Thursday, April 25, 2013

ARBCA GA 2013 - Day Three

As usual, the annual General Assembly has gone by quickly. This final morning's devotion was led by Pastor Jason Walter from Christ Reformed Baptist Church in Escondido, CA. His text was from 1 Kings 19. He called attention to a translation/textual distinction that the KJV/NKJV reflects. In Verse 3 the NAS, ESV etc. translate the verse, "And he was afraid." More accurately, it should read as translated in the KJV, "And when he saw that . . ." It was not fear that caused Elijah to flee but frustration and disappointment. In spite of his labors in ministry, Israel had not repented; there had been no revival of the worship of God, and Ahab and Jezebel were still in control. Pastor Walker drew out two lessons regarding results in ministry.
    (1) Visible results may be deceptive because God often works imperceptibly, like a gentle blowing - a barely perceptible sound (v.12). God often keeps the results from us to keep us humble.
    (2) Visible results can often be delayed. God often works incrementally. God chose Hazael and Jehu to rid His people of their idolatry (Verses 15-18). God works incrementally and irresistibly working out His purposes.

The morning devotion was followed by missionary reports. We first heard from Pastor Matthew Brennan from Clonmel, Ireland. His church lies south of Stephen Murphy's church in Dundalk. He described the difficulty of the work in a land where only 2% of the population are Evangelicals. He ended his report by giving several exhortations to the assembly. We then heard a report from Pastor Olivier Favre from Switzerland. Switzerland is a land of 8 million inhabitants in 26 states. There are four regions with four different languages - French, German, Italian, and Romansch. There are four Reformed churches in the French speaking region. His church is now self-supporting. We also heard a report from Pastor Jim Adams on the work in Chili as well as a report from a young pastor about to go to the Middle East.
For lunch we had fresh garden salad along with chicken salad on a croissant. Also on the entree table was a large bowl of an unidentified banana-tasting whipped cream-like substance that they considered a part of the salad cuisine, but it was so tasty I also went back and had a plate of it for dessert. At my lunch-table I was able to listen to the testimony of the Chilean pastor, translated by the pastor of the Hispanic church that meets at the church in Santa Teresa, NM.

The afternoon theological discussion dealt with the issue involving translating the Bible into the various languages in Muslim nations. Shall we tamper with the translation "Son of God" if it might be offensive to Muslim people? For example one translation of Matthew 28:19 reads "in the name of the Father and His Messiah . . ." The discussion was unified around maintaining the purity of the text by maintaining a literal translation.

Because of earlier time constraints the presentation of the annual circular letter was also given at this time. This year's document was prepared by Stefan Lindblad and entitled, "Eternally Begotten of the Father" (An Analysis of the Second London Confession of Faith's Doctrine of the Eternal Generation of the Son).

We had lasagna for supper with several choices of cake for dessert.

Our evening worship began at 7:00 p.m. with more stirring congregational singing, a taste of heaven. Pastor Walter Chantry delivered his a sermon titled, "The Obedience of Christ." Continuing in Matthew 5 Pastor Chantry stated that at the center of Jesus coming to the earth was the Law. His personal behavior was a positive, active obedience to the Law--a sinless life that was imputed to us. His death was a passive obedience, also imputed to us. He stressed that the church today is not clearly teaching the Law of God. He also lamented that a large segment of the new Reformed movement has decided to ignore the Law.

With a final hymn the 2013 ARBCA GA was brought to a close and the delegates spent a season of giving farewells until we gather again next year.

Special thanks to Pastor Jon Hueni and all the saints at Grace Fellowship Church for their warm hospitality  and diligent labors in helping to make the 2013 GA a success. Trinity Baptist Church is blessed to be a part of this associatio of churches.

The 2014 ARBCA GA will convene next April 1-3 at Grace Baptist Church in Gilbert, Arizona.

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