Evangelical Synod

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February 16 – 17, 1973 — A momentous date in the history of what was to become the Presbyterian Church in America.

Quoting from Paul Settle’s book, To God All Praise and Glory:

“Perhaps the most significant meeting of the entire movement convened on February 16 at the Airport Hilton in Atlanta. All the executive committees of the four conservative organizations were present with the Steering Committee. Jack Williamson brought the news from Dallas, where the Plan of Union Committee had met, that the liberals had lied: there was no plan of union! The committee scrapped teh work that had been done and asked the PCUS and UPUSA General Assemblies to allow the committee to continue its work and bring a report in 1975. Williamson said that “it was extremely unlikely that any future plan would include a belateral escape clause.” As before, in August, the men sank to their knees to pray with many tears. They now knew that there was no turning back: they must leave the PCUS, in order to exercise, as Francis Schaeffer has said, “discipline in reverse.” The season of prayer strengthened them immeasureably. John Richards told Georgia Settle: “We had…men of great power in prayer…we prayed around the table…and the prayer formed in us a kind of exhilaration;”

[To God All Praise and Glory, page 43. This book is available from the Christian Education and Publications bookstore]

News of this event was reported to the people of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod through the Bulletin News Supplement, printed by Joel Belz [back before he became editor of World Magazine]. The February 20, 1973 edition of the News Supplement stated:

“Conservatives in the Presbyterian Church U.S. (popularly known as the Southern Presbyterian Church) have responded officially to the power plays and liberalism of the hierarchy of their denomination, and laid plans for the forming of a new denomination.

A steering committee for a continuing church met in mid-February in Atlanta to lay specific plans for the new church, and did not immediately release those details. But the scope of the new move was apparent because of the broad base of participation at the Atlanta meeting. Included were leaders of Concerned Presbyterians and of Presbyterian Churchmen United, two protest groups within the Southern denomination, as well as the leaders of the Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship and the Presbyterian Journal.

Many of those represented had looked forward to the possible union of their denomination with the United Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), because that union–even though it was with a liberal denomination–included an escape clause through which local churches could leave and keep their properties. But in early February, that union plan was scrapped by the liberal leaders of the Southern church. Conservatives believe the plan was abandoned because of a fear that too many congregations would exercise their rights through the escape clause.

With no prospects left of being able to leave the denomination with their properties, conservatives gathered and voted unanimously to leave the church and begin anew. They will do so with no guarantees at all with respect to the numerous church properties involved.

Several Reformed Presbyterians participated in the Atlanta meetings, and indicated a genuine desire on the part of the churchmen involved to extend fellowship between themselves and the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod.”

[excerpted from the Bulletin News Supplement, vol. 17, no. 8, February 20, 1973]

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Our post today is excerpted from the Minutes of the 153rd General Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (1975), p. 176-177:

 

The cause of Bible-believing archaeological study today owes more to joseph P. Free than to any other individual. It is an honor to the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, that for 30 years he has been numbered among our teaching elders.

Joseph Free was born in Cleveland, Ohio, October 1, 1911, and entered Stony Brook School, Long Island, New York, and received the A.B., A.M., and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton University, New Jersey. In 1935 Dr. Free accepted an invitation to join the faculty of Wheaton College, Illinois, in the departments of French and Spanish. For ten years he studied in the field of Near Eastern history and archaeology at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, and for nearly 20 years, until 1965, he served as Fred McManus Professor of Biblical Archaeology at Wheaton. After a brief period of retirement to his home in the north woods of Minnesota, he resumed his life work in the teaching of archaeology at Bemidji State College, Minnesota, where he was employed at the time of his death, on October 12, 1974. He was a member of the Midwestern Presbytery (RPCES), and was its moderator for two years in the 1940’s. He was ordained in 1944 to the ministry of the Bible Presbyterian Church. At his death he was still a member of the Midwestern Presbytery (RPCES).

Dr. Free is best known as the excavator of ancient Dothan, in northern Israel, the town near which young Joseph was sold by his brothers (Gen. 37:17) and where the prophet Elisha performed a miracle of deliverance (II Kings 6:13). Professor Free had gained archaeological field experience as a staff member with the American Schools of Oriental Research in Jerusalem; and he and Mrs. Free directed ten seasons of excavation at Dothan between 1953 and 1964. Many field archaeologists and teachers, including several on the staff of Covenant Theological Seminary, owe their basic training to his untiring efforts and competent leadership. His vision resulted in the founding of the Near East Archaeological Society in 1960 and the Near East School of Archaeological and Biblical Studies in 1962, under which scores of students were introduced to Bible geography, history, and archaeology. He authored the widely used textbook Archaeology and Bible History, plus more than fifty articles on archaeology for both scholarly and popular Christian journals. He held membership in the Evangelical Theological Society, the American Schools of Oriental Research, American Oriental Society, Society of Biblical Literature, and National Society of Arts and Letters, which he served as National Literature Chairman, 1966-1970.

He was married to Ruby Aldrich on August 20, 1935. In addition to Mrs. Free, he was survived by a daughter, a son, three grandchildren, a foster son, and two sisters. Joseph P. Free was zealous in his defense of the faith and of the inerrancy of Holy Scripture. The same verse that at Princeton honors the memory of one of America’s greatest nineteenth century Reformed scholars of the Old Testament, Dr. William Henry Green, may now with propriety be applied to our brother Dr. Free: 

“They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”—Deuteronomy 12:3. 

