Saturday, September 12, 2020

"On Being Presbyterian" (2020.09.12 Pastoral Letter and Hopewell Herald)

Hopewell Herald – September 12, 2020

Dear Congregation, 

Please see Karen’s announcement about conference food below. Also, the Conference PDF is attached, as well as being available at and prominently linked from the Hopewell website. 

If you’ve got friends who are interested in learning what a Presbyterian is, or maybe you yourself are wondering, the anniversary conference is a great opportunity for that. 

The word comes from the word presbyter, elder. In a church (Presbyterian’s prefer the word “church” to “denomination”) name, it basically means that we believe that the Lord Jesus shepherds and teaches His church through a plurality of elders in a particular congregation, and gives churches in a region accountability through meetings (which they call “courts”) in that region. 

Sometimes, you might hear “higher” court, but to understand it the way Presbyterians mean it, it is better to think in terms of “broader” court. It’s very important to note that there is no office above elder at all—that all the elders in a congregation or a region are on equal footing before Christ and submit to him by submitting to their brother elders. 

We see that in the New Testament, the elders sat in Session (the word “Session” means “sitting” and refers to when the elders are seated as a body to govern, rather than functioning as individuals or informally as a group) with the apostles at the first “General Assembly” in Acts 15. And, the apostle Peter refers to himself as a fellow-elder with them in 1Peter 5:1. So, depending upon how large is the region that the elders are coming from, you might hear these broader courts referred to as Presbytery, Synod, or General Assembly. (By retaining the name ‘Synod’, it implies that the ARP is still hoping to be reunited with other Reformed Presbyterian synods into a General Assembly!) 

So basically, a Presbyterian is a Christian who sees that in the Bible, Jesus has a particular way of leading His church. You might also hear us called ‘Reformed’—which refers to the fact that there are many things that Jesus has a particular way of doing, that had been lost by the “Roman Catholic” church in the centuries leading up to the “Reformation.” 

All branches of the Reformation agreed that Jesus has a particular way of speaking to His church (through the Bible, sola scriptura) and that Jesus has a particular way of saving sinners (by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone; sola gratia, sola fide, solus Christus)—and that no mere man should ever be honored above all the others (to God’s glory alone, soli deo Gloria). 

But the Reformed branch (holding to one of the Reformed Confessions, such as our Westminster Confession or the Belgic Confession, etc.) saw even more than that in the Bible. Jesus has a particular way of conducting the worship of His church. Jesus has a particular way of growing Christians and making them more and more like Himself. Jesus has a particular way that He wants us to live. This is why our confession and catechisms (and other Reformed confessions) go into so much detail about the means of grace and the law of God. 

I’ll stop spoiling Dr. Willborn’s lectures now, but it is really a great instance of Christ’s merciful grace that He has kept (and even, when necessary, returned) Hopewell walking according to His truth these 200 years. And, as we thank Him and celebrate that grace, we will be simultaneously reminded of what He calls us to be and do. 

Of course, one of those things is a day that He has set apart as holy for His worship, in which He gives us a weekly celebration of Himself and reformation of ourselves, praise God! 

Looking forward to that day and that worship together with you, 


Please see the following note from Karen regarding conference meals. Also, we will need someone who does not have indoor pets to host Dr. Willborn and his wife. Thank you! 

Dear Hopewell Family, 

In a little over 2 weeks we will be celebrating Hopewell's 200th Anniversary!!  We are in the process of planning the celebration and want to invite everyone to join in this endeavor!  As far as food we are planning a Friday night snack & fellowship time, Saturday morning light snack/breakfast, Saturday break w/ snacks, and Saturday lunch. 

Here is a link to the sign-up sheet.  Obviously, we want to have enough of each item; so as one item fills up,  we will close that item and ask others to take the other items.  You will see that we are planning on 100 people (our best guess).  Most items have spaces for 4 people to bring enough for 25 people.  If you want to bring all or several of one item, please note by putting your name- x__ (whatever number you want to bring of that item [1,2,3 or4]).  So if 1 person wants to bring green beans for 75 people, then they would put their name- x3.  I hope this is not confusing.  Please contact Karen @ 628-2256 with questions. 

Thanks all! 

By His grace,


People from various groups who have ministered alongside the Reformed Personhood TN ministry on the sidewalk outside PP in Nashville are gathering to discuss the sidewalk ministry at Gateway Community Church in Franklin, Friday, October 9, 6:30p.m. Those praying for and interested in the ministry are invited. 

LORD'S DAY – September 13, 2020 

9:50 a.m. Breakfast Line Opens
10 a.m. Sabbath School
This week, we begin being taught by a team of men who are leading us through the book The Day of Worship, by Ryan McGraw


11 a.m. Public Worship

Children’s Catechism for Sep 13,
Q46. Did our Lord Jesus Christ ever commit the least sin? A. No; he was holy, harmless, and undefiled.

Shorter Catechism for Sep 13
Q54. What is required in the third commandment? A. The third commandment requireth the holy and reverent use of God's names, titles, attributes, ordinances, Word, and works.

Psalms and Hymns
TPH403 “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken”   
TPH27A “The Lord’s My Light” 
TPH456 “Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners” 

Scripture Text for first portion of worship service
Psalm 87 

Scripture Readings
1Samuel 16:14–23
Ephesians 4:16
Luke 8:4–18 

Sermon Scripture text and topic
We will be hearing from Genesis 32:13–32 about how Jacob is Saved by Being Disabled 

12:45 p.m. Coffee Fellowship and Catechism Class 

1 p.m. Fellowship Lunch & Open Mic Time
Members are encouraged to bring way more than enough, so that there will be plenty for everyone, including any members or guests who are deciding last-minute whether or not to stay. 

At open mic time, we’ll begin with birthdays and anniversaries and recitations of the memory verse:
Genesis 32:30, So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”

2:30 p.m Psalm/hymn Sing
Carryover song requests from last week:
Red(h): 400, 434, 265, 375, 433, 476, 459 |
(if you wish to make this week’s requests in advance, please feel free to reply to this email, and let me know!) 

3:30 p.m. Evening Sermon from Ephesians 4:16, No Joint Left Dislocated 

 Hopewell this Month 

Hopewell’s Presbytery Prayer Focus for September
Bethel ARP in Los Angeles, CA 

September Psalm of the Month
TPH27A The Lord’s My Light

Upcoming Events

•September 13, Lord’s Day series begins in the Sabbath School
•September 14, Monthly Session Meeting, 6 p.m.
•September 16, Prayer Meeting, 6:30 p.m.
•No Men’s Breakfast in September
•October 2-4, HARPC 200th Anniversary Celebration, with guest speaker Dr. Nick Willborn 

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