Tag Archives: Jeff Jeremiah

EPC signs religious liberty statement


JeffJeremiahby Jeff Jeremiah
EPC Stated Clerk

Can you imagine a state punishing a Christian school for upholding traditional Christian teachings? That is what could happen if the California Senate passes Bill No. 1146 (SB 1146).

The proposed legislation would reduce the number of California colleges and universities that can claim exemptions from federal Title IX anti-discrimination law—applying the exemption only to seminaries and schools of divinity. This means that Christian colleges could face a loss of accreditation status with the state of California, resulting in their students’ inability to qualify for state and federal grants and loans.

SB 1146 has been called a “real test” as to whether a state legislature (and most likely the court system) is going to impose the U.S. Supreme Court-imposed orthodoxy concerning sexual orientation and marriage.

This bill is a direct challenge to long-standing exceptions for claims of religious free exercise. If passed, it would change the legal landscape for religious adherents both individually and collectively. Not only is SB 1146 disastrous for religious post-secondary education in California, it also sets a dangerous precedent for other states.

For these reasons, the EPC signed on to a “Multi-faith Statement to Protect Religious Higher Education,” which was released on August 9 by Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (the text of this statement is below). As of August 9, more than 140 signatories from across the religious and political spectrum had signed, including presidents or administrators from more than 50 colleges and seminaries.

David Tyra, member of the EPC Permanent Judicial Commission (PJC) and a Ruling Elder for Centerpoint Community Church in Roseville, Calif., is providing legal counsel for some of the religious institutions that would be affected by this statute. Please pray for David as he represents these colleges and universities in this politically charged situation.

A vote in the Appropriations Committee as to whether SB 1146 will come to the floor of the California Assembly will take place on August 11. We will keep you informed as this situation continues to develop.

Thank you for praying once again for God to be glorified in the face of continual secular government overreach.

“Multi-faith Statement on the Protection of Religious Higher Education”

The California Assembly has proposed legislation that is harmful to the free exercise of religion in higher education. In particular, the legislation disadvantages low-income minority students who want an education at private religious colleges. Though it purports to eliminate discrimination, Senate Bill 1146 results in its own form of discrimination by stigmatizing and coercively punishing religious beliefs that disagree on contested matters related to human sexuality. If SB 1146 were to pass, it would deny students’ ability to participate in state grant programs—programs that exist to help low-income students, and which are overwhelmingly used by racial minorities—at schools that are found in violation of the bill. Moreover, it would severely restrict the ability of religious education institutions to set expectations of belief and conduct that align with the institution’s religious tenets. While we do not all agree on religious matters, we all agree that the government has no place in discriminating against poor religious minorities or in pitting a religious education institution’s faith-based identity against its American identity. This legislation puts into principle that majoritarian beliefs are more deserving of legal protection, and that minority viewpoints are deserving of government harassment. Legislation of this nature threatens the integrity not only of religious institutions, but of any viewpoint wishing to exercise basic American freedoms, not least of which is the freedom of conscience.

We, the undersigned, do not necessarily agree with one another’s religious views, but we agree on the necessity of the liberty to exercise these views. At the root of the American experiment is the idea that conscience and religious conviction come before the demands of the state. Some of us disagree with the sexual ethics of orthodox Jews, Christians, and Muslims giving rise to this legislation, but we are unified in our resistance to the government setting up its own system of orthodoxy. As the American Founding Father Benjamin Franklin once said, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” No less is this true than on matters of religious liberty. Where the state can encroach on one religion’s free exercise, it can just as easily trample on any other religion’s free exercise. We therefore join in solidarity across religious lines to speak against Senate Bill 1146.

We call on the California Assembly to abandon Senate Bill 1146. To ensure the future of the free exercise of religion in higher education in California and across America, we respectfully call on the supporters of Senate Bill 1146 to immediately withdraw their support of this bill, with the commitment to disavow similar intrusions in the future. Opposition to this bill is not grounded in the protection of religious liberty only, nor for the special pleading of one religion in particular, but for the protection of American society and American democracy. Such protection requires a civil society welcoming of religious diversity.

The future of a free America requires the full participation of religion in public life. Religious higher education cultivates both the mind and the soul. Senate Bill 1146 endangers the integrity of religious education institutions and discourages them from acting according to their conscience for fear of government retribution. As Americans with a rich legacy of freedoms afforded to us by the laws of nature and of nature’s God, and enshrined in the Constitution, we can do better. As we renew our commitment to religious pluralism in the public square, we should embrace debate, welcome dissent, and encourage civility as we work together for the sake of the common good and of a country we are all unreservedly blessed to call our home.

