James Boice

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Boardman and Boice – Two Teaching Elders of Tenth Presbyterian

They were one hundred and twenty years apart in the pulpit and pastoral ministry of the historic Tenth Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But they both have a common identity in more than one way which this author finds interesting.

boardman01First, they were a part of the famous “B’s” of the church. On their own website, someone takes note that there were five “B’s” who filled the pulpit of Tenth Presbyterian. Each pastorate was characterized as being of long length. They were: Henry Augustus Boardman (1833—1876, or 43 years long); William Pratt Breed (1856 to 1889 or 33 years long); Marcus A Brownson (1892 – 1924, or 27 years long); Donald Grey Barnhouse (1927 – 1960 or 33 years long); and James Montgomery Boice (1968 to 2000, or 32 years long). The reader can see the first and the last names of this distinguished list of “B’s” being the two subjects of this post.

A second feature shared by both Revs. Boardman and Boice were the major shifts in affiliation which took place during each of their ministries. In the case of Pastor Boardman, just as he was to be ordained and installed as pastor of the church by the Second Presbytery, which was a presbytery of the New School, that presbytery was dissolved by the Synod of Philadelphia, which was Old School Presbyterian! The whole issue would not be made final until the General Assembly would meet the following month of May, when the General Assembly lopped off all New School Presbyteries from the rolls of the church.(See details on our January 9, 2013 post). Pastor Boardman was able to finally align the congregation of Tenth Presbyterian with the Old School folks.

boiceJMThen in the case of James Boice, it was during his pastorate that the Session (board of elders) at Tenth was coming to terms with the fact that their denomination, the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. was straying from biblical orthodoxy. In 1979, Tenth Presbyterian Church managed to leave that denomination and join the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod denomination. Three years later, that denomination joined the Presbyterian Church in America, and so Tenth Presbyterian became a member church of the PCA.

Lastly, we note an interesting sign of God’s providence, namely, it was on this day in Presbyterian history, June 15, that both pastors—Henry Augustus Boardman and James Montgomery Boice—were called into the presence of their Lord and God. Henry Boardman died on June 15, 1880, and James Boice died this same day of the year, June 15, in 2000.

Words to Live By:
There is no such thing as “chance” or “fortune” or “luck” in the annals of biblical history. All events, happenings, and actions fall under the sovereign will of God who moves when and where and how He pleases. Some people (and hopefully not our readers of this web magazine) may find the above similarities odd, but we who receive the whole counsel of God know that the God of the Bible plans all of our actions according to His sovereign will for our lives. Let that biblical truth permeate your life this day, and always.

For Further Reading:
Rev. Rick Phillips, pastor of Second Presbyterian church in Greenville, SC, has written of his friendship with Dr. James Boice. Click here to read his recent article.

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A timely article by Dr. James Montgomery Boice, reproduced from a 1975 issue of ETERNITY MAGAZINE. Following this article is a reposting of last year’s entry on the life and ministry of Dr. Boice.

Evangelicals: Just Tagging Along?
by Dr. James Montgomery Boice

A well known Christian educator recently confided to me his concern that evangelicals alwasy seem behind in coping with the great issues of our time. They never seem to lead. In proof of his point he pointed to the great similarities between evangelical and secular concerns. When students were agitating on secular campuses, it was not long before students were agitating on Christian campuses. When ecology became an issue nationally, it also became an issue for evangelicals. In the same way, evangelicals tagged along in their concerns with Watergate, social action, race relations, and other issues.

There are different ways of reacting to such a statement, of course, and some of them put the evangelical church in a somewhat better light. For one thing, evangelicals have been in the forefront of valuable movements in the past. In fact, it is their success in some of these that has apparently placed them behind today; for secular agencies have simply taken over areas in which believers in Christ paved the way. The social arena provides many examples. Second, there are areas in which evangelicals are still being creative and are breaking new ground. The work of the Wycliffe Bible Translators, the Medical Assistance Programs of Wheaton, Ill., and L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland may be cited as examples. But one may view these facts and yet still be somewhat uneasy. Are these things adequate? Are there no more areas in which a courageous evangelical witness might pioneer? If there are, why are we so often failing to move into them or even see what needs to be done?

The last question is the point at which we should probably begin to deal with the problem. And the answer to it is that the evangelical church is probably getting its concerns from the secular world rather than speaking to it out of those concerns which it derives from the Scriptures. To put it in other words, the church knows more of the world’s literature than it does its own literature. Or, to rephrase it yet again, in trying to sell itself to the world the believing church has forgotten its unique character and lost its distinctives.

One theme that needs to be recovered is the genuine and terrible wrath of God against sin. “Love” is the world’s word today, though it has been stolen from the Christian’s arsenal, and it is distorted. IT is distorted into a sentimental kind of self-indulgence and indulgence of others, so that in practice it becomes more a fulfilment of the last verse of Romans 1 (“Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they who do such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but have pleasure in them that do them.”) than an expression of that love of which God is the author. But love for man without hatred of sin, which destroys man, is meaningless. God hates sin. So we must speak of that hate and hate sin also. It is only from such a motivation that moral reform will ever sweep our nation.

