January 2020

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THE SCHOOL & FAMILY CATECHIST
by Rev. William Smith (1834)

The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Questions 79 & 80.

Q. 79. Which is the tenth commandment?

A. The tenth commandment is, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s,” Ex. xx. 17.

EXPLICATION.

Thou shalt not covet. –Thou shalt not desire, nor wish to have, or to possess, in any sinful or improper manner.

Q. 80. What is required in the tenth commandment?

A. The tenth commandment requireth full contentment with our own condition, with a right and charitable frame of spirit towards our neighbor, and all that is his.

EXPLICATION.

Full contentment. –Being satisfied, or having a quiet and easy temper of mind, in the station in which God has placed us.

A right and charitable frame of spirit. –A kind and compassionate disposition, or having a mind which can rejoice in our neighbor’s welfare, and be grieved for his afflictions, as if they were our own.

ANALYSIS.

The duties required in the tenth commandment are two-fold:

  1. Full contentment with our own condition. –Heb. xiii. 5. Let your conversation be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have.
  2. A right and charitable frame of spirit toward our neighbor, and all that is his. –Rom. xii. 15. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.  1 Cor. xiii. 4, 5, 6.  Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not, charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.

Raised Up By the Lord for a Great Work
It is regrettable that the Rev. Matthew Anderson is not better known today. You won’t find much about him on the Web, and he doesn’t (yet) have a Wikipedia page. But Rev. Anderson was a most remarkable man, one whose notable accomplishments included founding the Berea Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, in 1880; then the establishment of a building and loan association to assists blacks in gaining home ownership; followed later by a kindergarten school; a medical dispensary; and a seaside home, along with several church related ministries. W.E.B. DuBois declared of Rev. Anderson’s church that “Probably no church in the city, except the Episcopal Church of the Crucifixion is doing so much for the betterment of the negro.”

Matthew Anderson was born in Greencastle, Pennsylvania on January 25, 1845. His father was Timothy Anderson, who died in 1878 at the age of 84. Matthew was educated at Oberlin College, graduating there in 1874 and began his preparation for the ministry at the Western Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh before transferring to the Princeton Theological Seminary, where he graduated in 1877, which would have been the year before the death of Charles Hodge. Upon graduation Anderson began his ministerial career as stated supply for the Temple Street Congregational Church in New Haven, CT.

Then in June of 1878 he was ordained as an evangelist by the Presbytery of Carlisle (PCUSA), serving as stated supply of the Gloucester Mission in Philadelphia, 1879-80. It may have been around this time that he married, for it was common in that era for pastors to put off marriage until employed by a church. And Anderson chose well, marrying a woman of great character and accomplishment, Caroline V. Still, the daughter of noted abolitionist William Still.

Under Rev. Anderson’s leadership, the mission work was particularized as the Berean Presbyterian Church and he continued as pastor of this work from 1880 until his death on January 11, 1928. The church continues its ministry to this day. Honors conferred upon him during his lifetime included the Doctor of Divinity degree confered upon him in 1904 by Lincoln University.

The following is a brief account of the birthday celebration given in honor of Rev. Anderson in 1927, roughly one year before his death. This account appeared in a Philadelphia based Presbyterian newspaper.

Celebrating the Pastor’s Birthday
[excerpted from THE PRESBYTERIAN, 97.6 (10 Feb. 1927): 21, 24.

For three consecutive years, the congregation of the Berean church have taken it upon their willing hearts to honor the natal day of their pastor, Rev. Matthew Anderson, D.D.

Accordingly, on January 25, a host of friends gathered around the festive board to do him honor while the young people at their table showed their whole-hearted enthusiasm. One birthday cake made a journey from the Canal Zone from Dr. Anderson’s daughter, and was received in excellent condition. The happy faces, light hearts and general atmosphere of congeniality which pervaded served to while away the perfect evening very rapidly. Mr. Arthur Faucet, a young man who grew up in the Sabbath-school, and as an elder in the church, as well as the youngest principal of a public school in Philadelphia, was toastmaster. Speeches were made by Miss Arabella Carter, a Quaker friend of Dr. Anderson; Mr. J.C. Calloway; Mr. H.H. Thomas, a neighborhood guest; Miss H. Frances Jones, president of the W.C.T.U.; Mrs. Lottie A. Smith; Mr. William H. Brown, of the board of directors of Berean Building and Loan Association; Rev. George F. Ellison, of Reeve Memorial; Rev. Charles S. Freeman, pastor of the First African church; Dean L.B. Moore, and Mr. L.W. Underhill, Jr.

It was for Dean Moore to make a suggestion that surprised every one, and that was that the heavy burdens of the educational work which Dr. Anderson had started needed sympathy, and at his timely and appropriate request, over $100 was raised, which Dr. Anderson accepted, not as a birthday gift, but in his usual sacrificing spirit, as a gift to help with the current expenses of the Berean School. Singular enough was it that the gist of every speech made during the evening pointed to the fact that Dr. Anderson’s seventy-nine  years had been spent in arduous labor for his people, and that he had been diligently, persistently and untiringly at one thing all this time.

The evening was also enhanced by the presence of the Reeve Memorial Quartette, whose splendid singing of spirituals calls forth many encores. Dr. Anderson in his remarks said that nothing gave him greater happiness than to be in good health, to be able to stand before them without pain, to be able to give back the smiles that greeted him, and to hope for more years of robust health and strength to carry on his work for humanity, which he felt was in no wise finished.

Words to Live By:
In his autobiography, Rev. Anderson relates ten personal rules or principles that regulated all his ministry. Among these, perhaps the most notable was his sixth principle:

“6. That we be guided and regulated by the great and immortal principles of divine truth, rather than by sentiment, which knows no creed, race or color, and which regards all men alike redeemed by one common Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. That while by the accidents of birth and the unholy sentiment of the country, our labors are confined principally to the people of the colored race, we should nevertheless regard ourselves, ministers of Christ, as embracing a wider sphere of labor, since in God’s sight there is neither Jew nor Greek, barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free, but all related by ties of consanguinity, having sprung from common parents.”


Image source: All three photographs are found in the volume Presbyterianism : It’s Relation to the Negro, by the Rev. Matthew Anderson. Philadelphia, PA: John McGill White & Co., 1897. To view digital edition, click the embedded link. Pictured are Rev. Matthew Anderson [1848-1928]; the Berean Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, PA; and Dr. Caroline V. Anderson, M.D., wife of the Rev. Matthew Anderson and daughter of the noted African American abolitionist William Still.

A Christian of Exceptional Personality and Evangelistic Appeal

Picture the scene in your mind’s eye. Thirty-five hundred naked natives have gathered together at one site that summer of 1933. Missionary evangelist Charles J. Woodbridge no doubt had something to do with that great gathering in the French Cameroons. He was the sole evangelist for a five thousand mile mission station in that African country. These natives were in great need of hearing the plain and simple gospel message from the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Mission executive from America. What they heard in reality was an hour message on, (are you ready for this?), “the Power of Personality.” There was no greater proof to young Charles Woodbridge of the deepening apostasy of the official missions board of the Presbyterian Church.

When he heard that he himself had been singled out to serve as the General Secretary of the newly formed Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions in June of 1933, he gathered his wife and two daughters and returned immediately to America to take up his new post. In less than four years, he would be censured by the highest court of the Presbyterian church for accepting this new ministry.

Charles Woodbridge, born January 24, 1902, was described by his fellow Reformed Christians as being no ordinary General Secretary. From his heritage as the fifteenth generation minister of his family line, dating back to 1493, from his own father who had been a missionary in China, from the fact that he married the daughter of a missionary, Charles Woodbridge would be known as “a man of exceptional personality and evangelistic appeal.” His spiritual gifts made him the perfect architect of a new mission strategy in reaching the world for Christ.

Yet the main line denomination of which he was a part, did not take kindly to this new mission upstart. Within a year, steps were taken to force him to abandon this new missions work, and when he chose not to follow their directives, Charles Woodbridge was censured by the church. He left in 1937 to become a pastor of the Presbyterian Church in North Carolina for several years.

Eventually, he served as a theological seminary professor and author, always seeking to warn Christians of the danger of compromising the Word of God. He died on 16 July 1995, at the age of 93.

Words to Live By: Committed to the Scriptures, the Reformed faith, and the Great Commission of Jesus Christ is a great goal for everyday life and service.

Postscript:
Dr. Woodbridge served as General Secretary of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions and also as the editor of the Independent Board Bulletin, from March 1935-June 1937. Some of his more important publications included the following:
1935 – “The Social Gospel: A Review of the Current Mission Study Text Books Recommended for Adults by the Board of Foreign Missions, Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.,” Christianity Today 5.9 (February 1935): 209-211.
1937 – “Why I Have Resigned as General Secretary of the Independent Board,” The Presbyterian Guardian 4.5 (12 June 1937): 69-71. Available here.
1945
 – The Chronicle of Salimbene of Parma: A Thirteenth Century Christian Synthesis.
Durham, NC: Duke University, Ph.D. dissertation. 305 p.
1947 – Standing on the Promises: Rich Truths from the Book of Acts.
1953 – A Handbook of Christian Truth, co-authored with Harold Lindsell.
[Rev. Vaughn Hathaway has noted that Bob Jones University, which was/is generally anti-Calvinistic or anti-Presbyterian nonetheless used this Woodbridge/Lindsell collaboration as its undergraduate text for the one-year course in Bible Doctrines that was requisite for every student for several years.]
1953 – Romans: The Epistle of Grace.
1962 – Bible Prophecy.
1969 – The New Evangelicalism.

Image source: News clipping [publisher not known] from the Henry G. Welbon Manuscript Collection, Scrapbook no. 1, page 34.

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While this blog is sponsored by the PCA Historical Center, we’ve noted before that we take a wider, more ecumenical approach in the coverage of our posts. Today’s post is one such example, recounting the life and ministry of the Rev. Lawrence R. Eyres, a pastor in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church:

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/

Making some bibliographical entries from the Westminster Theological Journal, I came across this tucked in the very back of one issue. Many might have missed it, hidden as it was behind the “reviews of books”:

COMMUNICATION

[Editor’s Note: Vol. 53, no. 2 (Fall 1992) carried an article on J. Gresham Machen that included the following statement regarding the early faculty at Westminster Theological Seminary:

“Allan A. MacRae, professor of Old Testament, was a dispensationalist, while Paul Woolley, professor of church history, was a ‘historic premillennialist’ ” (p. 213, n. 9).

What follows is part of a communication from Dr. MacRae, dated January 21, 1992.]

This misrepresentation shocked me greatly. I am certain that it would not have been made by any of my colleagues of those days, all of whom, to my great sorrow, have already passed on. I was a member of the Westminster faculty for eight years but until I read this article I never heard anyone say, or even suggest, that there was any difference between Mr. Woolley’s beliefs and my own, either during that time or later . . .

Like Paul Woolley, I agree entirely with the teachings of the Westminster standards. One of those attending the Westminster Assembly said that many of its members, including some of the most honored, were “expressed chiliasts”. . .

I cannot think of any valid ground for anyone to call me a “dispensationalist.” It is disturbing to have an imaginary difference between Paul Woolley and me stated as if it were a fact. I knew Dr. Machen very intimately, and served as a colleague with him and with Paul Woolley for eight years, without ever having the feeling that there was any important difference between them and me. Paul and I were known to be premillennialists, but I never heard that either of us was criticized on that account. We worked together in great harmony. It was only after Dr. Machen’s death that circumstances developed which made me decide to resign from the Westminster faculty.

[excerpted from The Westminster Theological Journal, 54.2 (Fall 1992): 404.]

Words To Live By:
While difficult to do at times, always strive to represent others accurately in any discussion. If you differ with someone, do the hard work of knowing exactly where you disagree, and be fair in giving an accurate portrayal of their position. Doing so demonstrates respect, works to establish an atmosphere in which discussion can continue and be fruitful, and it also lends credence to the position you are trying to establish.

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