For information on Portland-Vancouver Fellowship, contact Greg at 360-433-5883.
Tri-Lakes RPC is now meeting in Monument, CO
Tri-Lakes RPC is a new church plant of the RPCNA now meeting in Monument, CO every Lord’s Day morning at 9:45.
From the church’s website:
“Tri-Lakes Reformed Church is a recently “daughtered” congregation of the Springs Reformed Church (RPCNA), and we are currently meeting at the Woodmoor Community Center (aka “The Barn”) located at 1691 Woodmoor Dr. in Monument, CO.
The “Reformed” in our name refers to our adherence to the biblical principles reasserted in the Protestant Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries. Our spiritual heritage particularly comes from the Reformation in Scotland and the Scottish Covenanters. “Presbyterian” refers to our form of church government. Each congregation is under the oversight of a plurality of elders, who are also part of broader courts known as Presbyteries and Synod.
Our heartfelt desire is to worship God according to His will, in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). We desire to glorify Him in our lives as individual Christians and as a body of believers united to Jesus Christ our Lord. If you live in the Colorado Springs area, or are planning to move or visit here, we invite you to come and worship with us!”
and also regarding worship:
“God desires to be acknowledged as holy by those who approach Him in worship (e.g. Lev. 10:3; Heb. 12:28-29). Thus we must approach Him on His own terms. His terms are dictated to us in the Bible, and we can summarize those terms by what is known as the biblical “Regulative Principle of Worship”. The RPW stated simply is, do what God commands, and whatever is not commanded, do not do (Duet. 12:32).
In accordance with the regulative principle of worship we have a Christ-centered, Word-oriented worship service. We begin with a call to worship from the Word and come in Christ’s merits into the presence of God. We pray according to the Word and in Christ’s name. We sing the Psalms—the songs of the Word—exclusively (and without musical accompaniment), as they primarily speak of Him (e.g. Luke 20:42-44). We hear the Word read—the Word of Christ (Rom. 10:17). We hear the Word preached—Christ and Him crucified. We leave being blessed by the benedictions from the Word—the blessing of Christ. We desire, above all, to be pleasing to God in our worship. And thus, our worship is not entertainment, but a reverent, yet joyous time of praising and adoring our triune God and the salvation He has provided for His people.”
Please give your prayer and support to Tri-Lakes RPC!
Pageland RPC moves to morning worship services starting this Lord’s Day at 11 a.m.
A new church plant in Pageland, SC will now hold worship services every Lord’s Day morning at 11 am.
From the church’s website:
“Pageland Reformed Presbyterian Church is a ministry of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA). We are located in Pageland, South Carolina – 55 minutes from downtown Charlotte, North Carolina and 75 minutes from downtown Columbia, South Carolina.
We meet for worship at 11:00 am in the Cambridge Hall at the Guest Lodge located at:
910 West McGregor Street
Pageland, SC 29728-2014
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 843.622.5853 with any questions.
What we believe:
Our beliefs all stem from a full commitment to the authority of the Bible as the inerrant, infallible Word of God. This means that we believe in the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We acknowledge our total inability to save ourselves and, in faith, depend on Christ alone as our Savior. We acknowledge Him as Lord in every area of life, and we vow together to advance His Kingdom on earth.
God made man in His image to glorify and enjoy Him. In the public worship of the church, the people of God, redeemed by Christ, glorify and enjoy the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as He reveals Himself in His Word.
Jesus Christ, as our Prophet, Priest and King, has revealed to His people how to worship Him in a pleasing manner. Therefore, “the acceptable way of worshiping the true God is instituted by Himself and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshiped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures” (Westminster Confession of Faith 21:1 [p.49]). This means true worship is commanded by God only; false worship is anything not commanded. In other words, if God did not direct us in the Bible to do something–we do not do it.”
