Welcome to the Still Waters Revival Books video book summary for “Earnest Contendings for the Faith” (1723) by Robert McWard
McWard “strongly opposed the Resolutions” and “for a sermon preached at Glasgow from Amos 3:2, in February, 1661, he was banished to Holland… He collected and arranged the papers of his preceptor, Samuel Rutherford, and gave to the world his ‘Letters'” (Johnston, “Treasury of the Scottish Covenant,” p. 342).
“The Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology” (p. 537-38) also notes that McWard “studied at St. Andrews where he was a favorite of Samuel Rutherford” and that “when Rutherford went to London as a Commissioner to the Westminster Assembly, McWard accompanied him as an amanuensis… was a zealous Protester… in 1661 he preached against an overturning of the Covenanted Reformation by Parliament, entering a protest in heaven that he desired to be free from the guilt thereof. He was imprisoned ‘for sedition and treasonable preaching… he helped with the editing and publication of Rutherford’s “Examen Arminianismi” (Utrecht, 1668)… wrote several tracts to encourage resistance to those whom he believed were usurpers of power in the Church of Scotland. He asserted that is was not, as then constituted, ‘of the genus Church at all, — that, by its mere physical force-raid on the real Church of Scotland, it has proved itself to be absolutely devoid of ecclesiastical rights.’ … such publications rendered McWard, with his close friend John Brown of Wamphray, odious to the regime of Charles II, and diligent efforts were made to have him expelled from Holland… He continued zealous against the Indulgences, opposing the efforts of Robert Fleming, his successor, at conciliation (see “Earnest Contendings for the Faith”)… Wodrow characterized him as ‘a person of great knowledge, zeal, learning, and remarkable ministerial abilities.'”
The answers to Robert Fleming’s proposals for union with the indulged (found in “Earnest Contendings” and as set in the historical context noted above) exhibit the true spirit of the covenanting movement in regard to numerous church issues (such as separation, schism, covenanted obligations, the nature of the visible church, attainments, etc.).
The principles set forth by McWard, as a faithful defender of the Covenanted Reformation, can be easily applied to the current state of declension in the modern Presbyterian and Reformed churches. This makes McWard’s book an exceedingly helpful aid, regarding a broad spectrum of practical church issues, for those seeking to maintain the original (as held to by most of the Westminster Divines) covenanted testimony in our day.
418 pages, this book contains a glossary and index.
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