July 2020

You are currently browsing the archive for the July 2020 category.

Edward Terris Noé was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 18, 1919 to parents Bradford Massey Noé and his wife, Lydia Terria Noé.

He was educated at Johns Hopkins University, New York University and at the National Bible Institute (1947), and upon graduation at NBI, he married Ruth Helen Buswell, of New York City, on June 20, 1947. He then began his preparation for the ministry by enrolling at Faith Theological Seminary, graduating there in 1950.

He was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Philadelphia (of the Bible Presbyterian Church) in May of 1949 and ordained in June of 1950 by MidSouth Presbytery (also BPC), being installed as pastor of the First Bible Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis, Indiana. He served this church from 1950 to 1969. Concurrently, he also served as director of the Versailles Camp in Indiana, 1951-1968.

Rev. Noé was next pastor of the Bible Presbyterian church of Cono Center, in Walker, Iowa, 1969-1979 and concurrently principal of the Cono Christian School, 1969-1979. Both of those institutions were started by the Rev. Max Belz.

Leaving that post, he served as pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian church of West Chester, PA, 1979-1988 and was on the church relations staff for Covenant College, 1988 until his death. He was honorably retired in 1989 and died on July 31, 1991 while a member of the PCA’s Tennessee Valley Presbytery.

Words to Live By:
Rev. Noé was not well known outside his immediate church circles, yet he was a faithful servant of the Lord and was a great influence in the lives of those under his years of ministry. He is yet another example of how the Lord calls each of us to persevere in our life’s calling, whatever that may be, to seek to honor and glorify His name in all we do, endeavoring to do His will, as revealed in His Word, and to be faithful in keeping covenant with our God, in loving our spouse and our children, in serving our church and in loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Tags: , , ,

Today’s entry is drawn directly from Alfred Nevin’s Encyclopedia of the Presbyterian Church (p. 333), with just a little elaboration.

Third in an Illustrious Line of Medical Doctors

H. Lenox Hodge was born in Philadelphia, July 30th, 1838. His father was the eminent physician, Dr. Hugh L. Hodge. [His uncle was the equally eminent Princeton Seminary professor, Dr. Charles Hodge]. Lenox received a collegiate education, which terminated in 1855, in his native city, and afterwards studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated in 1858.

In the Fall of the same year he became resident physician of the Pennsylvania Hospital, retaining that office till the Spring of 1860, when he opened an office for the practice of medicine in Philadelphia. He was appointed Demonstrator of Surgery in the University of Pennsylvania, and, in 1861 commenced giving instruction to private classes, on Chestnut Street, between Ninth and Tenth Streets, and subsequently lectured in Chant Street, on Anatomy and Operative Surgery. During the Civil War, Dr. Hodge served at West Philadelphia’s Satterlee Hospital, and he was also attached to the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps of Surgeons, serving as a field surgeon at Yorktown, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg. In 1870 he was appointed Demonstrator of Anatomy in the University of Pennsylvania, and was, for nearly ten years, attending surgeon at the Children’s Hospital. At the opening of the Presbyterian Hospital, in 1872, he was appointed attending surgeon to that institution.

Dr. Hodge, by his talents, industry, integrity and energy, attained a high rank in his profession. He was a gentleman of polished address and peculiar benevolence. For a number of years he was an exemplary, active and useful ruling elder in the Second Presbyterian Church. Removed by death, in the midst of his years, June 10th, 1881 [surviving his uncle by not quite three years, Charles Hodge dying in 1878], he bore his last and lingering illness with marked resignation, and left the record of one who had adorned all the relations of life by his cultivated intellect, kind disposition, and exemplary Christian character. At the time of his decease he was a member of many medical societies and associations.

Words to Live By:
When we think of Christians who are, or were, medical doctors, the easy association is to the New Testament author, Luke, who wrote one of the four Gospels, as well as the Book of Acts. Next to the pulpit ministry, the medical profession is perhaps preeminently an appropriate one for Christians, focused as it is on the art and science of healing. As much as we need to be reminded to pray for our pastors, don’t we also need to be praying for doctors and other medical professionals? In a culture that seems fixated on death (Prov. 8:36), Christians in the medical profession face unique challenges today.

For Further Study:
The College of Physicians of Philadelphia maintains an archival collection of Dr. Hodge’s case notebooks. The finding aid for that collection can be viewed here.

H. Lenox Hodge was buried in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia. His gravesite, with an accompanying photograph, can be viewed here.

Teaching a Nation’s Leaders

Considered by many to have been the foremost educator in the South, Moses Waddell was of Irish parentage and was born in Rowan (now Iredell) county, North Carolina, on July 29th, 1770. He received his academic education at a school which was opened in the neighborhood under the name of Clio’s Nursery. For four years, beginning at the age of fourteen, he was engaged as a teacher (1784-1788) at various places in North Carolina and Georgia.

Leaving his employment as a teacher, he enrolled as a student at the Hampden-Sydney College, graduating there in 1891. The next year he was licensed to preach by the Hanover Presbytery, of Virginia, on May 12, 1792.

About 1793, Waddell opened his first school in Columbia county, Georgia, then another in 1801,  in Vienna, Abbeville District, South Carolina. He remained in that work until 1804, when he removed to Willington, six miles south of Vienna, and it was at Willington where he founded the famous Willington Academy. It was common for Presbyterian pastors to maintain an academy, in part for the extra income, and in part because they could thus guide the moral, religious and intellectual education of the children of their parish.

All of these schools were designed as preparatory schools, utilizing a classical education model. As the fame of the Willington Academy grew, it came to be called the “Eton in the woods”. To give one example of the school’s rigor, students were required to memorize, translate and recite some 250 lines of Greek or Latin every night. A Willington graduate, South Carolina governor George McDuffie, held the record, having once recited over 2200 lines of the poet Horace.

In 1818, Waddell was elected President of what was then Franklin College, later to become the University of Georgia. However, he did not actually step into the duties of this office until May, 1819. While serving as an educator, he also labored as a pastor, founding the Presbyterian Church in Athens, Georgia in 1820. During his tenure at the University, the school prospered greatly, and he continued here as President until 1829. Resigning his post, he returned to Willington. For forty-five years he had labored as a teacher. His labors as a pastor continued another six or seven years more, and the Rev. Dr. Moses Waddell’s life drew to a close on July 21, 1840.

Dr. James McLeod provides the following account of Dr. Waddell as a teacher:

“The boys called him ‘Old Moses,’ and while he believed in corporal punishment, he never spanked in a passion, and it finally evolved that he did this only upon a verdict of a peer jury of students. He never spanked for a deficient lesson but chiefly for defects in morals or actions that had to be punished.

“He was a cheerful man even playful in his disposition. He maintained a personal interest in each boy. He had a wry sense of humor. When boys on second floor dumped water on him as he went in a door, he said nothing, but later raised an umbrella as he went in the door to the delight of the boys.

“His strength seems to have been to analyze the boys accurately, then demanded accordingly. He was not a man who used sentiment to escape facing the laziness of adolescence. He demanded. They groaned, they gave, they griped, they worshiped him later. There was a chestnut tree outside the Doctor’s study window that the boys remembered watching as they waited to see the Doctor if they had done anything wrong. Others would climb it to see if anyone was punished by him.

“Dr. Smith, the president of Princeton College, was quoted as saying that he received no students from any school in the United States who stood better examinations than those of Dr. Waddel.”

As a pastor, Alfred Nevin notes that “he was pious, zealous, and well versed in theology generally. His style of preaching was plain, simple, earnest. He addressed himself much more to the understanding than to the imagination or passions. As a teacher he stands almost unrivaled.”

