphlet, How to Plant an Orthodox Presbyterian Church, was recommended for study by those interested in church planting.
The Global Missions Board report was a great encouragement. Rev. Dave Long (Lafayette, IN) gave that report and spoke of many places where the Lord is building a Reformed Presbyterian presence. New works are being explored in India and Pakistan. There is also interest in investigating Mexico City as well as South Korea. Rev. Vince and Julie Ward, our first missionaries in South Sudan, have announced that they will be coming back to Canada in June 2015. The Board is looking for a pastor who would be willing to continue the very good work that has been done in South Sudan. There are a number of established congregations, mission churches, a day school, radio ministry, seminary level training, and mercy ministry that the Lord has given in South Sudan. We praise him for his work among the Dinka people and look forward to seeing who God will raise up to replace Rev. Ward.
In the late morning the court took a break so presbyteries could meet and conduct business. Students were examined, calls were accepted, students were taken under care, and many other God-exalting works were accomplished by representatives from every corner of the denomination.
In the afternoon, Synod spent some time discussing how the kingship of Jesus Christ applies to us in a culture growing ever more hostile. A seven man committee was recommended to study current applications of the mediatorial kingship of Christ. At least three of the committee members will be from countries outside North America. The charge to this committee is to attempt to solidify ways we can biblically apply Christ’s kingship to our current cultural climate.
The Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary (RPTS) reported today. Dr. Michael Lefebvre (Brownsburg, IN) serves as president of that board and he described the current RPTS student body as being very international. Theological Librarian Tom Reid, who teaches a class on Reformed Presbyterian history, said that this past quarter he had eight Reformed Presbyterian students from six different countries in the class.
Dr. Jerry O’Neill, President of RPTS, spoke about his work at the seminary. He asked the court to pray that God would raise up men to fill open pulpits throughout the denomination and pulpits that will open in the next couple of years due to retirements. He also challenged Synod to consider the increasingly global nature of the ministries of both our seminary and our denomination.
In the next couple of years two strategic positions at RPTS will be open due to upcoming retirements—Director of the Biblical Counseling Institute and Seminary President. These important appointments deserve our faithful attention.
The work of synod continues with brotherly love, Christ-exalting discussion, debate as needed, and a unified desire to see Jesus Christ glorified and his church built. He must increase and we must decrease.
Nathan Eshelman is a minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America (RPCNA), and serves as pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, Calif., and as clerk of the Pacific Coast Presbytery.