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"Covenanted Reformation Defended" Debunked

Discussion in 'Ecclesiology' started by NaphtaliPress, Jun 21, 2006.

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  1. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Because the views of the Steelites are so damaging, a Minister friend of mine in Australia has been working as time affords on a critical review of Greg Barrow's book, The Covenanted Reformation Defended. I think it is obvious to many that Barrow´s work is scholastically incompetent. However, it is hard not to conclude the author is so self-deluded that he cannot handle sources accurately and can only see support for his views where they are not, or worse, he is being deliberately deceptive. I submit the following by the Rev. Matthew Winzer with his permission. This is part one of a projected multiple part review of CRD. In my opinion, in a short space, in addition to calling into question the credibility of the author, Mr. Winzer seriously undermines the entire thesis of that book.

     
  2. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Sounds like a good project for CPJ!! ;)
     
  3. CDM

    CDM Puritan Board Junior

    Can anyone give a synopsis of what the whole "Covenant/PRC" controversy is all about? What is it and why is it going on? The Steelites? Without reading the 10,000,0000 pages at swrb.com can someone give a brother a clue?

    I mean, do the Steelites claim unless one ascribes to the Solemn League and Covenant they can't be considered a "true church"? Is this the gist of it? isn't the SLaC an English Scottish deal?

    Thanks.
     
  4. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    It might be Fred if Greg Barrow's work rated any kind of critical dealing in a journal. Maybe the subject in a broader sense could be dealt with where it impacted more widely with most conservative Presbyterians rather than addressing the errors of a back eddy of confused separatists.
     
  5. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Sorry, I just saw this. For a fairly brief overview and refutation see Dr. Bacon's article at the link below. This was written before the "definitive" reply by Barrow.:um:
    http://www.fpcr.org/fpcrprc/defence.htm
     
  6. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    The short answer according to Dr. Bacon is: They maintain that we can treat churches that lack the full well-being of the church just as we would treat a false church. Then they define full well-being as including the SL&C and several other documents that they refer to as "terms of communion."
     
  7. JOwen

    JOwen Puritan Board Junior

    Winzer's book or essay on the subject promises to be excellent if this sample is any indication. It appears that the Steelite movement is beginning to unravel. But what can you expect from a personality cult?

    JL
     
  8. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    One can hope. But I agree and hope Mr. Winzer completes his work, it does look promising.:up:
     
  9. Kaalvenist

    Kaalvenist Puritan Board Sophomore

    Any word on when it's supposed to be completed?
     
  10. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    All I know is that Mr. Winzer is bogged down in other things and there is a lot of detailed work needed for the last section, which if I understoond correctly is all that needs completing.
     
  11. JOwen

    JOwen Puritan Board Junior

    Do we know how long it will be? What was posted was just a small part of the response right?

    JL
     
  12. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Jerrold,
    I told Matthew this posting had sparked interest in his completing the review and so perhaps now it will be finished sooner rather than later. :)
     
  13. JOwen

    JOwen Puritan Board Junior

    Well I have at least 4 ex-steelite affiliates or member families in my congregation. As soon as it is done, we will be sure to pass out a few copies.
    If you have not already read "Our Covenant Heritage" by Edwin Nisbet Moore (available at Christian Focus Publications), it is a must read. It traces the life of a Protester and Covenanter, who went back to the Revolution Church along with so many others. It's a very moving read. His criticism of the Cameronians who refused to join once again with the true Church is devastating. If my copy was not lent out I'd post his concluding words in this regard.
     
  14. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Jerrold,
    Not asking you to speak of anything that ought not be made public but in general, what do you see as the ill effects on those who fall under the sway of these folks? Realizing that they are far from unified themselves and have their separate factions.
     
  15. JOwen

    JOwen Puritan Board Junior

    Well because they have come out of this group, they have become softer in their ecclesiastical vibrato. They are now recognizing that the Reformed "catholic church" is larger than they once believed. There is a dogmatic elasticity for others in doctrine and piety that was not there before in light of their ridged superstructure. Being ex-steelites lends to a deep conviction on doctrinal and spiritual ideas, now augmented by a recognition that we are all sanctified at different rates. There remains in these saints a healthy striving to "all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions" (1 Cor 1:10) now held in tension with bearing "one another's burdens, and so fulfilling the law of Christ" (Gal 6:2).

    While the Steelite "church" has left some obvious scars, it has also given them a greater capacity to grow in grace, and to consider the weaker brother. I praise God for their exodus.
     
  16. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    :up::pray2::amen:
     
  17. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Hello Chris and Jerrold,

    Well you have drawn me out of my hiding place. ;)

    As time allows I will make the Review a priority.
     
  18. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    :up: Not that we'd try to set your priorities or anything.:)
     
  19. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    This post is quite a witness against the Edmonton "church" and the extent and effects of their occasional hearing doctrine.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/r-f-w/message/9138?l=1
     
  20. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    How much do the views of the Edmonton/Albany axis of evil represent traditional Covenanter (Cameronian presbyterian dissenters) views?
     
  21. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Peter,
    Pastors Lewis and/or Winzer may best be able to do a compare and contrast for you but I would only say in general, that the Steelites represent a separatistic stance that is missing from the theology of even the generation of Covenanters during the Killing Times. The works of James Walker and John MacPherson make this pretty clear I think. Matthew? Jerrold? You thoughts are welcome.
     
  22. JOwen

    JOwen Puritan Board Junior

    In my own research, I have found that there is a trichotomized ethos represented in Covenanter history.
    For instance, the Protesters of 1651, while holding on dearly to the SL&C, were not by and large of the same edge as the Cameronians. I'm thinking specifically of Protesters who fought against the tyranny of the ecclesiastical oppressor during the killing times, yet rejoined the Revolution Church in 1690. In fact the vast majority of the Protesters rejoined. After reading extensively on the biographical side of Samuel Rutherford, I have come to the conclusion that he too would have rejoined the Revolution Church. So tat is one strain.

    The Second is the Cameronian strain that remained outside of the Revolution Church in 1690. This would be the same group that plagued the ministry of Thomas Boston during his parish work. This group, was obstinate in the face of the Church of Scotland, would not vote because of the belief that the crown was unduly constituted, and considered the Presbyterian Church to be the same. I would like to say that they were void of the vitriolic sentiments of the Steelites, but this was not the case. They were not as aggressive as the steelites, but they were vocal. What was still evident in this group was the experiential nature of their Calvinistic faith, that often poured out in works of piety and community love. While they refused to "join" with the Rev. Settlement, there was still a recognition of the communion of saints. Boston talks about this a bit in his work on Schism (a must read I'd say.) I believe that Chris has this sermon on his site.

    Lastly we have the Steelites who claim to be the successors of both the Protesters of 1651 as well as the Camaronians. There is nothing of value in this group, and is void of the Christ centered tenderness that was evident in the Protesters. This group's greatest weakness is they teach WHILE they are learning, as if they have something to contribute that just can't wait. "œTheology on the fly" is the best way to describe this group, skimming off the top of many valuable works and skewing the teachings for their own purposes. Did I just say that they were guilty of manipulation and malfeasance? Yes!This leads to a great amount of pastoral inconsistency within the leadership as we have been witness to in the past, and as many in my own congregation can attest to.
    I'm sure that Rev. Winzer's essay on the subject will flesh the obvious errors in their theological scheme. And I look forward to this. But what is of equal or greater concern to me is the pastoral and intangible damage that this group has done in the lives of so many saints. It is much harder to write on that subject because it is so subjective. But it IS recorded in heaven.

    1Ti 1:7 "œDesiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm."
    Jam 3:1 "œMy brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation."
     
  23. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    Thanks Jerrold and Chris. I hope to hear more on this subject (Edmontonites v. traditional dissenters). I realize you (a former Seceder Minister) would be hard on the Society People or Reformed Presbyterians to begin with, but I hope the rancor against the Edmontonites is against something other than Reformed Presbyterian distinctives.

    [Edited on 6-23-2006 by Peter]
     
  24. JOwen

    JOwen Puritan Board Junior

    As an EP, strict subscriptionist to the WCF, I can't speak highly enough of Reformed distinctive. And as far as bitterness goes, I don't know what you are talking about. I'm not bitter. Perhaps a little jealous for the truth.
     
  25. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I agree. "Rancor" hardly reflects the truth of the matter.
     
  26. JOwen

    JOwen Puritan Board Junior

    :ditto:
     
  27. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    I don't know what personal offenses you guys have suffered from the Edmontonites but I don't know what they publicly teach that could merit being called a cult. If it's the old Reformed Presbyterian dissenters you think are a cult, which is what I've been afraid of, or if its something unique to the Edmontonites I'd like to know.

    [Edited on 6-23-2006 by Peter]
     
  28. CDM

    CDM Puritan Board Junior

    :ditto:
     
  29. JOwen

    JOwen Puritan Board Junior

  30. LadyCalvinist

    LadyCalvinist Puritan Board Junior

    As someone who worshipped with the Albany Steelites for nearly a year I'd thought I should say a few things.
    When I started out with them I really didn't know what I had got myself into. Right after I attended my first worship service with them, I immediatley had someone sit down with me and explain EP, why it was wrong to celebrate Christmas and other matters. At first I was impressed with them, here were people who knew about Gillespie, Rutherford, and all the old Puritan and Covenanter divines, but after a while I began to see things differently.

    I had a Steelite tell me it would be a "sin" for me to attend a PCA or OPC church. Excuse me, but some of the godliest people I know are in those denominations. When I was about to graduate from SUNY Albany, a Steelite asked me what I was going to do about church. I said I was seriously considering the RPCNA, a denomination that is probably the closest in most respects to them, and the woman was horrified. She said "But they don't worship right!" They told me that the only acceptable alternative to worshipping with them in Albany was to worship at home by myself. I was dismayed to say the least, and at that point I decided I had had enough.

    They believe that because of their stance on the SL&C, they are THE ONLY TRUE CHURCH and it is wrong to worship with anyone else.

    They were kind to me and I did experience some warm fellowship with them but for the above stated reasons I could not stay with them.
    The first time I ever stepped foot in an RPCNA church, after the service the pastor held up a book and asked me if I had read it. It was C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity. In other words, he wanted to know if I was a Christian. I told him I had read the book.

    I am now happily with the RPCNA.

    [Edited on 6-23-2006 by LadyCalvinist]

    [Edited on 6-24-2006 by LadyCalvinist]
     
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