Reformed Reaction to CT Cover Story (audio)

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by R. Scott Clark, Sep 25, 2006.

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  1. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I assume this is what you're basing your assertion on:
    Dr. Clark does understand the difference between Reformed Baptists, Particular Baptists, and Anabaptists and has even distinguished between them in other parts of the thread.

    Are there any other people beside Jeff and Dr. Clark that you would like to make fallacious generalizations about?

    [Edited on 10-2-2006 by SemperFideles]
  2. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Everyone realizes that there are differences, the issue is if they are relevant. He seems to believe that they are not. I have not seen a reason to take that view seriously.

    Especially considering Owen's stance towards Bunyan (which you have the right to call wrong, silly, etc., but he is still John Owen. He can also quoted as saying how he loved to sit under his preaching and how he wished that he had his skills).

    On top of this my initial post made the point about Reform.

    Again what in the world makes the issue so bad that one should leave as soon as one is able to carry ones self away.

  3. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Those, I think, are reasonable questions that folks can dialogue with. I'll formulate a response after I put my kids to bed...
  4. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    Dear Hermonta,

    No, I don't equate all Baptists with Anabaptists. I've written on this frequently on this board.

    Applying BC 29 to modern Baptists is somewhat problematic because, as I've noted, there were no predestinarian Baptists (at least of the variety that came to exist in the 17th century) in 1561.

    The Anabaptists were regarded as a "sect" (a "cult" in today's terms) because of their denial of justification sola fide, their view of civil life and their view of baptism, among others.

    The modern Baptists are not identical to Anabaptists, but as I think I pointed out in this thread, they do have at least one thing in common with them: they deny baptism to covenant children.

    The main thing we have in common with most predestinarian Baptists is predestination. We have more in common with confessional Baptists such as the ARBCA folk.

    By calling them "rebellious brothers" I've tried to acknowledge that fact. We have less in common, however, with those (e.g., FIRE) who don't subscribe strictly or closely the LBC and the like.

    One way to put the question is this:

    The CT essay assumes that so long as one believes in predestination, one is Reformed. The CT essay further assumes the evangelical rejection of the doctrine of the church and sacraments.

    I reject those three assumptions and I think all confessional Reformed folk such reject them.

    Yes, we are predestinarian, but we confess much more than predestination and, in order to be Reformed, one must confess the entire Reformed confession, including church and sacraments.

    Another way to analyze this question is to distinguish between substance and accidents. The doctrines of Church and sacraments are undeniably as essential to being Reformed as the doctrine of predestination. The evangelicals, however, regard the doctrines of church and sacraments as accidental to being Reformed because what matters for them most is unmediated religious experience which leads them to doctrinal minimalism. It's part of their pietist heritage.

    Clearly the doctrine of predestination is necessary to being Reformed but it is not sufficient to make one Reformed or else a good number of Patristic and medieval theologians, with whom we have little else in common, must be regarded as Reformed.

    Predestination is a catholic doctrine, like the doctrine of the Trinity. It has not been as widely held as the doctrine of the Trinity, but remarkably few theologians and "churches," until modern times, have been willing to deny it outrightly. Because we live in a context where its denial is widespread, that someone embraces it makes some of us want to embrace them as "Reformed." I'm holding out, however, for the older, narrower, and confessional definition of Reformed.

    As to Owen and Bunyan, it may be true that Owen never called for folk to leave Bunyan's congregation. There are probably a number of things on which Owen and I might disagree, e.g., Owen was an independent, and I hold a presbyterial polity. Owen didn't confess the BC formally and didn't have to face this problem. I recognize that most American Presbyterians don't hold my view and that my view is a minority position.

    As I've tried to suggest, I think that most of the divines would have agreed with me, especially the Presbyterians and Anglicans and I'm sure that the Scots-Irish Old Siders agreed with me over against the New Side/Revivalists and later the New School/Revivalists. I don't know whether the Old School fellows would agree with me, but they were sometimes a little soft on the revivalists for my taste.:D

    Where there is the real possibility of genuine reform, I think folk should stay, though there is a difference to be made between what laity and officers should do. If the officers of a congregation are willing to reform it according to the Word as confessed by the Reformed churches, that's one thing. If the officers are opposed to reform, then I can't see how laity should stay in what is not a true church. In general, I think BC 29 means what it says, that Christians should unite themselves to true churches.

    The 16th c. church did face a similar problem of Nicodemism (forgive me if I'm repeating myself). Folk often said to Calvin and others, "I'm with you in the Reformation but I can't leave my local Roman parish because...." Calvin called them Nicodemites. They come to Jesus when no one can see but they hide in the day when folk can see. This is a widespread problem, so much so that some of us are re-thinking the whole business of "conferences" as a sort of Reformed revivalism. What good does it do to speak at conferences where hundreds, maybe thousands of folk attend, many of them from broad evangelical churches, if we never get to ECCLESIOLOGY and sacraments, if they never leave their evangelical mega-churches because First Megachurch has a great ___ program? We're just helping to create more predestinarian sectarians. It accepts the minimalist, experience-centered evangelical assumption.

