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Chuck Wilson Romans ARPChurch Anthony R Locke Tony

In a sin-mad world where evil is called good, light is called darkness, moral is called immoral, and the truth of the Bible is called fiction, there seemed to be no good news. In the godless and unrighteous darkness of ancient Rome, the light of the good news of God in Jesus Christ appeared and shown brightly in many lives. BY FAITH, they exchanged the darkness of Satan and sin for the good news of the grace of God and faith in Jesus Christ. BY FAITH, they laid hold of God’s forgiveness of their sins in Christ’s blood. BY FAITH, they came to know the transformation of their lives through the work of the Holy Spirit. BY FAITH, they joined Paul in service to the living God of the Bible. BY FAITH, they cried out to God in Jesus’ name, and they were given Paul’s song of salvation to sing:

Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him. (Rom. 4.7-8)

In a God-denying culture where there is no good news of forgiveness and salvation, the light of the good news of God in Jesus Christ still shines brightly for those who will have it. As a matter of fact, in the words of Paul, “[God] commands all people everywhere to repent [and believe in the Jesus of the Bible], because [God] has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts17.30-31).

Will you exchange your godlessness for the God of the Bible? Will you exchange your faithlessness for faith in Jesus? Will you exchange your good newslessness for the good news of God? Will you exchange your sin for the cleansing blood of Jesus’ cross? Will you exchange your immorality for God’s morality? Will you exchange your unrighteousness for God’s righteousness in Christ? Continue reading

Chuck Wilson Philippians 3 12  ARPChurch Anthony R Locke Tony

Plainly, a clear understanding of faith in Jesus as the only way of salvation was Paul’s focus and concern for the church. Paul says the things he had written are important for the Philippians because of the presence of false teachers. Paul writes, “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision which worship God in the Spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (3.2-3). In other words, because of false teachers, Paul wrote it is imperative we are clear on what we believe.

What we believe about Jesus’ person and work is the foundation of our faith and the standard by which we have unity and fellowship in the church. DELIGHTING in fellowship, GROWING in knowledge, WORSHIPING in the Spirit, and REJOICING in Christ Jesus. Continue reading


Our church planters depend on the prayers and encouragement of God's people

OUTREACH NORTH AMERICA provides this monthly prayer letter to inform you of some of their specific needs and praises so you will know better how to pray for them. Thank you for your prayers and the interest you show by your phone and e-mail responses.

Your prayers truly encourage your church planters. Continue reading


Forced OUT Resigns Dr. David A. Norman ARP Church Erskine Anthony R Locke

"I am exhausted."

The toll this job has taken on me and on my family cannot be ignored. I also know that, although I have committed each day to serve God and this institution to the best of my ability, I have strained or broken relationships with several of Erskine’s most important alumni, faculty, and staff.

I want what’s best for Erskine.

It is therefore with great regret, but with the full support of the Executive Committee, that I have decided to step away from the presidency of Erskine College. I have requested that the Executive Committee appoint an interim president to take the reins July 1, 2013, and a search begin as soon as it's practical for Erskine’s 16th president. Continue reading


And Sitting Down They Watched Him There Matthew 27 35-36 Chuck Wilson ARPChurch Anthony R Locke

The betrayal of Jesus by the Jewish religious and political leaders is a tale of hate and malice. The extent of their perfidy is evidenced by their uncharacteristic setting aside of their cherished traditions of justice and mercy. Demonically driven, they abandoned justice and mercy and embraced treachery and hell. In madness, they howled, “Let his blood be on us and our children.” And ignoring the law of consequences, they cursed themselves and future generations of their children and drank down shame and judgment like wine.

For many, Judas stands as the most craven character in the drama of the Cross. Whatever his reasons, he betrayed his friend and teacher and rejected his Savior and Lord for 30 pieces of silver (the price of a common slave). Indeed, at this point, if there were no other reason for hell than the just disposition of Judas, God would have had to commission an angel to construct the contours of hell and set them ablaze as a fiery maelstrom.

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Marriage What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It Ryan t Anderson ARP Church Anthony R Locke

Marriage is based on the truth that men and women are complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the reality that children need a mother and a father.

Redefining marriage does not simply expand the existing understanding of marriage; it rejects these truths. Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children.

By encouraging the norms of marriage—monogamy, sexual exclusivity, and permanence—the state strengthens civil society and reduces its own role. The future of this country depends on the future of marriage.

