June 2014

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Eighty years ago, on June 30, 1934, there was an observance of the fiftieth anniversary of the Korean mission started by the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Other denominations had their own missions in that land. The Southern Presbyterian Church (properly, the Presbyterian Church, U.S.) had a substantial mission there as well, one which was greatly blessed of the Lord, and we may speak of the PCUS mission later.

But for today, reading briefly in The fiftieth anniversary celebration of the Korea Mission of the Presbyterian church in the U.S.A., June 30-July 3, 1934 by the Rev. Harry A. Rhodes, we come to what is for us the heart of the subject, a paper presented by the Rev. Herbert E. Blair, under the title of “Fifty Years of Development of the Korean Church.”

The Role of Missionaries
According to the Rev. Herbert E. Blair, three main principles undergirded the PCUSA mission to Korea in the period between 1884-1934. These were: (1) the supreme place given the Bible, with its simple Gospel message as the inspired, authoritative Word of God. (2) the common determination to make the Korean Church an indigenous church from the beginning, self-propagating, self-instructing, and self-governing. And (3) a spirit of comity and cooperation.

Persecution
But Blair also notes that there was great opposition to the gospel ministry in Korea in those days. “Men were imprisoned and flogged and threatened with death for helping the foreigners bring in the Gospel. Terrible persecutions were inflicted by hostile communities or privately by families or by fathers and husbands. Young widows of the Church were snatched and sold by heathen relatives and terribly abused. Wives were beaten, dragged out of churches and through the streets by their hair and cursed, and their clothes hidden so that they could not go to church again. Some were locked up and food denied them. They were cast off for Christ’s sake. Young boys suffered terrible beatings at the hands of brothers and fathers and were driven from home. Young girls were dragged away to heathen marriages and tortured if they protested. If they fled they were arrested and forced back into weddings they could not escape.”

The Bible and the Korean Church
Rev. Blair continues: “But by God’s grace, the Korean Church grew and became established—established upon the very best and only true Foundation. Writing from his vantage point in 1934, Dr. Blair states, “Bible study has been magnified in the Korean Church. The Bible has been ever at the side of leaders and followers alike. The Bible has been a passion with many pastors and teachers. Rev. Kil Sun-chu [or, Kil Son-ju, 1869-1935], the blind preacher of Pyongyang, has been first of all a diligent Bible student. He had studied all the old cults, but nothing brought peace till his soul began to feed on the Word of God. Pastor Kil has been an inspiring model before the eyes of the whole Church. His sight failed him but Dr. H.C. Whiting operated and enabled him to read again. This past generation pictures Pastor Kil always standing in the midst of great Bible classes, holding up his Bible close to his big, round, radiant face so that through his immense lenses he could himself read the Scriptures and then pour out his great soul in vision and plea. He has so studied and taught the Bible that he can repeat whole books. He has repeated the Revelation hundreds of times. Similarly, most of the leaders of the Church have been good Bible students. Their Bibles are filled with notes, worn and black from Genesis to Revelation. Some of them know their Bibles so well that they are veritable concordances. Such examples have helped the whole church to become a Bible-studying, Bible-loving church. Even old grandmothers and ignorant farmers have been inspired to learn to read so they too could know God’s Word.”

“One can tell a Christian home by the Bible on the floor or on the box at the window or the little table. In their homes family prayers have not only been for daily devotion but they have also been the family schools where the fathers and mothers, aged parents and little children, have gathered in circles about the little oil lamps on the floors, with their Bibles open before them, reading around, verse after verse, the fathers often pronouncing syllable after syllable for the little children to repeat till all have learned to read. Probably all who have spent any length of time in Syen-chun, have been impressed when late at night or earlyt in the morning, while going through the street, passing house after house, they have heard the sound of family prayers or the muffled tone of song. The open Bible is the family altar. All over Korea for years, in multitudes of homes, they have had such family prayers.”

Words to Live By:
Much of this account seems so similar to accounts of other times of God’s great blessing upon His Church. And consistently in each case, a faithful devotion to the Word of God and to prayer undergirds each of those times of blessing. Christian, where is your Bible? Is it gathering dust? Or is it your daily companion? And are you constant in prayer, seeking your Father’s face, drawing near not just with your daily burdens, but also with groanings and petitions for the Church at large, that the Lord would be glorified before a watching world? Be constant in God’s Word and in prayer, and watch expectantly to see how the Lord will work. Pray that once great denominations in the U.S.A. would again be seized with the truth of the Bible and return to a faithful proclamation of the Gospel. Pray too that we who consider ourselves orthodox would indeed maintain our first love in all humility and obedience.

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Keeping in mind that newspapers were little different then than now, subject to the same human foibles*, nonetheless the following coverage of the modernist controversy and the resulting denominational split is interesting, as it offers some different perspectives on what a division means to those involved.

[*There are two errors mainly in the text below, both of which will be noted in brackets in their first appearance.]

