June 2018

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A Church Planter Par Excellence
by David T. Myers

It was one of the longest funeral processions in which I had been privileged to drive.  And as a veteran pastor, I have had my share of those somber experiences.  But this procession of cars on August 23, 2001 stretched completely from the south  end of Leesburg, Virginia to the north end of that same town.  Every intersection was blocked off by members of Leesburg’s finest, so the cars could drive straight through to the cemetery, without stopping.  As I watched the Leesburg citizens go through their daily chores, paying scant attention to this slowly moving cavalcade of cars, I wanted to shout to them from my driver’s seat open window by saying, “Don’t you realize that a prince of Israel has entered heaven’s gates?” But it would have done little good. Then I realized suddenly that the hosts of heaven were already welcoming this child of God into the heavenly streets of gold, that they were singing praises to the King of kings, and Lord of Lords, with Edward Louis Kellogg joining in that praise.

Edward Louis Kellogg was born on June 25, 1912 in Wheaton, Illinois.  With an address like that, you would wonder if he was related in some way to that college.  And he was related, with his great-grandfather being Jonathan Blanchard, the founder and first president of the college.  So of course, after highschool, he went to Wheaton as a student.  Meeting his future wife Eleanor Peterman there, they eventually went to Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, where Ed sat under J. Gresham Machen, Cornelius Van Til, and John Murray.  Graduating from Westminster, at first they wished to go to the foreign field, but scarcity of funds prohibited that.  It was clearly God’s will that he stay in this country and start churches.

After eight years in Middletown, Pennsylvania at the Orthodox Presbyterian Church there, he moved out to California in 1954.  By this time, he and Eleanor had become parents to three children.  Two more children would be born in California.    Eight daughter churches would be started by the spiritual gifts of this man of God.  He would serve in seven churches (with some overlap to the eight daughter churches) in all.

He went to be with the Lord in 2001 to receive his rewards for service to Christ and Christ’s church.

Also on this day:
The PCUSA’s Donegal Presbytery received a letter of renunciation from George W. Marston, Franklin S. Dyrness and Everett C. DeVelde. These men were standing for the testimony of a faithful witness to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Words to Live By:  God’s overruling providence always gives us peace and contentment as to God’s will for our lives.  Learn to pray for, and live in, the light of that sure direction from your Sovereign God.

Through the Scriptures: 2 Kings 11 – 14:20

Through the Standards:  Sum of the first four commandments, then all of them

WLC 102 — “What is the sum of the four commandments which contain our duty to God?  A.  The sum of the four commandments containing our duty to God is, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength, and with all our mind.”

WSC 42 — “What is the sum of the ten commandments?
A.  The sum of the ten commandments is, To love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbor as ourselves.

Image source :
Photograph of Edward L. Kellogg, from page 54 of The First Ten Years: The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 1936-1946. Philadelphia: The Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension, 1946.

by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

Q. 79. Which is the tenth commandment?

A. The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manserv- ant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.

Q. 80. What is required in the tenth commandment?

A. The tenth commandment requireth full contentment with our own condition, with a right and charitable frame of spirit toward our neighbor, and all that is his.

Scripture References: Ex. 20:17. Heb. 13:5. Rom. 12:15. Phll. 2:4. I. Cor. 13:4-6.


1. Generally speaking, what is required in the tenth commandment?

The tenth commandment requires that a believer keep the other nine commandments. If he is able to do so by the grace of God this commandment will be fulfilled.

2. What does it mean by the word “covet” in this commandment?

The word “covet” in this commandment would include both aspects of the Greek words as they are found in the New Testament. It would mean an “insatiable desire of getting the world” and would also include an “inordinate love of the world.” It would mean the person is wholly taken up with the world, he sets his heart upon worldly things, and sometimes he is not too careful of how he attains his desired end.

3. What does the commandment require in regard to ourselves?

This commandment requires that we be content with what we have and this is the best possible defense against covetousness.

4. What does it mean to be content with what we have and how can we attain to it?

It means to be satisfied with what God, in His providential dealings with us, has given us and recognize that such is best for us. We can only attain to this state by His grace. The road to this is the road plainly marked “Godliness” in our lives. We must covet spiritual things more than worldly things.

