We aim only at removing the rubbish, that the ancient landmarks may reappear, and on the principle of charity, which comprises the whole moral law (Rom. 13:8-10), we have not shunned to mention the names of leaders in public measures of defection, following the example of our Lord, prophets, apostles, and our witnessing ancestors (Reformed Presbytery, Short Vindication of Our Covenanted Reformation, 1879, SWRB, 1997, p. 48).
Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set (Prov. 22:28).
That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past (Eccl. 3:15, emphases added) .
Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto (Gal. 3:15, emphasis added).
Over the last decade or so, as President of Still Waters Revival Books, I have had the privilege (by the grace of God and with the help and prayers of many dear Christians) of publishing approximately 800 books. Over 400 of these have been released in the last two years. Most of these works have been between 100 and 400 years old though a few have been older. All have been from the Covenanter/Presbyterian/Puritan/Reformed family of literature (though the terminology is anachronistic in regard to authors like Augustine). A good number of these books are considered classics by many. But I cannot recall one title that I thought would be as useful to our generation as the title you are holding in your hands. In fact, I did not think that we would see a book of this calibre written in our generation. Books like this which contain pertinent evidence, testimony, exhortation, admonishment and encouragement so startling that they can bring about a paradigm shift in the thinking of whole denominations and even nations come along only very rarely. And the truths expounded in this book have in the past brought whole nations to the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ, in repentance and covenanted love.
I believe that there is one primary answer to the question of what makes The Covenanted Reformation Defended uniquely useful and it is this: it exposes the many differences between what took place during the two previous great Reformations (of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries) which were based upon and agreeable to the glorious covenanted Reformations found in the Old Testament and what the bulk of the Presbyterian and Reformed churches (corporately), elders (individually), and church members (individually) mistakenly think took place. It conclusively and irrefutably demonstrates that those churches which today call themselves Presbyterian (and even many which claim a more general Reformed heritage) have grievously departed from the Scriptural standards and principles of these previous Spirit-led Reformations. This will become progressively (and painfully) clear as the reader witnesses evidence upon evidence of defection from biblically based Reformation attainments (Phil. 3:16) and the burying and/or removing of the ancient Reformation landmarks. For two prime examples of what I am saying please see the research on the Westminster Assembly and admission to the Lord's Table (on pages 143-156) and the original intent of the Covenanters (including the Westminster Divines) involved in the swearing of an "everlasting covenant" in the Solemn League and Covenant (on pages 44-48). Ultimately, when the testimony and evidence is weighed in light of Scriptural verities, it is entirely safe to say that the original Reformers would not only have sought negative ecclesiastical sanctions against our modern pseudo-Reformers, but in many cases negative civil sanctions as well.
Notice a small portion of the evidence Greg Barrow presents as to how the Covenanters fenced the Lord's Table in keeping with our fourth term of communion (from p. 88 in this book [all subsequent references to page numbers which stand alone refer to page numbers in The Covenanted Reformation Defended),
Act for Taking the Covenant at the first receiving of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper
The General Assembly according to former recommendations, Doth ordain that all young students take the Covenant at their first entry into colleges; and that hereafter all persons whatsoever take the Covenant at their first receiving of the Lords Supper: Requiring hereby Provincial Assemblies, Presbyteries and Universities to be careful that this Act be observed, an account thereof taken in the visitation of Universities and particular Kirks, and in the trial of Presbyteries (The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, [16381649 inclusive], p. 422, emphases added).
That all students of Philosophy at their first entry and at their lawreation, be holden to subscribe the League and Covenant and be urged thereto, and all other persons as they come to age and discretion before their first receiving the Sacrament of the Lords Supper (The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, [16381649 inclusive], 1682, SWRB reprint, 1997, p. 368, emphases added).
Or how the Genevan Presbytery of Calvin's day sought negative civil sanctions against non-covenanters who "did not wish to swear to the reformation" (from p. 237).
Register of the Council of 24
12 November 1537. It was reported that yesterday the people who had not yet made their oath to the reformation were asked to do so, street by street; whilst many came, many others did not do so. No one came from the German quarter. It was decided that they should be commanded to leave the city if they did not wish to swear to the reformation.
Or who were considered to be "opening the door to schism and sects" by the Covenanted General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (from p. 176),
Whosoever brings in any opinion or practice in this Kirk contrary to the Confession of Faith, Directory of Worship, or Presbyterian Government may be justly esteemed to be opening the door to schism and sects (The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland [16381649 inclusive], 1682, SWRB reprint, 1997, p. 396).
Or how those aspiring to the ministry were dealt with if they refused to swear the National Covenant (from p. 87),
August 5, Session 10, 1640.
The Assembly ordains, that if any Expectant [minister GB] shall refuse to subscribe the Covenant, he shall be declared incapable of Pedagogy, teaching in a school, reading at a Kirk, preaching within a presbytery, and shall not have liberty of residing within a Burgh, university or College: and if they continue obstinate to be processed (The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, [16381649 inclusive], p. 94).
Even more alarming are the words from The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland directed against covenant breakers (p. 49),
August 6, 1649.
Although there were none in the one kingdom who did adhere to the Covenant, yet thereby were not the other kingdom nor any person in either of them absolved from the bond thereof, since in it we have not only sworn by the Lord, but also covenanted with Him. It is not the failing of one or more that can absolve the other from their duty or tie to Him: Besides, the duties therein contained, being in themselves lawful, and the grounds of our tie thereunto moral, though the other do forget their duty, yet doth not their defection free us from that obligation which lies upon us by the Covenant in our places and stations. And the Covenant being intended and entered into by these kingdoms, as one of the best means of steadfastness, for guarding against declining times: It were strange to say that the backsliding of any should absolve others from the tie thereof, especially seeing our engagement therein is not only National, but also personal, everyone with uplifted hands swearing by himself, as it is evident by the tenor of the Covenant. From these and other important reasons, it may appear that all these kingdoms joining together to abolish that oath by law, yet could they not dispense therewith; Much less can any one of them, or any part in either of them do the same. The dispensing with oaths have hitherto been abhorred as Antichristian, and never practised and avowed by any but by that man of sin; therefore those who take the same upon them, as they join with him in his sin, so must they expect to partake of his plagues (The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, [16381649 inclusive], 1682, SWRB reprint, 1997, pp. 474475, emphases added).
Such evidence is multiplied throughout this work; contrasting the old (paleo) Reformed paths and Reformers with new (neo) Reformed innovations and innovators. Thus, I ask you to be patient, read carefully, compare the words of the Reformers with our alone infallible standard (the Scriptures) and then see if what is passed off as the Reformed faith today resembles that which was taught and practiced during previous Reformations.
I will not detain the reader with a long list of the many critical errors exposed and crucial questions answered in this book Berean-like Christians will easily discern what is being said and how the modern church has defected from the blood-stained "footsteps of the flock" (Song 1:8). I will, however, ask the reader to keep the big picture in mind as he (or she) reads. The controversy with the Baconites of Rowlett, which helped to bring this indispensable information before the public, is very much secondary when considered in the light of the greater defection of the church in general. Had we been called upon to answer just the slander, libel and gross misrepresentations of the Reformer's (and the Reformed faith), found in the work of Richard Bacon, it would hardly have been worth the time and effort that has gone into this book. But considering, in God's most holy and wise providence, that Bacon's A Defense Departed echoes so many classic anti-Reformation errors (an eclectic mix of confusion based on everything from Independent to Popish heresies, as the title of this book indicates), a much larger and extensive work has been prepared. Furthermore, the perceptive reader will quickly notice that though Bacon's objections are being answered in our modern context, many of these same objections (at times almost word for word) have been brought against previous generations of Covenanting Reformers by various heretics, schismatics and sectarians. Moreover, the doctrinal errors and unscriptural practices which Bacon defends (some which are clearly "inspired by the ghost of Arminius," as Gillespie would say, see page 42) have contaminated the body of the modern church (especially those denominations calling themselves Presbyterian or Reformed), like a deadly contagion or malignant cancer. It should therefore be exceedingly helpful to the contemporary reader to see these old errors and heresies (though wrapped in the finery and smooth speeches of our modern malignants) contrasted with the classic Presbyterian and Reformed positions. Clearly, as will be seen, the issuesthat divide Christians have changed little, if at all; and until these issues are settled, the church will lack the unity that Scripture commands (Phil. 1:27, 2:2; 1 Pet. 3:8, etc.) and the blessing that follows all true unity because biblical unity, undergirded by faithful terms of communion (cf. pp. 108-116), must be based upon truth (Ps. 133:1-3).
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one (Zech. 14:6-9, emphases added).
Additionally, with the big picture in mind, the following parable from the pen of Greg Barrow, entitled "the deep pit of covenant breaking," will help the reader to understand the spirit in which this book has been written,
Those who follow Mr. Bacon's teaching walk together hand in hand within the deep pit of covenant breaking. From this pit they look up at those who plead with them to climb out, and call us "the separatists." "Come down into this pit with us," they cry. "You schismatics, don't you see it's a sin to stay separate from us? Can't you see that for hundreds of years, most of the nations have joined us down here? How can we be wrong when all the churches and ministers are ignoring the promises made to our Master? Every scholar would have to be wrong for you to be right. Join us, or we will try to set everyone down here against you." From atop the pit we say, "Brethren, you have fallen into a deep pit and we desire to be with you, except we have seen light at the top and our King has shown us the way out. We are not boasting that we are better than you. We are only pleading with you to come and see what God has graciously given. Our forefathers marked the way for us before we were born and God's Word has given us the light to see their landmarks. Those with you have moved these landmarks in order to keep you in the pit, but we can show you where they are and help you out. We cannot return to you but you must return to us (Jer.15:19). We cannot join you in the deep pit of covenant breaking, but rather you must come join us so that we might have unity in the light of the sun. This is the place where our forefathers dwelt. Come join us and keep the promises made to our Master. Tell the others and bring the whole nation with you so that we can dwell together in peace. The table is set, and we go now to His table of communion. Please climb out now and eat and drink with your brothers. They reply, "Are you seriously telling us that we must keep our fathers old promises? Our fathers are long dead and we have sailed to another land where few have even heard of these promises. Surely those actual promises don't apply to us any more. We admit that these promises are good examples and strong reminders of what our Master requires, but you want us to keep the traditions of men. You want us to climb out using the same path as our forefathers. Just because they did it that way doesn't mean we have to. We are wiser than you, and have not invented new rules to keep people from our table down here we are more tolerant and therefore we enjoy great unity. You are nearly alone, and we are all against you. Return to us, enjoy our meal and we will forgive you for climbing out of the pit." Finally, we respond, "We must go now for our Master calls. We will continue to call out to you as we go, but today you must hear our voice for if you reject it now, it will grow faint as we walk away. Soon you will become so angry with us that you will not even hear the words we say your railing will drown out the sound of our voice in your ears, and what will become of you then? We have invented no new rule, but rather we are simply calling you to keep the Master's old rule. It is He who told our fathers to make their promises. It is He who tells us that they are still binding. And it is He who tells us to keep our promises. We will continually knock on our Master's door and plead with Him to show you your error, but we warn you that His patience will not last forever. Soon He will come and reckon your account. He will ask why you did not climb out of the pit? Why you did not listen to the truth? Why you are persecuting His children? In that day you will be ashamed before the piercing eyes of the Judge. We only desire our Master's approval and your fellowship in the light. Come brethren, stop fighting with us, and follow the footsteps of the flock. Climb out of the deep pit of covenant breaking." (pp. 48-49)
We rejoice in the truth and desire the repentance of our backsliding brethren, that we might walk together in the light and glorify God. We hold no ill will towards any man, even those who have so most sorely misrepresented and slandered us (see the Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton's [PRCE] sessional correspondence [in Appendix C] and especially Greg Price's email correspondence with Richard Bacon, on pages 233-248 [letters 7-10], as a prime example of the modest means used to educate and reclaim Mr. Bacon and those following him). We will do our best to expose their errors because we think that is the most loving thing to do. We are open to correction and rebuke and have already done much repenting on the road to understanding the truths set forth in this book. We are willing to do much more, as God convinces us of the need for such. And ultimately, we pray and write that our wayward brethren, like us, might share in these glorious truths and that in all this the Lord Jesus Christ might get the glory!
