The Rev. Jeffrey Kingswood, Moderator of Synod for Erskine’s founding denomination, the Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Church, and the first Canadian to be elected moderator, addressed the Erskine community at the opening chapel of the spring semester Feb. 18 in the Due West ARP Church. He began with a joking reference to his search for evidence of last week’s great snowfall.
Kingswood, a native of Ontario, Canada, and pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church, Woodstock, Ontario, took as his main text 1 Corinthians 1:22-24, in which the Apostle Paul asserts that Jews “require a sign” and Greeks (Gentiles) “seek after wisdom,” so that preaching “Christ crucified” is a “stumblingblock” for Jews and “foolishness” to Gentiles.
Elaborating on first-century responses to the gospel, Kingswood said that to Jews of that time, “God becoming man was blasphemy and the messiah dying was incomprehensible,” while to the Greeks, “a personal suffering God was laughable.”
He characterized the Judaism of Paul’s day as “a religion of rules, nearly bereft of relationship,” and spoke about the danger of worshipping a god made in one’s own image. Religious people can “become the center of their faith,” he said.
Citing Jeremiah 17:9, which describes the human heart as deceitful, Kingswood stressed that in seeking God, “If you are starting with ‘me,’ your search is doomed.”
Kingswood said rejection of God leads to idolatry and immorality. “No one truly rejects Jesus Christ for intellectual reasons,” he said. “Rebellion of the mind is symptomatic of a heart rebellion.”
Saying he would not be ending his sermon with an altar call, Kingswood told his listeners, “This day God has placed the reality of your condition before you,” adding, “The only refuge is found in Jesus Christ.”
Assisting with the chapel service were the Rev. Paul Patrick, chaplain, who offered a welcome as well as an opening scripture reading and prayer; Associate Professor of Music Dr. J. Brooks Kuykendall, who served as organist; the Erskine College Choraleers, directed by Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Mark Nabholz; and Acting President Dr. N. Bradley Christie, who introduced the speaker. Christie noted that the moderator’s emphasis for his term is “Confessing Christ: What Does a Confessing Church Look Like?”
The Rev. Jeffrey Kingswood received his undergraduate degree from the University of Guelph and the M.Div. degree from Knox College, University of Toronto. He was ordained in 1988. He is the author of From the Lips of Little Ones as well as numerous articles and has also edited denominational periodicals. He has served as a board member of Ligionier Ministries in Canada. He and his wife Joan are the parents of six children and have five grandchildren.