On Wednesday, June 16 the 190th RPCNA Synod reconvened for its second full day with devotions from Pastor John Edgar (Elkins Park RPC) on “The Gift of Peace.” <https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=61621832140> He preached from Romans 14:17-19, calling delegates to be “fierce as lions in protection and meek and gentle in relationships.” Delegates responded to God’s Word by singing Psalm 34C.
This year the Synod had numerous judicial cases arise by appeal or complaint from the presbyteries. This resulted in Synod’s moderator appointing three separate five-man judicial committees to invest two full days poring over case records, interviewing witnesses, and drafting reports that would serve the full Synod in dispensing justice and equity.
Large portions of Wednesday were spent in careful thinking and debate about these complex cases, one arising from the Pacific Coast Presbytery dealing with the discipline of a minister. Two cases from the Great Lakes–Gulf Presbytery are yet being adjudicated. (We’ll report more on those tomorrow.)
Delegates welcomed Geneva College President Calvin Troup in connection with the Geneva College Board of Corporators report. He spoke of the opportunities and notable challenges facing the RPCNA college in Beaver Falls, Pa. He reported that an education major at Geneva had been set up geared to Chinese students coming to the U.S. for study. The corporators reported that $255,000 had been given to support the Geneva College Bible Department fund and encouraged continued giving through the end of the 2022 academic year.
Reports were also received from the RP Global Alliance, an official cooperative effort of Reformed Presbyterians worldwide to facilitate communication and co-laboring in common ministries (see www.rpglobalalliance.org). The Alliance announced plans to feature an RP International Day of Prayer on Oct. 3, 2021 focused on ministry in East Asia. Additional information will be forthcoming.
RPTS Professor David Whitla reported on the ongoing labors of the Church History Committee to gather, preserve, and feature historical materials throughout the RPCNA. He invited delegates to check out the growing library of historic materials available at www.RPArchives.org <http://www.rparchives.org/>.
The Synod turned its attention to Communication 21-15, which requested that Synod clarify its position on the question of Creation. Recommendation 1: “This court hereby declares that belief in the literal parentage of Adam and Eve as our first parents is an essential point of the Christian system of doctrine.” A new recommendation 2 stated, “The court declares that the Reformed Presbyterian Testimony 4.3 and 4.4 are essential to the Christian system of doctrine, and that Synod declare that Testimony 4.3’s definition of the theory of evolution includes theistic evolution.”
Synod ended the day in prayer. Please continue to uphold this highest court of the church as she labors until noon on Thursday. The time is short, the demands on Synod’s time are many. Delegates are keenly aware of their dependence upon God’s blessing of His church and her needs.
– Brad Johnston, pastor, Topeka, Kan., RPC, and Drew Gordon, editor, RP Witness