5. What does this commandment require as to our neighbor?

We are required to have a right and charitable spirit toward all that belongs to our neighbor. We are to promote and rejoice in the welfare of our neighbor, always striving to help him, showing a pattern of good works toward him.


“The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, the lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.” (Ps. 16:5). The writer of these words had discovered a very important characteristic of godly living. He knew full well that his heritage was In the Lord, that there was an inheritance waiting for him someday. He kept looking therefore in the right direction: Up!

A doctor told me once that it is quite amazing to find in man a fifth muscle In the eye that Is not found in animals. He told me that he thought this could be for the purpose of keeping one’s eyes on God! I am not at all sure as to the reason for the extra muscle in the eye, but I am sure that the believer can always gain much by keeping his eyes on God instead of on the world about him or on himself. The best remedy possible for covetousness would be to get our eyes off the things of others and to get our eyes off ourselves as we are prone to see things we do not have but wished we did have. The believer must come to recognize that “All Is vanity” and that satisfaction can only be found in a close walk with God.

Certainly it Is true that others might have more than we have. But God does know what is good for us. He alone knows how much we can stand. But certainly it is equally true that we have more than others have and we should be thanking God for it instead of being discontent and opening the door to the devil and his temptation of covetousness. The poet knew that he must get his eyes on the Lord when he wrote:

“Once it was the blessing, now it Is the Lord;
Once it was the feeling, now it Is His Word;
Once His gifts I wanted, now the Giver own;
Once I sought for healing, now Himself alone.

All In all for ever, Jesus will I sing;
Everything In Jesus, and Jesus everything.”

Is it your feeling that God has given your fellow-believer more than He has given you? Look up and count your blessings! Is it your feeling that you must have more of this world’s goods? Look up and He will teach you that He is sufficient! We must remember dally that to covet is to sin before the Lord. We do have a goodly heritage and can be content In the Lord.

Published by The SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Rev. Leonard T. Van Hom Editor
Dedicated to instruction in the Westminster Standards for use as a bulletin insert or other methods of distribution in Presbyterian churches.

Vol. 5 No.9 (September 1966)

By Rev. David T. Myers

Josiah Welsh had cried out at the moment he entered glory, “O victory, victory, forevermore,” on June 23, 1634. He was only thirty-six years of age.  But what he had accomplished for Christ in those short thirty-six years was remarkable.

Born in 1598 in Scotland, he was of good Presbyterian stock! How could this not be said when we acknowledge that his mother was one of John Knox’s—yes, that John Knox—daughters. Elizabeth was the third daughter of the great Reformer from his second wife. So that made our topic of today’s post the grandson of John Knox. In addition, his own father John Welsh was a Presbyterian minister as well.

Josiah studied first at Geneva, Switzerland, much as his grandfather had done.  Then he returned to Scotland to study at St. Andrews. He even taught some at the University of Glasgow. He evidently moved to Northern Ireland, or Ulster, due to his opposition to papacy. Yet God moved in two men as the helps of that move.

Humphrey Norton was an English Puritan layman who first employed Joshua Welsh as the chaplain for his household. This was followed by the Rev. Robert Blair, the first Presbyterian preacher in Ulster, who had come over himself from Scotland to Ireland.

It was said that Josiah Welsh had “outstanding spiritual qualities” which enabled him to settle down as the pastor of Templepartrick, Ireland in 1626. While many of his fellow Scottish Presbyterians under-shepherds who moved to Ireland accepted Church of England parishes under the bishops of that land, Josiah Welsh did not and labored without the benefit of membership in an organized presbytery.

It was said of Josiah Welsh that he possessed an ability to preach directly to the consciences of his people in the pew. He was a fervent preacher of the Word which was backed up by a godly lifestyle. One of three famous revivals in Ulster, called the Six Mile Water Revival, occurred under benefit of his preaching to the Irish populace.

