A Message to All Delegates of Synod 2011
Fathers and Brothers,
I am thankful for each of you and your service to our Lord Jesus’ church. As I have returned from our recent meeting of Synod, I have praised the Lord for “your partnership in the gospel” with me. We were challenged in the opening worship service “to find our confidence in the Word of God,” especially in the midst of our discouragement and frustration.
Our pastoral responsibilities are challenging and the temptations to follow after the ways of the world are great. Most of us, after all, are simply ordinary pastors, called to serve an extraordinary God in an ordinary way, and in an ordinary congregation or mission field.
On the Saturday after Synod, I found the following blog by C.J. Mahaney on The Gospel Coalition Website. In 12 short blog posts, Mahaney offers some great encouragement to those who serve in ordinary ways. He begins the introduction to the series: “On the last day there will be a parade of ordinary men, whose names you have never heard, who will hear the following from the Savior: ‘Well done, good and faithful pastor.’” I pass this along to you for your encouragement.
Also, I had the blessed privilege, along with several other ARP pastors, missionaries and students, to attend the Gospel Coalition Conference in Chicago in April. Chad Reynolds and I attended C.J Mahaney’s breakout session entitled, “Pastoring with Discernment: Applying the Gospel to the Hearts of Those You Serve.” This was a great seminar, as Mahaney taught from the book of Jude on the importance of ministering the gospel to the people over whom we have been given pastoral charge. I offer this as well for your encouragement.
May God bless you all in your ministry of the gospel to his great glory.
Yours in Christ Jesus,
Clint Davis, pastor
Chester (SC) ARP Church
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside everything that hinders us and the sin which clings so closely and run with perseverance the race that is set before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
MOTIONS APPROVED AT SYNOD 2011
That the Moderator’s Commission on Erskine be dismissed with thanks and that prayers for Dr. Norman, the administration and board of Erskine be made, seeking God’s blessing.
That General Synod urgently correspond and firmly request the American Theological Seminary (ATS), located in Queens, NY, to cease and desist from their ongoing advertisements and other publicity identifying themselves as an ARP seminary and their claims that students who graduate from ATS (NY) will be ordained as ARP ministers. I further move that Synod act urgently and immediately in this matter to protect the good name and reputation of the ARPC from further irreparable harm.
Whereas six members of the Erskine College and Seminary faculty have offered public support for ARP General Synod’s definition of an evangelical Christian and its 2008 position on Scripture, and
Whereas these same six men have affirmed their support for Erskine College and Seminary President David Norman and his efforts to lead Erskine toward faithfulness to Scripture in accordance with the Standards of the ARP Church, and
Whereas we live in times in which the call to orthodoxy in doctrine and faithfulness to Scripture in accordance with established denominational and institutional commitments is regarded by some as divisive, uncharitable, and needlessly provocative,
Therefore we, the 207th General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, do hereby heartily commend these faculty members for their faithful support of the doctrinal standards of the ARP Church, and for encouraging the Administration Board of Erskine College and Theological Seminary in their efforts to uphold those same high standards.
That the Board of Stewardship’s recommendation No. 3 regarding expected tithing by congregations be referred to the Theological and Social Concerns Committee of the General Synod for study and recommendations.
That the approved statement regarding recent action of the PCUSA be communicated to the principal clerk of the ARPC to the stated clerk of the PCUSA.
The statement reads:
WHEREAS the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America PC(USA) has taken
action at its 220th General Assembly to ratify Amendment 10-A,
And WHEREAS Amendment 10-A removes the constitutional requirement that all
ministers, elders and deacons live in “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a
man and a woman or chastity in singleness.” (www.pcusa.org/news),
And WHEREAS this action will allow the ordination of persons such as practicing
homosexuals who do not live according to Biblical standards of sexual morality,
And WHEREAS by doing so the PC(USA) has blatantly usurped God’s authority given
in His Holy Scriptures,
And WHEREAS the PCUSA is propagating to its congregants the lie that homosexuality
is acceptable in God’s sight, defying the truth of the Scriptures, which condemns
homosexuality as sin,
THEREFORE in humble acknowledgement of her own shortcomings, the Associate
Reformed Presbyterian Church, at its 207th Synod meeting, condemns the action taken by the PC(USA) and implores the PC(USA) to confession, repentance and recantation over this recent action for the sake of the unity, peace, purity and prosperity of the Church of Jesus Christ Universal and Militant.
That the Board of Stewardship investigate and , if possible, develop an improved method (over the Denominational Ministry Fund) for the funding of boards, agencies and denominational ministries.
