Reformed Churchmen

We are Protestant, Calvinistic and Reformed Prayer Book Churchmen and Churchwomen. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; in 2012, we also remembered the 450th anniversary of Mr. (Bp., Salisbury) John Jewel's sober, scholarly, Protestant, and Reformed defense An Apology of the Church of England. In 2013, we remember the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. You will not hear these things in modern outlets for Anglican advertisement. Confessional Churchmen keep the "lights burning in the darkness." Although Post-Anglicans with sorrow (and contempt for many, especially the leaders), we maintain learning, faith, hope and reading. Mr. (Rev. Dr. Prof.) James Packer quipped and applied this specific song for muddler-Manglicans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGyPuey-1Jw. Our book of the month, July 2014 is the Rev. Dr. Wayne Pearce's "John Spottiswoode: Jacobean Archbishop and Statesman" at: http://www.lulu.com/shop/a-s-wayne-pearce/john-spottiswoode-jacobean-archbishop-and-statesman/paperback/product-21652023.html. Also, our book of the month for Aug 2014 is Mr. Underhile's "The Church's Favorite Flower: A Patristic Study of the Doctrines of Grace," a handy little volume at: http://www.amazon.com/The-Churchs-Favorite-Flower-Patristic-ebook/dp/B00KUCITIS/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403315865&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=andy+underhile. We're still Prayer Book Churchmen, but we have "articles of faith" paid for by blood.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Contra Mundum: Decalogue: Ninth Command

Contra Mundum: Decalogue: Ninth Command: At bottom, the 9th Command is one of the easiest to understand. Its primary application is in regards to testifying in court. Nothing is mo...

30 July 1922 A.D. G.K. Chesterton Makes His Confession


30 July 1922 A.D. G.K. Chesterton Makes His Confession

Graves, Dan.  “Mr. Chesterton Made His Confession.”  Christianity.com.  Apri 2007.  http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1901-2000/mr-chesterton-made-his-confession-11630731.html.  Accessed14 May 2014.

"How in blazes do you know all these horrors?" cried Flambeau [a criminal in one of Chesterton's fictions].

The shadow of a smile crossed the round simple face of his clerical opponent. "Oh, by being a celibate simpleton, I suppose," he said. "Has it never struck you that a man who does next to nothing but hear men's real sins is not likely to be wholly unaware of human evil?"

Chesterton wielded one of the great pens of his day. His Father Brown detective stories are as delightful to nibble as cinnamon apples. Renowned in literature, Chesterton was also a passionate and humorous apologist for the Christian church. Especially the Catholic church. As a young man he showed considerable literary talent and began to edit a little paper. In time this became his life's work. He did a lot of criticism. He had an uncanny knack of seeing what was crucial in any author's work and the clarity to smell the real worth or the real flaw of any argument.

Paradox was his forte. Paradox, said Chesterton, "is truth standing on her head to attract attention." As used by Chesterton paradox is either a statement that at first glance seems false but actually is true, or a "commonsense" view exposed as false. He used it so frequently it could become tiresome in his longer works. But in short essays it is scintillating and refreshing. Here is an example on the topic of history from The Everlasting Man, his paean to Christ which shows that the spiritual is more real than those things we consider tangible reality. "So long as we neglect [the] subjective side of history, which may more simply be called the inside of history, there will always be a certain limitation on that science which can be better transcended by art. So long as the historian cannot do that, fiction will be truer than fact."

Chesterton could be absent-minded. Once he dropped a garter. While down on the floor groping for it, he found a book and began to read it, the garter completely forgotten. He would stand in the middle of traffic, lost to his surroundings, deep in thought. Still, he had tremendous concentration for writing and was ever fixed on the eternal truths that make the wisdom of this world foolish. Thus he could say succinctly of the agnostic George Bernard Shaw, "He started from points of view which no one else was clever enough to discover and he is at last discovering points of view which no one else was ever stupid enough to forget." His witticisms were repeated everywhere.

On this day, Sunday, July 30th, 1922, Chesterton took a walk with Father O'Connor. His 400 pounds were to be baptized into the church that he had defended all his life. Looking for his prayer book he accidentally pulled out a three penny thriller instead. At last he found the text and made his first confession. Asked why he joined the Catholic church Chesterton replied, "To get rid of my sins."

