Roe v. Wade has been overturned!

We give thanks to God for His kindness that led our Supreme Court to strike down (PDF) Roe v. Wade yesterday. Praise God!

In His providence, God led Sovereign King Church, and pastor Spurgeon specifically, to push our presbytery to produce a statement on abortion. The work began last year, and no one would have guessed at the time that we would be able to release the work to the public the day after Roe v. Wade was overturned. But here we are! God is kind.

Abortion and the Church can be read online here. You’ll find a link at that site to download the document as a printable PDF.

Please share it far and wide.

June Presbytery Meeting

The 9th Stated Meeting of Evangel Presbytery met at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina on Thursday, June 2nd, 2022 at 9 am. We opened with a worship service and communion. Pastor Tim Bayly preached on Acts 20, Paul’s farewell to the Ephesian Elders. This was a timely text as Pr. Bayly will be retiring as senior pastor in Bloomington soon. He will be missed by all.

Our order of business began with a few reports from committees, the one of most anticipation being the Statement on Abortion. This statement has been in the works since October 2021, and quickly turned into something more akin to a book. Elders were given draft copies prior to the meeting to be prepared to discuss the work. It is evident that the research done has been massive and will shed much light on not just the epidemic of surgical abortions, but chemical as well. Since our last stated meeting in February a major Supreme Court opinion drafted by Justice Alito was leaked to the public. This was providential to say the least. The possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned is far higher now than ever and this has fueled the work on the statement all the more. Because of this the committee proposed to release the statement on Warhorn Media in conjunction with the ruling of the Dobbs decision (expected late June or early July). This allows the statement to be completed and released before the next stated presbytery meeting. This passed, so please continue to pray for the committee as they finish their work in the coming weeks!

In relation to this issue, Pr. Joseph Spurgeon of Sovereign King Church moved to have an annual day of fasting and prayer on the issue of abortion. This passed as well. We must not overlook these spiritual works. God does listen to His people, so please pray and fast as we plead for the lives of the unborn.

After a pulled pork and mac n’ cheese lunch we continued our business by hearing from our churches and praying for them. There is much growth happening in many of our churches which means a need for more workers. 

We then heard from two New Geneva Academy students who were offered to come under care. Timothy Deaton of Clearnote Church, Indianapolis, and Sion Han of Trinity Reformed Church, Bloomington both gave their testimonies and feeling of call to ministry. The presbytery unanimously voted for both being taken under care.

After finishing business, we adjourned with prayer. A big thank you to all who made the trip down to South Carolina! It was a blessed time.

Evangel’s next stated meeting will be at Trinity Reformed Church, in Bloomington, IN on Friday October 7th, 2022. The 2022 NGA Shepherds Conference will be held at the same location from October 5-6th. Hope to see you at both!

Februrary 2022 Presbytery Meeting

The 7th Stated Meeting of Evangel Presbytery met at Clearnote Church in Indianapolis, IN on February 18th, 2022. We began with our worship service at 9am with Pr. Paul Belcher preaching from Joshua 14:1-15. His exhortation centered on the life of Caleb and his faithfulness to enter the Promised Land.

After the Lord’s Supper our business portion of the meeting began starting with an exciting report about our statement on abortion. Last presbytery meeting, Sovereign King Church proposed that a committee study abortion with the purpose of adopting a statement. That committee has been working hard, and the current draft could easily be a book! No rock has been unturned and we have great hope that the final statement will be useful to all as a tool for repentance and true, righteous living.

After this, a report was given regarding the status of a handbook for session clerks. This handbook will be a great help to all future session clerks, bringing clarity and efficiency to their roles. The handbook will hopefully be completed by next presbytery.

Next we had updates from our churches and church plants. There is much to pray for, especially for the churches who have had sickness and death in recent weeks. This is always a sweet time full of encouragement despite the hardships that we are facing.

We then broke for a great lunch and warm fellowship. The peanut butter cookies were definitely the highlight.

Following lunch, we continued updates from our church plants and an update from Pr. Andrew Dionne on New Geneva Academy. NGA is doing well financially but is looking for more students. They are currently marketing at smaller conferences in hopes of connecting with eligible men and pastors.

After these reports, requests for approval for pastoral calls were granted. Alex McNeilly and Paul Belcher will serve as assistant pastors at recently particularized Christ Church, Cincinnati. After many years of faithful service Pr. Tim Bayly will resign as senior pastor of Trinity Reformed Church, and Jody Killingsworth will serve as senior pastor in his place.

A few remaining business decisions were handled regarding the BCO before finishing the day.

