December 2018

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(“Exploring Avenues Of Acquaintance And Co-operation”)
By Chalmers W. Alexander

Jackson, MS

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.

Dear Friend,

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.

[emphasis added]

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.

adger02Dr. 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.

Dr. Adger’s magnum opus, My Life and Times, is a classic and was reprinted just a few years ago by the English publisher, Tentmaker. This same work can also be read online, here.

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. 

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.


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.

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.

The First General Assembly of the National Presbyterian Church (i.e., the PCA)
by Rev. David T. Myers

As the newly formed denomination met that December in 1973, there was much to do and little time in which to accomplish it. The opening of the General Assembly had begun on the previous day, December 4th, at 7:30 PM with a time of worship and an opening address delivered by ruling elder W. Jack Williamson. That address was titled “To God Be the Glory”.

The first full day of work for the Assembly began the next day, on December 5th. Committees for the various church agencies began meeting at 8:30 AM and following lunch, another time of worship was set aside. The Rev. C. Darby Fulton preached from Philippians 3:7-14, on “The Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ”. [his message begins on page 31 of the linked PDF.]

It was in the afternoon session of this second day of meeting that the new denomination selected their name, choosing “National Presbyterian Church.” (A year later, that name would be changed to “Presbyterian Church in America.”) The rest of that afternoon was spent in discussion and adoption of constitutional documents [the Westminster Standards and the Book of Church Order]. After dinner, the Assembly met yet again for worship, with the service under the direction of the Rev. Kennedy Smartt, then pastor of the Presbyterian church in Hopewell, Virginia. The Rev. Tim Fortner, of Hazlehurst, Mississippi, led in prayer. The Rev. Sidney Anderson of Swannanoa, North Carolina, read the Scripture, and Dr. O. Palmer Robertson, professor at Westminster Theological Seminary, preached a sermon entitled “The National Presbyterian Church and the Faith Once Delivered,” taking Jude 3 as his text.

After the time of worship and before recessing for the evening, the Assembly continued its work on constitutional documents by adopting the first ten chapters of the Book of Church Order. The Assembly then recessed with prayer by the Rev. Todd Allen, pastor of the Eastern Heights Presbyterian church of Savannah, Georgia.

Words to live by:
That second day of business was full and busy for the Assembly, but note how not just once but twice they met for times of worship during the day. I am reminded of Martin Luther’s statement, “I have so much to do today that I must spend the first three hours in prayer.” There is more truth in that statement than most of us are willing to admit, and certainly more than most of us are willing to live up to. But that first General Assembly of the PCA recognized their priorities and their need to completely and utterly rely upon the Lord in all their deliberations.

If you haven’t been living according to this pattern, then I urge you, test the Lord—try Him and see—put Him first each morning with a time of prayer and devotional Scripture reading. It doesn’t have to be long, perhaps just five or ten minutes if you can’t spare a half-hour. But I have every confidence that you will begin to see a marked improvement, first in your relationship with the Lord, and then in your relationships with family, friends, and  work.

They Had No Manual, but a New Presbyterian Church was Born.

Gathering in Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama, were teaching and ruling elders ready to begin a new Presbyterian denomination.  Their date of gathering, or organization, was December 4, 1973, as date consciously chosen with an eye to the past. They began this new Reformed church on the same day and month as the organization date for the mother church that they were leaving, the Presbyterian Church, U.S., commonly known in those years as the Southern Presbyterian Church. That denomination had begun on December 4, 1861 as the Presbyterian Church of the Confederate States of America. Later, that name was changed to the Presbyterian Church in the United States, after the War between the States.

In choosing to organize the new denomination on that anniversary date, the new denomination was making a statement, laying claim as the faithful continuing church, the remnant leaving behind the unfaithful or disobedient. In fact, the Continuing Presbyterian Church was the name that they first gathered under in the years and months leading up to their official organization. That they did not desire to continue as yet another regional church was evidenced by the name they chose for the new denomination, the National Presbyterian Church (though a year later, that name was changed to the Presbyterian Church in America).

Reformed men were obviously interested in reforming the church. And so ever since it was clearly discovered that the Presbyterian Church in the United States had apostatized with no hope to bring it back to its historic roots, men and women had been praying and working, and working and praying, for this historic occasion. Ruling Elder W. Jack Williamson was chosen as the first moderator, with Dr. Morton Smith elected as Stated Clerk.  Ministries then in planning and those already exercised in action, came together in rapid fashion: Mission to the World, Mission to the United States, Christian Education and Publications were organized by the delegates.  With godly and wise coordinators to lead them, the work began to raise up a church faithful to the Scriptures, true to the Reformed Faith, and obedient to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.

 Photo from the First General Assembly in 1973, with W. Jack Williamson at the podium, and Rev. Frank Barker seated, at the right.

Words to live by:  There is usually great excitement over a new birth in a family.  And so there was great excitement over the birth of a new denomination. Southern conservative Presbyterians had gone through many of the same struggles that Northern conservative Presbyterians endured just a few decades earlier. In both cases, the Church had been hijacked by the liberals. But godly men and women stood for the faith once delivered  unto the saints, and wouldn’t let historical attachments hold them captive to a decaying visible church. They voted with their feet and came out and were now separate. Praise God for their obedience to the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

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