Another theme that the Scriptures contain but which has been largely forgotten or ignored by evangelicals is the value of man, even after his fall. God values man. God became man. so we should value man also and be distressed when individual men (not just men in general) fial to be all that God intends them to be. Out of such an orientation Christians could be in the forefront of all movements to preserve life and develop human potential.

There is an expression that describes following behind: Always a bridesmaid but never a bride. It should not be true of those who are the bride of Jesus Christ.

[excerpted from Eternity Magazine, 26.7 (July 1975): 45.]

The Death of a Giant

boiceJMUpon hearing of the sudden death of James M. Boice on June 15, 2000, another pastor prayed in his pastoral prayer the following week in his congregation  that he wished the Lord had called him home instead.  That stark comment illustrates the appreciation which his fellow pastors and Reformed people everywhere had for the man and ministry.

Dr. James Boice was first and foremost a pastor-teacher.  For 32 years, he had fed the people of God at the historic Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  When countless churches were moving out of the inner city for the suburbs, Dr. Boice and his congregation stayed right where they were to be a witness to downtown Philadelphia.  Far from the congregation dwindling, it grew from 350 people in regular attendance to more than 1200 persons in three services.  Under his spiritual leadership, and the local Session of Elders, the light of the gospel was extended beyond the congregation,  to international students, women with crisis pregnancies, homosexual and HIV positive clients, and the homeless.

His ministry also went beyond the four walls of the church.  For a decade, he served as Chairman of the International Council of Biblical Inerrancy.  He founded the Alliance of Confession Evangelicals in 1994, calling for a new Reformation among American churches, its pastors and people.

America did not solely have his gifts of teaching either.  More than thirty countries of the world had his teaching ministry delivered to them.  Yet for many of us, it was his forty books on both Bible books as well as biblical themes which brought the gifts of this man to us.  We who were pastors had the privilege of using his biblical commentaries as core books for pulpit series.  We knew that there would not be doctrines or practices which would be contrary to either our biblical faith or for that matter, our creedal summaries of doctrine.  We could quote from his many pages with complete confidence.    Lay people could read for their devotions or Christian sabbath reading his books for their edification.  That reading would supplement what their pastors said to them from the pulpit.  It was thus a memorable  ministry to the people of God in this generation.

Words to Live By:  Even though we finite beings on earth have thoughts on when a person’s ministry may be over on that earth, God in His sovereignty is the real source of wisdom on the length of a  person’s ministry.  And God did exhibit that wisdom in taking James M. Boice home to Himself at the time He did.  We still have the benefit of his books which continue to be printed by publishing houses for the church.  Get your hands on any of these books, and your hearts and minds will be richly blessed.

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This Day in Presbyterian History: 

The Death of a Giant

Upon hearing of the sudden death of James M. Boice on June 15, 2000, another pastor prayed in his pastoral prayer the following week in his congregation  that he wished the Lord had called him home instead.  That stark comment illustrates the appreciation which his fellow pastors and Reformed people everywhere had for the man and ministry.

Dr. James Boice was first and foremost a pastor-teacher.  For 32 years, he had fed the people of God at the historic Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  When countless churches were moving out of the inner city for the suburbs, Dr. Boice and his congregation stayed right where they were to be a witness to downtown Philadelphia.  Far from the congregation dwindling, it grew from 350 people in regular attendance to more than 1200 persons in three services.  Under his spiritual leadership, and the local Session of Elders, the light of the gospel was extended beyond the congregation,  to international students, women with crisis pregnancies, homosexual and HIV positive clients, and the homeless.

His ministry also went beyond the four walls of the church.  For a decade, he served as Chairman of the International Council of Biblical Inerrancy.  He founded the Alliance of Confession Evangelicals in 1994, calling for a new Reformation among American churches, its pastors and people.

America did not solely have his gifts of teaching either.  More than thirty countries of the world had his teaching ministry delivered to them.  Yet for many of us, it was his forty books on both Bible books as well as biblical themes which brought the gifts of this man to us.  We who were pastors had the privilege of using his biblical commentaries as core books for pulpit series.  We knew that there would not be doctrines or practices which would be contrary to either our biblical faith or for that matter, our creedal summaries of doctrine.  We could quote from his many pages with complete confidence.    Lay people could read for their devotions or Christian sabbath reading his books for their edification.  That reading would supplement what their pastors said to them from the pulpit.  It was thus a memorable  ministry to the people of God in this generation.

Words to Live By:  Even though we finite beings on earth have thoughts on when a person’s ministry may be over on that earth, God in His sovereignty is the real source of wisdom on the length of a  person’s ministry.  And God did exhibit that wisdom in taking James M. Boice home to Himself at the time He did.  We still have the benefit of his books which continue to be printed by publishing houses for the church.  Get your hands on any of these books, and your hearts and minds will be richly blessed.

For more on the hymns composed by Dr. Boice, click here.

Through the Scriptures: Songs of Solomon 5 – 8

Through the Standards: Judicial law passes away

WCF 19:4
“To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people; not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require.”

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