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STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

Q. 70. Which is the seventh commandment?

A. The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Q. 71. What is required in the seventh commandment?

A. The seventh commandment requireth the preservation of our own and our neighbor’s chastity, in heart, speech, and behavior.

Scripture References: Exodus 20:14; I Thessalonians 4:4-5; I Corinthians 7:2; Matthew 5:28; Ephesians 4:29.

Questions:

1. What is meant by the word “chastity”?

The word “chastity” means a hatred of all uncleanness, no matter whether it be in the body or in the mind and affections (Job 31:1),

2. What is the two-fold duty involved in the keeping of this commandment?

The two-fold duty involves both ourselves and others, there is an equal responsibility here.

3. How can the seventh commandment be broken?

It can be broken by an act, but also by impure thoughts; and it should be recognized that it is from within the heart of a man that sin comes. Therefore the real source of violations of this commandment is the sinful heart.

4. How can we preserve both our own and our neighbor’s chastity?

We can best preserve it by keeping in the right relationship with our Lord. If we do that, then there will be certain characteristics about us such as: loving with a pure heart (I Pet. 1:22); speaking in a way that will only edify ourselves and our neighbor (Eph. 4:29); behaving in such a way that we are always a testimony for Jesus Christ, never giving any cause for criticism in this area (I Pet. 3:1, 2).

5. How can we best keep in that right relationship with the Lord in this regard?

We must be watchful over our hearts and spirits, over our eyes and ears. We must be diligent in our walk with the Lord remembering we can never take even “minute vacations” from our watchfulness. We must follow after temperance in all things. We must be careful of the company we keep, the marriages we contract. We must seek the mind of Christ with regard to things sinful and unclean. We must study the Word and pray daily.

6. Why must we be careful to keep this commanment?

We must be careful to keep it because it is a command or God, but one which in this age is bypassed time and time again by society.


THE LAW OF CHASTITY

Our Lord well knew the dangers to which we would be subjected when He had His servant pray: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” He knew that our only method of living was by His grace. He knew that His Word dare not be left out of our approach to life.

When we ask the question as to why there are so many divorces, wrecked homes, broken hearts, and all kinds of vice and immorality in the world of today, we must remember that the difficulty lies in ignorance of, or rebellion against, God’s will. People have lost knowledge that the married state in God’s sight is holy—holy in origin, in essence, and in purpose. It is holy in origin because God Himself instituted it. It is holy in essence because God intends that it shall be a life-long covenant between one man and one woman. It is holy in purpose because it is God’s institution for the propagation of the human race, the living together of two people, all to the glory of God.

Today we must be on guard, especially against the false ideas about marriage, about morality. The “New Morality” is one of the worst lies of Satan ever to be spread in this country. And to think it is being spread by the church itself! Actually it is nothing new. It is nothing but a rejection of the Ten Commandments and this is what the true church of God has been living with for years—the rejection of the Word of God. The difference today is that the proponents of immorality are becoming bolder, for they realize now there are few who will stand against them. How deplorable it is to think they are playing right into the hands of the Communists whose first rule has always been: “Corrupt the youngl”

As believers we need to be on our guard in two ways. FIrst, that none of these so-called new rules creep in unawares into our lives and we begin to excuse wrong behaviour with the old “everybody is doing it” sort of approach. Second, that we might raise up the standard of the Word against them. We must declare the Word of God against all unchastity. We must remind people again and again that our Lord puts His finger on the difficulty: “For out of the heart proceed evU thoughts…” We must preach Jesus Christ to a dying world! There is no other method of dealing with the problem. The “New Morality” is taking hold because people do not know Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. Such should be our constant messagel

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Our Primary Author!—On his Birthday, No Less!

myersDavidT02Seventy-five years ago, on this day, October 7, 1940, out on the wind-swept plains of Lemmon, South Dakota, David T. Myers was born—the fourth and youngest child of Rev. David K. Myers and his wife Anne.  Rev. Myers was riding the rural preaching circuit at the time, preaching to and pastoring as many as fifteen small prairie churches in the newly formed Bible Presbyterian Church.  There is little recorded of the Myers’ family life of this time, other than one story that the Myers children were known to say, especially during blizzard season, “Now, let us pray for Daddy if he be stuck!”  Certainly this was a product of the faithfulness of young David’s mother, Anne, whose “determination, steadfast support, and unfailing labors in the church and home with her prayers,” recalled Rev. Myers years later, allowed him to “go far in ‘them thar’ hills for the gold of precious souls who turned to Christ by evangelistic means to receive the Gospel.”

[Note: David’s father, the Rev. David K. Myers, wrote an autobiography titled Preaching on the Plains. For information on how to order a copy of this most interesting autobiography, click here. The table of contents, and later, several sample chapters, were posted here.]

Without a doubt, David Myers’ early life was cocooned in the message and work of the Gospel.  He must have breathed it in, along with the crisp northern wind, and been animated by its strength and power in the time before even his first memory.  When David was a boy of three, Rev. Myers took on a new calling as a chaplain in the U.S. Army.  There followed numerous different postings, including a most memorable three years at the Army chaplaincy in post-World War II Germany, at the infamous Nazi concentration camp—Dachau.

