The General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, meeting in Knoxville, TN, June 18-21, 2014 voted to receive PRMI as an approved resource to help equip their missionaries and to offer EPC presbyteries and congregations the benefits of all PRMI’s ministries.
This action means that EPC congregations and members know that their denomination supports them as they wish to avail themselves of all ministry PRMI may offer them and as they themselves request of PRMI.
I was on hand for the Committee meeting of World Outreach to answer questions as they considered our request.
The Committee members shared their thoughts and asked questions.
Not every member of the Committee indicated support of our petition, but the discussion was honest and wonderful.
In the end the Committee voted yes to recommend to the GA to receive PRMI as an approved resource.
It was obvious to me there (and later on the floor of the full GA) that there were still major hurts left over from the Charismatic Renewal movement. The renewal movement brought blessings in many places but, in other places, had brought division and confusion.
Much of this hurt was inflicted by some who insisted on certain teachings of the Charismatic movement in its early days associated with the Holiness Pentecostal framework for understanding the empowering work of the Holy Spirit.
This contained divisive and, I believe, unbiblical teaching of “entire sanctification,” a “second blessing,” and “tongues as initial evidence.”
There were other elements of the movement that were also problematic: placing the authority of contemporary gifts of prophetic words over that of the Bible, for one.
In short there were a number of aspects inconsistent with the Bible as well as our Reformed Theological foundations.
I missed the lively debate on the floor, but I heard later that speaker after speaker stood in support of PRMI, to affirm their approval and thanksgiving to the Lord for the Dunamis Project teaching, thoroughly biblical and Reformed.
In addition, one commissioner assured the body that PRMI’s teaching on the Person and work of the Holy Spirit is in concert with EPC’s statement. One or more also affirmed that PRMI’s teaching on the Holy Spirit has contributed greatly to healing of charismatic wounds caused by the false teaching.
There were some who stood to offer caution, but their hesitance was assuaged when leadership made clear that PRMI’s status as approved resource would allow congregations to avail themselves of PRMI’s ministry, not that congregations must participate in PRMI events.
The mission conference that PRMI offered to World Outreach workers the week before GA at the Community of the Cross was cited as an example—all missionaries were invited to come. A relatively large group did attend with their families, but it was their choice, certainly not required of them.
I should add that a couple of commissioners who recently departed the PC (USA) to join the EPC rose to applaud PRMI’s faithful witness of prayer and encouragement in the face of outright apostasy paraded by their former denominational leaders.
We were approved by the EPC GA and we look forward to an effective partnership for the Gospel especially when it comes to the special preparation of those called to the mission field.