Tim Keller: "God seems to use all these kinds of churches"

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Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Hi elnwood,

I hope you're not suggesting that this is what I'm suggesting.

If I may explain, the fact is that there are more people who need to be ministered to by the gospel than the current number of good gospel-preaching churches today. I live in San Diego and attend a PCA church. It is a large, metropolitan area which needs good churches throughout the area.

Our strategy is to plant as many churches in the area as possible. We don't want to set up one big church downtown and have everyone commute to it, as is the mega-church model. Many churches within the surrounding neighborhoods is a better way to reach people for the gospel. It is NOT about, as I think you are suggesting, giving people what they want. It is NOT a seeker-sensitive model.

So far, our church has planted eight locations in the county, but our church recognizes that the PCA does not have enough resources to effectively reach all of San Diego county. Therefore, we support and partner with other like-minded gospel-centered churches that are not in the PCA.

Others may think that having one perfectly WCF-complaint, exclusive-Psalter church in a major city is enough for God's word to reach people, but I don't think so.

No, that's not what I'm suggesting, I was just using the example to make a couple of points. First, although the model I was suggesting might be successful, it presupposes that issues like polity, worship, and doctrine are more the result of tradition and preference than anything else, and that it doesn't really matter what we practice in regards to these things, as long as the gospel is being preached. It presumes that the Bible doesn't teach things about them and that God doesn't really care much about them at all. They may be important to us, but they aren't important to Him. If I believed that, I'd cease to be a Presbyterian immediately, because I'm not Presbyterian because I was born into it, or I happen to like it's traditions. I'm a Presbyterian because of my conviction that it is the best expression of the theology taught in the Bible - and yeah as irritating as we are to the world I'm a Puritan, not a Latitudinarian, when it comes to theology.

As it so happens, I believe many Pentecostal and even Anglican churches preach the gospel, but I also believe that their worship is unbiblical and produces a harvest of bad fruit. Frankly I don't want to use the resources that the Lord provides to us to teach people Dispensationalism, Arminianism, Pentecostalism , and so on, even if a gospel presentation is tacked on. I don't want to have started churches where there are no elders, or where the Minister is appointed by a Bishop, or where there is no Confessional statement by which the Minister is held accountable, or a constitution that protects the rights of members and provides them the ability to receive a fair trial and even an appeal. I don't want to start a church whose governing body has no higher court keeping them accountable via review and control, and so on.

To put it quite simply, if I were able to plant churches of any stripe, I would be forced to say that the 2000 Puritan ministers who chose to be kicked out of the Ministry in 1662 because of their refusal to accept the Act of Uniformity were wrong, and I don't, or that Jenny Gedes should have bit her tongue and stayed on her stool. They said that things like church government, worship, Christian liberty and so on are not things we should compromise on in order to see that the gospel gets preached.

Now before someone misunderstands me, I have had wonderful fellowship with more Pentecostal, Baptists, Independent Fundamentalists etc. brothers and sisters in Christ than I can count, and I'm sure I'll see them in heaven, but while there is much we agree on, I have no desire to spread abroad their theological distinctives, some of which, I consider downright dangerous (Pentecostalism in particular). And lets face it, how could I in all seriousness say that I subscribed to the idea that as WCF 28.5 says "Although it be a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance" and then plant churches that do exactly that.

Now I'm not saying I want just one Presbyterian church in every city, I'd like to see many planted. I want to see as many solid OSP churches planted as we can.

:amen: Well said, Andy. Why this is so hard for some to understand this I don't understand, unless they really believe (whether they admit it or realize it or not) that ecclesiology really is optional, that the Bible doesn't definitively say anything about it. Again, there is more to being Reformed than just accepting the Five Points. This is the Puritan Board, not the Latitudinarian or Broad Evangelical board.

The untenability of "let's all play nice and win the whole wide world for Jesus while we downplay our doctrinal distinctives" was demonstrated the other week when probably the most outspoken advocate of this view posted a statement of bare minimal evangelical doctrines as an example of a statement those with differing views could subscribe to in cooperating on the mission field. The statement asserted "believer's baptism" by immersion.