Click here for the list of signatories to the statement.

Responding to spiritual attack


JeffJeremiahJeff Jeremiah

I have good reason to believe the EPC—specifically the GA staff team responsible for putting on our General Assembly—is under spiritual attack. In response, I am asking all our churches to make this a matter of intentional and regular prayer between now and when we convene on June 22.

What would lead me to make this declaration? Consider these two recent events:


Ed McCallum, EPC Assistant Stated Clerk

On April 9, Assistant Stated Clerk Ed McCallum was rushed to the emergency room with acute abdominal pain. He was subsequently diagnosed with a severe case of acute pancreatitis. I have not had much exposure to pancreatitis, but after some research I discovered that the most likely candidates for pancreatitis are those who abuse alcohol.  Ed doesn’t drink alcohol. His pancreatitis was caused by his gall bladder “spitting out” stones that irritated and inflamed his pancreas. After a week of treatment, Ed was released from the hospital on April 16. On April 19, his doctors discovered that his white blood cell count was dramatically elevated so he was readmitted. Given the severity of his symptoms and this setback, I relieved Ed of any work-related responsibilities through May 15.

The 2016 General Assembly is Ed’s 19th. He has been the key staff person overseeing the “GA Planning Team,” which is the staff team that puts on the Assembly each year. His absence led to a major re-shuffle of duties to ensure the 2016 Assembly would stay on schedule.

On Thursday, April 14, the GA Planning Team was convened to update progress on arrangements and address the matter of Ed’s absence. With the hope that Ed would be able to rejoin us by May 15, his responsibilities through that date were given to others, with the majority of these duties given to Brian Smith, our Director of Communications.


Brian Smith, EPC Director of Communications

On Wednesday morning, April 26, Brian was rushed to the emergency room with severe abdominal and lower back pain. The initial diagnosis was “kidney problems, possibly stones.” By the end of the day this was changed to a severe urinary tract infection.

On April 26, we had two key members of the staff team that puts on our annual meeting in the hospital. One, a non-drinker suffering from a severe case of acute pancreatitis. The other is a man suffering from a urinary tract infection, something that men rarely contract. I prayerfully decided that the staff team responsible for the 2016 General Assembly was under spiritual attack, and asked the Committee on Administration (which I consider the Session of the EPC) to pray.

Thankfully, Ed was sent home on April 29 after spending 17 of 30 days in April in the hospital. His recovery will be slow, but he is working from home as he is able. Surgery to remove his gall bladder, gall stones, and other pancreatitis-related damage has not yet been scheduled.

By April 28, Brian’s diagnosis was changed to “acute prostatitis” caused by a bacterial infection that is a “cousin” of staph. He was bombarded with antibiotics and finally sent home on Sunday, May 1. Brian hopes to return to work by the first of next week. He’ll be on Cipro through May to ensure he doesn’t have a setback and this infection is wiped out.

Why would the evil one single out the EPC and our General Assembly in June? Given the increase in sexual chaos he’s enjoyed in American culture since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last June, he cannot be pleased that the EPC is proposing a Position Paper on Human Sexuality in June that is firmly rooted in God’s Word and is redemptive and pastoral in tone. I am not aware of another Church in the United States declaring “yes” to God’s design for human sexuality this summer. In addition, in June we will consider partnering with the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico in church planting, one of the most effective ways that people come to saving faith in Jesus Christ.  The evil one must be enraged at a fraternal agreement that could mark the beginning of an historic Kingdom growth movement in North America.

For several years, we have said that the evil one cannot be pleased that the EPC has grown from 182 churches to almost 600 that unapologetically and unashamedly declare the good news that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord and that salvation is found only in Him. In 2016, I believe he has us targeted as we gather for our annual meeting at Ward Church in June.  Will you commit to pray that our Lord Jesus Christ, reigning in power and glory for His church at this moment, will protect our “little band of churches” that is the EPC?

Thank you, and remember—He is risen!

U.S. declares ISIS actions genocide


JeffJeremiahJeff Jeremiah

In Responding to the persecution of Christians – we will not ‘Sing a Little Louder’ I asked you to set aside time in your worship services on March 12-13 to pray for Christians suffering for their faith in ISIS-held territory. I also asked you to consider praying that the U.S. State Department will report to Congress that the horrors these brothers and sisters endure is, in fact, genocide.