The future of marriage depends on citizens understanding what it is and why it matters and demanding that government policies support, not undermine, true marriage.

Click to read Ryan's other articles on Marriage

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Eric Teetsel and The Manhatten Declaration ARP Church Anthony R Locke

They hear that their cause is lost, that demographics and the march of history have doomed their campaign to keep marriage only between a man and a woman. But the young conservatives who oppose same-sex marriage - unlike most of their generation - remain undaunted.

They identify themselves as part of the "pro-marriage movement" and see themselves at the beginning of a long political struggle, much like the battle over abortion. If they can begin shifting the terms of the debate away from gay rights and toward the meaning of marriage, they say, they have a chance to survive short-term defeats.

"The primary challenge that our side faces right now is the intense social pressure," said Joseph Backholm, 34, the executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington. "To the extent that the other side is able to frame this as a vote for gay people to be happy, it will be challenging for us."

CLICK to sign the Manhattan Declaration

Print The Manhattan Declaration for your church

To put it another way, opponents of same-sex marriage say they must argue in favor of traditional marriage, not against gay people or gay rights. "It's really a broader defense of marriage and a stronger marriage culture," said Will Haun, 26, a lawyer and member of the Federalist Society. Continue reading


Communist China Happily Claims to Have Only Murdered 330,000,000 Million Babies ARPChurch Anthony R Locke Tony

Chinese physicians claim to have murdered over 330,000,000 million babies since the government implemented a controversial family planning policy 40 years ago, according to official data from the health ministry.

The Communist government proudly publishes these numbers, yet reporters outside the country believe the numbers to much, much higher.

China’s one-child policy has been the subject of a heated debate. Sadly, world news media are not debating the immorality of these murders, but rather the economic consequences that will arise from an ageing Chinese population. With 34,000,000 million more men than woman, the gender disparity is also a rising concern. Continue reading


The investigation surrounding alleged sexual abuse of children by a former Iredell County teacher three decades ago has grown to include at least 20 former students and more than 110 charges, the Iredell sheriff’s office says.

Iredell Sheriff Phillip Redmond said at least 16 additional alleged victims have been identified, and he said 96 more indecent liberties charges were filed Thursday against Patterson. In addition, Redmond said, Patterson has been charged with one count of first-degree sex offense.

Patterson, of Mooresville, was released under $100,000 bond after the first arrest but was jailed Thursday under $350,000 bond. He bonded out later Thursday, a jail official said. Continue reading


Our church planters depend on the prayers and encouragement of God's people

OUTREACH NORTH AMERICA provides this monthly prayer letter to inform you of some of their specific needs and praises so you will know better how to pray for them. Thank you for your prayers and the interest you show by your phone and e-mail responses.

Your prayers truly encourage your church planters. Continue reading


Alan Avera ONA ARP Church

Outreach North America Director Alan Avera has accepted a job as senior executive for Christianity Explored USA's ministry in North America. He will begin his new job on July 1.

Christianity Explored is a ministry that began 10 years ago at All Souls Church in London, England. The ministry produces tools to help churches in evangelism and discipleship, the primary one being the 7-week Christianity Explored evangelistic Bible study based on the Gospel of Mark.

As the North America executive, Dr. Avera will help increase awareness of the resources available through Christianity Explored, and will help support churches that use Christianity Explored resources. Continue reading


There are some weeks that are best forgotten. This last week will best be remembered in prayer.

We are praying that the accusations against former Moderator Tom Patterson are false. He stands accused of more than a dozen crimes while a public school teacher. We will pray for God's wisdom and the truth.

There are no words to express our shock and sadness at the death of Constance Johnston at the hands of her grandson. We join our current Moderator in praying for this boy's regeneration and salvation from the darkness that has control of his heart and mind.

And we pray for the future residence of those retired, and the future employment of those working, at Covenant Way.

May God bless our denomination with an anointing of His Spirit to expand His Kingdom even in areas controlled by the Gates of Hell. Continue reading


Our church planters depend on the prayers and encouragement of God's people

OUTREACH NORTH AMERICA provides this monthly prayer letter to inform you of some of their specific needs and praises so you will know better how to pray for them. Thank you for your prayers and the interest you show by your phone and e-mail responses.

