April 2015

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Some Pastors Are Born Teachers.

SandersonJWBorn in Baltimore, Maryland on March 19, 1916, John W. Sanderson later attended Wheaton College, graduating with the BA degree in 1937. He then attended Faith Theological Seminary, earning the Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1940 and the Master of Sacred Theology degree in 1945. In 1949 he earned an MA degree from the University of Pennsylvania. A final degree, the Doctor of Divinity degree, was awarded by Geneva College in 1966.

Rev. Sanderson was licensed and ordained in 1940 by Chicago Presbytery of the Bible Presbyterian Church. His first pastorate was at the First Bible Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, Missouri, serving there from 1940 until 1943. He was the first pastor of this church, and upon his departure, the congregation next called the Rev. Francis A. Schaeffer. From 1945 to 1952 and again from 1955 to 1956, Rev. Sanderson served as Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at Faith Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA. Between those two terms as professor, he served as the pastor of the Bible Presbyterian Church of Newark, DE from 1952 to 1955.

sandersonIn the academic year of 1956-1957, Sanderson served as a professor at Covenant College, which was then located in St. Louis, Missouri. Leaving that position briefly, he served as a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary from 1957 to 1963. Returning to St. Louis, he taught at Covenant Seminary, 1963-1964, and then moved with the 1964 Covenant College relocation to Lookout Mountain, TN, working at the College variously as professor, dean and vice president between the years 1964–1976. Dr. Sanderson finally returned to teach at Covenant Seminary from 1976 to 1984.

Rev. Sanderson’s honors include serving as the Moderator of Synod for the Bible Presbyterian Church in 1951. Other fields of service included teaching in India (1973), Chile (1978) and Peru (1978). For a brief time, 1956-1957, Rev. Sanderson had also served as editor of The Bible Presbyterian Reporter.

He was honorably retired from the ministry in 1986, and died on April 30, 1998. He had transferred his ministerial credentials into the PCA in 1982 when the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod was received into the PCA, and at the time of his death, though residing at the Quarryville (PA) Retirement Community, was a member of the PCA’s Missouri Presbytery.

We close our post today with a brief but useful article by Rev. Sanderson which was published in Salt, a student publication at Covenant Seminary.

Great Biblical Ideas: God’s Omniscience.

God’s omniscience has meant much to me. Scripture teaches that the Lord knows all things about me (Psalm 139), about the world (Proverbs 15:3), and about Himself (1 Corinthians 2:10).

In its practical outworking, this concept gives comfort because it teaches us that there can never be any surprises for God, any unforeseen obstacles, nor any changes in His working because of developments of which He knows nothing. In one of his moments of assurance Job said, “But he knoweth the way that I take; when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10). Job uttered these words against a background of his own bitter ignorance of his situation, and he found some help in this truth.

God’s omniscience also helps us during times of temptation. The assurance that nothing can be hid from Him is a deterrent to sin. Clarence E. Macartney, in his volume The Way of a Man with a Maid, tells of a scene from a drama on the life of Joseph. Potiphar’s wife is puzzled because Joseph will not succumb to her temptation. Then she spies over in the corner an idol “looking” at them. Thinking the idol’s “presence” is what is deterring Joseph, she takes the cover from the bed and covers the idol’s face. Then she turns again to Joseph, fully expecting him to do now as she wishes. In the play Joseph still refuses because his God never hides His face.

Although this is only a fictionalized account, it illustrates vividly how God’s omniscience, when we are persuaded of it in practical living, is a positive incentive to holiness. God’s full knowledge is a sobering thought for the Christian (Hebrews 4:13) as well as for the disobedient (Jeremiah 23:23); Ezekiel 11:5).

God’s omniscience is one of the reasons for our believing in the full truthfulness of Scripture. We are assured of the integrity of the Word because the Word is an expression of the Spirit’s knowledge. Notice the way Paul develops this in 1 Corinthians 2. No man knows the future which God has planned for us (vs. 9), but God has revealed the future by His Spirit. The Spirit is qualified to do this revealing because He has searched all things, “yea, the deep things of God” (v. 10). Now these things have been given to the apostles by the Spirit (v. 12). The apostles preach these things and so they communicate to “spiritual” men what Paul calls “the mind of Christ” (v. 16). What a comfort in times of doubt and criticism — God knows more than the critics and this knowledge stands behind the words of Scripture!

God’s omniscience should drive us to worship. Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, and his fame was so great that the queen traveled “from the uttermost parts of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon” (Luke 11:31). Read her reaction in 1 Kings 10 — “there was no more spirit in her.” Perhaps we should say that she was breathless! Yet Jesus says that she will condemn His generation because “a greater than Solomon is here.”

Today we revere scholars and are overwhelmed by their scholarship. How much more should we be overwhelmed by the “fountain of all wisdom” and tremble when we handle His Word!

“Great Biblical Ideas,” excerpted from Salt: Official Student Publication of Covenant Theological Seminary, 1.2 (18 December 1968): 10.

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A Casualty of D-Day

The following account comes from THE INDEPENDENT BOARD BULLETIN, Vol. 10, no. 10 (October 1944): 4-7. This was (and is) the newsletter of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions.


dieffenbacherAJIn the falling of the Reverend Arthur Johnston Dieffenbacher on the battlefields of Normandy, July 5, 1944, the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions has lost its first and one of its best missionaries by death. Few details are known even at this writing but in Arthur Dieffenbacher’s passing his family, the Board, China and a host of friends have sustained a very great loss; yet we know that God’s people should view all things from the standpoint of eternity and therefore we can rest assured that God Who knows all things “doeth all things well.”

Arthur Dieffenbacher was born in Titusville, Pa., April 29, 1909; and thus was but a little over thirty-five years of age when the Lord called him home. His early years were spent at Erie, Pa. where he was graduated from high school at the early age of fifteen. Two years of college work at Erie followed, and two years later in 1927 he was graduated from Grove City College. In 1931 he finished his theological education at Dallas Theological Seminary, with a Master’s degree in his possession and also credit toward a post-graduate Doctor’s degree. He had proved himself precocious during his school days, but he was also in advance of his years in the things of the Lord, his deep interest in these things showing itself, for instance, in his spending the first night of his college life away from home in a prayer meeting with a group which was destined to aid him greatly to the clear insight into God’s word which his later years so fully exhibited.