Bibliography

1.      "Chesterton, Gilbert Keith." Dictionary of National Biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. London: Oxford University Press, 1921 - 1996.

2.      D'Souza, Dinesh. The Catholic Classics. Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, 1986.

3.      Ffinch, Michael. G. K. Chesterton. New York: Harper and Row, 1986.

4.      O'Brien, John A. Giants of the Faith. Image, 1960.

5.      Pearson, Hesketh. Lives of the Wits. New York: Harper and Row, 1962.

6.      Slosson, Edwin E. Six Major Prophets. Boston, 1917.

Last updated April, 2007.

30 July 1917 A.D. Edmund P. Clowney Born—President of Westminster Seminary, Philadelphia


30 July 1917 A.D.  Edmund P. Clowney Born—President of Westminster Seminary, Philadelphia

Archivist. “July 30: Birth of Edmund P. Clowney.”  This Day in Presbyterian History.  30 Jul 2014.  http://www.thisday.pcahistory.org/2014/07/july-30/.  Accessed 30 Jul 2014.

July 30: Birth of Edmund P. Clowney



Edmund Prosper Clowney met his Lord face to face on Sunday, March 20, 2005, having passed into glory at the age of 87. He was survived by his wife of 63 years, Jean Wright Clowney; by his five children: David Clowney, Deborah Weininger, Paul Clowney, Rebecca Jones, and Anne Foreman; by twenty‑one grandchildren; and by eleven great grandchildren.

Born in Philadelphia, on July 30, 1917, Ed received his B.A. from Wheaton College in 1939, a Th. B. from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1942, a S.T.M from Yale University Divinity School in 1944, and a D.D. from Wheaton College in 1966. Ordained in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, he served as pastor of several churches from 1942 to 1946 and was then invited to become assistant professor of practical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in 1952. He became that institution’s first president in 1966, and remained there until 1984, when he took a post as theologian‑in‑residence at Trinity Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In 1990 Ed and Jean moved to Escondido, California, where Ed was adjunct professor at Westminster Seminary California. In 2000, he took a full‑time position as associate pastor at Christ the King Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Houston, Texas. After two years, he moved back to Charlottesville, where he once again became part‑time theologian‑in‑residence at Trinity Presbyterian Church. He remained in this role until his death.

Ed was a compassionate counselor; a devoted servant of Jesus Christ, his Word, and his church; a peacemaker; and a true visionary. He dreamed for Christ’s kingdom and was instrumental in the birth or furtherance of such ministries as the Reformed Theological Seminary in Aix‑en‑Provence, France; Westminster Seminary California; Trinity Church, Charlottesville; the Lausanne Conference; InterVarsity ministries, both in the United States and in England; and “The Westminster Ministerial Institute,” an inner‑city training program for pastors in Philadelphia, out of which the Lord developed the Center for Urban Theological Studies. He also had a life‑long interest in children’s Christian education materials.

In material written in 2002 for the publisher of one of his books, Ed revealed his creativity and educator’s heart: “The biggest job of my life was the production of the Vacation Bible School materials for [the original] Great Commission Publications [in the 1950s]…I had valuable assistance [from a number of people]…I wrote and illustrated the workbooks for children and the manuals for the teachers for the grades up to junior high….To strengthen my figure drawing, I [had] attended Saturday classes in the Chicago Museum school of art for two semesters.”


Ed will be supremely remembered by many as a preacher, perhaps the most gifted proponent and practitioner of redemptive‑historical preaching of this generation. He was unique in his ability to pick up the threads of redemptive history and to weave a rich expositional tapestry that brought Christ in all his perfections and glory before God’s people so that they were drawn to love and worship the Redeemer.

He was also a faithful churchman, serving first in the courts and many committees of the OPC and then in the courts and several committees of the PCA. He was a tireless proponent of improvement in the inter-church relations among the conservative Presbyterian denominations in this country. He had a significant role in the genesis of the “Joining and Receiving” process whereby the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod joined the PCA in 1982.

His writing displays the great theme of his life, namely Christ’s presence in the whole of Scripture and his present work in the church. His books include Preaching and Biblical Theology, Called to the Ministry, Christian Meditation, Doctrine of the Church, The Message of I Peter, The Unfolding Mystery, and Preaching Christ in all of Scripture. Some of these titles have been translated for the benefit of the worldwide church. His last book, How Christ Transforms the Ten Commandments, was accepted by his publisher only days before his death.