    I realize that this is an unpopular view. When Carl Trueman said something like it on the Ref21 blog it almost melted. Some sacred cows cannot be gored, apparently.

    The $64K question is how to get more of the 60 million evangelicals out of their less-than-churches and into Reformed confessing congregations? It requires a radical paradigm shift away from the Quest for Illegitimate Religious Experience and Certainty and toward the embrace of a Christ-centered reading of Scripture, an appreciation of the law as law and the gospel as gospel, and an appreciation for revealed truth, and an appreciation for the divine institution of the visible church and the visible means of grace. That's a lot to ask of folk which is probably one reason why NAPARC is only about 500K as opposed to 5 million.

    It doesn't mean we should quit trying, however. "This Jesus whom you crucified, God has made him both Lord and Christ."


    [Edited on 10-2-2006 by R. Scott Clark]
  5. Augusta

    Augusta Puritan Board Doctor


    I totally agree. It has gotten to where we all need to unite under one tightly defined banner and stand together. For me that would be the original WCF and the three forms of unity. Back to the sources!! :judge:
  6. Magma2

    Magma2 Puritan Board Sophomore

    I honestly must be missing something? What’s under discussion is the recent cover story that appeared in Christianity Today right? So, CT is a little too loose in its definition of Reformed. Big deal. As far as I can tell, and I haven’t actually read CT in some years, they’re way too loose in their definition of Christianity. I was just pleased to read that a bunch of predestinarian Baptists are causing some trouble in the SBC. That’s what I got from the article.

    BTW, I like the new additions to the smilies. But you really need a GHC. You need at least something to balance out the :vantil: I guess you'll have to get a John Gill as well. :doh:
  7. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    There is a Gordon Clark: [​IMG]

    There's even this one: [​IMG] that you can use in your signature line if you would like.

    You just have use the URL and open and close them with the img tag.
  8. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Dr. Clark,

    You wrote:
    I was skimming a bit, at first, and thought you wrote scared cows. :)
  9. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    It might be easier to unite under the altered WCF before going after the unaltered one.
  10. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Right, let's aim small for the moment. While we need to get back to the original WCF on the civil magistrate, it might take some time.
  11. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    Not sure if that was a postmil comment or not...;) It is in that it will happen. The might take some time sounds a bit pessimistic...:rofl:
  12. Scott

    Scott Puritan Board Graduate

    I find it interesting that the article says that Baptist Al Mohler rid his seminary of all but a handful of professors because he made the ones who wanted to stay on sign onto a confession based on the WCF.
  13. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Right. Here is how it will happen. First, Empress Hillary will win in 2008 and her storm troopers will descend on our freedom-loving countrymen. We will rebel and probably win. That will start up several small republics (which was the Founders' intent all along). Then it will be easier to see the Original Confession established.
  14. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    I think it would be better to meet further down the road of reformation. There is a small group of people who still subscribe to the original confession, who are waiting for you to make your way down there. Festina lente!
  15. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    On WCF 25 I just ran across,

    R. D. Anderson, "Of the Church: An Historical Overview of the WCF, Chapter 25" Westminster Theological Journal 59 (1997): 177-97.

    He concludes "An approach more faithful to the intent of the Confession is, I believe, to see here the moral imperative for churches to work toward federative unity with each other."

    He criticizes the American revision of 23.2 which makes denominationalism an acceptable state of affairs;

    He links WCF 25 to the BC.

    It's an argument for Reformed confessional ecumenicity.

  16. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Amen Matthew! :ursinus:
  17. Magma2

    Magma2 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks. Unfortunately every time I click on the Paul Manata icon I get

  18. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

  19. tewilder

    tewilder Puritan Board Freshman

  20. Magma2

    Magma2 Puritan Board Sophomore

    I never heard of Riverbend church, but are mega churches by definition unconfessional or somehow not Reformed due to their size or silly names they give their building programs? What about James Kennedy's mega church? I used to attend a small PCA church that built a new worship center and they called their fund raising drive "The Nehemiah Project." Was the rubber meeting the road there as well? I guess I'm just not getting your point?

    [Edited on 10-6-2006 by Magma2]
  21. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    I've never heard of the church either, but I fail to see the problem. I'll admit that I did a quick look at the website, but I saw a lot of good things.

    BTW, there is a very "moderate" SBC church in Austin, Texas by the name of "Riverbend". At first I thought you were talking about that church. Now that church I would have issues with.
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