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Synod 2012: Everything Under the Lordship of Jesus Christ – Adopted Motions at Synod

A Vaughn Hathaway (Re: Revised Form of Government)

Due to an oversight, the language necessary to amend the Form of Government to implement the decision of the 2011 Synod to grant ruling elders who are former moderators of the General Synod the right to sit, deliberate and vote at subsequent meetings of the General Synod was not sent down to the Presbyteries. Therefore, be it resolved that the Synod of 2012 grant these rights to all such former moderators who are in attendance at this Synod, who are also in good standing as members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.


C Tim Phillips (Re: Mississippi Valley Memorial)

That item #2 be amended to read, “We affirm that the account of creation of Adam and Eve as found in Genesis 1 and 2 is history.”

That item #3 be amended to read, “We deny any teaching that claims that the account of creation of Adam and Eve, as found in Genesis 1 and 2, is mythology.”


D Frank Miller (Re: Northeast and Virginia Memorials)

That recommendation #12 and 13 be amended to include “Washington, DC; Falls Church, VA; and Alexandria, VA.”


E Ken McMullen (Special Committee to study Book of Discipline)

That the Moderator appoint a committee to study and revise the Book of Discipline and to report yearly until finished.


F Jac Coad (Re: Nominations)

To substitute the following for Recommendation #2 of the Report of the Committee on Nominations, 2012:

That presbyteries appoint representatives to the Synod Committee on Nominations for a single term, limited to four consecutive years or less with the possibility of reappointment after a minimum absence of one year and that the Manual of Authorities and Duties be modified under the section on the Committee on Nominations as follows:

Under the terms of service that the following language be added:

At Large and Presbytery appointees: At Large and Presbytery appointed members will serve terms of up to four years. Members may not succeed themselves, but may be reappointed after an absence of at least one year. The original appointing body will appoint members to fill vacancies due to unexpired terms.


G Paul Mulner (Re: Erskine Trustee Selection Process Guide)

That the “Trustee Selection Process Guide” be distributed electronically or by mail to all pastors and ruling elders in the ARPC for their review and consideration as soon as possible and that the Committee on Nominations be encouraged to bring its current recommendation #7 to the 2013 Meeting of the General Synod for its consideration.


H Dan Hazen (Re: future Synod schedule)

That the meeting of Synod be scheduled and organized such that all preliminary greetings and addresses (which are unlikely to require deliberation) be finished the first night of Synod, and that Moderator’s Committees meet the next morning, so that Synod deliberations can begin after lunch the second day.

Bill Evans: (Refer Hazen’s motion to Executive Board)

Bill Evans moved that this motion be referred to the Executive Board. The motion carried.


K Steve Maye (Re: Commendation and Spec Comm to study Board Removal Policy)

That the Synod commend the Board of Erskine College and Seminary for its willingness to reconsider the issues related to the relationship between the Synod and the Institution.

That the Moderator appoint a committee, comprised of at least one-half being men possessing PhDs, to consider the same matters on a parallel track and report back to the Synod.

That the Synod empower this committee to report back its findings to the General Synod at whatever time, and through whatever means of communication it deems appropriate prior to the 2013 Meeting of the General Synod.


L Meredith Cavin (Re: Biblical standard for marriage)

That the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church affirm the biblical standard for marriage, one man and one woman.


M Vaughn Hathaway (Re: Ecclesiastical Commission)

That the membership of the Ecclesiastical Commission on Judiciary Affairs be increased by two active members and two alternate members, and that the Commission be composed of six teaching elders and five ruling elders serving as active members and one teaching elder and one ruling elder serving as alternate members representing at least six different presbyteries.


N Guy Smith (Re: Rec 18 and 20 of Efficiency report)

That recommendation 18 and 20 be referred to First and Catawba Presbyteries and that recommendation 19 be referred to Mississippi Valley to study the proposed changes and make recommendations to the 2013 Synod concerning any alteration to their present boundaries.


