A good Reformed church in Indianapolis: Clearnote Church, Indianapolis is particularized...

Yesterday evening we celebrated the particularization service of Clearnote Church, Indianapolis. What's a particularization service?

It's the worship service in which an immature church formerly dependent upon other churches' elders for direction and shepherding ordains and installs her own elders, and becomes emancipated. It's the service in which a church planting mission stops being a mission and becomes a full church.

Last night we had the joy of sitting under the preaching of God's Word (Jude 1-3) by my brother, David, who drove down from Toledo with three men from Christ the Word's Reformed Evangelical Pastors College (Nathan Bayly, Jordan Daugherty, and Jonathan Rethorn. Then we witnessed the public vows, the laying on of hands, praying, ordaining, and installing three men who had been examined, approved, and confirmed by vote of the congregation for the office of ruling elder—Dan George, Abram Hess, and Daniel Meyer; along with one man who had been examined, approved, and confirmed by vote of the congregation for the office of deacon—Luis Carrillo. The picture is of the ordination of the elders.

Following the ordination and installation of the elders and deacon, Joseph Bayly and David Abu-Sara were...

installed as the new church's pastors. (Formerly they served as "Evangelists.")

So you see, last night was a night of thanksgiving and joy. We are thankful for God's wonderful work in Indianapolis, giving life to Clearnote Church, Indianapolis and making her a part of His building His Church and Kingdom. We are also thankful for our dear brothers, Pastor Jim Strietelmeier and the officers of Neighborhood Fellowship Church, who helped us in the examination of Clearnote Indy's officers; and then, last night, allowed us the use of their church-house for the service and pulled pork feast afterwards. We are also thankful for Pastor Nate Harlan and Elder Tim Bushong from Trinity Evangelical Church (CREC) of Larwill, Indiana—just outside Ft. Wayne—who, along with their wives and the Harlan children, drove five hours, yesterday, to join us in the worship service and feast.

We wish all of you could have been with us.

So, if you're looking for a PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) in Indianapolis; or, for that matter, OPC (Orthodox Presbyterian Church) or RP (Reformed Presbyterian) churches in Indianapolis, we invite you to Clearnote Church, Indianapolis, which meets just inside the Beltway (I-465) on the northwest side, and Christ the King Church just outside the Beltway (I-465) on Indianapolis's southeast side served by Pastors David Baker and Paul Belcher.

These are good Reformed churches holding to the Westminster Standards under the absolute authority of God's Word, the Bible. Don't settle for hip or antiquarian Reformed churches when you can raise your children under preaching that convicts, Sacraments that make the distinction between God's Covenant people and the world very clear, and loving weekly fellowship in homes where children are welcome.

 

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

Comments

It was our very great privilege to be a part of this, Tim. May God bless and direct His work through Clearnote Church, Indianapolis.

Dear Tim (Bushong),

It was a great encouragement to have Heidi and you along with Harlans in attendance. Thank you for coming and participating.

Love,

Thanks very much for your warm hospitality - we had a wonderful time! Looking forward to our next visit with all you dear brothers.

It was great to see this milestone for our brother church in Indianapolis. It was also a joy to experience the hospitality of Neighborhood Fellowship Church and to see so many brothers and sisters from all over come to share in this. We at Christ the King Church are filled with hope for the future as we see God bringing Clearnote Church Indy to this stage of maturity.

I have a question. In the last two paragraphs - are you saying that people who are considering going to an OPC or RP should instead come to clearnote? Or are you saying that people who are looking for a OPC/RP kind of church will feel at home at clearnote? It seems like you are saying they are all "good reformed" churches. The second to last paragraph could be misunderstood (I hope it would have to be misunderstood) to say something else,though.

>>are you saying that people who are considering going to an OPC or RP should instead come to clearnote?

Dear Aarin,

People who are looking for a church home may or may not know Scripture's teaching on what we in the Reformed church refer to as "Reformed theology" or "the doctrines of grace." But if they do know the doctrines of grace, it's likely they learned them in a church affiliated with a non-profit religious association like the PCA, RPCNA, RP, ARP, OPC, etc. Thus they might get lazy and choose their church in their new city by simply settling for a new church that's a part of the same non-profit religious association as their previous church.

But what if, moving from Bloomington to Indianapolis, a man and his wife who had been a part of Clearnote Bloomington found that Clearnote Indy has sermons that are lectures rather than preaching; or that Christ the King refuses to warn the irreligious or impenitent not to partake at the Lord's Table? What if it was clear Indy's Clearnote churches were cold and sterile in both their music and fellowship?

