View Poll Results: How do you subscribe to your particular Confession?

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  • I subscribe to the Confession because it's Biblical

    57 53.77%
  • I subscribe to the Confession insofar as it's Biblical

    49 46.23%
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The Confession of Faith discuss A Poll on Confession Subscription in the Theology forums; Originally Posted by Semper Fidelis "No, we confess the Scriptures together. If we disagree on something then we need to labor together to resolve this." ...

  1. #41
    armourbearer is offline. Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Semper Fidelis View Post
    "No, we confess the Scriptures together. If we disagree on something then we need to labor together to resolve this."
    Rich, this is a major solution to a major problem today. Brotherly responsibility and missional integrity mean we cannot simply agree to disagree but must patiently work with each other to come to the unity of the faith so that we can strive together for the faith of the gospel.
    Yours sincerely,
    Rev. Matthew Winzer
    Australian Free Church,
    Victoria, Australia

    "Illum oportet crescere me autem minui."

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by jawyman View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by CaseyBessette View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jawyman View Post
    Officers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church take a vow to "sincerely receive and adopt" these confessional documents "as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures."
    So do members who aren't officers technically "subscribe" to anything? (in the context of the OPC)
    Casey, technically members should (and most do) subscribe to the Westminster Confession. When someone becomes a member they are now under the authority of the Session and the Session is responsible to make sure covenant children as well as adult members are catechize properly. This would include studying, understanding, and subscribing to the Confession of the Church.
    Sorry, my question was not clear -- and I didn't intend to direct it solely at you. Is "subscription" merely a personal decision (non-officers)? Or does "subscription" mean something more, namely, a public vow (officers)? Or can it mean both?
    Casey, Chicagoland, OPC

  3. #43
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    Sorry, my question was not clear -- and I didn't intend to direct it solely at you. Is "subscription" merely a personal decision (non-officers)? Or does "subscription" mean something more, namely, a public vow (officers)? Or can it mean both?
    My understanding is basically that:

    1) officers vow they understand and agree with it completely and therefore "receive" it in good faith as faithful summary of what scripture teaches
    2) members vow they will submit to the government and discipline of the church (doctrines somewhat reflected in the confession) and study the church's doctrine peaceably

    This seems to me reasonable and protecting of the vital interests.

    New Christians who become members cannot be expected to immediately understand, far less vow they agree with every aspect of the profound doctrine contained in their church's confession.

    I just can't see setting that a high a bar in Scripture- to require all that before a church recognizes something God has done- redeemed a sinner, adopted him into His Body, and by His providence, placed him in a local body of believers and appointed leaders to oversee and govern that.

    It took me a long time to "unwind" the tenets of dispensationalism that were assumed by past Bible teachers and preachers. I'm not sure I could have articulated all the questions- let alone the answers starting as a member new to the reformed faith.

    But more than the practical effect, it does not Scripture does not require all that extensive examination of members- for officers, deacons, elders, ministers- yes. The men God calls to those offices are qualified by calling, gifts, doctrinal knowledge and joyous receipt of it, and an exemplary life. These are specifically set out in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1 and by analogy in Acts 6 and other places and established by other principles- but this is not the common requirement for members.
    Scott
    PCA
    North Carolina


    Post Tenebras Lux; "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." - Revelation 21:4

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backwoods Presbyterian View Post
    I would not call exceptions taken to the Sabbath and 6/24 creation as "minor".
    Since the WCF does not teach 6/24 creation, then to disagree would not be an exception...

    TE Kevin Rogers
    MNA Church Planter
    Redeemer Community Church
    Moncton NB

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Backwoods Presbyterian View Post
    I would not call exceptions taken to the Sabbath and 6/24 creation as "minor".
    Since the WCF does not teach 6/24 creation, then to disagree would not be an exception...

    Yes, I would have to say it does.

    Chapter IV
    Of Creation

    I. It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,[1] for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness,[2] in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days; and all very good.[3]
    Someone not holding to it likely would need to request an exception. Incidentally, there are some presbyteries in our denomination that automatically will not grant that as an exception.
    Scott
    PCA
    North Carolina


    Post Tenebras Lux; "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." - Revelation 21:4

  6. #46
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    Actually it does (which I say having looked at the sources, harrumph, harrumph). I raise your contention with another.
    Moderator If someone wants to discuss original intent of the Westminster Assembly on this, start another thread or search for older ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Backwoods Presbyterian View Post
    I would not call exceptions taken to the Sabbath and 6/24 creation as "minor".
    Since the WCF does not teach 6/24 creation, then to disagree would not be an exception...

    Chris Coldwell, Lakewood Presbyterian Church (PCA), Dallas, Texas.
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  7. #47
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    Hey I agree. I was just trying to point out that for a great many people "what I believe" to be an interpretation, they take to be a "plain reading".

