Wednesday, May 27, 2015

27 May 2015

“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

[1] Two South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church Pastors on Trial for Their Lives in the Islamic Republic of Sudan

[2] World Renew Disaster Response Services Set to Respond to Texas Floods

[3] A Wish Granted: A Preview of the Erskine Board Meeting

[4] Majority of PCUSA Presbyteries Approve Directory for Worship Amendment 14-F Allowing Ministers to Perform Homosexual Marriages


[1] Two South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church Pastors on Trial for Their Lives in the Islamic Republic of Sudan

A 27 May 2015 The Christian Post article by Stoyan Zaimov titled “Two Presbyterian Pastors Face Death Penalty in Sudan, Persecuted for Their Christian Faith” reports that the Rev. Yat Michael and the Rev. Peter Yen Reith of the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SSPEC) (sister church of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church) are on trial for their lives for charges of espionage and blasphemy in the Islamic-majority Republic of Sudan.

Commenting upon the trial of the two pastors, SSPEC pastor the Rev. Tut Kony said:

“This is not 'something new' for our church. Almost all pastors have gone to jail under the government of Sudan. We have been stoned and beaten. This is their habit to pull down the church. We are not surprised. This is the way they deal with the church.”

+ The Christian Post, National Press Building, 529 14th Street Northwest, Suite 420, Washington DC 20045, 202-347-7734,

+ Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church, Post Office Box 57, Khartoum, Sudan, 249-11-776-807

[2] World Renew Disaster Response Services Set to Respond to Texas Floods

After nearly a foot of rain fell on Houston and nearby parts of Texas on Monday night, World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS) has deployed an early response team that was in the area to begin to make critical contacts, assess flooding, and gauge damage to homes and businesses in affected areas.

“We are in contact with government officials, community representatives, and other voluntary organizations that respond to disasters,” says World Renew DRS Director Ronald Willett. “As the flood water recedes, we will be working to coordinate within the response. We’ll focus on reaching out to those who are elderly, disabled, live in poverty, and are without insurance, or are otherwise unable to recover from a disaster like this on their own.”

In its current Spring Storms 2015 response, World Renew DRS is assisting homeowners after an April tornado in Fairdale, Illinois, and two tornadoes that hit Moore and Tulsa, Oklahoma, in March 2015. Just two years ago, a devastating EF-5 tornado hit Moore, killing twenty-four people and injuring 377 more.

This month’s heavy rainfall in Oklahoma and Texas creates a different type of threat, Willett says.

The national weather service issued a flash flood emergency when 11 inches of rain fell in Houston during Memorial Day alone, bringing the total rainfall in some parts of Texas to twenty inches since May 1. Rivers, spillways, reservoirs, and dams are at flood level in Hayes County, Corpus Christi, South Texas, and along the Oklahoma-Texas border. Some homeowners in Wichita were evacuated last week, and about 100 homes in Nueces County were cut off by a release of water from the Wesley Seale Dam. In all, more than 1,000 homes are thought to be under water in the storm area, thirty-one people have died and many more are missing.

In addition to early response coordination, World Renew DRS is exploring the need to deploy rapid response volunteers into the flooded areas as soon as they are accessible. These initial volunteers help homeowners by clearing trees and debris from their property, providing basic roof repairs, and checking on the safety of residents in their homes. More rain is expected in Texas later this week after a four-year drought.

“We will be sending a second early response team next week,” Willett says. “These will teams provide contact points with residents and representatives as the response progresses in Texas and Oklahoma.”
Give today to support World Renew's response to the floods in Texas and Oklahoma:

Or mail your check, marked "Spring Storms 2015", to...

World Renew US
1700 28th Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508
Tel: 1-616-224-0740

World Renew Canada
3475 Mainway
PO Box 5070 STN LCD
Burlington, ON L7R 3Y8
Tel: 1-800-730-3490

World Renew is a Christian non-profit organization based in the U.S. and Canada and affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church in North America. World Renew has more than fifty years of experience in development, disaster response, and justice education with people who live in poverty. World Renew is a member of InterAction, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, and the Canadian Council for Christian Charities.

+ Christian Reformed Church in North America, 2850 Kalamazoo Avenue Southeast, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49560, 616-241-1691, Fax: 616-224-0803

[3] A Wish Granted: A Preview of the Erskine Board Meeting

Last year (the 2013-14 school year) Erskine ended the year (1) with two gay student-athletes outing themselves on the internet, (2) with coaches buying student-athletes at eighty-percent-plus discount rates, (3) with a pitiful and failed attempt by certain members of the board to hire a Baptist minister as president of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church’s college and seminary, (4) with the chairman of the board resigning in a huff at the May meeting of the board, (5) with a financial crisis that would lead SACS to place Erskine on “probation” status, and, (6) positively, with the hiring of Dr. Paul Kooistra as president.

The 2014-15 year began (1) with a gay Erskine student announcing his intention to marry his gay partner this summer in Charleston, South Carolina, (2) with a declaration of financial exigency, (3) with deep cuts in faculty and staff positions and steep reductions in salaries, (3) with a reshuffling of the seminary, (4) with serious questions as to the viability of the seminary - especially, the Due West campus, (5) with the elimination of the modern language and Bible departments at the college, (6) with Erskine being officially placed on “probation” status by SACS in December, and (7) with a sound Biblical statement on human sexuality that captured and continues to draw national and international notoriety.

The 2014-15 year ends (1) with a college graduating class of only eighty-nine May grads and twelve others for January and August (representing a retention rate of fifty percent), (2) with a seminary graduating only sixteen MDiv students from the Columbia campus and none from the Due West campus, (3) with the majority of the faculty looking for positions elsewhere (and, at this point, I know that quite a few faculty and staff members are leaving voluntarily), (4) with a lawsuit by former Erskine professor Bill Crenshaw finally coming to trial in June, (5) with the strong possibility of other lawsuits being filed by disenchanted former faculty members, (6) with total revenue presently less than last year (in spite of an outstanding Annual Fund campaign), (7) with a financial crisis still looming, with cuts of at least $800,000 mandated by the board and SACS this summer, (8) with Erskine still under the Damoclean sword of loss of accreditation by SACS, (9) with the homosexual controversy continuing in a May 21, 2015, internet article in Sportsnsite (, and, (10) with President Kooistra after a year still not having communicated to the ARP Church and the Erskine community his vision for Erskine College & Seminary.

According to the official calculations by the development people at Erskine, currently, there are about 1,450 donors to the Annual Fund. Remarkably, only eight percent (about 880) of 11,000 alums give a dollar or more to Erskine annually. The secular alums say the reason alums do not contribute to Erskine is because they are firmly opposed to the ARP Church’s ownership of Erskine and insistence that Erskine College & Seminary reflect the evangelical and Reformed values of the ARP Church. I say the reason so many do not contribute is because they saw through “olde Erskine’s” hypocrisy. They saw the deceptions up close. Recruits were told Erskine was a “Christian college” and when they arrived on campus they realized they were the victims of “bait-and-switch” recruitment tactics. So, they got their degrees and did not look back or remember. And, for the inquisitive, this is what I have been told by many alums.

The long and hard-earned academic reputation of Erskine College as a top shelf liberal arts college has been lost, and Erskine is now a jock college where most students are athletes. Secular alums and others say they will not recommend Erskine to their children because the price-to-value ratio is not there academically. Belhaven College, Covenant College, Anderson University, and North Greenville University have become the college choices of many ARPs who are looking for a college where the academic and spiritual are conjoined. An ARP minister who is an Erskine grad told me last week that he is sending his child to Furman University instead of Erskine because (and, with his permission, I quote) “I am not going to send my child to a college that is half-assed academically.”

