Synod 2014 (RPCNA) – “A great time to be Reformed Presbyterian”

The RPCNA Synod met for the 183rd time at the end of June. Nathan Eshelman again wrote daily reports for the Aquila Report website. There are lots of exciting things going on in the RPCNA at the minute. Here are some of the highlights:

Church Planting

“The Home Mission Board reported on the significant church planting that has been going on in the RPCNA. A number of years ago the synod adopted the 20/20 Vision which was 20 new congregations by 2020. The RPCNA is only four congregations away from meeting that vision.

Global Mission

“New works are being explored in India and Pakistan. There is also interest in investigating Mexico City as well as South Korea. Rev. Vince and Julie Ward, our first missionaries in South Sudan, have announced that they will be coming back to Canada in June 2015. The Board is looking for a pastor who would be willing to continue the very good work that has been done in South Sudan.

Kingship of Christ

“In the afternoon, Synod spent some time discussing how the kingship of Jesus Christ applies to us in a culture growing ever more hostile. A seven man committee was recommended to study current applications of the mediatorial kingship of Christ. At least three of the committee members will be from countries outside North America. The charge to this committee is to attempt to solidify ways we can biblically apply Christ’s kingship to our current cultural climate.


“Dr. Jerry O’Neill, President of RPTS, spoke about his work at the seminary. He asked the court to pray that God would raise up men to fill open pulpits throughout the denomination and pulpits that will open in the next couple of years due to retirements. He also challenged Synod to consider the increasingly global nature of the ministries of both our seminary and our denomination.

In the next couple of years two strategic positions at RPTS will be open due to upcoming retirements—Director of the Biblical Counseling Institute and Seminary President. These important appointments deserve our faithful attention.

Crown & Covenant: Butterfield and Psalm singing in demand

“We heard of the work of Crown and Covenant and give thanks for the wide influence of the book Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Dr. Rosaria Butterfield. The book has been translated into a number of languages including Korean and Portuguese. There is also a French translation in the making. Crown and Covenant’s sales of the Book of Psalms for Worship has increased and is selling widely as a renewed interest in Psalm singing has come upon many branches of the visible church.

Ruling elders

“A study committee on ruling elders at synod reported. It was noted that it is difficult to get ruling elders to attend synod and this committee studied the reasons behind this. A few mentioned that some ruling elders thought that the courts of the church were inefficient and others mentioned vacation time needed to attend. There was a plea for more ruling elders to attend. Rev. Bruce Backensto reminded the court that ruling elders are under vows to participate in the higher courts of the church. The committee will continue to study the issue and seek to get ruling elders to come to synod.


“The most wonderful committee report of the day was the Judicial Committee: “We have no report, Mr. Moderator.” Please continue to pray for peace in the RPCNA, that the brothers will be faithful to our confessional heritage and committed to the reformed faith and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

RP Global Alliance

“A recommendation to work toward a global alliance of Reformed Presbyterian Churches was also approved. This effort would seek to bring all of the RP bodies from around the world into greater fellowship and deliberation as we attempt to stand for the kingship of Christ in the midst of a rebellious world. It is a great time to be Reformed Presbyterian. May the Lord bless our labors and give us opportunity to exhibit humility and present the gospel of our great king and head.”

Next year the RPCNA Synod will meet concurrently with the ARP Synod – see Report 4 for more details on the $64,000 question. Looks like it will clash with our Synod.

Report 1 | Report 2 | Report 3