I've been converted

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Preach

Puritan Board Sophomore
I have recently converted to the Presbyterian form of government. Please keep me in prayer. I am in the process of talking with the local Presbytery regarding the possibility of moving our church plant into the PCA. Both sides are cautiously optimistic.

There are a few other issues, but I truly hope that we can work everything out. Thanks.

"In Christ",
Bobby
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
Bobby - be sure to consider everything to be considered. That is a big move. Yet, I'm very glad for it. Are you sure (no offense to anyone) that the PCA is the right place for you? (Asking Rhetorically.)

I'll be praying. :pray2:
 

Preach

Puritan Board Sophomore
Matt, a few weeks ago I was licensed and will sit the ordination trials, probably Sept. or Nov. 2006. At present, our church is building a relationship with one of the local churches, and I am getting to know the men in the Presbytery and the Presbyterian form of government at the sessional and Presbyterial levels. The chairman of the credentials committee has shpherded me through the process and we are building a good relationship.

I am a former Southern Baptist minister and most of my people are from dispensational and arminian baptist heritage. It is amazing to see the transformation in their thinking regarding God's covenant and sovereignty.

I would appreciate everyone's prayers on our smooth transition into Presbyterian life in the PCA. Thank you.
"In Christ",
Bobby
 

SmokingFlax

Puritan Board Sophomore
Preach,

What was it that sold you on Presbyterian Church Government?

Anything big or just a long process, etc.?

What books or articles brought you there?

Thanks.
 

Preach

Puritan Board Sophomore
Christopher, the basic lines of argumentation that worked on me are as follows:
1) "The Divine Right of Church Government". You can get if from Naphtali Press (especially chapters 13 & 14
2) The analogy of the Church as the body of Christ: It seems to me that the symmetry is broken if we attempt to move from a Church universal to independent self-identifying churches.
3) The one and the many: If you are philosophically bent, you may appreciate this. Example: Huey, Dooey, and Luey (three individual ducks) are out on the pond. Yet, those three independent ducks belong to a class/category of duckness (classes are universals). No worldview can account for the "one and the many" problem accept Christianity. No other worldview can bring together universals (one) and particulars (many). We can because the nature of our God is Triune (Three Persons=many) in One essence (One). It seems to me that Presbyterianism best fits the one and the many. One visible Church (one) comprised of local congregations (many). There are many local congrgations that make up each Presbyterial church (again, the above mentioned book went along way to help me understand what I believe now to be the Biblical teaching regarding a church as a Presbyterial church, not church = local congregation with no official connectionalism to the rest of the body of Christ.
4) Context and continuity: The word Presbyters in (I think 1 Tim. chapter four-I don't have my Bible in front of me) when I looked it up in a New Testament lexicon connotes a group of men (presbyters) which have authority over a local congregation as well as regional congregations (more than one). That same Greek word is only used in two other places in the New Testament. In each of the other useages, the word is connected with the Sanhedrin (the official ecclesiastical and ruling authorities in Jewish life). It's my understanding that if there was a problem in one of the local Jewish synagogus that could not be handled "in house", they would appeal to the Sanhedrin (the Presbytery). Also, it just seems to make sense that God would not start something brand new. The context of the Jewish Synagogue (to some extent) seems to have been carried over to the Christian Church (regarding a plurality of elders that had authority over a group of local congrgations).
5) Practicality: Though this be a low level argument, I have read here on the PB, where even some independents will admit that practically Presbyterianism works better than independency. Just as an example, what do independents do if there is a problem between the Pastor and the congregation, or key families in the congregation, or between the elders themselves-especially between the elders. There is no higher court. Moreover, although independent churches can, and in many instances do have tremendous voluntarism helping one another and uniting as the body of Christ, there is no official accountability or connectionalism. It seems that the Scriptures overwhelmingly teach accountabnility and connectionalism (officially) within the body of Christ.
6)My gut: Independency never really sat right with me whenever I did think about it, which quite franklly, was not that often. It just didn't pass the smell test for me.

Brother, as a personal aside, I can attest that submitting myself (officially) to a group of men has been a wonderful, and at times, most trying experience. God has put mbeliefs to the test I've had to answer a lot of tough and practical questions about my Pastoral authority, etc. My executive Pastor and myself have had to answer (not theoretically, but ecclesiastically Sunday by Sunday) do we really want to be Presbyterians...By God's grace we have answered in the affirmative.

I hope this has helped at least give you an idea of how a former independent minister decided to move into Presbyterian life. May the Lord richly bless you as you study and pray upon the issue.

"In Christ",
Bobby
 

SmokingFlax

Puritan Board Sophomore
Bobby,

Thank you so much for your response. I really appreciate hearing such testimonies about how others arrive at their various positions, etc.

This is especially so for me as, since "discovering" the reformed tradition, I have been in a period of re-learning/re-thinking literally EVERYTHING regarding spiritual life and doctrine (outside of basic essentials). For example: I am thankful that right now my pastor is going over something as simple as "what is worship?" in our Sunday school classes.

It is a very humbling but necessary thing after 10 years as a believer. In the past I had failed to "prove all things" before assuming my positions (if I even had any).

Thanks again.
 
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