The rumor in Due West is that through the EC Foundation the elite of “olde Erskine” are campaigning to get back on the board by promising large gifts to President Kooistra. The rumor is that former board member Dr. Richard Taylor is leading this charge. And, yes, this is the Richard Taylor who, while a board member, sued the ARP Church in secular court after the “Snow Synod” and cost the ARP Church over $100,000 in legal fees. But where was the largess of these people in the past? Erskine has been in financial distress for years. I am reminded of Proverbs 25.14, which reads, “Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give.” Indeed, that well describes these folks! Indeed, they want back on the Board, and they are arrogant enough to think they can buy their way back.

Witness the following Erskine video from 1987: This was posted on the “Alumni for Erskine” Facebook site. This posting was provided by Mr. Buddy Ferguson, Director of Annual Fund and Alumni Affairs at Erskine. Clearly, his loyalties are with “olde Erskine.”

The secular alums want Dr. Kooistra and the members of the board to see this video ( This video reveals what “olde Erskine” was like. Well, Dr. Kooistra and all the members of the board are on the mailing list of ARPTalk. The wish of the secular alums of “olde Erskine” has been granted!! But do they really believe this video that paints Erskine as a Christianless college will impress a man who is a committed evangelical Christian? Richard Taylor and the elite of the EC Foundation who succeeded in making Erskine a Christianless college during their time at Erskine do not have a large enough bowl of green pottage to buy the soul of the Paul Kooistra who taught me at RTS/Jackson in 1976!

Well, did you watch the “olde Erskine” video?

What a failure for and distressing caricature of a Christian college!

I think the end of the video speaks volumes for the vacuous nature of “olde Erskine.” The video ends with three minutes of blank screen and static for sound, signifying the emptiness and the intellectual and spiritual incoherence of “olde Erskine.”

I well remember Bruce Ezell’s presidency as an ineptocracy. He had no use for the ARP Church and evangelical Christianity. Interestingly, in the video, he does not describe Erskine as a Christian college; rather, as far as he was concerned, Erskine was no more than “affiliated with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.” At Ezell’s Erskine, the God of the Bible was absent. His departure was not pleasant. He did not have a presidential portrait in the Founders’ Room until Randy Ruble commissioned Robert Wilson, Jr. to paint one at the beginning of Ruble’s presidency. This was more than fifteen years after Ezell’s departure. The board he served did not commission a portrait and no one on the board volunteered. Indeed, not many appreciated his stewardship.

The description of Erskine in the video as a “family” (and by other secular alums) is getting tiresome. Like many of you, I do not care for the word “family.” I have attended too many family reunions. Too many of those characters are crazy, strange, and need to be medicated, institutionalized, or imprisoned for everyone’s sake. My response is this: “Deliver me from family.” And, having communicated with many of the “olde Erskine family,” I say the same thing with regard to them. I do not understand their obsession with Hogwallopism (and, if you want to know what Hogwallopism is, see O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Pete Hogwallop’s exchange with Ulysses Everett McGill just before the baptism scene).

I am more than amused and amazed that former board member and former Erskine Alumni President Steve Southwell continues to post on the “Alumni for Erskine” site. He is cheeky. Are the secular alums aware that he voted in favor of the recent changes to Erskine’s bylaws? These changes weaken the alumni’s influence on the board. I wonder how he explains his support of the changes - or, perhaps, his unwillingness to oppose the changes!!

The slate for the board meeting this week is full. Obviously, the pivotal item is the new budget. As noted above, a cut of $800,000 is necessary in order for the Erskine budge to reach the five percent draw on the endowment mandated by SACS.

Academic programs have been cut to the bone. As noted above, the modern language and Bible departments have been eliminated. The music program is crippled with the loss of key faculty members. One can only wonder what the summer will bring!! Is the goal for programs to be driven by adjunct teachers, and will such a plan enhance Erskine as a stellar teaching institution? In the past, the language on the floor of General Synod is for Erskine to be known as “an outstanding Christian Liberal Arts college.” What are Dr. Kooistra’s plans to achieve this goal? Or, is Dr. Kooistra redefining the academic mission of Erskine without consulting the ARP Church? Does he see Erskine College as something other than “Christian Liberal Arts?”

The discouragement on the faculty is palpable. Twice this year the faculty has presented written documents to the administration expressing the concerns of the faculty members that Erskine has become athletically driven. With a discount rate near ninety percent for athletes and sixty-one percent for non-athletes, faculty members should be concerned. According to my calculations, the present athletic program is financially unsustainable. Academically, the athletic emphasis has negatively impacted the retention of students. Witness the May graduating class of only eighty-nine students which, from freshman to senior years, represents a fifty percent retention rate.

Recruitment continues to be problematic. The goal for this fall is for 220 freshmen, but, according to my sources, the number for the fall is presently about 190 students. Obviously, this means that thirty students need to be recruited between now and August. What is the plan? Will there be a return to the past method of sending Coach Kevin Nichols to recruit thirty more athletes by buying them so that there will be warm bodies to fill bunks in the dorms - and at what financial sacrifice? And what will happen when these student recruits and their parents realize the precarious current state of Erskine? Will they decide even at this late date to go elsewhere?

The divide between the seminary and many in the ARP Church regarding the MEDCOM Army chaplain’s DMin program continues. The mission of the seminary does not allow for the matriculation of non-Christian clerics; however, regardless of the mission, this has been and is done. In spite of all the rhetoric to the otherwise, this is being done not for evangelism but for the $300,000 the Army pays in tuition fees. Indeed, without this $300,000, the seminary would close its doors immediately. Nevertheless, even with the Army’s money, the seminary continues to run a deficit. Currently, the Due West campus is not viable: the FTE this year is only five, and there was not a single Due West MDiv grad last week. Clouded with uncertainly, the Columbia site is barely viable. Rent free in Columbia so far, what happens when the folks at First Presbyterian Church ask for rent (as it has been discussed!) commensurate with the space used by the seminary? Sadly, as the seminary of the ARP Church, Erskine Theological Seminary is now as irrelevant to the ARP Church as Erskine College is irrelevant to the ARP Church. As an Erskine Seminary graduate, the last sentence is very painful to write!

Is it time for the members of the Erskine board to join with the members of the board of Sweet Briar College ( With a student body about the size of Erskine’s but with an endowment of close to 90 million dollars (compared to Erskine’s 38.2 million endowment), the board members of Sweet Briar College made the painful but necessary decision to close the college with dignity. Do the Erskine trustees have this foresight or will Erskine College & Seminary die a slow and painful death without dignity?

+ ARPTalk Blog, 864-882-6337,

+ Erskine College and Theological Seminary, 2 Washington Street, Due West, South Carolina 29639, 864-379-2131, Fax: 864-379-2167,

+ Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, 1 Cleveland Street Suite 110, Greenville, South Carolina, 29601, 864-232-8297, Fax: 864-271-3729

[4] Majority of PCUSA Presbyteries Approve Directory for Worship Amendment 14-F Allowing Ministers to Perform Homosexual Marriages

In a 17 May 2015 video, Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons made a video announcement stating the following:

“Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

“It appears from unofficial voting tallies that amendment 14-F of the Directory for Worship in the Book of Order has been approved by a majority of the presbyteries. The approval allows Teaching Elders wider discretion in whose weddings they may conduct and Sessions wider discretion in whose weddings it may host. That discretion could include same gender marriages in states where that is permitted.

