Reformed Worship, The Regulative Principle, etc. - Church Government - The Puritan Hard Drive

 


Up From Reconstructionism; or, A Short History of the Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton

by Dr. Michael Wagner

copyright Michael Wagner, 1996

The Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton was founded in November, 1989, as a congregation of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of the United States (RPCUS). At that time, a number of Edmonton Reconstructionists were unhappy with their existing ecclesiastical connections, and wanted to form a Reconstructionist church. As a result of the Christian Heritage Party of Canada holding its national convention in Edmonton in 1989, Geoff Donnan (then a missionary of the RPCUS) was in town. To make a long story short, we (the Edmonton Reconstructionists) convinced Donnan (who consulted with some fellow RPCUS ministers by phone) to accept us as an RPCUS mission church. Then in April, 1990, one of our members, Mr. Greg Barrow (brother of the notorious publisher Reg Barrow) was ordained as an elder by the General Assembly of the RPCUS in Atlanta, Georgia.

During the course of 1990, most of our people became convinced of the truth of the "regulative principle of worship," namely, that God could only be worshipped in ways prescribed by Scripture. This meant that the church would sing only psalms, and would not allow the use of instruments during the worship service. Due to conflicts generated in part over this issue, the church became separated from the RPCUS.

We continued to grow in our understanding of the biblical truths taught by the Puritans and early Presbyterians, and changed our practices as we learned. During this time we received some "refugees" from the Bible Presbyterian Church of Edmonton, including Elder Lyndon Dohms. Sometime later, in the summer of 1994, we called Greg Price, an Orthodox Presbyterian Teaching Elder from California, to be our pastor. Price had also come to see that the doctrines taught by the seventeenth century Puritans and Presbyterians were the true biblical doctrines. Shortly after his arrival in Edmonton, Price was instrumental in helping to organize the Puritan Reformed Church of Prince George, British Columbia, a congregation consisting primarily of ex-Charismatics who had become Reformed through reading materials obtained from Still Waters Revival Books and having discussions with people in the Edmonton congregation (mainly Reg and Greg Barrow). Indeed, it is entirely accurate to say that both the Edmonton and Prince George congregations owe their existence (speaking from a human standpoint) to the literature ministry of Still Waters Revival Books, which was increasingly offering works by the most faithful authors and ministers of the Reformation.

With a session now consisting of Greg Price, Greg Barrow, and Lyndon Dohms, the church also became involved with a group of small Presbyterian churches (and various elders) that would come together to form a denomination called the Reformation Presbyterian Church.

During the latter half of 1995, many of our people began to seriously study the unique theological claims made by the "Covenanters." Again, Reg Barrow (and his Still Waters Revival Books) was in the vanguard of this effort. Throughout the church's short life-span, it was continuously moving in the direction of becoming increasingly conformed to the position of the original Westminster Standards and the Covenanted Reformation of the mid-seventeenth century. This process culminated with the church officially adopting the six "Terms of Ministerial and Christian Communion in the Reformed Presbyterian Church" (i.e., the Covenanter church -- but not to be confused with the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America [RPCNA]), early in 1996. At this point the church was properly constituted in terms of the Westminster Standards and the historically descending covenant obligation that rests upon the visible church as a moral person. Since the Reformation Presbyterian Church was not duly constituted on the same basis, continuing ecclesiastical fellowship was not possible.

Most of us in the Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton became Christians as young adults and were first involved with evangelical or fundamentalist churches. Through studying the Scriptures we all became Reformed. But after travelling through various churches, becoming Reformed, and forming our church, we didn't stop studying; we continued to hunger after the meat of the Word. The Lord rewarded our diligent study with continued spiritual growth. Not that we consider ourselves worthy of such signal mercies from our covenant Lord. To the contrary, we have been greatly humbled through this sanctifying process. Our pastor and elders have publicly acknowledged their own sinful defection from the truth, and have humbly sought God's grace in leading the congregation in the old paths of righteousness and truth. Our testimony is not to our own faithfulness, but rather to the faithfulness of our covenant God. Our deepening understanding of Scripture and history made clear to us that the Reformers, especially the leaders of the Second Reformation in Britain, had a more accurate understanding of Bible doctrine than anyone (uninspired) before or since. Much of what we learned from Reconstructionist authors was a partial introduction to the doctrines of the Covenanted Reformation (a kind of "Covenanter's kindergarten" to use Reg Barrow's phrase), and to that extent was very beneficial to us. It liberated us from the much more superficial Christianity that constitutes twentieth century North American evangelicalism. But Reconstructionism itself is not enough.