In September, 1932, Mr. Dieffenbacher was appointed a missionary of the China Inland Mission and in company with his intimate friend John Stam, who himself was destined to become a martyr, soon left for China. There, after language study and a brief period of work in Changteh, Hunan Province, he met in 1934 Miss Junia White, daughter of Dr. Hugh W. White, editor of The China Fundamentalist. Miss White and he were soon engaged, but because of illness and other causes they were not married until June 1938, joining at about the same time also and with the good wishes of the China Inland Mission, the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions with the principles and purposes of which both were in full sympathy.

dieffenbacherMrMrs_1940All the years spent in China were filled with adventure which included a flight from Chinese communists in 1935; and the summer of 1938 saw battles raging all around Kuling where Miss White and Mr. Dieffenbacher had been married. Indeed China had been engaged for a whole year then in the war which was to engulf eventually so many lands and was, for Arthur Dieffenbacher, to end so tragically upon the battlefields of Nor­mandy. On their way from Kuling this young bride and groom had to pass through the battle zone, just behind the fighting lines, but God gave them protection and enabled Arthur even then to point a sore-wounded and dying Chinese lad, a soldier, to Christ as the Lamb of God who was slain for our sins.

This trip led to Harbin, Manchuria, the “Manchukuo” of the Japa­nese, where two years of happy, fruitful work ensued, years which saw the beginning of what despite the hardness of the soil of that great cos­mopolitan city might have developed into a much greater work had it not been for the tyranny of Japan and the war which was so soon to bring to an end so much Christian work both in the Japanese empire and in China. In the testings of those years in regard to Shinto and the Japanese demands upon Christians Arthur and his wife remained faithful.

In the summer of 1940, after eight years in China, Mr. Dieffenbacher returned to America with his wife on furlough. There on June 19, 1941, a little daughter, Sara Junia, was born. As war conditions were gradually spreading it was thought that Mr. Dieffenbacher ought to return alone to Manchuria and so passport and passage were obtained but ere he could sail the events of December 7, 1941, compelled all such plans to be abandoned for the time being, and as it proved in Arthur’s case, forever.

In America Mr. Dieffenbacher proved to be a good and effective mis­sionary speaker. He also rendered efficient aid at his Board’s headquarters in Philadelphia. Later he held a brief pastorate in the Bible Presbyterian Church of Cincinnati, Ohio. But when the American Council of Christian Churches obtained for its member Churches a quota of Army chaplaincies, Mr. Dieffenbacher applied for a chaplaincy and was appointed and joined the Army on July 18, 1943.

In the Army Arthur Dieffenbacher won recognition for two things. For one, he took with his men, for example, the whole system of training including the dangerous and difficult “infiltration” course and other things which were not required of chaplains, but which he did that by all means he might win some. This ambition to win men to Christ was the second notable trait of which we speak. Indeed it showed itself not alone while he was in the Army but also throughout all his life. He always preached to convince, convert and win. On his way to England with his unit he with two other God-fearing chaplains, won eighty-four men to Christ. A brief letter home, mentioning this asked, “Isn’t that great?” Truly it was great and not merely in the opinion of his friends, we believe, but also in the sight of the Lord. Some of his friends are praying that from among those eighty-four after the war some may volunteer to take Arthur Dieffenbacher’s place in China. God is able to bring such things to pass.

The time from April to June 24, 1944, was spent in England. There, too, Arthur Dieffenbacher was constantly on the search for souls and also for that which would bring inspiration to his men and to his family and friends at home. Some of the poems he found and sent home testify at once to his love for good poetry and for the things of the spirit, especially for the things of the Lord. He believed thoroughly that he was in God’s will. He longed to see his wife and child and mother again but assured them that “no good thing would the Lord withhold from them that walk uprightly.” He rejoiced in full houses of soldiers to whom to preach the Gospel of salvation. He was often tired after a long day of duties done, but preached and lived that we are “More than Conquerors” through Christ. With it all he learned to sew on buttons and patches and to wash his own clothes and his good humor bubbled over into his letters when he said, “Oh, boy, you should see the result!” Up at the front large at­tendances at services were the rule, men searching for help, for strength, for God, as they faced the foe. Perhaps a premonition was felt of what was to come. He wrote, “There are so many chances of getting hurt in war or in peace that which one affects you is by God’s permission. Hence I don’t worry, but take all reasonable precautions and trust the rest to God. His will is best and His protection sufficient.” On July 3, he wondered how they would celebrate the Fourth, and knew not that on the morrow of that day he would celebrate humbly but joyfully in the Presence of God. When killed by German artillery fire his body was recovered by his senior chaplain, Chaplain Blitch, and later an impressive funeral service was held.

Words to Live By:
“Faithful unto death” are words which characterized the whole life of Arthur Dieffenbacher. The realization of that fact brings an added meas­ure of consolation to his mother, Mrs. Mildred J. Dieffenbacher, to his wife and will, in time, to his little three-year-old daughter as she comes to understand what her father was and what he did. It brings consolation also to The Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions and to all his friends. But as Arthur Dieffenbacher himself would have been the first to say, all he was and did he owed to Christ in whom he was called, chosen and empowered and made faithful till that day when surely he heard the welcome “well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

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With few Presbyterian events tied to this date, let’s look back at yesterday’s post and the concluding point that our life is hid with Christ. To explore this great truth further, excerpted here is a portion of a work, The Hidden Life, by Richard Sibbes. An excerpt does not do justice to him, but perhaps this short portion will draw you to read more. A Kindle edition is available here. Otherwise, the full treatise appears in volume 5 of the Works of Richard Sibbes.

Our life is hid with Christ in God.

We are dead, and yet we have a life. A Christian is a strange person. He is both dead and alive, he is miserable and glorious. He consists of contraries. He is dead in regard of corruption and miseries, and such like, but he is alive in regard of his better part, and he grows two ways at once. It is a strange thing that a Christian does. He grows downwards and upwards at the same time; for as he dies in sin and misery, and natural death approaching, so he lives the life of grace, and grows more and more till he end in glory.

This life is said to be a hidden life, ‘It is hid wiht Christ in God.’

