Vanguard Presbytery held its semi-annual presbytery meeting in Hanover, Pennsylvania on October 20, 2023. I was expecting Hanover to be a very small community, but it was larger than I realized. It is still a small city, but there are many souls there that need to hear the gospel. Those who were arrived early enough on the 19th were able to be part of the neighborhood evangelistic efforts. Twenty-eight people were evangelized in some detail and the teams ministered to and prayed for many others.
Like every presbytery meeting, the morning was devoted to preaching and prayer. The primary business of the court was to examine two ministers transferring into Vanguard Presbytery—Freddie Knox and Mic Knox, father and son. After many years in the Church of God, Freddie Knox was driven to the reformed faith by his study of the Scripture (and, I am sure, by his son, Mic, who is a graduate of RTS in Atlanta). Freddie assists his son in the work at Gospel Reformed Church in Powder Springs, Ga. Mic Knox was a pastor in the PCA before transferring into Vanguard. His new church has 75-90 people attending every Sunday. Both men were unanimously received as transferring ministers with their ordination credentials being accepted by the court. Since our meeting, we have learned that the leadership team of Reformed Gospel Church voted unanimously to pursue affiliation with Vanguard Presbytery in 2024.
There were also two candidates for the ministry who were received by presbytery after the court listened to their conversion experiences and calls to the ministry—John Michael Parsons and Jacob Phillips. Parsons and Phillips both live in the Birmingham, AL area and are being mentored by Al Baker. They both feel called as evangelists and are pursuing their theological education for ordination. I think they are probably both enrolled in Vanguard Presbytery’s School of Ministry (which by the way has between 15 and 20 students now).
Presbytery also received the report on the particularization of the Grace Covenant Reformed Church of Clovis, New Mexico. This is a congregation that was started by RE Erick Welsh with the help of TE Ryan Denton. Denton is also starting the mission church in Lubbock, Texas—Lubbock Reformed Church. Additionally, presbytery voted to start a new mission work in Midland, Texas with a good sized group already developing there. The pastor of that church, if he passes the examination for the transfer of his ministerial credentials, will be Rev. Cody Pope. They have already received gifts of more than $50,000 to help them get started. There are some options for new churches in other places. One possible mission work is in a city which cannot be mentioned at this time. We also were contacted this week by a new church in another Texas city which has 60 people attending and they are interested in Vanguard. From what I know as of this writing, the leaders of that new church are in agreement with the basic principles of Vanguard.
Al Baker, Vanguard’s mission pastor, reported to presbytery last Friday that the Church Planting Committee is looking at starting new mission churches in cities where progressive churches predominate—Austin, Texas; St. Louis, Missouri; and, Nashville, Tennessee are some of the cities being explored at the moment. The committee has some contacts in each of those cities already. The presbytery recognizes that Vanguard is most attractive to people who live in cities with few conservative Presbyterian churches as options. While ministers and churches think that their denominations can be turned around and they have a conservative reformed church option, they are not as interested in starting a Vanguard church. On the other hand, a potential member of the new mission work in Midland, Texas wrote to me on Sunday the following (after I had answered several of her questions about Vanguard): “Thank you so much for your reply. The more I hear, the more I’m thankful for this denomination.” The new ministers transferring into Vanguard express the same sentiment. The young men becoming ministerial candidates express the same sentiment. We realize that that the Lord is not going to exponentially increase Vanguard Presbytery through a large influx of churches leaving existing Presbyterian denominations. Instead, the Lord is doing something more wonderful. He is bringing to us people who are excited about the principles that Vanguard stands for.
Another interesting tidbit about our meeting last week was the attendance by a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, Mark Tew, who is also a creation scientist. He told me that the scientific data just does not support any view other than the creation accounts in Genesis, including creation in six 24 hour days. He attends Grace Presbyterian Church in Hanover where Jeff Sheeley is the pastor. Mr. Tew has various lectures online about creation. I have not yet had the opportunity to listen to those lectures, but I plan to do so. You should also. I asked Mr. Tew if he was alone among meteorologists in holding to Christian science and he told me that there are many of his colleagues who share his views. True scientific facts are stubborn little things that cannot be ignored.
Dewey Roberts, Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Destin, FL
Please send any donations to: Vanguard Presbytery, PO Box 1862, Destin, FL 32540