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The latter half of the twentieth century was marked by a number of unions between various Presbyterian denominations. There were splits too, but the number of mergers or attempted mergers was noteworthy. One attempted merger, never brought to completion, occurred over the middle years of the 1970s. Ultimately these talks between the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) and the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (RPCES) ended without creating the merger. Perhaps more accurately, talks of merger were transformed into a larger vision, as the OPC, the RPCES, the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA) and the PCA began a mutual discussion in the late 1970s, which finally led to the RPCES being received into the PCA, while the OPC and RPCNA continued on as separate denominations.

What follows is the transcription of a two-page document recently located in the PCA Historical Center. This is report on a second informal conference between the OPC and the RPCES. There was a prior report on the first of these conferences, but I cannot find that we have that document. If one of our readers does have it, please contact me at the PCA Historical Center.

THE BROACHING OF TRUTH AND TENETS

A SUMMARY of the second informal RP-OP Conference of Expressions  on the union of the two denominations at John Knox Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Silver Spring, Md., Saturday, November 23, 1974, 9:00 a.m.

These two presbyteries are either indifferent to dangers or valiant enough to walk where angels fear to walk; mature in grace or ostentatiously obsequious; or those who really oppose the union do not come to these meetings but if there do not press their issues.

The Rev. Larry Vail of Grace OPC, Vienna, Va., led the brethren in a meditation on Ephesians 3:14-21. He stressed that Paul’s prayer has the impulse for church unity. He mentioned that this impulse is love and that this love is the fertile ground for faith, which in turn becomes the basis for the UNITY of the Body of Christ. A period of prayer followed the meditation.

Six topics of discussion were posted on the black board:

A. The Scope and Character of Eschatological Liberty.
B. Dispensationalism.
C. The Apologetical Significance of the Doctrine of God, Regeneration, Faith, and the Unity of the Covenant.
D. Neo-Pentecostalism.
E. Discipline as Held on Paper and Practice.
F. Organic Union and the Scriptural Mandate.

Dr. Robert Countess moderated the meeting. Dr. Countess is pastor of OPC in Manassas, Va. (until July, 1974, he was RPCES).

The Rev. Dominic Aquila, of Stony Point RPC, gave a summary of his paper on the first RP-OP Conference. Dominic reiterated that the issues of difference are not in the area of theology, church polity, etc., but rather in the realm of real suspicion and misunderstanding; not the content but the individual viewpoints.

An OPC brother expressed that suspicion toward OP evangelistic apathy can be substantiate, but only on the basis of isolated occurrence. Yet an isolated situation can never become a norm to characterize a denominational emphasis or the lack of it. A reply from the RP was that similar situations have occurred in the RPC and could have led to suspicion among the OP. To that the moderator gave an apt illustration from his personal experience.

An elder urged that real obstacles for union still exist on account of the lack of being sufficiently informed on the level of the elders.

The eschatological matter was more predominant at this meeting. References to the Larger Catechism Questions 86-89 were made. It was suggested, that if the RPC Standards do not show the change as given in the proposed Plan of Union, why then have the change, if it causes considerable difficulties to accept the proposed change. An RP man expressed that, as he sees it, this issue is more at the gut-level—emotional. He said the proof to that was exceptionally evident at the RP Synod in May, 1974. Another urged that distinctions have to be made clear, that there is a difference between the historic pre-millennial view and dispensationalism, in order to alleviate prevailing misunderstandings. Both denominations confessed to the fact that they have eschatological mixture and considerable liberty. Because of that the brethren were reminded that there are always emotional people in any group and that therefore certain attempts to make charges of heresy will be inevitable. The important part of that is, will the charge and response be done in mature love? A situation concerning RP minister ______ ________ and the OP Presbytery of ______________ was presented to illustrate the point of emotionalism. But the assembly was cautioned not to make that issue an illustration of an eschatological clash but rather a legitimate presbytery matter to which the assembly had not enough facts to draw illustrative conclusions. Some one else suggested the possibility of having something black on white to promote and protect eschatological liberty in the future in the merged denomination.

The other posted topics did not find such lengthy evaluations. Topic C was drawn out, and mention was made that this was more a matter of individual emphasis of those who are involved in this field. The differences that exist will continue to be more personal than normative.

Neo-Pentecostalism and issues concerning it SEEMED to be more settled in the mind of the brethren or insufficient facts thwarted any “juicy” discussion on this matter. It was pointed out that the Form of Government of both denominations expressed some implicit attitude (OPC FOG ch. 3, par. 1, and RPC FOG ch. 5, par. 1).

Christian liberty caused no aspects of disagreement. There seemed to be general agreement on the statement on holy living in the plan of union.

In conclusion, one should say that it is refreshing to get together with another denomination and find such large and wide range of harmony. Thanks to God’s eternal grace, we have the more excellent way to settle the differences that exist. May it be said of us in the future that the love of Christ constrained us . . . rather than that emotional fulmination variegated us.

Respectfully submitted,

Hermann W. Mischte
Dominic Aquilla

This brief essay by the Rev. Francis A. Schaeffer appeared in the October 1943 issue of the Bulletin of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions (IBPFM). May it serve as a timely and relevant reminder and may God enable us through His Holy Spirit, through prayer and through His Word as we continue to confront the evils of this world.