The life of a Christian, which is his glorious spiritual life, it is hid. Among other respects,

1. It is hid to the world, to worldly men, because a Christian is an unknown man to them. Because they know not the Father that begets, therefore they know not them that are begotten, as St. John says in 1 John 3:1. They know not the advancement of a Christian: he is raised into a higher rank than they. Therefore, as a beast knows not the things of a man, no more does a carnal man, in any excellency, know the things of the Spirit, ‘for they are spiritually discerne, 1 Cor. 2:14. Therefore it is a hidden life in the eyes of the world. A worldly man sees not this life in regard of the excellency. He passes scorns and contempts of it, of folly and the like. A Christian, in respect of his happy life, is a stranger here, and therefore he is willing to pass through the world, and to be used as a stranger.

It is [a life] hidden in heaven. No enemy can come there. The devil comes not there since he first lost it and was cast out. It is safe in regard of the place. It is hid in heaven.

And it is safe, because it is hid in Christ, who purchased it with his blood; who has trampled upon all opposite powers, over death, and hell itself. It is hid in heaven and in him who has overcome all opposite power. Therefore it is a safe life.

And it is hid with Christ in God. Christ is in the bosom of God, Christ mediator. ‘It is hid with Christ in God.’ He is the storehouse of this life. It is hid with him. If any can rob God, then they may rob our life from us; for it is hid with Christ in God. It is a sure life therefore.

It is likewise a peculiar life; only to God’s people. For they only have union and communion with Christ; and therefore he says here, ‘your life is hid with Christ in God.’

It is likewise a glorious life; for it is hid with Christ, who is the glory of God; and he says in the next verse, ‘When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, we shall appear with Him in glory.’ It is a glorious life.

It is a secret, sure, peculiar, glorious life. Alas! we are ready to judge of ourselves by the present, and not to think it a glorious life. But he says, it is hidden for us. ‘Light is sown for the righteous,’ Psalm 97:11. It does not appear for the present. A garden has seeds sown and herbs, but in the winter there is no difference between it and a common field; but when the sun shines and appears, then the herbs appear in their lustre. So it is with a Christian. There is light and immortality and happiness sown for him. When Christ, the ‘Sun of righteousness’ shall appear, ‘then we shall appear with him in glory,’ 1 John 3;2.

As we may say of all things below, they have a hidden life: the plants and the flowers in the winter, they live by the root; and when the sun appears, then they also appear with the sun in glory; and when the sun appears, then they also appear with the sun in glory. So it is with the righteous: they have a hidden life. It is hid now in the root, in their head, in this life. When Christ the Sun of righteousness shall appear; when the spring comes; when the resurrection comes: then we shall appear with Him in glory.


This Most Venerable But Perishing Pile of Stones


For whatever reason, the 200th anniversary of the Westminster Assembly, in 1843, did not garner all that much attention. The 250th anniversary, by comparison, was a much bigger event, widely observed by Presbyterians around the globe. So it was that on this day, April 27th in 1897 that Dr. William Wirt Henry [1831-1900] brought before the Presbytery of East Hanover, as it convened in the First Presbyterian church of Richmond, VA, a message titled “The Westminster Assembly: The Events Leading Up to It, Personnel of the Body, and Its Method of Work.” [Dr. Henry is noted as the grandson and biographer of that great American patriot, Patrick Henry]

From this address, we excerpt here an interesting bit of background on the historic room where the Westminster Assembly convened for most of its meetings:—

Dr. William Twisse was named as prolocutor, or moderator, and he opened the Assembly on the day appointed with a sermon on the text of John 14:18, “I will not leave you comfortless.” This sermon was delivered in the Abbey church in Westminster before a great congregation, in which sat the members of the two houses of Parliament and many of the divines named as members of the Assembly. The Assembly then went into the chapel of Henry VII., where the roll was called. The body continued to meet in this chapel until the approach of winter, when, finding it too cold a place, it adjourned to the Jerusalem Chamber, where the sessions were afterward held.

It was most appropriate to connect the history of this memorable Assembly with the venerable Abbey, which is such a depository of all that is great in English history. The first church built upon the spot now occupied by the Abbey was the pious work of Sebert, king of the East Saxons, upon his conversion to Christianity in the sixth century, and is believed to have been intended as a memorial of the visit of Saint Augustine to England when he attacked and overthrew the Pelagian heresy in the native country of its author. The beautiful chapel of Henry VII. was built in 1502, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary by this last of the medieval kings of England. It has been the burial place of nearly every king since its erection, as the Abbey has been the place of their coronation. This has been beautifully expressed by the poet Waller in the lines,

“That antique pile behold,
Where royal heads receive the sacred gold;
It gives them crowns, and does their ashes keep;
These made like gods, there like mortals sleep,
Making the circle of their reign complete,
These suns of empire, where they rise they set.”

JerusalemChamber_exterior_CRodriguezThe Jerusalem Chamber was built by Abbot Littlington in the later part of the fourteenth century as a guest chamber for his house,and took its name from the tapestry pictures of the history of the seige of Jerusalem with which it was hung. It had been made memorable by the death of Henry IV. from apoplexy, March 20, 1413, while he was preparing for a visit to the holy land. Shakespeare thus describes the scene:

King Henry: “Doth any name particular belong
                   Unto the lodging where I first did swoon?”

Warwick:     “Tis called Jerusalem, my noble Lord.”

King Henry:  “Laud be to God! even there my life must end.
                    It hath been prophesied to me many years,
                    I should not die but in Jerusalem;
                   Which vainly I supposed the Holy Land;
                   But bear me to that chamber; there I’ll lie;
                   In that Jerusalem shall Henry die.”

Now a body of the most pious and learned men of English history were to occupy these venerable chambers, to restore the pure theology of Augustine; to teach a wicked king that resistance to tyrants is obedience to God; over the ashes of the greatest and the noblest of the English race, to proclaim the precious doctrines of the resurrection of the dead through a risen Saviour; to point from this most venerable but perishing pile to the new Jerusalem, not built with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Words to Live By:
We find ourselves now at a troubling point in history, where, because of long-standing unbelief and the subsequent advances of idolatry, that many of the great markers and memorials of the Reformed faith throughout England and Europe stand in danger of being overrun and may someday even be threatened with destruction. Should that day come, what will be our response? Nothing in this life is forever, even those things carved in granite. But praise God that we have a greater place to stand. The true Ebenezer of our faith—the very Person of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Rock of our salvation—can never be taken from us. Our faith rests not upon hallowed stones and hallways, but upon the living Lord of Glory who rose again from the dead to live and reign forever.

