March 2019

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Just the Bare Facts, Ma’am
by Rev. David T. Myers

Henry MillsBeginning this post with an old line from a television detective drama back in the day, the bare facts are indeed about all we have for today’s post about the Rev. Dr. Henry Mills. Born this day on March 12, 1786 in Morristown, New Jersey, information about that birth, his parents, and the circumstances of his growing up days are absent. The only bit of information next is that he was a student at the College of New Jersey in Princeton, New Jersey, graduating in 1802. [The College was renamed Princeton University in 1896].

So it was that Henry Mills graduated from the College just ten years before the Princeton Theological Seminary was established. The president of the College of New Jersey at that time was Samuel Stanhope Smith. The school’s first president had been John Witherspoon, with Samuel S. Smith among the first graduating class when Witherspoon was president. Further, Samuel Smith married John Witherspoon’s daughter. Smith’s ministry after that graduation and marriage was that of being a missionary, a pastor, and the first president of what is today Hampden-Sydney College. With this background, he returned to the College of New Jersey in Princeton in 1779. He is particularly noted for having strengthened the academic life of the college with the appointment of qualified men as professors. Thus in his own training, Henry Mills had the great benefit of well-established professors at the College.

Following graduation, Mills taught and tutored for a number of years before being called into the ministry. In that era, men often prepared for the ministry under the tutelage of a single pastor. Mill’s choice of mentor was that of the Rev. James Richards, who had just left his pastorate at the First Presbyterian Church in Morristown, New Jersey. Evidently he chose well and his training was to good effect, for in 1816 the Presbytery of New Jersey ordained Henry Mills and installed him as pastor of the Woodbridge Presbyterian Church, and there he remained for the next six years.

Another feature of that era, you will almost consistently find that men who were called to the ministry would wait until they were ordained and installed as the pastor of a church before they would consider taking a wife. And if the situation at that first church was at all tenuous, they might wait even longer. And so we find that Rev. Mills was married in 1821 precisely at the point when he left the pastorate and was appointed to be the Professor of Biblical Criticism and Oriental Languages at a new seminary called Auburn Theological Seminary. He taught there for thirty-one years. Retiring from his teaching position in 1854, he was accorded standing as professor emeritus up until his death on June 10, 1867.

Besides being a theological professor, he was also a hymn writer. Most of his hymns were taken from German hymns, which he thought the American church needed to hear and sing. One volume was published from his pen, titled Hymns from the German (1845). However, though the book did see a second edition in 1856, still none of these hymns appear to have remained in use, and so these have passed from the church scene today.

Words to Live By:
If we were to list the number of ministers who have come and gone without any great notice by the visible church except to note their birth dates, years and place of training, some bare record of what churches or schools they were at, and the date of their death, the list would be unending. The great majority of God’s servants fall into this category. Perhaps you, reader, fall into this listing.  Unnoticed by the world, not mentioned by denominational magazines, your name would be one such pastor or teacher. But . . . but, there is another record being written which is of greater importance.  Found in Malachi 3:16 – 17, the prophet writes, “Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him.” Faithful Christian: be glad that you are found in His heavenly book of remembrance rather than simply in some earthly book. His book is what matters in the long run, indeed for eternity.

Image source: Photograph facing page 24 in A History of Auburn Theological Seminary, 1818-1918, by John Quincy Adams. Auburn, NY: Auburn Seminary Press, 1918.

A More Personal Insight to the man:
In the above referenced history of the seminary, there is this interesting comment on Dr. Mills’ character:

It is said that cases of discipline of the students were generally referred to him for settlement, and there came a time when the other members of the Faculty felt that he did not deal seriously enough with them so that again and again they took him to task for too great frivolity or leniency in his relations with them. It had no effect, however, for he could quickly turn the edge of his colleagues’ criticisms with a humorous reply, and serious dealing with him became increasingly difficult. He was greatly beloved by his colleagues and many friends and his students.—A History of Auburn Theological Seminary, p. 77.