Words to Live By:
In The Great Doctor Waddell, by Dr. James McLeod, the author provides a compilation of the students educated under Waddell. The list includes two Vice-Presidents, three Secretaries of State, three Secretaries of War, one Assistant Secretary of War, one US Attorney-general, Ministers to France, Spain and Russia, one US Supreme Court Justice, eleven governors, seven US Senators, thirty two members of the US House of Representatives, twenty two judges, eight college presidents, seventeen editors of newspapers or authors, five members of the Confederate Congress, two bishops, three Brigadier-generals, and one authentic Christian martyr.

In light of which, this might be a good time to review again the words of Dr. R. B. Kuiper, posted here this past July 15th:

“God has seen fit to reveal Himself to man in two books—the Bible, the book of special revelation, and nature and history, the book of general revelation. Now it is the duty of the organized Church to teach men the content of the former of these books, while it is the special task of the school to open the latter. To be sure, the two may not be separated. Truth can hardly be dealt with so mechanically. After all, truth is one because God is one. Truth is organic. And only he who has learned to understand the Bible can really know history and nature. Yet the distinction is a valid one. The Church can hardly be expected to teach the intricacies of mathematics, physics, astronomy, or the history of the Balkans. Nor does any one demand of the school that it preach the gospel. But Church and school together must declare the whole of God’s revealed truth.”

A Plea for Prayer
by Rev. David T. Myers

The member was desperate in his phone call to me. “Be quick,” he said to this young pastor in Edmonton, Canada, “I have three Jehovah’s Witnesses in my living room.” As I drove out to his house, I reminded myself to instruct this member in the text of Scripture (2 John 10) to not allow heresies into your house.

We’ve all had the experience of having members of this cult knock on our doors, looking to hand out their literature and wanting to discuss their views of this and that with us. How interesting then to learn that the man commonly called their founder—Charles Taze Russell [1852-1916]—was of Scots-Irish ancestry and was raised in a Presbyterian church!

The time is the early eighteen hundreds in America. Charles Taze Russell was the second of five children of a Scots-Irish couple who was born in 1852. The Presbyterian family had moved to Pittsburgh and joined the Second Presbyterian Church, Old School of that city. Pastoring that influential church was the Rev. William Howard [pictured at left], who had himself been born in Philadelphia, Pa on July 28, 1814. From every indication we have, he was a faithful preacher of the gospel, confessional in his understanding of the Scriptures, and well liked by the congregation of the church, which sat under his preaching for a quarter of a century.

And it was into this congregation that the Scots-Irish family of the Russells came as members. Young Russell was to remain there until he was a young teenager, when he left the church to join the Congregational Church, and from there went on to begin his connection with what eventually became the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult.

Words to Live By: We can all look back on situations within the church and all to quickly point out sins of omission or commission, most often in others and not enough in ourselves. Was there such sins in Second Presbyterian Church, or with the faithful pastor of that time, which contributed to this young boy’s eventual apostasy? We don’t know the answer to that question. What we do know is that we need to be faithful to the Scriptures, the Reformed Faith, and the Great Commission in especially the young people of our congregations, in instructing them in Biblical truths, and especially living a holy life before them. And yes, with some of our youth, we have done the above, and they still become part of the world which is at enmity against Christ. Let us be faithful to our God and King, even King Jesus, and pray much for our covenant young children and young people. Let us be faithful to instruct them in the teachings of the Word of God and live a faithful life before them.

