ARPTalk 143 – Four Proposals

 

Emblematic of the failure of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church to thrive and grow in a significant manner in the last 40 years is Erskine College and Seminary.

For more than 40 years, I have watched and asked, Why? Why have we not experienced significant growth? Why has God withheld His blessing from both the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and Erskine?

For me at 71, the answer is proverbially “a day late and a dollar short.” My analysis is complex and multifaceted; nevertheless, there is one aspect which is a common thread impacting all parts of the story. It is the point I will emphasize: Associate Reformed Presbyterians are uncertain of our brand.

For more than 40 years, this has been the mantra at Erskine: “WE NEED TO BE EVERYTHING TO EVERYBODY.” Publicly, we have written and talked about our evangelical, Reformed, and Associate Reformed Presbyterian heritage, but it was window-dressing, and we did not take it seriously. At Erskine, we attempted to be everything to everybody and expected everyone to embrace us. Few did! Few were satisfied with a bag of musty air. Sad to say, the folks at Erskine were unwilling to be identified as Associate Reformed Presbyterian.

For more than 40 years, this has also been the mantra of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. We have often asked, “How can we be Associate Reformed Presbyterians without saying we are Associate Reformed Presbyterian? Don’t you know the present generation hates labels? How can we present ourselves as everything to everybody, offending none, so that everyone comes to us?” Some other ways to put it: (1) How can we be Christian without offending anyone? (2) How can we be Reformed without being distinctive? (3) How can we evangelize without saying Jesus is the only Savior of sinners? and (4) How can we point people to Christ without going to people?

Attempting to be everything to everybody, we discovered few wanted a bag of musty air.

Mulling over our predicament, I have four proposals.

First Proposal – Revisioning Ordination of Ministers

My first proposal involves our presbyteries and how we ordain men to ministry.

When we examine a candidate for ordination, the examination is a pro forma exercise in theological studies. We are interested in the books the man has read. That is, has he learned the pronunciation of the sacred shibboleths? Now, let no one say I am non-theological or anti-intellectual. Indeed, I have a reputation for being theologically and intellectually demanding. I expect a candidate for the ministry to be well-read and conversant in our theology. However, as one who has spent a lifetime as a church planter, pastor, and pastor-theologian, I wonder why we are often remiss to ask questions like these: (1) On a regular basis, do you make opportunities to engage people in conversations on how to become a Christian? (2) Have you ever been blessed to lead someone to a saving knowledge of Christ (and, if so, share the story with us!)? (3) As an ordained minister in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, how do you expect to advance our brand of Associate Reformed Presbyterianism? and (4) If you have never actively engaged in the activities of evangelism or thought about advancing the brand of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, what makes you think you want to be a minister in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church?

In the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (as is the case with all other Presbyterian denominations of which I am acquainted), the path to minister status involves three steps: candidate, licentiate, and minister. A candidate is one who is “under care” of his presbytery as he completes formal studies (usually seminary). A licentiate is one who has undergone and successfully passed an examination and been authorized to preach. Obviously, the next step is ordination which means an individual has successfully completed his formal studies, successfully passed the presbytery’s exams, and has a call to a congregation (or a work approved by the presbytery).

In the past, there was distance between licensure and ordination. Today, in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, licensure and ordination usually occur simultaneously.

I propose we think out-of-the-box. I propose we return to the past when licensure and ordination were distinct. I propose candidates be (1) given specific training in church planting, (2) licensed to preach, and (3) authorized to go to a community for the purpose of gathering and organizing a congregation. I propose a New Testament model. The presbytery in Jerusalem sent Paul and Barnabas out to preach and plant congregations.

Well, why not do this? According to missiologists, ours is a post-Christian era which is similar to the pre-Christian era of the Apostolic Church. Should not the model of Acts inform us how we do church? The traditional idea of preparing pastors to maintain existing congregations is a formula for decline and death. We have bought into and practiced this model of Nineteenth Century  American evangelical churchism, and we are declining and dying in this post-Christian era. And this predicament is not unique to the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church; it is Presbyterianism in general in the United States as I view the landscape.

Our seminaries today turn out men who are in love with books, theology, and the past. We need men who are in love with Christ and His Church. We need men who long to see the resurgence of the Church in our day. We need men who are prepared to give their lives in gathering congregations and advancing the brand under which we fly — the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.

The ministry is not easy! I do not think it is meant to be easy! A man, after he has been licensed and commissioned by his presbytery, should be sent out to gather a congregation and return to his presbytery with a congregation as evidence of his calling, his fitness, and need to be ordained. We are stuck in the rut of Nineteenth Century maintenance instead of New Testament vision and optimism.

A New Testament model gathers and advances the church of the Lord Jesus and extends the brand of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church to new places. Some will complain this is a drastic and unreasonable model. Well, of course! Have you not noticed that legitimate Christianity is hard and the claims of Christ on one’s life are unreasonable?

I am weary of hearing the following story. “Pastor Jim is a good man. He’s a good preacher. He has a beautiful family. But, Chuck, what was he taught in seminary? He thinks his work as a pastor is preaching on Sunday, doing a bulletin, and sitting in his office reading books and waiting for people to come to him. He will visit our people in the hospital, and he will visit us occasionally, but he doesn’t know how to reach out to unchurched people.”

The model I propose is radical and upsetting to the status quo. However, the neo-pagan culture in which we live calls for a thorough shift in our understanding of ministry. The ministry is not for the soft, the lazy, the mediocre, and the uncertain. If a candidate is not prepared to have his work consume his life, he needs to find another line of work. If he is not prepared to pour himself into advancing the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, he needs another vocation. In the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, we need bold, brave, and aggressive men for the ministry. Men who are willing to live and work apostolically in gathering congregations and promoting the brand of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Those unwilling to live such a ministry do not need to apply!

Corollary

A corollary to the above goes like this: many of us are apologetic for our brand.

Years ago when I worked for Goodyear in Florida, my store sold General Electric and Westinghouse appliances and other miscellaneous items; however my main task (and the task by which I was measured) was selling Goodyear tires. Goodyear was our brand. I was a Goodyear man.

Immediately, I bought and mounted a set of Goodyear tires on my wife’s car and a set for my car. When I worked for Goodyear, I rode on Goodyear rubber with the word “Goodyear” etched in large and bold white letters on the sidewalls.

Goodyear wanted me to know who our competitors were, so I was sent to seminars where I learned about our competitors’ tires in order for me to inform my customers why Goodyear tires were a significantly better buy.

In those days, I lived, breathed, and ate Goodyear tires. I did very well. Because of my savings while at Goodyear, I was able to attend seminary without much financial worry.

I never apologized for Goodyear tires! They were the best! I knew they were the best tires on the road, and I only sold the best!

I have spent my ministry in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. I am not a legacy Associate Reformed Presbyterian. After searching, I became an Associate Reformed Presbyterian by choice; I could not find a better Presbyterian denomination. In active ministry, I lived, breathed, ate, promoted, and advanced the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, and nothing has changed.

Are there other evangelical Christian denomination? Of course! However, I am not what they are; I am Associate Reformed Presbyterian — and Associate Reformed Presbyterian is my brand.

Too many of us have an inferiority complex denominationally. Too many apologize because we are small. Too many apologize because we are too conservative. Too many apologize because we once drifted left theologically. Too many apologize because our “Associate Reformed” name is confusing to some who are new to us. Too many apologize because we are not like the “bells and whistles” church down the road.

What is the matter with those who apologize? Did they not know who we are when they came to us? Are they not convinced Associate Reformed Presbyterian is their brand? Did they come to us just for a job and with no intentions of embracing our brand and promoting it? Well, to those who come to us looking for a job: we are looking for those who desire to embrace a vision, so don’t apply!

I am reminded of something I heard a retired Marine say: “we Marines don’t worry about what we don’t have; we get the job done with what we do have!”

Like the retired Marine says: don’t tell me what you don’t have to get the job done; use what you have and get the job done!

