His Holy Spirit

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Truly a Historic Day

The big announcement for a continuing Presbyterian Church outside the Presbyterian Church, US was made on August 11, 1971 at the Journal Day gathering.  Much prayer and planning had gone into this point.  The July 15 devotional spoke of the first strategy meeting earlier in the year.  Now on this day was the unveiling of the whole plan, with those who were willing to take the lead for this historic departure.

Jack Williamson announced that the four conservative organizations — The Presbyterian Journal, Concerned Presbyterians, the Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship, and Presbyterian Churchmen United — had each officially given the impetus by naming representatives to serve as a Steering Committee “for the continuation of a Presbyterian Church loyal to the Scriptures and to the Reformed faith.”  All four organizations, instead of continuing to  represent conservative Christians inside an apostate denomination, had reached an agreement “to accept the apparent inevitability of division in the Presbyterian Church US caused by the program of the radical ecumenists, and to move now toward a continuing body of congregations and presbyteries loyal to the Scriptures and the Westminster Standards.”

The Presbyterian ruling elder continued, “We sincerely believe that the Holy Spirit is leading us in this direction.  We know that any result which is pleasing to Almighty God shall not be accomplished by our might, nor by our power but by His Spirit.  There, we urge and implore you to undergird this effort daily with much fervent prayer that God  will fill us with His Holy Spirit to guide us in this tremendous undertaking…This is truly a history day for all of us. We resolutely set our faces in a new direction.  We shall, with God’s help, preserve for future generations the witness of our  historic faith, that faith once delivered to the saints, to the glory of our King and Head, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

The Steering Committee consisted of the following: Donald Patterson, Chairman, James Baird Jr., Leon F. Hendrick, William E. Hill, Kenneth Keyes, John E Richards, John R. Richardson, Kennedy Smartt, G. Aiken Taylor, S.A. White, Ben Wilkinson, and Jack Williamson.

(This contributor is thankful for the book “To God all Praise and Glory” by Paul Settle, for the above information)

Words to live by:  When tough decisions have to be made, God provides faithful and courageous men to stand up  in the gap for His church.  Such were the above mentioned names who agreed to serve on the Steering Committee for a continuing Presbyterian Church faithful to the Scriptures, the Reformed Faith, and the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.  Today, the Presbyterian Church in America continues her ministry to a watching world because of their historic stand.  We should praise God for them and  honor them because they honored God.


patterson_donald_brayAN ANNOUNCEMENT
Made at Asheville, N.C. on August 11, 1971
by Dr. Donald B. Patterson [pictured at left]

It is my privilege to announce to you that the men on the platform with me now have been officially named as representatives from their respective boards to a steering committee. They represent the Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship, the Presbyterian Journal, the Presbyterian Churchmen United and the Concerned Presbyterians. Here is visible proof of the unity of conservatives working toward a common goal.

These groups have reached a consensus to accept the apparent inevitability of division in the Presbyterian Church US caused by the program of the radical ecumenists, and to move now toward a continuing body of congregations and presbyteries loyal to the Scriptures and the Westminster Standards.

This steering committee has been charged with the responsibility of developing and implementing a plan for continuation of a Presbyterian Church loyal to the Scriptures and Reformed faith, recognizing that the Sovereign Holy Spirit may be pleased so to revive our Church as to make revisions in the plan necessary.

This committee held its organizational meeting last night. I was elected its chairman; Jim Baird, its vice-chairman; and Kennedy Smartt, its secretary.

This plan anticipates the involvement of every single congregation in our Church that is interested in preserving the historic witness of our faith. You will be given the opportunity to participate soon.

We sincerely believe that the Holy Spirit is leading us in this direction. We know that any result which is pleasing to Almighty God shall not be accomplished by our might, nor by our power but by His Spirit. Therefore, we urge and implore you to undergird this effort daily with much fervent prayer that God will fill us with His Holy Spirit to guide us in this tremendous undertaking.

This is truly a historic day for all of us. We resolutely set our faces in a new direction. We shall, with God’s help, preserve for future generations the witness of our historic faith, that faith once delivered to the saints, to the glory of our King and Head, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

THE STEERING COMMITTEE
Rev. Donald Patterson, Jackson, Miss., Chmn.
Rev. John R„ Richardson, Atlanta, Ga.
Rev. James Baird, Jr., Gadsden, Ala.
Judge Leon F. Hendrick, Jackson, Miss.
Rev. Kennedy Smartt, Hopewell, Va.
Rev. William E. Hill, Hopewell, Va.
Rev. G. Aiken Taylor, Asheville, N.C.
Mr. Kenneth S. Keyes, Miami, Fla.
Rev. John E. Richards, Macon, Ga.
Rev. Ben Wilkinson, Decatur, Ga.
Mr. S. A. White, V., Mebane, N.C.
Mr. Jack Williamson, Greenville, Alabama

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

Q. 20. — Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?

A. — God having, out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into the estate of salvation, by a Redeemer.

Scripture References: Eph. 1:4-7; Titus 3:4-7; Titus 1:2; Gal. 3:21; Rom. 3:20-22.

Questions:

1. Whom does God bring into a state of salvation?

God brings all his elect people into an estate of salvation to which he has chosen them.

2. Who are the elect people of God?

The elect people of God are those whom He has chosen to eternal life, chosen from all eternity out of His good pleasure.

3. What do we mean when we use the term “out of His good pleasure?”

We mean that even though man is lost and fallen, deserving nothing from God, it was God’s good pleasure to make provision for some men in what is called the covenant of grace.

4. How does God bring His elect into an estate of salvation?

God brings His elect to salvation by a Redeemer, (Act. 4:12)

5. What is the covenant of grace?

It is a covenant of eternal life and salvation to sinners, to be given them in a way of free grace and mercy. It is an arrangement between God and his elect.

6. Are there conditions to the covenant of grace?

Yes, there is a condition. The condition is faith, by which the elect have an active interest in Jesus Christ, (John 3:16. Act. 16:31)

7. What is the promise inferred in the covenant of Grace?

The promise is that God will cause His Holy Spirit to dwell in the elect and to work in them, creating the faith and virtue that He desires. In other words, what God requires, He gives. (J. B. Green)

A COVENANT WITH A CONDITION

The covenant of grace is that which heals and comforts a wounded soul, it is a covenant that shows an open door of escape to the sinner. The promises of this covenant are absolutely free as they concern us. And yet the covenant of grace is a covenant with a condition.

A. A. Hodge puts it very well when he states, “Here is a covenant with a condition—whosoever believes shall be saved, whosoever believeth not shall be damned. The Lord Jesus Christ comes to view and is represented as the Mediator of the covenant, because it all depends upon his mediatorial work, and, above all, he is represented as the Surety. You promise faith upon your knees, and the Lord Jesus Christ endorses for you.”

It is true that the covenant of grace, taken by itself, is pure grace and excludes all works. The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is Good Tidings and it is simply a gift from God. But this Gospel comes to us within the framework of a condition, the condition being none other than that of our willingly accepting in faith what God wants to give us. The will of God in this regard realizes itself in no other way than through our reason and our will.

This all puts upon us as Christians a great responsibility to preach the Gospel to everyone with whom we come in contact. For indeed whosoever believes shall be saved and whosoever believeth not shall be damned, such is the condition involved with the covenant of grace. It can be rightly said, theologically speaking, “that a person, by the grace he receives, himself believes and him s elf turns from sin to God.” (Bavinck). This means that evangelism according to the Westminster Standards is something that should be carried out by every born again believer. There is no place in the Reformed Faith for the mistaken notion held by many that there is no place for personal work within the framework of the Westminster Standards.

It behooves all of us who hold to the Standards to remember our responsibility as so aptly stated by Paul, “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak; I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (I Cor. 9:22). The Covenant of Grace, with its condition, should motivate us to personal evangelism.

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soltau_TStanleyYesterday we looked at the life and ministry of Dr. T. Stanley Soltau, missionary to Korea, pastor, and director of World Presbyterian Missions. Today we turn to Dr. Soltau’s little booklet, Our Sufficiency, for our Sunday sermon.

“OUR SUFFICIENCY IS OF GOD”

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God.” — 2 Corinthians 3:5

In this day of want and poverty in so many parts of the world, when even the bare necessities of life are hardly sufficient to meet the needs of millions, and when even in this favored land we have been warned of certain restrictions which we must face in order that in other countries starvation may be avoided; in days like this it is always encouraging to think of one source of sufficiency which never fails and never can fail, and a source which is always accessible.

