Volume. XXX, No. 52
Sunday, 19 June 2016


Part 1 - The Bible Presbyterian Church: Striving for Purity and Adequately Serving the Lord


I have been a pastor in the Bible Presbyterian Church for forty-one years. I would say that the Bible Presbyterian Church is striving for purity and adequately serving the Lord. I would rate the denomination high in its biblical adherence and adherence to its own doctrinal standards. When it comes to adequacy, it gets a passing grade, but there is room for improvement.

Historically, the Bible Presbyterian Church can trace its existence to the desire to have a Presbyterian Church true to God’s Word and blessed of Him. I will briefly mention the Protestant Reformation, Presbyterian struggles here in America, and in particular, the rise and decline of the Bible Presbyterian Church. My sincere hope is that we will see our Bible Presbyterian Church expand its ministry in the 21st century.

I have enjoyed my ministry in the Church, and hope that many will consider serving in it. It is my opinion that the Bible Presbyterian Church was for many years a unique blend of the Reformed Faith and Fundamentalism. In many ways it profited from this position. For example: it preached the doctrines of Grace, and had a great evangelistic zeal. The emphasis was: the Bible says, rather than the Reformed Faith says. The messages from pulpits were not just to the head but to the heart and soul, urging people to salvation and obedience in their walk with the Lord.

When I speak of churches impure and striving for purity, I am talking about adherence to the doctrinal truth of Scripture. We know that total purity will only be achieved in heaven. Adequacy has to do with the ability to take biblical truth and apply it to the life of the Church. It is important to stand for “thus saith the Lord.” It is important to be tolerant on those things that are not “thus saith the Lord,” and to be able to distinguish between the two.

Churches Impure and Inadequate (Roman Catholic and Presbyterian Church U.S.A.)
Prior to the Protestant Reformation, the church had become so impure and inadequate that it had lost the gospel. People who followed its teachings were led down the broad road that leads to destruction. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:13, 14). The Protestant Reformation was a great revival. The gospel was rediscovered and many were saved by trusting in Christ as their Savior.  

As the Protestant Reformation unfolded, the Presbyterian Church was born. It had a glorious ministry from John Knox (1514-1572), to Charles Hodge (1797-1878). Great Presbyterian beliefs include the following:

The Bible is our only rule of faith and practice (2 Tim 3:15-17)
God alone is Lord of the conscience (1 Thess 4:1)
The Westminster Standards (1643-1648) were adopted as the secondary doctrinal standard of the Church (2 Tim 2:15)
Church government and church discipline are to be administered through church courts (Session, Presbytery, Synod; Acts 15; Matt 18:15-20)
The eldership, both teaching and ruling, all have the same authority (1 Pet 5:1-5)

The first Synod of the Presbyterian Church in America was constituted in 1716. The Presbyterian Church grew and had a great influence on our country’s form of government. The freedom we cherish so much today is rooted in scripture as expounded by Presbyterians. Great revivals broke out in the land, and educational institutions at all levels were established under Presbyterian ministry.

In time, evolution and higher criticism began to make inroads into the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. It affected the churches, mission programs, colleges, and seminaries. Dr. J. Gresham Machen’s book Christianity and Liberalism stated that liberalism was not Christianity, but a new and false religion. By 1924, the Auburn Affirmation and its views had been accepted in the Presbyterian Church. A broad and inclusive position was accepted that no longer required ministers and elders to believe these truths:

The Bible is the inerrant Word of God (Ps  19:7-14)
Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary (Isa 7:14 with Matt 1:22-25)
Jesus bodily rose from the dead (1 Cor 15)
Jesus suffered on the cross to atone for our sin (Heb 10)
Jesus performed miracles (Matt 12:22-28)

The Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. had now become very impure and inadequate, denying both scripture and its own doctrinal standards. On March 17, 1935, Dr. J. Gresham Machen gave his confession from the pulpit of the First Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania:

My profession of faith is simply that I know nothing of the Christ proclaimed, through the Auburn Affirmation, by the Moderator of that Commission. I know nothing of a Christ who is presented to us in a human book containing errors, but know only a Christ presented in a divine Book, the Bible, which is true from beginning to end. I know nothing of a Christ who possibly was and possibly was not born of a virgin, but know only a Christ who was truly conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary. I know nothing of a Christ who possibly did and possibly did not work miracles, but know only a Christ who said to the winds and the waves, with the sovereign voice of the Maker and Ruler of all nature, “Peace, be still.” I know nothing of a Christ who possibly did and possibly did not come out of the tomb on the first Easter morning, but know only a Christ who triumphed over sin and the grave and is living now in His glorified body until He shall come again and I shall see Him with my very eyes. I know nothing of a Christ who possibly did and possibly did not die as my substitute on the cross, but know only a Christ who took upon Himself the just punishment of my sins and died there in my stead to make me right with the holy God.

When certain ministers and elders would not accept the errors of the Auburn Affirmation they were tried and put out of the Church. It is indeed an eye-opener when one learns how tolerant liberal ministers are to error, and how intolerant they are of truth.

It was during this time of struggle that Bible believing Presbyterian organizations were formed: In 1928, Westminster Theological Seminary; In 1933, The Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions; In 1936, The Presbyterian Church of America. Like the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s, the separation from unbelief was of the Lord and according to His Word. God has commanded us to separate from unbelief when our attempts to reform the Church have failed.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor 6:14-18).

This article was written in early 1980s for a magazine of a BP seminary, Western Reformed Seminary Journal.

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster - Helpers this week: Bros Daniel Volvricht & Benjamin Wong; Sis Bernadette Ng.  Helpers next week: Bro Danny Chu; Sisters Clara Ki & Daphne Lai.
*Basic Bible Knowledge Class commences today.
*ACM Reports: All leaders of fellowship, ministry & Bible Study groups, please submit your reports by 17 July to Dn Colin Gan.

Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: others arriving safely at their destinations.
Visitors & new worshippers.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Church activities in the  past week.
Healing: Bro Mike Ng

Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Pastor Ki; Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Patrick Tan (S’pore) & Rev George van Buuren; Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; & others in affliction.
Special Prayer: Rev George van Buuren (pneumonia); Sisters Siew Fong Cho, Tina Kour (post-op recovery), & Linda Tan; Narelle Chong (headache); & Mr Laurie Brown.
God’s comfort in bereavement: Bro Edwin D’Mello & Sis Grace Chung.
iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry in Melbourne.
Cambodia Missions:
New Life BPC (London)
Future ministry at Hope BPC: Bro Kevin Low & family.
Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.
Providence B-P Church, Mawson Lakes - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.
Journey mercies: all those who are travelling.
Safety in pregnancy: Sis Emily Zhang.
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
Jobs: Those seeking for jobs in Adelaide.
University & Year 12 students’ upcoming exams & final reports.
God’s guidance & provision of new church. property for worship, office & fellowship activities.
Persecuted believers in Islamic & Communist countries.
Comfort for those who lost loved ones in the Orlando shooting.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063