March 13, 2017

September Featured Resource | The Person of Jesus: Radio Addresses on the Deity of the Savior

Person of Jesus Cover

Book Description

“The radio addresses of Dr. J. Gresham Machen, delivered from January to April in 1935, are a unique and condensed summary of some of the most significant doctrinal issues that Dr. Machen taught and defended throughout his career…

“…For Dr. Machen, Jesus is not a mere man who serves as an ethical example or a teacher of good principles. He is our Savior, and as Dr. Machen stated, “a purely human, or mere natural, as distinguished from a supernatural, Christ can never be our Savior.” Jesus Christ, God incarnate, came as the Savior and accomplished salvation, according to Dr. Machen. The final demonstration of Jesus Christ’s work was his resurrection. Dr. Machen defends the supernatural bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, and he asserts that this pivotal historical event evinces the truth of Christianity.

“These transcribed radio addresses are commended as a clear and wonderful presentation of the basic orthodox Christian commitments that Dr. Machen embraced and defended. They are delivered by a renowned scholar, but presented in a way that encourages everyone to read and carefully reflect on them. “

~from the Introduction by Jeffrey K. Jue, Ph.D., Provost & Executive Vice President, Westminster Theological Seminary

J Gresham Machen

Dr. J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937)

About the Author

John Gresham Machen was born at Baltimore on July 28, 1881, the middle of three sons born to a southern lawyer, Arthur Machen, whose brother had fought for the Confederates in the Civil War. Some time in his youth Machen came to a personal faith in Christ, but there was no dramatic conversion experience. In later years he was not even able to recall the date (4 January 1896) when he had publicly professed faith and become a church member in Franklin Street Presbyterian Church. He was educated at Johns Hopkins and Princeton Universities, Princeton Theological Seminary and the Universities of Marburg and Göttingen in Germany.

Machen taught at Princeton Seminary from 1906 until its reorganisation in 1929. Then he left to help found Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where he served as professor of New Testament until his death from pneumonia on New Year’s Day, 1937. In 1936 Machen was instrumental with others in founding what became the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and was its first Moderator.

Source: Banner of Truth Trust

Book Details

Paperback
101 Pages
Publisher: Westminster Seminary Press
Publication Date: 2017
ISBN: 9780998005140

March 1, 2020

With All Your Heart: Orienting Our Mind, Desires and Will Toward Christ

With All Your Heart CoverBook Description

In our world, we use the word heart to refer to our emotions. But the Bible uses the word heart to refer to the governing center of life. We need to grasp the true meaning of the heart in order to better understand ourselves, our sin, and our need for redemption. As we rediscover the heart as the source of all our thoughts, fears, words, and actions, we will discover principles and practices for orienting our hearts to truly love and obey God with all that we are.

A Craig Troxel

Dr. A. Craig Troxel

About the Author

A. Craig Troxel (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is professor of practical theology at Westminster Seminary California. He previously served as pastor of Bethel Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Wheaton, IL and Calvary Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Glenside, PA.

224 Pages
Paperback
2020 Crossway Books

 

February 1, 2020

Covenants Made Simple

Covenants Made Simple CoverBook Description

What do the various covenants given throughout the Bible mean to us? Are they relevant to our lives? A rainbow now and then may remind us of God’s promise to Noah, and we’ve memorized the part about the new covenant in Jesus’ blood at communion—but do we dig any deeper? Do we need to?

Jonty Rhodes guides us into an engaging study of covenant theology and why it matters. With clarity and wit, he shows us how covenants carry the Bible’s story from start to finish and ultimately give root to the gospel of salvation by grace. Beginning with Adam in the garden of Eden, and ending with Jesus, our risen Covenant King, Rhodes illuminates the good news of a promise-making, promise-keeping God.

Key topics include law and grace, union with Christ, baptism in the Spirit, predestination, and water baptism. Rediscover the Bible’s unified covenantal story and its unfolding message throughout Scripture.

Rhodes Jonty

Rev. Jonty Rhodes

About the Author

Jonty Rhodes (BA, Nottingham University; DipTh. Oakhill Theological College) is Minister of Christ Church Derby (International Presbyterian Church) in the United Kingdom. In his spare time he enjoys watching or playing a good game of cricket.

