New Reformed Congregation in the Dallas Metro

Blue PsalterVia Exclusive Psalmody comes the announcement that the RPCNA is planting a new congregation in the Dallas metro. The RPs are an American Presbyterian denomination with roots in the Scottish Presbyterian tradition. Sometimes known as “Covenanters” because of their connections to the national covenant and the covenanter tradition. The RPs are one of the few groups that still worship the as we did in the 16th and 17th centuries: singing God’s Word without musical accompaniment. If you’ve never had the blessing of worshiping with an RP congregation you should take the opportunity. Even though I’m a gentile, as it were, relative to the RPs (I’m a minister in the URCNA) I’ve been blessed to be able to spend a fair bit of time with them doing conferences and worshiping  with them. I preach regularly at the RP congregation in LA and in San Diego. It is thrilling to hear God’s Word sung, by God’s people, in response to the Word read, preached, and administered in the sacraments.

If you have never heard the Psalms sung, without accompaniment, you have missed something powerful. From a purely experiential perspective, it is moving to hear the history of God’s saving work audibly recited (sung). Without instruments it is possible to hear distinct voices and the congregation in unison affirming (sometimes with great emotion) God’s saving and providential work in the world. I understand the attraction to instrumental music in worship but I do continue to hope that we will reconsider the modern received practice and return to historic Reformed practice—not for sentimental reasons, not simply to recover the past for the sake of recovering the past, but because it’s a better way of worshipping the Lord. There is a purity and simplicity to singing God’s Word alone, without instruments, that defies expectations.

In our high-tech age we assume that more tools are better, but the faith often works differently. Jesus was not quite what people expected. His kingdom was no quite what people expected. The preaching of the gospel seems like foolishness, yet it’s the divinely appointed means which God the Spirit uses to wake the dead and to strengthen the living. From a worldly perspective, the sacraments (bread, wine, and water) don’t seem like very powerful things and yet Christ has promised to use them to strengthen our faith. Perhaps the same is true in music as well? Perhaps God’s Word alone (sola scriptura) is sufficient for our response to the Word?

There are more than 300 million Americans and many of them do not profess faith in Christ. The visible church is Christ’s mission agency so it’s always good to see confessional NAPARC congregations being planted and it’s encouraging to see that a new congregation, the Dallas Reformed Presbyterian Fellowship, is developing in the Dallas metro. They held their first service this past Lord’s Day (May 5, 2013) so they’re just getting started. They meet at the Holiday Inn in Plano. The address is: 700 East Central Parkway, Plano, TX 75074. Click here for a link to Google Maps. For the schedule and information on worship, see the worship page. For congregational news, see the news page.

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  1. Thanks for the shout out Scott! For those interested in what is going on with the RPCNA in the Western United States, we also have new plants in Laramie and Casper, WY, Monument, CO, Tucson, AZ, with potential works in Las Vegas, NV, Woodland Park, CO, and Albuquerque, NM.

  2. David,
    Don’t forget we have a new congregation in Brea Ca and another possible work in Orange County being discussed.

    Dr. Clark,
    We always appreciate your ministering to us at the LARPC when our pastor is away. You don’t have to remain a gentile, you know.

    • There’s also talk of the formation of a work in Portland again after many years without.

    • Thanks for updating my list Priscilla! I had forgotten about the OC work and the Portland one… I am very thankful for what is going on in the Pacific Coast Presbytery and along the Front Range of the Rockies right now.

  3. Although I’m not an exclusive psalmodist, I can’t help but say very true!! Amen!! (I have experience in joining Presbyterian and Reformed folks singing psalmody set to metre a capella in the UK)

  4. I just want to thank you first of all for the plug for the new work and secondly for a well stated case for why the church should give consideration to returning back to a tradition that has been practiced by so many Christians for a number of centuries. Coming from a less traditional church background it took me some time to get used to exclusive psalm singing, but I do love and hold fully to this practice, and I do so with great joy. My prayer is that some congregations would just try it and experience the joy of God’s people singing praise to Him in this manner.

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