After reading The Covenanted Reformation Defended Against Contemporary Schismatics, the landmark lessons from Calvin's covenanting in Geneva, the international scope of the Solemn League and Covenant, the Westminster Divines work on the Lord's Supper, the Protesters (including Rutherford's) separation from the schismatic Resolutioners (and the Protester's refusal to serve the Lord's Supper with the Resolutioners or recognize their pretended assemblies (cf. A Brief Defence of Dissociation in The Present Circumstances free at: http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/BriefDef.htm), and the United Societies testimony before and after the defective Revolution settlement, should be on the tip of every reader's tongue as the blood and testimony of the Reformation martyrs cries out against our modern day declension. With this knowledge in mind (tracing the "footsteps of the flock"), it will then be clear that whether we are talking about the covenanted Reformation under Josiah (2 Chron. 34) or Nehemiah (see Neh. chapters 9 and 10), or that which took place in Geneva in the time of Calvin (cf. Calvin Covenanting and Close Communion free at: http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CalvinCC.htm), or the under the leadership of the Presbyterians at the Westminster Assembly (cf. Paleopresbyterianism Versus Neopresbyterianism free at: http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/Paleo.htm), the church of our day has much to learn. As I have pointed out in A Contemporary Covenanting Debate; Or, Covenanting Redivivus (free at: http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CovDebRB.htm), the covenanted Reformations under Asa, Hezekiah, Josiah, Ezra and Nehemiah all prominently featured the following biblical teaching and practices in which the Covenanters faithfully sought to:
1. Nationally eradicate idolatry and false religion (with iconoclastic zeal) (cf. 2 Chron. 34:3-7; 2 Chron. 7:1; 2 Chron. 15:8; 2 Chron. 15:16, etc.).
2. Nationally promote the true worship, discipline, and doctrine of the church of Christ (2 Chron. 29:11-30:6; 2 Chron. 30:12-27; Ezra 10:10vv.; Neh. 10:31-32, etc.).
3. Nationally establish the one true religion and church (cf. 2 Chron. 34:8-17; 2 Chron. 29:3-5; 2 Chron. 7:2-3; 2 Chron. 7:20-21; 2 Chron. 32:12, etc.).
4. Nationally confess their own sins and the sins of their fathers (2 Chron. 34:21; 2 Chron. 29:6-7; 2 Chron. 30:7-9; Ezra 9:6-10:2; Neh. 9:2-37, etc.).
5. Nationally publish the truth (2 Chron. 34:30; Ezra 10:7-8, etc.).
6. Nationally renew covenant with God (with specific regard to the present testimony) and set the state upon a fully covenanted biblical pattern, agreeing to nationally obey the law of God (2 Chron. 34:31; 2 Chron. 29:10; 2 Chron. 15:12-15; Ezra 10:3-4; Neh. 9:38-10:31, etc.).
7. Nationally cause (by civil power) the inhabitants of the nation to stand to the Covenant (2 Chron. 34:32-33; 2 Chron. 15:12-13; Ezra 10:5, etc.).
Is this the biblical pattern for true Reformation which is being taught in the neopresbyterian and neoreformed churches of our day? How many sermons have you heard on any one of these points? When was the last time you read a book on any one of these topics? How much time have you spent in prayer calling on God to bring about such Reformation? And this is just the tip of the iceberg for the neopresbyterian Titanic. Much more is to come in the pages you are about to read. This book will give the reader an astonishingly clear picture of just how bad the corporate and individual backsliding has become in our modern setting, and Lord willing, lead many to repentance and back to their first love (Rev. 2:4-5). Take the example of the Protester/Resolutioner controversy (cited below from pages 91-93) as an example of the feast which you are about to partake of and notice the application (not cited below, but found later in this book) that is made to our day (pp. 93-95), along with its relevance to the present broken state of the church (pp. 95-99),
Another prime example of Reformation principles, in speaking plainly and acting consistently against unfaithful churches and ministers, was manifested by the faithful Protesters of the General Assembly of Scotland in 1651. At this time, an unfaithful majority faction of the General Assembly (called the Resolutioner party) openly broke their covenant vows and initiated a dispute that quickly divided them from the faithful minority (the Protesters). These compromisers under pressure from the King, approved the placement of men (called malignants for their ungodly character) in the army and places of public trust contrary to the covenants and previous Acts of General Assembly. Thus, by evident perjury, these Resolutioners made themselves coconspirators and accessories to the crimes that followed the sad division of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Matthew Hutchison explains:
The former party [the resolutioners GB] had among them men of high character and worth, some of whom afterwards regretted the position they had taken in this controversy. They were more tolerant in the application of their principles; among them the Second Charles found afterwards many of his willing tools, and they constituted the bulk of those who accepted the Indulgences and Toleration [later compromises GB] (Matthew Hutchison, The Reformed Presbyterian Church in Scotland, 1893, SWRB reprint, 1997, p. 21).
The compromise of the Resolutioner party within the General Assembly of Scotland led to a division that remains unhealed, and a schism that effectively set aside the original constitution of the Church of Scotland. The seriousness of this schism can be observed in the following excerpts. Note the actions of faithful Protester ministers as they dealt with the unfaithful ministers of the Resolutioner faction. Mr. Samuel Rutherford [Protester GB] would not serve the Lord's Supper with Pastor's Blair and Wood [Resolutioners GB] though they had most other points of faith in common.
In the time of the difference between the Resolutioners and Protesters, at a Communion at St. Andrews, he [Samuel Rutherford GB] ran to a sad height and refused to serve a table with Messrs. Blair and Wood, after all the entreaty they could make. At length Mr. Blair was forced to serve it himself (Robert Gilmour, Samuel Rutherford, A Study, Biographical and somewhat Critical, in the History of the Scottish Covenant, 1904, SWRB reprint, 1995, p. 201, emphases added).
Obviously, I do not concur with the assessment of Robert Gilmour, that Mr. Rutherford, "ran to a sad height," when he refused to serve the Lord's Supper with Robert Blair, or James Wood. Rather I believe that Mr. Rutherford was acting consistently with the doctrine of the Westminster Confession of Faith in refusing to serve the Lord's Supper with obstinately scandalous (perjured) ministers. Did Rutherford sin by refusing communion with perjured but otherwise godly men? No, instead he acted faithfully and consistently in refusing to serve the Lord's Supper with the scandalous. Was he saying these men were no longer Christians? No, he was attempting to correct and restore the brethren he dearly loved by testifying against their sin and not complying with their compromise. And if Rutherford (who sought to apply faithfully the biblical obligations declared in the Solemn League and Covenant) was unable to serve the Lord's Supper "with" those who have scandalously compromised their covenant obligations, much more would he refrain from serving the Lord's Supper "to" those known to be guilty of such sins.
Rutherford aptly states:
Because the Churches take not care, that Ministers be savoury and gracious; from Steermen all Apostasie and rottenness begin. O if the Lord would arise and purge his House in Scotland! As for Churchmembers, they ought to be holy; and though all baptized be actu primo members, yet such as remain habitually ignorant after admonition, are to be cast out, and though they be not cast out certainly, as paralytick or rottened members cannot discharge the functions of life: So those that are scandalous, ignorant, malignant, unsound in faith, lose their rights of Suffrages in election of Officers, and are to be debarred from the Seals. Nor can we defend our sinful practise in this: it were our wisdom to repent of our taking in the Malignant party, who shed the blood of the people of God, and obstructed the work of God, into places of Trust in the Church, State, and the Army, contrary to our Covenants, they continuing still Enemies (Samuel Rutherford, A Survey of the Survey of the Summe of Church Discipline, 1658, SWRB reprint, 1997, p. 373, emphases added).
Not only would consistent Protesters not administer the Lord's Supper "with" or "to" the Resolutioners, but applying their doctrine uniformly they called the Resolutioner Assemblies "pretended" and would not compear before their courts. The Records of the Church of Scotland, reports the following events which depict their godly and constant principles.
At this session [of General Assembly GB], Mr. Rutherford gave in a protestation against the lawfulness of the Assembly, containing the reasons thereof in the name of the Kirk, subscribed with 22 hands, and desired it might be read; but it was delayed to be read, and all that subscribed the remonstrance, with some others, went away (July 17, 1651, Session 6, The Records of the Kirk of Scotland, SWRB reprint, 1997, p. 628, emphases added).
Did the Protesters sin when they walked out of the meeting of the Scottish General Assembly (1651)? Were they saying that the Resolutioner churches were not Christian churches? No, they simply would not recognize the pretended authority of the Resolutioners compromised majority. "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment" (Ex. 23:2).
Many have never heard of this controversy and yet it demonstrates how faithful Reformers, some of the most gifted and spiritual men of their day, dealt with declension in the church. And entertain no doubts about it, the neocovenanters of our day (Bacon, Schwertley, et al.) cannot abide a careful study of the Protester/Resolutioner controversy as it shines a bright light on their compromise and defection. The Protesters often gave up their livings, possessions, friends, families, and even their lives for the issues dealt with in this book. Are we so much better than they? Are we so much smarter? Have we reached such a spiritual plane that we will give up all these things for the sake of the least revealed truth. I really don't think so. We have much to learn from the faithful contendings of such men and this book will help teach us. Those who refuse to listen will likely find themselves drowning in the sea of heresy, error and toleration that is even now filling the lower decks of what many have claimed is an unsinkable ship. Some will stay aboard until it is too late, which "concerning faith have made shipwreck" (1 Tim. 1:19). Others will heed the message of these pages and find themselves resting safely in God's little lifeboats, though tossed about by stormy seas, worshipping alone in their homes to avoid the present apostasy (as counseled by Calvin [p. 259], Knox [see Kevin Reed's forthcoming John Knox the Forgotten Reformer], Flavel [see our photocopy edition of A Warning Against Backsliding, False Worship and False Teachers, originally titled Antipharmacum Saluberrimum in volume four of his Works and others).
