Synod Sermons

Retiring Moderator Jamie Hunt [embedyt][/embedyt] Moderator Phil Williams [embedyt][/embedyt] Rev. Alex Campbell [embedyt][/embedyt] Rev. Neil Stewart [embedyt][/embedyt] Rev. Eric Hancox [embedyt][/embedyt] Rev. Patrick Malphrus [embedyt][/embedyt]

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Infant Baptism: How My Mind Has Changed by Dennis E. Johnson

In 1994 one of our daughters, while away from home attending college, asked me to explain the rationale I saw in God’s Word for baptizing the infant children of believers.  Since I was a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church when she and her siblings were born, they had all been baptized as infants; but…

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Why We Baptize the Children of Believers

Madison Grace Locke Baptism 2007 Flower Girl ARP Church Anthony R Locke FirstPresTucker ARPChurch“Why does your church baptize infants?” This is a question that is often asked by visitors to Reformed and Presbyterian churches. Since the historic practice of baptizing the children of believers is largely a foreign concept to the vast majority of evangelicals today, accepting this doctrine can be a difficult hurdle for a family that wishes to join a confessional, Reformed church. Christians who are interested in Reformed theology and sincerely desire membership in Christ’s church are often shocked to find out that the Reformed church they want to join teaches and practices infant baptism.

So, why do we baptize the children of believers? The answer is simple: We baptize the children of believers because they belong to the covenant and people of God. While this answer is simple, it is one that never the less requires some explanation.

Often times, an evangelical may come to Calvinistic convictions with regard to the doctrines of grace (i.e. the so-called “Five Points of Calvinism,” or “TULIP”), yet be completely unaware of basic covenant theology. Hence, the doctrine of infant baptism seems strange and exotic to him. Accustomed to looking for “proof-texts” in the Bible, he searches the Scriptures for a verse that explicitly prescribes the practice of infant baptism. Finding none, he is resistant to the practice, suspecting that Reformed and Presbyterian churches baptize the children of believers more so out of tradition and sentiment than from any serious biblical conviction. What he has yet to understand, however, is that our practice of baptism (both for the adult believer and his children) naturally flows from our theology of the church. This involves an understanding of the covenant that God has made with his people. Consequently, the question, “Why does your church baptize infants?” entails a more complex answer than many people are prepared to receive.

Where should we then begin?

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Infant Baptism within the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church

[caption id="attachment_6463" align="alignright" width="452"]Madison Grace Locke Baptism February 2007 Newberry ARP Church Anthony R Locke Madison Grace Locke Baptism February 2007 Newberry ARP Church by Reverend Anthony R Locke[/caption] Infant Baptism is a very interesting subject for maturing believers seeking to know more about God’s Covenant relationship with His people. To help those looking for quality material I have posted two articles with which I agree and I believe agree with the ARP Standards as well as the Westminster Confessions of Faith. The articles are Why We Baptize the Children of Believers by Michael Brown  & — Infant Baptism: How My Mind Has Changed by Dennis Johnson

If you read these two articles then you will know our teaching on this very important topic. I especially like the second article written by a PCA minister to one of his daughters who was baptized as an infant but then being challenged by college friends who believed in Adult Baptism only. His kind and fatherly advice is very much appreciated and very easy to read.

I pray God blesses you in your search to know Him better.

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Can the ARP Church Regain Our Strength — Or Are We Too Old?

Can the ARP Church get stronger in our old age?

Hello, my name is Charles Eugster. When I turned 75 my friends began to pass away. People were getting older around me, but I was just getting ready to retire.

Then at 85 I had a crisis. I looked at myself in the mirror one day, and saw an old man. I was overweight, my posture was terrible and there was skin hanging off me where muscle used to be. I looked like a wreck. I started to consider the fact that I was probably going to die soon.

So in my late-80s I joined a bodybuilding club.

There’s no research into bodybuilding for the over-80s, so it’s been an experiment. With weight-lifting and protein shakes, my body began to change. It became broader, more v-shaped, and my shoulders and biceps became more defined.

I’m not chasing youthfulness. I’m chasing health. People have been brainwashed to think that after you’re 65, you’re finished. We’re told that old age is a continuous state of decline, and that we should stop working, slow down and prepare to die. I disagree. To me, a 65-year-old is young. I turn 92 this year. It is a frightening prospect – the law of averages is against me, and, yes, one day something will happen and that will be it. But until that day comes, I’m going to carry on working on my abs.

