Volume. XXX, No. 53
Sunday, 26 June 2016


Part 2 - The Bible Presbyterian Church: Striving for Purity and Adequately Serving the Lord


Churches Striving for Purity and Adequacy: Presbyterian Church of America, Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and Bible Presbyterian Church
The death of Dr. J. Gresham Machen was one of the reasons the new Presbyterian Church of America had a brief existence. Issues of lesser importance than those of the Auburn Affirmation began to come forward. They included these areas:

Eschatology – amillennialism, premillennialism, postmillennialism.
Denominational control or independent control of church agencies
Issues of Christian liberty, especially the church’s position on the drinking of alcoholic beverages
Issues concerning the Bible’s teaching on separation from believers in, or working with, apostate groups (2nd degree separation)

While these issues were not major in defining Presbyterianism, they were allowed to become divisive and split the church. Out of this struggle the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Bible Presbyterian Church were founded in 1938.

It is my opinion that this separation should never have happened. There is no perfect Presbyterian Church, or pastor. “The purest churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error; and some have so degenerated as to become no church of Christ, but synagogues of Satan. Nevertheless, there shall be always a church on earth, to worship God according to His will.” (WCF 25:5)

We should seek ways of working together with those Presbyterians who like us are striving for purity and adequacy in serving the Lord. There is much said in scripture about purity, unity, and peace (see Eph 4:1-16). I have enjoyed God’s faithfulness in using the Bible Presbyterian Church for His purpose. It has been very rewarding to work with others who truly are saved, love the Lord, and are seeking to please Him. God has given us His Word and the Bible Presbyterian Church has sought to obey it. There have been times of salvation and real church growth.

As a denomination we have been blessed with godly men who have led in establishing mission boards, colleges, seminaries, rest homes, conference centers, radio broadcasts, interdenominational church fellowships (nationally and worldwide), youth ministries, and international Christian relief centers. Truly God has blessed the Bible Presbyterian Church.

The Bible Presbyterian Church has been consistent in its loyalty to Scripture and the Westminster Standards since its founding. It has at times been inadequate in dealing with minor and administrative issues. “Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand” (Rom 14:4). These problems have caused split after split. Therefore, today, the Bible Presbyterian Church is a remnant of what it was just forty years ago. Our future depends on being able to deal with minor issues and administrative problems without splitting the Church.

A Church Maintaining Its Purity And Improving Its Adequacy: The Bible Presbyterian Church in the 21st Century
I praise God for continuing to use the Bible Presbyterian Church. Some of the signs of His blessing are our young people who are training and considering serving in the Bible Presbyterian Church, and younger ministers who are having good and faithful ministries in our churches. Another may be those of us who are retired or near retirement being of help to these gifted younger leaders.

As we enter into the 21st century, we must adequately deal with the issues that come our way without splitting the Church. “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another” (1 Cor 12:25). We must be careful not to destroy our own denomination. Here are some areas that come to mind to enable us to improve the Bible Presbyterian Church.

We must humble ourselves before God and one another. Many problems are caused by pride and failure to forgive and be reconciled (1 Pet 5:1-11).
We must solve problems in our independent agencies and not allow them to overwhelm the local churches and the denomination. Our first priority is to build the local church.
We need to make a real effort to enlarge our local congregations through evangelism and discipleship. We must not be hesitant in our pulpits to encourage people to repent of their sins and trust in Christ as their Savior (1 Cor 1:20-25).
It is important that we all keep ourselves in the love of God (Jude 20-21). When we remove the log in our own eye we will be of more help to others (Matt 7:1-5).
We should seek fellowship with other Bible believing Presbyterian Churches (1 John 3:14).
Beware of having a high view of the Bible but preaching politics instead. God’s people must be taught God’s Word (2 Tim 4:1-5).
Christ is the head of the Church (Col 1:16-18). May we always seek to please Him rather than men (Gal 1:10).
Beware of legalism in all of its forms. I understand legalism to be taking a strong stand on issues not clear in Scripture and making them a rule of faith and practice. The Bible does teach liberty in some matters, and we should avoid judging one another in these areas (Rom 14:1-23).
We used to use the Harvey Cedars Resolution (1945) as our position on separation. It stated that we separate from those who deny God’s Word in doctrine or practice. It also warned that there were risks in fellowshipping with those who are true to Scripture themselves but remain in apostate churches. I believe this to be a biblical position, and one we can practice with consistency.

