Chalcedon Presbyterian Church in metropolitan Atlanta was born in the autumn of 1974 with only four or five families; and Joe Morecraft, III has been its minister since its beginning. It is a congregation in the Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States, with churches and mission works in Georgia, Texas, Ecuador, and London. Congregations from other denominations are showing interest in joining the RPCUS. Its influence far exceeds its numbers. This denomination began in 1983 out of the continuing struggle to uphold the inerrant and comprehensive authority of the Bible as the written word of God, to maintain the purity of the church, and to proclaim the truth of the Reformed Faith with all openness unhindered (Ac. 28:31). We believe that God has called us into existence to glorify him by being faithful to the word of God, the historic Reformed Faith, and the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Since 1974, we have greatly increased in size and in Christian maturity. Chalcedon now has around 450 members, and continues to grow every year. From our congregation we have planted two other congregations in the Atlanta area, both of which are thriving in the Lord. One of them, Covenant Presbyterian Church, pastored by Chris Strevel, has recently begun a new church planting work under Wayne Rogers. We have outgrown our present facilities, and therefore have purchased forty-two beautiful acres north of our present location so that we can extend all of our ministries, influence, and outreach. Our groundbreaking ceremony took place on March 8, 1999.
Our people come from a variety of races and nationalities, from one end of the economic, educational and vocational spectrum to the other. We are a multiplicity of peoples, languages, and races woven by the Holy Spirit into one united body in Christ. And we praise God for what he is making of us; therefore, we work and pray diligently to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3).
Our mission as a church is defined by the Great Commission of Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:18-20, which commits us to person-winning (evangelism and discipleship), family-winning (church planting and Christian education), and culture-winning, (world and national evangelization and Christian reconstruction)MAKING THE WORLD'S NATIONS CHRIST'S DISCIPLES. The term, Christian reconstruction, may need explanation. We believe that Christian reconstruction is faithfulness to the Creation Mandate of Genesis 1:28 and to the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20. This mandate and commission comprise a unity. They must not be set over against each other. The Great Commission is Christ's restatement of the Creation Mandate taking into consideration fallen man's need of redemption.
So then, Christian reconstruction is the work of rebuilding and renewing every idea, activity, relationship, motive, and institution of human existence and society by the word and Spirit of God, beginning with the human heart. Our motivation is Christ's Person. Our basis is Christ's work. Our power is Christ's Spirit. Our pattern is Christ's humanity. Our protection is Christ's Father. Our governing authority is Christ's deity. Our strategy is Christ's word. Our hope is Christ's victory. Our mandate is Christ's law. Our food is Christ's sacraments. Our aim is Christ's glory. That is Christian reconstruction.
In order to accomplish the Biblical purposes for which we were established twenty-five years ago, we have through the years created a large variety of ministries to reach the world with the gospel. Besides the usual programs of a church, we have several global outreaches: The Chalcedon Pulpit (tape ministry) and The Counsel of Chalcedon, our monthly magazine, reach thousands every month. Coupled with these international ministries we actively support missionaries in strategic places around the world and our minister takes one or two world mission preaching tours annually in such places as Ecuador, Ukraine, Cyprus and South Africa. We have built a home for unwed mothers and have been actively involved in the pro-life movement to the tune of thousands of dollars and man-power annually. Chalcedon Christian School goes from kindergarten through the twelfth grade. And we are beginning to talk about the creation of a Reformed College in the Atlanta area. We have an active geriatrics ministry to retirement communities and convalescent centers. Several of our members are capable of giving nouthetic counseling. Our elders practice shepherding oversight of our members. We view our deacons as the "health, education, and welfare department" of the church. They work hard to implement the compassionate heart of the church in the lives of those in need. This includes, among other services, seminars to prepare our people for the Y2K problem and the administering of a Needy Family Fund to help our members out of financial crises by non-interest bearing charitable loans and financial counseling.
One of our most effective ministries to our state and region is the Atlanta Christian Training Seminars, which we have held occasionally with such speakers as R. J. Rushdoony, Greg Bahnsen, Gary North, Walter Bowie, Larry McDonald, Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Paul Jehle, Morton Smith, F. N. Lee, Rus Walton, Greg Singer, Steve Wilkins, Andrew Sandlin, Brian Abshire, and several others. These conferences draw hundreds. Plans are being made for a ACTS 2000 conference. Several members of our church are politically involved from lobbying to campaign consulting to holding state legislative office. Music has always been a central part of our life, worship and outreach, especially through the cassettes and CDs of Judy Rogers and her sister, Becky Morecraft.
We believe that in his covenant God has promised his church a glorious future in Jesus Christ (Is. 2:1-4; 11:1-9, 65:17-23; Mt. 5:5; 13:31-33; 1 Cor. 15:24-28; 2 Tim. 3:9). We look forward to the future, knowing that it, with all its struggles, afflictions and progressive victories, belongs, not to the humanists, but to the faithful people of God (1 Cor. 3:21-22). We are future-oriented in our present responsibilities and ministries. Our vision for life and the future is determined by the promises of God's covenant and of Christ's kingdom. We pray that God would use us to bring the covenantal blessings of salvation to all the families of all the nations of the world (Ps. 22:27-28; Gal. 3:7-29). We believe that the kingdom of Christ and the preaching of that kingdom will leaven the whole loaf of human life and society as it advances toward total victory (Mk. 4:21-32). We work, pray and hope for the day when the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (Is. 11:9).
- Joe Morecraft, III
Dr. Joseph C. Morecraft, III, is a preacher of the gospel and a noted lecturer on contemporary political and historical trends in the United States and world at large. He is the founding pastor of Chalcedon Presbyterian Church (RPCUS) located near Atlanta, Georgia. He is married to the former Rebecca Belcher of Haysi, Virginia, who is a writer and an accomplished singer. They have four children and two grand-daughters.