January 2013

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2013.

In 2005, Solid Ground Christian Books did a great service in reprinting three volumes of William Buell Sprague’s Annals of the American Pulpit. These three volumes were the Presbyterian portion of that set, and they have been a great help in preparing some of the posts that you have been reading. In the last of those three volumes, some coverage was given to pastors of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, and today we look at the brief life of the Rev. Moses Kerr, quoting from Sprague’s work:

Moses Kerr, the third son of the Rev. Joseph Kerr, D.D., was born in St. Clair, Pennsylvania, on the 30th of June, 1811. Naturally of a serious and thoughtful cast of mind and manifesting in very early life decided piety, his education was directed, from the first, with a view to qualifying him for the sacred ministry. He was the first of the family to enter upon a classical course. But, in a short time, signs of failing health led to a suspension of his studies and thoughts of some other calling less trying to a feeble constitution. He was induced to devote himself, for a time, to preparation for mercantile life. For this he had no taste, and it soon proved as unfavourable to his health as his application to study had previously done. He then engaged in ordinary farm work, and in this he appeared to grow strong; and, feeling now that he had the prospect of comfortable health, he again turned his attention to the profession on which he had first set his heart. He now entered the Western University of Pennsylvania, in which he prosecuted his studies without interruption until he was honourably graduated in 1828. In the fall of the same year he began the study of Theology in the Seminary then under the care of his father. He had completed one session and entered upon a second, when his father died. He finished his theological course under the instruction of the Rev. Mungo Dick, a learned and excellent Minister, who consented to take charge of the students of the Synod of the West until a professor to succeed Dr. Kerr could be formally chosen.

He was licensed to preach as a probationer for the holy ministry by the Presbytery of Monongahela, on the 28th of April, 1831. The same year the First Congregation of Allegheny was organized, and he was chosen its first Pastor. He accepted this call on the 24th of April, 1832, and, from this date, preached to this congregation, until the fall of the same year, a short time before the meeting of Presbytery, at which it was expected he would be ordained and installed. But when the Presbytery met, he returned the call, on account of a hemorrhage of the lungs, which made it necessary for him to refrain from public speaking, he knew not how long. The Presbytery released him from his acceptance of the call to that particular congregation, but proceeded with his Ordination to the office of the ministry. This was on the 9th of October, 1832.

Regrettably, the remainder of Rev. Kerr’s short life seems to repeat that pattern. He found times of service to congregations and as a teacher, but they were short periods interrupted by poor health. The Rev. Moses Kerr died on January 26, 1840, at the age of 28 years and 6 months.

Tags: , , , ,

palmerBM_02

—The decease of Dr. Palmer of New Orleans is like a change in the landscape of the South. As far as it is possible for one man in the space of a lifetime to grow to be a part of the fixed order of things, Dr. Palmer had become identified like some old-time landmark with his denomination, his city and his section of the nation. he was one of that class of men who are incapable of change; what he was as he came to the maturity of manhood he remained until death. It is doubtless true that the world would be unfortunate if all its strong men should crystallize in that adamantine way, but living in a time that suffers little lack of impulses to progress, we ought to thank God that He still scatters through the churches some immovable men to hinder and obstruct headlong haste.

From an almost opposite pole of Christian temperament THE INTERIOR clearly recognizes that Dr. Palmer served God and his generation as a symbol of the immutability of the great essentials of our religion. His faithful witness to Jesus Christ in the word of his preaching and the example of his ministry gave him such power in New Orleans as few of the Lord’s ambassadors have ever wielded in any age of the church. By all consent he was acknowledged for years to be the most influential man in that city, and he was so brave and outspoken that he made for righteousness not only in the private lives of men but in the civic life of the community. He was born in Charleston, S.C. on January 25, 1818 and had been over leading churches in Savannah and Columbia before he went to the First Presbyterian church of New Orleans in 1856. His pastoral term there covered fifty-six consecutive years.