The Covenanters

In 1638 the Presbyterians of Scotland took the National Covenant of Scotland as a common bond of resistance to the unbiblical worship practices that King Charles the first wanted to impose on the churches. Then in 1643, the civil governments, national churches, and a large percentage of the general populations of England, Scotland, and Ireland, took the Solemn League and Covenant with the goal of forming a "covenanted Presbyterian uniformity" in church and state. That meant (among other things) that they wanted true Reformed Biblical Christianity to be the established religion of all three countries, and practiced in a uniform manner in all three countries (Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Philippians 2:2). But in time ungodly and covenant-breaking leaders (Cromwell, other Independents, Episcopalians, Papists, etc.) came to power and persecuted (to a greater or lesser degree) those individuals who insisted that the terms of the Covenants be fulfilled. The persecution reached its height under the papist King James the second, who was then overthrown by William Prince of Orange in the so-called "Glorious Revolution" of 1689. The worst of the persecution ended, but William was unwilling to fulfill the terms of the Covenants. William, in fact, was an Erastian and a tolerationist, leaving much of the Covenanted Reformation buried under prelatical (Episcopalian) rubbish.

The Scottish reformation in its purest form was deliberately abandoned in [William's] Revolution Settlement -- Both the Church and State concurred in leaving unrepealed on the Statute-book, the infamous Act Rescissory, by which the National Covenants were declared to be unlawful oaths, and all laws and constitutions, ecclesiastical or civil, were annulled, which approved and gave effect to them. The Revolution Church was, in every respect, an entirely different establishment from that of the Second Reformation. Its creed was dictated by Erastian authority -- its government established on the ground of popular consent and not of Divine right -- its order and discipline were placed in subjection to Erastian civil rulers -- and the Scriptural liberties of the ministry and membership interfered with; and corruption in doctrine, and ordinances of worship, without the power of removing it, extensively spread throughout the ecclesiastical body. How sadly different a structure did this appear to the eyes of faithful men, who lamented that the carved work of a Covenanted Sanctuary had been broken down, and the "beautiful House where their fathers worshipped, was laid waste!" Nor could the civil and political part of the Revolution Settlement have any pretensions to be a proper carrying out of the civil system of the Reformation era. In this the federal deeds of the nation were the compact between rulers and ruled, and were an essential part of the oath of the Sovereign on admission to supreme power. Civil rulers were required to be possessed of scriptural and covenant qualifications -- and were taken bound to make a chief end of their government the promotion of the divine glory in the advancement of the true reformed religion, and the protection and prosperity of the Reformed Presbyterian Church (Houston n.d., 61-62).

Surprisingly, like William most Presbyterians, who were elated that King James had been overthrown, were also unwilling to uphold the Covenants. Those who did insist that the terms of the Covenants be upheld refused to support a covenant-breaking government or join with a covenant-breaking (though professingly Presbyterian) church. These "old dissenters" and their spiritual descendants are known as "Covenanters" because they believe "That public social covenanting, is an ordinance of God, obligatory on churches and nations under the New Testament; [and] that the National Covenant and the Solemn League are an exemplification of this divine institution" (Terms of Ministerial and Christian Communion in the Reformed Presbyterian Church. For a complete Scriptural defence of covenanting see The Ordinance of Covenanting by John Cunningham, a bound photocopy available from Still Waters Revival Books).

There is much more at stake here than a few decades of British history. The Westminster Standards (including the Confession of Faith and Catechisms) were the fruit of the covenanted uniformity aimed at in the Solemn League and Covenant. The relationship between the Westminster Standards and the Solemn League and Covenant is so close, in fact, that to truly adhere to the Standards requires that an individual or church also adhere to the Solemn League and Covenant. In other words, all true Presbyterians must also be Covenanters. This is clear from "The Directory for the Ordination of Ministers" in the original (1648) Westminster Standards' "Form of Presbyterial Church-Government" where it says that every candidate for the ministry must "bring with him a testimonial of his taking the Covenant of the three kingdoms," i.e., the Solemn League and Covenant. All faithful Presbyterian ministers must adhere to the Covenant. As well, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland ruled in 1648 "that all young students take the covenant at their first entry to colleges; and that hereafter all persons whosoever take the covenant at their first receiving the sacrament of the Lord's supper." In other words, people who would not take the Covenant could not partake of the Lord's supper.

