Tag Archives: minister
Son of a butcher, his family died when a plague swept England, leaving him an estate.
He attended Emmanuel College, was ordained, married and sailed for Massachusetts where he pastored the First Church of Charlestown.
At age 31, he died of tuberculosis on SEPTEMBER 14, 1638.
His name was Rev. John Harvard.
The College at Cambridge was renamed for him.
Ten of the twelve presidents of Harvard prior to the Revolutionary War were ministers, as were fifty percent of the 17th-century Harvard graduates.
On the wall by the old iron gate at Harvard University’s main campus entrance, and noted in Harvard Divinity School’s catalog, is the statement of Harvard’s founders:
“After God had carried us safe to New-England, and wee had builded our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, rear’d convenient places for God’s worship, and settled the Civill Government:
One of the next things we longed for, and looked after was to advance Learning and to perpetuate it to Posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate Ministry to the Churches, when our present Ministers shall lie in the Dust.
And as wee were thinking and consulting how to effect this great Work, it pleased God to stir up the heart of one Mr. Harvard, a godly gentleman and a lover of learning there living amongst us, to give the one half of his estate…towards the erecting of a college and all his Library.”
As 106 of the first 108 schools in America were founded on Christianity, Harvard’s declared purpose was: “To train a literate clergy.”
Harvard college was founded in “Christi Gloriam,” as the founders believed: “All knowledge without Christ was vain.”
In 1692, the motto of Harvard was: “Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae” (Truth for Christ and the Church).
The word Veritas on the college seal references divine truth, and was embedded on a shield, which can be found on Memorial Church, Widener Library, and numerous Harvard Yard dorms.
The shield has on top two books facing up and on the bottom a book facing down, symbolizing the limits of reason and the need for God’s revelation.
Harvard’s Rules & Precepts, September 26, 1642, stated:
“1. When any Scholar…is able to make and speak true Latine in Verse and Prose….And decline perfectly the paradigims of Nounes and Verbes in the Greek tongue…(he is allowed) admission into the college.
2. Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the maine end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternall life, John 17:3 and therefore to lay Christ in the bottome, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and Learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisedome, Let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seeke it of him Prov. 2,3.
3. Every one shall so exercise himselfe in reading the Scriptures twice a day, that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein, both in Theoreticall observations of Language and Logick, and in practicall and spirituall truths, as his Tutor shall require, according to his ability; seeing the entrance of the word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple, Psalm, 119:130.
4. That they eshewing all profanation of God’s name, Attributes, Word, Ordinances, and times of Worship, do studie with good conscience carefully to retaine God, and the love of his truth in their mindes, else let them know, that (notwithstanding their Learning) God may give them up to strong delusions, and in the end to a reprobate minde, 2Thes. 2:11, 12. Rom. 1:28.
5. That they studiously redeeme the time; observe the generall houres…diligently attend the Lectures, without any disturbance by word or gesture….
6. None shall…frequent the company and society of such men as lead an unfit, and dissolute life. Nor shall any without his Tutors leave, or without the call of Parents or Guardians, goe abroad to other Townes.
7. Every Scholar shall be present in his Tutors chamber at the 7th houre in the morning, immediately after the sound of the Bell, at his opening the Scripture and prayer, so also at the 5th houre at night, and then give account of his owne private reading….But if any…shall absent himself from prayer or Lectures, he shall bee lyable to Admonition, if he offend above once a weeke.
8. If any Scholar shall be found to transgresse any of the Lawes of God, or the Schoole…he may bee admonished at the publick monethly Act.”
In 1790, the requirements for Harvard stated:
“All persons of what degree forever residing at the College, and all undergraduates…shall constantly and seasonably attend the worship of God in the chapel, morning and evening…
All the scholars shall, at sunset in the evening preceding the Lord’s Day, lay aside all their diversions and…it is enjoined upon every scholar carefully at apply himself to the duties of religion on said day.”
On Election Day, May 31, 1775, Harvard President Samuel Langdon addressed the Massachusetts Provincial Congress:
“We have rebelled against God. We have lost the true spirit of Christianity, though we retain the outward profession and form of it. We have neglected and set light by the glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and His holy commands and institutions.
