August 30: Rev. Samuel Occam

August 30: Rev. Samuel Occam

A Great Blessing of the Great Awakening

In these devotionals before, we have written several times on the ministry of David Brainerd to the native Americans in the land.  Some of you may be familiar with the work of John Eliott among the same people in pre-Revolutionary days.  Others of early Christianity, including many Presbyterian clergy, saw in their existence an opportunity to spread the gospel.  But no where was there such a ray of hope than in the person and work of the Rev. Samuel Occom, a native American himself.

Born in 1743, of the Mohegan tribe, he was one of the first converts from among the native American tribes during the First Great Awakening.  It was said that his mother had first come to knowledge of Christ herself after contact with the revivalist preachers of the New Side Presbyterians.  Then Samuel Occom himself, at age 16, came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through the ministry of a Great Awakening preacher named Davenport.

Samuel sought out a Congregational minister  by the name of Eleazar Wheelock for the purpose of being discipled by him.  The latter had an Indian classical school in his own home.  Samuel entered Wheelock’s school and stayed there four years, studying the biblical languages as well as theology.  He began to minister to his own people in New England and Long Island.  While in Long Island, he married a Christian Indian, and to this couple, ten children were born.

On August 30, 1759, Samuel Occom was ordained to the gospel ministry by the Presbytery of Long Island.  His trial sermon was given on Psalm 72:9, “They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.”   It was received and  he was received as a Presbyterian minister.

With the purpose of raising support for Rev. Wheelock’s Indian charity school, Samuel Occom went to England, where he took the nation by storm.  Thousands came to hear this converted Indian minister, with the result that 12,000 pounds were raised for the Indian school. Even the king of England gave a large amount of funds.  Samuel Occum preached over 300 sermons while in England.

Upon arriving back in the colonies, events began to sour considerably.  Promises of support for Samuel’s family while he was absent from them were not fulfilled. Further, plans to establish an Indian school were dropped, with the money raised from the trip going to support an all-white school.  That later school is known today as the Ivy League educational institution, Dartmouth College.  It is said, given the circumstances, that Samuel could be listed as a co-founder of Dartmouth.  Samuel Occom, however,  was decidedly against the beginning of this ninth educational facility in the colonies, as it was taking money away from the strengthening of an all-Indian school.

Samuel Occom went up to New York and established the first Christian Indian settlement known as Brothertown, New York.  It later was moved to Wisconsin.  Samuel Occom went to be with the Lord on July 14, 1792.

Words to live by:  The early Presbyterians in our country had a desire to see the first inhabitants of America become Christians and reach their own people with the gospel.  The fruition of this desire was seen in Samuel Occom.  However, they could have treated their new converts is a better way. Certainly, what the Rev. Wheelock did to Occam was born out of sinful covetousness and theft, both directly forbidden in the tenth and eight commandments of the moral law.  The latter should have been disciplined by his church for those sins.  That Samuel Occom continued to minister after that in evangelism, is remarkable and a testament to the saving grace which was in his life.

False – Christian Missionaries , fooling people creating a mass hysteria


Godlessness in the Last Days
2Ti 3:1  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2Ti 3:2  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
2Ti 3:3  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
2Ti 3:4  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
2Ti 3:5  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
2Ti 3:6  For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
2Ti 3:7  Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2Ti 3:8  Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
2Ti 3:9  But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

Woman Dies after Prophet Puts Heavy Speaker on Her Body to Demonstrate a Miracle

Woman Dies after Prophet Puts Heavy Speaker on Her Body to Demonstrate a Miracle

A young lady has met her death after a failed miracle attempt by her South African pastor. According to wire reports reaching a South African pastor in a bid to perform a miracle, caused the death of the young lady after putting a heavy speaker on her. The girl died due to internal injuries she sustained.

The reports indicate that Congregates of the Mount Zion General Assembly went home with heads down on Sunday after a failed demonstration of power by the church pastor when a girl fainted after he put a very big and heavy speaker on top of her, promising her that she would not feel pain.

The woman later died from internal injuries caused to her lungs. Pastor Lethebo Rabalango had organised a night of worship at his church in Polokwane where he was teaching about the demonstration of power in which he emphasised that if Jesus walked on water, he too could do anything with faith.

Based on that point, he invited a girl from the praise team and asked her to lie down. He then ordered the ushers to carry a big speaker and put on her stomach saying the weight would not harm her. He then climbed on top of the speaker, adding pressure to suffocate the girl who remained quiet for she had already passed out.