It is, beloved, high time now to awake, to look about us, to consider where we are, upon what ground we stand, whether the enemy or we have the advantage, how and in what posture we are to rencounter with deceivers that seek to cheat us out of all our souls, and of the Lord our Righteousness, and draw us off the paths of life... (John Brown of Wamphray, Christ: The Way, the Truth and the Life, 1677 , SWRB, 1997, p. 23).
The Word of the Lord amplifies this encouragement to the covenanted remnant, though it is a stinging rebuke to the slumbering shepherds of our day,
Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him. All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest. His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant (Isa. 56:1-12).
Will you be found emptying buckets of water on the deck of the neopresbyterian Titanic or in the little lifeboats of faith "which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth" (Rev. 14:4)?
Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come (Ezek. 11:16).
A secondary benefit of this work, which makes it uniquely useful to our generation, is that this book will give the diligent reader the historical context and doctrinal foundation from which to profitably understand and apply the myriad of Covenanter books and other source documents of both Reformations (which are once again available) to our contemporary situation. "Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples" (Isa. 8:16). I know of no other book which does this so well or even comes close. If you want a key to understanding some of the most perplexing aspects of Reformation thought you will do no better than to carefully study what is contained in The Covenanted Reformation Defended.
The Reformers knew their Bibles and had, to a great extent, systematically integrated the teaching of Scripture into a cohesive system. Those unfamiliar with the foundations of this system will confuse, misapply and outright oppose parts of the Reformed system of doctrine even when citing quotations from the very Reformers they think they are upholding. The writings of Richard Bacon refuted in this book furnishes us with a perfect example of what happens when one reads a sampling of some of the best Reformed books and does not understand what he is reading, confuses the context and teaching, and turns the Reformers on their heads to justify the weak, insipid, "Reformed" Christianity of our day. A prime example of this is found on pages 95-96 and is an indictment against the previously published unfaithfulness of Richard Bacon, and "his atrocious little work" (as Larry Birger denominates it) The Visible Church and Outer Darkness. In regard to the Covenanters doctrine of the visible church Greg Barrow writes,
To properly understand the Reformers' doctrine of dissociation and separation we must distinguish between the "settled" and "broken" state of the church.
To properly understand the Covenanter position regarding dissociation and separation from pretended authorities, the reader must become familiar with another important distinction, viz., the settled vs. the broken state of the church. The nation of Scotland (16381649) possessed both a truly constituted General Assembly, and the civil establishment of the true Reformed religion, thereby enabling the church to enjoy the blessed privilege of being "settled" in the land. Our case in 1997 is vastly different. We have no National Presbyterian General Assembly, nor do we possess the civil establishment of the one true Reformed religion. Among the Reformers, such a disorganized state of affairs was referred to as the "broken state" of the church. One of the most serious errors of Mr. Bacon (and those like him), and one of the main reasons he so frequently misunderstands the Reformers' doctrine of dissociation and separation is his failure to grasp this important distinction. Mr. Bacon is fond of quoting men like Samuel Rutherford, James Durham, and George Gillespie, who wrote extensively regarding true principles of separation. What he fails to take into account is that they were applying their principles to a time when the church was nationally established and bound by faithful reformed covenants. Those who fail to make this distinction are constantly taking the scriptural principles of separation pertaining to a national church (settled) and applying these principles to the church in her "broken" and "unsettled" state. The results are disastrous: books are written like Mr. Bacon's, The Visible Church in the Outer Darkness (a book filled with both Popish error and Independent confusion). In his public misrepresentation of Kevin Reed, Mr. Bacon practically ignored the necessary distinctions of the Reformers (being vs. wellbeing, settled vs. broken state), and consequently led his readers to believe something far different than the doctrine they actually taught. Through his false teaching, sincere children of God are led to believe that separation from a Christian church, even in a time of great apostasy (broken state), should be exceedingly rare. Citing men (like John MacPherson, James Wood, and Thomas Boston) who did not stand upon the biblical principles of covenanted Protesters (like Samuel Rutherford, George and Patrick Gillespie, James Guthrie, Robert McWard, John Brown of Wamphray, Richard Cameron, Donald Cargill and James Renwick), Mr. Bacon has confused his readers into confounding the faithful teaching of the Second Reformation with the dissimulation of those who were attempting to justify their backsliding and compromise. He must be called to account for his error (see Appendix G).
Because this truth (settled/broken state of the visible church) and many of the other important teachings making up the doctrinal system of the best Reformed churches are so often abused or buried (by ignorance), far too many Reformation treasure chests of truth lay unopened in our day; not because they cannot be read, but because they are not understood. This book, by God's grace, will change all that. It provides an easy-to-read and easy-to-understand commentary on some of the most important ideas of the two previous major Reformations doctrines which we must return to if we are to see the third Reformation move forward. Moreover, in laying out the pathway to a third Reformation, and in exposing those schismatics who are deriding and obfuscating the landmarks of "covenanted unity and uniformity," the positive message of real national Reformation and true ecclesiastical reconstruction cannot be missed. Greg Barrow writes,
Now the reader may object and ask what is different about what the PRCE is doing? Have they not practically done the same thing? Have they not set up a church court distinct from all the rest? No, just the opposite. We have separated from all the existing schisms of the present day and returned to the original covenanted constitution of the Church of Scotland. We own their constitution and are bound by the Acts of their General Assembly (16381649) because they are agreeable to God's Word, and because they are undeniably noble examples of the purest and highest attainment of the Church of Jesus Christ thus far. Contrary to Mr. Bacon's charge that we "do not believe [ourselves GB] compelled to answer in any church court," we abide by and enforce the rulings of their church courts (as they are agreeable to God's Word), and we also understand this is part of the formal and moral obligation of the Solemn League and Covenant. We have not separated ourselves into Independency like Mr. Bacon (who, by his separatist practice owns no church court but his own), but instead have returned to the Presbyterian polity which we have sworn to uphold in the Covenants of our forefathers. Let the reader judge if we have not chosen the Scriptural way to promote unity of doctrine and uniformity in practice. We are simply following in the path of our forefathers (Song 1:8, Jer 6:16), and imitating their godly and biblical example while hoping for the same blessing of God upon our efforts that they enjoyed upon theirs. (p. 7) ... We cannot walk together with Mr. Bacon in his schismatic practice and agree to this endless multiplying of rival church courts. We believe that it is sin to associate or comply with such schismatic societies. We call upon all those who see the Scriptural principles being violated to separate from such schisms and work together with us toward one national covenanted unity and uniformity. This is the true doctrine of the Second Reformation and we praise God that it will again be victorious (p. 33).
Without a book like this, the publishing work of Still Waters Revival Books (and others) would be of only limited value, as many of the most useful and important truths (landmarks) of Reformation (granted to our fathers) would remain obscured or completely buried. And we should not forget that for many of these truths, which Bacon contemptuously calls "tempests in a teapot," the Presbyterian, Reformed and Covenanted martyrs of ages past suffered torture, "not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection" (Heb. 11:35). They are the same truths for which the martyrs "under the altar," who "were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held," cry unto God to "judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth" (Rev. 6:9-10). And the very truths which have in days gone by been used of God to turn whole nations to Christ and which are prophesied to do so once again, not only for a few nations (as in previous Reformations), but for the whole world (Isa. 2:2-5, 11:9; Ezekiel 47:1-12).
In digging out the foundational Reformation landmarks, set deep in the soil of faithful Scriptural exegesis using an arsenal of citations from previously buried Reformation source documents seldom seen in the modern era this book is guiding us back to the narrow path which our faithful forefathers so clearly marked. Lord willing, the publication of this book (because of the important [and lost] Scriptural truths it contains) will give those seeking real Reformation the fierce (Matt. 11:12) and faithful zeal that we see the newly discovered book of the law gave to King Josiah and his fellow Covenanters,
And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the LORD given by Moses. And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan. And Shaphan carried the book to the king, and brought the king word back again, saying, All that was committed to thy servants, they do it. And they have gathered together the money that was found in the house of the LORD, and have delivered it into the hand of the overseers, and to the hand of the workmen. Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Abdon the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king's, saying, Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do after all that is written in this book. And Hilkiah, and they that the king had appointed, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college:) and they spake to her to that effect. And she answered them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell ye the man that sent you to me, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah: Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched. And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, so shall ye say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel concerning the words which thou hast heard; Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD. Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again. Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, great and small: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the LORD. And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book. And he caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the LORD their God. And all his days they departed not from following the LORD, the God of their fathers. (2 Chr. 34:14-33).
Until we understand what the Scripture teaches, its value is minimized and the misuse of Scripture can even lead to damnation as it does among those who wrest (2 Pet. 3:16) the Holy Word so severely as to teach and practice "damnable heresies" (2 Pet. 2:1). Thus, the importance of the research and quotations amassed herein should not be underestimated, for it is a compilation of some of the most significant testimony, exposition and exegesis (extracted from a wide variety of classic Protestant works) which has appeared in some time. And this is why the Lord has given these faithful teachers to His church, "that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive (though they think themselves teachers RB); But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ (Eph. 4:14-15). Thus, though this book will be found to be eminently useful even to the youngest, untaught Christians, those in the field of battle, who have learned to use it in conjunction with the sword of the Spirit will most appreciate its value and know the power its teachings contain.
A final benefit of this work which I will note here (though there are many more) is that it will be found to be of great practical encouragement and help to the remnant of Covenanters that remain in our day. What the author has written will be found to be of special comfort to the faithful remnant (laboring under many false charges and much misrepresentation)who remain outside of unfaithful churches and often struggle with loneliness, isolation and extreme opposition (2 Tim. 3:12). The wilderness is not an easy place, but to those faithful souls enduring hardship and persecution for "the word of God, and for the testimony which they hold," this book will be like a hiding place "by the brook Cherith," providing the water of life during long years of drought (1 Kings 17:3); and as ravens bearing life-giving food from heaven (1 Kings 17:4). And though those disaffected to the truth label our contendings as points of little or no consequence, we can take heart that the faithful martyrs before us, who knew the secret of the Lord's Covenant (Ps. 25:14), thought and acted in accord with the positions we defend. Greg Barrow writes,
Mr. Bacon's opening attempt to reduce the importance of these questions, along with their far reaching implications, to the realm of, "a tempest in a teapot," is ridicule unworthy of even the most base opponent. The inherent selfcontradiction of downplaying the issue while at the same time writing such lengthy public testimony against the PRCE is too notable to be ignored. Nevertheless, I respond by reminding the reader that our martyred forefathers were willing to shed their blood for this "tempest in a teapot." Our covenanted brothers and sisters were starved, raped, tortured, and murdered over this so-called, "tempest in a teapot." (p. 4).