30 July 1726 A.D. Birth of Rev. William Jones—Anglican Clergyman


30 July 1726 A.D.  Birth of Rev. William Jones—Anglican Clergyman


William Jones (1726 to 1800)

Church of England

Defender of Three in One.

Birth of William Jones. He became an Anglican clergyman and sought to keep alive high church traditions (formal and ritual traditions from Roman Catholic days) among Anglicans. In 1756 he published The Catholic Doctrine of the Trinity, in which he sought to prove from scripture that belief in the Trinity is not merely tradition but a clear teaching. He also wrote The Scholar Armed against the Errors of the Time.

Wiki offers a few connections on this obscure figure.

William Jones (30 July 1726 – 6 January 1800), known as William Jones of Nayland, was a British clergyman and author.

William Jones, engraving by Robert Graves

Contents 



Life


He was born at Lowick, Northamptonshire, but was descended from an old Welsh family. One of his ancestors was Colonel John Jones, brother-in-law of Oliver Cromwell. He was educated at Charterhouse School and University College, Oxford. There a taste for music, as well as a similarity of character, led to his close intimacy with George Horne, later bishop of Norwich, whom he induced to study Hutchinsonian doctrines.

After obtaining his bachelor's degree at University College, Oxford in 1749, Jones held various preferments (Vicar of Bethersden, Kent (1764); Rector of Pluckley, Kent (1765)) . In 1777 he obtained the perpetual curacy of Nayland, Suffolk, and on Horne's appointment to Norwich became his chaplain, afterwards writing his life. His vicarage became the centre of a High Church coterie, and Jones himself was a link between the non-jurors and the Oxford Movement. He could write intelligibly on abstruse topics.

Works


In 1756 Jones published his tractate On the Catholic Doctrine of the Trinity, a statement of the doctrine from the Hutchinsonian point of view, with a summary of biblical proofs. This was followed in 1762 by an Essay on the First Principles of Natural Philosophy, in which he maintained the theories of Hutchinson in opposition to those of Isaac Newton, and in 1781 he dealt with the same subject in Physiological Disquisitions. Jones was also the originator of the British Critic (May 1793).

His collected works, with a life by William Stevens, appeared in 1801, in 12 vols., and were condensed into 6 vols in 1810. A life of Jones, forming pt. 5 of the Biography of English Divines, was published in 1849.

References


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

External links


Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: William Jones (1726–1800)

30 July 1540 A.D. Robert Barnes Executed—English Reformer & Anglican Churchman


30 July 1540 A.D.  Robert Barnes Executed—English Reformer & Anglican Churchman

The link below appears to be dead now, another reason for identifying the date of accessment.  Nevertheless, we cite it.


Today, July 30, in 1540, the English Reformer, Robert Barnes, was killed for his faith and public confession. He became a friend of Luther and lived in the home of Johann Bugenhagen, pastor of the city Church in Wittenberg. He was committed to spreading the Gospel in England, but was caught up in Henry VIII’s murderous plots and schemes and so paid the ultimate price for his faith. Here is the article about him from the 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica:

