Nashville, Tennessee, Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 9:15 PM
By (The Reverend) Michael A. Milton, Ph.D., Teaching Elder, Tennessee Valley Presbytery
President and James M. Baird Jr. Professor of Pastoral Theology
Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina
“Mr. Moderator, I rise to move the nomination of a man that we cannot claim.
If you examine the soles of his feet, the red Piedmont dirt of the old north state is there still stained from his boyhood years. But the old north state cannot claim him.
Mr. Moderator, the man that I move to become moderator of the 38th General Assembly went to our great denominational college, Covenant College, but in a real sense Covenant College cannot claim him. During his years there he pastored a Reformed Baptist Church in the Tennessee Valley. Neither Tennessee nor the Reformed Baptist Church can claim him.
He went on to south Florida and there he pastored a church, he completed his Master of Divinity at Westminster Theological Seminary. But south Florida cannot claim him. Westminster Seminary cannot claim him.
He would leave and return to his home state, to his home city, the Queen City of Charlotte. And there he would labor with others to establish one of the great churches in our denomination. But that church cannot claim him. And that Queen City cannot claim him.
He would move to follow one of the fathers of our denomination and pastor the church that he had planted in Birmingham, Alabama. Neither Briarwood nor the great state of Alabama can claim him.
He founded, with others like Teaching Elder Shelton Sanford, the campus of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte. Mr. Moderator, as president of that seminary, I’d like to claim him, but I can’t.
He labored with others there to found that seminary and eventually he was involved when the seminary called Dr. Ric Cannada and Doug Kelly and others to come along side and make it a reality. He received his doctoral degree there but Reformed Theological Seminary cannot claim him.
He has labored well within the courts of this denomination, but in a real way, Sir, the Presbyterian Church in America cannot claim the man I nominate. Mr. Moderator, Cindy can claim him! His children, Jennifer, Harry IV, and Abigail and three grandchildren can claim him! And Jesus Christ most assuredly has claimed him! But the rest of us here in the PCA cannot claim him.
Because if we seek to claim him, then a thousand voices from across America and across the world will rise to say, “He is ours!” For this is a man, who according to Psalm 145 had a desire of his heart and who cried out to the Lord and the Lord heard him in his distress in his church situation. And he cried out to the Lord for vocational renewal and congregational health and in his life and in the life of his people God sent revival and he began to minister out of the core of that revival, Mr. Moderator. And there are those who would rise and say, “You can’t claim him, because he came into our denomination to help us,” “he came into my life as a minister to help me,” “he was responsible for helping to restore my marriage, and to restore my love for the ministry.”
Mr. Moderator, we cannot claim him because so many others do. But we must call him. We must call him because of the very reason that he ministers out of a prayer for revival, and out of a labor for the Kingdom of God through the ordinary means of grace, for the building up of the bride of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the preaching of the inerrant and the infallible Word of the living God, for the glory of Christ in missions both home and aboard.
We cannot claim him, but we call him. And I nominate him to be Moderator of the 38th General Assembly: Dr. Harry Reeder.”