Wednesday, January 31, 2018

31 January 2018





“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” [Ezekiel 33:6]

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:12]


Presbyterians Week Headlines



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A 24 January 2018 PaZimbabwe article by Lex Vambe titled “Grace Mugabe Embroiled In a Nasty Land Dispute With Reformed Church in Zimbabwe” reports that the Reformed Church in Zimbabwe, now that Romert Mugabe is out of office, is seeking to recover land earmarked for a school that was stolen by Grace Mugabe during husband Robert’s rule over Zimbabwe.

The Eaglesvale Senior School planned to build a new school building on the approx. sixty-acre plot of land until Grace Mugabe seized it and began growing corn on it. The Mugabes were reported to have seized fourteen farms during Robert Mugabe’s tenure as leader of Zimbabwe.






The Moderator-designate for the 2018 General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) is the Rev. David Blunt, minister of the Free Church Continuing congregation of North Uist & Grimsay.

Born in Essex in 1958 and brought up in Hampshire, Mr. Blunt studied Environmental Science at the University College of Wales, which was followed by research at Dundee University.

Finding the naturalistic explanation for the universe implausible and the evolutionary account of man's origin inadequate, he then read the Bible for the first time. The result was an awareness of the holiness of God, a sense of personal sin and a longing for forgiveness. Helped by the witness of Christians he met through the providence of God, by divine grace he came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in 1983.

His conversion led to opportunities to serve the Lord, including assisting at a city mission and teaching part-time at a Christian primary school. Sensing a call to the gospel ministry, Mr. Blunt attended the Free Church College for three years as a private student. In 2000 he was inducted by the Free Church Continuing as an Evangelist / Church Planter based in Aberdeen and in 2007 accepted a call to the North Uist & Grimsay congregation in the Western Isles. He has served both as a Presbytery Clerk and Clerk to Assembly Committees.  

Editor of the denominational magazine Free Church Witness since 2017, Mr Blunt is also the author of Presbyterianism, published by the Free Church (Continuing), and of Which Bible Version: Does it Really Matter?, published by the Trinitarian Bible Society.

Married to Sybil, who comes from Point in Lewis, he enjoys reading, walking and gardening.






Wednesday, January 17, 2018

17 January 2018




“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” [Ezekiel 33:6]


“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:12]



Presbyterians Week Headlines



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New Christian Observer articles for January 2018 include:

-- Straight Talk for Reformed Christians – by Christian Observer Contributing Editor David Brand – Is the Westminster Confession of Faith position on cessationism the truly biblical position?

-- Educating to Wisdom - by Christian Observer Contributing Editor Dr. Joe Renfro – “We are in the name of diversity neglecting the wisdom that is essential for true education.”

Plus, links to ReVision devotionals on the Fellowship of Ailbe website by Christian Observer Contributing Editor T.M. Moore.





By Brian Nixon, Special to ASSIST NEWS Service

SANTA, FE, NEW MEXICO (ANS -- January 14, 2018) -- In the December 16th, 2017 issue of the New York Times, journalist Michael White wrote an article entitled The Composer Who Owns Christmas. The article was about the music and life of British composer John Rutter.

For those not familiar with Rutter, a quick word is in store. Born on September 24th, 1945 in London, Rutter was the son of a chemist. But his personal interests gravitated towards music. Rutter attended Highhgate School, along with fellow students John Tavener, Brian Chapple, and Howard Shelley; all would go on to have an impact in the world of music. Rutter later attended Clare College, Cambridge. While in college he joined the choir and wrote music for vocal ensembles, publishing compositions before he graduated.

After graduation Rutter stayed on at Cambridge, forming the Cambridge Singers -- an ensemble whose primary focus was sacred music.  In addition to his various hymns, carols, and a few instrumentals, Rutter wrote four large-scale vocal works: Gloria (1974), Requiem (1985), Magnificat (1990), and Mass of the Children (2003).   His Requiem was so well received, particularly in the United States, that it was used at the memorial for the victims of 9-11. To say the least, Rutter’s music is loved the world over.

I, too, am an admirer of the Requiem, finding its lovely melodies and emotive characteristics enticing; the music has a way to stick with you. So when the opportunity came to attend a concert of the Requiem in Santa Fe, I jumped at the chance. Conducted by Dr. Linda Raney of the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Fe, the performance consisted of choir, cellist, trumpeter, and organist. As expected, all who attended the concert welcomed the music with enraptured applause at the end.

