RPC of Canada to be formed!

After careful deliberation, the RPCNA Synod today confirmed a special resolution presented by several Canadian RP churches petitioning to become a distinct Reformed Presbyterian Church denomination in the north.

This unique petition came with the endorsement of the St. Lawrence Presbytery (consisting of both Canadian and U.S. congregations), requesting that Synod “concur with us toward official action to form a distinct, indigenous Reformed Presbyterian Church of Canada according to the aspirations and plans of the St. Lawrence Presbytery.”

Pastor Andrew Quigley presented the petition (via Zoom) from the Ottawa, Ont., RP Church building as the U.S.–Canadian border is still affected by COVID restrictions. In Paper 21-10, six Canadian congregations presented RPCNA delegates with a one-year plan to culminate in summer 2022 with the “daughtering” of a Canadian RP Church. Rev Quigley challenged Synod to embrace the vision of national churches that can practice national covenanting instead of merely a continental church (i.e. North American). He emphasized that:

[The Canadian church] needs to be Canadian, with a common focus of our energies and with a felt dependence upon God to sustain us, to raise up gospel preachers and gospel churches for this country.

Rev Andrew Quigley

Big Decisions, International Voices

This interesting conversation unfolded in part on the big screen at the front of the Philippe Performing Arts Center in Marion, Ind. In-person delegates noted that Canadian, Japanese and Chilean delegates as well as Americans refined and clarified the petition virtually–from three different continents!

“I am listening very carefully, because I hope this same process can lead to the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Chile someday!

Pastor Marcelo Sanchez (via Zoom)

Delegates expressed concern about several of the details, but overwhelmingly approved a four-step plan.

There was rejoicing in the Lord at this development, with rejoicing being a spiritual fruit commended by Pastor Noah Bailey (Cambridge, Mass., RPC) in the Synod’s devotional service this morning entitled “The Spirit of Joy.”

You can listen to the devotion here: https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=615211846496320

Seeking Clarification

Additionally, the Synod took up Paper 21-13, a 75-page paper from the Atlantic Presbytery on the matter of precisely defining the definition of “departing” in 1 Corinthians 7 and its relation to scriptural doctrine on divorce. This has been a matter repeatedly before the Synod over the past several years.

The authors of the paper requested two points of clarification from the Synod. After deliberation, Synod clarified its position that (Recommendation 1) “the only biblical causes for divorce are sexual immorality, as given in Matthew 19, and desertion, as given in 1 Corinthians 7″. Further, Synod clarified (Recommendation 2) “that desertion as described in 1 Corinthians 7, is a wilful, irremediable, physical departure of one spouse from another or irremediably caused by one spouse or the other in accord with Westminster Confession of Faith 24.6.”

This evening Pastor Peter Smith (Covenant Fellowship, Pittsburgh RPC) reported on behalf of a judicial committee addressing a discipline case arising from the Pacific Coast Presbytery. The paper was asking Synod to take jurisdiction of the case, as it was complicated by the pandemic and procedural issues. Synod decided not to take up the case, but gave directions to the presbytery in how to handle the matter.

– Brad Johnston, pastor, Topeka, Kan., RPC, and Drew Gordon, editor, RP Witness

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