(The Harvey Cedars Resolution - 1945)

We hold that it is a Christian’s duty to separate himself from all cooperation in religious activities with those who deny the full authority and dependability of the Word of God, and that no consideration of expediency could ever warrant such cooperation.
As concerns cooperation with those who, while themselves believing in the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, continue in membership in denominations which include known unbelievers, and fail to see clearly and to observe fully the scriptural injunction to separate themselves from such organizations, we hold that this is a sphere of expediency, that is, one in which no man’s conscience may be bound by other men; however, we as a Synod feel that great harm is done in many cases by such cooperation, and hence that it is unwise to enter upon or continue in them without careful consideration.
Regarding such individuals as are described in paragraph (1), we should seek by every possible means to win them to Christ; regarding such individuals as are described in paragraph (2), we urge that they be dealt with in a spirit of brotherly love, seeking by every proper means to win them to the scriptural position of separation rather than to drive them from us, and yet not violating our conscience.

As our Church becomes more reformed, we must be careful not to become hyper-Calvinists. May we be the means God uses to win the lost and build His Church.
We need to strive for the purity, peace and unity of the Church. All three of these are important. We must not be content with one or two of the three (Ordination Vow).
Our agencies, whether synod controlled or independent, must give accurate and understandable reports to their supporters.
Financial matters must be kept in such a way as to be acceptable to God and men (2 Cor 8:21).
We need to hold firm to the biblical account of creation. God created all things out of nothing by the Word of His power in six days, and it was very good. There is no reason to interpret “days” other than twenty-four hour days.
We must reach out to Bible believing colleges and seminaries and encourage their graduates to become ministers and missionaries in our denomination.
Our book of discipline should be revised so that the steps of discipline are clear. It is always the purpose to restore the offender to good standing in the Church as God changes the heart.
We should keep a balanced ministry by preaching the whole counsel of God to our congregations (Acts 20:26-28).

Conclusion
Clearly the Bible Presbyterian Church was born out of conflict, and has had its own problems. Through it all, it has maintained its integrity to Scripture and the Westminster Standards. Our great need is to be able to deal with lesser issues in a way that brings peace, purity, and unity to our Church. May God be pleased to lead us all in building a strong Bible Presbyterian Church. As we stand “For the Word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ,” let us remember who God’s people are. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy” (1 Pet 2:9-10).

by Albert W. Cook in WRS Journal 11/2 (Aug 2004)

This article was written in early 1980s for a magazine of a BP seminary, Western Reformed Seminary Journal.

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Kitchen Roster - Helpers this week: Bro Danny Chu; Sisters Clara Ki & Daphne Lai. Helpers next week: Bros Edwin D’Mello & Jae Hoon Mun; Sis Grace Gan.
*All members are expected to attend ECM after Worship Service to vote a second time to confirm constitutional amendment.
Proposed amendment: Clause 16.1 from, “The number of Deacons shall not be more than seven, or one to every forty communicant members, whichever is the greater number.”
to:
“There shall be a minimum number of two Deacons in the Session at all times.”
*ACM Reports: All leaders of fellowship, ministry & Bible Study groups, please submit your reports by 17 July to Dn Colin Gan.
*Election for the new (8th) Session will be held at next month’s ACM. Nomination of candidates begins now & will close on 10 July.

Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: & others arriving safely at their destinations.
Visitors & new worshippers.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Church activities in the  past week.
Healing: Bros Michael Leong & Gregg Eustice’s mother.

Prayer Items
Health & God’s healing - Pastor Ki; Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Patrick Tan (S’pore) & Rev George van Buuren; Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe;& others in affliction.
God’s comfort in bereavement: Sis Grace Chung.
iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry in Melbourne.
Cambodia Missions:
Other missions: House of Hope, Cebu– salvation & healing of drug addicts.
New Life BPC (London)
Future ministry at Hope BPC: Bro Kevin Low & family.
Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.
Providence B-P Church, Mawson Lakes - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.
Journey mercies: Elder David & Sis Giok Yeo (Sydney); Deaconess Purdee Yeo & Sis Sarah Carpenter (Kenya); & all those who are travelling.
Safety in pregnancy: Sis Emily Zhang.
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
Jobs: Those seeking for jobs in Adelaide.
University & Year 12 students’ exams & final reports.
God’s guidance & provision of new church. property for worship, office & fellowship activities.
Federal elections: Australians to vote wisely next Saturday.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063