This article is from a Wilmington, DE newspaper, dated June 29, 1936, and is found preserved in one of seven scrapbooks gathered by the Rev. Henry G. Welbon, covering the modernist controversy in the years 1935-1939. The photographs have been added and were not part of the original article.

familiesdivided

Dissension with all the heartaches and strained loyalties that civil war brings, is definitely wedged in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

Where it will lead and the effect of the wedge, no one knows.

But this much is already evident in the Presbytery of New Castle, which embraced Delaware and parts of Maryland: families are divided, parents against children, husbands against wives, and friend with friend.

This is a time when members of congregations are torn between loyalty to their established church, when men are being accused of dogmatism, heresy, apostasy and free will.

Out of the seething cauldron has been born a new church, the Presbyterian Church in [sic; should be “of”] America, in contrast to the old Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

The nature of the wedge that is lodged in the church of the U.S.A. today is itself controversial.

Question Not Doctrinal

Those who are remaining loyal say the split is on a church constitutional question and among the loyalists are both fundamentalists and modernists.

“The matter now and never has been a controversy between ‘fundamentalists’ and ‘modernists’ the general council of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. states.

It is a question the general council states, of whether ministers shall disobey the established constitution of a church and agree to the will of the majority.

The secessionists–all fundamentalists–say the differences are based upon doctrinal questions and liberty of conscience.

In any case, the immediate cause of the secession and the controversy has been the Independent Board of [sic; should be “for”] Presbyterian Foreign Missions, a board with no official connection with the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

The leading personality in the Independent Board of Presbyterian Foreign Missions has been the Rev. Dr. J. Gresham Machen of the Presbytery of New Brunswick, N.J.

Four Judicatories in Church

For those not familiar with Presbyterian Church government, it should be explained that the judicatory and administrative bodies of the church are: First, the session, composed of representatives of a congregation, governing the church; second, the Presbytery governing a group of sessions in a district; third, the synod, a group of Presbyteries and fourth, the General Assembly which is the national ruling body of the Presbyterian Church which also is the supreme court and lawmaking body of the entire church.

Also as part of the story of the Independent Board of Presbyterian Foreign Missions is Pearl Buck, a missionary in China, whom it was charged was too much a modernist.

Dr. Machen Heads Movement

machen02Though she resigned, the charges persisted from the militant fundamentalists of the Presbyterian Church against the alleged modernism in the foreign mission groups. In 1933, Dr. Machen introduced into the Presbytery of New Brunswick a proposed resolution to be presented to General Assembly relating to what he called “modernism” in the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions.

A large majority of the Presbytery of New Brunswick refused to send this resolution to General Assembly but similar resolutions did reach General Assembly in 1933. The assembly received it and Dr. Machen was heard by the committee to which the resolutions had been presented for consideration.

By a vote of 43 to 2, the committee reported unfavorably and expressed its confidence in the Board of Foreign Missions and by a nearly unanimous vote, the General Assembly approved the report of this committee.

But Dr. Machen did not pause there. Accepting neither the views of the committee nor the “judgment of the General Assembly,” he was influential in the establishment of the Independent Board of Presbyterian Foreign Missions, incorporated in December of 1933, with Dr. Machen as president. It is not a recognized body of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., being just what its name indicates, “independent.”

H. S. Laird Member of Board

lairdhsTo this board came the Rev. Harold S. Laird, pastor of the First and Central Presbyterian Church of Wilmington, an ardent fundamentalist.

But before he joined the independent board, he consulted with his session. He did not join against their counsel.

Another point, not widely known, is that Mr. Laird during his pastorate at First and Central Presbyterian Church never solicited for the Independent Board of Presbyterian Foreign Missions.

“It was only after much earnest prayer and careful consideration,” he said, “that I came to the conviction that this movement was of God, and being thus convinced, I agreed to throw what little influence I have in the church to the lifting high of this standard. This was my primary motive in allowing myself to be elected a member of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions.

“It is from this board that I was ordered to resign. I believe the board is of God and I also believe that my call to membership on that board was of God. Under such circumstances, how can I resign? Shall I obey man rather than God?”

Taking note of this independent board and that ministers and elders were prominent in its membership, the General Assembly directed that all ministers and laymen affiliated with the board sever their connections with the organization.

Those who declined to obey this direction were ordered tried by their Presbyteries. A number were found guilty and either rebuked or suspended.

Mr. Laird tried before the Presbytery of New Castle, protested that his affiliation with the independent board had been guided by his conscience and that in refusing to sever his connection, he was placing the word of God above the courts of man.

Rebuked, But Not Suspended.

Mr. Laird, however, was found guilty, with one dissenting vote in his favor. He was ordered rebuked but allowed to remain [in] his pulpit.

But Mr. Laird continued in the membership of the independent board. The Presbytery recently suspended him from the ministry–an act regarded as illegal by Mr. Laird who immediately renounced the authority of the Presbytery.