It was in Dachau that mankind’s depravity and desperate need for a Savior was seared onto David’s consciousness.  At the impressionable age of eight to ten years old, David would wander the camp of horror in those first years of the American occupation, even before the full extent of the Holocaust was known to the world.  He saw bones in the dirt, human ashes in the ovens, and a gruesome hanging tree, ropes still swinging.  David later wrote of the “breathtaking cruelty” that was apparent throughout Dachau.  He would recall one instance “walking through a shower room with bars of soap, sprinkler heads, drains in the floor, except everything was wooden, including the bars of soap. This was a gas chamber, and I can remember hurrying out of there when one of my older friends with me then mentioned it as that.”  All of this impressed upon the boy with indelible force the inescapable “sinful depravity of man” and his need for the Gospel.

It was to that Gospel calling that David would turn as he returned to America and entered his formative years of study, eventually completing his masters of divinity degree at Faith Seminary in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, where his father had taken up a professorship (later, David would add a doctoral degree from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri).  Then, in 1966, he and his new bride, Carolyn, began what would stretch to nearly fifty years of faithful and continuous Gospel ministry—pastoring five different Presbyterian churches, serving as an “honorary chaplain” at the U.S. Army War College, and engaging in numerous scholarly work, popular writing, and public engagement ministries.

After a short stint in Alberta, Canada, David and Carolyn moved to Lincoln, Nebraska to plant a new church work in the Bible Presbyterian denomination.  God blessed their efforts and as that church grew, David’s ministry expanded in the community.  In 1974, it was reported by the local press that David had begun, and was serving as President, the Nebraska Association for Christian Action.  “It is the aim of this organization to bring to bear the Word of God on vital social and political issues, and to engage in Christian witness and action in public affairs,” David said at the time.  The organization fulfilled its mission during those years as it testified regularly before the state legislature and advocated on many issues of public concern.

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With the birth of a new, reformed Presbyterian denomination in America, the PCA, David transitioned his ministry into a new denominational home.  Both the work he began in Lincoln, and the subsequent work begun in Omaha, remain faithful congregations—with fruitful church offspring of their own—in the PCA.  During this time, David and Carolyn welcomed into their lives and ministry their only child, daughter Ann Margaret.

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In 1986, having seeded the cornfields of Nebraska with a flourishing reformed Presbyterianism, David accepted a call east and left his beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers for the hills of Pennsylvania.  There, for the next twenty years, he would pastor two PCA congregations, one in Pittsburgh and one in Carlisle.  While in Pennsylvania, David’s fascination with American history, and particularly the period of the Civil War, reached new heights.  He began a ministry of research and writing connecting the deep Christian spirituality of that era to the on-the-ground living history of battlefields and memorials across the Pennsylvania countryside.  His personal tours through the Gettysburg National Park became renown among Christian tourists seeking to learn the specific Christian stories of the war.  As always, David never took off his pastoral cap, using history to illuminate again, the power of the Gospel of Christ.  His books [Stonewall Jackson: The Spiritual Side and The Boy Major of the Confederacy] on the era do the same.

In 2004, David retired from his period of formal ministry in the PCA, but he has never retired from the ministry of the Gospel.  David soon took up a key post as an “honorary chaplain” at the U.S. Army Chapel at the Carlisle Barracks, a part of the Army War College.   In this way, David brought his ministry full circle from those early years as an “Army brat” witnessing the horrible depravity of man while his father ministered in the chaplaincy in Dachau.  David served as a faithful teacher and occasional pastor at the Chapel, ministering to some of the U.S. Army’s top brass as they moved through postings at the War College.

David’s characteristic wry humor found one of its keenest expressions during his time at the Chapel.  He is known to remark: “It is the most perfect church I have known.  If you don’t like the congregation, they leave every year, and if you don’t like the chaplain, he leaves every other year!”  But beyond humor, David has continued his life’s work, bringing the light of the Gospel to everyone around him.  For example, in 2012, Col. Randall Cheeseborough, the chairman of the War College’s department of academic affairs, told one publication that he and his wife kept returning again and again to hear David’s teaching: “It was so Scripture based, it was a wonderful experience.  It’s good for me to see an older man’s faithfulness and dedication.  He’s just a wonderful role model.”  Another member of the brass, Col. Bill Barko told the same publication: “More than about any single person, David has been a huge spiritual influence on our community.”

Readers of this blog certainly have known and experienced these same truths.  In 2010, David floated to the PCA Historical Center the idea of a daily devotion tied to events in Presbyterian history.  Others, including director Wayne Sparkman, thought it was a fine idea, but were concerned about content production.  Thus, David’s project was given the green light, but on one condition: that he write an entire year’s worth of daily devotionals before the project would launch.  David eagerly accepted the challenge and for the next two years, wrote what would become the first 365 of this project’s devotionals.  To date, This Day in Presbyterian History has produced over 1,300 daily devotionals from Presbyterian history, is read by thousands around the globe, and has been cited by many other publications both scholarly and popular.

And so, on his seventy-fifth birthday, we are honored to wish our founder a hearty “Happy Birthday!” with his own, well deserved chapter in this collection recounting God’s abounding grace and saving mercies as they have been deposited in one branch of his Church.  David’s faithful life and work have, without a doubt, testified to the truth that there is a Savior, and that he is Jesus Christ, our Lord.  David and Carolyn continue to live in the hills of Pennsylvania, in the village of Boiling Springs, and he can still be seen, from time to time, leading fellow Christians and history buffs around the Gettysburg battlefield, recounting stories of faith in the most trying of times.  His daughter Ann lives in Kansas with her husband Caleb, and David’s five grandsons.

