Do you think that the Cumberland Presbyterian church is Arminian or Semi-Pelagian?

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CalvinisticCumberland

Puritan Board Freshman
Growing up in the denomination, and know it fairly well, I would say Arminian. But there is enough vagary amongst preachers and historical confessions that would seem to leave the door open to an accusation of being Semi-Pelagian.


For instance, this is point 2.01 from the confession

"2.01 God, in creating persons, gives them the capacity and freedom to respond to divine grace in loving obedience. Therefore, whoever will may be saved."

This taken out of context from the rest of the confession actually sounds Semi-Pelagian to me. But as far as actual teaching and practice in the church, I think you would find a much more Arminian take on free-will and depravity. I.E. the "capacity and freedom to respond" only comes through prevenient grace.

Here is the lastest Confession of Faith, and I was wondering what the thoughts of this board may be.

Confession of Faith and Government for Cumberland Presbyterians
 

Galatians220

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hi, Andrew,

I looked also at the points under 4.00 of the Confession of Faith and when read in context with Point 2.01, I don't know the answer to your question... That comparison is confusing to me and I eagerly anticipate edification by others here.

For a long time, I've considered the arguments against "whosoever will" teachings that are made by the Protestant Reformed Church of America, e.g., Whosoever Will - The Act of Coming. The debate between Dr. Richard Mouw and Dr. David Engelsma on "common grace" that was held a few years ago made a strong impression.

The church of which I'm presently a member stands for the doctrine of common grace, and also strictly for the teaching that "there is nothing in us that makes us choose God." Total depravity, for sure, and I heartily accept that and offer an "amen" to its mere utterance, for that's Biblical - and it was my experience as well. This is also puzzling: would not "grace" in any "form" be of the Lord and therefore, eventually and necessarily result in salvation, given 2 Peter 3:9? If not, why not call "grace" resistible and dispense entirely with the fourth point of Calvinism?

As I said, I look forward eagerly to the input of others...
 

CalvinisticCumberland

Puritan Board Freshman
Indeed it seems that the Cumberland confession really doesn't know what it is, either. The attempt to maintain a Reformed viewpoint on the absolute sovereignty of God, while at the same time trying to preserve the "absolute, unviolated free-will" of man, leads directly to many inconsistencies.

The Cumberlands have closer to true Reformed confessions such as the original
1814 Confession that at least admits its own inconsistencies and leaves them to the "High Mystery" of the incomprehensible wisdom of God.

Here is a link to the original confession

1814 Confession of Faith - Cumberland Presbyterian Church



Hi, Andrew,

I looked also at the points under 4.00 of the Confession of Faith and when read in context with Point 2.01, I don't know the answer to your question... That comparison is confusing to me and I eagerly anticipate edification by others here.

For a long time, I've considered the arguments against "whosoever will" teachings that are made by the Protestant Reformed Church of America, e.g., Whosoever Will - The Act of Coming. The debate between Dr. Richard Mouw and Dr. David Engelsma on "common grace" that was held a few years ago made a strong impression.

The church of which I'm presently a member stands for the doctrine of common grace, and also strictly for the teaching that "there is nothing in us that makes us choose God." Total depravity, for sure, and I heartily accept that and offer an "amen" to its mere utterance, for that's Biblical - and it was my experience as well. This is also puzzling: would not "grace" in any "form" be of the Lord and therefore, eventually and necessarily result in salvation, given 2 Peter 3:9? If not, why not call "grace" resistible and dispense entirely with the fourth point of Calvinism?

As I said, I look forward eagerly to the input of others...
 

Galatians220

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hmmm... Chapters IX and X of the Confession are in line with 5-point Calvinism and definitely have no color of Pelagianism, but then the parenthetical "and who obey the call" in Chapter XI blows the whole thing to bits, it appears. I think if we "obey the call," it's only God who gives us the grace to do so. To those He saves will He also give the ability to "walk the walk," even from Step One, and be sanctified. At least, that's what I've been taught lately... We contribute nothing to our own salvation, but if that condition plainly set forth in Chapter XI is to be laid to it, then yes, that camel's nose is peeking under the tent. Fascinating.
 

Josiah

Puritan Board Senior
I thought Arminius was a semi pelagian. I don't think he was a full blown pelagian.
:ditto:

I would have to agree. I wonder though what he would think of such modern groups as the Open theists.

sorry :offtopic:

Back on topic, :think: I wonder If the Cumberland's might move more close to historic Christianity? I know that in another split-P group there is a stronger push for a more self-Consciously Reformed Identity. Perhaps the Lord may yet work in their hearts as he has with that other Presbyterian group.
 

CalvinisticCumberland

Puritan Board Freshman
I have always drawn a subtle distinction between semi-Pelagian and Arminian, although both views are very closely related.

Semi-Pelagianism to me says that man is mostly depraved, yet not totally. There is no need for "prevenient" grace, as man is still "good enough" to choose God when He calls. (This is opposed to full Pelagianism, which says man doesn't need grace at all to be saved, he can save himself.)

Arminianism to me says that man is totally depraved, and apart from the working of "prevenient" grace, man cannot, will not choose God in any circumstance.

Thoughts?



I thought Arminius was a semi pelagian. I don't think he was a full blown pelagian.
:ditto:

I would have to agree. I wonder though what he would think of such modern groups as the Open theists.

sorry :offtopic:

Back on topic, :think: I wonder If the Cumberland's might move more close to historic Christianity? I know that in another split-P group there is a stronger push for a more self-Consciously Reformed Identity. Perhaps the Lord may yet work in their hearts as he has with that other Presbyterian group.
 
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