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sept Giveaway

I have been attempting to collect old Synod reports from the RPCNA. When I mean old, I do not mean 1985. I mean late-1800s and early 1900s. Finding these has been a real joy, because when I read one there is this sensation that I am most-likely the only person who has read this in about 100 years (maybe I am conceited, maybe I am wrong, but I still think along these lines).

The amount of material that is devotional in nature is quite amazing as well. From what I hear from some people in Reformed denominations, synods (as well as classis, presbyteries, etc.) have a legal and formal sense that is usually less than worshipful.

These old reports are filled with material that causes one to lift up holy hands to the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is one example, from the RPCNA Synod, 1910. It is from the Report on the Committee of the Sabbath:

The Sabbath is the mountain day between the weeks. Here Jesus is found teaching and pronouncing blessings. They, who will, may have this high day with Jesus, and enjoy His fellowship- the very essence of happiness How rich and numerous the blessings that come to such! This mountain is strewn with precious gifts: comfort for the sad; pardon for the guilty; bread for the hungry; rest for the weary; riches for the poor; visions for the pure; society for the lonely; crowns for the humble; heaven for the persecuted; the Holy Spirit for all. What happy experiences the Sabbath brings to those who worship in the Spirit! What views of life, of destiny, of eternity! What stirrings of the soul, what incoming power, what feelings of holy awe what consciousness of kinship with God! How the horizon bounds back, and life grows large! How near heaven seems to be! How real the Throne, the Lamb, the angels, and the Redeemed! Blessing upon blessing for the Sabbath-keeper. “Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keep the Sabbath (Is. 56:2.)!

I am at the Banner of Truth Conference this week. Enjoy the time I am away.

By what authority does a minister of the Gospel come? To what extent does his authority, in Christ, extend?

The full and free and unrestricted power to take possession of this world in the name of Christ, to the exclusion of any other form of faith and worship, is what Christianity demands: with less than this it cannot be satisfied…The ministers of the Gospel claim it as a right to go into every nation, however fenced around and guarded from intrusion, and to demand an entrance in the name of Him who sent them, even although the magistrate should bid them depart from his coasts. Further still, the messengers of the Cross arrogate to themselves the title to enter into every human dwelling where is a sinner is to be found,- seeking admittance in the name of the Saviour of sinners, that they may negotiate with the inhabitant in behalf of their master, however sternly the door may be closed against them by jealousy of their errand, or hatred of their cause.
-James Bannerman, The Church of Christ, volume 1, page 141

I often read and meditate upon the control of the tongue and thoughts. James said that the tongue is the smallest member of the body, yet the most difficult to bridle. I believe that this area will be the last to be sanctified for many Christians. We have grown up hearing ‘sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me!’

When that is filtered through a Christian worldview there can only be one assessment– it is a lie. Words are very powerful. The worlds were created at the speaking of a word. Satan will finally be destroyed at the speaking of a word. Christian witness, Christian homes and marriages, Christian friendships, and Christian churches can all be destroyed as well by the speaking of our words.

Let us heed the words of John Calvin,
I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels.

Often we hear comments from people that are to the effect that man is basically good. People have come a long way from the biblical doctrine of original sin and its impact upon the human race. The fact is that man has fallen so far from his original state that he is beyond hope without the intersession of the Lord Jesus Christ. Man is naturally corrupt. This corruption can be cleansed with the blood of Christ’s atoning sacrifice.

Guido de Bres wrote the Belgic Confession in the early days of the Reformation (1561). Here is what he said concerning the fall of man:

We believe that by the disobedience of Adam original sin has been spread through the whole human race.
It is a corruption of all nature– an inherited depravity which even infects small infants in their mother’s womb, and the root which produces in man every sort of sin. It is therefore so vile and enormous in God’s sight that it is enough to condemn the human race, and it is not abolished or wholly uprooted even by baptism, seeing that sin constantly boils forth as though from a contaminated spring.
Nevertheless, it is not imputed to God’s children for their condemnation but is forgiven by his grace and mercy– not to put them to sleep but so that the awareness of this corruption might often make believers groan as they long to be set free from the “body of this death.”

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