Z Ken McMullen (Re: Amending the 2012 docket)

That the docket be amended to allow consideration of the Report of the Executive Board and then the Board of Erskine to follow immediately after the report of Moderator’s Committee on Complaints.


Synod 2012: Everything Under the Lordship of Jesus Christ – Quorum Call and Approved Memorials

By Delores McDonald

For the second time in the past three years, the business of Synod came to a sudden halt due to the lack of a quorum. Although Moderator Suits made a plea to delegates to return after the dinner break, the quorum call came up six elders and 15 ministers short. One ARP minister said he believes this could be caused by the extra business added, due to the many ad hoc committees that have been formed; also, too much talking at the beginning of reports, adding – “If it’s in the written report, we don’t need it read to us again; and finally, ministers and elders need to be committed to stay until the end of Synod.

Although there was much business not covered before the quorum call, the following memorials were approved by Synod:

Memorial No. 2 (First Presbytery) Certification of Amendments

That the certification of the vote of the Presbyters shall be obtained by the simple majority vote of the Synod affirming the vote of the Presbyteries. Subsequent to the report of the principle clerk that an amendment to the Confession of Faith and Catechisms (FOG XV.A.1), an amendment to the Form of Government, the Rules of Discipline, and the Directory of Public Worship (FOG XV.A.2), or the Rules of Order (IX) has received the required majority votes of the Presbyters, the Moderator shall put the question: “Shall the vote of the Presbyteries in the amendment be certified?” The vote shall be taken in accordance with Rules of Order VI.C.1. Before the vote is taken, it is permissible that members of the Synod may offer minor verbal changes to the amendment in accordance with Form of Government XV.C.5).


Memorial No. 3 (First Presbytery) Former Ruling Elder Moderators

That General Synod send the following amendment to Form of Government Chapter XIII.C.1. to the Presbyteries for approval: “Those entitled to sit as members of this court also shall include at least one ruling elder from each congregation, the vice-moderator, if he should be a ruling elder, and the retiring moderator, should he be a ruling elder, and all ruling elders who are former moderators of the Synod who are present and who are in good standing as members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.” And, that this amendment be incorporated into the new proposed Form of Government in the appropriate chapter pertaining to the General Synod.


Memorial No. 4 (First Presbytery) Terms of Synod Officers

That Synod: I. Amend the Manual of Authorities and Duties where required to include the following provision for each of Synod’s nine elected officers: “No officer of the court shall be elected to serve more than two consecutive terms in any single office.” II. Amend the Manual of Authorities and Duties where required to include the following provision for the elected officers of each of Synod’s boards and agencies: “No officer of the board/committee shall be elected to serve more than two consecutive terms in any single office.” III. (For the purposes of these provisions), all current or newly-elected officers shall consider the term beginning or including July 1, 2012, as their first term.


Memorial No. 2 (Northeast Presbytery) Redrawn Boundaries

That the boundaries of Northeast Presbytery be redrawn so that all counties in Virginia (but currently within the boundary of Northeast Presbytery) – with the exception of Fairfax County and the independent city of Alexandria – be removed to Virginia Presbytery) AND Memorial Number 1 from Virginia Presbytery (that the Presbytery boundaries of Northeast Presbytery and Virginia Presbytery be redrawn so that all counties in Virginia that are currently within the bounds of Northeast Presbytery, with the exception of Fairfax County and the independent city of Alexandria, be removed to Virginia Presbytery, and the boundaries of Virginia Presbytery shall be described as: “The Boundaries of Virginia Presbytery include the State of Virginia, except for the County of Fairfax the independent city of Alexandria, and the independent city of Falls Church,” and the State of West Virginia except for the “counties north of the southern boundaries of Preston, Taylor, Harrison, Doddridge, Ritchie, and Wood Counties”; and the boundaries of Northeast Presbytery shall be described as: “Constituted January 1, 1987, it was formed by the division of Virginia Presbytery. It now includes the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, DC; and in Virginia the County of Fairfax and the independent city of Alexandria and the independent city of Falls Church, and in West Virginia those counties north of the southern boundaries of Preston, Taylor, Harrison, Doddridge, Ritchie and Wood counties.


