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Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 3

Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 3

Chapter 1 – Of The Holy Scriptures Cont. (Paragraphs 8 – 10)
VIII. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic; so as in all controversies of religion the Church is finally to appeal unto them. But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God who have right unto, and interest in, the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the language of every people unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.
IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture, is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it may be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.
X. The Supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.


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Westminster Confession of Faith – Lord’s Day 2

Westminster Confession of Faith – Lord’s Day 2

Chapter 1 – Of The Holy Scripture Cont. (Paragraphs 4-7)
IV. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, depends not upon the testimony of any man or Church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the Author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.
V. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the holy Scripture; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet, notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.
VI. The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.
Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word; and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and the government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in someplace of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.


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The Presbyterian Church Of Vanuatu Relief Appeal Letter

This letter from the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu to their partner denominations can be found on this page at this page at the World Communion of Reformed Churches website.
The Presbyterian Church of Australia has initially responded with this appeal, because currency is more helpful than collecting items and shipping them over.
The letter gives an insight into the ongoing needs that financial support will purchase.

Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu ed EDUCATION AUTHORITY
P.O. Box 150, Port Vila, Republic of Vanuatu Tel: (678) 27184, Mob: 7746384 FAX: (678) 23650 Email: jltarip@gmail.com

March 16, 2015

To:
Presbyterian Church Aoteroa New Zealand
Uniting World, Australia
Presbyterian Church Australia
Presbyterian Church America
Presbyterian Church United States Of America
Presbyterian Church of Korea
World Council of Churches
Pacific Council of Churches
World Council of Churches
World Council of Reformed Churches
Pacific Hills School, Australia

Re: PCV Relief Appeal Letter

Greetings in the name of our Lord, and Saviour Jesus Christ from the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu Assembly Office in Port Vila

Tropical Cyclone PAM rated at Category 5 struck the archipelago of Vanuatu between 10th and 14th March 2015, with destructive hurricane force winds of 240km/hour at an average speed of 7km/hour leaves Vanuatu total disaster in terms of Infrastructures, telecommunication, food, water etc.

Thus the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu’s head office convened an urgent meeting on Monday 16th March 2015 to request for relief assistance for our church and people who were very badly affected to our partner churches Oversea if they consider to help us in this extreme situation the need for the following immediate and long term items;

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  • 􏰀  Blankets
  • 􏰀  Tents
  • 􏰀  Food (Rice, Cabin crackers, wheat flour, cooking oil, Canned Meat/fish etc…)
  • 􏰀  Water Containers (20liter)
  • 􏰀  Vegetable Seedlings (Tropical vegetables)
  • 􏰀  Gardening Tools
  • 􏰀  Building Materials (Corrugated Iron Roofs, Timbers, Plywoods, Masonites, Screw, Nails etc…)
  • 􏰀  Kitchen Utensils (Plates, Tea cups, cooking pots, kettles, buckets, dish etc…)
  • 􏰀  Clothes
  • 􏰀  Portable Generators
  • 􏰀  Chain Saws
  • 􏰀  School Stationaries/Supplies
  • 􏰀  Sleeping Mattresses
  • 􏰀  Mosquito Nets
  • 􏰀  First Aid Kit Boxes
  • 􏰀  Solar Powered Lights/Torches
  • 􏰀  Self-Sustained Human Labors (Short term)
  • Although we still make no contacts with other islands due to telecommunication outage we are assuming that their situations will be similar or even worse than what we saw here in Port Vila.

    Realizing how difficult it is to store the supplies in Vila before distribution to the people, we ask that negotiations be made to containers companies to allow for their shipping containers to be temporarily used as storage for a period of 3 months.

    Please pray for us that God will continue to give us the courage and strength to rebuild.

    Peace,

    Ps Allen NAFUKI
    Assembly Clerk
    Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu


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    J Gresham Machen Biography by Ned Stonehouse eBook Editions Available Free

    machen-stonehouse-2TNed Stonehouse’s biographical memoir of J Gresham Machen is an encouraging read.
    It provides insight into the challenges faithful people face as a denomination slides into liberalism, and there are some nice character touches.
    I first read it in the 80’s and it provided some helpful insight into understanding figures who had gone through the polarising experiences that confronted the Australian Presbyterian church before and after 1977.
    You only hear these sorts of stories in Australia if you sit down and listen to folk who were around (a diminishing number). I’m not really aware of anything in print like this.
    Thanks to Carl Trueman for pointing out the ebook edition (a fiftieth anniversary republication, no less) is available free in both ePub and mobi formats at the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (USA) website.


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    Worship: Evangelical Or Reformed?

    Robert Godfrey points out that Presbyterian worship developed because of a particular theology, and that worship nourishes our growth in biblical understanding. If we adopt the worship pattern and emphases of another theological tradition, over time we undermine our biblical understanding of what it means for the people of God to gather before him to worship.