For Further Study:
For more on the life and ministry of Dr. Free, see “Joseph P. Free And The Romance Of Biblical Archaeology.” by Timothy Larsen, in the Westminster Theological Journal, 66.1 (Spring 2004): 97ff. To view a portion of this article, click here.

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That Christ Should Be Magnified in All We Do and Say

Kenneth A. Horner, Jr. [1918-19 August 1975]The Rev. Mr. Kenneth A. Horner, Jr. was called into the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ on August 19, 1975Mr. Horner was born in Wilmington, Delaware in 1918. Under the ministry of Dr. Harold S. Laird he confessed Christ as his Savior and gave his life to the preaching of the Gospel. In 1936 he joined in the formation of the First Independent Church of Wilmington, Delaware.

He received his B.A. degree from the University of Delaware in 1940 and his B.D. and STM degrees from Faith Theological Seminary in 1943 and 1945 respectively.

His first pastorate was that of the Bible Presbyterian Church of West Philadelphia where he served for 7 and 1/2 years. In 1950 his home congregation back in Wilmington—later to be called the Faith Presbyterian Church—called him to be their pastor. He served that congregation for 15 years before accepting the call of Covenant Presbyterian Church of Lakeland, Florida in 1965. In 1971 he was called to be the pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, which he served until his death.

Throughout his ministerial life Mr. Horner was active in the affairs of the denomination of which he was a part.

He was looked to for wisdom and leadership in the various presbyteries of which he was a member. The New Jersey Presbytery, of which he was a member when he died, states in its official memorial record: “We commend to all our people the example of Christian living, concern for the welfare of other Christians, desire for being a soul winner, faithful Bible expositor, and loving husband and father as demonstrated by Pastor Horner’s life.”

He was for 18 years a very faithful and active member of the Board of Directors of World Presbyterian Missions. For 12 years of this time he served as an officer or member of the Executive Committee. The numerous terms of service to which he was elected by his colleagues in the General Synod, or on the Board, were in recognition of his enduring keen interest in foreign missions and the vigor and enthusiasm with which he pursued his responsibilities.

His colleagues on the Board of WPM declared that “His understanding of the conditions under which the missionary lived, his patience in dealing with mission problems, and his wisdom in the conduct of Board affairs made him an extremely valuable member of the WPM Board.”

Mr. Horner was also deeply concerned for the work of Christian education. He served for many years as a member and as an officer of the Board of Christian Training, Inc. (CTI). He was in large measure responsible for the church Leadership Training Series published by CTI. He was the author of The Biblical Basis of Infant Baptism and of Biblical Church Government, both of which were widely used in a number of Presbyterian denominations.

Mr. Horner’s ecclesiastical statesmanship was especially manifest in his service on Synod’s Fraternal Relations Committee for several years prior to his death. His understanding of church law and his wisdom in applying it were especially manifest in his service on the Judicial Commission, part of the time as its Chairman. His burden for the lost, and concern that the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod as a whole should become more aggressively evangelistic was manifest in his own pastoral ministry, and in his service on the Evangelism Committee of Synod.

In 1957 the 21st General Synod of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church expressed its gratitude for service already rendered to the church, and its confidence in his leadership abilities, by electing him its Moderator.

Mr. Horner’s evident desire that Christ should be magnified in his body whether in living or in dying continued to the end. He quietly committed the results of his brain surgery to his Lord, confident that He could heal if He willed, and assured that if it was not His will, “To depart and be with Christ is far better.”

It is appropriate that we express our deep gratitude to God for the life, testimony, and fellowship of our brother, that we spread this Memorial upon our Minutes. [Note: One of Rev. Horner’s sons, Richard V. Horner, is an minister in the Presbyterian Church in America]

[Excerpted from the Minutes of the 154th General Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, 1976, pages 174-175.]

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What follows is admittedly lengthy. It is the second half of a funeral sermon delivered by the Rev. David Steele, pastor of the Fourth Reformed Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia. This is the biographical section of the sermon, and given that today is Saturday, we trust you will find time to read and profit from this. There is a great deal of history bound up with this account, plus it is a fine example of this aspect of a funeral sermon. Both McLeod and Steele were members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Synod, which tradition eventually comes into the PCA in 1982 by way of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod.

The Reverend John Niel McLeod, Doctor in Divinity, Pastor of the First Reformed Presbyterian Church, New York, and Professor of Doc­trinal Theology in the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, in North America, was born in the City of New York, on the eleventh day of October, 1806. He died on the twenty-seventh day of April, 1874, in the sixty-eighth year of his age and the forty-sixth year of his ministry. On the first day of May, 1874, by the hands of loving and Christian friends, his remains were consigned to the grave in Hill Girt Lawn, one of the most beautiful spots in Greenwood Cemetery, Long Island, New York.

Here reposes the dust of his distinguished father, the late Dr. Alexander McLeod, whose shining talents and masterly eloquence adorned the Reformed Presbyterian Church during the first quarter of the present century.

Early in the morning a number of ministerial and other friends assembled in the house of the deceased, when the solemn occasion was improved by fervent and appropriate prayer. The House of God, into which the honored dead was subse­quently brought, previous to interment, was filled to its utmost capacity by a congregation composed of persons of diversified professions and of different Christian denominations. All were bowed with sincere and reverent feelings, as solemn words were spoken and the throne of grace was addressed. A large part of the assembled multi­tude accompanied the funeral procession, and bedewed with tears of affection and grief the spot where the mortal remains were laid.