That the county of Arlington be added to the list of Virginia counties excluded from the description of Virginia Presbytery and included in the description of Northeast Presbytery. The amended sections would read: “…with the exception of Fairfax and Arlington counties and the independent city of Alexandria…” and “…and in Virginia the Counties of Fairfax, Arlington, and the independent city of Alexandria…”


Synod 2012: Everything Under the Lordship of Jesus Christ – Canadian Elected Next ARP Moderator

By Delores McDonald

Canadian Presbytery’s Jeff King- swood received a unanimous vote on the floor of Synod on Thursday to serve as Synod’s Moderator for the 2013-2014 term, following Dr. Steve Suits. He is the first Canadian to be elected to the (Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church) Synod’s highest post.

Moderator-elect Kingswood, who grew up in the First Reformed Church in Galt, Ontario, went on to receive the M.Div. Degree from Knox College in Toronto. He pursued additional Bible studies at Tyndale Seminary. He became pastor of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church of Canada and eventually became pastor of Grace ARP Church in Woodstock in 2001. He continues to serve that congregation. He is married to Joan and they have six grown children.

In his acceptance speech, Kingswood said as a relative newcomer of only 12 years to the denomination, he was “truly humbled” to be nominated. As a member of the Presbyterian Church of Canada before joining the ARPC, he wanted delegates to know what drew the Canadian Presbytery to this denomination.

“What struck us here was a group that embodied confessional Presbyterianism,” he said. “The Word of God was central, preached, and used to make argument – and I felt I had come home. Thank you for welcoming the Canadian Presbytery. The fact that I’m the first Canadian to be elected to the office of Moderator of General Synod speaks highly of your welcoming spirit.”

Kingswood also asked for prayer for the Lord to give grace and guidance to him in his role as Moderator. “We have difficult issues ahead of us. We have a history that points us in the right direction, but we are not defined by our history.

“We would have the world look at us and say, ‘they have been with Jesus’ – and not only for our programs or worship services. We want others to know Jesus – and if others see Jesus in the life of our congregations, we can accomplish what we have been sent to do – to call others to a new life of repentance.”


Synod 2012: Everything Under the Lordship of Jesus Christ – Women’s Ministries: Impacting Lives

By Delores McDonald

ARP Women’s Ministries’ President Elaine Reed began her address to Synod by focusing on the impact Women’s Ministries is making on the lives of women across the ARP denomination. Sharing a page from the life of a WM board member, she told how the woman came to know Christ as a young girl, but turned her back on the church in her late teens, after she was deeply hurt by members of her local congregation.

In her late 30s, the Lord placed a woman in her life who made it her mission to pray for reconciliation. She was brought back into fellowship with Christ and began attending an ARP church. Again, the Lord put a woman in her life to be her spiritual mentor and then a third woman encouraged her to study the Bible.

“The Lord used these three women through one-on-one ministry to set in motion an explosion of spiritual growth, which gave birth to her passion for women’s ministries,” Mrs. Reed said. “This experience exemplifies the article, “Why Women’s Ministries?” in the May/June issue of The Associate Reformed Presbyterian. The article lays out the biblical foundation for woman- to-woman ministry. Our Board appreci- ated the note received from Pastor Allen Derrick, who encouraged the elders, deacons, and women of his churches to read this article.

“When I think of impact and its rippling effect, I go back to my child- hood, when my dad and my grandfather showed me how to skip rocks. The ideal stone was made smooth by the influence of its environment, it seemed the best results occurred when I took the time to wash the stone off in the water—almost allowing the stone to become familiar with the water—with a slight step back and a smooth release of the wrist the stone bounced off the water causing ripples.

“I have the same image of The ARP Women’s Ministries Board. The Board is standing at the edge of our com- munity. We send out encouragement through resources and training, which skip along like stones across the water. The ripples of impact spread far and wide as lives are touched.”

