PCA and Confessional Subscription

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Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Do I really need to spell it out? This is no more than an assertion: The PCA is divided right now on the federal Vision issue. In time, there will be a split over this. A number of the body will head south over this. As well, a section of PCA churches are no longer reformed at all. The confession is no more than a piece of paper. Worship has digressed to the point that even woman are reading scripture from the pulpits. Music being used in the worship services has gone from the psalms & hymns, to contemporary everyday music. It is not difficult to see that in a generation or two the organization itself will no longer function under the auspices of biblical Calvinism.

While I don't want to take the thread on a new track as a whole, I at least felt the need to say something from the "other side" regarding your suggestions, Scott. Respectfully, I would submit that they represent an immense oversimplification of the state the PCA as a whole is actually in right now. Regarding women reading Scripture from the pulpits - if the fact that a very small minority of PCA congregations are practicing it means that the denomination is on the decline as a whole, then by the same logic I think the RPCNA would have gone broad evangelical long ago with their female deacons. But they have not.

Also, regarding the Federal Vision, right now more than ever there are some very good signs regarding the way with which it will be dealt. The study committee is promising, and in many ways even more importantly, the recent documents from the Standing Judicial Commission on Steve Wilkins' case with Louisiana Presbytery point in a similar direction. As Fred explained much better in the thread on that issue, that suggests good things not only about the doctrinal direction of the PCA, but about her ecclesiology as well, in that the GA is still willing to truly exercise its authority even when that means critically and directly confronting significant decisions of lower courts. Even from the times of the formation of the ecumenical creeds, false teachings in the church have never been dealt with in a heartbeat, but have always required the analysis and deliberation of councils, synods and assemblies through due process over a period of time; and that is exactly what is going on surrounding the Federal Vision in the PCA at this time.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
While I don't want to take the thread on a new track as a whole, I at least felt the need to say something from the "other side" regarding your suggestions, Scott. Respectfully, I would submit that they represent an immense oversimplification of the state the PCA as a whole is actually in right now.

OK

Regarding women reading Scripture from the pulpits - if the fact that a very small minority of PCA congregations are practicing it means that the denomination is on the decline as a whole, then by the same logic I think the RPCNA would have gone broad evangelical long ago with their female deacons. But they have not.

I am speaking a few generations down the line.........

Also, regarding the Federal Vision, right now more than ever there are some very good signs regarding the way with which it will be dealt. The study committee is promising, and in many ways even more importantly, the recent documents from the Standing Judicial Commission on Steve Wilkins' case with Louisiana Presbytery point in a similar direction. As Fred explained much better in the thread on that issue, that suggests good things not only about the doctrinal direction of the PCA, but about her ecclesiology as well, in that the GA is still willing to truly exercise its authority even when that means critically and directly confronting significant decisions of lower courts. Even from the times of the formation of the ecumenical creeds, false teachings in the church have never been dealt with in a heartbeat, but have always required the analysis and deliberation of councils, synods and assemblies through due process over a period of time; and that is exactly what is going on surrounding the Federal Vision in the PCA at this time.

That may be true however, what will eventually happen is even if the PCA finds Wilkins et. al. guilty, the bottom will fall out and all the FV guys will leave their respective churches for the FVA (Federal Vision of America) :p
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I am speaking a few generations down the line.........

Continuing the analogy, the RPCNA has allowed deaconesses since 1888.

That may be true however, what will eventually happen is even if the PCA finds Wilkins et. al. guilty, the bottom will fall out and all the FV guys will leave their respective churches for the FVA (Federal Vision of America) :p

Though I do not personally have as much firsthand familiarity with numerous pastors and elders across the nation, the firsthand knowledge and more widespread network connections of the majority of PCA pastors and elders I do know (in Memphis, in Cincinnati and on the board) seem to indicate that the world of blogdom gives the doctrines associated with the FV movement (and thus the movement as a whole) much more vocal and widespread influence than what they actually have in terms of numerical influence in the churches.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Continuing the analogy, the RPCNA has allowed deaconesses since 1888.

OK. Has the RPCNA allowed for as much evangelical infiltration that the PCA has? For instance, in the lobby of one PCA church I found:

1) A rack for Good News Magazines; Published by Calvary Chapel
2) Books by Ann Graham Lotts, Tim Lehaye etc.
3) The leadership I spoke to said that they were involved w/ some ministries that were directly affiliated w/ CC.