Our post today comes by way of family members grateful for his legacy of faith.

 

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A Heart for Missions

gilchristRWIt was a proud day in Las Vegas, New Mexico, on March 14, 1892, when Elizabeth Rowland Gilchrist and her husband Joseph James Gilchrist welcomed their new child into the world. George Riggle Monfort Gilchrist was, in part, named after a favorite uncle, the Rev. George Washington Riggle, who was a pastor in Socorro, New Mexico. The name Monfort was in honor of the Huguenot side of the family, in particular, Joseph Glass Monfort, who was George’s great uncle. He was quite involved with Old School Presbyterian Church, working primarily in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

George Gilchrist attended Occidental College, graduating with the Bachelor of Science degree in 1915, and from there proceeded to Chicago, where he attended the Moody Bible Institute for two years, graduating in 1918. Seminary added a few more years as he prepared for the ministry, and graduated in 1923. Even while in school, he had his eye on mission work, and in particular the field of Chile, annually serving there as a short term missionary during his Seminary years, primarily teaching in the Instituto Ingles, located in Santiago.

Rev. Gilchrist was ordained by the Presbytery of San Francisco (PCUSA) on April 27, 1924 and he was installed as the pastor of the Presbyterian church in Richmond, California. He served this congregation less than two years before he departed as a foreign missionary, serving in Chile under the auspices of the PCUSA’s World Missions Board. He would remain on the field in that capacity for twenty years.

gilchristRW&RuthThen in 1945, Rev. Gilchrist transferred his credentials to the Bible Presbyterian Church, and continued to labor another fourteen years in Chile, now under the auspices of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. When the Bible Presbyterian Church split in 1956, Rev. Gilchrist aligned himself with the Columbus Synod BP’s and concluded his missionary work in 1959 with World Presbyterian Missions. In retirement, Rev. Gilchrist eventually came to live in Mount Hermon, California (circa 1968).

George R. M. Gilchrist died on August 13, in 1988, at Bethany Manor in Ripon, CA, just a few weeks after a family reunion for his sixty-fifth wedding anniversary. His mortal remains were laid to rest in the cemetery in Felton, California. Gilchrist was a teacher and an evangelistic missionary in Chile for more than three decades. He was survived by his widow Ruth and four children. Of these children, the Rev. Paul R. Gilchrist is noted as having served as the second Stated Clerk of the PCA, from 1988 to 1998.

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Born in Rendham, Massachusetts on March 13, 1918, Thomas G. Cross was educated at Hampton Sydney College and went on to prepare for the ministry at Faith Theological Seminary. In a ministerial career that spanned fifty years, the Rev. Thomas G. Cross was instrumental in establishing forty churches across the United States. He was ordained by the Bible Presbyterian denomination in 1943 and from 1948 to 1953, served as General Secretary for the National Presbyterian Missions agency. Among his published works is a concise history of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod.

The last years of his life were devoted to developing a pleasant and affordable retirement center primarily for the widows of Calvary and Palmetto Presbyteries. Bailey Manor, as it was named, in Clinton, South Carolina, was created from a former hospital. The Rev. Thomas G. Cross passed away on May 12, 1994.

Dr. Cross was survived by his widow, four sons and a large extended family including three brothers, David, Howard, and Walter G., Jr., all of whom also became PCA teaching elders. David, the youngest of the Cross brothers, has graciously supplied us today with his own recollections of his brother Thomas:—

Rev. Dr. Thomas G. Cross – March 13, 1918 – May 12, 1994
by his youngest brother, David Cross.

Tom was almost 24 years old and had been married to Jane for almost 2 years when I was born, so my earliest recollections of Tom are of his visits to our parents’ home in Scranton, PA. We sat around the kitchen table as he told stories about driving the length and breadth of the United States and even into Canada to help small groups of people who wanted to form a Bible Presbyterian Church. Many of those churches are now part of the Presbyterian Church in America. The skills in business affairs that he learned from our father were valuable assets in the things he did for those churches.

Tom was the General Secretary (Chief Operating Officer) of National Missions, the church planting agency of the denomination. As the ministry grew, Tom moved it to St Louis, where Covenant College and Seminary were starting and at the time was the center of the country based on population.

Soon after that move increasing tinnitus exacerbated by air travel and the needs of a family of four boys, motivated him to accept a call to the Bible Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC. But his interest in church planting never dimmed. He became the founding pastor of Mitchell Road PCA as well as encouraging the planting of several other churches in that part of the state.

When he retired from Mitchell Road he moved to Columbia, SC to start yet another church. Then returned to Greenville where he helped a struggling church to get moving.

For years he, and some like-minded men had been working on the idea of having a retirement home for people of average means. The right location seemed to elude them until a redundant hospital building became available in Clinton, SC. Tom and Jane sold their lovely home and moved into one of the first available apartments converted from old hospital rooms in Bailey Manor, which at the time was still a building site.

