Here at the end of the year we are returning to post a few entries which were missed or overlooked along the way. Today we have Rev. Van Horn’s consideration of Question 69 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. But as we are short on time here this Saturday as this is being prepared, we trust you will bear with us as we simply post an image of each page, front and back of the bulletin supplement:—
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(“Exploring Avenues Of Acquaintance And Co-operation”)
By Chalmers W. Alexander
This is the fourth in the series of articles by Chalmers W. Alexander under the heading, “Exploring Avenues of Acquaintance And Co-operation.” This is an informative new series of articles written by one of the most able laymen in the Southern Presbyterian Church.
Some Popular Attitudes Toward The Auburn Affirmation Today
When the Auburn Affirmation is mentioned to-day, there are several conventional comments or replies which are usually made by those who are in sympathy with it. And these comments or replies, which more or less fall into a set pattern, are made by some Southern Presbyterian ministers as well as by the Auburn Affirmation sympathizers in the Northern Presbyterian Church.
Those who give these replies do so as though they seem to feel that the Auburn Affirmation can be dismissed with a “bon mot” and a shrug of the shoulders. Very often their comments on the subject, when given a moment’s consideration, appear to be explanations which really explain nothing at all.
“That Took Place 25 Years Ago”
One of the most popular remarks is this: “Why bring that up now? The Auburn Affirmation took place 25 years ago. All that is a dead issue today.” This terse reply has a ring of finality and conviction about it, and it has but one glaring defect: it is simply not in accord with all of the facts and the truth.
Far from being a dead issue today, the Auburn Affirmation is very much alive, and its influence is powerfully at work in the Northern Presbyterian Church. Many of the Affirmationists occupy high places of power in that denomination today and they have a voice in the council chambers where many far-reaching church decisions are made.
As long as the signers of the Affirmation do not retract their affirmation of its heresies, that document will continue to be a vital, Modernist force in the Northern Presbyterian Church.
It is true that the Auburn Affirmation was published 25 years ago. It is equally true that the Communist Manifesto was published by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels 101 years ago. But no sensible person today would contend that, because the Communist Manifesto was published in 1848, it is now a dead issue. Not until the Communist Manifesto is repudiated by the Communist Party, and not until all of those who subscribe to its teachings are disciplined, can any one claim that it is no longer a vital force in the thinking and in the beliefs of those who run the affairs of the Communist Party.
And not until the Auburn Affirmation is repudiated by the Northern Presbyterian Church, and not until its many signers are disciplined, can any sensible person contend that the Affirmation is no longer a vital force in the thinking and in the beliefs of those who hold places of great power and influence in that Church.
“It Was Not An Official Document”
Another comment which is often heard in defense of the Auburn Affirmation is: “It was not an official document of the Northern Presbyterian Church.” Now that remark is true in the sense that the Affirmation was never officially adopted by that Church.
But the Affirmation is thoroughly official as regards the almost 1,300 ministers who signed it. It clearly states in carefully written terms their views and beliefs regarding some of the great cardinal doctrines of the Christian Faith. The document in which those terms are contained reveal heresies of the most serious kind.
And the action of the Northern Presbyterian Church in approving many of the Auburn Affirmationists for places of high honor and great power and influence makes that denomination a party to the heresies contained in that document. To what extent the Northern Presbyterian Church has in this manner approved the Affirmation is widely known. Auburn Affirmationists have been put on many of the most important Standing Committees of the General Assembly; they have been placed on the faculties and the board of trustees of some of the theological seminaries; and they have even been elected to serve as Moderator of the General Assembly of that denomination.
“It Was A Constitutional—Not A Doctrinal Protest”
Very often it is stated that the Auburn Affirmation was in reality “a constitutional, not a doctrinal protest.”
But as that great Bible scholar, Dr. J. Gresham Machen, who taught for so many years at Princeton Theological Seminary, once remarked:
“Let it not be said that the Affirmation attacked the General Assembly’s pronouncement merely on technical grounds. The Affirmation does, indeed, raise the technical point that the General Assembly had no right to issue such a pronouncement. But it proceeds at once to something far more fundamental. It attacks the content of the pronouncement on its merits. It declares that not a single one of the great verities mentioned by the General Assembly of 1923 is essential; and it declares that all of the five verities are merely ‘theories’ (among other possible theories), which some may and some may not hold to be satisfactory explanations of something else.
“Thus according to the Auburn Affirmation a man may be a minister in the Presbyterian Church and yet deny the lull truthfulness of Scripture, the virgin birth, the substitutionary atonement to satisfy divine justice and reconcile us to God, the bodily resurrection, the miracles of our Lord.” To deny that these five doctrines (which are commonly referred to as the “Five Points”) are essential doctrines most clearly indicates that the protest of the Affirmationists involved doctrinal matters.
When the 1,082 Bible-believing ministers in the Northern Presbyterian Church, including three former Moderators of the General Assembly of that denomination, organized the Presbyterian League of Faith in 1931, they realized fully that the Auburn Affirmation was most assuredly a doctrinal protest, for one of the formally stated objects of the Presbyterian League of Faith was: “To oppose the attack made by the document called the Auburn Affirmation.”
Whatever else it might be considered as being, the Auburn Affirmation was definitely a doctrinal protest.
“It Is Not Contrary To The Constitution of The Presbyterian Church”
Some ecclesiastical legalists occasionally remark: “The Auburn Affirmation is not contrary to the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church.” What an amazing statement that is! To say that the doctrinal teachings of the Auburn Affirmation are not contrary to the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church is to claim that it is not contrary to that Constitution to deny that the infallibility of the Scriptures, the Virgin Birth, the bodily resurrection, the substitutionary atonement, and belief in Christ’s miracles are essential doctrines of the “Word of God and of our Standards.” How any Presbyterian, be he minister or untutored layman, could make such a statement is beyond human comprehension.