What does this impact look like? For Sharon Carr of Church of the Atonement, it’s ensuring an accurate bibli-al perspective. After attending a WM event this year she wrote, “Thanks for making the Word very prominent in your talks.”

For Diane Speights of Scots Kirk ARP, impact is realized through weekly Bible Study. “I have learned so much from the Women’s Bible studies at our church through the years and truly feel that through them, I have grown in my knowledge of and love for the Lord and His Word.”

Our prayer for the women of the ARP Church is to touch their lives in such a way they will “know Jesus intimately, love Jesus faithfully, and serve Jesus fruitfully” (ARP Women’s Ministries Website).



Synod 2012: Everything Under the Lordship of Jesus Christ – Moderator’s Address

By Delores McDonald

One of Moderator Andy Putnam’s remarks in Tuesday night’s opening worship service echoed the feelings of many attending Synod 2012, “There was a time when we all looked forward to attending Synod – now we dread coming to Synod.”

So many of our number are tired of hearing about “struggles for control and blame-shifting.”

However, we can take comfort in the fact that often, “when the church seems buried and things seem most discour- aging, God is working profoundly beneath the surface,” as incoming Moderator Steve Suits quoted in his Moderator’s Challenge on Wednes- day. He also said, “Our ups and downs are in reality God’s sovereign forward movement to his goal.”

There are Wolves Among Us

Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. Know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears (Acts 20:28-31).

At Tuesday night’s opening worship service of the 208th meeting of General Synod of the Associate Reformed Pres- byterian Church, Moderator Andy Putnam warned, “there are wolves among you – and they need to be stopped before they consume the denomination.”

As the retiring Moderator gazed around the room at more than 600 ARPs who had gathered for a time of worship, prayer, and communion, he added, “There are wolves in this room tonight.” But how can we know who they are? First, those who know Christ should reflect him in their conduct and actions. “As Christians, we need to be in prayer and hold fast to Scripture.”

However, those who are manipulated by Satan may be hard to spot, he said. And these people may not realize they are being used by Satan. Look for those who have selfish ambitions – who want power, those who put themselves first and strive to get attention.

Moderator Putnam also warned there are those who want to disrupt the unity of the ARP Church, and that we will hear of attacks to destroy the church. “Some mock us for being too ‘nice’ to one another,” he said.

How do we deal with the wolves knocking on the ARP’s door? Putnam offered three solutions:

Preach the Gospel – hold fast to the Gospel message – love one another.

“Shoot them” – don’t let them run free (Joel 3:10); starve them; ignore them; give them nothing.

Pray – for the wolves among God’s sheep; for peace and prosperity.

“If we don’t do this, we will be standing in the ruins of the ARP Church saying, ‘Oh, what used to be…’”

Retiring Moderator’s Address

Moderator Putnam continued Wednesday morning by saying he had seen the good, the bad and the ugly of the ARP Church during his term as Moderator. “By ugly, I’m not talking about the way we look on the outside,” he said. “I’m talking about our behav- ior, words, and actions in the way we represent the church and Jesus Christ. During my travels in the U.S. and Eu- rope, I would ask if some of our number are even Christians!”

Again, he warned delegates that there are wolves among them. “Stop them before they consume the denomination.”

“The bad” he spoke of represents statistics that show that the ARP Church is in decline, with many small, remote congregations. “Many churches are not healthy,” he said. “Most need to change their attitudes, what they tolerate, and selfishness. Christ must have preeminence!

“The good I referred to is that God loves you. God can transform lives and can change denominations. Some presbyteries are renewing their emphasis in church planting. I rejoice in the new work taking place across the ARP denomination. I’m seeing revival. We’re on track, but it will take time.”

In his travels this year, Putnam said he was encouraged by the mission work taking place in places like the Ukraine and Scotland. In his Moderator’s speech last year, he encouraged revival. “It’s a joy to say we are on our way,” he said. “The Lord has his hand on our denomination. My prayer is that He will continue to guide us.”