A news article from November in the Progressive Journal from here quotes the Rev. Frank Smith, “We have maintained the practice of singing the Biblical songs in public worship without musical accompaniment. We’ve maintained those standards through the years. We believe this is the way that God desires to be worshiped. We believe that worship should be worship.”
Please pray for a continuous “supply” of Pulpit Supply as our brethren in SC begin to hold worship services on a regular basis.
UPDATED April 16, 2011: Rev. Kenneth Stewart to the RPCS…
The following is from the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland website.
“The RPCS has received an application from Rev. Kenneth Stewart (formerly minister of Dowanvale Free Church of Scotland) to be received as a minister in the RPCS.” found here
And later as of April 16th:
“Rev. Kenneth Stewart, upon his assent to the ordination vows of the RPCS, became a minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland on Saturday the 16th April.”
Thanks to Connor Quigley for bringing this to our attention.
A Response to the Decisions of the Plenary Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland
The Rev. Kenneth Stewart provides a response to the recent Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland that voted to allow the singing of uninspired hymns and instrumental music in worship. This is a well written and very informative response that I recommend for your reading.
A Response to the Decisions of the Plenary Assembly
Here are a few selections:
“The situation now created is a mess. I will say something on its practical implications below, but it should give pause for thought that our vow on worship (which is part of our constitution) is now officially committing us to uphold two mutually exclusive views on worship as both being biblical. We now solemnly vow to uphold uninspired hymns as being both commanded and forbidden! The fact that we could enshrine such a legislative position in our constitution is worthy of several adjectives but ‘remarkable’ will have to do for now.”
“This brings us rather neatly to the novel and convenient idea that by binding us to ‘purity of worship as presently authorised and practised in this church’ our forefathers meant to leave the form of worship an open question, something to be decided at any given time by the church. In other words, anyone taking the vow would be required to commit themselves to what was, effectively, an unknown. Surely, a little serious reflection should expose the absurdity of requiring a solemn vow to an unknown practice! After all, how could the person taking the vow know what would be ‘presently authorised and practiced’ in, two, five or ten years time and how then could he pretend to swear to it?”
“The church to which we belong, in continuity with its Reformed heritage and practice, could only find express authority for singing psalms. These psalms could arguably include the ‘scripture songs’ of the Bible which are, of course, psalms themselves. (These are the ‘scripture songs’ which the 1707 Assembly gave consideration to singing, not ‘paraphrases’ or ‘hymns’). This is why the Westminster Confession, in its chapter on worship, specifies the ‘singing of psalms’ as an element of worship.”
“As was pointed out on the floor of the Assembly, the list of worship elements offered by the Confession is not a suggestive list but an exhaustive one. In other words, it does not say ‘worship consists of things like this of which there may be many others besides’, but, ‘all this and nothing else is worship’. That is why the Assembly produced a psalm book, rather than a psalm/hymn book for singing. This Confessional position of psalm singing was what was ‘authorised and practiced’ when I took my vow and, indeed, when Mr Robertson took his. I promised, as he did, to assert, maintain and defend this, and not allow anything that is subversive of it. He now believes that I should have no difficulty in switching the subject of my allegiance to the permission of accompanied uninspired songs.”
“It seems to be the case that Mr Robertson is completely ignoring what my vow requires me to do: it now requires me to believe that our new position (psalms and hymns permissible) is ‘founded on the Word of God and agreeable to it.’ I am now supposed to follow no ‘divisive course’ from this position.”
“Put simply, a vow to uphold purity of worship as presently authorised and practised is not the same as a vow to uphold whatever practice the church authorises. Can Mr Robertson not see the difference?”
“On the contrary, as in the areas of doctrine and government, the church meant to bind itself for all time in its worship practice. Some people profess to find this horrifying. I fail to see why. If the church can bind its government to perpetual Presbyterianism (because that’s what it finds in the Bible) and bind its doctrine to perpetual infant baptism (because that’s what it finds in the Bible), I fail to see why it cannot bind its worship to perpetual Psalm singing (because that’s what it finds in the Bible as well). As in the areas of doctrine and government, the church meant to bind itself in public worship, for all time, to what could be proved expressly from scripture with no addition whatsoever.”