The first church I joined after being converted was Wesleyan. I believe the gospel is preached there, and Wesleyan distinctives, especially on soteriology and particularly sanctification, are NOT emphasized as the pastor doesn't believe in a 2nd work of grace, etc. Nonetheless as a convinced Presbyterian I do not support this church with my gifts and wouldn't support planting another, even though it does preach the gospel.

As a convinced Presbyterian I say: Let the Presbyterians be Presbyterians, Baptists be Baptists, Anglicans be Anglicans, Pentecostals be Pentecostals, etc. Away with calls for "evangelical reunion" that exalt unity at the expense of truth. This pragmatic, relativistic spirit of planting as many churches as we can provided they subscribe to some bare minimum evangelical standard serves only to suck the marrow out of Geneva, Canterbury, Wittenburg, etc.

Furthermore, to think that a church could openly support others that differ with it and maintain it's own distinctives for long is unrealistic. I submit that such a church that does this will not maintain its distinctives for long since it has demonstrated how unimportant they regard them by their actions. But some it would seem would be happy with that outcome, believing as they do that ecclesiology (and in many cases, soteriology) really doesn't matter after all.
 
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Ravens

Puritan Board Sophomore
My post was ill-advised and based on assumptions and possible inaccuracy. As it pertains to an elder, I retract and apologize.
 
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wsw201

Puritan Board Senior
Maybe the rules need to be changed, then.

If Redeemer wants to change the BCO they certainly can. Virtually every GA has a variety of resolutions amending the BCO. The question is, why haven't they done it? If they have tried, why didn't it pass?

My problem with these comments are that the TE's, RE's and Deacons at Redeemer made vows before God Almighty and His Church just like every other officer in the PCA. No one put a gun to their heads to make them take those vows.

There are basicaly three things Redeemer can do; change the BCO, live with the BCO or leave the PCA and not worry about the BCO. The fact that they are a large church makes no difference. If they don't want to abide by the rules of the BCO or the Standards, the PCA makes it very easy to leave. Just ask the folks at AAPC.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Hi SEAGOON,

No, that's not what I'm suggesting, I was just using the example to make a couple of points. First, although the model I was suggesting might be successful, it presupposes that issues like polity, worship, and doctrine are more the result of tradition and preference than anything else, and that it doesn't really matter what we practice in regards to these things, as long as the gospel is being preached. It presumes that the Bible doesn't teach things about them and that God doesn't really care much about them at all. They may be important to us, but they aren't important to Him. If I believed that, I'd cease to be a Presbyterian immediately, because I'm not Presbyterian because I was born into it, or I happen to like it's traditions. I'm a Presbyterian because of my conviction that it is the best expression of the theology taught in the Bible - and yeah as irritating as we are to the world I'm a Puritan, not a Latitudinarian, when it comes to theology.

Where we differ, I think is that I don't think church government and certain doctrines are essential for cooperation and mutual support.

You write that the view "presupposes that issues like polity, worship, and doctrine ... doesn't really matter [and] that the Bible doesn't teach things about them [and] God doesn't really care much about them at all." I disagree. I don't think a Presbyterian church supporting a Baptist church or vice versa (and I've been a part of both) means that either compromises their view of the ordinances or their polity.

Sure it does. If someone believes it is a sin to baptize babies, how is supporting a paedobaptist church not a compromise? Likewise, how can someone who subscribes to the WCF which states that to neglect infant baptism is a sin help to plant baptist churches without compromising their view of the ordinances? How can one plant a congregational church if they are Presbyterian without compromising their polity? and vice versa, on and on.

Honestly, at this point I think I have more respect for the views of the Arminian (or "one pointer") Baptist dispensationalists who would rather chop off their right arm than plant a Presbyterian church than for the views of the broad evangelicals who somehow think it wouldn't be a compromise.