The worship of many is but mere compliment to the Deity, while their hearts are far from Him. By many, the Gospel is corrupted into a superficial system of moral philosophy, little better than ancient Platonism…
My brethren, let us repent and implore the divine mercy. Let us amend our ways and our doings, reform everything that has been provoking the Most High, and thus endeavor to obtain the gracious interpositions of providence for our deliverance…
May the Lord hear us in this day of trouble…We will rejoice in His salvation, and in the name of our God, we will set up our banners!…
Wherefore is all this evil upon us? Is it not because we have forsaken the Lord? Can we say we are innocent of crimes against God? No, surely it becomes us to humble ourselves under His mighty hand, that He may exalt us in due time…
My brethren, let us repent and implore the divine mercy. Let us amend our ways and our doings, reform everything that has been provoking the Most High, and thus endeavor to obtain the gracious interpositions of Providence for our deliverance…
If God be for us, who can be against us? The enemy has reproached us for calling on His name and professing our trust in Him. They have made a mock of our solemn fasts and every appearance of serious Christianity in the land…
May our land be purged from all its sins! Then the Lord will be our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble, and we will have no reason to be afraid, though thousands of enemies set themselves against us round about.
May the Lord hear us in this day of trouble…We will rejoice in His salvation, and in the name of our God, we will set up our banners.”
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.
“A goodly heritage”
Andrew Gifford entered into heaven on June 19, 1784 and was buried in front of 200 ministers and a multitude of others in Bunhill Fields in the early morning of July 2, 1784. Dr. John Ryland, President of Bristol Baptist College, stood on a tombstone and delivered the funeral oration. Gifford had just completed over 60 years in the Baptist ministry in Bristol during a time of religious tolerance under the “Declaration of Indulgence” granted by King Charles II on Sept. 5, 1672. Prior to that, Andrews grandfather, his namesake, was imprisoned at least four times for preaching without state authority. His father, Rev. Emmanuel Gifford, served as a sentry as his father preached the gospel in the Bristol area. Once he was discovered and violently pursued by their persecutors. He took refuge under a staircase as his tormentors ran on by, swearing to do him physical harm if they caught him, but God gave deliverance to the young man and the Baptists in their worship. With such a heritage, young Andrew was raised in Bristol and was baptized when he was fifteen years old. He was trained at the local academy and was preaching the gospel by the time he was twenty-four. Dr. Ryland, said the following words at his grave side that morning, “Farewell, thou dear old man! We leave thee in the possession of Death until the Resurrection Day, but we will bear witness against thee, O King of terrors, at the mouth of this dungeon-thou shalt not always have possession of this dead body it shall be demanded of thee by the great Conqueror, and at that moment thou shalt resign thy prisoner. O ye ministers of Christ, ye people of God, ye surrounding spectators, prepare to meet this old servant of Christ at that day, that hour when this whole place shall be nothing but life, and death shall be swallowed up in victory.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 270-272.