He retained excellent vigor and still preached powerfully despite his great age, and his life might have been prolonged still for several years if he had not suffered injury beneath a street car which ran him down in the streets of New Orleans a few weeks ago. He did not die from the direct effects of that accident, but the shock seemed so to weaken his vital powers that fatal disease soon supervened.

[excerpted from THE INTERIOR, Vol. 33, No. 1671 (5 June 1902): 734.]

palmerbm02As an example of Dr. Palmer’s influence, not just within the Church, but in the civic life of New Orleans, here is a portion of an account of his opposition to the lottery there.

In the fall of 1891 a great meeting was held in New Orleans in order to stir up the heart of the people and warn them to use all efforts to arrest the spirit of public gambling. Some fine addresses were delivered, but Dr. Palmer of the Synod of Mississippi delivered the crowning address. His whole heart was aflame with the subject and the sympathy of the big congregation was with him. His address struck the right chord at the right time and it broke the backbone of the lottery. It was a great address and for the purpose of embalming it in the memory of our young people, we are giving it word for word as delivered that night. We leave out the cheers and the plaudits and the hand-clapping which were in evidence all through the speech.

Mr. Chairman and fellow citizens of Louisiana.

“I lay the indictment against the Lottery Company of Louisiana, that it is essentially an immoral institution whose business and avowed aim it is to propagate gambling throughout the state and throughout the country. This being not simply a nuisance but even a crime, no Legislature as the creature of the people nor even the people themselves in convention assembled, have the power to legitimate it either by legislative enactment upon the one hand or by fundamental charter upon the other. In other words, I lay the indictment against the Louisiana Lottery Company that its continued existence is incompatible not only with the safety but with the being of the state.

In saying this, sir, I desire to be understood as not simply uttering the language of denunciation. I frame the indictment and I propose to support each of its specifications by adequate proof; and I do this the more distinctly from the conviction that there are many citizens throughout our bounds, who, having been accustomed to look at the lottery simply as a means of revenue either public or private, have not sufficiently considered the inherent viciousness of this system itself.

And it is that class which I hope this night to reach and to range upon our side in this great controversy.

Indeed, sir, if the worst should come to the worst in this present campaign, I for one could wish that, all technicalities being swept away, there might be some method by which the question might be carried up to the Supreme Court of the United States whether it is competent to any state in the union to commit suicide. And if that venerable court should return an answer, which I think they would not for a moment consider as possible, I would then for my part make the appeal to the virtues and common sense of the masses of our people, that the very instinct of self-preservation may stamp out of existence an institution which is fatal to the liberties and the life of the commonwealth. . .

To read the rest of Palmer’s message, click here.

Words to Live By:
Pastors, and Christians in general, can and ought to have a voice as citizens, and our voice should and must be informed by the Scriptures. PCA pastor Mike Milton has a new book forthcoming titled Silent No More, which speaks to this issue, and which should be well worth reading.

Image sources:
1. Carte de vis photograph from a collection gathered by Thomas Dwight Witherspoon. The original was lost in a fire, but had been thankfully scanned prior to that loss.
2. Cover photograph from THE INTERIOR, Vol. 33, no. 1671 (5 June 1902).
All scans prepared by the staff of the PCA Historical Center.

Tags: , , , , ,

reedrcOn this day, January 24, in 1851, the Rev. James Landrum Reed and his wife Elizabeth became the proud parents of a baby boy whom they named Richard Clark Reed. Richard was later educated at King College and prepared for the ministry at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. Graduating from Union in 1876, he was ordained by Memphis Presbytery and went on to pastor churches in Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee before being called to serve as a professor at Columbia Theological Seminary in 1898. A true pastor-scholar, he was well suited to this post, and the remainder of his years were spent teaching at Columbia, until his death in July of 1925.

In 1914, Dr. Reed had returned from attending the General Assembly of his denomination. What follows is a portion of his review of that Assembly, and it is interesting for dating a change in the conduct of the Southern Presbyterian Assembly, from that of a more deliberative body to something more akin to a business model. The Assembly had been in the habit of meeting for nine days, and now had, since 1912, been meeting for only six. Here Rev. Reed complains of the hurried nature of the Assembly and the resulting lack of patient, reasoned debate. Elsewhere we have noted that on one occasion, in 1880, the Rev. John L. Girardeau spoke at length for two hours on the floor of the Assembly. More remarkable still, the Assembly paid attention to his every word!

