Session-Controlled Communion

7 05 2014

While Close Communion is probably the most biblical position I think “session-controlled” is likely the best way to handle the Lord’s Supper in our permissible and individualistic society.

     “Why session-controlled communion? Another question is more pertinent. Who determines the eligibility of a person to      partake in a sacrament? Is it the privilege of the individual or is this the responsibility of the church to make this   judgement?…As A.A. Hodge says, ”The officers of the church are the judges of the qualifications of those to be admitted to the sealing ordinances.”…Session-controlled communion simply means that the privilege of access to the Lord’s Supper is not determined by the individual but by the elders of the local church.”

– Dennis Prutow, “Public Worship 101″, pg. 213-214





April 2014 Pastoral Letter

30 04 2014

Greetings in the Name of the Lord!

Last month I asked you to pray for my trip to Charlotte, NC and the work of the committee I chaired on behalf of the ARP Synod. We were tasked with overseeing three particular questions before the Synod: 1) A response to the possibility of lawsuits coming against churches because of the strikedown of DOMA, 2) The question of the morality of Christians taking one another to civil courts, & 3) The official position of the ARP on the issue of homosexuality. 1st of all I want to thank-you for your prayers and am happy to report that our committee has finished our work. Secondly, on these three questions the 1st one is going to be taken up by a special committee of the Synod, on number two our committee wrote a 40-page paper (that you are more than welcome to read, just ask and I will e-mail it to you) on the issue, and thirdly our we approved a booklet on the issue and a copy can be found on back table for you to take a look at. It is a blessing to work on these issues on behalf of the ARP, and I thank-you for giving me the opportunity.

In the month of April we have begun to look at the book of Colossians. At the beginning of this book the Apostle Paul is engaged in grounding the faith of the folks in Colosse in the sufficiency and the supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ. The reason why Paul does this is because nearly all of the attacks of Satan against the Church come from one of these two angles. Either false teachers will tell you that you need to bring something to the table for your salvation, even the “decision” to follow Christ, which is itself a gift of God’s grace (Eph. 2:8-10) or that Christ is in Heaven powerless to affect the salvation of His sheep. However both of these fail to understand what it is that Christ has done and continues to do for the believer. Christ is not only the author and finisher of your salvation, but He through His constant intercession holds the Christian tightly in His grip and no power can take you out of His hand. (John 10:26-29). But it is not only when it comes to salvation that these two attacks are made. It is a vital part of our faith that we understand that all areas of life: family, work, government, etc… all find their fulfillment and their all-in-all in the blessed work and kingship of the Lord Jesus Christ. Rest and Trust in Him Alone!

One last thing for this letter that I have mentioned before is that the Elders are planning on beginning home visitation. We have a sign-up sheet on the back table with available dates. It is important again to understand the reason for these things. It is to provide an opportunity for you to share questions/comments on the life of the church as well as an opening for the Elders and I to bear your burdens and provide prayer and supplication. These visits should not (unless there is a pertinent reason) last more than 20-30 minutes and are again meant as an outgrowth of our spiritual oversight as elders of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not in the business of doing “home inspections” and want this to be a short and sweet opportunity for us to provide a pastoral presence. It is the plan to begin a rotation where we meet with every member of the church once a year. Please ask myself or an elder if you have any questions! J We want to make sure that we are accessible to help you with whatever you need.

 

In God’s Love,

Rev. Benjamin P. Glaser, M. Div. Pastor,

The Ellisville Presbyterian Church, ARP

www.ellisvillepres.org





Review of Kevin DeYoung’s Book “Taking God At His Word”

29 04 2014

One of the things I like about Kevin DeYoung’s writing style is that he has the ability to write very clearly, yet with vigor. What I mean by that is he can take a very complex subject and communicate it in a understandable way without sacrificing the depth of the issue at hand. This is certainly the case with this book and I would recommend it for anyone in your congregation, a friend, etc… who is struggling with the authority of the Scriptures and why it matters if Moses wrote Leviticus or Paul wrote 1 Timothy and if the Bible is inerrant and what that means.

Highly recommend





February 2014 Pastoral Letter

25 02 2014

Greetings in the Name of the Lord!