Our post today is excerpted from The St. Louis Evangelist, 13.15 (14 April 1887): 1, col. 5-6.

The first Protestant Christian church in Japan was organized at Yokohama on the 11th of march, 1872. It consisted of 11 members , and most of them were young men who were learning English from the Rev. Mr. Ballagh; and at the same time he had given them instruction in regard to the Creator of all things and eternal life as reveal through His Son. To profess Christ then was in violation of the laws of the country; and it was nearly one year after that the edicts against Christianity were removed from the public places, and then it was claimed that the law was still unchanged, but being so well understood, any further notice of it was unnecessary.

Rev. Mr. Ballagh, of the Reformed Mission, was the acting pastor of this congregation until 1878. Owing to a dislike of Christianity which had arisen, on account of the evils brought upon the country by the Jesuits, to a general indifference, or attachment to their heathen systems, as well as fear of incurring the penalty which was attached to the avowal of Christianity, the number who attended the services was very small, and at times the work seemed quite discouraging.

There were no hymns then in the Japanese language, and no Japanese with a knowledge of either vocal or instrumental music. Only an imperfect translation of the gospel of Matthew by Rev. Mr. Goble had been published, and there was nothing in the way of Christian literature except some few works in Chinese. These were an important help, but of course were only available to the limited number who could read the Chinese.

As the rays of the sun falling upon the iceberg, and the soft winds from the South will in time disintegrate and melt it away, so the light of divine truth slowly but gradually dispelled the various obstacles that hindered the growth of a true and spiritual religion in this land. The earnest prayers of God’s people were heard, the influences of consecrated and happy lives were seen and felt, and the Holy Spirit set his seal to the labors of His faithful servants.

After about two years a branch church was formed in Tokyo, and was the beginning of a large work in the capital of the empire. A gradual increase in the attendance necessitated the erection of a large and suitable place for worship, and in 1875 a fine stone church was erected, and $1,000 given by the native Christians of the Sandwich Islands was employed in this way to extend the gospel of Christ in Japan. From the very first the question arose as to what should be the name and polity of this organization, and also of the other churches that should be established in Japan. As in other matters the spirit of independence was very strong among the Japanese, and the general wish and purpose was that the churches should hold allegiance to no foreign body, but grow up as one in faith and practice, and in accordance with the circumstances and necessities of the case.

This church at Yokohama has grown to be a great power for good. Already nine different churches have been formed through the efforts of its members, and a nucleus exists for similar organizations in many other places. Fifteen preachers and evangelists have been sent out, and among them are some of the most active and efficient workers in the country. The whole number received upon profession has been 736 and 31 by letter. The present membership is 441. Of this number 224 are men, 185 women and 22 children.

The celebration of the 15th anniversary was a most enjoyable occasion. The church was dressed with flags and ornamented with evergreens and flowers. A large and select audience filled the house, and among them were many missionaries and native pastors from Tokyo and other parts of the country. A good number of representatives from churches not connected with the united body were also present, and as opportunity offered extended their hearty congratulations.

A historical account of the beginning and growth of the church and Christianity in Japan, was one of the important features of the occasion. It was most gratifying to all to hear that since this church had been organized the number of Christians had increased to upwards of 16,000, and the native pastors and evangelists to 256, besides 109 in preparation for the ministry.

The music was led by a Christian Japanese lady who presided at the organ, and the singing was hearty and very enjoyable. Translations have been made of a large number of the favorite hymns, and with a considerable number of original productions have furnished a very extensive hymnology.  These hymns are sung everywhere and enjoyed fully as much as at home.

At the close of the service refreshments were served in the foreign style to the various missionaries and other invited guests. After this there was another meeting in the evening at which there were four addresses.

The afternoons and evenings of the two succeeding days were devoted to a series of meetings having the character of evangelistic services. The largest theatre was rented for this purpose and was well filled by a large and appreciative audience.