Thank you for your prayers and praise the Lord! Today, Secretary of State John Kerry reported to Congress that the ISIS treatment of Yazidis, Christians, and Shiite Muslims is genocide. Earlier this week in a unanimous vote, the House of Representatives passed a resolution similar to Kerry’s statement.

This is a major step forward in what we hope will be concerted action to relieve the suffering of these people. In the meantime, please continue to pray for those who are being persecuted—and in far too many cases, martyred—for no other reason than their faith.

Click here for more on today’s declaration.

2015: Finish Strong


JeffJeremiahby Jeff Jeremiah
EPC Stated Clerk

Since the 2014 General Assembly, our Vision Statement has been, “To the glory of God, the EPC family aspires to embody and proclaim Jesus’ love as a global movement of congregations engaged together in God’s mission through transformation, multiplication, and effective biblical leadership.”

Four strategic opportunities are embedded in that statement: 1) global movement, 2) transformation (church revitalization), 3) multiplication (church planting), and 4) effective biblical leadership. We are finishing the year strong as we pursue these four opportunities.

Global Movement

Global movement includes EPC World Outreach (WO) and partnership opportunities with other denominations of the global Church. For WO, all eight of our global workers in Lebanon are working with relief groups ministering to Syrian civil war refugees. These refugees are very open to the good news of Jesus Christ, and many are coming to saving faith. To help take advantage of this open door of opportunity, the EPC has established a Syrian Refugee Relief Fund. Donations to the fund will:

  1. Provide the Bible (in Arabic and Kurdish) on mp3 audio players to a church-planting team on the Turkish/Syrian border;
  2. Send disciple makers (who are fluent in the native languages of the refugees) to work with evangelical German refugee welcome centers; and
  3. Help World Outreach workers in Lebanon provide physical and spiritual aid to refugees.

In addition, World Outreach hosted 31 prospective candidates and inquirers for global worker status at its annual “Encounter” event in early December.


EPC Moderator Mike Moses will meet with leadership of the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico in February about a potential church planting partnership.

An exciting partnership possibility has come to us from the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico (NPCM). With more than 6,000 churches, the NPCM is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the Western Hemisphere. The leaders of the NPCM are aware of large Hispanic communities in the United States where there is no gospel presence, and at the same time God is raising up church planting missionaries in NPCM. Their leadership has invited us to Mexico City to discuss a potential church planting partnership.

Is it possible that the Lord is calling the EPC into partnership with the NPCM to help their missionaries plant churches in these communities in the United States? An EPC delegation led by GA Moderator Mike Moses will discuss this question in Mexico City the week of February 29.

Multiplication (church planting)

Tom Ricks, leader of the Church Planting Team, reports that we now have 30 church plants in the EPC. Two of these launched since our General Assembly in June: Grace Presbyterian in York, Pa., and Resurrection Church-Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, N.Y.


Grace Presbyterian Church in York, Pa., held its first worship services October 18, with Rob Norris bringing the message.

Grace—which is taking a unique planting path—held its first worship service on October 18. Rather than a single “parent church,” a “partner church team” of three rural congregations has worked for the past year to lay the foundation for the October launch. The partner churches are Bethlehem Steltz Reformed Church in Glen Rock, Pa. (John Dorr, pastor); Guinston Presbyterian Church in Airville, Pa. (Daniel Moore, pastor); and Round Hill Presbyterian Church in Cross Roads, Pa. (pastorate vacant).

Further, a lay leadership team of Ron and Joan Webb and Kevin and Carolyn Mosser is leading the church, while pulpit supply is provided by Rob Norris (currently on sabbatical from Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Md.), Aaron Anderson, and Keith Greer.

Joan Webb told me that the preaching team is working great, their regular attenders come from seventeen households, and they have new visitors every week.


Resurrection-Sheepshead Bay held its first worship service on November 22.

Resurrection-Sheepshead Bay held its first worship service on November 22. Pastor Brian Steadman told me that they also are off to a tremendous start. He said they have had new visitors at each of their services, as those attending one week are bringing friends and family the next week. Further, he noted that a majority of their worshipers haven’t been to church in decades. As Brian put it to me, “They’re hearing the gospel and coming back to the gospel.”