Reconstructionism

Reconstructionism has done a lot to bring some Reformation truths to the attention of evangelicals. Those who are hungry for the truth have thus been influenced in a positive direction. But after becoming Reconstructionists, Christians should not become complacent in their theological position. Reconstructionism has missed some very important issues not least of which include biblical purity of worship and social covenanting. Reconstructionists should diligently study the Bible-based positions of the sixteenth and seventeenth century Reformers to get a clearer picture of biblical truth. In effect, Reconstructionism is a half-way-house between twentieth century evangelicalism and truly biblical Reformation Christianity. Reformation Christianity reached its apex in the Westminster Assembly and the documents it produced. Those documents were created in fulfillment of the goals aimed at in the Solemn League and Covenant.

The Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton was originally formed as a Reconstructionist church. But Reconstructionism had taken us only part of the way down the road to real Reformation. We continued further down the road, discovering the biblical basis to the Reformers' view of worship. More recently, we learned of the highpoint of the Reformation, namely the taking of the Covenants and their effects in seventeenth century Britain. The Reformed and Presbyterian churches of the world will not have much impact until they have recovered the lost theological attainments of our fore-fathers. God does not bless backsliding. We implore Reconstructionists and other Reformed Christians to accompany us back to the "old paths" of the Covenanted Reformation.

This is not asking too much. John Calvin, during the First Reformation, showed that he supported the concept of Covenanted Reformation by requiring all the residents of Geneva to take an oath in support of the Reformation. The "Register of the Council of 24" of Geneva notes as follows:

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 (Johnston and Scribner 1993, 138).

As Calvin had undoubtedly realized, it is essential for true reformation that people covenant to obey and follow the truth -- we see this in the reformations experienced by Israel in the Old Testament. The leaders of the Second Reformation also knew the importance of covenanting, and followed the Biblical precepts to great effect. Thomas Sproull said it well:

"By the National Covenant our fathers laid Popery prostrate. By the Solemn League and Covenant they were successful in resisting prelatic encroach- ments 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 millenial 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 abandon- ment of reformation attainments -- the violation of covenant engagements" (Reformed Presbytery 1879, 38).

Only by climbing back to the doctrinal attainments of the Second Reformation will we be able to undertake a true Biblical reconstruction of the world.


CITATIONS

The system used for citations in this paper follows the Style Manual for Political Science published by the American Political Science Association (1993). In the text of the paper, a citation includes the last name of the cited author, followed by the date of his work, and then the page number or numbers used. To find the title of the work cited, go to the References section at the end of the paper. Locate the author's last name and the date that corresponds to the one in the citation, and you will find the specific work cited. For example, the citation "(Hetherington [1856] 1991, 124-128)" refers to pages 124-128 in Hetherington's book History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines which was originally published in 1856, and republished in 1991. Where the author's name is not between the citation brackets, his name had just been referred to previously in the text and should therefore be obvious.


References

Houston, Thomas. n.d. The Life of James Renwick. (Photocopy from Still Waters Revival Books).

Johnston, Pamela, and Bob Scribner. 1993. The Reformation in Germany and Switzerland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Reformed Presbytery. 1879. A Short Vindication of Our Covenanted Reformation. Philadelphia: Reformed Presbytery.


Other Books Recommended (By the Author) for Further Study

Cunningham, John. 1843. The Ordinance of Covenanting. Glasgow: William Marshall.

Reformed Presbytery. 1876. Act, Declaration, and Testimony, for the Whole of Our Covenanted Reformation. Philadelphia: Rue & Jones.

Reformed Presbytery. 1880. The Auchensaugh Renovation of the National Covenant and Solemn League and Covenant. Philadelphia: William Syckelmoore.

Reformed Presbytery. n.d. An Explanation and Defence of the Terms of Communion Adopted by the Community of Dissenters. (Photocopy from Still Waters Revival Books).

Roberts, William L. 1853. The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism. New York: R. Craighead.