The fine stone building occupied by the congregation has a seating capacity of above 300, and yet it is fast becoming too small for the wants of the constantly increasing audience. A gallery has been constructed and in this way the room for other hearers has been made.

This brief sketch is a simple index of the growth of Christianity in Japan. May the next fifteen years prove equally as prosperous. The same period of similar success and Japan will no longer be dependent upon other countries for the gospel, but as in the case of the Sandwich Islands will be sending out her representatives to the regions beyond.

THE SCHOOL & FAMILY CATECHIST.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 10.

Q.10. How did God create man?

  1. God created man, male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures.

EXPLICATION.

Created.—Made or formed.

Male and Female.—Man and Woman.

After his own image.—After God’s likeness or resemblance.

With dominion over the creatures.—Having power, or authority, over the beasts of the field, and the birds of the air, and the fishes of the sea.

ANALYSIS.

In this there are four things taught:

  1. That God made man male and female.—Genesis i. 27. God created man—male and female created he them.
  2. That man was made after the image or likeness of God.—Genesis i. 27. God created man in his own image.
  3. That God’s image consists in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness.—Colossians iii. 10. And have put on the new man, who is renewed in knowledge, after the image of him that created him.—Ephesians iv. 24. The new man, who, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness.

4. That man, when first created, had dominion over the creatures.—Genesis i. 28. And God blessed them, and said unto them,—Have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Let’s Take a Quiz

Who am I? I have been called the father of American revivalism . . . the forerunner of everyone from Dwight L. Moody to Billy Graham . . . and still, living in the Vineyard movement to the Church growth movement . . . a darling of both the religious right and the Christian left, or both to the late Jerry Falwell and Jim Wallis . . . envisioned in the church as an agent of change to both individuals and the social gospel? Have you identified me yet? If you chose Charles Grandison Finney, you have passed the test. Finney lives on in all these men and movements today.

Charles G. Finney was a Presbyterian minister whose dates are 1792 to 1875.   A product of the New England states, he taught in his early life and later became an attorney in New York state.  One day, he decided to find God in the woods behind his law practice. He came back to his office claiming to have a baptism of the Holy Spirit which he could barely describe, so wondrous was it.  Giving up his law practice, he refused to attend Princeton Seminary, or for that matter, any seminary, and still was ordained into the Presbyterian church.  He began to conduct revivals then and there. What transpired was what has become known in American church history as the second great awakening.  Only this awakening was diametrically different from the first great awakening.

In examining Finney’s theology and subsequent preaching, listen to the words of Michael Horton. He summed up Charles Finney’s theology and subsequent preaching, as believing that God is not sovereign, that man is not a sinner by nature, that the atonement is not a true payment for sin, that justification by imputation is insulting to reason and morality, that the new birth is simply the effect of successful techniques, and that revival is a natural result of clever campaigns.  He consistently held all these positions in both his campaigns and his books. In short, whatever it was that Charles Finney accomplished, his efforts were rooted in an aberrant theology known as Arminianism. And while any real spiritual results were fleeting, his methods persist to this day.

How different was this from the first great awakening which was rooted in Calvinistic theology?  What you would find in the first great awakening was the teaching that God was sovereign in salvation, that every human being was sinful by nature, that Jesus Christ took on human flesh to stand in our place, bearing our sin and achieving a righteousness for us which is ours by faith, that this new life in Christ is a work of the Holy Spirit, and that revival is brought about by that same Holy Spirit Who is not dependent upon human means for the accomplishment of His work.

It was in 1831 that Charles Finney began a six month revival in the Presbyterian Church of Rochester, New York.  He would preach close to a hundred sermons, complete with all the emotional excesses of a man-centered gospel, ending it on March 9, 1831.  It was these meetings which were the zenith of his evangelistic career.  He went on to other churches and revival, but would come back to Rochester two more times.

