May 2017

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

Q. 10. — How did God create man?

A. —  God created man, male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures.

Scripture References: Gen. 1:27. Col. 3:10. Eph. 4:24. Gen. 1:28.

Questions:

1. What is the difference between the creation of other creatures and the creation of man?

God simply commanded the other creatures into existence; but when man was created the Trinity decided that man should be made in the image of God.

2. Why is this difference important?

It is important as man is God’s only self-conscious creature that He has created. God made man in his mental and moral image. Dr. Albertus Pieters says, “It involves self-conscious reasoning power, the capacity for self-determination, and moral sense. In other words, to be a being that can say, ‘I am, I ought, I will,’ – this it is to be made in the image of God.”

3. Why did God create man?

Man was created by God that man should serve his Creator. God does not exist for man’s sake but man exists for God’s sake, to serve and to glorify Him forever.

4. What kind of knowledge, righteousness and holiness did man have at his creation?

Man’s knowledge was a perfect knowledge of God, of his duty and of many other things for which we probably strive today. Man’s righteousness was an inherent righteousness which enabled God to declare him as “very good.” Man’s holiness was the hidden root of his righteousness that was shining forth in hls heart.

5. What sort of dominion did man have over the creatures?

God made man head of the world. He was given the right to reign over the creatures and name them. He was to rule them for God’s glory and his own good.

6.
In so many of our schools today the theory of Theistic evolution is being taught. Is this consistent with the teaching of Scripture?

No. Theistic Evolution (Evolution as God’s method of Creation) is not consistent with the Scripture.

The position of the Bible could be outlined in this way:

1. The Bible says God created out of nothing and this creation included every thing which has or will or can exist. It all owes its being and substance as well as its form to God. Though this is bewildering to man, it is absolutely necessary if we are to hold to the Christian faith.

2. The Bible says that God is eternal, not that matter is eternal as would be necessary for any theory of evolution.

3. The Bible says man came into existence by a special creative act of a free, self-determined will.

4. Recognizing that we must reject both evolution in its atheistic connotation, and the philosophical overtones of evolution as a way of leaving God out of the universe, we must recognize that there is possible such a thing as variation and such would not contradict Scripture. There is much we do not understand about the ways and means God has used to bring man and the world to their present state. But that variation is within the limitations of the norm set up by God, as presented in the Scriptures, and is not to be confused with evolution.

BACK TO GENESIS!

In his unparalleled book, A Harmony of the Westminster Presbyterian Standards, Dr. James Benjamin Green states, “The best knowledge is the knowledge of God. The next best is the knowledge of man. The Jew came saying, Know thy God. The Greek came saying, Know thyself. The Christian comes saying, Know thy God and thyself in Jesus Christ.”

When we are faced with the problem of the origin of man, we would point all to the divinely inspired words, “In the beginning God … ” The call we have to all is: Back to Genesis ,and be thankful for this remarkable and incredible truth of God’s Word!

There are too many today who want to substitute their view of the origin of things for the doctrine taught in Scripture. It seems that the devil himself, in his most conniving manner, is saying, “If I can just get that young person wrapped up in the theory that man evolved from the simplest forms of matter and life and developed by a perfectly natural process, then the Bible will not mean much to him.” And so it has been proven time and time again. When a person accepts evolution rather than the creation doctrine of the Scripture, and refuses to believe that man was the result of a special Creative Act of God, then the ‘God of the Bible is no longer the Creator and Sustainer.

The time has come today for all Christians to recognize the dangers of this false doctrine and especially the important part it plays in the theory of those who deny the inspiration of the Bible. Nothing less than a full committal to the creation doctrine of the Bible will keep us from the apostasy that breaks down the church of the living God. We should remember that the Creator is supreme. He is the absolute cause of all that happens, the eternal and all_blessed Being that chose to create the world through His will.

A Saturday digression : Recently I’ve been reading John Flavel’s short treatise on Isa. 26:20, titled The Righteous Man’s Refuge [highly recommended and found in Flavel’s Works, vol. 3]. Flavel’s main point in this work is that the attributes of God are a very real refuge for the believer in times of trial and testing. Finishing that work, it was only natural then to turn to Stephen Charnock’s masterpiece, The Existence and Attributes of God. As it turns out, my copy was a 1958 edition and I noticed that it includes a foreword by Gordon H. Clark. Since the PCA Historical Center houses the Papers of Dr. Clark and since I don’t see Clark’s foreword elsewhere on the web or in print, I thought I would post it here. I’ve placed in bold print one particularly relevant comment.

Gordon H. Clark’s Foreword to the 1958 Sovereign Grace Book Club edition of Stephen Charnock’s work, The Existence and Attributes of God.

FOREWORD

The life of Stephen Charnock (1628-1680), in contrast to the turbulence of England in the mid-seventeeth century, was almost uneventful. The occurrence of one event, however, secures his reputation for adherence to gospel principles, for, although he was not immprisoned as John Bunyan was, he was one of the ministers ejected under the inquitous Restoration of Charles II.

For the rest, he had an early charge in Southwark; became a Fellow and then a Senior Proctor at Oxford (1649-1656); went to Dublin as chaplain to the Governor; then in 1675, when restrictions on the reformed ministers were somewhat relaxed, he accepted a call to Crosby Square, where he remained until his death.

How he spent his time, in addition to preaching carefully prepared sermons, became evident upon the posthumous publication of his manuscripts, of which the Discourses upon the Existence and Attributes of God is the most famous. This edition includes every word of Charnock’s remarks on the attributes of God, and the existence of God. However, in most editions in the past, his discourses on Providence, Practical Atheism, and God as a Spirit have been included. These are omitted here with regret. However, 1100 pages would be too much for this one volume.