    Some excerpts:

    One area in which the differences between evangelical and Reformed can be examined is the matter of worship. At first glance, we may see more similarities than differences. The orders of worship in Reformed and evangelical churches can be almost identical. Certainly, both kinds of churches sing songs, read Scripture, pray, preach, and administer baptism and the Lord’s Supper. But do these similarities reflect only formal agreement, or do they represent a common understanding of the meaning and function of these liturgical acts in worship?
    If we look closely, I believe that we will see the substantive differences between evangelicals and Reformed on worship. That difference is clear on two central issues: first, the understanding of the presence of God in the service; and second, the understanding of the ministerial office in worship.
    +++
    The Reformed faith has a fundamentally different understanding of the presence of God. God is indeed present to hear. He listens to the praise and prayers of his people. But he is also present to speak. God is not only present as an observer; he is an active participant. He speaks in the Word and in the sacraments. As Reformed Christians, we do not believe that he speaks directly and immediately to us in the church. God uses means to speak. But he speaks truly and really to us through the means that he has appointed for his church. In the ministry of the Word—as it is properly preached and ministered in salutation and benediction—it is truly God who speaks. As the Second Helvetic Confession rightly says, “The preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God.”
    God is also actively present and speaking in the sacraments, according to the Reformed understanding. The sacraments are much more about him than about us. He speaks through them the reality of the presence of Jesus to bless his people as he confirms his gospel truth and promises through them.
    +++
    One great difficulty that we Reformed folk have in thinking about worship is that our worship in many places has unwittingly been accommodated to evangelical ways. If we are to appreciate our Reformed heritage in worship and, equally importantly, if we are to communicate its importance, character, and power to others, we must understand the distinctive character of our worship.

    Read the rest of Worship: Evangelical Or Reformed at The Aquila Report.


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    A Report On The 2013 General Assembly Of The Presbyterian Church Of Victoria

    Every year PCV Deputy Clerk Peter Phillips produces a comprehensive summary of the General Assembly proceedings. (Held October 7-10)
    It was circulated via the PCV News Network, with the only caveat on public distribution being that it be reproduced unedited.
    So, here it is.

    General Assembly Report 2013
    Highlights
    ‘Highlights’ are, of course, very personal, and other commissioners would undoubtedly have their own — perhaps the wonderful start given the Assembly by the Opening service on Monday evening, with outstanding preaching by the Rt Rev David Cook, Moderator General of the PCA , emphasising the importance of passing the gospel on the next generation, or one or more of the many interesting and challenging guest speakers, such as Patrick Sookhdeo of the Barnabas Fund, or one or more of the excellent reports and helpful deliverances of the Assembly’s committees — but for me the highlight of the Assembly was the first of the three expositions of the Assembly Expositor, Rev Dr Jared Hood, given at the Tuesday morning Communion Service.
    Dr Hood’s expositions were focussed around a Calvin quote given him by the Moderator, Rt Rev David Palmer: Christ was given to us by God’s generosity, to be grasped and possessed by us in faith. By partaking of him, we principally receive a double grace: namely, that being reconciled to God through Christ’s blamelessness, we may have in heaven instead of a Judge a gracious Father; and secondly, that sanctified by Christ’s spirit we may cultivate blamelessness and purity of life. From this Dr Hood brought us three memorable expositions — but the first, on Union with Christ, with his text from Song of Songs 2:16, ‘My Beloved is mine, and I am his, was my ‘highlight’. How wonderful it was to be reminded how this neglected text is not merely about marriage, but about the promises of God’s covenant, I will be your God, you will be my people; about Christ, and his great love for us, and our love for him as our beloved, and our fellowship with him.

    Remembering and Acknowledging Important People
    Traditionally, Assemblies begin with what are sometimes referred to as ‘formalities.’ Included amongst these is the approval of ‘Royal Address’ – an assurance of loyalty and of our prayers for the Queen; it also approves ‘Loyal Addresses’ to the Governor General, the Prime Minister, and to our Premier, reminding them of their place under God, and assuring them of our church’s prayers for them. Please pray for them!
    Early in the Assembly the Moderator welcomes new members; Ministerial and Elders’ Jubilees are commemorated, and Ministerial and Elders’ deaths since the last Assembly remembered. This year the Assembly noted the long service of Rev Peter Locke (60 years since ordination), of Rev John Cromarty (50 years since ordination as an elder), of Elder Rex McCarron (50 years an elder); of Elder Wally French (50 years as an elder), of Elder Neil Hamilton (60 years as an elder), of Elder Elizabeth Cutler (40 years an elder) and of Elder Gilbert Bell (65 years an elder), and the passing of Rev Alexander Thomas Stevens (1919 – 2012), Rev Henri Antoine Joyeux (1931 – 2013); Mr John Harold Gething, home missionary (1942 – 2013); and Elders Harold Evans and Jacobus Louws. We rejoice in God’s goodness in giving his church such faithful servants.

    Significant Decisions
    Amongst the more significant decisions taken by the Assembly were

    • Its appointment of Rev Dr Jared Hood to the position of Old Testament Lecturer at the Presbyterian Theological College, Victoria for a term of seven years.
    • Its re-appointment of Rev Dr John Wilson as Assembly Clerk for a five year term on a full time basis and with expanded responsibilities.
    • Its response to advice that its policies and practices for protecting against and dealing with sexual abuse within the church are not sufficient to meet Victorian law. The Assembly resolved to
    • approve in principle of the replacement of its Breaking the Silence policy and procedures with the proposed “Safe Church – PCV” Policy, Code of Conduct and procedures for handling complaints modelled on the PCA(NSW) version (July 2011) of Breaking the Silence, adjusted according to Victorian law. (In the interim, the principles and practices of PCV’s existing Breaking the Silence policy will apply in so far as they are appropriate.)
    • establish a Safe Church Unit (SCU), with suitable staff to be appointed.
    • approve new policies and code of conduct: “Our Policy Statement” and “Our Code of Conduct.”
    • place the Safe Church Unit organisationally under the Assembly Clerk.
    • fund the cost of the Safe Church Unit by an annual levy on parishes which is to be based on the number of communicants and adherents in a similar manner to the way the insurance costs are recovered from parishes.
    • It is sad that such measures are necessary, but we must act to protect the vulnerable, to comply with the law and to honour the name of our Saviour by giving diligent attention to these serious matters.

    Special Encouragements

    Of the many encouragements of the Assembly, four matters stood out to me as especially encouraging.

    • The first is PYV. The Assembly approved a restatement of its Aim and Objectives: PYV aims to glorify God by assisting the congregations of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria in the development and nurture of youth for the service of Christ Jesus.’ PYV is doing a great work for the present and the future; praise the Lord!
    • The second was Dayspring Day; how wonderful that children are being encouraged and enthused in the work of mission — congratulations to Cassie Hood and the PWMU!
    • The third was the report of the Social Services Committee, and especially progress in maintaining and improving its aged care facility at Kilsyth, ‘Kirkbrae’; how good to see that important work in good shape.
    • And the fourth was PCV progress in Church Planting; reports by Russ Grinter and Peter Owen and Richard Wilson caused us to rejoice in God’s goodness. The Assembly resolved to ‘note with gratitude to God the progress of all four church plants and be especially prayerful for Darebin Presbyterian Church, Point Cook Presbyterian Church and Reforming Church, Bendigo as they enter into their second years’ — and we will!

    Other Matters
    The Assembly

    • recognised the work of its Archivist, Mrs Chris Palmer and of her associates.
    • encouraged congregations to avail themselves of resources offered by the Ministry Development Committee to engage in evangelism training and use opportunities to share their faith.
    • accepted the advice of the Board of Investment and Finance to make grants from funds held for GAA purposes to support the work of the Presbyterian Church in South Australia and Western Australia.
    • resolved to pray for METRO and youthMETRO work and trainees.
    • commended parishes which had fully subscribed their allocations to its General Mission Program.
    • encouraged support for the Bible Society in Australia.
    • thanked God for the blessings of the CENC’s Colloquium, and encouraged Christians to be informed about the policies and platforms that their parliamentary candidates support, especially on the important issue of same-sex marriage.
    • encouraged the people of the church to pray that the Lord would send labourers into his harvest fields, especially to the countless millions who have not yet heard the gospel.
    • commends the PresAID 2013 Christmas Appeal to all congregations and Boards of Management for safe water for villages by Lake Victoria, Uganda, and for the Presbyterian Church of Timor Leste.
    • rejoiced with Belgrave Heights Christian School in the Lord’s blessing on it and its gospel ministry.
    • honoured the ladies of the Home Mission Workers Association.
    • encouraged support for the work of Christian Witness to Israel in reaching the Jews of Melbourne with the gospel.
    • urged prayer for military chaplains as they minister in the name of Christ to ADF personnel at home and overseas.
    • urged diligent prayer that the Lord will provide gifted pastors and teachers to candidate for the ministry of our church.
    • heard a most encouraging report of progress at Cranbourne Home Mission Station, and approved the Presbytery ordaining Licentiate Peter Roberts, appointed there.
    • urged prayer for hospital chaplains, and especially Christine LePage and Ian Waller (Northern and Western Hospitals)
    • reappointed, with thanks to God for her valued ministry to ministers’ wives, Miss Elspeth Slater to the position of Pastoral Support Worker, PCV Ministry Wives.
    • in the light of the ongoing conflict in Egypt and Syria, urges congregations to give generously to the Barnabas Fund as a practical expression of our love and concern for our fellow Christians.
    • established an ad hoc committee on Development of Presbyterian Christian Schooling in Victoria, to report back to the 2014 Assembly on the challenge of developing such schooling – please pray!
    • resolved to adjourn its meeting to the 6th of November to consider appeals 2-7!

    Peter Phillips, Deputy Clerk.


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    Tom Cannon Nominated Next Coordinator Of Reformed University Ministries, USA (via The Aquila Report)

    Friends in Victoria and beyond will be interested to know that Tom Cannon (currently pastor of Red Mountain Presbyterian Church) has been nominated as the next Coordinator of the Presbyterian Church in America’s Reformed University Fellowship, a ministry with staff members working at over 140 colleges and universities.
    Apparently the nomination needs to be confirmed by the PCA Assembly.
    More detail at The Aquila Report.