About the Author

Michael Wagner is a PhD candidate at the University of Alberta. He lives in Edmonton with his wife and three children.


The six points of the "Terms of Ministerial and Christian Communion in the Reformed Presbyterian Church" as listed at the back of The Act, Declaration, and Testimony for the Whole of Our Covenanted Reformation... by the Reformed Presbytery, 1761, 1876, (1995 rare bound photocopy, $5.99 Canadian) are:

1. An acknowledgement of the Old and New Testament to be the Word of God, and the alone infallible rule of faith and practice.

2. That the whole doctrine of the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Catechisms, Larger and Shorter, are agreeable unto, and founded upon the Scriptures.

3. That Presbyterial Church Government and manner of worship are alone of divine right and unalterable; and that the most perfect model of these as yet attained, is exhibited in the Form of Government and Directory for Worship, adopted by the Church of Scotland in the Second Reformation.

4. That public, social covenanting is an ordinance of God, obligatory on churches and nations under the New Testament; that the National Covenant and the Solemn League are an exemplification of this divine institution; and that these Deeds are of continued obligation upon the moral person; and in consistency with this, that the Renovation of these Covenants at Auchensaugh, Scotland, 1712 was agreeable to the word of God.

5. An approbation of the faithful contendings of the martyrs of Jesus, especially in Scotland, against Paganism, Popery, Prelacy, Malignancy and Sectarianism; immoral civil governments; Erastian tolerations and persecutions which flow from them; and of the Judicial Testimony emitted by the Reformed Presbytery in North Britain, 1761 with supplements from the Reformed Presbyterian Church; as containing a noble example to be followed, in contending for all divine truth, and in testifying against all corruptions embodied in the constitutions of either churches or states.

6. Practically adorning the doctrine of God our Savior by walking in all His commandments and ordinances blamelessly.


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AUTHOR: CUNNINGHAM, JOHN
TITLE: The Ordinance of Covenanting (1843)
FORMAT: (Rare bound photocopy)
PRICING: $49.95-70%=14.99 (US funds)

This book is considered by many as the classic work on covenanting. "The theology of Covenanting is here unfolded with a richness of scriptural research and a maturity of intellectual strength which would have made the grey eye of Peden glisten with delight. The treatise is a valuable addition to that solid theological literature of which the Reformed Presbyterian Church has produced repeated and enduring specimens, and stamps Mr. Cunningham as a distinguished disciple of the thoughtful and scriptural school of Mason and the Symingtons" (Presby Rev., (1844) as cited in The Treasury of the Scottish Covenant by Johnston). The author himself notes that "Prayer and the offering of praise are universally admitted to be duties of religion. The Scriptures announce a place among these for the exercise of solemn Covenanting... What the word of God unfolds concerning it, is addressed to the most resolute consideration of all, and is capable of engaging the most extensive and prolonged investigation. And yet, though none have found this subject, like all God's judgements, else than a great deep, still in meditating upon it, the ignorant have been brought to true knowledge, and the wise have increased in wisdom. 'The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant' (Ps. 25:14)... Mutual federal engagements, concerning things religious and civil, whether entered into merely by simple promise, or confirmed by the solemn oath, have been made from the highest antiquity to the present. The hostility to some such engagements, and also the proud disregard for their obligation, which have been evinced by some in all ages, demand a most careful examination into their nature and design... Furnished with the key of Scripture, approaching the subject, we are enabled to open the mysteries in which ignorance and prejudice had shut it up; and equipped with the armour of light shooting forth its heavenly radiance, in safety to ourselves we assail the darkness thrown around it, and behold the instant flight of the spirits of error which that darkness contains. Standing alone in beauteous attractions descended from heaven upon it, this service beckons us to approach it, and engages to connect extensive good with a proper attention to its claims. The observance, under various phases, is described in Scripture as an undisputed and indisputable reality." In this book Cunningham exhaustively covers the subject of covenanting in over 400 pages. He deals with the manner, duty and nature of covenanting (including personal and social covenanting), the obligation covenanting confers, how covenanting is provided for in the everlasting covenant, how it is adapted to the moral constitution of man and how it is according to the purposes of God. Numerous Divine examples are cited from Scripture and covenanting is shown to be one of the great privileges of the Christian life. An interesting chapter covers "Covenanting Enforced By the Grant of Covenant Signs and Seals;" which touches on circumcision, baptism, the Sabbath, the Priesthood, the new heart and the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Furthermore, this book demonstrates how God's approbation rested upon Covenanters in formers ages, how covenanting is predicted in prophecy, how it is recommended by the practice of the New Testament Church and at what seasons it is appropriate. The appendices touch on the relationship of covenanting to immoral and unscriptural civil governments, the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the British constitution and the apostasy of the Revolution settlement. Additionally, Cunningham acknowledges that the true church is "bound by the obligations of the Church of God is past times" and is still obligated to pay what it has vowed to the Lord in those magnificent attainments of the second Reformation (the epitome of these attainments being embodied in the Solemn League and Covenant and the Westminster Standards). If you are interested in the ordinance of covenanting this is the most extensive treatment you will find in one book. It is a gold mine of Scriptural references and should be read at least once by everyone who calls upon the name of Christ.

ROBERTS, WILLIAM L.

The Duty of Covenanting, and the Permanent Obligation of Religious Covenants (1853)
Excerpted from the Reformed Presbyterian Catechism below, this book deals with an almost forgotten ordinance of God. It explains what covenants are, while contrasting them with oaths, vows and law. Furthermore, it distinguishes between civil and religious covenants and shows how the individual, family, church or nation can (and should) enter into covenants -- especially religious covenants. Explains why, when and how covenants are binding on posterity, citing abundant Scriptural proof for each assertion made. Here is a sample argument from this book, demonstrating how even covenants made between men are viewed as binding upon posterity by God himself: "Another instance in which posterity is recognized in covenant obligation is found in Joshua 9:15. This covenant was made between the children of Israel and the Gibeonites. Between four and five hundred years after that time, the children of Israel are visited with a very severe famine, in the days of David. 2 Sam. 21:1. And it is expressly declared by the Lord that, 'It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.' And at the same time, v. 2, that very covenant is recognized, and the breach of it is stated, as being the formal reason of the divine displeasure. Now, had it not been for this covenant, the extirpation of the Gibeonites would not have been imputed to Israel as a thing criminal; for they were comprehended in Canaanitish nations, which God had commanded them to root out" (pp. 139-140). Take the time to look these verses up. This subject has great bearing on the unity of the church, the Christian's response to godless covenant-breaking nations, hermeneutics, the family and general faithfulness to God (because many today -- individually, ecclesiastically, and nationally -- are breaking covenants which God still views as binding though they are oblivious to this obligation). Great price too!
(Rare bound photocopy) $5.95-70%=1.78

ROBERTS, WILLIAM L.

The Duty of Nations, in their National Capacity, to Acknowledge and Support the True Religion (1853)
Excerpted from the Reformed Presbyterian Catechism below, this book deals with the inescapable necessity, of the demand found in the Word of God, for the Civil establishment of Christ and King and Lawgiver over every nation on earth. If you are sick of the cease-fire with humanism, set forth by the syncretistic, Satanic and pragmatic pagan politicians of our day, (those who bargain with votaries of Antichrist [the Pope], publicly tolerate all manner of false religions (e.g. Islam) and idolatry, and compose their policy and draw their pretended authority from the beast [and not the Word of God], this book is for you! For all pagan politics is summed up in the words of the Cameronian (Covenanter) political philosopher Alexander Shields, as "rotting away under the destructive distempers of detestable neutrality, loathsome lukewarmness, declining, and decaying in corruptions, defections, divisions, distractions, confusions; and so judicially infatuated with darkness and delusions, that they forget and forego the necessary testimony of the day" (A HIND LET LOOSE, 1797 edition, p. 20). Pick up this book and begin the political walk in the "footsteps of the flock," traveling the covenanting road of Reformation and Scripture (with the magisterial Reformers of the past)!
(Rare bound photocopy) $5.95-70%=1.78

ROBERTS, WILLIAM L.