The Puritan writers are noted for long-windedness. Some, perhaps much, of our impatience with them, however, is more to our discredit than to theirs. In our bustling era the practice of meditation is not popular; and our educational standards have encouraged the substitution of short comic books for solid volumes. Even Mr. Valiant-for-Truth, who in the twentieth century is busy battling for the Atonement and the Resurrection against modernism and neo-orthodoxy in the churches (and who can condemn him for such sorely needed activity?), has scarcely any time to ponder the divine glory and to reflect on the nature of God.

But when, unexpectedly, the essence and attributes of God are called into question, to whom else can we better go than to Stephen Charnock?

Is our knowledge of God mainly negative, or do we have positive information? Is there a positive sense in the words eternal, immutable, and spirit? Or are they merely denials of their temporal and sensory opposites? Can man’s mind possess an adequate or suitable conception of God? Is the impossibility of having a mental image of God the equivalent of the impossibility of having a mental concept of God? And is it true that all human knowledge originates in sensation, as Charnock seems to say in one place; or, as he says elsewhere, has God impressed innate knowledge on man’s heart from birth and by creation?

Some devoted and energetic Christians consider such questions useless and a waste of time. Evangelistic campaigns, personal work, missionary rallies, youth fellowships, and spectacular sunrise services should, they claim, exhaust all our energy. Theology is a valley of dry bones on which the Spirit will never breathe : let the dead Christian doze with his deadening volumes. Ours shall be life abundant.

With respect to this complaint let it be said that Stephen Charnock, though he was neither a John Wesley nor a Billy Graham, faithfully discharged those pastoral duties that everyone would admit are practical and necessary. It was in fact this cure of souls that motivated his study. If a minister of the gospel is to introduce people to his Lord, the triune God, he ought himself to know the Lord. The deeper, richer, more extensive this knowledge is, the better. And what impatient Christians are inclined to castigate as the dry bones of theology is this knowledge of God and His attributes. Must one labor to emphasize the obvious importance of knowing what sort of Being the Divine Being is? He is not the Deus sive Natura of Spinoza’s philosophy; He is not the Unmoved Mover of Aristotle; nor is He their modern counterparts. Then what is the nature, the essence, the attributes of God? Charnock wants his readers to become acquainted with God.

There are other sincere, though we believe mistaken, men who consider this study worse than useless : they consider it an impious curiosity into things that are too high for us. Although Protestant writers have sometimes warned against such a danger, it is hard in this day to believe that it is a frequent sin. The large majority of people want to know too little instead of too much. Undoubtedly, “the secret things belong unto the Lord our God;” but for this very reason it is more futile than sinful to try to know them.

In any case, the present subject does not fall under this category. The remainder of the verse reads, “but those things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever.” Now, the material that Charnock discusses is firmly founded in the Word of God. To a small extent we learn about God from nature; but chiefly He has revealed Himself in Scripture. This revelation is more extensive than meets the eye; it is not exhausted by merely making a list of pertinent passages. When these passages are compared and used as premises of syllogisms, conclusions hitherto unperceived will appear. And as the great Westminster Confession says, “The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture.” Drawing inferences from Scriptural premises is not impious curiosity, but divinely commanded meditation.

The verse just alluded to, after it says that all revelation belongs to us and to our children forever, ends with the words “That we may do all the words of this law.” These sentiments are reinforced later by the well-known verse, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and (all of it) is profitable for doctrine . . . for instruction in righteousness . .. that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Both the Old Testament and the New Testament therefore emphasize these two things : we should study the whole revelation, not just some easy or favorite parts of it; and, this study is not dry as dust theology, but is ‘practical’, i.e., it leads to righteousness.

GORDON H. CLARK
Butler University.

Among the more mundane church records and the other remains of a long life, there are some real jewels that have been located as part of the papers of the Rev. Albert “Bud” Moginot’. He began his ministry as the associate pastor for Francis Schaeffer and continued as a pastor and chaplain for some fifty years in the St. Louis, Missouri area.

Rev. Moginot may have been something of a collector of tracts. I did at least find a substantial box full of various tracts in a small room just off from the garage in his basement. It was not covered and so was quite dusty and showed other signs of damage. Still, the box was stuffed full and the resulting compaction saved a lot of the contents from ruin. There were tracts from any number of different evangelical organizations. Some from the school he attended, Dallas Seminary. Some from all manner of evangelical and fundamentalist ministries. And there were some from fellow pastors in the Bible Presbyterian Church. Among these there were a handful of tracts by Francis A. Schaeffer, two of which I had never seen before.

The first of these, “The Bible-believing Christian and the Jew”, can be precisely dated, since it was published in The Independent Board Bulletin, a publication of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, in October of 1943 and under the title “The Fundamentalist Christian and Anti-Semitism.” In a subsequent issue, the editor noted that Schaeffer’s message had been well received by the readership of The Bulletin. Most likely the tract was a subsequent publication. This article would have been written while he was still serving as the associate pastor to the Rev. Abraham Lance Lathem, and just before his leaving to take the pastorate of the First Bible Presbyterian Church of St. Louis. The content of Rev. Schaeffer’s message against anti-Semitism can be found here.

Physical details:
1. “The Bible-believing Christian and the Jew” — Single-sheet, folded tract, 15 cm. x 23 cm. (6″ x 9″). Medium blue-gray paper with a basis weight of approximately 30-40 lbs. Dark blue text printed in four panels, including the title panel, on the obverse and a large single panel of text on the reverse or interior of the tract.