192 Pages
Paperback
Publisher: P&R Publishing
Publication Date: 2014

 

January 28, 2020

The End Times Made Simple

End Times Made Simple CoverBook Description

Rapture? Pre-Trib? Post-Trib? Millenium? Confused? You should be! In today’s Evangelical Christian world, eschatology―or the study of the “last things”―has been turned into a sort of pseudo-science with a plethora of authors claiming to know exactly the scenario of events that are to take place just prior to the Lord Jesus Christ’s return. Samuel Waldron’s thesis is that there is This Age, and The Age to Come. We will be, or are, in either one or the other. Any “End Times” system that forms a hybrid of these two, or contradicts this simple formula, is unbiblical, and should be rejected.

Waldron Sam

Dr. Sam Waldron

About the Author

Dr. Sam Waldron is the president of CBTS and professor of Systematic Theology. He is also one of the pastors of Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Owensboro, KY. Dr. Waldron received a B.A. from Cornerstone University, an M.Div. from Trinity Ministerial Academy, a Th.M. from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. From 1977 to 2001 he was a pastor of the Reformed Baptist Church of Grand Rapids, MI. Dr. Waldron is the author of numerous books including A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, The End Times Made Simple, Baptist Roots in America, To Be Continued?, and MacArthur’s Millennial Manifesto: A Friendly Response.

Paperback
250 Pages
Publisher: Calvary Press
Publication Date: 2007

 

November 7, 2019

God’s Ambassadors: The Westminster Assembly and the Reformation of the English Pulpit, 1643-1653

Gods Ambassadors CoverBook Description

The Westminster Assembly is celebrated for its doctrinal standards and debates on church polity. But how often is the assembly noted for its extraordinary intervention in the pulpit ministry of the Church of England? In God’s Ambassadors, Chad Van Dixhoorn recounts the Puritan quest for a reformation in preachers and preaching and how the Westminster Assembly fit into that movement. He examines the assembly’s reform efforts, tracing debates and exploring key documents about preaching in a way that both highlights disagreements within the assembly’s ranks and showcases their collective plan for the church going forward.

Moreover, Van Dixhoorn reveals the rationale behind the assembly’s writings and reforms, both in terms of biblical exegesis and practical theology. Unlike any other book, God’s Ambassadors draws attention to the lengths to which the Westminster Assembly would go in promoting godly preachers and improved preaching.

Chad Van Dixhoorn (1)About the Author

Dr. Chad Van Dixhoorn (PhD, Cambridge University) is professor of church history and director of the Craig Center for the study of the Westminster Standards at Westminster Theological Seminary. He also serves as an honorary research fellow at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.

Van Dixhoorn has held a number of additional teaching positions and has also served as associate pastor at Cambridge Presbyterian Church (UK) and also at Grace Presbyterian Church (Vienna, VA) for nine years.

Dr. Van Dixhoorn’s academic interests include the historical documents of the Westminster Assembly, English Puritanism, and Presbyterian history. He has been widely recognized for his publication of a five-volume work on the Westminster Assembly, The Minutes and Papers of the Westminster Assembly, 1643–1652, and has published numerous articles on a variety of theological topics. He is currently working on a major monograph on the Westminster Assembly, as well as a complete edition of John Lightfoot’s journals. Both volumes are to be published by Oxford University Press.

Hardcover
240 Pages
Publication Date: June 2017
Reformation Heritage Books

 

October 23, 2019

Announcement: New Church Podcast Now Available

425a8e2e-290b-4630-99d4-ef66908d3ecdWith of our new church website hosted by http://www.Wix.com, comes new tools to help us bring the recordings of our sermons and adult Sunday school lessons to you. See our newly designed Podcast page at www.mcopc.org/podcast.
As of Thursday, October 17, the new podcast has been approved by services most of us use, such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and even Spotify. There are even more sites where you can subscribe, and you can select from them at the host site for our new podcast, www.anchor.fm/mcopc.
Currently, we are working on repopulating the feed with past sermons dating all the way back to 2009, so new sermons should be being added daily, in most cases. I will announce when a complete set from a past year has been completed. So far, we have Pastor Troutman’s series on Ruth and Galatians, although some sermons are missing 😢. The series on the book of Matthew will begin being added over the weekend.
After the past sermons are repopulated, we will move on to interspersing the past Sunday school series in chronological order throughout the feed. Be sure to check for “Previous Episode” on your podcast player from time to time to see what past material has been added. We will notify you when each phase is complete, and we hope this assists you in hiding God’s word in your heart, and perhaps enables you to assist friends and family of your own who may have a need. Feel free to share the sermons and lessons that are meaningful to you on your own social media sites.
If you choose not to follow podcasts, the messages are always available on the Podcast page of the church website as mentioned above. If you would prefer to be provided with a CD copy of the sermons and CD’s, please let either our “Web Assistant” Daniel Garlow or myself know, and we will be glad to help you with that.
September 9, 2019

Choosing the Good Portion: Women of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church

Choosing the Good Portion CoverBook Description

Choosing the Good Portion tells the story of the OPC through profiles of more than 90 women who sacrificed and served during the last 80 years to help mold the OPC into what it is today. The stories feature missionary wives, pastors’ wives, the spouses of seminary professors, single women, those who contributed financially or behind the scenes to their congregations or denomination, those who helped to start churches, taught VBS, ministered to different cultures, struggled in their faith, offered hospitality, lost a husband or child, and those who were in danger or died. Plus so much more.

By sharing the stories of these ordinary women, we hope to encourage the next generation of OPC women in their service.

The book’s title comes from the story of Mary and Martha. While Martha sought to serve Jesus and his disciples by preparing a large meal, Mary appears to have stopped helping Martha to sit at Christ’s feet and learn from him. Jesus tells Martha that Mary “chose the good portion.”

We believe the women in this book also chose first to receive from Christ what he teaches and then to apply what they learned in service to his church.

About the Authors

Patricia E. Clawson, a former reporter, is the editorial assistant for New Horizons in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. She is a member of Calvary OPC in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

Diane L. Olinger is a lawyer who serves as a copy editor for Ordained Servant, an online monthly magazine for OPC officers. She is a member of Calvary OPC in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

Hardcover
470 pages
Publisher: The Committee for the Historian of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 978-0-9833580-6-0

 

July 27, 2019

The Books and the Parchments

Cover Books and Parchments Book Description

“One thing that has impressed itself upon me time and again” writes Dr. Bruce in his preface to this, the third edition of his famous work, “has been the wealth of fresh discovery that has had to be recorded during these last few years.”

In these chapters on the transmission of Bible, the Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis in the University of Manchester, England, presents for layman and student alike the results of the latest research and discovery in such fields as the languages of the Bible, the scripts in which they were written, the chief surviving manuscripts (including the Dead Sea Scrolls), the Canon of Scripture, the original text, the ancient versions, and the story of the English Bible, including some account of the New English Bible. Those who wish to have an up-to-date account of these varying aspects of Bible study within the compass of one volume will find their need met here. ~ from the dust jacket.

Frederick Fyvie Bruce (1910-1990) was a Biblical scholar who taught at a variety of universities and was editor of The Evangelical Quarterly and the Palestine Exploration Quarterly. He wrote a number of influential books, such as Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament, Are the New Testament Documents Reliable?, New Testament History, The Defense of the Gospel in the New Testament, etc.

He wrote in the Preface to this 1950 book, “This volume gathers together a number of articles written and papers read at various times on the transmission of the Bible. It is intended for non-specialists like those who have read them or heard them in their earlier forms, and who have frequently expressed a desire to have them in this form… I have tried to bear in mind the questions which are most frequently asked about these matters, and to answer them to the best of my ability. I hope that the volume may thus prove interesting and useful to the many who, without aiming at any specialist knowledge of Biblical learning, would welcome a handbook dealing with these questions.”

He points out, “Much of the vivid, concrete and forthright character of our English Old Testament is really a carrying over into English of something of the genius of the Hebrew tongue. Biblical Hebrew does not deal with abstractions but with the facts of experience. It is the right sort of language for the record of the self-revelation of a God who does not make Himself known by philosophical propositions but by controlling and intervening in the course of human history. Hebrew is not afraid to use daring anthropomorphisms when speaking of God. If God imparts to men the knowledge of Himself, he chooses to do so most effectively in terms of human life and human language.” (Pg. 45)

He observes, “a writer like Luke… commanded a good, idiomatic Greek style. Even in the English translation it is difficult to miss the transition in style which takes place between the fourth and fifth verses of his Gospel. From the fifth verse of his first chapter to the end of his second chapter we might be reading a continuation of the Old Testament, so reminiscent is the style of his nativity narratives of the characteristic phraseology of the Old Testament. Some scholars have supposed that for these nativity narratives Luke was dependent on a Hebrew document. This is possible—indeed, it seems to the writer more likely—but it is also possible that Luke was simply composing deliberately in ‘Septuagint’ style because he judged that most appropriate for the subject-matter of these two chapters.” (Pg. 71)

He notes, “It is sometimes claimed that the criterion which the early Christians applied in deciding whether a book was to be regarded as canonical or not was that of apostolic authorship. Now, it is certain that apostolic authorship counted for very much. It was for this reason that such a flood of apocryphal literature appears in the second century bearing the names of various apostles… And there is no example of a certainly apostolic writing being refused canonical recognition… But apostolic authorship, though an important factor, was not the only ground of canonicity. It is probably a mistake to think that we owe the presence of the Epistle to the Hebrews in our Bibles entirely to the happy accident that it was popularly ascribed to Paul. For, after all, two of the Gospels bear the names of men who were not apostles, and yet that did not stand in the way of accepting Mark and Luke as equally inspired with Matthew and John.” (Pg. 110)

Like all collections of diverse essays, this one is admittedly somewhat “uneven.” But Bruce’s scholarship is of the highest grade as always, and his explanations for a “popular” audience will be of help to many or most persons seriously studying the Bible. ~ Stephen H. Propp, Amazon Review, accessed 7/27/2019

About the Author

FF BruceFrederick Fyvie Bruce FBA (12 October 1910 – 11 September 1990), usually cited as F. F. Bruce, was a biblical scholar who supported the historical reliability of the New Testament. His first book, New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (1943), was voted by the American evangelical periodical Christianity Today in 2006 as one of the top 50 books “which had shaped evangelicals”.[1]

Bruce was born in Elgin, Moray, Scotland, the son of a Christian Brethren (Plymouth Brethren) preacher and educated at the University of Aberdeen, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and the University of Vienna, where he studied with Paul Kretschmer, an Indo-European philologist.[2]

After teaching Greek for several years, first at the University of Edinburgh and then at the University of Leeds, he became head of the Department of Biblical History and Literature at the University of Sheffield in 1947. Aberdeen University bestowed an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree on him in 1957.[3] In 1959 he moved to the University of Manchester where he became Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis.[4] He wrote over 40 books and served as editor of The Evangelical Quarterly and the Palestine Exploration Quarterly. He retired from teaching in 1978.

Bruce was a scholar on the life and ministry of Paul the Apostle and wrote several studies, the best known of which is Paul: Apostle of the Free Spirit (published in the United States as Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free). He also wrote commentaries on many biblical books including Habakkuk, the Gospel of John, the Acts of the Apostles, Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Philippians, the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the Epistles of John.

Most of Bruce’s works were scholarly, but he also wrote many popular works on the Bible. He viewed the New Testament writings as historically reliable and the truth claims of Christianity as hinging on their being so. To Bruce this did not mean that the Bible was always precise, or that this lack of precision could not lead to some confusion. He believed, however, that the passages that were still open to debate were ones that had no substantial bearing on Christian theology and thinking. Bruce’s colleague at Manchester, James Barr, considered Bruce a “conservative liberal”.[5]

Bruce was in Christian fellowship at various places during his life, though his primary commitment was to the Open Brethren among whom he grew up.[6] He enjoyed the fellowship and acceptance of this group, though he was very much a maverick in relation to his own personal beliefs. He never accepted a specific brand of dispensationalism[7] usually associated with the Brethren, although he may have held a historic premillennialism[8] akin to George Eldon Ladd[9] and he was also an advocate of the public ministry of women[10] – something that many Plymouth Brethren would still disapprove of today.

