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In this video, I share about my efforts to evangelize and promote the Reformed faith in Rhode Island and especially in a multi-ethnic, working class area of Providence (read more here). At the end, I make an appeal for help.

I can be reached at 515-783-5637 or by e-mail at mjives dot refparish at gmail dot com.

Gospel pleading

“He would bend over the pulpit,” said one of [Thomas Chalmers’] old hearers, “and press us to take the gift, as if he held it that moment in his hand, and would not be satisfied till every one of us had got possession of it. And often when the sermon was over, and the psalm was sung, and he rose to pronounce the blessing, he would break out afresh with some new entreaty, unwilling to let us go until he had made one more effort to persuade us to accept of it.”

When I came to Rhode Island almost fourteen years ago, I inherited a small congregation, mostly of first generation Reformed folk. Because the core of them had become Reformed since in the late 70s and early 80s, and because of the sound, faithful teaching of their minister, the congregation was solid and well-established. When I arrived, I was eager to evangelize and had been swayed by Thomas Chalmers’ (1780-1847) to attempt outreach on the parish principle. But there really was no residential neighborhood to speak of near the church building, and all of our folks traveled at least 15 or more minutes from various points of the state. While it certainly has accommodated our members, it has put me at some disadvantage to implement my parish vision. But there is no paradise this side of glory, so I do not complain. My attitude has been to work with what I’ve been given and trust the Lord to bless in His way and His time.

I began with a district in walking distance of my residence in Cranston, Rhode Island and approximately a 15-20 minute drive north of the church. When we moved to a different rental, I began working in that area. There, I had some greater success in making decent contacts. One lady came to church for a short time; and we rented a hall right in the neighborhood a few times with some small success. Continue Reading »

Go and possess!

A fine quote by Charles Spurgeon. Chalmers could not have said it better! –

“Brethren, let us hunt up destitute localities, and see that no district is left without the means of grace. This applies not only to London, but also to villages, hamlets, and little groups of cottages. Heathenism hides away among the lone places, as well as in the crowded slums of our mammoth cities. May every piece of ground be rained upon by gospel influences!”

thomas-aquinas-ceasefire-640Thomas was in some respects a forerunner of Protestantism. Can contemporary Romanists make such a claim, relativizing tradition and exalting the authority of Scripture? Methinks not:

“Nevertheless, sacred doctrine makes use of these authorities as extrinsic and probable arguments; but properly uses the authority of the canonical Scriptures as an incontrovertible proof, and the authority of the doctors of the Church as one that may properly be used, yet merely as probable. For our faith rests upon the revelation made to the apostles and prophets who wrote the canonical books, and not on the revelations (if any such there are) made to other doctors. Hence Augustine says (Epis. ad Hieron. xix, 1): “Only those books of Scripture which are called canonical have I learned to hold in such honor as to believe their authors have not erred in any way in writing them. But other authors I so read as not to deem everything in their works to be true, merely on account of their having so thought and written, whatever may have been their holiness and learning.”

-Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1.1.8

God wholly one

“God is wholly one Deut. 6. 4. Gal. 3. 20. 1 Tim. 2. 5. Hos. 13. 4. Mal. 2. 10. All creatures are subject to multiplication; there may be many of them and are many; many Angels, men, starres, and so in the rest. Not one of them is singular and onely one so; but one might conceive that there should be more; for he that made one of them, can make another and another, and as many as he pleaseth; but God is simply one, singular, and sole essence; there neither is, nor can be more then one God, because he is ths first and best essence; and there can be but one first, and one best. He is Infinite, and there cannot be but one Infinite because either one of them should include the other, and so the included must needs be finite, or not extend to the other, and so it self not be Infinite. There was a first man, and a first in every kind of creature, but not any absolute first save God: one Eternall, and one Incomprehensible, saith Athanasius in his Creed.”

-Edward Leigh (1602-1671)