The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism (1853)
A manual of instruction, drawing from such notable authors as William Symington and J.R. Willson, presenting "arguments and facts confirming and illustrating the 'Distinctive Principles'" of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. Chapters deal with: "Christ's Mediatorial Dominion in general;" Christ's exclusive Headship over the Church;" "The Supreme and Ultimate Authority of the Word of God in the Church;" Civil Government, the Moral Ordinance of God;" Christ's Headship over the Nations;" "The Subjection of the Nations to God and to Christ;" The Word, or Revealed Will of God, the Supreme Law in the State;" "The Duty of Nations, in their National Capacity, to acknowledge and support the True Religion:" "The Spiritual Independence of the Church of Christ:" "The Right and Duty of Dissent from an immoral Constitution of Civil Government;" "The Duty of Covenanting, and the Permanent Obligations of Religious Covenants;" "The Application of these Principles to the Governments, where Reformed Presbyterians reside, in the form of a Practical Testimony;" and finally "Application of the Testimony to the British Empire." A most important book, as we approach (possibly) the end of the great apostasy and will be in need of preparing for the dawning of the glorious millennial blessings to come; the days prophesied in which the church "shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings" (Isa. 60:16).
(Rare bound photocopy) $29.95-70%=8.99

SCOTT, DAVID

Distinctive Principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church (1841)
This book is not designed to discuss "the (many-RB) doctrines which the Reformed Presbyterian church holds in common will others," but is written to set forth RP distinctives. It tackles its subject from three major heads: "Social Covenanting;" "The Dominion of Christ;" and "The Universal Application of Scripture (civil as well as religious)." It shows that while these doctrines "are held by many, as abstract doctrines of divine truth, they are not embodied in the testimony of any other Christian denomination: nor made necessary to ministerial or Christian fellowship. Although other individuals may hold these doctrine, it is a 'distinctive' feature of the RPC to embody them in her testimony; and to make them terms of communion." It also explains how these are the same distinctives that were maintained "at the era of the reformation, (when) the covenanted church of Scotland bore a distinguished testimony for all the offices of Christ, as prophet, priest and king: and for the pure doctrines, worship, discipline, and government of the house of God." The author states that "the great object aimed at is to help forward the glorious triumph of the Messiah, so beautifully described in the 72nd Psalm. When 'all Kings shall fall down before him; and all nations shall serve him.'"
(Rare bound photocopy) $49.95-80%=9.99