Even if it were true that the Auburn Affirmation was not contrary to the Constitution of the Northern Presbyterian Church, would the Southern Presbyterian Church want to be a part of a denomination whose Constitution does not condemn the kind of heresies contained in the Affirmation?
“Some Affirmationists Believed The ‘Five Points’”
Some of the Auburn Affirmationists and their friends point to the part of the Affirmation which contains this statement: “Some of us regard the particular theories contained in the deliverance of the General Assembly of 1923 as satisfactory explanations of these facts and doctrines.” But the serious issues involved in the Affirmation cannot be evaded by claiming that some of the Affirmationists personally believed the “Five Points.”
As Dr. Machen so clearly put it: “In the first place, no signer of the Affirmation, if he knew what he was doing when he signed the document, can believe in the first of the five verities—the full truthfulness of Scripture — for that is definitely attacked in the name of all the signers in the earlier part of the Affirmation.
“In the second place, if he himself accepts this or that one of the five verities, he does so, according to the terms of the Affirmation, only in the sense that he is accepting it as one theory among other possible theories in explanation of something else. Thus, according to the Affirmation, a man may say, ‘I believe myself that our Lord Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary’; but he also says, according to the Affirmation: ‘I hold that that view, that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary,’ is only one of the theories that the Scripture allows a man to hold in explanation of the incarnation, and I am perfectly willing to receive into the ministry of the Church a man who holds to some theory of the incarnation which does not affirm that ‘our Lord Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary,’ which holds, for example, that Jesus was the son, by ordinary generation, of Joseph and Mary.’
“What a morass we find ourselves in here! It is a well-known morass, the morass of that destructive Modernism which is engulfing our Presbyterian Church, as it already has engulfed so many other Churches, to the ruin of countless souls.” It should be evident that the belief in the “Five Points” cannot be very deep on the part of any Presbyterian minister who complacently contemplates leaving those five doctrines out of the Christian message because he considers them as being really non-essential.
The Attitude Of Some Southern Presbyterian Ministers
There is one attitude which has been very surprising when the Auburn Affirmation is mentioned at times, and that is the attitude shown by some of the young ministers in the Southern Presbyterian Church. By an indulgent smile, and a pleasant shrug of the shoulders, they give the impression that any serious consideration of the Auburn Affirmation by intelligent people today is really quite amusing.
The attitude of these young ministers toward the Affirmation, an attitude which at times almost amounts to flippancy, is one of several reasons why a large company throughout our denomination believes that it is now time to overhaul completely some of our theological seminaries where these young ministers were trained.
What a contrast with their attitude toward the Auburn Affirmation was the attitude of that careful Presbyterian scholar and veteran defender of the Faith, Dr. William M. McPheeters! Dr. McPheeters taught at our Columbia Theological Seminary for some 47 years, prior to his death in 1935. And concerning the Auburn Affirmation he wrote: “… the oftener I read it the more deeply I am convinced that its conception of Christian liberty in connection with subscription to the system of doctrine set forth in the Standards of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. is intellectually absurd, historically false, ethically detestable and pernicious, and religiously blasphemous.”
What shall every Southern Presbyterian, as a Bible-believing Christian who repudiates completely the views contained in the Auburn Affirmation and who wishes to remain separated from the signers of the heretical Auburn Affirmation, say with regard to the proposed union with the heresy-tainted Northern Presbyterian Church?
Thou Shalt Say, No!
We’re putting the calendar aside for today, in view of the current persecution of our brothers and sisters in China. If you’ve not kept up with the situation there, we invite you to above all else read the statement by Pastor Wang Yi titled “My Declaration of Faithful Disobedience,” which can be found on the web site of PCA pastor and teacher, Steve Childers, here. Rev. Childers provided this introduction to Pastor Yi’s statement:
After being arrested and detained by Chinese police for 2 days, Wang Yi, Chinese pastor, renowned human rights advocate, and church movement leader just released this statement below called “My Declaration of Faithful Disobedience.” Under President Xi Jinping, China’s increasing crackdown on religious freedom is escalating to frightening levels. What can you do?: 1) Pray, 2) Stay Informed-begin by reading his powerful statement [see the above link], 3) Protest this gross injustice by letting your voice be known to any and all you think could help stop it. And 4) Remember, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
But to our post today, this current persecution reminds us of a remarkable letter found among the correspondence in the Robert Dick Wilson Manuscript Collection here at the PCA Historical Center, written by Dr. H. G. C. Hallock. Henry Galloway Comingo Hallock, was born on 31 March 1870, and prepared for ministry at the Princeton Theological Seminary, 1893-1896. Upon graduation he immediately took a post as a PCUSA missionary to China. In 1905 he withdrew to independent ministry and teaching, serving later as Professor of Homiletics in the department of theology at the University of China, Chenju, Shanghai, 1925-1927. For a time he had also been connected with the National Tract Society for China. Among some Princeton alumni information, there is indication that he remained in China up until at least June of 1942. Returning to the United States, his death came at last on 16 January 1951.
The letter that follows is a powerful testimony from the field of conflict. It is a revealing letter, telling the truth about evil, and a hopeful letter, speaking the truth about our Lord who sovereignly prevails over evil, purifying His Church, raising up a strong testimony to His grace and glory. Today, Rev. Hallock’s “prophecy” of China’s future rings true.
C.P.O.Box No. 1234, Shanghai, China, March 22, 1927.
