Yet another form of a children’s catechism. This version was published in THE WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLY’S SHORTER CATECHISM, WITH SCRIPTURE PROOFS.  [Portland : Hyde, Lord and Duren. New-York City : Eli French. 1847.] 

A CATECHISM IN RHYME.

  1. Who made you, child, and bade you live?
    God did my life and spirit give.

  2. Who keeps you safely, can you tell?
    God keeps me safe, and makes me well.

  3. How has God shown the way of truth?
    The Bible is the guide of youth.

  4. How should you act to God above?
    With fear and honour, praise and love.

  5. Does God know all you do and say?
    Yes, and my thoughts both night and day.

  6. Have you and evil heart within?
    Yes; I was even born in sin.

  7. How does your heart its badness show?
    By sinful words and actions too.

  8. Is not God angry when we sin?
    Yes. Oh how wicked I have been.

  9. What do your sins deserve t’ obtain?
    Present and everlasting pain.

  10. And can you save yourself from wo?
    I cannot save myself, I know.

  11. Have you the power to change your heart?
    No; it is prone from good to start.

  12. Who, then, can peace and pardon give?
    Jesus, who died that we might live.

  13. What proves that Jesus Christ will save?
    His life, his cross, his death, his grave.

  14. Can none but Christ for sin atone?
    The blood of Jesus Christ alone.

  15. And how may you his grace receive?
    In Jesus Christ I must believe.

  16. Must you repent with humble heart?
    Yes, and from every sin depart.

  17. From God what blessings should you seek?
    Lord, save my soul for Jesus’ sake.

  18. Should you love Christ, who was so good?
    Oh yes, with all my heart I should.

  19. Did Christ become a little child?
    Yes, holy, humble, meek and mild.

  20. What did his early his’try shew?
    Jesus in strength and wisdom grew.

  21. What was foretold of Jesus’ grace?
    The Lambs he’ll on his bosom place.

  22. And were the young thus loved and blest?
    Christ took and clasped them to his breast.

  23. What did Christ say, though young we be?
    Let little children come to me.

  24. Does Christ still view the young with love?
    Yes, on his glorious throne above.

  25. How should a child begin to pray?
    Lord, teach me what to think and say.

  26. Will God regard the hymns you raise?
    Yes, Jesus loves an infant’s praise.

  27. Who only can direct your youth?
    The Holy Spirit, God of truth.

  28. Must you of ev’ry lie beware?
    Yes, with most strict and constant care.

  29. Must you all evil tempers flee?
    I must not in a passion be.

  30. Must you your book and wisdom prize?
    Yes, I must be both good and wise.

  31. How must a child to others be?
    As I would have them act to me.

  32. What must you to your parents shew?
    Obedience, love, and honour too.

  33. What must your brother(s)* in you find?
    A heart that’s always mild and kind.

  34. Must you your sister(s) always love?
    Yes, and be gentle as a dove.

  35. How must you act to all you know?
    I must all love and kindness know.

  36. Do little children often die?
    Yes, quite as young and strong as I.

  37. Will Jesus judge the “small and great?”
    Yes, and will fix their endless state.

  38. Where shall the wicked sinner dwell?
    With everlasting flames in hell.

  39. What should you wish if call’d to die?
    To be with Christ above the sky.

  40. Where will good children ever be?
    In heav’n, their Saviour Christ to see.

* Or sister(s).
Or brother(s).

Recently in processing the Papers of Dr. Morton H. Smith, the first Stated Clerk of the PCA, I came across this letter written to Smith when he was just twenty-five years of age and considering a call to ministry and pondering which Seminary to attend.  The pastor of his home church, the Rev. James E. Moore, wrote to offer the following advice.  Moore and his brother Lardner were raised in Osaka, Japan. James prepared for the ministry at Westminster  Seminary, graduating in 1933 and was pastor of the Mt. Washington Presbyterian church in Baltimore, Maryland from 1934-1951. He was received into the PCA in 1974.
This letter continues to offer, I think, some sage advice to those considering a call to ministry. The letter also offers a bit of historical insight on the situation as it stood then for theologically conservative Presbyterians, and in that light, it is interesting and even encouraging to compare that situation with where we are today.

MT. WASHINGTON PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
JAMES E. MOORE, PASTOR
MT. WASHINGTON, BALTIMORE 9, MARYLAND

22 September, 1948

Dear Morton:

Rockwell told me on his return from the West that you had about decided to go to the Seminary but were undecided as to which one. I’m not sure of the reasons he gave but I did ask him for your address. I have been thinking about the Seminary and what is involved in a Seminary education. I hope you won’t think me presumptuous but I wouldn’t miss the opportunity of expressing my views on the matter. I hope the Lord will take my words and give you help so that you can know without any doubt whatsoever His will may be in your whole future.