Further, what if this man and his wife visited other Reformed churches in Indy associated with other non-profit religious organizations such as the PCA, RPCNA, RP, ARP, OPC, etc. and found sermons preached to the conscience, the Lord's Table guarded from the irreligious or impenitent, and music and fellowship alive and warmhearted?

The point I was trying to make above is that the choice of a new church home is very important. And specifically, this couple should choose against Indy's Clearnote churches even though formerly they were a part of a Clearnote church.

Am I making myself clear, dear brother?

Love,

Dear readers,

Although I was speaking above about people in the process of choosing a new church home, there are souls who are in a church they should not remain within. The above principles apply to them as well.

Because we came to faith in Jesus Christ in Campus Crusade (now styling itself "Cru") does not mean we should remain within Campus Crusade. In the Christian life as in the human body, we are what we eat, and the diet of someone who stays in Campus Crusade is likely going to be like the little boy who won't eat anything but milk and Twinkies. Not good.

Fathers and mothers should be as careful about the preaching and pastoral care their children grow up under as they are careful about the liquids their children drink and the food they eat. Just as brand names like Post and Kellogg don't cut it in the supermarket—you need food groups including vegetables and fruit and meat—so brand names like OPC, RP, CREC, SBC, URC, and PCA don't cut it in the choosing of a church mother—you need preaching reliant upon the power of the Holy Spirit that speaks Scripture to the conscience; you need pastoral care that never stops warning, day and night, from house to house with tears (see Acts 20).

The church is the mother of us all, the court of original jurisdiction over the soul. The church is not some non-profit religious institution local congregations share a trademark through. The local church must be chosen based upon its faithfulness in care for souls—not how friendly the pastor is or how much we like the church's music or whether the church has enough people present to allow us to hide or few enough people to allow us to be noticed or a cheerful and clean nursery or Scotsmen or Dutchmen or the only proper and true and godly and right hymnal or the only right and proper and true and godly and right translation of Scripture or...

Of course, such exhortations toward discernment in the choice of a church aren't met with equanimity by company men—the sort of men whose priority is the preservation of the institutional network they've sworn fealty to. This was my regular observation on the floor of PCA general assemblies and presbyteries the two decades I was in the PCA. Institutional self-preservation and advancement trumped doctrine and souls.

If we care about our souls and the souls of our chidlren, we will keep our eye on the ball. And that ball is not trademarks and brand names, but the marks of the Church. This is what true Presbyterians have always said. This is what the 1560 Scots Confession confessed:

As we believe in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, so we firmly believe that from the beginning there has been, now is, and to the end of the world shall be, one Kirk, that is to say, one company and multitude of men chosen by God, who rightly worship and embrace him by true faith in Jesus Christ, who is the only Head of the Kirk, even as it is the body and spouse of Christ Jesus. This Kirk is catholic, that is, universal, because it contains the chosen of all ages, of all realms, nations, and tongues, be they of the Jews or be they of the Gentiles, who have communion and society with God the Father, and with his Son, Christ Jesus, through the sanctification of his Holy Spirit. It is therefore called the communion, not of profane persons, but of saints, who, as citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, have the fruit of inestimable benefits, one God, one Lord Jesus, one faith, and one baptism. Out of this Kirk there is neither life nor eternal felicity. Therefore we utterly abhor the blasphemy of those who hold that men who live according to equity and justice shall be saved, no matter what religion they profess. For since there is neither life nor salvation without Christ Jesus; so shall none have part therein but those whom the Father has given unto his Son Christ Jesus, and those who in time come to him, avow his doctrine, and believe in him. (We include the children with the believing parents.) This Kirk is invisible, known only to God, who alone knows whom he has chosen, and includes both the chosen who are departed, the Kirk triumphant, those who yet live and fight against sin and Satan, and those who shall live hereafter.

Note that the Scots confessed the true church is "universal." It's not contained within any one ethnic group. It's not contained within those who use one hymnal or one Bible translation. It's not contained within one non-profit religious institution whose boundaries correspond to the boundaries of one nation. It is "universal." And in keeping with this, the Scots also confessed this universal church is invisible, by which they meant visible only to God.