Words to Live By
Unity is a precious thing, to be cultivated and prized. But Christian unity must be centered on the saving Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Where we have that unity, it is glorious. Without Jesus Christ as our Cornerstone, there can be no Church.

Luke 12:49-53 (ESV)
49 “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled!
50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!
51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.
52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three.
53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Psalm 133 (KJV)
1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
3 As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

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Wonderful Songs Despite a Life of Sorrow

She could have been  bitter.  She could have blamed God for what happened to her.  She could have lived a life of depression and hopeless sorrow. But Eliza Edmunds Hewitts did not do any of these. Instead she lived a life of joy in anticipation of heaven’s shores.

Born June 28, 1851, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she attended public schools in the city. Graduating valedictorian from the Girls Normal School, he became a teacher in the public school system of Philadelphia.  During one of those classes, an unruly student threw a large piece of slate at her. Her career was cut short in teaching as the effect of that slate gave her a spinal injury. She was confined to bed at first. Eventually she was able to be partially restored, but the rest of her life was spent in great pain.

She began to study English literature at that time. That study enabled her to sing and write Christian hymns and songs.  With the help of several composers, she wrote the words for approximately seventy-one hymns.  Several of her best hymns are “More about Jesus would I know,” “My faith has found a resting place,”  “Stepping in the Light,”  “Sunshine in my soul,”  “When we all get to heaven,” “Give me thy heart, says the Father above,” and “Will there be any stars in my crown?”

Her other field of labor was still in the teaching field. She became the Sunday School superintendent at Calvin Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. At one point, she oversaw 200 children. She was a regular contributor to “Sunday School Helps.”

She died on April 24, 1920, to receive the stars in her crown for her spiritual work, despite a life and final bed of pain.

Words to Live By:  The New Trinity Hymnal has only “More about Jesus would I know” on page 538. The blue (old) Trinity Hymnal has “Give me thy heart” on pg 723. Other evangelical hymnals will give you other favorites of Eliza (or E.E.) Hewitt. Why not join with a group of  Christians, or on Sunday evening for a hymn sing, to lend your voice to singing her  hymns of the faith? Then discuss her life, of being by God’s strength, able to write and serve the Lord despite her physical pain. It would be a profitable study.

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When Christ is rich, how can I be poor?

Today’s post is excerpted from the history written by P. H. Fowler—Historical Sketch of Presbyterianism within the bounds of the Synod of Central New York. (1877), pp. 639-640:—

Rev. James Rodgers was born at Roxburyshire, in the South of Scotland, 1785, and labored on a farm there until 1819, when he immigrated to this country, settling in Hammond Township, a section of St. Lawrence county, a region then covered by dense forest. A number of Scotch families joined him, and affected by the spiritual destitution of the community, Mr. Rodgers decided to open school-house meetings. Devotional exercises alone were attempted at first, but soon the reading of printed sermons was introduced, and after that brief addresses and Scripture expositions, which gradually superseded the reading of sermons. Half of Saturday for a time, and then the whole of that day was occupied in preparing for the Sunday service, and neighbors took turns in doing the lay preacher’s work on the farm. As word of this arrangement spread throughout the region, friends of religion, and particularly Judge Fine, persuaded Mr. Rodgers to put himself under the care of the Presbytery of St. Lawrence. He was licensed by that body at Canton on March 23, 1823, and ordained on June 9, 1824. He continued in Hammond, but extended his labors to the neighboring towns, and organized and built up a flourishing church. He also occasionally served the Second Church, Oswegatchie, formed in 1823, and settled there as stated supply in 1827, and as pastor beginning May 13, 1839, continuing there until June 27, 1848. The hard work of his early life in Scotland, and the toil and exposure of his immigrant life, began now to show themselves in his impaired constitution; and though exerting himself still to the utmost of his strength, and frequently preaching here and there, and excited almost to his former activity in the revival of 1858, he gradually broke down, often suffering excruciating torture, hard even to witness, but patiently borne, and finally gave way, August 20, 1863, in the 78th year of his age.

Mr. Rodgers was, in many respects, a remarkable man. His career indicates this. With nothing but a common school education, and pursuing manual labor, and associating with unlettered farmers, he became an acceptable, instructive and useful lay preacher; and after a brief special preparation for it, entered the gospel ministry and prosecuted it with signal success. He must have had, and did have, great determination and force, and showed excellent judgment. None of his professional training was in the schools, but in the family, with the Bible and catechism as text books, and the open field which he was cultivating, for times of thoughtful reflection. His pulpit power was the Word of God, which he constantly searched, and whence his sermons were brought forth. This furnished him with both matter and spirit, supplemented by a Christian experience with which affliction was largely concerned. He dated his conversion from his 14th year, and a consistent life and a peaceful death demonstrated its genuineness. As a loving daughter looked on his last sufferings, she could not repress the words, “Poor father!” “Not poor father,” he replied; “”when Christ is rich, how can I be poor?” To some inquiries he answered, “I do not fear to die, and have no desire to live.” He had asked for the reading of the 17th chapter of the gospel of John, and awakening from a slumber into which he fell immediately after, he exclaimed, “Oh, that weight of glory!” He breathed his last, August 20, 1863. Mr. Rodgers owed much to his wife, Margaret Hill, whom he married in 1805, and who for fifty-five years shared his life and contributed largely to it. She was taken from him by accident in 1860, and he never recovered from the bereavement and shock. Two sons and three daughters survived him, both sons ruling elders, and two grandsons became preachers of the gospel.

