February 2018

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It was on this day that we could say the name “Covenanter” was born.
For it was on the 28th February 1638 that the National Covenant was read out and signed in Greyfriars in Edinburgh. Upwards of 60,000 people had gathered in the city for the event.
On a ram skin parchment, the people of Scotland pledged to defend the Scottish Church against any such innovations that were against the Word of God and against anything that would undo the work of the Reformation and take the nation back to Roman Catholicism.
On the original Covenant there were more than 4000 names, hardly a space was left on it. In the days and weeks following hundreds of copies were made and sent throughout Scotland with hundreds of thousands flocking to sign them.
One minister describing the scene wrote “I have seen more than a thousand at once lifting up their hands and tears falling from their eyes, entering into Covenant.”
Oh that we would see a day like this again in Scotland! Sadly, today will pass for most Scots as though it were just another date in the calendar.

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Ninety-three years later, it is remarkable how pertinent this article remains.

The Presbyterian Church at the Cross Roads

Address Delivered at the Meeting of Princeton Theological Seminary Alumni, in New York City.
By Rev. Clarence Edward Macartney, D.D.

[Excerpted from THE PRESBYTERIAN 95.8 (19 February 1925): 6-7]

BOTH the historic polity and the blood-bought doctrines of the Presbyterian Church are in danger. Christianity is never in danger, for it is the will of God for the world’s redemption, and our faith standeth not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. But churches are always subject to error and declension from the truth of the gospel. It is that danger which now confronts the Presbyterian Church.

The Form of Government of the church declares that in perfect consistency with the principle of freedom and private judgment, Christian people have a right to associate themselves in groups or churches and to declare what the terms of admission to that church shall be, and what the qualifications of its ministers. The Presbyterian Church does not seize and press men into its ministry. On the contrary, it bids them search their hearts, and carefully examines them as to their acceptance of the doctrines which the church declares all her ministers must hold.

The purpose of such association into a church on the part of men holding the same views of the Bible and of the way of salvation is two-fold: first, to make a corporate witness to the world concerning Jesus Christ; and, second, to strengthen and encourage one another. But both of these purposes are now seriously threatened, for it is clear that with one part of the Presbyterian Church witnessing to certain facts and truths concerning Christ and another part of the church ignoring or denying those facts and truths, the corporate witness of the church is broken, and the peace and mutual fellowship of the communion are destroyed.

The Presbyterian Church has ever been the fearless friend of religious liberty; and tyranny in every form, ecclesiastical or political, has had no more dreaded foes than the Presbyterians. But it is an outrage on liberty to confuse that historic witness of our church with acquiescence with unbelief, or to say that protest and discipline in the case of the violation of our doctrines and our polity are inconsistent with the Presbyterian principle of religious freedom.

The Presbyterian Church believes that men should be as free to teach and to preach as the winds out of the four heavens are to blow. But it also believes that it has the right to say what doctrines must be taught and preached and believed by ministers who stand in Presbyterian pulpits and under Presbyterian orders. There are many theories and guesses and ventures of opinions on the great matters of Christianity, but the Presbyterian Church has its own carefully articulated and logically defined views, and these views it declares must be held and taught by its ministers. That is what a creed and a constitution mean. Throughout the Presbyterian Church, and by even non-religious men outside of the church, there is an increasing feeling that men who cannot in good conscience receive and defend and declare the doctrines of the church should take off the Presbyterian uniform and withdraw from the fortress.

If men can be received into the presbyteries of the church and installed in the pulpits of our congregations without accepting whole-heartedly doctrines which the church has repeatedly declared must be held by all its ministers, then the Creed has become a scrap of paper. Or, if the interpretation of the Creed be left so wide and vague that men can deny or “refuse to affirm” many portions of it, in other words, if the Creed is so stretched that it will take in almost any kind of religious view, then the Creed becomes an absurdity.

The friends of modernism, within and without the evangelical churches, would like nothing better than to see the Creed of the Presbyterian Church stripped of its meaning and its restraining power. In the whole tattle fine of the evangelical churches, the creedal position of the Presbyterian Church has ever been a source of strength and hope to evangelical Christians and a sore distress to those of radical and rationalistic opinions. They realize that they must capture this Presbyterian salient in the battle line of New Testament churches; before they can hope to effect much in the way of turning the whole position. Hence the eagerness to press into our church, and when once in to declare doctrines which are more like those of the Reformed Synagogue than those of the Westminster Confession of Faith.

To receive men into the ministry of the church who disavow doctrines of the church, is to defy the government of the church. The instances where this has been done are not lacking, and protests and complaints against such action will be made to the highest court, the General Assembly. The question now before the Presbyterian Church is “whether or not it has the intention and the courage to enforce its own mandates. Nothing would please destructive liberalism and modernism so much as to see the Presbyterian Church tamely submit to affront or disobedience on the part of any one of its constituent presbyteries or congregations, for such acquiescence would mean that he Presbyterian Church had hung out the banner, “All welcome,” to every kind of religious adventurer and theological freebooter.

With the present extraordinary popularity of a misty agnosticism, the great need of the church ii for preachers who know what they believe and are able to give a reason for the faith that is in them. Preachers who are tossed about with every wind of doctrine may interest the people, but can lead them nowhere. When one reads some of the outputs of the popular teachers and preachers of Christianity to-day, their glib and facile comments remind one of the celebrated inventor and architect of Laputa, in “Gulliver’s Travels,” who had devised a scheme whereby houses could be built from the roof down, instead of beginning with the foundation. This plan might do for the gossamer fabric of the spider; but a church which is going to serve a lost humanity must be built upon the granite foundation of great convictions and beliefs, Jesus Christ himself being the chief Corner-stone.

Princeton Theological Seminary has long been the despair of the liberal theologians and all the sons of restatement and reinterpretation, which, being interpreted, means evacuating the New Testament doctrines of their Christian meaning. They would rend the heavens with a shout if they thought that Princeton Theological Seminary shook in a single stone of its ancient foundations. This noble nursery of faith and piety, and the other evangelical seminaries of the Presbyterian Church, are the hope of the church for to-morrow, if these foundations be destroyed, then woe to the church!

It may seem idle and beyond the mark to speak a word of warning and entreaty to our evangelical seminaries, Princeton, and the others. But who, fifty years ago, could have predicted the sad declension of Union Theological Seminary from the Presbyterian Standards? Let what has happened there serve as a warning to our other seminaries! In eternal vigilance is the price and the secret of loyalty to the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Any one who at this time shrinks from defending the doctrine and government of his church, lest he should become a target for ridicule, criticism and abuse, is not worthy of the great and glorious name, Presbyterian.

The eyes of the whole Christian world are on the Presbyterian Church in this, its struggle to make a great witness to the truth of Divine Revelation and to the honor of Jesus Christ as the only Redeemer from sin. We are not contending for Presbyterian peculiarities, but for the great facts of the Everlasting Gospel.

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Words to Live By:
Dr. Macartney might well have concluded by reminding his hearers of this verse from the prophet Jeremiah :

This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” — Jeremiah 6:16

“What other hope have we than that which this Reformed Faith gives us? The forces of evil are powerful in the world today in the sphere of human life. In the realm of religious thought sinister shapes arise before us, threatening our most sacred possessions. And if we look within our own hearts, often we find there treachery from the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, when we would fain keep our eye single for the glory of God. With foes on every hand around us and within; with dark clouds of yet unknown potency for harm forming on the horizon; we dare not put our trust in human help or in the human will, but only in the grace and power of God. We must take the standpoint of the Reformed Faith, and say with the Psalmist: ‘My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and glory: the rock of my strength and my refuge is in God.'”

[excerpted from The Significance of the Reformed Faith Today, an address delivered by Dr. Caspar Wistar Hodge, Jr. upon his installation as Professor of Systematic Theology at the Princeton Theological Seminary. See the link below for the full text of this address.]

Dr. Caspar Wistar Hodge, Jr., who was the Charles Hodge Professor of Systematic Theology in Princeton Theological Seminary from 1921 until his death, died on the Friday morning of February 26, 1937, in the Princeton Hospital, of pneumonia. He had been ill for about one week, and died at the age of sixty-six years.

Dr. Hodge was a member of a family closely connected with the Princeton Theological Seminary for more than 100 years. His father, Dr. Caspar Wistar Hodge and his grandfather, Dr. Charles Hodge, as well as his great-uncle, Dr. Archibald Alexander Hodge, had all been members, like himself, of the seminary faculty.

Dr. Hodge was born at Princeton on September 22, 1870. He graduated from Princeton University in 1892, and after further studies received from that school the degree of Ph.D. in 1894. After a year of study abroad at the Universities of Heidelberg and Berlin, he returned to Princeton in 1895, taking the post of instructor in Philosophy in the College. Dr. Hodge remained in that position for two years, going then to Lafayette College as associate professor of Ethics for one year. Thereafter he entered Princeton Seminary to study for the ministry.

Upon graduation from the Seminary in 1901, he was ordained a minister and remained at the Seminary as an instructor in Systematic Theology. After six years he was made assistant professor of Dogmatic Theology, and eight years later professor in the same department, from which he was transferred in 1921 to the Charles Hodge professorship.

Dr. Hodge was well known as a writer on Biblical and theological studies, as a contributor to religious periodicals in America and in Scotland, and as an editor and contributor for several published books.

In 1897, Dr. Hodge married Miss Sarah Henry, of Princeton. He was survived by one daughter, Mrs. Carl H. Ernlund, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a sister, Miss Madeline Hodge. Funeral services were held in the Miller Chapel of the Seminary at Princeton on Monday morning, March 1, 1937.

For Further Study:
The Significance of the Reformed Faith Today,” by C. W. Hodge, Jr., is a brilliant analysis of what is termed the new theology, in contrast with that old theology which has for so long proven faithful and true to the Scriptures.
[This PDF is a close reproduction of a typescript found among the Papers of Dr. Robert Dick Wilson. The typescript is undated, but Dr. Hodge’s opening comments, particularly his reference to the recent death of Dr. B.B. Warfield, dates the paper to 1921 when Dr. Hodge was installed as Charles Hodge Professor of Systematic Theology.

Words to Live By:
Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.—Proverbs 22:28, KJV

And Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham. And he gave them the names that his father had given them.—Genesis 26:18, ESV. And if you have time today, we would encourage you to listen to a sermon by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on that same text of Genesis 26:18. It makes for a fitting reflection on Dr. Hodge’s above linked address.

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

Q. 55. — What is forbidden in the third commandment?

A. — The third commandment forbiddeth all profaning or abusing of anything whereby God maketh himself known.

Scripture References: Mal. 2:2; Isa. 5:12; Ps. 139.20; James 1:13; Matt. 26:74.

Questions:

1. In what ways does God make Himself known?

As we learned in the prior commandment, He makes Himself known by His names, titles, attributes, ordinances, word and works.

2. How are these ways profaned or abused by man?

They are abused “by blasphemy, perjury, sinful cursings, oaths, vows and lots” (Larger Catechism, Question 113)

3. How can man profane God’s names, titles and attributes?

Man can profane these when he thinks hatred toward God; when he speaks irreverently toward God; when he swears by the name of God in a wicked way; when he blasphemes the name of God; when he curses himself or others in the name of God; when he uses the the name of the Lord in superstitious ways.

4. How can man profane His ordinances?

Man can profane the ordinances of God by being irreverent or irreverent or irregular in His attendance upon them; by attending to them not in the spirit but being in the flesh by allowing His mind to wander; by having a false and insincere profession of their faith in Christ and still partaking of them.

5. How can man profane His word?

Man can profane the word of God by denying parts of the Word or by perverting it; by teaching false doctrine as it pertains to the Word; by misapplying the Word of God.

6. How can man profane His works?

Man can profane His works by using His body in the wrong way; by being forgetful of God’s mercy and wonderful works to the children of men; by murmering against the Lord in the midst of adversity.

TAKING HEED TO THE WORD

One of the greatest responsibilities-and privileges-of the born again believer is that of taking heed to the Word. James tells us, “Let every man be swift to hear …. ” (James 1:19). This particular commandment, the third, is pertinent to us as each Lord’s Day and each Wednesday evening we go to hear the Word of God preached. Jeremy Taylor once said, “When the word of God is read or preached to you, be sure you be of a ready heart and mind, free from worldly cares and thoughts, diligent to hear, careful to mark, studious to remember, and desirous to practice all that is commanded, and to live according to it; do not hear from any other end but to become better in your life, and to be instructed in every good work, and to increase in the love and service of God.” (The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living, p. 181).

Many times the Christian misses what the Lord has for him In the worship service because he comes unprepared. In the same first chapter of James there is a suggested outline regarding the duties of the Christian in his attendance at the house of God. Verse 21 tells hlm of his duties before the sermon: that Gf laying apart anything of filth, of sin. Verse 21 also tells him of his duties during the sermon: that of receiving with meekness the engrafted (implanted) word. Verse 22 tells him of his duties after the sermon: that of being a doer of the Word and not a hearer only. God’s people will receive far more benefit from the preaching of the word of God, and will be able to apply it more effectively, if they have prepared their hearts beforehand for the hearing of the word.

How do we prepare ourselves for the hearing of the Word? So many times on the Lord’s Day our preparation consists of reading the Sunday paper, of sleeping late, of neglecting prayer and study of the Word. It is to be wondered what the result would be if the church on the Lord’s Day were filled with Christians who had actively prepared themselves for the preaching of the Word. Christians who had come with willing and obedient heart; with a deep-seated desire to hear the Word; with hearts in tune with the Almighty, Sovereign God. Indeed, the result would be a doing of the duties set forth in the Word, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to the glory of God.

Published By: The SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 4 No. 51 (March, 1965)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

In recent weeks at the PCA Historical Center, my assistant, Kent Woodrow has begun processing the Papers of Albert F. Moginot, Jr., a PCA pastor known to all simply as “Bud”.  Rev. Moginot died in December of 2011, at the age of 88, just about a year after the death of his beloved wife Vivian. He was born in 1923, was educated at William Jennings Bryan College and Washington University, and then prepared for the ministry at Dallas Theological Seminary. Upon graduation, he was ordained in the Bible Presbyterian Church and installed as associate pastor to Francis Schaeffer in 1948, right about the time that the Schaeffer’s were preparing to move to Switzerland to begin a ministry of church planting and children’s ministry. Bud’s wife Vivian served as Dr. Schaeffer’s secretary. The picture on the cover of the funeral bulletin dates from about that time with the Schaeffers.

From 1948 to 1973, Rev. Moginot was the pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Alton, Illinois. He then stepped away from pulpit ministry to serve from 1974 to 1993 at Covenant Theological Seminary. In the latter years of that term, he also began to be active as a chaplain in the Civil Air Patrol. I think he was especially proud of that ministry, serving in that capacity right up until about a year before his death. But it was probably his term of service as Pastor of Visitation at the Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church where Bud really hit his stride. He began that work in 1991, and continued faithfully until forced into retirement by a brain aneurism. Rev. Moginot led many to Christ and pointed everyone to his Savior.

 


Bud Moginot also served as the Stated Clerk for Missouri Presbytery from 1982 to 1995, and from what I can tell, the dear brother never threw anything away. He was the kind of guy that archivists love! Regrettably, not everything has been found in the best shape. Some things were stored in the basement; some things were stored in the attic. Neither location is suited to preservation. But in all, some thirty boxes of documents were retrieved from Bud’s house. An initial sorting of the papers was done at that time, and now finally the better work of arrangement and description has begun in earnest. Much of the material concerns the Missouri Presbytery, as you would expect. But unexpected jewels keep turning up as well. Hopefully we can find time to share some of those things later this year.

Words to Live By:
Bud and Vivian loved the Lord Jesus and served Him faithfully all their years. They did not have much in the way of earthly wealth; their treasures were stored up in God’s kingdom. You don’t have to have a lot of money to serve the Lord. You don’t have to be a standout in any of the ways by which the world judges success. God calls us to simply remain faithful. Keep looking to Christ as your Savior, clinging to the Rock of your salvation, for He is your All in all. And know that the Lord will use you and your gifts in His kingdom.

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