I have written several times about our Bible School and of our work among its students and about our students’ work among the children and with the people in the country villages, I hope you are interested and that your heart has prompted you to help. There has not been time for a reply from you, as it takes a month each way for letters to go and come; but let me write again and tell you more. We are having very serious troubles in China. Fighting and unrest are all about us. I hear cannon booming and see many houses burning in Shanghai now as I write. Tho’ our Bible School is in the danger zone yet we have not been molested in the least. The militarists have closed a secular school of 600 pupils near us, as the generals feared the students were cutting the telegraph wires, R.R. tracks, and doing other mischief; but our Bible School goes on without interference. We are very glad and thankful to our Heavenly Father. We are grateful also that you have been praying for us.
Pray much also for China. An idea is abroad that a spirit of nationalism is among the people. This is largely a mistake. I do wish there were a spirit of real nationalism abroad, the leaders seeking the real good of their country and people; but I am sorry it is not so. The people are driven about in fear—like a flock of sheep pursued by mad— dogs or wolves—by men in the pay of Bolshevists. Lest these beasts of men be moved by pity for their own people the Bolshevists enlist perfect strangers from a distance to carry on propaganda, terrorize people, stir up strikes and shoot those too poor to strike, initiating a reign of terror, making the workers afraid to work—lest they be killed for working or their wives and children be killed while they work. As soon as ample protection is provided the people are very glad to flock back to work. The so-called Nationalists, led by the Bolshevists, say they are seeking the good of the people; but wherever they go they rob and kill the people and smash up schools, hospitals, churches and Chinese temples. You friends in good old America don’t want them and can largely keep the Bolshevists out; but the Chinese are not able to do so, so these fiends carry on with a high hand. There seems to be no limit to their deviltries. They cry, “Down with imperialists! Give the people freedom!” but they themselves are tyrannic imperialists, and crush freedom. They are domineering overlords making a comparatively free people slaves. Freedom is impossible where they come. Like fierce, wild animals they are over-running the country, and the people, poor and rich alike, are fleeing for their lives.
But amid the deep gloom there appears a bright cloud still. God will overrule it all to His glory—is doing so. The church is being tried as by fire. The true Christians will remain true—will become more “loyal and true—and the dross will be removed. The “rice Christians” and all who are not true will desert and so the church will be refined. The church needs purging and it is being purged “with a vengeance.” And then, too, the scattered loyal Christians, as in the times of the Acts of the Apostles, are preaching the Gospel wherever they flee. The Bolshevists try to beat out the fire; but they only scatter the sparks. The flames spring up in numbers of unthinkable places. The missionaries have had to leave their stations; but it casts their Chinese Christians wholly into the loving arms of the dear Lord where they renew their strength, running and not weary, walking and not faint. Now is the time to bear the Christians up in the arms of prayer as you have never done before. Pray much, too, for the native preachers and Bible women, and also for the young men in our Bible School. They are staying firm in the school tho’ dangers are all around. — Shanghai just captured. Many Chinese killed. I can’t well flee. God guards. P.O. is closed. If this arrives you’ll know all’s well.
Yours in Christ’s glad service,
(Rev.) H. G. C. Hallock.
Words to Live By:
Learn to pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ, not just in your own church or denomination, but around the world. Pray that they would grow in the grace and knowledge of our Savior, that they would stand strong in their proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that they would have the freedom to assemble in corporate worship.
The following obituary was published in The Presbyterian Quarterly, April 1899 (Volume 13, Number 2), pages 354-355:
John Bailey Adger, D.D., died in Pendleton, South Carolina, on the 3d of January, 1899, in the 89th year of his age.
Dr. Adger was born of Scotch-Irish parentage in Charleston, S.C., December 13, 1810. He graduated when 18 years of age at Union College, Schenectady, N.Y., and at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1833, of which, at the time of his death, he had been for some time the senior surviving alumnus. Shortly after his ordination by the Charleston Union Presbytery in 1834, he went as a missionary to the Armenians, under appointment of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and served in this work for twelve years at Constantinople and Smyrna, until the failure of his eyes and other circumstances compelled his withdrawal from the foreign field. During his missionary service he translated into Armenian the New Testament, Pilgrim’s Progress, the Shorter Catechism, and other books, which translations are still in use among that people.
After his return home he engaged in work among the negro slaves in his own native city. A church, connected with the Independent Presbyterian Synod, whose house of worship stands hard by his late residence in Pendleton, is appropriately named for him, “The Adger Memorial Church.”
Upon the withdrawal, in 1856, of Dr. Palmer from the Chair of Ecclesiastical History and Church Polity in the Columbia Theological Seminary, Dr. Adger was elected his successor, and filled that position with great zeal and ability for seventeen years. After his retirement in 1874, although he had then reached the age of 64, he entered with energy and vigor upon the pastoral work in his own Presbytery of South Carolina, which he continued until, having attained the age of 83, he was reluctantly constrained, by physical infirmities, to give up the public preaching of the Gospel.
At this advanced age, and amid these hindering infirmities, with courage and energy, he undertook what was perhaps the greatest task of his life, the writing of a large book, which he called “My Life and Times.” His life had been a long one, the times through which he had passed, eventful in Church and State; and he undertook to write a history and discussion of the various questions he had to meet and help to solve. With the assistance of a devoted daughter, and such other help as he could procure, he gathered up the facts, studied out the questions, and dictated chapter after chapter of his book. His mind, still clear and vigorous, and his body wonderfully strong and active, he labored systematically and diligently for several years at this work. And almost as soon as the last chapter was finished, the last page written, and the valiant servant of God had laid down his fruitful pen, the Master called him to the everlasting rest.
