The Primacy of Preaching

The following is the Moderator’s Address at the Free Church of Scotland General Assembly in 1995. The Moderator was Rev Murdo Alex Macleod (Stornoway Free Church) and the address was entitled ‘the Primacy of Preaching.’

Rev. Macleod believed that there was a crisis of true preaching in the Free Church. Many of the issues dealt with in his address have greatly escalated in the 22 years that have elapsed. The need for a critical eye to be cast upon the pulpits of our land, whatever our denomination, is surely needed even more so in our day. We ought to pray for a restoration of true preaching in the pulpits of Scotland today.

The paper is as follows, and has been reproduced here with kind permission of the Macleod family…

The Primacy of Preaching

Addressing the meeting of the Synod of the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands in 1927, that eminent Free Church man, Sir James Simpson, concluded his address by stating that the Free Church of Scotland, acknowledged to be the Church of the Reformation and of the Disruption even by the State, was fulfilling its trust with no little measure of success. “Its work,” he said, “limited in extent, is comprehensive in character. It speaks with no uncertain voice, and in a tone to be heard, on questions of religion and morals, public and private. Its ministry is evangelical and its members generally live consistent Christian lives.”

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The Forerunner of Glory

 

“…The Lord will give grace and glory…” (Psalm 84:11)

In ancient days, when larger ships were unable to get close enough to shore to dock due to stormy conditions, the ship’s anchor would be placed in a small boat called a forerunner. The forerunner carried the anchor through the breakers and dropped it at the harbour securing the larger ship. When weather conditions would permit, the larger ship would slowly be drawn to shore through the anchor chain, and the ship would eventually arrive safely at the harbour.

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Before the Mountains

“Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.  Before the mountains were brought forth,  Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,  Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” (Psalm 90:1-2)

The Clisham is the highest mountain in the Outer Hebrides at 799 metres (2,621 ft). If you climb it in favourable conditions, the views from the summit are spectacular.

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Why a Confession of Faith?

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering” (Hebrews 10:23)

The Presbyterian Church in Scotland has long associated itself with a Confession of Faith as its subordinate standard, so much so that Scottish Presbyterianism and Confessionalism have gone hand in hand. The Scots Confession of 1560 (co-authored by John Knox) had been the accepted confession of faith of the Scottish Church up until the time of the famous Westminster Assembly, from which the Westminster Confession of Faith we know today was published in 1646.

That said, it is entirely legitimate to ask the question, “Should we have a confession of faith?” The fact that, historically speaking, we have always had a confession of faith isn’t sufficient in and of itself to answer that question.

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A House for your Soul

“What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30)

“We dwell in Him…” (1 John 4:13)

Images of the recent fire, which tragically consumed a 24 storey block of flats in West London, have shocked the nation. The massive inferno broke out at the Grenfell Tower block in the early hours of 14 June, causing many fatalities.

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Doctrine

 

That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine…” (Ephesians 4:14)

Many people today react negatively to the words, “theology” and “doctrine.” They are said to involve dry, irrelevant matters, which have no bearing on real life. If that were true, it would be quite understandable why we might want to steer clear and focus our attention elsewhere. Then, there are others who would not consider theology and doctrine to be irrelevant, rather something only for the ministers, theologians and elders. It is not something for the laity, the ordinary man or woman in the pew.

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Homelessness

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” (Ephesians 2:19)

Physical Homelessness

One of the hardest providences we could ever experience, humanly speaking, must surely be that of homelessness. When we think of homelessness, our minds tend to be drawn to those sleeping rough on the streets who, for a variety of reasons, have found themselves at the extreme end of homelessness. They are more vulnerable to becoming victims of violent crime, more likely to develop physical and mental health problems and are isolated from much of society.

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Bible Reading Plan for 2017

New Year is traditionally a time where many of us make New Year’s resolutions, in one form or another.  The majority of resolutions quickly fall by the wayside, and in many ways, there is nothing to stop us resolving on a particular course of action at any point in the year. However, there is something about a New Year that can give us more of an impetus than at other times, as it provides us with a blank slate. Depending on your character, perhaps you are more likely to achieve something substantial if you set goals for the year.

One of the best resolutions we could make at the beginning of 2017 is to become more familiar with the Bible, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).  Continue reading “Bible Reading Plan for 2017”