Image sources:
Rev. Charlie Rodriguez, pastor of Mount Carmel Presbyterian church, Clinton, MS, and owner of Fortress Book Service, has been gracious in granting permission to use these two photographs which he personally took, the first showing the inside the Jerusalem Chamber and the second that of the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey, which also shows the outside window of the Jerusalem Chamber. The Great West Door would most likely have been the primary entry point for the Westminster Divines as they gathered for each day’s work. Our thanks to Pastor Rodriguez.

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by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

Q. 16. — Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression?

A. — The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity, all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in his first transgression.

Scripture References: Acts 17:26. Gen. 2:17. Rom. 5:12. I Cor. 15:21.


1. How many persons do we read of in Scripture that represent the human race?

We read of two who represent the human race. The first Adam and the second, Jesus Christ. (I Cor. 15:45)

2. What reason is given in Scripture that the posterity of Adam fell with Adam?

The reason is found in the covenant of works, in which life was promised upon condition of obedience, and was made with Adam. This was made not only for Adam but for his posterity.

3. Since the covenant was a covenant of works, does this mean that Adam could merit eternal life?

No, it does not mean that Adam could merit eternal life. It was still God’s grace that would give eternal life, but a grace that would reward obedience.

4. Was it fair that Adam should represent his posterity?

Yes, it was fair since he was to be the common parent of all mankind, was created perfectly holy, with full power to fulfill the condition of the covenant.

5. How could all mankind be in Adam when he first sinned?

All mankind was in Adam in two ways:

1. Virtually, as a natural root and,
2. Representatively, as a covenant head.

6. What is meant by saying “all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him?”

The phrase “ordinary generation” is used to exclude Christ who descended as to his human body from Adam, but not by ordinary generation since he was conceived in the womb of a virgin by the power of the Almighty God overshadowing her.

7. I have always heard, “In Adam’s fall we sinned all.” Is this a good commentary on this question?

This is an excellent commentary. It should be understood by it that we are sinners first of all because Adam, our representative, sinned for us. Our corrupted nature is the result of our inheritance in Adam.


Time and time again we hear people say, “I do not think it is fair that God hold us responsible for Adam’s sin!” Many people outside of Jesus Christ use this as one of their main excuses for refusing to come to Him. But whether we like it or not, the Bible teaches that God deals with humanity on the basis of the principle of representation.

This principle is sometimes a hard lesson for us to learn. For those of us saved by grace, saved by the “second Adam”, it is not hard for us to accept the second representation. But sometimes even Christians wonder at the fairness of the first representation. This works at the mind of many Christians though very few will put it into words.

We must remember in this realm, as in all realms of our relationship with God, He is the Creator and Sovereign Lord, possessed of the right to require anything of His creatures in whatever way His wisdom might determine. His authority was, and is, unlimited. God could do anything to Adam personally, and with a view to his posterity, which was consistent with His own perfections. He is a law unto Himself and He acts according to His own will. At the same time, in His relationship with Adam in the Garden, He did not require anything of Adam that Adam was not able to bear.

This is the perspective that all God’s children must learn. The recognition that He is Sovereign and we are not. The recognition that whatever method He might want to use to teach us our lessons, the method is fair and just, for He is the essence of fairness. Our business is not to complain but to obey, not to fret but to accept, not to murmur but to rest in our duty of decreasing, in all humility.

All of this is a hard lesson for us to learn. James put it very well when he said, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.” Many Christians desire to go a long way in the Lord’s work but do not do so because they have not learned to give God the complete right to any method, any means, any principle He might want to use with them. Some think so many times God is unfair, they refuse to let Him have His way with them, they refuse to submit to His authority and then wonder why He Is not able to use them as they wish. In all our thoughts and words, in all our actions and reactions, yea, in all areas of our lives we are accountable unto Him. And obedience to the Word of God transcends duty and privilege, attaining unto honor as He is thus glorified in our daily lives. (Deut. 11: 1,13-19).


There was a good deal of serious scholarship which arose from among the early leaders of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Bible Presbyterian Synod. And of the many who accomplished so much in their study and defense of the Scriptures, the Rev. Dr. R. Laird Harris was easily among the most notable of these scholars.

harris02Robert Laird Harris was born on 10 March 1911 in Brownsburg, Pennsylvania. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Delaware in 1931, a Th.B. from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1935 and a Th.M. from Westminster in 1937. He was licensed in 1935 by the New Castle Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA), and ordained in June 1936 in the Presbyterian Church of America [the original name of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC)] at that denomination’s first General Assembly.

He left the OPC late in 1937 to join the newly formed Bible Presbyterian Church. Harris then received an A.M. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1941, and was later part-time instructor in Hebrew there from 1946 to 1947. He obtained his Ph.D. from Dropsie in 1947. Biblical exegesis was Dr. Harris’s field and he taught this for twenty years at Faith Theological Seminary, first as instructor (1937 – 1943), then as assistant professor (1943 – 1947) and finally as professor (1947 – 1956).

Dr. Harris served as moderator of the Bible Presbyterian Synod in 1956, the year in which the denomination divided. Harris defended the validity of church-controlled agencies against those who insisted on independent agencies, and he was one of many faculty members to resign from Faith Seminary that year. He became at that time one of the founding faculty members of Covenant Theological Seminary. He was professor there and chairman of the Old Testament department from 1956 until he retired from full-time teaching in 1981. He remained an occasional lecturer at Covenant, and was also a lecturer in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan and a visiting professor in India, Hong Kong and Germany following his retirement, while also working on further revisions to the New International Version translation of the Bible.

He remained active in church leadership, serving as chairman of the fraternal relations committee of the Bible Presbyterian Church, Columbus Synod during the late 1950s, when discussion began concerning union between the BPC, Columbus Synod and the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America, General Synod. He remained on that committee through 1965, seeing the effort through to the culmination of ecclesiastical union with the creation of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (RPCES). In 1982, the RPCES joined the Presbyterian Church in America and Dr. Harris was elected moderator that year for the 10th General Assembly of the PCA.

