Church History

Thoughts on the 85th General Synod of the Bible Presbyterian Church

I really look forward each year to seeing all the “Fathers and Brothers” at the Bible Presbyterian Church General Synod. This year was our 85th General Synod and it took place in Grand Island, NY. The food and the company did not disappoint. My family came along for the week and we especially enjoyed time …

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Review of Reformed & Evangelical across Four Centuries

Reformed & Evangelical across Four Centuries, The Presbyterian Story in America by Nathan P. Feldmuth, S. Donald Fortson III, Garth M. Rosell, and Kenneth J. Stewart. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2022, 364 pp. This is a valuable book which holds the interest of the reader, no small feat for a book on Presbyterian history. The …

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The Changing Name of the Village of Unionville, NY

Today’s Unionville, NY had other names in its early years. According to the histories, it was once known as “Tucker’s Store” since an early resident, Henry Tucker, operated a store out of his house here. Then the general area was referred to as “Westown” (with one “t”) or “Westtown” (with two “t’s”) being as it …

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An 1878 Surprise

Two newspapers noted a surprise wedding at the Unionville Presbyterian Church in 1878. The first is the Evening Gazette of Port Jervis, NY of August 1st of that year. The second, similar but with a few changes, is the Tri-States Union, also of Port Jervis, NY but from the next day, August 2nd.  

The hiking deaths of two Old Testament professors.

In 1979 Covenant Seminary professor J. Barton Payne died from a fall while climbing Mt. Fuji on sabbatical in Japan. In 1996 Denver Seminary professor Bob Alden died of a heart attack shortly after hiking in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. I had learned about each of these cases some years ago, but conflated them …

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The Other BPC – Where are they now?

The impact of Bible Presbyterianism as a movement is greater than one might consider at first impression. While the Bible Presbyterian Church today is a but a small group of about 28 churches, there are churches in other denominations who share much of same history in their early years. These churches are principally those which …

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John Witherspoon and the Connecting of American Presbyterians

John Witherspoon and the Connecting of American Presbyterians Speech given at the 84th General Synod of the Bible Presbyterian Church meeting in Cape Canaveral, Florida, August 9, 2021. by Rev. Douglas J. Douma [Introductory Remarks: On the theme of connectivity at the level of the general assembly (or synod in the case of the BPC), …

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A story of Rev. Thomas Grier, “Minister of Minisink”

The following is excerpted from “The History of Sullivan County” by James Eldridge Quinlan, 1873. Rev. Thomas Grier (or Greer) was the founding pastor of each the Westtown and Unionville Presbyterian Churches. Here we find him laboring in a neighboring county.   There is ground for belief that Rev. Thomas Greer, a Presbyterian clergyman of …

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An 1880 Sermon of Henry Frost Wadsworth

[July 4 1880, sermon of Rev. Henry Frost Wadsworth, pastor of First Presbyterian Church at Unionville, NY] Psalm 144:15 Yea happy is that people whose God is the Lord. The psalmist was accustomed to trace genuine prosperity to its true and only source, whether relating to individuals or nations. He found from experience that every …

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An 1864 sermon of Henry Frost Wadsworth

[A January 1864 sermon of Rev. Henry Frost Wadsworth, pastor of First Presbyterian Church at Unionville, NY. Found among the historical papers of the church.] Rom. 12:11 – Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. There are some who entertain the idea that industry is in competition with religion. Such claim that …

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A Battle on the Board of Trustees at Westminster Seminary, 1935-1936.

[I’ve been collecting references to this event. While I haven’t written a prose account, I figured the references themselves (chronologically ordered) might be of interest to OPC, BPC, and Machen scholars.] J. Gresham Machen to Presbyterian minister Roy T. Brumbaugh, 10/9/1935 – “It looks as though the crisis were on in the Seminary board meeting. …

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1948 OPC Minority Report on the Free Offer of the Gospel

[This is the text of the minority report on the free offer of the Gospel written by William Young and Floyd Hamilton in 1948 in opposition to the Majority Report on that subject written by John Murray, Ned Stonehouse, and Arthur Kuschke.] On the free offer of the gospel, the undersigned find themselves unable to …

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Unionville Church Minutes, 1870-1879

March 25th, 1870 Session met at the call fo the Moderator. Opened with prayer. Present H. F. Wadsworth, Moderator, Isaac Swift, Peter C. Hanford. (Absent Marcus Haynes.) Mr. Oliver Grover was received into the church by letter of dismission and recommendation from the Second Presbyterian church at Newburyport Mass. Closed with prayer. H. F. Wadsworth, …

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Unionville Church Minutes, 1860-1869

April 28th 1860 Session met at the call of he Moderator. Present H. F. Wadsworth (Moderator) Joseph Chandler, Isaac Swift, Gamaliel Russel, Peter C. Hanford, Elders. Opened with prayer. Mrs. Sarah Bucklee appeared before Session and desired to be admitted into the church. After due examination on the doctrines of Christianity and experimental piety they …

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Unionville Church Minutes, Start of 2nd Session Book-1859

[Second book] Unionville, Orange Co., N.Y. Session Records 1851-1909 Records. Unionville. Orange Co. N. Y. Septem. 21St 1857 Session met at the call of the Moderator after Divine Service. Present. N. E. Pierson, Pastor. B. Vanfleet, P. C. Handord, Elders. Absent A. Bullock. The moderator stated that the object of the meeting was the appointed …

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Unionville Church Minutes 1850-End of 1st Session Book

Session records of the Presbyterian Church of Unionville 1850. May 4. Session met by mutual agreement, having invited Revd Augustus Seward to be present + moderate this meeting. Present. Augustus Seward, Moderator, Benjamin Vanfleet + Peter C. Hanford, Elders. Absent Joseph Chandler + Alfred Bullock, Elders. The meeting was opened with prayer. Miss Eliza Ann …

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