“It is important to note that the determination of what couple a Teaching Elder will marry has and will continue to be with that Teaching Elder. Likewise, the determination by a Session as to whose weddings a congregation will host remains solely with the Session. There is nothing in the amendment to compel any Teaching Elder to conduct a wedding against his or her judgment, nor a Session to host one against its judgment.

“The Book of Order in F-3.0105 encourages us to exercise mutual forbearance toward each other when we differ. That forbearance should show itself in respect and genuine care for each other. As a church the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has received much grace from God in Jesus Christ. We should extend that grace to each other in all gentleness as we live into this chapter of our common life.

“There will be additional resources to help us understand and dialogue about the approved amendment soon at”

+ Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202, 888-728-7228, Fax: 502-569-8005

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

20 May 2015

Presbyterians Week Headlines

General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) Begins Monday 18 May 2015 in Liberton Kirk, Kirkgate, Liberton, Edinburgh, Scotland

[2] Free Church of Scotland General Assembly Began in Edinburgh, Scotland 18 May 2015

[3] Church of Scotland Votes to Allow Ministers and Deacons in Homosexual Partnerships

[4] French Reformed and Lutherans Will Officiate Same-Sex Marriages


General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) Begins Monday 18 May 2015 in Liberton Kirk, Kirkgate, Liberton, Edinburgh, Scotland

The moderatorial address of the Rev. Kenneth Macdonald, Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) was as follows:

Fathers and Brethren

On an occasion such as this it is expected that I address our denomination on matters pertaining to our role as a branch of the church over which the Lord Jesus Christ is King and Head.

Now while we must first and foremost look to ourselves, we cannot but consider the wider implications of our influence or otherwise as a witness for our Lord, mainly in our beloved Scotland, but of course not confined to these shores.

Indeed we need to give consideration to the question, ‘do we have an influence, do we make a difference, outside of our own denomination?

The Church of Christ is universal, and when we consider the Church’s humble and seemingly insignificant beginnings (at least to the world at large) that itself surely should encourage us. The spread of the Gospel, the influence on society of those living the Christian life did not happen automatically. We only need to have a cursory look at the Epistles to see that even the early N.T. Church, which you would have expected to be the most pure had its difficulties, and yet the Gospel work continued and prospered when it was faithfully proclaimed.

What hope is then for us as a small seemingly insignificant denomination seeking to live out the Christian life in a secular godless society? If I can with reverence adapt the words of Rom 3:1 when the Apostle asks “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” What advantage do we have as a daughter of the Reformation? Friends, I would suggest, “much every way” We have had committed to us by our forefathers, at the cost of their blood very often, the word of God, the doctrines of grace.

What then are we doing with such a glorious inheritance?

I would like us to consider

1. The Church.
2. Its Members
3. Its Ministers.

1. The Church.

What is ‘the Church here on earth – the “visible church”? We know that it is seen in its broader sense as an assembly of people as we have it defined on numerous occasions in the book of Acts. In the strictest sense it is a gathering of believers. Such is called in Eph. 1:23 as ‘Christ’s body’ – in Eph. 2:21 as a ‘building’ in the book of Revelation as the “bride” of Christ and in Heb. 12:23 as “general assembly and church of the first born

Our Confession (25:2) speaks of the church as, consisting of ‘all those throughout the world that profess the true religion, together with their children ..

It is then a church instituted by Christ against which we are promised, “the gates of hell shall not prevail” (Mat 16:18) So we can be comforted in the midst of every difficulty remembering that it owes its existence and continuance, wherever a branch of it is found, to the power of God.

Being such, it must therefore, be regulated by the Word of God, and that includes the day to day life of all who worship, and that Word used for the reproof, correction and encouragement of such. So existing in a world that largely rejects our message, and they continuing to do that which is right in their own eyes, we have to accept that that is where we are at this time.

What is to be our reaction as a church to what transpires around us at this time?

Our relationship as a church and individuals to the law of the land?

We all know of the Establishment Principle. We believe it is the duty of the State to recognise Christianity as the national religion, and that it should do all in its power to uphold the Christian faith. (WCOF 23)

But what happens when, as it becomes more and more obvious that the State’s agenda is a deliberate and wilful ignoring of God’s law, and indeed it is actively engaged in persecution of those who would seek to live by it?

Well of course we believe as our Lord commanded, in ‘rendering to Caesar that which is Caesars’, but NOT ‘the things which are God’s.’

The State has no right to impose on the Church anything that is contrary to God’s word.

We are in conflict, indeed not too strong a point to say, we are in a war situation – between the State and the TRUE CHURCH of Christ.

I say True Church. And that leads us to ask, what is a true church? Sadly, because of the spiritual decline of our nation we have come to the place where we are no longer surprised or astonished in any way with the godless statutes that keep appearing in our parliaments, whether in Edinburgh or Westminster. However, what is astonishing and alarming is the godless statutes alleged as being compatible with the holy teaching of scripture, being continually promoted by some denominations, professing to be true churches.

I don’t need to spell out to you in any great detail, Fathers and Brethren, some of the abominations that are now being accepted as the norm in many so called Churches throughout the land. But let me just briefly comment on a couple of obvious and presently pertinent situations.

We have so called ‘gay lifestyle’ and so called ‘gay marriage’ seen as the norm; and not only that, but persecution of any who do not accept it and who speak out against it as being against God’s law. Well you sadly might expect that of a secular humanistic government, but friends, we are not even talking about the governments of the day implementing this, which is itself obnoxious – we are talking of the so called Church of Christ doing so! It’s stomach churning enough to have observed years of turning a blind eye to this perversion in some churches but we now have it openly and vigorously promoted.

And in our National Church here in Scotland, not just accepting it in the pew, but elevating some who practice such an abnormal lifestyle to be over the word of God in pulpits throughout the land. I ask you, can such any longer be called a TRUE CHURCH OF CHRIST?

Some say, ‘well there are still some good men and women in such denominations. They are staying in to try and return to the old Biblical ways’. We had much sympathy with those who initially did so, but the time has now come for the true believers to “come out from among them and be ye separate” (2Cor 6:17) When the law of the land is placed above the law of the Lord by any professing to be a true Church, we have the right to question and challenge such as to whether they have the right to be seen as part of the body of Christ.

Another common unbiblical teaching in some ‘churches’.

We have the situation, and sadly have had for many years, where a person does not need to believe in the physical resurrection of our Lord, nor the necessity of a blood sacrifice, and yet not only be a member, but claim to be called of God be a preacher of the Word. How can they consider such as an organisation a true Church of Christ? These are fundamental doctrines which were at the heart of the Reformation, and yet some ‘so-called’ daughter churches of the Reformation deny such cardinal truths. Fathers and Brethren, I am not talking about the apostacy of Romanism; these are the teachings of many churches throughout the United Kingdom.

While we may be saddened that few of those who left the Scottish National Church, have seen fit to join with us as a denomination, we nevertheless are thankful that some still respect God’s word above godless atheistic and wicked claims, and have left and ‘escaped for their lives .. lest they be consumed’.

I have no doubt that the malaise and rot gathered pace in such institutions the day many years ago, they allowed something else into their Churches which was contrary to the teaching of Scripture. Appointing women to office against the clear teaching of God’s word. There is an instance of where the rot accelerated and its corruption spread and men kept silent to keep the peace. Friends God is not mocked.

