209th General Synod of the ARP Was the Best Ever

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Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Seriously.

This was the best ARP Synod I most assuredly have ever attended (some of us think it was because we had a Canadian moderator ;) ). The unity of the body was a sight to behold and was a tangible feeling nearly everyone I talked to recognized. Here are a couple highlights:

1) We made massively huge positive strides for the gospel-future of both Erskine Theological Seminary and Erskine College.

2) The 209th Associate Reformed Presbyterian Synod approved an invitation to the RPCNA to hold concurrent Synod meetings in 2015 at Bonclarken. We also passed a motion that all joint worship services will be psalms only with unaccompanied singing.

3) We heard a presentation from the ARP Hospital (that the Synod supports) in Sahiwal, Pakistan Amazing things are being done in the name of our Lord and Savior through the hundreds of thousands of Islamic people who are hearing the gospel and seeing the work of Christ through the Hospital. It was a moving presentation.

4) A Committee was appointed to look into revising the Westminster Standards in a historic, confessional sense and specifically look at excising the two "extra chapters" that the ARP WCF has in the back.


Marrow Man or I will provide more details I am sure as we drive home from God's gift to the ARP, Bonclarken.
 

Zach

Puritan Board Junior
Praise God! It is always wonderful to hear about brothers dwelling in unity!

Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!
2 It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down on the collar of his robes!
3 It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
life forevermore.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
It is abundantly clear that God has His hand on the denomination.

In a generation more characterized by apostasy and confusion, this is refreshing and encouraging.

It is great this denomination is in NAPARC, too.

If you can provide more details, it would be helpful, there is not much publicaly being reported about the Synod or the OPC General Assembly. (I guess the world has more important trivial things it wants to focus on).
 

R Harris

Puritan Board Sophomore
This sounds tremendous, Benjamin.

I especially liked number (3), and in Pakistan!! Have they not had any "incidents" from Islamic extremists? The fact that the Word has gone out to so many people through that ministry is just fantastic!

I work in Administration in a hospital system - I keep telling everyone, healthcare is a ministry! And things will not get better until it becomes just that again! It is certainly a great venue for international evangelism, and your comment is witness to that.

Is there any way to access that video presentation?
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
Not many denominations can make the claim that they are entering their 210th year(!) and are still on the narrow path :).
It makes me smile to see the ARP and RPCNA's long history.

Glad to hear the good reports coming out of the ARP!
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
[video]https://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=572184875601[/video]

The men of the Associate Reformed Synod singing "#26 in the back". The other official "ARP Psalm" (after Psalm 133). Great Jehovah is exalted indeed!!!
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
All of these things are immensely exciting.

I especially hope and pray for Erksine College: I've talked to professors and students at Covenant College from an ARP background and many hope to see Erksine reformed. It sounds like it is on that path.

Hearing about the confessions, unity within the denomination and within other NAPARC denominations, the singing of psalms, and work internationally are also great testimony to God's work in this body of churches.
 

irresistible_grace

Puritan Board Junior
Seriously.

This was the best ARP Synod I most assuredly have ever attended (some of us think it was because we had a Canadian moderator ;) ). The unity of the body was a sight to behold and was a tangible feeling nearly everyone I talked to recognized. Here are a couple highlights:

1) We made massively huge positive strides for the gospel-future of both Erskine Theological Seminary and Erskine College.

2) The 209th Associate Reformed Presbyterian Synod approved an invitation to the RPCNA to hold concurrent Synod meetings in 2015 at Bonclarken. We also passed a motion that all joint worship services will be psalms only with unaccompanied singing.

3) We heard a presentation from the ARP Hospital (that the Synod supports) in Sahiwal, Pakistan Amazing things are being done in the name of our Lord and Savior through the hundreds of thousands of Islamic people who are hearing the gospel and seeing the work of Christ through the Hospital. It was a moving presentation.

4) A Committee was appointed to look into revising the Westminster Standards in a historic, confessional sense and specifically look at excising the two "extra chapters" that the ARP WCF has in the back.


Marrow Man or I will provide more details I am sure as we drive home from God's gift to the ARP, Bonclarken.
:D This makes me smile! Thank you for sharing.
 

Hamalas

whippersnapper
I'm so glad to hear this! It is such an encouragement to see denominations like the SBC and the ARP that are moving away from liberalism rather than towards it. So often we get the defeatist idea that it's "just a matter of time" before denominations turn sour. But our God is faithful!
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
This is as one would of thought it always was.
Thank our God for clarity, and that it came about decently and in order.

I wonder what the implications of separating the college from the seminary would be-
I assume both would be under the same ARP synod oversight?

Also, any thoughts on the process for removing faculty members (not board members, but faculty members) who might stray into bad doctrine or morals?
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
I wonder what the implications of separating the college from the seminary would be-
I assume both would be under the same ARP synod oversight?

Also, any thoughts on the process for removing faculty members (not board members, but faculty members) who might stray into bad doctrine or morals?
One of the suggestions when the report was given was that new faculty members for the seminary would be approved by the Synod and would need to be approved on the floor of Synod. Therefore, there would be more direct oversight in placing those men on the faculty to begin with.

I'm not sure about whether Synod could directly remove faculty members. In part, that is why you have a BoT, and for various reasons, it is helpful to the larger body for this to be in place. The suggested BoT for the seminary, though, would be composed solely of ministers and elders from the presbyteries, which would be a more natural connection with the composition of Synod (the current BoT is boarder than this, and includes laypersons and those who are not part of the denomination).
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
I would agree with my brother Benjamin above -- this was a great Synod, possibly the best Synod I have attended (and I have been going since 2002).