ARP News Update

Colorado Springs Fires Update
This just in from the Evangelical Press Association, of which the ARP Magazine is a member:
Update from EPA President Dean Ridings
As wildfires rage through Colorado, many EPA member organizations and staff members have been touched by this tragedy. Many EPA publications are based in Colorado Springs, and of course this year’s annual convention was held there. We asked EPA president Dean Ridings, of Focus on the Family, for an update.

Things are surreal and somewhat chaotic here – we’re trusting in the Lord, grateful that there have been no reported deaths or even injuries. The radio reminded us this morning that “This isn’t the day after,” meaning that there was a lot of devastation yesterday and today there could be a lot more as firefighters remain on the defensive . . .

Our family is among last night’s evacuees who had limited time to pack up essentials and make our way east . . . Our four children were home, including two who were serving up at the Navigators’ Eagle Lake Camp, which was evacuated on Saturday. We also had three additional Eagle Lake campers with us . . . It was slow going but we finally got out of our community on the northwest side of the city (just south of the Air Force Academy) with our family and guests as well as two cars neighbors asked us to drive out for them . . .

Our family is among some 32,000 who have evacuated – more than 15,000 acres have been burned thus far. Navigator staff are housed at Focus on the Family, and we heard this morning from their spokesperson that Navigator headquarters at Glen Eyrie is okay thus far this morning but the Verizon building next to it is reportedly on fire, as are the houses above Verizon. Above them is the Flying W Ranch, which is a total loss (The Flying W Ranch was an off-site event destination for past EPA conventions).  No “official” word of how many structures have burned.

Jim Daly addressed Focus on the Family staff and led us in a time of prayer for our community this morning. He said Focus is ready to assist the community in any way. In fact, we had offered to be a place where the community can come, but they’re actually looking for shelters more up the road in the Monument area to get people out of town and make more room for the firefighters to remain on the defensive . . .

In this community that has seen so much division through the years, there’s a strong sense of unity that “we’re all in this together” . . .   From what I’m hearing Christians in town are doing a wonderful job of living out Matthew 5:16, letting their lights so shine that others would see their good works – gifts of money and food, homes and churches as shelters – and glorifying God . . .

Thank you for your ongoing prayers, especially for the some 1,000 firefighters now on the scene. Pray also that the “day after” would come soon, with a continued sense of unity as Christians live and minister among the community and also encourage one another “as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25). 
Please remember our brothers and sisters in Christ and their ministries in prayer in Colorado during this challenging time.

ARP News Update

Hold on to College Students
Are your college students checking out, never to return? Statistics prove that many high school graduates who leave their church (likely the church where they grew up) never return.

“Many who leave for college never find a new church home and put ‘church’ on hold during these very important developmental years in their lives,” says Christian Education Executive Director Brent Turner.

To keep your exiting college students in touch with their church/denomination, give them the gift of the ARP Magazine online or in print. A gift card will be mailed to the recipient, saying it’s a gift from their church, Women’s Ministries or individual. To subscribe, go to or call 1-864-232-8441.

A Mountaintop Experience
By Garison Taylor
Director of youth ministries at Greenville (SC) ARP Church

God is faithful and has provided many opportunities for youth to sit under His Word – to talk with people about His faithfulness and calling in their lives.  Two such opportunities offered by Christian Education Ministries ( are the Horizon and Quest conferences, held each summer at the Bonclarken Conference Center in Flat Rock, NC.

The first ARP Church conference our youth attended this summer was Horizon – a week-long senior high conference. The goal of this conference is to send young people out into their world, spiritually nurtured, fed, and equipped to live out their faith and share it with those around them.

It was a great week and God indeed worked in mighty ways. Guest speaker Shai Linne, a Christian hip-hop artist, spoke straight from Scripture on the Gospel, reminding us that the wrath of God, which we so justly deserve, was laid on Jesus, so we who are united with Jesus, might have life.  This is the Gospel in a nutshell.

