Steelites

Discussion in 'Cults & World Religions' started by nickipicki123, Sep 17, 2018.

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  1. nickipicki123

    nickipicki123 Puritan Board Freshman

    Can someone tell me what's the deal with the Steelite Covenanters, especially in the RPNA? Why do they view it as wrong to visit naparc churches? Is there any merit to their views?



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  2. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Occasional hearing of those who are not truly constituted churches in their view. Steer clear of them and don't give them the time of day. Do a search on Steelites and you will find a number of threads here on their errors.
     
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  3. nickipicki123

    nickipicki123 Puritan Board Freshman

    Noted, thanks!

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  4. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Imagine an EO/RCC version of apostolic succession retold around fringe Covenanter persons.
     
  5. nickipicki123

    nickipicki123 Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't really know anything about the Solemn League and Covenant, but I feel like I should.

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  6. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Short version: it was a political document which bound the kingdoms of England, Ireland, and Scotland to support the Presbyterian Church in the 1640s. As you can imagine, it failed miserably.

    The payout is that every English-speaking ruler today (ENgland, Canada, Australia, Trump) is morally obligated to promote the Solemn League and Covenant.
     
  7. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Junior

    http://www.apuritansmind.com/westminster-standards/the-solemn-league-covenant/
    http://www.apuritansmind.com/westmi...-league-and-covenant-by-dr-c-matthew-mcmahon/

    Those might be helpful for an introduction/summary.

    The main error of the Steelites is viewing their group as the only truly constituted church on earth. They do believe that there are other true Christians outside their communion, but the other churches are not truly constituted. They believe that there is an unbroken constituted true church that runs from the apostles down to the Reformation. The Covenanters pick up the torch at that point and then various groups after, ending in the Steelites or RPNA for our modern era.

    -In response, WCF 25 teaches that the true church is catholic and made up of all those that profess the true religion. For practical purposes, portions of the catholic church are particularized by the giving of church officers, the Scriptures, and the ordinances. These portions are further gathered into congregations, presbyteries, denominations. The truly constituted church is one that professes the true religion, even as true (visible) Christians are ones who profess the true religion. Within that truly constituted church, there are portions that are more or less pure, even as Christians have more or less purity outward and inward. The truly constituted church will be more or less visible at times. Because of this and that the church is constituted by the profession of the truth, the only apostolic succession is that of doctrine, not an unbroken, organized portion of the church.

    An associated error with their main error is not believing that there are degrees of separation. You either must be with the truly constituted church or you are schismatic. If you are schismatic, then those in the truly constituted church must entirely separate from them.

    -The truth is there are degrees of separation. By refusing to sing uninspired hymns at a church or be engaged with a puppet show, the individual has separated himself from the error of that church in worship (Rutherford calls this "negative separation"). However, the individual has not separated himself from the rest of the church and might in fact have united with them as a communicant member. Denominations are separated from each other by having different church governing bodies, but many with NAPARC beliefs are united enough to partake of the Lord's Supper in different bodies or join themselves as communicant members in different bodies in good conscience...or even acknowledge the discipline cases of other bodies in some cases.

    On top of this error, they believe you can only be in communion/be a full communicant member of their church if you believe the Solemn League & Covenant (SL&C) is still binding on all English nations today; and you must acknowledge certain Scottish martyrs. And there may be some other things I have forgotten.

    On top of that error, is their views on "occasional hearing" (already mentioned) and "closed communion." Those in the truly constituted church must not partake of the Lord's Supper with schismatic churches because to do so is to partake of schism. Occasional hearing is additionally argued along the lines that people might be misled if they listen to sermons by those outside the truly constituted church.

    And yet another error, they believe the SL&C is still binding on all English speakers. They get there by saying that covenants are perpetual, binding their descendants, and they say that the English colonies (which later became America) were included in the making of the SL&C, so all English speakers are bound.
    -Main problem with this is that covenants can only bind existing entities according to existing conditions. The conditions in which the SL&C was made do not exist, neither do the exact entities. Having a covenanted nation is a good and moral thing to do though, and the moral principles (e.g., the detestation of popery and heresy) are binding on all, since the moral law binds all. A short response, but I'm out of time (hence why I did not respond to the other errors).

    They also often err in saying that a civil government is illegitimate if it is not Christian...or possibly also needing to uphold the SL&C, I don't recall. They argue that WCF 23 only applies to a Christian state. However, it is obvious from the wording and context that "infidelity or difference in religion" is intended generally.


    I could give you their main website(s) to peruse, and I suppose you could always look up the terms of communion of the RPNA at their website. However, their arguments are seductive and have persuaded many bright persons, who later have to go through an intricate series of rabbit holes to be freed from it. There is sometimes lasting damage too. So I really do not know whether I should. On the other hand, it's not like their websites are hidden material. I'm sure you know this, but please stay in close contact with your pastor if you wish to investigate their primary literature on their websites in accordance with your fascination with cults!

    Edit: Maybe you will also find Schwertley's piece interesting as you investigate: http://www.reformedonline.com/uploads/1/5/0/3/15030584/steelite_no.pdf

    Edit2: Also highly recommend James Bannerman's Church of Christ Vol 1. Chapter 5 and William Cunningham's Historical Theology (I think it is the first chapter or preface; the part that addresses the more or less visibility of the church).
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
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  8. nickipicki123

    nickipicki123 Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi Afterthought!

    I did look at their Terms Communion.... I was exhausted just reading it! It seems like no one could, in good conscience, take communion according to their standards.

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  9. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Junior

    Would you be able to share where Rutherford discusses this?
     
  10. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I compiled several chapters from Rutherford's works and published back in 1989 in the old Naphtali Press Anthology. I put them online in I guess Nov. 1996 at the NP site after the issue of separation started coming out SWRB in late 1995 and the Steelite errors revived by Dodson spread to them.
    On Separation from Corrupt Churches. Samuel Rutherfurd. Of the following questions, Q. 2 through Q. 4 are from A Peaceable and Temperate Plea for Paul’s Presbytery in Scotland (1642), chapters 9-11. Q. 1 is from The Due Right of Presbytery; Or, A Peaceable Plea for the Government of the Church of Scotland (1644), pp. 221-255. These extracts were originally published together in Anthology of Presbyterian & Reformed Literature, volume 2, number 2.
    https://www.naphtali.com/articles/samuel-rutherfurd/against-separatism-part-one/
    CONSIDERATION ONE. There is a separation Negative, or a non-union, and a separation Positive. Though a Church of Schismatics retains the sound faith, yet separating from others, be deserted by any, it is a Negative separation from a true church, and laudable, as the faithful, in Augustine’s time, did well in separating from the Donatists, for with them they were never one, in that faction, though they separated not from the true faith held by Donatists, but kept a Positive union with them, so do all the faithful well to separate from the churches of the Separatists.
    https://www.naphtali.com/articles/samuel-rutherfurd/against-separatism-part-three/
    MacPherson summarizes the Scottish Presbyterian view.
    3. There is a separation negative, when we deny the practice of an error with silence, or refuse public communion with the church, but do not erect a new church within the church. There is a separation positive, when one not only refuses practice of errors, and protests and pleads against them, but also erects a new visible church.
    The leading theologians of Scotland found the principle of distinguishing between the presence of serious errors in a church, and the loss of all claims in the part of that body to be regarded as a true church, one of high practical value. On the strength of that distinction they laid down the fundamental position that while we must separate from all communion wherein we cannot but sin, this may be done without separation from the church. There may be a partial or negative separation, one, that is to say, in regard to certain acts of public worship, in which we could not without sin take part.​
     
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