    I thought about using psalmody as an example but I thought that it would get the thread off track too soon...
    TE Kevin Rogers
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  8. #48
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    ... and moved to a moderated forum.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    I thought about using psalmody as an example but I thought that it would get the thread off track too soon...
    Chris Coldwell, Lakewood Presbyterian Church (PCA), Dallas, Texas.
    • Naphtali Press: Presbyterian & Reformed Books
    • Westminster Letter Press
    The Confessional Presbyterian Journal
    The Blue Banner Archive
    Calvin in the Hands of the Philistines: Did Calvin Bowl on the Sabbath?
    The Regulative Principle: The Scriptures are the “only infallible rule of faith and practice, no rite or ceremony ought to have a place in the public worship of God, which is not warranted in Scripture, either by direct precept or example, or by good and sufficient inference” (Samuel Miller).
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  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by armourbearer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Withnell View Post
    Those churches state, at least in the theoretical sense, that on principle, the confession does not define the church, but the scriptures do, and the church then defines the confession from the scriptures.
    If this were true it would mean they do not understand what a church is according to Christ's own definition in Matthew 16.
    They might disagree with how you define it. While I am sure the churches are very reluctant to redefine the confession, they have done so in the past. They may do so in the future if they find things they believe are contradictory to the scripture within the confession.
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Withnell View Post
    The confession itself states the ultimate and only final authority is the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scriptures.
    That doesn't negate the secondary authority of the Confession. Why are you appealing to the Confession for this belief and not to the words of Scripture? That would be because you accept the secondary authority of the Confession.
    While I believe that the church has the right to amend the confession in principle, the secondary documents of the constitution are amendable. That I would appeal to an authority greater than my own meager abilities to argue would be that while I tend to believe them not pure, I find them more nearly pure than the bulk of what I see anywhere else. Are they infallible? No. Do I believe they are correct in nearly all of they say? Yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Withnell View Post
    So the only ultra vires document to the church is the Scripture.
    That's an odd use of the Latin phrase.
    It's been 36 years since I took Latin, what do you expect?

    The only document beyond the authority/power of the church is the scripture. It alone defines the church.


    Well, given your appeal to the Confession in the preceding paragraph it is clear that at least that part of the confession is also beyond the power of men to alter.
    No, just that I believe it to be true.
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Withnell View Post
    I for one am glad that B. H. Obama is not the one to call church councils for the purpose of correcting the doctrines taught in our pulpits!
    That doesn't appear to me to be a well thought out statement. By law your church is protected in its ownership of a pulpit simply because your civil government has adopted a Christian view of property instead of tribal concepts.
    The confession states otherwise, at least in the original 1647 version.
    yet he hath authority, and it is his duty to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire, that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed, all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed, and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed
    Brian Withnell
    Deacon, OPC
    Leesburg, Virginia

    You cannot train for war in the midst of a battle. Prepare before the battle starts; if the battle is long and hard, you will wish you had.

  10. #50
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    I subscribe to the Westminster Standards because it is biblical.

    Oh, HELLO all....new here. Great board!!!
    John
    Presbyterian Church in America
    1st Presbyterian Church, somewhere in Alabama

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    I subscribe to the Westminster Standards because it is biblical.
    Ah, but I see that you are PCA - so your denomination does not even subscribe to the original Westminster, but one that was revised in 1788 I think, because deficiencies were found in it.
    Pergamum


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  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Semper Fidelis View Post
    My increasing concern is that we all tend to treat the Scriptures from the standpoint that we don't need any external authority to guide us or bound us in that process. As I read the Word, I am increasingly struck by the fact that God gave His Word to His people. He didn't hand it over to each person individually but, corporately, He gave His Word to the Church. The thing that struck me about studying Gen-Joshua last year was how the Word actually constituted the people of God. God created His Church by His Word. I could probably tighten that up a little bit but I hope that makes sense so far.
    ...
    I don't know if we'll ever be able to put the modernism genie back in the bottle but I think this lays at the heart of the matter. The idea that we are to be led to the Truth and the unity thereof by Pastors and Elders (Eph 6) is lost on most people who see Truth as emanating from the center of their mind outwardly. This is compounded by the fact that ministers increasingly agree, fundamentally, with this approach because they're willing to stand in complete isolation from the Church at large and teach what the rest of the Body believes is un-Biblical and still insist they are part of the same corporate Body. It's not done with tears that the Body is being ripped asunder but, often, with disdain for the lack of academic or cultural sophistication exhibited by their hayseed contemporaries who are stuck in the past.

    It breaks my heart and I don't know precisely how to fix it. I want to labor for the Body of Christ and strive for Her peace and purity but I often find myself trying to figure out what the Church really Confesses and what She's really abandoned with her Confession and allowed for any variety of views.
    This is of course what the Roman church stated as its main objection to the reformation and having the scriptures translated to the native tongue. In a sense, they were right. Every man with the ability to read does in fact read the scriptures for themselves, and from that either agrees or disagrees with the church in which he finds himself.

    I would disagree that the church is now just a confederation. We still give authority to the church, but we reserve the right to stand before councils and declare "Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain reason and not by Popes and councils who have so often contradicted themselves, my conscience is captive to the word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I cannot and I will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me."

    We have "let the genie out of the bottle" and it is impossible to put it back. I'm not sure it ought to be put back.
    Brian Withnell
    Deacon, OPC
    Leesburg, Virginia

    You cannot train for war in the midst of a battle. Prepare before the battle starts; if the battle is long and hard, you will wish you had.

  13. #53
    armourbearer is offline. Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Withnell View Post
    They might disagree with how you define it. While I am sure the churches are very reluctant to redefine the confession, they have done so in the past. They may do so in the future if they find things they believe are contradictory to the scripture within the confession.
    Jesus said the church is built on the rock of its confession. If the confession changes it ipso facto becomes a different church. No doubt the church should have the integrity to repudiate past errors, but in doing so it repudiates itself for teaching those past errors, for binding its teachers and overseers to assert, maintain, and defend them, and for imposing them as articles of faith to be believed. Yet rarely do revisionists approach the work of revision with a sense of the enormity of their past transgressions. The failure to understand these things indicates that the confession of faith is not functioning as a confession of faith but as a mere text of historical theology.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Withnell View Post
    The only document beyond the authority/power of the church is the scripture. It alone defines the church.
    "Scripture" can be claimed by heretics. It is the truth of Scripture, what it teaches, which defines the church. The church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone. No man can lay any other foundation than Jesus Christ.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Withnell View Post
    The confession states otherwise, at least in the original 1647 version.
    yet he hath authority, and it is his duty to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire, that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed, all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed, and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed
    Yes, that is what the Long Parliament was doing when it called the Assembly of divines which produced the Westminster Confession of Faith.
    Yours sincerely,
    Rev. Matthew Winzer
    Australian Free Church,
    Victoria, Australia

    "Illum oportet crescere me autem minui."