It was the season of spring. Through the rifted cloud and retiring winter the king of day was making himself felt by his warming rays. Here and there a flower was seen opening its petals, and giving promise of the coming summer. The blades of grass were shooting forth from amid the decay and debris of former life. The tuneful bird at intervals uttered a stray note, re­minding the attentive listeners that the death and muteness of winter were gone, and that in a short time, the bloom and beauty of nature would ensue. As we retired from the last resting-place of our dear friend, sad, lonely, and filled with unutter­able emotions, everything around seemed to whisper “ Thy brother shall live again,” and the words of the prophet, “ Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust,” fell like music on the grief- stricken heart.

Dr. McLeod, together with Drs. Wilson and Clarke, may be said to have formed a connecting link between that “ honorable triumvirate,” as they have been called, — Alexander McLeod, John Black, Samuel Brown Wylie,— and the Reformed Presbyterian Church of the present day. At the feet of these distinguished masters in Israel he had sat. From their lips he had caught the animating sen­timents which imbued his soul with love for the system of faith so dear to his heart. Around “the Church which they loved, for which they labored, from which no honors elsewhere offered could en­tice them, and which they literally” “set above their chiefest joy,” his affections clustered, and the triumph of her principles one day on the earth, he confidently anticipated.

These illustrious fathers have all been removed from earth to their home in heaven. They have exchanged labor for rest, conflict for triumph, re­proach for glory, and the Church visible and militant for the Church invisible and triumphant.

And oh, how the soul yearns to feel their rap­ture, to bathe in their bliss, to enjoy their com­munion, and to participate in their celestial fellow­ship !

But we come to speak more particularly of our departed friend and brother; and here may be noticed,—

I. His characteristics as a man.

For Dr. McLeod, nature had done much. He was about medium height, symmetrically formed, and in person and in mien fitted to secure influ­ence and command respect. His face was lighted up with intelligence, while every feature indicated thought and was suggestive of something excel­lent.

In manner he was dignified, courteous, concili­atory, and eminently social, when in company with those in whom he could confide. His mental characteristics were strongly marked. Earnest in his convictions, deeply conscious of his own integrity of purpose, he was ever fearless in his defence of what he esteemed to be the truth, and constantly ready to discharge whatever service he felt himself called upon in the providence of God to perform.

In conversation he was particularly happy, in­teresting, and instructive. His large stores of knowledge, intimate acquaintance with men and books, correct diction, and love to communicate information, supplied him with resources, which, on suitable occasions, he could turn to advantage, to the gratification and profit of those who were so fortunate as to be in his society. His house was the abode of cheerfulness, hospitality, and genuine friendship, and in his domestic economy he was regular and unostentatious.

Called upon frequently to leave his home in the service of the church, he was nevertheless fondly attached to it, and to every one of its members, from the infant orphanage to the part­ner of his life. For the spiritual as well as tem­poral prosperity of his family he labored, and frequent references to the health of its members in his correspondence showed how near it was to his heart, and how his affections clustered around it whether at home or abroad. At the close of a week of severe labor in the seminary, often has he journeyed homeward in order that he might spend the Sabbath in his own congregation and among the members of his own family, and then return to Philadelphia on Monday to resume instruction in the class-room. The death of such a husband and father is enough to prostrate any family. His sympathy with suffering was lively, and his benevolent acting took a wide range, from the bereaved relative to the immigrant stranger landing upon the shores of our country. In times of stagnation in trade, when numbers were suffer­ing from poverty, he took delight in becoming the projector and almoner of charities which have gladdened the hearts of thousands and evoked thanksgivings unseen and unrecognized by any but God. The poor have lost one of their best friends, and benevolence one of its most active and self-denying agents.

Dr. McLeod was a patriot; he loved the coun­try of his birth. Thoroughly American in all his feelings, he labored in his individual and ecclesi­astical capacity to elevate and ennoble Columbia in the scale of nationality. He raised his voice against oppression, and when the “irrepressible conflict” was precipitated, his whole soul was stirred to its depths in desire to suppress rebel­lion and uphold constitutional authority.

He was one of the organizers of the 84th regi­ment N. G. S. N. Y., commanded by Colonel Fred. A. Conkling. For a period of seven years he acted as chaplain, serving two campaigns with the regiment in the field.

Although intensely American in all his instincts, yet, being of immediate Scotch descent, his father, Dr. Alexander McLeod, having emigrated to this country from Mull, Argyleshire, Scotland, he was warmly attached to Scotland and to Scotsmen. This attachment, as well as other circumstances, no doubt induced him to make no less than four visits to the land of martyrs, and of his father’s sepulchres. In 1869 his tour through the High­lands was very extended; and being versed in the traditions and literature of the Gaelic language, his last journey afforded him great delight. Often have we heard him become enthusiastic in his descriptions of the noble men with whom he met in Scotland, and in its neighboring province, the North of Ireland.

But we proceed to consider him, —

II. In his public relations.

These were numerous and exceedingly varied. From his youth he had been devoted to the pur­suit of literature. His preparatory studies, previ­ous to entering college, were pursued under the direction of the late Rev. S. B. Wylie, D.D., to whom so many in the learned professions, espe­cially in and around Philadelphia, are indebted for their acquaintance with ancient classic literature. In 1826 he graduated from Columbia College, New York, with distinction. Having had the ministry in view from an early age, after leaving college he entered the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, then located in the City of Philadelphia. But from his boy­hood he had been a student of theology. Like his esteemed father, he had received much of his divinity in the nursery, and in the social prayer-meetings of the Reformed Presbyterian Church.

With philosophy and science in all their ramifi­cations and subtleties, the subject of our memoir was remarkably familiar. His reading was exten­sive, and he never allowed himself to fall behind in an acquaintance with the latest discoveries and most advanced opinions in relation to every sub­ject of interest. He was well acquainted with the stores of knowledge embodied in the Greek and Roman tongues. He was an excellent Orien­talist, and until the last devoted himself to the study of the Celtic and modern languages. His acquisitions in every department of literature were made subsidiary to the knowledge of Divine truth. His conceptions of inspiration were lofty and de­vout. And while he viewed the Hebrew as the parent stock of all the spoken and unspoken dia­lects, he felt that the Bible was for man, and that its inspiration could not be lost in a faithful translation into any of the languages of human kind. Hence, the deep and absorbing interest which he took in everything pertaining to the circulation of the Holy Scriptures. In the pos­session of such furniture, it is not surprising that he should be successful as a minister of the Gospel.

After a short period of probation, subsequent to licensure, he was called to the Reformed Presby­terian Church of Galway, Saratoga County, State of New York. In this congregation he was ordained and installed in the year 1829. On the fifteenth of April, 1830, he was united in marriage to Miss Margaret T. Wylie, eldest daughter of the Rev. S. B. Wylie, D.D., of Philadelphia. The health of his father becoming somewhat impaired, he was called from his field of labor in Galway by the First Reformed Presbyterian congregation of New York City. This call he accepted, and on the fourteenth of January, 1833, he was installed as assistant pastor and successor to his father. The relation established between him and the con­gregation of New York continued until his death, a period of more than forty years. To sum up all the good that has been done to the souls of men by this servant of Christ during these years is be­yond the power of human computation. The aged who have ripened for heaven, those in the prime of life who have been strengthened to over­come the world, the youth who have been encour­aged to lay hold on Christ, and the careless who have been warned of their danger under this ministry, can testify to the fidelity of him whose memory we aim to honor, and whose voice we can hear no more on earth.

As an appreciation of his scholarship and Bib­lical research the degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him by Dickinson College in the year 1846. This honor is seldom conferred on one so worthy of distinction.

The material of Dr. McLeod’s discourses was the marrow of the Gospel, announced with the accuracy of the scholar, the grace and ease of the accomplished orator, and the unction and applica­tion of one deeply imbued with the love of God and earnestly concerned for the welfare of the souls of men. His preaching was didactic and expository, and he was peculiarly happy in avail­ing himself of occasions and events to arrest atten­tion and press home truth upon the conscience. His views of the two covenants, the mediatorial throne, the Church, and the ultimate triumph of religion on the earth through her instrumentality, were singularly clear, comprehensive, and satisfy­ing. And at times, in speaking upon these themes, he would become so deeply moved and absorbed with their grandeur, in relation to the two eternities, that the most inattentive listener could not fail to perceive that the Holy Ghost had come down upon his servant with more than ordinary fulness and power. Nor did he ever fail to assert and illustrate the paramount obligation of the law of God revealed in the Scriptures, over man in all his relations, pursuits, and circumstances.

On communion occasions he was particularly happy. These have always been seasons of great interest in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and the observance of established order, as well as the provision of material for discourse, makes large draughts upon the mental resources of the min­ister. With all the “forms” and “ordinances” of Zion on such occasions he was familiar, and he well knew how to adapt and use the Scriptural form, so as to secure the largest attention for the substance. It was in such connection that he would dwell upon the unity and catholicity of the church, and with a spirit of good-will towards others aim to infuse into the hearts of his hear­ers an intelligent regard for that department of Zion with which, by solemn transacting with God, they entered into covenant. These seasons he loved, and in them he rejoiced. To him, there­fore, we believe, it was no ordinary privilege, that in his departure from among us, there was only the interval of a few days between the moment of communion on earth and the table of everlasting fellowship in heaven. His Father’s house here, he has left, that he might enter with gladness and rejoicing the palace of the King of Glory. And in his experience the hallowed intercourse of the church visible is swallowed up in the uninter­rupted fellowship of the celestial paradise. Not for effect, but in faith, each survivor may say, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!”

As a Theological Professor, our esteemed broth­er excelled. It was, we believe, in the Theologi­cal Seminary that Dr. McLeod’s gifts shone with peculiar lustre. Here he brought forth the results of the study of more than half a century. Here he gathered his pupils around him, as a family, and addressed them as a father. Here, while charitable to others, he labored to communicate to the students under his care some of his own glow of ecclesiastical patriotism, as he expounded and illustrated the system of faith solemnly adopted by the department of the church of God with which he was associated. His sympathies stretch­ing out as widely as humanity, and his researches embracing the whole range of useful and instruct­ive literature, were all brought, as it were, to a focus in the school of the prophets. With an accuracy rarely equalled, and a diction pure and classic as the rarest literary gems of ancient or of modern times, he laid before those waiting upon his prelections the sum of theology, invariably and ever making all his teaching centre in, and radiate from, glory to the mediatorial throne. He loved the school of the prophets, and was willing to make any and every sacrifice for its success.

Called to the Chair of Theology in the year 1851 he had received a charge from Rev. S. B. Wylie, D.D., its first Professor of Theology, to the following effect: “ Take care of the seminary. It is the hope of the church,” and this dying request of his honored predecessor he never forgot. At great personal inconvenience, he journeyed to and from New York and Philadelphia in the depth of winter, in order that he might dis­charge the duties devolved upon him in the School of Theology. And there can be no doubt that his abundant labors in connection with the seminary, together with his tribulations and pa­tience in the kingdom of Jesus Christ, hastened the breaking down of a constitution which, with ordinary labor, humanly speaking, might have been good for years longer. In his death, litera­ture has lost an ornament, and theology a sound and safe instructor. Let those who have received his instructions feel their responsibility, and never forget that their preceptor died in the same faith that he taught, and in which he lived, as will be seen by the following extract from his last will and testament:—

“I declare my belief in the Christian religion as revealed in Holy Scripture of both Testa­ments, and in the Reformed Presbyterian system, in all its parts, as the best exposition of that re­ligion which is known to me; and I embrace the Divine Author of that religion, the Lord Jesus Christ, as my own Saviour, for wisdom, righteous­ness, sanctification, and redemption. To Him I commit my body, soul, family, church, country — all, while once more I act faith on His blessed person, and complete and glorious sacrifice.”

In the councils of the church Dr. McLeod was an able and judicious adviser, and upon the floor of a church judicatory few men were his superiors. For twenty-five years he acted as Stated Clerk of General Synod, and with every detail in the order of judicial proceeding he had become perfectly familiar. His recollection of precedents was re­markably accurate ; and when the business of the court of which he was member would some­times become entangled, he could always indicate the way to consistent deliverance from difficulty.

In his affections the union of the Church of Christ had a large place. He deplored the divi­sions of Zion, prayed for her peace, and labored and longed for the day when the watchman shall see eye to eye.

In the year 1858 the subject of this memoir was appointed on the Standing Committee on Versions of the American Bible Society, of which, after the resignation of Rev. Dr. Gardner Spring, in 1864, he was elected chairman. In this position he was highly valued by his associates for his good judgment, kind spirit, sound scholarship, and great promptness and fidelity. And at a meeting of the Board of Managers of the American Bible Society, held May 6, 1874, a minute was adopted expressive of regard for their esteemed associate.

At an early period of its history he was con­nected with the Evangelical Alliance, and attended as a delegate its meeting in Paris in the year 1855. At the monthly meeting of the Executive Committee of the Evangelical Alliance of the United States, held- April 27, 1874, a resolution of respect was passed. For thirty-eight years he acted as chaplain of the St. Andrew’s Society of the State of New York.

He was one of a committee of fifteen of the American Tract Society, N. Y., to report as to the duty of the society in regard to issuing publica­tions on the subject of slavery. This committee reported that tracts against slavery should be issued, as well as against intemperance and other evils. He was one of the four clerical directors of the Presbyterian Hospital, New York, to whom are committed all matters relating to the spiritual and religious ministrations of the hospital. In all these public relations, so numerous and so varied, he possessed the esteem of every one who knew how to appreciate his love for truth and his regard for the glory of the Church’s Head. Nor should it be overlooked that while he was thus active in helping forward schemes which were designed to benefit and bless mankind at home, he was also busily engaged in concerting meas­ures for the advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom abroad. And the success of the Re­formed Presbyterian Mission at Saharanpur, India, is largely due, to his earnest efforts on behalf of its establishment at first, and his continued sympathy and fostering hand during its subsequent progress. The memories of the past should still keep alive the missionary spirit in the Church, which is the spirit of the Gospel. But,

We pass on to notice briefly the religious life of our departed brother, particularly in its close.

And here it may be noted that his religious ex­periences were singularly unobtrusive. They took the form of the deep and quiet river, moving majesti­cally onward to the ocean, rather than that of the noisy cataract, which, notwithstanding its tem­porary din, is frequently lost in a short distance from the spot where it was first caught by the eye of the observer. Their reality and value must be judged more from their untiring and beneficent activity than from personal expression by words.

In his infancy he was dedicated to God. He grew up under the fostering care of a godly and distinguished parentage. He enjoyed the privilege of hearing the Gospel regularly from the lips of his illustrious father, while at the same time in the family and in the fellowship meeting, he was brought constantly into contact with doc­trinal and practical truth by catechising and other forms of instruction, still common in Reformed Presbyterian families. Head and heart received their appropriate culture. Under such influences, accompanied by the blessing of the Spirit, he was early led to make a profession of his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and to devote himself to the ministry of the Gospel. Our personal recollec­tions of him extend over a period of nearly twenty years. When we first saw him he was in the vigor of manhood, and his appearance as a man and a minister of Christ made an impression on us which no lapse of time can efface. But it was more particularly within the last fifteen years that we were brought into contact with his ripe schol­arship, profound acquaintance with the mysteries of the kingdom of God, rich Christian experi­ence, and unwavering trust in God. In his youth he had been mercifully delivered from the temp­tations which are so prevalent in a large city like New York. As he approached the close of his earthly sojourn, the bloom of youthful piety devel­oped into the clusters of religious manhood, and his heavenward thought and conversation more and more conspicuously lighted up the entire background of a life devoted exclusively to the service of the Master.