Whereas the delegates of the 207th meeting of the General Synod had before them much business dealing with serious and difficult issues within our denomination; and
Whereas because of the sinfulness of all men, the possibility surely existed for this business to be conducted in a mean-spirited, divisive, and even sinful manner; and
Whereas the tone and tenor of this meeting was, on the whole, gracious, conciliatory, and God-honoring; and
Whereas such an outpouring of peace during such a time of difficult business can only be attributed to a work of God’s Spirit; and
Whereas the meeting of Synod was commenced in the spirit of worship that began with the powerful call by Rev. Dr. John R. deWitt for ministers to return to a confidence in the power of the Gospel to overcome our earthly limitations (1Timothy 2:8-13); and
Whereas God himself promises “…so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11);
Therefore be it resolved that the delegates of the 207th General Synod give all praise to God for his goodness to us in the generous spreading of his grace upon us and the presence of his Spirit with us.
That the discrepancy between Erskine bylaws and the Manual of Authorities and Duties regarding the composition of the Erskine Board of Trustees be referred to the Committee on Nominations to report back to the 208th meeting of General Synod with recommendations for changes to the Manual of Authorities and Duties.
SUMMER PRESBYTERY MEETING HIGHLIGHTS
(Received as of June 14, 2011)
- Heard a report from the Moderator of General Synod, Steve Maye, on his activities during the year.
- Heard reports from special committees: 1. The New Days Commission made final report on dismissing this mission. 2. Covenant Way – adopted a covenant between Covenant Way and Presbytery. 3. Heard a preliminary report from the Special Committee on Church Extension seeking to make aware what is taking place in church planting and to develop a shared vision.
- Examined and approved a student, Garison Taylor, for licensure and ordination pending a call.
- Approved the nomination of Dan Williams of the Greenville ARP Church as Presbytery’s representative to the Executive Board of Synod.
- Approved the call to Paul Patrick as campus minister at Erskine College, pending the approval of Synod (Synod approved this arrangement).
- Noted the death of Rev. Isaac Gitundu, evangelist with International Community Outreach on May 5, 2011.
–Stated Clerk Calvin Draffin
Tennessee – Alabama Presbytery
Bonclarken, June 8, 2011
The meeting was called to order with prayer by moderator Charles
Edgar at 9:50 p.m.
- The clerk read a report from U.S. Army Chaplain G. Gayle Cotton, noting his desire for the prayers of the members. The report was received as information by consent.
- The Report from the Commission to Constitute the Riverside Mission and to ordain and install J. Gregory Duke to the ministry of the Gospel was approved with consent, marked Appendix A.
- Charles Edgar reported for the Muscle Shoals Property Commission. He indicated that the Commission is negotiating with a commercial property developer who has a long and good history in the area.
- Motion by Mr. Hartin: That Presbytery send R. S. Illman to the Church Planter’s Workshop by Outreach North America, and that Presbytery reimburse his expenses. Carried.
- Motion by Mr. Illman: That Presbytery pay the fuel and food expense for the students who serve the Synod as pages this year. Carried.
- C.W. Todd announced that a Christian Education Ministries’ Elder/Deacon Training Workshop will be held at Fayetteville on July 30. Dr. Mark Ross will be the presenter. The moderator directed the stated clerk to send out an announcement of this to the entire presbytery via email.
- Motion by Mr. Hartin: That sessions review the proposed changes to the Form of Government, and that suggestions be forwarded to the stated clerk for review by Presbytery at the fall 2011 meeting. Carried.
- The chairman named Hartin, Illman and Bradley to an ad hoc committeeto review comments from sessions on the proposed revision of the Form ofGovernment, and to bring recommendations to Presbytery. By consent.
–Stated Clerk Charles W. Bradley
June 7 at Bonclarken:
- Examined and received Brandon O. Barrett by transfer from the James River Presbytery, PCA, effective June 15th. Mr. Barrett will serve as mission developer for Grace Mission in Northeast Columbia.
- Recognized J. J. Diaz for his faithful service to the Hispanic Community in Columbia. Mr. Diaz is taking disability retirement.
- Heard a preliminary report on the Special Committee to Assist Small Churches with declining membership.
- Introduced Bill Fleming as moderator and Michael Evans as vice moderator. Their terms begin July 1.
- Thanked Ruling Elder Steve Maloney for his faithful and dedicated service as moderator during the past year.
–Stated Clerk Guy Smith
Please see the August issue of The Associate Reformed Presbyterian magazine for photos and complete coverage of the 207th Meeting of General Synod. Subscribe at http://www.arpmagazine.org.