So as a denomination we need to emphasise to our own people and to the law makers of our land that we will not compromise on the Word. To say and keep saying, “thus saith the Lord” and practice what we preach. Brethren, be aware, we will need to take a stand as a Church and as individuals which may be very costly, but let us in such instances follow Peters example and say “we ought to obey God rather than men(Acts 5:29)

Before some accuse me of not seeing the plank in my own eye, are we to see ourselves beyond any such innovations or unscriptural behaviour? God forbid. Fathers and Brethren, we are far from perfect. Indeed we are far from being a good church even. It is easy to cast stones at others without considering our own failings. We can learn much, take and emulate some of the good things that we see going on in other denominations which we may be separate from,but who nevertheless give good example especially in reaching out with the Gospel in a practical manner to the many lost hell-bound souls in all our communities. I fear we are too often ‘bound’ by traditions and fail to respond in a biblical manner to certain situations. We should never be too proud to learn and accept we fail far too often because of unscriptural intransigence and often have an unhelpful ‘holier than thou’ attitude and are not taking cognizance of the day we live in. We do need as a Church of the Reformation to continue reforming and be aware of the Spiritual danger of being stuck in a time-warp unwilling to change anything as if that equals true godliness!

However as far as we are enabled and by the grace of God, we need to stand together in the fundamentals of the truth, firm in our belief that while others may see us as a small insignificant denomination, what matters above all else is our being faithful to the word of God. While we should rejoice in any numerical growth of Christ’s true Church, we nevertheless must realise that being small and faithful is far more honouring to God than seeking to add numbers for the sake of it. We must not be taken in with ‘every wind of doctrine’ but at whatever cost to ourselves seek to make a biblical difference, as a Church, in the sinful society we live in. To be, in the best sense ‘a little leaven’.

We need to let our ‘light shine before men’ even when that light seems dim. Better a dim light than none at all. Whatever God has for us in the future in this world let it not be said that we as a denomination were blind to the needs of the day nor that we in any way compromised with the world.

2. Members of our Church.

As a Church, can we say our Members are living out their Christian lives in society as they should? I don’t think so. The Church is made up of individual parts – We, if we are the Lord’s, are the Church. The Church is a living entity. Christ is the Head – we the body (1Col 1:8) But are we living our Christian lives as those who are instructed and guided by the Head?

The Church usually grows through families - Covenant is important to us - and as family we should care and look out for each other and live by the rules of the Head of the Family.

Let us think about family life. We are to train up our children (not just the believers amongst them) in the way they should go (Prov 22:6) Are you and I as Members of the body doing so? Not just sending our children to Sabbath School and hoping they will come to know the Lord through what they hear, but what about the example at home and what they portray in their schools, or places of employment? Do we not far too easily give in to the worldly demands not to be different from their school friends and acquaintances and so allow them to go places you would not yourself go to?

I know it can be very difficult, but take e.g. how some dress. It is shocking the way some young folk coming out of Christian homes dress. A brother Minister told me recently that he heard someone say, “If you can see up it, or see down it, or see through it, don’t let them wear it” Good guidelines! Ask yourself, ‘Is Godly discipline being exercised in my home or have I compromised with the world for the sake of peace?

Of course Members, of whatever age or gender should be different from the world, and seen to be different from the world in every area of life, but surely also all our covenant children whether as yet believers or not should all be seen as being different. Now of course as part of the Church, some of us who are older also need to look at our own personal living. Is our behaviour before the world what it ought to be? Are our priorities right as regards our time even in lawful duties and the matters of our never dying souls? Is our Christianity just about attending services twice on the Lord’s Day and once during the week?

We may as individual believers not like what we see some other Christians from other denominations get involved with, (with good reason very often,) but is it because it is unbiblical, or because it would mean an unwillingness to go the extra mile ourselves? There are so many areas of service available, especially among the needy, outcasts of society and even in involvement in Gospel Outreach. I know some goes on, some fine people do get involved, but it shouldn’t be optional or left to a certain few. After all every Christian is called to follow the Lord, which also means to serve. If we really desire it, we will find an area of service whatever our gifts, or perceived lack of them.

 We may learn much theology, be able to cross every ‘t’ and dot every theological ‘i’ but are we practical believers living out our lives so others will take note that we have been with Jesus and living our lives following His teaching? There is a great need to be more practical Christians, not just saying to ourselves, ‘they know I’m a Christian’ but be actively engaged in living out our Lord’s word in every place our lot has been cast.. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.Jam 1:27

The walls of Jerusalem were built, not just by Nehemiah and Ezra but all the people were engaged in that work, men and women. Should it be any less in the spiritual realm? Too often some seem to put their hand to the plough but forget they are not to look back.

One other point: Don’t make “well I pray for them” an excuse for an unwillingness to be practical. Of course we must pray but I fear it sadly even prayer can be an easy option far too often.

Finally, under this heading, regarding the understanding of Members as to why we exist as the Free Church continuing. As time goes on, and we see this already with many of our younger folk, the reason for our existence as the FCC is not so clear to them as most may not have been in any way involved in the difficulties that surrounded our separation. Yet there is a need for them to know why we exist as a separate branch of the church. However it may be better now to lay more emphasis on our doctrinal differences, especially the importance of the Regulative Principle of Worship and the Headship of Christ over all aspects of our lives.

3. Ministers.

a.) Preaching.

Without question the first and most important role of the Minister is to preach the Word.

That must ever be the focus of his calling. His task is to preach the whole counsel of God, to teach those who have come to faith and to plead with all our hearts with those who have not, to do so before it is too late.

In doing so the deep things of God must be examined and expounded upon. The believer is not to be content forever with milk when healthy strong meat is available to them, and likewise the Preacher of the Gospel is not to be forever content feeding his flock ‘baby food’ But part of pastoring a congregation will mean that we know our flock and will know who needs ‘meat’ and who may choke on such fare. The diet must be varied and suitable for those entrusted to us, but their particular needs can only be known by us if we, with a real love for them, are often amongst them. Someone said of a past ministry ‘while we were well instructed we were poorly nourished. There is a great difference between the two – we can address the mind with little concern to see conscience, heart, affections reached.’ Brethren in the Ministry, is this not an area we need to address? I was once told by a Minister that he felt he was only called to be just a ‘feeder of mature sheep’ and not to call the unsaved to repentance. My reaction was “where do you find that kind of Ministry in Scripture?” although I being a young Minister at the time said nothing. I probably, as you can imagine, don’t tend to be so silent nowadays!

The responsibility falls on our shoulders as those who profess to be called of God to lead and feed the people. The souls of our people should be precious to us and lovingly cared for.

What about then the Offer of the Gospel in our preaching? Does having an emphasis on teaching or preaching the glorious truth of God’s Sovereignty mean we relegate what we know as “Evangelistic Preaching” to a second place? God forbid!

Is the role of the Minister to focus only on one or the other? Certainly not! The mix is necessary.

We all have favourite methods- whether textual, expository or topical. There is a danger of trying to emulate some of the great gifted preachers of the past who specialised in one method or other – and we can and should learn from such – but we always need to be aware of the makeup of our congregation and preach to them accordingly. Sinclair Ferguson stated it well when he wrote, ‘It is possible to assume because we are preaching in a systematic way through the books of the Bible that we are therefore preaching Christ and him crucified. It ought to be the case, but is not necessarily so.’ What may well suit your neighbouring congregation may not at all be suitable for your people.