In the August of 1873, when in the act of moving from his own church door, he met with an accident, by which he sustained the fracture of an arm. Nothing could surpass the patience with which he bore up under this dispensation; and when it was feared that he would be unable to be in his place at the opening of the services of the Theological Seminary, to the surprise and pleas­ure of all interested, he was forward at the ap­pointed time. Although suffering from the pain of his arm, all his duties in the seminary were regularly and punctually performed. The prayer with which he concluded his last meeting with the class was noticeably fervent and affecting. His pleadings with God deepened and intensified, as his soul, burdened with concern for the Church and her students of theology, labored to bring down the Divine blessing upon the work of the session. He never met with the class again.

For several weeks before his death he was con­siderably indisposed, although it would appear that no alarming symptoms were manifest. That he was arranging for his removal from earth, nu­merous evidences have been disclosed since his decease. Upon his table, placed by himself in a conspicuous place, was found a little piece of newspaper, with the words, “ Meet me in heaven.” Stepping Heavenward, with other devotional books, lay upon his table at his hand. The
pic­ture of Dr. Andrew Black he always kept before him in his study. A short time previous to his death he had cut out a small picture of himself, and placed it beside that of his dear friend. In a corner of his study hung a picture of the church. In connection with this he had arranged a small vignette of himself also, while in another part of the room was a piece of rock bracket with a small copy of the Bible resting upon it.

These were symbolical acts, very like those of the prophets of old. They speak of heaven, of the communion of saints, of attachment to the Church, of the Bible as enduring as the rock, and of the grand meeting of the people of God in the house not made with hands.

In his diary he seems to delight in the expres­sion’s he closes his writing for the day, “Keeper of Israel, keep me.” The mediatorial headship was frequently uppermost in his thoughts, and the expression, “Let Messiah reign,” was with him a favorite. And then, as he meditates on death, he employs the language, “When mortality itself shall be swallowed up of life.”

He continued at his post until his death. On the nineteenth of April the Lord’s Supper was dispensed to the people under his pastoral care, and he was in his place. On the day of humilia­tion he preached, and he conducted the whole oi the preparatory services on the Sabbath, explain­ing the Psalm and preaching the action sermon from the words, “Thanks be unto God for His un­speakable gift.” With remarkable animation he addressed the communicants at the first and last tables. On this occasion his descriptions of heaven, and the meeting of its redeemed inhabi­tants to part no more, were peculiarly sublime and impressive. These duties were exhausting, and on Monday he was unable to attend to the closing exercises of the solemnity. In the even­ing, while ascending the stairs of his own house, he became exhausted, and sinking down he ex­claimed, “ My work is done.” On the following Sabbath a consultation of physicians was held, but no alarming symptoms were detected. During the night he rested comparatively well; but in the morning, as he arose, he was seized with pain in the region of the heart. While Mrs. McLeod was engaged in preparing breakfast for him, and his youngest son was in the act of applying friction to his back, his head dropped upon his bosom, and as he lay back upon his pillow, the long expira­tion was the only indication that the spirit had taken its flight to the world above. The imme­diate cause of his death was paralysis of the heart. It was just such a release as he desired. This would appear from a scrap of paper, which was subsequently found containing words in his hand­writing to the following effect: “ Erasmus declared sudden death one of the greatest blessings a human creature could receive.” The departure of our beloved friend from earth was more like a translation than death.

He died in the Lord, and his works follow him. But oh, how much the Church has lost, and how much we all miss him ! Well, indeed, may his family mourn; they have lost a father and head, whose affection for them was deep and constant. Well may the Church mourn; she has been de­prived of one whose whole life was offered up on her behalf. Well may society mourn ; they have been bereaved of a benefactor, and of one who, as a prince in Israel, had power with God.

But we do not mourn as those who have no hope. Our beloved brother sleeps in Jesus. His spirit is before the throne of God. To use his own language in reference to another servant of God, who had been removed by death, “He is gone to better company, to higher employments, to the sinless, painless, deathless state of immor­tality. His work was done, his crown prepared. Another mansion in the Father’s house is filled; another seat beside the throne is occupied; another harp is seized and struck in harmony with those of David, Paul, and all the other older sons of glory.” His body is on earth, but the Church’s dead shall live, and in body and in soul they shall be introduced into the bliss of the celestial city.

Such honor is to all His saints.” Praise ye the Lord.

Words to Live By:
During the past year an unusual number of distinguished men, both in church and in state, have fallen. Let us hear the voice of God in these providences. “Be ye therefore also ready, for at such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh”; and when pillars in the church visible are being removed, let us remember that the bride, the Lamb’s wife, is safe. Her origin is divine; her charter is the everlasting covenant; her foundation is the Rock of Ages. The eternal God is her refuge, and beneath her are the ever­lasting arms. To continue her in being, and to supply her with a succession of sanctified mem­bers and divinely qualified ministers, the Holy Ghost is poured out, and the earth is preserved as a theatre, upon which her missionary operations are to be conducted and her triumphs secured. As a consequence, however death may thin her ranks, she is immortal until her work is done.

[pp. 23-45 of “Endless Life the Inheritance of the Righteous: A Discourse delivered in the First Reformed Presbyterian Church, New York, on Sabbath, October 11, 1874, in Memory of Rev. John N. McLeod, D.D., the Pastor, by Rev. David Steele, D.D. [1826-1906], pastor of the Fourth Reformed Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia.]