Words to Live By: There is an old saying which states “Only one life will soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.” Certainly this was true in the life and ministry of John Welsh. Question? Is it true in your life, dear reader? Talk to your pastor to see what biblical counsel he might impart to you on how it might be your life testimony as well.

By Rev. David T. Myers.

Do you own the Sanquhar Declaration?  That question would be asked again and again by the authorities in the land of Scotland in the latter part of the seventeenth century against Presbyterians in the kingdom.  If it was answered in the affirmative, then your very life was in danger, either at that very time or later.

The name of the declaration was in reference to a small town in the southwest part of Scotland.  It was the very center of persecution.  Fugitives from the east or west naturally passed through it for passage to safer areas.  On one of its streets was a village cross to which people would affix various messages to the outside world.

It was on this day, June 22, 1680, that a band of horsemen who were heavily armed with swords and pistols rode into the town early in the morning.  Led by a Presbyterian minister by the name of Richard Cameron, the group stopped, sand a psalm, prayed, and then publicly read the following declaration.  It is found at the bottom of this post.  There was  no doubt as to what it maintained, namely, a declaration of war against the present king in London, England.

Consider its chief sentence: “Therefore, although we be for government and governors, such as the Word of God and our covenant allows; yet we, for ourselves, and all that will adhere to us as the representative of the true Presbyterian Kirk and covenanted nation of Scotland, considering the great hazard of lying under such a sin any longer, do, by these presents, disown Charles Stuart, that has been reigning, or rather tyrannizing, as we may say, on the throne of Britain these years begone, as having any right, title to, or interest in the said crown of Scotland for government.”

And further, “As also we being under the standard of our Lord Jesus Christ, Captain of salvation, and his cause and covenants, do declare war with such a tyrant and usurper, and all the men of his practices, as enemies to our Lord Jesus Christ, and his cause and covenants . . . .”

There was no doubt as to the intention of this declaration.  The sword was to be taken up from its sheath and used to bring about the Presbyterian cause once and for all.  There was equally no doubt as to what it proclaimed from the Crown.  They, in a Proclamation on June 30, 1680 that Richard Cameron and his followers were Rebels and Traitors.  Large rewards were offered for them dead or alive.

Words to Live By: Alexander Smellie in his book “Men of the Covenant” says regarding this declaration, “What had they done?  They had cast off the authority of their monarch.  But they had not done it in mischievous anarchy and blatant revolt.  They made their adjuration a religious act.  They prefaced and followed the oath of insurrection by the worship of God.  Moreover, they had disavowed King Charles in the interest of King Jesus.  They disobeyed the unworthy ruler, that they might obey the Ruler who is incomparable…We may not approve every phrase in their Declaration…It contends for the essentials, for a free Parliament and an unshackled Church…Its principles triumphed in 1688 (the arrival of William and Mary.“

The text of The Sanquhar Declaration:—

“The Declaration and Testimony of the True Presbyterian, Anti-prelatic, Anti-erastian, persecuted party in Scotland, published at Sanquhar, 22 June 1680. 

It is not amongst the smallest of the Lord’s mercies to this poor land, that there have been always some who have given their testimony against every cause of defection that many are guilty of; which is a token for good, that he doth not, as yet, intend to cast us off altogether, but that he will leave a remnant in whom lie will be glorious, if they. through his grace, keep themselves clean still, and walk in his way and method as it has been walked in, and owned by him in our predecessors of truly worthy memory; in their carrying on of our noble work of reformation, in the several steps thereof, from Popery, Prelacy, and likewise Erastian supremacy—so much usurped by him who, it is true, so far as we know, is descended from the race of our kings; yet he hath so far debased from what he ought to have been, by his perjury and usurpation in Church matters, and tyranny in matters civil, as is known by the whole land, that we have just reason to account it one of the Lord’s great controversies against us, that we have not disowned him, and the men of his practices, whether inferior magistrates or any other, as enemies to our Lord and his crown, and the true Protestant and Presbyterian interest in this land—our Lord’s espoused bride and Church.

