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14282RE: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: Covenanter Groups

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  • Mike Grounds
    Jan 9, 2006
      Susan.  You raise a good point, I think!
      It was 1840, in fact, building off an American heritage in the RPCNA and previously in Scotland, in seed form arguably no later than 1681.
      TWO ministers of the day, 1840: Rev. David Steele AND Rev. Robert Lusk
      To say 'leading person' would be one characterization. I think you'll find Rev. Lusk had much greater advantage over Rev. Steele prior to their both leaving to form the RPNA, with Lusk having many extra YEARS spent contending . Mr. Lusk had already largely spent his energies contending alone, by the time Mr. Steele came on the scene. With Mr. Steele's later volume of writing and greater RPNA-longevity, he naturally appears more prominent to following generations (as well as his often sharp, possibly even acerbic tone, found in many of his writings; a regrettable aspect, some think). And, I think at 1840, Lusk was already an older man. His death around 1845 resulted in the providential dissolving of that initial RPNA Presbytery (1840-1845).
      Some of Mr. Steele's writings - though the particular ones do not come to mind right now - give great detail of his, and Rev. Lusk's contendings, over the many years prior to there feeling no reasonable option left but to separate from the RPCNA. Aside from the 3 years or so prior to their leaving (if memory serves), though aware of one another, their contendings were independent of one another, so you can imagine their joy in fellowship once they knew each other!
      You can see their own measured and careful approach in their organizing of 1840, through 1842, and their addressing the Terms of Communion changes/defections of the RPCNA that they had just departed from. Review of this record, should at minimum evidence a good measure of longsuffering, not leaving the RPCNA in some knee-jerk fashion. They employ the same longsuffering in implementing their own renovated 6-Terms of Communion (April, 1842) to the RPNA membership. Of course, as with all men, all these contendings were undoubtedly mixed with sin and error (and in Steele's writings, in his private capacities, perhaps even a distasteful mix of invective!). 
      You can see SOME of this at: http://www.covenanter.org/Minutes/minuteshomepage.htm. Naturally, you will want to be careful to make the distinction between Presbyterial records versus those of the Society General Meeting, who recorded in between times of constituted Presbytery (the interested reader will find ample support that, as in the years 1743-1793 at least (USA), Presbytery and Societies COEXISTED). The account of the infamous Rev. James Peoples and his departure, makes for quite a read! It was with People's accession in Fall 1853, the record shows, that the RPNA was able to reorganize in 1854. For a bit of the 'infamous' part, one could read the 'Proceedings' of 1884 - the larger explanations in other 'D. Steele' volumes I do not at this moment recall.
      The other key positive ministerial figure aside from Steele/Lusk, has to be Rev. James Fulton, who laboured for many years from divinity student in 1854 to aged death in the early 1900's. Upon Steele's own death in June 1887, Presbytery again understood they had providentially been dissolved (having Ruling Elders but only the one Minister, Rev. James Fulton). He was a full witness and participant to the RPNA of 1854-1887. Rev. Fulton continued ministering to the Societies, until his passing. If you find his Society obituary, if memory serves you'll find he was greatly loved by the people as their shepherd, though he was weak in oratory and bodily strength, such of course not being requisite to faithfulness no matter how desirable in a soldier of the gospel ministry.
      You would have to wait until the little window from August 5, 2000 to their voluntary self-destruction of June 8, 2003, to see a Presbytery of the RPNA persuasion and theoretical subjection, again constituted (for those unclear, RPNA stands for, 'Reformed PRESBYTERY in North America'). I suspect there are enough contributors sufficient to the hour, for considering that tiny little window, and proceedings before and since.
      Regarding another example of a church courts' self-destruction, you can read Rev. Steele at some length, regarding Synodical-dissolving in his own day. Really, most of what he writes is of the 'pamphlet' variety - it ought not take long reading his relatively few items to find it. IF you have tried, and are still interested, by all means email me, offlist or onlist. But you would have to give me a week or so to dig out my notes.
      I see little value in commenting further and trying to get you to read more! This is already 1.5 of full-width screens!  Congratulations (and thanks!) if you got to the end! In closing, I openly give our God thanks for ALL the brethren, and His preserving work in the lives of all His children wherever they are, labouring under the burden of frailities common to flesh. Our God really is merciful, isn't He?
      May our unity and fellowship be real, full, and temperate. In our Christ,
      Mike Grounds (Member since 1994, Society of Prince George, BC - of the RPNA persuasion)

      From: covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com [mailto:covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of susanandcrew
      Sent: January 9, 2006 8:35 AM
      To: covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: Covenanter Groups

      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Edgar A. Ibarra
      Jr." <puritanpresbyterian@y...> wrote:

      "During this defection of the RPCNA, one of their ministers along with
      some other Church Officers protested this defection. When there was no
      desire on the part of the Synod to repent of their Covenant breaking,
      they left the RPCNA to continue the faithful Covenanted Church and
      formed the Reformed Presbytery of North America (RPNA). The leading
      person was David Steele. These officers sought to maintain the
      Covenanted Testimony and to continue to uphold the Covenanted
      Reformation against all defection and back-sliding."

      Is this stated correctly? David Steele and the other officers started
      the RPNA?? That was not my understanding. I thought the RPNA came into
      being much, much later.


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