Though the day will surely come when the truths promoted in The Covenanted Reformation Defended will light the whole earth, the present situation is like a dark night before the dawn. The old truths are slowly reappearing, yet the sun has not yet arisen; it is there in all its glory, just off the horizon, and (we think) about to burst forth, but yet darkness enshrouds the land. In reading this book the scattered remnant of faithful Covenanters should be greatly encouraged to continue to "stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught" (2 Thes. 2:15) "testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand" (1 Pet. 5:12). For the light of the Scriptural truth contained in this book (setting forth a number of important points related to the old covenanted uniformity) makes it exceedingly clear that if our Reformed forebears were correct, the greater part of the modern Reformed community is woefully backslidden; and that only those refusing to partake of their corrupt ordinances (e.g. refusing to practice the sin of occasional hearing, cf. James Douglas' Strictures on Occasional Hearing) can expect the blessing of God. In fact, this book should remove any doubt that if our Reformed fathers were correct, we live in days similar to those of Elijah when the prophet's words clearly indicate that he was not aware of the existence of one faithful visible church in all of Israel (1 Kings. 19:10, 14). Likewise, we find Samuel Rutherford lamenting the scarcity of sound Christians in England, even as late as 1644, in his Letter (CCCIX) to Lady Boyd (cf. Letters of Samuel Rutherford, p. 619, 1891 edition). Thus, this book demonstrates how and why our position "in the wilderness" (Rev. 12:6,14) outside the present defection is entirely justified; and that no matter what opposition we face we can be assured that the Lord Jesus Christ is pleased with our stand for His Crown and Covenant.
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified (1 Pet. 4:12-14).
If we are to see the third Reformation blossom in our day the small band of "Gideon-like" covenanted soldiers must set their faces like flint against the neopresbyterian defection (and all other assaults upon Christ's Kingly throne) by testifying against and refusing to join with the covenant breakers in their backsliding. Many walking the narrow path of separation from corrupt churches and nations, who have set up landmarks before us, have suffered much worse than we are likely to suffer. Therefore we should not be dissuaded by the lesser tests that often come our way. Moreover, as this book proves, we are the heirs to the best Reformers of both Reformations, those men and women that followed Christ most carefully (sometimes unto violent deaths), and we should never take our blood-bought freedom lightly even as those opposing our work seek to disparage it.
Concerning some of the primary biblical attainments defended in the pages of The Covenanted Reformation Defended, note the courage, conviction and exemplary steadfastness (in the truth) exhibited in the following portion of "(t)he last speech and testimony of Andrew Guilline, Weaver, who lived in the Shire of Fife, and suffered at the Gallowlee, Edinburgh, July  1683,"
I am come here to lay down my life. I declare I die not as a murderer, or as on evil doer; although this covenant-breaking, perjured, murdering generation lay it to my charge as though I were a murderer, on account of the justice that was executed on that Judas [i.e. Archbishop Sharp] that sold the Kirk of Scotland for 50,000 merks a-year. And we being bound to extirpate Popery, Prelacy, and that to the utmost of our power, and we having no other that were appearing for God at that day, but such as took away his life; therefore, I was bound to join with them in defending the true religion. And all the land, every man, was bound, I say, to meet him by the way, when he came down from London, and have put him presently to the edge of the sword for that heinous indignity done to the holy Son of God.
But it is (alas!) too apparent that men have never known God rightly, nor considered that He is a holy God. Oh! terrible backsliding, they will not believe that God will call them to an account for what they owed to God. But assure yourselves; as He is in heaven, He will call every one to an account, how they have stood to that Covenant and work of Reformation. I need say no more; but I would have you consider, that in breaking the Covenant, we have trampled under foot the precious truths of Jesus Christ (John Thompson, ed., A Cloud of Witnesses for the Royal Prerogatives of Jesus Christ: Being the Last Speeches and Testimonies of Those Who Have Suffered for the Truth in Scotland Since the Year 1680, Sprinkle Publications, reprinted, 1989, pp. 276-277, emphases added).
Thompson expands on this, calling us to remember the sufferings and testimony of this martyr for Christ,
The inhuman treatment this martyr met with ought not to be forgot, as a pregnant instance of the hellish rage and fury of these persecutors, and of the Lord's rich grace, who wonderfully countenanced and strengthened him to endure the tortures inflicted upon him with an undaunted braveness of spirit. For, besides the tortures he suffered in prison, they ordered both his hands to be cut off, while he was alive. And it was observed by on-lookers, that though by reason the executioner was drunk, he received nine strokes in cutting them off, yet he bore it with invincible patience. And after the right hand was cut off, he held out the stump in view of the multitude, saying
"As my blessed Lord sealed my salvation with His blood, so I am honoured this day to seal His truth with my blood."
Afterwards, being strangled a little, his head was cut off, and it, with the hands, placed upon the Netherbow Port of Edinburgh; and his entrails being taken out his body was conveyed to Magus Muir, and there hung up in chains on a high pole. (John Thompson, ed., A Cloud of Witnesses for the Royal Prerogatives of Jesus Christ: Being the Last Speeches and Testimonies of Those Who Have Suffered for the Truth in Scotland Since the Year 1680, Sprinkle Publications, reprinted 1989, p. 277).
A number of such instances (and hundreds more could easily be adduced) are chronicled in the pages you are about to read. Each testify to the fact that the faith which we defend is the faith of the Covenanted martyrs "the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). Another prime example that "the blood of the martyrs imposes obligations upon posterity from generation to generation" can be seen on pages 7-8 (and following). Here Greg Barrow cites two stirring quotations from McFeeter's Sketches of the Covenanters, both demonstrating the extent of the Covenanters' suffering for Christ and showing that heavy moral obligations "fall to the successors of those who gave their lives for the truth." Barrow further explains the significance of these passages when he writes,
The blood of the martyrs is still the seed of the church, and we cannot sit idly by while Mr. Bacon attempts to mislead his readers to believe that the PRCE is fighting for a cause different from that of the glorious martyrs described above (on pages 7-8 RB). Mr. Bacon may want to believe that we are saying something different from those champions of the faith, but we shall soon see that our cause is identical to the martyrs of Scotland and the best reformers of the First and Second Reformations (p. 8).
This book clearly proves that we are fighting the continuing battle for Christ's Crown and Covenant, for which our honored forefathers fought and died. Moreover, it further evidences that an important part of the Reformation conflagration (destroying, as with fire [Deut. 7:4], the citadels of Antichrist) included a biblical testimony against and public separation from covenant breakers. This point is among the most important in this book and is dealt with throughout Misrepresentation #3. When rightly understood and applied it has major ramifications for our day not only for the individual, but for the church and the nations also. James Douglas, writing on "Go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock" (Song 1:7), comments,
These footsteps, I apprehend, are just the attainments of the church in former times, in respect of greater conformity to scripture in doctrine and practice. These are left on record for our imitation; and the divine command with relation to them is, "Whereunto we have already attained let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing, that which ye have already hold fast till I come, hold fast that which thou hast that no man take thy crown, be followers of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises," etc. To assist in distinguishing between sin and duty, truth and error, and to distinguish the flock of Christ from those of his companions, it has been the practice of the church to retain and bring to view in her subordinate standards the attainments of former times... The Westminster Confession of Faith is partially acknowledged as the subordinate standard in all churches that bear the Presbyterian name, while, however, important parts of the same compilation are entirely omitted; as the covenants, considered as national transactions. This is done even by some who once regarded the rejection of the covenanted uniformity of Scotland, a sufficient ground for secession from the national Church. But these now reject the whole civil part of the reformation, and deny the moral obligation of former deeds on succeeding generations... As these covenants constitute a fundamental article of the reformation, the rejection of them necessarily includes a rejection of it. In vain shall any pretend to follow the footsteps of the flock, while they reject the most distinguishing articles of their creed, and the most approved part of their conduct. A profession of respect to their memory, and of adherence to their example, with the exception of these articles, is like a Unitarian professing faith in the Christian system. Is it asked, Why bring so frequently to view the leaders of the church in a former century? Because they were most distinguished for their fidelity in the ways of God; most highly honoured as instruments for advancing the interests of his kingdom; and in all respects the most perfect patterns of imitation, that history has transmitted to us since the apostolic times. This perfection designs only a high degree of superiority to others in the time specified; not that they were already perfect... When the majority of the Nation departed from the scriptural covenanted principles of the Reformed Church of Scotland, our Fathers strictly adhered to the profession which they had made, and for which many of them had suffered persecution. They never separated from the Revolution Church, as they were never incorporated with her (as is our position contra the "Baconites" of Rowlett RB), but they strictly held fast that which they had attained. They have been unjustly called separatists, but the judicious Christian may easily see, that the Nation at large was guilty of the great separation, as they separated from the truth, and the good old Reformation Constitution, which was the work of better times; and we must not follow a multitude to do evil. By our profession we belong to a different society, having a purer constitution and a better administration, for which a noble army of Martyrs suffered unto the death. The principal heads of their suffering were not of a personal nature, nor solely on account of the infringement of their civil rights and liberties; but public breach of Covenant; changing the ordinances that were of Divine institution, by the introduction of diocesan prelacy; robbing Christ of his crown rights and prerogatives royal, as the King and Head of Zion, by vesting the supreme magistrate with an ecclesiastical supremacy, or blasphemous headship, over the Church; filling places of power and trust, with open enemies of Christ, and his holy religion; and tyrannizing over the lives, liberties, and properties of men, were the great reasons why our renowned Martyrs suffered, bled and died (Strictures on Occasional Hearing; In An Inquiry Into Song 1:7, 1820, SWRB reprint, 1995, pp. 6, 24-26, emphases added).
However, because so many are apt to confuse Reformation thinking on this vital point (regarding separation from the public ordinances of backsliding denominations), Douglas is also careful to point out,
By this is not meant to say, or even to insinuate, that here are no good men, or real Christians, except among ourselves. We never entertained such a selfish opinion. We have no doubt that there are many eminent and pious Christians among the ministers, and many precious saints among the private members of different denominations, who, believing the same doctrines of the glorious gospel, that we do, concerning Christ and him crucified, shall be saved in him with an everlasting salvation: but this does not warrant church-communion with such as do not observe Christ's ordinances as they are written. It is the revealed will of God, and not saintship, which is the only rule of a visible profession (Strictures on Occasional Hearing; In An Inquiry Into Song 1:7, 1820, SWRB reprint, 1995, pp. 8, emphases added).