Harris was not only a teacher and church leader, but a prolific author as well. He published an Introductory Hebrew Grammar, the prize-winningInspiration and Canonicity of the Bible, and additional works such as Your Bible and Man–God’s Eternal Creation. He was editor of The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament and a contributing editor to the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, and wrote articles for the Wycliffe Bible Commentary and Expositor’s Bible. Also, as noted above, Dr. Harris served as chairman of the Committee on Bible Translation that produced the New International Version of the Bible .

Dr. Harris’ first wife, Elizabeth K. Nelson, died in 1980. He later married Anne P. Krauss and they resided for some time in Wilmington, Delaware before declining health prompted a move to the Quarryville Retirement Home in Quarryville, PA. Dr. Robert Laird Harris entered glory on 25 April 2008. The funeral service for Dr. Harris was conducted on 1 May 2008 at the Faith Reformed Presbyterian Church, Quarryville, PA, and internment was on 2 May 2008 in the historic cemetery adjacent to the Thompson Memorial Presbyterian Church, New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Words to Live By:
For those who enter upon the study of the Scriptures, especially at the academic level, there is a hidden pitfall. It is a deadly danger which ultimately springs from pride and the imposition of human intellect upon the very Word of God. By God’s grace, Dr. Harris avoided this pitfall and to his dying day, his heart remained humble before the Lord his God. The Puritan theologian John Owen, in his Biblical Theology, gives an excellent summary of both the problem and the proper, necessary approach that any scholar must maintain in the study of the Scriptures:

“Wherever fear and caution have not infused the student’s heart, God is despised. His pleasure is only to dwell in hearts which tremble at His Word. Light or frivolous perusal of the Scriptures is a sickness of soul which leads on to the death of atheism. He who would properly undertake the study of the Bible must keep fixed in his memory, fastened as it were with nails, that stern warning of the Apostle inHebrews 12:28-29, ‘Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and Godly fear; for our God is a consuming fire.’ Truly, ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’ If this fear is not experienced in the study of the Word, it will not display itself in any other facet of life.’
Biblical Theology, by John Owen (Soli Deo Gloria, 1996), pp. 699-700

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Excerpted from The Christian Observer 51.14 (3 April 1872): 4.3.

The Semi Centenary of Dr. Hodge.

hodgeCharles_grayThe completion of the fiftieth year of the professorship of Rev. Charles Hodge, D.D., will be celebrated in Princeton, N.J. on Wednesday, the 24th of April. All friends and former students of Princeton Theological Seminary, and the public generally are invited to be present. The exercises will begin at 11 A.M., with an address by the Rev. Joseph T. Dwyer, D.D., of Brooklyn, N.Y. This will be followed by a meeting of the alumni and the organization of an alumni association after which will be an alumni dinner. In the evening a public reception will be given at the house of Dr. Hodge, and the seminary buildings will be illuminated.

The following resolution in relation to this subject was adopted at a meeting of the alumni of the seminary last June:

Resolved, That the proposed celebration of the semi-centennial of Dr. Hodge meets our hearty concurrence, and we cordially unite with the Directors in inviting the friends and former students of the seminary to meet for this purpose in Princeton, on Wednesday, April 24, 1872; and that this invitation be very particularly extended to all our brethren in different Christian denominations, and in every section of our country, as well as in foreign lands, who have received their education where in whole or in part. And we express the earnest hope that the hallowed memories of the past, personal attachments, and local and literary associations with this cherished spot, may be permitted to overcome the long and wide separation of time and place,e and ecclesiastical organization, so that we may all upon this glad occasion gather around the instructor whom we all love and revere, a band of brethren, cemented in Christian love, renewing and pledging a mutual confidence and affection which nothing in the past shall be suffered to dim or to obliterate, and nothing in the future shall be permitted to disturb.

Words to Live By:
What made Charles Hodge great? Why is he so well remembered by Presbyterian historians and others? Certainly he was not without his flaws. But what made him great? Was it native intelligence? Was he simply smarter than most others? Or was it his steadfast adherence to the orthodox tenets of the Reformed faith? Clearly that was in his favor. But in the end, it is the Lord who gifts, empowers and uses men and women as He sovereignly moves history ahead according to His great plan. Time and again the Lord raises up the right people at the right time and in the right place to accomplish His will. Our place is to be faithful, doing the will of God as discovered in His Word. If we are to be greatly used in the Lord’s kingdom, He will bring that to pass in His time. We praise God for how He used Hodge, but the glory for all that Hodge accomplished belongs to the Lord and not to Hodge.


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junkinDXThe family was probably in its remotest ancestry Danish, but for many generations previous to the Revolution of 1688 had dwelt in Scotland. The Doctor’s maternal grandmother was Scotch, of the name of Wallace; his mother, Elinor Cochran born in Franklin county, Pa. The Junkins came to Pennsylvania early in the eighteenth century, and the grandparents of the Doctor to Cumberland about 1740, before Harrisburg was a town, and when Cumberland was a wilderness. His grandfather owned five hundred acres of land, on a part of which New Kingston now stands. The large stone-house, which he built a century and a quarter ago, is still standing north of that village.His father, Joseph Junkin, Esq., was born in Cumberland county, Pa., in January, 1750; his grandfather in county Down, Ireland. His father served three terms of voluntary enlistment in the Revolutionary army, and commanded a company at the battle of Brandywine, September 11, 1777, in which action he was seriously wounded.

In 1806 the family removed to “Hope Farm,” in Mercer county, where they built mills, and where the subject of this notice was born. He was the tenth son. He was educated at a school in Mercer, afterwards at the Mercer Academy. Then at the Milton Academy, under the celebrated teacher, Dr. Kirkpatrick, the teacher of Governors Curtin and Pollock, and other men who have risen to distinction in Church and State, and also in the medical profession.

After being prepared for the Junior class in college, young Junkin returned to Mercer and entered upon the study of the law in the office of the late Judge Banks.

After prosecuting legal study for two years—commencing at the age of seventeen—he resolved to complete his collegiate education, and for a time became a teacher, first in Northumberland, and then in Centre county, Pa. He was said to be fond of the profession, and quite successful as an instructor. After teaching for some time he repaired to Jefferson College, Pa., where he graduated A. B., in 1831.