My last recollection of Tom was his visit to England in 1993. I was serving there with Mission To the World. He came for the 350th anniversary celebration of the formation of the Westminster Assembly. He preached in the tiny church we were planting in Chelmsford and he wanted to know about things, even the small businesses that operated from trailers and sold tea and sandwiches alongside the highways.

Tom never lost his enthusiasm for the spread of the gospel, nor his interest in the people who surrounded him. His example has been a challenge to me for my whole life.

Words to Live By:
Tom Cross never lost his enthusiasm for the spread of the gospel.  Do you, as a reader of this post, have an enthusiasm for the spread of the gospel?  After all, that is what the Great Commission is all about, starting in your  home town (your Jerusalem), going to your county or state (your Judea), including parts of your living area which may be on the adverse side of life (your Samaria), and going through support of foreign missionaries, or going yourself to the other parts of the world.  May we all have Tom Cross’ testimony, that of being on fire for the spread of the gospel.

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Some Pastors Are Born Teachers.

SandersonJWBorn in Baltimore, Maryland on March 19, 1916, John W. Sanderson later attended Wheaton College, graduating with the BA degree in 1937. He then attended Faith Theological Seminary, earning the Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1940 and the Master of Sacred Theology degree in 1945. In 1949 he earned an MA degree from the University of Pennsylvania. A final degree, the Doctor of Divinity degree, was awarded by Geneva College in 1966.

Rev. Sanderson was licensed and ordained in 1940 by Chicago Presbytery of the Bible Presbyterian Church. His first pastorate was at the First Bible Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, Missouri, serving there from 1940 until 1943. He was the first pastor of this church, and upon his departure, the congregation next called the Rev. Francis A. Schaeffer. From 1945 to 1952 and again from 1955 to 1956, Rev. Sanderson served as Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at Faith Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA. Between those two terms as professor, he served as the pastor of the Bible Presbyterian Church of Newark, DE from 1952 to 1955.

sandersonIn the academic year of 1956-1957, Sanderson served as a professor at Covenant College, which was then located in St. Louis, Missouri. Leaving that position briefly, he served as a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary from 1957 to 1963. Returning to St. Louis, he taught at Covenant Seminary, 1963-1964, and then moved with the 1964 Covenant College relocation to Lookout Mountain, TN, working at the College variously as professor, dean and vice president between the years 1964–1976. Dr. Sanderson finally returned to teach at Covenant Seminary from 1976 to 1984.

Rev. Sanderson’s honors include serving as the Moderator of Synod for the Bible Presbyterian Church in 1951. Other fields of service included teaching in India (1973), Chile (1978) and Peru (1978). For a brief time, 1956-1957, Rev. Sanderson had also served as editor of The Bible Presbyterian Reporter.

He was honorably retired from the ministry in 1986, and died on April 30, 1998. He had transferred his ministerial credentials into the PCA in 1982 when the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod was received into the PCA, and at the time of his death, though residing at the Quarryville (PA) Retirement Community, was a member of the PCA’s Missouri Presbytery.

We close our post today with a brief but useful article by Rev. Sanderson which was published in Salt, a student publication at Covenant Seminary.

Great Biblical Ideas: God’s Omniscience.

God’s omniscience has meant much to me. Scripture teaches that the Lord knows all things about me (Psalm 139), about the world (Proverbs 15:3), and about Himself (1 Corinthians 2:10).

In its practical outworking, this concept gives comfort because it teaches us that there can never be any surprises for God, any unforeseen obstacles, nor any changes in His working because of developments of which He knows nothing. In one of his moments of assurance Job said, “But he knoweth the way that I take; when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10). Job uttered these words against a background of his own bitter ignorance of his situation, and he found some help in this truth.

God’s omniscience also helps us during times of temptation. The assurance that nothing can be hid from Him is a deterrent to sin. Clarence E. Macartney, in his volume The Way of a Man with a Maid, tells of a scene from a drama on the life of Joseph. Potiphar’s wife is puzzled because Joseph will not succumb to her temptation. Then she spies over in the corner an idol “looking” at them. Thinking the idol’s “presence” is what is deterring Joseph, she takes the cover from the bed and covers the idol’s face. Then she turns again to Joseph, fully expecting him to do now as she wishes. In the play Joseph still refuses because his God never hides His face.

Although this is only a fictionalized account, it illustrates vividly how God’s omniscience, when we are persuaded of it in practical living, is a positive incentive to holiness. God’s full knowledge is a sobering thought for the Christian (Hebrews 4:13) as well as for the disobedient (Jeremiah 23:23); Ezekiel 11:5).

God’s omniscience is one of the reasons for our believing in the full truthfulness of Scripture. We are assured of the integrity of the Word because the Word is an expression of the Spirit’s knowledge. Notice the way Paul develops this in 1 Corinthians 2. No man knows the future which God has planned for us (vs. 9), but God has revealed the future by His Spirit. The Spirit is qualified to do this revealing because He has searched all things, “yea, the deep things of God” (v. 10). Now these things have been given to the apostles by the Spirit (v. 12). The apostles preach these things and so they communicate to “spiritual” men what Paul calls “the mind of Christ” (v. 16). What a comfort in times of doubt and criticism — God knows more than the critics and this knowledge stands behind the words of Scripture!