Nevertheless, as documented and substantiated throughout this book, it is easy to see that barring open public repentance by most (if not all) modern Presbyterian denominations (i.e. the neopresbyterian denominations), no Christian can lawfully attend upon their public ordinances without denying the biblically based testimony and attainments of the Second Reformation. The testimony of the Second Reformation and the testimony of the neopresbyterians are mutually exclusive at too many crucial points not the least of which includes the Scriptural doctrine and duty of covenanting. Even Judah was specifically commanded of the Lord not to communicate in the lawful ordinance of covenanting (i.e. swearing "The LORD liveth") with Israel while Israel remained in public rebellion against the Lord. "Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Bethaven, nor swear, The LORD liveth" (Hosea 4:15, emphases added). Similarly, in this book, Bacon's errors (particularly his opposition to the Solemn League and Covenant) are seen to be symptomatic of the greater defection from covenanted attainments seen on a larger scale in our day. Consequently, many have falsely attacked us and the old covenanted ways who do not yet understand our Second Reformation stance regarding those who remain obstinately opposed to "the truth of God's Word, many Acts of General Assembly, as well as the abundantly clear testimonies of the faithful men of the past,"
Mr. Bacon has neither honestly read, nor properly represented the Covenanter position regarding the nature, substance, and use of our Covenants or terms of communion. In the midst of his emotional rhetoric, he has demeaned himself and the office of a minister of Jesus Christ. It should be abundantly clear to the reader at this point that Mr. Bacon's doctrine seriously deviates from the truth of God's Word, from many Acts of General Assembly, as well as the abundantly clear testimonies of the faithful men of the past. Such serious defections from the standards and practice of faithful Presbyterian Churches of the past would place him before their judicial courts to give account of his perjury, schism, gross misrepresentation and malignancy toward covenanted Presbyterianism. "And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother" (2 Thessalonians 3:14,15, AV) (pp. 197-198).
How can one "walk in the counsel of the ungodly" and "sit in the seat of the scornful" (Ps. 1:1), who "frame mischief by law" in their constitutions, openly opposing the covenant of the Lord (individually, ecclesiastically and civilly) as it was laid hold of on our behalf in the Solemn League and Covenant and still lay claim to the faithful testimony attained during the Second Reformation? How can one sit at the Lord's table with the same type of malignants who would have come under the censure of the best Reformed churches during the Second Reformation and still lay claim to the faithful biblically-based testimony attained during the Second Reformation? This was not the way of our faithful fathers, who would rather die than give up Scriptural truth! James Renwick's final earthly words (from p. 107), given on the scaffold just before he was martyred by the Royalist/Episcopal beast of his day, makes this abundantly clear; as he echoes what later became the bulk of our terms of communion (which are found in appendix E),
Dear Friends, I die a Presbyterian Protestant; I own the Word of God as the rule of faith and manners; I own the Confession of Faith, Larger and Shorter Catechisms, Sum of Saving Knowledge, Directory for Public and Family Worship, Covenants, National and Solemn League, Acts of General Assemblies, and all the faithful contendings that have been for the Covenanted Reformation. I leave my testimony approving the preaching in the field, and defending the same by arms. I adjoin my testimony against Popery, Prelacy, Erastianism, against all profanity, and everything contrary to sound doctrine and the power of godliness; particularly against all usurpation and encroachments made upon Christ's right, the Prince of the kings of this earth, who alone must bear the glory of ruling his own kingdom the Church; and in particular against the absolute power affected by his usurper, that belongs to no mortal, but is the incommunicable prerogative of Jehovah, and against his Toleration flowing from his absolute power (John Howie, The Scots Worthies, 1781, p. 547).
This book, like amiable Renwick (as he was called) above, defends the progressive nature of testimony-bearing and the testimony itself (Ps. 78). The commanded duties of pointedly testifying against defection from biblical attainments and refusing ecclesiastical communion with obstinately backsliding churches are true acts of love (Prov. 27:6). And though they are often met with severe denunciations and even martyrdom (note the reception the faithful testimony of the prophets and apostles received throughout Scripture), The Covenanted Reformation Defended will make this job of "sanctifying the Lord God in our hearts" and being "ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh" for the "reason of the hope that is in us" (1 Pet. 3:15) much easier. For those who recognize the enormity of the problems among the neopresbyterian churches and act in accord with Scripture (and the requirements of a present testimony), separating themselves from these polluted bodies the Reformation understanding of the distinctions dealt with in The Covenanted Reformation Defended are indispensable. Whether it be the Reformed distinctions between the being and well being (see Misrepresentation 2, point D) or the broken and settled state of the visible church (noted above), covenanting and covenant obligation (see Misrepresentation 3) or the meaning and proper administration of the Lord's Supper (see Misrepresentation 4), this book is a paleopresbyterian weapon with which to be reckoned. Exceptionally telling (in light of corporate backsliding from Reformation attainments) is the segment on the Westminster Assembly's official statements defending their view of close communion, particularly concerning Larger Catechism Q&A #173 on the meaning of "ignorance" and "scandal." The remarkable research found here (see pages 141-152) forms the most extensive commentary on this significant section of the Larger Catechism that I have ever seen. Moreover, if the Westminster Divines were correct in their understanding of Scripture on this point (and I believe they were) then it would seem that almost every Presbyterian minister who has vowed to uphold the Westminster standards (since about 1652) has perjured himself (whether ignorantly or otherwise); for the original intent of the Westminster Divines concerning close communion is well beyond question and the historical record gives every indication that the truth found here has been laid aside and/or buried by neopresbyterians for centuries. So, again we find that this book is unearthing another Reformation landmark this time defending the classic teaching and practice of the best Reformed churches on the Lord's Supper. And again the ramifications are massive. For those who vow to uphold the Westminster Larger Catechism (a part of the covenanted uniformity envisioned, and sworn to, in the Solemn League and Covenant) paedocommunion is out! All forms of open communion are out! Half-hearted, non-covenanted and non-confessional attempts at close communion are out! Even defective, overly strenuous or overly demanding "hyper-Covenanter" communion is out! The mature biblical mean, concerning admission to the Lord's Supper, set down by the Westminster Divines and the Scottish General Assembly (in her best days) as confirmed in these pages guards against both the extremes of latitudinarianism and legalism (i.e. Scripturally unauthorized rigor). The biblical beauty and balance of the work of both these Assemblies is a joy to behold and we hear the echo of this work in the words of the Reformed Presbytery,
(We RB) reject and condemn that loose and latitudinarian tenet and opinion of opening the door of communion with the church in her judicative capacity, or sealing ordinances, unto the grossly ignorant, loose, careless, profane and scandalous: and to the antichristian deist, blasphemous heretic, or any who maintain doctrines principles and opinions contrary to and eversive of the cardinal and fundamental doctrines of Christianity, or such principles and practices as oppose, obscure or darken the church's beauty and purity, and spoil her of her power, and particularly that of the church of Scotland, in her attainments in reformation; this being evidently destructive and ruinous to truth and holiness, the only foundation and basis of external union and concord in the church, and consequently of all durable, harmonious and comfortable communion among the ministers and members of Christ's mystical body: See Eph 5:11; Isa. 8:20; Amos 3:3; 1 Cor. 9:10; Heb. 7:14; Rev. 22:14,15; 2 Cor. 5:17,18; and conform to the acts and practice of this church, in her best and purest times, in excluding from her communion, and refusing to unite with any chargeable as above (Act, Declaration, and Testimony, for the Whole of Our Covenanted Reformation, 1876, SWRB reprint, 1995, pp. 194-195).
Furthermore, what do you do in regard to whole denominations of ministers who are breaking solemn ordination vows to God (and many do not even know it) on this point? This and many other like questions are answered in the pages you are about to read. With the release of this book (along with the many other classic Covenanter, Presbyterian and Reformed works which we at SWRB [and others] have had the privilege to recently publish), the covenanted remnant now has an arsenal of nuclear tipped ICBM's from which to defend the faith, bear witness against defection, and honor and glorify God. Neopresbyterians who refuse to repent, in the face of such overwhelming biblical and historical evidence of (and godly testimony against) their defection, would be well advised to construct sturdy bomb shelters. Those who read this book, and who seek the truth above all else, are about to confront you with some serious questions. On the other hand, the faithful remnant should be encouraged to "stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel" (Phil 1:27); remembering, as Calvin has noted, "that some special assistance is promised to godly teachers and ministers of the word; so that the fiercer the attacks of Satan, and the stronger the hostility of the world, so much the more does the Lord defend and guard them by extraordinary protection" (Calvin's Commentary on Isaiah 50:7). This book would seem to be a useful part of the Lord's "extraordinary protection" for the contemporary Covenanter, and has been produced with many singular signs of God's providential care and intervention. The faithful Covenanter is encouraged to use it wisely for personal edification (as well as the edification of one's family and church), to comfort and/or confront others who are seeking the truth, and, above all, to pray that God will add the testimony of His Spirit to the truths it contains.
For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed (Isa. 50:7).
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32).
A little recent history and I will conclude. When it was first given (by the Lord Jesus Christ) to the Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton (and Still Waters Revival Books) to take up the old covenanted cause, cries of Anabaptism and schism filled the air in opposition to our witness. After the release of Greg Price's A Testimony Against the Unfounded Charges of Anabaptism (free at: http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/anabapt.htm) and my Saul in the Cave of Adullam: A Testimony Against the Fashionable Sub-Calvinism of Doug Wilson (Editor of Credenda/Agenda Magazine); and, For Classical Protestantism and the Attainments of the Second Reformation (free at: http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/Saul.htm), both answering these erroneous indictments, almost nothing has been heard of such scurrilous charges any longer (at least not publicly).
Shortly after the release of these two works Larry Birger perceptively pointed out that something should be written to ward off the other false charge that always appears when the witness for the Covenanted Reformation gains a public hearing, viz., the charge of Romanism. Samuel Rutherford and his fellow Covenanters were falsely charged with Romanism "worse than Trent" by John Milton (who championed the cause of Cromwell, and later apostatized into Arianism, Arminiansim and open sympathy for Quakerism, [Barker, Puritan Profiles, p. 306]). The later covenanted martyrs, like James Renwick (see his Informatory Vindication) and even David Steele, though he was not martyred have all been falsely accused of this charge. In fact, to those unfamiliar with classic Presbyterian thought (and Scripture) this charge seems all too convenient: and as is often the case, the refutation of the false charge of Romanism, carelessly hurled out against Covenanters, was not to be forthcoming until the enemies of Christ's covenanted cause broke forth in public with their calumnies and false accusations.
In every century, since the glorious international attainments won in the Solemn League and Covenant, pretended presbyters and presbyteries attempt to push themselves into prominence on the coat-tails of the Covenanters. These neocovenanters and neopresbyterians (and their denominations) have, as noted throughout this book, a long and checkered history of backsliding from the original Covenanted testimony (see especially pages 91-93 dealing with the Protester/Resolutioner controversy and pages 209-214 on the Revolution settlement). The corporate Presbyterian backsliding (after the Solemn League and Covenant) started in the seventeenth century with the Engagers; who first attacked covenanted obligations on the basis of pragmatism, hoping to dull the Scripturally pointed testimony already attained for a broader ecclesiastical cooperation and mere political power. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? What started as a few pebbles of defection tumbling down the mountain of Covenanter truth soon turned into a landslide of treason against Christ, when the covenant-breaking Resolutioners split the Church of Scotland and opposed the faithful Protesting remnant (which included men like Samuel Rutherford, James Guthrie and Robert Trail). After a time of severe testing and many martyrdoms during which only a very small remnant remained faithful (lead by Brown of Wamphray, Robert M'Ward, Richard Cameron, Donald Cargill and James Renwick), the Revolution settlement of 1688 solidified official opposition to the covenanted Reformation (under the pretence of a return to Presbyterianism in Scotland). Since then it has been pretty much all downhill as far as corporate national testimony to the attainments of the covenanted Reformation is concerned. Our modern Presbyterian and Reformed denominations stand squarely on the defective principles (and some are even the direct descendants) of the Resolutioners and the later Revolution Settlement (which, among other abominations never rescinded the Act of Abjuration, which left the Covenants buried by law). The Baconites of Rowlett are one prime example of a public revival of the very things that the Covenanters stood against. Their pretended "presbytery" (which now consists of just one congregation) has adopted the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland's book of church order. In doing this the Baconites have solidified their public claim to a schism (Revolution Settlement) of a schism (Free Church of Scotland) of a schism (Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland). See pages 241-243 for further verification, in conjunction with pages 209-214 already noted. Their independent "denomination," is grounded in a long line of disaffection to the covenanted Reformation and affection to schism and Bacon's A Defense Departed is the rotten fruit that continues to grow from a bad tree that is now centuries old (Matt. 7:17). Moreover, in adopting the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland's book of church order (in another letter which was conveniently left off their web page record, see Appendix A [pp. 199-202] for a copy of this letter) the Baconites require of their ministers the same type of historical testimony which they denounce as popish in others (see pages 118-120). I will not go into any more detail here, as you will find plenty to sustain my claims in this book. But please keep this short historical outline in mind as your read on. It will help you see why it is so obvious where Richard Bacon and much of the contemporary Presbyterian and Reformed community have defected from the biblical positions adopted by our Reformed forebears. It will also help you to recognize those who continue to maintain a faithful testimony in keeping with the Scriptural command,
Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following (Ps. 48:12-13).
Using a more specific example, the Reformed Presbytery provides a defense of the true Covenanter position in the context of the RPCNA's defective (neocovenanter) attempt at covenant renewal; showing again that the problem with the neopresbyterianism of recent times (even among the best neo's) is that they maintain a different religion (at many points) than the faithful Reformers that have gone before them,
By the National Covenant our fathers laid Popery prostrate. By the Solemn League and Covenant they were successful in resisting prelatic encroachments and civil tyranny. By it they were enabled to achieve the Second Reformation... They were setting up landmarks by which the location and limits of the city of God will be known at the dawn of the millennial day... How can they be said to go forth by the footsteps of the flock, who have declined from the attainments, renounced the covenants and contradicted the testimony of "the cloud of witnesses"... All the Schisms (separations) that disfigure the body mystical of Christ... are the legitimate consequences of the abandonment of reformation attainments the violation of covenant engagements. This is sound doctrine and historical truth combined. Again our author puts the important question, "Is it not unfaithfulness to reject the obligations of the covenants of former times?" Yes, we think so, when their objects are not yet reached; and moreover, that "Confession of sin, and especially the sins of covenant breaking should always accompany the renewal of our obligations." This is well said. Was it thought of at Pittsburgh, 1871? To good purpose he adds, "In the renewal of covenants there should be no abridgment of former obligations." (All these excellent sentiments seemed to have been totally forgotten or wholly disregarded when the time came for their practical use and appropriate application. Some said, "We have all we want;" and we strongly suspect too many wanted none of the former obligations "in this free country.") And can this be denied? Once more we quote, "The opposition is not so much to covenanting, as it is to the covenants of our fathers, and to the permanence of their obligations." Then the author says emphatically and somewhat prophetically, "The church never will renew her covenants aright until she embraces in her obligations all the attainments sworn in the covenants, National and Solemn League. This was done in the renovation at Auchensaugh, in Scotland" (A Short Vindication of Our Covenanted Reformation, 1879, SWRB reprint, 1996, pp. 38-39).
Though I do not have the space (or the time) to expand on this example, the reader will find that this book deals thoroughly with the question of covenants and covenant obligations. It proclaims the ancient truths of Scripture (and the Covenanted faith) in a way that can be easily understood by the modern reader, yet which does not compromise the Gospel verities for which our forebears (from the beginning of creation) gladly suffered and died. In this book, Greg Barrow, like a skilled surgeon, will be seen to be cutting out all the cancerous growth which Richard Bacon (and others malignants like him, both past and present) have spread throughout the body of Christ. Barrow buries Bacon's folly not only with Scripture, but with historical quotations from the best and most faithful Church Councils, Creeds, Confessions, Acts of National General Assemblies, Acts of Covenanted Christian Parliaments, etc. In doing so he makes it abundantly clear that the so-called "Reformation" of our day is but a pale imitation of what Scripture requires and what our forefathers attained and testified to. Nowhere in recent history (though The Protesters Vindicated and Clarkson's Plain Reasons for Presbyterian Dissenting from the Revolution Church of Scotland are excellent and comparable eighteenth century works and the Reformed Presbytery's Act, Declaration and Testimony for the Whole of Our Covenanted Reformation is an excellent and comparable nineteenth century work) will you find such conclusive evidence of backsliding and defection from Reformation attainments as in The Covenanted Reformation Defended Against Contemporary Schismatics.
A Reformation watershed and "the real enemies of Reformation"
To conclude I will note that Greg Barrow, with some assistance from five others (Greg Price, Lyndon Dohms, Larry Birger, Kevin Reed and myself), in researching and applying the biblical principles of our Reformation forefathers has produced a watershed work. This book should polarize the professing Reformed community into clearly demarcated groups of paleopresbyterians (Covenanters, Cameronians, Steelites or whatever you want to call them) and neopresbyterians (Presbyterian Church in America, Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, etc.). In general, the neopresbyterians will no longer be able to hide under the cover of ignorance regarding their defection from historic Reformation standards and thought. In particular, these same neopresbyterians will no longer be able to claim that they uphold some of the most important doctrines and practices (concerning covenanting, the Lord's Supper, the nature of the visible church, etc.) judicially maintained by the Westminster Assembly and the Church of Scotland in her purest times. Whether due to ignorance or willful public rebellion against the standards of the covenanted Reformation (which many neopresbyterians claim to uphold, at least partially), they will be seen to be covenant breakers, profaners of the Lord's table, perjurers, occasional hearers and more. A Defense of the Covenanted Reformation will force the neopresbyterians to abandon the pretence of following in the footsteps of the Reformation flock (regarding the topics discussed in this book) or suffer the loss of all credibility. The proofs found herein, against the ongoing apostasy (i.e. defection or falling away) of the neopresbyterians, are so clear and overwhelming that if they continue to maintain adherence to the Westminster Standards they will be met (by all those who have read this work) with stares of amazement (that they have been given over to such blindness) and likely a few hearty gaffaws! For "the Lord will have them in derision," who say "let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us" (Ps. 2:3, 4). Richard Bacon may be the contemporary theological "poster boy" for certain aspects of neopresbyterian defection, but make no mistake about it, this book is a serious indictment against most of the Presbyterian and Reformed community since the time of the Engagers and the public Resolutions which followed, to our day. We should now see a pronounced increase in epistemologically self-conscious movement toward faithfulness, covenant keeping and the third Reformation (among paleopresbyterians) contrasted with further backsliding, malignancy and self-justification (by neopresbyterians) for trashing the standards and ancient landmarks set up by the faithful and contending witnesses throughout the ages.
In summary, after reading The Covenanted Reformation Defended, I must say that I cannot remember seeing such an utter devastation of the opponents arrayed against Reformation at any time since Gillespie wrote his Dispute Against English Popish Ceremonies (first published 1637, in defense of Reformation worship against the idolatry and innovations of the Prelates). This book is that good! In my estimation it is the most important book to be written in at least the last 310 years (since Alexander Shields wrote A Hind Let Loose, which was first published in 1687). If you want to know what the greatest international Reformation thus far in history was about (at a very fundamental level), you will not do any better than carefully studying this book. In mastering some of the more advanced positions of the second Reformation (found throughout this work), you will have the framework necessary to delve into the myriads of First and Second Reformation source documents presently being published. And when the Lord has granted enough of His dear children (our brothers and sisters in Christ) the mastery of the magnificent truths set forth in this title (a veritable treasure chest of truth being unlocked for the first time in many, many years), we can all rejoice together that we will be witnessing a token of the turning away of God's fierce anger against the nations and possibly the coming third and greatest Reformation yet (and maybe even the dawn of the millennial day). "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it" (Isa. 2:2).
It should also be encouraging to the lovers of truth to remember that the teachings set forth in this book are the same teachings that helped bring various nations to the doorstep of the Lord's house some even entering in for a short time during many past covenanted Reformations (from Old Testament times right on through to as late as the seventeenth century). Though this is included in my Saul in the Cave of Adullam, it bears repeating here, as it is a good summary of the victories won in the last great Reformation, what is necessary for a third Reformation, and where the teaching found in this book will lead,
James Kerr, on the Sabbath, June 20th, 1880, in a sermon preached in Greyfriar's Churchyard, in Edinburgh, titled "A Third Reformation Necessary: or, the Piety, Principles, and Patriotism of Scotland's Covenanted Martyrs; With Application to the Present Times," makes the same point concerning the monumental character of the international transactions that transpired during the Covenanters' combat with the forces of antichrist. While also giving us great insight into some of the most important battles of Second Reformation warfare, Kerr proclaims, regarding the combat of these faithful witnesses,
They stood for the Supreme Authority of the Holy Scriptures; for the Exclusive Headship of the Lord Jesus over the Church; for the Church's independent spiritual jurisdiction and power; for the Divine right of Presbytery; for the purity of worship in the Church and the Church's freedom from all unauthorized rites and ceremonies. They stood for every pin of the tabernacle, for every item of truth to which they had attained... 'Whose faith follow.' Let us embrace those doctrines affecting the Church's existence, privileges and prosperity, for which the martyrs suffered, and let us imitate their fidelity to the high attainments of a preceding period. The great Scriptural doctrines for which they were honoured to contend and which constituted the Church's glory, are still more or less lightly esteemed by even many professing Christians and ecclesiastical denominations... (A)rminianism is making rapid strides to popularity. Dishonour is done to the royal prerogative of Christ as Zion's King by those Churches that appeal to or base the claim of rights upon the Revolution Settlement a Settlement that proceeded upon Erastian principles and left many of the attainments for which the martyrs suffered in the oblivion to which the Stuarts had consigned them... The doctrine of Christ's Exclusive Headship over His own Church, and of the freedom of the Church under her exclusive head, requires to be vindicated and testified for against all modern departures therefrom. There is need to maintain and propagate the doctrine of the Divine right of the Presbyterian form of Church government, for at the present time only two of the Churches and these among the smallest hold this doctrine in all its Scriptural completeness. There is a need to maintain the high scriptural doctrine concerning the modes of worship in the Church, that no rite or ceremony is to be introduced into the forms of worship for which an express prescription, direct or indirect, cannot be produced from God's Own Word. The additions to the Church's worship of forms of human invention, and called for in order to the gratification of mere religious fashion, constitute one of the saddest signs of the present time. 'As though God has been defective,' as Charnock writes with reference to such innovators, 'in providing for His own honour in His institutions, and modelling His own service, but stood in need of our directions and the caprichios of our brains. In this they do not seem to climb above God, yet they set themselves on the throne of God, and would grasp one end of His sceptre in their own hands. They do not attempt to take the crown from God's head but discover a bold ambition to shuffle their hairy scalps under it, and wear a part of it upon their own.' By the unflinching maintenance and profession of these doctrines, then, we are to prove ourselves the legitimate descendants of Scotland's Covenanted Martyrs. This duty may draw down upon us reproach and shame, but, as the doctrines are Scriptural, the shame, like that of the martyrs, is transformed into glory. These doctrines are not now popular nor fashionable; still they are in advance of this age and prevailing ecclesiastical opinions, and they shall be popular and fashionable in the Church everywhere when 'God shall help her, and that at the breaking of the morning.' They shall have a resurrection with power, when Zion shall be set upon the mountains, and when the glory of her King shall array her, they shall be triumphant when the whole banner for the truth shall wave upon the battlements of the Millennial Church of Jesus (Cited in Sermons Delivered in Times of Persecution in Scotland [1880 ed., SWRB reprint 1996], pp. 32-35, emphases added).