Though I do not personally have as much firsthand familiarity with numerous pastors and elders across the nation, the firsthand knowledge and more widespread network connections of the majority of PCA pastors and elders I do know (in Memphis, in Cincinnati and on the board) seem to indicate that the world of blogdom gives the doctrines associated with the FV movement (and thus the movement as a whole) much more vocal and widespread influence than what they actually have in terms of numerical influence in the churches.

This may be true; I don't know. I bet the numbers are larger than you or I am aware of.
 

Theoretical

Puritan Board Professor
OK

That may be true however, what will eventually happen is even if the PCA finds Wilkins et. al. guilty, the bottom will fall out and all the FV guys will leave their respective churches for the FVA (Federal Vision of America) :p

There is one important point in this statement I'd like to address. The PCA has many problems, but the anti-FV actions taken by the SJC might just be a turning point where the denomination can be revitalized. If the adherents of this particular scourge of liberalism and neo-Romanism ends up leaving the denomination (instead of having the orthodox remnant leave, a la PCUS-->OPC). The FV controversy is such a serious battle in the PCA, precisely because if the heresy can be killed in the big conservative Presbyterian denomination, then it will likely lead to similar manueverings in the OPC - or that body's FVers would join CREC or whatever's formed up in the aftermath.

A successful move to expel all FV officers from the Church (including perhaps even a heresy determination), might well lead to a healthy re-evaluation and counterstrike to the creep of liberalism. There is hope for the PCA...that's why one can still serve quite well as a Reformed Chirstian in the PCA, but has no business being in the PCUSA. I'd say with FV the breaking point is when FV becomes an officially and ecclesiastically tolerated view throughout the denomination, especially since it is so subversive to the Gospel and WCF.

On a side note, I too have noticed the broadly evangelical worship songs in my church's liturgy, and it does sadden me as to how theologically barren they are. Not getting into the EP/Non-EP argument, I think it is possible for modern hymns to be written that would be completely fine in a worship setting (from a hymondy perspective) and be every bit as theologically substantive as some of the great hymns. The biggest flaw I see in a lot of instrumental worship choices is the utter banality of so much of the music - there is nothing stirring or inspiring about much of it - it is about as inspiring as bad elevator music most of the time.

The increasing rise of superficial (as described above) contemporary worship (especialy in an emerging church context), and paedocommunion do worry me quite seriously, because both are seriously corrosive flaws that badly weaken the next generation of church members. Some errors can be only minimally damaging to the present adult generation; yet, they can be horribly destructive to the children of believers due to the consequences of these errors.

Perhaps God will be gracious to raise up some new churchmen in the PCA to allow it to return to a stronger theological foundation and more sound pattern of church conduct.
 

dannyhyde

Puritan Board Sophomore
Knowing men in the PCA across the country, it seems to me that it is a mixed bag or a big tent, which ever metaphor makes the case best.

In San Diego, there is not one confessional PCA that I know of. If there is one, I will stand corrected.

Here is a link to a "network" of PCA's in San Diego, which seems to utilize an Episcopal government and which worships with the Doobie Brothers' songs and invites women to speak as part of the sermon...http://www.sdreader.com/published/2006-02-23/sheep.html
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I am not denying there are indeed more contemporary and loose subscription churches in the PCA than I (and many others) would prefer. I don't believe there to be a problem with contemporary style worship per se or exceptions to the confession per se - as long as the content, the elements and the substance (respectively) are not added to or sacrificed. And I fully grant that the contemporary style and the type and amount of confessional subscription has been taken too far in many cases. But broadly speaking, that being taken to a dangerously unbiblical and imbalanced level is certainly the exception rather than the norm. As such, it is an unjustified leap to draw from it the assumption that the denomination is going to end up being more broad evangelical than Reformed.

OK. Has the RPCNA allowed for as much evangelical infiltration that the PCA has? For instance, in the lobby of one PCA church I found:

1) A rack for Good News Magazines; Published by Calvary Chapel
2) Books by Ann Graham Lotts, Tim Lehaye etc.
3) The leadership I spoke to said that they were involved w/ some ministries that were directly affiliated w/ CC.

Likewise, examples like this say even less about the PCA as a whole than do the issues like contemporary worship and confessional subscription. Why? Because compared with those issues, materials like this being promoted are even much more of a rarity, absolutely being the great exception rather than the norm.

In San Diego, there is not one confessional PCA that I know of. If there is one, I will stand corrected.

What about New Life PCA in Escondido? I know Dr. Dennis Johnson is an Associate Pastor there.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
New Life Presbyterian Church of La Mesa is an excellent church. They recently switched from OPC to PCA. I know their pastor, and he is an excellent, faithful Reformed pastor. I also know many of their members.