Words to Live By:
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”—Philippians 4:11-13, KJV.

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A Desire to Effect a Reformation

J.J. JanewayThe Rev. Jacob Jones Janeway [1774-1858] was an early Philadelphia pastor who served initially as an associate alongside the Rev. Ashbel Green. Rev. Janeway was also a close friend and supporter of the early Princeton Seminary faculty.

When the new year of 1800 opened, the Rev. J. J. Janeway was found on its threshold with a strong desire to “effect a reformation” in his heart and life. He wrote in his diary, “On examination, it is found that early rising, fervency in devotion, religious reflections in company, humility, courage, disinterested benevolence, and much engagedness are particularly worthy my attention in this reformation. May God enable me to reform. Amen.”

It was not a short-lived expectation or goal for Rev. Janeway. He persisted. On June 26th of that same year, he wrote in his diary:

“This day I spent in fasting and prayer for the blessing of Almighty God on my ministry. I have read the Scriptures; meditated and prayed. Confession of sins has been made. I have entreated God to bestow on me courage, wisdom, prudence, ardent piety, circumspection, a feeling sense of the importance of divine truth, compassion for the souls of men. I have prayed that I may propose divine truth with clearness, illustrate it with wisdom, and urge it with affection and energy; that I may be furnished for my work abundantly; that I may be a wise, faithful, able and successful minister of the Lord Jesus.”

Words to Live By:
An able, effective, and pointed prayer for any pastor. And in a similar way, for any and all who claim Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. May each of us press closer to know the Lord, to seek His face, to draw near to Him day by day. Read the Scriptures. Dwell upon their meaning and pray. Confess your sins and ask God to give you what is needed for this day, to live to His glory.

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WarfieldBB_1903REVISION OR REAFFIRMATION?

The following letter was sent by Professor Warfield to the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., with Warfield declining to serve on the Committee of Revision appointed by the last Assembly. For at least a decade prior, certain elements in the PCUSA had worked to bring about a revision of the Westminster Confession of Faith. Warfield opposed this effort with a number of articles and short works, but in the end. lost this battle. In 1903, the Assembly approved the addition of two chapters to the Confession—a “chapter 34” on the Holy Spirit and a “chapter 35” on “The Love of God and Missions.” The PCA, OPC, RPCNA and most other conservative American Presbyterian denominations have rejected these added chapters, and it is worth noting that the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Synod has this year voted to remove these added chapters from their edition of the Confession.

Princeton, N. J., June 25, 1900.

To the Rev. Dr. William Henry Roberts, D.D., LL.D.,

Stated Clerk of the General Assembly.

My Dear Dr. Roberts :

The intimation you have sent me of my appointment to the committee, authorized by the last General Assembly, “to consider the whole matter of the restatement of the doctrines most surely believed among us,” reached me duly. I am deeply sensible of the honor of such an appointment, and as well of the duty of the servants of the Church to address themselves diligently to the tasks assigned to them by its highest court. Nevertheless, I am constrained to ask to be relieved from this service. There are circumstances arising from illness in my family, and others arising from losses sustained lately in the teaching force of the Seminary in whose immediate service I am employed, which would require me to hesitate to undertake additional labors at this time. But I should not be true to myself did I not say frankly that the decisive reason moving me to request release from service on this committee is an unconquerable unwillingness to be connected with the present agitation for a revision of our creedal formulae in any other manner than that of respectful but earnest protest.