Mass Evangelism Crusades of an Astonishing Type
by Rev. David T. Myers
Some years ago we considered the life and pastoral ministry of J. Wilbur Chapman, who was ordained on April 13, 1881 (here). Following his pastorate in five churches, two of which were Presbyterian, we look now at his appointment by the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America to the position of General Secretary of Evangelism on December 12, 1902. Immediately upon his appointment, he was placed as an overseer of 51 evangelists in 470 cities across the nation. But as important as this post was, it was the mass evangelism techniques that he authored that became astonishing instruments which drew thousands to hear the Gospel, and we can only pray these occasions were used of the Holy Spirit to win the lost to Christ.
Chapman would go into a city like Pittsburgh or Philadelphia in Pennsylvania for a three to four-week evangelistic campaign. He would then break down the cities into zones, with evangelists and song teams over each one of the zones. Then there would be simultaneous meetings every night with those teams in the zones of the cities. Pittsburgh in 1904 was divided into nine zones. Philadelphia had forty-two sections divided into it. The conversions numbered in the thousands. At one of them in North Carolina, the Rev. David Otis Fuller was converted.
Chapman, in seeing the approaching liberalism of his own denomination, set the bar high with respect to belief in the Bible. He let go any of his evangelists who did not believe in the inerrancy of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.
The Presbyterian evangelist took this technique “on the road” as he ministered to eight cities in Australia, six cities in China, Korea, and Japan. By 1910, the evangelistic technique began to lose favor with the masses, and it was laid aside.
J. Wilbur Chapman became the moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in 1918. He died in that same year, but we remember him by his great hymn of “One Day” and “Jesus, What a Friend For Sinners” today in our churches.
Words to live by: In the early days of our twentieth century, it appears there was much spiritual fruit from the evangelistic efforts of J. Wilbur Chapman. It is a shame that we have forgotten his name and his efforts to bring souls to Christ. We need evangelists today who will reach out with the gospel of Jesus Christ to lost men and women everywhere in our cities. Who will join me in praying that God will send a great revival of our church members in Presbyterian churches across this land? Who will join with me that God’s Spirit will bring another great spiritual awakening of the lost, driving them to embrace Jesus Christ as He is offered in the gospel?
A Sermon Preached on a National Observance
by Rev. David T. Myers
The Congress of the nation had appointed this day in 1783 as a Day of Thanksgiving, because Peace has been restored, Independence had been established, with rights and Privileges Enjoyed. One of the ministers who took the opportunity to preach a sermon was George Duffield, the pastor of the Third Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia.
Pastor Duffield was quite a minister. Graduating from the College of New Jersey, later Princeton, Rev. Duffield began his ministry in Big Spring, Carlisle, and Monaghan, Pennsylvania. During those years, he had cause to lead his members against the local Indian tribes who were causing disturbance among his members and their families. Moving his ministry to Philadelphia and the Third Presbyterian congregation of that denomination, his pastorate there began in great controversy. A decided member of New Light Presbyterians, discussed elsewhere on these posts, a portion of the congregation locked the doors on his first Sunday. He crawled in through a window and held worship anyhow. When a British magistrate appeared and ordered the congregation dispersal, the magistrate was physically ejected for disturbing worship. Rev Duffield and some of his supporters were then jailed for causing a riot! Talk about a first day in the pulpit!
When the American Revolution began, Duffield joined the fight for independence both in word and deed. He was a chaplain of the Congress. He was also marked by the British with a price put on him. So it must have been a sweet worship time when on December 11, 1783, he celebrated the restoration of peace and a new country.
The sermon, which is too long to include here, is filled with the mention of the Great Author of Liberty as the One who brought about this new country named America. Consider one of his paragraphs at the close of his sermon. He said,
“Who can recollect the critical night of retreat from Long Island; the scene of retiring from New York; the day of Brandy-wine; or the endangered situation of the arms of America, on Trenton’s ever memorable night; and not be constrained to say, ‘if it had not been the Lord, who was on our side, our enemy would have swallowed us up.’ But blessed be His name, our help was found in Him, who made the heavens and the earth. It was God, who blasted the secret design of enemies and traitors against us. And by an admirable interposition, brought forth into light, the dark and deep-stained villainy of an (Benedict) Arnold, cursed and detested of God and men. And converted our repeated misfortunes and even mistakes, into singular mercies, and peculiar advantage, that, not more manifest was his voice on Sinai; or his hand, in his affairs of his Israel of old; than we have seen the wisdom, the power, and the goodness of our God; than we have seen the wisdom, the power, and the goodness of our God, displayed through the whole of our arduous contest, from its earliest period down: And may, with emphatic propriety, say, it is he the Almighty God, has accomplished the whole, in every part; and by his kind care, and omnipotent arm, has wrought out our deliverance; cast forth our enemy, bestowed upon us a wide extended, fruitful country; and blessed us with a safe and honorable peace.” (p. 15)
Words to Live By:
The Presbyterian pastor was not afraid to bestow upon the God of the Bible the singular description of the Author of Liberty. He does bring national liberty, for which we praise His name. But our gratitude is more specifically given in providing spiritual liberty from sin and Satan. Far better to possess that, by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ Jesus alone.
Worship and War Described our Featured Presbyterian Today
by Rev. David T. Myers
Patriotism and Presbyterianism went together in the early days of our country. Mix in Scottish stock and Irish heritage, the stage was set for liberty and justice for all. And so, George Davidson, like so many others around the early to mid seventeen hundreds, left Scotland and Ulster to travel via ship to the new shores of America, and specifically Pennsylvania, around Lancaster County. In this new land, William Davidson, George’s son and the focus of this post, was born in 1746. The family, after a while, was urged to migrate to the frontier so as to provide a buffer against the French and Indian tribes. Traveling down the Great Wagon Road, they arrived in North Carolina, and set up a tavern, near this colonial “highway.” Along with others of the same faith, Centre Presbyterian Church was established for their worship. For young William Davidson, the Bible and Calvinism was his home religion.