The photo shown below is from a later issue of the IBPFM Bulletin, as the Schaeffers began their ministry in Switzerland in 1948. 

 

THE FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIAN
AND ANTI-SEMITISM 
by Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer

[reprinted from The Independent Board Bulletin, October 1943, pp. 16-19.]

—o—

THE INDEPENDENT BOARD BULLETIN

“I will make of thee a great nation.” Gen. 12:2.

We thoroughly approve the viewpoint of this paper. If its attitude were

the attitude of all Christians the fear in which even American Jews live would

vanish and many would turn to Christ at once.–Editor.

We live in an age in which anti-Semitism is a powerful force. In many lands it has resulted in the death of countless Jews. Even in our own land it shows itself in various guises from time to time. Even among those who call themselves fundamentalist Christians we find an occasional individual who spends a large portion of his time assailing the Jews.

Considering anti-Semitism, the first thing that fixes itself in my thinking is the fact that Christ was a Jew. When we open the New Testament to Matthew 1:1, we find the very first claim made concerning Christ is that he sprang from Abraham and was a descendant of David. The Bible does not say that Jesus just happened to be a Jew, but the Word emphasizes over and over again that he was a Jew.

When He was eight days old, He was taken to the Temple and circumcized as was every Jewish male. Therefore, we must remember that Jesus bore in His body the physical mark of the Jewish people. When He was twelve, He was dedicated at the Temple, again emphasizing that His Jewish race and Jewish faith were not incidental to Him, but that from His early training they were His vital human background. During His public ministry, as an adult man, the Bible teaches that while repudiating purely human Jewish traditions, His life carefully conformed to Old Testament standards. In fact, He lived in such a way that even the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah were fulfilled fully in Him. He was the Jew of all Jews.

In His public ministry we find Him dealing almost exclusively with the Jews. Hardly ever did He touch a Gentile life. The twelve disciples were all Jews. The earliest church consisted completely of Jews. It was Peter, the Jew, who spoke to the proselyte, Cornelius. It was the believing Jews, scattered abroad by the persecution following the death of Stephen, who took the Good News to Antioch of Syria where the first Gentile Christian Church was formed. The missionary who opened up the heathen Roman Empire to the preaching of the Gospel was the Jew, Paul.

And if we ask ourselves why it was that the Jews received such an important place in the early Christian Church, we must realize that it was not an afterthought in the plan of God, but that for two thousand years God had been working in history to bring forth this very fact. God called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees as the first Jew when the earth had completely apostasized from the living God. He promised him that the land should be his, that he should have numerous seed, but above all things, that all the world should be blessed through him. God called forth Abraham for this specific purpose, that through him the Messiah should come. The Jews for two thousand years, in the providence of God, were the cradle of the coming Redeemer.

As we examine the history of that two thousand years, we find God constantly reaffirming the promise of the coming Messiah to the Jews, so that not only was the promise made to Abraham but to Isaac and Jacob, and then it was narrowed down to the tribe of Judah, and then to the royal family–the family of David. As the years passed by it was also promised that He should be born in Bethlehem, that He should be a suffering Messiah, but also that He should rule in Palestine on behalf of His people, the Jews.

In these two thousand years in which the way was prepared for the coming of the Messiah, all the earth was in darkness but for the light that shone in Israel. While our ancestors worshipped we know not what, but certainly not the living God, the Jews were called God’s chosen people. They were separated from all other peoples of the earth. They were loved of God, a kingdom of priests. And even in their times of sin, God kept His hand upon them in order that a remnant should be His from which the Anointed One should come. Nay, Jesus was not a Jew by accident, nor as an incidental thing in the plan of God; if Jesus had not been born a Jew, according to both the Old Testament and the New, He could not have been our Saviour.

As for the present time in which we live, Romans 11:17 – 24 teaches that we Gentile believers should not boast against the Jews, the natural branches, for if God spared not the natural branches, we are told to take heed lest He spare not us. How clearly it is emphasized that if we who were wild branches by nature, were grafted contrary to nature into the good olive tree, much more shall the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree. And what does Ephesians 2:14 stress to us but that at Jesus’ death the middle wall of partition was broken down between Jew and Gentile–not that the Jew should be cast aside, but that we should have place with the Jew by faith. Abraham is now our father, and as we have put our faith in Christ, we are now spiritual Jews.

For the future the Word of God is explicit still. In Romans 11:25 it is made clear that the blindness which now in part is happened to Israel is not forever bu until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And then what is to come to pass? The 26th verse tells us that all Israel shall then be saved, when the Deliverer shall turn away all ungodliness from Jacob. The 29th verse is a verse that we love and use for ourselves, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” We may take it to ourselves because God never breaks any promise, but let us notice that the primary application in this place is to the Jew. God has promised great things for Israel as a nation, and this Word here tells us that He will bring them to pass. If He does not bring them to pass, then the gifts and calling of God are not without repentance. Clearly again, in Zechariah 12:10 it is stated that the day will come when the Jews “shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son.” In the day when Israel shall be saved they shall look upon Jesus and know that in His first coming He was their true Messiah. Again, it is not only the Old Testament which promises that the land of Palestine will once more belong to the Jews, but in the New Testament, in Luke 21:24, we are told that Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles only until the time of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled. Therefore, the Word tells us that the day will come when all Israel shall be saved, and the Jews will look upon Jesus as their true Messiah, and also that the Promised Land will be theirs once more. It is not only for the past, not only for the present, but also for the future, that we who are now Christ’s should love the Jew.