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America’s victory over England secured England’s liberty too
1748 – Dr. John Rippon of England,in a letter addressed to Dr. James Manning, president of Brown University, said: “I believe all of our Baptist ministers in town, except two, and most of our brethren in the country were on the side of the Americans in the late dispute….We wept when the thirsty plains drank the blood of our departed heroes, and the shout of a king was among us when your well bought battles were crowned with victory; and to this hour we believe that the independence of America will, for a while, secure the liberty of this country, but if that continent had been reduced, Britain would not have long been free.” Dr. Rippon was one of the most influential Baptist ministers in England during the 19th century. At the age of 17, Rippon attended Bristol Baptist College in Bristol, England. After the death of John Gill, he assumed Gill’s pastorate, the Baptist meeting-house in Carter Lane, Tooley Street, which moved in 1833 to the New Park Street Chapel in London, from 1773 at the age of 20 until his death, a period of 63 years. Rippon’s church was later pastored byCharles Haddon Spurgeon before moving to the Metropolitan Tabernacle at Elephant and Castle inSouthwark.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: John T. Christian, A History of The Baptists (1922; reprinted., Nashville: Broadman Press, 1926), 2:228
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Silas Mercer (L)
Baptists win liberty in Georgia and Virginia
1785 – BAPTISTS SECURED RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IN GEORGIA AND VIRGINIA AFTER THE NATION WAS ESTABLISHED – On February 21, 1785, an act by the Georgia legislature was passed for the support of religion, prorated by the number in each denomination, and providing that any “thirty heads of families” in any community might choose a minister “to explain and inculcate the duties of religion, and “and four pence on every hundred pounds valuation of property” should be taken out of the public tax for any such minister, the Baptists rose up in sending a remonstrance to the legislature by the hands of Silas Mercer and Peter Smith the following May. They insisted that the obnoxious law be repealed on the grounds that the state had nothing to do with the support of religion by public tax, and it was repealed. State governments in America that were accustomed to supporting their established religion by taxing their citizens continued to do so even after the disestablishment of those state churches after the Union was officially established and their state constitutions were in place. The Baptists considered this to be an antichrist system and had stood united against such taxation for the support of religion even if for the benefit of their own. This same issue had to be fought by the Baptists in Virginia during the 1780’s against the Anglican establishment. During this time a general assessment for Religious Teachers was proposed. The Virginia Baptists strongly opposed the bill and obtained 10,000 signatures against its passage. The Baptist General Committee meeting at Powahatan, VA, Aug. 13, 1785, resolved: “…that it is believed repugnant to the spirit of the Gospel for the Legislature thus to proceed in the matters of religion; that no human laws ought to be established for this purpose…the Holy Author of our religion needs no such compulsive measure for the promotion of His cause; that the Gospel wants not the feeble arm of man for its support,…and that, should the Legislature assume the right of taxing the people for the support of the Gospel, it will be destructive to religious liberty.”
Baptists in Georgia and Virginia stood firm on their convictions and that’s why we have religious liberty clauses in all fifty states in the Union today.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 71.
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The mode of baptism did count
1525 – Conrad Grebel and his family felt the sting of the edict passed by the city council of Zurich ordering all parents to bring all unbaptized infants to present them for baptism within eight days or face expulsion from the city. Early in 1525 a child had been born to the Grebel’s. Conrad did not baptize his baby because he had become convinced that christening finds no support in the New Testament. Conrad Grebel was from a wealthy and prominent Swiss family, whose father served as a magistrate in Gruningen, just east of Zurich. Conrad also enjoyed many educational advantages. He was saved, and by 1522 was publicly defending the gospel and expressed a desire to become a minister. Falling in with the teachings of Ulrich Zwingli, Grebel also gave himself to the scriptures. Grebel and other young Anabaptists owed much to Zwingli, but they owed more to the Bible. These two loyalties soon came to a head, and it was Grebel who initiated believers baptism on that historic night in January 1525. As such, young Grebel became a champion of the Anabaptist movement. Grebel had only one year and eight months to proclaim the gospel, but in spite of numerous imprisonments and poor health his accomplishments were phenomenal. He preached, visited from door- to-door, baptized those who were saved, and was again arrested and imprisoned in Grunigen Castle. Being brought to trial, Grebel, Blaurock, and Manz were sentenced to an indefinite term of internment in Nov. 1525. They were given a diet of bread and water. Again Grebel was able to escape, but his freedom was short-lived, for he died in the summer of 1526, probably a victim of the plague, but a hero of the faith that lives on even today!
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 22-23
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First Baptist church in Illinois
1823 – James Lemen passed from this earth. Even though he was fifty years old when he was licensed by his church to preach, he was an active and zealous minister of the gospel. Lemen, along with his wife Catherine, and two others, had been baptized when they had to break the ice in Fountain Creek, to administer the ordinance in Monroe County, Illinois. James had been converted to Christ, when the first evangelical minister came into the state in 1787. However he did not receive baptism until Josiah Dodge from Kentucky came to preach in the area. John Gibbons and Isaac Enochs were the other two that Dodge baptized. On the appointed day a great multitude gathered from all parts to witness the first baptismal service in the State of Illinois. At the waters edge a hymn was sung, scriptural authority for baptism given and prayer offered. Two years later the Lemens, along with a few others, united in forming the first Baptist church in Illinois. There pastor was Rev. David Badgley.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 10-12.
