The Associate Presbyterian Church (ARP) has invited the RPCNA to meet at Bonclarken Christian Conference Center during their 2015 meeting of Synod (the ARP and the RPCNA had parted ways in 1782). The main concern of the RPCNA with meeting with the ARP was the increased cost for this meeting … The ARP has graciously offered to conduct all worship services during the meetings using a cappella psalmody for the sake of the conscience of the RPCNA.
Thursday’s synod meeting of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America began with the preaching of God’s Word by Dr. Mark Ross, the John R. de Witt Professor of Systematic Theology and Director for the Institute of Reformed Worship at Erskine Seminary. Dr. Ross preached on John 17 and emphasized the necessity of the church to seek unity because it was Jesus’s last desires for his church. He underscored that this unity did not necessitate merger, but mutual affection and aid in reformation. “Organic unity does not always produce genuine unity.” Genuine unity is a matter of the work of the Spirit based on our union with Christ.
The court then introduced our denomination’s new Financial Controller. Trevor York comes to us from Geneva College. He is replacing Heather Blocki who has served as controller for the last few years. She was thanked for her service to the church of Jesus Christ and the RPCNA in particular.
The work of Reformed Presbyterian Missions and Ministries (RPM&M) was explained and congregations were encouraged to continue giving to that work. RPM&M oversees the financial distributions to a number of our boards and agencies including Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, the Home Mission Board, Global Missions, Geneva College, and a number of other agencies and boards. Giving to RPM&M has risen over the past seven years and the denomination has exceeded its financial goals, which means that more churches can be planted, more missionaries sent, and many other God glorifying works done. RPM&M piggy banks were then handed out to each congregation so that congregations could remember the work of RPM&M.
The long work of the day, and by long, I mean…. L O N G work of the day, was a debate concerning a co-meeting during synod with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Church. The ARP has invited the RPCNA to meet at Bonclarken Christian Conference Center during their 2015 meeting of Synod. The main concern of the RPCNA with meeting with the ARP was the increased cost for this meeting. It was estimated that we will spend at least an additional $64,000 on the 2015 meeting of Synod. Debate continued for some time as to whether the invitation should be finalized and at the end of the hour (and hours), a plea from Dr. Mark Ross of the ARP asking that we come and build this relationship.
The $64,000 question was answered – we are moving south of the Mason Dixon Line next year and meeting with the brothers of the ARP. The ARP has graciously offered to conduct all worship services during the meetings using a cappella psalmody for the sake of the conscience of the RPCNA. We look forward to some good Carolina BBQ as well (although the Kansas churches may object to calling it BBQ).
We look forward to mutual edification, psalm singing, times of corporate prayer, discussions between the boards and agencies of each Synod, and a strong emphasis on fraternal relations. May the Lord be honored. The ARP and the RPCNA parted ways in 1782; some singing and prayer together may go a long way in healing wounds in the Body of Christ.
The 183rd Synod the RPCNA came to a close with the singing of Psalm 133. “Behold how very good it is, a pleasant thing to see; when brothers join to live as one, in peace and unity. Yes it is like the precious oil poured out upon the head, which, running down from Aaron’s beard, upon his garments spread. It is as though Mount Hermon’s dew, on Zion’s hills descends; for there the LORD bestows the gift of life that never ends.”
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.