Bruce was honoured with two scholarly works by his colleagues and former students, one to mark his 60th and the other to mark his 70th birthday. Apostolic History and the Gospel: Biblical and Historical Essays Presented to F. F. Bruce on his 60th Birthday (1970) included contributions from E. M. Blaiklock, E. Earle Ellis, I. Howard Marshall, Bruce M. Metzger, William Barclay, G. E. Ladd, A. R. Millard, Leon Morris, Bo Reicke, and Donald Guthrie. Pauline Studies: Essays Presented to Professor F. F. Bruce on his 70th Birthday (1980) included contributions from Peter T. O’Brien, David Wenham, Ronald E. Clements, and Moisés Silva. C. F. D. Moule and Robert H. Gundry contributed to both volumes.

Bruce was elected a Fellow of the British Academy, and in 1965 served as President of the Society for Old Testament Study,[11] and also as President of the Society for New Testament Study. ~ Wikipedia

Book Details

Hardcover: 287 pages

Publisher: Fleming H Revell; 3rd ed rev edition (1963)

April 13, 2019

The Future of Everything

Cover Future of EverythingBook Description

All of us think about the end times. When we reflect on what will happen not only when we die but when this present age ends, some combination of ideas, images, hopes, and fears floods our minds. In The Future of Everything, William Boekestein encourages us to allow our thoughts on the end times to be guided by God’s Word. While combing the Scriptures to find direction related to subjects like death, the millennial kingdom, the return of Christ, the resurrection, judgment, heaven, and hell, Boekestein helps us cultivate a vision for the future that impacts our walk before God’s face today.

Pages: 184
Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books
Publication Date: 2019

Source: Reformation Heritage Books

Boekestein WilliamAbout the Author

William Boekestein has been pastoring Immanuel Fellowship Church since May, 2015. Before that he pastored Covenant Reformed Church, in Carbondale, PA since 2008. He received his B.A. at Kuyper College and his M.Div. at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. Prior to entering the ministry he worked in residential construction and taught at a Christian school for several years. He and his wife Amy have four children. He has authored Ulrich Zwingli, A Well-Ordered Church (with Daniel R. Hyde), Why Christ Came: 31 Meditations on the Incarnation (with Joel Beeke), Life Lessons from a Calloused Christian: A Practical Study of Jonah with Questions, and for children, Faithfulness under Fire: The Story of Guido de Bres, The Quest for Comfort: The Story of the Heidelberg Catechism, and The Glory of Grace: The Story of the Canons of Dort.

Source: Immanuel Fellowship Church

 

January 1, 2019

Man Asks, God Answers

Man Asks God Answers CoverBook Description

What Questions Would You Ask God?

Through the centuries, human beings have wrestled with many difficult questions. Some call these the “ultimate questions,” for they defy easy answers, even for those who search diligently. Some of these questions include: “Is there a God?” “Is God in Control?” “Where did evil come from?” and “Why do bad things happen to good people?” It is possible to find answers to these questions?

Craig R. Brown affirms that there are answers to the ultimate questions, but it is impossible for man to find them through his own reasoning. Instead, he must set aside his self-reliance and look to God with an openness to accept the answers He provides.

In Man Asks, God Answers, Brown presents God’s answers to seven of life’s toughest questions. In straightforward, direct language, he tells his readers what the Bible has to say regarding the above questions and others. These thought-provoking answers will set the open-minded reader on a path toward a new way of investigating truth – one that relies on the source of truth itself – and toward answers that bring satisfaction and joy.

Table of Contents:

Preface: The Answers to Seven of Life’s Toughest Questions

Is There a God and Is He in Control?
How Do I Get to Heaven?
How Should I Live My Life on the Earth?
What is the Purpose of Prayer and Evangelism?
Where Did Evil Come From?
Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
What Happens to Babies Who Die?
Conclusion: What Ties All This Together?

About the Author

Craig R. Brown holds a degree in business administration from Geneva College and is the president and CEO of Renaissance Nutrition, Inc. He has served as a ruling elder in both the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in America.

Source: Reformation Heritage Books

 

August 4, 2018

The Church of God

Church of God CoverBook Description

For most readers, holding this new edition of The Church of God represents their first encounter with Stuart Robinson. By comparison, the major contributors to the ongoing discussion of Presbyterianism are readily recognized: the cornerstone Calvin, the Socratic Turretin, the erudite Bavinck, and the inexhaustible Bannerman. Thornwell defended church power in theory, but Robinson defined it in particulars. Hodge traveled the landscape of ecclesiology extensively, but Robinson traversed its terrain proficiently. Bannerman expounded Presbyterianism comprehensively, but Robinson explained it concisely. Although one can understand why historians give more attention to better known thinkers, Robinson was regarded as an equal among and by his contemporary Presbyterian ecclesiologists. He should be given his due when discussing the area of his recognized strength.

In recent years, ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church) has surged ahead of other loci of theology. Many works on ecclesiology have appeared in the developing academic areas of comparative and historical ecclesiology and in the ever-expanding postmodern theologies, particularly the Emergent wing. But not all of these contributions can be regarded as enriching. Despite apparent efforts to revive an ancient faith, some contemporary ecclesiologists betray an eclectic historical consciousness that tends to skip over the Reformation. Inserting The Church of God back into the ecclesiological narrative helps to address the existing need to become better acquainted with what has been said before—and, above all, with what has been said wisely.

Where some have seen weakness, Robinson saw strength. Calvin wedded his doctrine of the church to the doctrine of predestination. Some have viewed this as a serious ‘methodological error.’ But Robinson viewed it as a brilliant insight…In the unsearchable counsel of the triune God, the ‘ideal church’ lies anterior to the ‘actual church’ in the history of redemption, preeminently in the Abrahamic covenant. Reformed ecclesiology has been powerful and united because it has insisted on seeing the church in the big picture, through the perspective of God’s eternal decree, and consequently in the sweep of redemptive history. Taking this ‘ideal’ angle inevitably led Robinson to stress the centrality of Christology in ecclesiology and Christ’s ongoing ministry in his threefold office.

This volume was originally published in 1858 and has been retypeset and augmented to include a foreword by Dr. A. Craig Troxel and Thomas E. Peck’s “Memorial of the Life and Labors of the Rev. Stuart Robinson.”

Source: WTS Books

Stuart Robinson

Stuart Robinson, 1814-1881

About the Author

Is it a scowl of anger or grimace of pain that is on the face of Stuart Robinson? His appearance may very well be due to pain. When he was an infant, his nurse was tossing him in the air, as adults often do, and watching him giggle, as babies will do, but then she accidentally missed him and he fell to the floor. One can only imagine the horror of the nurse as she saw the child she cared for screaming in pain. The injuries were fearful. His right shoulder was dislocated, his hand and thumb were seriously injured, and his head was injured such that the doctor believed, using the terminology of the day, “idiocy,” might be the result. Robinson recovered from his head injury but his arm and hand were disabled for the remainder of his life manifesting a stiffness and awarkdness that could be seen in his gestures in the pulpit. Matters were made worse when he broke the same arm in an accident while riding a train from Baltimore to Kentucky. Yes, his facial appearance may very well be due to pain, but then there is the possibility of the scowl of anger, an appearance of antagonism because his character, integrity, and honor as a man and a minister had been assailed and slandered such that he sued the source of the defaming words.

Stuart Robinson was of Scotch-Irish stock, born November 14, 1814, to James and Martha Porter Robinson in Strabane, County Tyrone, Ireland. Martha was the daughter of an elder in the Irish Presbyterian Church and her grandfather had been a Presbyterian minister. Stuart’s father was a successful purveyor of linen until he lost his wealth through guaranteeing some loans that did not work out. Thus, as so many residents of Ireland were doing in the era, James took the family first to New York and then to Virginia where they settled. When Stuart was but six or seven years old his mother died. The household had no relatives in the country, so Stuart lived with another family, the Troutmans, through arrangement by his father.

The Troutmans raised Stuart as their own and realilzed his intelligence. They saw that he attended school. As with several of the biographical subjects presented on Presbyterians of the Past, Stuart had an incredible memory. The Troutmans sought the advice of their pastor, Rev. James M. Brown, who recognized the thirteen year old’s abilities, took him into his home, and directed him in his studies until he continued his work in the academy in Romney, Virginia, mastered by Rev. William H. Foote. At about the age of sixteen during his preparatory studies he professed his faith in Christ. When it was time to enter college, young Stuart entered with the freshman class at Amherst in Massachusetts, completing his program in 1836; he then studied one year in Union Seminary, Virginia, after which he taught for two years; and then he completed his studies at Princeton Seminary in two years.

Stuart Robinson was licensed by Greenbrier Presbyery, 1841, then ordained, October 8, 1842, at Lewisburg, Virginia (currently in West Virginia) to serve the Kanawha Salines Church. He continued in the ministry serving churches in Kentucky, then Baltimore, and then moved back to Kentucky where he taught in Danville Seminary. Stuart Robinson was known for his preaching gifts, the precision of his sermons, his pointed and no holds barred writing, and a short-fused temper. His memorialist, J. N. Saunders, commented that, “his temper sometimes got the better of him; that his great will was sometimes too imperious, and that he often said things that were unnecessarily severe and wounding” (p. 34). At the time of the lawsuits that will be discussed in the following paragraphs, Robinson had been the minister of the Second Presbyterian Church, Louisville, since 1858.

The story of Dr. Robinson’s litigation begins with The Hickman Courier of Hickman, Kentucky, which reported in March 1872 that an important libel suit had been filed by Rev. Stuart Robinson against the proprietors of the Chicago Evening Post seeking damages of 100,000.00. The compensation sought was described as, possibly tongue in cheek, “a moderate sum.” Robinson was responding to a thirty-one word piece run that January in the Post’s “Personal and Impersonal” column.

Rev. Stuart Robinson of Louisville, who advocated from the pulpit during the war, the shipping of yellow fever infected clothing to Northern cities, narrowly escaped death from small pox last week.

The purpose of the paragraph was likely to inform the Post’s readers of Dr. Robinson’s illness. Despite the availability of an early type of vaccination, the “pox” was a common disease of the day that sometimes horribly scarred the victim’s face. It is believed that the ghostly appearance of Queen Elizabeth, I, of England in her portraits is due to heavy makeup covering her small pox scars. The libelous portion of the piece was the comment that, expressed in a matter of fact manner as though it was common knowledge, Robinson had recommended from the pulpit that the Confederacy engage in what would be called today germ warfare by distributing yellow fever in the North. Could it be that the between-the-lines purpose of the snippet was to interpret Robinson’s small pox as a divine judgment for his alleged yellow fever plan? One can only imagine the response of Stuart Robinson when he read the slanderous words given the struggles he had controlling his Scotch-Irish ire as he grew in grace and sanctification.

The Chicago Evening Post had pursued an investigation into the facts and was “able to speak intelligently in reference to both” the yellow fever plan and Stuart Robinson’s character. The Post had determined that one Mr. Conover was the source of the accusation and that it was “utterly without foundation in fact.” Another slice of humble pie was eaten by the Post as it went on to praise the character and integrity of Robinson saying he was “a Presbyterian clergyman of national reputation….For integrity, ability, and all those qualities of head and heart which adorn the profession, he stands second to few clergymen in the country.” Further, Stuart Robinson had shown his generosity and compassion for the people of Chicago the previous year by giving 1,000.00 to the relief fund for victims of its cataclysmic Great Fire. The Post continued noting that the comment had been added to its “Personal and Impersonal” column from another paper, the name of which is not mentioned. No Post editor had reviewed the piece before its publication. The Post’s confession ends with sorrow, penitence, and a touch of justification for its mistake.

It is the duty of a newspaper to expose and denounce wrong in whatever station or profession it may be found, but no editor can supervise all the items which will creep into his columns. Injustice is thus sometimes done, but the Chicago Evening Post has made it an invariable rule, voluntarily and without condition, as far as possible, to repair the wrong.

In this case, we are sincerely sorry for the publication of this item. We take pleasure in retracting it, and, that no injustice may be done to the party, we hope other papers which copied the items will give the retraction a circulation as extensive as the charge.

What a nightmare for Dr. Robinson. In the nineteenth-century a newspaper often copied the reports of other papers and used them for their own articles. Sometimes the source was cited, but in many cases the source was not mentioned. It was not seen as plagiarism but rather an informal wire service among publishers. If a New York newspaper copied an article from an Atlanta newspaper reporting a theater fire in Decatur that killed twenty people, then it was the accepted practice to reprint it as its own and no one thought anything about it. When an article was borrowed from another newspaper it was hoped the source from which the account was copied had provided accurate information, but obviously, this was not always the case. Thus, not only did the Chicago Evening Post publish a lie about Robinson, but each newspaper that used the article spread the defaming information. One might think of newspapers sharing articles as similar to the Internet when posts are copied and pasted, or linked from one site to another. Just as with the newspapers, the Internet information may or may not be accurate.

As commented above, the Chicago Evening Post did not name the newspaper from which it had obtained the Robinson article. It could be that the unnamed paper was published in St. Louis. The Hartford Herald of Kentucky, five years after the defamatory piece was published in the Post, reported that a judgment for slander had been made against “the old St. Louis Democrat.” The amount awarded Robinson was 30,000.00, which circa 2014 would amount to over a half million dollars according to computation using the history of the index of inflation. This substantial judgment against the Democrat was just one of a number of suits, including the Chicago one, that was filed by Robinson and in each suit he was “vindicated by the courts.” If the judgments for Robinson were all at the level of the Democrat award, then the already wealthy Robinson would have seen his bank account enhanced tremendously.

What is to be learned from the disconcerting experience of Stuart Robinson? Obviously, one living in his day would have recognized that defaming Dr. Robinson could be a financially costly mistake. The Epistle of James reminds Christians that the tongue is a fire that can burn out of control (3:6), it is like the tiller of a ship in that its movement directs the whole person (3:4). A more modern but uninspired analogy is that words are like bullets fired from a gun in that once they go forth, they cannot be taken back, but even though words cannot maim and kill like bullets they can certainly anger, dishearten, or crush the one at the receiving end. It is doubtful that the one who began the lie, Mr. Conover, would have been concerned about his tongue because at the time the Chicago Evening Post investigated his accusation against Stuart Robinson, he was reported to be in prison for perjury. The reason for his perjury conviction is not given and it may or may not have been associated with the Robinson suits.

Stuart Robinson continued his ministry at Second Church, Louisville, until he was released from his call in June due to declining health. He died from stomach cancer, October 5, 1881. Dr. B. M. Palmer led his funeral service two days later. Dr. Robinson had served as moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) in 1877, and spoke in the sessions of the Pan Presbyterian Council in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was honored with the Doctor of Divinity by Centre College, Danville, Kentucky, 1853. He was survived by his wife, Mary Eliza, daughter of William Brigham, M.D., and their two daughters; two sons had died before Dr. Robinson’s death. He was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery in Lousiville.

If interested in reading more about Stuart Robinson see, A Kingdom Not of this World: Stuart Robinson’s Struggle to Distinguish the Sacred from the Secular during the Civil War, Mercer, 2002, by Preston D. Graham, Jr., which provides a fine intellectual biography with particular emphasis on the doctrine of the spirituality of the church. Also, Robinson’s book, The Church of God as an Essential Element of the Gospel, 1858, has been reprinted by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 2009, and it includes a twenty-five page biography by T. E. Peck who was a friend of Robinson and his successor at Central Presbyterian Church, Baltimore. Robinson also published Discourses on Redemption: As Revealed at Sundry Times and in Divers Manners, Richmond: Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1866.

Source: Presbyterians of the Past