Heidelcast 37: Around The Horn And The Globe With NAPARC

The Heidelcast answers a phone call asking about NAPARC and what distinguishes the various confessional Reformed denominations and federations from each other. Thanks to the Rev Dr David Hall, Sr Pastor of Midway Presbyterian Church, (PCA) in Powder Springs, GA, the Rev Mr Chris Gordon, pastor of Escondido URC and host of Abounding Grace Radio, John Muether, Dean of Libraries at RTS and elder at Reformation OPC (Oviedo, FL), and Jerry O’Neill, President of RPTS for taking our call and answering our questions.

Here’s the episode:

If you benefit from the Heidelcast please share it with your friends. Leave a rating on iTunes so that others find it. Don’t miss an episode. Subscribe to the Heidelcast in iTunes.

iTunes

Send us a note and we may read it on the show and remember, when the coin in the coffer clinks… Thanks for your support.

15 comments

  1. Since the URCNA is fairly young, a question comes to mind: Why not, instead of forming a new denomination or federation, just join an existing body after leaving the CRC? Is there or were there distinctives that made it preferable to form a new body? Were there not other Continental Reformed bodies? Looking from the outside in, I get the sense that there were or are unique things which those who formed the URCNA wanted to preserve.

    • Alberto,

      Fair question. My best advice is to take a look at the history of the URCNA by Cornel Venema in Always Reformed. I think it is fair to say that one of the hopes of the URCs was ecumenical from the start but it also the case that, largely coming out of the CRC, the congregations that formed the URC wanted to continue in the Three Forms tradition. Among the Three Forms churches there are genuine differences. The Free Reformed come from a more pietist tradition as do the Netherlands Reformed. The PRCs reject the free offer and the other aspects of the Reformed tradition. The (German Reformed) RCUS wasn’t “Three Forms” yet when the URCs were formed. They were Heidelberg only. The URCs have been in ecumenical discussions with the CanRCs and the OPCs for year. The recent decision by the CanRCs effectively to tolerate the FV movement will likely be fatal to CanRC-URC discussions. I think most of what was left of the Orthodox Reformed have united with the URCs.

  2. Question on acronyms, should PRC reference the Presbyterian Reformed (Westminster Standards, acapella Scottish Metrical Psalm singers) versus the PRCA (Protestant Reformed)?

    • BTW Jeremy, we do call ourselves Reformed Presbyterians (RP), not Presbyterian Reformed (PR). At first the acronym soup confused me because I have been in the RPCNA all my life and didn’t want to hear that we have rejected the well-meant offer of the Gospel, and then I realized my brain was flipping the R and the P so I was settled down and reminded myself that I’m encountering something new. If you want to hear what we think of the some of the PRs “unique” positions David Silversides has a really good address on sermonaudio on the Free Offer, or well-meant, Offer of the Gospel.

    • Thanks Nathan

      I was referencing the Presbyterian Reformed Church (PRC) denomination, as opposed to the RPCNA, both being acapella Psalm singing, though the former uses the 1650 Scottish Metrical Psalter. Also seems to be atleast some in the RPCNA which observe holy days, whereas the PRC holds to the Westminster Directory of Public Worship and thus do not.

      I believe the PRCA, Protestant Reformed Church sing Psalms as well, though not exclusively and not acapella…and they, like most, love them some holy days.

  3. Hi. I am seeking a new denomination currently. I am coming from the PCA and am looking for a denomination that views FV as heretical and are tolerant (if not sympathetic) to 2k theology and amillenialism. I have the opportunity to attend either OPC or RCUS. I was hoping to hear something on this small reformed German denomination. Could anyone possibly give me some cliff notes on them?

    • Hi Chris,

      Where you might go depends on where you are. I doubt that it’s possible to say all congregations of a given denomination have this or that property. They vary from place to place. Within the NAPARC orbit I think it’s best to look at each congregation on its own merits. Obviously there are denominational/federational differences.

      That’s to say that I wouldn’t say, “I don’t want to be a part of any PCA congregation.” The NAPARC world is too small to say that.

      The RCUS is the Reformed Church in the US. They are the remnant of the old German Reformed Church. I was in the RCUS for about 18 years. They went liberal in the early 20th century. One classis, Eureka, stayed out of the merger that eventually led to the formation of the United Church of Christ. In the 1930s the RCUS was 1900 people and 6 ministers and German was the dominant language. The RCUS became dominated by an idiosyncratic (Kohlbruggian) theology for several decades until Westminster grads entered their ministry in the 1950s. Westminster supplied ministers for about two decades. Since the mid 80s the RCUS has tended to look elsewhere for pastors. In the 70s and 80s they received a group of pastors who had been Baptist and who were influenced by theonomy. In 1985 the RCUS decided against theonomy but the influence remains in the background in some quarters. In the 80s they also had a controversy over bible translations. In the 80s they reacted strongly against the Framework interpretation of Gen 1-2. They hold to creation in “6 normal days” (= 6/24) as a matter of orthodoxy. They’ve rejected the Federal Vision. I guess that sympathy for any sort of two kingdoms (or twofold kingdom) analysis is limited in the RCUS. In the 90s they re-adopted the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dort. They’re about 4000-5000 people with congregations in the Dakotas, Nebraska, IA, CA, PA. They’ve been active in planting churches in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    • Chris,

      I very much sympathize with where you’re at, we’ve been involved with and left all of the above. Turns out, they all have their unique issues, both as denominations and local church bodies alike.

      If you’ve not already done so, my word of advice would be to plead with your current PCA elders regarding your concerns.

      As Dr Clark stated, so much comes down to the local congregation and local minister/elders…whatever you ultimately do, proceed with caution.

  4. I very much sympathize with where you’re at, we’ve been involved with and left all of the above. Turns out, they all have their unique issues, both as denominations and local church bodies alike.

    If you’ve not already done so, my word of advice would be to plead with your current PCA elders regarding your concerns.

    As Dr Clark stated, so much comes down to the local congregation and local minister/elders…whatever you ultimately do, proceed with caution.

Comments are closed.