No one should be in the Ministry who is not willing or able to teach sound doctrine and to offer Christ freely to needy sinners. I fear that there is a danger with ourselves of becoming lecturers in our pulpits, and forgetting we are to be first and foremost Gospel Preachers, which does not of course mean no theological teaching in presenting the Gospel. But Brethren, let us preach with passion – let our people see we desire their salvation. How can we convince others except they detect a longing in our souls for their redemption? O yes, it is the Spirit that quickeneth, but it is your duty and mine, as Ministers of the Gospel, to beseech sinners to come to Christ.

The question may be asked, What is more important, preaching to build up the theological knowledge of our hearers, or seeking the conversion of the lost souls of adherents? Some may say that such is not mutually exclusive - and brethren I agree, - but we need to be aware of the balance. There is of course the great danger of preaching in such a manner that all imagine coming to faith is simply an outward step with no need or expectation of transformation of heart by the Spirit. The plague of ‘easy believism’ is all around us and must be guarded against. Arminianism is to be shunned just as much as Hyper Calvinism. If our preaching is Biblical we will at times lay emphasis on God’s Sovereignty and Election, but we will also highlight the Free Offer of the Gospel and man’s responsibility. The gospel challenge has to be there – Invitation of the Gospel must be given – as well as man’s inability to save himself. As one excellent preacher commented, ‘It is one thing to hold Christ up to the people, it’s another to hold him out’ Brethren in our preaching He must be held out. Freely offered in the Gospel.

We are thankful to the Lord that over the years we have gifted men in our Seminary who have taught our students such, and we must ensure it remains that way. We all know that down through the history of the Church in Scotland the rot, as far as false theological thought was concerned, began in the universities and theological colleges.

So our preaching and seminary teaching must be balanced, and therefore we must especially continue to ensure that our Seminary is staffed by those who themselves are balanced in their theological views, and not skewed in one direction or the other.

b.) Pastoral work.

I don’t believe there has ever been a time, certainly as far as recent history is concerned, when there has been such a need of pastoral care in our congregations.

As Ministers we need to be amongst our people. We are called to be under-shepherds, and that surely means surrounding our people with love, care and protection - with concern for their souls firstly, but not forgetting there temporal needs as well.

Our people, as Christians, are bombarded with what is devilish and godless propaganda everywhere they turn. Sadly many fall into acceptance of worldliness far too easily. Are we failing our people by our own lack of zeal, and our tacit acceptance of such? Is this happening because, ‘O we can’t remember the last time the minister (or an elder for that matter) visited us.’ When you do visit, my brother Minister and Elder, do you address their spiritual state, enquire as to how matters are between themselves and the Lord, or do you just drift in and out of their homes and satisfy your conscience with having completed a visit? One more ticked of the list!

I am sure Fathers and Brethren, we can all be guilty of this, but just because we all may do it, that does not make it acceptable as under-shepherds of God’s flock.

How often also our people see other churches being easy going about matters that we see as fundamental – and what happens? Very often the lowest common denominator is what prevails, so a ‘sloppiness’ comes over their Christian lives and their zeal diminishes. Brethren, as Pastors let us not be found guilty of ignoring and not addressing such matters.

What about our care of our Adherents? Some struggling with the exclusive ‘separating’ claims of the Gospel on the one hand, and the false claims that such a need for separation from the world is not necessary; and with the ‘so called’ easy ‘don’t worry about tomorrow’ attitude of the majority. ‘Christianity is not the only religion – and even if it is, worry about that some other time’ How do you counteract such views in a way that you are not just condemning but winning them away from such thinking? Surely we need to plead with them, exhort them, teach them and by example make known the truth; we cannot do that just from the pulpit. We need to be amongst our people.

Brethren, how can we know their problems if we never see them except in church? How can we even preach on certain relevant issues if we are not informing ourselves of what goes on in their personal lives and families? It’s easy to hide behind the door of the study and give the impression of being so holy we have no time to do other than prepare our sermons. Our Master took upon him the form of a servant (Phil 2:7) are we ‘above our master’? (Luke 6:40)

Surely not! One final point; As Ministers of the Gospel we have to put Christ and the people we are shepherding above all else. Yes even our family life. Does that mean we ignore the families our Lord has given us? Of course not, but we are not to make our families an excuse for not being able to fulfil our calling. As Ministers, we are the most privileged of men. Let us then fulfil our calling in all aspects of it, and not be other than ‘faithful servants’.


As Ministers. - Let us who are called be true examples of Godliness, and show real heart felt care for our people. Let us love them as we ought, seek the growth in grace of the Christians and plead for the souls of those in our congregations who are as yet still lost.

As Members. - Let us show our distinctiveness from anything and anyone, or any organisation that promotes anything other than the clear teaching of Holy Scripture. Let us also not forget that our first duty is to our Lord and our responsibility to live as lights in the dark world around us. We cannot do that if we dabble in the ways of the world.

As a Church. - Just because we are small and unnoticed by the vast majority of the world, and even seen as insignificant and irrelevant by other larger Churches, we must remain faithful to the Word and not compromise. Let us expect persecution and being ostracised. But so what! If our Master had this, why should we who follow Him expect anything else?

However let us not be unwilling to examine and question why we do what we do, and not be afraid to ask, what more can we do for the Lord? What do we pray we will hear on the Great Day that awaits? “Well done thou good and FAITHFUL servant ..” (Mat 25:21)

Fathers and Brethren, we have a glorious heritage and inheritance; let us ensure we pass it on to those coming after us untainted by the world or by our own spiritual shortcomings. 

+ Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), Rev. John MacLeod, Free Church Manse, Portmahomack, Ross-shire, Scotland,

Free Church of Scotland General Assembly Began in Edinburgh, Scotland 18 May 2015

The 2015
Free Church of Scotland General Assembly began the evening of Monday 18 May 2015 with the Rev. David Robertson taking up his new role as Moderator.

The minister of St. Peter’s Free Church in Dundee, Scotland and director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity succeed the now former moderator the Rev. David Miller.

To mark the occasion, Mr. Robertson was presented with a special Bible from Elaine Duncan from the Scottish Bible Society.

The new Moderator was greeted with warm applause by Assembly commissioners.

James Fraser CBE, chairman of the Board of Trustees and elder in Kiltarlity Free Church near Inverness, Scotland said: “My illustrious predecessor, as Chair of the Finance Law and Advisory Committee, the late John O. Sutherland, convinced his colleagues that the Free Church should revitalize Robert Murray McCheyne’s old Church, St. Peters, in Dundee.

“In 1992 David shifted from the beauty and tranquility of Brora to a derelict church building in Dundee with handful of mainly elderly people by way of a congregation.

“David believed that it could have a different future; the Free Church backed his belief and today he presides over a large and vibrant congregation, located in a refurbished St. Peters, located in the heartland of Dundee University.”

Mr. Fraser added: “We have in David a passionate and faithful exponent and communicator of the Gospel, a Christian writer and debater of national and international reputation and status, someone who has a lively interest in the contemporary world and who is a passionate believer in the truth and transforming power of the gospel.

“His spiritual and intellectual gifts combined with devotion to practical Christianity eminently fit him to lead us through this Assembly and to represent the Free Church in the year of our Lord 2015.”

Earlier in the evening, outgoing Moderator the Rev. David Miller preached on Exodus 34:14 - The Lord’s name is Jealous.

Mr. Miller emphasised that Christians have the Lord’s undivided attention, but contrasted that with the unfaithfulness of His people because their hearts often wander to false idols.