Your prayers truly encourage your church planters. Continue reading


Dr Eben Alexander, a Harvard-educated neurosurgeon, fell into a coma for seven days in 2008 after contracting meningitis.

During his illness Dr Alexander says that the part of his brain which controls human thought and emotion "shut down" and that he then experienced "something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death."

In an essay for American magazine Newsweek, which he wrote to promote his book Proof of Heaven, Dr Alexander says he was met by a beautiful blue-eyed woman in a "place of clouds, big fluffy pink-white ones" and "shimmering beings". Continue reading


This Sunday I have agreed to join nearly 1,500 pastors nationwide and participate in Pulpit Freedom Sunday, sponsored by Alliance Defending Freedom. In my sermon, I plan to recommend that people vote for one presidential candidate and one political party that I will name. We will then all send our sermons to the IRS.

This action is in violation of the 1954 "Johnson Amendment" to the Internal Revenue Code, which prohibits tax-exempt organizations like churches from endorsing any candidate by name. But in our nation, a higher law than the IRS code is the Constitution, which forbids laws "abridging freedom of speech" or "prohibiting the free exercise" of religion (First Amendment).

If you participated, please tell us how your sermon was received in the comment section below.

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Youth Group Leaders,

We’re excited about our fall retreat and hope you will join us November 9-11, 2012. The speaker will be Rhett Carson, Pastor of Pinecrest ARP Church in Flat Rock, NC. The theme is “Who Am I? - Jesus”

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by Reverend Charles Wilson

Psalm 91 1:1-16

In 1868, the blind poet and hymn-writer Fanny Crosby wrote these beautiful words:

Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on His gentle breast,

There by His love o’ershaded, sweetly my soul shall rest.

Many people are concerned about safety nowadays. We ask questions like:

  • What is a safe stock in which to invest?
  • Is my money in the bank safe?
  • Do I need to build a safe-room in my house to protect me and my family from intruders?

In Psalm 91 God makes promises regarding the safety of the saints. Consider these words from verse #7 . . . Continue reading


Our church planters depend on the prayers and encouragement of God's people

OUTREACH NORTH AMERICA provides this monthly prayer letter to inform you of some of their specific needs and praises so you will know better how to pray for them. Thank you for your prayers and the interest you show by your phone and e-mail responses.

Your prayers truly encourage your church planters.

Prayers in general--

  • Pray for the various presbyteries meeting this month. Pray for the church planting and church renewal work within our presbyteries.
  • Pray for the Lord to raise up potential church planters. In addition to praying, please contact the ONA office if you have someone you would like to recommend for consideration as a potential church planter.
  • Virginia Presbytery is actively recruiting a church planter for a new mission work in Virginia and will work with the mission developer in identifying a target location. Interested parties can contact the chairman, David Vance, at 540-449-3620 or DavidVance@RedeemerBlacksburg.org.
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Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he had signed SB 1172 which prohibits sexual orientation change efforts for anyone under 18.

Conservative religious groups and some Republicans have argued that banning conversion therapy would hinder parents' right to provide psychological care for children experiencing gender confusion.

The Encino, Calif.-based National Association for Research and Therapy on Homosexuality said in August that the bill was a case of "legislative overreach," and Lieu's claims of harm to children were based on politics, not research.

The effect of the law, in brief, makes it illegal to try and convert any gay person under the age of 18 if your goal is to free them from the sin of homosexuality. Continue reading


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. Continue reading


Over the recent years I have observed a culture shift in many Western churches.

Many church members today view the church like a cruise ship when it is actually a rowboat! That is, as long as my personal/family needs are met, and as long as programs are in place for when I want to attend, and as long as I feel satisfied when I leave the services which I choose to attend - then all is well.

But don’t ask me to come too often, or to help plan the programs, or to staff the needs or, to put it another way, to help row the boat! Continue reading


Our church planters depend on the prayers and encouragement of God's people

OUTREACH NORTH AMERICA provides this monthly prayer letter to inform you of some of their specific needs and praises so you will know better how to pray for them. Thank you for your prayers and the interest you show by your phone and e-mail responses.

Your prayers truly encourage your church planters.

