Intinction and Adam... Where is our Good Faith?

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Staff member
[h=1]Intinction and Extinction: Where is Our Good Faith?
Intinction and Extinction: Where is Our Good Faith? - Reformation21[/h]David B. Garner

I admit that I might not fully understand all that is going on concerning these issues but I thought this was pretty good. Here are some portions taken from the blog post.

To the surprise of some of my fellow elders in my Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) presbytery, I voted against the proposed language change to the Book of Church Order 58-5 concerning intinction.(1) It is not because I believe or practice intinction. In fact, in my estimation, the exegetical and historical arguments against intinction deliver a knockout blow.

...Drop Adam and dip your bread in your wine. Adam is extinct, let's intinct... (I just thought this was a bit funny)

...It is no wonder that confessionally-wise PCA presbyteries like Westminster are concerned enough to pen in thesi statements. They are right to be disturbed. Should we not join them in reinforcing constitutional language, fortifying our commitments by declarative affirmations?

It is no wonder there surged a new anti-intinction language proposal. Churches in our denomination do practice intinction and already stretch the language of BCO 58 beyond breaking point. Should we not strengthen it with more explicit language?

Surely, it is thought, more clarifying words will save the day, preserve orthodoxy, and turn back the tide of cultural and academic compromises. For the peace and purity of the Church, we must speak, defend, and clarify. It sounds right. It sounds compelling. It surely intends faithfulness and integrity.

As good as they seem, I fear the tactics will fail. They may well backfire.

Don't misunderstand. I do not oppose BCO language changes. Believe me, there are changes that need be made and many of them I have advocated and supported. There are many times I'm tempted to lead the charge....

Intinction and historic Adam (and we could add, among other things, paedocommunion here) are debates altogether different. That our Standards and Constitution already speak directly, forcefully, and unambiguously about these points of doctrine and practice suggests that the problem is not the words. Attempts at clarifying what is already clear suggest that what is clear is not clear. Redundant statements neither reinforce nor clarify. They dilute. Redundant statements neither reinforce nor clarify. They dilute. Redundant statements neither reinforce nor clarify. They dilute. ...

...Exacerbating the problem, the "theology of nice" has turned faith confession into a matter of good intent, rather than good content...

...We must recognize the problem in the mirror: the problem is not the Confession, but we, the confessors. The problem is not the Constitution, but its advocacy.
I think he is correct guys if I am understanding him. It isn't that we need to rewrite anything as much as we need to recognize what is clearly written already and stand on those things.

If the Church would just act and stand upon the overtly clear statements it has already.... well,... I don't know what to say. The words are already plain. Just judicially stand on them.

I really appreciated something Rev. Winzer stated sometime back...

While there are men who conscientiously act with the vows of God upon them there is obviously going to be a group of people who maintain, assert, and defend every article of the confession which they have subscribed with their own hand in the sight of God and men. And why shouldn't they? Afterall, they not only promised to the church that they would do so, but the church also promised her support and nurture in the process.

The modern reformed church is in trouble, not because of her traditional forms, but because her traditional forms are being maintained without traditional values of integrity, respect, and trust


Puritan Board Freshman
I thought this was a fantastic article and really highlights the issues present within the PCA. It grieved me greatly to know that my Presbytery has sent an overture to the GA to look into revising Chapter 21 of the Confession on the use of recreations on the Lord's Day. That and the battle for intinction and the RPW has been at the forefront of my conversations with my community and elders. Suffice it to say, Deconstructionism has penetrated the church in a way that many do not even realize. May God humble us under His infallible Word, that speaks Truth and is able to make the simple man (of which I consider myself!) wise.

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
TE Garner's analysis is spot on. I was initially surprised when I encountered this in the PCA but have years ago concluded that a "reader response" approach to the Confession is tolerated by many who are, quite simply, ambivalent about such things. I watched a man be passed on the floor of Presbytery who held to paedocommunion. He was asked to present a paper defending his views that, in large measure, departed from at least a dozen clauses in our standards.

After being questioned by one of the most humble Pastors I know, one TE came up and stated: "We should not be mean to this TE. He has written a paper Biblically defending his view." The TE who held to paedocommunion was not even required to take exceptions to the several portions of the Westminster standards that his views clearly required.

I really don't think the danger in our day is any one particular error but all the particular departures are greeted with a general apathy that "...he stated he can read the Westminster standards in a way that doesn't require he takes an exception." I heard two elderly TE's at 2012 GA state, during the paedocommunion discussion: "Well, as long as he's not practicing it, I don't have a problem with it...."

Regarding Enns, another TE passionately told me that we (the collective we that is) pushed Enns out and that he knew several TE's that threatened to leave the PCA if the in thesi statement about evoloution was adoptied (as if our Confession's view is in doubt on the matter).

It's really hard to know where to plant any kind of flag in such an environment. The sand is shifting all around so any appeal to anything fixed just doesn't seem to compute with many. In some ways, I think I would just prefer a firm liberalism or some other kind of frontal rejection of certain ideas. Trying to argue against jello with really nice men is really difficult because no view is ever really fully defined.


Staff member
Probably in the end, it will be planted in a "different" environment altogether. At one point James Durham in his concerning Scandal after making every argument for unity, concluded, yet if you cannot be agreed on church government, there can be no unity. Replace church standards for church government and it amounts to the same thing. A wax nose is no unifying set of principles. We are not talking about exceptions; but how to even "hold" the doctrinal statements that one is swearing to uphold. It is actually rather sickening.
It's really hard to know where to plant any kind of flag in such an environment.


Puritan Board Professor
I thought the article was very well done. However, where I agree that we shouldn't be changing our Constitution to further reinforce it, in this case intinction is not covered in the BCO. It only deals with distributing the elements where intinction isn't about distribution, it is about partaking and sacramental actions. The Standards do cover it, so it shouldn't be allowed.

Now as it is for in these statements. I think we should not use them to reinforce the Constitution but to restate it. We do the same thing in preaching all the time. We restate what Scripture says over and over and over because people forget. This is the same thing for in thesi statements. They are a restatement of what Scripture and our Constitution say and they are used to cause the people to remember what we believe.

For the theistic evolution overture which if passed would've been an in thesi statement, a similar statement was passed in the old PCUS in 2 out of 3 years. Because the people needed reminding. So I disagree with him there. But overall it was an excellent article.
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