Friday, June 11, 2010

General Synod of the ARP 2010, Part 1: The Good

I am home now from Synod (after many delays because of bad weather in Atlanta yesterday). This was my first time attending and to make it clear: I was not a delegate, but an observer. I hope to summarize my thoughts/reflections of this year's Synod in three posts, aptly titled: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (cue theme song).

This post will cover "The Good"

There was a lot of "good" at Synod. A lot. I was able to finally meet in person many godly, gracious men such as Chuck Wilson, Sinclair Ferguson, David Norman (and his lovely wife K.D.), Athole Rennie, Vaughn Hathaway, Tim Phillips, and many, many others. The warm reception and heartfelt welcome was the best possible introduction anyone could have hoped for to the Synod of the ARP.

The Synod was held at Bonclarken, the retreat center of the ARP. The staff were wonderful, the food was delicious, and the grounds were beautiful. I had never been to North Carolina before, and was amazed at how green everything was. It was a prime example of the stunning beauty of God's creation.

It was good to hear of the work God is doing through the ARP in places as remote as Scotland, Turkey and Pakistan. It was moving to hear the choir from our orphanage sing before Synod. It was a testimony to the antipathy of God's church for bureaucracy at just how smoothly so much of Synod proceeded. There were several committee and board reports that did not receive any discussion on the floor of Synod and were simply accepted or approved.

The President-Elect of Erskine was introduced to the Synod and given an opportunity to address the body. This young man was an encouragement to me as he detailed his three point plan for Erskine. (see more at The Aquila Report). I, like many others, told him I was praying for him, as he had a difficult task before him. In his address, he mentioned that he was also praying for the ARP, which was good to hear: praying for one another is the best way to overcome differences, and put problems behind us.

Finally, the worship was biblical, encouraging and reformed. The musical accompaniment to the singing was excellent. We had an organ, a piano, an oboe, a violin, and what I considered the highlight of the music: bagpipes (can't be a Scottish synod without bagpipes!). The ARP showcased several excellent preachers from within its ranks, who brought words of encouragement, challenge and grace to the Synod.

All these and many more things were "The Good" of the 2010 General Synod. Overall, it was very encouraging to be there, despite what I will detail in the next two posts as "The Bad" and "The Ugly". Let me emphasize that, again: the good things far, far outweigh the bad and the ugly. The ARP is a grace filled, reformed Church.


  1. Well, Seth, the ugly was pretty ugly -- having to conclude the meeting prematurely because we didn't have a quorum...

  2. Tim, yes, I am going to include that in my "The Ugly" post.

  3. Seth, great post. I think this is a good way to describe the synod. I look forward to reading the next two installments.

  4. Excellent post. When thinking about the ugly, think about (what I think could be) the exceedingly good. My prayer is that Dr. deWitt's scruples about the Lord's Supper (it was scheduled but he set it aside due to the tensions) and calling for a quorum were God's way of not letting the meeting end until we come back together, subsequent to widespread self-examination, repentance and reconciliation. Rob Patrick gave a devotional about reconciliation. What a great way to tie together the former and current Moderators' desires.

  5. One more nominee for "The Good" -- two very worthy men were nominated for Moderator. While it would have been nice to see the first Canadian be elected to that position, I must say that the winner, Andy Putnam, seems to be a very godly man with the right attitude to serve in the position. I think either man would have qualified for "the good," btw.

  6. I think your chauffeur was good.