Presbytery was held at Christ Church, Derby (CCD). The congregation have joined us in the last 3 years and have been a huge encouragement. Jonty Rhodes was the Church Planter and, 5 years on from the beginning of the work, he is leaving early in 2017 to head to Leeds to plant Christ Church Central. Joel Kendall was recently ordained and installed as the new minister in CCD. The church purchased a new building last year and this is the second time they’ve hosted Presbytery. The meetings began properly with worship on Friday afternoon. We sang Frank Houghton’s hymn ‘ Facing a Task Unfinished’. Frank Houghton was a well known OMF Missionary and, accompanying us on the piano was his grandson Tim, an elder at CCD. Andrew Randall who is the minister in Grace, Larbert preached very helpfully from 2 Timothy 4 on epitaphs – Demas – ‘In love with this world’, Mark – ‘Useful for ministry’, Alexander – ‘Did me great harm’ and Paul – ‘Strong in the Lord’.
The business began with reports from the different churches and then we dealt with lots of the admin things regarding Presbytery, Data Protection Policy, Reports from Trips to the US, Visa Sponsorship, Delegates to the European photo Presbytery. The Candidates and Credentials Committee reported back. We managed to get it done ahead of time and then different folk went off to places to eat and to the homes of people from Christ Church Derby.
Saturday morning started with the first of Jonny Gibson’s sermons from 2 Peter 3. He gave the big theme as ‘Ethics by Eschatology’ – how do we live now in the light of then? The first talk was from 2 Peter 3:1-10 – ‘Unembarrassed Supernaturalism – Recovering our eschatology’ – There were lots of great insights into the text. I liked the point about us often being told to avoid certain places in scripture in our evangelism – don’t open the can of worms. Peter on the other hand proclaimed angels, creation, the flood and Sodom and Gomorrah. In dealing with the scoffers question ‘Where is the promise of his coming?’ Jonny’s first point was ‘Remember God’s powerful word in Creation and the Flood’ and secondly, in dealing with the Question of the Scoffers – Gods timing is not our timing. God isn’t being slow he is being patient; Christ’s coming will be surprising and exposing. The second talk, 2 Peter 3:11-18 gave us 4 points on living in the present in the light of the future:
1. In light of the coming judgement live holy and godly lives v11,12.
2. In the light of the coming renewal live pure and ‘at peace’ lives, v12,13 – Jonny had a beautiful illustration of going into the sun. We feel it’s heat and light at the same time. In the same way we receive justification and sanctification – Christ for sin and Christ died to sin.
3. In the light of coming judgement and renewal, be patient.
4. In the light of Bible twisters, guard and grow.
Both sessions were very helpful. It’s so encouraging to have good, solid teaching at Presbytery. It means that when people ask you ‘How did Presbytery go?’, the first thing you talk about is what you learnt and the Scriptures. Jonny heads to Westminster Seminary on Thursday. We will miss him hugely at Presbytery but he plans to stay part of IPC.
The Church Planting Committee gave their report. We accepted the resignation of Michael Davis from Christ Church Culcheth and so there’s much need for prayer there. Presbytery appointed a Commission to work with Kyle of Lochalsh (for those who don’t know the difference a Commission can act with the power of Presbytery whilst a committee must report back to Presbytery). We were all finished by lunchtime on Saturday. We’re due to meet next in Belgium with the Europeans and Koreans for Synod on March 3/4 2017.