God’s omniscience should drive us to worship. Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, and his fame was so great that the queen traveled “from the uttermost parts of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon” (Luke 11:31). Read her reaction in 1 Kings 10 — “there was no more spirit in her.” Perhaps we should say that she was breathless! Yet Jesus says that she will condemn His generation because “a greater than Solomon is here.”

Today we revere scholars and are overwhelmed by their scholarship. How much more should we be overwhelmed by the “fountain of all wisdom” and tremble when we handle His Word!

“Great Biblical Ideas,” excerpted from Salt: Official Student Publication of Covenant Theological Seminary, 1.2 (18 December 1968): 10.

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There was a good deal of serious scholarship which arose from among the early leaders of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Bible Presbyterian Synod. And of the many who accomplished so much in their study and defense of the Scriptures, the Rev. Dr. R. Laird Harris was easily among the most notable of these scholars.

harris02Robert Laird Harris was born on 10 March 1911 in Brownsburg, Pennsylvania. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Delaware in 1931, a Th.B. from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1935 and a Th.M. from Westminster in 1937. He was licensed in 1935 by the New Castle Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA), and ordained in June 1936 in the Presbyterian Church of America [the original name of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC)] at that denomination’s first General Assembly.

He left the OPC late in 1937 to join the newly formed Bible Presbyterian Church. Harris then received an A.M. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1941, and was later part-time instructor in Hebrew there from 1946 to 1947. He obtained his Ph.D. from Dropsie in 1947. Biblical exegesis was Dr. Harris’s field and he taught this for twenty years at Faith Theological Seminary, first as instructor (1937 – 1943), then as assistant professor (1943 – 1947) and finally as professor (1947 – 1956).

Dr. Harris served as moderator of the Bible Presbyterian Synod in 1956, the year in which the denomination divided. Harris defended the validity of church-controlled agencies against those who insisted on independent agencies, and he was one of many faculty members to resign from Faith Seminary that year. He became at that time one of the founding faculty members of Covenant Theological Seminary. He was professor there and chairman of the Old Testament department from 1956 until he retired from full-time teaching in 1981. He remained an occasional lecturer at Covenant, and was also a lecturer in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan and a visiting professor in India, Hong Kong and Germany following his retirement, while also working on further revisions to the New International Version translation of the Bible.

He remained active in church leadership, serving as chairman of the fraternal relations committee of the Bible Presbyterian Church, Columbus Synod during the late 1950s, when discussion began concerning union between the BPC, Columbus Synod and the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America, General Synod. He remained on that committee through 1965, seeing the effort through to the culmination of ecclesiastical union with the creation of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (RPCES). In 1982, the RPCES joined the Presbyterian Church in America and Dr. Harris was elected moderator that year for the 10th General Assembly of the PCA.

Harris was not only a teacher and church leader, but a prolific author as well. He published an Introductory Hebrew Grammar, the prize-winningInspiration and Canonicity of the Bible, and additional works such as Your Bible and Man–God’s Eternal Creation. He was editor of The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament and a contributing editor to the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, and wrote articles for the Wycliffe Bible Commentary and Expositor’s Bible. Also, as noted above, Dr. Harris served as chairman of the Committee on Bible Translation that produced the New International Version of the Bible .

Dr. Harris’ first wife, Elizabeth K. Nelson, died in 1980. He later married Anne P. Krauss and they resided for some time in Wilmington, Delaware before declining health prompted a move to the Quarryville Retirement Home in Quarryville, PA. Dr. Robert Laird Harris entered glory on 25 April 2008. The funeral service for Dr. Harris was conducted on 1 May 2008 at the Faith Reformed Presbyterian Church, Quarryville, PA, and internment was on 2 May 2008 in the historic cemetery adjacent to the Thompson Memorial Presbyterian Church, New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Words to Live By:
For those who enter upon the study of the Scriptures, especially at the academic level, there is a hidden pitfall. It is a deadly danger which ultimately springs from pride and the imposition of human intellect upon the very Word of God. By God’s grace, Dr. Harris avoided this pitfall and to his dying day, his heart remained humble before the Lord his God. The Puritan theologian John Owen, in his Biblical Theology, gives an excellent summary of both the problem and the proper, necessary approach that any scholar must maintain in the study of the Scriptures:

“Wherever fear and caution have not infused the student’s heart, God is despised. His pleasure is only to dwell in hearts which tremble at His Word. Light or frivolous perusal of the Scriptures is a sickness of soul which leads on to the death of atheism. He who would properly undertake the study of the Bible must keep fixed in his memory, fastened as it were with nails, that stern warning of the Apostle inHebrews 12:28-29, ‘Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and Godly fear; for our God is a consuming fire.’ Truly, ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’ If this fear is not experienced in the study of the Word, it will not display itself in any other facet of life.’
— 
Biblical Theology, by John Owen (Soli Deo Gloria, 1996), pp. 699-700

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“The last of the 20th Century’s Fighting Fundamentalists has been called to glory. Only eternity will tell of the countless souls rescued from cults and the modernist churches due to the influence of this man” commented Dr. Morris McDonald of the Presbyterian Missionary Union when word began to spread today that Dr. Carl McIntire had passed away late on March 19, 2002, at Virtua Health Center in Voorhees, New Jersey. Born May 17, 1906, McIntire was just short of 96 at the time of his death.

“An exhaustive preacher, writer, and publisher, McIntire was best known for his motto “A man who will not use his freedom to defend his freedom does not deserve his freedom.” In support of his causes, Dr. McIntire published the Christian Beacon newspaper, preached on the 20th Century Reformation Hour, and at various times directed the American Council of Christian Churches and the International Council of Christian Churches.”

“Dr. McIntire started his ministerial career in Collingswood and served the congregation there from 1933 for more than 60 years. Under his leadership the church left the Presbyterian Church (USA) as the flag ship congregation of what would become the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the Bible Presbyterian Church, and a large portion of the Presbyterian Church in America. Though originally partners in supporting the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, Dr. Gresham Machen and Dr. Carl McIntire moved in different directions after the break with the Northern Presbyterian Church. Machen became identified with Westminster Seminary while McIntire developed Faith Seminary.”

The son of a Presbyterian pastor, Carl Curtis McIntire was born on May 17, 1906 in Ypsilanti, Michigan during his father’s first pastorate. The little that is known about his early years is gathered in bits and pieces. His father, Charles Curtis, was a Princeton Seminary graduate, class of 1904. Leaving his first pulpit in 1907, he next pastored the Westminster Presbyterian Church of Salt Lake City from 1907 – 1910 and then served as the executive secretary of the Presbyterian Laymen’s Foreign Mission Movement from 1911 – 1912. By 1912 however, Charles Curtis McIntire had suffered a mental breakdown and was hospitalized. Details of this setback are lacking, but for whatever specific reason, Carl’s mother Hettie divorced and raised her sons Carl and Blair alone in Durant, OK. (According to an article several years ago in the Philadelphia Inquirer, there may also have been at least one other brother in the family, Forest McIntire, who was located in Oklahoma City). During these years Hettie McIntire worked as the Dean of Women at the Southeastern State Teacher’s College in Durant in order to support her family. By 1920, Charles Curtis had recovered and was serving as the pastor of the Presbyterian church of Vinita, OK, as a lecturer and as a prison evangelist. Charles Curtis McIntire died in 1929.

Carl McIntire graduated from Park College, Parkville, MO in 1927 and attended Princeton Theological Seminary from 1928 to 1929. McIntire was among those who left Princeton in protest over a reorganization of Princeton Seminary that left modernists in control, leaving to follow J. Gresham Machen and others who then quickly founded Westminster Theological Seminary.Graduating from Westminster in 1931, he was ordained by the Presbytery of West Jersey (PCUSA) and his first pastorate was at the Chelsea Presbyterian Church of Atlantic City, NJ. In October of 1933 he became the pastor of the Collingswood Presbyterian Church, Collingswood, NJ. McIntire was among the founding members of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions (IBPFM), a conservative agency started by J. Gresham Machen in opposition to the observed theological decline in the Foreign Missions Board of the Northern Presbyterian Church. But by 1934, the General Assembly of the PCUSA declared that participation in the IBPFM was unconstitutional and Machen, McIntire and others involved with the IBPFM were ordered to resign or face charges in the ecclesiastical courts of their Presbyteries. Like Machen, McIntire was suspended from the ministry in 1935 and the suspension was later upheld by General Assembly. Suspension included exclusion from the pulpits of the denomination and excommunication from the Lord’s Table.Thus forced, Machen led a small group of pastors and laymen in the formation of the Presbyterian Church of America in the summer of 1936. A lawsuit by the PCUSA charged a conflict of interest and the fledgling denomination had to quickly change its name, taking the title Orthodox Presbyterian Church. McIntire was thus a founding member of the OPC, but the new denomination was immediately beset with arguments over the issues of premillennialism and abstinence.By the end of 1937, following Machen’s death early that same year, McIntire and a twelve other pastors within the OPC had left to establish yet another Presbyterian denomination, taking the name Bible Presbyterian Church. Within this newest group, McIntire’s church was easily the largest, with some 1200 members. This support base allowed for a diverse number of ministries, including the publication The Christian Beacon, which began in 1936 and which operated as a journal of record for the Bible Presbyterian Church for many years. In 1937 McIntire founded Faith Theological Seminary, aided in part by the assistance of then-student Francis A. Schaeffer.

By the start of American involvement in World War II in 1941, McIntire had seen the need to get conservative men into the military chaplaincy. The American Council of Christian Churches (ACCC) was started to represent Biblically conservative churches. As the chaplaincy was then run on a quota system, McIntire worked to increase the numbers of people represented by the ACCC. His success in this work allowed many conservatives into the chaplaincy, but this same success later led to excess, and by 1955 the Bible Presbyterian Church was in turmoil over charges that McIntire was inflating the membership numbers of the ACCC.

Those charges were leveled by Francis Schaeffer and Robert G. Rayburn, among others, and in reaction McIntire led a small group of stalwart followers out to form a competing Bible Presbyterian Church while the larger original group carried on for a few years under the same name and eventually merged in 1965 with the Reformed Presbyterian Church to create the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (RPCES). While the RPCES joined the PCA in 1982, McIntire’s Collingswood Synod wing of the Bible Presbyterian Church was split yet again in 1984 with another division that saw McIntire leading out a still smaller number of followers.

Our record of the story largely ends at this point, based upon the materials that are here at the PCA Historical Center. The story of Carl McIntire is truly deserving of a longer work, and could never be properly told in such limited space. He was a brilliant man, gifted, able to accomplish much in life, a controversialist and a skilled propagandist, and a man who suffered from a number of fatal flaws that eventually undid much of his life’s work.

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A Matter of Separation

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Can two walk together, except they be agreed?—Amos 3:3, KJV.

One of the distinctive marks of the Bible Presbyterian denomination, which began in 1938, was the emphasis on separation. Not only were they properly careful to avoid anything that was sinful, but they understood Amos 3:3 to mean that they should not have anything to do with those who might claim the name of Christian, but whose life or doctrine did not match up with that claim.

The late Dr. George Hutchinson, in his wonderful book, The History behind the R.P.C.E.S., tells the story of how this emphasis on separation worked out in one particular instance:—

The testimony of separation continued to be an issue in the Bible Presbyterian Church. A representative, indeed classic, example is the case of the Bible Presbyterian Church of Charlotte, North Carolina. The case is complicated and only the barest outline of it can be presented here. Originally Southern Presbyterian, the church had become Bible Presbyterian under the leadership of the Rev. E.A. Dillard. [pictured at right]. Later when Dillard took a leave of absence to work with alcoholics [the famous Hebron Colony], the ministerial duties were taken up by the Rev. Alonzo Hitchcock, who eventually led part of the congregation out of the denomination to form an independent church. The crisis came when an obscure Youth for Christ evangelist by the name of Billy Frank Graham, whose father happened to be an elder in the Charlotte church, came to his home town to hold a campaign under the sponsorship of an inclusivist council of ministers. The session was divided on the issue of whether to cooperate with the campaign and tried to solve the problem by refusing to cooperate officially while leaving the matter of participation up to individuals, many of whom took an active part. At any rate, the church split over the issue, the Carolina Presbytery had difficulty handling the matter, and it eventually came before a pro re nata meeting of Synod.

[pro re nata = in the circumstances, or as the circumstance arises; thus, a pro re nata meeting is designed to deal with a specific situation that has arisen.] 

Lon Hitchcock maintained that having been through three Presbyterian Church splits, he was sick of the whole business. As opposed to emphasizing the major doctrines of the faith, Hitchcock’s view of the Bible Presbyterian Church of that time was that it was off on a doctrine of second degree separation that was involving it in all sorts of troubles. He agreed with the Harvey Cedars resolution on ecclesiastical separation, but censured E.A. Dillard and Carl McIntire for extreme applications of it, such as branding cooperation with the Billy Graham meetings as the “sin of sympathy.” Perhaps an evidence of how well the doctrine of separation was working, one young up and coming pastor in the Bible Presbyterian Church innocently (and quite honestly) asked “Who is Billy Graham?”

Hitchcock found no Biblical warrant for such second degree separation, stating “My Bible tells me to separate from modernists, but I have yet to see a place in Scripture where I am commanded to separate myself from a brother. . . . We believe in separation from apostates but we don‟t believe in separation from fellow Christians.‟ Ecclesiastical separation was being overemphasized at the expense of separation from the world. The Harvey Cedars resolution on worldly practices was fine, in Hitchcock’s estimation, but not really binding on anybody. Hitchcock was arguing for a renewed moral separation and a more balanced ecclesiastical separation. 

And who was that young up and coming pastor who didn’t yet know of Billy Graham? It was Francis Schaeffer!

Words to Live By:
The best way to avoid sin is to turn from it immediately and at first sight. Take Joseph as your example (Gen. 39:12). Flee immorality and every sin that would wage war against your soul. But at the same time, how will those who have gone astray be called back unless we are there to proclaim the truth to them? Jesus dined with sinners, but did not fall prey to their sin. We are to be in the world, but not of it.

Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.
Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.
For they sleep not, except they have done mischief;
and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.
For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.
But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.
—Proverbs 4:14-19, KJV

 

 

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John Ulverstone Selwyn Toms
[26 October 1878 – 14 November 1973]
Excerpted from the Minutes of the Bible Presbyterian Synod, 1974, pp. 38-39.
A Memorial Resolution, #7. on the death of the Rev. U. Selwyn Toms was presented by the Rev. Morris McDonald. It was on motion adopted and reads:
RESOLUTION NO. 7

J. U. Selwyn Toms,IN MEMORIAM – REV. J. U. SELWYN TOMS
The Rev. Mr. Toms went into the Lord’s presence on November 14, 1973, in his sleep, at the age of 95. Mr. Toms was born in 1878 in South Australia. He was graduated in the class of 1908 from Princeton Seminary, a classmate and friend of the late Dr. J. Gordon Holdcroft. Upon graduation he was licensed by the West Jersey Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. On October 27, 1908 he and his wife, Ella Sparks Burt, sailed for Korea to serve at Taegu and Seoul stations. They had three children, Robert, Burton and Elaine. Rev. Burton Toms was born in Seoul, Korea, and is at present serving the Lord under the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions.

Having returned from the mission field in 1923, due to the ill health of his wife, Mr. Toms served as pastor of the Thompson Memorial Church in Pennsylvania and after four years, as pastor at the Presbyterian Church of Woodstown, N.J., on July 31, 1936, Mr. Toms felt it was necessary to withdraw from the Presbytery due to un-Presbyterian actions.