I understand your desire to be fiscally wise in planting good churches and the desire not to plant churches that support doctrines you believe to be unbiblical. I don't want to support any doctrine I believe is unbiblical either, but as of yet I haven't found anyone who agrees with my theology 100%. Doctrinal perfection should not be demanded. I think our differences is that I am more lenient on many issues, in particular polity, than you are as far as cooperation.

No one has said 100% agreement. That is a misunderstanding or a straw man. In some ways the Westminster Standards are consensus documents. I don't think anyone who has spent much time on the PB would dream that Presbyterians, even those of the same denomination or even the same congregation, are in 100% agreement! Confessions like the WCF or LBCF outline the boundaries of cooperation. One can fully subscribe to the Westminster Standards without exception and perhaps still not be in 100% agreement with someone else who does the same.


In a country like the United States, there are many different denominations, and we have a lot of freedom to partner with like-minded churches, and we can make restrictions based on polity, ordinances, etc. If I were in a country with just a handful of Christians, though, and the only churches within a hundreds of miles were my church and a Pentecostal church (which is quite common because quite frankly, Pentecostals in general have been more aggressive in church planting than my Reformed brethren), I would quite happily partner with them to bring the gospel to that region while not compromising what I believe to be taught in Scripture.

I would evangelize in view of a Reformed church being planted. If you aim for the lowest common denominator, that is what you are going to get, at best.
 

SEAGOON

Puritan Board Freshman
Elnwood,

I know I'm going to differ with many other members of the PCA on this issue, just as I disagree with Keller. But let me put it to you this way, let's take your example of a typical Pentecostal church in your area. I happen to believe that what unbelievers need is the religion taught in scripture, and I believe that they have just as much need of it and right to it as me and my family. Or to flesh that out:

I don't believe that my children deserve to have their consciences bound only by scripture and theirs don't

I don't believe that my children deserve not to have to be forced to falsely manifest tongues in order to be considered saved and theirs don't

I don't believe that their children deserve not to be raised expecting that God is giving new revelation much of which is false or contradictory and theirs don't

I don't believe that my children deserve to know that they can never be sinlessly perfect this side of glory, and their children deserve to go through the frustration and hypocrisy generating exercise of trying to attain and maintain a state they don't have the power to achieve.

I don't believe that my children deserve to be baptized and considered members of the visible church, and theirs don't.

I don't believe that my children deserve worship that is decent and orderly and theirs don't.

I don't believe my children have the right to learn biblical doctrine, and sit under elders who are being held accountable, and have been judged apt to teach and so on and theirs don't.

I could go on, but I'm sure you get the picture.

Perhaps part of this is having spent time in my early walk in Pentecostal churches and fellowshipping with Pentecostal believers, but I just don't support the Redeemer line that we should be planting Catholic, Pentecostal, etc. churches because we can't reach the elect with strictly biblical ones. Also, as long as I've been around, I've yet to find a Pentecostal church that would have reciprocated by helping to plant a strictly Reformed church. I think they at least, tend to hold their own doctrinal distinctives to be more important than that.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
You write that the view "presupposes that issues like polity, worship, and doctrine ... doesn't really matter [and] that the Bible doesn't teach things about them [and] God doesn't really care much about them at all." I disagree. I don't think a Presbyterian church supporting a Baptist church or vice versa (and I've been a part of both) means that either compromises their view of the ordinances or their polity.

Sure it does. If someone believes it is a sin to baptize babies, how is supporting a paedobaptist church not a compromise? Likewise, how can someone who subscribes to the WCF which states that to neglect infant baptism is a sin help to plant baptist churches without compromising their view of the ordinances? How can one plant a congregational church if they are Presbyterian without compromising their polity? and vice versa, on and on.

Easy. You hold to your own convictions but you support them in their mission broadly.

One of the owners of the board is a convinced WCF Presbyterian who is a deacon of a Baptist church. I assume as a good officer of the church that he pays his tithes to support the church besides the obvious time and energy devoted to that ministry. I am not for a moment going to suggest that he is compromising by supporting a Baptist church.