He concluded by encouraging those gathered to be zealous for God, to the One who loves us with an everlasting love.

Dingwall, Scotland minister the Rev. Angus MacRae thanked Mr. Miller for his “humility, gracious leadership and reverence shown” in his year as Moderator.

On Tuesday morning 19 May 2015, Mr. Robertson will give his keynote address as Moderator, and commissioners will also consider reports from the Board of Trustees, the Psalmody and Praise Committee, as well as the presentation of the Lyle Orr Awards in the evening.

Free Church of Scotland, 15 North Bank Street, The Mound, Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 2LS, 0131-226-5286, Fax: 0131-220-0597,

Church of Scotland Votes to Allow Ministers and Deacons in Homosexual Partnerships

The Church of Scotland has voted in favour of allowing people in same sex civil partnerships to be called as ministers and deacons.

The historic decision was made by the General Assembly on the Mound in Edinburgh on Saturday 16 May 2015, where the motion was passed by 309 votes in favour and 182 against.

The outcome is the culmination of years of deliberation within the Church. The motion has faced a series of debates and votes before the final decision was arrived at this afternoon. This included thirty-one of the Church's presbyteries endorsing the move to fourteen who opposed it.

This means the Church has adopted a position which maintains a traditional view of marriage between a man and woman, but allows individual congregations to 'opt out' if they wish to appoint a minister or a deacon in a same sex civil partnership.

Outgoing Moderator the Very Rev. John Chalmers said:

"There's something else that we have to learn as a Church and that is the power of harmony. Of course we need the freedom across the Church to shape the life and worship of the Church according to local needs and local gifts (and we have seen wonderful examples of this - from Soul Space at Johnstone High Parish to the Shed in Stornoway) but we cannot go on suffering the pain of internal attacks which are designed to undermine the work or the place of others. It's time to play for the team.

"And let me be very clear here - I am not speaking to one side or another of the theological spectrum. I am speaking to both ends and middle. It is time to stop calling each other names, time to shun the idea that we should define ourselves by our differences and instead define ourselves by what we hold in common - our baptism into Christ, our dependence on God's grace, our will to serve the poor and so on."

Coordinator of the Principal Clerk's office, the Very Rev. David Arnott, said: "The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland decided today to allow individual Kirk Sessions the possibility of allowing a Nominating Committee to consider an application from a minister living in a civil partnership. During a vacancy a Kirk Session may, but only if it so wishes, and after due deliberation, agree to a Nominating Committee accepting an application from such a minister. No Kirk Session may be coerced into doing so against its own wishes. This decision was in line with a majority of presbyteries who voted in favour of such a move."

Because the debate predates the legalisation of gay marriage the proposed change mentions only civil partnerships, not same-sex marriages.

The Assembly will be asked on Thursday 21 May 2015 to consider amending today's new Church law to include ministers in same-sex marriages.

Nicola Sturgeon MSP attended the opening of the General Assembly for the first time as First Minister.

She witnessed the installation of the Rev. Dr. Angus Morrison as Moderator of the General Assembly, who had to withdraw from the role last year to undergo treatment for cancer.

Later she tweeted: "A pleasure to attend the opening ceremony of the General Assembly and see Rt. Rev Angus Morrison installed as Moderator."

This year's Lord High Commissioner - the Queen's representative at the Assembly - is Lord Hope of Craighead KT PC, a distinguished retired Scottish judge.

He read out a letter from Her Majesty to the Assembly which praised Scotland's national church for the role it played during last year's independence referendum, formation of the new Churches' Mutual Credit Union and the new 'decade for ministry' strategy to recruit new ministers.

During the annual gathering of the Church of Scotland, which has met almost every year since its inception in 1560, 730 Commissioners drawn from congregations across Scotland and beyond will make historic decisions that will affect the direction of the national church. It runs from Saturday 16 may 2015 to Friday 22 May 2015.

Other topics being considered are tax reform, food banks, mental health, fracking, mediation teams in South Sudan, and nuclear weapons.

On Sunday up to 5000 people are expected to attend the Heart and Soul Festival, a celebration in Princes Street Gardens of the work being done by the Church.

A major new recruitment drive for ministers, called 'Tomorrow's Calling', will be launched at this event.

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

French Reformed and Lutherans Will Officiate Same-Sex Marriages

An 18 May 2015 Evangelical Focus titled “French Reformed and Lutherans Will Officiate Same-Sex Marriages” reports that the United Protestant Church of France will now begin blessing homosexual marriages after a vote of ninety-four in favor and three against in the National Assembly of the Union of Protestant Churches in France (EUPdF) proposal to begin blessing homosexual marriages.

The EUPdF says the decision does not contradict Biblical doctrine because “The source of our joy is found in the ‘yes’ that God puts on us in the first place in Jesus Christ. This is the blessing on which our lives are based on. To bring blessing to the women and men of today is our vocation”

World Council of Churches says:

“The creation of the United Protestant Church of France was completed when the Reformed Church of France and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of France celebrated their merger at a joint national synod meeting from 8 to 12 May 2013 in Lyon, France.”

Evangelical Focus, C/Santa Otilia 27-29, Escalera A, Local, 08032 Barcelona, Spain, 34-93-420-80-72,

United Protestant Church of France, Contact Page

World Council of Churches, 150 route de Ferney, CH-1211, Geneva 2, Switzerland, 41-22-791-6111, Fax: 41-22-791-0361

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

13 May 2015

“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

[1] Free Church of Scotland Moderator Responds to Recent U.K. Elections

[2] Church of Scotland Launches Recruiting Drive to Bring In New Ministers

News from the Deepest Recesses of Hell

Raging Heathen and Vain Imagining

The Religion of Peace


[1] Free Church of Scotland Moderator Responds to Recent U.K. Elections

An 8 May 2015 Stornoway Gazette article titled “Free Church Responds to Election Result” reports that Free Church of Scotland Moderator the Rev. David Robertson responded to the recent U.K elections by saying:

“I will be encouraging all of our congregations, as well as the wider Christian Church, to pray for our Prime Minister, for his family, his health and his leadership of the United Kingdom.

“It is no secret that we are living in unprecedented political times and the results reveal mixed opinion north and south of the Border.

“This is why it’s so important that David Cameron leads with a spirit of unity and mutual respect.

“There is incredible responsibility lying on his shoulders – particularly as the Prime Minister has already indicated he will not serve a third term so won’t be facing the electorate again.”

“We particularly pray that the new government will be one that truly values religious liberty and freedom of speech, so we can continue to preach and live out the Gospel.

“Ultimately we know that God reigns and rules over all things, and He is the only one who offers true hope for all of the electorate through His Son Jesus Christ.”

+ Stornoway Gazette, 10 Francis Street, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis HS12XE, Scotland, 01851-702-687,

+ Free Church of Scotland, 15 North Bank Street, The Mound, Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 2LS, 0131-226-5286, Fax: 0131-220-0597,

[2] Church of Scotland Launches Recruiting Drive to Bring In New Ministers

A 12 May 2015 Press and Journal article titled “Kirk Launches “Bold” New Recruitment Drive” reports that because a large number of Kirk ministers will retire within the next ten years, the number of Kirk congregations has dropped by seventy-five in the last six years to 1379, the number of Kirk ministers decreased by 129 in the past six years to 811, and that there are 215 pulpit vacancies with only 118 persons completing ministry studies in the past six years, the Church of Scotland has launched a recruiting drive to find new ministers.

The Kirk recruiting goal is thirty ministers per year for the next ten years. Kirk ministers can expect a compensation package of about UK£45,000 (equivalent to about US$70,500) after five years of service.

As a recruiting tool, the Kirk has produced a video featuring men and women in the Kirk ministry and the types of service they perform.

+ Press and Journal, Lang Stracht, Mastrick, Aberdeen AB15 6DF, Scotland, 01224-343311,

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

News from the Deepest Recesses of Hell

-- Documents Expose Sexual Assaults by U.S. Transportation Security Administration on the American People

-- Obama: 'Sex' and 'Gender' Are Different Things

-- Princeton Professor Peter Singer: Insurance Companies Should Deny Coverage for Severely Disabled Infants

-- Apostate Pastor Rick Warren and Elton John Hold Hands in U.S. Congress, Joke About Kissing Each Other

-- Huffington Post Writer: Celebrate Mother’s Day by Aborting Your Baby

-- Cruel Bullies Call Father and Daughter with Facial Deformity Ugly, Say He Should Have Aborted Her

-- Chilean Abortion Tutorials Teach Women to Throw Themselves Down a Flight of Stairs to Kill Their Baby

-- Majority of Dutch Doctors Would Euthanize Dementia Patients

-- Austrian Men's Magazine Vangardist Uses Ink Infused with HIV-Positive Blood for '#HIVHEROES' Issue

-- Christian Singer Amy Grant Defends Partnership with Pro-Abortion Gates Foundation after Criticism

-- Police Brutality Happens Every Day in China as One-Child Policy Violently Enforced

-- Massachusetts Schools Ask Twelve-Year-Olds If They’ve Had Anal or Oral Sex

-- Polk State College Professor Fails Student Because She Won’t Denounce Christian Faith and Morality

-- China Still Killing and Harvesting Organs from Falun Gong Cult Members

-- In Thirty-Five Years of China's One-Child Policy, 360 to 400 Million Babies Aborted

-- Abortion Activist Defends Killing Her Disabled Baby in an Abortion: I Wanted a Better Baby

-- China is Killing Christians and Political Prisoners and Selling Their Organs on the Black Market

+ Freedom Force

+ American Vision, 3150-A Florence Road, Suite 2, Powder Springs, Georgia 30127, 800-628-9460, Fax: 770-222-7269,

+, Post Office Box 270841, Fort Collins, Colorado 80527,

+ Now the End Begins, Contact Page

+ Way of Life Literature, Post Office Box 610368, Port Huron, Michigan 48061, 519-652-2619,

+, Incorporated, 4 Family Life Lane, Front Royal, Virginia 22630, 888-678-6008, Contact Page

Raging Heathen and Vain Imagining

Articles from the past week regarding kings and rulers setting themselves against the LORD and against his anointed:

-- A Case for Christian Resistance in Anticipation of the Pro-Same-Sex Marriage Decision

-- Immigrants Being Used to Build Democrat-Majority Cities

-- U.S. Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton Backs Restrictions on First Amendment Protections

-- Federal Judge Rules North Carolina Commissioners Can’t Present Prayers Only in Jesus’ Name

+ Godfather Politics, 457 Nathan Dean Boulevard, Dallas, Georgia 30132


+ Christian News Network, Post Office Box 30000, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103, Contact Page

[5] The Religion of Peace

Articles from the past week about the religion of peace:

-- ISIS Using Breast “Biter” to Torture Women Caught Breast Feeding in Public

-- Muslims Have Massacred Over 590 Million Non-Muslims since 622AD

-- Iraq Says IS Demolishes Ruins to Cover Up Looting Operations

-- Pakistan: Muslims Tell Christian, “Stop Building Churches or We Will Kill You”

-- Muslims Ambush Twenty One Innocent Nigerian Men As They Try to Look for Food, and Kill All of Them

-- ISIS Massacred 2,154 People by Burning, Beheading and Shooting Since Mid-2014

-- FBI Orders More U.S. Jihadis Be Put under 24/7 Surveillancein Wake of Jihad Shooting on AFDI Free Speech Conference in Garland, Texas

-- Census Data Confirms Obama Is Flooding America with Over 100,000 Muslim Immigrants Yearly

-- Islamic State Claims Texas Jihad Attack: “What’s Coming Will Be Even Worse”

-- Americans Should Prepare Themselves for the Coming Obama-Sponsored ISIS Homeland Terror Attacks

-- Egypt: Five Christian children held for blasphemy – for insulting the Islamic State

-- Christian TV Show Host Randall Terry Reports Death Threats from Muslims

-- ISIS Trains Over 1,000 Children to Become Suicide Bombers in 6 Months, Iraqi Human Rights Commission Estimates

+ Raqqa (Syria) News, Contact Page

+ The Muslim Issue,

+ Assyrian International News Agency (Nineveh Software Corporation, 2317 West Farwell, Chicago, Illinois 60645, 773-575-5863, Fax: 773-761-8534)

+ Jihad Watch and Dhimmi Watch

+, Contact Page

+ Atlas Shrugs,

+ Now the End Begins, Contact Page

+ Zionica

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

6 May 2015

“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


New Christian Observer articles for May 2015 include:

-- Not between Two Golden Candlesticks - by Christian Observer Contributing Editor David Brand - Why the cross of Christ should be raised again at the center of the marketplace and the steeple of the church;

-- Educating to the Conversion from Homosexual Lifestyles - by Christian Observer Contributing Editor Dr. Joe Renfro - The progressive agenda in the public schools of normalizing homosexuality and opposing “conversion therapy’ vs. the realities of homosexuality;

-- As Opposed to Possible Gay Ruling, ‘Good Faith and the County Clerk’ - by Christian Observer Contributing Editor David Tullis – In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s possible ‘legalization’ of homosexual marriage, the county clerk and his fidelity to his oath of office as a remedy to federal usurpation of the state constitution;

Plus, Daily Devotionals by Christian Observer Contributing Editor T.M. Moore, dean of the Centurions Program of the Wilberforce Forum and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe.

By the Rev. Dr. Chuck Wilson

The backdrop of the new policy on human sexuality at Erskine College & Seminary and the resulting outrage among the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Questioning-Intersex community (LGBTQI) in Due West, among the secular Erskine alums, and among other secularists across the United States sets the stage for this article. This reaction by those who are unwilling to tolerate people of orthodox Christian faith and practice spotlights the need for clarification of terms. In an e-mail from an old friend, he observed that one of the reasons people often talk past each other on sexual matters is because we define words differently. Therefore, it is important that we in the ARP Church define and state unambiguously what we mean by our words.

For example, sadly, in many places (and one of those places is the Erskine campus), the word “Christian” has lost its historical context. When I say “I am an evangelical Christian” and someone else who is a member of the LGBTQI community says “I am a Christian lesbian,” “Christian” does not have the same meaning for both of us.

The word “Christian” has a historical context. To begin with, the only way one can legitimately find the meaning of “Christian” is to ask what did “Christian” mean in the Bible and how did the early church leaders define “Christian” in the historic creeds. Acts 11.19-26 informs us as to the first use of “Christian” in the Bible, and the passage reads in this manner:

“Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. (ESV)”

In review, after the martyrdom of Stephen at the hands of the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and the persecution that followed, believers in Christ fled to Antioch. Some of them were so bold as to preach Christ to Gentiles who heard them gladly and believed. The number of Gentile converts to Christ was so large that the leaders of the church in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to Antioch to teach and organize the Gentile church. The work for Barnabas was so great that he went to Tarsus and asked for the help of Saul (aka, the Apostle Paul). For a year, Barnabas and Paul worked with the Gentile believers at Antioch, and these believers in Christ were called “Christians” because they followed Christ as they received Christ from Barnabas and Paul.

