Friday, June 10, 2011
The 78th General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church begins with the handing of the gavel from the retiring Moderator, Alan Pontier, to the newly elected Moderator, Danny Olinger. This was preceded by a stirring sermon from the retiring moderator from Revelation 12. The singing is always uplifting because there isn't a timid voice in the house. Men's voices, singing in parts, with enthusiastic volume is rather breathtaking to hear. These are men who believe the gospel, and sing it with convincing boldness.
Mr. Olinger, characterized by a sweet servant spirit, has been leading the most efficient, quiet and smooth running assembly in the history of the church. In my judgement this is because everyone came for the purpose of celebrating the 75th anniversary of the denomination. There was no work for the Committee on Appeals and Complaints. Almost every election has been a white ballot for the incumbents. This is a disappointment because since the last time I was a commissioner to GA they have gone to electronic balloting. Each commissioner is given a hand held device (gizmo) about the size of a small cell phone, with buttons to push, electronically recording his vote, and I have not been able to use my "gizmo" but a few times.
Every committee has had a good report, and every advisory committee has been silent on the reports. In the early days of the church, nobody seemed to trust committees to do their work, but that has all changed. I hope that is indicative of the maturation of our church rather than complacency.
Whatever it is, this assembly (with fewer hours allotted this year) is about over and we have the resort reserved until Tuesday noon. I think we will do a bit of partying, er rather, rejoicing in the Lord.
Heart-rending reports came from the mission fields--especially Japan--telling what the Lord is doing to bring men and women to himself. The earthquake and tsunami devastation has loosened the soil of many hearts which has been hard for generations. Young Japanese pastors are begging us to send more young missionary helpers to fill this new void with the saving good news of Jesus and His love. If I didn't have so many medical liabilities I would be tempted to go myself. But I don't want to get there and keel over so as to be another problem for these overworked servants on the field.