The Covenanted Reformation Defended

Misrepresentation #1: Mr. Bacon represents our dispute as a "tempest in a teapot."

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."

Mr. Bacon appeals to the majority.

Mr. Bacon states,

The understanding of virtually every other scholar, both Scottish and American, would have to be wrong in order for Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton to be correct (Defense Departed).

Though Mr. Bacon may be somewhat comforted that, "many will regard" this dispute to be little else than a "tempest in a teapot," or that "every other scholar would have to be wrong," I am persuaded by the sad history of mankind that the masses are rarely correct. Such appeals invite people's thoughtless acceptance to ideas that are simply irrelevant to the question. Shall we, as Mr. Bacon prompts, believe that these things are relatively insignificant simply because "many people" or "every scholar" considers them relatively insignificant? Such rhetoric pretends to fall in with the crowd in hope of appealing to an already strong prejudice, and thus we must be reminded such appeals do not constitute reasonable evidence. The godly martyrs of Scotland in the, "Killing Times," were well aware of the issues that Mr. Bacon is downplaying, and they bore the brunt of the same logical fallacies employed against them.

David Hackston, honored martyr of Christ died, July 30, 1680, amid great torture and suffering. As he describes the trials he faced before the Privy Council he speaks of the tactics used by his persecutors.

It was cast up to me both at the council and here, that here were not two hundred in the nation to own our cause. I answered, at both times, that the cause of Christ had been often owned by fewer (David Hackston, A Cloud of Witnesses, Sprinkle Publications, reprinted 1989, p. 50).

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32, AV).

O shame on you, Mr. Bacon, for your opening comments! Shame upon anyone who does not regard the testimony of our covenanted martyrs as noble, honourable and glorifying to God. Shame upon anyone who affirms these questions to be of little significance upon the Church of Jesus Christ. If the violence of bloodthirsty persecutors will not change the minds of the martyrs, then appealing to the majority and downplaying the issues over which these faithful servants suffered and died will do nothing to move us out of the bloodstained path of the footsteps of the flock. Rather, such intemperate sentiments will serve only to expose those who set them forth to the charge of being ignorant of history and disrespectful to the memory of the martyrs who died for the Covenanted cause.

Mr. Bacon condemns the Covenanter martyrs as being too rigid, and implies that the Covenanters strayed from the doctrines of Second Reformation Presbyterianism.

Mr. Bacon states:

...the remainder of this introduction to the Steelite controversy will form a Defense of historic, second reformation Presbyterianism against the rigidity of the strict covenanter position (Defense Departed).

In his Defense Departed Mr. Bacon wishes to pit the doctrine of the Second Reformation against the doctrine of the Covenanters. In so doing he exposes his true sentiments by accusing the Covenanters, and especially their martyrs, of holding too rigidly to their principles. Mr. Bacon's own words indicate that the remainder of his introduction is a formal condemnation of the principles for which these martyrs died. While Mr. Bacon would attempt to lead us to believe that only David Steele and a small handful of others have historically held the position he opposes, I contend that this is far from the case.

Matthew Hutchison explains,

Some imagine that the United Societies [the faithful Covenanters ­ GB] embraced only an insignificant number of individuals. Enemies did their best to create the impression at the time [cf. Hackston quote above ­ GB]; and some historians have proceeded on the assumption of its truth. The facts of the case point to a different conclusion, though it is impossible to give exact numbers. This we know, on the authority of Gordon of Earlston, that in 1683 there were eighty societies representing an aggregate of 7000 members exclusive of women. That the numbers did not diminish during the next five years, notwithstanding the fierce persecution, seems evident from the fact, that at the Revolution they mustered 9000 strong on Douglas Moor: a regiment was raised among them in a few days, and another could easily have been obtained had it been wanted. As the Societies were confined to southern Scotland, it is manifest that they must have embraced no inconsiderable portion of the population (Matthew Hutchison, The Reformed Presbyterian Church in Scotland, 1893, Still Waters Revival Books reprint, 1997, p. 63, emphases added).

Those well acquainted with history and familiar with the issues surrounding the Covenanted Reformation must not allow Mr. Bacon to paint such an unreliable portrait of our covenanted forefathers. Will Mr. Bacon continue to pretend to fly his Blue Banner after downplaying the issues that led to their suffering? Why pretend any longer? The true Blue Banner flies in the face of Mr. Bacon as he disputes against the rigidity of those who died for Christ's Crown and Covenant. His pretence in upholding its colors has now been exposed by the words of his own mouth. While Mr. Bacon's pretended Blue Banner has been forever blackened, we are comforted in knowing that his pretence will never affect our grateful remembrance of the authentic blood­stained banner of the Covenanted faithful.

Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah (Psalms 60:4, AV).

This is a pouring of contempt upon our brethren.