The first thing that I would say is that you don’t have to go to the Seminary to preach the Gospel. It is not a necessity because the New Testament doesn’t say one word about it. There was no such school in the days of the Apostles and they didn’t take the time to start one. More, the law of our church does not presuppose a Seminary education. The requirements for ordination are given. Then it says that certain of these parts may be omitted if the candidate is a graduate of a seminary.

If then neither the New Testament nor our church requires a Seminary education, why bother to go to one? The answer should be given along these lines. See how far you can agree with me. First, the Gospel, the only Gospel, which we have to preach is found exclusively in the New Testament, that is, the Bible. God’s message of salvation for a lost world is not found in nature nor in conscience nor in the church. The Bible is the only source of information and instruction. We don’t deny the value of philosophical and scientific truth anywhere, but those truths, regardless of how valuable they may be, do not shed any light on the Gospel. The story of Jesus and His love is found only in the Bible. That will be the first part of our answer. We go to the Seminary to better study the Bible.

Second, we go to the Seminary to study all the Bible. If the Bible is the exclusive source of the Gospel, then we dare not neglect the Bible, lest somewhere it teach something that would have a tremendous bearing on the Gospel. The world can’t be impressed by ill-equipped men who don’t know what they are talking about. The world is educated to-day so that anyone who takes the time to study can know a tremendous lot about the Bible. Therefore a preacher must be equipped so that he knows enough of and from the Bible to be able to declare the “whole counsel of God.” You will appreciate this point of view. You weren’t brought up on the idea that five or six truths were adequate for your life. The Shorter Catechism covers the whole range of Scripture truth. Now it stands to reason that a man studying under those who are competent and experienced can learn more of the Bible than he can by trying to do it himself.

Third. A man goes to the Seminary that he may learn to convey the truth of the Bible, all of the Bible, to others. Now not just a certain class of others, laboring people, or miners, or sailors, or Wall Street. He attempts to equip himself so that he can meet poor sinners wherever he may find them, present the claims of Christ in language that is intelligible to them, demolish their excuses and lead them to repentance and faith. Personally, I want you so armored that you can go into any community, environment, race or creed and present the riches of Christ Jesus so persuasively that men will have no excuse. Therefore, I say, we go to the Seminary to learn to present all the Bible to All men.

That line of reasoning and only that line can possibly answer the question of the Seminary. There is one argument that is used that has entirely too much weight in the minds of men. It is this—I want to work in a certain church. To do that, I’ve got to attend one of that church’s Seminaries. In reply, I would say, does a man want to serve the church or serve Jesus Christ? ‘No man can serve two masters!’ Let anyone take his choice. If the church comes first, then I say better that man not go into the ministry. Any man who goes into the ministry must burn his bridges behind him.

But we have to be affiliated with some group of the Lord’s people. Yes. And personally I hope to serve the Southern Church all my life. But the Southern church did not call me to preach. Christ called me to preach. It was only after I had prepared myself that the church gave me her blessing. I can promise you this, it makes no difference what seminary you go to, you won’t have any trouble serving our church. There is a desparate need right now and I believe I’ll have a place for you next summer. Don’t let the Devil fool you with false arguments.

I think you may agree with what I have said so far. If so there remains only one thing to be said. There are a few seminaries that will fill the requirements of the above line of reasoning. There are none in the South that will. Every seminary in the South has Modernists right along with Fundamentalists teaching something of a hodge podge for a seminary education. I’d rather you not go to any seminary. The Professors of Systematic Theology in all four of our southern Seminaries deny the doctrine of Verbal Inspiration. Your education won’t be worth the time and trouble it takes to get one. Of course Southern scholarship is notorious for its lack. I think we have only one man who is a scholar of first rank in all four seminaries. Wm. C. Robinson of Columbia is the only man ever heard of outside the United States.

If you are interested further, I have just a final word to say. There is a Seminary that will fulfill all the requirements of a Seminary in a Biblical, scholarly way. That is Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia. There are about 20 graduates of that school in the ministry of the Southern church. I would love to talk with you further about the matter if you would care to discuss it.

Morton, the world needs men who are equipped to fight a warfare with a brilliant and cruel enemy. The Church is crying for men who know the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. Don’t spare any pains to prepare yourself in the best way possible, in order that you may do all in your power to become a vessel fit for the Master’s use.