Whilst in college he united with the Presbyterian church, and turned his attention to the Christian ministry. In college his contemporaries and professors considered him somewhat remarkable as a youth of genial affections, kind and generous impulses and proficient as a writer. He once was “contestor” as essayist for his literary society, and won the “honor.” After receiving the degree, in October, 1831, he repaired to Philadelphia, and spent the Winter of 1831-2 as a professor in the Pennsylvania “Manual Labor Academy,” at Germantown. In May, 1832, he entered the Theological seminary at Princeton, New Jersey, from which he graduated in the Fall of 1834. He had been, in October, 1833, licensed by the Presbytery of Philadelphia to preach the Gospel, and, soon after leaving the seminary, he was called to the pastorate of the First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich, New Jersey, and was ordained the pastor of it in the following Spring. In that pastorate he continued for nearly seventeen years, until he was called to F Street Church (now New York Avenue) Washington city, D. C.

Meanwhile, during his pastorate at Greenwich, which is just across the Delaware river from Easton, Pa.—the seat of Lafayette College—he was elected Professor of Belles Lettres by the trustees of that institution, and discharged the duties of that chair acceptably for seven years, until the increasing demands of his pastorate constrained him to resign. In 1834 he received from his alma mater the degree of A. M.

In 1845 he published, from the press of Wylie & Putnam, New York, the first edition of his work, entitled “The Oath, an Ordinance of God, and an Element of the Social Constitution,” which was highly commended by the press and the reviewers, and is quoted as standard on that subject. Shortly after this publication, the Columbia College, in the city of New York, conferred upon Mr. Junkin the degree of Doctor of Divinity.

After a very pleasant and successful pastorate of sixteen and a-half years at Greenwich, Dr. Junkin was called simultaneously to the pastoral office of the First Presbyterian Church at Chambersburg, Pa., and that of F Street, Washington City.

Personally he is said to have preferred the former, but, under advice of his Presbytery, accepted the latter.

In Washington he was the instrument, under God, of building up a strong church out of a weak one; and he there endeared himself, as he had done at Greenwich, to the people of his charge and to a large circle of other friends.

Some of the first minds in the country there sat under his ministry and appreciate it—such as Professor Joseph Henry, Governor McDowell, of Virginia, Gen. J. M. McCalla, the late Col. Nourse (the last two elders of the church), James Buchanan and others.

Whilst at Washington, Dr. Junkin made the acquaintance of the prominent men of the nation. At that time Webster, Clay, Benton, Calhoun, Graham, Cass, Fish, Filmore and men of like stamp in civil life, and Gen. Winfield Scott, Towson, Riley, Jessup and such soldiers were about the capital city. In October, 1853, Dr. Junkin accepted a unanimous call to Hollidaysburg, in his native State, and spent six and a-half years of a pleasant, laborious and profitable pastorate in that fine town and picturesque, locality.

His health being somewhat impaired, and needing rest from severe ministerial toil, he accepted the appointment of chaplain in the United States Navy, unexpectedly tendered him by his old friend, the President of the United States, and entered upon the duties of that office at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in May, 1860. On the 1st of January, 1861, under orders to that station, he entered upon duty as Chaplain of the United States Naval Academy, at Annapolis, Maryland. This was a very interesting field of labor, as his congregation was composed of the officers of the Academy and the midshipmen, some two hundred in number.

Captain, now Commodore Blake, was superintendent of the institution, and the Rodgers brothers were there, the one, Captain C. P. R. Rodgers (now Commodore), was Commandant of Midshipmen, and Lieutenant Geo. Rodgers in charge of the school-ship. This school-ship was the good old historical frigate, Constitution—”Old Iron-Sides”—the conqueror of the “Guerriere.”

During that Winter, Dr. Junkin preached regularly on board that frigate, and in the Academy chapel on shore, and made many pleasant acquaintances in city and naval circles.

But the mutterings of the civil war began to be heard, and after the assault on Fort Sumter there was a rush to arms, and troops began to hurry to Washington.

On the 18th of April Dr. Junkin went, via Baltimore and York, Pa., to Philadelphia, arriving in the latter city on the evening of the 19th. As he alighted from the cars, S. Bolivar Rowe approached him, asking in an excited manner: “Doctor, have you heard the news of the riot in Baltimore, and the burning of the bridge?” “Yes,” replied the doctor, “and it is startling news.” Said Rowe, “Gov. Curtin has just arrived from Harrisburg to try and forward troops to Washington, but they know not how to do it; two regiments that left this morning have returned—can’t get through Baltimore—and the authorities here are afraid that the rebels will take Washington before troops can be sent forward!” “Where is Gov. Curtin?” asked Junkin. “At the Continental.” “Well,” said the Doctor, “let us go thither forthwith and I can direct them how to forward troops.” They went to the hotel, but found that Gov. Curtin had gone up to the house of Gen. Patterson, in Locust street. Thither they hastened—rang the bell, and asked to see Gov. Curtin: “Can’t be seen, he is engaged with some officers in the General’s office,” said the porter. “Go tell Gov. Curtin,” said the Doctor, decisively, “that Dr. Junkin, of the United States Navy, must see him instantly on important public business.” This message brought the Governor to the parlor, where the following dialogue ensued:

“I understand, Governor, that you are at fault how to forward troops to Washington.”

Curtin replied, “Yes, Doctor, we know not what to do; we have plenty of troops here, but know not how to get them forward in season.” “It is to make a suggestion on that subject that I am come.” “You are acquainted about Baltimore, Doctor; can you tell me whether there is any road, say from ten to twelve miles north of Baltimore, on the Northern Central, by which troops can be moved across to the Relay House?”

“None, Governor; the roads all radiate from the city, but I have a better suggestion. I live at Annapolis, Maryland; the government has twenty-five acres of land and two good wharves at which to land troops and supplies at the Naval Academy, and I suggest that you at once charter or seize steamers and send troops to Annapolis. Keep the road from here to Perryville open by military guard, and you have a thoroughfare to Washington.” “But is there a railroad from Annapolis to Washington?” “A good single-track road to the junction, and double-track from thence to the city.” “That is the very thing,” said the Governor, “and I most heartily thank you for the suggestion.”

Dr. J. took his leave. The Governor returned to General Patterson’s office and reported the suggestion to the officers there assembled; and, as Governor Curtin afterwards said, “They all started to their feet exultingly.” Colonel Sherman exclaimed, “That is the very thing!” So said they all, and with that energy which marked the Governor’s conduct all through the war, he, General Patterson, and the officers present, at once hastened to put the suggestion in process of execution that very night.

