The Rev. Patrick Malphrus, moderator of the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, spoke at Erskine’s first convocation of the spring semester Jan. 25.
Addressing students, faculty, and staff gathered in Lesesne Auditorium, Malphrus said he attended chapel programs in Lesesne when he was a student at Erskine Theological Seminary. “I used to sit right about there,” he said, gesturing from the podium.
He described the experience of returning to Erskine to speak as “surreal,” and recalled with amazement that 18 years have passed since he enrolled as a seminary student. “Some of you are 18 years old!” he said.
As he considered a topic to choose for his address, Malphrus began thinking about his younger days. “If I could go back to chapel, what would I tell myself?”
Turning to the third chapter of the first Book of Kings, the moderator read aloud a few verses concerning the reign of King Solomon, who was only about 20 years old—close in age to many of the students in the audience—when he succeeded his father, King David.
Solomon, as recorded in 1 Kings 3:1, had married the daughter of the pharaoh of Egypt and offered sacrifices at the high places rather than in Jerusalem—both actions displeasing to God. While he is at Gibeon, the greatest of the high places, the young king is instructed by God in a dream to ask for what he wants. Humbly calling himself “only a little child,” Solomon asks the Lord for “a discerning heart to govern your people.”
Malphrus said that he would advise his younger self to be honest with God and to ask Him for wisdom as Solomon did, admitting his limitations and acknowledging God as the source of wisdom.
“Be honest with God about what you’re going through,” the moderator told his audience. “In being honest with God, you’re being honest with yourself.”
The moderator urged students to go to the Lord for wisdom, “no matter your circumstances, wherever you find yourself,” and assured them, “Turn to Jesus and you will never be alone.”
Chaplain Josh Chiles (pictured at top with moderator) opened the chapel session in prayer, and music was provided by the Chapel Worship Team. Vice President for Academic Administration Dr. Tom Hellams introduced the speaker.
The Rev. Patrick Malphrus is senior pastor of Old Providence ARP Church in Steeles Tavern, Va. A graduate of North Greenville University, he earned a Master of Divinity degree from Erskine Theological Seminary in 2007. He and his wife are the parents of a daughter.