After seating on top of the speaker which was still on the girl’s stomach for close 5 minutes, he got up and ordered the removal of the speaker, but the girl could not rise because she had fainted.

It took some elders giving her first aid treatment that she came back but complained of a broken rib. She was then taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The pastor, however, blamed the girl and accused her of having little faith for she could not withstand a very simple task.

“God’s Grace Does Not Cancel His Holiness”

Friday, August 12, 2016 | Comments (9)

by John MacArthur

One of the great dangers facing the church in these postmodern days is that professing believers will substitute the God of the Bible for a lesser deity of their own design—one that reflects their values, their morality, and their priorities. It’s a subtle shift, as men and women who claim to know and love God de-emphasize aspects of His nature and attributes that don’t sit well with them, or adhere to their worldview.

Even those who truly love God can venture onto that slippery slope, as they stress the more attractive features of God’s character and sidestep those that offend and convict. As we saw last time, many believers have lost all sense of the fear of God, and instead imagine Him in more casual, friendly terms. If we’re to truly worship the Lord, we need to eliminate such theological imbalance.

God’s Grace Does Not Cancel His Holiness

Perhaps we have lost the fear of God because we take His grace for granted. At the very beginning, God said to Adam and Eve, “The day that you eat from [the forbidden tree] you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17). They ate from it, but they were not struck dead on the spot. Their physical lives did not end that very day; in fact, they lived for hundreds of years. God showed them grace.

Throughout the Bible we see that God is gracious. The law called for death for adulterers, blasphemers, and even rebellious children. But many in the Old Testament violated God’s laws without suffering the death penalty the law prescribed. David committed adultery, but God didn’t take his life. God’s grace is greater than all our sin.

And He continues to be gracious. You and I are alive only because God is merciful. Instead of punishing every sin instantly with the penalty we deserve, God extends grace and goodness. That kindness ought to provoke us to repentance: “Do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4).

But our hearts are so desperately wicked and corrupt that rather than receiving God’s mercy with thankfulness and fearful contrition over our sins, instead, we begin to take His grace for granted. Consequently, when God does punish sin, we think He’s unjust.

People look at the Old Testament and question the goodness of God. Some have even suggested that we shouldn’t teach the Bible to children because the God it speaks of is too violent. Why, they ask, would God command the Israelites to destroy all the people living in Canaan? What kind of God would snuff out the life of a man simply for touching the Ark of the Covenant? How could a kind and loving God cause a bear to destroy a group of children for making fun of a prophet’s baldness? Did God really open the ground and swallow up people for rebelling against Moses’ authority? Are we really supposed to believe that God would drown the whole world?

We are so used to mercy and grace that we think God has no right to be angry with sin. Romans 3:18 sums up the world’s attitude: “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Do you know why God took the lives of certain people in the Bible? It was not because they were more sinful than anyone else; it was because somewhere along the line in the long process of grace and mercy, God had to set some examples to make men and women fear. He turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt, not because she did something worse than anyone else ever did, but because she was to be a monument to the exceeding sinfulness of sin.

First Corinthians 10 cites some Old Testament people who were destroyed, and verse 11 says, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction.” The highway of history is paved with God’s mercy and grace. But there are billboards all the way along, posted so that sinners may know that God at any moment has a right to take their lives.

God is gracious, but don’t confuse His mercy with justice. God is not unjust when He acts in a holy manner against sin. Don’t ever get to the place that you are so used to mercy and grace that you abuse it by going on in your sin. Don’t question God when He does what He has every right to do—to punish sin. Don’t abuse God’s grace; He will judge you, too. Remember this: He is holy, and He is to be feared.

The Real Question

The question is not why God so dramatically judges some sinners, but rather why He lets any of us live. God has every right to punish sin, and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Lamentations 3:22 says, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not” (KJV).

God’s mercy, however, is not His blessing on our sin. Most of us have been guilty of the same kind of sin of hypocrisy as Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11). Or we have come to the Lord’s Table in an unworthy manner like those in Corinth who died for their sin (1 Corinthians 11:30). Or we have acted in a worldly fashion like Lot’s wife, who was turned to a pillar of salt. The real question is not why God judged them so quickly and harshly, but why He hasn’t done the same with us.

As we already noted, one major reason for God’s mercy is that He is driving us to repentance. Romans 2:4 says, “The kindness of God leads you to repentance.” God, by His mercy and kindness to us, is often actually bringing us to the point where we see His love for us and our need of repentance.

The Chronicles of Narnia, a series of children’s books by C. S. Lewis, are a fantasy based in part on biblical truths. Aslan, the golden Lion, represents Christ. And in his description of that fierce and loving lion, Lewis has given evidence of a remarkable understanding of Christ’s character.

In one scene, some talking beavers are describing Aslan to Lucy, Susan, and Peter, who are newcomers to the realm of Narnia. In anticipation of meeting him, they ask questions that reveal their fears.

“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he—quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” [1]

After the children met Aslan, Lucy observed that his paws were potentially very soft or very terrible. They could be as soft as velvet with his claws drawn in, or sharp as knives with his claws extended.

We in modern Christianity have somehow missed that truth. While we are thankful for the reality of God’s grace, and while we want to enjoy the experience of His love, we have somehow neglected the truth of His holiness. That imbalance is eating at the heart of our worship.

God is a living, eternal, glorious, merciful, holy being. His worshipers must come in the contrition and humility and brokenness of sinners who see ourselves against the backdrop of that holiness. And that should put such thanksgiving and joy in our hearts for the gift of His forgiveness.

We are to live lives of confession, repentance, and turning from our sin so that our worship is that which fully pleases God. We dare not go rushing into His presence in unholiness. We cannot worship God acceptably without sincere reverence and godly fear, and our worship must be arrayed in the beauty of holiness. We must return to the biblical teaching of God’s utter and awesome holiness in order to be filled with the gratitude and humility that characterizes true worship.

The Sacrament of Covenant Baptism

What is baptism? Baptism is sign and seal of belonging to God’s covenant community, His visible church. It involves the application of water in the name of the triune God, marking the recipient out as special in God’s sight.

What is the covenant? The covenant is the name of the relationship God has entered into with a people. “Covenant” is used to describe this relationship in both the Old Testament period and the New Testament period.

What does baptism have to do with the covenant? There were two sacraments established by God related specifically to the covenant: a sacrament of initiation and a sacrament of continuation. The sacrament of initiation under the old covenant was circumcision and under the new covenant is water baptism. The sacrament of continuation was the Passover under the old and the Lord’s Supper under the new. These covenant signs and seals have always been part of the expression of God’s covenant relationship.

To what does baptism point? Baptism is a sign of God’s promises of eternal life and blessing found in Jesus Christ that are to be received by faith. Often it is misunderstood that what is pointed to in a person’s baptism is his or her personal faith in Christ. It is said to be “an outward sign of an inward change.” In this view the person’s (subjective) faith is at issue. But, in the context of God’s covenant, the issue is something objective—God’s promise. So, baptism, as was circumcision, is actually an outward sign expressing the reality of God’s promise.

Who is to receive the sign of covenant initiation? Those who aligned themselves with the people of God and the children of those who were part of God’s covenant family were to receive the sign. Or, to put it differently, the sign is for believers and their children.

Why are children set apart for the sign of covenant initiation? God has always dealt with families and so the children of at least one believing parent are regarded differently from the children of unbelieving households. This sign was a pointed reminder of the need for the same cleansing from sin for the child that the parent had already received by virtue of faith in God’s Savior. In Acts 2, Peter applies the same promises to new covenant believers as were given to old covenant believers in Genesis, both regarding families.

Does the sign save the child or indicate the baby is saved? No, the sign points to the promises of God that are to be received by faith. If, by God’s grace, the child grows up to believe, baptism becomes a sign of blessing of the promises of salvation found in Jesus Christ. Unbelief is a rejection of those promises. While it is the teaching of some that water baptism saves from sin, actually working a new nature in the recipient, this is a grave error. Many people have a false confidence in the fact that they were baptized, when in fact they are called to trust in Christ alone for salvation.

Did the covenant signs change with the new covenant? Yes, they became fuller. The covenant sign was broadened from circumcision to water baptism to encompass females as well as males. Now the signs are unbloody rather than bloody in the case of both sacraments. But certainly God has not left His church without a sign of covenant initiation for children under the new covenant. That would be totally contrary God’s design of His covenant.

Why should I baptize my baby? Certainly not because of superstition or tradition or some idea that it in any way saves your child, but only out of concern for God’s design and submission to God’s command to give your children the sign of covenant initiation. Water baptism is not necessary for salvation, but it is necessary for obedience to our covenant Lord.

Is dedication of babies acceptable instead of baptizing them? Dedication is not found in the Bible. It is the invention of man to fill the void created by neglect of God’s sacrament of covenant initiation of children born into Christian homes.

Why sprinkle water instead of immerse in it? The key factor is the water, as a symbol of the need of God’s cleansing grace realized in Jesus Christ. Sprinkling was the method of ceremonial cleansing and the sign of the coming of the Spirit in the new covenant.

Selected Bible passages for study Gen. 17:9-12; Ex. 12:47-48; Mt. 28:19; Acts 2:38-39; Acts 16:31-34; Rom. 2:28-29;Rom. 4:9-13; Gal. 3:17; Col. 2:11-12
Mode: Num. 8:7; Heb. 9:10-14; 1 Pet. 1:2; Ezek. 36:25; Acts 2:1-3.

Did John Calvin Burn Michael Servetus at The Stake?

Church history question: Did John Calvin murder people? More specifically, did he have Michael Servetus burned at the stake?

Calvin's 5 Rules for Right Prayer

One of the nerdy things I do in my free time, among other things, is run a Facebook and Twitter account called @JohnCalvinDaily. Every day, I post a fresh Calvin quote. The accounts have gained well over 15,000 total likes and followers, and people know that I run the accounts. I’ve had many interactions with Calvin haters over the years, and it’s almost always because of this issue.

So … did Calvin have Servetus burned at the stake?

I cover this issue in my free e-Book on John Calvin, but I’d like to take the (short) time to answer the question today.

What Really Happened Between John Calvin and Michael Servetus

When I first told a pastor friend of mine that I started a twitter account dedicated to the Reformer’s words, the first thing he said was, “You mean the guy who burned people at the stake?”

This was coming from an elder.

How much more would the average Christian layperson accuse Calvin unjustly?

When people think about Calvin burning people at the stake, the person that usually comes to mind is Michael Servetus. I won’t go into full details (If you want, watch this video from the 2009 National Desiring God conference where they discuss this issue in full detail). But I’ll give you the gist here.

So, this Michael Servetus guy. He was born the same year as Calvin. Born of Spanish notability, he was utterly brilliant, and had experience in astronomy, medicine, mathematics, and theology. Had he not gone Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, he probably would shine in our minds as a prominent figure of the renaissance era.

Instead, we’ll forever remember him as a heretic.

Where things started to go wrong was in 1531, when Servetus released a book called, On the Errors of The Trinity, in which he maligns traditional, orthodox Christianity for having embraced the Trinitarian understanding of God – that is, One God in three distinct persons; equal in divinity, but distinct in ministry. Servetus did not hold the traditional Christian position. A few years later, Servetus began to write Calvin letters. Again: Michael Servetus is the one who started this whole thing.

Servetus wrote to Calvin. And Calvin wrote back. This happened repeatedly for many years as they debated and discussed various theological matters. At first, Servetus’ tone was respectable, as if he wrote general inquiries. He seemed interested in learning from Calvin. Over time, however, Servetus became accusatory, cutting, and dismissive of Calvin. And at some point, Calvin stopped writing back.

In 1553, Servetus published another work. This book had two purposes: to further attack the doctrine of the Trinity, and personally slander the character of John Calvin. Problem is, Servetus is in France, and France is a catholic country. And at that time, open heresy was against the law (both in Geneva, Protestant communities, in Catholic communities, and all over). When authorities found out about the book, Servetus was charged and arrested for open heresy. Hersey was a crime, and if you break the law, you pay the price – burning at the stake, the standard punishment at the time.

They tried Servetus and eventually sentenced him to be burned at the stake. So now Servetus is in jail, waiting to be burned. The governing authorities were so mad at him that they demanded he should be burned slowly. There he was in jail, with no lively prospect of escape. John Calvin actually opposed people being burned at the stake. In fact, he even wrote a letter to the city council begging them not to burn Servetus.

Let me be clear: Calvin wasn’t opposing that Servetus be executed (as the law says) but was opposing that he wouldn’t be burned at the stake. What did the city council say to Calvin? The city council said no, and they burned Servetus at the sake. Calvin did not burn Michael Servetus at the stake. It was not Calvin’s fault at all.

So, that’s it. That’s what happened.

You can’t say that Calvin had Michael Servetus burned at the stake, because that simply didn’t happen. Click To Tweet

Sure, Calvin had many faults. You can say he was an arrogant man. You can say he was short with his critics. You can also make fun of him for being shy and awkward. All of these things are true. But you can’t say that Calvin had Michael Servetus burned at the stake, because that simply didn’t happen.

You may also like:

  1. 3 Common Misconceptions of Calvinism
  2. How John Calvin Suffered More Than You Realize
  3. Calvin’s 5 Rules for Right Prayer

10 Myths Commonly Believed About Infant Baptism

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The Evangelical church at large today seems to often misrepresent and misunderstand Infant Baptism in a number of ways. This list should not be seen as comprehensive or extensive. It is really just a cursory look at some of the common misunderstandings. It should also not be seen as a diatribe against any particular position, though the views and biases of the author, a committed Presbyterian, will certainly be seen in how I interact with some of these myths.


1) It’s a Roman Catholic practice

Many evangelicals automatically associate infant baptism with the Roman Catholic church. Because of this it can seem strange when they encounter Protestant brothers and sisters who have what seems to be very similar theology as them who also baptize infants. This (like many of the other myths) stems from the fact that infant baptism is a practice that predates the institution of the Roman Catholic church. Reformed churches and Catholic churches share this practice because they both recognize it’s historicity, though they have very different theological rationales for it.

2)  It washes away Original Sin

Those who associate infant baptism with Roman Catholicism might also mistakenly associate it with the Roman Catholic doctrine of Original Sin. In their minds, infant baptism may serve to remove original sin from the baby allowing the child to start with a proverbial moral blank slate. This is not the historic Reformed position on baptism. To the Reformed, baptism is not so much a literal washing away of sin, but a sign and a seal that points to the ultimate washing away of sin in Christ.

3) It is a heretical practice

People in evangelical circles like to throw the “H word” around a little bit too loosely and sometimes claim that infant baptism is heresy. However, there has never been any historic church council that has condemned it as such and it has no real logical or practical ties to any recorded heresy. If someone is going to call infant baptism heresy, the only real justification they could have for doing so is that they just really want to consider it as such.

4) It represents Baptismal Regeneration

Some also associate Infant Baptism with Baptismal Regeneration. They think that in Infant Baptism’s theological system, the baptizing of the infant makes the baby saved. This is simply not true. According to historical Reformed theology, baptism has never marked the actual salvation of the infant.

5) Credo-Baptism is the standard position

In the current state of affairs, it certainly does seem that baptist theology is the standard position of the church and that those who hold to Infant Baptism are the outliers. It should be noted, however, that throughout history this was not at all the case. From the earliest days of the church up until around the Reformation, baptist theology did not exist. Even after the Reformation, it did not come to prominence until it spread in North America. Historically speaking, the standard position of the Church regarding baptism was always Infant Baptism.

6) The Burden of Proof is on the Paedo-Baptist

With that being said it should also be noted that when talking about baptism the burden of proof should be on the credo-baptist to show why their position should be adopted in the face of such historic and pervasive opposition.

7) It is based only on tradition

One might then bring the argument that Infant Baptism is based solely in tradition and that historicity does not necessarily ensure that a doctrine is true. However throughout Church history, there have been many exegetical investigations into the Biblical precedent for Infant Baptism. The tradition of the doctrine in this instance is built upon Scripture.

8) There is no Biblical Precedent for it

Along with the previous myth is the myth that there is no actual Biblical precedent for Infant Baptism. This is quite false indeed. There may not be any proof-texts that outright say “baptize your babies” but the Church has historically recognized that infant baptism fits in with God’s dealing with whole nations, peoples, and families in redemptive history. It notices a continuity of the way in which God deals with his people from the Old Testament context to the current day in light of New Testament developments.

9) It has nothing to do with circumcision

Opponents of infant baptism might deny that there is any correlation between the Old Testament practice of Circumcision and the New Testament practice of baptism. This is where the continuity between Old and New Testament is most focused for the advocates of Infant Baptism. Paul Connects the two in Colossians 2:11-13. What needs to be recognized is that in the Reformed conception, both circumcision and baptism are signs and seals of the same thing. The signs are different but the thing signified is the same. The thing signified is Christ’s redemptive work. Peter says that baptism is not a removal of dirt from the body, but an appeal to God for a clean conscience. It is appeal to something greater, an appeal to a greater washing. Circumcision likewise is an appeal to the redemption of Christ as well. As God revealed overtime, baptism became the clearer sign, a preliminary fulfillment of Circumcision.

10) Since we don’t see any infants being baptized in the Bible we shouldn’t baptize infants.

Just because we don’t see many explicit baptisms of babies in the New Testament doesn’t mean that that was not the practice of the New Testament church. In Acts 18:8 we see a whole household (which most likely contained children) being baptized. We see this again in 1 Corinthians 1:16 and again with the Phillipian jailer in Acts 16:30-34. We also see in Acts 2:38-39 that Peter even goes so far as to say “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” Don’t miss that the promise is for you and for your Children. Paul also says in 1 Corinthians 10:2 that all who passed through the Red sea were baptized in the cloud and in the sea… including the children.