Since 1946, the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship sponsored Urbana Conference has probably been the leading platform in the evangelical Christian community for challenging young Christian men and women to a life of evangelism as missionaries. Held every three years, the most recent Urbana Conference occurred in St. Louis, MO, on December 27-31, 2018. I attended college and seminary with friends who found their way to the mission field through an Urbana challenge. In the past, I have either given or raised funds for students to attend Urbana. The folks at our Associate Reformed Presbyterian World Witness office encourage our college students who are contemplating a missions career to attend Urbana. As stated above, Urbana 18 occurred last month. What was the…Read More
Well, what did I learn at this seminary on poverty which was sponsored by Outreach North America?
One, I learned not many Associate Reformed Presbyterians are interested in a seminar on poverty. Besides Outreach North America people, people from the Greenville Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, there were not many Associate Reformed Presbyterians present. This is not a statement of criticism; it is an observation of the makeup of the audience. Also, after speaking with a number of the participants, I do not think many of them have a personal experience with poverty. Once again, this is not a criticism; it is an observation.
Two, when dealing with words like “justice,” “mercy,” “social responsibly” and other hot button words, clear definitions are necessary in order to prevent people from talking at and past each other.
Three, I greatly appreciated Nabors and Broadus’ emphasis on preaching the gospel to conversion and diligent discipleship of believers. If I understand what they were saying, poverty is a sign of God’s judgment. As I heard them, discipleship in the local church leads people out of the life-destroying lifestyles that produce and continue generational poverty. In other words, a form of Christianity which does not transform is not authentic.
Four, I learned the best way to deal with poverty is by planting Bible-believing, Bible-teaching, and Bible-discipling congregations in poor communities. Since poverty is a sign of God’s judgment (Deuteronomy 14.4-5), the seed of poverty is spiritual. Government, therefore, is unable to deal with the root issue of poverty. (Actually, government institutionalizes, industrializes, and promotes poverty to a political end.) A local congregation which is Bible-believing, Bible-teaching, and Bible discipling has the transformational tools which enable the poor to overcome poverty. In the words of Randy Nabors, “The local church is God’s vehicle for social change.” That is to say, the gospel transforms people!Read More
More Sports Programs Anticipated at Erskine College I must begin this issue of ARPTalk by apologizing to our readers. In the last issue of ARPTalk, I announced the following new sports were added at Erskine College: football, acrobatics, E-Sports, lacrosse, track and field, and rodeo. There are, however, other sports programs under consideration. At the time, I was unaware of them. I informed the readers of ARPTalk that the motion to pass the new sports programs was made by Bobby McDonald, who, when someone objected to not having time to read the many-paged proposal, said the board should adopt the proposal, and the members of the board could read it when they got home. Well, it has taken me some…Read More
A year ago, after conversations with President Rob Gustafson and others to whom I turn for counsel, I put ARPTalk into hibernation. The new administration at Erskine needed the time and an opportunity to put together a plan. Indeed, with the hiring of Dr. Rob Gustafson as President, Dr. John Basie as Provost of the college, and Dr. Leslie Holmes as Provost of the seminary, a new day was upon us — or so we hoped. With hope abounding, many of us asked, “After so many years of missional betrayal, theological deviation, internecine conflict with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, squandering of a lauded academic reputation, and mishandling of financial resources, are we witnessing the rising of the Erskine Phoenix…Read More