Help Plant A Confessional Reformed Congregation In South Richmond

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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    • Am I (or are we) saying something different than the Bible?

      “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9).

      Am I (or are we) saying anything different than our tertiary standards? The Directory of Public Worship:

      “The unity and catholicity of the covenant people are to be manifest in public worship. Accordingly, the service is to be conducted in a manner that enables and expects all the members of the covenant community – male and female, old and young, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, healthy and infirm, people from every race and nation – to worship together.”

    • @Rev. Leon Brown

      Thank you for reminding this great verse! My point was why Americans just keep on talking about race/colors all the time and make even church planting a racial issue. But then, I come from a “nearly ethnically homogeneous” country, according to Wikipedia.

      • Mlody,

        The USA has a long and complicated history of race relations. It is complicated by a number of factors that I’m probably not able to articulate in a combox. For one thing, we committed chattel slavery for a couple of centuries followed by a series of laws and attitudes after the civil war for a century that still reverberate in the culture. It’s also the case that, we have an unusual immigration pattern. The USA has been a magnet for a remarkable number of waves of immigration from all over the world since the mid-19th century. At the same time, there remain segments of the country that are quite homogenous, where it is possible only to know people from the same ethnic/radical/social groups as one’s self. That isolation, which exists within multiple racial groups simultaneously (it’s a large country geographically with 300 million people, with urban, suburban, rural, and even vast deserted spaces), creates complications when people from homogenous communities come into contact with racially/socially diverse communities. So, we talk about race because it’s a big factor in the way we relate to one another and it’s a question that evangelical and Reformed congregations face as they learn to accept one another and as they seek to reach (evangelize, church plant) beyond their own cultures into other cultures. Most of our NAPARC congregations are fairly homogenous ethnically and racially—they tend to be largely Anglo or caucasian). We haven’t done a great job of reaching groups with roots in Central America or African-Americans for example. Reformed folk have only recently begun to address the problem of racism and to begin thinking about the implications of Gal 3:28 for our congregations. These are difficult issues and sometimes painful on both sides as offenders must come to grips with their sins and the offended must learn to forgive.

  1. The Rev. Leon Brown quoted his last paragraph from the DPW; how long has that particular paragraph been in the DPW? I ask in part because there are some on the Internet challenging Brown’s post on these things. I even saw a claim made that Protestant’s specifically advocated for ethnic churches; I cannot say with certainty, but I think the person is wrong and is probably misinterpreting Protestantism’s push for different LANGUAGES as needed for people in worship instead of the Latin that few understood. Though related, ethnicity and language are not the same thing.

    Viewing the interaction of some reinforces how some like me, a Mexican-American, don’t always like to get involved in discussions like these because we don’t fit into the black or white categories and we don’t want to be forced to choose sides. This is really a different world as compared to my Hispanic Pentecostal upbringing; this never seemed to be problem, and I know they would echo the quotation from the DPW in word and deed.

    • Dear Alberto,

      I took that quotation from the DPW on the OPC’s website. Interestingly, another OPC minister posted that ref21 blog as a good use of the DPW.

      There are some people who have claimed that I see simply though a “racial lens.” That is an unfortunate characterization of my heart and actions. I simply desire to see the gospel transcend barriers, be it ethnic, socio-economic, and cultural. I have warrant from the Bible to desire such a thing (Matt. 28:16-20; Acts 10-11, etc.).

      Regarding ethnic issues (something about which I write at ref21), these things must be discussed. I just heard a story today about an African-American PCA minister who is seeking to have other African-American ministers come into the PCA as pastors, but they refuse to because of southern Presbyterian’s racist, at least in part, roots. From my perspective, it seems inevitable to discuss these things.

      Now, I don’t mean to make this about “black” and “white” alone. I’ve been told by other people of color (e.g., Latino) that they experience similar things in NAPARC member churches. When I write, however, I can only write about personal experiences as an African-American. I hope you understand.

      This is a short and inadequate response. I thought I’d add this quick word, though.

  2. Rev Brown,
    I am familiar with a couple of Reformed congregations north of Richmond because the daughter lives in Henrico. Are you getting any help from other Reformed churches?

    • Dear Mr. Curt Day,

      In the metropolitan Richmond area, there are 12 PCA congregations. Metro-Richmond is home to about 1 million people. We definitely need more reformed churches in this area. There are no OPC, URC, or other NAPARC member churches besides these PCAs. Presently, those PCA congregations are offering prayer support. They are also offering counsel. I do not think they are providing families. In the future that may change. I hope that answers your question. If I missed the mark, I’m sorry.

    • Rev Brown,
      Thank you for your answer. Next time I am in Richmond, which may be a while because of family illness, I will ask the assistant minister where I attend Church about their support. We went to seminary together, along with his wife, during the late 70s.

  3. I should also share that I am thankful to be in a confessional reformed church. Since we are sinners, however, we all have things through which we must work. God is able! I am certain!!!!

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