Casting free of the calendar again, we present today these two recollections on the Rev. Dr. Archibald Alexander, first professor of the Princeton Theological Seminary. The first of these is found on page 1 of THE CHRISTIAN OBSERVER, vol. 48, no. 45 (10 November 1869), though the author of the piece is identified solely by the pseudonym “Memor.” The second account is drawn from RECOLLECTIONS OF USEFUL PERSONS AND IMPORTANT EVENTS, by S.C. Jennings, D.D. (1884), pp. 99-100.

REV. DR. ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER

Dear good old Dr. Alexander! How we loved him in New Jersey! Many a time have I seen people stop and look at him as he passed—even those who had never seen him loved and admired. The true Christian knew why. In the pulpit he was very different from many of the present day, but we all felt that he was indeed a minister of Jesus Christ unto us, and in the sacred desk, and at the communion table we seemed to be brought near to God and to Heaven. In this respect few were his equals and this power is a great gift. Many living servants of God know that they feel his influence to this day and thank God for it. Sabbath afternoon we met in the lecture room for conversation up on some subject before announced. Any student said what he wished, and they spoke freely, moderately and well. But our spiritual feast was when Dr. Alexander and Dr. Miller, and young professor Hodge, as he was then, sitting in their chairs would give us the essence of their matured thoughts. At the time I admired and relished it, but in riper years only could I really appreciate our privilege. There was no apparent effort, but the spring of living thought seemed to pour forth spontaneously. In this exercise Dr. Alexander excelled, and I thought could condense more ideas in a few sentences than any man I ever met. He was so devout and spiritual and earnest that we felt his words. “Pray”—on one occasion, he said, “pray on. And if in the closet alone with God you desire to remain longer and God seems indeed to be there,—Pray on; and if your heart inclines you to tarry longer—pray on and hour after hour—hour after hour. It is a heavenly gale, and you may make more advances than you have in a year, ‘Pray on.’ ”  —Memor.

—excerpted from The Christian Observer 48.45 (10 November 1869): 1.

“Between the years 1824 and 1827, Drs. Alexander and Miller and Professor Hodge were (in the Presbyterian Church) the only public instructors of theological students. Dr. Alexander commenced this work in 1812. Twelve years afterward he was still vigorous in mind. In body he was rather small, with some gray hairs. As he sat in the recitation room, reclining his head upon his hand, small, piercing eyes looked upon the students, ready to approve their performances; or, when need be, to correct their mistakes. He appeared rather reserved, and yet in private was very paternal, exercising his thorough knowledge of human nature with great skill.

“A peculiarity in him was the clearness of his style in teaching and preaching. His great learning enabled him to use the very wordsmostly of Saxon originby which his hearers comprehended the truth easily. This example of his should be imitated by young ministers of our time. While he adapted language to his subject, as when he wrote his volume on the Canon of Sacred Scriptures, and that on the Evidences of Christianity, his manner of preaching was more like his admirable book of Christian Experienceclear, practical and searching. There was no going outside of the themes of the Bible to find something new and entertaining. He condemned unprofitable speculations in the class room, and never practiced them in the pulpit. In his lectures on pastoral care to the students, he recommended special seasons of labor to promote revivals, wisely chosen, with the choice of proper persons to give aid in the preaching. I remember when there was a revival at Princeton, he went to give instruction to the young.”

—excerpted from Jennings, S.C., Recollections of Useful Persons and Important Events within Seventy Years. Vancefort, PA: J. Dillon & Son, 1884. Pp. 99-100.

For the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ

McIntireCarl_01The young Presbyterian minister had been called to candidate at Collingswood Presbyterian Church in the fall of 1933.  That he had been just a few years out of seminary, and Westminster Seminary at that, didn’t seem to matter to the congregation in that New Jersey town.  He had  a few years experience as a pastor in an Atlantic City, New Jersey Presbyterian Church.  But it was in Collingswood, New Jersey that Carl McIntire was to be a lighting rod during some very challenging years for that Presbyterian congregation. On September 28, 1933, he became the pastor of the Collingswood Presbyterian Church at Ferm Avenue in Collingswood, New Jersey.

Seeing his conservative leaning in regard to the great issues of the gospel, J. Gresham Machen invited him to join the board of the fledgling Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, which McIntire did in 1934.  That same year, the General Assembly of the denomination met and issued a directive or mandate to all ministers, churches, and presbyteries of the church.  In essence this mandate said that anyone who was affiliated with this independent agency had ninety days to desist from participation in or support of the agency, or face the consequences of discipline by their respective presbyteries.

Carl McIntire was charged with six counts of error by his Presbytery, but found guilty on only three of those charges.  These three were:  1. defiance of the government and discipline of the denomination, 2. unfaithful in maintaining the peace of the church, and 3. violation of his ordination vows.   He was convicted of sin and suspended from the ministry.  McIntire’s case was appealed to the PCUSA General Assembly of 1936, and that Assembly sustained the action of the Presbytery of West Jersey.

On March 27, 1938, after the Sunday evening service, the congregation stood on the front lawn of the church and sang two hymns of the faith. The first was “Faith of Our Fathers,” followed by “Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us.”  And with that, they left the church, giving up the property, the memories, and all their associations with their former denomination. The very next Sunday, the newly formed Bible Presbyterian Church of Collingswood, New Jersey, met in a huge tent.  Present were 1200 people, with eighty-one new members joining the new church at that first Sunday’s worship.

