January 2013

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Founding Was In His Blood.

broomall_wickWick Broomall, Jr. was born on this day, January 31, 1902 to parents Wick Broomall, Sr. and his wife, Annie Nixon Broomall. Their son was educated at Maryville College, graduating in 1925 and then preparing for the ministry by attending Princeton Theological Seminary, from 1925-1929. Loraine Boettner was attending Princeton at that same time. Wick earned the Th.B. degree in 1928 while concurrently earning an M.A. from Princeton University, and he then earned the Th.M. degree in 1929. That was the year that was marked by the reorganization of Princeton Seminary, a change in the governance of the school which allowed modernists to take control and a change which drove conservatives like Robert Dick Wilson, J. Gresham Machen, O.T. Allis, and several other professors to resign in order to start Westminster Theological Seminary.

By August of 1929, Wick was ordained by Birmingham Presbytery and he briefly served as stated supply for the PCUS church in Montevallo, Alabama, 1929-30, before taking a post teaching at the Evangelical Theological College, 1930-32 (this school was renamed Dallas Theological Seminary in 1936). Returning to Birmingham, he pastored the Handley Memorial church, 1933-37 while also serving as the founding President Birmingham School of the Bible (now Southeastern Bible College).

Broomall_Wick_02Rev. Broomall also served churches in Georgia and South Carolina and taught at Columbia Bible College, 1938-51, before transferring his credentials into the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and taught at Erskine Theological Seminary, 1952-58, then was received back into the PCUS and pastored the Westminster Presbyterian church in Augusta, Georgia, 1958-69. While serving as one of the founding faculty at the Atlanta School of Biblical Studies, 1971-75, he was also pastor of the PCUS church in Sparta, Georgia, 1972-75, and as one of the founding fathers of the PCA, led the Sparta church in becoming one of the founding churches of the new denomination.

The author of a number of books and articles, Rev. Broomall was also a founding member of the Evangelical Theological Society, well-known among their number. On February 5, 1976, he was called home to his Lord, at the age of 74.

Words to Live By:
In 1938, an article by Rev. Broomall, on the subject of regeneration, appeared in The Evangelical Student. This would have been published just as he began his tenure at the Columbia Bible College, and may be among his first published works.

“Much is being said and written in our modern age about the fruits of Christianity. The so-called social gospel of bankrupt Modernism is nothing less than a vain attempt to get the fruits of Christianity without the one essential root that alone can produce the desired fruits. The root that we are referring to is what the Bible calls the new birth or regeneration. The sterility and barrenness of present-day Modernism is to be found in the fact that Modernists have largely denied that man as he is needs a radical change in his nature. They have said so many nice things about our sinful Adamic nature, and have dressed it up with so many refinements and cultural embellishments, that they have completely covered up the facct that man’s nature is essentially evil and is absolutely incapable of producing the desired fruits. One does not need to hear or read many sermons in order to be convinced that the doctrine of regeneration as taught in the Word of God is both denied and ignored today.”

[excerpted from “The Christian Doctrine of Regeneration,” The Evangelical Student, 13.1 (Jan. 1938) 15-19.]

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This day, January 30, marks the birth of Francis August Schaeffer, in 1912.

cfc1944Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer’s early ministry is not all that well known. He began his studies at Westminster Theological Seminary, then transferred to, and graduated from, Faith Theological Seminary. Upon graduation, he answered a call to serve a small Presbyterian congregation in Grove City, PA. Arriving in Grove City in June, by July he had in place and began to implement Dr. Abraham Lance Lathem’s Summer Bible School program. Lathem’s program was intense. It met for five weeks, three hours each morning, was centered on Scripture and Catechism memorization, and had no hand-crafts! In two years time, the congregation grew from 18 to 105 members, largely because of Schaeffer’s emphasis upon ministry to children.

The PCA Historical Center has preserved a portion of a letter from Dr. Schaeffer in which he commends the Summer Bible School program:

Dear Friend in Christ:

For a long time I have been keenly interested in the ALL-BIBLE “SUMMER BIBLE SCHOOL”. Before I had a regular charge that interest was academic–the plan sounded splendid both as a means of Christian instruction and as a Church builder. When we were called to the Covenant Bible Presbyterian Church of Grove City, a Church of 18 active members meeting in the American Legion Hall, we put the plan to the test and found it more powerful than we had even guessed. We arrived in Grove City in June and in July with little other means of contact than door bell pushing, we had our first Summer Bible School. That first year with only 4 children in our Sabbath School, we had 135 children enrolled. The following three years we had Schools all of which had over 170 in them. There is no doubt in my mind that one of the greatest factors which God used in the Building of the Grove City Church to a congregation of 105 members with its own beautiful little building was the All-Bible “Summer Bible School”.

