A. The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment are, God’s allowing us six days of the week for our own employments, his challenging a special propriety in the seventh, his own example, and his blessing the Sabbath day.
SCRIPTURE REFERENCES: Exodus 31:15-16; Leviticus 23:3; Exodus 31:17; Genesis 2:3.
QUESTIONS: 1. How many reasons are there annexed to this commandment?
There are four reasons annexed to this commandment and this is more than for any of the other commandments. God knew men would be prone to break this commandment.
2. What is the first reason?
The first reason is, God’s allowing us six days for our own employment. God has been very liberal with us in this area and we should certainly grant Him one day out of the seven. In addition, in modern times very few people work on Saturday afternoon, which is another reason for giving Him one day.
3. What is the second reason?
The second reason is, God’s challenging a special propriety in the seventh day. This is God’s claiming the day as His own. He does not claim it as His own without granting us anything from it, for as we use it in the right way He will grant us the greatest joy in communion with Him.
4. What is the third reason?
The third reason is, God’s own example in resting Himself from His works of creation on the seventh day. Here there is a spiritual blessing from resting one day by His command. In addition, there is a physical motivation in that He knew it would be good for our bodies for us to rest one day. His example should be followed, all to His glory.
5. What is the fourth reason?
The fourth reason is, God’s blessing of the Sabbath. Our Lord consecrates the day to His holy use. The right use of the day will result in blessings for us, “showers of blessings” will fall upon us. The wrong use of the day will result in miseries and woes. (Nehemiah 13:18).
MAN’S NEED OF THE SABBATH
It is hard for us today, in the midst of the blatant desecration of the Sabbath, to hold to the authority of God and the commands we find in the Decalogue. On every hand we find that the opposition is strong. The day starts with the weighty Sunday newspaper. Sporting events are the order of the day. The armed services have decided that the Lord’s Day is a day of training. Wherever we turn we are faced with the pressures of the world to deny what many of us have been told from childhood, that the holy calm of a Sabbath morn should be kept throughout the day.
Certainly as believers in Christ, we know what we should do. The commands in the Scripture are plain. Six questions in our Shorter Catechism are given to this important question of Christian living. But when we attempt to meet our adversaries with these arguments it means nothing to them. They care not for Holy Writ and win not listen. But there are arguments that they might listen to, and these same arguments would be good for us to take into our hearts and ponder them, all to the glory of God. Mark 2:27 indeed teaches us: “The Sabbath was made for man.” Our Lord knew that we need this Day.
We need it because of our physical nature. He made us in such a way that we need to rest one day out of the seven. It is interesting to note that the Deists in France long ago, those who had left Roman Catholicism but had not become Protestants, admitted that they could not get along without the Sabbath. Their bodies craved it.
We need it as a day when the family can be together. God put a great emphasis on the family, and the Scripture is filled with admonitions that should be followed by the family. When are they going to be followed? Could not the Sabbath be used in this important area? Prayer, teaching of the Word, communication—these are all important in the family unit.
We need it for the teaching we can obtain from the House of God. The preaching of the Word is the primary means of Grace, and we should use every opportunity we have to fill our minds with those things that will keep us from sinning against Him. He knew that a day must be set aside for instruction in righteousness, and we must make use of it.
Let us be faithful to Him, and to ourselves in this matter. Let us once again return to the “old fashioned” Sabbath before it is too late. We are in danger of losing what we have in our freedom of worship unless we have some convictions about it.
Published By: The Shield and Sword, Inc.
Dedicated to instruction in the Westminster Standards for use as a bulletin insert or other methods of distribution in Presbyterian churches.
Vol. 4 No. 57, September, 1965.
We continue today with our Election Day Sermon Series, authored by the Rev. David W. Hall, pastor of the Midway Presbyterian Church, Powder Springs, Georgia. The relevance of this series should be obvious in this election year, and Dr. Hall knows his subject well, having studied these election day sermons and even published a volume of them in 1985. I should note that not every sermon reviewed by Dr. Hall will have been by a Presbyterian, while at the same time his review will most certainly be from the perspective of a convinced, orthodox Presbyterian. We are grateful to Dr. Hall for his willingness to prepare these reviews, and consider this an excellent opportunity for our readers to think through questions of what the Scriptures teach regarding the relation of Church and State, as well as how Christians should view matters of secular governance.
Today, Dr. Hall looks at a sermon by the Rev. Jonathan Mayhew [1720-1766], who served as pastor of the Old West Church in Boston, Massachusetts. It was the Rev. Mayhew who coined the phrase “No taxation without representation.”
“Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers” by Jonathan Mayhew
Colonial thinkers Samuel Adams and Rev. Jonathan Mayhew argued against the innate goodness of man with implicit reference to King George III: “Ambition and lust for power,” they claimed, “are predominant passions in the breasts of most men. . . . power is of a grasping, encroaching nature . . . [it] aims at extending itself and operating according to mere will, whenever it meets with no balance, check, constraint, or opposition of any kind.” That conclusion seemed more and more obvious to many American colonists.
Notwithstanding, that had not always been the case. Previously in 1521, William Tyndale had written characteristically: “[G]overnment per se is divinely ordained by God in the Scriptures; bad rulers were sent by God to chastise the nation for their sins; rebellion causes more harm to innocents than to the guilty.” William Tyndale also exhibited the received Christian consensus: “God hath made the king in every realm judge over all, and over him there is no judge. He that judgeth the king judgeth God, and he that layeth hand on the king layeth hand on God…. If the subjects sin, they must be brought to the king’s judgement. If the king sins, he must be reserved unto the judgement, wrath and vengeance of God.” By 1750, however, that view was roundly challenged.
On January 30, 1750, Jonathan Mayhew (1720-1766), a Unitarian-leaning minister of Boston’s West Church, preached a sermon entitled “Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers.” This sermon by a 29-year old pastor set out to interpret Romans 13 correctly, while reflecting on the anniversary of a king’s death (then nostalgically memorialize by some) a century earlier. Although Mayhew was a minister who paddled against the Calvinistic currents of his day, his views still resonated with Geneva’s distinct political tones. This influential sermon has been called the morning gun of the Revolution and could have been preached by a French Huguenot resister. Mayhew, a graduate of Harvard (1744) was considered by many to be the leading preacher in his day. Mayhew claimed that, “It is the duty of Christian magistrates to inform themselves what it is which their religion teaches concerning the nature and design of their office. And it is equally the duty of all Christian people to inform themselves what it is which their religion teaches concerning that subjection which they owe to the higher powers.”
Since magistracy was an ordinance of God, Mayhew warned believers to avoid embracing anarchy. Disobedience to those rulers who properly exercised authority remained a heinous political sin. But after noting cases in which resistance against tyrants was justified, Mayhew stated this principle: “there does not seem to be any necessity of supposing, that an absolute, unlimited obedience, whether active or passive, is here enjoined, merely for this reason—that the precept is delivered in absolute terms, without any exception or limitation expressly mentioned.”
His distinction between active and passive obedience was almost identical to the earlier though of Beza and others associated with the Swiss Reformation. Like Calvin before him, Mayhew argued that obedience to any authority, whether family, church, or civil, was conditioned on that authority’s ruling according to God’s standards. The duty of universal obedience and non‑resistance to the higher powers “cannot be argued from the absolute, unlimited expressions which the apostle here uses, so neither can it be argued from the scope and drift of his reasoning, considered with relation to the persons he was here opposing.” While a limited duty could be inferred from scriptural teaching, “the duty of unlimited obedience, whether active or passive, can be argued neither from the manner of expression here used, nor from the general scope and design of the passage.”
The duty of submission was not “to all who bear the title of rulers in common, but only to those who actually perform the duty of rulers by exercising a reasonable and just authority for the good of human society.” Once rulers begin to act contrary to their mandates and rule in their own interests—when they rob and ruin the public, instead of being guardians of its peace and welfare,” Mayhew preached (virtually as Augustine taught earlier), “they immediately cease to be the ordinance and ministers of God, and no more deserve glorious character than common pirates and highway men.” Those who “use all their power to hurt and injure the public” were “not God’s ministers, but Satan’s . . . such as do not take care of and attend upon the public interest, but their own, to the ruin of the public.” As such, they did not deserve honor or submission, nor the more practical obligation of tribute or taxes.
If the condition of authority was the good of the people, and the ruler or his designated officials did not fulfill that condition, removal was justified. Like the sixteenth-century Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos, Mayhew’s argument legitimated resistance, at least to the king’s officers, as follows:
If any other powers oppress the people, it is generally allowed that the people may get redress by resistance, if other methods prove ineffectual. And if any officers in a kingly government go beyond the limits of that power which they have derived from the crown (the supposed original source of all power and authority in the state), and attempt illegally to take away the properties and lives of their fellow‑subjects, they may be forcibly resisted, at least till application can be made to the crown.
The king, as Samuel Rutherford, George Buchanan, and many others had argued earlier, did not have unlimited power. He could not take the lives or properties of subjects lawfully. Mayhew drew on the primary instance of open resistance within the British tradition, the overthrow of British King Charles I by Calvinists and Puritans a century earlier. Providing a catalogue of reasons for forfeiture similar to the grounds of the Declaration of Independence, Mayhew argued that citizens had been warranted in overthrowing Charles’ tyranny because he levied unjust taxes, cast courageous men in prison, and betrayed his pledged support of the Protestant faith. Mayhew recast Charles I as Nero when Charles “abetted the horrid massacre in Ireland, in which two hundred thousand Protestants were butchered by the Roman Catholics”—all the while taxing the citizens to pay for such murderous acts of government.
The first resistance to that tyranny originated with the king’s own lower magistrates. Mayhew emphasized that this resistance was “Not by a private junta, not by a small seditious party, not by a few desperadoes, who to mend their fortunes would embroil the state; but by the Lords and Commons of England.” These mid-level governors remained faithful to their covenant even if it drew the King’s ire. Resistance was first to arise from “the whole representative body,” not from citizens acting on their own initiative.
Nevertheless, Mayhew maintained, with a caustic irony, the propriety of commemorating the anniversary of the death of Charles I, who had become, after a century, a saint and martyr for freedom’s holy cause, albeit unintentionally. How could a ruler who opposed the rule of law and the good of the people be remembered positively? Mayhew answered: “He was a saint, not because he was in his life a good man, but a good Churchman; not because he was a lover of holiness, but the hierarchy; not because he was a friend to Christ, but the [priest]craft. And he was a martyr in his death, not because he bravely suffered . . . but because he died an enemy to liberty and the rights of conscience; i. e., not because he died an enemy to sin, but dissenters.”
For Mayhew, the anniversary would “prove a standing memento that Britons will not be slaves, and a warning to all corrupt counsellors and ministers not to go too far in advising arbitrary, despotic measures.” In conclusion, he urged: “Let us all learn to be free and to be loyal; let us not profess ourselves vassals to the lawless pleasure of any man on earth; but let us remember, at the same time, government is sacred, and not to be trifled with.” 
 Cited in M. Stanton Evans, The Theme is Liberty: Religion, Politics and the American Tradition (Washington, DC: Regnery, 1994), 99.
 Jonathan C. D. Clark, The Language of Liberty, 1660-1832 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 366. John Adams noted this sermon’s influence in Europe and in America. See his Works, X: 287-288.
 Bailyn notes that for his “full rationale for resistance,” Mayhew drew not so much on Locke “whose ideas would scarcely have supported what he was saying, but [on] a sermon of Benjamin Hoadly, from whom he borrowed” ideas and phrases. See Bernard Bailyn, ed., Pamphlets of the American Revolution, vol. 1 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965), 36.
 In another election day sermon in 1754, Mayhew stated that all means proper were to be used by the government to “Christianize” native American Indians and to guarantee that they not become converts to the “wicked religion” of “Romish missionaries.” See A. W. Plumstead, ed., The Wall and the Garden: Selected Massachusetts Election Sermons, 1670-1775 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1968), 307. Accordingly, he believed the state had a duty to “bring them if possible to embrace the Protestant faith.” Idem. On two other occasions in that same sermon before the Massachusetts House of Representatives, he indicated that governors should support the Protestant religion. Op. cit., 316, 318.
Joseph Addison Alexander, third son of the Rev. Archibald and Janetta (Waddel) Alexander, was born in Philadelphia on 24 April 1809. His early education was obtained under the immediate supervision of his parents, and owing to an intellectual vigor rare indeed, his powers of acquiring knowledge were amazing, especially in the department of languages. In 1825 he graduated at the College of New Jersey (since 1896, Princeton University), with the highest honors of his class. He was elected Tutor, but declined the appointment, and, with Mr. Patton, founded Edgehill School at Princeton. He studied theology at home and at the University of Halle and Berlin, in Europe. He was licensed and ordained by the Presbytery of New Brunswick in 1832, and became assistant instructor of the Hebrew and Greek text of the Bible, in the Princeton Theological Seminary; in 1835 he was appointed Associate Professor, and in 1840 sole Professor of Biblical and Oriental Literature; in 1851 he was transferred to the chair of Biblical and Ecclesiastical History; and in 1859, at his own request, he was assigned the department of Hellenistic Greek and New Testament Literature. The main business of his life was with the Holy Bible, giving to theological research and instruction all the energies of his massive intellect.
[At right: The Edgehill School, Princeton, New Jersey, co-founded by J.A. Alexander & R.B. Patton]
Dr. Alexander’s gigantic mind was in full vigor until the day before his death. On the morning of that day he was occupied with his usual course of polyglot reading in the Bible, being accustomed to read the Scriptures in some six different languages, as part of his daily devotions. He seems also to have entertained himself, during some part of the day, with one of the Greek classics, Herodotus, as a pencil mark on the margin, “January 27th, 1860.” is said to show. In the afternoon of that day, he rode out in the open air for the first time since his attack of hemorrhage. During that ride, however, which was not continued more than forty-five minutes, a sudden sinking of life came on him, so much so that he was borne almost entirely by the help of others from the carriage. The sinking continued all Friday night, and on Saturday he was hardly conscious of anything until he died. His death was perfectly calm, without a struggle, without one heaving breath. His death occurred in his study, January 28th, 1860.
[Wilson’s Presbyterian Almanac for 1861 (p. 71) notes that his death, at the age of 51, was caused by diabetes. Alexander’s brother, James Waddel Alexander, had died of dysentery not six months earlier, in 1859, at the age of 55.]
Dr. Alexander’s sermons were sure to be original, evangelical, forcible, elegant and tending to practical effect upon the conscience. He was a frequent contributor to The Princeton Review, and for a time served with Professor Dod as its editor. As an author he took high rank. A volume of his fragmentary “Notes on New Testament Literature and Ecclesiastical History” was posthumously published in 1861. In 1851 his “Psalms Translated and Explained” appeared in three volumes. In 1857 “The Acts of the Apostles Explained,” in two volumes. In 1858 “The Gospel, According to Mark, Explained,” in one volume. the Commentary on Matthew was unfinished at his death, but so much as he had prepared was published in 1861, as the last work on which his pen was engaged.
Words to Live By: A man of great gifts, Dr. Alexander was well used of the Lord in the advancement of His kingdom. Yet for all this, we must not covet. The Lord has a place and a role for each of His children, and it is not unusual to find that “the least of these” are often enabled to bear great witness to the glory of God in the Gospel.
Biographical sketch and portrait image from Nevin’s Encyclopedia of the Presbyterian Church (1884), pp. 21-22. Image of the Edgehill campus from The Presbyterian Historical Almanac and Annual Remembrancer of the Church, for 1861 (Philadelphia: Joseph M. Wilson), page 341. All scans performed by the staff of the PCA Historical Center.
The Fighting Parson and his Paxtang Boys by Rev. David T. Myers
When calling a Presbyterian pastor, his qualifications are important. Does he preach the Word of God? Check! Does he evangelize the unconverted and make disciples? Check! Does he administer the sacraments? Check! Does he visit the people in their homes, especially the sick? Check! Does he lead military operations against marauding natives? Whoa! Wait a minute. What? That isn’t listed in the Book of Church Order! And yet, that was often the calling of the pastor in frontier churches. In this case, the Rev. John Elder was one of the Fighting Parsons of the Paxtang Boys in Pennsylvania.
John Elder was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on January 26, 1706. He attended the University of Edinburgh. In 1735, he traveled to America and into the Presbyterian church. Ordained on November 22, 1738, he was called to the Paxton Presbyterian Church, two miles north of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Other than a brief separation from that congregation, he was to stay there as an under shepherd for 56 years.
Being a Presbyterian was no easy life in colonial America. Surrounded by hostile natives, each day was a challenge. Weapons were carried as they worked in the fields, or even as they gathered for worship. Pastor Elder himself would prop his rifle next to his pulpit! On the way home, members would scan the skies for any smoke, which would indicate a home burned by the natives. More than one member might be killed or captured during the week.
Finally, the men of the Presbyterian Church in Paxton realized that something more was needed. They were being picked off family by family. So Pastor Elder formed an association for defense which he named the Paxtang Boys. John Elder became the captain of the group. They were recognized by the provincial government and Captain Elder became Colonel Elder. As more and more members were killed, the fever for revenge broke out among the settlers.
Gathering in a group of fifty, the Paxtang Boys headed for the Indian village to find the murderers of their families. There is evidence that Pastor Elder tried to stop them, but they were too delirious for revenge. They arrived at the village and in the end, all the natives, those who were guilty and those who were innocent in the raids, were slaughtered. A further raid into another town brought more killing by the Boys. They even marched to Philadelphia, but were stopped finally by the militia.
On this day, January 27, 1764, Pastor John Elder wrote the following communication to the Provincial Governor: “The storm which has been so long gathering has at length exploded. Had the Governor removed the Indians, which had been frequently, but without success, urged, this painful catastrophe might have been avoided. What could I do with men heated to madness? All that I could do was done. I expostulated but life and reason were set at defiance. Yet these men in their private lives are virtuous and respectable; not cruel, but mild and merciful. This deed, magnified into the blackest of crimes, shall come to be considered as wrath caused by momentary excitement, to which human infirmity is subjected.”
Words to Live By:
Paul in Ephesians 4:26, 27 commands “Be angry, and yet do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your anger. And do not give the devil an opportunity.” When the Paxtang Boys degenerated into savages themselves, killing both those guilty and innocent natives in villages, it continues to be condemned in writings even today in Pennsylvania. Being out of control is not an option for the believer, ever. One trait of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. See Galatians 5:22, 23.
Dr. John Gerstner, the esteemed Professor of Church History at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, for many years persisted in his allegiance to his denomination. Despite the urgings of friends, he continued to hope for better days for his Church. But finally when one matter in particular came to the fore, the conclusion was inescapable, and Dr. Gerstner drafted the following statement [emphasis added to highlight the noted date]:—
THE APOSTASY OF THE UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
by Dr. John Gerstner
The United Presbyterian Church in The United States of America became apostate, officially on January 26, 1981 turning away from adherence to the Lord Jesus Christ by permitting in its ministry a denier of that same Lord Jesus Christ. This was done by the decision of the Permanent Judicial Commission of The General Assembly of The United Presbyterian Church in The United States of America. It upheld National Capital Union Presbytery’s approval of Mansfield Kaseman for ministry. The Synod of The Piedmont had become apostate for the same reason, July 8, 1980. At Presbytery, Synod, and General Assembly levels, Mr. Kaseman had been shown to be guilty of denying or refusing to affirm at least four essentials of the Christian religion: the sinlessness, bodily resurrection, vicarious atonement, and deity of Jesus Christ.
Documents of the six trials, two each by Presbytery and the Permanent Judicial Commissions of Synod and General Assembly (1979 and 1980) are available for those who would inform themselves in depth. This paper concentrates on the 1981 decision of The Permanent Judicial Commission of The General Assembly which finally, officially, produced the legal and constitutional apostasy of The United Presbyterian Church denomination. First, after brief statement of the evidence and argument that Mr. Kaseman did indeed deny or refuse to affirm indispensable Christian doctrine, we present second, a somewhat longer critique of The Permanent Judicial Commission decision of January 26, 1981 substantiating our grave charges that in defending apostasy it made The General Assembly apostate. We then third, explain why this apostate action makes the whole denomination apostate and why, fourth, if The General Assembly does not effectively repudiate this apostasy or begin the process of repudiation, every Christian is obliged to separate from the non-Christian denomination. We conclude with an appendix in the form of a proposal for action at The 193rd General Assembly meeting at Houston, Texas, May 19-27, 1981 which may be taken if apostasy is not there repudiated.
I. The Case Against Kaseman
The substance of the complainants’ case against the National Capital Union Presbytery can be briefly stated. First, the complainants charged that Mr. Kaseman denied or would not affirm the sinlessness of Christ. If Christ was not sinless He could not be the Savior of the world. He would need a Savior Himself. The only response from Kaseman’s defenders was that he was thinking of sinlessness in the sense of frustration. There was no denial that Mr. Kaseman would not affirm Christ’s freedom from all sin.
Second, Mr. Kaseman refused to affirm the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. The complainants pointed out that according to I Cor. 15:17, “… if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.” (NASV) Paul was speaking in that chapter about the bodily resurrection of Christ. There is no other kind of resurrection than bodily because the soul never does die. The only response ever received was that Kaseman did affirm the “resurrection” (not bodily resurrection). The complainants never denied that Mr. Kaseman affirmed a non-bodily resurrection whatever that may mean.
Third, Mr. Kaseman specifically denied the doctrine of the “vicarious atonement”. No one can question that without Christ’s atonement for our sins there is no possible salvation. The only response that came from the defenders of Mr. Kaseman was that there are other metaphors beside the concept of substitution that describe the death of our Lord. That never was at issue either. The defenders never questioned the allegation that Mr. Kaseman did deny the “vicarious atonement” which is absolutely essential whatever else may also be essential to the doctrine of the atonement.
Fourth, this whole trial first came about in National Capital Union Presbytery when in March of 1979 Mr. Kaseman was asked if he believed that Jesus Christ was God and he answered, “No, obviously No. God is God.” Much discussion followed and much was said and reported in the secular and religious press during the following two years but never did Kaseman ever deny this apostate statement. The Presbytery’s Committee of Representation never said anything to justify Mr. Kaseman. It was once irrelevantly contended that he merely meant to say that Christ was more than God, being man also, but Christ’s humanity was never an issue either. Kaseman denied that Jesus Christ was God. He has never denied the denial. In the second trial before the National Capital Union Presbytery when the same question was put to Mr. Kaseman he refused to answer with a categorical negative as he had before.He also refused to take back his previous statement so that it still stands on the record. He did say at the second interrogation that Jesus Christ is one with God and affirmed belief in the Trinity.
The affirmation (which apparently satisfied the majority of Presbytery) that Christ was one with the deity did not amount to an affirmation of the deity of Jesus Christ. The proof of that is the explanation which Mr. Kaseman offered for denying that Jesus Christ is God. If Jesus Christ were God, he asked, how would he answer the death of God theologians: Who was then minding the universe? This only served to show that Mr. Kaseman did not even understand the doctrine of the Incarnation, much less believe it. He apparently thinks that the doctrine of the incarnation means that God ceased being infinite and omnipresent and became finitized and temporalized in a human being! Having such a grotesque misconception, Mr. Kaseman could not possibly believe that Christ was or is God.
All of these most grave charges have been repeatedly proven by complainants as the documents of the various trials clearly illustrate. They have complained against the National Capital Union Presbytery for its approving Mr. Kaseman in spite of his demonstrated apostasy. Neither the Committee of Representation of the Presbytery nor any of the higher courts that have heard the case have ever refuted these charges. In some instances, including the final trial, there was no attempt to do so. This refusal or inability was in spite of the fact that the complainants have charged apostasy and pled with the higher courts if they could not refute the charges, to set aside the Presbytery’s decision and discipline all courts which have approved it.
The Permanent Judicial Commission of The General Assembly Decision of January 26, 1981
The final court at the final hearing, (the Permanent Judicial Commission of the General Assembly in the hearing January 24, 1981), falls far short of saving our Church from the apostasy charged. Actually it itself, by tacit compliance, became guilty of the same apostasy. All that the supreme court of our denomination did was affirm how orthodox our Confessions are, while at the same time upholding Presbytery and Synod in approving a man whose unorthodoxy, in at least four essentials of the Christian faith, had been demonstrated.
First of all, . . .
Those interested in reading the entirety of Dr. Gerstner’s treatment of this issue may write to the PCA Historical Center for a digital copy. Address your mail to [archivist (AT) pcahistory /DOT/ org]
The following brief account concerns the small controversy over the ecclesiastical views of Jonathan Edwards. There is a separate account, to the same conclusion, originally told by Dr. Archibald Alexander and then related by the Rev. R. J. Breckinridge on the pages of the Philadelphia magazine, The Presbyterian. [perhaps I can retrieve that article soon]. But […]
Dr. David Calhoun just a few years ago published a volume on the life and ministry of the Rev. Dr. William Childs Robinson, the Columbia Seminary professor who was such a powerful influence in the lives of many of the founding fathers of the PCA. [Pleading for a Reformation Vision. Banner of Truth, 2013]. Let’s let […]
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It was yesterday actually—September 17th, 1936—and not today’s date of September 18th, when Dr. J. Gresham Machen spoke in Westfield, New Jersey on the subject “Shall We Obey God, or Man?”. But as we didn’t want to pass up mention of this occasion, so you will please forgive a bit of backtracking. This appears to be one […]
A Potential Schism Halted by a Compromise Initially there was no real problem with the written standards for the Presbyterian Church in America. Ministerial students were simply tested for their learning and soundness in the faith. But a controversy in the mother country soon changed this. So the question arose, should teaching and ruling elders be […]
Excerpted from Volume III of The Presbyterian Magazine, September 1853, pp. 413-415.This recounting of the venerable Dr. Alexander’s farewell to his congregation bears the following footnote: THE PRESBYTERIAN says, that “A valued friend recently discovered in the possession of one of the Pine Street parishoners of Dr. Archibald Alexander, a manuscript copy of the remarks made […]
This is the concluding article in the series PRESBYTERIANS IN AMERICA. The author, Rev. Prof. Paul Woolley, was formerly the professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. I do hope you have found Rev. Woolley’s articles both interesting and instructive, and I do trust that our readers are more familiar now than […]
Dr. Paul Woolley’s series of articles on Presbyterians in America continues today with a segment on churches of Covenanter ancestry. Please keep in mind that these articles were written in the early 1950s and so much has changed since that time. VI – The Churches of Covenanter Ancestry [Reformed Presbyterian Advocate, 86.3 (March 1952): 25-26] […]
On August 27th, 1820, the Rev. Sylvester Larned appeared for the last time before the congregation of the First Presbyterian Church of New Orleans. He had remained in the city during the summer’s “sickly season.” Death from fever was everywhere, and Rev. Larned has spent those weeks and months ministering to the city’s poor who […]
Dr. Woolley’s series of articles on Presbyterians in America continues today with a focus on the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Bible Presbyterian Church. Our Monday and Tuesday posts will conclude this series. Do keep in mind that these articles were written in the early 1950s and so much has changed since that time. V […]