I cannot think that the violent assault upon certain of our confessional statements—statements which are clearly Scriptural and as clearly lie at the centre of our doctrinal system—in which the agitation originated, was a fitting occasion for a movement of this kind, or for any action of the Church except the rebuke of the assailants by the courts to which they were directly amenable. I cannot think the precipitate action of a few presbyteries following these assaults with a request for some review of our confessional position other than unwise. I cannot believe that the Assembly acted with that regard for the peace of the Church and the integrity of its testimony to the truth which is becoming in our highest court, when it paid such heed to these few discordant and, as I must believe, ill-considered overtures that it ignored the eloquent silence of five-sixths of the Presbyteries of the Church and precipitated an agitation as to its doctrinal standards upon the whole Church. My conviction is clear that, in the circumstances, it was rather the duty of the Assembly, in fulfillment of its high function of guardian of the truth professed by this Church, to reaffirm the doctrines that had been assailed; to quiet the disturbance that had been raised; and, by renewed hearty commendation of our Standards to the churches under its care, to strengthen in them a firm and intelligent attachment to these Standards and their forms of sound words. It is greatly to be feared that the effect of its contrary action, by which on so small an occasion it has invited every Presbytery to subject the fundamental law of the Church to searching inquisition, will be to foment carping criticism and discontents if it be not taken in some quarters as a license to unrebuked assaults upon the very bond by which our churches are held together, and on the very substance of the truth delivered into our keeping by the great Head of the Church. It is my hope and prayer that the. Presbyteries may be led by the Divine grace to avert these dangers and to repair the evil already done, by entering an effective protest against this whole movement through a reaffirmation of their hearty loyalty to the system of doctrine brought to such admirable expression in our Standards.

In my own person at least I feel constrained to make this protest and reaffirmation with the utmost emphasis, and I am unwilling to enter into any relations which may seem to any to lessen this emphasis in any degree. I am thoroughly out of sympathy with the whole movement of which the work of this committee is a part. I desire above all things to see the Church pass quietly away from this disturbing agitation concerning its fundamental beliefs, which form the basis of its unity. It is an inexpressible grief to me to see it spending its energies in a vain attempt to lower its testimony to suit the ever changing sentiment of the world about it. I would fain see it, rather, secure in the peaceful possession of its well-assured doctrinal system, and animated by an enthusiastic loyalty to it and to the Standards in which it is expressed with such singular clarity and power, go forth in strength to win the world to the evangelical truth it has drawn from the Scriptures and professed through so many years of struggle and suffering, of progress and triumph. That God may bless the Church through these coming months with a double portion of the knowledge of His truth and of wisdom from on high, and with a double portion of holy courage to believe in its heart and to reassert in the face of whatever unbelief or doubt the whole truth that He has delivered to its keeping, is my constant and fervent prayer.

Will you kindly, my dear Dr. Roberts, communicate to the Moderator of the Assembly this my request to be released from service upon the committee, and make my excuses in whatever manner may be proper.

I am very truly yours,

BENJAMIN B. WARFIELD.

Words to Live By:
“Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” — 2 Timothy 1:13-14, KJV.

Image source: Frontispiece photograph in The Power of God unto Salvation. The Presbyterian Pulpit series, no. vi. Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1903.

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kirkpatrick

He did not serve God’s people with that which cost him nothing.

John Lycan Kirkpatrick was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, on 20 January 1813. Alfred Nevin notes that his parents were pious Presbyterians, members of Providence Church, and that John was baptized by the Rev. James Wallis, pastor of that church. Nevin also provides information that his family moved to Morgan county, Georgia when he was four years old, and later to DeKalb county when he was 15. Kirkpatrick was educated at Franklin College, Athens, Georgia, attending there in 1830, and then transferring to Hampden-Sydney College and graduating there in 1832 with the Bachelor of Arts degree. He taught at Charlotte Court House, Virginia for two years, 1833-1834 and then moved on to train for the ministry at the Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA, 1834-1837.

He was licensed to preach by West Hanover Presbytery in March of 1837 and ordained by the same Presbytery in November of that same year, being installed in his first pastorate at the Second Presbyterian Church in Lynchburg, VA. He served that church as pastor from 1837-1841, and in the second year of that pastorate, married Mary Elizabeth Turner of Lexington, VA. Rev. Kirkpatrick and his wife subsequently moved to Gainesville, Alabama when Rev. Kirkpatrick answered a call to pastor the PCUS church there, remaining in that post, his longest pastorate, from 1841-1853. He next served as pastor of the historic Glebe Street Church in Charleston, South Carolina from 1853-1860. From roughly 1856 until 1860, Kirkpatrick served as the editor of The Southern Presbyterian.

Leaving the Glebe Street Church, Rev. Kirkpatrick spent the remainder of his years in academia, serving first as president of Davidson College, from 1860-1866. Then from 1866-1885, he was Professor of Moral Philosophy at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and it was during these years that his wife died, on August 8, 1874. Rev. Kirkpatrick also served as interim supply for the Lexington Presbyterian Church, from the Spring of 1867 until August of 1868. He continued as Professor at the University until his death on June 24, 1885.

Suffering for over a year from a painful malady, among his final words, shortly before he died, he wrote:

I trust I am prepared for whatever may be the will of my heavenly Father. It gives me courage now to recall my feelings at a time when I verily believed that a few hours only separated me from the realities of the great hereafter. I seemed to have no dread of meeting God. He did not wear the visage of an angry God, but of a loving father. My trust in my Redeemer was unshaken, and his righteousness all-sufficient. I thank him for the experience of that hour. It was not dying grace then, as I now know; but it was a token of the Saviour’s love, of unspeakable preciousness. 

