Retiring Moderator Jamie Hunt Moderator Phil Williams Rev. Alex Campbell Rev. Neil Stewart Rev. Eric Hancox Rev. Patrick MalphrusRead More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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 . . .Read More
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?Read More
by Reverend Andrew Putnam
English Standard Version
There are WOLVES in this very room that pollute the gospel for their own purposes, that will allow the devil to use them for his purposes and will subvert the Gospel for their own power and interests.
How do we deal with the wolves knocking on the ARP’s door? Putnam offered three solutions:
1. Preach the Gospel – hold fast to the Gospel message – love one another.
2. “Shoot them” – don’t let them run free (Joel 3:10); starve them; ignore them; give them nothing.
3. Pray – for the wolves among God’s sheep; for peace and prosperity.
“If we don’t do this, we will be standing in the ruins of the ARP Church saying, ‘Oh, what used to be…’”
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”Read More
The following report is presented to the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (the Synod) in response to the action taken by the Erskine Board of Trustees (the Board) at its February 17, 2012 meeting.
A majority of the Board refused to thoroughly address a motion made at Synod’s 208th meeting stating in summary that they did not concur with changing the charter to recognize Synod’s authority to remove trustees, and that they did not seek further dialogue on this issue.
We recognize that the issues discussed below have a lengthy history, and that the current Board’s action (as well as actions of the Boards of the past quarter century), which necessitates this report is yet another episode in the story of ongoing tension between these two bodies.
We also recognize that these issues are complex, and we urge that delegates to the General Synod read this response with care. The stakes are high, for the historic relationship between the General Synod and its educational institutions now hangs in the balance. In addition, it is time for the Synod to move its focus to preaching the Word, discipling believers, and reaching the lost for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The list of Minority Report signers is varied—those who voted against the Board’s action and who voted for it (on the basis of information provided by the Board’s ad hoc Committee that has now been demonstrated to be factually incorrect), but now realize that their vote was mistaken. All are united, however, in the conviction that the Board’s action was not in the best interests of Erskine and that it was less than faithful to the Church of Jesus Christ.Read More
The PCA will probably continue to decline in the decade to come. Some of the reasons are sociological and demographic; others are theological. Some are intrinsic to our PCA identity, and cannot be changed.
Most of our PCA churches are rural and have less than 100 members. As the rural countryside declines, the rural churches will decline, too.
Ten years ago, because of congregations leaving Liberal denominations for the PCA, we foolishly boasted that the PCA was growing at a rate of five percent per year. Membership grew from 2002 to 2006 by 27,056 which is only 1.1% over four years, or .27% per year.
At our General Assembly in Orlando in June of 2009, it was reported that the PCA had experienced NEGATIVE growth (for the first time) in 2008.
Growth by receiving conservative churches came to an end when the Evangelical Presbyterian Church began, because the EPC, while conservative, also admits churches with women elders and deacons.
In the decades ahead we will probably continue our decline.Read More
by William Barron Chairman — Committee to Revise the Form of Government TO: Ministers and Session Clerks RE: Form of Government Revision Please see the attached document for an explanation of the work of your Committee to Revise the Form of Government. This is only the Cover Letter to the FOG which will be included in the Synod…Read More
Visit the First Presbyterian Women’s Ministries Website Why do we have Women’s Ministries? This applies at the local church level, Presbyterial, and Women’s Ministries (formerly Synodical). Vision: ARP Women’s Ministries is an organization which encourages and equips the community of ARP women to work together for God’s glory and purpose. Purposes: Encourage every woman to…Read More
Visit the ARP Foundation Website The ARP Foundation, an agency of the General Synod, was established in 1982 to help meet the financial challenges which face its members, churches, presbyteries, and other agencies. The ARP Foundation is uniquely equipped to look across the denomination and has the resources and services to administer gifts in support…Read More
Visit the ARP Church Wikipedia Page The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church as it exists today is the remnant of a small denomination, which was formed from the Synod of the South, a division of the Associate Reformed Church. The original Associate Reformed Church resulted from a merger of the Associate Presbytery (from the Seceder tradition of the 18th century)…Read More
A dozen students, a dozen widows?
12 Erskine students spent the week of Spring Break ministering to about 12 widows in the Honea Path, SC area doing various yard and house cleaning projects. The week of ministry included having conversation and prayer with the widows in their homes and beginning to build relationships with them that can continue to grow over the course of time.
Campus Ministry at Erskine has partnered with Widow’s Watchman Ministries (Bill and Janae May) of Honea Path, SC to incorporate college students into ministry-service opportunities that attempt to fulfill the ‘true religion’ spoken of in James 1:27. For the week, the guys camped outdoors and the girls camped indoors while the days were filled with work projects and the nights were filled with conversations, devotions and fellowship with one another. Each student was asked to raise $150 to cover the expenses of their meals and to raise support for Widow’s Watchman Ministries. It was a great week of growing together and serving together as we sought to ‘be’ the kind of people we have been created, called and redeemed to be!
By Ebenezer Erskine
The select writings of the Rev. Ebenezer Erskine: Doctrinal sermons, Volume 1
There’s a variety of opinions within the ARP regarding Sabbath keeping.
Reverend Tony Locke preached a very liberating sermon on the Sabbath while preaching through the Ten Commandments. He posted his sermon online.
His view was blasted by other ministers who used the historical position of the Puritans, like this article from Ebenezer Erskine. This debate is far from over.
This post is intended to resource the Church to have an educated debate.Read More
People join the church for lots of good reasons, but if people come to church and do not embrace Jesus, then they still miss out on eternal life.
If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. If we are not abiding in a relationship with Jesus by living according to this book, then the promise of eternal life is not directed toward us. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. Who has eternal life? Those who hear and abide in Jesus.
It’s as simple as the verse in John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. If we place faith in Jesus then we have life everlasting. If we do not have saving faith in Jesus, then we do not have eternal life.Read More
(Thanks for sharing this sermon on Facebook over a 110 times!) Many denominations start on a slippery slope toward liberalism by not holding to a high view of scripture. The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church has taken steps to make sure that doesn’t happen to our churches. The most in depth explanation of inerrancy is the…Read More
Everyone has an inner desire to draw near to God, but not everyone is drawn by faith. The people in our passage were drawing near to Jesus to get food for their stomachs. Like Simon the magician in Acts 8, they wanted to be a part of the spectacle. John 6:26 Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.
Why do we draw near to God? Is it because we think church attendance will magically make our life better? Many people who used to go to church can tell you that isn’t true.
Do we seek God so He will bless our business, our family, our marriage, and our life? Are we seeking the blessing or are we seeking to draw near to Jesus?
Going to church to seek a better life for yourself will leave you empty and cynical. I know this from personal experience while in college. John 6:27 Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.
Jesus is stamped with the Father’s own divine seal of approval. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Believing and living for Jesus constitutes doing the work of God.
This is a broad definition and very liberating. Everyone can do God’s work wherever they find themselves. We seek Jesus first, and then in faith we do our labors in this world as unto the Lord and not unto men. Our own talents and interests lead us into our hobbies and employment, but our faith in Jesus enables us to do these things for God’s glory and not our own.
My dad used to tell his three sons, “find what you love and learn to make a living at it.”
Jesus would say, “find what you love and by faith glorify and enjoy God with it.”Read More