In today’s culture, most would say that the Christian church is shrinking or stagnating. I have seen it in myself in different churches I have visited in America. In my time in Scotland I have been able to be a part of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. When I arrived in this country there were two RP churches in the whole of the country. At this present time, however, there are now four churches and a church plant. To say that this growth and advancement of the kingdom of God is encouraging would be a colossal understatement.
I, along with the other SIS students, was able to attend the Induction Services of the two new RP churches. The first establishment of a new church was in Stornoway. I was surprised to hear many people here say that they had never been to the Isle of Lewis before. We traveled by car and ferry to the northern island to commune with God’s saints as they celebrated the inducting of elders and deacons and the calling of a minister into their church. The service started with a time of public worship. I found this particular helpful to remind us why we were all there: the glorification of Christ. Next, the Reverend Kenneth Stewart charged all there to be faithful in their calling because of the One who they were truly serving would remember their service to him. The elders, he reminded, were to be stewards of God’s mysteries, the doctrine of the church and the gospel itself. The deacons were to be overseers of the resources and materials of the church so that all with a need would see it met according to the will of God. After this, the elder candidates were called forward, asked a number of questions concerning their beliefs and practices, and received into their office as elders of the church. In a similar fashion, the deacon candidates were called forward, questioned, and inducted into the office of deacon of the church. Then, the church called Reverend David Karoon. Since Rev Karoon had already been ordained this part of the service consisted of him being called forward, asked about his views on scripture, doctrine, and church government, and lastly being welcomed by the congregation as their minister. Following all of this, Reverend Andrew Quigly of the Airdrie church gave the closing address. He brought us back to the heart of the matter: the point of it all was to bring glory to God. This was in no way a repetitive message because a Christian cannot hear such a message too many times.
The induction service in Stornoway was the first the RP church had experienced in seventeen years. Astoundingly, though, I have attended two such services in my short time in Scotland. The next service was held in Glasgow. This service ran in much the same way. We began with public worship led by Reverend Quigly. He addressed the question: “How do we respond to the hopelessness of man today?” He went on to say that the church is not merely meant to survive but to bear fruit. We do this by abiding in Christ and dedicating ourselves to his glorification. Next, there was the calling and induction of elders and deacons. This church was also calling a minister who had already been ordained, Reverend Kenneth Stewart. Reverend Stewart was likewise called forward, questioned and welcomed by the congregation. In closing, Reverend Donald MacDonald charged Reverend Stewart to remember that he was an ambassador for Christ. Ambassadors carry the authority and the message of the one they represent.
The kingdom of God is no doubt advancing in the world. At first it may not be seen or noticed because of the scale at which it happens at, but we should never be mistaken in realizing that it is at work. The growth in the Scottish RP Church is but one example of the quiet advancement the word of God in today’s day and age. God is so great to move among his people and stir the hearts of men who are willing to lead his faithful people.