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Closed until 2012

Posted on Dec. 23, 2011

NCFIC blogging will pause starting next week. We look forward to communicating with you in 2012.

Some blogging will continue at ScottBrownOnline.

 

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A Covenant for Reformation Assented to in 1728

Posted on Dec. 20, 2011

A friend told me about this covenant and the story behind it. It helps us see our own days in light of needed reformation and the kind of covenant people that are necessary to accomplish it.

Stephen Williams, a New England pastor, drew up A Covenant for Reformation for his town in 1728. Here is the background of the story. Born in 1693, Stephen was ten years old when he was captured by hostile Indians, along with several family members and over one hundred fellow residents of Deerfield, Massachusetts, in the Deerfield Raid of 1704. He survived an eighteen-month captivity and returned to New England. Like his father, the Reverend John Williams (1664-1729) before him, Stephen attended Harvard College and became a minister. In 1716, he became the first minister of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, and his influence was felt throughout the Connecticut River Valley. Williams was pastor when the Great Awakening swept the region in the 1730’s and 40’s. He lived to a ripe age, passing on in 1783, the year of peace with Britain that confirmed American Independence.

His portrait, attributed to Joseph Badger (circa 1755), conveys Williams’ social and intellectual prominence, with ‘Geneva bands’ (two strips of white cloth hanging from the collar). The fact that he had his portrait painted at a time when very few people could afford to do so, also marked Stephen Williams as one of a relatively few contemporary New Englanders to leave a record of how they looked.

[A COVENANT FOR REFORMATION was printed in Boston in 1728. It is a half folio sheet broadside. The lengthy preamble calls for a covenantal reformation (assented to in Long-Meadow in Springfield, MA, August 22nd 1728). Twelve numbered articles begin with a call for worship in families. The document ends with the calling of a Day of Humiliation (fasting and prayer) “for our Breaches of the Covenant.” ]

A COVENANT FOR REFORMATION

Assented to in Long-Meadow, in Springfield, August 22nd 1728

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Fortifying the Foundations: 2011 - A Year in Review!

Posted on Dec. 20, 2011

We should be about the business of remembrance—in our own lives, our families, our churches, and our nation. Enjoy looking through this brief book—a summation of many of God’s providences in and around the NCFIC during the year of 2011, with a brief glimpse into 2012.

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William Gouge on the Necessity of the Family for the Building of God’s Kingdom

Posted on Dec. 19, 2011

During the Reformation, when idolatry and superstition pervaded the church of Rome, the Reformers gave a clarion call to the church, to return to the sufficiency of Scripture and the efficacy of the God-appointed means of grace. In this endeavor, they fought to purify the worship of God from human inventions and manmade traditions, by restoring biblical order to the church. However, they also had to restore the biblical doctrine of the family, in a day when men had grown complacent, celibacy had become prized, and monastic life had come to be seen as more ‘spiritual’ than family life.

The Reformers and their theological heirs recognized that the natural order of the family was not only good, but also essential for the advancement of the Kingdom of God, alongside the institution of the church. God had appointed for elders to preach the Word in the church, and for fathers to gather this spiritual manna for their homes, by teaching the Word to their families daily.

This was likewise understood by the framers of the Westminster Confession, who declared that, “God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth…in private families daily, and…more solemnly in the public assemblies” (WCF 21:6, SLBCF 22:6). Familial piety could not be sidestepped in the pursuit of revival in the church, for as Richard Baxter said, “You cannot expect a general reformation till you procure family reformation.” For if religion “is not promoted by these societies [families], it doth not prosper, nor promise much for future increase” (The Practical Works of Richard Baxter, Vol. 4, 385). The prefatory letter to the Second London Baptist Confession similarly notes that the “spring and cause of the decay of religion in our day…is the neglect of the worship of God in families by those to whom the charge and conduct of them is committed.”

Recognizing the necessity of family religion for the propagation of the Gospel, the Puritans diligently expounded the doctrine of the family and the duties enjoined to heads of households. One such treatise was the classic Of Domestical Duties, by the Westminster divine, William Gouge. In it, he beautifully relates the necessity, utility, and efficacy of the family for the building of God’s Kingdom. Below is a short excerpt from his work, which can be found through Chapel Library:

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On the Public Reading of Scripture

Posted on Dec. 16, 2011

Tim Challies posted an excellent article on Scripture reading in church. Here are the guidelines we use in our church to help men prepare for reading Scripture.

Also, consider Unleashing the Word by Max MacLean on the same subject.

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Christianity Today Asks: “Should Sunday School Be for the Whole Family?”

Posted on Dec. 16, 2011

ChristianityToday posted an article today, asking the question: “Should Sunday School Be for the Whole Family?” 

As evidence mounts that children would benefit from more integration into adult church life, some advocates face criticism for taking a good idea too far. See the whole article here.

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Seven Observations From an NCFIC “Outsider”

Posted on Dec. 15, 2011

Pastor Kevin Ivy of Cleary Baptist Church in Mississippi and his family came to our Gospel-Centered Marriages for a Glorious Church conference two months ago.  Here are seven observations that he has.

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The Factory That Manufactures

Posted on Dec. 14, 2011

“…the business done in the home is nothing less than the shaping of the bodies and souls of humanity. The family is the factory that manufactures mankind.”
Brave New Family, by G.K. Chesterton

 

 

 

 

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“Preaching in a Graveyard

Posted on Dec. 08, 2011

Jonny White, during his presentation on Chapter 20 of the Baptist Confession of 1689 - “On the Gospel and the Extent of the Grace Thereof,” told this story of the indispensability of the power of the Holy Spirit to bring life. He spoke of a seminary professor who used to take his students to a grave yard. He would say, “preach….” Here is an audio clip of the story:

Gospel Extent.mp3

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