Charles Curtis McIntire, Jr., called Carl from childhood, was born on May 17, 1906. He took his higher education at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Park College (in Parkville, Missouri), Princeton Theological Seminary and Westminster Theological Seminary. McIntire was ordained in 1931 and installed as pastor of the Chelsea Presbyterian Church in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Two years later, in 1933, he answered a call to serve the Collingswood church. After a long life of many accomplishments and not a little controversy, Dr. McIntire died on March 19, 2002, at the age of 95.

Words to Live By:
We close today’s post with a few paragraphs from the opening of a sermon by the Rev. Carl McIntire, delivered before the National Society of Magna Charta Dames, in Philadelphia, June 4, 1946. [The Magna Charta Dames are descendants of the barons who secured from King John, on June 15, 1215, at Runnymede, the Magna Charta. This charter forms the basis of all our English and American civil liberties.)

The State’s Responsibility Under God to Maintain Freedom

America is in greater danger of losing her freedom today than at any time since the Declaration of Independence. We have just won a war to destroy the idea of the all-powerful State, but we are turning to an all-powerful State — another King John — to save us, to feed and clothe us, to comfort and pamper us, and to answer our prayers. We are raising up a generation that knows little of King John and the charter the barons forced him to sign — a generation that is willing to barter the most priceless privileges of freedom for a mere pittance of security. We are confused and dazed. We thought the peace would be easy to win. We cannot even get a peace conference, much less win the peace. The atomic bomb has produced a neurotic and uncanny fear in the minds of people everywhere and is driving us on, if we are not careful, toward a world totalitarianism. The world is too small to be two worlds and it is ideologically too divided to be one world.

Furthermore, who said it was the responsibility of the State to guarantee full employment for everyone? In contrast to all this is our them, “The State’s Responsibility Under God to Maintain Freedom.” The authority for this statement is none other than the Almighty God Himself as He clearly reveals the powers and place of the State in His Holy Word.

Our founding fathers called God the Author of Liberty. “Our father’s God, to Thee, Author of liberty, to Thee we sing.” They did not claim that they themselves had given birth to this idea of freedom. They believed that God had created man and that man was responsible to God. They also believed that God had ordained the State and the State was responsible to God. In this relationship there stood out above everything else the divine law, the Ten Commandments. This law is the greatest charter of liberty that the world has ever had. It is the first bill of rights ever promulgated, the most individualistic document that the world has ever seen. It is the Magna Charta of individualism. It is impossible to discuss the authority of the State without holding before us first the demands of God’s law.

The Ten Commandments are addressed to the individual, and they protect the individual. Take, for example, the command, “Thou shalt not kill.” God gives to every man the right to live. All the laws of our society that protect human life are based upon this divine law. Likewise the command, “Thou shalt not steal,” recognizes the right of every man to own property in his own name. It is this command that forms the basis of our capitalistic system and our private enterprise way of life. But it is individual. It is into this picture that the State must fit.

The State has no authority to encroach upon the liberty of the individual which God guarantees under His law. The State must respect the law of God as it concerns the individual. Only in honoring this law can it serve its true function and be truly free. Just as God made the creation for Himself and created man in His own image, so He has instructed in His Word that the State should serve the ends of God and be a champion of freedom for man. When men see this, they want this kind of State. When the State sees it, it will labor only for free men. In doing this there are certain things that the State must do and certain things it must not do. In both of these spheres, one of action and the other of inaction, the State becomes an agent for freedom.

We frequently say, “Our society is built on the Ten Commandments.” So it is. The Ten Commandments are a social order. Any society built upon them will not be socialistic or communistic or totalitarian, but truly free. It should be noted especially here, however, that the laws of the State deal with the outward acts of the relation of man to man in society. The State cannot deal with the inward thoughts of men, thus the command, “Thou shalt not covet,” dealing primarily with the heart, the State cannot enforce or minister. The State must desist from action in this sphere in order to insure freedom of thought.

Likewise the commands that relate to the inner and direct relations of men to God the State must leave to God and to the individual. The State must desist from action in this sphere in order to honor the command dealing with the worship and service of God. Thus the State is limited; it cannot go into the heart of man. God alone can do that. And it cannot attempt to legislate God for the individual. God alone can guide and control this.

For a State to attempt to enter into these spheres is to destroy freedom for the individual. When the State attempts to legislate in the matter of man’s heart and thought, it can do so or attempt to do so only by limiting man’s speech and controlling what he hears and sees. Thus free speech and free press, free radio, and all related freedoms go out the window. God has kept the heart of man for Himself. When the State attempts to legislate in the matter of man’s relation to God, it can do so, or attempt to do so, only by circumscribing man’s freedom in the matter of religion. In both of these matters, the framers of the Constitution of the United States absolutely limited the State and protected the freedom of man as the law of God requires.

[the above portion of Dr. McIntire’s sermon is excerpted from The Christian Beacon, 11.18 (13 June 1946): 1-2, 6.

A Scottish Missionary to the Jews
by Rev. David T Myers

How about another mystery quiz on This Day in Presbyterian History? Who said the following:  “I am first a Christian. Second, I am a catholic. (Author: note the small “c”); Third, I am a Calvinist.  Next, I am a paedobaptist. Fifth, I am a Presbyterian. I cannot reverse this order.” If you answered, “John Duncan,” or better yet, “Rabbi Duncan,” give yourself a proverbial pat on the back.

John Duncan’s years were 1796  to 1870, mostly in Scotland. His parents were  humble but pious Christians. They had a trying time in that all of their children had died in infancy. Indeed, son John developed a a case of small pox at a young age which almost killed him. In the process, it left him blind in one eye. Despite  his father’s employment as a shoemaker, son John entered at age 9 the prestigious grammar school in Aberdeen, Scotland, from which he graduated at age 14. With that he entered Manschal University, earning a master of arts in 1814.