Knowing men in the PCA across the country, it seems to me that it is a mixed bag or a big tent, which ever metaphor makes the case best.

In San Diego, there is not one confessional PCA that I know of. If there is one, I will stand corrected.

Here is a link to a "network" of PCA's in San Diego, which seems to utilize an Episcopal government and which worships with the Doobie Brothers' songs and invites women to speak as part of the sermon...http://www.sdreader.com/published/2006-02-23/sheep.html
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
New Life Presbyterian Church of La Mesa is an excellent church. They recently switched from OPC to PCA. I know their pastor, and he is an excellent, faithful Reformed pastor. I also know many of their members.

I know a bit about that Church and the circumstances behind the move to the PCA. I would not be using that Church as an example of Reformed orthodoxy. The Pastor was disciplined for his views on Charismatic gifts. He could have continued in the OPC following his discipline but decided, with the Session, to leave.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
I know a bit about that Church and the circumstances behind the move to the PCA. I would not be using that Church as an example of Reformed orthodoxy. The Pastor was disciplined for his views on Charismatic gifts. He could have continued in the OPC following his discipline but decided, with the Session, to leave.

and now he sits where? In the PCA.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
I know a bit about that Church and the circumstances behind the move to the PCA. I would not be using that Church as an example of Reformed orthodoxy. The Pastor was disciplined for his views on Charismatic gifts. He could have continued in the OPC following his discipline but decided, with the Session, to leave.

I believe you are correct, but that is not the pastor I was thinking of. That pastor has since retired. I think we are using different views of confessional then because they would still consider themselves confessional. I do not know the details of that situation, but I don't think all non-cessationalist views are anti-confessional, i.e. deny the sufficiency of scripture.

New Life Mission Church of La Jolla is PCA also, and I believe they are confessional as well.
 

reformedman

Puritan Board Freshman
I came from a fundamental baptist church, another name for modern-calvinism or 4pointers or actually armenian when you splithairs on each of the points(except the last). The pastor allowed for babydedications and had perhaps 1 or 2 per year of families that went along with it(about 100 members in this church). He would very carefully and always, point out that this in no way was a dedication of the child, but instead was a dedication of the parent. It was a sort of public oath or promise that the parents would make commending themselves to the very serious task of raising up the child in the way it should go. Vows were made and prayers by the pastor and then silent prayer by the congregation. The parents and child would then go back to their seats.
I just wanted to add my :2cents: about how some churches define baby dedication. It would have been better termed parent dedication but since the the main subject is the recent birth of the child and the focus was on the child's upbringing, I guess that's why they called it that.

As far as the PCA thing, I have a PCA 2 blocks away in which I sent my 2 oldest for pre-k. The pastor or pastoress or whatever you call lady pastors was very nice as she introduced herself. I didn't get much of what she said cause I was too busy picking up my jaw from the floor as this was the first time I ever saw a lady pastor face to face.
Their music and ethic seem to be contemporary from what I saw in the classroom decoration and the music in the background. That gave me a bad taste in my mouth whenever I hear the title, "PCA Church". Only by this forum have I come to understand that not all PCA churches are this way.

Back to the topic, I am in a reformed baptist church and nope, no baby dedications being done there.

my 2 cents
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I believe you are correct, but that is not the pastor I was thinking of. That pastor has since retired. I think we are using different views of confessional then because they would still consider themselves confessional. I do not know the details of that situation, but I don't think all non-cessationalist views are anti-confessional, i.e. deny the sufficiency of scripture.

New Life Mission Church of La Jolla is PCA also, and I believe they are confessional as well.

I am optimistic about the PCA as a whole, but such views are indeed anti-confessional by historic and current Presbyterian standards. The Westminster Confession (and likewise the 1689 LBC) does not only speak about Scriptural sufficiency (thus implicitly espousing cessationism), but explicitly asserts the cessationist view as well:

Therefore it pleased the Lord...to commit the same wholly unto writing...those former ways of God's revealing His will unto His people being now ceased.

As such, I would have to agree with those who call any church unconfessional, PCA or not, which in any way practices or endorses charismatic views of revelation.

Are you sure it was a PCA church with a woman pastor? Perhaps PCUSA?