Second Proposal – Reviewing Church Attendance in Greenville

Denominational administrators living in Greenville should be expected by their respective boards to support an Associate Reformed Presbyterian congregation in the greater Greenville area with their attendance when they are not out-of-town conducting business. If the members of Associate Reformed Presbyterian congregations provide the funds which support the salaries of our denominational administrators, it is not too much for them to support our brand. They do not work for the PCA, the Baptists, or any other church group; they are employed to advance the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in all aspects of their lives. If they cannot do this, they should seek other employment.

Now, before someone claims my proposal is unreasonable, I am not referring to secretaries and janitors. I am speaking of key personnel who are entrusted with our identity. If they do not embrace our brand in their local church life, how can they advance our identity nationally?

I am aware the number of Associate Reformed Presbyterian congregations in the Greenville area is not large. I also know needs vary in families. I am not unsympathetic to those with extenuating circumstances. However, as a general rule, it is not too much to expect denominational executives to support a congregation of the denomination of which they are employed.

If one cannot find an existing congregation where he and his family are comfortable, let me suggest an option: the population of greater Greenville is large and growing at over 6000 people per month. I do not think anyone is going to complain Greenville is overly represented with Associate Reformed Presbyterian congregations. If one is not satisfied with the present options, let him get busy and advance our brand by planting a new congregation. I am willing to bet Second Presbytery is prepared to support such an effort!

Third Proposal – Promoting Brand Loyalty at Erskine

Because the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and Erskine College and Seminary are closely connected, in the future, Erskine must promote the brand of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Only a fully orbed embracing of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church fulfills the mission.

Now, before someone complains, I am not advocating a church-test for cooks, janitors, secretaries, yard-care employees, and the like!

However, why would we employ administrators and professors who are not Associate Reformed Presbyterian or who are unwilling to become Associate Reformed Presbyterian? How does such a practice further the brand of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church?

Some will complain that if we took such a stance we would not be able to find qualified people to fill positions. Listen, there are more PhDs today than there are laboratory rats!

Part of the reason for the nearly 70 year conflict between Erskine and the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church is the unwillingness of Erskine to fully embrace the brand of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and the unwillingness of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church to demand that Erskine embrace the brand of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.

We have falsely bought the notion Erskine College is only about undergraduate education for everyone and anyone, and we must become all things to all people.

We have falsely bought the notion Erskine Seminary is only about seminary education for everyone and anyone, and we must become all thing to all people.

Institutionally, we have falsely bought the notion Erskine is about providing jobs for professional academics — and any ole PhD will do.

Erskine, as the educational agency of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, is about the vision of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian in undergraduate and seminary education. Those students (Associate Reformed Presbyterians and non-Associate Reformed Presbyterians) who want to join us in our vision and values are welcome. Those administrators and professors who are willing to embrace our vision and values and join us as Associate Reformed Presbyterians in advancing our mission are also welcome.

It is time for us to cease being a haven for the theological liberals, the philosophical nincompoops, and the academic mediocre who only want a job, despise our vision, loathe the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, and refuse to be one of us. We have tolerated behavior which has not promoted our brand, and it is time we ceased doing that which hinders our brand in Due West.

Fourth Proposal – Taking Associate Reformed Presbyterianism to the World

My fourth proposal asks a question: what is wrong with being Associate Reformed Presbyterian?

In the past, Presbyterian denominations have successfully planted Presbyterianism throughout the world in missionary endeavors. I highlight a few of our successes: (1) the old Northern Presbyterians, the PCUS, and Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Mexico; (2) the old PCUS in Brazil; (3) the Church of Scotland in Kenya; (4) the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland in Malawi; (5) the old Northern Presbyterian Church and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Korea; (6) various Presbyterian denominations in India, and (7) the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Pakistan.

Today, I do not see this taking place in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Why are we no longer focusing on advancing our brand in our missionary endeavors?

Why do we ask Associate Reformed Presbyterians to support brands other than ours? If our brand is worthy of advancing in the United States and Canada, why is our brand not worthy of planting in other locations today? If it is not appropriate to plant Associate Reformed Presbyterian congregations in places of missionary effort, why do we keep our brand here?

As an Associate Reformed Presbyterian, I am interested in advancing one brand: the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (throughout the United States and around the world). Certainly, I do not think the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church is the only Christian denomination, but Associate Reformed Presbyterian is the banner under which I lived and worked as a Christian minister, and it is the brand I intend to support.

