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Showing posts from August, 2015

Jelly-fish Christianity

By J.C. Ryle - Posted at Grace Gems: The consequences of this widespread dislike to distinct biblical doctrine are very serious. Whether we like it or not, it is an epidemic which is doing great harm, and especially among young people. It creates, fosters, and keeps up an immense amount of instability in religion. It produces what I must venture to call, if I may coin the phrase, a 'jelly-fish' Christianity in the land — that is, a Christianity without bone, or muscle, or power. A jelly-fish, as everyone who has been much by the seaside knows, is a pretty and graceful object when it floats in the sea, contracting and expanding like a little delicate transparent umbrella. Yet the same jelly-fish, when cast on the shore, is a mere helpless lump, without capacity for movement, self-defense, or self-preservation. Alas! it is a vivid type of much of the religion of this day, of which the leading principle is, 'No dogma, no distinct beliefs, no doctrine.' We have hu

Mrs. James Guthrie: Unswerving faithfulness in God

By Angela Wittman Execution of Rev James Guthrie   "I know in whom I have believed, and that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. I have preached salvation through His name, and as I have preached, so do I believe, and do commend the riches of His free grace, and faith in His name unto you all, as the only way whereby you can be saved." (Spoken by Rev. James Guthrie while on the scaffold in 1661.) Jane Ramsey, who became Mrs. James Guthrie, has been described as a woman with "unswerving faithfulness to the cause of God." It is only by the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit that one could possibly endure the suffering Mrs. Guthrie did when she lost her husband to martyrdom. Rev. James Guthrie was a contemporary of Samuel Rutherford and became an ordained minister in 1638. He has been described as a man who loved God, his country, and one who boldly spoke of the Lordship of Christ over both the Church and the nation. This event

Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day

From Daily Confession - Westminster Confession, Chapter 21: 4: Prayer is to be made for things lawful; [416] and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter: [417] but not for the dead, [418] nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death. [419] 5: The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear, [420] the sound preaching [421] and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith and reverence, [422] singing of psalms with grace in the heart; [423] as also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ, are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God: [424] beside religious oaths, [425] vows, [426] solemn fastings, [427] and thanksgivings upon special occasions, [428] which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner. [429] 6: Neither prayer, nor any other part of religious worship, is now, under the Gospel,

The Art of Prophesying, a short review

By Pastor Shawn Mathis The Art of Prophesying , William Perkins Whether you want a book that will raise eyebrows with your Reformed friends or that will entice non-Reformed acquaintances, this is it. Prophesying has a uniquely Puritan meaning: preaching. As in our time, William Perkins’ day was a time when faithful preaching was rare and great emotional orators were prevalent. In response, he rekindled the “plainness of speech” style that characterized the Puritans. Read more here...

Belgic Confession: The Doctrine of God’s Providence

Posted at Daily Confession: Article 13: The Doctrine of God’s Providence Image from Wikipedia We believe that this good God, after he created all things, did not abandon them to chance or fortune but leads and governs them according to his holy will, in such a way that nothing happens in this world without his orderly arrangement. Yet God is not the author of, nor can he be charged with, the sin that occurs. For his power and goodness are so great and incomprehensible that he arranges and does his work very well and justly even when the devils and wicked men act unjustly. We do not wish to inquire with undue curiosity into what he does that surpasses human understanding and is beyond our ability to comprehend. But in all humility and reverence we adore the just judgments of God, which are hidden from us, being content to be Christ’s disciples, so as to learn only what he shows us in his Word, without going beyond those limits. This doctrine gives us unspeakable comfort since it

Presbyterian Church moved south to Alabama

Posted at Alabama Pioneers : Continued – The following has been transcribed from Transactions of the Alabama Historical Society: New series, Volume 4 By Alabama Historical Society 1904 THE HISTORY OF THE CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN ALABAMA PRIOR TO 1826 By The Rev. James H. B. Hall, Birmingham Part III - The Tide Of Settlers Continued South Southward the tide of settlers rolled, bearing with it additional Cumberlands. About this time Pleasant Valley, Roupe’s Valley, Jones’ Valley, and Cahaba Valley, down to old Cahaba, near the present Selma,—all Middle Alabama—began receiving thousands of citizens. Adams Grove Presbyterian in Dallas County, Alabama built ca. 1853 The country east of Cotton Gin Port—the Alabama side of the Tombigbee—near the present town of Aberdeen, Mississippi, was, likewise, filling with pioneers. As early as 1817, but one year after the purchase of the port from the Indians, pioneer Cumberlands from that place asked the Elk Presbytery to se

The Articles of Perth [1618] - Usurpers, Pretenders, and the One True King.

Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History : It was an ancient issue in many respects. Who was the king of the church? Was it the king of the British Isles, or was it Jesus Christ? There was no doubt in the prelacy party that the first answer was the correct one. And equally in the Presbyterian church, there was no doubt that Jesus is the king of the church. What was a turning point between the Crown and the Presbyterians was the passing of the Five Articles of Perth on August 25, 1618. It all took place at a General Assembly on this date in Perth, Scotland. Yes, it was the national assembly of Scottish Presbyterians. Yes, there were various elders from the church of Scotland. Yes, there were faithful Presbyterians who were relegated to inferior positions, without the possibility of voting, even though they were elders sent by their Presbyterian parishes. Yes, there were many people present who were hand picked and not even ruling elders in the churches. The constitution of the Presbyt

Audio: St Bartholomew’s Day 1572: A Sixteenth-Century Massacre

Posted at The Heidelblog: St-Bartholomews-Day-Massacre In 1572 the French Reformed Church was nearly destroyed within the space of a week in an orgy of murder. This massacre was the result of some cold-blooded political and religious calculations and a growing distrust of and hatred toward French Reformed Christians (Huguenots). It is reasonably clear that about 2,000 Huguenots were murdered in Paris but the bloodshed did not end there. It spread to the countryside and at contemporary scholars estimate that 10,000 Huguenots were murdered in the following days. ... Read more and listen here...

Who were the Covenanters?

Sermon Audio Link: (72 minutes)

Who are the Covenanters?

Sermon Audio Link: (72 minutes)

Lady Margaret Douglas: A Lady of Good Courage

By Angela Wittman "Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." (Deuteronomy 31:6 – KJV) The heroine of this story is Lady Margaret Douglas who was born in Scotland in 1610 and then at a young age married the man who became the love of her life, the First Marquis of Argyll, Archibald, Lord Lorn. During her first pregnancy Lady Margaret suffered from a serious illness. The doctors told her that to treat her illness the life of her child would need to be sacrificed in order to save hers. Rev. James Anderson, author of the book "Ladies of the Covenant" writes this about her: "But from this proposal the heart of the mother recoiled, and on no consideration would she give her consent. In the good providence of God, however, the life both of the mother and of the infant was saved..." Of Lady Margaret’s marriage to Lord Lorn, we are told that both

Early Cumberland Presbyterian church – Missionaries sent and schools

By Donna R. Causey - Posted at Alabama Pioneers: The following has been transcribed from Transactions of the Alabama Historical Society: New series Volume 4 By Alabama Historical Society 1904 THE HISTORY OF THE CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN ALABAMA PRIOR TO 1826. By The Rev. James H. B. Hall, Birmingham Part IV We are now prepared for the reception of the following extract taken from the report of the committee on the state of religion at the same meeting of the synod, Oct. 19, 1819: “By the heaven-born charity and zeal of some female members of the church, funds have been raised, which have enabled the Missionary Board to employ several missionaries a considerable part of their time, by which your bounds have been much enlarged in the south and west. This has multiplied calls and cries to our Presbyterial and Missionary Boards for help. The people desire the word and ordinances. Among the most impressive calls we hear is one from the tawny sons of the woods of the so


Minister of the Gospel, who suffered in the Grassmarket of Edinburgh, February 17, 1688. Emitted from his own hand, the day before his suffering. MY DEAR FRIENDS IN CHRIST, It hath pleased the Lord to deliver me up into the hands of men; and I think fit to send you this salutation, which I expect will be the last. When I pose [i.e., question] my heart upon it, before God, I dare not desire to have escaped this lot; for no less could have been for His glory and vindication of His cause on my behalf. And as I am free before Him of the profanity, which some, either naughty, wicked, or strangers to me, have reported that I have been sometimes guilty of, so He hath kept me, from the womb, free of the ordinary pollutions of children; as these that have been acquainted with me through the tract of my life do know. And now my blood shall either more silence reproachers, or more ripen them for judgment. But I hope it shall make some more sparing to speak of those who shall come after me; and so

Heidelberg 114: Between Moralism And Antinomianism (2)

By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog: Antinomianism has plagued Christianity for a very long time. In modern American evangelical history people might think first of the controversy over “free grace” within Dispensational circles, in which the advocates of “free grace” denied the abiding validity of the moral law as summarized in the Ten Commandments. More recently there is a genuine fear in NAPARC circles of a renewed antinomianism. There are genuine antinomians about still. I have had lengthy discussions with some who deny the abiding validity of the moral law and no matter how much evidence one amasses from the gospels and the epistles, they seem to know a priori (before they ever look at the evidence) that the new covenant is such that the Decalogue could not be the norm for the Christian life. There are other movements, e.g., the so-called New Covenant theology that are at least quasi-Antinomian, whose chief objection seems to be the abiding validity of the fourth

What Does the Bible Teach About Satan?

Posted at The Reformed Reader: Although some critics and skeptics say that Christians made up a figure like Satan to scare people into morality, the truth of the matter is that Satan is real. Even some non-Christian religions talk of evil beings and spirits, and a leader of these evil beings. So what does the Bible teach about Satan? Sydney Page has a nice summary in chapter nine of Fallen: A Theology of Sin (edited by C. W. Morgan and R. A. Peterson) . Here’s an edited outline of his excellent essay: 1) Satan is a created being. Evil has not always existed, nor has the Evil One. Scripture clearly represents Satan as being on the creature side of the Creator/creature distinction (Col. 1:15-20, etc.). 2) Satan is a fallen being. Not only does Scripture present Satan as a created being, but also it presents him as a fallen being. The first chapter of Genesis makes clear that God’s original creation was good, but Satan is undeniably evil. See 1 Tim. 3:1-7 (esp. v 6), John 8

Lady Jane Campbell: A Heart Filled With Faith

By Angela Wittman “Christ hath too many occasional friends; but the ground of all is this, ‘I love Jesus Christ, but I have not the gift of burning quick for Christ.’ Oh, how securely should faith land us out of the gun-shot of the prevailing power of a black hour of darkness! Faith can make us able to be willing, for Christ, to go through a quarter of hell's pain.” (Taken from Samuel Rutherford’s dedication of “Trial and Triumph of Faith” to Lady Jane Campbell, the Viscountess of Kenmure) Lady Jane Campbell was born in Scotland in the 17th century. She was a contemporary of Lady Culross, and also shared a friendship with Samuel Rutherford who spoke of her in the highest terms. He immortalized her memory and name with dedicating his book “Trial and Triumph of Faith” to her. Lady Kenmure not only was a benefactor to the Presbyterian ministers, but she was one of their greatest advocates. Toward the end of her life when her fortune had diminished, she continued to give to the banishe


From: A CLOUD OF WITNESSES, by Rev. John H. Thomson - Posted at CRTA: ON A MONUMENT AT MONIAIVE:  In memory of the late Reverend James Renwick, the last who suffered to death for attachment to the Covenanted Cause of Christ in Scotland — born near this spot, 15th February 1662, and executed at the Grassmarket, Edinburgh, 17th February 1688.   JAMES RENWICK was born February 15, 1662, at Moniaive, in the parish of Glencairn, Dumfriesshire. His father, Andrew Renwick, was a weaver, and in profession and practice a fervent and faithful Christian, which was enough, says Alexander Shields in his Life of Renwick , to nobilitate the birth of his worthy son, who had what honor was wanting in his first birth made up in the second. He died as he lived, in the Lord, February 1st, 1676, the same day twelve years after that his son was taken to die for the Lord [age 26]. His mother, Elizabeth Corsan, was of like piety with her husband. She had several children, but all died previous to the birth of

Luther on the Christian Life - A Review by David Luy

Posted at Reformation 21: Carl R. Trueman. Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom . Theologians of the Christian Life. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015. 224pp. $14.99/£11.99 It is not immediately obvious to many Christians that Martin Luther has much that is interesting or helpful to say about the Christian life. Indeed, the Luther of popular lore comes across as a man so positively intoxicated by the doctrine of justification, that he couldn't quite muster any enthusiasm for holiness and discipleship. Within contemporary theological discussion, Luther serves all too often (whether positively or negatively) as the rallying banner for a mode of Christianity within which the doctrines of grace deliberately exclude any and all practical consideration for how Christians should actually live. A book on the Christian life with this version of Luther as its protagonist would necessarily be brief and uninspiring. Carl Trueman's recent book, Luther on the Christian Life: Cr

Why Go to Hell?

Posted at Grace Gems: Image from Wikipedia By Archibald G. Brown - Preached December 18th, 1870 at Stepney Green Tabernacle "Why will you die?" Ezekiel 33:11 Doubtless those of you who were with us last Sunday evening have not yet forgotten the subject of discourse. It was a solemn time to us all. God was in our midst, and we felt that we had received a warning from Him to prepare for death. "This year you shall die!" sounded in our ears, and not knowing who the one would be, many of us took the message as if specially addressed to ourselves. Looking death in the face, and contemplating the tremendous results depending on it — we realized something of the experience of one of old when he exclaimed "How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God." Many of you will also remember that I said while preaching, that it was deeply laid upon my heart that some of my hearers would be in eternity before the year was out . This st

Lady Boyd: Living only for Christ

By Angela Wittman “They lose nothing who gain Christ.” ~ Samuel Rutherford Lady Boyd was born in Scotland between 1588 and 1594; her maiden name was Christian Hamilton. She was the oldest daughter of Sir Thomas Hamilton and his wife Margaret. Alexander Whyte, the author of “Samuel Rutherford and his Correspondents” writes that “she inherited no small part of her father’s talents and strength of character.” He then goes on to say that “All her days Lady Boyd was on the most intimate terms with the most eminent ministers of the Church of Scotland. We find such men as Robert Bruce, Robert Blair, John Livingstone and Samuel Rutherford continually referring to her in the loftiest terms.” In the book “Ladies of the Covenant” by Rev. James Anderson, she is described as having “encouraged the preaching of the gospel, exercising a generous hospitality and liberality towards its ministers, receiving them into her house and supplying them with money.” She was known to stay up late into the night

Sabbath: The First Day of the Week

Posted at The Reformed Reader: Why has the Christian church historically called Sunday “the Lord’s Day” or “The Christian Sabbath?” Why do we meet for worship on the first day of the week, and rest on it? William Ames explains this well in his Marrow of Theology (II.XV.27-29) : “Divine not human authority has now changed the last day of the week to the first day – only he can change the day of the Sabbath who is the Lord of the sabbath, namely, Christ (Mt. 12:8). Therefore, the first day… is properly called the Lord’s Day. Even though the Lord’s Day is granted to have been of apostolic institution, yet the authority on which it rests is nonetheless divine, for the apostles were guided by the Spirit in holy practices just as they were in propounding the doctrine of the gospel by word of mouth and writing.” Ames goes on to give nine points to defend the divine institution of the Lord’s Day as the first day of the week. I’ll summarize the nine points here:... Read more her