Educationally the school meets many needs. A great many of us long for an educational system that will bring our children to the Lord instead of taking them away. Modern unbelief has gained much of its control through the early planting of many of its men in educational centers. However, the setting up of Christian Schools is difficult and not many of us can achieve it. Never-the-less, in the pedagogically correct and Spirit empowered Summer Bible School course, we have a solution which each of us can effect.

As I have said, I have been impressed with the All-Bible Summer Bible School for a long time, but since I have been called to Chester as Associate Pastor and have gone over the remarkable record of the School in its world-wide scope, I am continually more certain that God has raised up nothing in our age that has surpassed this All-Bible Summer Bible School as a means of evangelization, as a bulwark against unbelief through the careful teaching of the Word of God, and as a builder of Church congregations that mean to stand “all out” for Fundamental, Supernatural Christianity.

The School was founded 30 years ago by Dr. Lathem, and uses No Handcraft; it is the Word of God and the Word of God only. There are records at hand of 100,000 conversions through it, and only God knows how many more have been reached for Christ that are not recorded. Before the Nationalistic blow against Fundamental Christianity in Japan there were 586 Schools in Korea alone. It is my firm conviction that the All-Bible Summer Bible School fills an increasingly important. . .”

[The letter ends there. Perhaps we will one day find the rest of that letter among some other collection.]

Words to Live By: Can there be any more important ministry than in raising up children in the saving grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord? What a blessing to be able to say that you never knew a time when you did not trust Christ for your salvation. And please don’t think that you have to wait to be able to talk with your children about spiritual matters. Patience and plain, simple language will overcome the barriers and even fairly young children can grasp their sinful condition and their need of Christ as their savior. Communicate the Gospel clearly, plainly, lovingly—not just by your words but especially by your actions—and wait in trusting faith on God’s time to bring about conviction, repentance and faith.

Image Source: The photograph above is from 1944, when Dr. Schaeffer was pastor of the First Bible Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, where ministry to children continued to play an integral part in his overall ministry to the Church. Scan prepared by the staff of the PCA Historical Center.

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His epitaph, composed by the Rev. William Arthur of Pequea, read as follows:

In memory of
Who died 29th January, 1801, in the 68th year of his age.
By his death, society has lost an invaluable member;
Religion one of its brightest ornaments, and most amiable examples.
His genius was masterly, and his literature extensive.
As a classical scholar, he was excelled by few.
His taste correct, his style nervous and elegant.
In the pulpit he was a model.
In the judicatures of the Church, distinguished by his accuracy and precision.
After a life devoted to his Master’s service,
He rested from his labours, lamented most by those who knew his words.
Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth;
Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours,
And their works do follow them.”

lattaJamesHaving read that assessment of the man, it might easily be said, “There were giants in those days.” James Latta was born in Ireland in the winter of 1732, migrating to this country when he was just six or seven years old. Ordained an evangelist by the Presbytery of Philadelphia in the fall of 1759, he was later installed as pastor of the Deep Run church in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1761. He remained in this pulpit until 1770. resigning there to answer a call to serve the congregation of Chestnut Level, in Lancaster county, PA. One account notes that “the congregation at that time was widely scattered and weak. The salary promised in the call was only one hundred pounds, Pennsylvania currency, which was never increased, and rarely all paid.” Friends prevailed upon him to educate their sons, and the school he reluctantly started prospered, until the Revolutionary war brought things to a close, with many of the older students joining the army.

During the war, Rev. Latta served as a private and a chaplain in the Pennsylvania Militia, and after the war, he returned to his pulpit in Chestnut Level. The first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. convened in 1789. Two years later, Rev. Latta was honored to serve as the Moderator of the third General Assembly, in 1791. Latta continued as the pastor of the Chestnut Level congregation until the time of his death, in 1801.

