Presbyterians of the Past

Zelotes L. Holmes, 1815-1885

Zelotes Lee Holmes constructed his eight-sided home with hand-mixed batches of concrete in Laurens in 1859. The building has been modified extensively and is currently the Octagon House Apartments. The...

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William M. Paxton, 1824-1904

When B. B. Warfield delivered his memorial message for W. M. Paxton in Miller Chapel at Princeton Seminary he said of his friend and colleague that “Dr. Paxton’s power always lay more in what he was than in what he did...

Thomas S. Williamson, 1800–1879

Thomas Smith was born in March, 1800, in Union District, South Carolina, to Rev. William and Mary (Smith) Williamson. His father was the pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Fair Forest. In 1805, the family moved to...

Richmond Theater Fire, 1811

Catastrophes redirect people from the temporal to the eternal. After 911, many confused, disconsolate, and mourning individuals that formerly had little thought of God went to churches seeking answers to their questions...

Andrew D. Mitchell, 1824-1882

Andrew Dinsmore Mitchell was born to David and Martha (Dinsmore) Mitchell in York County, Pennsylvania, February 2, 1824. His education was accomplished in Slate Ridge mostly through the teaching of Rev. A. P. Happer...

Notes & News

While reading Nehemiah 9, I was impressed by how much Covenant theology is rooted in history. In the Old Covenant, God often spoke through his prophets, priests, and kings to remind his people of what he had done for them in the past. We get focused on what is happening now and what we desire for the future, but then we fail to remember God's faithfulness in the past. This memory lapse is aggravated by a culture that has limited historical interest, if any at all. You have probably heard the comment "History is just that, history!," or maybe Henry Ford's comment that "History is Bunk!" For Covenant theology history is essential. One aspect of the Old Covenant was the use of memorials in the book of Joshua, stones of remembrance. When individuals traveled by the memorial it turned their thoughts to what God had done at that point in the history of redemption for his people. It would be good to keep a Blessings Book similar to a diary, or a file in your smart-phone to record all God's unusual providences and goodness from the past. When times get tough, turn to your list of Covenant memorials to be reminded of God's Covenant faithfulness. We need to count our blessings, name them one by one, and we will be encouraged to see what God has done. The price of the Covenant was Christ's atoning death accomplished in redemptive history and it reminds us that what has gone before is essential for our present and future growth in sanctification, service, and eternal glory. [posted October 25, 2019]

The post of September 21, 2019 about Michael D. Kalopothakes is a revision of an earlier version. A reader of Presbyterians of the Past--see notes at the end of the biography--provided information that was used to correct some errors in the original. Readers are encouraged to communicate temperately with the site author via the form on the "About" page if more accurate information and sources are known. [posted 9/23/2019]

Designing Churches Series