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Showing posts from September, 2016

Confessional Boundary Stones

By Barry York - Posted at Gentle Reformation: Do not move the ancient boundary which your fathers have set.” -Proverbs 22:28 Around western Pennsylvania where I live, it is common to see yards and farmlands with stone walls taken from the the abundant flagstone found in this region. As you walk or drive by one of these walls, they convey a sense of boundary, antiquity, and definition. The walls almost seem to give off an aura of peace and permanence. In recent weeks the Lord has given me a number of experiences where I have had that same feeling when it comes to the historic confessions and creeds of the church. At the beginning of the academic year our seminary faculty treated the subject of providence from the Westminster Confession of Faith, and there was a sense of security in standing with these men reviewing and rediscovering the beautiful and comforting truths of this doctrine. Read more...

Being Captivated by the Beauty of God

Posted at Reformation Scotland: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” according to human opinion – but not when it comes to God. He is beauty itself. There is nothing in Him that is not truly beautiful. Indeed all beauty has an objective standard in the absolute beauty of God. It’s not an aspect of God’s being that we consider often, if at all. Yet David sought this as his greatest desire: nothing was more important to him (Psalm 27:4). But what do we mean by God’s beauty? And how do we become captivated by it? Samuel Rutherford was one man who was certainly entranced by the beauty of God. He often refers to the spiritual beauty he found in fellowship with Christ in his well-known letters. He gives a fuller definition of God’s beauty in another less familiar book called Christ Dying and Drawing Sinners to Himself. It is a brief example of some of his soaring thoughts about Christ and the glory of God’s being. He is speaking of what it in Christ that draws us to Him. One of them

Cooked Goose Bohemian Style

Originally preached 10.30.2011 Link: Scripture Text: Hebrews 11:36-40 (KJV) 36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

John Newton (1725-1807): The Former Slaver & Preacher

Posted at The Abolition of Slavery Project: John Newton was an Anglican clergyman and former slave ship master. It took him a long time to speak out against the Slave Trade but he had an influence on many young evangelical Christians, particularly William Wilberforce. At just 11 years old, Newton went to sea with his father. In 1743 he was on his way to a position as a slave master on a plantation in Jamaica, when he was  pressed into naval service . He became a midshipman but after demotion for trying to desert, he requested an exchange to a slave ship bound for West Africa. Eventually he reached the coast of Sierra Leone where he became the servant of an abusive  slave trader . In 1748, he was rescued by a sea captain and returned to England. During a storm, when it was thought the ship might sink, he prayed for deliverance. This experience began his conversion to evangelical Christianity. Later, whilst aboard a slave vessel bound for the West Indies, he became ill with a violen

The Saint and Satan’s Accusations (Gurnall)

Posted at The Reformed Reader: Sometimes – by God’s grace and his Spirit at work in us – the Christian doesn’t give in to Satan’s crafty temptations. One tactic the devil often resorts to in this situation is accusation. That is, if he can’t get the Christian to sin, he tries to get the Christian to wallow in guilt. William Gurnall explained it well: “The devil is the blasphemer, but the poor Christian, because he will not join with him in the fact, shall have the name and bear the blame of it. As the Jews compelled Simon of Cyrene to carry Christ’s cross, so Satan would compel the tempted Christian to carry the guilt of his sin for him. And many time Satan doth so craftily, and with such sleight of hand, shift it [guilt] from himself to the Christian’s back, that he, poor creature, doesn’t realize the juggler’s art of conveying the guilt unto him, but goes complaining only of the baseness of his own heart.” Read more... 

God’s Hearty Invitation to Sinners

Posted at Reformation Scotland: Someone has estimated that God gives an invitation with the word “come” 642 times in the Bible. Whether or not that is the case, they are certainly frequent. Some of the most attractive invitations are found in Isaiah chapter 55. It was often a passage children were given to memorise for this very reason. The offers made in this passage are based on the everlasting mercies of a covenant God. William Guthrie said that Isaiah 55 proclaims a market such as was never heard of before. It is the most attractive, important and glorious market that there ever was. The most glorious and precious wares are on sale. They were bought at the dearest price but now sold more cheaply than any wares ever were. “Here we have the most free and lawful invitation to all sorts of persons to come and have them. They shall get them and pay nothing for them”. Another attractive exposition of this chapter is contained in The Sum of Saving Knowledge . This document was writ

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock.

Today's Daily Devotional of the Free Presbyterian Church : Come into My Heart, Lord Jesus Behold, I stand at the door, and knock. REVELATION 3:20  "Carelessness about the friendship of Christ is the crying sin of the church." - R. C. Chapman The Lord Jesus has many ways of making His people hear His knocking. From verse 19 we may gather that His rebukes, His chastisements, and His calls to repentance are all knocks on the doors of our hearts. Who will hear His voice? He speaks in mercy, even when He chastens. Who will hearken to His knocking? All His blows upon our hearts are but calls to closest fellowship. Christ wants an entrance to our affections. He is not satisfied with our cold acts of duty. Give Me thy heart is His demand. Has He obtained it? Or is He still standing outside? Remember, the people to whom He addresses this message are professing Christians. Like all too many, they are lukewarmindifferent to spiritual things. They are too busy with worldl

Of Prayer: Which is the sixth petition?

Heidelberg Catechism (extended) The Catechism Method of Instruction in the Christian Religion As the Same is Taught in the Reformed Churches and Schools (with the Scripture references written out) Note. This Catechism is fully based on the Scriptures. The references to Scripture are indicated in parentheses with a letter. For example, the letter (a) points to the texts (a) placed after the answer. Of Prayer 52. Lord's Day  Q. 127. Which is the sixth petition?  A. "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" ; that is, since we are so weak in ourselves, that we cannot stand a moment; (a) and besides this, since our mortal enemies, the devil, (b) the world, (c) and our own flesh, (d) cease not to assault us, do thou therefore preserve and strengthen us by the power of thy Holy Spirit, that we may not be overcome in this spiritual warfare, (e) but constantly and strenuously may resist our foes, till at last we obtain a complete victory. (f)  (a

How God May Use Adversity

Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History: Stepping outside of American Presbyterian history for a moment, here is an interesting interpretation as to how persecution worked to the advance of the Church in at least one chapter of church history. This particular passage is also a masterful summary of early Presbyterian history, drawn from the late 19th-century volume, Presbyterians, by George P. Hays (1892), pp. 42-44 : Through the sixteenth century a few adventurers were settling in America, and stable institutions came with the seventeenth to attract the attention of European Protestants as they searched for some refuge from the persecuting power which they could not resist in France, could not fight in Spain, played see-saw with in England, overthrew in Germany, and displaced in Holland and Scotland. France If there had been no persecution in Europe, and the Protestant Church could have had freedom from state interference to fight its own battle before the general reason a

THE PILGRIMS (an allegory) by Hannah More

Posted at : "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and  pilgrims  on the earth." Hebrews 11:13  "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and  pilgrims , abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul." 1 Peter 2:11 I thought I was once upon a time traveling through a certain land which was very full of people; but what was rather odd, not one of all this multitude was at home--they were all bound to a far distant country. Though it was permitted by the Lord of the land that these pilgrims might associate together for their present mutual comfort and convenience, and each was not only allowed, but commanded to do the others all the services he could upon their journey, yet it was decreed, that every individual traveler must enter the far country singly. There was a great gulf at the end of th

Hannah More (1745-1833)

By Brycchan Carey - Posted at Biography Beyond any doubt, Hannah More was the most influential female member of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the African Slave Trade. She was educated at Bristol, an important slave-trading town, and began to publish her writing in the 1760s, while she was still a teenager. Her first play, The Inflexible Captive , was staged at Bath in 1775. Later in the 1770s, and for much of the 1780s, she spent time in London and made the acquaintance of many important political and society figures, including Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, and Elizabeth Montagu. Her play Percy was produced by David Garrick in 1777, and Fatal Falsehood was staged in 1779, but she came to regard the theatre as morally wrong, especially after the death of her mentors; Garrick and Johnson. She turned to religious writing, beginning with her Sacred Dramas in 1782. In 1784-5, she 'discovered' Ann Yearsley , the so-called &#

Preventing the Dangers of Straying from the Truth

Posted at Reformation Scotland: Sometimes it seems like the only heresy today is the idea of heresy itself. In other words a culture of hyper-toleration tones down our language. There is a reluctance to bring absolute truth and falsehood in to sharp definition. Reluctance to point out to individuals where they are going astray is another aspect of this influence. We don’t want to interfere – especially if we think the error won’t endanger their salvation. Perhaps we don’t know how or trust ourselves to do it in the right way. Yet the Bible is full of warnings about straying from the truth. It expects us to be concerned for those who are in error. Sometimes error may seem to be in a small matter yet on closer consideration it actually endangers the gospel itself. A good example of this is in Galatians 2:14-15. Paul must confront Peter because he is declining to eat with the Gentile believers. To a modern mind this must seem strange. Peter is a godly, respected preacher and this i

Of Prayer: Which is the fifth petition?

Heidelberg Catechism (extended) The Catechism Method of Instruction in the Christian Religion As the Same is Taught in the Reformed Churches and Schools (with the Scripture references written out) Note. This Catechism is fully based on the Scriptures. The references to Scripture are indicated in parentheses with a letter. For example, the letter (a) points to the texts (a) placed after the answer. Of Prayer 51. Lord's Day   Q. 126. Which is the fifth petition?  A. "And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors"; that is, be pleased for the sake of Christ's blood, not to impute to us poor sinners, our transgressions, nor that depravity, which always cleaves to us; (a) even as we feel this evidence of thy grace in us, that it is our firm resolution from the heart to forgive our neighbour. (b)   (a) Ps.51:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, accord

“God Arising And Pleading His People’s Cause”

By Rev. Abraham Keteltas (Oct. 5, 1777) - Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History : Abraham Keteltas (1732-98) was raised by Protestant parents in New York and New Rochelle, where he spent much of his time among the communities of Huguenots in the area. Becoming fluent in French early on, he later studied theology at Yale, where he earned his degree in 1752, followed by gaining his preacher’s license in 1756. From 1757 until his dismissal in 1760, Keteltas supplied the pulpit of the Presbyterian church in Elizabethtown, New Jersey. He then served as an itinerant preacher to the Dutch and Huguenot parishes in Jamaica and Long Island, New York, where he gained much popular support. By 1776, Keteltas was elected to the Provincial Congress and became such a vociferous defender of the American cause that he feared for reprisals when British troops landed on Long Island. During the Revolution, he served as preacher to a number of Presbyterian churches in Massachusetts and Connectic

Fear Has Its Place

By C.H. Spurgeon - Posted at Daily Checkbook/Sermon Audio: "Happy is the man that feareth alway" — Proverbs 28:14 The fear of the LORD is the beginning and the foundation of all true religion. Without a solemn awe and reverence of God there is no foothold for the more brilliant virtues. He whose soul does not worship will never live in holiness. He is happy who feels a jealous fear of doing wrong. Holy fear looks not only before it leaps, but even before it moves. It is afraid of error, afraid of neglecting duty, afraid of committing sin. It fears ill company, loose talk, and questionable policy. This does not make a man wretched, but it brings him happiness. The watchful sentinel is happier than the soldier who sleeps at his post. He who foreseeth evil and escapes it is happier than he who walks carelessly on and is destroyed. Fear of God is a quiet grace which leads a man along a choice road, of which it is written, "No lion shall be there, neither shall any ra

The Scottish Reformation, 1532-1560

Scripture Text: Hebrews 11:32-40 (KJV) 32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mo

Reasons to Trust Christ

George Gillespie Posted at Reformation Scotland: We don’t just need the gospel once in our lives: we need it every day. Fellowship with God, assurance and holiness all derive from salvation in Christ. The glorious gospel of the blessed God gives meaning even to the practical realities and duties of life. In the face of constant spiritual onslaught against our souls, we need daily strength and refreshment from this fountain of life. Everything we need for salvation depends on Christ. Reminding ourselves daily of the reasons for trusting Christ helps maintain our grip on this reality. In the following updated extract, George Gillespie outlines the “true and safe grounds of encouragement to believe in Christ”. These simple truths ought to be stored in the memory for ready and fresh access. They are of particular help for those that struggle with assurance of faith. 1. Christ is an Entirely Sufficient Saviour Christ is all-sufficient. If He will He can. He is able to save to the u

The UPCNA’s Henderson Institute

Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History: This Day in Presbyterian History is hosted by the PCA Historical Center, but we have tried to be somewhat ecumenical with this blog, looking at people and events in different denominations as opportunity permits. One denomination that I don’t remember having touched on is the United Presbyterian Church of North America (UPCNA). Officially formed in 1858, one historian noted that this denomination was “the result of several unions;” that “its antecedents are more numerous and fragmentary than those of most churches.” But to keep it simple, the UPCNA was formed by the merger of the Associate Presbyterian Church and the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Numerically they were strongest in Pennsylvania, Ohio and throughout the midwestern states. At its formation, the UPCNA issued a Testimony [pictured at right], which was a doctrinal statement consisting of eighteen articles, designed to set out the character and nature of the denomin

Of Prayer: Which is the fourth petition?

Heidelberg Catechism  (extended) The Catechism Method of Instruction in the Christian Religion As the Same is Taught in the Reformed Churches and Schools (with the Scripture references written out) Note.  This Catechism is fully based on the Scriptures. The references to Scripture are indicated in parentheses with a letter. For example, the letter (a) points to the texts (a) placed after the answer. Of Prayer 50. Lord's Day   Q. 125. Which is the fourth petition?  A. " Give us this day our daily bread" ; that is, be pleased to provide us with all things necessary for the body, (a) that we may thereby acknowledge thee to be the only fountain of all good, (b) and that neither our care nor industry, nor even thy gifts, can profit us without thy blessing; (c) and therefore that we may withdraw our trust from all creatures, and place it alone in thee. (d)   (a) Ps.104:27 These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.  Ps

American Covenanters and Abolitionism

By Angela Wittman - Posted at For Christ's Crown & Covenant: "Am I Not a Man and a Brother?"   1787 medallion designed by   Josiah Wedgwood  for the British anti-slavery campaign Source:  Wikipedia Editor's Note: This is a revision of a ten part series published in 2011 called " Covenanters and Slavery. " I'm revising it with the hope the reader will see that abolition is a Christian calling, whether it be the abolition of slavery or abolishing the prenatal murder of innocent human beings . God's people are always called to resist evil and the predominant evil of our age is the holocaust of the preborn. - AW RPCNA and Slavery While researching the history of the (RPCNA) Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America and abolition of slavery, I found these excerpts from on-line resources which report the RPCNA's history of the abolition of slavery officially began in the year 1800: Perhaps the most enduring change during the 1