Our next stated meeting will be on Thursday June 2nd, 2022 at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Spartanburg, SC. We hope to see you there!

October 2021 Meeting of Evangel Presbytery

Evangel Presbytery met on Friday, October 8th, 2021 at Trinity Reformed Church in Bloomington, Indiana. Our meeting started at 9 am with worship and prayer, followed by a sermon from Pastor Joseph Bayly. Pastor Bayly preached from 1 Kings 1:1-10 and warned us of the sins of pride and ambition. If we are to be wise, we must not only be able to see these sins in ourselves and others, but we must kill them. This was a needed exhortation as all men are prone to such errors. 

Changes to our BCO were discussed and voted on, followed by two written reports from men laboring out-of-bounds, Brian Bunn and Jürgen von Hagen.

Two overtures (petitions from churches to the presbytery) were then presented, both regarding major issues that all Christians must face: 

  1. Pastor Joseph Spurgeon proposed that a committee be formed to study abortion with the purpose of drafting and adopting a statement about it. 
  2. Pastor Lucas Weeks presented a statement that had been adopted by Trinity Reformed Church on September 19, 2021 titled Conscience and Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates: In Defense of Sphere Authority. The statement was adopted by Evangel Presbytery and can be read here. We encourage you to do so!

Following a budget proposal, we heard updates from our churches and mission churches. Even though these updates often include struggles and disappointments, it is always an encouraging portion of the meeting, for we see God’s kindness and mercy to his people. It is a truly sweet time to hear from our pastors. 

During this time, we had an exciting announcement: Christ Church Cincinnati asked to be particularized! Here is a brief history of Christ Church from Pr. Alex McNeilly: 

The church was planted under the leadership of pastors Joseph Bayly (senior) and Paul Belcher (assistant) in 2015, along with the help of several others. Alex McNeilly joined as an assistant pastor in September 2019. On September 12, 2021, the congregation elected two elders (Ken Patrick and Tom Thistleton) and two deacons (Rob Bedinghaus and Scott Hillger), called Joseph Bayly to serve as their senior pastor, and signed a petition to Evangel Presbytery to be organized as a particular church. The newly elected officers will be ordained and installed at an organization service on Sunday, October 31. For several years, the church met in an elementary school in Milford, Ohio, a suburb on the east side of Cincinnati. The church now meets for worship in the gym at Mars Hill Academy in Mason, Ohio, a suburb northeast of Cincinnati. The congregation has steadily grown over the past six years so that it now comprises roughly sixteen households, including families with (many) children as well as single adults.

We praise God for his kindness to us in this!

Following this announcement, we had a great lunch and time of fellowship at the church before reconvening. 

After lunch, the Candidates and Credentials committee brought some recent exceptions to the Westminster Confession of Faith to the floor of presbytery for discussion.

After hearing from our Sessional Records Committee our meeting ended (earlier than expected, which is always nice as there is more time for fellowship!). 

This meeting was preceded by our annual Shepherd’s Conference. The theme was The Good Soldier. The sessions were full of exhortation and encouragement, with much needed fellowship (and food) in between! 

Our next stated meeting will be on Friday, February 18th, 2022 at Clearnote Church in Indianapolis. We look forward to seeing you there!

February 2021 Meeting of Evangel Presbytery

The 5th Stated Meeting of Evangel Presbytery met at Trinity Reformed Church in Bloomington, Indiana on Friday, February 19th, 2021 at 10 am. After Moderator Andrew Dionne prayed and called us to order, Pastor Jody Killingsworth and the musicians at TRC opened our service of worship with a hymn and a psalm. Then Pastor Dionne preached to us from 1 Peter 5:1-4, and Pastor Philip Moyer led us in communion.

In his sermon, Pastor Dionne exhorted us, among other things, not to be lazy. Good thing he did, as we had a full day of business ahead of us. We took attendance and then Stated Clerk Lucas Week made a personal motion to strike the 10am start-time from our bylaws, so we could start subsequent meetings as convenient. The motion passed!

After that we discussed a variety of proposed changes to our BCO. Some changes had already been considered and were brought before the presbytery for a vote. For others, the moderator appointed committees to review the proposals and return to presbytery with recommendations.

We had a brief report from the administrative nominating committee, and then we broke for lunch.

Lunch was awesome: two lasagnas, salad, and butterscotch-chip cookies. There were many guests, and the time of fellowship with old friends and new was sweet. If you were one of the excused absences, or you just haven’t joined the Presbytery yet, you missed out.

