History of Protestantism

History of Protestantism (0000)


James A. Wylie: Earnest Contender for the Faith by Tom Stewart

James Aitken Wylie was born in Scotland in 1808. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Psalm 37:23). His collegiate preparation was at Marischal College, Aberdeen (a North Sea port city and industrial center of northeastern Scotland) and at St. Andrews (Fife, East Scotland). “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth” (Lamentations 3:27). Though we could find no account of his conversion, he entered the Original Seccession Divinity Hall, Edinburgh (Scotland, the land of John Knox) in 1827, and was ordained to the Christian ministry in 1831; hence, the name “Rev. J. A. Wylie” is affixed to most of his written works. “And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). HOP 1.1

His disposition to use the pen as a mighty “Sword of the Lord” (Judges 7:18) is evidenced by his assumption of the sub-editorship of the Edinburgh “Witness” in 1846. “My tongue is the pen of a ready writer” (Psalm 45:1). In 1852, after joining the Free Church of Scotland- which was only inaugurated in 1843 (Dr. Chalmers as moderator), insisting on the Crown Rights of King Jesus as the only Head and King of the Church- Wylie edited their “Free Church Record” until 1860. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1). The Protestant Institute appointed him Lecturer on Popery in 1860. He continued in this role until his death in 1890. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). HOP 1.2

Aberdeen University awarded him an honorary doctorate (LL.D.) in 1856. “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8). His travels took him to many of the far-flung places, where the events of Protestant history transpired. “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also” (Romans 1:15). As a prominent spokesman for Protestantism, Dr. Wylie’s writings included “The Papacy: Its History, Dogmas, Genius, and Prospects”- which was awarded a prize by the Evangelical Alliance in 1851- and, his best known writing, “The History of Protestantism” (1878). “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the Common Salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the Faith which was once delivered unto the Saints” (Jude 3). HOP 1.3

It is a solemn and sad reflection on the spiritual intelligence of our times that J. A. Wylie’s classic, “The History of Protestantism” went out of publication in the 1920’s. “Little children, it is the Last Time; and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the Last Time” (1 John 2:18). But- “we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:39). And, we continue to “look for Him” (Hebrews 9:28) to come for us to cause us to “escape all these things” (Luke 21:36) in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, while we intently “occupy” (19:13) for Him in the Gospel fields, which are “white already to harvest” (John 4:35). “Even so, come [quickly], Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). HOP 1.4

Amen, and Amen