The Apostle Paul in writing to his friends in the great city of Corinth, says, “Our Sufficiency is of God.” He is writing to Christians who were living in a city whose name was a synonym for vice and immorality, it was also a city famous for its commerce and culture; and when great wealth, and great education and great wickedness go hand in hand, it always makes things difficult for a real believer in Christ Jesus. In spite of that discouraging background however, Paul writes to his friends there telling them that they are an epistle or a letter to Christ, written by the Holy Spirit on their hearts; that is, their lives were so different from what they had been before knowing Christ, and so different from the lives of others, that it was clear to all that the Holy Spirit had made Christ Jesus not only real to them but real through them to others. The Apostle then goes on to say that he has this confidence that the testimony of their lives will continue because God is working in them just as He has worked in Paul himself, and will prove His sufficiency by making them competent in exactly the same way in which He made Paul, and those with him, competent for the work to which He has called them.

The word “Sufficiency” in the Greek includes the idea of being made competent, competent for whatever situation may arise or for whatever task which God may call upon you to perform.

Any man who possesses this conviction has a freedom from anxiety and a quiet peace and assurance in these days of uncertainty and difficulty that will carry him through to victory. I wonder if you can say “My Sufficiency is of God . . . He has made me competent, by the working of His Holy Spirit in me, for every emergency and every responsibility that I shall meet this day.” Can you say it and really mean it? If you can, then thank God for it and begin from this minute to practice it and to experience His sufficiency in your life. If you cannot say so, then ask yourself why.

He has made it possible for all if they will only meet His conditions, which are:

1. A humble and sincere confession of their own sins and helplessness.

2. A grateful acceptance of the Sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ on behalf of their sins, and then a joyful submitting of themselves, body, soul and spirit to Him; and a conscientious seeking to put Him first in all things, and a looking to Him for daily guidance and enabling power in all the decisions and activities of their lives.

As soon as that is done, His Spirit begins His gracious ministry in their hearts in order to make them competent and equipped to live victorious and powerful lives to His honour and glory.

It is a very helpful thing at the beginning of each day to remember this, and in faith to claim the equipment from the Lord, which He sees that we will NEED to meet the various temptations and testings which lie ahead of us; and then to start out the days work in assurance that He had prepared us for it. Let us do so now!

Our God and Father, as we bow in Thy presence at the beginning of this day, we ask Thee to equip us with all that we shall need to live for Thy honour and glory, and to please Thee in all things. In the name of Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.

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 A Professor to Three Students

It has been in operation since 1746.  And the College of New Jersey had provided the church, and especially the Presbyterian Church in the United States many of its pastors and missionaries.  But with the advent of the eighteen hundreds, many of its graduates were preparing for different careers, like law, politics, and education.  Something had to be done to remedy this critical need of 400 empty pulpits in the denomination.

The proverbial ball began rolling when the Rev. Ashbel Green, pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, gave a challenging speech before the assembled elders gathered at the May 1805 General Assembly.  In 1808, the Presbyterian of Philadelphia overtured that General Assembly  begin  a theological school.  Four years later, the Assembly voted to establish such a school and to locate it in Princeton, New Jersey. Later in that same Assembly, the elders in a spirit of prayer voted the Rev. Dr. Archibald Alexander to be the first professor of Princeton Theological Seminary. The date was June 2, 1812.

Archibald Alexander had been prepared by the Holy Spirit for this important ministry. Blessed with an heritage of Scotch-Irish forefathers, and a father who was a Presbyterian elder, his family first settled in Pennsylvania before relocating to Virginia. Archibald was born in 1772 and by the age of seven, had learned the Shorter Catechism and was moving on to the Larger Catechism. He sat under the celebrated William Graham at Liberty Hall Academy, forerunner of Washington and Lee College. And yet with all of this training, Archibald was still unsaved. It wasn’t until he was sixteen that he was brought to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus. More theological training took place which culminated in his ordination by Hanover Presbytery in Virginia in 1794 as a Presbyterian minister.

From there his ministry activities went from the rural pastorate, to Hampden-Sydney College as president, to a revival preacher in New England, delegate to the General Assembly, minister of a congregation in the large city of Philadelphia, and finally to the first professor of Princeton Seminary, at the age of forty.  At the beginning of this new and challenging ministry, he had three students in 1812.  But the number wouldn’t stay there very long.  Princeton Seminary had begun.

Words to Live By: Everything which occurs in your life is for a purpose, a purpose overseen by a loving Father. When you are enabled to see that biblical truth, your life, and how you view it, takes on a sacred calling. There is a good reason why the Apostle Paul commands us “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (ESV – 1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Through the Scriptures: Proverbs 4 – 7

Through the Standards: The sad possibility of falling but not out of saving grace

W.C.F. 17:3
“Nevertheless, they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins; and, for a time, continue therein: whereby they incur God’s displeasure, and grieve His Holy Spirit, come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts, have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves.”

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