But here’s the interesting thing about Rutter -- at least for me: he is not necessarily a practicing Christian. This is odd. For all his celebrated Christian compositions, the man does not claim to be a religious person. In the above-mentioned article by Michael White, Rutter stated, “I love the Church of England. When I set a sacred text, I enter it with all my heart. But I’m more a supporter than a specific believer. I have a problem signing on dotted lines.”

I take Rutter’s statements -- “more of a supporter” and “signing on dotted lines” -- to mean that he has trouble with particular doctrines of the Christian faith. What these doctrines are is not stated in the article; we can only guess. But as Rutter stated, he “supports” and not supposes that what he puts to music is true. Put another way, the music Rutter writes, though carrying Christian claims, comes from a mind that does not correspond to the truth written.

Rutter’s musical output stands in contrast to fellow student at Highgate School, composer John Tavener (1944-2013). Tavener was a noted art composer and a believing Christian [2]. First championed in his career by The Beatles, Tavener went on to write numinous music integrating his faith in a highly artistic voice. Not so with Rutter, there seems to be disconnect between religious confidence and his musical compositions.

A question arises: should we consider Rutter’s music Christian? If the person composing the music does not believe, is the composition he or she created still Christian? I don’t have much room in an article to unpack this weighty matter. But to answer it simply, I’d say, yes; it still is a Christian work.

Why? I propose three reasons: common grace, content, and the classification of music -- it exists.

First, when I think of music -- or any of the arts -- my mind turns to the theological principle of common grace. Rightfully understood, common grace refers to that which is common to all of humanity, those shared benefits every human being partakes. These benefits come in the form of creation (the natural world) and culture (the humanities, arts, and civilization). Common grace is differentiated from saving grace in that the later conjoins salvation of the individual (the theological term of justification). Common grace is God’s gift to every human being -- past, present, and future; saving grace is God’s gift to those who receive and believe. In short, common graces are gifts given by God to humanity -- to be enjoyed and cultivated -- regardless of belief; all people partake. Rutter’s music is an example of common grace.

Second, Rutter’s music is Christian in content. Much of Rutter’s music contains Christian lyrics, culled largely from the Bible and church history.

Third, Rutter’s compositions -- or any music for that matter -- points to something greater; a class of things that exits that provide an analogy for a Creator. Just as a composition needs a composer, being (existence, creation) needs a Necessary Being (a Creator). So yes, God does speak through His common grace in creation and culture, but He also speaks through being—our very existence. And since music exists, it acts as evidence of something greater than just waves vibrating in the air.

Furthermore, as participants in God’s creation, people (whether they know it or not), can convey God’s truth in many ways: science, art, history, or abstracts (math, logic, consciousness, etc.). Put another way: someone does not need to be a Christian in order to position God’s truth.  As an example, a mathematician does not need be a Christian to correctly state 1 + 1 = 2; it is true regardless of the person’s belief; it corresponds to reality. Likewise, a composer can do something similar: proclaim truth without believing or understanding the foundation for the truth. Through the act of composition, the composer takes forms that exist (melody, notes, time signature, etc.) and creates music—a song, symphony, or violin solo. Composition is a reflection, even a summary, of God’s creative nature: the ability to create and convey emotion. The major difference between humans and God is that the Lord creates ex-nihilo—out of nothing, taking what He created and making something new, whereas humans take from God’s created order to construct, a borrowed creativity, if you will -- all leading back to common grace. But enough said.

So is Rutter’s music Christian? Yes. Its very nature (existence) and lyrical content (framed by a Christian worldview) make the music Christian. And though Rutter may have problems with particular Christian doctrines, this does not undermine the truthfulness of what he is composing. Just like someone who may not like that 1+ 2= 3, the reality of someone’s opinion concerning the answer does not wane its truthfulness: it corresponds to reality regardless to his or her likes/dislikes or understanding/acceptance. The tension between Rutter’s worldview and work is his own doing; an intellectual wrestling match of a particular human being, but it doesn’t weaken the work or message found within the music.

In the end, it is the mind of the individual person that interprets common grace in a particular fashion: either for God’s glory (a theistic view) or man’s glory (a humanistic view). I choose God; Rutter may choose man (I’m only guessing here. He may, too, choose God). As I see it: music is a signpost of God’s grace; the harmonic tones are likened God’s opulence and order, with notes that ring out—a symphony for those who have ears to hear, filling our senses with His truth, beauty, and goodness.