BARNES, ROBERT (1495-1540), English reformer and martyr, born about 1495, was educated at Cambridge, where he was a member, and afterwards prior of the convent of Austin Friars, and graduated D.D. in 1523. He was apparently one of the Cambridge men who were wont to gather at the White Horse Tavern for Bible-reading and theological discussion early in the third decade of the 16th century. In 1526, he was brought before the vice-chancellor for preaching a heterodox sermon, and was subsequently examined by Wolsey and four other bishops. He was condemned to abjure or be burnt; and preferring the former alternative, was committed to the Fleet prison and afterwards to the Austin Friars in London. He escaped thence to Antwerp in 1528, and also visited Wittenberg, where he made Luther’s acquaintance. He also came across Stephen Vaughan, an agent of Thomas Cromwell and an advanced reformer, who recommended him to Cromwell: “Look well,” he wrote, “upon Dr Barnes’ book. It is such a piece of work as I have not yet seen any like it. I think he shall seal it with his blood” (Letters and Papers of Henry VIII. v. 593). In 1531 Barnes returned to England, and became one of the chief intermediaries between the English government and Lutheran Germany. In 1535 he was sent to Germany, in the hope of inducing Lutheran divines to approve of Henry’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon, and four years later he was employed in negotiations connected with Anne of Cleves’s marriage. The policy was Cromwell’s, but Henry VIII had already in 1538 refused to adopt Lutheran theology, and the statute of Six Articles (1539), followed by the king’s disgust with Anne of Cleves (1540), brought the agents of that policy to ruin. An attack upon Bishop Gardiner by Barnes in a sermon at St Paul’s Cross was the signal for a bitter struggle between the Protestant and reactionary parties in Henry’s council, which raged during the spring of 1540. Barnes was forced to apologize and recant; and Gardiner delivered a series of sermons at St Paul’s Cross to counteract Barnes’ invective. But a month or so later Cromwell was made earl of Essex, Gardiner’s friend, Bishop Sampson, was sent to the Tower, and Barnes reverted to Lutheranism. It was a delusive victory. In July, Cromwell was attainted, Anne of Cleves was divorced and Barnes was burnt (30th July 1540). He also had an act of attainder passed against him, a somewhat novel distinction for a heretic, which illustrates the way in which Henry VIII employed secular machinery for ecclesiastical purposes, and regarded heresy as an offence against the state rather than against the church. Barnes was one of six executed on the same day: two, William Jerome and Thomas Gerrard, were, like himself, burnt for heresy under the Six Articles; three, Thomas Abel, Richard Fetherstone and Edward Powell, were hanged for treason in denying the royal supremacy. Both Lutherans and Catholics on the continent were shocked. Luther published Barnes’ confession with a preface of his own as Bekenntnis des Glaubens (1540), which is included in Walch’s edition of Luther’s Werke xxi. 186. Source: Wikipedia.

30 July 1233 A.D. “Germany’s Inquisitor Conrad of Marburg is Dead!” Few Mourn, Except Pope Gregory IX



30 July 1233 A.D.  “Germany’s Inquisitor Conrad of Marburg is Dead!”  Few Mourn, Except Pope Gregory IX


Graves, Dan. “Cruel Conrad of Marburg is Dead.”  Christianity.com.  Jun 2007. http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1201-1500/cruel-conrad-of-marburg-murdered-11629830.html.  Accessed 14 May 2014.


Conrad is dead. The inquisitor is dead!"


Word raced across the German countryside. Nobleman and commoner, priest and layman crowded forward to drink in details on this day, July 30, 1233. The man most hated and feared in all of Germany was dead. But how?


"He was murdered on the highway as he rode home from Mainz. Gerhard, his Franciscan assistant, was killed, too."


It was hard not to avoid the connection between Mainz and Marburg. Just five days earlier, the Archbishop of Mainz had called a synod (local church council). Conrad of Marburg, first inquisitor of Germany, had accused the Count of Sayn of heresy. The Count strongly denied the charge and appealed to the Archbishop. The Archbishop agreed to examine the case.


Little wonder the count was worried. Conrad, who tortured himself as part of his religious system, was even more savage with "heretics." Anyone who was indicted for heresy in his court had just two choices: to confess themselves guilty or to deny it. If they confessed, their hair was shaved off and penalties assessed. If they denied that they were guilty, they went to the stake. It seems never to have occurred to Conrad that someone might deny their guilt because they actually were innocent. It should have, for his indictments were obtained by threatening accused people with torture unless they gave him names of others who were "guilty" of heresy.


When the clergy assembled at Mainz, Conrad was there. The synod found no evidence of heresy in the Count of Sayn. Frustrated, Conrad called for a crusade against heretical nobles.


It had to be with relief that the targets of Conrad's wrath learned of his death. As brutal as the thirteenth century was, even Conrad's contemporaries could not stomach his harsh methods. When the bishops of Germany took over their nation's inquisition, they applied standards of inquiry that were more realistic and fair.


It seems not many people mourned Conrad's death. One who did was Pope Gregory IX. Gregory was an instigator of the inquisition. He called for harsh penalties on Conrad's murderers and extended his protection over Conrad's memory.


Conrad had also been confessor to Elizabeth of Hungary, the gentle queen who opened Europe's first leprosarium. His treatment of her shows his temperament. He made her send her children away and ordered her to expel the women who had been her close companions and suffered exile with her. He surrounded Elizabeth with his own, unsympathetic appointees. He imposed harsh penances on her. According to some accounts, he even personally beat her.


Bibliography:


1.      "Conrad of Marburg." The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Edited by F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone. Oxford, 1997.


2.      Jameson. Legends of the Monastic Orders. London: Longman, Green and co., 1872, source of the portrait.


3.      Kirsch, J.P. "Conrad of Marburg." The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton, 1914.


4.      Various articles on Conrad of Marburg and on Elizabeth of Hungary.


Last updated June, 2007

30 July 734 A.D. Tatwin Dies—9th of 105 Archbishops of Canterbury


30 July 734 A.D.  Tatwin Dies—9th of 105 Archbishops of Canterbury

Burton, Edwin. "St. Tatwin." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14465a.htm.  Accessed 10 May 2014.

St. Tatwin


(TATUINI)

Archbishop of Canterbury; died 30 July, 734. A Mercian by birth, he became a monk at Briudun in Worcestershire. The Venerable Bede describes him as "a man illustrious for religion and prudence and excellently instructed in the sacred letters" (Hist. Eccl., V, xxiii). He was elected to succeed Brihtwald as Archbishop of Canterbury, and was consecrated there on 10 June, 731, afterwards receiving the pallium from the pope. (Symeon Dunelm., "Hist. Reg.", II, 30). During his brief episcopate of three years he blessed Nothbald, the new Abbot of St. Augustine's Abbey, who had succeeded Tatwin's friend, Albinus, and he also consecrated bishops for Lindsey and Selsey. After his death miracles were wrought through his intercession, an account of which was written by Goscelin. Certain rhymed œnigmata or riddles (published by Giles in "Anecdota Bedæ", 1851) are ascribed to him, and he is said to have written some poems in Anglo-Saxon which have perished.

Sources


VEN. BEDE, Hist. Ecc., V, xxiii-xxiv; WILLIAM OF MALMESBURY, Gesta pontificum in R. S. (London, 1870); CHALLONER, Britannia Sancta (London, 1745); KEMBLE, Codex diplomaticus ævi Saxonici (London, 1839-48); HADDAN AND STUBBS, Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents (Oxford, 1869-78); HOOK, Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury (London, 1860); HARDY, Descriptive Catalogue (London, 1862); STUBBS in Dict. Christian Biog.; HUNT in Dict. Nat. Biog.; EBERT, Ueber die Räthselpoesie der Angelsachsen, insbesondere die Ænigmata des Tatwine u. Eusebius in Ber. Sächs. Ges. Wissensch. (Berlin, 1877); HAHN, Die Räthseldichter Tatwin u. Eusebius in Forsch. deutsch. Gesch. (Berlin, 1887); SEARLE, Anglo-Saxon Bishops, Kings and Nobles (Cambridge, 1899).

30 July 734 A.D. Tatwin Dies—9th of 105 Archbishops of Canterbury


30 July 734 A.D.  Tatwin Dies—9th of 105 Archbishops of Canterbury

Bevans,  G. M. “St. Tatwin (Died AD 734).”  Brittania.com.  N.d. http://www.britannia.com/bios/abofc/tatwin.html. Accessed 7 May 2014.

Bevans,  Portraits of the Archbishops of Canterbury. Toronto, ONT:  University of Toronto Libraries, 2011. Available here: http://www.amazon.com/Portraits-Archbishops-Canterbury-Gladys-Bevan/dp/B005HI57FS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399493248&sr=8-1&keywords=bevans+portraits+of+archbishops+of+canterbury

St. Tatwin
(Died AD 734)
Archbishop of Canterbury
Died: 30th July AD 734

Tatwin, by birth a Mercian, entered the Monastery of Breedon-on-the-Hill in Leicestershire.

In AD 731, Tatwin was promoted to the See of Canterbury, through the influence of King Aethelbald of Mercia, and was consecrated on 10th June. Bede concluded his Ecclesiastical History in the same year. Of Tatwin, he says that he was vir religione et Prudentia insignis, sacris quoque literis nobiliter instructus (a man notable for his prudence, devotion and learning). This is clearing shown in the two surviving manuscripts of his Riddles and four of his Grammar. The former deal with such diverse topics as philosophy & charity, the five senses & the alphabet and a book & a pen.