The General Assembly, reviewed by Rev. Professor R.C. Reed, Columbia, SC.

The fifty-fourth General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, met in the Central Church, Kansas City, Mo., May 21, 1914, and was dissolved at 3:30 P.M., Thursday, May 28th. This is the third Assembly in succession which has limited the span of its life to six working days. These precedents will probably have the force of law for the future. Time was when the Assembly had to rush its business toward the close, in order to dissolution by the end of the ninth day from date of organization. The volume of business has increased rather than diminished. The recent Assemblies have shortened the time not by covering less ground, but by increasing the speed. The liberty of speech has been abridged. it has come to pass that by the time a speaker gets fairly launched, the cry of “question,” “question,” warns the speaker that further effort to get a hearing for his views will be useless. Age and distinguished services do not secure immunity from such discourtesy. The Assembly is ceasing to be a deliberative body, and coming to be an organization merely for business routine.

Obviously, our Assemblies are inoculated with the speed-madness of the age. It could hardly be otherwise. The members, who compose the Assembly, are accustomed by the use of the telephone, rapid transit, and other time-saving devices, to dispatch business at a rate that would have made a former generation dizzy. The speed at which we live is constantly increasing, with the result that we are growing more and more restless. The slightest delay is irksome. The train that pulls into the station ten minutes late creates almost a mob-spirit in those who have been constrained to lose so much of their precious time. When men, who live and move and have their being in an atmosphere charged with the frenzy of hurry, come together in a General Assembly, it is not surprising that they should begrudge every minute that does not show a decided progress in the calendar of business. They are not in the habit of having time to spare. Speech-making is not business, rather it is a clog on the machinery, and the less of it the sooner the members can record their votes and get at something else. The moderator is a good moderator in proportion as he rushes the grist through the mill.

Click here to read the remainder of this excerpt.

Words to Live By:
If only Dr. Reed could have seen the breakneck speed of our lives! Some people seem to thrive on it, but I think we all need times of peaceful quiet, though it can be very hard to come by. Why not begin to carve out a time each day when you will turn off the TV, the radio and all the many devices, and set your priorities for the day? And what better way to set the standard for the day than by getting alone with God in His Word and in prayer? Notice how often Jesus went out early in the morning, by Himself, to pray. Could we have any better example?  I admit it is a discipline, but rising a bit earlier to have that time alone with God is worth it. “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” (Psalm 5:3)

Tags: , , , , ,

A Faithful Pastor, Serving the Lord in all humility.

Just ten years ago now, the Rev. Lawrence R. Eyres entered his eternal rest on this day, January 23, 2003, at the age of 91. Lawrence was born on an Iowa farm on November 14, 1911, raised by godly parents during the Depression, was educated at Wheaton College (1934) and prepared for the ministry at Westminster Theological Seminary (1937).

In 1936 he had become one of the founding members of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and following his graduation from Westminster, was ordained in 1938 and installed as pastor the OPC church in Deerfield, New Hampshire. Moving to the other side of the nation, his next pastorate was in Portland, Oregon, and then in 1958 Rev. Eyres became the pastor of what is now Faith Orthodox Presbyterian Church of Long Beach, California, a church founded in April of 1941. The Rev. Lawrence Eyres was the third pastor of this congregation, and the church grew greatly, numbering some 500 members growing in grace under his ministry. In 1970, Rev. Eyres left Faith OPC and worked to plant churches in Ohio, South Dakota, Alaska and Wisconsin before retiring in 1993.

Among the honors accorded Rev. Eyres during his long ministry, he served as Moderator of the OPC General Assembly in 1950, and he is perhaps most remembered for The Elders of the Church, a work which has proven to be of great use. To read a review of this book, click here.