Not so many years ago (2011), the OPC celebrated their 75th anniversary, and with that occasion, issued two special books, unique to that occasion. One of these was titled CONFIDENT OF BETTER THINGS, and the opening chapter of this book concerns Paul Woolley, who served as professor of church history at Westminster Seminary for some forty years. John Muether spends several pages in that article discussing Woolley as an author. In all his years at the institution, Woolley never wrote a full-length article for the WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL JOURNALthought he did author some ninety-five book reviews for the JOURNAL, and over fifty articles for the PRESBYTERIAN GUARDIANA few of his articles landed in unusual places. An overview of American Presbyterian history was serialized in the REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN ADVOCATEAnd I’ve just come across another article, this one on ministerial training, that appeared in a small publication edited by William Stanford Reid in the early 1950’s. The PCA Historical Center was blessed a few years ago to receive the donation of a nearly complete run of Reid’s magazine REFORMATION TODAY, and this article by Woolley is drawn from that publication.
[If you don’t know of Stanford Reid, I strongly encourage you to locate and read a copy of A. Donald MacLeod’s biography, W. STANFORD REID: AN EVANGELICAL CALVINIST IN THE ACADEMY.

HOW IS A MINISTER TRAINED?

by Paul Woolley
[Reformation Today (Montreal, Quebec) 1.10 (July-August 1952): 3-5]

When Bill Smith first goes to kindergarten, his father and mother take the existing school as they find it. But it interests them, and they think about what is happening to Bill there. As a result, education becomes a very lively topic. Both in Canada and the United States the relation of state support of schools to religious instruction is constantly being discussed. If it is not the policy of the government of Ontario, it is the speech on the subject of President Conant of Harvard that is the subject for comment.

The principles which should guide education at the university level, undergraduate and graduate, have not been as widely considered as those concerned with Bill Smith’s kindergarten. But these principles, too, especially as they affect theological education, are of particular importance to Christians and the Church.

His Arts course
The theological student studies the liberal arts before he turns his attention specifically to theology. This is to acquaint him with the world in which he lives so that he may learn how to think and have materials, facts, with which to think. There is no use in trying to apply theology to an unknown world and to unintelligible people.

In order to be effective the arts course must consider the world and the points of view in it as broadly and as understanding^ as possible. One can never learn anything about communism and how to oppose it, for example, if one never sees the positive things which it has accomplished and by means of which it attracts people to support it. At the same time, there has to be a standard of judgment. For the Christian that basic standard ought to be the Bible.

Question of right and wrong
The greater knowledge of the Bible the arts student has, the greater wisdom he will show in thinking about the world in general. He needs to know as much about the Bible as possible when he enters the university and he ought to be constantly using the Bible as a touchstone. In the liberal arts course, however, the student will find that many of his studies concern subjects about which there is not an absolute right or wrong for all times and all places. To talk technically for a moment, they belong to the realm of the adiaphora. For example, no one form of government is always best everywhere on earth.

In Canada and the United States democracy is best, but it would be foolish to introduce full democracy overnight into Afghanistan. It requires preparation. So if the Canadian student became Emir of Afghanistan next Monday, he would not be sinning if he failed to introduce full democracy on Tuesday morning. If, however, he became Premier of the government of Canada on Monday and tried to introduce the governmental methods of Afghanistan on Tuesday, he would be sinning for the short period that the attempt would last.

Bible and theological training
As soon as the liberal arts student has finished that course and begins to study theology, he faces quite a different situation. Now he is studying the Bible itself or, at least, he should be. For the study of protestant theology should always be basically the study of the Bible. When one studies the Bible, one is always studying something about which there is a basic right and a basic wrong. The Bible is God’s Word and one understands it aright or else fails to understand it.

There is no real comparison between the study of theology and the study of any other subject, but the subject which comes closest to it is medicine. Medicine seeks primarily to teach methods of keeping the body healthy. Theology seeks primarily to teach methods of keeping the spirit healthy. A medical student therefore selects a school where a view of medicine is taught that he considers basically sound. He takes his full course there and then tries to study other systems in the light of what he has learned. A medical student who is not a Christian Scientist would not take his basic course at a school for Christian Science practitioners and then do graduate work at the School of Medicine at McGill. He would go first to a faculty such as McGill and then try to understand the healings of Christian Science in the light of what he had learned at McGill.

Test of theological school
1. Scriptural
The situation for a theological student is not entirely dissimilar. If he is a Protestant Christian, the wise procedure is to go to a seminary which accepts the basic authority of Protestantism, the Bible, as trustworthy. At such a seminary he will take the full basic theological course in order to have a sound foundation for his thinking and his practice. Later, as he meets other religions and other forms of theology, he may wish to study them intensively. But he will have a standard of comparison, the Bible and its system of thought. The system of doctrine taught in the Bible is not an adiaphoron, it is basic to Christianity. It is the form of theology with which all students should begin. Seminaries differ rather widely in multitudinous respects. Their usefulness can very largely be judged by an examination of these elements.

2. Scholarly
The basic point of view represented by the teaching in a seminary should be consistent, integrated and sound. The teaching of each department should fit in with that of the others to make a unit that taken together has logical consistency. It ought to cover the field adequately. It ought to be based on principles that flow from the source of final authority, the Bible. It should make a well-rounded whole. This does not mean, however, that points of view inconsistent with that presented are not considered. They should be considered and be considered fully. Only thus do error and truth fall properly apart.

The faculty of the Seminary is its most important asset. Its members need to be men of earnest sincerity, thoroughly informed concerning both the foundations and the latest developments of modern scholarship in their respective fields, and able to transmit knowledge and stimulate thinking by wise and appropriate teaching methods. They need to know what is going on in their fields whether they agree with the conclusions or not, they also need to be convinced of their own presuppositions. And they must know how a student can best be made acquainted with the field. Some modern pedagogy is silly, some is sound. Without curbing full freedom of discussion, it is the teacher’s opportunity to make clear the factors that result in a conviction concerning the truth. A theological teacher who has outgrown the conception of truth is largely useless.

3. Practical
The admission requirements of a theological institution reflect the level of its teaching. If they are proper, the students will be prepared intelligently to enter into the discussion of the work and to understand the presentation. Discussion by the group is an important element in theological teaching. For this reason, it is important that the student have adequate preparation in knowledge and also in the art of discussion.

The seminary prepares for the ministry. A minister must be a man who can intelligently deal with the spiritual problems of every walk of life. If his education in arts is narrow, he has no background upon which to develop his theology, he has little understanding of the ultimate problems of human beings, who are both rational and emotional. Nor, of course, can he understand why and how theology has developed as it has.

Another important element in this immediate connection is a diversified character of the student body. Discussion is more illuminating, more facts are available, if the students represent a wide range of national backgrounds, if they have attended many different colleges, if they represent varied types of childhood training. A minister ought to begin to meet his problems in the seminary, not only after he has become a pastor.

Seminary Objective

A seminary can never teach everything. What does its curriculum try to accomplish? If it hopes to include everything, it will be a failure. The seminary curriculum can only transmit the basic tools and skills which the minister needs. It should teach the original languages of Scripture and how to use them in ascertaining the meaning of the text. It should teach the basic principles upon which the text is approached; it should set forth the broad outlines of the system of truth which emerges from the study of the text. It will show the fundamental means of applying these truths to the needs of the people. And it will point out what has happened in the past when they have, and when they have not, been applied. Only after all this has been done is it important to master the latest techniques of propagation such as radio and television. The content must be in hand before it can be determined how best to present it.

The most important element of material equipment in a seminary is the books of the library. They are the basic tools. They must include the fundamental tools, many of them old but indispensable. They should also include the latest theological developments. They will need to be in many languages, and if the student is wise he will early acquaint himself with Latin, German, French and Dutch or as many of them as he can. The books must be accessible. If the student cannot see them on their shelves, he will miss many of them.

Other physical equipment in the way of classrooms, dormitories and a campus is useful but relatively much less important.

There is no ideal seminary in existence, but some approximate it much more closely than others. In every case, neither faculty nor students may rest on their oars. There is still ground ahead to be reached.

« Older entries

%d bloggers like this: