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.Read More
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.Read More
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."
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.Read More
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. Read More
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.Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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!Read More
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.Read More
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:Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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 . . . Read More
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! Read More
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? Read More
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?Read More
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…’” Read More
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"Read More
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. Read More
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.