We cannot expect the Gentile, who merely uses the term “Christian” to designate the difference between Gentile and Jew, to love the Jew, but we who are Christians indeed, in that we have been saved through faith in Christ, should love His ancient people. Above all things in this regard we should keep constantly in our minds that our Lord Himself was a Jew–born a Jew, lived a Jew, died a Jew. Also, the great majority of those heroes of the faith I personally long to see when I go to be with that Lord are Jews. I want to see Abraham; and he is a Jew. And I want to see Isaac; he is a Jew. I want to see Jacob; and he is a Jew. I want to see Joseph; and he is a Jew. I want to see Moses; and he is a Jew. I want to see Joshua; and he is a Jew. I want to see Gideon and the other judges; and they are Jews. I want to see the prophets–Isaiah, Elijah, Elisha, and all the rest; and they are Jews. I want to see Daniel and Ezra and Nehemiah; they are Jews. I want to see John; and he is a Jew. I want to see James; and he is a Jew. I want to see Peter; and he is a Jew. I want to see Paul; and he is a Jew. These are only some of those I long to meet who bear the name of Jew. How could I hate the Jew?

And if this is not enough for those of us who are Bible-believing Christians, let us note the command of God in Romans 11:31. It tells us clearly what our attitude in this age should be to natural Israel. We should have mercy unto them. And, my friends, mercy and anti-Semitism in any form do not live in the same household. We cannot seek to win them individually to the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour if we despise them as a people in our hearts.

Not long ago an influential Jew in New York City, the Labor Editor of one of the New York papers, quoted to me a little poem which he said was widely repeated among the Jews of that city. As I have considered this rhyme, I have found it more than an interesting jingle. It speaks wisdom concerning the man who bears the name of Christian and yet is anti-Semitic in his thinking.

“How odd of God to choose the Jew,
But not so odd as those who choose
The Jewish God and hate the Jew.”

 

The Rev. Samuel G. Craig is noted as the founder of the Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Company, known to us today simply as P&R. He had served as assistant editor and then as editor of the Philadelphia based magazine The Presbyterian. When ousted from that post, he founded P&R, with Dr. J. Gresham Machen providing a portion of the needed start-up capital.

Prayer and Care for Young Converts
by the Rev. Samuel G. Craig

[The Presbyterian 99.44 (31 October 1929): 3-4.]

There should be much intercessory prayer, or prayer for others. Those who are Christians should pray for all classes and conditions of men. They should pray for the heathen, that they may be evangelized; for the wicked and criminal, that they may be led to turn from the evil of their ways; for the unconverted, that they may be turned to know and accept Christ as their Saviour; for the sick, that they may have the healing grace of God; for the sorrowing, that they may be comforted; for the aged, that they may have the sense of God’s presence; for the children and the young people, that they may become the true children of God.

But it occurred to Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, that he ought to pray for Christian people. He tells the converted followers of Christ at Colossae that he had been praying for them always since he “heard of their faith in Christ Jesus and their love to all the saints.” It would seem to some persons that these Christian people did not need to be prayed for, since they had given their hearts to Christ and were living so consistently and truly. It would seem that prayers had been answered for them since they had been brought into the kingdom and were obviously among the saved.

But Paul thought differently. He was not ready to take their names off his praying list. He was intending to go on praying for them. He told them that he was praying for them, and he told them what it was that he was praying for in their behalf. He said he was asking that they might “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness.” This was a beautiful program. It was a rich and abundant budget of blessing. With a heart of love for them, and desiring that they might become greatly useful in Christ’s service, he prayed for them that they might go on from grace to grace, and from strength to strength.

It is not enough that souls shall be converted. That is the very point, at which arriving, they should go on increasing in Christian knowledge and Christian usefulness.

It is not enough that a human babe should be born. It is at the time of birth a most helpless and dependent being. It must be nourished and nurtured, for weeks and months and years, before it can walk and talk, and be capable of physical support, and it must be instructed intellectually and morally, if it comes to its full estate. So, in a corresponding manner, must one who is born again, a spiritual babe in Christ, be nurtured and cared for, strengthened and instructed, if it comes into the useful and capable life to which God’s children should attain.

It is then most important that those who have just been converted shall have the most loving and nurturing care of Christian friends, who will pray for and with them, and help to lead them into the strong and Spirit-filled and well-informed life which Paul prayed might be the portion of the Colossian Christians.