School for the young boy likely took place by classical education located at Sagaw Creek Presbyterian Church. The pastor of that historic church was none other than Alexander Craighead, whose earlier ministry has been dealt with in these pages.
Young Willliam at age 13 lost his father in death in 1759 or 1760, to be reared by a forty year old friend John Brevard, among others. This author mentions his name, due to future references of his place in William’s life.
In his late teens, William escorted the governor of North Carolina into Cherokee country to settle a land dispute. They were successful in doing so, and William returned a veteran to his home.
On December 10, 1767, twenty-one year old William was given permission to marry Mary Brevard, daughter of John Brevard, his former guardian. Coming from French Huguenot stock, she proved to be the perfect bride for this young future American General in the Continental Army. Later. Despite his growing family, William joined the Revolutionary forces in North Carolina. He would serve there and up north, fighting in Germantown, Pennsylvania and later experiencing the hardships of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. A full list of his battles are not possible in this short post, but they were many, and his rise in rank, until he became a General.
It was at Cowan’s Ford in North Carolina that he was killed in battle on February 1, 1781. His wife was left alone to care of their six children. She remarried after a time and settled in Tennessee. William is remembered by a town and a county and a Presbyterian college, namely Davidson College which is named after this American hero.
Words to Live By:
Scripture reminds us that it is appointed for each of us to die. Certainly, it was in God’s wise and holy providence to take away this Christian Presbyterian Revolutionary officer to Himself at a young age of 35. Let us Christian Presbyterians alive now serve Him with all of our strength in whatever calling He has led us into this life, and leave the time of our departure from this earth to Him. Our God doesn’t make mistakes.
We continue to “catch up” on some of the posts by Dr. Van Horn which were missed over the last many months. Appreciative of these contributions by the late Dr. Van Horn, nonetheless in the new year we will be moving on to other material for our Sunday catechism lessons. More about that in a future post.
STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn
Q. 96 What is the Lord’s Supper?
A. The Lord’s supper is a sacrament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to Christ’s appointment, his death is showed forth; and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal or carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace.
Scripture References: Matthew 26:26-27; Luke 22: 19-20; I Corinthians 11:26; I Corinthians 10:16; Ephesians 5:25-27.
1. When did our Lord institute this sacrament?
A. He instituted it in the same night in which He was betrayed. (I Cor. 11:23).
2. What are the outward elements of the Lord’s supper and what do they signify?
A. The outward elements are the bread which signifies the body of Christ, and wine which signifies the blood of Christ.
3. Who should administer this sacrament?
A. Even as Christ first administered it, so should it be administered now by ministers who have been called to that holy office.
4. When Christ said, “This is my body” in the institution of this sacrament, did He mean his real body?
A. No. He did not mean for us to take His words literally any more than we take the words “That rock was Christ” literally. In addition, note that Paul states it is the bread we eat (I Cor. 11:26), not the body of Christ.
5. How do the bread and wine represent the body and blood of Christ?
A. There is a representation in that even as the food itself would nourish and strengthen the body so spiritually speaking we have our souls nourished and strengthened by partaking in obedience.
6. What are the three main views regarding the Lord’s supper?
A. The Roman Catholic view (transubstantiation) states that there is a change of the bread and wine into the real body and blood of Christ. The Lutheran view (consubstantiation) conceives of the presence of Christ in a physical sense though the elements continue to look and taste like bread and wine. The Reformed view is the spiritual presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. It is a seal and pledge of what God does for believers.
A CHILD OF THE COVENANT
The term used in our title is a neglected heritage. Today, in Presbyterian churches, one hardly hears the term. The very fact that it is not emphasized surely is indicative of the terrible charge to be laid at the feet of believing parents, that of being unfaithful to their promises to God!
In days gone by there was an emphasis on the doctrine of the covenant and especially as it referred to children of believers. The Bible teaches that God promises to believing parents His grace will be active on the part of their children. However, this grace is dependent on the parents faithfully performing their baptismal vows. The Bible teaches the child of the covenant has an inheritance to receive. What a wonderful and glorious prospect!
It is true that there is a grave danger in the misuse of this doctrine. In the past there have been those who wrongly taught that the inheritance involved was that of salvation. Such a teaching is contrary to the Word of God for one never inherits salvation. The children of the covenant simply inherit the promises of God. It is not an automatic but a conditional promise. God will keep His promises if the believing parent (or parents) will keep his (or their) promises.
The child of the covenant inherits the assurance that God’s favor is directed toward him because he is a child of a believing parent (or parents). The child of the covenant inherits the privilege of the church and is a recipient of the means of grace. The child of the covenant is a privileged child and is surely a child God desires to save.
The difficulty in this area is that so many children of the covenant are motivated by unfaithful parents to desire the privileges without fulfilling the responsibilities. The true child of the covenant is one who is brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, who comes to saving faith and who gives proof of that saving faith with fruits of the Spirit in his life.
Are you a child of the covenant? If so, may God help you to seek Him with all your heart and soul and mind!
Published by The Shield and Sword, Inc.
Vol. 6, No. 12 (December 1967)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, editor.