His interest was that of becoming a minister. There was only one problem. Despite his parent’s godly heritage in the Associate Church of Scotland, young John was an atheist. Entering the theological college of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland, he graduated in 1821, still holding atheistic views! After being denied entrance into the Presbytery of Aberdeen because he couldn’t affirm the Westminster Standards, he switched from atheism to theism. But he was still without Christ as Lord and Savior.

His licensure took place by the Presbytery of Aberdeen on June 24, 1825 however! (Author: Where were their minds?) John Duncan was still outside of Christ. One year later, after a personal conversation with  Rev. Cesar Milan, he finally bent his knee to Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. After this experience, he had a lifelong dread of  superficial Christianity. On April 28, 1836, he was ordained a minister of the gospel.

In 1837, he married Janet Tower, with whom he had one child.  The difficult birth of their second child ended in both the death of his wife and child.  Looking at his wife’s body in the casket, he quoted Shorter Catechism number 37, “The souls of believers are at their death make perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves, till the resurrection.”  This  catechism answer comforted him.

It was around this time that he began to have an interest in, and sympathy for, the Jewish people, especially for their salvation. The Church of Scotland set up in 1839 a Committee for the Conversion of the Jews. Two years later, on This Day in Presbyterian History, May 16, 1841, John Duncan, his new wife, and two others moved to Hungary

His ministry there was only for two short years, but his passion for the souls of Jews caused many to dub him “Rabbi Duncan.”  Through Sabbath peaching of the gospel and what we would call “friendship evangelism” today, countless Jews became Christians.  Famous among the latter was Alfred Edersheim.  The Disruption of 1843 took place in Scotland and John “Rabbi” Duncan traveled home to his mother country.  Joining the Free Church of Scotland, he took the chair of Hebrew and Oriental Lanuages at their new college, where he stayed until his death of 1870.

Words to Live By:
There is no doubt John “Rabbi” Duncan had a spiritual journey which was long in coming.   His story cries out for our Sessions and Presbyters to make sure  that a work of saving grace has occurred in the souls of our members and candidates for church office.  Remember Jude 3 and 4.

 

 

A few years ago now, the ARP pastor Ben Glaser (Ellisville, MS) put forward a great question:—

“When did Presbyteries, Synods, and General Assemblies begin regularly having the Lord’s Supper at their meetings?”

With a bit of digging, I found that in the Southern Presbyterian Church, it wasn’t until 1912, at the 52d General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S., that we find this:

The Standing Committee on Devotional Exercises presented the following resolution, which was adopted:

We recommend that it be a standing rule in our Assembly that immediately following the Moderator’s opening sermon, the sacrament of the Lord’s supper shall be celebrated, the retiring Moderator presiding.
— W.O. Cochrane, Chairman.

Switching over to the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (aka, Northern Presbyterian Church), we have to go all the way back to 1871 to find this report spread on their Minutes, at pp. 577-578:

6. The Lord’s Supper.—In regard to the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, in connection with the stated meetings of the judicatories of the Church, your Committee feel hardly prepared to recommend any absolute and universal change. And yet it cannot be denied, that grave objections exist as to the manner in which this sacred service is often observed. Too much, as a matter of form, crowded in between hours of pressing business, if not of exciting discussion, with little or no preparatory exercises, it is not strange that this, which should be the richest feast of blessing, the very climax of privilege, has so often proved dull and formal, and of little spiritual advantage. As originally instituted by our Lord, this sacrament was a “supper,” observed at an appointed “hour,” “when the even was come” of “the same night in which he was betrayed.” Might not many impressive associations be secured if, in the imitation of his example, it were, whenever possible, appointed for [I]an evening service[/I], exclusively distinct from all the business of the day?

“With desire,” he said, “have I desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.” Ought not his ministering servants, in their stated assemblies, to guard against any influences which may tend to cool the ardor of their “desire” for the recurrence of the Sacred Feast?

“Let a man examine himself,” said the apostle, “and so let him eat that bread and drink that cup.” Ought not careful arrangements to be made for “attending thereto with diligence, preparation, and prayer”? And, unless due opportunity be given for such preparation, would it not be better, at our ecclesiastical meetings, not to appoint the formal service at all?
Your Committee recommend, that the attention of Judicatories be called to this important subject, and that, independent of past customs, they be enjoined to take such action with reference to it, as may seem most in harmony with the Divine arrangement, and best calculated to promote the spiritual welfare of themselves and the congregations with which from time to time they may meet.

Resolved, That the Committee of Arrangements for the next General Assembly be instructed, to provide for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, on the evening of the first day of its sessions.

Looking back in the older Minutes of General Assembly for the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. (Old School), those prior to 1869, we find that meetings are opened and closed with prayer, as we would expect. And there is mention of devotional exercises, but there is no mention of any observance of the Lord’s Supper, so far as I could find.

Two possibilities occur then:
1. Either the observance of the Lord’s Supper at General Assembly (and presumably at Presbytery and/or Synod as well) was a practice that has its beginning among the New School Presbyterians.
or,
2. When Assemblies met for eight days or more, as they used to, the included Lord’s Day was an obvious time of worship and likely also for celebration of the Supper. So perhaps as Assemblies began to meet for six or fewer days, the need began to be felt for more structured times of worship, with inclusion of the Supper.

Testing the first thesis, I found in the Minutes of the 1868 New School Assembly, on page 42, this note:

The Assembly met, and united with a large congregation of Christian believers in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

That Assembly had convened on Friday, May 22d, 1868, and met Saturday in continuation. Then there is no reference whatsoever in the Minutes as to what that Assembly did on Sunday. Business continued again on Monday through the week, and on Friday, celebration of the Supper at 3 PM. Business continued on Saturday, adjourned, no mention of Sunday, and business concluded on Monday, June 1st. There was only the one observance of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday, May 28th.