No one has said 100% agreement. That is a misunderstanding or a straw man. In some ways the Westminster Standards are consensus documents. I don't think anyone who has spent much time on the PB would dream that Presbyterians, even those of the same denomination or even the same congregation, are in 100% agreement! Confessions like the WCF or LBCF outline the boundaries of cooperation. One can fully subscribe to the Westminster Standards without exception and perhaps still not be in 100% agreement with someone else who does the same.

I brought up 100% agreement because the argument is that you are supporting everything that is being taught, and if you disagree, you are compromising your view.

In other words, if you are a historicist, and your pastor teaches partial preterism, you are logically saying that by supporting the church, you are supporting that doctrine and compromising your own view. (The original WCF clearly teaches the historicist view).

You can appeal to the WCF or the LBCF if you want, but I don't think these are good documents to draw the lines of cooperation. There are many LBCF SBC Baptists on this board who are cooperating with non-LBCF SBC Baptists. There are EP folks attending non-EP churches, presumably having worship in a way that they think God is displeased with. Baptists attending Presbyterian churches and vice versa.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
Elnwood,

I know I'm going to differ with many other members of the PCA on this issue, just as I disagree with Keller. But let me put it to you this way, let's take your example of a typical Pentecostal church in your area. I happen to believe that what unbelievers need is the religion taught in scripture, and I believe that they have just as much need of it and right to it as me and my family. Or to flesh that out:

I don't believe that my children deserve to have their consciences bound only by scripture and theirs don't

I don't believe that my children deserve not to have to be forced to falsely manifest tongues in order to be considered saved and theirs don't

I don't believe that their children deserve not to be raised expecting that God is giving new revelation much of which is false or contradictory and theirs don't

I don't believe that my children deserve to know that they can never be sinlessly perfect this side of glory, and their children deserve to go through the frustration and hypocrisy generating exercise of trying to attain and maintain a state they don't have the power to achieve.

I don't believe that my children deserve to be baptized and considered members of the visible church, and theirs don't.

I don't believe that my children deserve worship that is decent and orderly and theirs don't.

I don't believe my children have the right to learn biblical doctrine, and sit under elders who are being held accountable, and have been judged apt to teach and so on and theirs don't.

I could go on, but I'm sure you get the picture.

Perhaps part of this is having spent time in my early walk in Pentecostal churches and fellowshipping with Pentecostal believers, but I just don't support the Redeemer line that we should be planting Catholic, Pentecostal, etc. churches because we can't reach the elect with strictly biblical ones. Also, as long as I've been around, I've yet to find a Pentecostal church that would have reciprocated by helping to plant a strictly Reformed church. I think they at least, tend to hold their own doctrinal distinctives to be more important than that.

SEAGOON,

It sounds like you have had a very bad experience from Pentecostalism.

As for myself, all of the Pentecostals I interact with do not fit your description and would probably be angry at any Pentecostal who did fit that description.

The Pentecostals I know ...
... believe their children have their consciences bound only by scripture.
... believe that one does not have to manifest tongues in order to be considered saved.
... do not believe that God is giving infallible new revelation.
... do not believe sinless perfection can be achieved this side of glory.
... believe that worship should be decent and orderly (you might disagree with the definition though).
... believe that your children deserve to be baptized and considered members of the visible church when they are able to profess it.
... believe children have the right to learn biblical doctrine.
... believe that elders should be held accountable, and have been judged apt to teach.

Re: a Pentecostal church would not help with a strictly Reformed church plant ... do you know of a strictly Reformed church plant that has asked a Pentecostal church? Maybe they would.

Regarding Redeemer, if Redeemer is planting Catholic churches, I would have an issue with that, but to my knowledge they have not even considered it, much less done so. Unless someone has evidence to that, I think we ought not keep that on the table.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
You write that the view "presupposes that issues like polity, worship, and doctrine ... doesn't really matter [and] that the Bible doesn't teach things about them [and] God doesn't really care much about them at all." I disagree. I don't think a Presbyterian church supporting a Baptist church or vice versa (and I've been a part of both) means that either compromises their view of the ordinances or their polity.