Words to Live By: Rev. Latta’s biographer says of him, that as a preacher, he was faithful to declare the whole counsel of God. While he comforted and encouraged true Christians, he held up to sinners a glass in which they might see themselves; but, in addressing them, he always spoke as with the compassion of a father. The doctrines of Grace were the burden of his preaching.”  God give us faithful pastors who will minister the Word of God in Spirit and in truth.

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The Subcommittee which oversees the work of the PCA Historical Center met this past Saturday, and that meeting went well. Several new projects are on the board for this coming year. Thank you for your continued prayers for this work, which is a ministry of the PCA Stated Clerk’s Office. But in the rush of things, time was short and so we will today revisit a post from last year, with just a few new notes.

AlexanderJAJoseph Addison Alexander was the third son of the Rev. Archibald Alexander and his wife Janetta (Waddel) Alexander, born in Philadelphia on April 24th, 1809. In modern terms, Joseph was home schooled, and he developed an insatiable thirst for knowledge, pursuing one subject after another as it caught his attention. Eventually he grew to become another of that esteemed early faculty of the Princeton Theological Seminary.

Of his final days, one biographer notes, we find that “Dr. Alexander’s gigantic mind was in full vigor until the day before his death. On the morning of that day he was occupied with his usual course of polyglot reading in the Bible, being accustomed to read the Scriptures in some six different languages, as part of his daily devotions….In the afternoon of that day, he rode out in the open air for the first time since an earlier attack of hemorrhage. During that ride, however, which was not continued more than forty-five minutes, a sudden sinking of life came on him.” Carried home, death then came within a day, without a struggle, on January 28, 1860.

Another biographer says of J.A. Alexander that

“…in the midst of all his laborious and diversified pursuits he saved time for the most heart-searching exercises in his closet. He gave himself up to daily communion with his God. He might neglect everything else, but he could not neglect his private devotions. In point of fact he neglected nothing. He moved as by clockwork. The cultivation of personal piety, in the light of the inspired word, was now with him the main object that he had in life. The next most prominent goal that he set before himself was the interpretation of the original scriptures; for their own sake, and for the benefit of a rising ministry, as well as for the gratification he took in the work. The Bible was to him the most profoundly interesting book in the world. It was in his eyes not merely the only source of true and undefiled religion, but also the very paragon among all remains of human genius. He knew great portions of it by heart….But more than this, the Bible was the chief object of his personal enthusiasm; he was fond of it; he was proud of it; he exulted in it. It occupied his best thoughts by day and by night. It was his meat and drink. It was his delectable reward. There were times when he might say with the Psalmist, “Mine eyes prevent the night watches that I might meditate in thy word, I have rejoiced in the way of thy precepts more than in great riches.” He succeeded perfectly in communicating this delightful zeal to others. His pupils all concur in saying that “he made the Bible glorious” to them. 

Words to Live By: The Bible is the very Word of God—His self-revelation to His people. J.A. Alexander seems to have made Psalm 1 the model and guide for his life. If you have never memorized a portion of Scripture, this Psalm is short and is a great place to start. Setting it to memory, such that you can think on it at various times, will bring real profit.

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Additional Notes for this day:
Professor J.G. Machen, lecturer, author and Bible scholar, delivered two addresses on Christianity at the dedication of the new home of the New York Bible Society in East Forty-eighth Street. [The Continent 53.17 (27 April 1922): 529.]

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Another great resource for Presbyterian biography is Alfred Nevin’s 1884 publication, The Encyclopedia of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America: Including the Northern and Southern Assemblies. This is a huge volume of about 1250 pages, and copies can occasionally be found on the used book market or on eBay.

Today we will focus on Jonathan Trumbull Backus, D.D., LL.D., son of E.F. Backus, who was born in the city of Albany, New York on this day, January 27, in 1809. His lower level education took place at the Albany Academy and he later graduated from Columbia College in New York City, in 1827. From 1827 to 1830, he attended Princeton in preparation for entering the ministry and he concluded his theological studies at Andover, 1830-1831 and New Haven, 1832.

He was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of New York in 1830 and then was ordained by the Presbytery of Albany and installed as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Schenectady, New York, in 1832.

As an aside, we have to mention that First Presbyterian Church was organized in 1760, but left the United Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. denomination in 1977, later affiliating with the Presbyterian Church in America in 1989. In 2010 this congregation marked its 250th anniversary, and it is today one of the five oldest churches in the PCA. An important volume on the history of the church was published on that occasion. A brief synopsis of the church’s history is available here. The Rev. Larry Roff is the current pastor of the church, though he is perhaps better known across the PCA as the organist for the worship services at General Assembly each year.

Rev. Backus continued as the pastor of First Presbyterian for forty-one years, until 1873, by which time his own health had so weakened that he could no longer properly fulfill his duties as pastor. He died on January 21, 1892, having not quite reached the age of 83.

Honors accorded to Rev. Backus during his life included the honorary degree of Sacred Theology Doctor, awarded to him by Union College, Schenectady, NY, in 1847. He was a commissioner to General Assembly seven times and he actively served the Church on a number of important committees. To mention just one of those committees, he served on the Committee which prepared the Presbyterian Hymnal, working alongside the Rev. Joseph Duryea in the preparation of that volume, published in 1874.

Of particular note, Rev. Backus was unanimously elected Moderator of the first reunited General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. in 1870. Nevin’s Encyclopedia says of Rev. Backus that “In the discharge of his duties in this high office he gained the commendation of all his brethren, for the impartiality, suavity, and dignity with which he presided over the deliberations of the Assembly.”

Words to Live By: Some pastors serve important, historic churches. Others labor in small, relatively unknown places. But wherever the church, regardless of its fame or lack thereof, godly pastors are called to serve because of the people in their churches, because those lives matter. They—we—are the Lord’s chosen people, a holy nation. We are each of us made in the image of God, and now called according to His purpose, a people for His possession. Your life matters, regardless of your station in this world, because you have been called to serve the King of Kings and the Lord of all creation.

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In 2005, Solid Ground Christian Books did a great service in reprinting three volumes of William Buell Sprague’s Annals of the American Pulpit. These three volumes were the Presbyterian portion of that set, and they have been a great help in preparing some of the posts that you have been reading. In the last of those three volumes, some coverage was given to pastors of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, and today we look at the brief life of the Rev. Moses Kerr, quoting from Sprague’s work:

Moses Kerr, the third son of the Rev. Joseph Kerr, D.D., was born in St. Clair, Pennsylvania, on the 30th of June, 1811. Naturally of a serious and thoughtful cast of mind and manifesting in very early life decided piety, his education was directed, from the first, with a view to qualifying him for the sacred ministry. He was the first of the family to enter upon a classical course. But, in a short time, signs of failing health led to a suspension of his studies and thoughts of some other calling less trying to a feeble constitution. He was induced to devote himself, for a time, to preparation for mercantile life. For this he had no taste, and it soon proved as unfavourable to his health as his application to study had previously done. He then engaged in ordinary farm work, and in this he appeared to grow strong; and, feeling now that he had the prospect of comfortable health, he again turned his attention to the profession on which he had first set his heart. He now entered the Western University of Pennsylvania, in which he prosecuted his studies without interruption until he was honourably graduated in 1828. In the fall of the same year he began the study of Theology in the Seminary then under the care of his father. He had completed one session and entered upon a second, when his father died. He finished his theological course under the instruction of the Rev. Mungo Dick, a learned and excellent Minister, who consented to take charge of the students of the Synod of the West until a professor to succeed Dr. Kerr could be formally chosen.

He was licensed to preach as a probationer for the holy ministry by the Presbytery of Monongahela, on the 28th of April, 1831. The same year the First Congregation of Allegheny was organized, and he was chosen its first Pastor. He accepted this call on the 24th of April, 1832, and, from this date, preached to this congregation, until the fall of the same year, a short time before the meeting of Presbytery, at which it was expected he would be ordained and installed. But when the Presbytery met, he returned the call, on account of a hemorrhage of the lungs, which made it necessary for him to refrain from public speaking, he knew not how long. The Presbytery released him from his acceptance of the call to that particular congregation, but proceeded with his Ordination to the office of the ministry. This was on the 9th of October, 1832.

Regrettably, the remainder of Rev. Kerr’s short life seems to repeat that pattern. He found times of service to congregations and as a teacher, but they were short periods interrupted by poor health. The Rev. Moses Kerr died on January 26, 1840, at the age of 28 years and 6 months.

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—The decease of Dr. Palmer of New Orleans is like a change in the landscape of the South. As far as it is possible for one man in the space of a lifetime to grow to be a part of the fixed order of things, Dr. Palmer had become identified like some old-time landmark with his denomination, his city and his section of the nation. he was one of that class of men who are incapable of change; what he was as he came to the maturity of manhood he remained until death. It is doubtless true that the world would be unfortunate if all its strong men should crystallize in that adamantine way, but living in a time that suffers little lack of impulses to progress, we ought to thank God that He still scatters through the churches some immovable men to hinder and obstruct headlong haste.

From an almost opposite pole of Christian temperament THE INTERIOR clearly recognizes that Dr. Palmer served God and his generation as a symbol of the immutability of the great essentials of our religion. His faithful witness to Jesus Christ in the word of his preaching and the example of his ministry gave him such power in New Orleans as few of the Lord’s ambassadors have ever wielded in any age of the church. By all consent he was acknowledged for years to be the most influential man in that city, and he was so brave and outspoken that he made for righteousness not only in the private lives of men but in the civic life of the community. He was born in Charleston, S.C. on January 25, 1818 and had been over leading churches in Savannah and Columbia before he went to the First Presbyterian church of New Orleans in 1856. His pastoral term there covered fifty-six consecutive years.

He retained excellent vigor and still preached powerfully despite his great age, and his life might have been prolonged still for several years if he had not suffered injury beneath a street car which ran him down in the streets of New Orleans a few weeks ago. He did not die from the direct effects of that accident, but the shock seemed so to weaken his vital powers that fatal disease soon supervened.

[excerpted from THE INTERIOR, Vol. 33, No. 1671 (5 June 1902): 734.]

palmerbm02As an example of Dr. Palmer’s influence, not just within the Church, but in the civic life of New Orleans, here is a portion of an account of his opposition to the lottery there.

In the fall of 1891 a great meeting was held in New Orleans in order to stir up the heart of the people and warn them to use all efforts to arrest the spirit of public gambling. Some fine addresses were delivered, but Dr. Palmer of the Synod of Mississippi delivered the crowning address. His whole heart was aflame with the subject and the sympathy of the big congregation was with him. His address struck the right chord at the right time and it broke the backbone of the lottery. It was a great address and for the purpose of embalming it in the memory of our young people, we are giving it word for word as delivered that night. We leave out the cheers and the plaudits and the hand-clapping which were in evidence all through the speech.

Mr. Chairman and fellow citizens of Louisiana.

“I lay the indictment against the Lottery Company of Louisiana, that it is essentially an immoral institution whose business and avowed aim it is to propagate gambling throughout the state and throughout the country. This being not simply a nuisance but even a crime, no Legislature as the creature of the people nor even the people themselves in convention assembled, have the power to legitimate it either by legislative enactment upon the one hand or by fundamental charter upon the other. In other words, I lay the indictment against the Louisiana Lottery Company that its continued existence is incompatible not only with the safety but with the being of the state.

In saying this, sir, I desire to be understood as not simply uttering the language of denunciation. I frame the indictment and I propose to support each of its specifications by adequate proof; and I do this the more distinctly from the conviction that there are many citizens throughout our bounds, who, having been accustomed to look at the lottery simply as a means of revenue either public or private, have not sufficiently considered the inherent viciousness of this system itself.

And it is that class which I hope this night to reach and to range upon our side in this great controversy.

Indeed, sir, if the worst should come to the worst in this present campaign, I for one could wish that, all technicalities being swept away, there might be some method by which the question might be carried up to the Supreme Court of the United States whether it is competent to any state in the union to commit suicide. And if that venerable court should return an answer, which I think they would not for a moment consider as possible, I would then for my part make the appeal to the virtues and common sense of the masses of our people, that the very instinct of self-preservation may stamp out of existence an institution which is fatal to the liberties and the life of the commonwealth. . .

To read the rest of Palmer’s message, click here.

Words to Live By:
Pastors, and Christians in general, can and ought to have a voice as citizens, and our voice should and must be informed by the Scriptures. PCA pastor Mike Milton has a new book forthcoming titled Silent No More, which speaks to this issue, and which should be well worth reading.

Image sources:
1. Carte de vis photograph from a collection gathered by Thomas Dwight Witherspoon. The original was lost in a fire, but had been thankfully scanned prior to that loss.
2. Cover photograph from THE INTERIOR, Vol. 33, no. 1671 (5 June 1902).
All scans prepared by the staff of the PCA Historical Center.

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reedrcOn this day, January 24, in 1851, the Rev. James Landrum Reed and his wife Elizabeth became the proud parents of a baby boy whom they named Richard Clark Reed. Richard was later educated at King College and prepared for the ministry at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. Graduating from Union in 1876, he was ordained by Memphis Presbytery and went on to pastor churches in Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee before being called to serve as a professor at Columbia Theological Seminary in 1898. A true pastor-scholar, he was well suited to this post, and the remainder of his years were spent teaching at Columbia, until his death in July of 1925.

In 1914, Dr. Reed had returned from attending the General Assembly of his denomination. What follows is a portion of his review of that Assembly, and it is interesting for dating a change in the conduct of the Southern Presbyterian Assembly, from that of a more deliberative body to something more akin to a business model. The Assembly had been in the habit of meeting for nine days, and now had, since 1912, been meeting for only six. Here Rev. Reed complains of the hurried nature of the Assembly and the resulting lack of patient, reasoned debate. Elsewhere we have noted that on one occasion, in 1880, the Rev. John L. Girardeau spoke at length for two hours on the floor of the Assembly. More remarkable still, the Assembly paid attention to his every word!

The General Assembly, reviewed by Rev. Professor R.C. Reed, Columbia, SC.

The fifty-fourth General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, met in the Central Church, Kansas City, Mo., May 21, 1914, and was dissolved at 3:30 P.M., Thursday, May 28th. This is the third Assembly in succession which has limited the span of its life to six working days. These precedents will probably have the force of law for the future. Time was when the Assembly had to rush its business toward the close, in order to dissolution by the end of the ninth day from date of organization. The volume of business has increased rather than diminished. The recent Assemblies have shortened the time not by covering less ground, but by increasing the speed. The liberty of speech has been abridged. it has come to pass that by the time a speaker gets fairly launched, the cry of “question,” “question,” warns the speaker that further effort to get a hearing for his views will be useless. Age and distinguished services do not secure immunity from such discourtesy. The Assembly is ceasing to be a deliberative body, and coming to be an organization merely for business routine.

Obviously, our Assemblies are inoculated with the speed-madness of the age. It could hardly be otherwise. The members, who compose the Assembly, are accustomed by the use of the telephone, rapid transit, and other time-saving devices, to dispatch business at a rate that would have made a former generation dizzy. The speed at which we live is constantly increasing, with the result that we are growing more and more restless. The slightest delay is irksome. The train that pulls into the station ten minutes late creates almost a mob-spirit in those who have been constrained to lose so much of their precious time. When men, who live and move and have their being in an atmosphere charged with the frenzy of hurry, come together in a General Assembly, it is not surprising that they should begrudge every minute that does not show a decided progress in the calendar of business. They are not in the habit of having time to spare. Speech-making is not business, rather it is a clog on the machinery, and the less of it the sooner the members can record their votes and get at something else. The moderator is a good moderator in proportion as he rushes the grist through the mill.

Click here to read the remainder of this excerpt.

Words to Live By:
If only Dr. Reed could have seen the breakneck speed of our lives! Some people seem to thrive on it, but I think we all need times of peaceful quiet, though it can be very hard to come by. Why not begin to carve out a time each day when you will turn off the TV, the radio and all the many devices, and set your priorities for the day? And what better way to set the standard for the day than by getting alone with God in His Word and in prayer? Notice how often Jesus went out early in the morning, by Himself, to pray. Could we have any better example?  I admit it is a discipline, but rising a bit earlier to have that time alone with God is worth it. “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” (Psalm 5:3)

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A Faithful Pastor, Serving the Lord in all humility.

Just ten years ago now, the Rev. Lawrence R. Eyres entered his eternal rest on this day, January 23, 2003, at the age of 91. Lawrence was born on an Iowa farm on November 14, 1911, raised by godly parents during the Depression, was educated at Wheaton College (1934) and prepared for the ministry at Westminster Theological Seminary (1937).