We were also reminded that it doesn’t end there.  Because of this work Jesus has done, we who are His are called to live a life in which we are free to glorify God.  It’s not for our salvation that we live a life pleasing to God, but instead because we are free from the bondage of sin.  Therefore we are now able to live the life we are called to for God’s glory.

The week (June 11-16) was filled with lots of fun activities, but sitting under the Word of God and being reminded what it’s like to live a Christian life was the best.

Next was the middle school conference (June 18-23). Quest is always a time of high energy and fun, combined with an exciting presentation of God’s Holy Word and how it applies to daily life.

This year, Lake Wales ARP Church Youth Minister Matt Joldersma taught five of the seven questions our denomination asks of people seeking membership in the ARP Church.  It was somewhat of a review for many of our students, but it made us all think about the commitment we made when we joined the church.

Matt reminded us all that God’s Word is the standard for the Christian life, and it is in the Word where we see the Savior we so desperately need – Jesus Christ.  We were also reminded of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian and how he guides and comforts us – and that He is the one doing the work of regeneration in our heart.

As we began packing up to head down the mountain, we were reminded that God gives us mountaintop experiences, but we must continue to live the Christian life went we return home.  It’s where God continues to shape us, mold us, and use us for His own glory and where we are to live for Him in all we do and say.

What did your youth take down the mountain?
Share what junior/senior highs in your youth group experienced this year at Horizon or Quest.  Did someone have a life-changing experience? What was the reaction of someone attending Horizon or Quest for the first time?  As a youth director/leader, what was your experience?  Please email your response to


ARP News Update

Derek Thomas Joins RTS Atlanta Faculty
Dr. Derek Thomas, minister of preaching and teaching at First Presbyterian Church (Columbia, SC), has been appointed to serve on the faculty of the Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta.
Dr. Thomas will continue his pastorate at First Columbia as he takes the position of professor of systematic and historical theology at RTS/Atlanta on July 1, 2012.

RTS/Atlanta President John Sowell said, “Those who have heard his sermons and lectures, as well as anyone who has studied Derek’s books and commentaries, grasp that Dr. Thomas is a rare gift to the church. We encourage students of God’s Word to take advantage of opportunities to study systematic and historical theology with this gifted man of God.”

After pastoring for 17 years in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Dr. Thomas returned to the USA in 1996. A graduate of RTS in 1978, he gained a Ph.D. from the University of Wales, Lampeter in Calvin’s preaching on the book of Job. He has written or edited 15 books and has contributed to commentary series by Banner of Truth and Evangelical Press. In 2004, Derek Thomas became editorial director for The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and the editor of its e-zine, Reformation 21. He is married to Rosemary, and they have two adult children and two grandchildren.

ARP Magazine Special Synod Issue
The special Synod issue of the ARP Magazine is about to go to press – and you don’t want to miss it! You can read about what happened on the floor of Synod and learn if wolves were actually in attendance! Another article asks, “Why have a Synod?” You can also be reassured and encouraged by Moderator Steve Suits’ theme for the year: “Everything Under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.” And you especially don’t want to miss a conversation this editor overheard at Synod registration.
If you don’t subscribe, sign up for our online magazine or print magazine – or both – today, by going online at; or calling (864) 232-8441. To receive the print magazine for $16.50 with a free online version, subscribe by Aug. 2. Mention you saw the offer on ARP News Update.


ARP News Update

 Funeral Arrangements: Dill Allison

The funeral service for Dr. L.M. “Dill” Allison, Jr., minister of First Presbytery since 1954 and retired Dean of Erskine Theological Seminary, will be held on Monday, June 18 at 3 p.m. at the Due West (SC) Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.  Interment will follow in the church cemetery.


ARP News Update

Dr. Leon McDill “Dill” Allison, Jr.
We have received word that Dill Allison has died of an apparent heart attack. No arrangements have been made at this time.

“We are all thankful for the privilege of knowing Dr. Allison and observing how he lived a life of faith and service to our Lord, the Church, and his family. Let us now pray for his family in this time of sorrow.”-Rev. Calvin Draffin

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him (1 Thessalonians 4: 13,14).

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