The real issues at stake are of the highest concern to any Christian desirous of bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Mr. Bacon's labelling of this dispute, "a tempest in a teapot," is to us a pouring of contempt upon our brethren, and we cannot let it pass without publicly displaying our indignation at such an attack. J. C. McFeeters paints a vivid picture of this so­called "tempest in a teapot" as he describes the horrifying statistics of the twenty-eight year persecution suffered by the Covenanted remnant.

The Fathers have not been forgotten; yea they are still highly esteemed for their heroic struggle, by which every son and daughter has a birthright to the richest inheritance of Christian liberty on earth. The persecution lasted twenty eight years, with few "blinks" to take the chill of horror out of the air. During this time, 18,000 persons, it is said, suffered death, or utmost hardships, for their faith in Jesus Christ. Of this number, 7,000 went into voluntary banishment; 2500 were shipped to distant lands; 800 were outlawed; 680 were killed in battle, or died of their wounds; 500 were murdered in cold blood; 362 were, by form of law executed. We have no account of the number that perished in shipwrecks, or succumbed to the horrors of transportation; nor of hundreds that were shot at sight by the soldiers who ravaged the country for years; nor of the thousands who wasted away through cold, hunger, and exposure in the mountains and moors. Gloomy caves, dripping moss hags, and unmarked graves, were asylums of mercy to multitudes, who are without any earthly record; but their names are written in heaven. Truly Scotland has been consecrated to the Lord. The blood of the martyrs has watered her heather, crimsoned her streams, stained her streets, and bedewed her fields. Scotland is the Lord's. The blood means much (J. C. McFeeters, Sketches of the Covenanters, 1913, SWRB bound photocopy reprint, 1996, pp. 395­396, emphases added).

The blood of the martyrs imposes obligations upon posterity from generation to generation. The martyrs deeply felt their responsibility for the Church, her purity, her doctrines, discipline, membership; for her loyalty to Christ, her separation from the world, and her administration in the Holy Spirit. Their zeal for the house of God brought them to the front; their passionate love for Jesus Christ placed them on the firing line. There they met every attack made upon Christ and His House; there they stood for the royal rights of Jesus and the honour of His kingdom; there they fell under the murderous fire, giving place to their successors. These soldiers of Jesus knew how to die, but not how to retreat. They did their work well and necessarily left it unfinished. The victory was assured, though not in sight. The death stricken hands reached the bloodstained banner out to another to be carried forward. This war still rages. The supremacy of Jesus Christ is yet disputed; His royal rights are yet usurped by mortals; His Bride the Church, still halts amid many opinions; the ordinances of grace are unblushingly corrupted; the teachings of the Gospel are adroitly doctored. The attacking forces are active, determined, and numerous, as in the days of the martyrs. The tactics differ, but the fight goes on. Heavy, heavy are the moral obligations, that fall to the successors of those who gave their lives for the truth. To recede would be cowardice, desertion from the ranks, perjury within the Covenant, treason against Jesus Christ. Is this too strong? Listen, "If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." Surely the times call for Christian Soldiers; yea heroes; possibly, martyrs. Do Covenanters feel their obligation to the Lord? (J. C. McFeeters, Sketches of the Covenanters, 1913, SWRB bound photocopy, 1996, pp. 402­403, emphases added).

Does the reader agree with Mr. Bacon? Is this really the "tempest in a teapot," to which he alludes? 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. 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.

If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it (Proverbs 9:12, AV).

Those who would label us with such names as "Cameronians" or "Steelites" would do well to remember their faithful contendings, and to honour the blood of the martyrs of Jesus Christ. Dear reader, ask yourself as you read the following account, whether you really want to testify against Richard Cameron as Mr. Bacon has.

...he [Richard Cameron ­ GB] went over to Holland in the year of 1678, not knowing what work the Lord had for him there; where he conversed with Mr. M'Ward [Robert McWard ­ GB] and others of the banished Worthies. In his private conversation and exercise in families, but especially by his public sermon in the Scots Kirk at Rotterdam, he was most refreshing unto many souls. He dwelt mostly upon conversion work, from that text, Matt. 11:28: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest;" which was most satisfying and agreeable to Mr. M'Ward and Mr. Brown [John Brown of Wamphray ­ GB], and others who had been informed by the Indulged, and those of their persuasion, that he could preach nothing but babble against the Indulgence, cess paying, etc. Here he touched upon none of these things, except in prayer when lamenting over the deplorable case of Scotland by means of defection and tyranny. About this time Mr. M'Ward said to him, "Richard the public standard has now fallen in Scotland; and, if I know anything of the mind of the Lord, ye are called to undergo your trials [ordination exam ­ GB] before us, to go home, and lift the fallen standard, and display it publicly before the whole world. But before you put your hand to it, ye shall go to as many field ministers as ye can find, and give them your hearty invitation to go with you; and if they will not go, go alone, and the Lord will go with you."

Accordingly he was ordained by Mr. M'Ward, Mr. Brown, and Roleman, a famous Dutch divine. When their hands were lifted up from his [Richard Cameron's ­ GB] head, Mr. M'Ward continued this still and cried out, "Behold all ye beholders, here is the head of a faithful minister and servant of Jesus Christ, who shall lose the same for his master's interest, and it shall be set up before sun and moon, in the view of the world." (John Howie, The Scots Worthies, 1781, SWRB reprint, p. 423, emphases added).

On July 22, 1680, faithful Richard Cameron was martyred in Airsmoss. His head and hands cut off and taken to Edinburgh, just as Robert M'Ward had spoken. Before his murderers committed the barbarous act of publicly displaying his head and hands upon the Netherbow Port, they first had one further act of antichristian cruelty to enact.

His father being in prison for the same cause, they carried them [Cameron's head and hands ­ GB] to him, to add grief unto his former sorrow, and inquired at him if he knew them. Taking his son's head and hands which were very fair ­ being a man of fair complexion like himself ­ he kissed them, and said, "I know ­ I know them; they are my son's ­ my own dear son's. It is the Lord ­ good is the will of the Lord, who cannot wrong me nor mine, but hath made goodness and mercy to follow us all our days." After which, by order of the Council, his head was fixed upon the Netherbow Port, and his hands beside it with the fingers upward. (John Howie, The Scots Worthies, 1781, SWRB reprint, 1997, pp. 428­429, emphases added).

Instead of downplaying this dispute and appealing to the majority, Mr. Bacon should admit that he is not simply fighting against the principles of David Steele alone. A careful student of church history will easily see through Mr. Bacon's attempts to isolate Pastor Steele from his godly predecessors. Those predisposed to check out the facts will readily see the folly of Mr. Bacon's representations. One simply needs to take the time to read what Covenanters like David Steele believed and practised in order to observe that they were simply upholding the historic testimony of the faithful men who preceded them. If Mr. Bacon would have met face to face with us when we asked him to (see Appendix C), perhaps we could have helped him understand these issues with more clarity.

Observing that Mr. Bacon favours an appeal to the multitude, we will indulge him by appealing to a greater multitude; one, I might add, that is scriptural and not arbitrary. First we appeal our case between Mr. Bacon and ourselves to the first free and lawful General Assembly of Canada and we ask them to judge this matter between us. Upon judging our case, we ask that they take our concerns to the first free and lawful General Assembly of the United States and have our concerns brought to the table. Until this is accomplished (or Mr. Bacon repents) we resort to our only other recourse ­ seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, we appeal unto, "mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant" (Hebrews 12: 22­24, AV).

Let Dick Bacon, David Seekamp, Brian Schwertly, and Chris Coldwell speak plainly. Was Richard Cameron a faithful minister or a heretical schismatic? Donald Cargill? James Renwick? Were their disputes a "tempest in a teapot" as well? Were they martyred for holding too strictly to their principles? The words of Mr. Bacon condemn these faithful martyrs as schismatic and in so doing he scorns those who agree with these true churches and faithful ministers. He accuses us of immoderate speech! O dear brother, I speak this to your shame! You accuse us of condemning faithful ministers and true churches? Let the whole world consider who you are condemning when you downplay the importance of the issues for which these martyrs suffered and died. This dispute is much more than a "tempest in a teapot" and our prayer is that you will repent of your shameful minimizing of these issues.

I close this section with a quote from James Renwick, faithful martyr of our Lord Jesus.

Now upon this very comprehensive ground, we withdraw not only from gross heretics, and sectarians, and malignant prelatists.... But in this broken and declining state, even from many Presbyterian Ministers who have overturned a great part of our testimony... which has been signally sealed by the blood of many Martyrs who laying down their lives for this Testimony have been singularly countenanced of the Lord: yet we say, by many of our ministers this in a great measure has been deserted and perverted, by their condemning the Martyrs that died for it, as well as us who have desired to witness for it... (James Renwick, An Informatory Vindication, 1687, SWRB bound photocopy reprint, 1997, pp. 75­76, emphases added).

Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD (Psalms 83:16, AV).

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This book, The Covenanted Reformation Defended (318 pages), is also available from Still Waters Revival Books ( as a cerlox bound photocopy (for $14.99 US funds) or as a Hardcover photocopy (for $25.00 US funds). Please add appropriate postage and handling. Thank you.


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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 AssemblyÕs 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 JohnstonÕs 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: " 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).

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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.
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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.
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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 Day (1876)
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.
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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).
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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.
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CHURCH OF SCOTLAND (Alexander Peterkin, editor)

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.
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Other Related FREE Resources On the Web:

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. It is also available for $3.98 (US funds) as a cerlox bound photocopy.


A 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


"The 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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