Then the Scots also confessed:

Since Satan has labored from the beginning to adorn his pestilent synagogue with the title of the Kirk of God, and has incited cruel murderers to persecute, trouble, and molest the true Kirk and its members, as Cain did to Abel, Ishmael to Isaac, Esau to Jacob, and the whole priesthood of the Jews to Christ Jesus himself and his apostles after him. So it is essential that the true Kirk be distinguished from the filthy synagogues by clear and perfect notes lest we, being deceived, receive and embrace, to our own condemnation, the one for the other. The notes, signs, and assured tokens whereby the spotless bride of Christ is known from the horrible harlot, the false Kirk, we state, are neither antiquity, usurped title, lineal succession, appointed place, nor the numbers of men approving an error. For Cain was before Abel and Seth in age and title; Jerusalem had precedence above all other parts of the earth, for in it were priests lineally descended from Aaron, and greater numbers followed the scribes, Pharisees, and priests, than unfeignedly believed and followed Christ Jesus and his doctrine . . . and yet no man of judgment, we suppose, will hold that any of the forenamed were the Kirk of God. The notes of the true Kirk, therefore, we believe, confess, and avow to be: first, the true preaching of the Word of God, in which God has revealed himself to us, as the writings of the prophets and apostles declare; secondly, the right administration of the sacraments of Christ Jesus, with which must be associated the Word and promise of God to seal and confirm them in our hearts; and lastly, ecclesiastical discipline uprightly ministered, as God's Word prescribes, whereby vice is repressed and virtue nourished. Then wherever these notes are seen and continue for any time, be the number complete or not, there, beyond any doubt, is the true Kirk of Christ, who, according to his promise, is in its midst. This is not that universal Kirk of which we have spoken before, but particular Kirks, such as were in Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, and other places where the ministry was planted by Paul and which he himself called Kirks of God. Such Kirks, we the inhabitants of the realm of Scotland confessing Christ Jesus, do claim to have in our cities, towns, and reformed districts because of the doctrine taught in our Kirks, contained in the written Word of God, that is, the Old and New Testaments, in those books which were originally reckoned as canonical. We affirm that in these all things necessary to be believed for the salvation of man are sufficiently expressed. The interpretation of Scripture, we confess, does not belong to any private or public person, nor yet to any Kirk for pre-eminence or precedence, personal or local, which it has above others, but pertains to the Spirit of God by whom the Scriptures were written. When controversy arises about the right understanding of any passage or sentence of Scripture, or for the reformation of any abuse within the Kirk of God, we ought not so much to ask what men have said or done before us, as what the Holy Ghost uniformly speaks within the body of the Scriptures and what Christ Jesus himself did and commanded. For it is agreed by all that the Spirit of God, who is the Spirit of unity, cannot contradict himself. So if the interpretation or opinion of any theologian, Kirk, or council, is contrary to the plain Word of God written in any other passage of the Scripture, it is most certain that this is not the true understanding and meaning of the Holy Ghost, although councils, realms, and nations have approved and received it. We dare not receive or admit any interpretation which is contrary to any principal point of our faith, or to any other plain text of Scripture, or to the rule of love.

Amen and amen. Every denominationalist should be encouraged to memorize this.

So yes, choosing a church is hard work, but it's absolutely critical for your own and your family's eternal wellbeing. Do the work, dear brothers and sisters; and do it well!

Love,

 

That was a bit more than I expected. To summarize - you are not criticizing the other denominations but denominationalism and you are challenging church seekers on Indy to not limit themselves to their "preferred" denomination dor the denominations sake, if I understand you rightly. I had some friends who misunderstood your post, I believe. Just wanted to hear it from the horses mouth.

I am not implying that you are a horse, by the way.

Dear Aarin,

I'm smiling. Horses are great so I'm not offended in the least. And if someone was offended at my words in the original post, thanks for giving me an opportunity to explain myself.

You wrote: "you are not criticizing the other denominations but denominationalism."

Sure, if "denominationalism" is how you'd sum up what I wrote. What I'm really opposing is Christians—particularly Reformed Christians—promoting a party spirit and schism by resenting and opposing souls developing the gift of discernment in their choice of a church home.  But you know, when the "split peas" (what my Presbyterian Dad always called tiny Presbyterian groups like the PCA and OPC) get done splitting, some people think the only way to survive is by promoting a party (what I refer to as a religious non-profit institutional) spirit.

Our Lord, on the other hand, commanded us to love and serve one another.

So again, my gratitude to you for providing the opportunity for this exchange, dear brother. Here's hoping I get to talk to you for two minutes sometime.

Warmly,

I hope we get some time to talk as well. We will be attending at clearnote in a short while. And like my last transition it will be a rather krass difference to what I am used to. This might be more appropriate to mention in private, but due to the nature of the beast I would like to share in public: I am currently attending at Emmanual RPC, my first extended exposure to "hard line" reformed culture/mindset/lingo. I don't care much for large institutions and strong ties to a denomination - but I really, really love this church family and faithful elders who took me under their wings. There is a spirit of love and truth and genuine friendship here. Most of the time we care much to see each other walk obediently and joyfully with the Lord. It would be hurtful if the church I attend is at odds with another church family I care for deeply. Know what I mean? That's my reason for asking questions. Thank you for your kind responses to my questions and the helpful clarification. I appreciate it

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