To hear Paul Harrell tell it, “it was like going from death to life.” In the morning it seemed like they were about to lose the church: the old Session had called the church culture “toxic;” the MNA Committee affirmed that assertion. All seemed lost.
But God used a man who had gotten the dates and dockets mixed up, who planned to leave after lunch, to give the speech that many credit with saving the church plant. And because TE Erwin stayed and spoke, the Lord used him to carry the debate.
Despite the powerful forces in Covenant Presbytery arrayed against the little church plant, despite the unconstitutional actions of the Session toward a plurality of the heads of households, it was nonetheless the apparent will of God that the church remain open so that Christ Redeemer might develop into the thriving, healthy, ordinary means of grace, gospel centered congregation it is today.
It is a most remarkable providence; if one reads the protest (see below) against Presbytery’s action to preserve the church plant, the signers represent the elders from Covenant Presbytery’s wealthiest and most influential churches and committees. Yet the speech of a largely unknown, retired former Arkansas church planter was powerfully used by God to change the course of the debate, save the little church plant from dissolution, and preserve a witness for Himself in Jonesboro.