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MEDICAL MISSIONARY JOHN C. TAYLOR, SR.

taylor_JohnCOn December 13, 1973 the Lord called Home one of His faithful servants, Dr. John C. Taylor, Sr., who for more than fifty years had given of himself, his time and his talents to his Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and to the people of India. He was a man greatly beloved of the Lord and by the people of India whom he served so faithfully and so lovingly. Many are the people who will remember Dr. Taylor for his great love and sacrificial service to them as he sought to bring to them physical healing for their bodies through means of his medical knowledge, and spiritual healing for their souls through his know¬ledge of the Word of God and his personal testimony to the power of Christ to save lost sinners. John Taylor was not only a medical doctor but also an ordained minister of the Gospel and a real evangelist.

Born in Richmond, Kansas on April 9, 1886, of godly parents, John Taylor early came to know Christ as his personal Saviour. On August 14, 1913 he married Elizabeth Siehl, and together they went to India in November, 1914 and were stationed at Roorkee, U.P. where they labored for half a century, returning to the U.S.A. for retirement in October, 1967. They served under the Reformed Presbyterian Mission which, in 1965, became World Presbyterian Missions, the foreign board of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod. Mrs. Taylor passed to her Heavenly Home in March, 1970. Some years later, God provided another helpmeet for Dr. Taylor in the person of Mrs. Elizabeth H. Daniels, and the remaining years of Dr. Taylor’s life were enriched through her fellowship.

taylor_family_1931Dr. Taylor was survived by his widow, Elizabeth D. Taylor, three sons—John, Jr., Carl and Gordon, and two daughters, Margaret Courtwright and Gladys McGarey.

A friend of both the high and lowly, Dr. Taylor became almost a legend in India. He was a man of faith and action, a good example of the kind of Christian of whom James writes, “I will show thee my faith by my works.” Nothing was too hard or sacrificial for him if, by doing it, he could help ease the physical or spiritual suffering of his fellowman. He especially ministered to the poor and downtrodden people in the villages of Northern U.P., India. His work varied from village evangelism, medical clinic work, relief work during the awful days of partition between India and Pakistan, to the founding in 1945 of the Children’s Home and Baby fold for the children of leprous parents in Bhogpur, which is now under the direction of his son, Gordon, and which now houses some 200 children. Dr. Taylor had the joy of seeing a number of these children come to know Christ as their personal Saviour and then go out to serve Him full time. Several of the children studied in the Theological Seminary at Roorkee and are now preaching the Gospel in India, and several more are now students at that Seminary. Others have gone into other fields of service where they are also witnessing for the Lord whom they came to know while at the Children’s Home.

During his semi-retirement, Dr. Taylor wrote of his experiences in India, which have been published in book form, India—Dr. John Taylor Remembers. This book reflects his touch with people, an essential ingredient in the life of any servant of Christ.

taylorDr_wPaulTaylor_1948Dr. Taylor was a valued member of the Saharanpour Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, and served his last years on the field under World Presbyterian Missions. To those who had the privilege of serving with him in India, he was a tower of strength and wisdom in so many matters concerning the work; but he was more than this—he was a kind and loving friend and counselor and a true “brother in Christ.” To many of the Indian Christians he was like a father. To the struggling National churches he was a guide and stay and inspiration. We rejoice that God gave him the great joy of seeing the beautiful church building at Bhogpur finished and used for the worship of Christ, before he retired from active missionary work in India. This building was erected largely through the efforts of Dr. and Mrs. Taylor and will be a continuing memorial of their sacrificial service for Christ and the people of India.

No doubt Dr. Taylor has entered with great joy into the presence of Jesus Christ, his Lord and Saviour, and has heard him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

The General Synod and World Presbyterian Missions are happy to pay tribute to such a saint of the Lord. We thank God upon every remembrance of him. “He being dead, yet speaketh.”

[excerpted from The Minutes of the 152nd General Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, 1974, pp. 157-158.]

Words to Live By:
Please take the above testimony as a good reminder to pray for our many missionaries, wherever they may be serving.

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On February 2, 1977, Dr. James Oliver Buswell Jr. was called to his heavenly home. It can truly be said of him, he had fought a good fight, he had finished his course, and he had kept the Faith.

At the age of 82 he could look back upon a life of dedication and service to his Master, Who had endowed him with many gifts, great wisdom and out¬standing leadership. He has been taken.from our midst, but his labors stand as a testimony of praise to God, Who was pleased to use him in many and varied ministries.

As a seminary student he entered the military service of his country as a Chaplain in the First World War, where he ministered to soldiers even in the thick of battle. He was wounded in the line of duty and was cited in General Orders and received the Purple Heart and Silver Star.

After the war he took up a pastorate in the Perseverance Presbyterian Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin—1919 to 1922. His next pastorate was in the Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, N.Y., from 1922 to 1926.

In the fall of 1925 he delivered a series of evangelistic messages at Wheaton College, Wheaton, 111. Shortly after that Dr. Charles A. Blanchard, the President of Wheaton College, died. Dr. Buswell was called to be the third president of Wheaton and was installed in April of 1926. He served there for 14 years in a most effective manner. During his administration the College grew numerically, its financial position was strengthened, new facilities were added, and it became fully accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities. It was during his administration that the Wheaton Graduate School was established. He remained at Wheaton until 1940.

Following this he taught for a short time at Faith Seminary. In January of 1941 he was called to the presidency of the National Bible Institute of New York City, which, under his leadership became Shelton College. The school also grew and developed under his 15 years of able leadership.

In 1956 he was called to be Dean of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, where he served for 14 years until his retirement in 1970. He and his wife moved to The Quarryville Presbyterian Home as guests, but here too he continued his ministry of speaking and writing.