Sure it does. If someone believes it is a sin to baptize babies, how is supporting a paedobaptist church not a compromise? Likewise, how can someone who subscribes to the WCF which states that to neglect infant baptism is a sin help to plant baptist churches without compromising their view of the ordinances? How can one plant a congregational church if they are Presbyterian without compromising their polity? and vice versa, on and on.

Easy. You hold to your own convictions but you support them in their mission broadly.

One of the owners of the board is a convinced WCF Presbyterian who is a deacon of a Baptist church. I assume as a good officer of the church that he pays his tithes to support the church besides the obvious time and energy devoted to that ministry. I am not for a moment going to suggest that he is compromising by supporting a Baptist church.

Rich can speak for himself about the circumstances of his involvement with the church in Okinawa, but it is obvious that he hasn't been on the broad church side in the recent discussion about all getting together under the banner of the lowest common denominator for missions and evangelism.

If by God's providence I happened to move to an area that didn't have a confessional Reformed church within reasonable driving distance, I would attend the best church I could find. But in that case I would still maintain my membership in my old church and send the bulk of the gifts there, and work toward planting a Reformed church in my area.


No one has said 100% agreement. That is a misunderstanding or a straw man. In some ways the Westminster Standards are consensus documents. I don't think anyone who has spent much time on the PB would dream that Presbyterians, even those of the same denomination or even the same congregation, are in 100% agreement! Confessions like the WCF or LBCF outline the boundaries of cooperation. One can fully subscribe to the Westminster Standards without exception and perhaps still not be in 100% agreement with someone else who does the same.

I brought up 100% agreement because the argument is that you are supporting everything that is being taught, and if you disagree, you are compromising your view.

In other words, if you are a historicist, and your pastor teaches partial preterism, you are logically saying that by supporting the church, you are supporting that doctrine and compromising your own view. (The original WCF clearly teaches the historicist view).

My church does not subscribe to the original WCF. Regardless, I think few would view historicism vs. partial preterism to be an issue comparable to credo vs. paedo or congregationalism vs. presbyterianism.

You can appeal to the WCF or the LBCF if you want, but I don't think these are good documents to draw the lines of cooperation. There are many LBCF SBC Baptists on this board who are cooperating with non-LBCF SBC Baptists. There are EP folks attending non-EP churches, presumably having worship in a way that they think God is displeased with. Baptists attending Presbyterian churches and vice versa.



The WCF and the LBCF were designed precisely to draw the lines of cooperation. The fact that some think they are not suited to that now merely demonstrates how much pragmatism and doctrinal indifference has taken hold.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
The WCF and the LBCF were designed precisely to draw the lines of cooperation. The fact that some think they are not suited to that now merely demonstrates how much pragmatism and doctrinal indifference has taken hold.

Were they really? Do you have evidence to support this? As I recall, the WCF was not written for Presbyterians at all, but drafted by the Church of England before it was rejected by them and picked up by the Presbyterians. I don't think the Church of England, in drafting the WCF, was concerned about cooperation, either among other Anglicans or non-Anglicans.

The LBCF was drafted to show similarities to the WCF and the Savoy Declaration so that they wouldn't be persecuted. In other words, the emphasis was on highlighting their similarities to Presbyterians and Congregationalists, not on their differences to draw lines of division and boundaries of cooperation.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
The WCF and the LBCF were designed precisely to draw the lines of cooperation. The fact that some think they are not suited to that now merely demonstrates how much pragmatism and doctrinal indifference has taken hold.

Were they really? Do you have evidence to support this? As I recall, the WCF was not written for Presbyterians at all, but drafted by the Church of England before it was rejected by them and picked up by the Presbyterians. I don't think the Church of England, in drafting the WCF, was concerned about cooperation, either among other Anglicans or non-Anglicans.