“Sadly, I think it is all too obvious why the Barrier Act was sidestepped, against the advice of both Clerks: it was put rather eloquently by one of the speakers, proposing change, who asked ‘What is the point of putting this back down to Presbyteries when we know what the result will be?’ I think that question reveals it all. It indicates very plainly that the main motive for sidestepping the Barrier Act was to rush through what was felt to be possibly out of step with the views of a majority of office bearers. This is clearly contempt of established church procedure as well as contempt of office-bearers.”
“The church is clearly, and with astonishing accuracy, repeating all the mistakes of the 19th century. And it should be a source of wonder to all that the Free Church is looking for her examples in public worship to the era of the Moderates (which introduced the paraphrases, only officially authorised for one year, in the 1780’s) and the era of Rainy (which introduced hymns and musical accompaniment in the 1870’s and 1880’s respectively). It shouldn’t be forgotten that the church which chose to do this was a church which fragmented shortly afterwards.”
“The Free Church needs less sniping at its constitution, more confidence in her heritage, history and message, and an aggressive reaching out with it to a needy country. The country isn’t fed up of psalms: it needs to hear and understand them. It is astonishingly typical of the so-called ‘progressives’ in the Free Church to reject what is in fact just coming back into vogue: all over the world, there is a resurgence of psalm singing and when that world most needs our witness to the exclusive use of the Songs of the Covenant King, we downgrade and compromise them.”
“The Lord is sovereign, and who can doubt that he is shaking the Scottish churches? This shaking will be done in God’s way and in God’s time, and who amongst us knows how the ecclesiastical landscape may look when he is done with it?”
Rev Kenneth Stewart (Dowanvale Free Church)
Free Church of Scotland votes to allow hymns and musical instruments in worship
Well, by now the news has gotten around that the Free Church of Scotland has voted to allow for the use of hymns and musical instruments in their churches. For the cause of Biblical worship, this is certainly a disappointing decision. I cannot comment on the state of the Free Church itself, though I don’t have a favorable impression that they’ve been a strong church in recent years. I could be wrong.
For those who haven’t heard, this is the statement from their website:
Worship Statement (Updated)
November 20, 2010
Free Church of Scotland Decides to Allow for the Singing of Hymns and the Use of Musical Instruments in its Congregations
The Free Church of Scotland, at a special Plenary Assembly, which took place on 18th and 19th November, decided to give liberty to its congregations to sing hymns and use instruments, if individual Kirk Sessions so choose. The special Assembly, which consisted of all its ministers with an equal number of elders, met in Edinburgh and debated over whether to overturn the 100 year old prohibition, which has identified the Free Church as a psalm-singing church.
The debate over its form of worship has lasted for the last five years, since the Moderator at that time, Rev. Donald Smith questioned the prohibition of musical instruments in its services.
The main motion which came from the Church’s Board of Trustees sought to retain the “status quo”, which is the ”avoidance of uninspired materials of praise and musical instruments”, but give more flexibility in understanding as to what is meant by that. But this motion was opposed by Rev. Alex MacDonald, who proposed that the Free Church give liberty to individual congregations to sing scriptural hymns, as well as psalms, if their elders so chose.
The debate, which lasted Thursday evening and most of Friday, was harmonious throughout. Rev. MacDonald’s motion carried by a majority of 98 to 84.
A statement intended for Free Church congregations regarding its decision (including the exact finding of Assembly) on sung praise can be found by clicking this link:
We’ve seen this type of decision many times in the recent history of the church. The end result of allowing hymns usually ends up with the exclusion of the Psalms altogether. It also means an openness to other questionable practices into the worship of the church.
What are your thoughts on this recent decision?
