January 29, 2019
Brothers in Christ,
This is an open invitation to pastors, elders, and interested laymen to join with us in a constitutional convention during which a number of us anticipate founding a new association of reformed churches called Evangel Presbytery.
Our charter meeting will be held here in Bloomington beginning the evening of Tuesday, February 19, continuing through the morning of Wednesday, February 20. At the end of the meeting, we hope to have completed the adoption of constitutional documents ready to take back to our home churches for adoption by each church’s elders and congregation.
The work has been in process for several years, now. After a couple years of a working group processing older Reformed forms of government, editing and putting together a preliminary one to be considered by us, this past April a group of forty to fifty met in Indianapolis and firmed up our commitments to see this work to completion. There we deliberated, prayed, and decided to move forward. Before leaving, we elected a working group to finalize a form of government and directory for worship for presentation to the full group, then our local congregations.
Pastor David Abu-Sara and his committee have finished their work and they will present this new form of government and directory for worship at our February meeting.
We cordially invite any interested in this work to join us then. We hope you will stay for the Shepherd’s Conference afterward titled, “Spirit and Truth: A Conference on Worship.” Church officers, those aspiring to office, and their wives are welcome. Here is the registration information.
What are some defining commitments that led us to join together in forming Evangel Presbytery?
Presbyterian Polity: Evangel Presbytery will provide accountability, support, and fellowship for pastors and elders outside our congregations. We have been inspired by reading historical accounts of the company of pastors led by John Calvin in Geneva. This is our aim. Geneva’s Company confessed sins and prayed for one another, demonstrating a sweet organic unity that exhorted, encouraged, and strengthened the shepherds of the sheep. Shepherds ourselves need guardians of our souls. We have no higher aspirations.
Reformed Confessionalism: Evangel Presbytery will be a community of faith and doctrine and will guard our faith and doctrine closely. The ordination of pastors will be held in the presbytery rather than the local church. We have a high view of the necessity of doctrinal commitment and accountability, particularly for our pastors (teaching elders). Thus each congregation will adopt the Westminster Standards with exceptions allowed on baptism.
Contemporary Confessionalism: Evangel Presbytery will add to the historic Reformed confessions several confessional statements guarding Biblical doctrine under attack in our own time. As currently proposed, both the directory for worship and our statements of faith will confess the Image of God in man; the federal headship of Adam; the Creation Order of Adam first, then Eve; and lifelong, monogamous, heterosexual marriage.
Church Unity: Evangel Presbytery will demonstrate the unity of the Body of Christ by including in her fellowship both those who hold to the baptism of believers only and those who hold to the baptism of believers and their children. This church unity has been displayed by Reformed men in our time joining together in the work of conferences, seminaries, publishing, and worship services. We believe this unity is good and should be extended to presbyteries and the local church.
Reformed Pastoral Care: Evangel Presbytery will be committed to authority being used properly in guarding those souls purchased by our Lord’s Own precious blood. We will exhort one another to preach to the conscience and go house to house, day and night with tears applying the Word of God personally to those who submit to us as guardians of their souls. From our love and fear of God, we will hold each other accountable for this work in such a way that we need not be ashamed.
Our purpose forming this new presbytery is not to replace any other presbytery, nor do we aspire to any purity of doctrine or practice unique in our present ecclesiastical context. We will set ourselves in the mainstream of historic Protestant and Reformed practice and doctrine, asking God to allow us to demonstrate some commonality of zeal and truth with those fathers in the faith who have gone before us. We desire to create nothing new, but only to reaffirm the doctrine and practice of those who have gone before us. We ask God’s blessing on our work.
If you would like more information, please contacts us. (See contact form below.)
Meanwhile, consider coming to our February 19 and 20 meeting. You will be welcome.
Cordially in Christ,
Tim Bayly, Moderator, Evangel Presbytery; Sr. Pastor, Clearnote Church, Bloomington, IN
David Abu-Sara, Chairman, Constitutional Committee; Sr. Pastor, Clearnote Church, Indianapolis, IN
Brian Bailey, Member, Constitutional Committee; Elder, Clearnote Church, Bloomington, IN
Andrew Dionne, Member, Constitutional Committee; Sr. Pastor, Trinity Presbyterian Church (PCA), Spartanburg, SC
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