Exceptions to the Confession - for Presbyterians

Discussion in 'The Confession of Faith' started by C. Matthew McMahon, Aug 7, 2005.

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  1. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    What do you think are "six" allowable "exceptions" to the Westminster Confession?

    In other words, what are six areas of subscriptuon to the standards that in the acceptable parameters of being "deviant" but not "serious error."

    I'll give one:
    I would say "the distinguishing of the antichrist." The Pope may not be "THE" antichrist, though he is "an" antichrist.
  2. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    Why the number six?
  3. Dan....

    Dan.... Puritan Board Sophomore

    Allowable for whom? For teachers? Office bearers? communicant members?

    By the way: The American Revision does not include the "Pope =anti-Christ clause", hence there is no need of citing an exception there for the majority of Confessional Presbyterians.
  4. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Here's what I said to my presbytery:

    (for the record, the first exception was ruled "not exceptionable" per stated policy)

    Fathers and Brothers of the Presbytery,

    I state with firmness of conviction that I hold to no exceptions to the Constitutional documents of the Church, save that which appears below:

    1) WCF XXI.5 Though it may have been the intent of the writers to limit singing in worship to the inspired Psalter, I believe singing the whole theology of Scripture (in uninspired hymns) has biblical warrant. (This appears to be the majority position in the PCA.)

    2) WCF VII.4 I am very much in doubt that the term "œTestament" meaning a "œwill" is so "œfrequently set forth in Scripture" as was assumed in 1646. In my view it is much more consonant with the historical, religious usage of the Greek term (as we find in the Septuagint) to translate the word with fair consistency as "œcovenant," which in fact modern translations have tended toward since 1900.
  5. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    :ditto: to Bruce
  6. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    I can see six allowable thus far, and was just curious as to others.

    For office bearers Dan.

    So far we've named three:

    1) antichrist
    2) psalms
    3) testament


    [Edited on 8-8-2005 by webmaster]
  7. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    Don't people usually take one on the idea of not even recreating on the Sabbath?
  8. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    1. Chapter XXIII Of the Civil Magistrate
    (i.e. 1789 revision or original)

    2. Chapter XXIV Of Marriage and Divorce, Section IV
    (The PCA revision excludes "The man may not marry any of his wife's kindred, nearer in blood then he may of his own: nor the woman of her husband's kindred, nearer in blood than of her own.")
  9. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    This was one of the 1903 revisions, not one from 1788. The OPC chose to adopt two of the 1903 revisions, of which this is one, but not the rest.
    The break down as I've determined it for this revision is as follows:
    What is known as the consanquity clause has an interesting history as well, but was only first revised in the mainline PCUS/PCUSA in 1886 (interesting same year; I believe there may have been "talks" at the time).
    The chapter on the Civil Magistrate received treatment far earlier as most know and some have already noted.
    CF 20.4 and 31.2 have also received revision in various branches of American Presbyterianism.
  10. rmwilliamsjr

    rmwilliamsjr Puritan Board Freshman

    i asked my Pastor this question with reference to the 3 common exceptions in the PCA's Southwest Presbytery and he said that the most common exceptions are:
    1-recreation clause of Sabbath
    2-6 24 hr days of the Creation week (OEC and FI are allowed under the PCA creation report)
    3-singing hymns rather than EP (CCM is allowed)

    btw in the 1840's there were 3 GA trials on the consanguinity clause
    see: http://www.peterwallace.org/dissertation/4conscience.htm
  11. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritanboard Softy

    1. Sabbatarianism
    2. EP
    3. Creation as 6 literal 24 hour days
    4. Millennial views
    5. pope as the antichirst
    6. celebration of holidays
  12. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Here is what is listed:

    1) antichrist
    2) psalms
    3) testament
    4) recreation clause on the Sabbath
    5) Civil Magistrate clause removal / addition
    6) Marriage and Divorce
    7) Millennial views
    8) Creation as literal 6

    I would also throw in there

    9) general equity clause (which allows for Theonomy)

    Which of these 9 do you think we should really allow/not allow as exceptions?

    Should we "allow" an exception on creation? the law (Sabbath)?
  13. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

  14. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Senior

    1. "in the space of six days"
    2. "Testament"
    3. "singing of psalms"
    4. "recreations"
    5. "should not marry with ... papists"
    6. "Nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof; but is that Antichrist"
    7. "[give the bread and the cup] to none who are not then present in the congregation."

    Oops, I went over the limit there.
  15. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Senior

    "Should we 'allow' an exception on creation? the law (Sabbath)?"

    I would say yes for the first, but the second is more problematic.
  16. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Numbers 1, 5 and 6 are already built into the WCF used by 95% of Presbyterians, so I see no need to concern oneself unless you are in a body that does not accept the American revisions.

    Number 7 is not an exception unless one is historic premil (in which case it might be permissible) or dispensational premil (in which case it would not). The confession is neither amil or postmil.

    Number 3 is a difference of language, not substance, hence inherently permissible.

    Number 2 is permissible, and the de facto interpretation of 95% of WCF churches.

    Number 4 is permissible within bounds - recreation with the kids is OK, walks, etc, attending professionla sports, etc. is not

    Number 8 is permissible, but I would restrict the teaching.

    I would also restrict the teaching on Number 9. (Sorry Jacob).
  17. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Fred, what are some other exceptions you've run into with candidates?

    (Not kooky ones like "I deny the Covenant of Works" - which they do in the South Florida Presbyterary. But ones that would not be "such a big deal for the PCA, or OPC for that matter.")
  18. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritanboard Softy

    Are those who deny this Covenant coming from RTS Orlando? If not, where are they coming from?
  19. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I am in a very good mood at the moment so I will simply smile and laugh at myself on that one!:lol::D
  20. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    By far the most common are creation (FW, DayAge) and Sabbath (both recreation and "Continental view" ).

    I have also seen exceptions regarding:

    • the exclusion of Aramaic in 1.8
    • the use of "passions" in 2.1
    • the implication that all things fall out by secondary causes in 5.2 (a grammatical exception)
    • the language "covenant of works" in 7.2 (not the substance)
    • images of Christ (WLC 109)
    • the expiration of the judicial/civil law in 19.4
    • liberty with respect to alcohol in 20
    • the exclusive nature of the list of elements in 20.3-5

    I have also seen some ones that made me think- the best is the one that takes exception to the Standard's language about original sin being linked to our first parents, implying that Eve was somehow involved, and that militated against Romans 5.

    Finally, I have heard of whoppers - I won't even go into them here.
  21. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    One of the exceptions that I have been seeing popping up is on peadocommunion but with restrictions concerning teaching this position.
  22. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    Question: How would you define a exception?

    I would say that an exception is a view that disturbs the essence or substance of what the Standards teach.
  23. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned an exception to the establishment principle as affirmed in WLC #191.
  24. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    What is the "establishment principle"?

    I see nothing in 191 that I would disagree with. :candle:
  25. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Yes, this is becoming more and more common. It is also now sure to draw a no vote from me and a speech on the floor.
  26. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    The establishment principle is the doctrine that teaches that magistrates and nations have a duty to uphold and confess the true religion.

    WLC #191:

    From whence, we get the concept of a "state" or "established" church. It is directly contrary to the First Amendment of the US Constitution which prohibits the establishment of religion by Congress. The establishment principle has been discussed at some length in various threads. I have recommended works on the subject previously in this thread.
  27. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    I find it very interesting that this is the Scripture citation for that phrase in WLC 191:

  28. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    Been there done that!
  29. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    This verse is an important part of the Scriptural testimony of the establishment principle. Note the term "godliness," the promotion of which, as Calvin says, is the chief duty of magistrates, and hence is to be the aim of our prayers.

    Calvin on 1 Tim. 2.2:

    [Edited on 8-9-2005 by VirginiaHuguenot]
  30. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    While I am against any exception to the Confession (which amounts to a rejection of a doctrine) of those listed above I think laxity on Sabbath keeping is the worst.

    1. Honoring the Sabbath is expressly commanded in the 4th commandment, written by the finger of God, right alongside "honor thy mother and father" and "thou shalt not kill". The mode and means of honoring the sabbath are clearly put down in scripture or easily inferred.
    2. It is also very clear in the Confession. With the other exceptions there is at least a little ambiguity.

    [Edited on 8-14-2005 by Peter]
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