The Covenanters in America

The Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America is descended ecclesiastically from the Church of Scotland. The first pastor affiliated with the Reformed Presbyterian of Scotland in America was Alexander Craighead (1707-1766). This writer recently visited the site of his pastorate in Virginia - Windy Cove Presbyterian Church in Millboro, Virginia. For an introduction into the history of the Covenanters in Scotland, see Robert Pollock Kerr (1850-1923)'s The Blue Flag, or, The Covenanters Who Contended For 'Christ's Crown and Covenant' (1905). To better understand the Covenanter Church's position on issues in 19th century America, see William Sommerville (1800-1876)'s The Social Position of the Reformed Presbyterians, or Cameronians (1869), and James Calvin McFeeters (1848-1928)'s The Covenanter Vision in America (1892). The issues that were important to 19th century American Covenanters are highlighted in these volumes. If you wish to understand their perspective on slavery, secret societies, worship, covenanting, the mediatorial kingship of Christ over all things, and many more topics of interest, these works will be of great interest. To understand the meaning of the motto "For Christ's Crown & Covenant" and the Blue Banner flag, see Kerr's most helpful book. 

Late 19th century handbooks for busy Presbyterians in the pew

The PCA Historical Center posted an excerpt of a helpful little volume yesterday, Robert Polluck Kerr's Presbyterianism for the People. This book walks through Presbyterian Church Government and Presbyterian Theology for the ordinary members of the church of Jesus Christ. Kerr writes in his preface, "This little volume is not for theologians. There are many abler and more elaborate works on Presbyterianism written for them. It is for the people —the busy, earnest people, who have neither the time nor the taste for an extensive study of this subject, but who ought to know—at least, in a general way—what Presbyterianism is, what it has been in the past, what it believes and teaches. In his pastoral work the author has often wished for such a book, and he earnestly hopes that this one may help supply what he believes to be a real need of the Church. For it he asks the blessing of God and the favor of the people."

Kerr also wrote The People's History of Presbyterianism in All AgesThe preface of this work is remarkable for its assessment of the state of affairs in 1888, as well as its prescription: "Books are written to be read, not to lie on dusty shelves. But this is a busy age, and most persons will not take time to read extensive treatises. The people call for short sermons, short prayers, and short books. Nor is this demand without reason; for life itself is short, and there is much to do." What would Robert Kerr say about the busyness of today? And what would we say about his evaluation of a cure?