Concluding Comments

Obviously, I am aware my proposals are controversial and, in some aspects, stringent. They are intended to provoke thought and discussion.

Obviously, I am also aware I have taken aim at sacred cows. However, what we have done in the past has failed and is continuing to fail, and we all know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. What do you propose?

These are my thoughts,

Charles W. Wilson


Photo Credit: Rachel

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  1. William EppsJr says:

    The answer is so simple, real simple. It does not require much research to realize that attitudes and behavior such as yours would turn anyone away. Instead of being open to progressive ideas the ARP church keeps beating the drum with the same old beliefs that do not reflect modern society. Does a 71 year old man think the same way as a 21 year old man? The ARP church as we know it may not exist in 100 years unless its current leadership opens it’s minds and hearts to new ideas. The conservative strong hold will not draw new members.

     
    • Chuck Wilson says:

      Dear William Epps,

      Thanks for the comment!

      William, you asked an interesting question: “Does a 71 year old man think the same way as a 21 year old man?” In my case, the answer is Yes, and in the case of others I know the answer is Yes. There is no such thing as “new and improved truth.” Truth is by definition changeless.

      William, I find it interesting that you continue to engage me.

      It is very difficult for us to have a meaningful dialogue.

      The Christianity I affirm is the religion of the Bible. As I see it, the religion you affirm is a neo-paganism which is a bastardization of Christianity. We are so far apart we don’t have common ground on which to begin a meaningful conversation.

      Nevertheless, I am alway delighted to give you space for your opinion. Actually, I usually learn a little something from you.

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

       
  2. This is an article that needs to be heeded. After 55 years as a Bible Presbyterian minister and missionary, I recall my ordination exam, seeking my knowledge of theology and the original languages and the Catechism just as you portrayed. There was not one word about “do the work of the evangelist” 2Tim.4:5. This was sort of a nebulous concept for years. From my mission work, both at home and then in Palestine and Africa, I soon learned that evangelism was integral to the pastorate. And even that was useless until it was bathed in tears and prayer – much prayer. Thanks for your article, and may God bless you and the ARP.

     
    • Chuck Wilson says:

      Dear Howard Carlson,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Thank you for your many years of faithful ministry.

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

       
  3. Carl Geisik says:

    Charles:

    You could not made it any clearer about our A.R.P. Denomination. I have wondered for many years why so many of our Congregations shy away from using any references to A.R.P. A small example, I inquired about purchasing more Bulletins with our Logo printed from Christian Education and was informed that only a handful of churches use them so they do not supply them anymore. I am thankful that both Wrens and Ebenezer churches that I Pastor still do, even though we have to go to a local printer. Keep up the pressure, and remain Vigilant.
    Carl Geisik

     
    • Chuck Wilson says:

      Dear Carl Geisik,

      Thanks for the comment.

      It’s good of hear from you Carl.

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

       
    • Andy Anderson says:

      Rev. Geisik – Sorry to usurp the forum here, but wanted to say “hi” when I saw your name. I aided you as a student during your time at Elsberry and Troy back in 1999, and I had thought of you several times in recent years, but was unsure where to find you, as I’m not in “ministry” proper any longer. I would love to reconnect, if possible. Can I reach you via phone at either of the church offices listed above? If not, perhaps Chuck would be kind enough to pass my email information along to you privately.

       
  4. Rhonda says:

    I ❤️ ARP 💒

     
  5. Chuck — well said. You’ve come into the ARP as a young man and “bought” into it. I did the same with the RPCNA. I “bought” into it. Being ashamed of one’s choice shows that one remains for wrong reasons. Making that choice, whether one was born in or came in later (like you and I) should bring about whole-hearted commitment. Particularly is this so in the leadership, whether that be at Session, Presbytery, Synod, or Synod’s missions, agencies, and ministries.

    This was a problem for many in the RPCNA. I think that the problem’s fading. It’s my hope and prayer that it’s starting to fade, too, in the ARP. May you be encouraged to see more buying in, and more increasing their spiritual investment in your part of the Reformed Church.

     
  6. R J Gore says:

    Chuck,

    We were surprised and greatly disappointed at some of the comments you have written about Erskine College and Seminary. We are all aware that Erskine has not always been faithful as an agency of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. The senior leaders of the college and seminary confessed our failures at this year’s General Synod. That was in June. Now in September you launch this broadside, barely three months later! We have made many changes over the last year, and are currently making many more- all to be more faithful to our mission and commitments as an agency of the ARP Church.

    Now, we are particularly grieved over your comments about Erskine Theological Seminary. You are, frankly, dead wrong! We have a seminary faculty that is second to none in the Reformed world, most of them recognized scholars in their respective fields, and almost all of them published in books and professional journals. To say that “We have falsely bought the notion that Erskine Seminary is only about seminary education for everyone and anyone, and we must become all things to all people” is not even close to accurate.

    Do we have non-ARP students at Erskine Seminary? Yes, we do, but regardless of their denominational background they are exposed to the theology and practices of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Do we have some professors who are not Associate Reformed Presbyterians? Yes, we do but they are called by God to serve Erskine and the ARP Church and to a man they are “pro ARP” in their teaching. In 2017, if you are not “pro ARP,” you are not on our faculty. Our current faculty is at Erskine Seminary because they are faithful scholars and dedicated to the spiritual formation of our students. They do “embrace” the ARP Church and like S. Paul, “they do all this for the sake of the gospel.” What is more, Erskine Theological Seminary is the only seminary that gives ARP ministers and elders a voice in who sits on its board and who teaches on its faculty.
     
    Will “any ole PhD” do at Erskine? No. In fact, our faculty have studied at the following graduate schools and theological seminaries: Bob Jones University, Calvin Theological Seminary, Columbia Theological Seminary, Covenant Theological Seminary, Erskine Theological Seminary, Faith Theological Seminary, Florida Atlantic University, Hebrew Union College, Knox Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, Reformed Theological Seminary, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Union Theological Seminary, the US Army War College, and Westminster Theological Seminary. They hold terminal or professional degrees (two faculty members have both DMin and PhD degrees) from overseas universities (University of Keele, Leiden University, University of Wales, and Ecole Superieure Robert de Sorbon), American universities (Georgia State University and Dropsie College/University of Pennsylvania), and American theological seminaries (Erskine Theological Seminary, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary).
     
    Chuck, you owe Erskine Seminary an apology.

    R. Leslie Holmes, Provost
    R. J. Gore Jr., Dean

     
    • Chuck Wilson says:

      Dear Leslie and RJ,

      Thank you for your comments and clarifications.

      Leslie and RJ, of course, I apologize to you — you’re my brothers. I wasn’t attempting to offend you. In public and private, I support your leadership. On a number of occasions, I have written I am thrilled with and enthusiastically endorse your faithfulness and the new direction you are taking our Seminary.

      As you know, I am a graduate of both RTS and our Seminary. Today, if a young man asked me where he should attend seminary, I would direct him to our Seminary. In the past, as you know RJ, I have directed a goodly number of men to our Seminary.

      RJ and Leslie, how did you come up with the idea I’m opposed to non-Associate Reformed Presbyterians attending our Seminary? You know I’m not. Here is what I wrote: “Those students (Associate Reformed Presbyterians and non-Associate Reformed Presbyterians) who want to join us in our vision and values are welcome.” This was and is my attitude! As a matter of fact, the last non-Associate Reformed Presbyterian I directed to our Seminary graduated about four or five years ago. My opportunities are now limited, but when I have the opportunity, I still direct non-Associate Reformed Presbyterians who are seeking seminary education to our Seminary.

      It seems you have taken great offense at two sentences I wrote. The first: “We have falsely bought the notion Erskine Seminary is only about seminary education for everyone and anyone, and we must become all thing to all people.” Well, we did. That certainly was the guiding principle under former leadership. Thankfully, under your leadership, it is no longer the guiding principle. I applaud you! I apologize to you for my lack of precision. I could have said it better.

      The context of my second offending sentences is this: “It is time for us to cease being a haven for the theological liberals, the philosophical nincompoops, and the academic mediocre who only want a job, despise our vision, loathe the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, and refuse to be one of us. We have tolerated behavior which has not promoted our brand, and it is time we ceased doing that which hinders our brand in Due West.” I think you agree, this is how we have operated in the past at both the College and Seminary. However, I am confident that under the leadership of Leslie Holmes and RJ Gore this will not re-occur! However, I want you to know I didn’t have the Seminary in mind when I wrote those words. Therefore, once again, I apologize. I should have been more precise with my words.

      I know there are those who say we need to forget about the past at both the College and Seminary and focus on the future only. Is that wise? In the Old Testament, the message of the Prophets to Israel was to remember. The Prophets called Israel to remember both her blessings and failures. Remembering her successes informed her where future blessings were to be found. Remembering her backslidings informed her where God’s blessing were not to be found. Like Israel, we need to remember both our past successes and failures in order to secure God’s favor in the future.

      Now, let me take a point of personal privilege. My article is about 50 paragraphs long. My first point is 23 paragraphs long? It is my driving emphasis. As I wrote, I had in mind our new James T. Corbitt Scholarship for Church Planters. What do you think? Also, what do you think of my corollary emphasis on “brand?”

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

       
  7. GJ Gerard says:

    Hi Chuck:

    GIJN!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    I would like to concentrate on #1. I am hoping to get a Memorial through NEP to ask Synod to re-write the FOG chapter(s) regarding ordination of ministers….with special attention to the far reaching authorities given to evangelists and missionaries – which makes them “one man presbyteries” which is NON-presbyterian, and definitely NOT needed with today’s technological abilities to communicate instantane3ously via the marvels of electronics. However, it would also be good to include re-writing the requirements and steps to ordination. There is also strong support in NEP for the position of Assistant Pastor which other NAPARC denominations allow.

    I agree with your sentiments….as I too purposely selected the ARP to be my denominational home some 40 years ago…and have also wondered why there was been a net negative growth in that period of time.

    I would focus on the different topics individually, and perhaps add a few more…to generate discussion and study and determine concrete steps to break the past molds which produced so much moldy (or musty) air!

    Enjoy the Day and give Thanks always. GODSpeed and GOD Bless!

    Rev. GJ Gerard
    V.I.M., WW, ARPC

     
    • Chuck Wilson says:

      Dear GJ Gerard,

      Thank you for the comments.

      The frist point is where I want the discussion to go, GJ. Whatever we are doing, it is not working. What can we do to change our model? Of course, as one who has spent most of his life in church planting and encouraging church planting, I am focused on advancing our “brand by means of new churches in places where our brand is unknown or little known.

      We have been around the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church a long time. We have more than 80 years of experience. We know what we have been doing is not working. GJ, what “different” topics do we need to focus on now? What do you suggest? We are both “old,” and we are free to speak openly. Perhaps, younger guys can benefit from our failures.

      Give us your particulars. If no one else is interested, I am.

      As in your case, my loyalty to the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church has not diminished with age.

      BTW, what does “GIJN” mean?

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

       
  8. Kirk Dickerson says:

    We are new to the ARP and while I agree with you I don’t think the problem of small church size and low growth only exists in the ARP. The OPC is about the same size as the ARP. It is made up of mostly small faithful congregations scattered throughout the US and yet it is a solid witness for truth. The PCA on the other hand is growing like crazy. The PCA has a style for every taste! While there are many good PCA churches there are also those congregations that are very “progressive” in worship style, philosophy etc. They are everything to everyone. We have been attending Greenville ARP for about 6 months and really like most everything about it. There is a sense that the ARP is becoming more conservative while the PCA is leaning left. Based upon the attendance I see on Sunday, Greenville ARP is growing! It is my prayer the the ARP continues to seek after Christ and the scripture for growth and not worry about being progressive or trendy.

     
    • Chuck Wilson says:

      Dear Kirk Dickerson,

      Thanks for your comments.

      Kirk, please don’t think I’m advocating “being progressive or trendy.” I’m not. If you were to cut me, you would find I bleed vanilla presbyterianism.

      Kirk, we agree!

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

       

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