His short archiepiscopate of three years seems to have been uneventful. Though he is known to have consecrated Bishops of Lindsey and of Selsey in AD 733. He died the following year.

Edited from G.M. Bevan's "Portraits of the Archbishops of Canterbury" (1908).

30 July 579 A.D. Benedict 1 Dies—Rome’s 62nd; Lombard Ravages & Famine


30 July 579 A.D.  Benedict 1 Dies—Rome’s 62nd;  Lombard Ravages & Famine

Mann, Horace. "Pope Benedict I." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907.  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02427c.htm.  Accessed 12 Jul 2014.

Pope Benedict I


Of the first Pontiff who bore the name of Benedict practically nothing is known. The date of his birth is unknown; he d. 30 July, 579. He was a Roman and the son of Boniface, and was called Bonosus by the Greeks(Evagrius, Hist., V, 16). The ravages of the Lombards rendered it very difficult to communicate with the emperor at Constantinople, who claimed the privilege of confirming the election of the popes. Hence there was a vacancy of nearly eleven months between the death of John III and the arrival of the imperial confirmation of Benedict's election, 2 June, 575. He reigned four years, one month, and twenty-eight days. Almost the only act recorded of him is that he granted an estate, the Massa Veneris, in the territory of Minturnae, to Abbot Stephen of St. Mark's "near the walls of Spoleto" (St. Gregory I, Ep. ix, 87, I. al. 30). Famine followed the devastating Lombards, and from the few words the Liber Pontificalis has about Benedict, we gather that he died in the midst of his efforts to cope with these difficulties. He was buried in the vestibule of the sacristy of the old basilica of St. Peter. In an ordination which he held in December he made fifteen priests and threedeacons, and consecrated twenty-one bishops.

Sources


The most important source for the history of the first nine popes who bore the name of Benedict is the biographies in the Liber Pontificalis, of which the most useful edition is that of Duchesne, Le Liber Pontificalis (Paris, 1886-92), and the latest that of Mommsen, Gesta Pontif. Roman. (to the end of the reign of Constantine only, Berlin, 1898). Jaffé, Regesta Pont. Rom. (2d ed., Leipzig, 1885), gives a summary of the letters of each pope and tells where they may be read at length. Modern accounts of these popes will be found in any large Church history, or history of the City of Rome. The fullest account in English of most of them is to be read in Mann, Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages (London, 1902, passim).

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

29 July 1579 A.D. Lutheran Niels Hemmingsen—Stripped of Position at Copenhagen University for Reformed Views of the Table


29 July 1579 A.D.  Lutheran Niels Hemmingsen—Stripped of Position at Copenhagen University for Reformed Views of the Table

Hutchinson, E.J. “July 29, 1579.”  Calvinistic International.  29 Jul 2014. http://calvinistinternational.com/2014/07/29/july-29-1579/.  Accessed 29 Jul 2014.

July 29, 1579

Today is an important day in the history of the Church.

Ok, I suppose that’s not entirely accurate; but it’s important to me, so I’m going to post about it anyway.

July 29 is the anniversary of the day on which the Lutheran Niels Hemmingsen, at the time Denmark’s most famous intellectual and academic and held in high esteem by King Frederick II, was stripped of his position at the University of Copenhagen for espousing increasingly “Calvinist” views of the Lord’s Supper in a couple of theological works. Hemmingsen probably would not have had a problem if it had not been for the complaints of German agitators in Saxony, which happened to be governed by Frederick’s brother-in-law Augustus, Elector of Saxony.

Trygve Skarsten explains what happened:

It is clear…that in 1571 Hemmingsen attacked the Gnesio-Lutherans and the doctrine of ubiquity in his Demonstratio indubitatae veritatis de Domino Jesu. The following year an extended visit from some Saxon crypto-Calvinist teachers laid the groundwork for the impending crisis. In 1574, in a large dogmatic work entitled Syntagma institutionum Christianarum, Hemmingsen openly hailed the Calvinist doctrine of the Lord’s Supper.