Prayers in general--

  • Pray for ONA Board Chairman Wes Spring and his family as his daughter Erin has recently been diagnosed with MS.
  • Pray for your presbytery church extension committee/Outreach North America committee as they oversee church planting and church multiplication within the presbytery and as they prepare for upcoming presbytery meetings.
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The late Robert Bowers, Jr. directed an astonishing cash distribution from his estate in August of 2012 totaling $1 million. The bequest further directs distributions to the ARP Foundation, World Witness, Christian Education, Outreach North America, Erskine Seminary and the Bonclarken Endowment.

These gift bequests are expected to have a profound impact on furthering virtually every aspect of the mission and message of the ARP Church – strategically strengthening the local church; new church plants and revitalization; and evangelism and discipleship at home and overseas.

“We are grateful for Mr. Bowers’ leadership and generosity that so concretely reflect the Lordship of Jesus Christ in his life, family and work. As a steward, his legacy will be eternal and measured by impact on the Kingdom of God by the changed lives of people,” Nichols said. Continue reading


From grade school to college, we are taught that rocks and fossils take a very long time to form and that they are proof that the earth in hundreds of millions of years old. Part of the process of creating fossils is for the soil, dirt or sand surrounding the object to harden into rock.

According to evolutionists, it takes a very very long time, thousands to millions of years for the rocks and fossils to form, or does it?

How long does it take? Can they form quickly? Are there any examples of rocks and fossils forming quickly?

Let’s take a look and see: Continue reading


I wish I could tell you that most pastors are preaching the Word. I can’t—some are not. Here are five things we may choose to do instead of preach the Word.
1. ENTERTAIN:  “Music, drama, and video, felt needs, topics, more stories”

2. SHARE:  “There are some things I just want to share with you today . . .”

3. WOO:  “Careful, careful, don’t offend, always comfortable, never pressured, just a pinch of truth, when they’re ready to handle it.”

4. INTELLECTUALIZE:  “I’ve been thinking and researching this in the original languages . . .”

5. ABBREVIATE:  “Twenty-minute sermons” Continue reading


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. Continue reading


Our church planters depend on the prayers and encouragement of God's people

OUTREACH NORTH AMERICA provides this monthly prayer letter to inform you of some of their specific needs and praises so you will know better how to pray for them. Thank you for your prayers and the interest you show by your phone and e-mail responses.

Your prayers truly encourage your church planters.

Prayers in general--

  • Pray for the ARP churches that have over 200 active members to seriously pray about how they can become sponsoring churches for new church plants. Pray that they can seriously consider becoming mother churches, or seek ways to collaborate with over churches to collectively sponsor a new church.
  • Pray for the Parenting Church Community of churches in the Rock Hill area that are supporting David Stover, a new church planter in York County, SC. Pray for this group of churches as they work together to multiply the gospel witness in their area of Catawba Presbytery.
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Something began changing in the 1960s. Liberal churches decided that traditional notions of worship were out of date, even embarrassing. They preferred to emphasize intellect, rationality and understanding.

As the United Church found common cause with auto workers, it became widely known as the NDP at prayer. Social justice was its gospel. Spiritual fulfilment would be achieved through boycotts and recycling. Instead of Youth for Christ, it has a group called Youth for Eco-Justice.

Mardi Tindal, the current moderator, recently undertook a spiritual outreach tour across Canada to urge “the healing of soul, community and creation” by reducing our carbon footprint. Which raises the obvious question: If you really, really care about the environment, why not just join Greenpeace?

According to opinion polls, people’s overall belief in God hasn’t declined. What’s declined is people’s participation in religion. With so little spiritual nourishment to offer, it’s no wonder the liberal churches have collapsed. Continue reading


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 . . . Continue reading


There is a difference between being famous and being significant. If Jesus was famous, it’s because he was doing something significant. The problem with many pastors is they make decisions, develop personas and define success from the lens of what will make them a celebrity/famous (even if they don’t know it or see that they are doing this). So in American church culture, it’s pretty easy to become a celebrity: Grow a HUGE church. Now all in all, it’s not terribly difficult to grow to be a giant church if you have the right tools at your disposal…but that doesn’t mean the ends justify the means of getting there.

For instance, though Jesus was a celebrity in his day, he was willing to say things that ran people off in droves. In fact, the book of Mark chronicles the way (from about the mid-point of the book on) how people left Jesus to where, at the end, virtually no one was left. No one wants to be associated with him for fear of the consequences. That’s not something you see too often in American churches.