It seems sadly evident, from the large number of members of our churches, placed, every year, on the awful retired, suspended rolls, that in some way there failed to be the proper, prayerful care for many who have been added to the church. A time which we call a “revival time” is often an occasion of great joy to Christian people, when they see many of those for whom they have been solicitous added to the membership of the church on confession of faith. It seems to these friends that prayers have been answered. They cease to watch and pray for these young converts. They take their names from their prayer lists. They cease to be intercessory for them. They do not continue to pray for them.

But the world does not cease its sinful attractions. The remnants of the sinful nature in the hearts of those young converts do not at once die out. These young Christians need to be cared for, trained, watched over, set to work, and, especially, to be prayed for with all loving zeal.

We have often thought that this Book of Colossians might well be the text-book in every church and every pulpit, after every revival, every communion, and every conversion. It is a great occasion when a child is born into a home. But it is the beginning of care that must and will know no intermitting through all the years of that child’s infancy and adolescence. It is a great occasion when any person is converted and added to a church. But it ought to be the very beginning of great care and great prayer for him on the part of pastors, elders, and all the Christian people.

If the whole church put into active spiritual practice the life and lessons taught by Paul in the Epistle to the Colossians, as to the care of young converts and, indeed, of all Christians, there would cease to be a large part of the sorrow and shame that are called for by the Suspended Rolls.

A Typical Military Sermon by a Presbyterian Chaplain
by Rev. David T. Myers

Several Tennents were Presbyterian members of the clergy at the time of the American Revolution. And several of them took time away from their civilian congregations to serve the Lord as Chaplains to the troops. Such a one was William McKay Tennent. We don’t know much about his early life other than the fact that he was born in 1741. He attended and graduated from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) in 1763. Married to a daughter of the Rev. John Rodgers, he was ordained to the gospel ministry in 1776.

Nothing is known of his ministry from that date in history, other than a sermon preached as a military chaplain in the American Revolution at Mount Independence, Sunday, on this day, October 20, 1776. Gathering together American soldiers from the regiments of Col. Motts and Col. Swift, who were waiting for the approach of British troops at Mount Independence, New York, Chaplain Tennent gave the following message: (and this post will only give relevant portions of it)

“(My text is) Nehemiah 4:14 (which says) Be not ye afraid of them: remember the LORD, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.

“Our text is delivered by good Nehemiah to the Jews when their proud, their haughty, and oppressive enemies were coming upon them for their destruction.

“Be not afraid of them is the voice of heaven, the voice of your bleeding country, the voice of the church, and the voice of all who are dear to you – with respect to the approaching foe.

“There is nothing but victory or an honorable death before you.

“Be not afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible.

“Call to remembrance His almighty name. Let the strength of Israel be your trust. Implore His aid and assistance. Under His banner go forth to battle. In His name and strength, meet the approaching foe. Determine to conquer or gloriously die.

“Be not afraid of them, for they are not invincible. Be not afraid of them, because they are engaged in a wicked and unrighteous cause, which the righteous Lord abhors. Be not afraid of them though their numbers should be superior to yours, because you are possessed of advantages which they have not. You have the ground and all the works you have made on it. Be not afraid of them, because the lack of courage will prove your ruin.

“Fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.

“May He cover your hearts in the day of battle, and crown our arms with victory, and the glory shall be given to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, world without end, Amen.”

Words to Live By:
Such words as these have been the challenge for many an evangelical and Reformed military chaplain in modern times to our troops in various conflicts. Let us pray for our chaplains as they minister the Word of God in perilous times to our brothers and sisters in the ranks.

For our next several posts, we will be reviewing a powerful address by Benjamin B. Warfield, titled THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THEOLOGICAL STUDENTS. Dr. Warfield, who was himself a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary (class of 1876), served as Professor of Didactic and Polemic Theology there from 1887 until his death in 1921. His address on the religious life of seminary students was originally delivered before the Autumn Conference at Princeton, on October 4, 1911. Today our post will look at an opening portion of the address, in which he discusses what is called the doctrine of vocation, and while his focus is on seminary students and their call to the ministry, this same doctrine of vocation is fully applicable to the rest of us, whatever our calling in life.

 

Perhaps the intimacy of the relation between the work of a theological student and his religious life will nevertheless bear some emphasizing. Of course you do not think religion and study incompatible. But it is barely possible that there may be some among you who think of them too much apart—who are inclined to set their studies off to one side, and their religious life off to the other side, and to fancy that what is given to the one is taken from the other. No mistake could be more gross. Religion does not take a man away from his work; it sends him to his work with an added quality of devotion. We sing—do we not?—

Teach me, my God and King,
In all things Thee to see—
And what I do in anything,
To do it as for Thee.

If done t’ obey Thy laws,
E’en servile labors shine,
Hallowed is toil, if this the cause,
The meanest work divine.

It is not just the way George Herbert wrote it. He put, perhaps, a sharper point on it. He reminds us that a man may look at his work as he looks at a pane of glass—either seeing nothing but the glass, or looking straight through the glass to the wide heavens beyond. And he tells us plainly that there is nothing so mean but that the great words, “for thy sake,” can glorify it:

A servant, with this clause,
Makes drudgery divine,
Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws,
Makes that, and the action, fine.