Continuing with our Saturday series by ruling elder Chalmers W. Alexander, as first published in 1949:
(“Exploring Avenues Of Acquaintance And Co-operation”)
By Chalmers W. Alexander
The Influence Of The Auburn Affirmationists Today
This is the third in the series of articles by Chalmers W. Alexander under the heading, “Exploring Avenues of Acquaintance And Co-operation.” This is an informative new series of articles written by one of the most able laymen in the Southern Presbyterian Church.
The heretical Auburn Affirmation, bearing the names of almost 1,300 ordained ministers in the Northern Presbyterian Church, was published in 1924.
Since that time the Auburn Affirmation signers and their theological fellow-travelers have got hold of much of the machinery which controls the affairs of the Northern Presbyterian Church.
Now what have the Auburn Affirmationists and the other Modernists been doing in that denomination in recent years? Have there been any recent evidences of their far-reaching influence?
You do not have to look very far to find the answer to those questions.
The “New Curriculum”
In 1948 the Northern Presbyterian Church inaugurated a new program of religious instruction to be used in the Sunday Schools of that denomination. This new educational program, known as the “New Curriculum,” is the result of the work of a committee appointed to undertake the task by that denomination’s Board of Christian Education (which has had among its members, from time to time, various signers of the Auburn Affirmation).
A clear and detailed analysis of the contents of the “New Curriculum” was given recently by one of America’s outstanding Old Testament scholars, Dr. Oswald T. Allis, Ph.D., who taught for some twenty years at Princeton Theological Seminary. Dr. Allis, himself a member of the Northern Presbyterian Church, says, among other things:
“The New Curriculum clearly does not seek to impress on the minds of those who are to use it the fact that the Bible ‘being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages’ is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice (see Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter I, Sec. 8). On the contrary, the aim seems to be to convince the reader by both direct and indirect methods, that the doctrine of the plenary (verbal) inspiration of the Holy Scriptures is no longer tenable. Such is the view of the editor-in-chief, and it is apparently shared by his collaborators . . .
“If you have been using the International Uniform Lessons, continue to use them for the present and demand that they or any substitute for them, such as the New Curriculum aims to provide, be truly Bible-centered, and that the device of teaching modern Liberalism by the story-book method be definitely abandoned . . .
“It is pointed out in the prospectus to the New Curriculum that the subject for study during the entire second year will be ‘The Bible.’ This announcement would be most welcome, were it not for the fact that it at once raises the vital question. How will this great subject be presented? Will this ‘Bible’ be the Bible of Protestant Christendom, the Bible of the Presbyterian Church which, in its Confession of Faith, defines it as consisting of 66 books which make up the Canon of Holy Scripture and are the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice? Or, will it be the Bible of the critics, the Bible of so-called Modern Scholarship?
“We believe that the answer to this question is given with sufficient clearness in the materials of the New Curriculum which are now available . . .The article on ‘Introduction to the Old Testament’ was supplied by Professor Rowley. The view presented is in general that of the so-called higher criticism . . .
“Such ‘straws’ as these seem to make it rather plain that there is little if any basis for the hope that the New Curriculum will gradually become conservative and advocate positions which are acceptable to the Conservatives who are expected, in loyalty to the Boards of their Church, to use it … But the indications seem clearly to be that unless a radical change is demanded and insisted upon by the Conservatives who we believe still constitute a majority in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., the New Curriculum in its second year will be more decidedly and outspokenly modernistic and higher critical than in its first.”
In the May 1949 issue of Christianity Today, one of the sound church papers in the Northern Presbyterian Church, its Editor remarked: “A Presbyterian minister of our acquaintance wrote to the editor-in-chief of the New Curriculum expressing general agreement with the criticisms of it made by Dr. Allis in a ‘Critique,’ which was widely circulated throughout the Church last summer, and voicing the hope that the features objected to might be eliminated. He received a reply from which we quote the following: ‘I am sorry that I cannot promise any possibility that the curriculum will develop into closer accord with Dr. Allis’ viewpoint.’ This reply indicates how groundless is the hope of reform-from-within of the New Curriculum.”
(Dr. Allis’ detailed analysis of the “New Curriculum” first appeared in The Sunday School Times. It is now available in the form of a pamphlet entitled ‘A Critique of the New Curriculum.” It can be ordered from the Sunday School Times Publishing Co., 325 N. 13th Street, Philadelphia 5, Pa., or from The Southern Presbyterian Journal, and the cost is 15c per copy.)
The Westminster Study Edition Of The Holy Bible
In addition to their influence on the Sunday School literature which is to be taught to the children and adults in the Sunday Schools and the Bible classes of the Northern Presbyterian Church, the Auburn Affirmationists and the other Modernists in that denomination have definitely had an influence on the new Westminster Study Edition of the Holy Bible.
This Westminster Study Edition, commonly called the “Presbyterian Bible,” was published in 1948 by the Westminster Press, a subsidiary of the Board of Christian Education of the Northern Presbyterian Church (which Board has had among its members, from time to time, various signers of the Auburn Affirmation).
The Editor of Christianity Today wrote in the May 1949 issue of that paper: “The full significance of this Study Edition, at least for the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., will not be clear unless it is noted that one of its chief editors is Dr. James D. Smart, editor-in-chief of the New Curriculum, and that it has been announced that the subject for study in the New Curriculum during the entire second year will be ‘The Bible.’ It seems certain, therefore, that Sunday School scholars in said Church, insofar as it uses the New Curriculum, will be taught that the Bible is a faulty book that abounds in conflicting and even in flatly contradictory statements. It is equally important to note an this connection that its chief editors include three professors from Princeton Seminary, three from MoCormick Seminary, one from Louisville Seminary (Northern), and one from San Francisco Seminary—a fact that more than suggests that the view of the Bible taught in this Study Edition is being inculcated in the institutions training the great majority of the future ministers of said Church (the Northern Presbyterian Church)”.