However, there was one huge negative thing that happened -- the approval of the report of the Ecclesiastical Commission on Judiciary Affairs. I am on the commission and co-authored a minority report. The minority report was taken up and considered by the Synod, but was narrowly defeated. I understand why some of the brothers did not vote for it, but I do not understand why the report of the ECJA was passed. I don't know of anyone (including those who did not agree with my minority report) who liked the ECJA report.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
I looked at the news report.
While appreciating the difficulty of dealing with things like this, it is painful, it is hard to understand.

Looking in from the outside,
the issue is I Corinthians 6, and whether in this cause there were extra (secular) judicial means that were at least vigorously pursued as means of reconciliation. Not first running to secular authority to stop lawfully constituted authority of the church. The principle not first being are they right, but does God give authority that way.

One gets the sense from reading the opinion that we just don't want to face it, explain the difficulties in facing it, and that's it. And, nothing else matters.

It also establishes precedent (for the future).
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
One of the suggestions when the report was given was that new faculty members for the seminary would be approved by the Synod and would need to be approved on the floor of Synod. Therefore, there would be more direct oversight in placing those men on the faculty to begin with.
This seems imminently reasonable.

Removal for cause would then be a matter for the Board, subject as they all are to the church courts as elders.

I would think Synod can always pass resolutions expressing displeasure with Board Actions, or about faculty members teaching false doctrine or exhibiting bad morals. They could lever their funding contribution that way also.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
As an outsider, it strikes me that the campus ministry at Newberry might be the most revolutionary action of that assembly and the one with potentially the largest long -term impact.
 

Tbordow

Puritan Board Freshman

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
"A Committee was appointed to look into revising the Westminster Standards in a historic, confessional sense and specifically look at excising the two "extra chapters" that the ARP WCF has in the back. "

For those of us unfamiliar with the ARP, what does this mean? What are the extra chapters?
In the early 20th century, two chapters ("Of the Holy Spirit" and "Of the Gospel") were added to the Westminster Confession of Faith by the northern Presbyterian church. The two chapters were eventually adopted by the southern Presbyterian church in the mid-20th century and then shortly thereafter by the ARPs. The chapters were added, in part, to water down the Calvinism in the WCF (brought about, to some degree, by Revivalism and the creation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, If I recall correctly), although they are somewhat ambiguously written. I'm not sure about the reason behind the addition of the chapter concerning the Holy Spirit, other than it was (erroneously) charged that the WCF in original form did not say very much about the Holy Spirit; the addition could have had something to do with the rise of Pentecostalism, although I am just guessing in saying that.

Here is the ARP version of the WCF (the chapters, of course, are at the end): http://www.arpsynod.org/downloads/Confession of Faith.pdf
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
4) A Committee was appointed to look into revising the Westminster Standards in a historic, confessional sense and specifically look at excising the two "extra chapters" that the ARP WCF has in the back.
What is the procedural requirement for doing this in the ARP?

E.g. In the PCA the bar is very high to changing the standards- A 3/4 vote at GA, then majority approval in 3/4 of the Presbyteries, and a 3/4 vote at the subsequent GA.
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
4) A Committee was appointed to look into revising the Westminster Standards in a historic, confessional sense and specifically look at excising the two "extra chapters" that the ARP WCF has in the back.
What is the procedural requirement for doing this in the ARP?

E.g. In the PCA the bar is very high to changing the standards- A 3/4 vote at GA, then majority approval in 3/4 of the Presbyteries, and a 3/4 vote at the subsequent GA.
Keep in mind that at this point, the matter has been sent to a study committee for a report and recommendations. We don't know what those will be at this point.

If they recommend removing the chapters, the procedures may be found in the Form of Government, chapter 15 (p. 243), found here: http://www.arpsynod.org/downloads/Form of Government.pdf

(for some reason, it does not copy and paste neatly)
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
I believe both the PCUS and the ARP added these chapters when it looked like there would be potential for mergers in the early half of the 20th century. It took a lot longer before the PCUS merged with the UPCUSA and of course the ARP turned back the tide and did not merge. There is an article by Murray on why these chapters and other 1903 revisions should not be adopted by the newly formed OPC.
Articles on the 1903 Revisions of the Confession of Faith by Murray and Stonehouse - Blogs - The PuritanBoard
"A Committee was appointed to look into revising the Westminster Standards in a historic, confessional sense and specifically look at excising the two "extra chapters" that the ARP WCF has in the back. "

For those of us unfamiliar with the ARP, what does this mean? What are the extra chapters?
In the early 20th century, two chapters ("Of the Holy Spirit" and "Of the Gospel") were added to the Westminster Confession of Faith by the northern Presbyterian church. The two chapters were eventually adopted by the southern Presbyterian church in the mid-20th century and then shortly thereafter by the ARPs. The chapters were added, in part, to water down the Calvinism in the WCF (brought about, to some degree, by Revivalism and the creation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, If I recall correctly), although they are somewhat ambiguously written. I'm not sure about the reason behind the addition of the chapter concerning the Holy Spirit, other than it was (erroneously) charged that the WCF in original form did not say very much about the Holy Spirit; the addition could have had something to do with the rise of Pentecostalism, although I am just guessing in saying that.

Here is the ARP version of the WCF (the chapters, of course, are at the end): http://www.arpsynod.org/downloads/Confession of Faith.pdf
 
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