Last week I had the privilege of attending the 182nd Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America in Marion, Indiana. For my Indian brothers who are unfamiliar with the concept of a synod, here is a simple definition: a synod is the highest court of a presbyterian church. Elders from across denomination come together to consider matters which affect the entire denomination.
I will not be able to describe each day of the Synod (as has been done here) but I am simply going to list the main things that I learned from attending it.
Synod Exemplified God’s Generational Faithfulness
The moderator of the Synod constituted the court by saying: “Welcome to the 182nd synod of Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America.” Immediately all those passages in Psalms which speak of fathers teaching their children the word of God generation after generation came to my mind. I was so thankful that God has preserved this church (now my church!) for the last 182 years. In my estimation, the RP church has remained faithful to God for this long because she has clearly confessed her theology through the Westminster standards and RP Testimony and has passed this legacy on to her children generation after generation. Presbyterian polity, which she inherited from her Scottish forefathers, has also given her ecclesiastical robustness. Of course, none of these ecclesiastical features in and of themselves insulate her from apostasy but God has used these to keep her faithful. And for these reasons I was thrilled to be part of the RP synod. Continue reading
Back in 2004, I was a young Christian. I was zealous for the Lord and dreamt big things for the Lord. In that year, I was attending a conference and in that conference we were asked to get together in groups and come out with a vision for Christ particular to India. Four of us got together and we came up with an idea, largely at my initiative, which seemed absolutely outlandish. I led the group in drawing an outline of India with the Parliament building at its center, and with an open Bible at its center. All this was to say that one day Jesus Christ will be acknowledged even by the Indian government. One member of my group, although he had reluctantly agreed to go with my idea, after our presentation, smiled at me and said that I am dreaming an impossibility. Although I resented his comment at that time, in the course of years, after I was introduced to the radical Dispensational eschatology and a missional theology that interprets all occurrences of the word “nation” in the New Testament as “people groups”, I myself felt that I had entertained silly ideas and gave up my “childish ways.” Continue reading
Although I arrived in US only a month and a half ago for my seminary internship here at Second RP, I have found myself preaching to my new local church three times! I have done two psalm explanations and have preached once in the evening service in this short time. The first two times I went up to the pulpit I had my detailed sermon notes firmly tucked into my Bible lest I forget what I am going to say! I faced the congregation, an American one, with a lot of trepidation. Keeping the time limit and following my outline was on top of my mind. All this seemed like an examination in which I was desperately trying to excel often causing me anxiety. Continue reading
RSI stands for Reformation Society of Indiana. RSI is a fellowship of churches who hold to the Five Solas of the Protestant Reformation. Leaders from Presbyterian, Congregational, Baptist and Independent churches from around central Indiana come together for luncheon meetings once in two months to study and discuss the word of God, and encourage one another in prayer. I went for one such luncheon a week before and I was thoroughly blessed.
Pastor Rich and I drove to Gray Road Baptist Church at noon and were warmly greeted by the church staff who were busy preparing lunch for us. After twenty minutes of our arrival, people started trickling in and I was able to fellowship with a few brothers before the meeting. One among them was Bob Amon, a Princeton graduate, who has shared about his faith in Jesus Christ on national radio unapologetically. His testimony encouraged me tremendously. Continue reading
A few days ago I had the joy of being part of a presbytery meeting of the Great Lakes Gulf Presbytery of the RPCNA. This was my first ever opportunity to witness the functioning of a presbyterian church and I was really excited. The agenda of the meeting was to examine two candidates; one candidate was examined to be ordained for pastoral ministry and the other was examined to be given a license to preach. Continue reading
The last two points of Calvinism are known as Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of Saints. The form the I and P of the TULIP acronym.
By Irresistible Grace we mean that it is the Holy Spirit who calls a sinner out of his deadness in sin and makes him alive in Jesus Christ (Eph 2:15; Col2 :13; 1 John 5:1). This call – which is often termed as the internal call or effectual call – cannot be resisted. There are plethora of passages from which this doctrine can be proved. I will choose just two. In John 6: 37, Jesus says that all whom the Father has given him will come to him. On the other hand, in John 6:44 , he says that no one come to the him unless the Father draws that person. These two verses form a logical construct called syllogism. From these two verses we can easily conclude that all that God the Father draws towards Jesus will put their faith in Jesus; and none but these only. This ‘drawing’ happens through agency of the Holy Spirit (Eze 37:3-6, 11-14; Joh 3:3-8). This act of drawing a sinner or making him alive is termed in theology as Regeneration. Continue reading
I owe a great deal of debt to John Bunyan. When I was going through a crisis in my life, it was his book, the Pilgrim’s Progress, which brought me immense comfort and encouragement. The same book also introduced me to Calvinistic theology, a set of doctrinal truths which have become the anchor of my soul. So as I went through another difficult season in my life I did not hesitate to turn to another of Bunyan’s writings to find solace and encouragement. This time it was his autobiography Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners.
This book is short account of the most important phases of Bunyan’s life. Bunyan recounts his pre-conversion years (1-117), his evangelical experience (118-132), his fight with temptations and his victory over them (133-264), his pastoral ministry, his imprisonment and his trials. One of his friends adds a brief account of his death and his character. Continue reading