Honors conferred on John Lycan Kirkpatrick during his life include the Doctor of Divinity degree, conferred by the University of Alabama in 1852. He also served as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America (PCCSA) in 1862. Five published works have been located thus far. Dr. Kirkpatrick is also noted as the editor of The Southern Presbyterian, and undoubtedly many of his published works appeared in that journal.

Words to Live By:
“Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:12, KJV) — And if that is Paul’s charge for younger men, how much more so for older men, to live as befits the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, we must all, men and women, so live as examples of those who believe. In your speech, your conduct, your love, faith and purity, live day to day with the purpose of honoring and glorifying the Lord who saved you by His grace.

Sources:
Hunter, Robert F., Lexington Presbyterian Church, 1789-1989 (Lexington, VA : Lexington Presbyterian Church, 1991), p. 92.
Nevin, Alfred, The Encyclopedia of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (Philadelphia : Presbyterian Encyclopedia Publishing Co., 1884), pp. 1172-1173.
Scott, E.C., Ministerial Directory of the Presbyterian Church, U.S., 1861-1941 (Austin, TX : Press of Von Boeckmann-Jones Co., 1942), p. 379.

Image source : Alfred Nevin, The Encyclopedia of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (1884), p. 1172.

Chronological Bibliography—
1840
Oration delivered before the Philistorian Society of Georgetown College, D.C. on the 22d of February, 1840 … to which are prefixed the remarks of W.L. Warren, Ga., previous to his reading the farewell address of Washington. (Washington [D.C.?] : Jacob Gideon, Jr., 1840), 16 p.

1845
The moral tendency of the doctrine of falling from grace examined: a sermon preached before the Synod of Alabama at the opening of its sessions in Gainesville, October 24th, 1844 (Mobile, Register and Journal Office, 1845), 28 p.

1851
A sermon, preached on the occasion of the death of Mrs. Mary Chamberlain Brackett : in the Presbyterian Church, Gainesville, Ala., March 2, 1851 (St. Louis: Hill & M’Kee, printers, 1851), 24 p.

1859
A funeral discourse, delivered on Sunday morning, April 10, 1859, in the Independent or Congregational (Circular) Church, of Charleston, on the death of the Rev. Reuben Post, D.D., late Pastor of that church (Charleston, S.C. : Walker, Evans & Co.’s Steam Powered Press, 1859), 32 p.

1861
“ The Waldenses and Infant Baptism, ” in The Southern Presbyterian Review, 14.3 (October 1861) 399-430.

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Josiah Welsh had cried out at the moment he entered glory, “O victory, victory, forevermore,” on June 23, 1634. He was only thirty-six years of age.  But what he had accomplished for Christ in those short thirty-six years was remarkable.

Born in 1598 in Scotland, he was of good Presbyterian stock! How could this not be said when we acknowledge that his mother was one of John Knox’s—yes, that John Knox—daughters. Elizabeth was the third daughter of the great Reformer from his second wife. So that made our topic of today’s post the grandson of John Knox. In addition, his own father John Welsh was a Presbyterian minister as well.

Josiah studied first at Geneva, Switzerland, much as his grandfather had done.  Then he returned to Scotland to study at St. Andrews. He even taught some at the University of Glasgow. He evidently moved to Northern Ireland, or Ulster, due to his opposition to papacy. Yet God moved in two men as the helps of that move.

Humphrey Norton was an English Puritan layman who first employed Joshua Welsh as the chaplain for his household. This was followed by the Rev. Robert Blair, the first Presbyterian preacher in Ulster, who had come over himself from Scotland to Ireland.

It was said that Josiah Welsh had “outstanding spiritual qualities” which enabled him to settle down as the pastor of Templepartrick, Ireland in 1626. While many of his fellow Scottish Presbyterians under-shepherds who moved to Ireland accepted Church of England parishes under the bishops of that land, Josiah Welsh did not and labored without the benefit of membership in an organized presbytery.

It was said of Josiah Welsh that he possessed an ability to preach directly to the consciences of his people in the pew. He was a fervent preacher of the Word which was backed up by a godly lifestyle. One of three famous revivals in Ulster, called the Six Mile Water Revival, occurred under benefit of his preaching to the Irish populace.

Words to Live By: There is an old saying which states “Only one life will soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.” Certainly this was true in the life and ministry of John Welsh. Question? Is it true in your life, dear reader? Talk to your pastor to see what biblical counsel he might impart to you on how it might be your life testimony as well.

 

 

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Do you own the Sanquhar Declaration?  That question would be asked again and again by the authorities in the land of Scotland in the latter part of the seventeenth century against Presbyterians in the kingdom.  If it was answered in the affirmative, then your very life was in danger, either at that very time or later.

The name of the declaration was in reference to a small town in the southwest part of Scotland.  It was the very center of persecution.  Fugitives from the east or west naturally passed through it for passage to safer areas.  On one of its streets was a village cross to which people would affix various messages to the outside world.