This book and the teaching it contains is a challenge to all good Bereans to rise up, testing all things by Scripture, to see if the claims made herein can be sustained for if they can, great changes are in order. It has been a marvelous and sometimes painful journey for us to have so many of the old books and teachings of the Reformers almost literally dropped into our hands. Now you, Lord willing, are about to embark on the same journey, with a convenient, predigested summary of the best of years of study from which to work. Read it carefully, do not draw rash conclusions, and check everything from the source documents themselves whether they be confessions, covenants, etc., or most importantly Scripture. We pray that you will not end up in the camp of the malignants, but rather that you will be given the grace to do as the Scripture commands and to "go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock" (Song 1:8).
Finally, in light of all the opposition that has arisen to the old covenanted way, I conclude with a portion of a letter written by the National Covenanted General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (August 2, 1648) in answer to a letter from the divines meeting in England at the Westminster Assembly,
We cannot but acknowledge to the Honour and glory of the Lord, Wonderfull in counsell and excellent in working, that hee hath strongly united the spirits of all the godly in this Kingdom, and of his Servants in the Ministery, first in the severall Presbyteries and Synods, and now in this Nationall Assembly, in an unanimous and constant adhering to our first Principles and the Solemn League and Covenant, And particularly in giving a testimony against the present unlawfull Engagement in War: Yet it semeth good to the LORD who hath his Fire in Zion and Furnace in Jerusalem, for the purging of the vessels of his house to suffer many adversaries to arise with violence to obstruct and stop this great and effectual door, which the Lord hath opened unto us. But we know that he openeth, and no man shutteth, and shutteth, and no man openeth: yea, he will cause them who say they are for the Covenant and are not, but are Enemies thereto, and do associate with Malignants or Sectaries, to acknowledge that God hath loved us, and that his truth is in us and with us. And now dearly beloved, seeing the Lord hath kept you together so many years, when the battel of the Warriour hath been with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood, the Lord also sitting as a refiner to purifie the Sons of Levi, and blessing you with unity and soundnesse in the Faith, we are confident you will not cease to give publick testimony for Christ, both against Sectaries and all Seducers, who prophecie lies in the name of the LORD, and against Malignants and Incendiaries (the Prelaticall and Popish Faction) who now again bestir themselves to hold up the rotten and tottering throne of Antichrist, and are (whatever they pretend) the reall enemies of Reformation (original spelling retained, The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, Form the Year 1638 to the Year 1649 Inclusive, 1682, SWRB reprint, 1997, pp. 411-412; or Alexander Peterkin, ed., Records of the Kirk of Scotland, Containing Acts and Proceedings or the General Assemblies, From the Year 1638 Downwards, As Authenticated by the Clerks of Assembly; With Notes and Historical Illustrations, 1838, SWRB reprint, 1997, p. 508, emphases added).
May you be given the grace as you read this book to recognize the true Covenanted Reformers of our day from those "who say they are for the Covenant and are not, but are Enemies thereto, and do associate with Malignants or Sectaries," who are, as our General Assembly proclaims, "(whatever they pretend) the reall enemies of Reformation."
Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye (Ezek. 18:30-32).
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The Westminster Confession of Faith
"The product of Puritan conflict," stated Shedd, reaching "a perfection of statement never elsewhere achieved.""All that learning the most profound and extensive, intellect the most acute and searching, and piety the most sincere and earnest, could accomplish, was thus concentrated in the Westminster Assembly_s Confession of Faith, which may be safely termed the most perfect statement of Systematic Theology ever framed by the Christian Church," writes Hetherington in The History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines (p. 345, emphasis added). "These are worth an hundred victories on the battle field. We do not fear to say of them that they are the finest transfusion into uninspired language of the sublime, awful, blessed truths of the Word of God which the Church has as yet been honored to make... Never can the Covenanters be robbed of the immortal honor of having, while at the summit of their power, published this great principle to the world" noted J.A. Wylie, in praise of the Westminster Standards (cited in Johnston_s Treasury of the Scottish Covenant, p. 101). Concerning the Shorter Catechism, which is one of the items also included in this book, Mitchell, in his Westminster Assembly: Its History and Standards, notes: "...it is a thoroughly Calvinistic and Puritan catechism, the ripest fruit of the Assembly's thought and experience, maturing and finally fixing the definitions of theological terms to which Puritanism for half a century had been leading up and gradually coming closer and closer to in its legion of catechisms" (p. 431). The WCF is the greatest of all the creeds of the Christian church. The church of Christ cannot be creedless and live. Especially in an age of doubt and confusion, it is her duty to define and proclaim the one true faith. Nowhere has the Reformed church done this so effectively as in the Westminster family of documents. This book represents Reformed thinking at its purest and best. It was intended, as part of the covenanted reformation taking place during its compilation, to be adopted as the binding confessional standard for every individual, family, court, church, and legislature in the British Isles. Study it carefully and we think that you will see why this same goal should be covenanted to by all serious minded followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the definitive edition of the WCF and its many related documents. It contains Manton's "Epistle to the Reader," the Larger Catechism, Shorter Catechism, "The Sum of Saving Knowledge," "The National Covenant (1638)," "The Solemn League and Covenant (1643)," "Acknowledgment of Publick Sins and Breaches of the Covenant (1648)," "The Directory for the Publick Worship of God (1645)," The Form of Presbyterial Church Government (1645)," "The Directory for Family Worship (1647)," an extensive index and more! "Every effort has been made, by sparing no expense or labour... to render it the Standard Edition," note the publishers. An essential book for every Christian home, church, and state! Next to the Bible itself, no other book can furnish you with as much necessary spiritual information. Related item: William Hetherington's History of the Westminster Assembly ($9.98/cerlox bound photocopy or $19.00/Hardcover photocopy).
(Hardcover) $39.95 - 50% = $19.98
(Softcover) $24.95 - 40% = $14.97
(Pocket edition, just the Confession: without scripture proofs, the Catechisms, etc.)
(The Confession on cassette)
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(Shorter Catechism on cassette)
Protesters Vindicated: Or, A Just and Necessary Defence of
Protesting Against, and Withdrawing from This National Church of Scotland on
Account of Her Many Gross and Continued Defections (1716)
The title continues: "More particularly, her approving of, and going into the legal establishment of the Prelatic constitutions of England. The generality of ministers swearing, in the Oath of Abjuration, to maintain Erastianism, Prelacy, and English Popish Ceremonies. Non-Jurants joining with Jurants, judicially approving that practice to be free of scandal. The Church's establishing tyranny in government, against all who will not join in communion with her, and approve her practices without redress of grievances. Wherein these and several other causes of withdrawing are proven to be justly chargeable on the Church, demonstrated to be contrary to the Word of God and Reformed principles of this Church, and just grounds of withdrawing, and setting up judicatures distinct from her; and the objections of Jurants and others fully answered." This is a classic, detailed statement of the old covenanted principles and the biblical attainments of the second Reformation (like the Solemn League and Covenant, the Westminster standards, etc.). It is also an excellent defense against the modern malignants who counsel Christ's children to remain in the backsliding and covenant breaking denominations that abound in our day. Very Rare! 270 pages.
(Bound photocopy) $99.95-85%=14.99
(Hardcover photocopy) $24.00 (US funds)
Records of the Kirk of Scotland, Containing the Acts and
Proceedings of the Generals Assemblies, From the Year 1638 Downwards, As
Authenticated by the Clerks of Assembly; With Notes and Historical
Illustrations, by Alexander Peterkin (1838 edition)
"The object of the present work is to present to the public, in a form that may be generally accessible, the history of one of the most interesting periods in the annals of our National Church, by the republication of the Acts and Proceedings, at and subsequent to the era of her second Reformation; and, combined therewith, such historical documents and sketches as are calculated to preserve the memory of an important, and, ultimately beneficial revolution," notes Peterkin in his introduction. This is one the most valuable publications we offer related to second Reformation history and the many important questions that were debated (and oftentimes settled) during this watershed period -- before, during and after the sitting of the Westminster Assembly. It also contains some indispensable information on the Protester/Resolutioner controversy (which reveals many valuable lessons for Reformed Christians today), including excerpts from some lost books and papers written by the Protesting Covenanters. The excerpts from James Guthrie's The Waters of Sihor, or the Lands Defectione, in which Guthrie enumerates the errors of the Resolutioners, as well as the marks of malignancy, is one prime example. Other rare Protester documents (inveighing against the "pretended Assemblies" of the Resolutioners), signed by the likes of Samuel Rutherford and Robert Traill are also included. Very rare and very valuable -- a gold mine for the serious student of the second Reformation! 684 pages.
(Bound photocopy) $99.95-75%=24.99
(Hardcover photocopy) $34.00 (US funds)
Act, Declaration, And Testimony, For The Whole Of The
Covenanted Reformation, As Attained To, And Established In, Britain and
Ireland; Particularly Betwixt The Years 1638 and 1649, Inclusive. As, Also,
Against All The Steps Of Defection From Said Reformation, Whether In Former Or
Later Times, Since The Overthrow Of That Glorious Work, Down To This Present
Upholds the original work of the Westminster Assembly and testifies to the abiding worth and truth formulated in the Westminster family of documents. Upholds and defends the crown rights of King Jesus in church and state, denouncing those who would remove the crown from Christ's head by denying His right to rule (by His law) in both the civil and ecclesiastical spheres. Testifies to the received doctrine, government, worship, and discipline of the Church of Scotland in her purest (reforming) periods. Applies God's Word to the Church's corporate attainments "with a judicial approbation of the earnest contendings and attainments of the faithful, and a strong and pointed judicial condemnation of error and the promoters thereof" (The Original Covenanter and Contending Witness, Dec. 17/93, p. 558). Shows the church's great historical victories (such as the National and Solemn League and Covenant, leading to the Westminster Assembly) and exposes her enemies actions (e.g. the Prelacy of Laud; the Independency, sectarianism, covenant breaking and ungodly toleration set forth by the likes of Cromwell [and the Independents that conspired with him]; the Erastianism and civil sectarianism of William of Orange, etc.). It is not likely that you will find a more consistent working out of the principles of Calvinism anywhere -- and fittingly this work has been called "the most profoundly reasoned document ever issued by the (R.P.) Church." It deals with the most important matters relating to the individual, the family, the church and the state. Sets forth a faithful historical testimony of God's dealings with men during some of the most important days of church history. A basic text that should be mastered by all Christians.
(Rare bound photocopy) $19.95-70%=5.99
(Hardcover photocopy) $19.00 (US funds)
Auchensaugh Renovation of the National Covenant and Solemn
League and Covenant; with the Acknowledgement of Sins and Engagement to Duties
as they were Renewed at Auchensaugh in 1712... Also the Renovation of These
Public Federal Deeds Ordained at Philadelphia, Oct. 8, 1880, By the Reformed
Presbytery, With Accommodation of the Original Covenants, in Both Transactions,
to their Times and Positions Respectively (1880 ed.)
"In 1712, at Auchensaugh, the Covenants, National and Solemn League, were renewed... At the renewal the covenant bonds were recognized as binding the descendants of those who first entered into those bonds. The Covenanters, however, sought to display the true intent of those Covenants with marginal notes. These notes explained that the Church of Jesus Christ, in Scotland (and around the world), must not join hands with any political power in rebellion to the crown rights of King Jesus. The Covenanters pledged the Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church to the support of lawful magistracy (i.e. magistracy which conformed itself to the precepts of God's Word) and declared themselves and their posterity against support of any power, in Church or State, which lacked biblical authority." (From "About the Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church" newsletter). An excellent introduction (historical and moral) regarding the reasons, motives and manner of fulfilling the duty of covenanting with God. Especially helpful concerning the Biblical view of the blessings (for covenant-keepers) and cursings (for covenant breakers) related to covenanting. As noted on page 37, "the godly usually in times of great defection from the purity and power of religion, and corruption of the ordinances of God's worship, set about renewing their covenant, thereby to prevent covenant curses, and procure covenant blessing; as we find both in scripture record, 2 Chron. 15:12-13; 29:10; 34:30-31; Ezra 10:3, and in our own ecclesiastical history." Times like ours certainly call for a revival of the Scriptural ordinance of covenanting, for "[t]he nations throughout Christendom, continue in league with Antichrist and give their strength to the beast. They still refuse to profess and defend the true religion in doctrine, worship, government and discipline, contrary to the example of the kingdoms of Scotland, England and Ireland in the seventeenth century" (p. 136 in this book).
(Rare bound photocopy) $19.95-70%=5.99
(Hardcover photocopy) $19.00 (US funds)
Various Official Acts, Declarations, Protestations, etc.,
Concerning the Covenanted Reformation
Contains 24 rare documents from the period 1638-1650. One document, "The Act of Covenant Renovation" (1880) by the Reformed Presbytery (which was a faithful renewal of the National Covenant and the Solemn League and Covenant [adapted to the present time], with a confession of public sins), is added from outside this period to illustrate the continuing obligations that rest upon the moral person (civilly and ecclesiastically). Among the seventeenth century documents we find much (from both the church and the state) that relates to the central place that covenanting played in the second Reformation. We also find various authoritative international testimonies against Popery, Prelacy and Schism (i.e. Independency, Cromwell, etc.), and for biblical covenanted uniformity, divine right Presbyterian church government, and apostolic worship. Military documents related to the second Reformation are also added. One proclamation by Charles I is even included, to illustrate Royalist opposition to Reformation. 686 pages.
(Bound photocopy) $99.95-80%=19.99
(Hardcover photocopy) $29.00 (US funds)
The Book of the Universal Kirk of Scotland
Contains the earliest official records (acts and proceedings) of the Established Reformed Church in Scotland, covering the period from 1560 to 1616. Peterkin calls them "the only sure and satisfactory memorials of the course of Ecclesiastical affairs in the times immediately succeeding the Reformation." Lee, Clerk of the General Assembly in 1828 writes (regarding the originals), "there is no difficulty in proving that the volumes in question were laid on the table of the General Assembly which met at Glasgow in 1638; and that they were pronounced by that Assembly to be true and authentic Registers of the Kirk of Scotland." Concerning this copy of "The Booke" ("for the first time fully printed from the copies in the Advocates' Library"), Lee further states that these records exhibit, "the real character of the internal government of this national church. They display the operation of the principles by which the first Reformers and their immediate successors were actuated. They demonstrate that these men were not more distinguished by zeal for the truth, than by loyalty to the head of the government, attachment to true principles, (I do not say of toleration--for that was a term which they certainly did not employ or approve)--of religious liberty and civil subordination. They bear testimony to the strictness and impartiality of ancient discipline. They vindicate the character of those illustrious men whose names have been unjustly aspersed, but who, both by their doctrine and lives,--by their unwearied exertions and their patient sufferings,--left an example, not indeed or faultless excellence, but assuredly of the most noble, magnanimous, and fearless adherence to the standards of our constitution. These Registers also contain much that is capable of correcting erroneous representations of historical facts with regard to the internal state of the kingdom-- institutions, habits, and customs, as well as the morals of the people, and the spirit which was most prevalent at particular periods in various districts of the land... they prove, that from the very first moment, it was the determined object of the leaders of the Reformation, to establish such a Presbyterian Government, as was at last, with the utmost difficulty completed... they deserve to be preserved with care, as the most venerable remnants of a distant age--as the earliest annuls of our infant church... of confessors and martyrs, who counted not their lives dear to them; and who when they thought it necessary, never shrunk from sealing their testimony with their blood... (they) present the seal and superscription of glory to God, and good will to man--peace to the church, and happiness to the state" (pp. xi-xii). John Knox, the first name listed in the first record of the first General Assembly (in 1560), of course, plays a prominent role in much of what is recorded here. 631 pages.
(Bound photocopy) $99.95-80%=19.99
(Hardcover photocopy) $29.00 (US funds)
Saul in the Cave of Adullam: A Testimony Against the Fashionable Sub-Calvinism of Doug Wilson (Editor of Credenda/Agenda Magazine); and, for Classical Protestantism and the Attainments of the Second Reformation by Reg Barrow
Doug Wilson and others at Credenda/Agenda used their magazine to publicly attack and slander Reg Barrow (President of Still Waters Revival Books) in a column that they call the "Cave of Adullam." This invective was Credenda's response to Barrow's comments on Knox Ring (where Barrow noted that John Calvin would have excommunicated John Frame for the apostasy that he manifests in his new book on worship). Numerous private attempts were unsuccessfully made (by Barrow and others) to call Wilson to repentance for this slander. Ultimately, charges for violation of the ninth commandment were brought (in accord with Matt. 18:15-17) against Wilson by Barrow. This book recounts the salient points of the controversy (and the Matthew 18 proceedings) between Wilson and Barrow -- in their actual email debates! Also included is Barrow's demonstration of why Calvin would have excommunicated Frame and Greg Price's Testimony Against The Unfounded Charges of Anabaptism. These debates are a classic example of the differences that exist today between paleopresbyterians (Barrow) and neopresbyterians (Wilson). Wilson's charges against Barrow, of Anabaptism, separatism, etc. are all refuted under a mountain of quotations from Reformation source documents. Barrow's refutations of Wilson's spurious charges bring to light many aspects of Reformation thought that have been lost or forgotten in our day. Besides the initial controversy (over Frame and worship) and the restoration process (set forth in Matthew 18:15-17), this book should be of special interest to all of those who love the "old paths" of truth -- trod by our forefathers in the Reformed faith -- for some of the most pressing issues of our day (regarding the individual, church and state) are addressed herein. Classic statements, cited by Barrow, not only exhibit the wisdom which God granted the best Reformers of both the first and second Reformations, but also specifically demonstrate how Wilson and many other modern Protestants actually reject the Reformation at many points (all their protests not withstanding). "And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in" (Isa. 58:12). This item is also available as a bound photocopy for $7.98 (US funds) or a Hardcover photocopy for $19.00 (US funds).
Why the PCA is Not a Duly Constituted Church and Why Faithful Christians Should Separate from this Corrupted "Communion" by Larry Birger
Two letters from Larry Birger, Jr. to the session of his former congregation in the PCA, with an historical introduction. Birger states, "This work is emitted by way of testimony against the defections from the reformation of the true religion granted by God in ages past, in hopes of playing some small part in the edification of God's people currently languishing under such defected and defecting denominations." It spotlights the differences between classic Presbyterian thought [paleopresbyterianism] and what today is but a pale imitation [neopresbyterianism] of the Reformation attainments that have been won [at the cost of much suffering and many lives] in the past. This is a good practical introduction to ecclesiology, testimony-bearing, and second Reformation thought.
Brief Defence of Dissociation in the Present Circumstances (1996)
This work explains why Christians should separate themselves from those churches which deny biblical truth and its implications. It defends this position using many Reformation source documents. Samuel Rutherford has been especially misunderstood concerning separation. Examples of misleading and seriously flawed presentations of Rutherford's position on the church and separation have been seen in Walker's The Theology and Theologians of Scotland 1560-1750, Bacon's The Visible Church and Outer Darkness and a host of other works -- all of which overlook foundational second Reformation truths set forth by Rutherford and his fellow Covenanters. This book clearly demonstrates, from Rutherford's own actions and teaching (during the Protester/Resolutioner controversy in the Scottish church), how far off many previous works on this subject have been. It is the best short introduction to questions regarding the visible church and separation which we list.
(Bound photocopy) $9.95-60%=3.98
Reformed View of Schism"
The Reformers often said "that to avoid schism we must separate." This should give the perceptive reader some indication of how badly misunderstood the biblical teaching regarding schism and separation (which should be differentiated in many ways) has become in our day. Sadly, some of the most anti-Reformed work on this subject has been written by contemporary individuals, who, though calling themselves Reformed, "understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm" (1 Tim. 1:7). This excerpt from Clarkson's Plain Reasons for Presbyterians Dissenting should contribute much to correcting the problem of unbiblical ecumenism and place this doctrine (of biblical unity in the visible church) back on its Scriptural foundation -- which was recovered during the Reformation. Clarkson cites Beza, Rutherford, Gillespie, Dickson, Durham, McWard (Rutherford's "disciple"), Marshal, Watson, Owen, Burroughs, and many others, while defending the truth about schism. Objections brought against the Reformation view of schism are also carefully answered. This is probably the single best medium length treatment of this subject.)
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