What did Barnabas and Paul teach?

Paul is not secretive about his method. He says that his mission, as given to him by the Lord Jesus, was to go to the Gentle world and to deliver a message that would “open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in [the Lord Jesus Christ].” (Acts 26.18, ESV)

What did that turning “from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God” look like?

In 1 Corinthians 6.9-11, Paul describes the turning “from darkness” to Christian faith and Christian lifestyle in these words:

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. Some of you once lived this way. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (NET Bible)”

In other words, those who are Christians are people who have been washed, sanctified, and justified “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” and are disabusing themselves of the lifestyles of heterosexual and homosexual immorality, idolatry, theft, greed, drunkenness, reviling, and robbery.

Indeed, faith in Christ that saves a person from the wrath of God is also faith in Christ that renews a person to live a life that reflects the virtues of the Bible and rejects what the Bible deems sin. And sexual immorality of any kind is never a virtue.

Those religious individuals in the LGBTQI community who desire to profess faith in Christ and to hold on to sexual lifestyles that are clearly forbidden by the Biblical witness are not Biblically “Christian.” They cannot be! Rather, they are idolatrous followers of an anti-christ of their own imagining.

Tragically, in apostasy, some of the mainline denominations (for example, the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America) have rejected both the witness and authority of the of the Bible and the God of the Bible for the reimagining of God into a hideous form of self-idolatry. They now exalt narcissism and sexual license as the highest virtues, as they champion and promote the LGBTQI community. These so-called Christian leaders and theologians deconstruct Christian morality in order to call normal and acceptable what the Bible terms sexual sin, and, without fear of the God for which they claim to speak, these leaders and theologians embrace sexual sin and same-sex marriage as though the wrath of God is not set against sexually immoral lifestyles — and them as false teachers and liars. Biblically and historically, the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church in United States of America are no longer Christian denominations, and, to use Biblical language, they have become “synagogues of Satan.” Nowadays, no wonder there is confusion about the meaning of the word “Christian.” For the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church in the United States, the word “Christian” has no intrinsic meaning, but means whatever an individual wants it to mean. It is like an atheist who wants to hold on to the Christmas celebration while rejecting the Christ of Christmas.

Out of a milieu of confusion that is marked by unbelief and rejection of the God of the Bible on the part of some denominations, some religious persons in the LGBTQI community feel a need for the affirmation that comes from being called “Christian.” Like Thomas Jefferson who cut out of his Bible the passages with which he disagreed, they ignore and edit out the passages in the Bible which condemn homosexuality as sin. They truncate Jesus’ teaching and invent a permissive Jesus who in the name of love accepts immoral behavior as righteous and rejects no behavior as sin. In the words of the Paul, they worship and serve a lie. (Romans 1.25)

The witness of the historic creeds (the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed) are silent on the issues of sexual sin. Instead, they codify the Scriptures with regard to the Christian conceptualization of God as Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Therefore, since Jesus is God the Son, it is unwise not to heed what Jesus says.

In regard to our sexuality, Jesus (who is God the Son) declares that He did not come to set aside the teaching of the law of the Old Testament, but to expand and fulfill it (Matthew 5.17-20). Presently, the historical and Biblical understanding of marriage as between a man and a woman is under attack, and attempts by members in the LGBTQI community are being made to redefine marriage so as to include homosexual unions — and, politically, to impose this on everyone. For different reasons, marriage was also under attack in Jesus’ day. Interestingly, most of Jesus’ teachings about sexuality are in defense of the institution of marriage as it was given by God. (Matthew 19.1-12 and Mark 10.1-12) The key to Jesus’ teaching is that God made mankind male and female, and a “man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Matthew 19.4-5, ESV)

The full expression of the teaching of Jesus (who is God the Son) is found in the words of His disciples who wrote the other parts of the New Testament. In John 14.26, Jesus (God the Son) says that the “Helper” (God the Holy Spirit) would be sent by God the Father in Jesus’ name and God the Holy Spirit would bring to remembrance all the things Jesus (God the Son) had taught them. That is, for example, things about salvation, love, sin, the church, sexual conduct, and marriage.

Those who attempt to create a division between the words of Jesus and the words of His disciples are building an obstacle out of air. They ignore the context of the Biblical text and cherry pick the Bible in order to achieve a predetermined agenda that is in opposition to the clear teaching of the Bible and the historic practice of the church. Those who cherry pick the Bible in order to find permission for a homosexual lifestyle and same-sex marriage have founded a new religion of sexual self-indulgence that they wrongly and falsely call “Christian.” This they do in defiance of the Jesus of the Bible. They reject the deity of the Son of God. They reject the historic creeds. They reject the Jesus who by His Lordship determines the grounds for salvation and the parameters for obedient living.

Words are important. Words determine who we are, affirm what we are, and give direction to what we become.

In the ARP Church, how we define the word “Christian” is important. If we are to maintain our orthodox faith, we cannot allow the word “Christian” to coexist with and countenance the homosexual lifestyle — or, for that matter, any sexually immoral lifestyle. In this context, we must say that in order to be a Christian it is not enough to simply say “I believe in Jesus.” There must be an acid test to one’s confession of faith. The acid test is a lifestyle that demonstrates repentance and obedience to Christ and that conforms to the teachings of the Jesus of the Bible. Also, let us be clear that the parameters of one’s profession to be a Christian are not set by an individual’s whims but by the God of the Bible who has spoken to us in the pages of the Bible.

The word “Christian” has a specific meaning. In our discussions about sexual behavior, “Christian” can never be defined in order for it to embrace what the Bible excludes. If we do, then the word “Christian” is a meaningless term — and Christianity ceases to exist.

+ Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, 1 Cleveland Street Suite 110, Greenville, South Carolina, 29601, 864-232-8297, Fax: 864-271-3729

+ Erskine College and Theological Seminary, 2 Washington Street, Due West, South Carolina 29639, 864-379-2131, Fax: 864-379-2167,

A 28 April 2015 Scottish Legal News article titled “Church Warns Its Ministers They May Be Sued for Refusing to Wed Gay Couples” reports that the Church of Scotland the 2015 Kirk General Assembly will hear a report from its legal questions committee warning that Kirk ministers may be “vulnerable to legal challenge” if they violate provisions on homosexual rights in the European Convention on Human Rights by refusing to perform homosexual marriages.

+ Scottish Legal News, Kinburn Castle, Double Dykes Road, St. Andrews, Fife KY16 9DR, Scotland, 01334-464610,

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

Exhaustive margin notes for the 1611 King James (Authorized) Version of the Bible are available on the Literatura Bautista website:

The Institute for Expository Preaching of Ligonier Ministries and OnePassion Ministries will present in suburban Washington DC (Springfield, Virginia) the conference “Preaching with Precision & Power” on 1-3 June 2015 with Dr. Steven Lawson instructing on the meaning, marks, models, mechanics, and motivation of expository preaching.

Registration information is available at:

+ Ligonier Ministries, 400 Technology Park, Lake Mary, Florida 32746, 407-333-4244, Fax: 407-333-4233

+ OnePassion Ministries, Post Office Box 601649, Dallas, Texas 75360, 214-269-1819,