In the 1839 New School GA Minutes, on page 13:

On Saturday evening, a quarter before 8 o’clock, a Lecture preparatory to the sacrament was preached by the Rev. Dr. Williston; and on Sabbath, P.M., at 5 o’clock, the Lord’s supper was administered, in the First Presbyterian Church [Philadelphia], to the members of the Assembly, and to a large congregation of Christian Brethren, according to the previous arrangement.

Admittedly there, in 1839, celebration of the Supper took place on the Lord’s Day, but it was nonetheless administered to the Assembly. Also noted is the fact that the Supper was not observed at the opening of that Assembly, but rather was observed later while the Assembly was in session. Checking other New School Minutes, there does not appear to have been any celebration of the Supper in 1840, 1843, or 1855. But in 1849 and 1850, at each of those Assemblies, there was the observance of the Supper on Thursday, at 4 PM and 7:45 PM respectively.

So while they might have been spotty in their observance, there does seem to be a case for the idea that the celebration of the Lord’s Supper by the higher courts of the Church is a practice that comes out of New School Presbyterianism. It is only after the reunion of 1869-70 that the practice becomes regularized in the PCUSA.

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

Q. 9. — What is the work of creation?

A. — The work of creation is, God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.

Scripture References: Heb. 11:3. Rev. 4:11. Gen. 1:1-31. Ps. 33:6. In. 1:3.

Questions:
1. Why is it important to study the doctrine of creation?

The work of creation is the basis of all revelation. It has been well said that if a person can accept “In the beginning God … ” it will be possible for him to accept the rest of the Bible by faith.

2. How can we know that the first verse of the Bible is true?

“By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God … ” (Heb. 11 :3). We start with the Biblical point of view that God is sovereign and creation is a basic doctrine.

3. Why did God create the world?

He created it for His own pleasure, for His glory. It was a free act of God and He did not need the world, but rather He existed in complete self-sufficiency prior to its creation.

4. From what did God make the world?

God created the world out of nothing. Bavinck states in Our Reasonable Faith: “The expression ‘out of nothing’ can be taken in a useable sense and can perform excellent service over against all kinds of heresy. For it denies that the world was made out of some stuff or matter or energy which co-existed eternally alongside of God. According to Scripture, God is not solely He who formed the world but also He who created it.” (Pgs. 166-167)

5. How can we know there was no pre-existing material?

The Bible does not mention any pre-existing matter, and it also states that God created everything that has ever been. (Neh. 9:6.; Col. 1:16).

6. How long did it take God to create the world?

The Bible states it took God six days. This could mean a day of twenty-four hours though this is not the only possible interpretation. The first chapter of Genesis was not written in order to satisfy our curiosity or to answer all of our questions.

7. What is the order of God’s creation?

The order of God’s creation is: First Day, Light; Second Day, Firmament; Third Day, Dry Land, Grass; Fourth Day, Sun and Moon; Fifth Day, Fish and Fowl; Sixth Day, Land Animals and Man. God created the world and all creatures in six days and rested the Sabbath day to hallow it for Himself and for His children.

HOW GREAT THOU ART!
Not long ago I stood in the pulpit of a church that has the unique, and effective practice of commencing their evening service with the singing of “How Great Thou Art!”

“0 Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy pow’r through-out the universe displayed:
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!”

As I listened I could not help but send a prayer heavenward, a prayer bathed in awe at the works of such a God. And immediately the thought came to me again that wonder of wonders, He was my God through faith in Jesus Christ! As I preached The Word that night there was a peace under-girding my words, a peace founded upon the words, “My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”

This Question of our Catechism is one that should enable all of us to take heart, no matter what sort of difficulty or trouble we might have in these days. No matter what the distress might be, through it all we can know that the same almighty power of God, which was put into operation in the creation of all things, will be exerted in defence and support of His church and His people in the time of their need.

Many years ago in a Bible camp I remember singing a song that had in the chorus these words: “The God who doeth wonders is just the same today!” If we start, theologically speaking, with the view that God is sovereign and did create all things out of nothing, it is time we start to act as if we really believe this with all our hearts. May God help us to acknowledge Him as Creator and Sustainer, acknowledge Him by singing out with our souls: “How Great Thou Art!” Such an attitude will do much toward enabling us to have the peace and joy of the Lord in our hearts, in addition to the theology in our minds.

Published By:
THE SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 1 No.9 (September 1961)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

Alaska’s Courageous Missionary
by David T Myers

Born in Fairmont, Virginia (later West Virginia) on August 12, 1832, Amanda Reed was one of thirteen children in a Christian home. The father of this brood worked on the river, but died in a tragic accident on that river. Amanda traveled to Steubenville, Ohio to attend a young ladies college. After graduation, she taught school until age twenty five. She then married the Rev. Dr David McFarland, a Presbyterian minister, even though he was eleven years her senior.

The next ten years would be ministering as a pastor’s wife in Illinois. In 1866, the Presbyterian Board for Missions challenged them to go to the Territory of New Mexico to plant a church. This was difficult for three reasons. First, the religion in this far west territory was Roman Catholic. And second, other Protestants churches had tried and failed to get any churches planted there. Last, the challenge to move West caused family and friends to be opposed to the move. So Rev McFarland moved first to the area, where within seven months he planted an organized church in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Then Amanda joined him in May of 1867, after traveling by stagecoach with forty pounds of baggage!