I’m pleased that men such as Rutter -- though having trouble “signing on the dotted line” -- still can put the following lyrics to beautiful music: Blessed Lord Jesus, grant them eternal rest (Pie Jesus). And though I don’t think John Rutter “owns Christmas” -- as the reference in the opening paragraph, suggests, I’m sure glad he writes about the person who does -- Jesus of Nazareth.  My hope is that one day Rutter’s music will match the majesty of what his compositions contain.



About the writer: Brian Nixon is a writer, artist, musician, and clergyman. He’s a graduate of California State University, Stanislaus (BA), Veritas Seminary (MA), and is a Fellow at Oxford Graduate School (D.Phil.). To learn more, click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Nixon


+ Assist USA, Post Office Box 609, Lake Forest, California 92609, 949-380-1558, danjuma1@aol.com


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

6 December 2017



“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” [Ezekiel 33:6]

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:12]





Presbyterians Week Headlines



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New Christian Observer articles for December 2017 include:

-- Of “Hush” Funds Collusion: Christmas and “The Rule of Law” – by Christian Observer Contributing Editor David Brand;

-- Behind Every Transgression: Doubting the Goodness of God - by Christian Observer Contributing Editor David Brand;

-- The Self and Education – by Christian Observer Contributing Editor Dr. Joe Renfro;


Plus, links to ReVision devotionals on the Fellowship of Ailbe website by Christian Observer Contributing Editor T.M. Moore.





The Ninth Commandment continues to be mocked in spades by the mainstream media with a recent newspaper article equating Alabama Senatorial candidate Judge Roy Moore with disgraced former Vision Forum Ministries President Doug Phillips.

Phillips resigned in disgrace after years-long sexual relationship with a young woman the Phillips family employed as a nanny for the younger of their eight children. In 2008, Phillips and Moore along with Drs. Joseph C. Morecraft and Dr. Paul Jehle collaborated on Law and Government: An Introductory Study Course, a homeschool course. Additionally, Moore served as an instructor for a Vision Forum course for men.

A 3 December 2017 San Antonio Express-News article by Gilbert Garcia titled “Roy Moore Took Inspiration from Disgraced [San Antonio] Pastor” reports that Moore and Phillips collaborated on the above described project in 2008, then implies that Moore’s evidence-challenged and unproven alleged sexual misbehavior is morally equivalent to Phillips’ admitted sexual misconduct.

Additionally, the article makes a gratuitous reference to Elder William Einwechter of the Immanuel Free Reformed Church in Stevens, Pennsylvania, who contributed a lecture to the book described above, calling Einwechter a “teacher elder” and leaving the word “Free” out of the name of the church.


+ San Antonio Express-News, Avenue E & Third Street, San Antonio, Texas 78205, 210-250-3000, letters@express-news.net


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

15 November 2017



“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” [Ezekiel 33:6]

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:12]


Presbyterians Week Headlines



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New Christian Observer articles for November 2017 include:

-- Joy in Hope – by Christian Observer Contributing Editor David Brand - Mrs. Howard Taylor’s book Borden of Yale ’09 and the story of William Whiting Borden (1887-1913);

-- The Demonic Catechism Classes in Public Schoolingby Christian Observer Contributing Editor Dr. Joe Renfro – the demonic trinity of Islam, Communism, and Gender Confusion with which public school children are currently being catechized;

-- The Barren Fig Tree – by Christian Observer Associate Editor Dr. Chuck Baynard – Sermon outline based upon Psalm 69:1-36, Luke 13:6-9, and Psalm 80:1-19;

Plus, links to ReVision devotionals on the Fellowship of Ailbe website by Christian Observer Contributing Editor T.M. Moore.





A 13 November 2017 The Aquila Report article “In Memoriam: Morton Howison Smith, Faithful Servant of Christ’s Church” reports:

“Dr. Morton H. Smith, charter faculty member of Reformed Theological Seminary-Jackson (RTS), founder of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (GPTS), the first Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), and one of the world’s foremost authorities on American Presbyterian history and theology, passed into glory on November 12, 2017. He was 93 years old.”