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    I subscribe to the Westminster Standards because it is biblical.
    Ah, but I see that you are PCA - so your denomination does not even subscribe to the original Westminster, but one that was revised in 1788 I think, because deficiencies were found in it.
    As far as I know you are correct, but I do not know for sure. I'm a recent convert to the denomination (coming from SBC).
    I just know whatever version that is in my catechism book for new members is the only version that I've read.
    John
    Presbyterian Church in America
    1st Presbyterian Church, somewhere in Alabama

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    I subscribe to the Westminster Standards because it is biblical.
    Ah, but I see that you are PCA - so your denomination does not even subscribe to the original Westminster, but one that was revised in 1788 I think, because deficiencies were found in it.
    As far as I know you are correct, but I do not know for sure. I'm a recent convert to the denomination (coming from SBC).
    I just know whatever version that is in my catechism book for new members is the only version that I've read.
    Welcome to the board.
    TE Kevin Rogers
    MNA Church Planter
    Redeemer Community Church
    Moncton NB

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    Oh, HELLO all....new here. Great board!!!
    Welcome!

  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    I subscribe to the Westminster Standards because it is biblical.
    Ah, but I see that you are PCA - so your denomination does not even subscribe to the original Westminster, but one that was revised in 1788 I think, because deficiencies were found in it.
    As far as I know you are correct, but I do not know for sure. I'm a recent convert to the denomination (coming from SBC).
    I just know whatever version that is in my catechism book for new members is the only version that I've read.
    Ha, sorry for jumping right on you with your 3 posts on the PB.

    WELCOME BROTHER! Great to have you here.


    The point I am trying to make is that any altered form of the Westminster besides the original would make #2 in the poll above to be the logical choice. And the PCA and OPC I think hold to revised versions.

    Again, welcome, God bless and enjoy the banter!
    Pergamum


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    -- David Livingstone

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post

    Ah, but I see that you are PCA - so your denomination does not even subscribe to the original Westminster, but one that was revised in 1788 I think, because deficiencies were found in it.
    As far as I know you are correct, but I do not know for sure. I'm a recent convert to the denomination (coming from SBC).
    I just know whatever version that is in my catechism book for new members is the only version that I've read.
    Ha, sorry for jumping right on you with your 3 posts on the PB.

    WELCOME BROTHER! Great to have you here.


    The point I am trying to make is that any altered form of the Westminster besides the original would make #2 in the poll above to be the logical choice. And the PCA and OPC I think hold to revised versions.

    Again, welcome, God bless and enjoy the banter!
    Thankyou.

    I am still trying to work out in my mind the two poll choices now that we've had a give and take about this actually.
    Interesting thread.
    John
    Presbyterian Church in America
    1st Presbyterian Church, somewhere in Alabama

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post

    As far as I know you are correct, but I do not know for sure. I'm a recent convert to the denomination (coming from SBC).
    I just know whatever version that is in my catechism book for new members is the only version that I've read.
    Ha, sorry for jumping right on you with your 3 posts on the PB.

    WELCOME BROTHER! Great to have you here.


    The point I am trying to make is that any altered form of the Westminster besides the original would make #2 in the poll above to be the logical choice. And the PCA and OPC I think hold to revised versions.

    Again, welcome, God bless and enjoy the banter!
    Thankyou.

    I am still trying to work out in my mind the two poll choices now that we've had a give and take about this actually.
    Interesting thread.
    Related questions might be:

    Do we consider the Confessions to be functionally infallible?

    and,

    Who is in charge and submits to whom, the Church or the Confession (which, after all, was written by the Church)....
    Pergamum


    "If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?"
    -- David Livingstone

  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post

    As far as I know you are correct, but I do not know for sure. I'm a recent convert to the denomination (coming from SBC).
    I just know whatever version that is in my catechism book for new members is the only version that I've read.
    Ha, sorry for jumping right on you with your 3 posts on the PB.

    WELCOME BROTHER! Great to have you here.


    The point I am trying to make is that any altered form of the Westminster besides the original would make #2 in the poll above to be the logical choice. And the PCA and OPC I think hold to revised versions.

    Again, welcome, God bless and enjoy the banter!
    Thankyou.

    I am still trying to work out in my mind the two poll choices now that we've had a give and take about this actually.
    Interesting thread.
    Here's an update for you my brother. The quote is from the PCA website concerning the WCF.....

    The First General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, meeting at the Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, Alabama, December 4-7, 1973, adopted the Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism and the Shorter Catechism as the doctrinal standards of the Church.

    The Presbyterian Church in America received the same Confession and Catechisms as those that were adopted by the first American Presbyterian Assembly of 1789, with two minor exceptions, namely, the deletion of strictures against marrying one's wife's kindred (XXIV,4), and the reference to the Pope as the antichrist (XXV,6).

    Other than these changes, and the American amendments of Chapter XXIII on the civil magistrate (adopted in 1789), this is the Confession and Catechisms as agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster which met from 1643-1647. The Caruthers edition of the Confession and Catechisms, which is based upon the original manuscript written by Cornelius Burgess is the Edition presented to and adopted by the First General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America
    -----Added 11/11/2009 at 10:57:43 EST-----

    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post

    Ha, sorry for jumping right on you with your 3 posts on the PB.

    WELCOME BROTHER! Great to have you here.


    The point I am trying to make is that any altered form of the Westminster besides the original would make #2 in the poll above to be the logical choice. And the PCA and OPC I think hold to revised versions.

    Again, welcome, God bless and enjoy the banter!
    Thankyou.

    I am still trying to work out in my mind the two poll choices now that we've had a give and take about this actually.
    Interesting thread.
    Related questions might be:

    Do we consider the Confessions to be functionally infallible?

    and,

    Who is in charge and submits to whom, the Church or the Confession (which, after all, was written by the Church)....
    Excellent question.

    I don't like to label anything written by man as "infallible" so I must think a bit on the functionally part.

    The Church is in charge with Christ as it's head as far as I am concerned. If the Confession was in charge then the church AND all laypersons must submit to it....and as far as I know in the PCA, no layperson at all needs to profess adherance to the WCF in any of it's forms.
    John
    Presbyterian Church in America
    1st Presbyterian Church, somewhere in Alabama

  21. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post

    Ha, sorry for jumping right on you with your 3 posts on the PB.

    WELCOME BROTHER! Great to have you here.


    The point I am trying to make is that any altered form of the Westminster besides the original would make #2 in the poll above to be the logical choice. And the PCA and OPC I think hold to revised versions.

    Again, welcome, God bless and enjoy the banter!
    Thankyou.

    I am still trying to work out in my mind the two poll choices now that we've had a give and take about this actually.
    Interesting thread.
    Here's an update for you my brother. The quote is from the PCA website concerning the WCF.....



    -----Added 11/11/2009 at 10:57:43 EST-----

    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post

    Thankyou.

    I am still trying to work out in my mind the two poll choices now that we've had a give and take about this actually.
    Interesting thread.
    Related questions might be:

    Do we consider the Confessions to be functionally infallible?

    and,

    Who is in charge and submits to whom, the Church or the Confession (which, after all, was written by the Church)....
    Excellent question.

    I don't like to label anything written by man as "infallible" so I must think a bit on the functionally part.

    The Church is in charge with Christ as it's head as far as I am concerned. If the Confession was in charge then the church AND all laypersons must submit to it....and as far as I know in the PCA, no layperson at all needs to profess adherance to the WCF in any of it's forms.
    So your answer seems to be #2 in the poll like me.
    Pergamum


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    -- David Livingstone

  22. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post

    Thankyou.

    I am still trying to work out in my mind the two poll choices now that we've had a give and take about this actually.
    Interesting thread.
    Here's an update for you my brother. The quote is from the PCA website concerning the WCF.....



    -----Added 11/11/2009 at 10:57:43 EST-----

    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post

    Related questions might be:

    Do we consider the Confessions to be functionally infallible?

    and,

    Who is in charge and submits to whom, the Church or the Confession (which, after all, was written by the Church)....
    Excellent question.

    I don't like to label anything written by man as "infallible" so I must think a bit on the functionally part.

    The Church is in charge with Christ as it's head as far as I am concerned. If the Confession was in charge then the church AND all laypersons must submit to it....and as far as I know in the PCA, no layperson at all needs to profess adherance to the WCF in any of it's forms.
    So your answer seems to be #2 in the poll like me.
    It seems to be turning that way.
    John
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  23. #63
    AustinW is offline. Puritanboard Postgraduate
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    I subscribe to the Westminster Standards because it is biblical.
    Ah, but I see that you are PCA - so your denomination does not even subscribe to the original Westminster, but one that was revised in 1788 I think, because deficiencies were found in it.
    As far as I know, all the changes are subtractions, not additions. So it is entirely possible for a PCA minister to believe in the original in its entirety and still subscribe to the updated version. As far as I know, none of the removed views are forbidden in the PCA - They are just no longer mandatory for all ordained officers.
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  24. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by austinww View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    I subscribe to the Westminster Standards because it is biblical.
    Ah, but I see that you are PCA - so your denomination does not even subscribe to the original Westminster, but one that was revised in 1788 I think, because deficiencies were found in it.
    As far as I know, all the changes are subtractions, not additions. So it is entirely possible for a PCA minister to believe in the original in its entirety and still subscribe to the updated version. As far as I know, none of the removed views are forbidden in the PCA - They are just no longer mandatory for all ordained officers.
    Yes that is correct from my limited knowledge of my new denomination:

    The Presbyterian Church in America received the same Confession and Catechisms as those that were adopted by the first American Presbyterian Assembly of 1789, with two minor exceptions, namely, the deletion of strictures against marrying one's wife's kindred (XXIV,4), and the reference to the Pope as the antichrist (XXV,6).
    ---from pcanet.org

    Now the differences from the original WCF and the version adopted (if any) by the 1789 American Presbyterian Assembly I still have to research.
    John
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  25. #65
    AustinW is offline. Puritanboard Postgraduate
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    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by austinww View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post

    Ah, but I see that you are PCA - so your denomination does not even subscribe to the original Westminster, but one that was revised in 1788 I think, because deficiencies were found in it.
    As far as I know, all the changes are subtractions, not additions. So it is entirely possible for a PCA minister to believe in the original in its entirety and still subscribe to the updated version. As far as I know, none of the removed views are forbidden in the PCA - They are just no longer mandatory for all ordained officers.
    Yes that is correct from my limited knowledge of my new denomination:

    The Presbyterian Church in America received the same Confession and Catechisms as those that were adopted by the first American Presbyterian Assembly of 1789, with two minor exceptions, namely, the deletion of strictures against marrying one's wife's kindred (XXIV,4), and the reference to the Pope as the antichrist (XXV,6).
    ---from pcanet.org

    Now the differences from the original WCF and the version adopted (if any) by the 1789 American Presbyterian Assembly I still have to research.
    The changes between the original and the 1789 are actually the ones to which I was referring. Oh, and...

    Austin
    RPCGA
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  26. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by austinww View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by austinww View Post

    As far as I know, all the changes are subtractions, not additions. So it is entirely possible for a PCA minister to believe in the original in its entirety and still subscribe to the updated version. As far as I know, none of the removed views are forbidden in the PCA - They are just no longer mandatory for all ordained officers.
    Yes that is correct from my limited knowledge of my new denomination:

    The Presbyterian Church in America received the same Confession and Catechisms as those that were adopted by the first American Presbyterian Assembly of 1789, with two minor exceptions, namely, the deletion of strictures against marrying one's wife's kindred (XXIV,4), and the reference to the Pope as the antichrist (XXV,6).
    ---from pcanet.org

    Now the differences from the original WCF and the version adopted (if any) by the 1789 American Presbyterian Assembly I still have to research.
    The changes between the original and the 1789 are actually the ones to which I was referring. Oh, and...

    Then the deletions I've read are not biblical to begin with IMHO (especially about the Roman Pontiff.)

    Like I stated, I am still learning A LOT from you all and other sites(monergism.com, etc.)
    All I know is that reformed presbyterian theology, being wrapped around the WCF is the bomb! That is the best way I can put it ever since the Doctrines of Grace initially opened my eyes, mind and heart to reformed theology.


    Thankyou for the Welcome!
    I've lurked here for a while ever since AMR suggested this wonderful forum.
    It's a wonderful resource and community.
    John
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  27. #67
    AustinW is offline. Puritanboard Postgraduate
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    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    Then the deletions I've read are not biblical to begin with IMHO (especially about the Roman Pontiff.)

    Like I stated, I am still learning A LOT from you all and other sites(monergism.com, etc.)
    All I know is that reformed presbyterian theology, being wrapped around the WCF is the bomb!


    Thankyou for the Welcome!
    I've lurked here for a while ever since AMR suggested this wonderful forum.
    It's a wonderful resource and community.
    My point is that those views have not necessarily been rejected as unbiblical by the whole PCA GA; they are simply not binding on all ministers - They are still permissible, to my limited knowledge. So if someone wants to hold to the original confession's view of the civil magistrate, he can still subscribe to the PCA's revised form as well (I believe).

    Happy learning - I am learning too.
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  28. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by austinww View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    Then the deletions I've read are not biblical to begin with IMHO (especially about the Roman Pontiff.)

    Like I stated, I am still learning A LOT from you all and other sites(monergism.com, etc.)
    All I know is that reformed presbyterian theology, being wrapped around the WCF is the bomb!


    Thankyou for the Welcome!
    I've lurked here for a while ever since AMR suggested this wonderful forum.
    It's a wonderful resource and community.
    My point is that those views have not necessarily been rejected as unbiblical by the whole PCA GA; they are simply not binding on all ministers - They are still permissible, to my limited knowledge. So if someone wants to hold to the original confession's view of the civil magistrate, he can still subscribe to the PCA's revised form as well (I believe).

    Happy learning - I am learning too.
    I see your point. The PCA GA revised what it thought was not necessary me thinks. I'm not sure what version a PCA Elder must profess as truth; I assume the 1789 version adopted by the 1st GA, but if an Elder says that he adheres to the unrevised original version of the WCF I don't see him being rejected by one of it's presbyterys for ordination.
    I hope I'm following your point.
    Last edited by NRB; 11-12-2009 at 01:01 AM.
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  29. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    I subscribe to the Westminster Standards because it is biblical.
    Ah, but I see that you are PCA - so your denomination does not even subscribe to the original Westminster, but one that was revised in 1788 I think, because deficiencies were found in it.
    I wouldn't make "too much" of the revisions adopted in the American colonies.

    The Standards that NRB and others of us in the PCA confess are, as he rightly points out, are the ones adopted in the 1700's in these United States.

    The (very few) changes had primarily to do with monarchy/civil government and reflected the establishment as it existed (and still exists) in the New World. There are threads discussing this.

    The fact that the Standards were amended, slightly, reflects the nature of the standards as we hold them:

    Presbyterian Church in America

    Book of Church Order
    Preface

    III. THE CONSTITUTION DEFINED

    The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in America, which is subject to and subordinate to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the inerrant Word Of God, consists of its doctrinal standards set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith, together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, and the Book of Church Order, comprising the Form of Government, the Rules of Discipline and the Directory for Worship; all as adopted by the Church
    As has been brought out here in the thread, it is not at all a case of each person independently picking and choosing their doctrine- not in a confessional church with a generationaly time-tested confession. Remember, in reformed theology, the unity of the church must be grounded in doctrinal agreement.

    It is not at all the case of the common approach of "broad evangelicalism"- a loose association of independent adults, each person independently evaluating and coming up with their own doctrines, subject to an overall belief in Jesus as Savior and Lord. While that is definitely central, it has profound implications, even to the person and work of Christ that are summarized in our Standards.

    The focus of the member, in the Presbyterian system at least, is to peaceably learn the church's confessed doctrine. It is profound, embodies mystery and great truths of God.

    Also, remember, God does deposit some collective wisdom in the church "politick"- He will speak through His Church, authoritatively and interpretively- but always subject to His Word.

    The notion of that may be someone lost in a very independent minded culture, but it is not lost on our God.
    Scott
    PCA
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  30. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Withnell View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Semper Fidelis View Post
    My increasing concern is that we all tend to treat the Scriptures from the standpoint that we don't need any external authority to guide us or bound us in that process. As I read the Word, I am increasingly struck by the fact that God gave His Word to His people. He didn't hand it over to each person individually but, corporately, He gave His Word to the Church. The thing that struck me about studying Gen-Joshua last year was how the Word actually constituted the people of God. God created His Church by His Word. I could probably tighten that up a little bit but I hope that makes sense so far.
    ...
    I don't know if we'll ever be able to put the modernism genie back in the bottle but I think this lays at the heart of the matter. The idea that we are to be led to the Truth and the unity thereof by Pastors and Elders (Eph 6) is lost on most people who see Truth as emanating from the center of their mind outwardly. This is compounded by the fact that ministers increasingly agree, fundamentally, with this approach because they're willing to stand in complete isolation from the Church at large and teach what the rest of the Body believes is un-Biblical and still insist they are part of the same corporate Body. It's not done with tears that the Body is being ripped asunder but, often, with disdain for the lack of academic or cultural sophistication exhibited by their hayseed contemporaries who are stuck in the past.

    It breaks my heart and I don't know precisely how to fix it. I want to labor for the Body of Christ and strive for Her peace and purity but I often find myself trying to figure out what the Church really Confesses and what She's really abandoned with her Confession and allowed for any variety of views.
    This is of course what the Roman church stated as its main objection to the reformation and having the scriptures translated to the native tongue. In a sense, they were right. Every man with the ability to read does in fact read the scriptures for themselves, and from that either agrees or disagrees with the church in which he finds himself.

    I would disagree that the church is now just a confederation. We still give authority to the church, but we reserve the right to stand before councils and declare "Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain reason and not by Popes and councils who have so often contradicted themselves, my conscience is captive to the word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I cannot and I will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me."

    We have "let the genie out of the bottle" and it is impossible to put it back. I'm not sure it ought to be put back.
    I believe you are misapprehending the substance of my concern. I'm not arguing for a Regula Fide where authority is granted to Church dogma as being on par with Scripture but for an Analogia Scriptura where Pastors and Teachers are seen in Scripture as having a task to lead the Church to the unity of the faith. I'm not arguing for a lack of personal study or scrutiny of the Scriptures but that individuals within the Church need to understand that the Word is given corporately for the edification of the whole Body and not merely individually.

    It is not the case that Scripture commands a man to come to a knowledge of the things of God independently of the Church and then simply find a collection of like-minded individuals who agree with his independent conclusions about the Scriptures. Rather, the Church is constituted by the Word of God to disciple men and women and teach them everything that Christ has commanded and humble submission is often required by men to submit to the teaching authority of the Church - not because the Church has authority independent of the Word but because the Word itself vests authority in the Church to teach and commands men to listen and submit to its Officers.
    Rich
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  31. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Semper Fidelis View Post

    I believe you are misapprehending the substance of my concern. I'm not arguing for a Regula Fide where authority is granted to Church dogma as being on par with Scripture but for an Analogia Scriptura where Pastors and Teachers are seen in Scripture as having a task to lead the Church to the unity of the faith. I'm not arguing for a lack of personal study or scrutiny of the Scriptures but that individuals within the Church need to understand that the Word is given corporately for the edification of the whole Body and not merely individually.

    It is not the case that Scripture commands a man to come to a knowledge of the things of God independently of the Church and then simply find a collection of like-minded individuals who agree with his independent conclusions about the Scriptures. Rather, the Church is constituted by the Word of God to disciple men and women and teach them everything that Christ has commanded and humble submission is often required by men to submit to the teaching authority of the Church - not because the Church has authority independent of the Word but because the Word itself vests authority in the Church to teach and commands men to listen and submit to its Officers.

    I agree and the last of 5 questions asked of new members in the PCA deals explicitly with submission to the elders of the church in doctrine.
    John
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  32. #72
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    All I can say is...

    Viva la Analogia Scriptura!
    Scott
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  33. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Semper Fidelis View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Withnell View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Semper Fidelis View Post
    My increasing concern is that we all tend to treat the Scriptures from the standpoint that we don't need any external authority to guide us or bound us in that process. As I read the Word, I am increasingly struck by the fact that God gave His Word to His people. He didn't hand it over to each person individually but, corporately, He gave His Word to the Church. The thing that struck me about studying Gen-Joshua last year was how the Word actually constituted the people of God. God created His Church by His Word. I could probably tighten that up a little bit but I hope that makes sense so far.
    ...
    I don't know if we'll ever be able to put the modernism genie back in the bottle but I think this lays at the heart of the matter. The idea that we are to be led to the Truth and the unity thereof by Pastors and Elders (Eph 6) is lost on most people who see Truth as emanating from the center of their mind outwardly. This is compounded by the fact that ministers increasingly agree, fundamentally, with this approach because they're willing to stand in complete isolation from the Church at large and teach what the rest of the Body believes is un-Biblical and still insist they are part of the same corporate Body. It's not done with tears that the Body is being ripped asunder but, often, with disdain for the lack of academic or cultural sophistication exhibited by their hayseed contemporaries who are stuck in the past.

    It breaks my heart and I don't know precisely how to fix it. I want to labor for the Body of Christ and strive for Her peace and purity but I often find myself trying to figure out what the Church really Confesses and what She's really abandoned with her Confession and allowed for any variety of views.
    This is of course what the Roman church stated as its main objection to the reformation and having the scriptures translated to the native tongue. In a sense, they were right. Every man with the ability to read does in fact read the scriptures for themselves, and from that either agrees or disagrees with the church in which he finds himself.

    I would disagree that the church is now just a confederation. We still give authority to the church, but we reserve the right to stand before councils and declare "Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain reason and not by Popes and councils who have so often contradicted themselves, my conscience is captive to the word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I cannot and I will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me."

    We have "let the genie out of the bottle" and it is impossible to put it back. I'm not sure it ought to be put back.
    I believe you are misapprehending the substance of my concern. I'm not arguing for a Regula Fide where authority is granted to Church dogma as being on par with Scripture but for an Analogia Scriptura where Pastors and Teachers are seen in Scripture as having a task to lead the Church to the unity of the faith. I'm not arguing for a lack of personal study or scrutiny of the Scriptures but that individuals within the Church need to understand that the Word is given corporately for the edification of the whole Body and not merely individually.

    It is not the case that Scripture commands a man to come to a knowledge of the things of God independently of the Church and then simply find a collection of like-minded individuals who agree with his independent conclusions about the Scriptures. Rather, the Church is constituted by the Word of God to disciple men and women and teach them everything that Christ has commanded and humble submission is often required by men to submit to the teaching authority of the Church - not because the Church has authority independent of the Word but because the Word itself vests authority in the Church to teach and commands men to listen and submit to its Officers.
    Thanks. That's a very excellent way of putting it.
    Pergamum


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  34. #74
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    The WCF and attendant productions of the Westminster Assembly were intended to be taken as a national standard of doctrine and worship in both church and state. They have been minimized to bare ecclesiastical or personal affirmations, and have thereby lost their force and highest usefulness. This shift (which I would date somewhere around the Enlightenment) has not been for the better. Oh, and I voted #1

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  35. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casey View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jawyman View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by CaseyBessette View Post
    So do members who aren't officers technically "subscribe" to anything? (in the context of the OPC)
    Casey, technically members should (and most do) subscribe to the Westminster Confession. When someone becomes a member they are now under the authority of the Session and the Session is responsible to make sure covenant children as well as adult members are catechize properly. This would include studying, understanding, and subscribing to the Confession of the Church.
    Sorry, my question was not clear -- and I didn't intend to direct it solely at you. Is "subscription" merely a personal decision (non-officers)? Or does "subscription" mean something more, namely, a public vow (officers)? Or can it mean both?
    No, a member does not have to subscribe to the Standards, but it is usually understood. I am sorry this is rather lengthy, but this comes directly from the Directory of Public Worship,

    CHAPTER V

    PUBLIC PROFESSION OF FAITH IN CHRIST

    1. In order to aid those who contemplate making public profession of faith in Christ to understand the implication of this significant act and to perform it intelligently, the pastor shall conduct classes in Christian doctrine both for the covenant youth and for any others who may manifest an interest in the way of salvation.

    2. Before permitting any one to make profession of his faith in the presence of the congregation, the session shall examine him in order to assure itself so far as possible that he possesses the doctrinal knowledge requisite for active faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, relies for salvation on the merits of Christ alone, and is determined by the grace of God to lead a Christian life.

    3. When the session is satisfied that any one is qualified to make public profession of faith in Christ, his name shall be publicly announced to the church at least one week before the day chosen for this solemn event, in order that the members of the church may have opportunity to acquaint the session with such facts concerning him as may appear to be irreconcilable with a sincere profession. The session shall weigh such evidence and determine its validity.

    4. No one shall be allowed to take part in the celebration of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper who has not first made public profession of faith in Jesus Christ as his Saviour and Lord.

    5. On the occasion of public profession of faith in Christ, the minister shall address the candidate in these or like words, using the form which the circumstances require:

    Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ, we thank our God for the grace which was given you, in that, having come to years of discretion, you have accepted God's covenant promise which was signified and sealed unto you in your infancy by holy baptism.
    Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ, we thank our God for the grace which was given you, in that, although you have not been privileged to receive the sacrament of baptism in your infancy, nevertheless, through faith you have become a partaker of the covenant of grace.
    Thereupon the minister shall ask these, or equivalent, questions:

    Do you believe the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, to be the Word of God, and its doctrine of salvation to be the perfect and only true doctrine of salvation?
    Do you confess that because of your sinfulness you abhor and humble yourself before God, and that you trust for salvation not in yourself but in Jesus Christ alone?
    Do you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your sovereign Lord and do you promise, in reliance on the grace of God, to serve him with all that is in you, to forsake the world, to mortify your old nature, and to lead a godly life?
    Do you agree to submit in the Lord to the government of this church and, in case you should be found delinquent in doctrine or life, to heed its discipline?
    When any one has publicly professed his faith by answering these questions in the affirmative, the minister shall address him in the following or like words:

    Beloved, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I welcome you to all the privileges of full communion with God's people, and in particular to participation in the sacrament of the holy supper. I charge you that by the faithful use of the means of grace—the Word of God, the sacraments and prayer—and in humble reliance upon the grace of God, you continue steadfastly in the confession which you have made. Rest assured that if you confess Christ before men, he will confess you before his Father who is in heaven. May the God of all grace, who called you unto his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, and strengthen you. To him be the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
    This part of the service shall be concluded with an appropriate prayer.


    A credible profession of Christ is necessary for membership, not subscriptionism. Again, I would add though if someone is going to join a truly Reformed church they are going to become familiar with Westminster or the 3 Forms. I hope this helps a little.
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  36. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Semper Fidelis View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Brad View Post
    Something the Pastor of our mother Church stated really stuck with me because he was talking about this idea when he recounted a conversation with another man in Presbytery. The minister was telling him that he believed the Scriptures taught X and that the rest of the Presbytery was wrong on this issue. Doug gently rebuked him and stated: "No, we confess the Scriptures together. If we disagree on something then we need to labor together to resolve this."
    Rich, the last time I attended Doug Kitteridge's Church, it was an independent reformed congregation. I know they have joined the PCA since then. Was this confessionalism he now holds a progressive realization, or was he confessional back when they were independent?
    Doug has definitely grown in his Confessional subscription. To his credit and humility he realized that a Church that has no real Confessional moorings is rife with problems. It cost him a great deal personally when the Church moved into the PCA about 12 years ago.
    Rich, not to be contentious, but this fact raises a question in my mind. Doug was a Pastor, definitely an Officer of New Life, when I attended nearly 20 years ago. Should I have submitted to his view of the Confession then? And now that he has changed somewhat, should a member there have changed right in step with him? Was he in error then? I know that he didn't seem to think he was, just as I'm sure he doesn't think himself to be now. I agree with the idea that the Church holds to the Confession because it corporately (meaning the leadership thereof) holds it to be biblical. But the poll addressed individuals' subscription. Wouldn't Doug's (a man we both hold in high regard) changing views point out that while the Church may declare a thing so, the individuals who make up the Church can grow in understanding, and therefore subscription? And even the faithful leaders and ministers can change their views, thus changing even the position of the Church itself, as it did with New Life?

    Because of the change I have seen in my own views over time, I have to say that individually, I subscribe to it insofar as it is biblical. What I see as biblical has changed over time, just like Doug, so I am leery of declaring that I KNOW I am right on every point of what is biblical, and what is confessional, but scripture will always trump anything else.

    Does that reflect modernism affecting my thinking?
    Brad

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  37. #77
    armourbearer is offline. Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad View Post
    Does that reflect modernism affecting my thinking?
    I think it reflects confusion amongst those who have been taught sola scriptura in recent decades. People today tend to think of Scripture abstractly in terms of letters and ink. There seems to be a modern inability to think of it concretely as that which Scripture teaches. Remarkably, the reformed repudiated the idea of an abstract Scripture, but today it seems it has won the day.
    Yours sincerely,
    Rev. Matthew Winzer
    Australian Free Church,
    Victoria, Australia

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  38. #78
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    PCA BCO 26-3 would not be necessary if the WCF was biblical. We don't 'amend' the Bible, but we can, and should, amend the WCF to be more biblical.

    26-3. Amendments to the Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter
    Catechisms may be made only in the following manner:
    1. Approval of the proposed amendment by three-fourths (3/4) of
    those present and voting in the General Assembly, and its
    recommendation to the Presbyteries.
    2. The advice and consent of three-fourths (3/4) of the Presbyteries.
    3. The approval and enactment by a subsequent General Assembly
    by three-fourths (3/4) of those present and voting.
    This paragraph (BCO 26-3) can be amended only by the same method
    prescribed for the amendment of the Confession of Faith and Catechisms of
    the church.
    Christopher Taylor
    Ruling Elder: Village Seven (PCA)
    Colorado Springs, CO

  39. #79
    armourbearer is offline. Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaylorWest View Post
    PCA BCO 26-3 would not be necessary if the WCF was biblical. We don't 'amend' the Bible, but we can, and should, amend the WCF to be more biblical.
    Strangely, that is precisely what most Presbyterian churches do -- they regularly emend the Bible while leaving the Confession mostly as it is.
    Yours sincerely,
    Rev. Matthew Winzer
    Australian Free Church,
    Victoria, Australia

    "Illum oportet crescere me autem minui."

  40. #80
    Brian Withnell's Avatar
    Brian Withnell is offline. Puritanboard Junior
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    Quote Originally Posted by armourbearer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Withnell View Post
    They might disagree with how you define it. While I am sure the churches are very reluctant to redefine the confession, they have done so in the past. They may do so in the future if they find things they believe are contradictory to the scripture within the confession.
    Jesus said the church is built on the rock of its confession. If the confession changes it ipso facto becomes a different church. No doubt the church should have the integrity to repudiate past errors, but in doing so it repudiates itself for teaching those past errors, for binding its teachers and overseers to assert, maintain, and defend them, and for imposing them as articles of faith to be believed. Yet rarely do revisionists approach the work of revision with a sense of the enormity of their past transgressions. The failure to understand these things indicates that the confession of faith is not functioning as a confession of faith but as a mere text of historical theology.
    While I respect you greatly, I do not think the passage you quote as being what you state. Jesus said he will build his church on that specific confession, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." I think you overshoot the meaning of the text to say that the confession defines the church. Particularly, it is important for a church to continually search through the doctrines it teaches, and know that the church is imperfect in this age, and as such much continually seek the purity of doctrine that she will only find in the age to come. It is part of the nature of the fall that we have erred and are subject to such influence from our circumstance that we do not see those areas in which we have erred.

    While making any revision to the standards should be done with great care, it should be continually done with the same grace that we give to those whom we seek to correct in any area of life or doctrine. If we cannot remove the log from our own eye, we will never see clearly to remove the speck from our neighbor's eye. When the church sees error in her standards and is unwilling to correct it, the church then is guilty of contumacy, not willing to listen to the correction of scripture.
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Withnell View Post
    The only document beyond the authority/power of the church is the scripture. It alone defines the church.
    "Scripture" can be claimed by heretics. It is the truth of Scripture, what it teaches, which defines the church. The church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone. No man can lay any other foundation than Jesus Christ.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Withnell View Post
    The confession states otherwise, at least in the original 1647 version.
    yet he hath authority, and it is his duty to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire, that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed, all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed, and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed
    Yes, that is what the Long Parliament was doing when it called the Assembly of divines which produced the Westminster Confession of Faith.
    Dear brother, yes, that is what the Long Parliament did by God's providence which rules over all. Yet by God's providence, the confession was in fact modified to give differing spheres of operation later by those that saw the original persons of the Westminster Assembly as being a product of their times, and not speaking the pure doctrine of the scriptures. I realize your church may not have realized the errors in the original document, and so you are still under that system which is erroneously of the thought that the civil magistrate still has the authority to call church councils.

    Please note, while I understand this is not generally agreed to, I truly believe it is the case that the OPC and PCA have a more nearly perfect confession than those that are still using the 1647 version. We should continue to be looking and searching the scripture daily, in private and corporately, to see if these things are true ... even as the Berean church search the scripture to see if the things Paul said were true. It is not that I have any particular "bone to pick" with the confession, but I acknowledge that it is not infallible. It has been changed in the past by Godly men searching the scripture and finding the original confession lacking because those men (even as we) were a product of their times. Great respect is due both the work and the workers, but not so much respect that we become confessionalists and hold the confession to be the primary document that defines how we read the scripture.
    Brian Withnell
    Deacon, OPC
    Leesburg, Virginia

    You cannot train for war in the midst of a battle. Prepare before the battle starts; if the battle is long and hard, you will wish you had.

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