C h a p t e r 8
Serving the King of Kings: The Next Century
The Broomall congregation has begun its third century of service to our Lord and Savior. What lies ahead is unknown to us. But it is certain. For we are in the hands of the Almighty God, whose Son, our Lord and Savior reigns as the King of nations. Broomall has been through some difficult years. There are some who would conclude that Broomall is actually a new work, simply the vestige of First Reformed Presbyterian and later First and Second Churches. Yet, the congregation has remained organized in an unbroken state since 1798. It has simply moved out of the city of Philadelphia and into the suburb of Broomall, Pennsylvania. It has been through a lot. In a recent conversation with Rev. Harrington, he noted that writing this paper has given me a great opportunity to gain great knowledge of the denomination as a whole – for many important events occurred at First Church.
Another observation is that had we known now, what we do today, the Dissent Schism of 1833 may not have occurred. For in essence, the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America has adopted the position of Dr. Samuel B. Wylie with regard to our relations to civil government. There are some who see this a mistake. On the whole, it is wise and has enabled the Church to convince visitors, by the grace of God, of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When a new year’s yield from the harvest field is in, perhaps then, we would consider a renewed covenant. For now, in our nation, there is such a blight of Bible knowledge and commensurate unawareness of sinfulness, that to insist on covenantal obligations, in the manner of past years, would in a way be like expecting an infant to digest dinner in France on Christmas Day.
Broomall reflects a trend in the Reformed Presbyterian Church as a whole – a gradual increase in attendance and membership. It is import to remember that in this overview of the history of the Broomall congregation, an important item has not been looked at in detail. To do so would require a tremendous amount of further work and research. That item is the congregants. Each person is a vital member of the body of Christ. Each member has a specific task to perform for the glory of God, prepared for him or her from before the foundations of the world. So, let us embark with boldness for the cause of Christ on the journey into this Third Century of the history of the Broomall Reformed Presbyterian Church. Let us remember that we are “…fishing in stocked streams”, to quote one of my former professors at Reformed Episcopal Seminary in Philadelphia. God knows where we need to go fishing – we need to look to Him for guidance and remember – to catch fish, fisherman go where the fish are.
Thus, as we are following Christ’s command, as His undershepherd’s to be fishers of men, let us cast the net in some unlikely places (Luke 5: 3-10). Perhaps it is time to consider the city of Philadelphia. The cities of the nation are in great need of the gospel of Christ and Reformed theology. In a very real way, we can say, “But we have already been there…”; that is what the disciples told Jesus before their miraculous catch. This may be something to consider for the coming years – the return of a Reformed Presbyterian witness in the cities which so direly need it.