“…for the sake of union, we believe that many of our body would be willing to forbear with their Presbyterian brethren in the use of other songs in the worship of God.”
This is a news report on a Union Conference held between the Old School Presbyterians and the ARP church in 1856 or 1857. The Evangelical Repository of 1857 records the words of the Due West Telescope.
“A Union Convention In The South.—Some time since, members of the Synods of South Carolina and Georgia tendered invitations to members of the Associate Reformed Synod of the South, to consider the propriety of a union being formed between these bodies under the care of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, (Old School). Negotiations were accordingly entered into, and after various steps had been taken it was at length proposed that a Convention of delegates from each body should be held at Columbia, S. C, on the 23d of March (?1857). This Convention was held, and the Due-West Telescope gives us the following brief but interesting account of the meeting and its apparent result:—
‘The Convention in Columbia was smaller than we had hoped it would be. Only six Associate Reformed ministers, and about as many elders, were present. There were about twice as many of the Presbyterian body. The Convention was opened by a very appropriate sermon by Dr. Smythe, of Charleston. The following officers were then elected:—Dr. J. B. Adger, of the Columbia Seminary, President; Rev. W. R. Hemphill, Vice President; Dr. M’Bryde and Rev. C. B. Betts, Secretaries. After some further preliminaries, the Convention adjourned until Wednesday morning.
The first hour and a half of the next morning’s session were spent in devotional exercises. After this it was proposed, as the best means of reaching the end for which we had met, that the Convention divide itself into two committees; the Presbyterians forming one, and the Associate Reformed members constituting the other; that these Committees should occupy different rooms, and carry on a correspondence by letter. This seemed to us to be a very unfortunate arrangement, but it was adopted. Two letters by each committee were passed. The first was sent by the Presbyterians, and expressed a willingness to take their A. R. brethren just as they are, without making any requirements of them. To this the A. R. Committee replied that they earnestly desired the Union, but that they regarded the adjustment of the Psalmody question as necessary to its consummation. To this end they proposed that a new version of the Psalms be prepared by translation or collation, or both, as literal as might be in consistency with the laws of versification; that this version should take the place in the Union Book of Praise, of both Rouse and Watts; that it should be received and used by both churches, not on the principles of accommodation or forbearance, but as being authorized by the Head of the church, and by the church itself. Then it was said that while we do not feel at liberty ourselves to use anything else in the praise of God than the Scripture Psalms, yet, for the sake of union, we believe that many of our body would be willing to forbear with their Presbyterian brethren in the use of other songs in the worship of God.
To this our Presbyterian brethren replied that if they understood us, they were ready for the Union upon our ground. But, to save time, they insisted “that the new version be made a result, rather than a condition of union. But it was doubted by some of the A. R. Committee whether our Presbyterian brethren understood fully the terms proposed to them. Hence in our reply to their second letter, the fact was brought out more fully, that we desired the Psalms not only to have a place in the book of praise, but we desired them to be used. And we insisted on a new version as a condition of union, because of the prejudice that we believed existed against the one we now use.
Here the correspondence was stopped at 12 o’clock at night. Many members of the Convention had made their arrangements to leave on Thursday morning; and although the Convention adjourned to meet next morning, it was understood that nothing further would be done.
From this hasty sketch it will be seen that nothing tangible was accomplished. The meeting was a pleasant one. Not an incident occurred to mar the good feelings of any one. Rouse was sang, from first to last, and sang well. The audience that was in attendance manifested a decided interest in the objects of the Convention, and seemed greatly disappointed when it adjourned without bringing the parties more closely together. The members of the Convention were all handsomely entertained by the good people of the Presbyterian Church in Columbia, and in return we hope they received some spiritual benefit.
The proceedings of the Convention, together with Dr. Smythe’s sermon, were ordered to be published in Southern Presbyterian and Due-West Telescope. A committee, consisting of Dr. Smythe and Rev. W. R. Hemphill, was appointed to write a letter to the churches.’ ”