Please read the rest of this article at:



+ The Aquila Report, c/o Reformed Churchmen Publications, Inc., Post Office Box 1164, Erie, Colorado 80516, daquila@theaquilareport.com

+ Presbyterian Church in America, 1700 North Brown Road, Suite 105, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30043, 678-825-1000, Fax: 678-825-1001, ac@pcanet.org



Wednesday, October 25, 2017

25 October 2017



“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” [Ezekiel 33:6]
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:12]



Presbyterians Week Headlines


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Art. I. Of God. -- We believe in the ever-living God, who is a Spirit and the Father of our spirits; infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being and perfections; the Lord Almighty, most just in all His ways, most glorious in holiness, unsearchable in wisdom and plenteous in mercy, full of love and compassion, and abundant in goodness and truth. We worship Him, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three persons in one Godhead, one in substance and equal in power and glory.

Art. II. Of Revelation. -- We believe that God is revealed in nature, in history, and in the heart of man; that He has made gracious and clearer revelations of Himself to Men of God who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit; and that Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, is the brightness of the Father's glory and the express image of His person. We gratefully receive the Holy Scriptures, given by inspiration, to be the faithful record of God's gracious revelations and the sure witness to Christ, as the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and life.

Art. III. Of the Eternal Purpose. -- We believe that the eternal, wise, holy, and loving purpose of God embraces all events, so that while the freedom of man is not taken away nor is God the author of sin, yet in His providence He makes all things work together in the fulfillment of His sovereign design and the manifestation of His glory; wherefore, humbly acknowledging the mystery of this truth, we trust in His protecting care and set our hearts to do His will.

Art. IV. Of the Creation. -- We believe that God is the creator, upholder, and governor of all things; that He is above all His works and in them all; and that He made man in His own image, meet for fellowship with Him, free and able to choose between good and evil, and forever responsible to his Maker and Lord.

Art. V. Of the Sin of Man. -- We believe that our first parents, being tempted, chose evil, and so fell away from God and came under the power of sin, the penalty of which is eternal death; and we confess that, by reason of this disobedience, we and all men are born with a sinful nature, that we have broken God's law, and that no man can be saved but by His grace.

Art. VI. Of the Grace of God. -- We believe that God, out of His great love for the world, has given His only begotten Son to be the Saviour of sinners, and in the Gospel freely offers His all-sufficient salvation to all men. And we praise Him for the unspeakable grace wherein He has provided a way of eternal life for all mankind.

Art. VII. Of Election. -- We believe that God from the beginning, in His own good pleasure, gave to His Son a people, an innumerable multitude, chosen in Christ unto holiness, service, and salvation; we believe that all who come to years of discretion can receive this salvation only through faith and repentance; and we believe that all who die in infancy, and all others given by the Father to the Son who are beyond the reach of the outward means of grace, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who works when and where and how He pleases.

Art. VIII. Of our Lord Jesus Christ. -- We believe in and confess the Lord Jesus Christ, the only Mediator between God and Man, who being the Eternal Son of God, for us men and for our salvation became truly man, being conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary, without sin; unto us He has revealed the Father, by His Word and Spirit making known the perfect will of God; for us He fulfilled all righteousness and satisfied eternal justice, offering Himself a perfect sacrifice upon the cross to take away the sin of the world; for us He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, where He ever intercedes for us; in our hearts, joined to Him by faith, He abides forever as the indwelling Christ; over us, and over all for us, He rules; wherefore, unto Him we render love, obedience, and adoration as our Prophet, Priest, and King forever.

Art. IX. Of Faith and Repentance. -- We believe that God pardons our sins and accepts us as righteous solely on the ground of the perfect obedience and sacrifice of Christ received by faith alone; and that this saving faith is always accompanied by repentance, wherein we confess and forsake our sins with full purpose of, and endeavour after, a new obedience to God.

Art. X. Of the Holy Spirit. -- We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who moves everywhere upon the hearts of men, to restrain them from evil and to incite them unto good, and whom the Father is ever willing to give unto all who ask Him. We believe that He has spoken by holy men of God in making known His truth to men for their salvation; that, through our exalted Saviour, He was sent forth in power to convict the world of sin, to enlighten men's minds in the knowledge of Christ, and to persuade and enable them to obey the call of the Gospel; and that He abides with the Church, dwelling in every believer as the spirit of truth, of holiness, and of comfort.

Art. XI. Of the New Birth and the New Life. -- We believe that the Holy Spirit only is the author and source of the new birth; we rejoice in the new life, wherein He is given unto us as the seal of sonship in Christ, and keeps loving fellowship with us, helps us in our infirmities, purges us from our faults, and ever continues His transforming work in us until we are perfected in the likeness of Christ, in the glory of the life to come.

Art. XII. Of the Resurrection and the Life to Come. -- We believe that in the life to come the spirits of the just, at death made free from sin, enjoy immediate communion with God and the vision of His glory; and we confidently look for the general resurrection at the last day, when the bodies of those who sleep in Christ shall be fashioned in the likeness of the glorious body of their Lord, with whom they shall live and reign forever.

Art. XIII. Of the Law of God. -- We believe that the law of God, revealed in the Ten Commandments, and move clearly disclosed in the words of Christ, is forever established in truth and equity, so that no human work shall abide except it be built on this foundation. We believe that God requires of every man to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with his God; and that only through this harmony with the will of God shall be fulfilled that brotherhood of man wherein the kingdom of God is to be made manifest.

Art. XIV. Of the Church and the Sacraments. -- We believe in the Holy Catholic Church of which Christ is the only Head. We believe that the Church Invisible consists of all the redeemed, and that the Church Visible embraces all who profess the true religion together with their children. We receive to our communion all who profess and obey Christ as their divine Lord and Saviour, and we hold fellowship with all believers in Him. We receive the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, alone divinely established and committed to the Church, together with the Word, as means of grace; made effectual only by the Holy Spirit, and always to be used by Christians with prayer and praise to God.

Art. XV. Of the Last Judgment. -- We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ will come again in glorious majesty to judge the world and to make a final separation between the righteous and the wicked. The wicked shall receive the eternal award of their sins, and the Lord will manifest the glory of His mercy in the salvation of His people and their entrance upon the full enjoyment of eternal life.

Art. XVI. Of Christian Service and the Final Triumph. -- We believe that it is our duty, as servants and friends of Christ, to do good unto all men, to maintain the public and private worship of God, to hallow the Lord's Day, to preserve the sanctity of the family, to uphold the just authority of the state, and so to live in all honesty, purity, and charity, that our lives shall testify of Christ. We joyfully receive the word of Christ, bidding His people go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, and declare unto them that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, and that He will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. We confidently trust that by His power and grace, all His1 enemies and ours shall be finally overcome, and the kingdoms of this world be made the kingdom of our God and His Christ. In this faith we abide; in this service we labor; and in this hope we pray. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.


Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1902 



Thursday, October 5, 2017

4 October 2017





“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” [Ezekiel 33:6]
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:12]


Presbyterians Week Headlines




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New Christian Observer articles for October 2017 include:

-- Joy in Hope – by Christian Observer Contributing Editor David Brand – The joy in hope of missionary William Whiting Borden (1887-1913);

-- Education and Cancerous Ideologies - Christian Observer Contributing Editor Dr. Joe Renfro – “There are many ideologies bombarding our world and our nation at this time in history with many of them being ultimately cancerous to our society with much of it taking place or related with to education;”


Plus, links to ReVision devotionals on the Fellowship of Ailbe website by Christian Observer Contributing Editor T.M. Moore.





I am personally appalled at the unethical and really unconstitutional (in the manner the founders wanted) that the millions of dollars from Republicans around the nation would have their donations deferred to the Alabama race for U.S. Senator.  Our nation was established on the principle of local elections by local citizens. Federal-level insiders should not attempt to overwhelm any state election. Alabama-registered voters should and will decide.  But President trump and especially Mitch McConnell should not redirect donations to the Republican party toward personal favorites in local elections. Alabama should decide their next senator.

I am personally appalled at the unethical and really unconstitutional (in the manner the founders wanted) that the millions of dollars from Republicans around the nation would have their donations deferred to the Alabama race for U.S. Senator.  Our nation was established on the principle of local elections by local citizens. Federal-level insiders should not attempt to overwhelm any state election. Alabama-registered voters should and will decide.  But President trump and especially Mitch McConnell should not redirect donations to the Republican party toward personal favorites in local elections. Alabama should decide their next senator.

Please everyone in the USA seeing this, please pray for the man who has proven himself over years of service in civil government. I urge you to appeal to the Lord for His Divine Providence to turn the tide to Judge Roy Moore to serve Alabama, and incidentally all of us In America.

—Gerald Christian Nordskog


+ Nordskog Publishing, 4562 Westinghouse Suite E, Ventura, California 93003, 805-642-2070, Fax: 805-642-1862, Contact Page


An 18 September 2017 The Times article by Marc Horne titled “Struggling Boys’ Brigade to Welcome All Faiths” reports that the traditionally Protestant Boys Brigade is now “welcoming atheists, Catholics, Muslims and girls in a bid to widen its appeal and stop numbers from dwindling further.”

Boys Brigade director for Scotland John Sharp is quoted as saying:

“In an increasingly secular world we are also open to people with no faith.”

“Most of our groups would be attached to the Church of Scotland but we are not a part of the Kirk as an organisation and I think that’s an important point to stress.”


+ The Times, Times House, 1 Pennington Street, London E98 1TT, England, 44-0-20-7782-5971, pressoffice@thetimes.co.uk

+ Church of Scotland, 121 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 4YN, Scotland, 0131-225-5722





Wednesday, September 20, 2017

20 September 2017



“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” [Ezekiel 33:6]


“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:12]


Presbyterians Week Headlines







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The Reformation 500 Commemoration 1517-2017 is scheduled for 30 September 2017 at the Lebanon Presbyterian Church, 29 Lebanon Circle, Goshen, Virginia 24439.

The schedule is as follows, Eastern Daylight Time:

  9:30  Welcome and Coffee
10:00  Historian Bill Potter on Overview of Reformation
10:30  Questions
10:45  Dr. Ron Rumburg on John Wycliffe, the "Morning Star"
11:30  Questions
12:00  Lunch
12:45  Dr. Roger Schultz on the Reformation "solas"
  1:30  Questions
  1:45  Bill Potter on John Knox in Scotland
  2:30  Questions
  2:45  Close

Please RSVP for lunch to Carolyn Byram (byramcarolyn@gmail.com).

Note – Bill Potter leads heritage tours in Scotland. Ron Rumburg is a pastor and writer of many books. Roger Schultz is Dean of Colleges at Liberty University and a history professor.

For further information, please contact Linwood G. Wilkes, Pastor, at 540-430-2407 or at the church at 540-997-0040.





The Reverend Imre Andrew Bertalan, 67, passed away while surrounded by loved ones on August 29, 2017 at Latrobe Hospital in Latrobe, Pennsylvania after a brief illness. At the time of his death, he was the Executive Director of Bethlen Communities in Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

Rev. Bertalan was born on October 4, 1949 in New Brunswick, NJ to Margaret Kosa Bertalan and Reverend Dr. Imre G. Bertalan. Imre grew up in Passaic and New Brunswick, NJ, where his parents and maternal grandparents, Margaret Blum Kosa and Rev. Andrew Kosa served Hungarian-American church congregations. He graduated from New Brunswick High School in 1967 (go Zebras!). After high school, Imre attended his beloved Rutgers University for his BA and received his Master of Divinity degree at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1977.

Throughout his life, Imre was deeply dedicated to the American-Hungarian community. He served as a community organizer in the historically Hungarian Birmingham neighborhood in Toledo, OH and was a leading figure in the American-Hungarian communities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

A devoted pastor, Imre served Hungarian Reformed congregations in Toledo, OH, Allen Park, MI, and Beaver Falls, PA. In 1999 he accepted the role of Executive Director at Bethlen Communities in Ligonier, PA where he joyfully and faithfully served until the time of his death.

Imre met the love of his life, Magdalene (Baba) J. Ujvagi, and they married in 1980 in Toledo, OH. They were happily married for 37 years and together lovingly raised five children.

Imre is survived by his wife, Baba and his children, Sára (Jeff), Magdi (Jose), Juli (Dylan), Gitti (Brian), and Imre. Survivors also include his sisters, Lillian Bertalan (Dr. Michael De Petrillo) and M. Sarah Bertalan, and five grandchildren, Vince, Alma, János, Jaxson, and Mateo. Imre was preceded in death by his parents, Margaret Kosa Bertalan and the Rev. Imre G. Bertalan.

Imre touched many lives with his gentle and encouraging demeanor. He will be greatly missed by all who were blessed to know him. Those who sought his counsel in times of stress or trouble will always remember the comfort of hearing him say, "Everything will be alright."

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. in Calvin United Church of Christ, Toledo, on September 23, 2017 where the family will greet friends beginning at 9 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to Bethlen Communities, Ligonier, Pennsylvania, Calvin United Church of Christ, or the Hungarian Club of Toledo, Ohio. Assisting with arrangements by Eggleston Meinert & Pavley Funeral Home (www.egglestonmeinert.com).


+ Calvin United Church of Christ, 1946 Bakewell Street, Toledo, Ohio 43605,   419-691-3033

+ Calvin Synod, C/O Rt. Rev. Koloman K. Ludwig, General Secretary, 7319 Tapper Avenue, Hammond, Indiana 46324, 219-931-4321, kkludwig@aol.com



Contact: Dr. Frank Wright, 954-334-4343, F.Wright@djkm.org

ARDEN, N.C., Sept. 7, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ -- Evangelism Explosion International today announced the transfer of its Capitol Hill-based evangelism and Christian Statesmanship outreach, the D. James Kennedy Center for Christian Statesmanship (CCS), to its sister ministry, Coral Ridge Ministries Media (CRMM), the parent organization of D. James Kennedy Ministries.

The organizational realignment, jointly approved by the Boards of Evangelism Explosion and CRMM—organizations founded by the late D. James Kennedy, Ph.D.—takes place after a detailed review into how best to preserve, expand and amplify the Center for Christian Statesmanship's historic mission of training future generations of Christian statesmen.

"We've always had the welfare of the Center for Christian Statesmanship at heart," said Dr. John B. Sorensen, President of EE. "Because the mission of CCS is so critically important to the welfare of our nation," he added, "we undertook an extensive examination of what leadership structure, what organizational structure, would best serve CCS's future ministry prospects on Capitol Hill. The boards of both EE and CRMM concurred that those prospects would be best served back under CRMM."

Established in 1995 by CRMM, the Center for Christian Statesmanship is a Capitol Hill-based Christian outreach engaged in training and equipping present and future political leaders in evangelism and statesmanship. It came under the organizational umbrella of EE in 2007.

Dr. Frank Wright, Chief Executive Officer of CRMM, who served as the founding Executive Director of the Center for Christian Statesmanship, endorsed the move and praised EE's stewardship of CCS since 2007:

"Each of the many ministries founded by Dr. D. James Kennedy have a profound sense of being part of a family of outreaches that were an expression of Dr. Kennedy's love for Christ and his love for America. Nowhere was that family understanding better expressed than when Evangelism Explosion, at a point of great need, assumed a leadership responsibility for the D. James Kennedy Center for Christian Statesmanship. For the last ten years, under its visionary president Dr. John Sorensen, EE has faithfully and diligently upheld Dr. Kennedy's vision of being a powerful witness for Christ and equipping present and future statesmen."

New CCS Outreach to Dramatically Expand Mission

The organizational transition comes at a time when the Center for Christian Statesmanship embarks on an ambitious new phase of ministry engagement. The forthcoming launch of the D. James Kennedy Center for Christian Leadership (CCL), a new CCS outreach, will dramatically expand the historic mission of CCS to train the next generation of Christian statesmen. The new Center for Christian Leadership, Dr. Wright explained, seeks to train 300 leaders per year for each of the next 10 years.

"The Center for Christian Leadership will address the deficit of preparation for Biblical cultural engagement—especially for leadership service in government and the public policy arena," Wright said. "Its training programs will prepare and equip men and women who have a wholehearted commitment to serve Christ by engaging the influential institutions of culture with a well-grounded Biblical world and life view."

Looking to a new era of cultural engagement, the Center for Christian Leadership is led by its president Dr. Linda W. Smith, with the Honorable John Hostettler continuing as Senior Executive Director. Dr. Sorensen will have a continuing relationship with the Center for Christian Statesmanship, serving as a CCL faculty member and as Chairman of the CCS Board of Advisors.

"I am thrilled at God's providence in providing this new (old) home for CCS," said Dr. Sorensen. "I believe that under the wise and seasoned leadership of Dr. Wright and the CRMM Board, the impact of CCS in equipping leaders to share Jesus and bring the mind of Christ to American culture will only expand and grow. And for that I thank God."


+ Evangelism Explosion, 10 Misty Valley Parkway, Arden, North Carolina 28704, 888-567-3543, Fax: 828-687-7494, Contact Page




Date: Friday, 8 September 2017

Author: Rev. David M Blunt

 (On 31 August 2017, the Western Isles Council approved a planning application for the creation of a mosque in Stornoway,[Isle of Lewis, Scotland]. Following this decision, the Presbytery of the Outer Hebrides issued a press release in which they indicated their concerns regarding this development. The text of the press release is below.)

7 September 2017

Mosque in Stornoway

Last Thursday, the Comhairle granted planning permission for the setting-up of a mosque in the centre of Stornoway. The Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) Presbytery of the Outer Hebrides regard this as a most unwelcome development. Having made a representation on the matter to the Council prior to the determination of the application, we now wish to state publicly the reasons why we object to the creation of a mosque in Stornoway.

Our main concern is with the religion of Islam itself. If a mosque ever opens, Islam will be able to promote itself in our midst through public worship, despite its beliefs and practices being alien to the religious convictions of the vast majority of our community. Islam is wholly inconsistent with the teaching of the Word of God in Holy Scripture, which is the only rule to direct us. It is opposed to the Christian religion as confessed by the Church historically since apostolic times, and as established by law in our land since the Reformation.

Fundamentally, Islam utterly denies the divine Person and redeeming work of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to satisfy the justice of God, that He might grant forgiveness to sinners. Since Islam has no Saviour, it offers no hope to guilty and hell-deserving sinners, for we cannot save ourselves by our own works. The Bible declares that, having paid the price for the sins of His people, Christ rose triumphantly from the dead, ascended bodily to heaven, and is now seated at God’s right hand. From there He will return to this world at the end of time as the infallible Judge of us all.

Islam is also incompatible with, and indeed a threat to, our religious and civil liberties, as is very evident from the situation which prevails in those countries where it dominates. The oppression of Christians and the reduced status of women under Islam are well-known, as is the willingness of some of its followers to spread its influence by violent means.

It is a sobering fact that in recent years many militant Islamists or ‘jihadists’  have entered European countries under the guise of being refugees and migrants, when their real intention has been to wage war on the West on behalf of their religion; we are witnessing the tragic results of this deception in the form of regular acts of carnage, including in the UK. We have also seen young men born and brought up in our own country who have been radicalised in mosques and have turned against the society which has hosted them.

We stress that we have nothing against individual Muslims, least of all any who have been forced to flee their homelands because of persecution and suffering. Our desire and prayer for those who have made their way to Scotland and other parts of the UK is that they would hear the gospel of Christ and find the way of salvation, coming to know the love, grace and forgiveness of God.

Finally, we urge the Lord’s people to make this situation a matter of earnest prayer, asking the Almighty that in His kindness He will grant that no mosque will ever appear in Stornoway. Man may propose, but God always disposes. Above and beyond this particular issue, we need to plead with the Lord that in His mercy He would enable us to turn from our sinful and foolish course as a nation, and return to Him. Let us take our confidence from the Bible, which says, “Is any thing too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14).





The Kingship of Christ by David Silvesides

Does Christ’s Kingship have a bearing on domestic, church, and national life?  On how we are governed, witness, and worship? The topic of Christ’s kingship goes to the heart of Christian hope in the present Kingdom and the fullness that will confirm our faith.  This book by Rev. David Silversides will encourage devotion in the service of Christ the King.
The fact that many people either don’t know or understand that there is a Man, the Son of Man, in heaven who is exercising His absolute rule over everything, is astonishing. That many Christians are largely ignorant of the nature, extent, and goals of Jesus’ mediatorial Kingship is surely not healthy, either for the church or the nation. David Silversides knows this Son of Man, and in this booklet he clearly and succinctly outlines Christ’s rule over all things. Reading it will both inform and challenge.

– Andrew Quigley, minister of Airdrie Reformed Presbyterian Church

In a day when there is such ignorance and neglect of the Kingship of Christ we are deeply indebted to David Silversides for this thorough presentation of the Scriptural teaching. True love for Christ will be seen in submission to His Kingship in every sphere – the individual, the family, the church, and the nation. What is most enlightening and challenging is the way the author shows the extent of its implications in each sphere. May it lead many to cry again ‘Thy Kingdom come’.

– John J. Murray, retired minister of The Free Church of Scotland (Continuing)

David Silversides is from Gateshead in the north of England and studied at the Reformed Theological College, Belfast. He has been minister of Loughbrickland Reformed Presbyterian Church in Northern Ireland since 1988.
AVAILABLE FROM COVENANTER BOOKS GB£4.95


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The Trinity Foundation has recently posted its latest Trinity Review, "What Is It to Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?" written by Luke Miner. Mr. Miner raises many important questions about faith / belief and then looks at Scripture to answer those questions. Luke Miner writes at scripturalism.com, and the article is taken from his web site and used with permission. Please visit the web site or click on the links to read the latest Trinity Review.

In addition, our latest book, Clark and His Correspondents: Selected Letters of Gordon H. Clark, edited by Doug Douma, is now available as an eBook. It is available for US$10 as a download.


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