THE United Presbyterian Synod of Ohio is troubled with heresy. J. K. Andrews of Antrim, Ohio, has come to disagree with the 59th Article of the creed of that church.
The United Presbyterian Church has, like most other churches, substituted a man-made creed for the divine Word of God. This creed is known as the “Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Assembly.” The following are some of its questions and answers:—
Q. 9. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A. The word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.
Q. 14. What is sin?
A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.
Q. 40. What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?
A. The rule which God at first revealed to man, for his obedience, was the moral law.
Q. 41. Wherein is the moral law summarily comprehended?
A. The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments.
Q. 44. What does the preface to the ten commandments teach us?
A. The preface to the ten commandments teacheth us that because God is the Lord, and our God and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments.
Q. 57. Which is the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment is: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Mr. Andrews believes that this much of the catechism is in harmony with the Bible, but now comes a statement that he believes contradicts not only the Bible, but all we have quoted from the catechism:—
Q. 59. Which day of the seven hath God appointed to be the weekly Sabbath?
A. From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly Sabbath; and the first day of the week, ever since, to continue to the end of the world, which is the Christian Sabbath.
Mr. Andrews believes, and rightly too, that this article contradicts the Bible in that the Bible teaches that “the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord,” and does not teach that God appointed the first day of the week to be the weekly Sabbath from the resurrection of Christ to the end of the world. He believes that it contradicts the catechism in that the catechism teaches that “the word of God, which is contained in the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him,” while this portion of the catechism teaches that to glorify him one must keep the first day of the week, which thing is not only not commanded in that “only rule,” but is contrary to it.
Mr. Andrews, after reforming his practice to correspond with the “only rule,” started out to reform his brethren, and as a result, was tried for heresy by the session of his church and excommunicated. He appealed to the Presbytery, and was allowed thirty minutes to argue his appeal. He maintained that Christ came to redeem man from the curse of a broken law, and that a law could not be broken before it was made; and since, according to the 59th Article, the law of Sunday sacredness was made since the resurrection of Christ, therefore Christ did not die to redeem men from Sunday desecration.
The Presbytery refused to sustain the appeal from the decision of the session, which was as follows:—
WHEREAS Mr. J. K. Andrews believes that the seventh day of the week should be kept as the holy Sabbath, and that there is no Bible authority for keeping the first day of the week, and has so stated his belief in presence of this session: And whereas he further states that he feels morally bound in a public manner to advocate his belief, thereby making determined opposition to the principles of the United Presbyterian Church as contained in shorter catechism, question 59, thereby following a divisive course; therefore,
Resolved, That faithfulness to the laws of the church [not faithfulness to the law of God] requires that Mr. J. K. Andrews be suspended from the privileges of the church until he cease opposition and consent to follow the things which make for peace.
Mr. Andrews then appealed to the synod of Ohio, which recently convened at Wheeling, W. Va. This synod first passed a gag rule allowing Mr. Andrews but three minutes to argue his appeal, and then disposed of the matter, with the following resolutions:—
1. Resolved, That the appellant, by his plea against his own public profession [the catechism], against the public profession of his church [the catechism] and her fundamental law [the catechism], can claim no rights under a law that he has renounced, and can have no standing in this court, or any court of the United Presbyterian Church.
2. That this petition can in no sense be construed as an infringement upon the appellant’s personal liberty or his rights of conscience.
Not a single reference to the Bible is to be found in the resolutions condemning Mr. Andrews. No attempt was made to sustain the action against him with Scripture. And this is the course pursued by a church claiming to be Protestant.
The resolutions declare that this actions is not an infringement upon personal liberty or his rights of conscience. Doubtless Mr. Andrews considered his liberty infringed when he was confined to three minutes in arguing his appeal. But the attack on personal liberty and the rights of conscience is an after act. The United Presbyterian Church is doing everything in its power to secure the enactment and enforcement by the United States and by the several States, of laws enforcing the 59th Article of their creed—Sunday observance—upon all men, so that after excommunicating a member, they can, like the papacy, hand the offender over to the civil authorities for punishment. Mr. Andrews was refused an appeal to the Assembly, but will appear and enter a complaint.