The pastors and session of the Kirk had a meeting with three representatives of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) on Monday night. This meeting was the first big step in our process of moving to that denomination. The representatives were the Stated Clerk of the Midwest Presbytery, a pastor from St. Louis, and another pastor from Lawrence, Kansas, who also is the moderator-elect of the denomination.
The meeting was remarkable—compared to our experience of denominational meetings in the past—in that it was rich with Scripture and prayer. We discussed how the EPC has formulated its stands on Scriptural, rather than social, foundations. When one of us asked a question of an EPC representative, more often than not, the answer was given in the context of what Scripture teaches. At one point in the conversation I stopped everyone just to remark on this.
We also talked about the creedal basis of the EPC. Unlike our former denomination, which lists many creeds while identifying none as operative or central, the EPC holds to the one historical Presbyterian creed, the Westminster Confession. They actually expect their pastors and elders to believe their essential tenets! The EPC sincerely holds to the Westminster Confession and does so in a gracious and thoughtful manner.
The only negative part of the evening (and this was but a small part of it) was addressing concerns that our former presbytery had sent to the EPC regarding the Kirk. Wayne and I addressed this mostly at a dinner we had with the EPC representatives before the session meeting.
Our former presbytery wrote to the EPC presbytery, complaining of the way in which we left the PCUSA. Their concern was for the “calculated series of irregular actions” by which we left and that our witness is “severely weakened by the shadows of these highly irregular actions.” They go on to ask the EPC to wait for us to go through the PCUSA’s process before admitting us into membership.
The EPC rightly needs to consider all these things. Having explained the events driving us to our “highly irregular action” I believe that they understand what has happened. In fact, the origin of the EPC was in reaction to similar forces from the [U]PCUSA against their charter congregations.
I am thankful for the time we spent together and, as a result, feel even more strongly that this denomination will be a good fit for us. We continue our conversations, though. Wayne and I and, perhaps, some of our elders, will attend the Midwest presbytery meeting later this month.
Keep praying—keep the faith,