But the doctrine is the same, and it is the doctrine, the fundamental doctrine, of Protestant morality, from which the whole system of Christian ethics unfolds. It is the great doctrine of “vocation,” the doctrine, to wit, that the best service we can offer to God is just to do our duty—our plain, homely duty, whatever that may chance to be. The Middle Ages did not think so; they cut a cleft between the religious and the secular life, and counseled him who wished to be religious to turn his back on what they called “the world,” that is to say, not the wickedness that is in the world— “the world, the flesh and the devil,” as we say—but the work-a-day world, that congeries of occupations which forms the daily task of men and women, who perform their duty to themselves and their fellowmen. Protestantism put an end to all that. As Professor Doumergue eloquently puts it,

“Then Luther came, and, with still more consistency, Calvin, proclaiming the great idea of vocation, an idea and a word which are found in the languages of all the Protestant peoples—Beruf, Calling, Vocation—and which are lacking in the languages of the peoples of antiquity and of medieval culture. Vocation—it is the call of God, addressed to every man, whoever he may be, to lay upon him a particular work, no matter what. And the calls, and therefore also the called, stand on a complete equality with one another. The burgomaster is God’s burgomaster; the physician is God’s physician; the merchant is God’s merchant; the laborer is God’s laborer. Every vocation, liberal, as we call it, or manual, the humblest and the vilest in appearance as truly as the noblest and the most glorious, is of divine right.”

Talk of the divine right of kings! Here is the divine right of every workman, no one of whom needs to be ashamed, if only he is an honest and good workman. “Only laziness,” adds Professor Doumergue, “is ignoble, and while Romanism multiplies its mendicant orders, the Reformation banishes the idle from its towns.”

Now, as students of theology your vocation is to study theology; and to study it diligently, in accordance with the apostolic injunction: “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord.” It is precisely for this that you are students of theology; this is your “next duty,” and the neglect of duty is not a fruitful religious exercise. Dr. Charles Hodge, in his delightful auto-biographical notes, tells of Philip Lindsay, the most popular professor in the Princeton College of his day—a man sought by nearly every college in the Central States for its presidency—that “he told our class that we would find that one of the best preparations for death was a thorough knowledge of the Greek grammar.” “This,” comments Dr. Hodge, in his quaint fashion, “was his way of telling us that we ought to do our duty.” Certainly, every man who aspires to be a religious man must begin by doing his duty, his obvious duty, his daily task, the particular work which lies before him to do at this particular time and place. If this work happens to be studying, then his religious life depends on nothing more fundamentally than on just studying.

You might as well talk of a father who neglects his parental duties, of a son who fails in all the obligations of filial piety, of an artisan who systematically skimps his work and turns in a bad job, of a workman who is nothing better than an eye-servant, being religious men as of a student who does not study being a religious man. It cannot be: you cannot build up a religious life except you begin by performing faithfully your simple, daily duties. It is not the question whether you like these duties. You may think of your studies what you please. You may consider that you are singing precisely of them when you sing of “e’en servile labors,” and of “the meanest work.” But you must faithfully give yourselves to your studies, if you wish to be religious men. No religious character can be built up on the foundation of neglected duty.

Words to Live By:
Why complicate the matter? Dr. Warfield cuts through all the clutter and puts the simple truth before us: “You cannot build up a religious life except you begin by performing faithfully your simple, daily duties. . . No religious character can be built up on the foundation of neglected duty.” Here it might be important to note that when Dr. Warfield uses the word religious, we might instead use the word spiritual today. But the point stands, and should be taken to heart. More on this as Dr. Warfield continues, tomorrow.

For another examination of this message from B.B. Warfield, see the brief essay from 2014 by Dr. L. Michael Morales, chair of biblical studies at Reformation Bible College..

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Small Things Saved Can Have Real Significance

Rev. Moginot may have been something of a collector of tracts. When we went to gather up and preserve his papers, 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 approximately 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. So either the tract was a subsequent publication, or it was the prior publication. Either way, we have a rough dating for it. This message would have been composed 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 is reproduced below and can also 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIAN
AND ANTI-SEMITISM

by Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer

[reprinted from The Independent Board Bulletin, October 1943, pp. 16-19.]

—o—

THE INDEPENDENT BOARD BULLETIN
“I will make of thee a great nation.” Gen. 12:2.

We thoroughly approve the viewpoint of this paper. If its attitude were
the attitude of all Christians the fear in which even American Jews live would
vanish and many would turn to Christ at once.–Editor.

We live in an age in which anti-Semitism is a powerful force. In many lands it has resulted in the death of countless Jews. Even in our own land it shows itself in various guises from time to time. Even among those who call themselves fundamentalist Christians we find an occasional individual who spends a large portion of his time assailing the Jews.

Considering anti-Semitism, the first thing that fixes itself in my thinking is the fact that Christ was a Jew. When we open the New Testament to Matthew 1:1, we find the very first claim made concerning Christ is that he sprang from Abraham and was a descendant of David. The Bible does not say that Jesus just happened to be a Jew, but the Word emphasizes over and over again that he was a Jew.

When He was eight days old, He was taken to the Temple and circumcized as was every Jewish male. Therefore, we must remember that Jesus bore in His body the physical mark of the Jewish people. When He was twelve, He was dedicated at the Temple, again emphasizing that His Jewish race and Jewish faith were not incidental to Him, but that from His early training they were His vital human background. During His public ministry, as an adult man, the Bible teaches that while repudiating purely human Jewish traditions, His life carefully conformed to Old Testament standards. In fact, He lived in such a way that even the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah were fulfilled fully in Him. He was the Jew of all Jews.

In His public ministry we find Him dealing almost exclusively with the Jews. Hardly ever did He touch a Gentile life. The twelve disciples were all Jews. The earliest church consisted completely of Jews. It was Peter, the Jew, who spoke to the proselyte, Cornelius. It was the believing Jews, scattered abroad by the persecution following the death of Stephen, who took the Good News to Antioch of Syria where the first Gentile Christian Church was formed. The missionary who opened up the heathen Roman Empire to the preaching of the Gospel was the Jew, Paul.

And if we ask ourselves why it was that the Jews received such an important place in the early Christian Church, we must realize that it was not an afterthought in the plan of God, but that for two thousand years God had been working in history to bring forth this very fact. God called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees as the first Jew when the earth had completely apostasized from the living God. He promised him that the land should be his, that he should have numerous seed, but above all things, that all the world should be blessed through him. God called forth Abraham for this specific purpose, that through him the Messiah should come. The Jews for two thousand years, in the providence of God, were the cradle of the coming Redeemer.

As we examine the history of that two thousand years, we find God constantly reaffirming the promise of the coming Messiah to the Jews, so that not only was the promise made to Abraham but to Isaac and Jacob, and then it was narrowed down to the tribe of Judah, and then to the royal family–the family of David. As the years passed by it was also promised that He should be born in Bethlehem, that He should be a suffering Messiah, but also that He should rule in Palestine on behalf of His people, the Jews.

In these two thousand years in which the way was prepared for the coming of the Messiah, all the earth was in darkness but for the light that shone in Israel. While our ancestors worshipped we know not what, but certainly not the living God, the Jews were called God’s chosen people. They were separated from all other peoples of the earth. They were loved of God, a kingdom of priests. And even in their times of sin, God kept His hand upon them in order that a remnant should be His from which the Anointed One should come. Nay, Jesus was not a Jew by accident, nor as an incidental thing in the plan of God; if Jesus had not been born a Jew, according to both the Old Testament and the New, He could not have been our Saviour.

As for the present time in which we live, Romans 11:17 – 24 teaches that we Gentile believers should not boast against the Jews, the natural branches, for if God spared not the natural branches, we are told to take heed lest He spare not us. How clearly it is emphasized that if we who were wild branches by nature, were grafted contrary to nature into the good olive tree, much more shall the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree. And what does Ephesians 2:14 stress to us but that at Jesus’ death the middle wall of partition was broken down between Jew and Gentile–not that the Jew should be cast aside, but that we should have place with the Jew by faith. Abraham is now our father, and as we have put our faith in Christ, we are now spiritual Jews.

For the future the Word of God is explicit still. In Romans 11:25 it is made clear that the blindness which now in part is happened to Israel is not forever bu until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And then what is to come to pass? The 26th verse tells us that all Israel shall then be saved, when the Deliverer shall turn away all ungodliness from Jacob. The 29th verse is a verse that we love and use for ourselves, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” We may take it to ourselves because God never breaks any promise, but let us notice that the primary application in this place is to the Jew. God has promised great things for Israel as a nation, and this Word here tells us that He will bring them to pass. If He does not bring them to pass, then the gifts and calling of God are not without repentance. Clearly again, in Zechariah 12:10 it is stated that the day will come when the Jews “shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son.” In the day when Israel shall be saved they shall look upon Jesus and know that in His first coming He was their true Messiah. Again, it is not only the Old Testament which promises that the land of Palestine will once more belong to the Jews, but in the New Testament, in Luke 21:24, we are told that Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles only until the time of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled. Therefore, the Word tells us that the day will come when all Israel shall be saved, and the Jews will look upon Jesus as their true Messiah, and also that the Promised Land will be theirs once more. It is not only for the past, not only for the present, but also for the future, that we who are now Christ’s should love the Jew.

We cannot expect the Gentile, who merely uses the term “Christian” to designate the difference between Gentile and Jew, to love the Jew, but we who are Christians indeed, in that we have been saved through faith in Christ, should love His ancient people. Above all things in this regard we should keep constantly in our minds that our Lord Himself was a Jew—born a Jew, lived a Jew, died a Jew. Also, the great majority of those heroes of the faith I personally long to see when I go to be with that Lord are Jews. I want to see Abraham; and he is a Jew. And I want to see Isaac; he is a Jew. I want to see Jacob; and he is a Jew. I want to see Joseph; and he is a Jew. I want to see Moses; and he is a Jew. I want to see Joshua; and he is a Jew. I want to see Gideon and the other judges; and they are Jews. I want to see the prophets–Isaiah, Elijah, Elisha, and all the rest; and they are Jews. I want to see Daniel and Ezra and Nehemiah; they are Jews. I want to see John; and he is a Jew. I want to see James; and he is a Jew. I want to see Peter; and he is a Jew. I want to see Paul; and he is a Jew. These are only some of those I long to meet who bear the name of Jew. How could I hate the Jew?

And if this is not enough for those of us who are Bible-believing Christians, let us note the command of God in Romans 11:31. It tells us clearly what our attitude in this age should be to natural Israel. We should have mercy unto them. And, my friends, mercy and anti-Semitism in any form do not live in the same household. We cannot seek to win them individually to the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour if we despise them as a people in our hearts.

Not long ago an influential Jew in New York City, the Labor Editor of one of the New York papers, quoted to me a little poem which he said was widely repeated among the Jews of that city. As I have considered this rhyme, I have found it more than an interesting jingle. It speaks wisdom concerning the man who bears the name of Christian and yet is anti-Semitic in his thinking.

“How odd of God to choose the Jew,
But not so odd as those who choose
The Jewish God and hate the Jew.”

Today marks the 451st anniversary of the Massacre of French Huguenots at Fort Caroline on September 20, 1565. This representation of the event by Theodore de Brys (based on the work of French Huguenot painter, and survivor of the colony, Jacques le Moyne) shows the tragedy that occurred on the shores of Florida centuries ago. The Spanish commander had a plaque put up after he was finished with his bloody work explaining why he killed the colonists, which included men, women and children: “Not as Frenchmen, but as Lutherans [Protestants].”

One of those killed in the second phase of the massacre was Admiral Jean Ribault. His last words were to chant Psalm 132, changing the words slightly, “Lord remember the afflictions of your servant Jean. How he swore. . . not to give rest to his eyes, nor slumber to his eyelids, until he found a dwelling place for the mighty God of Jacob.”

May we remember the Huguenot sacrifice for Christ’s kingdom in America on this September day.

Today marks the 449th anniversary of the Massacre of French Huguenots at Fort Caroline on September 20, 1565. This representation of the event by Theodore de Brys (based on the work of French Huguenot painter, and survivor of the colony, Jacques le Moyne) shows the tragedy that occurred on the shores of Florida centuries ago. The Spanish commander had a plaque put up after he was finished with his bloody work explaining why he killed the colonists, which included men, women and children: "Not as Frenchmen, but as Lutherans [Protestants]."</p> <p>One of those killed in the second phase of the massacre was Admiral Jean Ribault. His last words were to chant Psalm 132, changing the words slightly, "Lord remember the afflictions of your servant Jean. How he swore. . . not to give rest to his eyes, nor slumber to his eyelids, until he found a dwelling place for the mighty God of Jacob." </p> <p>May we remember the Huguenot sacrifice for Christ's kingdom in America on this September day.

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He Seemed But a Little Boy

It was only a year before that Archibald Alexander had been taken under care of the Presbytery of Lexington, Virginia.  He was young and extremely small in stature.  In our day, such a move of spiritual oversight is usually granted by a Presbytery after it has heard your personal testimony, what God has done for you in Christ in your spiritual life, and an expression of your call to the ministry.  In the eighteenth century however, it included all  that, no doubt, and also a sermon preached over the presbytery.

On that occasion in 1890, the month of October, Archibald Alexander stood before the esteemed member of this presbytery.  The fact that a candidate before him had utterly failed to utter anything approaching a sermon, much less give any orderly address, didn’t seem to faze him.  He stood up, without any idea of what he was going to say, and delivered an exhortation which astonished everyone present.    In fact, after that occasion, he delivered “exhortation” after “exhortation” several times a week.

In the spring of 1791, Alexander was examined by the Presbytery of Lexington in his Latin and Greek knowledge.  He had prepared an exegesis upon an assigned topic, and read it to the brethren.  He delivered a speech to the Presbytery as well.  It was then moved that he be assigned a text to preach at the next meeting of the Lexington Presbytery.

At that time, on September 20, 1791, the time had arrived for his proclamation before his elders, both in age and office, on the assigned theme, which was Jeremiah 1:7, “Say not, I am a child.”   And indeed, he seemed but a little boy, but the effect of his trial sermon, quickly put that to rest.  There was authority in the proclamation of the Word of God.  It was no wonder then that at the next presbytery meeting in Winchester, he was licensed to preach the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Words to live by:  If you have an opportunity, attend a Presbytery meeting as a visitor soon, especially one in which a candidate is brought under care, or licensed for the gospel ministry, or ordained by one of our conservative presbyteries.  You will see the care which the church gives to its candidates, that they be sound in doctrine, proficient in the Westminster Standards, and practical in their understanding of their calling.  It will be a day well spent.

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Someone has asked a while back about the history of the PCA’s motto, the one you see every year at General Assembly, emblazoned on various banners around the room, “True to the Scriptures, the Reformed Faith and obedient to the Great Commission.”

Apparently that motto has gone through some changes over the years!

One of the earliest examples of the phrase, perhaps the first, is provided by the Rev. Don Patterson, as he announced the formation of the Steering Committee, in 1971, leading to the eventual formation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

Rev. Patterson said, in part,

“These groups have reached a consensus to accept the apparent inevitability of a division in the Presbyterian Church U.S. cause by the program of the radical ecumenists, and to MOVE NOW toward a continuing body of congregations and presbyteries loyal to the Scriptures and the Westminster Standards…”

In that same issue [Bulletin no. 22, September 1971] of The Concerned Presbyterian, the masthead motto changed from the previous motto,

“Dedicated to Returning the Presbyterian Church, U.S. to its Primary Mission—Winning the Unsaved for Christ and Nurturing all Believers in the Faith.”

into a new motto, reflecting Patterson’s words :

“Dedicated to the Formation of a Continuing Church True to God’s Word and Loyal to Historic  Presbyterian Doctrine and Polity.

Elsewhere in that same issue of the Bulletin, there was mention of “. . . Presbyterians who will be forming a continuing Church faithful to God’s Word and loyal to historic Presbyterian doctrine and polity.”

But surprisingly, even in the very first Bulletin issued by the Concerned Presbyterian group, in March of 1965, there were hints of this motto, as yet unformed. Announcing their organization they issued a statement of core concerns, and said this in summary :

“This is the avowed purpose to endeavor to return the control of our Church once more to those who believe that the Bible is the Word of God and the only infallible rule of faith and practice, that unswerving loyalty to the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms is vital and essential to the work of our Church, and that leading the unsaved to Christ and nurturing believers in the Faith should take precedence even over every other proper activity in the Church’s program.

Because Ruling Elder Ken Keyes was the editor of The Concerned Presbyterian Bulletin, he was probably the author of the lead article in that first issue and so it is probably safe to attribute the above statement, and thus the root form of the motto, to Mr. Keyes.

[If you want to do your own research, all of the Bulletins issued by the Concerned Presbyterian group can be viewed here. The URL for that first issue is http://www.pcahistory.org/findingaids/concerned/bulletin01.pdf]

A later variation of the motto, perhaps the more familiar version, appears in Paul Gilchrist’s last letter as Stated Clerk (1998), where he reported:

26th GENERAL ASSEMBLY IS HISTORY
Our hearts were blessed as we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the PCA at the General Assembly in St. Louis, Missouri. How good it was to hear how the Lord moved in the hearts of our founding fathers to establish a “continuing Presbyterian Church” that would be true to the Scriptures and to the Confession, and obedient to the Great Commission.”

Obviously we could probably track some variations on the motto through the years, from 1971 to present, but most of those variations probably appeared because someone was working from memory.  For one thing, the motto was never officially adopted, so far as I can determine. If I’m wrong about that, please let me know. For now, barring other input, I’m satisfied that the motto was first envisioned by RE Kenneth S. Keyes, and later refined and voiced by TE Donald Patterson.

Words to Live By:
And more than all that history, the important thing is that we should pray and strive to remain faithful to that covenant, enabled by the Holy Spirit, always seeking to be true to the Scriptures and to the Confession, and obedient to the Great Commission.

He Shouldn’t Have Been Elected
by Rev. David T. Myers

Given his political choice of party, which was Federalist, in the early nineteenth century in Delaware, he should have been a Methodist or an Episcopalian.  Those denominations usually won office to the position of governor in the state.  But John Clark was a Federalist Presbyterian, an oddity to be sure.  Obviously Someone higher than those in earthly roles was directing this race and subsequent win to the governor’s chair.

John Clark was born in 1761 on the family farm in New Bristol, north of Smyrna, Delaware.  He had limited schooling in his younger days, but made up for it with an insatiable desire for the knowledge in books.  He was “well read,” as the papers put it at that time.  In 1784, he married Sarah Corbit, a daughter herself of a governor of Delaware.  They had one daughter and possibly others, which history doesn’t name for us.

John Clark obviously had the gifts of leadership.  He was the Colonel of the Third Regiment of Militia for a year in 1807 – 1808.  He served as a sheriff, a state treasurer, a member of the State House, and then as governor of Delaware.  His accomplishments included improvements in educational opportunities.  His argument was that Delaware is a small state and not suitable for increased opportunities in business.  Better plans must to be made to develop the mental capabilities of its citizens.

After serving for his term as governor, he became involved in banking business in Smyrna, Delaware.  He died on August 14, 1821 and is buried in the cemetery of Duck Creek Presbyterian Church in Smyrna.

This contributor looked in vain for any quotable quotes on the significance of personal Christianity in the state or country, and his beliefs on those topics.  The only hope we have for a credible profession of faith is that his membership was in the Presbyterian church and his burial was in a Presbyterian cemetery.  Usually in those days, such inclusion would not have taken place unless there was a credible testimony in Christ as Lord and Savior.

Words to live by:  Both words and spiritual fruits  must be found in Christians to declare that redemption has taken place in a believer’s life.  They may have been found at the time with respect to John Clark, but were simply not recorded in the usual sources we  have available today.  Let it not be said of you though, that no expressions of Christianity are found lacking in your mouth.  Let there be no doubt that you are a professing and confessing Christian to all who observe what you say and do.

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