The Westminster Assembly has been celebrated on various occasions. The Presbyterian Church, US, devoted lectures to it at its General Assembly in Charlotte in 1897 (in remembrance of the 250th anniversary of the closing of the Westminster Assembly). Robert L. Dabney, among others gave an address. Later, the faculty of Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia produced a very fine symposium on important aspects of the Westminster Assembly (its doctrine of Scripture) in 1943 in The Infallible Word. This was to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the convening of the Assembly in Westminster Abbey.
In neither of those excellent collections of memorial lectures, would anyone have seriously thought of dealing with the question: is mysticism to be found in the Westminster standards and in its general tradition? So why am I dealing with such a subject today?
THAT DISCIPLE WHOM JESUS LOVED (The Apostle John) is not at all backward to record that Jesus loved Lazarus too: there are no jealousies among those who are chosen by the Well-beloved. Jesus loved Mary, and Martha, and Lazarus: it is a happy thing where a whole family live in the love of Jesus. They were a favoured trio, and yet, as the serpent came into Paradise, so did sorrow enter their quiet household at Bethany. Lazarus was sick. They all felt that if Jesus were there disease would flee at his presence; what then should they do but let him know of their trial? Lazarus was near to death's door, and so his tender sisters at once reported the fact to Jesus, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick." Many a time since then has that same message been sent to our Lord, for in full many a case he has chosen his people in the furnace of affliction. Of the Master it is said, "himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses," and it is, therefore, no extraordinary thing for the members to be in this matter conformed to their Head.
Our culture has for generations chosen to believe the lie that women and men should be considered "equal" in every way. We can date this fabrication back at least to the Women's Suffragette Movement of the early 1900's if not all the way back to Eve who chose to believe Satan rather than God. The separate roles God created in the beginning for each sex have largely been forgotten in modern times and substituted with a false idea of equality that in no way resembles God's original idea when He created woman from the rib of man and arranged for future humans to spring from the womb of woman, thus establishing a healthy "co-dependency" for the continuance of life.
The church today has a serious need and a heartfelt cry. She needs to recover an urgent, compelling, life-consuming vision of her mission to the world. Her cry is for intimate unity and fellowship with one another in the midst of a fragmented world. Both the need and the cry dovetail in Philippians 1. One is inseparably involved in the other. Where there is failure in mission, there is deficiency in fellowship, and vice versa. What Paul says about "fellowship" in Philippians brings them together into a complete Christian experience.
Paul's themes in his epistles can often be stated in single words or phrases: Romans is the righteousness of God; Ephesians is union with Christ; Colossians is completeness in Christ; and Philippians is fellowship and joy in the gospel.
Dr. Ernest F. Kevan, author of The Grace of Law, still a much referred to recommended book today, was a Baptist minister was the Principal of London Bible College, where he labored until his death in 1965.
"Let's Talk...." Talks About the Bible (out of print) by Dr. Kevan consists of talks to young people about the Bible - What is it about? How did it come to be written? Why do Christian people attach so much importance to it? The book is divided into three parts: Part I - About the Bible, Part II - About The Old Testament, and Part III - About the New Testament. We are reprinting Part I, Chapter 1 - Pen and Paper - in this issue. This is a trial to see if our readers would be interested in having this to read with their children. If there is enough interest we will continue printing this book, chapter by chapter.
Honorable President George Bush:
Covenant Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church In The United States does formally register its grievance regarding the death of Terri Schiavo. We unanimously declare her death to be a national tragedy, which will have tremendous moral implications for the future welfare of this nation. Proverbs 14:34 states, "Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people." We do hereby petition the executive, the legislative, and the judicial branches of the federal government to repent of their failure to carry out their moral and constitutional responsibility to save human life.
Danger in the Camp: An Analysis and Refutation of the Heresies of the Federal Vision is a must read for every Christian, from the pastor on down to the layman in the church pew! In this scholarly work, Reverend John Otis addresses the doctrines of the Federal Vision, to determine if Orthodox Christianity is in fact endangered by this new doctrinal paradigm. He painstakingly lays out the basis for the historical reformed positions expressed in the confessions and creeds, as understood in the Scriptures. He then compares the teachings of the Federal Vision with these positions, producing a sound argument against the Federal Vision. Anyone who has been exposed to these teachings would have to admit that it has been a confusing and complex controversy at best. Reverend Otis has undertaken the difficult task of bringing light and clarity to this controversy. After reading his book, I was challenged to return to the basic doctrines that I had once been taught from scripture that had been the beauty of the reformed faith It reminded me of Paul's exhortation to young Timothy to "Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine." (1 Tim 4: 16)
Serious problems exist in almost all of our churches. Most of these problems are of a moral nature; marital infidelity, pre-marital sex, internet-accessed pornography, sexual abuse, undisciplined TV and video viewing etc.
What is happening to us? Why are so many of our baptized and confessing members and even middle-aged and older members involved in conduct altogether unbecoming to professing Christians? The answer is simply this: worldly thinking is influencing, if not controlling, the minds of many church members, especially the youth. Whether consciously or unconsciously, but many of our young people and older members as well, are adopting ideas and lifestyles that only one generation ago would have been unthinkable. It is almost trite to say it, but our society is thoroughly hedonistic, i.e. pleasure oriented. Let me be specific: we live in a sex-saturated environment and no one is completely immune to its poisonous influence.