It was on this day, June 22, 1680, that a band of horsemen who were heavily armed with swords and pistols rode into the town early in the morning.  Led by a Presbyterian minister by the name of Richard Cameron, the group stopped, sand a psalm, prayed, and then publicly read the following declaration.  It is found at the bottom of this post.  There was  no doubt as to what it maintained, namely, a declaration of war against the present king in London, England.

Consider its chief sentence: “Therefore, although we be for government and governors, such as the Word of God and our covenant allows; yet we, for ourselves, and all that will adhere to us as the representative of the true Presbyterian Kirk and covenanted nation of Scotland, considering the great hazard of lying under such a sin any longer, do, by these presents, disown Charles Stuart, that has been reigning, or rather tyrannizing, as we may say, on the throne of Britain these years begone, as having any right, title to, or interest in the said crown of Scotland for government.”

And further, “As also we being under the standard of our Lord Jesus Christ, Captain of salvation, and his cause and covenants, do declare war with such a tyrant and usurper, and all the men of his practices, as enemies to our Lord Jesus Christ, and his cause and covenants . . . .”

There was no doubt as to the intention of this declaration.  The sword was to be taken up from its sheath and used to bring about the Presbyterian cause once and for all.  There was equally no doubt as to what it proclaimed from the Crown.  They, in a Proclamation on June 30, 1680 that Richard Cameron and his followers were Rebels and Traitors.  Large rewards were offered for them dead or alive.

Words to Live By: Alexander Smellie in his book “Men of the Covenant” says regarding this declaration, “What had they done?  They had cast off the authority of their monarch.  But they had not done it in mischievous anarchy and blatant revolt.  They made their adjuration a religious act.  They prefaced and followed the oath of insurrection by the worship of God.  Moreover, they had disavowed King Charles in the interest of King Jesus.  They disobeyed the unworthy ruler, that they might obey the Ruler who is incomparable…We may not approve every phrase in their Declaration…It contends for the essentials, for a free Parliament and an unshackled Church…Its principles triumphed in 1688 (the arrival of William and Mary.


The text of The Sanquhar Declaration:—

“The Declaration and Testimony of the True Presbyterian, Anti-prelatic, Anti-erastian, persecuted party in Scotland, published at Sanquhar, 22 June 1680. 

It is not amongst the smallest of the Lord’s mercies to this poor land, that there have been always some who have given their testimony against every cause of defection that many are guilty of; which is a token for good, that he doth not, as yet, intend to cast us off altogether, but that he will leave a remnant in whom lie will be glorious, if they. through his grace, keep themselves clean still, and walk in his way and method as it has been walked in, and owned by him in our predecessors of truly worthy memory; in their carrying on of our noble work of reformation, in the several steps thereof, from Popery, Prelacy, and likewise Erastian supremacy—so much usurped by him who, it is true, so far as we know, is descended from the race of our kings; yet he hath so far debased from what he ought to have been, by his perjury and usurpation in Church matters, and tyranny in matters civil, as is known by the whole land, that we have just reason to account it one of the Lord’s great controversies against us, that we have not disowned him, and the men of his practices, whether inferior magistrates or any other, as enemies to our Lord and his crown, and the true Protestant and Presbyterian interest in this land—our Lord’s espoused bride and Church. Therefore, although we be for government and governors, such as the Word of God and our covenant allows; yet we, for ourselves, and all that will adhere to us as the representative of the true Presbyterian Kirk and covenanted nation of Scotland, considering the great hazard of lying under such a sin any longer, do, by these presents, disown Charles Stuart, that has been reigning, or rather tyrannizing, as we may say, on the throne of Britain these years bygone, as having any right, title to, or interest in, the said crown of Scotland for government, as forfeited, several years since, by his perjury and breach of covenant both to God and his Kirk, and usurpation of his crown and royal prerogative therein, and many other breaches in matters eccelesiastic and by his tyranny and breach of the very reges regnandi in matters civil. For which reason we declare, that several years since he should have been denuded of being king, ruler, or magistrate, or of having any power to act or to be obeyed as such. As also we’ being under the standard of our Lord Jesus Christ, Captain of Salvation, do declare a war with such a tyrant and usurper, and all the men of his practices, as enemies to our Lord Jesus Christ, and his cause and covenants; and against all such as have strengthened him, sided with, or anywise acknowledged him in his tyranny, civil or ecclesiastic; yea, against all such as shall strengthen, side with, or anywise acknowledge any other in like usurpation and tyranny-far more against such as would betray or deliver up our free reformed mother Kirkunto the bondage of Antichrist, the Pope of Rome. And, by this, we homologate that testimony given at Rutherglen, the 29th of May 1679, and all the faithful testimonies of those who have gone before, as also of those who have suffered of late, and we do disclaim that Declaration published at Hamilton, June 1679, chiefly because it takes in the king’s interest, which we are several years since loosed from, because of the aforesaid reasons, and others which may, after this, if the Lord will, be published. As also, we disown and by this resent the reception of the Duke of York, that professed Papist, as repugnant to our principles and vows to the Most High God, and as that which is the great, though not alone, just reproach of our Kirk and nation. We also, by this, protest against his succeeding to the crown, and whatever has been done, or any are essaying to do in this land, given to the Lord, in prejudice to our work of reformation. And to conclude, we hope. after this, none will blame us for, or offend at, our rewarding those that are against as they have done to us, as the Lord gives opportunity. This is not to exclude any that have declined, if they be willing to give satisfaction according to the degree of their offence.