Each month I look forward to writing this pastoral letter as it provides a unique opportunity to include all the members of our church family in the work that I am honored and privileged to do as your pastor. My family and I are always blessed by the love and friendship we are shown and give thanks again for the many things y’all do for us. As a reminder we are hosting the spring meeting of the Mississippi Valley Presbytery on March 3rd and 4th. I want to let you know that you are more than welcome to attend the worship service at 7:00pm on Monday night. We value your prayers for those travelling and for the preparations. On another matter we should be concluding our morning worship series through Daniel on the Lord’s Day March 2nd. I will preach two “overview” sermons on the 9th and the 16thand then on the 23rd and the 30th I will preach two sermons on the Lord’s Supper. After this on April 6th we will start looking at Paul’s letter to the Colossians in the morning worship service.

While it may seem like quite a change going from an Old Testament book that is mostly about visions and dreams and shadowy Babylonian rulers to a New Testament letter that deals with the trials facing a body of believers in a city like Colosse one of the things you will notice is the place peace has in both the life of Daniel and the words of the Apostle Paul. In fact Daniel and Paul both understand that true peace in this life does not come in the form of material wealth or even the relative temporal situation one may be in, but this peace comes from the very nature of the God we serve. Daniel very quickly in his book finds himself an alien in a foreign land where he is forced to make a decision as to whether he will engage in activities that are clearly spoken against in the Word given to his fathers or if he will act pragmatically in order to make his life “easier” in this new environment. It is a similar situation that the new church in Colosse finds itself where false teachers, mostly Judaizers, have come into their family and are preaching a different gospel than the one Paul had brought to them through the blessing of the Holy Spirit. At the end of the second chapter the Apostle warns the people that the liberty to do those things that God has given them through the shed blood of His Son is not to be given away for the false and misleading promises of fleshly practices that outwardly may seem wise, but are “will worship”, that is worship devised by men, for men and not by God, for God, to whom all worship is to be focused and by whom we are to receive our worship practices. This is a part of why we do not engage in activities of the church calendar this time of year (or any part of the year), like Lent and its associated festivities. For we have been freed from the fleshly ordinances of the ceremonial law and have been given the liberty to worship in spirit and truth fitting with the will and command of God and not according to man’s devices.

One last thing this month, I have mentioned before that the Elders are planning on beginning home visitation. We are still working on the nuts and bolts and schedule on this. I will let you know more from the pulpit as we know more. This will again provide an opportunity for you to share questions/comments on the life of the church as well as an opening for the Elders and I to bear your burdens and provide prayer and supplication. Please ask if you have questions. We are here to serve you.

In God’s Love,

Rev. Benjamin P. Glaser, M. Div. Pastor,

The Ellisville Presbyterian Church, ARP

 www.ellisvillepres.org





January 2014 Pastoral Letter

28 01 2014

Greetings in the Name of the Lord!

It is almost hard to believe this is my 40th monthly Pastoral Letter in Ellisville. It has and will continue to be a pleasure to serve as your pastor. As always I am here to serve you and to assist in whatever it is you need in your Christian walk. This letter is a bit of a smorgasbord of different things that are coming up in the life of the church with a short thought on Daniel. 1st of all we will have a luncheon on Feb. 16th (a sign-up sheet is on the back table) and on Feb. 22nd there will be a church clean-up/prep day to get things ready for the Mississippi Valley Presbytery meeting we are hosting on March 3rd and 4th. I want to let you know that you are more than welcome to attend the worship service at 7:00pm on Monday night. We value your prayers for those travelling and for the preparations.

One of my favorite Marine Corps recruiting posters has a D.I. standing overtop a recruit at Parris Island, SC and the caption reads, “We don’t promise you a rose garden.” In many ways this is also true of the Christian Life in general. While God promises to always be faithful (Semper Fi!) to His Word, the fact of the matter is we live in a fallen world that is in active rebellion against God and His Word. There have been a number of issues that have come up in Daniel since we began our study of this book back in June, but none more so than the striking example of Daniel’s simple and strong faith in the sufficiency and blessing of the God of his Fathers, revealed in the Holy Scriptures. This ultimately is what everything in our Christian walk is about, whether in worship, our families, marriages, or whatever may come our way in life. Do we love the Lord our God and His plan and because of the finished work of Christ on the cross and His gracious work given freely to His people therefore submit ourselves to Him in love and obedience or do we love the things of this world and place them before Him?

On another matter we should be concluding our morning worship series through Daniel on the Lord’s Day March 9th. I will preach an “overview” sermon on the 16thand then on the 23rd and the 30th I will preach two sermons on the Lord’s Supper. It has not been my practice to preach “topical” sermons like this, but having preached once on Infant Baptism I thought it wise to use these two Lord’s Days between Daniel and our new series to preach on the other Sacrament of Christ’s Church. After this we will start looking at likely the book of Colossians, but I welcome your prayers as I cogitate, consult with the Elders, and pray on this.

One last thing this month, I have mentioned before that the Elders are planning on beginning home visitation. We are still working on the nuts and bolts and schedule on this. I will let you know more from the pulpit. This will again provide an opportunity for you to share questions/comments on the life of the church as well as an opening for the Elders and I to bear your burdens and provide prayer and supplication. Please ask if you have questions. Attached with this letter is the new Church Directory. If there are any corrections, please let me know.

In God’s Love,

Rev. Benjamin P. Glaser, M. Div. Pastor,

The Ellisville Presbyterian Church, ARP

www.ellisvillepres.org





With What Are We To Be Happy?

13 01 2014

With What Are We To Be Happy?

By Rev. Benjamin P. Glaser

Pastor, Ellisville Presbyterian Church, ARP

http://www.ellisvillepres.org

Happiness is something we all want to have. When people select what to study in school or look for particular relationships the first question that is usually asked by the “chooser” is will this make me happy?  Will I find what I need in this material thing or not?

In Ezra Chapter 3 you read as the people of God have returned from exile in Babylon and are tasked with restoring the worship of God in Jerusalem. Now Zerubbabel and Jeshua have a decision to make. How are they to go about doing this? How are these men going to go about rebuilding the temple and restarting the temple worship in the city of God? Well they have a choice here. They could look back at the way in which their fathers were worshiping God before the exile. Their fathers had made several accommodations to the will of the people and allowed any number of culturally relevant worship practices into the house of God. They had adopted the practices of the Canaanites and it had seemed to make the worshipers “happy”.  But what about God? Did this practice of being relevant to the whims of the people delight God? Well if you go back to 2nd Chronicles you’ll see that God was not happy about these things and the people faced the wrath of God for it.

So having understood this Zerubbabel and Jeshua know that for the people to have true happiness they need to rest in the wisdom of what God had commanded.  In v. 12 of this passage we see the reaction to this decision. The people weep with gladness and shout for joy! You see this is the “secret” to happiness in this life.  The kind of happiness that men and women need is not found in the false material happiness of this world, but in the blessed spiritual call of resting and trusting in the gospel of Jesus Christ and His worship.





George Gillespie On 1 Corinthians 11 and Women’s Headcoverings

15 12 2013

From “The English Popish Ceremonies”:

“As for the veils wherewith the apostle would have women covered whilst they were praying (that is in their hearts following the public and common prayer), or prophesying (that is, singing, 1 Sam 10:10; 1 Chron 25:1), they are worthy to be covered with shame as with a garment who allege this example for sacred significant ceremonies of human institution. This covering was a moral sign for that comely and orderly distinction of men and women which civil decency required in all their meetings; wherefore that distinction of habits which they used for decency and comeliness in their common behavior and conversation, the apostle will have them, for the same decency and comeliness, still to retain in their holy assemblies.  And further, the apostle shows that it is also a natural sign, and that nature itself teaches it; therefore he urges it both by the inferiority or subjection of the woman (1 Cor 11:3,8-9 for covering was then a sign of subjection), and by the long hair which nature gives to a woman (v.15); where he would have the artificial covering to be fashioned in imitation of the natural. What need we any more? Let us see nature’s institution, or the apostle’s recommendation, for the controverted ceremonies (as we have seen them for women’s veils), and we yield the argument. ”– George Gillespie, “The English Popish Ceremonies”, pg. 236

For more see the link here.








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