Therefore, although we be for government and governors, such as the Word of God and our covenant allows; yet we, for ourselves, and all that will adhere to us as the representative of the true Presbyterian Kirk and covenanted nation of Scotland, considering the great hazard of lying under such a sin any longer, do, by these presents, disown Charles Stuart, that has been reigning, or rather tyrannizing, as we may say, on the throne of Britain these years bygone, as having any right, title to, or interest in, the said crown of Scotland for government, as forfeited, several years since, by his perjury and breach of covenant both to God and his Kirk, and usurpation of his crown and royal prerogative therein, and many other breaches in matters eccelesiastic and by his tyranny and breach of the very reges regnandi in matters civil. For which reason we declare, that several years since he should have been denuded of being king, ruler, or magistrate, or of having any power to act or to be obeyed as such.

As also we’ being under the standard of our Lord Jesus Christ, Captain of Salvation, do declare a war with such a tyrant and usurper, and all the men of his practices, as enemies to our Lord Jesus Christ, and his cause and covenants; and against all such as have strengthened him, sided with, or anywise acknowledged him in his tyranny, civil or ecclesiastic; yea, against all such as shall strengthen, side with, or anywise acknowledge any other in like usurpation and tyranny-far more against such as would betray or deliver up our free reformed mother Kirk unto the bondage of Antichrist, the Pope of Rome.

And, by this, we homologate that testimony given at Rutherglen, the 29th of May 1679, and all the faithful testimonies of those who have gone before, as also of those who have suffered of late, and we do disclaim that Declaration published at Hamilton, June 1679, chiefly because it takes in the king’s interest, which we are several years since loosed from, because of the aforesaid reasons, and others which may, after this, if the Lord will, be published.

As also, we disown and by this resent the reception of the Duke of York, that professed Papist, as repugnant to our principles and vows to the Most High God, and as that which is the great, though not alone, just reproach of our Kirk and nation. We also, by this, protest against his succeeding to the crown, and whatever has been done, or any are essaying to do in this land, given to the Lord, in prejudice to our work of reformation. And to conclude, we hope. after this, none will blame us for, or offend at, our rewarding those that are against as they have done to us, as the Lord gives opportunity. This is not to exclude any that have declined, if they be willing to give satisfaction according to the degree of their offence.

When one leans upon the Lord, anxiety and fear flee away.

Our post today comes as a reminder of the life and ministry of one of the stalwarts among the conservative Presbyterians of the early twentieth century, Dr. Harold Samuel Laird. The Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions published this message by Dr. Laird in its newsletter in 1941:


Rev. Dr. Harold Samuel Laird

[The Independent Board Bulletin 7.6 (June-July 1941): 3-4.]

Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust.Psalm 40:4.

How many of us can honestly say “Amen” to the great truth set forth in this verse! We have tasted of the blessedness promised those who honestly make the Lord their trust. This blessedness is to many of us the more pronounced because it is in contrast to the anxiety and fear experienced before we learned to make Him our trust, and while we were making someone else or something else our trust.

It is quite possible that many have not yet made the Lord their trust simply because it is not clear to them just what this means. This word “trust” is the characteristic Old Testament word for the New Testament words “faith” and “belief,” being found more than one hundred and fifty times in our English Bibles, and many more times in its Hebrew forms throughout the Old Testament. A careful study of these Hebrew forms of the word “trust” will disclose that in their literal sense there are three which cover the entire period of the soul’s experience—past, present, and future.

There is the Hebrew word frequently rendered “trust” which literally translated means “to cast upon.” The very first picture that comes to one’s mind in connection with this thought is that of one weighed down with a heavy burden which is too much for him to bear. The heaviest burden mankind bears is the burden of sins unconfessed and unforgiven. There are other burdens such as poor health, financial troubles, or family difficulties, but none of these can compare in weight with the burden of sins unconfessed and unforgiven when conviction of sin is wrought in the soul by the Holy Ghost. It was unquestionably of this burden that the Lord Jesus was speaking when He extended His gracious invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” This, is a call to discipleship, and discipleship involves first of all acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Saviour, the One who on Calvary’s tree bore in His own body our sins. Because He actually bore our sins there, He now is able graciously to invite us to cast the burden of them, however many or great they have been, upon Him. Thus we may trust Him for the past. The Word of God says, “Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust” in this sense. We have the same thought in Psalm 32:1: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”

Then there is the Hebrew word frequently rendered “trust” which literally translated means “to take refuge,” this with respect to the present. In this sense the word is used as a picture of one who in the hour of present trouble finds a refuge in the Lord. Such was David’s testimony in the forty-sixth Psalm, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” This was also the testimony of the man Moses at the very close of his long life of fellowship with God. Indeed it was almost the last word he spake, “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”

The third Hebrew word which is frequently rendered “trust” when literally translated means “to lean on,” this with respect to the future. This word we find used by the Psalmist in Psalm 56:3, as he looks to the future with its almost certain fearful experiences, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee,” or “I will lean upon thee.” Again in Psalm 37:5, “Trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” In Proverbs 29:25 we read, “Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.” In Isaiah 26:3 we read, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee.” These are but a very few of the many passages where this word is thus used. In all of these we will note that the thought is directed toward the future.

“Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust,” simply because when one thus leans upon the Lord, anxiety and fear flee away. Some lean upon their possessions, others upon earthly friends, but only those who learn to lean upon the Lord experience the blessedness of peace which is freedom from anxiety.

As we are in the season when so many of our various Presbyterian denominations meet in annual Assembly, this short note defining “fraternal relations” and “corresponding relations” between denominations may be a helpful reminder. This comes from the Minutes of the Twenty-eighth General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (2000), page 63:

28-14   [from the] Committee of Commissioners on Interchurch Relations

III.       Recommendations:

Item 3.         That the General Assembly establish two levels of relations with other denominations:       Adopted

  1. Fraternal Relations – The General Assembly may maintain a fraternal relationship with other Presbyterian/Reformed denominations that are voting members of the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council and with other such Churches with whom the General Assembly wishes to establish fraternal relations unilaterally.  This would involve the exchange of fraternal delegates, exchange of General Assembly or General Synod minutes, communications on matters of mutual concern, and other matters that may arise from time to time.

  2. Corresponding Relations – The General Assembly may maintain corresponding relation with other evangelical Churches in North America and in other continents for exchanging greetings and letters of encouragement.  This may include the exchange of official observers at the broadest assemblies, and communications on issues of common concern.

Words to Live By:
Pray for the unity of the Church. That unity must be based upon a clear understanding and affirmation of what the Scriptures teach. And thus we have these two categories of fraternal and corresponding relations. The one is a closer fellowship than the other, where we have a closer similarity of convictions as to what the Scriptures teach and require. The second group is a bit more distant, but still recognizes our common standing in Christ. Someone one said, “Are you a Presbyterian? Then be the best Presbyterian that you can be. Or are you a Lutheran? Then be the best that you can be.” Divisions will persist among Christians as long as we are in this sinful flesh. But as we ever seek to remain faithful to our Lord and Savior, obedient to His Word, some of those divisions may well be healed, while others become less threatening, more manageable. In all things, may God be glorified.

According to this account by Dr. J. Oliver Buswell, Jr., there was apparently some confusion during the Second General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church [nee Presbyterian Church of America], over the matter of how exactly to dispose of the 1903 PCUSA amendments to the Westminster Confession. Buswell writes here in THE CHRISTIAN BEACON, 17.17 (5  June 1952): 2, 4.


We who are Calvinists are such not because we admire the work of a man, but because we admire the work of a man who clearly expounded the system of doctrine taught in the Scriptures. When we speak of great historical Calvinistic documents the word “Calvinistic” signifies the preservation in sharp and clear outline of what the Bible teaches. The Westminster Confession of Faith, for example, is a basic document for all English-speaking Presbyterian, Reformed, Congregational, and Baptist churches. The Savoy Confession of the historical Congregational Churches (Congregationalism before the apostasy of that denomination) is The Westminster Confession with a change in one chapter only. The Philadelphia Confession, which is a basic document for large groups of Baptist churches in the Southern states and in England, is The Westminster Confession with changes in two chapters only. The New Hampshire Confession, which is accepted by many Baptist churches in the Northern states is largely adapted from The Westminster Confession. It is therefore an interdenominational document in the truest sense. It is a rich deposit of treasure in the common heritage of Bible-believing Christians. We Calvinists accept The Westminster Confession not as being an infallible document, not as being verbally inerrant, but as being thoroughly based upon the Scriptures, and as setting forth in clear and positive language the integrated system of doctrine which the Scriptures teach.

In 1903 the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. adopted certain amendments in order to please groups which were doctrinally weak and poorly instructed. Dr. Benjamin Warfield, one of the greatest Calvinistic teachers of the past generation, strongly protested against the adoption of these amendments, but when they were adopted, Dr. Warfield declared (as Dr. J. Gresham Machen related the matter to me) that these amendments, weak and misleading as they were, did not actually change “the system of doctrine.”

In the months preceding May, 1936, Dr. Machen explained to me that he did not wish to take his stand as contending for any change in the constitution of the Church (Presbyterian, U.S.A.) as it then existed, though he hoped that the amendments of 1903 might sometime be eliminated. His great fight at that time was that the Foreign Mission Board (and other agencies of the Church) might at least be true to the simple elementary principles of the Gospel. He could be loyal to the constitution as it was then, since, as Dr. Warfield had said, the constitution, in spite of the weak and misleading character of the 1903 amendments, still set forth the system of doctrine taught in the Scriptures.

I understood Dr. Machen to advocate that if we should be compelled to form a new church, it would be wise to start with the doctrinal constitution just as it had been in the U.S.A. Church at the time the controversy arose. It was on this basis that Dr. Machen organized the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions.

In May, 1936, Dr. Machen and the rest of us were unfrocked and put out of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. An incident took place in the fall of 1936 at the Second General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of America which, I have recently learned, has caused confusion in the minds of some of our friends. I am glad to take this occasion to make a correction. The incident was as follows : When the proposal to adopt the Westminster Standards came before the Assembly, as moderator, I suggested that it would expedite matters if we adopted the Standards as they then existed in the U.S.A. Church, and then proceeded with deliberation to remove the 1903 amendments and make such a declaratory statement as might seem appropriate. At this point Dr. Machen gained the impression that I had somehow changed my convictions, and that I wished the amendments of 1903 to be retained, which certainly was not the case. He made a forceful address urging the adoption the Confession without the 1903 amendments. I could readily see that either I had misunderstood his former opinions, or he had changed his mind. I did not consider the matter worth a reply, since we were all agreed that the 1903 amendments should ultimately be eliminated.

I should never had referred to the matter again had I not been informed rather recently that some sound Calvinistic bodies overseas have been told that “the Bible Presbyterian Church is un-Calvinistic, since one of the leaders of the Bible Presbyterian Church, moderator of the Second General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of America, actually spoke in defense of the weak and misleading 1903 amendments of the Westminster Confession.”! I did not at any time speak in defense of the 1903 amendments. When the Bible Presbyterian Church was formed, it adopted The Westminster Confession, without the objectionable 1903 amendments.

[excerpted from The Christian Beacon, vol. 17, no. 17 (5 June 1952), pages 2, 4.]

Words to Live By:
Even face to face, let alone on social media, people have always been prone to misunderstand one another. We speak imprecisely and are too often self-centered in our considerations, not taking into account the other person’s point of view, their values and their goals. With patience, we may at last discover that we agree more than we disagree. Or we may patiently dig down to the heart of our disagreement and find the path to correction and reconciliation. Changing a heart is truly the Lord’s work. God works through us when we display genuine concern for others and strive to glorify Him in all our conduct toward those with whom we differ.

Covenant Presbytery begins in 1973

Covenant Presbytery was one of the original sixteen Presbyteries constituted upon the formation of the Presbyterian Church in America, and it is specifically numbered as the seventh PCA Presbytery.

From the Minutes of the organizational meeting of the Covenant Presbytery (PCA), we read that the meeting was held at the First Presbyterian church of Indianola, Mississippi, at 10 AM on June 18, 1973. The host pastor, the Rev. John W. Stodghill, preached a sermon on John 17:1-26, titled “One in Christ.” Following this, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was observed, conducted by Rev. Stodghill and assisted by ruling elders of the host church.

It was a humble beginning, with only two teaching elders and seven ruling elders numbered as official participants. Another eleven ruling elders were present as observers from other area churches and an audience of some forty-seven church members also attended. The meeting proceeded with the Rev. Stodghill elected as moderator and the Rev. Robert L. Mabson, pastor of the Eastland Presbyterian church, Memphis, TN, was elected as Clerk.

At this first meeting, the new Presbytery was careful to adopt a resolution stating certain foundational principles and in particular resolving:

  1. That we, the undersigned, do covenant together to form an association to be known as Covenant Presbytery; and,
  2. That this association shall have as its purpose to perpetuate the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as it is proclaimed in the Scriptures and declared in the Westminster Standards; and,
  3. That we, the undersigned, met in Indianola, Mississippi, at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, June 18, 1973.

An appended document defined the rights of particular churches, with noted attention to insuring the property rights of local congregations.

Also noted among the audience at that organizational meeting of the Covenant Presbytery were two seminary students, Mr. Tom Barnes, approved as temporary student supply for the Itta Bena and Morgan City churches and Mr. Edwin Elliott, approved as temporary student supply for the First Presbyterian church, Water Valley, MS and the Oak Ridge church, also of Water Valley, MS.

From those humble origins, the Covenant Presbytery has grown to now number fifty-three churches, making it one of the largest Presbyteries in the PCA. The Presbytery represents a total membership of nearly 9,000 communicant and non-communicant members.

Words to Live By: 

A Most Pestiferous Rebel Priest and Preacher of Sedition
by Rev. David T Myers

What parents would give the first name of “Blackleach” to their son? The answer is that when it was the last name of the mother, namely, Elizabeth Blackleach, and her husband, Peleg Buritt, Jr., then it was considered as right and proper. Blackleach Buritt was born circa 1744, with no birth records of month and day found in Ripton Parish (now Huntington), Connecticut. His Buritt ancestors, of Covenanter and Huguenot faith, had sailed from Wales in 1640 and were among the first settlers of Stratford, Connecticut.

In 1751, Blackleach Buritt was made the heir of his grandfather’s large estate. With it, he furthered his education by enrolling at Yale University, and graduated in 1765. He married his first wife, who bore him twelve children. And one of them was given the name of Blackleach Buritt, Jr! Two children, after the death of his first wife, were born to his second wife, Deborah Wells, in 1788.

Theological education came from his pastor at Yale, the Rev. Jedidiah Mills in 1722, upon which he was licensed to preach by the Congregational Church on February 24, 1768. He must have changed his view of church government however, as a move to New York brought him ordination in the Presbyterian Church. Installed at Pound Ridge Presbyterian Church as pastor, he found himself in the midst of the events leading up to the American Revolution. It was not an easy pastorate as his people did not approve of his casting in his favor for independence. But like most Presbyterians, he became an active participant and partisan on the side of the colonists, earning the title of our post by the British as “a most pestiferous Rebel priest and preacher of sedition.” He even carried his rifle into the pulpit in case there was an immediately demand for his services from the Tories in the cause of American liberty.

It was on this day, June 18, 1779, that he was captured by British troops and imprisoned in the notorious Sugar House Prison, a virtual concentration camp in New York City, where he was to spend the next fourteen months. Allowed to preach to his fellow prisoners of war, he frequently opened up the Word of God to them on the Sabbath. However, due to the harshness of the captivity, Rev. Buritt was sick almost to death during that captivity. It is interesting that William Irving, father of Washington Irving, kindly ministered to him during these times.

After his release and the subsequent victory by the Americans, he returned to various Presbyterian churches, continuing to preach to the people of God. He had been influenced by the evangelical side of the Great Awakening, having heard George Whitefield preach in the colonies. Jonathan Edward’s books further aided his understanding of the Reformed faith. It was said that often, in the many Presbyterian churches in which he was called, one of his members would hand him a text as he walked to the pulpit. He would preach on that text for the sermon that day.

Whether from the effects of his incarceration, or simply from the rigors of church life, he died of a prevailing fever on August 27, 1794.

Words to Live By: It is somewhat easy to be committed to the Lord when all is going right. But let hardship, such as our character today suffered, then it can be very difficult. Let us resolve that in good times or bad, we will be wholly committed to the Lord and live for Christ. Let us take advantage of every opportunity to redeem the time for Christ’s cause, whether in the pulpit or in the pew.

by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

Q. 78. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?

A. The ninth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own or our neighbor’s good name.

Scripture References: Prov. 19:5; Luke 3:14; Ps.15:3; Prov.6:16-19; James 3:14.


1. In general what does this commandment forbid?

This commandment forbids all falsehood, lying of any type. James 3:14 teaches this commandment: “Lie not against the truth.”

2. What does the Bible mean by a lie?

A lie, according to the Bible, would be to speak or express what we know to be false.

3. Name some ways we can lie and break God’s Law.

There are many ways we can lie according to the Bible. We can falsely accuse others. We can lie to make gain our own ends. We can invent stories that are not true. We can lie in order to make excuses for things we have not done. We can lie to try to cover our faults. We can lie in our jesting (course, foolish talking).

4. Who is the author and father of lies?

The author and father of lies is the devil (John 8:44).

5. How may we injure our own good name?

We may injure our own good name by doing something that would be offensive in the eyes of the world, such as adultery, theft or any kind of baseness and wickedness. We may injure it by false boasting. We may injure it by accusing ourselves when we are not guilty before God or by not using the gifts that God has given to us.

6. How may we injure the good name of our neighbor?

We may by false accusations or bearing false witness against him; by judging and censuring him over small, unimportant or doubtful matters; by talking about him in a way that would detract from his reputation; by listening to bad reports about him that are false.

7. What should we remember regarding the breaking of this commandment?

We should remember that at the last Day, we shall have to answer for our words and our actions. (Matt. 12:36, 37.)


The ninth commandment makes it very plain that we should not slander our neighbor in any way. This sin is predominant today even within the Christian Church. Time and time again we hear of men and women of God being slandered, sometimes even by those who are professing Christians. Indeed, this commandment points out that such is using the tongue as an instrument of unrighteousness. Thomas Watson once said that the Lord put two fences up for the tongue, the teeth and lips, and then this commandment is the third fence!

There is a positive side to this commandment implied, however, of which we should take heed. The positive side is that we should stand up for those who are being slandered! Indeed it is true that we should not take part in slander. But sometimes we can take part in it by refusing to witness for the truth in the midst of slander.

The Bible is very plain about this in various places. For example, in Acts 2:15 Peter spoke up when the apostles were being charged with drunkenness. He knew that he dare not be quiet but had to witness for truth and the truth was that they were filled with the Spirit! Jonathan took the part of David when he was slandered by Saul. The men of the Bible knew very well that the time comes when one Christian must stand up for another and refusa to be party to slander in any way.

This particular teaching is very. pertinent for today. The way of si- lence, of not wanting to get involved, is the way of the world today. It is rapidly becoming an important part of our culture. People are rapidly forgetting the teaching of the Golden Rule and are very fast to allow ethers to be treated in a way that would grieve them. Certainly there are human arguments in favor of not getting involved. Sometimes one gets into trouble, sometimes the law does not uphold the person trying to help. But these are human arguments and we as Christians are not to live by such a standard. Our standard is the Word of God and that Word tells us that we have the responsibility to speak up when our brethren are slandered and their names are cast down into the gutter of false accusation.

The familiar words, “Silence Gives Consent”, are applicable in this case. We can break this commandment by our silence in addition to breaking it by our slander. Instead of slander our motto should be “Witness” for our brethren and tell the truth about them at all times! Then God will be pleased with us as we fulfill this responsibility before Him.

Published By: The SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Dedicated to instruction in the Westminster Standards for use as a bulletin insert or other methods of distribution in Presbyterian churches.

Vol. 5 No. 7 (August, 1966)

Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

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