Words to Live By: There are two approaches to the gospel which distinguish between the First and Second Great Awakenings. So the question is a simple one : Which do you side with — a God-centered awakening or a man-centered awakening? It was this same question which American Presbyterians had to answer in the early nineteenth century.  Old School Presbyterians answered clearly in the theology of the First Great Awakening.

Comments:
[note: for reasons we’ve not been able to discover, the comment feature on our blog appears to be disabled.]

Our friend Jim O’Brien sent along an email earlier, noting that:

You are too kind to Mr. Finney and, may I suggest, rather unkind to Arminians. Finney was no Arminian. He was an outright Pelagian as were all the rest of the New Haven Divinity. Denying inherited depravity, he needed no ‘prevenient grace’ to restore the freedom to man’s will, as Arminians teach. At least they believe that the Holy Spirit has an important role in conversion. Finney needed no work of the Holy Spirit at all. Anything the Spirit could do to influence a person’s will would be a complete violation of our freedom. It is exceedingly curious that Charismatics have embraced Finney, since, in his theology, the Holy Spirit does precisely nothing.
The effect of Finney’s work was devastating. Since the Spirit was denied, He was also largely absent. Studies conducted years later showed that only a small percentage of Finney’s ‘converts’ were still active in churches. What he accomplished was to innoculate New Englanders and New Yorkers against the Gospel. Historians call that region “the Burned Over District” for a reason. To this day little grows there. It is one of the most Gospel resistant regions in the country. Mr. Finney was a disaster for Christianity in America and if people understood that, no one would laud him ever. He ought to be counted as one of the heresiarchs of the church, just like Pelagius.

How Many of You Know . . .

Mention the name of Pearl Buck and countless Americans will immediately think of the award-winning book “The Good Earth.”  And indeed Pearl Buck did write that famous work and many other novels which earned her both a Pulitzer prize as well as a Nobel prize for literature.  But how many Americans, and even church folks, know that she was instrumental in bringing about the original Presbyterian Church of America in 1936?  And yet she was.

Born of missionary parents in China associated with the Southern Presbyterian church in West Virginia, Pearl Buck returned with her husband to China as missionaries under the Board of Foreign Missions of the northern Presbyterian Church.

In 1932, the book “Rethinking Missions” was published. It stated that its aim was to do exactly what the title suggested, namely, to change the purpose of sending foreign missionaries to the world.  Its aim was to seek the truth from the religions to which it went, rather than to present the truth of historic Christianity.  There should be a common search for truth as a result of missionary ministry, was the consensus of this book.  Pearl Buck agreed one hundred per cent with the results of this book.  She believed that every American Christian should read it.

To her, Jesus ceased to be the divine son of God, virgin born, and conceived by the Holy Spirit.  There was no original sin in her belief structure.  All these truths of historic Christianity made the gospel to be a superstition, a magical religion, and should be done away with by the church, and subsequent mission boards.

Obviously, with beliefs like this, Pearl Buck became the focus of men like J. Gresham Machen, who published a 110 page book on the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.  That treatment was freely presented to the congregations of the Northern Presbyterian Church.  The result was that Pearl Buck was forced to resign from the China mission, though the Presbyterian Board accepted that resignation with regret.

Eventually, the situation of the China Mission was a powerful basis for forming the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions in 1933. True Bible-believing Presbyterians needed to have one board which would only send missionaries to foreign lands who believed that Jesus was the only way, truth, and life to God.  Pearl Buck did not believe this biblical truth.

Pearl Buck passed into eternity on March 6, 1973.

For further study: 
“Pearl Buck’s Comments upon the death of J. Gresham Machen.”

Words to Live By: The New Testament author,  Jude, writes about those who “creep in unnoticed” into the church, who “deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”  As long as the church is on earth, there will be a need for Christians to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered unto the saints.” (ESV  – James 3, 4)

Glory, Glory, Glory to the Blessed God
by Rev. David T. Myers

Our minds and hearts are drawn once again to one of the diary entries of David Brainerd, that man of God who, as a Presbyterian home missionary,  ministered to the native Americans in the mid-eighteenth century in our land.  Listen to his words penned on March 7, 1743:

“This morning when I arose, I found my heart go after God in longing desires of conformity to him, and in secret prayer found myself sweetly quickened and drawn out in praises to God for all he had done to and for me, and for my inward trials and distresses of late.  My heart ascribed glory, glory, glory to the blessed God and bid welcome to all inward distress again, if God saw meet to exercise me with it.  Time appeared but an inch long, and eternity at hand; and I thought I could in patience and cheerfulness bear anything for the cause of God, for I saw that a moment would bring me to a world of peace and blessedness.  My soul by the strength of the Lord, rose far above this lower world, and all the vain amusements and frightful disappointments of it.”

It is clear from reading this brief diary entry that Brainerd saw clearly that both delights and distresses came equally from God’s hand.   Regardless of which came his way, he was prepared to say, “Glory, glory, glory to the blessed God” for it.  And while this is hard to do, to praise God for dark providences, as one called it, yet it is biblical, to say the least.  “In everything give thanks,” the apostle Paul commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.  It is primarily possible when, like David Brainerd, we find ourselves drawn irresistibly to God in adoration and obedience.  Thus we know that, being close to Him, He will give only that which is necessary for our souls to live closely to Him.

Words to Live By:  It is only by daily walking with God, as David Brainerd did during his short life, that we will be able to accept all what the Father has sent our way.  Question? Are you daily walking moment by moment with the Triune God?

Today’s post looks at the life of G. Aiken Taylor, one of the founding fathers of the Presbyterian Church in America and a leading voice among conservative Presbyterians during the 1960’s and 1970’s

Very Much the Churchman

George Aiken Taylor was born on January 22, 1920 in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil, the son of Presbyterian missionaries George W. Taylor and Julia Pratt Taylor.  The influence of that upbringing was clearly manifest in later years, for one of Dr. Taylor’s adversaries once said of him, “Dr. Taylor was born of missionary parents in Brazil, and I happen to know that he is ‘not conscious of color…’”

When he was fifteen years old he returned to this country to complete his education, graduating from the Presbyterian College of South Carolina with the A.B. degree in 1940.  He taught in the South Carolina public schools for a year, and then entered the U.S. Army in 1941.  He served with the 36th (Texas) Infantry Division and rose to the rank of Captain, commanding a heavy weapons company in the 142nd Infantry.  He participated in five major campaigns in World War II, was wounded once and decorated once.

Taylor married the former Blanche Williams of Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1942. Together they raised four children.

After the war, Taylor entered Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, graduating with the Bachelor of Divinity degree, Magna Cum Laude in 1948.  He was also ordained that same year and installed as pastor of the Smyrna Presbyterian Church in Smyrna, Georgia, where he served for two years before becoming pastor of the  Northside Presbyterian Church in Burlington, North Carolina.  In 1950 he entered Duke University for graduate study and was later awarded the Ph.D. degree by Duke for his dissertation, John Calvin, the Teacher, a study of religious education in Calvin’s Geneva.

Dr. Taylor served as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, Louisiana from 1954 to 1959, and during those years he became interested in the work of Alcoholics Anonymous through his own work with alcoholics, developing an appreciation for A.A.’s principles. His book, A Sober Faith, was one result of that work and was published in 1953.  A second book, St. Luke’s Life of Jesus, was published in 1954.