A year later, their only child, a son, died at age seven months. Amanda threw herself with mother’s love by boarding twelve needy children in her own home. This was a forerunner of her life work in Alaska. By this time, the health of the husband had broken down, and even though in time they finished their missionary call with the Nez Perce Indians in Idaho, he eventually died of cancer on this day on May 13, 1876.

Twice bereaved, Amanda went to Portland, Oregon, where the Rev. Sheldon Jackson (treated elsewhere in these posts) met her and challenged her to go to Alaska. This Christian with a loving missionary heart obeyed the divine call through Rev Jackson, and she landed on August 10, 1877 at the village of Fort Wrangle, Alaska. She discovered that she was the only white woman in a lawless miner’s town. Further, slavery among the native Americans was accepted, and witch-hood was a practice as well. But Amanda threw her heart and soul into the ministry there.

The only building in town to teach Alaskan native Americans was the local dance hall. And it was used regularly by the miners when they came from their claims to dance. But Amanda rented the hall when it was not being used for dancing and began to teach. Starting out with just twelve Indian children, it soon swelled to close to seventy five. It was said among the Indian chiefs that she was the one who loved their people. All this despite outside pressure being great against her efforts from the whites. Miners wanted to abuse Indian children for prostitution, but Amanda McFarland rescued them.

Two other towns in Alaska – Sitar and Howkan – became her place of ministry. And God sent reinforcements to help in the ministry, both men and women. She eventually retired after twenty years of ministry to Alaska and became known as “Alaska’s Courageous Missionary.” She died in 1912 at the age of eighty back in Fairmont, West Virginia.

Words to Live By:
The Indian chiefs knew her as the woman who loved their children. And she did. As she daily taught them Christianity and life skills. A loving spirit is necessary for all of us called to His service. Have you checked recently your love portion in your service for Christ? Do you love serving the Lord and His people? We workers for Christ can undergo anything, including difficult service, if that love is strong and growing for His glory.

Christian Education in its Principles

John Newton Waddell was born on April 2, 1812 in Willington, South Carolina to the Rev. Moses Waddell and his wife Eliza Woodson Pleasant Waddell. He received his education at the University of Georgia, attending there from 1826-1829 and graduating with the Bachelor of Arts degree. He taught at an Academy in Willington, SC from 1830-1832 and was principal of a grammar school in Athens, Georgia from 1833-1834. For a time he turned his hand to farming in South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi, 1835-1841, before answering a call to the ministry.

He was licensed to preach by Mississippi Presbytery on 15 September 1841 and then served as stated supply for the Mt. Hermon Presbyterian Church of Smith County, Mississippi in 1842. He was then ordained to the pastorate by Tombeckbee Presbytery on 23 October 1843, initially serving as stated supply for the Montrose and Mt. Moriah churches of Newton County, MS, while also serving as a teacher at the Montrose Academy from 1841-1848.

Rev. Waddell next served as stated supply for the Presbyterian church in Oxford, MS and concurrently as a professor of ancient languages at the University of Mississippi, from 1849-1857, having formerly served on the school’s Board of Trustees prior to his appointment. From 1857-1861, Waddell was a professor at the Synodical College in LaGrange, Tennessee. He then worked as an agent for the Bible Society attached to the Confederate States Army, from 7 February to 7 May, 1863 and as Commissioner to the Army of Mississippi (CSA), from 1863 until the close of the war in 1865.

After the war, Rev. Waddell was Chancellor of the University of Mississippi, from 1865 to 1874, and during these years he occasionally served as stated supply for the Oxford and Hopewell churches. Leaving the University of Mississippi, Rev. Waddell was Executive Secretary for the Georgia Commission on Education, from 1874-1879. He somehow also managed to serve as stated supply for the Lauderdale St. church in Memphis during these same years.

From 1879 to 1888, Waddell was Chancellor of the Southwest Presbyterian University, located in Clarksville, Tennessee. He is credited with calling Dr. Joseph Ruggles Wilson, the father of President Woodrow Wilson, to teach at Clarksville. Illness forced his retirement in 1888, though he apparently remained in the Clarksville area until 1891, and he then resided in Avondale (Birmingham), Alabama from 1891 to 1895. Rev. Waddell died in 1895, and is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Honors conferred upon Rev. Waddell included the Doctor of Divinity degree, awarded by the University of Nashville in 1850 and the Doctor of Laws degree (LL.D.), awarded by the University of Georgia in 1873. Rev. Waddell is noted as having called to order the first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S. He also served as Moderator of the PCUS General Assembly in 1868 and as stated clerk for General Assembly from 1861-1865.

Prior to the War and before the Old School Presbyterian Church was divided North and South, Rev. Waddell brought a sermon before the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (Old School), as it met in New Orleans on May 12, 1858. His message was brought on behalf of the Presbyterian Board of Education, and was titled Christian Education in its Principles:—

Christian Education in its Principles

“19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”—Matthew 28:19-20.

These are the words of the Great Teacher. They were uttered by him who was truly styled by Nicodemus, “a teacher come from God.” Concerning him also, it was the involuntary testimony of emissaries sent by his enemies to apprehend him, “never man spake like this man.” Accordingly, a serious study of the whole life of our incarnate Lord will inevitably lead to the conclusion that he came into the world to teach. To this end we find him, at the age of twelve years, in the temple, sitting among the doctors, “both hearing them and asking them questions,” thus preparing himself to become a teacher of others, and styling this, the being “about his Father’s business.” The prophets, in whose sublime writings Christ is the prominent subject, speak of him as the Counsellor, from whom God’s word and wisdom were to proceed in the form of instructions coming with authority divine. That phrase proper for human prophets commissioned of God, as a preface to their deliverances, “Thus, saith the Lord,” was to be substituted in the precepts of Christ by the emphatic declaration, “Verily, verily, I say unto you.” And his history is the record of the great system which he came to establish.