Of Rev. Eyres, one obituary noted that “Lawrence was a gentle, gracious man, who loved His Lord and loved people, whose life’s work is summed-up by the word “pastor” – stalwart for the truth of the Bible as God’s Word, vigorous in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, committed to the truths of the Reformed faith, and sacrificial in giving his life to Christ’s Church.

Words to Live By: Alongside humility, love and a heart for the truth of God’s Word, self-sacrifice is a quality essential in the life of anyone who would seek to live out their Christian life in way that would matter. Give me a pastor who will expend himself on behalf of his flock. Give me Christians who will live sacrificially, giving freely of themselves to others, not holding back when they see a need that must be filled.

For Further Study:
Click here to read an article by Rev. Eyres, “Live in the Fear of God.”

Sources:
http://eyres.home.texas.net/bios/scrapbook/LawrenceREyres.htm
http://eyres.home.texas.net/bios/LawrenceEyres.htm
http://www.faithopc.org/our-history/

Tags: , , , ,

Have you ever heard of a “Junkin Tent”? It was a tent or lean-to structure erected in a rural setting where the Lord’s people could gather for worship and communion. The tent provided a covering for the pastor and for the communion elements, with the congregation seated around the tent. The term has now largely passed into history, and so today’s post is presented with the intent of raising your “PQ” – your Presbyterian Quotient.

The Junkin Tent

“The name of Junkin has been long known and honored in the Presbyterian church. The first of this name to settle in this region was Joseph Junkin who had married Elizabeth Wallace. They were emigrants from Ulster, and were married at Oxford, Pa. A little later they settled in the Cumberland Valley and “took up” five hundred acres of land including the site of the present town of New Kingston.To these parents was born a Joseph Junkin the second, on the 22d of January, 1750. He had two sisters older than himself. Mary, who became Mrs. John Culbertson, and Elizabeth, who died young; and one sister and two brothers younger than himself, John, who died without issue, and Benjamin, the grandfather of the Hon. Benjamin Junkin of Perry county.”

“Joseph Junkin was of the old Covenanter stock, and the “Junkin Tent” was a well known place of worship for those who held by the sturdy principles of this type of Presbyterianism. Here Black, and Cuthbertson, and Dobbin and others ministered in holy things to a congregation of hardy pioneers gathered from far and near. It is said that at this “Junkin Tent” was celebrated the first Covenanter Communion Service ever held in the New World.”

“Young Junkin was twenty-five years of age when the clouds of war began to gather over the infant colonies. He was not made of the stuff to meekly bear the insolent assumption of the British Crown. He was one of the first to enlist when the news reached his quiet home that Independence was declared. Leaving his intended bride unwedded until the storm of war should pass, he enlisted and went to the front. In the battle of Brandywine, September 11, 1777, he commanded a company. In the sharp skirmish near White Horse Tavern, on the 16th, his arm was shattered by a musket ball. He was concealed by a patriotic Friend, and finally mounted on a horse with a rope bridle, and a knapsack stuffed with hay for a saddle, he made his way home, a distance of ninety miles, in three days. He put himself under the care of Dr. Samuel A. McCoskry of Carlisle, and paid all the expenses attendant on his cure; but he lost a full year in his recovery.”

“In May, 1779, he was married by the Rev. Alexander Dobbin, D.D., to Eleanor Cochran, by whom he had fourteen children, among whom we may mention Rev. George Junkin, D.D., LL.D. and Rev. David X. Junkin, D.D. In the spring of 1806 he removed with his family to Hope Mills, Mercer country, Pa., where he died February 21, 1831.”

[excerpted from volume 2 of the Centennial Memorial of the Presbytery of Carlisle (1889).]

Words to Live By:
What a wonderful privilege when the Lord’s people gather to praise Him, to worship in spirit and in truth. and to draw near to Him in praise. Regardless of where we meet to praise our Lord, it matters not whether we gather under a crude shelter or in a modern building, His promise is that He will be there with us.

Tags: , , , ,

« Older entries § Newer entries »

%d bloggers like this: