Posts tagged ‘Presbyterian’

January 4, 2018

January Spotlight! Calvinism and Evangelical Arminianism

Cover Calvinism and Evangelical ArminianismBook Description

Since the Remonstrants first defended the teachings of Jacob Arminius at the Synod of Dordt, the system known as Arminianism has undergone a number of expressions by its various advocates. In the nineteenth century, it had become apparent to Dr. John L. Girardeau that the form of Arminianism preached by American Evangelical Arminians as influenced by the preaching of John Wesley had not been sufficiently critiqued and answered in print, along with a corresponding defense of the doctrines of Calvinism.

The book is divided into two parts. In the first part, the doctrines of election and reprobation are stated and proven, and two categories of Arminian objections are answered: appeals to the moral attributes of God, such as his divine justice, goodness, wisdom and veracity, and appeals to the moral agency of man.

The second part is divided into four sections, in which Dr. Girardeau states the Calvinistic doctrine of justification and explains the ground, nature and condition of this essential of Protestant theology and contrasts it with the Arminian alternative.

John L Girardeau

Dr. John L. Girardeau   (1825-1898)

About the Author

John Lafayette Girardeau (1825-98) John Lafayette Girardeau was born as Lafayette Freer Girardeau on November 14, 1825 to John Bohun Girardeau and Claudia Herne Freer Girardeau. The parents of young Girardeau were of French Huguenot descent and, by the time of their eldest son’s birth on James Island (across the Ashley River from Charleston), possessors of a rich colonial ancestry, which included at least one Revolutionary War hero. John Bohun (a planter) and Claudia Freer were also solid Presbyterians of the Scottish type. The Holy Scriptures and Westminster Standards were the standard fare for the Girardeau children with both father and mother active in their religious upbringing.

Also important in Girardeau’s formative years were two notable pastors, Aaron W. Leland and Thomas Smyth. Leland was the wee lad’s pastor on James Island and Smyth nurtured him during his early adolescent years in Charleston. Although Leland was of English ancestry, he was of the Scottish persuasion when it came to his theology and ecclesiology. Smyth was of Scotch-Irish background and pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in Charleston. The low country Presbyterians had from the first identified with Scotland rather than the Mid-Atlantic Presbyterians. This was no doubt true because of Archibald Stobo, the pioneering Scot who founded the earliest distinctly Presbyterian churches in the South.

Girardeau was educated on James Island and in Charleston, completing Charleston College (now College of Charleston) in 1844 at the age of seventeen. He graduated with first honors (valedictorian) as a Greek and Latin scholar. Upon his graduation, Professor William Hawksworth exclaimed to those around him, “There goes a fine Greek scholar to make a poor Presbyterian preacher.”

After a year of tutoring and teaching on James Island and Mt. Pleasant (to raise money), he matriculated at the Theological Seminary of the Synod of South Carolina and Georgia (later Columbia Theological Seminary). As a ministerial student at Columbia he studied under his childhood pastor, Aaron W. Leland, and the venerable George Howe. Girardeau supplemented his seminary education by regularly attending the pulpit ministrations of Benjamin Morgan Palmer at the Presbyterian Church (now First Presbyterian), a short walk from both the seminary and South Carolina College. The seminarian also placed himself under the tutelage of James Henley Thornwell at the College (now University of South Carolina). Thornwell was at the time Professor of Moral Philosophy and preached or lectured regularly in the college chapel (Rutledge Chapel). Girardeau and other seminary students attended Dr. Thornwell’s addresses assiduously. Indeed, Girardeau attributed Dr. Thornwell’s chapel addresses with giving “shape and form” to his theology, which was already stoutly Westminsterian.

As a child of Claudia Herne Girardeau, the scion of South Carolina had learned to respect the poor and needy of society. During the latter years of college he had held regular meetings for the slaves on his father’s plantation, exhorting them to believe the gospel and rest upon Christ for their deliverance from sin. In seminary he held evangelistic meetings in a warehouse where the poor, enslaved, derelict, and disreputable attended. Shortly after graduation from seminary in 1848 he was ordained to the ministry of word and sacrament and embarked upon a brief series of pastorates-Wappetaw Church and Wilton Presbyterian Church-that would culminate in Charleston as a famous pastor to slaves.

In January 1854, he and his wife Penelope Sarah (“Sal”) moved from St. John Parish and Wilton Presbyterian Church (January 1849-December 53) to Charleston to assume the work begun by John B. Adger and the session of Second Presbyterian Church. The work was designed to establish a church for and of the slaves. In 1850, citizens of Charleston built a meeting house on Anson Street for the exclusive use of the slaves. After Adger’s health failed, Girardeau was handpicked by Adger and Smyth to lead the work forward. The work expanded from thirty-six black members when Girardeau arrived to over 600 at the time of the American Armageddon. He preached to over 1,500 weekly from 1859 through 1861.

In 1858/59 the Anson Street Mission experienced a marvelous revival and in April 1859 they moved into a new building at the prestigious and prime intersection of Meeting and Calhoun Streets. The black membership was given the privilege of naming their church (which was particularized in 1858) and they chose “Zion.” Zion Presbyterian Church became famous for Girardeau’s preaching-he was called “the Spurgeon of America”-, but it was also noteworthy for its diaconal ministry in the community, catechetical training of hundreds in the city, sewing clubs for the women, and missionary activity. The outreach and influence of Zion was of such public notoriety that Girardeau and the session were often criticized and sometimes physically threatened. For example, the catechetical training and teaching of hymns and psalms was so effective that some Charlestonians believed Girardeau was teaching the slaves to read for themselves (which was contrary to state law).

After the War and before Girardeau could return to Charleston, a number of freedmen of Zion Presbyterian Church beckoned Girardeau to return to “the Holy City” and resume his work with them. They desired to have their white pastor whom they knew, loved, and respected, rather than a black missionary from the North. Throughout the post-War and Reconstruction years, he arduously worked amongst both black and white in Charleston. He mightily labored within the Southern Presbyterian Church to see that the freedmen were included in the church and in 1869 he nominated seven freedmen for the office of ruling elder in Zion Presbyterian Church, preached the ordination service, and with the white members of his session laid hands on his black brothers.

Unfortunately, the pressures of Reconstruction and the Freedmen’s Bureau, and the hardened positions of notables like B. M. Palmer and R. L. Dabney brought the church to a pivotal moment. The weight of political and social issues eventuated in “organic separation” of white membership and black membership and the formation of churches along the color line. Girardeau alone dissented against the resolution at the 1874 General Assembly in Columbus, Mississippi, for which he served as Moderator.

In 1875, B. M. Palmer nominated Girardeau for Professor of Didactic and Polemic Theology at Columbia Seminary, a position W. S. Plumer had held since 1866. In January 1876 he began his seminary labors which lasted until June 1895. During his academic career he continued as a popular preacher in the Southern Church, defended biblical orthodoxy against the inroads of modernism in the Woodrow Controversy at Columbia Seminary, labored actively against union with the Northern Presbyterian Church, served the courts of the church tirelessly, contributed many theological, ecclesiological, and philosophical articles to academic journals, and wrote several important monographs on theology, worship, and philosophy. He made significant contributions to the doctrine of adoption and the diaconate.

Girardeau and his beloved wife “Sal” had ten children who crowned their forty-nine years of marriage. Seven Girardeau children lived to adulthood while three died in infancy. Three Girardeau daughters married Presbyterian ministers, including the notable theologian and churchman Robert Alexander Webb. This pastor to slaves and theologian of the Southern Church died quietly at his home in Columbia on June 23, 1898, just a few months after his friend R. L. Dabney had passed away. B. M. Palmer wrote of Girardeau that “It will be long before another generation can produce his equal; and those, who have known him from the first to last, feel that we lay him to rest among the immortals of the past.” His body rests just a few short steps from his mentor and friend James Henley Thornwell in Columbia’s Elmwood Cemetery.

Source: PCA Historical Center

574 Pages
Publisher: Sprinkle Publications

February 7, 2017

“Cursed,” Yet Blessing Yahweh (Job 1:13-22)

img_3641On Sunday, January 29, 2017, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “Cursed,” Yet Blessing Yahweh from Job 1:13-22.

God gives and God takes away; God is God, and he is to be worshipped.

1. Devastation and Disaster–Fourfold tragedy befalls Job and he falls on the ground to worship. “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away…”

2. Sorrow and Service–when trouble befalls you, you are to worship. “…blessed be the name of the LORD.”

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN to “‘Cursed,’ Yet Blessing Yahweh” (Job 1:13-22) at

January 30, 2017

The Beginning (Mark 1:1-8)

20170122-dt-18_17-19-memeOn Sunday, January 22, 2017, Mr. Robert Mossotti preached “The Beginning” from Mark 1:1-8:

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,

“Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness :
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”

John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN to “The Beginning” (Mark 1:1-8) at

January 28, 2017

Imputation of Wrong Motives (Job 1:6-12)

20170115-1-peter-5_8-10-memeOn Sunday, January 15, 2017, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “Imputation of Wrong Motives” from Job 1:6-12.

Salvation is not an external blessing which we have caused and that we can be stripped of, but is an internal God-given gift that can never be taken away.

1. Satan’s Job—To accuse God’s people in the Divine Council as the loyal opposition who acts subservient to the LORD. Martin Luther writes: “Satan is God’s Satan.”

2. Satan’s Accusation—Satan presumes Job’s fear of God is tied to God’s blessing and protection of Job, the lack of which would provoke Job to lose his fear of God.

3. God’s Good Government—Since Job’s faith comes from God, Satan’s God-allowed test of Job is equally a test of God’s government of his creatures. In trial don’t claim God doesn’t love you. If Job’s faith was found true, so will that of God’s people.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN to “Imputation of Wrong Motives” (Job 1:6-12) at

January 17, 2017

A Long-Awaited Son (Ruth 4:13-22)

20161218-zechariah-3_20-memeOn Sunday, December 18, 2016, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “A Long-Awaited Son” from Ruth 4:13-22.

God oversees suffering to carry out his great plan of salvation.

1. The Birth of a Son—A son was needed to preserve the family name.

2. A Blessing to Naomi (vs. 14-16)—Trust in the Lord, he will provide.

3. A Bigger Picture (vs. 17-22)—The providence of God works through generations to prepare the way for his great work of redemption through Christ, the Son of God.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN to “A Long-Awaited Son” (Ruth 4:13-22) at

January 16, 2017

A Testimony True (John 21:20-25)

20161211-john15_26-27-memeOn Sunday, December 11, 2016, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “A Testimony True” from John 21:20-25.

Whoever trusts that Jesus Christ is Life Incarnate will have life in his name.

1. What About Him?—Who are we to complain about God’s dealings with his people?

2. A True But Partial Testimony—The Jesus of whom John writes is the Word who created all things and dwelt among us.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN to “A Testimony True” (John 21:20-25) at

November 26, 2016

God, Judge Us First! (1 Peter 4:15-19)

Robert Mossotti

Mr. Robert Mossotti, OPC Licentiate

On Sunday, November 13, 2016, Mr. Robert Mossotti preached “God, Judge Us First!” from 1 Peter 4:15-19.

But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And

‘If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN to “God, Judge Us First!” (1 Peter 4:15-19) at

November 25, 2016

The King Fisher (John 21:1-6,8-11)

Podcast Art JohnOn Sunday, November 6, 2016, Rev. Joe Troutman preached “The King Fisher” from John 21:1-6, 8-11.

As a net draws fish from the sea, so God uses the proclamation of the gospel to draw sinners to Jesus Christ.

1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ—All revelation brings glory to God’s name and sinners to repentance.

2. Cast the Net—The church is to cast the net as her Lord commands, and totrust him for the results.

3. Feeding His Sheep—God has chosen to use the church as the ordinary means by which he calls sinners to faith. The faith of the church is built up by the preaching of the word and the administration of the sacraments.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN to “The King Fisher” (John 21:1-6,8-11) at

November 22, 2016

A Not-So-Secret Agenda (John 20:30-31)

Podcast Art JohnOn Sunday, October 23, 2016, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “A Not-So-Secret Agenda” from John 20:30-31.

Faith in Jesus Christ is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen.

1. Seeing Is Not Believing—rather, it is by the hearing of the gospel preached.

2. These Are Written—that unbelievers might believe, and that believers might continue to believe.

3. Life In His Name—Believers bear the name of Christ.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO “A Not-So-Secret Agenda” (John 20:30-31) at

October 13, 2016

Proof Positive (John 20:11-18)

Podcast Art JohnOn Sunday, October 2, 2016, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “Proof Positive” from John 20:11-18.

Just as Mary testified to the resurrection of Jesus, we the church must also testify, and God will use us as he used her and others in the early church, to draw sinners to himself.

1. Messengers of Hope—The presence of the angels hints at the fact that Jesus’s tomb is empty because he rose from death and walked out.

2. Whom Are You Seeking?—Do you seek one to take away your earthly problems, or a Savior and Lord who saves you from the wrath of his Father for your sins?

3. I Have Seen the Lord—If God can use Mary and the early church to testify to Christ’s resurrection and ascension, then he can use you, too.

Listen to “Proof Positive” (John 20:11-18) at