Henry A. Boardman [1808-1880]

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Boardman and Boice – Two Teaching Elders of Tenth Presbyterian

They were one hundred and twenty years apart in the pulpit and pastoral ministry of the historic Tenth Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But they both have a common identity in more than one way which this author finds interesting.

boardman01First, they were a part of the famous “B’s” of the church. On their own website, someone takes note that there were five “B’s” who filled the pulpit of Tenth Presbyterian. Each pastorate was characterized as being of long length. They were: Henry Augustus Boardman (1833—1876, or 43 years long); William Pratt Breed (1856 to 1889 or 33 years long); Marcus A Brownson (1892 – 1924, or 27 years long); Donald Grey Barnhouse (1927 – 1960 or 33 years long); and James Montgomery Boice (1968 to 2000, or 32 years long). The reader can see the first and the last names of this distinguished list of “B’s” being the two subjects of this post.

A second feature shared by both Revs. Boardman and Boice were the major shifts in affiliation which took place during each of their ministries. In the case of Pastor Boardman, just as he was to be ordained and installed as pastor of the church by the Second Presbytery, which was a presbytery of the New School, that presbytery was dissolved by the Synod of Philadelphia, which was Old School Presbyterian! The whole issue would not be made final until the General Assembly would meet the following month of May, when the General Assembly lopped off all New School Presbyteries from the rolls of the church.(See details on our January 9, 2013 post). Pastor Boardman was able to finally align the congregation of Tenth Presbyterian with the Old School folks.

boiceJMThen in the case of James Boice, it was during his pastorate that the Session (board of elders) at Tenth was coming to terms with the fact that their denomination, the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. was straying from biblical orthodoxy. In 1979, Tenth Presbyterian Church managed to leave that denomination and join the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod denomination. Three years later, that denomination joined the Presbyterian Church in America, and so Tenth Presbyterian became a member church of the PCA.

Lastly, we note an interesting sign of God’s providence, namely, it was on this day in Presbyterian history, June 15, that both pastors—Henry Augustus Boardman and James Montgomery Boice—were called into the presence of their Lord and God. Henry Boardman died on June 15, 1880, and James Boice died this same day of the year, June 15, in 2000.

Words to Live By:
There is no such thing as “chance” or “fortune” or “luck” in the annals of biblical history. All events, happenings, and actions fall under the sovereign will of God who moves when and where and how He pleases. Some people (and hopefully not our readers of this web magazine) may find the above similarities odd, but we who receive the whole counsel of God know that the God of the Bible plans all of our actions according to His sovereign will for our lives. Let that biblical truth permeate your life this day, and always.

For Further Reading:
Rev. Rick Phillips, pastor of Second Presbyterian church in Greenville, SC, has written of his friendship with Dr. James Boice. Click here to read his recent article.

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A Political Message in a Presbyterian Church

It was evidently a message which the well-known Presbyterian pastor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania had to deliver, given the times.  To wait for some better time would be wrong, he must have thought.  So the Rev. Dr. Henry  A. Broadman on two successive weekdays delivered the same sermon entitled “The American Union: A Discourse” to two different audiences. The first occasion was on Thursday, December 12, 1850 on the day of Annual Thanksgiving in the state. The second was on Thursday December 19, 1850 in the sanctuary of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Here are some quotations from the message:

“No man who believes that there is a Providence can take even a brief retrospect of our history, like that which has now engaged our attention, without discovering in numerable evidences of his benignant agency.  He who does not see a Divine hand directing and controlling the whole course of our affairs, from the landing of the colonists at Jamestown and Plymouth until the present would hardly have seen the pillar of cloud and of fire had he been with the Hebrews in the wilderness.

“The Union is not the work of man. It is the work of GOD. Among the achievements of his wisdom and beneficence in conducting the secular concern of the world, it must be ranked as one of his greatest and best works.  And he who would destroy it is  chargeable with the impiety of attempting to subvert a structure which is eminently adapted to illustrate the perfections of the Deity, and to bless the whole family of man.” (p. 30)

Dr. Boardman then goes on to speak of one issue which was actually at work in the 1850’s which, in his estimation, would destroy the American Union. The identification of this is put in all capital letters, and it is, SLAVERY.  The rest of the long address is on this issue, and the divisiveness which it is causing to the American Union.  Readers can find it on the world-wide web and read it in its entirety.

This patriotic message in a Presbyterian Church (which is now aligned with the Presbyterian Church in America) was proclaimed by the pastor of Tenth Presbyterian, not on Sunday, either the Sabbath morning or Sabbath evening, but on a Thursday at a special service.  And because he saw it as an important message, he had it printed into a booklet for the masses to read, especially the Christian people of the land.  It was one attempt to heal the union of the land rather than see it splintered into two nations, as was the case eleven years later in 1861.

Words to live by: There is a place, as our Confession speaks in W.C.F. 31:4 of  speaking to our citizens “by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary, or by way of advice, for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.”  This writer does not know if the discourse was a humble petition or a requirement by the civil magistrate, but it was delivered by this Presbyterian clergyman to his congregation and others in that eastern city of Pennsylvania. Certainly God’s Word does bear on the affairs of our nation.  We must speak to it in extraordinary times. Who can deny that the potential schism caused by the Civil War was an extraordinary time.  Christian reader: pray for our nation today, for our president and all his advisers, for the cabinet, the members of Congress, and especially our military forces all over the world, including those in harm’s way.

Through the Scriptures:  1 Timothy 4 – 6

Through the Standards:  Intermediate state, according to the catechisms

WLC 86 — “What is the communion in glory with Christ, which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death?
A.  The communion in glory with Christ, which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death is, in that their souls are then made perfect in holiness, and received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies, which even in death continue united to Christ, and rest in their graves as in their beds, till at the last day they be again united to their souls.  Whereas the souls of the wicked are at their death cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, and their bodies kept in their graves, as in their prisons, till the resurrection and judgment of the great day.”

WSC 37 — “What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?
A.  The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves till the resurrection.”


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