When Dr. L. Nelson Bell stepped down as editor of The Southern Presbyterian Journal in 1959, it was Aiken Taylor who took on those duties, serving as editor until 1983. It is interesting to note that one of Dr. Taylor’s conditions for taking the job entailed a name change for the magazine, which now became simply The Presbyterian Journal. This name change was a reflection of Taylor’s own ecumenical aspirations. Taylor was instrumental in the formation of the National Presbyterian and Reformed Fellowship (NPRF), which in turn led to the formation of another conservative ecumenical organization, the North American Presbyterian & Reformed Council. During his tenure as editor, he was also active in the conservative movement within the Presbyterian Church, US (aka, Southern Presbyterian Church), an effort which eventually led to the formation of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) in 1973.  Subsequently Taylor was a key leader in the PCA and was elected moderator of the General Assembly of that denomination in 1978.

In 1983, Dr. Taylor was named president of Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, where he succeeded the founding president of the school, Dr. Allan A. MacRae. Taylor was inaugurated in December of that year, but just three months later—on March 6, 1984—he died suddenly.  Memorial services were held in Pennsylvania, with funeral services at Gaither Chapel in Montreat, North Carolina.  Dr. Taylor was buried in nearby Swannanoa, North Carolina.

Words to Live By:
I have been told that it was Francis Schaeffer who coined the phrase “split P’s” when speaking of all the many divisions among Presbyterians. But for all those divisions, the latter half of the twentieth century turned out to be largely a time of focus on union and cooperation. Among the conservative Presbyterian denominations, merger talks were actively underway between various groups from 1956 until about the close of the century. Sadly, since that time the silence has been deafening. Dr. Taylor had the right idea in forming the NPRF, where conservatives of all denominations could fellowship together and thus overcome distrust and distance. Leaving all talk of mergers entirely aside, for the cause of Christ we as conservative Presbyterians need to be creating opportunities to work and fellowship alongside one another. Some might say that the many para-church groups now provide this function, but is that really enough, and are they effective for this purpose?

True Empathy

Two close friends, both pastors, both facing the struggle against cancer. One, the president of a small theological seminary, the other a world renown theologian. Here in this letter, preserved at the PCA Historical Center, Dr. Francis Schaeffer writes to comfort and counsel his friend, Dr. Robert G. Rayburn. The letter provides a wonderful insight into Schaeffer’s view of death and dying, and more than that, his view of the nature of the Christian life, as overseen by the providence of God. The letter also provides us a very characteristic example of Schaeffer’s pastoral concern for others. Dr. Schaeffer was called home to glory just three years later, in 1984, while Dr. Rayburn entered into his eternal reward in 1990.

Francis Schaeffer letter to Dr. Robert Rayburn, March 1981

Dear Bob:

Thank you for your letter of March 5. It was so good to have the news directly from you. Of course, both you and I know that unless the Lord heals us completely that once we have faced the question of cancer we always must also face the possibility of re-occurrence. With modern medicine, and I am sure prayer very much goes hand in hand with it, there is a possibility of the thing being controlled even if the Lord does not heal us completely… I hope for both of us that we will really “beat the whole thing” by meeting the Lord in the air. However, if that is not the case, maybe we will both die from 63 other things or an automobile accident. Living this way has one advantage and that is we have had brought into sharp focus the reality of what is true for everybody from con­ception onward and that is that we are all mortal in this abnor­mal world.

In my own case, of course, if I could wave a wand and be rid of the lymphoma I would do it. Yet in my own case, in looking back over the whole two-and-a-half years since I have known I have lymphoma, there has been more that has been positive than negative. That is true on many levels and I am not just thinking of some vague concept of understanding people better, though I guess that is true as well. Rather, in the total complex of everything that has happened, I am convinced that there is more positive than negative. I am so glad that though I increasingly am against any form of theological determinism which turns people into a zero and choices into delusions, yet I am also increasingly conscious of the fact that Edith and I have been, as it were, carried along on an escalator for the entirety of our lives. I am left in awe and wonder with all this, and I very much feel the escalator is still in operation, not just in this matter of health, but in the battles that beset us on every side.

I wonder if you have read my article “The Dust of Life” in the current (March) issue of Eternity. I think you would enjoy some of the ideas there. The article was not born out of abstract thinking but asking, as I saw the struggles of the younger Chris­tians, what the real balance of life was so as not to have a plastic smile on our face and yet have an affirmation of life rather than a negation of it….

Thank you for plunking out the letter on the electric portable when it was costly to you. Edith sends her love to LaVerne and to you along with my own,

In the Lamb,

/signed, Francis A. Schaeffer/

Happy Birthday! The following PCA churches were organized [particularized] on this day, in the year indicated. Nearly one-third of all PCA churches pre-date the 1973 formation of the PCA, and for most of those churches, we do not presently know their exact date of organization. Typically it is the newer churches where we have that information. Please let us know if we missed a church’s anniversary date and we’ll add it to our list for future use. In some cases here we are using the date when the church came into the PCA, rather than when it was organized.

Covenant Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, AL [Evangel], organized March 4, 1979.
Covenant Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC [Calvary Presbytery], organized March 4, 1951 and was among the founding churches of the PCA in 1973.
Parish Presbyterian Church, Franklin, TN [Nashville Presbytery], organized March 4, 2007.
River’s Edge Community Church, Oella, MD [Chesapeake Presbytery], organized March 4, 2007.

From the brief church history presented on the web site of Covenant Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina:

Covenant Presbyterian Church was formally organized by a commission of Congaree Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in the United States on Sunday, March 4, 1951, in a service held at Watkins School. The Reverend Harry F. Petersen, Jr., Executive Secretary of Congaree Presbytery, was instrumental in the founding of the church and leading it during the early years before a pastor was called. Pastors of the congregation have included the Rev. Cecil D. Brearley, Jr. (1954 – 1960), the Rev. Harry T. Schutte (1960 – 1977), the Rev. J. Gary Aitken (1977 – 1990), the Rev. LeRoy H. Ferguson (1991 – 2001) and the Rev. Eric R. Dye (2004 – present).

The congregation met in Watkins School until August of 1951. We moved when construction of the first sanctuary was completed on property on Alms House Road in the rapidly growing northeastern area of Columbia. Alms House Road was later renamed Covenant Road after the church. In 1959, a new church sanctuary and children’s building were dedicated on the same property. Additional buildings have been added since then to support our ministry.

On July 1, 1973, Covenant Church voted to pull out of the Presbyterian Church in the United States and join the newly organized, more reformed Presbyterian Church in America.

In addition to its witness to Christ, Covenant has served members of the congregation and community with a Christian school. Beginning with a kindergarten and adding elementary grades in 1982, Covenant Presbyterian Day School was established. The school, now known as Covenant Classical Christian School, has grown to a full K4-12th grade Classical Christian School with a current enrollment of 166. Many of Covenant’s members are now serving as ministers in Presbyterian churches, on the mission field and other Christian ministries.

Covenant has always taken an active part in the work of the higher courts of the church. Its pastors and many of its members have served on Presbytery and General Assembly committees.

This short history offers only a glimpse of the way in which God has blessed and used the ministry of Covenant Church. All over the state and nation are those who for a time were touched by the ministry of Covenant. “To God be the glory … great things He hath done.”

 

THE SCHOOL & FAMILY CATECHIST.

Q.9. What is the work of Creation?

  1. The work of Creation is, God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.

EXPLICATION.

The word of his power.—God’s powerful word, by which he spake every thing into being.

In the space of six days.—During the time, or within the compass of six days.

ANALYSIS.

Here we have six points of information:

  1. That God is the Creator of all things.—Gen. i. 1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
  2. That he made all things of nothing.—Heb. xi. 3. Things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
  3. That God made all things by his powerful word.—Heb. xi. 3. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God.
  4. That he made all things in six days.—Gen. i. 31. God saw every thing that he made,—and the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
  5. That all things, when made by God, were very good.—Gen. i. 31. God saw every thing that he made; and, behold, it was very good.

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