The new plant is part of the multi-site Resurrection-Brooklyn church led by Matt Brown. Brian led the church’s Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief ministry from 2012-2015, and through that effort became known as “The Pastor of Disaster.” Sheepshead Bay was one of the areas hardest hit by the hurricane. For more information about the church, see www.resurrectionsheepsheadbay.org.

Transformation (church revitalization)


Ken Priddy

Members of the GO Team (Ken Priddy, Bob Stauffer, and Bill Rasch) have been extremely busy since our General Assembly in June. From July 1 to March 1, they have no less than 123 appointments with presbyteries, churches, and groups of churches to explore revitalization. By means of the “Great Commission Matrix,” the GO Team leads congregations and presbyteries to evaluate their ministries in light of the Great Commission to “make disciples.”

This ministry’s effectiveness is on display in the transformation taking place in congregations. Earlier this fall, we celebrated the turnaround that Ardara Presbyterian Church has enjoyed. You can see more at www.epcepnews.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/celebrating-gods-faithfulness-a-church-revitalization-story. We look forward to sharing other “Ardara stories” as more of our churches embrace revitalization.

Effective Biblical Leadership

CCO—EPC Partnership

In 2007, the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO) became a preferred ministry partner with us. In 2015, our Next Generation ministry has moved to deepen this relationship into a thriving partnership that equips and connects EPC church with campus ministries in strategic university cities. CCO has the resources to train and deploy campus ministries and EPC has the national scope of churches to expand the ministry. For more information about CCO, see www.ccojubilee.org.

To develop this partnership, our Church Planting Team met October 26-27 with CCO leaders in Pittsburgh. Dean Weaver (a member of the EPC Committee on Administration), Bill Enns, and I also participated. We believe this partnership is consistent with our vision and can greatly enhance our church planting ministries, and we have begun the process of implementation.

Leadership Institute 2016

To be a “global movement of congregations,” leadership development is essential. We held our inaugural Leadership Institute the day before General Assembly convened. Thom Rainer was our featured plenary speaker on Tuesday morning, and four leadership tracks were held on Tuesday afternoon. Those four tracks focused on the four Strategic Initiatives. As we prepare for 2016 General Assembly, we have eleven tracks planned. Topics range from developing children and youth in biblical knowledge to helping congregations seeking a pastor with the search process. The Leadership Institute seeks to prepare every kind of ministry for greater effectiveness. More information will follow in the registration information for General Assembly.

Per Member Asking update

These exciting kingdom opportunities God has for us can only become a reality with your support. If the Lord provides you with additional funds at the end of December, will you please consider funding these?

Sabbatical reflections


JeffJeremiahby Jeff Jeremiah
EPC Stated Clerk

Many of our pastoral colleagues who came to the EPC recently from the mainline denomination brought with them a most beneficial practice—sabbatical. I’ve lost track of how many of these incoming pastors have regularly taken a sabbatical (and with it, a grant from the Lilly Foundation to fund it!).

I have been a member of the EPC since 1987, and the concept of a sabbatical for “rest” is new to me. In 1989, Rob Norris and the Session of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Md., gave me a five-month sabbatical. I had completed my Ph.D. coursework and comprehensive exams, and they intended for me to make substantial progress on the beginning of my dissertation—write the first chapter, outline the remaining chapters, and do as much beyond that as possible. “Rest” had nothing to do with it! At the time, I was working full-time and Cindy and I had three small boys. I am convinced I would not have completed my dissertation in 1992 without that break.

In the years since, I was not aware of many colleagues in the EPC who received sabbaticals. The EPC Ministerial Procedures Manual listed it as a suggestion, but as far as I know, it was acted upon rarely (if ever). It simply wasn’t in our “DNA.” However, our newly arrived colleagues—and their churches—bring this practice with them.

In my conversations with these new EPC pastors, what stands out about their sabbaticals is that these breaks are about enabling and encouraging the pastor to thrive for the long term.  A three- to six-month sabbatical every five to seven years is an investment the church makes in the pastor (and an investment the pastor makes in himself or herself) that not only can ward off exhaustion or burnout, but also can rejuvenate and re-energize the pastor.

Indeed, in my early years as Stated Clerk I was aware of some pastors who, facing burnout, asked their sessions for a sabbatical. Yet these pastors didn’t take their allotted four weeks of vacation (which, it can be argued, was a contributing factor to their burnout). This sabbatical request sparked a conflict between the pastor and session that did not always end well. Part of my motivation in asking for a three-month sabbatical was to model the benefit our colleagues have brought with them, and to report to you my experience.