Whether, therefore, by his preaching in the synagogues, when all “wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth;” or, on the Mount, when he opened his mouth and taught the multitude by rectifying the false interpretations and glosses of the Jewish teachers, and presenting the true theory of his own moral code; or, to other multitudes that thronged and pressed upon him in his journeyings, by parables of inimitable beauty and appositeness; or at the well-side, in Sychar, where he sat wearied, and revealed to the sinful Samaritan, not only her sins, but the way of life and salvation; or, in the retired circle of his own immediate family, when he expounded to them more clearly the things of the kingdom; or by the refutation of cavils proposed by the designing enemies who constantly beset his path; or by the amazing wisdom which confounded those who sought to entrap him by questions into an expression of blasphemy or of disloyalty; or by miracles which, while they manifested forth his glory, and proved his divinity also in their character as redemptive acts, forcibly adumbrated some great doctrine of his Gospel; or when tempted in the wilderness; or when turning his cheek to the smiter, and giving his back to the scourge; or when going like sheep before his shearers, dumb to the slaughter, and instead of blasting with a bolt of holy indignation the murderous rabble on Calvary, praying for his enemies, and meekly bowing his head and giving up the ghost: we may not fail to gather from this view of the life-work and dying agony of Jesus, our master, that he was a teacher.

True to this great office, he is to be found, during his life, gathering around him multitudes whom he taught, as a vast school, these great truths which entered into the soul, and shed there a light, scattering the natural darkness of the mind, and the clouds of still more palpable gloom engendered by the false teachings of which they were the victims. A clear inspection of his system will present him narrowing his instructions within a circle of seventy, whom he qualified and sent forth to be themselves teachers of the erring and the ignorant. And yet again, we find him selecting from the number of his followers, twelve, as the favored recipients of the great truths of his Gospel, and daily for three years keeping them in constant attendance upon himself as the members of his own family, and then commissioning them as his representatives to teach all nations. And once more we may detect a still more minute subdivision of this class of twelve, in the favorite three, Peter, James, and John, to whom he imparted lessons, and whom he admitted to privileges of intimacy granted to none others, on the consecrated summit of Tabor, and in the memorable garden of Gethsemane.

To have recorded the lessons of wisdom that fell from his lips, or were imparted by his acts, is an acknowledged impossibility; the world itself would not have contained the books that should have been written to set them forth. We only catch glimpses as it were of the Sun of righteousness as it beamed upon the darkness that covered the earth, sufficient to assure us of the exhaustless nature of the Fountain of light. Confirmatory of this truth is the office assigned him in all scriptural systems of theology, as the prophet of his Church. Let it be observed that while the word of God is clear in setting forth that Christ is a priest and a king as well as a prophet, yet it is a very easily demonstrable fact, that these offices are both inseparably interwoven with, and indebted for their vital efficiency to his prophetic office.

For while the priestly office of Christ in its execution is the divinely appointed method of accomplishing the only plan of salvation, it is undeniable, not only that the knowledge of God, the knowledge of Christ, the knowledge of ourselves, the great truths of the scheme of redemption, must be taught before we can receive Christ as a priest; but also, that the very sacrifice itself, is the most impressive form in which these truths can be taught. For it is beyond all doubt, that when the Son of God was crucified, and offered as a sacrifice for his ransomed Church, he was filling the office of teacher of the great doctrine of the atonement, not only no less than by actual precept, but with far more impressive and irresistible energy and power. By the teaching office men are enlightened in the knowledge of those truths embodied in the sacrifice he offered as the great high priest of our profession.

Again, as to his kingly office in its dependencies upon his prophetic office, as the Church of Jesus Christ is the only visible representation of his kingdom, and as this kingdom is spiritual, and includes the solemn ordinances, the holy oracles, and the heaven-appointed ministry, you perceive from the very constitution of this kingdom, that the prophetic or teaching office is of primary importance, and absolutely essential to its establishment and prosperity. For, while he reigns as king in Zion, it is obvious that his ordinances symbolize, his oracles confirm, and his ministers expound and vindicate those truths, which are at once the law of his kingdom, the instruments of its conquests, and the bulwarks of its defence.

In his own declaration to Pilate, in reply to the question, “Art thou a king?” while he acknowledges that he claims this office—“thou sayest I am a king”—he also bears his own testimony to the teaching character of his kingly office : “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.” Thus declaring that as a king he reigns over men by enlightening and efficiently controlling their hearts and affections by the influence of the truth, applied spiritually and not by force. By his teaching office it is then that Christ, as King in Zion, first subdues us to himself, then reigns in and defends and crowns the work by conquering all his and our enemies. It is then a truth, of which we must not lose sight, that Christ Jesus the Lord was the model teacher. His teaching office he makes prominent in all he ever said to men on earth. It stands forever pre-eminent among the offices he fills in his Church. He taught in the temple, by the wayside, in cities and in villages. His example taught when in the wilderness with the tempter, and on the cross with his murderers. He was teaching as he sat at meat; he was teaching as he journeyed on the highway. He taught by parable, he taught by miracle. He taught when in the Mount of Transfiguration. He taught in the Garden of his agony. He taught on bloody Calvary. In life and in death he was the great teacher, and thus indicates to the Church he bought with his blood, and established as his kingdom on earth, that the teaching office was the peculiar distinctive function she, the Church, was designed to fulfill.

To read the rest of Rev. Waddell’s sermon delivered before the General Assembly, click here.

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