I’m dreadfully sorry that I haven’t kept up our friendship. I should have written you long ago with regard to Covenant Baptism. I hope you are still interested. Rockwell tells me you are interested in the study of the last things. When you come East we’ll have to get together.

Please give my love to your nice wife. The Lord bless you both.

Sincerely, /s/ Jim Moore

A New Help for Conservative Presbyterian Chaplains in our Armed Forces

Being a military chaplain in any of our Armed Forces was always viewed with favor by this contributor.  That was probably because my father served his God and country as an Army chaplain from World War Two through the Korean Conflict. There were divine appointments in the context of a military which are not found in any civilian context.  And when the chaplain is a Bible-believing, Gospel-preaching minister to men and women in the military, there is an extraordinary opportunity to see God’s kingdom and church grow in the faith and knowledge of the Triune God.

Prior to 1976, the National Association of Evangelicals were endorsing chaplains on behalf of young Presbyterian Church in America.  As good as that was, there was a conviction on the part of some, which was communicated by the Pacific Presbytery of the P.C.A., to request a study to consider whether sister Presbyterian churches could join together to endorse their own chaplains to the Chief of Chaplains. Committees were formed in the respective Presbyterian churches, such as the Presbyterian Church in America, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod.  Ministers in all three churches who had been or were then military chaplains formed these committees.  A working group was organized and a name was suggested, which was, “Presbyterian and Reformed Joint Commission on Chaplains and Military Personnel.”

On September 21, 1978, the initial meeting was held at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis to form such a commission.  The combined churches had over 100,000 members and could therefore endorse chaplains on its own.  Some of the added benefits of having our own endorsing agency included the ability to hold our own spiritual retreats, an increased awareness of our chaplains and their ministries at national denominational meetings, better representation before the Chief of Chaplains in Washington, D.C., and a national newspaper, called the Guardian.

Other Presbyterian and Reformed bodies joined in the commission, such as the Korean American Presbyterian Church, Korean Presbyterian Church in America, Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, and the United Reformed Churches in North America.  Col. (ret.) David Peterson, after a thirty year career in the United States Army as a chaplain, became the Executive Director in 1995.  He served until just recently when Brig. General (ret.) Douglas Lee took over the helm of that position.

To read more about this ministry, now led by CH (LTC) Jim Carter, RET, click here.

Pictured above right, Chaplain David Peterson

Words to live by: There are opportunities and challenges for our military chaplains which pastors in their civilian churches do not have normally.  Young men and women in uniform are facing war tours away from families.  How great is it to have a Bible-believing chaplain to be there with the Word of God to meet them in public and private.  Temptations are always present in a military situation.  How good is it to have a gospel-preaching chaplain present who can provide an escape from that temptation with other Christian soldiers for a Bible-study, or meaningful worship time.  Family life without a father or a mother, a husband or a wife, is stressful.  A Reformed chaplain can be there to counsel in difficult times.  Pray for our military chaplains.  Write them letters or emails of encouragement.  Provide them and their soldiers with care boxes from home.  Support them in their important callings.

For further reading : “The Presbyterian and Reformed Joint Commission on Chaplains and Military Personnel,” by Robert B. Needham — Chapter 24 in Confident of Better Things, edited by John Muether and Danny Olinger (pp. 471–484). Needham provides a succinct history of the PRJCMP, undergirding that history with a very useful Scriptural defense of military chaplaincy.

With One Ministry in Mind, Yet God Had a Greater

When Francis A. Schaeffer was called to serve the First Bible Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, his first sermon as the new pastor of the church was delivered on 5 December 1943 and was titled “Believing in the Light of His Coming.” But not two years later, in September of 1945, the Session Minutes of the First Bible Presbyterian Church record this note:

Our pastor F.A. Schaeffer brought before us a letter he received from Dr. J. Gordon Holdcroft general secretary of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions asking if he would consider or be willing if he felt that the Lord had called him to go to Germany as a missionary to start a work there that would be sound. It was stated that Rev. Carl Straub pastor of the Afton Bible Presbyterian Church might go along as a helper.
There was much discussion about it and it was the general consensus of opinion that the board might have been hasty in the matter and not given it as much thought as it should have, due to the fact that it might have a detrimental effect on the work here in St. Louis.
No concrete action was taken at this time as it was the thought of the session as well as the moderators that the will of the Lord be done and since no one present knew what the Lord would have Mr. Schaeffer do the meeting was brought to a close after a season of prayer asking God for His guidance.

Finally in February of 1947, the Session Minutes record that

“Mr. Schaeffer asked the session for a leave of absence to go to a work located on the continent of Europe for the purpose of starting Bible Presbyterian Churches and getting sound ones to become a part of the American Council and also start children works where possible. After much discussion it was moved and passed to grant Mr. Schaeffer a leave of nine months to go to this work. . .”

Highly reluctant to let him go, when the congregation met to consider the matter, the leave of absence was reduced to three months, to be taken over the summer months. While Schaeffer was gone that summer, the Rev. John Sanderson returned to pastor the congregation in his absence. Then not long after his return, Schaeffer tendered his resignation in December of 1947 , the Clerk of Session noting that the Session “voted to receive it with real regret.” After some time of preparation, the Schaeffers said their farewells. His final sermon before the congregation came on the evening of 25 July 1948—”Man’s Greatest Cause for Rejoicing”—and by the fall of 1948 the Schaeffers were getting established in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Words to Live By:
The Schaeffers came to St. Louis no doubt intending to pastor the church there for many years. But the Lord called them to something greater. And no doubt, Fran and Edith Schaeffer thought they knew what that ministry looked like. They had no idea! It was something far greater and more far reaching than they could have imagined. Strive to obey the Lord in all that He calls you to do. Whether that work may seem great or small, it is in His hands. Rest assured then, His blessing will be in that work, and what is more, it will astound you one day to know how the Lord worked through you, growing His kingdom and bringing glory to His name.

The Westminster Standards are the Standards of the Presbyterian Church
by Rev. David T. Myers

We have already considered the meeting which took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania which stopped an impending schism in the infant Presbyterian Church by The Adopting Act of 1729, as was presented on September 17. But there was another important commitment made by the infant church as part of this multi-day meeting on this day, September 19, 1729.  And it was the adoption by the presbyters of this American Presbyterian Church of the Westminster Standards (together, the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism and the Shorter Catechism) as their subordinate standard, behind that of Scripture itself, as their required standard for ordination.

The exact words as taken from the Minutes of that Presbytery meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were the following:  “we are undoubtedly obliged to take care that the faith once delivered to the saints be kept pure and uncorrupt among us, and so handed down to our posterity; and do therefore agree that all the ministers of this Synod, or that shall hereafter be admitted into this Synod, shall declare their agreement in, and approbation of, the Confession of Faith, with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, as being in all the essential and necessary articles, good forms of sound words and systems of Christian doctrine, and so also adopt the said Confession and Catechisms as the confession of our faith. And we do also agree, that all the Presbyteries within our bounds shall always take care not to admit any candidate of the ministry into the exercise of the sacred function but what declares his agreement in opinion with all the essential and necessary articles of said Confession, either by subscribing the said Confession of Faith and Catechisms, or by a verbal declaration of their assent thereto, as such minister or candidate shall think best.”

It might surprise our readers to think that a full twenty-two years after the first Presbytery in 1707, finally such a doctrinal commitment was made by the infant Presbyterian church.  But this is not to say that the ministers who made up this church did not automatically confess this subscription. Remember, the first page of the 1707 minutes were lost to history.  It well might have been part and parcel of that document.  Further, while not found in subsequent recorded minutes, all of the ministers had confessed their faith in the mother countries by subscription to the Westminster Standards. Up to this time in the colonies, their attention was taken up with church extension and government.  But finally, the historic creed which had fed the faith of the Presbyterian Church for three hundred years is made the foundation of the infant Presbyterian church in America.                                                                                       

Words to live by:  A historic document is made the subordinate standard of an infant church.  All ministers, past, present, and future, are to receive and adopt it before they can be ordained.  The young church is placed on a Reformed foundation.  While members must hold to a credible profession of faith, they know  that the preaching and teaching will be the depth and historical content of  the greatest theological statement ever produced by godly men. This is why we have included the Confession and catechisms in this historical devotional guide.  Read and ponder its words. Memorize its shorter catechism answers.  This writer has done so, and it has enabled him to stand in the test of perilous times.

It was yesterday actually—September 17th, 1936—and not today’s date of September 18th, when Dr. J. Gresham Machen spoke in Westfield, New Jersey on the subject “Shall We Obey God, or Man?”. But as we didn’t want to pass up mention of this occasion, so you will please forgive a bit of backtracking.

This appears to be one of Machen’s messages which is now lost. I could not find any title close to “Shall We Obey God, or Man?” among Dr. Machen’s published works, but if I missed something, please bring it to my attention. Like so much of Machen’s writings, this too would have remained a timely message for our own day. Perhaps there are still some notes, an outline, or even a transcript preserved among the Machen Papers at Westminster Theological Seminary?

DR. J. G. MACHEN SPEAKS HERE SUNDAY.

“Shall We Obey God, or Man?” is the subject to be discussed by Rev. Dr. J. Gresham Machen of Philadelphia on Sunday at 8 p.m. in the Masonic Temple. This meeting, the last in the series of three sponsored by a local committee interested in the newly organized Presbyterian Church of America, has been planned to bring before the public some of the outstanding issues before the Presbyterian Church today.

Dr. Machen, who is Professor of New Testament in Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and long identified with the fundamentalist group in the Presbyterian Church, today is a national figure. IN 1928 he headed a group of men that left Princeton Seminary and about four years later was instrumental in the founding of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. It was the establishment of this board that brought to a head the fast growing differences between the two groups, for from this board, termed illegal by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., Dr. Machen and others were ordered to resign. Their refusal to do so lead finally this year to their withdrawal from the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and the formation of the Presbyterian Church of America.

Why the matter has been doctrinal rather than administration as claimed by the General Assembly that met in Syracuse last May, in what way the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. has placed the word of man above the word of God and why Conservatives cannot expect to purify the church from within are among the things which will be explained by Dr. Machen.

Acclaimed by his friends and foes alike as the outstanding Greek scholar of the world today, known as an ardent defender of Fundamentalism and the author of numerous well-known books, Dr. Machen will come prepared to state authoritatively the position of the new Presbyterian Church of America.

This same news clipping, pictured at right, can be found in context on the front page of The Westfield, New Jersey Leader, here :
http://archive.wmlnj.org/TheWestfieldLeader/1936/1936-09-17/pg_0001.pdf . Our copy of this clipping is from the scrapbook collection gathered by the Rev. Henry G. Welbon.

Words to Live By:
In every age and era, there are challenges that confront the Christian. There is always the contest, whether to obey God or man. Strive to obey God daily, moment by moment, while the challenges may still be simpler and less painful. Set the habit now. Walk in the light of His Word and make a practice of remembering God’s faithfulness. For one, make a habit of noting His answers to your prayers. Then, when real challenges to obedience come, you should be able to say, “How can I deny Him now, when He has been faithful to me all these years?”

STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Leonard T. Van Horn

Q. 27. — Wherein did Christ’s humiliation consist?

A. — Christ’s humiliation consisted in his being born, and that in a low condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, and the cursed death of the cross, in being buried and continuing under the power of death for a time.

Scripture References: Luke 2:7; Phil. 2:6-8; Gal. 4:4; Isa. 53:6; Matt. 27:46; Gal. 3:13; I Cor. 15:3,4.

Questions:

1. In what things did Christ humble himself?

Christ humbled himself in His birth, in his life and in His death.

2. How did Christ humble Himself in His birth?

Christ humbled himself in His birth in that he was born of a virgin in a manger, becoming man who was the eternal Son of God.

3. How did Christ humble Himself In His life?

Christ humbled himself in His life in subjecting Himself to the law; because he entered into conflict with the devil; because He endured the slander of men who were wicked; because He endured the infirmities of the flesh even those endured by all men.

4. How did Christ humble Himself in His death?

Christ humbled himself in His death by submitting himself to the cursed death of the cross (Gal. 3:13) and undergoing the agony described in the Scripture as happening to Him.

5. What does Christ’s humiliation mean to us as Christians?

Christ’s humiliation assured us of our redemption, through the merits of His sufferings (Eph.1 :7).

6. Was the soul or body of Christ separated from Him during His death?

No, his soul or body could not be separated from him since he was divine and the Scripture teaches us that he i. “the same yesterday, and today, and forever”. (He)). 13:8)

GOLGOTHA!

Abraham Kuyper, in his helpful book, “His Decease At Jerusalem”, states, “Even among the most devout only a few are willing to plumb the depths of Golgotha’s real significance. We are mostly occupied with the outward evidences of His dying. That does not disturb us nearly so much. But to endure the heart-breaking, soul-lacerating examination of His conflict with Sin, Satan, and the Sentence of Death, none seem to be willing to do.”

Golgotha! Here our Lord came to the climax of those things done in order that others might live. Nothing was left Him but a cross whereon He could die. And this amid the mocking laughter of His slanderers. Look to the Cross of Christ, where the Christ heard those words of mockery, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save.” How very true they were, little did those who said them realize what a profound truth they were uttering. For therein was the truth of His dying, in order to save others He could not save Himself! He paid the final price on the Cross and then He knew that the debt for man’s redemption was paid up in full. He was free then to utter the words, “It is finished!” It was a thunderous cry of victory over the prince of the world and his cohorts.

We sing about the Cross and we speak of it—but do we think deeply in considering the humiliation He suffered there? How little are our thoughts directed towards developing heartfelt understanding of His sacrifice on the Cross. What He suffered there for our sakes, what He did there made the precious gift of eternal life for you and for me!

We need to think more of the scene of Golgotha and let it be a continual remembrance to us of the precious blood He shed, we need to see that Cross in which we find our glory.

We need to examine our hearts before Him and ask Him, with the Psalmist of old, “Search me 0 God and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” We need to remember what He did for us and ask ourselves the question: “What are we doing for Him?” Are we willing to renounce all for His sake? Are we willing to be humiliated by the world as we testify for Him? Are we willing to give up whatever is necessary in order to walk to His glory? Blessed Redeemer, Precious Redeemer is our cry—what do our lives testify?

Published By: THE SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 3 No. 27 (March 1963)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

Through the sixteenth century a few adventurers were settling in America, and stable institutions came with the seventeenth to attract the attention of European Protestants as they searched for some refuge from the persecuting power which they could not resist in France, could not fight in Spain, played see-saw with in England, overthrew in Germany, and displaced in Holland and Scotland.

France
Theodore BezaIf there had been no persecution in Europe, and the Protestant Church could have had freedom from state interference to fight its own battle before the general reason and conscience, the emigrants to America would perhaps have been more like the first settlers in California, or the first inhabitants in a new oil town. As it was, the intellectual conflict and the physical struggle came on together and intensified each other. Huguenot Synods were held in France, and then suppressed, and then re-allowed. The first regularly organized [Protestant] church [in France] was that of Paris, whose people elected John le Macon pastor, and had a board of elders and deacons, in 1555. In 1559 the first National Synod was held, and according to Calvin’s advice a regular system of Appellate Courts was organized. In September, 1561, Theodore Beza, at the head of twelve Protestant ministers made their plea before royalty. It was claimed that there were then more than two thousand churches and stations. The origin of the name “Huguenot” is not known, but it is believed to have been at first a nickname which grew to honor by the character and conduct of its wearers. They had a stormy history. Francis I. was their enemy. Charles IX. (an effeminate boy in the hands of the Medicis) massacred them at St. Bartholomew. Henry IV., at heart a Huguenot, was a brave soldier and a brilliant man, but he turned Catholic for policy’s sake, and yet protected the Huguenots by issuing the Edict of Nantes. then followed Louis XIII. and Richelieu and Louis XIV. and the revocation of the edict of toleration in 1685. These last events came in the seventeenth century. The sixteenth century had demonstrated the advantage of Protestant emigration, and the seventeenth made it compulsory.

dortHolland
In Holland the struggle was between Protestantism and Phillip II. of Spain. These were the days of the Duke of Alva and William the Silent. To save their religion and their homes and drive out the Spaniards, the Dutch cut the dykes and submerged their farms beneath the sea. But through all this suffering they were organizing a people and defending a country that should, in time, give to the world the Protestant and Presbyterian results of the Synod of Dort. That Synod was the nearest to an interdenominational and ecumenical Synod of any held for the forming of Reformation creeds. It was called to decide the controversy between Arminianism and Calvinism; but the selection of the members made it a foregone conclusion that it would condemn Arminius and support the doctrine of Calvin. As a result the “Canons of Dort” are accepted everywhere as good Augustinian theology, and the Reformed Dutch Church of America, both in the earliest time and in the modern, is thoroughly and soundly Presbyterian. The early Dutch immigrants to this country brought with them their names of Consistory, Classis and Synod, with both ministerial and lay delegates, and between them and the Presbyterians there have never been any controversies in either theology or church government.

England
But the main center of American interest in European Presbyterians is found in England. Henry VIII. had married his brother’s widow, Catherine of Aragon. She was a kinswoman of Philip II. of Spain, and Philip and his nation were close friends of the Pope. When, then, the fickle, handsome, headstrong, and licentious Henry wanted to divorce Catherine and marry Anne Boleyn, he easily found his English bishops and universities ready to declare his marriage to his brother’s widow unlawful, but he found it very difficult, for political reasons, to get the Pope so to declare against that marriage that he might thereafter have a non-Catholic wife, and that Mary, his daughter by Catherine, should be an illegitimate child.

Henry cut the knot by declaring himself the head of the Church of England, and the English Church in no possible way subject to Rome. During all this time Protestant doctrines were spreading among the people, and this seemed to open an easy solution. But pure religion in England was not what Henry wanted. He and all the Tudors wanted to have their own way, without interference from parliament or the Church or the people. After the birth of Elizabeth, Anne Boleyn was beheaded to make way for the third of Henry’s six wives. The king now had two female children, one a Romanist and the other a Protestant. When he died, in 1547, he left Edward VI. by Jane Seymour, only nine years old, but an astonishingly precocious Protestant king.

knox_card03Under Edward the effort to reform the Church went on vigorously, but everybody was debating, as the chief point of controversy, “What is the scriptural form of government?” John Knox had been a private tutor for Hugh Douglas of Longniddry. The excitement occasioned by the martyrdom of Hamilton and Wishart turned his attention to Protestantism. St. Andrews is a picturesque city, rich in traditions from the Culdee period. At the call of the congregation of that city, Knox began preaching. With the capture of the castle of St. Andrews, Knox was sent a prisoner to the French galleys. After his release he, at one time, became Court preacher for Edward VI.

Romanism, Episcopacy, Presbyterianism, and Independency were now up for discussion. The controversy between Protestantism and Catholicism, under Bloody Mary, made all England a charnel house. Mary [Henry VIII.’s first daughter] was a Tudor and a Spaniard and a Roman Catholic; and the task of bringing back the British Islands under the control of the Pope of Rome was the one religious ambition of her life. How far her relentless persecutions [thus her nickname] were made more relentless by the sadness of her natural disposition, the want of an heir to the throne by her Spanish husband, her residence in England while her alienated husband lived in Spain, and her final loss of Calais, that last remnant of English territory on the Continent, may be hard to decide; but her persecutions filled Geneva, and all European Protestant cities, with English refugees and raised everywhere the question of some land where Protestants could have freedom. Just as she was moving, apparently, toward the destruction of her Protestant sister Elizabeth, Mary died.

A Life of Sacrifice for the Gospel of Jesus Christ

The Rev. Robert Waldo Chesnut was a pastor in the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America, General Synod (RPC,GS). This was the body which later merged with the larger side of the Bible Presbyterian Synod split in 1965 to create the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod. Dr. Chesnut served in the lean years of the denomination when, at its low point, there were just nine churches left on the roster. Eventually the Lord brought renewed vigor and growth, such that by the time of the merger in 1965, there were some 25 churches in the RPC,GS. No doubt the Lord used Chesnut’s sacrificial love for the Church as a great instrument in bringing about some of that later growth.

Reprinted here is a brief biography which originally appeared in The Reformed
 Presbyterian Advocate, 87.4 (April, 1953): 40-42.

chesnutrwOn March 23, 1953 at 8:35 P.M. our Church was deprived of its Pastor Emeritus by the death of Rev. Robert W. Chesnut, Ph.D. He was 94 years, 6 months, 8 days old when he passed on to be with his Lord. Dr. Chesnut had been Pastor Emeritus since his retirement from the active ministry in 1942 after 55 years as a minister. In 1950 he attended his last meeting of General Synod, at the Houston Mission [in Tennessee]. In November of 1952 he reported to work on the new church [in Duanesburg, NY], bringing his hammer and lunch pail. He worked from 9 A.M. to 3 P.M. He later said: “I guess I pounded two or three pounds of nails and it helped some.” He was constantly interested in the new church and did all he could to advance its construction. 

Robert Chesnut was born on a farm near Morning Sun, Iowa, on September 15, 1858. His parents had emigrated from Glasgow, Scotland. His father was a boilermaker.”

He had very little formal education in elementary or high schools. He never attended school during his early years for more than three months at a time. Until his entrance into college he had attended school only a total of twenty months.

In 1869 his family emigrated, by covered wagon, to Kansas and settled in Clay Center. There Dr. Chesnut, his father, and his brothers engaged in farming.

chesnut45yrsHe did not want to enter college or the ministry and, he has reported, fought the call of God to the ministry for some time. Finally one day, plowing in the fields (and he had not enjoyed good health for many months) he stopped his horses, sat down on a plowbeam and settled the matter with God. He said: “Lord, if you will give me health and see me through my education I will serve you in the ministry.” He finished the day’s plowing without being fatigued and God has kept His part of the covenant by blessing His servant with good health and length of days. Anyone who knew Dr. Chesnut knows that he kept his part of the covenant too, serving his God and his beloved Reformed Presbyterian church for sixty or more years.

He entered the Agricultural College of Kansas, at Manhattan, with a trunk containing a few clothes, his Psalm book, his Bible, and his Catechism, and $45 cash to see him through. He paid his way through school by raising a crop of wheat each Summer and selling it in the Fall. He also earned a little extra by tutoring his fellow students in Greek.

His college training was continued and completed at the University of Kansas, at Lawrence.

For theological training he spent a summer studying under his pastor, Rev. James S. Scott and entered the Reformed Presbyterian Seminary in Philadelphia the following term as a second year student.

He completed the course and was licensed to preach on March 22, 1887 in the First Reformed Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.

He was ordained on May 10, 1888 and installed the same day as pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church at Marissa, Illinois. The church is no longer in existence. Dr. Chestnut had been called to a church in New York City, but declined the call because he thought that he, a farm boy from Iowa and Kansas, would not be suited to a city pastorate. After sixteen years in Marissa he went to the church in Cutler, Illinois. In 1910 he accepted a call to the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Duanesburg. Here he served as pastor and worked the parsonage farm until 1917. He then moved to the Seventh Reformed Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia and remained two and one-half years. He then returned to Duanesburg, to save the congregation from disbanding. It was, at that time, a small and discouraged flock in need of a shepherd. From 1919 until his retirement in 1942 Dr. Chesnut served here as Stated Supply, worked the parsonage farm (and another larger farm which he purchased from his meager earnings) and ran a printing plant.

Robert Waldo Chesnut was pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Duanesburg (NY) from 1910-1917, and for forty years he served as Editor and Publisher of the Reformed Presbyterian Advocate (although it was not always known by that name). He also served as Moderator of the Philadelphia Presbytery and he served the General Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America, as Assistant Clerk, as Clerk, and as Moderator in both 1903 and 1943.

Dr. Chesnut was survived by his widow, Mrs. Anna Heim Chesnut, who is his third wife. In 1885 he was married to Jennie Hulick, who died in 1896. Their daughter and son died while in their youth. His second wife and an infant also died–the wife just five weeks after they moved to Duanesburg in 1910. Dr. Chesnut was survived by three children, thirteen grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. 

The Duanesburg congregation, and the whole of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, has suffered a loss by the passing of our friend. But we can have no regrets, for he lived a long and full life and we are assured that he has gone to glory to be forever with his Lord, where there is no more pain, no sorrow, no struggle with sin, no more death, where death is swallowed up in victory.

Truly a Prince has fallen in Israel. How he did love to come to General Synod and we have missed him these last few years. He really loved to preach the Gospel. Many lives have been touched by his long years of service.” [Rev. Robert W. Stewart]

Words to Live By:
“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,”—
Philippians 3:8, KJV.

From the Minutes of the Presbytery of Philadelphia (PCA), September 14-15, 1984:

A MEMORIAL STATEMENT

schaeffer02The Rev. Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, having successfully communicated the Gospel of Christ to the Christian world and to the world in general, and having stressed by his books and verbal proclamation the practical outworking of the Gospel in the daily life of man, is hereby memorialized by the Philadelphia Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America as a true and faithful servant of the Lord.

His recent departure from this life into the throne presence of our God reminds this Presbytery that at the outset of his ministry, after his seminary years, he originally came under care of the Philadelphia Presbytery of the Bible Presbyterian Church which by historic continuity contributed its record and its ordained men to the present Philadelphia Presbytery, PCA. He was licensed, ordained, and began his pastoral ministry in that Philadelphia Presbytery. he was a member of the St. Louis Presbytery, PCA, when he went to be with the Lord.

Dr. Schaeffer’s stand for the truth encourages us all, these years after his original commitment, to teach and preach the contents of the inspired and inerrant Word of God, to stand firmly for all our God has revealed to us, and to spread it through our society and our world effectively as He enables.

Mrs. Edith Schaeffer later wrote in reply, thanking the Presbytery for their formal statement on his life and work, and noting that she was keeping their letter with the many other letters, telegrams and documents received from all over the world, upon Dr. Schaeffer’s death.

Note: While the PCA Historical Center does have preserved among its collections the Minute Book of the Philadelphia Presbytery (BPC), those minutes only begin in 1939, and so we are lacking a copy of the minutes for the meeting at which Dr. Schaeffer was ordained..

Words to Live By:
This author [TE David Myers] can still remember, when as a young boy of eight or nine years of age, Francis Schaeffer and his wife Edith came to the Army installation at Dachau, Germany, where my father was the installation chaplain, for a series of evangelistic services.  (And yes, it was that Dachau which was infamous for a World War II concentration camp.)  In the shadows of that place of horrors in the little  chapel which had been built by SS soldiers after the close of the war, the good news of salvation was proclaimed by the fullness of the Spirit to a spiritually hungry body of American occupation troops, with souls and hearts being won to Christ and strengthened in the things of the Lord.  Written memorials are better than nothing, but living memorials which are found in the souls of men and women are the best memorials of Francis and Edith Schaeffer.  They will continue on the spiritual legacy which he so faithfully began in days gone by.  Praise the Lord for the ministry of Francis (and Edith) Schaeffer.

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