I suspect it’s because riven deeply into the American psyche is the desire to be a celebrity. And American pastors are very susceptible to this. Many subtle things happen in people who desire to this kind of celebrity status . . . Continue reading


There are five major–and painful–confessions that I am ready to own up to: Prayerlessness, Lack of Personal Focus, Lack of Gospel Centeredness, Lack of Honest Critique, Lack of Partnership.

Looking back, any one of these errors was enough to sink the ship. There are dozens of other failures that I could note. These seem to be the most egregious; the ones that had they been dealt with at the time would likely have made the difference between failure and viability.

It’s my hope and prayer that these confessions will help those who are in the throes of leading a plant or those who will lead a plant in the future, not to make the same mistakes I made along the way. It is also my hope that the Lord will continue to raise up an army of men who will, in spite of the odds, take up the banner of church planting for the glory of God! Continue reading


Jesus writes in Revelation 2:1-7 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. . . . This thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Paul also warned the same Ephesian elders to beware of, to be discerning of, and to protect the church from the false teachers he described as “wolves.” This they did to the point that Jesus commended them for hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which He also hated.

“Hate” is a powerful word. Many of us today recoil from and are offended by it. Some even say “hate” is a sub-Christian response.  Nevertheless, it is the word Jesus used and a response He approved of and commended in the Ephesian elders as they contended for the purity of the Christian community in Ephesus. Why? What is it about “false teachers” that brings out of Jesus and Paul the appellation of “wolf” and the visceral emotion of “hate”?

In the hands of Jesus and Paul, “wolf” is a literary device for identifying false teachers and the destructive heresies which are their trade. As the wolf in the forest stalks and kills and devours her prey, false teachers as they come stalking with their God-perverting and idolatrous doctrines kill and devour the souls and lives of men and women.

What is the nature of these “false teachers” the Ephesian elders hated – a hatred Jesus commended? Continue reading


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? Continue reading


by Reverend Andrew Putnam Acts 20:28-32 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…’” Continue reading



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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by arpmagazine

In his Moderator's Challenge to Synod delegates, guests, and members of the press this morning, incoming Moderator, Dr. Steve Suits, began by painting a bleak picture of a denomination with declining membership and giving – with stagnant or dying congregations.

The picture did not improve as he mentioned reports by the Strategic Planning Committee and 2007 Vision Committee. Both reports alluded to apathy and mediocrity characterizing much of the attitude of the work of the Church in the “sphere of denominational affairs.” This, in turn, has led to “blame-shifting and conflict for control.”

Later, Moderator Suits appealed to members of Synod to consider that in all this, God may be working in the ARP Church. “Often, when the church seems buried and things seem most discouraging, God is working profoundly beneath the surface.”

“Fathers and brothers, what is God doing to further his grace among us so that He can work his grace through us? Let us not look at the externals – the statistics, the reports, the so-called struggles for control and blame-shifting. Rather, let us call upon our Sovereign God under whose lordship we stand and serve. Continue reading


by Mickey McLean at World Magazine

The struggle over the governance of Erskine College and Seminary continues

The ongoing battle between the board of trustees of Erskine College and Erskine Seminary and their founding denomination, the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, over the governance of the schools remains unresolved following the ARPC’s annual denominational meeting that ended Thursday.

ARPC pastors and ruling elders, who make up the delegates to the denomination’s highest court, the General Synod, voted to appoint committees to continue to study the issue and report back at next year’s annual meeting.

In making the motion to continue to study the situation, former ARPC Synod moderator Steve Maye said, according to a reporter for The Aquila Report Continue reading



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Someone I follow on Twitter recently shared this video of a man’s marriage proposal to his girlfriend.  For obvious reasons the video quickly went viral.  With more than a million downloads in just a few days, the video even landed the couple an interview on the Today Show.

Church planting movements are what happens when the gospel goes viral.  As men and women come to know Christ the gospel spreads through networks and communities and nations.  Obviously, this is a work of the Holy Spirit, but we can help facilitate the spread of the gospel by teaching and discipling others in a way that communicates the importance of sharing the gospel with others.  As we disciple others, we are investing in the lives of others to teach them to be obedient to God and to share Christ with others.  When Jesus called his disciples he told them, “Follow me [obedience] and I will make you fishers of men [evangelism].”

As I’ve been preparing for missions work in Wales, I’ve been learning to be more intentional in my own teaching.  I’ve come across a method of reading and studying the Bible that naturally cultivates the spread of the gospel.  I call it the SOS method of Scripture reading.  SOS stands for Say, Obey, Share. After reading a passage of Scripture I ask myself three questions.

  1. Say: What does this passage say?
  2. Obey:  What does this passage require me to do or believe?
  3. Share: Who needs to hear this?
I then spend a short amount of time in prayer for that person and resolve to share the message with that person at the next available opportunity.  I can’t say that I’m always faithful to share as I should, but I have found that its made me more intentional in my relationships.  As we all become more faithful to share the gospel with others, my prayer and vision is to see the gospel go viral in such a way that our culture and world is transformed for the glory of God! Continue reading

Dear Friend,

I have some bad news to report. Just yesterday, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston declared that part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. The federal definition of marriage as being the union of one man and one woman has applied to all federal laws, regulations and benefits since 1996. This lawsuit involves claims from same-sex couples demanding federal benefits that are reserved for heterosexual couples.

Essentially, the appellate court said the federal government—and by extension, the taxpayers in all 50 states—must subsidize whatever types of arrangements a state may choose to call "marriage."

Think about that for minute. In the 1800s, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of Congress to forbid polygamy in any territory wishing to apply for statehood. But the federal appeals court in Boston today ignored that history and declared Congress has no interest in keeping the definition of marriage the same as it has been for thousands of years.  

Also visit the Heritage Foundation's BLOG Roll on the Defense of Marriage. Continue reading


Thank you so much for your ongoing prayers for Christ Community Church.  Your prayers continue to bless us.

Greetings from Christ Community!

I want to thank you for your continuing prayers for our Mission.

First, thank you for your prayers about our Easter services. Our sunrise service was larger again this year and our regular service was well attended too, giving us the opportunity to share the gospel with about 300 people in our area. A few who attended the sunrise service have visited the church as well and we hope to continue to share God’s love with them in the future.

Our men’s study is still meeting faithfully on Monday Continue reading


John Piper

PURCHASE -- This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence (Hardcover) for only $8.00

Reflecting on forty years of matrimony, John Piper exalts the biblical meaning of marriage over its emotion, exhorting couples to keep their covenant for all the best reasons.

Even in the days when people commonly stayed married "til death do us part," there has never been a generation whose view of marriage was high enough, says Pastor John Piper. That is all the more true in our casual times. Continue reading


Any healthy church must have some level of inward focus. Those in the church should be discipled. Hurting members need genuine concern and ministry. Healthy fellowship among the members is a good sign for a congregation.

But churches can lose their outward focus and become preoccupied with the perceived needs and desires of the members. The dollars spent and the time expended can quickly become focused on the demands of those inside the congregation. When that takes place the church has become inwardly obsessed. It is no longer a Great Commission congregation.

In my research of churches and consultation with churches, I have kept a checklist of potential signs that a church might be moving toward inward obsession. No church is perfect; indeed most churches will demonstrate one or two of these signs for a season. But the real danger takes place when a church begins to manifest three or more of these warning signs for an extended period of months and even years. Continue reading


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. Continue reading


Our church planters depend on the prayers and encouragement of God's people.

OUTREACH NORTH AMERICA provides this monthly prayer letter to inform you of some of their specific needs and praises so you will know better how to pray for them.

Thank you for your prayers and the interest you show by your phone and e-mail responses. Your prayers truly encourage your church planters.

In general

  • Pray for 4 couples being assesses at the Church Planting Assessment Center (CPAC) May 1-4.
  • Pray for preparations for General Synod meeting.
Continue reading

Dear Ministers and Elders,

Prior to the June 2012 meeting of the General Synod, I wanted to follow up regarding my previous note. Earlier I had communicated the Erskine Board of Trustees' response to the 2011 Synod motions regarding the removal of trustees from the Erskine Board.

David Conner has given a presentation on these motions to the Board of Trustees (at its February 2012 meeting) and to various other groups since that time, including the Executive Board of General Synod. The presentation contains some of the numerous materials that are cited in the Board's response to General Synod. The requirements of the accrediting agencies were more stringent than many of us anticipated and the materials demonstrate the constraints which shaped the Board's decision.

In the interest of transparency, I have included materials in the presentation that explain the Board's position. Continue reading


Miss Sarah May McFerrin, 85, of Due West, SC, died peacefully this morning after a short battle with cancer.

