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Good Churchmen (via David Burke)

It was good to see David Burke at the General Assembly of Australia this week.
He and Paul Cooper were launching their book Read In The Light, a compilation of essays relating to the Declaratory Statement that the Australian Presbyterian Church adopted at its formation which formalises its understanding of certain aspects of the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Anyway, David was reflecting on having heard of a couple of people being described as ‘churchmen.’
In a certain time that phrase may have described someone who seemed to have a higher loyalty to the institution of the church than to Jesus.
But David set himself the task of composing a positive formulation of what that description might mean.
“A good churchman is someone who sees and relates to the church in Christ. He is committed to the church through, in and for Christ. He values the church not in itself but as the body and bride of Christ. His loyalty to the church is conditional on and conditioned by his loyalty to Christ.”

Read his whole post at his blog.

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GAA Prayer Meeting

Each morning numbers of folk who arrive early for the meeting of the General Assembly of Australia gather for prayer.

It was so heartening to walk in at the designated start time on Tuesday to find those gathered had already started.

To these are added those who are praying for this meeting around our nation and around the world.

For those praying, I believe God is leading us in unity, wisdom, and peace as we seek to follow Jesus together.


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View From The Table At The General Assembly Of Australia 2019

My turn to be a chaplain.

It’s a lot like this: (me on the left, of course)

And looks like this:

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A New Season Of Partnership

Tonight at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Australia a Memorandum of Understanding between the PCA and the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia was approved by the PCA and signed on behalf of both denominations by Rev Andrew Nugteren, secretary of the CRCA Committee for Ecumenical Relations and Rev Peter Barnes, moderator-general of the Presbyterian Church of Australia.

One of the situations that saw the CRCA being formed as a denomination was the predominant theological liberalism of the PCA in the late 1950s and 1960s. The memorandum of understanding was an expression of recognition that our biblical and gospel understandings now align in significant ways. The PCA has changed and seeks Gospel partnership in obedience to Jesus. The CRCA have seen an expressed desire for a day in which the PCA would be a true sister denomination in the Gospel realized.

For the PCA the MOU expresses our confidence in the theology, practice and life of the CRCA to the extent that we can commend cooperation with its congregations, recognize the Bible teaching and Gospel proclamation of its pastors as being consistent and similar our own, and that the faithful members of that denomination would share beliefs and commitments analogous to our faithful members.

As a denomination that purposely holds to a confessional expression of biblical and Gospel understanding, the PCA is not isolationistic or a body that seeks to focus on finding faults in others; rather we humbly seek to nurture fellowship with like-minded churches in Australia and around the world.

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Report Of The Retiring Moderator-General

John Wilson sharing his charge to the church as he leaves the role of Moderator-General.

Every Presbyterian pulpit in Australia is presently free from liberalism. The change from liberalism to biblical evangelicalism has been a work of God, achieved through the work of God’s people. Such a change is worthy of thanksgiving. It is also a lesson that a generation or two of declension could see that work of God backslide.

The lesson of history does not make us think we’ve made it. It teaches us to be determined, humble and dependent.

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Opening Of The 2019 General Assembly Of The Presbyterian Church Of Australia

Tonight the 50 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Australia commenced.

Rev Peter Barnes was welcomed into the role of moderator of the Assembly by outgoing moderator Rev John Wilson.