Presbyterians Week Headlines
On the occasion of the approaching 175th anniversary of of , , (FPCJ) Senior Pastor the Rev. Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III wrote the following during the week of 1 April 2012:
Exactly 175 years ago, this coming Lord's Day, April 8, 2012, the First Presbyterian Church of Jackson was organized. It was on Saturday afternoon, April 8, 1837, that the Rev. Peter Donan, our founding pastor, met with four people: Mrs. Margaret E. Mayson, Mrs. Susan Patton, and John Robb and his wife, Marion. The organizational meeting was held in “the Old State House,” Mississippi's first capitol, a small two-story structure on the northeast corner of East Capitol and North President Streets. That means we are celebrating our dodransbicentennial this month (for those of you who like the Latin titles of anniversaries!).
Mr. Donan had been born, we think, in Broughton Mains, Wigtownshire, Scotland, in 1806. He was educated in Nashville, Tennessee, attended Princeton from 1827-1830 (where he studied under the great theologian Charles Hodge and the justly revered pastor-professor Samuel Miller at Princeton Seminary), was licensed and ordained in New York in 1830, became a stated supply pastor in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1831, and in New Orleans in 1832, before becoming the pastor of the Mt. Salus Church, in Clinton, Mississippi from 1833 to 1836.
When Mr. Donan came over in the spring of 1837 to start a new Presbyterian work in the young State Capital of Mississippi, he (and his original, tiny little flock) could scarcely have dreamt what their humble start would begin and become.
Since 1837, that little handful has grown into a large congregation of souls, and has done so through the direct experience of plague, war, displacement, depression, civil strife of the deepest kind, dramatic social and demographic change, theological and denominational controversy and more-not to mention the personal trials and toils of individual members and families. It is wholly appropriate then that we proclaim "The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad" and "Hither by Thy help we've come."
As Brister [H. Ware, the Rev., FPCJ Minister of Pastoral Care] reminded us on Sunday evening [1 April 2012], we really have a responsibility to "remember" our past. Not so that we can look back nostalgically and pine for the good ole days, but so that we can remember how the Lord has spared us, forgiven us, protected us, guided us, preserved us, sustained us and blessed us. And so that we can look forward realizing that the Lord has blessed us in order that we might be a blessing, and hence we are under a blessed obligation to serve.
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Commentary by Dr. Michael A. Milton
I was appalled. A sign in front of a Baptist church in Charlotte openly advocates its opposition to Proposition One in North Carolina. The proposition, which is due to go to the ballot in NC on May 8, 2012, reads:
“Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. .”
One familiar with the Bible's unequivocal teaching that God ordained marriage is solely between one man and one woman, as well as the Bible's condemnation of adultery, fornication, homosexual acts, and incest, might be confused by this Baptist church's position.
The fact is there are a host of others, a variety of more liberal denominations and religious groups, now coming out to pronounce that Proposition One in North Carolina is evidence of hatred and intolerance by those who preach the sanctity of biblical marriage. However, radical groups, including churches and pastors, have that right, according to our Constitution.
Now let me be clear: I think they are wrong, and are pushing our nation onto the brink of self destruction. They are fulfilling St. Paul's epistle to the Romans, that those who have denied God and God's Word, ultimately end up codifying that which God abhors.
Yet, although I think they are wrong in their assertion, I say again, they have every right to speak. This episode of churches speaking into the State's affairs is lacking in one thing: the shrill voices of the separation of Church and State groups.
Where are the famous "separation" activists of the world on this occasion? The undeniable evidence suggests that as long as churches advocate radical, left wing politics, they are safe from the groups who would scream "Separation of Church and State." If the message reflects left wing political positions activist clergy have no fear of putting their message on a church sign on a busy street in the state's largest city.
Ah, but let a congregation—or a minister—speak into the culture from a conservative Biblical position, that sodomy is ungodly, should be condemned as sin, and that believers have a God given responsibility to take a stand for righteousness in the public square, you will hear the familiar cries of "crossing the line" of politics and religion.
When the left wing groups come out against the public proclamation of conservative biblical positions, many local lay leaders will cower beneath the attacks of Atheist groups and liberal Protestant groups as they threaten to sue them to strip them of tax exemption and will have to tell their minister to "stay away from politics." Sadly, for too long, too many have done just that.
Yet speaking the truth of God from His Word into the public arena of our nation is not only biblical and with great historical precedent in America, it is critically needed at this time, when the sanctity of marriage in North Carolina needs the same constitutional protection that 30 other states already have.
Perhaps the conspicuous absence of Separation of Church and State outcries in the debate on Proposition One in NC means that religious liberty is alive and well and that gospel ministers, in fact, have the right to apply their understanding of Scripture to culture without threat. Or maybe it just means that the unmolested voicing of one's position publicly is applied to all groups but evangelical, pro family, pro life, Catholic and Protestant voices. We will see.
By the way, consider this commentary my own "yard sign" for the support of biblical truth that marriage is ordained by God, sustained by God, and regulated by God's Word. That means marriage is between a man and a woman. There can be no lines of separation there.
Michael Anthony Milton (Ph.D., University of Wales) serves as the chancellor/CEO elect of Reformed Theological Seminary (one of the largest accredited seminaries in the country), a U.S. Army chaplain (instructing at the Armed Forces Chaplain School) and the James M. Baird Jr. chair of pastoral theology at RTS/Charlotte. He is an author, songwriter, singer, ordained minister, former pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga, Tenn., and he previously served as the president of RTS/Charlotte. Dr. Milton also hosts a national Bible teaching television program, Faith For Living, reaching 70,000,000 potential households through DirecTV, Legacy TV network, YouTube and iTunes. It is also available as a free app in the Android and iPhone markets. The Faith for Living radio program is broadcast on several stations in the southeast. For 16 years he served in the business world and has also served as a top-secret Navy linguist.
U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama for twenty years attended the () in , , under the ministry of the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright. Though Dr. Wright is now retired from the Trinity pulpit, he spoke several times the week of 1 April 2012 at a week-long revival held at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Charleston, West Virginia.
A 9 April 2012 article by Billy Hallowell in titled “” reports that Dr. Wright raised a few eyebrows with some of the things that he preached.
In a message on John 18, Wright said that Jesus and Pontius Pilate were speaking “two different languages,” and that “the Italian army — Roman soldiers” were “occupying Palestinian territory.”
Dr. Wright said of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas that though Justice Thomas “looks like” them, Justice Thomas is “worshiping some other God.”
Dr. Wright said: “The god of racists is not the God of righteousness. The god of the greedy is not the God of grace. The god of Wall Street is not the God of Main Street. Those are two different gods and I ain’t talking about Allah and Yahweh. Those are the same names for the same God.”
Dr. Wright continued: “I am in the text. Pilate was European…Jesus was not European. They live in a world shaped by European standards of beauty, shaped by Moynihan studies, shaped by bell curves — they live in a different world from your world all together. They are ignorant and arrogant and these are graduates of Harvard and Yale setting policies over you based on the stupidity of David Hume…Voltaire, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Thomas Jefferson — a pedophile — Theodore Roosevelt and a racist Supreme Court.”
Dr. Wright added: “The ignorance and arrogance of white supremacy have the movers and shapers of world policy living in a different world from people of color all together. And the sooner you realize that the better off you’re gonna be.”