I would assume it was indeed PCUSA. No PCA church would be allowed to ordain a female pastor (or ruling elder; or even deacon officially), and I'm pretty sure there are representatives from Presbytery at all ordinations - so it could only be a PCA church if the situation and the actual ordination were unknown to the other members of the Presbytery outside the local session, which would be an unspeakably extraordinary and covered-up situation; so much so, that it essentially would never happen.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
I am optimistic about the PCA as a whole, but such views are indeed anti-confessional by historic and current Presbyterian standards. The Westminster Confession (and likewise the 1689 LBC) does not only speak about Scriptural sufficiency (thus implicitly espousing cessationism), but explicitly asserts the cessationist view as well:

I would agree that the confession excludes future revelation through prophecy. I do not know if that pastor taught that. But what about praying in tongues? Is that against the Westminster Standards? That is a non-cessationist view, and yet I don't think it bears upon the question of continuing revelation.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I would agree that the confession excludes future revelation through prophecy. I do not know if that pastor taught that. But what about praying in tongues? Is that against the Westminster Standards? That is a non-cessationist view, and yet I don't think it bears upon the question of continuing revelation.

The confessional problem for that view is that the phrase "those former ways," in pointing back to the earlier part of section one, is not simply referring to the most basic, bare and plain form of "prophecy," but rather to all of those things through which God chose "at sundry times, and in divers manner, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will unto His Church." The "divers manner" phrase is what makes it especially clear that the divines did not simply have one specific form in mind when speaking of revelation.

Also, the belief in "private tongues prayer" asserted by contemporary charismatics is essentially a new formulation of the day, as the historic Protestant churches (even beyond the Reformed churches) have until recently always viewed tongues as simply being another form of prophecy, with equal revelatory precision and authority. Furthermore, even the contemporary charismatic churches that hold to a private as well as partially subjective and imperfect element to tongues (and even prophecy as well) nonetheless hold them to still be more than simply the plain thoughts, sayings and prayers of men, and as such believe them to possess a certain revelatory element by the Spirit.

The absolute best contemporary work I could recommend on this issue (continuing revelation, and the nature of prophecy and tongues in relation to it) is O. Palmer Robertson's The Final Word. It is only 135 very small pages, but is packed with masterful exegesis and clear explanations of the ramifications of that exegesis for the issues at hand.
 

CDM

Puritan Board Junior
I believe you are correct, but that is not the pastor I was thinking of. That pastor has since retired. I think we are using different views of confessional then because they would still consider themselves confessional. I do not know the details of that situation, but I don't think all non-cessationalist views are anti-confessional, i.e. deny the sufficiency of scripture.

New Life Mission Church of La Jolla is PCA also, and I believe they are confessional as well.

Yeah, my 4 year old son considers himself to be Superman too.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
The confessional problem for that view is that the phrase "those former ways," in pointing back to the earlier part of section one, is not simply referring to the most basic, bare and plain form of "prophecy," but rather to all of those things through which God chose "at sundry times, and in divers manner, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will unto His Church." The "divers manner" phrase is what makes it especially clear that the divines did not simply have one specific form in mind when speaking of revelation.

Also, the belief in "private tongues prayer" asserted by contemporary charismatics is essentially a new formulation of the day, as the historic Protestant churches (even beyond the Reformed churches) have until recently always viewed tongues as simply being another form of prophecy, with equal revelatory precision and authority. Furthermore, even the contemporary charismatic churches that hold to a private as well as partially subjective and imperfect element to tongues (and even prophecy as well) nonetheless hold them to still be more than simply the plain thoughts, sayings and prayers of men, and as such believe them to possess a certain revelatory element by the Spirit.

The absolute best contemporary work I could recommend on this issue (continuing revelation, and the nature of prophecy and tongues in relation to it) is O. Palmer Robertson's The Final Word. It is only 135 very small pages, but is packed with masterful exegesis and clear explanations of the ramifications of that exegesis for the issues at hand.

Hmmm. I don't know Chris. It sounds like you're telling the personal-prayer-language believers, "You may think that your tongues are not receiving revelation, but the bible and the historic church says tongues are prophetic, which is against the confession." I definitely know people who believe in closed-canon, no further revelation from God, but for whatever reason feel spiritually enriched by talking to God in what I consider jibberish. The jibberish is not being interpreted. I don't see how that view affects their view of revelation, because they're not receiving any.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I believe you are correct, but that is not the pastor I was thinking of. That pastor has since retired. I think we are using different views of confessional then because they would still consider themselves confessional. I do not know the details of that situation, but I don't think all non-cessationalist views are anti-confessional, i.e. deny the sufficiency of scripture.

New Life Mission Church of La Jolla is PCA also, and I believe they are confessional as well.

If they have a new Pastor then I'm not aware of that change. If anything Malladin was probably more of a moderating influence in that Church. It was the Church membership that wanted to leave the OPC to be more free to pursue their desires with respect to worship.

I think Dr. Clark says it best when he says there is more to being Reformed than believing in predestination.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Hmmm. I don't know Chris. It sounds like you're telling the personal-prayer-language believers, "You may think that your tongues are not receiving revelation, but the bible and the historic church says tongues are prophetic, which is against the confession." I definitely know people who believe in closed-canon, no further revelation from God, but for whatever reason feel spiritually enriched by talking to God in what I consider jibberish. The jibberish is not being interpreted. I don't see how that view affects their view of revelation, because they're not receiving any.

You really ought to listen to your Pastor's interview with Dr. R. Scott Clark about a week ago. This is precisely the kind of "navel-gazing, I determine whether I can call myself Reformed" heterodoxy that he is talking about in the interview with Pastor Gene. If you understand where Dr. Clark is coming from then you'll understand where we're coming from.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
You really ought to listen to your Pastor's interview with Dr. R. Scott Clark about a week ago. This is precisely the kind of "navel-gazing, I determine whether I can call myself Reformed" heterodoxy that he is talking about in the interview with Pastor Gene. If you understand where Dr. Clark is coming from then you'll understand where we're coming from.

I listened to part of it. I know where Dr. Clark is coming from. The funny thing is Dr. Clark would not consider Pastor Gene to be Reformed.

The question, then, is what do we use to determine whether someone is Reformed? It can quite easily turn from "I determine whether I can call myself Reformed" to "I determine whether other people are Reformed." We need an objective standard.

Full-subscription to the Westminster Standards (or the Three Forms of Unity, or the London Confession, or the Philadelphia Confession) is probably as good a standard as any. As for private prayer languages, I don't think you can point to a place in the Westminster Standards where the private-prayer-language person says, yes, I disagree with the Standards. And then it becomes "my interpretation vs. your interpretation" of the standards.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hmmm. I don't know Chris. It sounds like you're telling the personal-prayer-language believers, "You may think that your tongues are not receiving revelation, but the bible and the historic church says tongues are prophetic, which is against the confession." I definitely know people who believe in closed-canon, no further revelation from God, but for whatever reason feel spiritually enriched by talking to God in what I consider jibberish. The jibberish is not being interpreted. I don't see how that view affects their view of revelation, because they're not receiving any.

As Rich noted, views such as that are unconfessional no matter which angle one looks at them, and if one aspect of a different version of them is confessional, chances are another aspect of that new version is unconfessional. That is just what it is in this case: If people want to say their praying with tongues is not unconfessional with respect to, say, revelation (by saying they don't view the tongues as revelation), their praying is then unconfessional for another reason, namely that the confession sees tongues precisely as a form of revelation. (And authorial intent is key, otherwise anyone could just read any meaning they want into any and all wording used by the divines, e.g. FV today; and with respect to this issue, that the framers certainly understood tongues by definition to always be a part of the "divers manner" of revelation is clear from their other works of the time.) Either way, their view on tongues is unconfessional, be it either because they believe in continuing revelation or else because they believe tongues are not revelatory.

Dr. Clark's interview is indeed very good as well.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
As a further illustration, The Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States believes that full subscription to the Westminster Standards involves both theonomy and postmillennialism.

http://www.rpcus.com/?id=RPCUS_Distinctives

And, of course, the RPCNA believes that full subscription to the Westminster Standards involves exclusive Psalter.

So even by the Westminster Standards, it is ambiguous whether an amillennialist who denies exclusive Psalter is Reformed.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
As Rich noted, views such as that are unconfessional no matter which angle one looks at them, and if one aspect of a different version of them is confessional, chances are another aspect of that new version is unconfessional. That is just what it is in this case: If people want to say their praying with tongues is not unconfessional with respect to, say, revelation (by saying they don't view the tongues as revelation), their praying is then unconfessional for another reason, namely that the confession sees tongues precisely as a form of revelation. (And authorial intent is key, otherwise anyone could just read any meaning they want into any and all wording used by the divines, e.g. FV today; and with respect to this issue, that the framers certainly understood tongues by definition to always be a part of the "divers manner" of revelation is clear from their other works of the time.) Either way, their view on tongues is unconfessional, be it either because they believe in continuing revelation or else because they believe tongues are not revelatory.

Dr. Clark's interview is indeed very good as well.

I just found that the WCF in XXI.III that "prayer ... is to be ... if vocal, in a known tongue." Case closed.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I listened to part of it. I know where Dr. Clark is coming from. The funny thing is Dr. Clark would not consider Pastor Gene to be Reformed.

The question, then, is what do we use to determine whether someone is Reformed? It can quite easily turn from "I determine whether I can call myself Reformed" to "I determine whether other people are Reformed." We need an objective standard.

Full-subscription to the Westminster Standards (or the Three Forms of Unity, or the London Confession, or the Philadelphia Confession) is probably as good a standard as any. As for private prayer languages, I don't think you can point to a place in the Westminster Standards where the private-prayer-language person says, yes, I disagree with the Standards. And then it becomes "my interpretation vs. your interpretation" of the standards.
I'm glad you found the portion that dealt with it. You seem to have missed what Dr. Clark was saying. It's not a matter of whether Dr. Clark would consider Pastor Gene Reformed, it is whether the Confession he subscribes to does. Understand the difference? The Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity are very much aligned doctrinally.

It's quite like a person calling themselves Lutheran who agrees with Luther's formulatation of the freedom of the will but would call the Lord's Supper a bare sign. If we allow each individual to define terms and say "I'm a Reformed Presbyterian" then the term ceases to have meaning.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
I'm glad you found the portion that dealt with it. You seem to have missed what Dr. Clark was saying. It's not a matter of whether Dr. Clark would consider Pastor Gene Reformed, it is whether the Confession he subscribes to does. Understand the difference? The Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity are very much aligned doctrinally.

It's quite like a person calling themselves Lutheran who agrees with Luther's formulatation of the freedom of the will but would call the Lord's Supper a bare sign. If we allow each individual to define terms and say "I'm a Reformed Presbyterian" then the term ceases to have meaning.

I know what you're saying, Rich. Dr. Clark would say a Baptist is not reformed because he does not subscribe to the Three Forms of Unity. That makes sense.

Although I know some confessional Presbyterians who would not subscribe to all of the Three Forms of Unity, and John Calvin would not subscribe to the Westminster Standards because he was not Sabbatarian. Do Presbyterians define "Reformed" by the Westminster Standards? If so, it seems weird to define Reformed such that Luther, Calvin and Zwingli were not Reformed. But I'd be willing to accept the Dutch Reformed definition and say I'm not strictly Reformed.

As an additional historical note on the private prayer language, for whatever reason, the Savoy Declaration modified that section from "if vocal, in a known language" to "if with others, in a known language." The Second London Baptist Confession follows the Savoy in this change.

I'm not sure what to make of this, but because the changes to the WCF were very deliberate, I would speculate that private prayer language (not prophetic tongues in the assembly, which were forbidden) must have been a debated issue at the time, and that the English Congregationalists, and the Particular Baptists following them, must have considered this a secondary issue where the Presbyterians did not.
 

reformedman

Puritan Board Freshman
Are you sure it was a PCA church with a woman pastor? Perhaps PCUSA?

You're right, I just researched to find out, it is pcusa. I wish there were a comparison chart so I could get all these denominations in order by what they believe. :um:
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I know what you're saying, Rich. Dr. Clark would say a Baptist is not reformed because he does not subscribe to the Three Forms of Unity. That makes sense.

Although I know some confessional Presbyterians who would not subscribe to all of the Three Forms of Unity, and John Calvin would not subscribe to the Westminster Standards because he was not Sabbatarian. Do Presbyterians define "Reformed" by the Westminster Standards? If so, it seems weird to define Reformed such that Luther, Calvin and Zwingli were not Reformed. But I'd be willing to accept the Dutch Reformed definition and say I'm not strictly Reformed.

As an additional historical note on the private prayer language, for whatever reason, the Savoy Declaration modified that section from "if vocal, in a known language" to "if with others, in a known language." The Second London Baptist Confession follows the Savoy in this change.

I'm not sure what to make of this, but because the changes to the WCF were very deliberate, I would speculate that private prayer language (not prophetic tongues in the assembly, which were forbidden) must have been a debated issue at the time, and that the English Congregationalists, and the Particular Baptists following them, must have considered this a secondary issue where the Presbyterians did not.
Calvin was certainly a Sabbatarian though there is some debate about how strict he was compared to the WCF divines.

Regarding debates in the WCF assembly over the portion that deals with praying in a known tongue, the best person to weigh in for that is NaphtaliPress (Chris Coldwell). I'm going to split this thread off because it is WAY off topic. :)
 
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