22 June 2012


Note:  At the 32d General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) at First Presbyterian Church, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I have had the joyous opportunity of seeing many dear friends.  One of my heroes, Rev. Dr. James Quillin, whom I first met at the first convocation of the New Wineskins Association of Churches held in Edina, Minnesota in June 2005, asked me "When are you going to return to blogging?"   Well, here it is.  If you like it, thank Dr. Quillin.  If you throw up your hands and run screaming for the exits, blame me.

For most Presbyterians, the word "fun" and the words "General Assembly" do not usually appear in the same sentence.  Rather, GA is usually beset with controversy and bickering, leaving commissioners (at least ruling elder commissioners and not a few teaching elders) worn out spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  Consider the last 15 GA's of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

There have been battles over the authority of Scripture, the Trinity, ordination standards, and in a week or so, the definition of marriage. 

Battle is never fun, and PC(USA) general assemblies were battles--events to be dreaded.  Somehow, the joy of spreading biblically orthodox, Reformed faith was hijacked and moral relativism was substituted in its place.

As a result, beginning in 2007, our congregation, and approximately 180 others fought their way out of the PC(USA) and were welcomed into the EPC.  Suddenly, GA was something to look forward to, not to dread.

At the general assemblies of the EPC, we experienced a joy of worshiping with brothers and sisters, of seeing trust in God and in each other lived out, and being part of a church that saw as its first mission the spreading of the good news of Jesus Christ.  Instead of parliamentary procedure as a contact sport, the EPC's GA spent more time praying and worshiping than it did on business.  Disagreements were expressed courteously and lovingly.

This year's GA is no different.  We have had unbelievably powerful preaching from Rev. Paul Mpindi, a native of Democratic Republic of Congo and an ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church, Rev. Doug Klein the Moderator of the 31st General Assembly of the EPC, and Rev. Dr. Gerrit Dawson, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Baton Rouge.  We have looked toward the future when we pray that God will allow us to spread that Good News "in Jerusalem, and Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth"--and to the end of the block, too.

I will return to our session and congregation spiritually refreshed.  And that is fun...


Reformed Catholic said...

I was going to say ... Fun, at a GA???.

Then I realized it was at a GA that has no political maneuverings, that actually looks for the Spirit moving in deliberations.

Then I realized, it was not an oxymoron.

Mac said...

Thanks, RC. At the suggestion of my little sister, to whom I usually lend a respectful ear, I have toned down and shortened the history. But, oh, boy, are we havin' fun on the bayou!

Bill Crawford said...

It was so good to see you my friend and brother, and others of the old consistory. Yes GA was fun but even more it was deeply meaningful, challenging, and a mountaintop experience.