Mr. Toms was elected to the Board of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions on May 31, 1937 and actively served until health prevented his attendance in 1966.

Mr. Toms was very strong in his stand against ecclesiastical apostasy and was active in the continuing succession to the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. He became a member of the Presbyter¬ian Church of America and was elected stated clerk for the New Jersey Presbytery. When it was no longer possible to continue in fellowship with that body, he formed part of the commission for a Bible Presbyterian Synod. The first Synod of the Bible Presbyterian Church was held in Collingswood, N.J. September 6-8, 1930, and Mr. Toms was elected its FIRST moderator, because of the all-important missionary issues included in the conflict with the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

For many years he served as the faithful statistician of the Bible Presbyterian Church. Mr. and Mrs. Toms made their residence In Chattanooga, Tennessee, with their son Robert. Mrs. Toms had gone to be with the Lord in November, 1971. “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.” – Revelation 14:13.
Mr. Toms served as a faithful member of the Kentucky-Tennessee Presbytery for many years prior to going to his higher reward.

As per the OPC Ministerial Register (2011):
John Ulverstone Selwyn Toms was born in Waller, New South Wales, Australia, on 26 October 1878.
He married Ella Burt on 10 October 1905.
Children born to their marriage included Robert, Frederick, and Marian.
He was educated at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, graduating there in 1905 with the A.B. degree.
He prepared for ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary, graduating in 1908 with the Th.B. degree and later returned to Princeton for the Th.M. degree, in 1924.
Rev. Toms was ordained by the Presbytery of West Jersey (PCUSA), on 2 July 1908.
From 1909-1923, he served as a evangelist in Korea under the auspices of the Board of Foreign Missions (PCUSA).
He was pastor of the Thompson Memorial Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), Brownsburg, Pennsylvania, 1924-1928.
From 1928-1936, he was pastor of the PCUSA church in Woodtown, New Jersey.
Rev. Toms was received by the Presbytery of New Jersey (Presbyterian Church of America/Orthodox Presbyterian Church, on 8 September 1936, but later withdrew to become a founding member of the Bible Presbyterian Church, on 6 September 1938.
His date of death was 14 November 1973.

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A Distinguished Lineage

“If we as God’s people were only more willing to wait for the Lord, how infinitely great would be the things that He in His graciousness would be delighted to do for us and in us and through us to the blessing of others and to the glory of His Name.” — Dr. T. Stanley Soltau.

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Through a long, useful life, Theodore Stanley Soltau, D.D. served faithfully and well the Lord he loved.

Theodore Stanley Soltau was born in 1890, of missionary parents in Tasmania, and throughout his life was himself a missionary in every sense of the word. The Soltau family had  originally been Plymouth Brethren.  In fact, Stanley’s grandfather, Henry William Soltau, was born in Plymouth, in 1805. Henry authored works which remain in print to this day: The Holy Vessels and Furniture of the Tabernacle and The Tabernacle, the Priesthood and the Offerings.

Stanley received his early schooling in England, but when Stanley’s parents returned from the mission field to the United States in 1904, he remained stateside to obtain his undergraduate training in Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. His theological work was done at Princeton Seminary under men whose names are familiar to all in our church.

Shortly after graduation from seminary Dr. Soltau began a quarter of a century of profitable missionary endeavor in Korea. During these years he served under the Mission Board of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., working in pioneer missionary works as well as in the administrative work of the mission in that land. It was while Dr. Soltau was in Korea that the church there suffered much persecution for its faith from the Japanese. Dr. Soltau stood firmly with the Church in resisting the attempts of the government to interfere with its service for the Lord.

Forced, through illness, to return from the foreign field in the late 1930′s, he entered on a new phase of his service. He was pastor in Evanston until 1942 when he was called by the First Evangelical Church of Memphis, Tennessee.

The blessing of the Lord was upon his ministry in Memphis and the church grew in number and service. Dr. Soltau’s life-long interest in missions was reflected in the interest of First Evangelical Church in supporting missions around the world.

After twenty-six years of an active and valuable pastorate, Dr. Soltau resigned in June of 1968. In his “retirement” he was, if anything, more active in his ministry for people and for missions. He traveled extensively in the U.S. and on missionary trips to South America and around the world.

In the early 1950′s, Dr. Soltau united with the then Bible Presbyterian Church. His help in the formation of World Presbyterian Missions was great and he served until 1971 as the president of this missions board. He was for a time on the board of the North Africa Missions agency, as well as that of the Greater Europe Mission and also Columbia Bible College.

T. Stanley Soltau, Christian gentleman, scholar, missionary, statesman, pastor, in the midst of an active life, at the age of 82, stepped into the presence of the Lord on the afternoon of July 19, 1972. “Blessed are the dead, that die in the Lord.”

The Lord blessed Dr. Soltau and his wife with children who grew to place their trust in Christ. His daughter Eleanor served in Jordan as a medical doctor; daughter Mary worked with a ministry for the handicapped; George was engaged full-time with prison ministry and Addison served as a professor at Covenant Theological Seminary and currently serves as an associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Coral Springs, Florida.

Words to Live By (once more, for effect):
“If we as God’s people were only more willing to wait for the Lord, how infinitely great would be the things that He in His graciousness would be delighted to do for us and in us and through us to the blessing of others and to the glory of His Name.”

 

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