The Home Missions Board reported and John Edgar spoke of the many encouraging opportunities for church planting in the RPCNA. The Lord is providing church planting opportunities in many parts of the country by way of planting historic confessional reformed churches. The need for more funding is a need, as the vision and planting efforts are surpassing the funds of the board.
The 183rd Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA) is meeting at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion Indiana, June 24-27, 2013. Here is a report from Day 2.
Rev. Matt Kingswood (Kitchner, Ontario, Canada), Moderator of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP) Synod, opened the meeting with preaching from Lamentations 1:12 on the theme, “The Lord of Suffering.” Verse 12 contains a question given to the readers, “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.”
The focus of the sermon moved from the Babylonian Captivity to the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ. Pointedly the question was asked a “Is his suffering nothing to you?” The suffering of Christ should be everything to us!
As he completed his sermon he asked, “Are you tempted to take your hand off the plough? Is his suffering nothing to you? Are you tempted to turn back? Is his suffering nothing to you?” Is your worship stale? Is his suffering nothing to you? Is formalism creeping in? Is his suffering nothing to you? Jesus is the Lord of suffering.
Following the preaching of the Word, the court prayed and sang from Psalm 22A in the Book of Psalms for Worship, a Psalm that clearly points us to Christ’s suffering.
Namsik Yang, a Los Angeles student under care, was introduced as the fourth page for the Synod.
Many boards and agencies spoke of the work of Christ in our denomination. Some of the highlights are below.
A paper from the Trinity Session outside of Washington DC was discussed. The paper asked the question whether taking of the collection was an element of worship. The Trinity Session proposed returning to the historic “drop box” method of collection. The Synod voted to send the paper back to the presbytery for further study before it would be brought back to the Synod. It is believed that we will see this paper again at a future Synod.
This was followed by the Home Missions Board report and John Edgar (Elkins Park, PA) spoke of the many encouraging opportunities for church planting in the RPCNA. The Lord is providing church planting opportunities in many parts of the country by way of planting historic confessional reformed churches. The need for more funding is a need, as the vision and planting efforts are surpassing the funds of the board. This, of course, is very encouraging as the Great Commission is being fulfilled among our presbyteries!
The Global Mission Board’s report was met with some discussion and debate as the Japanese Mission Presbytery is now on a “reducing aid” with the goal of financial independence on their part. The RPCNA has been working in Japan for over 60 years.
Other global efforts such as South Sudan were discussed. The Lord is doing great things as the RPs in South Sudan are training men, planting churches, and establishing missions. The news out of South Sudan is very encouraging as Jesus builds his church among the Dinka people.
A report concerning a closed country was then discussed. We give thanks for the massive movement of God’s Spirit in this country… I really wish I could say more, but I cannot because it is a sensitive location.
Other nations are being investigated for future missions: Pakistan, India, Korea, and Mexico are among some of the areas where RP works are developing.
The Seminary Report was also a great blessing to hear. The Lord has used Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary (RPTS) in tremendous ways. We give thanks for the faithful service of Dr. Dennis Prutow who retired this year. He has recently published a book called Public Worship 101 which lays out the practice of historic reformed worship. Rev. Barry York will take his place this year at the seminary. Rev. York is also working on a doctorate from RTS Orlando as part of his preparation for professorship at the seminary.
RPTS is also looking for the next Professor of Biblical Counseling. Dr. George Scipione will be retiring in the next few years and we are praying that God will raise up the next director of the Biblical Counseling Institute at RPTS. Pray with us.
Geneva College gave its report next as Dr. Bill Edgar (Broomall, PA) assured the court that the responsibility of the board is “to make sure that Geneva College is run according to the Westminster Standards.” Geneva President Ken G. Smith spoke about the college’s ongoing lawsuit against the government mandated health care law. This fight continues in the courts. May liberty prevail and the magistrate be kept from imposing unjust legal requirements on the institutions of the church. May Geneva College continue to reform and conform to the Westminster Standards unto the glory of God!
Crown and Covenant Publications gave its report by talking about the success of Dr. Rosaria Butterfield’s book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. The book has been featured in World Magazine four times this year, even making their list of top ten most important books of 2012. The interview with Dr. Butterfield on Christianity Today’s website has been read over one million times with over 90,000 “likes” on Facebook. The Lord is using this little book to change hearts and thinking. It is also introducing many people to our little denomination that would have never heard of the RPCNA.
Each of the clerks of presbytery was able to give reports of the wonderful things that Christ is doing in their respective presbyteries. Churches are being planted, men are being raised up for the ministry, congregations are growing, and a sense of unity and love is experienced in most corners of the church. It is a great time to a member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church.
We have much for which to give thanks! Jesus has promised to build his church and we are seeing that promise come to pass in marvelous ways.
Nathan Eshelman is Pastor of the Los Angeles Reformed Presbyterian Church, clerk of the Pacific Coast Presbytery, Vice-President of the Board of Home Missions, member of the Board of Education and Publication, and a doctoral student at Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He is also a blogger at www.GentleReformation.com. He is married to Lydia and they have five children: Anna, Owen, Watson, Calvin, and Ruth.