General Synod 2011 began this morning with a wonderful sermon by Rev. Kyle Sims from 1 Corinthians 1. Rev. Sims challenged pastors to make prayer a priority, to pray after the sermon (i.e., to pray on Sunday afternoon for the work of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the word), to pray for the lost by name.
He also told pastors to stop looking at people in church as warm bodies and potential income and asked a question: What are we doing to give people the free offer of the gospel?
Moderator Steve Maye gave a stirring retiring Moderator’s address, and then introduced the new Moderator of General Synod, Andy Putnam. Rev. Putnam presented the theme for this year’s Synod: The Free Offer of the Gospel in the 21st Century. He detailed a couple of present needs in the ARP Church: to renew existing churches and replant new ones, and to recapture the ARP’s historical heritage of the free offer of the gospel.
He then presented some sobering statistics of concern for the ARP Church (these may be viewed in Quicktime here). The Moderator encouraged revival in the ARP through prayer, preaching, and practice.
Most of the business on this day is usually mundane. One item of note was the presentation of a committee report that outlined policy for removal of board members.
A report from a committee designed to give ecclesiastical oversight and support to the campus minister at Erskine was adopted.
A motion from the floor that would condemn the recent actions of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in ordaining practicing homosexuals was referred to committee.
An address by the president of ARP Women’s Ministries was heard, as were addresses from fraternal delegates from the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA) and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
The real treat of the evening, however, was the adoption of a new psalter by the Synod. This psalter was put together with a great deal of help from the RPCNA. A complementary copy of the psalter was provided for each ARP Church, so one of these will be traveling back with me to Louisville, and hopefully not too late on Thursday.
Tim Phillips is an ordained minister in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. He serves as pastor of the Midlane Park ARP Church
in Louisville, Kentucky. He blogs at Gairney Bridge where this article first appears. Since the staff of The Aquila Report is at the PCA General Assembly, we will post articles by Tim (and perhaps others) from the ARP Synod this week.