Miss McFerrin was the only child of Rev. and Mrs. J. B. McFerrin, who served pastorates in Virginia, Arkansas, and South Carolina. Miss McFerrin was a member of Due West ARP Church, Due West, SC, where she was serving a second term as president of the Due West Foreign Missionary Society.

She had a great love for foreign mission work and corresponded frequently with numerous World Witness missionaries, praying for them and supporting them financially.

She was a retired guidance counselor with the Abbeville County (SC) Public School District, where she influenced generations of young people with her keen insights, her compassion, and her love for Christ.

Funeral services will be conducted Sunday April 29, 2012 at 3:00 PM in the Due West ARP Church with the Rev. Calvin Draffin officiating. The burial will follow in the church cemetery. Honorary pallbearers will be members of the Session at the Due West ARP Church. Continue reading


April 10, 2012
  • Received Rev. Rhett Carson from Second Presbytery pending transfer of credentials and approved his call as pastor of the Pinecrest Church, Flat Rock, NC.
  • Received Rev. David M. Shin from Central Carolina Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America, pending the transfer of credentials and approved his call to continue the Moak Yaung Korean Church, Matthews, NC.
  • Received the Moak Yaung Korean Church, Matthews, NC, pending  release from the PCA.
  • Received Rev. Terry Crahen from the Presbytery of the Southern Presbyterian Church and approved his call as mission developer of the Faith Chapel Mission Church, Pleasant Garden, NC.
  • Licensed Ken Kunkel and approved his call to the military chaplaincy.
  • Licensed Mark Denning and approved his call as associate pastor of the Back Creek Church, Charlotte, NC.
  • Removed student Jonathan Rockness from the roll of students as he has been ordained by the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
  • Removed James Dickson from the roll of students as he has been ordained by the Presbyterian Church in America.
  • Removed Brad Marshall from the roll of students as he is no longer seeking ordination through First Presbytery.
  • Transferred student Mark Jones, who has moved Mississippi Valley Presbytery in TN.
  • Noted the resignation of Rev. Nathan McCall as associate pastor of New Perth Church, Troutman, NC, in October 2011 and of his laboring at a PCA Church in Nashville, TN, and authorized the stated clerk to transfer his credentials when requested.
Continue reading

The man who believes he can help gay people turn straight

Dr Mike Davidson, a Christian campaigner with a homosexual past, says others, too, can reject what he calls a sin.

“We don’t consider it a disease,” says Davidson, who works under the banner of the Core Issues Trust. “There are plenty of people who work in a therapeutic context to achieve life goals. There are some people who have tried gay; it doesn’t work for them. It’s not mixing with their life circumstances. They want to move out of it. They deserve to receive professional help that is well trained, well regulated and ethical. That’s what we are trying to achieve.”

The Mayor of London has just banned advertisements that Davidson and his allies planned to put on the sides of buses, declaring: “Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!” They were meant to mirror a campaign by the gay rights group Stonewall, but Boris Johnson pulled the ads after taking offence at the suggestion he saw within them.

“It is clearly offensive to suggest that being gay is an illness that someone can recover from,” said Johnson, who feared “a backlash so intense it would not have been in the interests of Christian people in this city”. Continue reading


Freedom of religion is at the heart of the American understanding of liberty. Under our constitutional order, the free exercise of religion is not a mere matter of toleration but an inalienable natural right.

As George Washington explained in his famous letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport: “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.” There are, of course, some limits to the free exercise of religion. Citizens cannot invoke the First Amendment to break general laws (although exemptions may be granted).

But within the confines of the law, all citizens have the same right of conscience. This essay is adapted from The Heritage Guide to the Constitution for a series providing constitutional guidance for lawmakers.

Visit the Heritage Foundation to learn more Continue reading


In his recent article in The Atlantic, “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?,” Stephen Marche suggests that Facebook, Twitter, and other social media might actually be making us more lonely (and more narcissistic, to boot).[1] Marche argues, “Social Media–from Facebook to Twitter–have made us more densely networked than ever. Yet for all this connectivity, new research suggest that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic)–and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill. A report on what the epidemic of loneliness is doing to our souls and our society.” (p. 60)

Marche begins with the story of the death of a former B-movie star whose dead body was not discovered in her house until a year after her death (even though she had thousands of Facebook “friends”) in order to illustrate the ironic effects of Facebook on our souls and society. For Marche greater social media “connection” actually leads to greater “disconnection.” The public and shared nature of Facebook ironically can turn people more in on themselves.