When I asked the Committee on Administration if I was to do any directed study or equipping on my break, their response was direct: “You have one responsibility on this sabbatical—REST. Anything you do beyond that is between you and the Lord.”

With that as background, here is my report:

I cannot describe July—the first month of my sabbatical—as “restful,” as Cindy and I moved into our new home back in Seattle. What startled me most was this: beginning on July 1, I did not set my alarm—and I slept an additional 90 minutes every night the whole month. I was beginning to get nervous by the third week, but by the end of the month, my normal sleep pattern (increased by 30 extra minutes) returned.

Cindy and I spent August largely enjoying our sons and their wives. From September 12-29 we traveled to France and Scotland.

Among the helpful books I read was The Corporate Athlete by Jack Groppel. The key take-away was that time management is critical in leadership, but energy management is more important. While not written from a Christian perspective, it is wholistic in its approach—addressing the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the leader’s life.

In terms of managing our energy, Groppel argues that recovery is too often overlooked to our detriment (and even peril). The two key means of recovery are sleep and nutrition. You will not be shocked to learn that Groppel notes that the typical American consumption of too much sugar and fat not only compromises recovery, but also further drains our energy.

He also noted that physical exercise serves two purposes. First, it increases energy levels. Second, it is a form of recovery because it gives us a break from the press of the urgent and gives us space to think “from a distance” on our day.

My sabbatical gave me the time and space to reflect often “from a distance” on my call, my role as Stated Clerk, and the ever-evolving nature of what effective ministry for Christ in the 21st century demands. I returned on October 1 rejuvenated, energized, and much more open to the changes the Lord has for us as a church—one that has tripled in size in the last seven years and faces a culture increasingly antagonistic to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I’m very thankful to the Committee on Administration for making this investment in me for my long-term ministry, and to the Office of the General Assembly staff (especially Assistant Stated Clerk Ed McCallum, Chief Operating Officer Phil VanValkenburg and Executive Associate Bill Enns) for the burden they shouldered during my absence.

One last thing that the Lord made clear to me on my sabbatical—an increased awareness of the reality that He is risen!

EPC leaders attend World Reformed Fellowship in Brazil

Rob Norris (left) and Corey Gray of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Md., take a break from the proceedings of the WCF General Assembly.

Rob Norris (left) and Corey Gray of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Md., take a break from the proceedings of the World Reformed Fellowship General Assembly in Sao Paulo, Brazil, March 23-27.

Luder Whitlock, member of First Prebyterian Church in Orlando, presented the daily devotionals for the Fourth General Assembly of the World Reformed Fellowship, March 22-25.

Luder Whitlock, member of First Presbyterian Church in Orlando, presented the daily devotionals for the General Assembly of the WRF.

Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah and Dean Weaver represented the EPC at the Fourth General Assembly of the World Reformed Fellowship (WRF) in Sao Paulo, Brazil, March 23-27. The EPC has been a member of the WRF since 2000. Weaver is a member of the Committee on Administration and teaching elder from of the Presbytery of the Alleghenies.

The WRF General Assembly convenes every four years to take up the business of the Assembly and to consider matters of interest to the global Reformed and evangelical community. Concerns addressed at this year’s meeting included the challenges of Islam, the homosexual agenda, human trafficking, and poverty. Presenters included leaders of Reformed churches from Indonesia, China, Germany, Brazil, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

Jeremiah noted that it was instructive to hear speakers from outside the United States address these topics. “Learning how our global brothers and sisters in Christ are addressing these challenging issues was really helpful,” he said.

Several other EPC leaders were involved in the Assembly.

In the opening session, Luder Whitlock, member of First Presbyterian Church in Orlando and former president of Reformed Theological Seminary, described the events in the 1980s and 90s that led to the formation of WRF in 2000. Whitlock is a founding member of the WRF. Rob Norris, Pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Md., was re-elected to the Board of Directors. Chris Wright, 2012 EPC General Assembly Workshop speaker, delivered the devotional message each morning.

On March 25, Jeremiah and Weaver attended a special meeting of denominational leaders from the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe who attended the Assembly. The group discussed how an effective denominational fellowship might function, and formed a committee to explore how that would benefit each member denomination. Jeremiah agreed to serve on the committee.

