With Rob Ham On Recovering The Reformed Confession

Recovering the Reformed ConfessionRob is pastor of Keystone Heights Presbyterian Church in, wait for it, Keystone Heights, FL (northeast of Gainesville). He hosts a daily podcast, which is available via the church’s website or sermon audio or on iTunes. Rob is a former student of mine and we recently sat down to talk about what it means to recover the Reformed Confession, why a stable, historic, churchly definition of the adjective Reformed is important, why the TULIP is not enough, and why anyone would want to be confessionally Reformed. In this episode Rob tells the story of how he discovered the Reformed confession by stumbling upon a copy of the Heidelberg Catechism and how that led him to walk away from his ministry in an evangelical mega-church, to go to seminary, and into pastoral ministry at KHPC.

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  1. I searched quickly through Keystone Heights Presbyterian Church, and a question came to mind after searching for their particular denomination. There is no denomination to which they belong, and the church describes itself as being an “independent Presbyterian” church. According to my understanding of Presbyterianism, it is far more than local churches ruled by elders, which sounds like what is implied by them under their beliefs link. But that doesn’t seem enough; our better Baptists friends certainly practice that. There is real and formal inter-church activity/organization that is conciliar in Presbyterianism. So is “independent Presbyterian” an oxymoron?

    • Hi Alberto,

      The church’s “history” page tells their story. They started out as an independent Bible church. They’ve adopted the WCF but they remain independent, so it is anomalous. There are other examples of such, most famously Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah, GA. In that case the minister is a member of the PCA. I don’t know if Rob has ministerial credentials with a Presbyterian denomination, however. Naming a Reformed confessing congregation can be a challenge. I know that we struggled with that in Kansas City, where the area was dominated religiously by Baptist and Pentecostal congregations and where “Reformed” is virtually unknown and often confusing. Back then I called dozens of people in the area to try to find out how the interpreted the name “Reformed.” None of them had a clue what it meant. So, since they’ve adopted the WCF (and not the Savoy) I can see why they would opt for Presbyterian and not “Reformed” or “Congregational.”

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