Dr. Allis’ Opinion Of The Westminster Bible
And Dr. Allis, in commenting on the tenor of the editorial comments and explanations contained in this edition of the Holy Bible, has remarked: “. . . the viewpoint of the Westminster Study Edition is definitely ‘critical.’ It is an attempt to present in popular form and for the average reader the more or less radical conclusions of the higher critics. Those who are at all familiar with the critical theories which have been advanced with ever increasing confidence and dogmatism, first in Germany, then in England, and finally in this country, during the last half century and more, will probably find little that is new or startling in this volume. But for those who are not so well-informed, a few examples will suffice to establish this obvious fact and to indicate its vast significance for the student and teacher of the Bible.
“The critics have been insisting with ever increasing dogmatism for nearly a century, that the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) is composed of at least four major documents (J, E, D, P), that the earliest of these documents dates from about the time of Elijah, and that the composite work was not completed until about 400 B.C.
This view is definitely accepted by the editors, despite the fact that it makes it difficult, if not impossible, to regard any part of the Pentateuch as really dependable history . . .
“According to the editors ‘it is questionable whether the story of Adam and Eve was ever intended to be simply a literal and factual account of what two people said and did at a particular time in history . . .
“In the New Testament we observe the same critical attitude on the part of the editors as in the Old. The genuineness of four of the books is more or less emphatically denied: of I and II Timothy and Titus, all of which claim to be by Paul, and of II Peter, which claims to be by Peter. The generally accepted view that James was written by the Brother of the Lord is rejected and it is regarded as possible that ‘late in the first century some unknown Jewish Christian composed this book of exhortation in the style of the wisdom literature of the Old Testament’ . . .
Dr. Allis’ Conclusion
“The aim of this examination of the Westminster Study Edition of the Holy Bible has been to make clear to the reader the vitally important difference between the Biblical and the Critical attitudes toward the Bible, and to establish the fact that the Study Edition is definitely critical, at times even radically so. A number of examples have been given. The number might easily be increased. But the important point in estimating the value of the Study Edition is not the question as to how much of the Bible the editors believe and how much they reject, how much they take in its clear and obvious sense and how much they interpret to mean something quite different from what it definitely states.
“The most important point is that they adopt an attitude to the Bible which cannot fail to undermine or destroy its authority and trustworthiness. An intelligent reader does not need to be told very many times that he is not to believe what the Bible plainly states, in order to get the impression that, if the editors are right, there is little or nothing in the Bible that he can be absolutely sure of.
“The editors are greatly concerned because of the widely prevalent ignorance of the Bible. Do they really believe that the way to get people interested in studying the Bible is to tell them again and again that they must not believe what it says? Do they really expect intelligent people to believe that an ancient Book which must be drastically edited, expurgated, and reconstructed in order to make it acceptable to its modern critics really speaks or can speak with the authority of God? It is hard to see how they can believe this. But apparently they do . . .
“Nine of the eleven editors of the Study Edition are ministers in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (the Northern Presbyterian Church). One of the nine is editor-in-chief of the New Curriculum . . .
“The question Presbyterians everywhere must face is whether they themselves believe that by any stretch of the imagination a teaching which does not hesitate to contradict the Bible and to empty precious passages of their most precious meaning can be called loyal to the Bible and to the Standards of our beloved Church; and whether they are willing to accept and use materials which do this. The issue is clear-cut. The Board of Christian Education and the Committee on the New Curriculum are clearly determined to make the higher critical interpretation of the Bible official in our Church. Shall we permit this? Shall we not rather insist that all the materials for Bible study published by or with the authority of the Boards and Agencies of our Church be, not critical of the Bible, but strictly and wholeheartedly Biblical?”
Dr. William Childs Robinson’s Opinion Of The Westminster Bible
Dr. Allis is not the only able scholar who raises serious questions about this new Westminster Study Edition of the Holy Bible. Dr. William Childs Robinson, Th.D., of our Columbia Theological Seminary, whom I consider to be the greatest theologian and the ablest defender of the Faith in our entire denomination, has remarked of this Westminster Study Edition that its editors seem hesitant to call Christ God, and that these editors’ whole doctrine of the Deity of Christ is weak.
Dr. Robinson has stated further: “The Westminster Study Bible offers to give the Church ‘some share in the gains that the new knowledge and the new methods have made available.’ It is advertised to give to ‘the modern reader’ ‘the discoveries of modern research in history and archeology.’ From such statements one might infer that the editors had access to new information which had not been available or had not been used by those who have coma to conclusions other than those presented in the Westminster Bible . . .
“What we fear is that the reader may infer that the higher critical positions taken in this study Bible are also ‘the explanation of what the Church believes about the Bible,’ and that they are based on new information which was not at the disposal of the trusted Presbyterian scholars who have opposed these conclusions of higher criticism. Have the editors of the Westminster Bible information that men like Warfield of Princeton, George L. Robinson of McCormick, Henrickson of Calvin, Allis of Philadelphia, Mack of Richmond., McPheeters of Columbia and Gribble of Austin either did not have or did not use? . . .
“As a matter of fact there are some discoveries that militate against the higher critical view which have been made since these views were enunciated over a century ago. It used to be said that Moses could not have written, or stood sponsor for the writing of the Pentateuch because writing was not known in his age. The Westminster edition admits that writing was done in Moses’ day — in view of the Code of Hammurabi, it might have admitted that it was done in Abraham’s day. The Westminster Notes, however, continue to speak of oral tradition in a way that shows their authors have not fully integrated the fact of writing throughout Israel’s history into their conclusions . . .