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Luke 14:10, 11
“For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted,” Luke 14:11.
To humble oneself to be exalted is an oxymoron. James and Peter also gave the same admonition. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Since the grace of greatness is only afforded by God to those who are humble, it would benefit us to find out what it means to humble oneself. Jesus publicly accused the Pharisees of false piety for publicly advertising their fasts and disfiguring themselves to appear humble and submissive.
Humility that God recognizes is supernatural, a gift of the Holy Spirit, like the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23). Humility appears not to be the result of praying for it, but rather surrendering oneself to God’s control. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:10). Here, we see James, Jesus’ blood brother, advising us to humble ourselves to be lifted up by God. One basically has to lift an empty cup for God to fill. “Blessed are the poor in spirit [spiritually bankrupt] for their’s is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3).
Greatness in the eyes of God may be opposite man’s idea of greatness. Jesus told twelve jealous apostles that the greatest people in the kingdom are those with a servant’s heart, willing to serve others rather than be served. Jesus Himself came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.
Here’s my cup, Lord. Fill it up and run it over into others’ lives.
“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many,” Matthew 20:28.
“Even as” has the connotation that whatever one is doing, it parallels something or someone else. Christ is definitely an impeccable example to follow.
Jesus proclaimed, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). When we walk in His Light, there is no way we can not be good examples. Sounds like a great deal with an awesome guarantee. Follow Him, and you will be an example to follow. Paul invited his disciples to follow him as he followed Christ. We have many little and big people hanging onto our shirt tails. If we are walking in Jesus’ Light, they can’t go wrong.
When I was a child, I thought my grandfather, Allen Riley, was God. I followed him everywhere. He was a four foot eleven inch, Irish leprechaun with curly black eyebrows across his forehead. I basically worshiped him. He could do no wrong. Then, I grew up and could easily rest my arm on his shoulder, but he never stopped being ten feet tall. Many people will excel or fall because of their example. If our example is a reflection of Jesus, those who follow us can’t go astray as they follow Jesus in us.
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it” (Luke 9:23, 24).
When we look down the path of a Christian’s life, we see two sets of footprints, one behind the other. When there’s only one set of prints, Jesus is carrying somebody on His shoulders.
The first to minister in North Carolina
1742 – Mr. Henry Sater deeded an acre of land to Henry Loveall, the first pastor of the Chestnut Ridge congregation for a church site, because the church had been organized in Sater’s home. Sater had come to America from England and had purchased land about nine miles northwest of Baltimore Town. He frequently cared for travelers, quite often Baptist ministers, who would be invited to preach. Being encouraged by the numbers in attendance, this sincere Christian erected a place of worship on his own land at his own expense. The church was organized with fifty-seven members. The church covenant began: “We…the professors of the Gospel of Christ, baptized on a declaration of faith and repentance, believing the doctrine of general redemption (or free grace of God to all mankind), …bind and settle ourselves into a Church.” It was signed on July 10, 1742, and the church continued on until the Revolutionary War. The church began as the Chestnut Ridge Church, but was later known as the Sater’s Baptist Church. The pulpit was temporarily filled by George Eglesfield of Penn., and later by Paul Palmer, whose ministry resulted in nine baptisms, who was also the first to minister the Word in N.C. as early as 1720. However, Henry Loveall, from N.J. is regarded as the first pastor, who baptized forty-eight converts in the four years that he was there. This activity was made possible because in 1649 the Colonial Assembly, through the inspiration of Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, passed an act of religious toleration. Though it was not as expansive as R.I., it did allow Baptists the right to exist. [ George F. Adams, A History of Baptist Churches in Maryland (Baltimore: J.F. Weishampel Jr., 1885), p. 27. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 628-30.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon