CREC church in my area

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moral necessity

Puritan Board Junior
Good thing I investigated a little. I've been looking for a church closer to home, since we moved to Virginia 2 years ago. A friend mentioned a reformed church close to me that one of his friends goes to. So, I looked up their website. The CREC link threw up a red flag. I noticed also that they are a mission church of one in Lynchburg, VA, so I went to their site. The pastor's blog there lists book recommendations of Doug Wilson, Peter Leithart, and N.T. Wright...another red flag. The pastor is also a graduate of Doug Wilson's personal seminary, and their church is a mission church of Doug Wilson's personal church...big red flags.

So, the pastor of this local CREC church emails me, inviting me to come (apparently, he was notified of my interest). I responded respectfully with my general concerns. He assured me they were not an FV church, and that he had some questions about it as well. I responded again with the information about their parent church's book recommendations and the direct links of them to FV...

...No reply came back...perhaps I touched on a nerve...

I am thankful to God for the blessing of the Puritan Board, and for the community here that pools together to create a wonderful resource here for us all. My family was better equipped to be protected from harmful dangers because of it.

Blessings to you all...
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
Charles,

Well done. I've had a lot of contact over the years with people who come into contact with the CREC, who are unaware of what the CREC is: the home of the Federal Vision theology. I had an email once, a few of years ago, from a fellow who said (paraphrasing), "I just moved up here because of the Christian school and now I hear about this federal vision thing. What's that?" Oops!
 

Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
It is my understanding that CREC is a denomination that is known for promoting infant/child communion. I am happy to be corrected if I am wrong. But several members of our old chapel work left to join the CREC because they wanted to practice paedocommunion.
 

moral necessity

Puritan Board Junior
It is my understanding that CREC is a denomination that is known for promoting infant/child communion. I am happy to be corrected if I am wrong. But several members of our old chapel work left to join the CREC because they wanted to practice paedocommunion.

Dr. Clark's link above mentions it as a part of FV theology. It's my understanding that the CREC is friendly to FV, but that it's circle gathers those who differ as well. I think the same might be true with paedocommunion, welcoming those who practice it as well as those who differ. That may just be semantics, however, as to how they word their official statements. In practice, it might be different...idk.

Blessings!
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
The CREC is not merely friendly to the FV. It is the home if the FV. It's where FVists from the URCNA and PCA go when they leave. They are to the FV what Iran is to terrorism: the ecclesiastical sponsor.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
That may just be semantics, however, as to how they word their official statements. In practice, it might be different...idk.

It is true that they claim.... But I have a better term for it. Obfuscation. As has been mentioned many times in the past, the Federal Vision is not monolithic in its stances. There is a lot of cross over in areas. The one thing most of them have is a terrible view of the Covenant though. They are mostly monocovenantalists. A lot of them practice paedocommunion. A lot of them have have troubles when the doctrine of Christ's righteousness being imputed to us arises. The reason for this is because they deny the Covenant of Works in their monocovenantalism. They don't know what Christ fulfilled and what is imputed to us if anything.
 

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
Glad you avoided that pitfall, Charlie. I know a few people who have been a part of that group, and Mindy knows some that still are. I got the same response when I inquired some years ago, that they 'weren't FV, but do agree with it on some things'. I don't quite understand why they say that.

There's a small group from our Church that meets in Strasburg. Maybe that would be a good way to get to know us. A member family lives on Rt 11 on the south end of Maurertown, the big old house with the German and US flags out front, and they attend that group sometimes. Let me know if you're interested and I can hook you up with the guy who leads it, a Ruling Elder not currently serving, a very dear brother, an excellent guitarist, and last but not least a brewer of some of the best beer in the region.
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
It is an uncharitable and a poor turn of phrase. Iran murders its own citizens and ensures Hezbollah and other terrorist groups murder thousands more.

To compare the CREC to Iran is to empower them to a degree they don't deserve.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
It is an uncharitable and a poor turn of phrase. Iran murders its own citizens and ensures Hezbollah and other terrorist groups murder thousands more.

To compare the CREC to Iran is to empower them to a degree they don't deserve.

Now that isn't fair Ben. He was not paralleling the issues you are bringing up. He was paralleling the ecclesiastical sponsorship. And he specifically said so.

BTW, some people might say that the CREC is sponsoring spiritual death by endorsing and housing the Federal Vision.
 

moral necessity

Puritan Board Junior
The CREC is not merely friendly to the FV. It is the home if the FV. It's where FVists from the URCNA and PCA go when they leave. They are to the FV what Iran is to terrorism: the ecclesiastical sponsor.

Thanks for this, Dr. Clark. I suspected this was the case, even though they advertise it a little differently.

Blessings!
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
It is an uncharitable and a poor turn of phrase. Iran murders its own citizens and ensures Hezbollah and other terrorist groups murder thousands more.

To compare the CREC to Iran is to empower them to a degree they don't deserve.

I agree that it is excessive rhetoric. I think a more apt comparison might to Calvary Chapel and its franchises. They deny any denominational essentials but there is a predictability to the congregations akin to the taste of a Big Mac no matter what McDonalds you enter.
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
How much do the critics of my rhetoric actually know about the CREC?

How much time have they spent doing triage in its wake?

Have they been threatened with lawsuits for speaking out?
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
I'm interested in the reaction to my analogy. I'm working on a related question right now so I would appreciate some constructive feedback here.

Please say exactly why the analogy with Iran is over the top and offensive. I see it as a provocative but quite accurate analogy. The FV doctrine is an evil ideology. It's as destructive of the church as terrorism is of the civil/social realm. Iran doesn't necessarily officially, openly practice terrorism but they facilitate terrorism across the middle east. The CREC doesn't officially embrace the FV but it facilitates the spread of the FV error. The analogy works at several points of contact. Yet, some are offended. I suspect the our different reactions to the analogy are due to different evaluations of the nature of the CREC and possibly of the FV doctrine but perhaps there's something inherently flawed in the analogy and if there is, it would help me to see what it is.

Thanks.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
The analogy works at several points of contact

Dear Dr. Clark, I hope you don't mind my point of view here as only a lay-person (I understand you to be soliciting the reactions of lay readers as well?): I think perhaps it is in part because we see such analogies (analogies with Hitler and the terrorists) commonly employed to escalate the emotional/moral tone of discussions? My husband was remarking the other day -- perhaps from something he read that remarked on it -- that most online disagreements develop to the point of usage of analogies to the Nazis or to the terrorists. And the analogies are often employed based on one or two more limited points of contact, and one party's own vivid apprehension of evil in the matter in hand (which may certainly be justified). But there are a large number of factors that contribute to our societally very strong reaction against terrorists and Nazis.

I once read a man liken Fanny Crosby and other hymnwriters of her day to the false prophets of Baal. This was not because he held to the regulative principle -- he held to a sort of classical and philosophical idea of beauty in worship and he found her hymns as offensive on this system of what is acceptable to God in the church, as apostates leaping on altars and cutting themselves and crying out to idols. I readily grant that he found them equally offensive, but didn't think this point of comparison full enough to warrant the analogy, even on his own scale of values. That is only an example of what I mean to say about the fuller number of factors that enter into our strong response to a particular group of evil people, like the prophets of Baal -- hence a negative reaction where that full and undivided 'weight' gets thrown into analogies which seem to have fewer points of comparison than of dissimilarity (I don't think your analogy was on the same level as this example!). Again, please forgive if I've spoken out of turn and if that is not helpful feedback from a lay perspective. I'm certainly very grateful for our ministers who do perceive the evil and destructive nature of some ideologies and seek to protect us from them.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
I guess I didn't find it all that troublesome an analogy; even if not formally FV, the CREC is a base of operation/safe haven for the advocates who've had to flee the sound churches opposing it. They provide cover for the enemies to the truth. If the provocative nature of the analogy itself becomes the issue, perhaps it is just more productive to make the points of fact without recourse to finding what is analogous to Iran?
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
I guess I didn't find it all that troublesome an analogy; even if not formally FV, the CREC is a base of operation/safe haven for the advocates who've had to flee the sound churches opposing it. They provide cover for the enemies to the truth. If the provocative nature of the analogy itself becomes the issue, perhaps it is just more productive to make the points of fact without recourse to finding what is analogous to Iran?

Similar idea here. The only problem I see with the analogy is it invites the distraction we see here: we now are tempted to argue international politics.

But, checking our temptations, as someone who lives pretty close to the "mother of all" CREC churches, I see the analogy as being pretty on point. There is a remarkable amount of damage to God's saints radiating from that body.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Again, it's not that the analogy isn't apt in certain ways but it invites distraction as Heidi noted. I learned from someone a long time ago that when you default to the "Nazi" argument you've already lost some and they can't hear your argument any longer. The word terrorist has the same chilling effect to conversation with many you might want to otherwise convince. It depends, in the end, on who you're trying to convince by an argument. If you keep having to argue with people on the propriety of the analogy then it probably indicates that you might want to think about an analogy that communicates the same organic relationship between the CREC and the error without having people get tripped up by the word "terrorist".

As an example, I was interacting with a brother on the issue of intinction in the PCA and someone brought up the "history" of the practice. I pointed out that there are plenty of practices that have a long history but we recognize them as idolotrous but I made a poor comparison because I immediately jumped to the example that, for instance, sacrificing babies on altars has a long history in religious practice but, immediately, a brother who agreed with me otherwise pointed out that the rhetorical excess did more harm than good.
 

Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
I have no certainty about this analogy or that, but I had to chuckle to think what responses there would be on PB to statements and actions by Luther, Knox, and Calvin! Even Scripture itself uses quite extreme analogy - "dung" etc.

I suppose it is wrong sometimes and right others, but I think considering church patriarchs and the Bible itself would be helpful.
 

malum in se

Puritan Board Freshman
The analogy works at several points of contact

Dear Dr. Clark, I hope you don't mind my point of view here as only a lay-person (I understand you to be soliciting the reactions of lay readers as well?): I think perhaps it is in part because we see such analogies (analogies with Hitler and the terrorists) commonly employed to escalate the emotional/moral tone of discussions? My husband was remarking the other day -- perhaps from something he read that remarked on it -- that most online disagreements develop to the point of usage of analogies to the Nazis or to the terrorists. And the analogies are often employed based on one or two more limited points of contact, and one party's own vivid apprehension of evil in the matter in hand (which may certainly be justified). But there are a large number of factors that contribute to our societally very strong reaction against terrorists and Nazis.


Is the FV Godwins law of the puritan board?
 

BibleCyst

Puritan Board Freshman
They are to the FV what Iran is to terrorism: the ecclesiastical sponsor.

Another perspective from a lay person. Brother, I believe this analogy is inapproprieate. It is not necessarily a false comparison. However, it comes across as inflammatory. I'm not accusing you of purposely being inflammatory. It just doesn't come across as speaking the truth in love. We have brothers in the CREC.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Inflammatory rhetoric can be useful, and is sometimes necessary. Sometimes you have to hit folks with a rhetorical 2x4 to get their attention before you can present your logical arguments. Dr. Clark caught our attention here, and is now able to engage on the evidence.

While we shouldn't go out of our way to offend folks (a statement which some here might find strange coming from me), we also shouldn't pull our punches out of fear of offending the sensitive.
 

Beoga

Puritan Board Freshman
How much do the critics of my rhetoric actually know about the CREC?

How much time have they spent doing triage in its wake?

Have they been threatened with lawsuits for speaking out?

Your rhetoric vs. Doug Wilson's rhetoric in a formal debate regarding this issue would be informative and entertaining. But alas we probably shouldn't deal with terrorists.
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
The analogy works at several points of contact

Dear Dr. Clark, I hope you don't mind my point of view here as only a lay-person (I understand you to be soliciting the reactions of lay readers as well?): I think perhaps it is in part because we see such analogies (analogies with Hitler and the terrorists) commonly employed to escalate the emotional/moral tone of discussions? My husband was remarking the other day -- perhaps from something he read that remarked on it -- that most online disagreements develop to the point of usage of analogies to the Nazis or to the terrorists. And the analogies are often employed based on one or two more limited points of contact, and one party's own vivid apprehension of evil in the matter in hand (which may certainly be justified). But there are a large number of factors that contribute to our societally very strong reaction against terrorists and Nazis.

I once read a man liken Fanny Crosby and other hymnwriters of her day to the false prophets of Baal. This was not because he held to the regulative principle -- he held to a sort of classical and philosophical idea of beauty in worship and he found her hymns as offensive on this system of what is acceptable to God in the church, as apostates leaping on altars and cutting themselves and crying out to idols. I readily grant that he found them equally offensive, but didn't think this point of comparison full enough to warrant the analogy, even on his own scale of values. That is only an example of what I mean to say about the fuller number of factors that enter into our strong response to a particular group of evil people, like the prophets of Baal -- hence a negative reaction where that full and undivided 'weight' gets thrown into analogies which seem to have fewer points of comparison than of dissimilarity (I don't think your analogy was on the same level as this example!). Again, please forgive if I've spoken out of turn and if that is not helpful feedback from a lay perspective. I'm certainly very grateful for our ministers who do perceive the evil and destructive nature of some ideologies and seek to protect us from them.

Hi Heidi,

I quite appreciate this. I could reply right away yesterday but this is exactly the sort of thoughtful interaction for which I hoped! This seems like a strong argument. I agree that the quick move to the Nazi analogy reveals a weak argument especially when the person being described as a NAZI isn't trying to take over the world or kill 50 million people.

Otoh, where there are genuine points of contact, might not the Nazi analogy actually be fair and even instructive. E.g., If one was making arguments about racial superiority, say, a plagiarized, racist book arguing for the benefits of the "peculiar institution" of American slavery (unlike most forms of slavery practiced in the ancient world and the slavery generally in view in Scripture) then might there be a case to make such an analogy? Of course, this is all purely hypothetical. No two American authors with connections to the CREC would actually ever publish such a thing, but if they did, might not one make such an argument?

In the same way, if a confederation of churches actively supports and exports (to E. Europe) a gross error that has done damage to persons and to congregations and that has been rejected by the entire confessional Reformed world, why isn't a colorful, provocative analogy useful? In this case, the analogy with Iran brought into sharp focus the nature of the error (it does great damage) and the nature of the entity propagating the error. The entity is able to spread harm by proxy while not officially owning the action and the consequences.

Doesn't the validity of the analogy come down, at least in part, to what one thinks of the FV? If one thinks the FV doctrine is wrong but not terribly dangerous, then one is more likely to be scandalized by the analogy. If one thinks that the FV doctrine is a soul-killing, church-wrecking error (as I do) then one is more likely to be attracted to the analogy.

The scale of the problem also answers the use of strong analogies re Fanny Crosby hymns. I'm quite opposed to singing uninspired songs in public worship. Calvin and the Reformed called such things "will worship" but the inappropriateness of a Nazi analogy seems obvious.
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
They are to the FV what Iran is to terrorism: the ecclesiastical sponsor.

Another perspective from a lay person. Brother, I believe this analogy is inapproprieate. It is not necessarily a false comparison. However, it comes across as inflammatory. I'm not accusing you of purposely being inflammatory. It just doesn't come across as speaking the truth in love. We have brothers in the CREC.

Hi Richard,

When you say "speak the truth in love" I think I know what you mean but let me push you a bit. When our Lord said "twice the son of hell" or "vipers" or "white-washed tombstones" or when Paul called out Peter for denying the gospel (which is relevant here) or named heretics in his letters, how do you account for such rhetoric (never mind the OT prophets) in your definition of speaking the truth in love.

I'm sure that there are brothers in the CREC but I'm also sure that, as an organization, it is the source of great error and confusion and harm. I'm also sure that there are true believers in the Roman communion but that doesn't stop our confessions from describing Rome as a "false church" and the pope as Antichrist.

Does these sorts of arguments change things for you?
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
I have no certainty about this analogy or that, but I had to chuckle to think what responses there would be on PB to statements and actions by Luther, Knox, and Calvin! Even Scripture itself uses quite extreme analogy - "dung" etc.

I suppose it is wrong sometimes and right others, but I think considering church patriarchs and the Bible itself would be helpful.

Indeed. This is part of what I'm thinking about right now. Some would argue, "that was then, this is now." How would you reply to such an argument?
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
ps. When I logged on this AM I saw a message on my screen, under notifications, I read it, was edified but could not figure out how to reply and now it's gone and I don't know what sort of message it was or where it is. So, if I didn't reply to your message it wasn't for lack of trying. Sorry.
 
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