Before morning the Massachusetts Eighth and the New York Seventh were en route; others followed. Annapolis was made the base of supplies, and the advance regiments marched into Washington just in season to deter the rebels from an assault contemplated the very night of their entrance.

It is true that General B. F. Butler has claimed the honor of making Annapolis a strategic point, but it rightfully belongs (Governor Curtin and General Patterson, and others have testified,) to the subject of this sketch.

In a speech made in New Castle in 1876, Governor Curtin publicly stated the above facts; (Dr. Junkin was absent from the city at the time). On his return to Annapolis, on Tuesday, April 23, Dr. Junkin was the instrument, by his self-possession and the risk of his own life, of preventing frightful destruction of life on Chesapeake Bay, opposite Annapolis. He was descending the bay in the large steam tug “Superior,” with fifty sailors and about three hundred Montgomery county volunteers. They were approaching the frigate “Constitution,” which had been hauled out for safety into the bay. The officers of the ship mistook the “Superior” for a hostile craft coming to take the frigate with armed men, two guns being also mounted at the bows of the tug, and no colors flying. They hailed, but could not hear the reply, and trained the ship’s broadside upon the thronged deck of the steamer.

“Come one rod nearer and I will blow you out of the water!” shouted Captain George Rodgers through his speaking-trumpet. Dr. Junkin had sprung upon one of the guns of the tug, where he waved a white handkerchief, and cried, “We are friends! we are friends!” but the wind was in his eye, and his voice not heard in the excitement of the moment. Still he cried, “I’m your chaplain! Do you think I would be in bad company?” Still he was unheard, though the vessels were now not two hundred feet apart. The word “fire!” was just about being given, when a midshipman rushed up to Captain Rodgers, exclaiming, “Captain, that man standing on, the Dahlgren gun is Dr. Junkin, our chaplain.” Then Rodgers recognized his chaplain, and the danger was over. Many lives would have been sacrificed but for his presence and exertions.

The Naval Academy was soon after ordered to Newport, Rhode Island, and the entire institution, officers, midshipman, and the whole personnel, with library, apparatus, &c., were transported on the ocean steamer “Baltic” to that city, landing at Fort Adams. Dr. Junkin continued to act as chaplain of the Academy until June, 1862, when he received orders to the receiving-ship “North Carolina” and the navy-yard at Brooklyn. He continued on duty there until September, when he was ordered to sea on the United States steam-frigate, “Colorado.” He joined his ship a Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and sailed in her first to Hampton Roads, Virginia, where she lay a month on guard-duty, and then proceeded to the West Indies and Key West, thence to the mouth of Mobile bay, opposite Fort, Morgan.

There the ship lay on blockade-duty for a year. But the Doctor’s health broke down, and the surgeons and Admiral Farragut advised him to take a month’s sick leave and go North. The Admiral, with whom he was on friendly terms, gave him leave-of-absence, and he returned to Brooklyn on board the steamer of that name. Just before he left the “Colorado,” his son William, paymaster in the navy, came on board, on his way from New Orleans to rejoin his ship, the “Potomac,” then lying at Pensacola, Florida. He had been to New Orleans for funds, of which he was bearing a large sum. That was the last interview between father and son in this life. A few weeks after his father sailed for the North, the son was cut down by yellow-fever in his twenty-second year. Dr. Junkin came to New Orleans in company with Admiral Farragut, and thence to New York. Whilst in the Gulf of Mexico he did a large amount of work, as he was the only chaplain in the East Gulf squadron.

He not only served in his own ship, but often conducted service and visited the sick: and wounded on other vessels. He instituted on his ship a school for the instruction of “contrabands,” some sixty of whom were on board, but he had to teach it himself, as no others were willing, although there were many professed friends of the Negro on board quite competent to teach if willing.

Pages upon pages might be filled with thrilling incidents connected with this part of Dr. Junkin’s life, both on sea and on shore, but the plan of this work will not admit of the detail. He kept a private “log” from which many extracts might be made. His exposure at sea and in a malarious climate—for the yellow fever was rife that year and was on the “Colorado”—had so sensibly impaired his health that he did not return to the Gulf of Mexico. Rheumatism set in and assumed a chronic form, from which he is still a sufferer. In consequence of this, after trying various methods of relief, he resigned his commission in the Navy and accepted a call to the North Presbyterian Church, in Chicago, hoping that a removal from the seaboard might result in the restoration of his health.

He served that church effectively for some two years, but instead of improving, his health grew worse under the moist and rigorous climate of that city, and he was constrained, with great reluctance, to resign his charge, which was so pleasant as a field of labor, and in which success seemed crowning his exertions.

He had received a unanimous call to the First Presbyterian Church of New Castle, Pa., in the Spring of 1866, and though still much disabled by rheumatism, he hoped that a return to his native air might be beneficial, and accordingly he accepted the call, and entered upon his duties in May, 1866. Since that date he has continued, amid much pain of body and other trials, a busy life as a Christian pastor. Although a sufferer, and hinder by bodily infirmity, his labors have been manifold, and have not been without tokens of God’s blessing upon them.

As might be expected in the case of a man of Dr. Junkin’s pronounced opinions and firm adherence to them, he has sometimes aroused opposition to his principles and person; but he is not a man who quails before opposition, if he is convinced that it proceeds from wrong principles or motives. People of integrity, it is believed, confide in him as a man of great kindness of heart and unswerving integrity, whilst those who differ with him in opinion, on temperance and other branches of moral reform in which he has been forward and firm, are apt to be severe and sometimes sour in their criticisms.

It is believed by all candid people, however, that his influence in New Castle has been always on the side of right, and that those who gainsay his course are no better members of the community, to say the least, than those who are his warm admirers and adherents. He is still enjoying, amid all his bodily infirmities, a green, active and cheerful old age.

Dr. Junkin has been a prolific writer. In addition to works already mentioned, he published, in 1857, his work entitled “THE GOOD STEWARD; or Evangelical Benevolence an Essential Element of Christianity,” which was published by the Presbyterian Board, and a second edition of his work on the “Oath” was issued about the same time, by the Martiens, of Philadelphia. In 1871, he published through the Lippincotts, of Philadelphia, his most extensive work, entitled, “GEORGE JUNKIN, D.D., L.L.D.A. A HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHY,” which contains not only the life of his brother, but a lucid history of the Presbyterian Church for the last half century. These works have had extensive sale.