In 1936 he had become one of the founding members of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and following his graduation from Westminster, was ordained in 1938 and installed as pastor the OPC church in Deerfield, New Hampshire. Moving to the other side of the nation, his next pastorate was in Portland, Oregon, and then in 1958 Rev. Eyres became the pastor of what is now Faith Orthodox Presbyterian Church of Long Beach, California, a church founded in April of 1941. The Rev. Lawrence Eyres was the third pastor of this congregation, and the church grew greatly, numbering some 500 members growing in grace under his ministry. In 1970, Rev. Eyres left Faith OPC and worked to plant churches in Ohio, South Dakota, Alaska and Wisconsin before retiring in 1993.

Among the honors accorded Rev. Eyres during his long ministry, he served as Moderator of the OPC General Assembly in 1950, and he is perhaps most remembered for The Elders of the Church, a work which has proven to be of great use. To read a review of this book, click here.

Of Rev. Eyres, one obituary noted that “Lawrence was a gentle, gracious man, who loved His Lord and loved people, whose life’s work is summed-up by the word “pastor” – stalwart for the truth of the Bible as God’s Word, vigorous in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, committed to the truths of the Reformed faith, and sacrificial in giving his life to Christ’s Church.

Words to Live By: Alongside humility, love and a heart for the truth of God’s Word, self-sacrifice is a quality essential in the life of anyone who would seek to live out their Christian life in way that would matter. Give me a pastor who will expend himself on behalf of his flock. Give me Christians who will live sacrificially, giving freely of themselves to others, not holding back when they see a need that must be filled.

For Further Study:
Click here to read an article by Rev. Eyres, “Live in the Fear of God.”


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Have you ever heard of a “Junkin Tent”? It was a tent or lean-to structure erected in a rural setting where the Lord’s people could gather for worship and communion. The tent provided a covering for the pastor and for the communion elements, with the congregation seated around the tent. The term has now largely passed into history, and so today’s post is presented with the intent of raising your “PQ” – your Presbyterian Quotient.

The Junkin Tent

“The name of Junkin has been long known and honored in the Presbyterian church. The first of this name to settle in this region was Joseph Junkin who had married Elizabeth Wallace. They were emigrants from Ulster, and were married at Oxford, Pa. A little later they settled in the Cumberland Valley and “took up” five hundred acres of land including the site of the present town of New Kingston.To these parents was born a Joseph Junkin the second, on the 22d of January, 1750. He had two sisters older than himself. Mary, who became Mrs. John Culbertson, and Elizabeth, who died young; and one sister and two brothers younger than himself, John, who died without issue, and Benjamin, the grandfather of the Hon. Benjamin Junkin of Perry county.”

“Joseph Junkin was of the old Covenanter stock, and the “Junkin Tent” was a well known place of worship for those who held by the sturdy principles of this type of Presbyterianism. Here Black, and Cuthbertson, and Dobbin and others ministered in holy things to a congregation of hardy pioneers gathered from far and near. It is said that at this “Junkin Tent” was celebrated the first Covenanter Communion Service ever held in the New World.”

“Young Junkin was twenty-five years of age when the clouds of war began to gather over the infant colonies. He was not made of the stuff to meekly bear the insolent assumption of the British Crown. He was one of the first to enlist when the news reached his quiet home that Independence was declared. Leaving his intended bride unwedded until the storm of war should pass, he enlisted and went to the front. In the battle of Brandywine, September 11, 1777, he commanded a company. In the sharp skirmish near White Horse Tavern, on the 16th, his arm was shattered by a musket ball. He was concealed by a patriotic Friend, and finally mounted on a horse with a rope bridle, and a knapsack stuffed with hay for a saddle, he made his way home, a distance of ninety miles, in three days. He put himself under the care of Dr. Samuel A. McCoskry of Carlisle, and paid all the expenses attendant on his cure; but he lost a full year in his recovery.”

“In May, 1779, he was married by the Rev. Alexander Dobbin, D.D., to Eleanor Cochran, by whom he had fourteen children, among whom we may mention Rev. George Junkin, D.D., LL.D. and Rev. David X. Junkin, D.D. In the spring of 1806 he removed with his family to Hope Mills, Mercer country, Pa., where he died February 21, 1831.”

[excerpted from volume 2 of the Centennial Memorial of the Presbytery of Carlisle (1889).]

Words to Live By:
What a wonderful privilege when the Lord’s people gather to praise Him, to worship in spirit and in truth. and to draw near to Him in praise. Regardless of where we meet to praise our Lord, it matters not whether we gather under a crude shelter or in a modern building, His promise is that He will be there with us.

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