I think that social media can make us more distracted and less reflective. We find it difficult to read, to reflect, to pray, or to do anything else that requires sustained attention, precisely because we are assaulted by emails, text messages, tweets, and Facebook updates. We have got to find some way to carve out time in our lives for deeply human activities such as reading, contemplation, prayer, and conversation. Continue reading


Raise your hand if you’re offended by politicians and church leaders using the Bible like a wax nose. On the left bank, there is the well-worn battery of references to Jesus and the rich young ruler, the command to “render unto Caesar,” and the last judgment where the sheep and goats are separated.

As the Washington Post poses the question: “Jesus said, ‘Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ In a time of economic turmoil and record poverty levels, are tax cuts for the wealthy moral?” Regular “On Faith” columnist and former seminary president Susan Brooks Thistlewaite is ready with an answer—and verses to back it up. Jesus told the rich young ruler, “‘Sell all that you own and distribute the money.’

But the young man, ‘who was very rich,’ turned away. Jesus’ comment? ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God’ (Luke 18: 21-25).” “All too true,” Ms. Thistlewaite sighs with all the self-satisfaction of someone who thinks she’s not the rich young ruler. “It’s also easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a bill with the rich paying their fair share of taxes to get through Congress. Not gonna happen.”

According to a recent Pew Study, Americans think that there has been too much about religion in the political campaign. And no wonder.

It’s no time for Christians to back away from concern for the common good, bringing their deepest convictions to bear just as others do.

However, the trading of Bible verses ripped from their covenantal context and intention is a sure way to trivialize God’s Word in our society, in our churches, and in our own lives. Continue reading


It’s sexy among young people — my generation — to talk about ditching institutional religion and starting a revolution of real Christ-followers living in real community without the confines of church.

Besides being unbiblical, such notions of churchless Christianity are unrealistic. It’s immaturity actually, like the newly engaged couple who think romance preserves the marriage, when the couple celebrating their golden anniversary know it’s the institution of marriage that preserves the romance. Without the God-given habit of corporate worship and the God-given mandate of corporate accountability, we will not prove faithful over the long haul.

Don’t give up on the church. The New Testament knows nothing of churchless Christianity. The invisible church is for invisible Christians. The visible church is for you and me. Put away the Che Guevara t-shirts, stop the revolution, and join the rest of the plodders.

Fifty years from now you’ll be glad you did. Continue reading


Liberal professors "candidly testified [before the court] that their errant view of the Bible was in conflict with the inerrant beliefs of the [school] administration."

The professors filed suit in 2005 against the school amid a growing furor over the school's movement away from Baptist doctrine. The professors fueled the controversy with statements they made during class, including voicing skepticism over the bodily resurrection of Jesus and Mary's virginity, school President Joe Aguillard said.

In response to complaints from parents and students about how liberal the small college in Pineville, La., had become, the Louisiana Baptist Convention appointed a new slate of conservative trustees to oversee operations, Aguillard said: "Their goal was to bring the college back to its biblical roots."

They have now won the mandate to finish those goals.

Result? During the last five years enrollment has grown by 89 percent.

What are the lessons for the ARP?


Continue reading

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. Continue reading


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Other Articles of Interest

CEM
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Two Opinions about implementing Christian Education.

ONE: I can watch on my television as three hundred cyclists climb the Alps and then race through the streets of Paris toward the finish line, not having any idea whatsoever which one is engaged in Christian cycling and which is practicing Jewish cycling perhaps or Hindu cycling. In other words, the activity itself, though practiced by a Christian, has really not changed at all in and of itself. Therefore, there is no such thing as Christian Education either.

TWO: There is no doubt that the Bill of Rights is the Bill of Rights whether one studies it at UC Berkeley or Regent University. One could therefore try to make the case that the adjectives “progressive” and “conservative” are meaningless as applied to constitutional jurisprudence. That would be news to the faculty and students at either institution. Or one might say that because Yale Divinity School and Westminster Theological Seminary use the same Greek New Testament, the adjectives “evangelical” and “non-evangelical” are vacuous in New Testament studies.

Obviously, the term Christian Education has meaning.


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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 packet mailed in May.

A Cover Letter to the Form of Government 2012 PDF

The Current FOG — Form of Government in PDF


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