PRICE, GREG

The Duty and Perpetual Obligation of Social Covenanting
The material found in this bound photocopy addresses a forgotten and neglected ordinance of God: social covenanting. God's people in times of repentance and thanksgiving, trial and blessing have been a covenanting people. In the most pure times of ecclesiastical and civil reformation throughout history, both church and state under the mediatorial rule of Christ have by the grace of God bound themselves together by covenant to promote and defend the true Christian religion. The first document adopted by the Westminster Assembly was in fact, the Solemn League and Covenant (1644). It united the kingdoms of Scotland, England, and Ireland in a covenanted reformation of both church and state in order to preserve, promote and defend the true Christian religion (as summarized in the Westminster Confession of Faith, Larger and Shorter Catechisms, Directory For Public Worship, and Form of Church Government), and in order to expose and uproot all false teaching contrary to the Scripture and these standards. Furthermore, it was not only the desire of the Westminster Assembly to unite in covenant the three British kingdoms, but rather to include in this covenanted reformation all of the Reformed Churches throughout Europe. Consider the goal of the Assembly as summarized by Hetherington: "There was one great, and even sublime idea, brought somewhat indefinitely before the Westminster Assembly, which has not yet been realized, the idea of a Protestant union throughout Christendom, not merely for the purpose of counterbalancing Popery, but in order to purify, strengthen, and unite all true Christian churches, so that with combined energy and zeal they might go forth, in glad compliance with the Redeemer's commands, teaching all nations, and preaching the everlasting gospel to every creature under heaven. This truly magnificent, and also truly Christian idea, seems to have originated in the mind of that distinguished man, Alexander Henderson. It was suggested by him to the Scottish commissioners, and by them partially brought before the English Parliament, requesting them to direct the Assembly to write letters to the Protestant Churches in France, Holland, Switzerland, and other Reformed Churches. . . . and along with these letters were sent copies of the Solemn League and Covenant, a document which might itself form the basis of such a Protestant union. The deep thinking divines of the Netherlands apprehended the idea, and in their answer, not only expressed their approbation of the Covenant, but also desired to join in it with the British kingdoms. Nor did they content themselves with the mere expression of approval and willingness to join. A letter was soon afterwards sent to the Assembly from the Hague, written by Duraeus (the celebrated John Dury), offering to come to the Assembly, and containing a copy of a vow which he had prepared and tendered to the distinguished Oxenstiern, chancellor of Sweden, wherein he bound himself 'to prosecute a reconciliation between Protestants in point of religion'. . . . [O]n one occasion Henderson procured a passport to go to Holland, most probably for the purpose of prosecuting this grand idea. But the intrigues of politicians, the delays caused by the conduct of the Independents, and the narrow-minded Erastianism of the English Parliament, all conspired to prevent the Assembly from entering farther into that truly glorious Christian enterprise. Days of trouble and darkness came; persecution wore out the great men of that remarkable period; pure and vital Christianity was stricken to the earth and trampled under foot. . ." (William Hetherington, History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines , [Edmonton, Alberta: Still Waters Revival Books], pp. 337-339). The material presented herein is commended to the reader with the sincere prayer and confidence that God will again restore the Church of Jesus Christ to a glorious covenanted reformation--one that will even surpass that one to which she had attained at the time of the Westminster Assembly. However, when the Lord brings that future covenanted reformation it will not be limited to only three kingdoms of the earth, but by the grace and power of Christ our King, it will be a covenanted reformation that will encompass all of the nations of the earth (Ps. 2:6-12; Is. 2:1-4; Mt. 28:1-20) and will bring to the church a visible unity and uniformity that (unlike pleas for unity today) is firmly grounded upon the truth" (Greg Price, Preface). The material contained in this compilation was gathered together by the session of the Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton/Prince George. Its 210 pages contain the following items, as listed in this bibliography for social covenanting.
1. Samuel Rutherford, Due Right of Presbyteries , pp. 130-139
2. George Gillespie, The Works of George Gillespie, Vol. 2, pp. 71-88.
3. John Brown of Wamphray, An Apologetic Relation , pp. 167-175, 181- 207.
4. David Scott, Distinctive Principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, pp. 14-90.
5. William Roberts, The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism , pp. 134- 152.
6. The Reformed Presbytery, An Explanation and Defence of the Terms of Communion , pp. 181-187.
7. The Reformed Presbytery, Act , Declaration and Testimony , pp. 11- 23.
8. The Reformed Presbytery, The Auchensaugh Renovation , pp. 115- 140.
9. The Church of Scotland (1639), The National Covenant of Scotland , pp. 345-354 in the Westminster Confession of Faith published by Free Presbyterian Publications.
10. The Westminster Assembly (1644), The Solemn League and Covenant , pp. 355-360 in the Westminster Confession of Faith published by Free Presbyterian Publications.
11. The Church of Scotland (1648), A Solemn Acknowledgement of Publick Sins and Breaches of the Covenant , pp. 361-368 in the Westminster Confession of Faith published by Free Presbyterian Publications.

(Rare bound photocopy) $22.95-70%=6.89


FOR FURTHER STUDY REGARDING WORSHIP AND CHURCH GOVERNMENT SEE:

Biblical Worship by Kevin Reed

Concerning Close Communion by W.J. McKnight

Shunning the Unlawful Rights of the Ungodly by John Calvin

Reformation Worship and Separation from Idolatry by Reg Barrow

Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church by J.L. Girardeau

Making Shipwreck of the Faith: Evangelicals and Catholics Together by K. Reed

The Songs of Zion: A Contemporary Case for Exclusive Psalmody by M. Bushell

Foundation for Reformation: The Regulative Principle of Worship by Greg Price

The Badge of Popery: Musical Instruments in Public Worship by R.J. George

Paleopresbyterianism Versus Neopresbyterianism by Michael Wagner

A Dispute Against English Popish Ceremonies by George Gillespie

Westminster Confession of Faith by the Westminster Divines

Selected Writings of John Knox by John Knox

Close Communion by R.J. George

Reformed Worship, The Regulative Principle, etc.

Church Government


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The book, The Canterbury Tales: An Extended Review and Commentary Based upon the Geneva Papers, can be purchased from Still Waters Revival Books at the address listed above. This book deals with aberrant Reconstructionist views concerning worship and an electronic version is also available FREE of charge on our web page at: The Canterbury Tales: An Extended Review and Commentary Based upon the Geneva Papers