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The Wind of the Holy Ghost Blowing upon the Dry Bones in the Valley of Vision — by Ebenezer Erskine

by Rev. Ebenezer Erskine

Preached March 15, 1715

Sermon Text: Ezekiel 37:9 Come from the four winds, O breath; and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.

The Doctrine of the Sermon: That as the generality of a church and people in covenant with God, may be in a very dead and languishing condition as to their souls; so the breathings and influences of the Holy Spirit of God are absolutely necessary for their revival.

This sermon is reprinted with the hope that God would invigorate the ARP Church with a new Spirit of revival.

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Why I’ve Stopped Singing in Your Church — by Bill Blankschaen

I love music. Truly I do. I love to sing. But you wouldn’t know it on Sunday morning when I’m visiting your church.

I’m not talking to all of you, of course. I’m sure many churches, maybe even yours, get it right. I just haven’t been there that often, I guess.

Frankly, I’m tired of it. Maybe all the “seekers” are enjoying it, but I’m finding it hard to sincerely engage in anything resembling worship.

Instead of feeling the joy of joining with other believers in offering praises to the Almighty, I often feel insulted, bored, and disconnected from 2,000 years of worship history. And just when I think that maybe it’s just me having a selfish and sinful attitude — a very real possibility — a flamboyant electrical guitar solo breaks out. I’m left deciding whether to waive my iPhone and buy the t-shirt or just shut up and go home.

As best I can sort through my own muddled and messy thoughts, I think there are three things that really bother me about the worship music in many Evangelical Christian churches today . . .

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Manuscript of the Incoming Moderator’s Address — What’s Eating at the Fabric of the ARP Church?

by Steve Suits

Fathers and brothers, last year Moderator Andy Putnam laid before us a statistical picture of the health of our denomination.  His presentation made it quite clear that the trajectory of the ARPC in terms of numbers is not positive.  Now, the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) identifies in its report to us this year what is eating at the fabric of the ARPC, echoing to a large degree what was said by the Vision Committee over five years ago.

Not only are we experiencing declining membership, diminishing giving, and dying congregations, but, according to what these two committees have reported, apathy and mediocrity characterize much of the attitude of our work, at least in the sphere of denominational affairs. Coming out of this is what the SPC called, “blame-shifting and conflict for control.”

Such negative attributes are probably not as apparent to those among us who do not spend much time in denominational activities, but rather are working hard to serve their local congregations.  Nevertheless, this is what has been said by the members of these two committees, who have thought long and hard about our condition.  What underlying problems are responsible for this state of affairs?

Why a Synod in the first place?

When I looked to our Confession of Faith for guidance, I found that a Synod is for the better government and further edification of the Church.  How does a synod provide for better government and further edification of the Church?

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Synod 2012 — Items of Interest for ARP Churches

Can your church organize a fundraising team to raise $1,000 between now and next year? Contact me to inquire how to help.

Click to read the Synod Packet located at Google Docs.

June 07, 2012 at 7:24 pm – Due to a lack of delegates (lacking 6 elders and 15 ministers), Synod was suspended and all business was shelved.

June 07, 2012 at 4:48 pm – Synod affirms that Marriage is only defined as between a Man and a Woman.

June 07, 2012 at 4:27 pm – Synod funding for Erskine will continue, with love and patience, as the College Board of Trustees works through the new information that was brought to light within the Minority Report.

June 07, 2012 at 2:47 pm – That a season of prayer and fasting for Erskine College and Seminary be held in the churches of the presbyteries in the ARP Synod.

June 07, 2012 at 12:10 pm – Pacific (Korean) Presbytery was not dissolved, but their inclusion within the ARP was referred back to the Executive Board

June 07, 2012 at 11:03 am – Voted to Affirm the Historicity of Adam & Eve

June 07, 2012 at 9:45 am – New Moderator Elect for 2013-2014

June 06, 2012 at 10:45 am – Moderator’s Address by Dr. Steve Suits entitled “What’s Eating at the Fabric of the ARP Church? — by Dr. Steve Suits”

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