Call to Assembly

The National Solemn Assembly Committee
P.O. Box 1139 • Murphys, CA 95247


The Need
The Plan
Call to Assembly
A Case Study
A Manifesto
The Committee
My Response

A Call to Pastors and Christian Leaders

“While sin is a very real personal problem, it is not exclusively individuals who fall short of the mark God sets for them. Whole churches sin grievously as do all other religious entities, including mission boards, evangelistic agencies and entire denominations. Even nations can be guilty of sin as nations. A generation that does not know how to put away corporate sin is a generation in trouble with itself and with God.”  (Richard Owen Roberts, Sanctify the Congregation, Introduction, pg. vii)

“Altogether too little is said about the repentance of individuals while virtually nothing is being said about corporate repentance. In fact the evidence seems almost overwhelming that most corporate religious entities know nothing at all about this urgent and necessary task.” (Richard Owen Roberts, Sanctify the Congregation, Introduction, pg. xii)

“We do not read in Scripture or in history of any notable general reformation among a people, except the leaders helped forward the work. Haggai’s and Zechariah’s sermons would never have built the temple, if Zerubbabel and Shealtiel, both godly magistrates, had not improved their authority to that end.” (Increase Mather, quoted in Richard Owen Roberts, Sanctify the Congregation, pg. 20)

“Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua…and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts: according to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not” (Haggai 2:4,5).

In 1629, the Puritans helped establish the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Colony grew and began to enjoy amazing prosperity and general welfare. With prosperity came the decline of godliness so much so that one observer said, “Religion begot prosperity, and the daughter devoured the mother.” Certain evident judgments began to come upon the colony. Increase Mather wrote: “Our iniquities admit of sadder aggravations than those of others because we sin against greater light and means and mercies than any other people, All circumstances considered, have ever done. Therefore the Lord is righteous in all the evils that have befallen us.” In only 50 years there was such decline in reverence for God, in respect for man, and in morals that there was issued a “call upon all the churches herein to send their Elders and Messengers that they might meet in the form of a synod to make most serious enquiry into the questions here propounded and answered.” The synod asked and answered two questions:

Question One: “What are the evils that have provoked the Lord to bring His judgments on New-England?”

Answer One: “There is a great and visible decay of the power of godliness amongst many professors in these churches. It may be feared that there is in too many a spiritual and heart apostasy from God…”

Answer two: “The pride that abounds in New-England testifies against us (Hosea: 5:5; Ezekiel 7:10). There is spiritual pride (Zephaniah 3:11), From whence two great evils and provocations have proceeded and prevailed among us…”

Answer Three: A neglect of the Second Commandment (“You shall not make for yourself an idol or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth.”) “Many of the rising generation are not mindful of the obligations their baptism engages them unto, that is to use their utmost endeavors that they may be fit for and so partake in all the holy ordinances of the Lord Jesus (Matthew 28:20)…

Answer Four: “The holy and glorious name of God has been polluted and profane among us. This is happening by the use of oaths and imprecations in ordinary discourse…”

Answer Five: “There is much Sabbath breaking…”

Answer Six: “There is much amiss concerning families and the government thereof. There are many families that do not pray to God constantly, morning and evening, and many more where the Scriptures are not daily read so that the Word of Christ might dwell richly in them…"

Answer Seven: “Inordinate passions. There are sinful heats and hatreds and reproachful and reviling expressions among church members themselves, who abound with evil surmising, uncharitable and unrighteous censures, back-biting and hearing and telling tales…law suits are frequent…”

Answer Eight: “There is much intemperance. That heathenish and idolatrous practice of drinking tone’s health is altogether too common and the shameful iniquity of sinful drinking is become a general provocation….the Indians have been debauched by those that call themselves Christians, pushing their bottles on them and making the drunk also. This is a crying sin…”

Answer Nine: “There is a great lack of truthfulness among men. Promise breaking is a common sin and for it New-England is spoken ill of in the world…”

Answer Ten: “Inordinate affections to the world. Idolatry is a God provoking, judgment procuring sin. And covetousness is idolatry (Ephesians 5:5)….”

Answer Eleven: There has been opposition to the work of reformation. Although the Lord has been calling upon us, not only by the voice of His servants but by awful judgments, that we should return unto Him who has been smiting us, yet men will not return everyone from his evil way…”

Answer Twelve: “A Public spirit is greatly wanting in most men. There are few that are Nehemiah’s spirit (Nehemiah 5:15)…”

Answer Thirteen: “There are sins against the Gospel, whereby the Lord has been provoked. Christ is not prized and embraced in all His offices and ordinances as He ought to be…”

Answer Fourteen: Finally, there are several [other] considerations…1. They are sins of which, for the most part, a great many are guilty. 2. They are sins which have already been acknowledged before the Lord on days of humiliation appointed by authority and yet not reformed. 3. They are sins which have not been punished (and some of them not punishable) by men, therefore the Lord Himself punishes for them.

Question Two: “What is to be done so that these evils may be reformed?”

Answer One: “It would tend much to promote the interest of reformation, if all that are in places above others become, as to themselves and their families, exemplary in every way possible. Moses, proposing to reform others, began with what concerned himself and his own household…”

Answer Two: “The present standing generation, both leaders and people, is for the greater part a different generation than was in New-England forty years ago. Thus for us to declare our adherence unto the faith and order of the Gospel...may be likewise a good means both to recover those that have erred from the truth and to prevent apostasy in the future."

Answer Three: “It is requisite that persons not be admitted unto communion in the Lord’s Supper without making a personal and public profession of their faith and repentance…”

Answer Four: “It is essential to reformation that the discipline of Christ, in the power of it, should be upheld to the churches.”

Answer Five: “It is requisite that utmost endeavors should be made to assure a full supply of officers in the churches, according to Christ’s institution…”

Answer Six: “It is incumbent upon responsible persons to take care that officers of the church have adequate encouragement and maintenance…”

Answer Seven: “Due care and faithfulness with respect unto the establishment and execution of wholesome laws would very much promote the interest of reformation.”

Answer Eight: “Solemn and explicit renewal of Covenant is a scriptural expedient for reformation…”

Answer Nine: In renewing Covenant, it is needful that the sins of the times should be engaged against and reformation thereof, in the name and by the help of Christ, promised before the Lord…”

Answer Ten: “It is to be most conducive to edification and reformation, that in renewing Covenant, such things as are clear and indisputable be expressed, so that all the churches may agree in Covenanting to promote the interest of holiness and close walking  with God.”

Answer Eleven: “As an expedient for reformation, it is good that effectual care should be taken respecting schools of learning. The interest of religion and good literature have been accustomed to rise and fall together.”

Answer Twelve: “Inasmuch as a through and a heart-felt reformation is necessary in order to obtain peace with God (Jeremiah 3:10) and that all outward means will be ineffectual unto that end unless the Lord pour down His Spirit from on high, it therefore concerns us to cry mightily unto God, both in ordinary and extraordinary ways, that He will be pleased to rain down righteousness upon us (Isaiah 32:5; Ezekiel 39:29; Hosea 10:12; Luke 11:13). Amen!”

NOTE: Roberts quotations from: Sanctify the Congregation: A Call to the Solemn Assembly and to Corporate Repentance; selected and edited by Richard Owen Roberts; International Awakening Press, PO Box 232 , Wheaton , IL 60189 ; Copyright 1994. [Back to Text]


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