“In the New Testament field the Westminster conclusion may also be compared with those offered by other competent scholars . . . Michaelis, Stauffer, Albright and E. K. Simpson hold and defend the view that John the Son of Zebedee wrote the Fourth Gospel. The Westminster Introduction does not. Michaelis also defends the Pauline authorship of the Pastoral Epistles and offers a chronology following a first Roman imprisonment into which they may be fitted. Bartlett in the Britannica defends them on the basis of a chronology ending with this imprisonment. Other scholars hold that Paul commissioned an amanuensis (one who is employed to write from dictation, or to copy manuscript) to draft these epistles in his name. This Westminster Bible concludes that they were likely not written by Paul.
“At least modern knowledge is not unanimous on the positions taken in the Westminster Study Bible and therefore these positions cannot be regarded as the united verdict of modern scholarship. Has the Church (the Northern Presbyterian Church) authorized the description of these views as ‘a thorough explanation of what the Church believes about the Bible’?”
The Opinion Of Time Magazine
In Time, issue of September 27, 1948, an article appeared which commented on this Westminster Study Edition of the Bible and made some comparisons between what it says and what a new Roman Catholic translation of Genesis says. Of the Roman Catholic translation Time stated: “But the new text is accompanied by very conservative Biblical criticism . . . Say the Catholic editors: ‘The Pentateuch … is substantially the work of Moses. It is a closely knit literary unit and was originally conceived as one work written for a single purpose’.”
This is the view which has always been held by the Bible-believing Conservatives.
With reference to the Westminster Study Edition, on the other hand, Time states that, though this edition sticks to the traditional King James wording, it “is far from conservative in commenting on it …. Say the Protestant editors: ‘The Pentateuch did not receive its final form until about 400 B.C. . . . The contents of Genesis preserve no hint as to the names of its authors and editors . . . Whoever the author of Genesis was, he must have had ancient sources at his disposal, for no man could have been witness to all the events described. This means that the present book is a composite work drawn from various sources.’ “
This is the view which has always been held by the Modernists and the so-called higher critics.
Not only do those now in control of the Northern Presbyterian Church intend to warp the minds of the children, and of the young people who attend Sunday School, by means of the Modernism and the destructive criticism contained in the “New Curriculum,” but they also intend to present as accepted truth to adults the destructive views of radical criticism which have been woven into the editorial comments contained in the Westminster Study Edition of the Holy Bible.
Influence Of The Affirmationists And Other Modernists
Evidently the strong impetus given to Modernism in the Northern Presbyterian Church by the appearance of the Auburn Affirmation in 1924 has not diminished in the quarter of a century since that event.
The “New Curriculum” and the Westminster Study Edition of the Holy Bible reveal clearly the fact that the influence of the Auburn Affirmationists and the other Modernists in the Northern Presbyterian Church is still powerfully active in that denomination at the present time.
If the Southern Presbyterian Church unites with that denomination, Southern Presbyterians can rest assured that their children will be hand-fed in the Sunday School classes with the destructive Modernism which is found in the “New Curriculum.” And the adults who are weak in the Christian Faith will, in using the Westminster Study Edition of the Bible, find much in it that will make their faith still weaker.
What shall every Southern Presbyterian, as a Bible-believing Christian who repudiates completely the views contained in the Auburn Affirmation and who rejects completely the Modernism which it has helped promote in the Northern Presbyterian Church, say with regard to the proposed union with that heresy-tainted denomination?
Thou Shalt Say, No!
New Church Sends Communication to All Christian Churches
It was at the close of the First General Assembly of what was originally named the National Presbyterian Church (a year later, renamed the Presbyterian Church in America) that a message was sent to all churches of Jesus Christ throughout the world from this new denomination. Adopted and then sent on December 7, 1973, the elders of this new Presbyterian Church wished everyone to know of their principles and convictions which occasioned this new Church.
Chief among them was the sole basis of the Bible being the Word of God written by inspired authors and carrying the authority of the divine Author. They desired that all branches of the visible church would recognize their conviction that “the Bible is the very Word of God, so inspired in the whole and in all its parts, as in the original autographs, the inerrant Word of God.” Further, it is the only infallible and all-sufficient rule of faith and practice.” (Message to all Churches, p. 1)
They also declared that they believed the system of doctrine found in God’s Word to be the system known as the Reformed Faith, as set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. They wanted everyone to know that this Reformed Faith is an authentic and valid expression of Biblical Christianity.
A third conviction was expressed to renew and reaffirm their understanding of the nature and mission of the Church. To them, Christ is King and the only Law-giver, having established the Church as a spiritual reality. It is composed of all the elect from all ages, manifested visibly upon the earth.
The chief end of man’s existence—our very reason for living—is to glorify God. That truth, reflected in the first answer of the Westminster Shorter Catechism aim, also implies that we give top priority to the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ which speaks to going into all the world, preaching the gospel, and disciplining all nations, bringing them into the church.
Last, they sought a return to the historic Presbyterian view of Church government from the Session of the local church to the Assembly of all the local church representatives.
With a closing invitation to ecclesiastical fellowship with all who maintain their principles of faith and order, the address came to a close.
Words to live by: Even though the name was changed from National Presbyterian Church to Presbyterian Church in America in the next year after the publication of this Address, the principles and convictions have remained the same in this now forty year old church. If you are not in a Bible-believing, Gospel-preaching Presbyterian and Reformed church, prayerfully consider the testimony and witness of the Presbyterian Church in America.
To read the entire “Message to All Churches of Jesus Christ throughout the World,” click here.