So strong was his support and following in Denmark that nothing would have come of all this had it not been for complaints from abroad. About this time the ardent Lutheran Elector Augustus of Saxony (brother-in-law of King Frederick of Denmark) was seeking to rid his territory of crypto-Calvinism only to have the Wittenberg Philippist theologians invoke the writings of Hemmingsen. A plot to import Calvinism into Saxony was also uncovered by the elector. When the defendants were questioned, they cited the views of Hemmingsen, whom they had recently visited in Copenhagen. A complaint was immediately lodged with Frederick II who called upon Hemmingsen to renounce his position on the Lord’s Supper. Although it was very difficult for Hemmingsen, he finally conceded in 1576 so that the Danish Church could be free of any suspicion of false teaching. It was clear that he still held to the Variata Augustana, the altered Augsburg Confession as modified by Melanchthon in 1540 and 1542. Continued accusations came from Germany regarding Hemmingsen’s ongoing teaching career. Finally on July 29, 1579, the king dismissed him from his position as professor, and recommended that he leave Copenhagen and take up residence in Roskilde.

But that wasn’t quite the end of the story; Hemmingsen neither burned out nor faded away:

Far from fading away, Hemmingsen’s works continued to come off the printing presses, and his fame only increased, especially in Calvinist sections of Europe where he was looked upon as a kind of martyr. The king continued to seek him out for counsel and guidance on difficult questions. (Trygve R. Skarsten, “The Reaction in Scandinavia,” in Discord, Dialogue, and Concord, ed. Lewis W. Spitz and Wenzel Lohff [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977], 139-40).

29 July 1975 A.D. Ascension Presbytery (PCA) Officially Formed


29 July 1975 A.D.  Ascension Presbytery (PCA) Officially Formed

Archivist. “July 29: Ascension Presbytery (PCA).”  This Day in Presbyterian History.  29 Jul 2014.  http://www.thisday.pcahistory.org/2014/07/july-29-2/.  Accessed 29 Jul 2014.

July 29: Ascension Presbytery (PCA)


Historical Prologue

Ascension Presbytery was chronologically the 19th presbytery formed within the PCA, being officially organized on 29 July 1975. Originally its encompassed a larger territory, but those borders were diminished with the formation of Pittsburgh Presbytery on 1 January 1993, and later on 1 January 2010, Ascension contributed churches to the formation of Ohio Presbytery. Presently its borders include all of Pennsylvania north and west of and including the counties of McLean, Elk, Clearfield, Jefferson, Armstrong, Butler, and Beaver counties. The following brief history of the Ascension Presbytery was composed by the Rev. Richard E. Knodel, Jr.:—

The Presbytery of the Ascension of the Presbyterian Church in America did not spring forth de novo. Among reasons for its formation were many that were not of the moment. The constituents of the Presbytery of the Ascension were almost exclusively members, in one way or another, of the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (hereafter cited as the UPCUSA). In broadest terms, it could be shown that the continual turning of the majority of the UPCUSA toward a crass latitudinarianism was placing a greater and greater torque on firm evangelicals with that body. The attrition which had surfaced during the earlier portion of this century had, in many cases, reached an undesirable maturation of unbelief and corruption. No matter which field might be investigated, be it doctrine, missions, education, management, social concern or evangelism, the seeds of corruption could be seen reproducing themselves at an unnatural rate.

Yet while there were such cyclical crises, problems which for the Evangelical seemed to resurface with a foreboding rapidity, there was, for the most part, an inverse reaction of silence from the evangelical camp. Most evangelicals were hesitant to take precipitous action though they were in the midst of a self-admitted crisis. The proverbial “carrot”, representing possible changes and hope, was seen to be continually dangling before the conservative’s watch. Whether it was a humility which was deeply conscious of its own fallibility, or whether it was a hesitancy to become embroiled in an open hostility, the posture of most evangelicals was inert. And this was a position which was open and vulnerable to the disease of the greater portion of the body. Furthermore, it presented the evangelical involved, with the problem of “what degree” of liberalism there must be, before it would be morally advisable to either attempt discipline within the church, or to exercise reverse discipline by separating oneself from the church.x

But for the vast majority of the members of this new presbytery, such agonizing decisions were made unnecessary, by the direct action taken by the UPCUSA. Most felt that they were asked to leave their church, and that the most honorable way that this might be accomplished was to “peacefully withdraw.” This action was precipitated by the popularly known “Kenyon Case” which began in the late Spring and ended in the late Fall of 1974. The watershed of this case had taken, and is taking place in 1975, even as this account is presently being penned.

Mr. Walter Wynn Kenyon was an honors graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. in his trials for ordination, Mr. Kenyon, upon being asked his position on the ordination of women, stated that he could not in good conscience participate in the ordination of a woman. He said that it was his understanding of Scripture that prevented such involvement, but went on to say that he would not stand in the way of such an ordination, if such was the desire of a church which he would happen to serve. Immediately there arose much dissent, and such dissent grew until the overwhelming majority of the church endorsed the judicial verdict which banned Kenyon and all future Kenyons from the pulpits of the UPCUSA. Furthermore, there was both explicit and implicit action which was taken against those men already ordained.

The Rev. Arthur C. Broadwick (and the Union UPCUSA of Pittsburgh) and the Rev. Carl W. Bogue, Jr. (and the Allenside UPCUSA of Akron) were already involved in litigations which involved this issue. And, in an even more pervasive way, the Stated Clerk of the UPCUSA (Mr. William P. Thompson), acting as the official interpreter of th Constitution of the UPCUA, ruled that as one’s answering the ordination/installation questions affirmatively was involved in the final decision in the Kenyon Case, any presently ordained pastor or ruling elder who held to the Kenyon views, could likewise never be placed in another pulpit or office unless he changed his views. The constitution of the UPCUSA clearly stated that men should exercise “forebearance in love” in situations where non-essentials of the presbyterian system of doctrine and polity were at stake. when the Permanent Judicial Commission of th UPCUSA ruled that Mr. Kenyon could not be ordained (i.e., granted exception on this matter of conscience) it effectively elevated this doctrine concerning social relationships to the place of being a major doctrine of the church. Furthermore, by application, it appeared that this new essential would eclipse all others and become the sine qua non of “orthodoxy” test questions.

Such action by the Permanent Judicial Commission led to a crisis for all of those pastors and elders who held to the traditional views on this question and who were now considered heretics. Accordingly, to uphold the peace, unity and purity of the church, most of the men who made up the membership of the charter presbytery peaceably withdrew from the UPCUSA.

These decisions and their subsequent effects were aided by many informal gatherings of like-minded individuals, beginning with the Kenyon Case and continuing through 1975 to the official organization of the Presbytery of the Ascension on July 29, 1975. The three meetings immediately preceeding the organization were unofficially recorded under the title of “Pre-Presbytery Meeting” and shall be spread upon the minutes of the present presbytery as an appendix to this historical program.

A fitting conclusion to this description of the genesis of the Presbytery of the Ascension is the mention of the Presbytery’s new affiliation, the Presbyterian Church in America. In the Fall of 1974, men who were affected by the drift of the Kenyon Case, sent four representatives, from an informal committee which was considering alternatives to the UPCUSA (i.e., in case that body should make a ruling against Mr. Kenyon which would affect the church as a whole), to the second General Assembly of the National Presbyterian Church (which became the Presbyterian Church in America). These four pastors (cf. the Rev. A.C. Broadwick, the Rev. K.E. Perrin, the Rev. R.E. Knodel, Jr., and the Rev. W.L. Thompson) were, on behalf of the larger concerned group, seeking a historically Reformed body which was also evangelical and mission minded. While this small entourage went to Macon, Georgia with many suspicions and questions, they returned overjoyed that there was an option such as the Presbyterian Church in America. When the Permanent Judicial Commission of the UPCUSA ruled as was feared, men who felt compelled to leave her bounds renounced the jurisdiction of that church and very happily were welcomed into a body of like mind. In the most concise manner possible, it would be said that it was the fervent balance of orthodoxy and spirit which led this group to finally align themselves with the Presbyterian Church in America. We pray that all of our actions might work to the praise and glory of our Sovereign God, our Victorious Christ, and The Spirit who continually sustains us.”

Respectfully and Humbly submitted,
/s/ Richard E. Knodel, Jr.

Postscript:
Dr. Wynn Kenyon went on to serve an illustrious career spanning thirty-one years as Professor of Philosophy and Biblical Studies at Belhaven University, and was also a founding member and ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi. He passed away quite unexpectedly on February 13, 2012, at the age of 64.