The next part of the meeting after lunch was full of joy, as we heard from the various churches and church plants about how things were going over the last few months. The theme was: COVID was tough, but God is faithful.

Best of all, we voted to particularize Sovereign King Church in Memphis, Indiana. The particularization service which includes the ordination of two elders will take place soon. Praise the Lord, and best wishes to Pastor Joseph Spurgeon and his flock.

Later, we heard from Jake Mentzel, the Chairman of the Board of New Geneva Academy, which has cooked up a great pastors training program for this Autumn, with five men (and counting) already signed up.

We ended the day with the ordination of Jason Chen who will pastor the Chinese Reformed Church of Bloomington, Indiana. Pastor Mentzel preached:

This was a long time coming, and an occasion of happiness for all. Congratulations, Pastor Chen!

Our next stated meeting will be held on Thursday, June 3, 2021 at Holy Trinity Reformed Church in Camby, Indiana.

February 2020 Presbytery Meeting

Back in February, Evangel Presbytery met in Bloomington, Indiana at Trinity Reformed Church. We had quite a full docket! Here are a few of the highlights.

The day started with a worship service, and pastor Tim Bayly preached. After hearing preaching and celebrating the Lord’s Supper, we went through the regular meeting preliminaries: roll call, introduction and seating of guests and visitors, and the adoption of our previous minutes and current docket.

After the preliminaries were over, we dove in to the substance of our agenda. As the chairman of the Bylaws Committee, pastor Andrew Dionne presented the proposed bylaws to the presbytery. After some discussion of amendments, the bylaws were approved.

The next major order of business came from the Candidates and Credentials Committee. After examination, four men came under care of presbytery, and three went on to preach and undergo licensure exams. All three were approved by the presbytery and are now licensed to preach.

Next up, the presbytery conducted a transfer exam of pastor Andy Halsey and received him into Evangel Presbytery from the Presbyterian Church in America. Rev. Halsey will serve as an Evangelist, working to start a new church in Columbus, IN.

The meeting ended with a brief report from each of our churches—things that are going well, and challenges each are facing. We also heard an update from our Cincinnati and Sellersburg church plants. Finally, we heard exciting news that a new church plant in Evansville is in the works!

Overall, we had a very productive meeting with some sweet fellowship. Praise be to God!

Licensed To Preach

At our recent presbytery meeting on February 20th, Jason Chen, Joe Helt, and Ben Sulser were each examined by Evangel Presbytery and granted a license to preach.

From left to right: Joe Helt, Ben Sulser, Jason Chen

Joe Helt

Joe is from northern Indiana, and he loves the flatland of the north. He met his wife, Sarah, in Warsaw, Indiana, and they were married in 2012. They have four children: Covenant, Amos, Mercy, and Joyful.

Joe pastored for a few years in northern Indiana before getting any formal pastoral training. That experience was good but hard. According to his own testimony: “it taught me that I needed to be trained!” He and Sarah attended some conferences at Trinity Reformed Church in Bloomington a few years back, and they fell in love with the church. In 2017, they moved to Bloomington so that Joe could study with the men at Trinity Reformed Pastors College (formerly Clearnote Pastors College). “It has proved to be one of the best decisions of our lives.”

Joe and Sarah do not have any definite plans for their future, and for now, they are happily serving at Trinity. But they trust that God will make it clear where and when He would have them serve in the future. They are excited for the work of Evangel and her churches.

Jason Chen

Jason is originally from San Francisco, California, and he came to Bloomington in 2005 to study violin performance at the Jacob’s School of Music at Indiana University. After completing his undergraduate, he enrolled in Trinity Reformed Pastors College, graduating in 2014. He married his wife, Chen, in December of 2018. Jason and Chen’s daughter, Jane, was born last October.

Jason is currently leading Kernel of Wheat Fellowship, the Chinese ministry of Trinity Reformed Church. He has been leading this ministry at Trinity Reformed Church since 2014. It is his hope that this ministry will grow into a thriving community of Chinese believers and be used to promote the Gospel to the Chinese community in Bloomington and overseas as students return to their homeland.

Ben Sulser

Ben Sulser grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but he spent 10 years in Tacoma, Washington after graduating high school. The Pastors College at Trinity Reformed Church brought him to Indiana about five years ago. He graduated from the program in 2019. He has enjoyed being involved in Trinity Reformed Church, from writing and recording podcasts with the media ministry to administrating the pastors conference to leading the college and career group. He hopes to serve in pastoral ministry within Evangel Presbytery.

Currently he works as a title searcher. He is husband to the lovely Megan.

Reformed Church Of The Holy Trinity Joins Evangel Presbytery

Guest post by pastor James Brown (Facebook), pastor at Reformed Church of the Holy Trinity in Camby, Indiana.

Reformed Church of the Holy Trinity was constituted on October 13th, 2013. One year later, the church began meeting in the former New Harmony Methodist Church in the middle of a cornfield in rural Morgan County just north of Martinsville, Indiana. Although primitive by today’s standards and outside our desired geographical location, the members of Reformed Church of the Holy Trinity made the old 1900 building their home for the next five years. In hindsight, these “wilderness” years afforded our small congregation to grow in their love and commitments to Christ and His Church relatively undisturbed.

Although the lack of accommodations and isolation was difficult, the biggest dilemma we faced was our lack of accountability and fellowship in a communion of churches. Most of our members had previously been associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, yet we knew there was no future for us there. But where could we go? The denominations were too liberal on primary issues and many associations too schismatic on secondary issues.

In October of 2015, we were introduced to the vision of what would become Evangel Presbytery. As soon as the vision became a reality in late 2018, we expressed our desire to be associated with this glorious work that was not only defending Reformed confessionalism of the past but also blazing the trail for contemporary confessionalism against present assaults. In addition to these important issues, another topic of urgency to us was freedom on baptism in relation to time and mode. You can read Evangel Presbytery’s position on baptism in chapter 16 of their Book of Church Order. You may also be interested in Reformed Church of the Holy Trinity’s explanation for joining a Presbytery as a Baptist church.

Finally, on October 3rd, 2019, we were graciously received into membership with Evangel Presbytery. We thank God for these churches and men who have been so patient and supportive during this process. It is a high honor to be included in this brotherhood.

About the same time we were admitted into Evangel Presbytery, we received a request to help another church in our area through a process of dissolution. In December of 2019, the dissolving church voted to transfer all their assets to Reformed Church of the Holy Trinity. On January 5th, 2020, we moved into our new location at 7542 East Landersdale Road in Camby, Indiana. During this process, the few remaining members of the dissolving church were transferred and received into the communion and care of Reformed Church of the Holy Trinity.

In the eyes of many, these have been the days of small things, but from where we stand it is glorious. God has been faithful to His remnant in a day of decay. May we be found faithful in the ministry we have been entrusted.

Trinity Presbyterian Church Joins Evangel Presbytery

Guest post by Andrew Dionne, senior pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina. (Facebook, Twitter)

Trinity Presbyterian Church initially met on the north side of Spartanburg, SC in the early 1970s. In August 1972, Walnut Grove Presbyterian Church merged with Trinity Presbyterian Church. Her denominational home became the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (RPCES). On the first Sunday of September 1978, Trinity dedicated its present building on the west side of Spartanburg County. In August of 1982, Trinity was received into the Presbyterian Church in American (PCA) when the PCA officially “joined and received” the RPCES.

On May 5, 2019, after several trying years in Calvary Presbytery of the PCA, Trinity voted to leave the denomination and affiliate with Evangel Presbytery. In congregational meetings leading up to our departure from the PCA, the case for leaving the denomination was outlined, argued, and ultimately affirmed by the congregation. The PCA, it was argued, was significantly and irreparably compromised both in doctrine and practice.

Concerning the doctrinal degeneration of the PCA, there was widespread affirmation of the social gospel and a sophisticated embracing of the “celibate gay Christian” movement. Concerning the practical drift of the PCA, the polity of the PCA became more and more hierarchical, going against the basic principles of Presbyterianism. Over the course of her history, the PCA had increasingly resisted the practice of church discipline. That rejection of one of the three marks of the church was evident in every level of the courts of the church (sessions, presbyteries, and general assembly). Lest you think we are lobbing stones without having had any skin in the game, the details of our battle within the PCA against liberalism is documented on Warhorn Media’s website.

Perhaps the most discouraging element of our final days in the PCA was the unwillingness of the conservatives in the denomination to fight those pastors and elders who were promoting the sin of effeminacy. When the conservatives waved the white flag and determined that the differences they had with men who rejected Scripture were merely “differing perspectives” of “teammates and friends,” the end of our affiliation with the PCA became a positive necessity.

It is with joy that Trinity Presbyterian Church has affiliated with Evangel Presbytery. Our hope and prayer is that Evangel Presbytery will serve as a simple source of accountability and encouragement. We have no desire to see Evangel become a national denomination with influence. We’ve already seen how that desire corrupts men and institutions. May God bless our efforts.