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A Rescue on Their Honeymoon

The seminary president had finally tied the knot in marriage with his secretary Grace Sanderson.  The happy couple went west from the campus in Delaware to the Grand Canyon for their honeymoon.  It was a trip which included the joys of married love, the rapture of God’s creation in the Canyon, the thrill of hiking on the trails of that part of the state of Arizona, the rescue of the World War II flyers who had crashed in their bomber over the Canyon . . . wait, while on their honeymoon, they rescued crashed flyers?  Yet that was the experience of Allan and Grace MacRae on their honeymoon on June 21, 1944.

The event was widely reported in newspapers around the country. Even a year later, the daring rescue was still being talked about. We quote from an article written by the Rev. Donald E. Hoke (later to become one of the founding fathers of the PCA), that appeared in the June 1945 issue of Sunday magazine :

When he rescued three army airmen from the depths of the Grand Canyon last summer, the Philadelphia Bulletin headlined him as “Bearded, Bespectacled, Theological Bridegroom.”
The editor’s description was timely, but by no means exhaustive of the versatile mountain-climber’s talents and appearance. For by profession, Allan A. MacRae is a semitic scholar, archaeologist, teacher, and president of a fast-growing interdenominational seminary with a nation-wide influence.
Front page publicity sky-rocketed him into prominence last June when together with a veteran ranger he descended the heretofore unscaled north wall of the Grand Canyon (Ariz.) and led out three fliers who had been marooned in the inaccessible gorge for a week.
Pictures of him, looking more like a Forty-niner than a dignified theologian as he brought the men out, made the front page on all big city dailies and news reels, for the marooned fliers had been spot news for a week. And the circumstances surrounding his presence in the canyon made a human interest story the news hounds devoured.
For Allan MacRae and his bride of less than a month were honeymooning in the beautiful but desolate valley where he was drafted for the rescue….
Rushed to the opposite side of the canyon by army jeep, MacRae and a veteran ranger studied maps of the steep north wall and started down. Soon they discovered a narrow deer trail, invisible on air maps, and followed it 550 feet down the famous precipitous Red wall. Camping over night at its base, they found the three men the following day and started back the miraculous route they had discovered.

The Rev. Vaughn Hathaway adds to our story with this interesting comment:

[The news clipping] refers to the bomber as a “heavy” bomber.  It was not. It was a “medium” bomber, a B-25.

The B-25 normally carried a five-man crew. The accounts I have read said that this flight had only four men aboard. It had taken off from Nellis Air Base in Nevada on a training mission. Over the Grand Canyon, the plane had a mechanical problem which prompted the pilot to instruct the other three men of the crew to bail-out, thus setting up the circumstances of the rescue that followed.

The accounts that I heard said that the pilot was able to recover the plane and return to base. The stories did not indicate that the reduction of weight or a correction of the mechanical problem permitted the safe return of the plane.

Dr. MacRae was alleged to be one of only a few Caucasian men who were allowed to hike and camp in the northern part of the Grand Canyon park. His presence in the Canyon area at the time was a providence of God. The accounts given by Myers and Hoke indicate that the fliers were isolated for nearly a week during which several failed attempts to rescue them had taken place.

Mr. Tom Taylor, an Old Testament and Hebrew professor at Faith Seminary once gave an account of a long “walk” that he had taken with Dr. MacRae. He said that he had taken off like the rabbit in “The Turtle and the Hare,” while Dr. MacRae set out at a pace he had learned hiking in Europe. Taylor said that initially, he had taken a considerable lead on MacRae; but as the “walk” progressed, MacRae gradually overtook Taylor and reached their destination in the lead.

Words to Live By:

Back in Wilmington, Delaware a few weeks later, MacRae was besieged with invitations to tell his story. At first he demurred, then decided that there might be an unparalleled opportunity to give a gospel message…

“Like the fliers, all men are lost, in the abyss of sin. For them, there is no way out. Their need? A revelation from above, like the messages parachuted to the marooned men. But it is not enough to then just know your lost condition, some one must help you out. And Jesus Christ, he concludes, is God’s rescuer to lost men—He descended to our level that He might bring us back to His.”

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