Besides these, Dr. Junkin has given to the press many addresses, sermons and shorter publications, both in prose and verse, and has been one of the most voluminous writers for the periodical press.

For many years, including before and after the war, he wrote for the Presbyrian of Philadelphia, over the signature of “NESHANNOCK,” and his writings, whether narrative, descriptive or controversial, were always read with avidity.

The Doctor also wrote a biography of General Towson, one of the heroes of the War of 1812, which was published in New York in 1852.

This sketch of Dr. Junkin has been compiled by the historian from “scrapbook” jottings of the Doctor’s, made at various periods.  —  History of Lawrence County, 1877, pages 168-170

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Rev. Jonathan Dickinson, First President of Princeton CollegeBack in 2012, this author on this day of April 22, posted an article on Jonathan Dickinson, the first president of Princeton. More than any other man, this Presbyterian pastor was responsible for arranging the plan and formation of this college which came to be so near and dear to the hearts of American Presbyterians. When I wrote that post, I had however little information on his family background and early years. I remember that I wrote the sentence, “Born on April 22, 1688 in Hatfield, Massachusetts, he graduated from Yale in 1706.” Talk about a jump in years.  From birth to Yale, eighteen years just passed by in a sentence!  But that much was missing in sources available to me.  And evidently, that much was missing in many a record of his early life. Part of it was due to a terrible fire which devastated his congregation and church  building in New Jersey, including his valuable diary and many personal records. But with this post, and the kind help of Wayne Sparkman, my co-author and archivist of the PCA History Center, more information has come to light. So this post is “the rest of the story” of Jonathan Dickinson, to be read prior to the post of April 22, 2012.

The first four generations of the Dickinson family came from Billingborough, Lincolnshire, England. Other than the listing of the names of the family, with their spouses and children, we are introduced to the fourth generation of Nathaniel Dickinson, who came with his wife and family to Connecticut in 1637. He was wealthy and a mainstay in that town. Out of twelve children, the eleventh child was Hezekiah Dickinson, who was the father of our subject today.

Hezekiah was a merchant by trade. With his spouse Abigail, they would have six children. The second child and oldest son was Jonathan, who was born on this day in Hatfield, Massachusetts. According to a law on the books of this town, he started school at age 6. It was believed that the next year he moved to Springfield, Massachusetts to finish his primary education and grammar school. Later in his teens, he spent time with his maternal grandparents in Stratford, Connecticut, where he would have had contact with the Rev. Israel Chauncy, the founder of what later on became Yale. It wasn’t surprising that then he entered that school for his college education. And the rest, as they say, is history, and specifically Presbyterian history.

Words to Live By:
It has always been interesting to this author, who has served his Lord and Savior for 40 years as a Presbyterian pastor, that nothing in life can be considered as chance, or luck, or fortune. This doesn’t mean that he hasn’t heard many people, and even a few misguided Christians, exclaim “how lucky,” or “by chance,” or “fortunately,” this or that has occurred. Solomon reminds us all in Proverbs 16:9 that “the mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” All these former familiar expression such as “chance, luck, or fortune” mean “without absence or cause.” Yet the inspired writer in Proverbs 16:9 tells us that while we may plan this or that, God is the direct cause of everything.  He decrees what will either happen or what that what He will permit to happen to you today. In fact, be ever ready to pray for your life today, “Direct my steps, O God.” And then at the end of the day, review that life and give thanks for what God has either given or allowed to occur, for His glory and your ultimate good.

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While admitting that we have no specific date to pin this story on, it is a great story, with an even greater lesson. The account here appears in the book From the Dust, written by Kefa Sempangi, a citizen of Uganda who escaped that torn nation during the Idi Amin era and later graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.

Here he tells of the time that Westminster professors Jack Miller and Harvey Conn came to Kampala, Uganda to minister the Gospel.

Garbage Truck Evangelism

Two Americans came to Uganda that first year and had a very positive impact for the gospel. Jack Miller and Harvey Conn were two of my professors at Westminster Seminary. Jack taught evangelism and Harvey taught missions. Jack did not hesitate to launch an evangelistic crusade in Old Kampala, but the meetings were not very successful. Harvey, on the other hand, came up with a more creative way of reaching the people with the gospel. He had taken a walk in the short streets of Old Kampala and was shocked that everywhere he turned, he saw huge, stinking mounds of garbage. As he gazed at these garbage dumps, he thought of a strategic plan for evangelism.

In the evening evangelistic meetings, Harvey asked whether it was possible to get shovels and a garbage truck from the City Council. By ten o’clock the following day, the garbage truck was parked outside the students’ residence. Right away Jack Miller, Harvey Conn, and the students they had brought from the seminary began shoveling garbage in our immediate neighborhood along Namirembe Road.

For nine years people had not seen a white man, for Amin had expelled both the whites and Asians at the same time. It was a spectacular sight to see white men shoveling garbage and making the city clean. This scene attracted a huge crowd to the extent that some climbed on top of the tall buildings to have a clear view of this rare occurrence. The people could hardly believe what they were seeing. An old woman was heard thanking God for enabling her to live long enough to witness this spectacular event.

The work continued until four thirty in the afternoon. After the truck had made several trips to dump its loads, the professors were ready to climb the platform and preach the gospel to a bewildered crowd. The people were ready to listen to these amazing white men who had humbled themselves to labor so hard to clean up their garbage. The preachers had earned themselves a hearing, for they had fully identified with the general public.

We called this method “garbage evangelism.” Later Harvey Conn held a session with the students and explained the lesson that we all had learned that day. Preaching the gospel sometimes involves getting out hands dirty. It could involve touching mud, mixing clay, and anointing the eyes of a blind man with it, just as our Lord Jesus Christ had demonstrated. Harvey warned the students not to use hygienic methods only, but to realize that, sometimes, unhygienic methods can yield more far-reaching results. Our “garbage evangelism” had made a powerful impact on the people, and many lives were transformed because of our willingness to humble ourselves.

Words to Live By:
To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak; I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.—1 Cor. 9:22.

From the Dust, by Kefa Sempangi, (The Lutterworth Press, 2008), pp. 12-13. Higly recommended, and available on the Web at https://books.google.com/books?isbn=071884288X  See also Kefa’s first book, A Distant Grief.

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