Jeremiah also met with the Presiding Bishop of a Pentecostal denomination of 270 churches in Brazil. “He and the next generation of leaders in his church have ‘discovered’ Reformed theology, and He wanted to talk to me about becoming a Reformed Pentecostal denomination,” Jeremiah said, noting a high level of affinity among the other leaders at the Assembly.

“I can get excited about the EPC becoming a more energetic partner in the WRF,” he said, “because the values and commitments of this global group are consistent with ours.”

The WRF’s mission is to promote understanding, cooperation, and resource sharing among evangelical and Reformed Christians in the advancement of the gospel. The organization’s vision—citing Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 4:11-13—is that “the strengths of some might become the strengths of all in the service of Jesus Christ.”

Since its founding in 2000, the WRF has grown to include 69 denominations; 101 churches; 157 seminaries, schools, and other organizations; and 734 individual members from 74 countries. Individual WRF members include EPC leaders Bruce Anderson, Sharon Beekmann, Matt Brown, Gerrit Dawson, Corey Gray, Jason Harris, Dan Tidwell, Alan Trafford, and Dean Weaver.

For more information about the WRF, see www.wrfnet.org.

On March 25, denominational leaders from five continents discussed a denominational fellowship.

On March 25, denominational leaders from five continents discussed a denominational fellowship.

EPC reaffirms biblical definition of marriage


Due to the most recent pronouncement of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to redefine marriage, we in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church reaffirm our position on Christian marriage. We hold to the biblical standard of marriage, which is that it is a formal and sacred covenant between one man and one woman for life.

Further, to clarify our relationship among the diverse Presbyterian denominations, the EPC is a completely independent, separate, and unrelated denomination from the PC(USA) and shares no mutual identity, missions, or holdings.

Our unquestionable commitment to this biblical definition of marriage is undergirded by our belief that God ordained marriage for a number of purposes. These include His glory; intimate human companionship and mutual assistance; bearing, nurturing, and training of children; promoting societal stability; and affirming the proper context for human sexuality.

The EPC is firmly rooted in the Reformed tradition and orthodox theology. We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the infallible Word of God, the final authority on all issues to which it speaks. Therefore, our attitudes and behaviors are to be judged in the light of the Bible, rather than the Bible being reinterpreted, modified, or overturned by current cultural trends.

The PC(USA) announcement comes after its General Assembly and a majority of its presbyteries approved an amendment to their Book of Order. That amendment changes the definition of marriage to “a unique relationship between two people, traditionally a man and a woman” and permits its ministers to officiate same-sex unions in its churches.

We grieve for our brothers and sisters in the PC(USA) who have chosen to submit to culture rather than to abide by God’s Word. We stand with numerous other evangelical, conservative, and traditional Christians from many branches of the Christian faith tree in our belief in biblical marriage.

Is the EPC “Evangelical?”

Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk

Jeff Jeremiah,
EPC Stated Clerk

by Jeff Jeremiah, Stated Clerk

Our EPC mission statement declares, “We exist to carry out the Great Commission of Jesus as Presbyterian, Reformed, Evangelical and Missional congregations.” Four characteristics in this statement define us: Presbyterian, Reformed, Evangelical and Missional. Let’s focus on “evangelical” for a moment.

I’ve often described what we mean by “evangelical” in the EPC this way: “We joyfully, boldly proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ; that salvation is found in the Son of the living God. Jesus Christ can be known, trusted, loved and embraced as personal Savior and Lord. This salvation is found in no one else. As Jesus said in John 14, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Me.’ To be evangelical reminds me that it’s all about Jesus Christ and the Gospel.”

A recent article that sparked soul-searching as to how we act on our commitment to Christ and the gospel was written by Thom Rainer, our 2015 General Assembly Workshop speaker. On February 23, he posted “Fifteen Reasons Our Churches Are Less Evangelistic Today.” In an attempt to assess where we are in this matter and how we might strengthen this important commitment, I invite you to read this two-page article and respond to the following questions:

  1. Do you agree with Rainer’s argument that we are less evangelistic than we were ten or twenty years ago?
  2. If you agree with Rainer’s argument, what are some of the “15 Reasons” that are evident in your church?
  3. Do you have any suggestions as to how we might address this problem?

If you’re comfortable sending me your responses, please do so at jeff.jeremiah@epc.org.