He is known for his writings, especially the two volumes of Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion, which is widely used today.

In 1936 Dr. Buswell, together with Dr. J. Gresham Machen, Dr. Harold S. Laird, and others, took his stand fearlessly for the Word of God in opposition to the forces of modernism in the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. There was a great price to be paid from a human standpoint but, like Paul, he counted not his life dear to himself that he might finish the course God had given him. He, with the others mentioned, became the leaders of a new movement committed uncompromisingly to a loyalty to God and the Scriptures.

He helped form the Presbyterian Church of America in June of 1936, which then changed its name to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. In the of 1937 he was a leader in the group which became the Bible Presbyterian Church and later changed its name to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. In all of this trying and developing experience of the church his leadership was evident and greatly respected.

He served on the Fraternal Relations Committee used to bring about the union of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in 1965. This resulted in the formation of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod.

One of the key issues which evidenced departure from the Word of God was that of the Foreign Missions Board of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. Out of this arose the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. Dr. Buswell was one of the founders under the leadership of Dr. Machen. In the developing Evangelical Presbyterian Church, the same urgency of missions continued under Dr. Buswell’s leadership and the Board of World Presbyterian Missions was created and continued to serve as the missionary arm of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod. Dr. Buswell served on this board until his death.

Dr. Buswell served on many boards, agencies and committees of the Re¬formed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod. When the denomination was newly established, he had the joy of having a great input to its growth and development.

A great man has fallen, but God’s course continues—“He being dead, yet speaketh.” He has left the challenge to those who continue under the same Head of the Church, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dr. Buswell was survived by his dear wife, a faithful helpmeet for 59 years, and four children, all active in God’s work: Jane (Mrs. Philip Foxwell), Ruth (Mrs. Edward Noe), Dr. James Oliver Buswell III, and Dr. John Buswell. There are also ten grandchildren and seven great grandchildren as well as a host of friends, both in heaven and in all parts of the world.

As a member of the Philadelphia Presbytery, our Synod, numerous boards and agencies, Dr. Buswell deserves the thanks to God which we all join in giving for this our fellow Christian. We thank God upon every remembrance of him. Our prayers and sincere sympathy are with his dear wife and all the members of his family. Joshua 1:2,3: “Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.”

Words To Live By:

The challenge is for us to arise and possess that which God has promised us as His people. There remains yet much to be possessed for God’s kingdom.

[The text above, with a few minor edits, was the text of the Memorial for Dr. Buswell published in the Minutes of the 155th General Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod.]

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This Day in Presbyterian History:

From Twenty Nine Years of Age to One Hundred and Forty Three Years of Age

A new church was born on this date, April 6, 1965, at ten o’clock in the morning.  Actually, it was not a new church but simply the merging of two historic Presbyterian bodies dating back to the formation of our country.  The Evangelical Presbyterian Church had come out of the stream of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.  The Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Synod had come out of the Scottish Covenanter  heritage.  Both churches had been courting each other from 1957 to 1964 with continual contact.

Each denomination held dearly to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as being the inspired Word of God, without error in whole and part, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.  Each church body held to the subordinate standards of the Westminster Assembly as being a summary of the teaching of the Old and New Testaments.  They proclaimed the good news of salvation to a lost world as the only  hope of reconciliation with the holy God.  The fundamentals of historic Christianity, being only Scripture, only Christ, only grace, only faith, and only to the glory of God, were part and parcel of their belief structure.

Each church had been weathered by internal divisions in their past history.   In the case of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, they had the experience of coming out of the apostasy of the mainline Presbyterian church in the mid 1930’s, where a stand for the fundamentals of the faith translated out to being deposed by the modernists who had gained control of the church.  Then in 1938 and 1956, further issues over eschatology and Christian liberty as well as independent agencies verses synod control agencies, truth in Christian living, and questions about separation from brethren, brought into existence the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in 1961.

In the case of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Synod, the issue in 1833 was the relationship of the church to the civil government.  They had no problem supporting the Declaration of Independence in 1776, but the Constitution a dozen or so years later was another matter.  Should its members vote, for example, in a country which did not recognize itself as a Christian nation?  Should they serve on juries, with oaths involved? Should they serve in the armed forces?  Should exclusive psalmody be the standard of  worship services?  All these were questions which were asked, debated, and voted upon by the church.

When the two bodies met concurrently in 1965 at Covenant College, the issues had been faced squarely by godly men for eight years.  Both churches voted to merge with each other, and combining their names into  the Reformed Presbyterian Church Evangelical Synod.  What has been a church of twenty-nine years became a church of one hundred and forty-three years years of age after one meeting!

Words to Live By:  The Psalmist David proclaimed words of wisdom for all church bodies and Christians when  he wrote “BEHOLD, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (KJV – Psalm 143:1)

Through the Scriptures: 2 Samuel 9 – 12

Through the Standards: (Note: For four days we are thinking about the degrees of sin and their aggravation.  If these characterize you, repent and confess them.  If they do not, be warned about them and beware their ugly risings in your heart and life)

The aggravation of sin in the parties offended

WLC 151  “Sins received their aggravations, 2. From the parties offended: if immediately against God, his attributes, and worship; against Christ, and his grace; the Holy Spirit, his witness and workings against superiors, men of eminency, and such as we stand especially related and engaged unto; against any of the saints, particularly weak brethren, the souls of them, or any other, and the common good of all or many.”

 

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