The LBCF was drafted to show similarities to the WCF and the Savoy Declaration so that they wouldn't be persecuted. In other words, the emphasis was on highlighting their similarities to Presbyterians and Congregationalists, not on their differences to draw lines of division and boundaries of cooperation.
The Westminster Assembly contained Puritans from Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Congregationalist Churches. There are are a number of sections that Confess a broad enough statement to allow for some variety within the Confessional understanding.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Regarding Redeemer, if Redeemer is planting Catholic churches, I would have an issue with that..

Why? I know Roman Catholics who:
... believe their children have their consciences bound only by scripture.
... believe that one does not have to manifest tongues in order to be considered saved.
... do not believe that God is giving infallible new revelation.
... do not believe sinless perfection can be achieved this side of glory.
... believe that worship should be decent and orderly (you might disagree with the definition though).
... believe that your children deserve to be baptized and considered members of the visible church when they are able to profess it.
... believe children have the right to learn biblical doctrine.
... believe that elders should be held accountable, and have been judged apt to teach.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
The Westminster Assembly contained Puritans from Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Congregationalist Churches. There are are a number of sections that Confess a broad enough statement to allow for some variety within the Confessional understanding.

Yet the Congregationalists still felt the need to modify it and write their own confession. Interesting.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
The WCF and the LBCF were designed precisely to draw the lines of cooperation. The fact that some think they are not suited to that now merely demonstrates how much pragmatism and doctrinal indifference has taken hold.

Were they really? Do you have evidence to support this? As I recall, the WCF was not written for Presbyterians at all, but drafted by the Church of England before it was rejected by them and picked up by the Presbyterians. I don't think the Church of England, in drafting the WCF, was concerned about cooperation, either among other Anglicans or non-Anglicans.

The LBCF was drafted to show similarities to the WCF and the Savoy Declaration so that they wouldn't be persecuted. In other words, the emphasis was on highlighting their similarities to Presbyterians and Congregationalists, not on their differences to draw lines of division and boundaries of cooperation.

Others who are more learned than I can go into the precise circumstances in which these confessions were drawn up. I don't have much time right now, but I will say that adopting any confession necessarily excludes those who cannot subscribe to it.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
The Westminster Assembly contained Puritans from Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Congregationalist Churches. There are are a number of sections that Confess a broad enough statement to allow for some variety within the Confessional understanding.

Yet the Congregationalists still felt the need to modify it and write their own confession. Interesting.

Which only proves the point that it was too loose in some areas for them. Where Owen modified it quite a bit was to make the Confession more specific where the WCF had left it broad.
 

Bladestunner316

Puritan Board Doctor
I just want to add my 2 cents and leave :)

I was discussing this with Josiah the other night. If planting churchs in this fashion is against the BCO of PCA which I believe Mr. Keller pledged an oath to uphold(I could be wrong). Then I believe he is out of line and would be creating a denomination unto himself in his church. If this is the direction he plans to go then he should seek out to do that seperate from the PCA so he does not go against the BCO.

Now one thing I do hope for and have no problem with is Reformed churchs helping each other out whether it be Reformed Baptist or Presbyterian or whatever...

We desperately need more unity within the body of Reformed churches. I see nothing wrong with reformed churchs helping each other out. We may have distinctives we disagree on but we get the most important doctrines correct and holds those in common.

My issue though is when Keller mentions Pentecostal or RCC. Im not against any reformed church helping out a person who is a member of these types of churchs if they seek out the help. Its the churchs job to not reject anyone who seeks help.

Im against aiding in the growth of abberant or completely heretical churchs. This is disunity. It sends a message I believe from a shephard(keller) to his sheep(congregation) that these types of churchs are acceptable and it diminshes the richness of the Reformed faith. One way of putting it is if its ok for my pastor to establish a RCC church then it must be ok for me to go to and become RCC.

I want more unity within the church but not at the sake of sacrficing what we hold dear.

Now Im out.....:)

Blade
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
The Westminster Assembly contained Puritans from Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Congregationalist Churches. There are are a number of sections that Confess a broad enough statement to allow for some variety within the Confessional understanding.

Yet the Congregationalists still felt the need to modify it and write their own confession. Interesting.

Which only proves the point that it was too loose in some areas for them. Where Owen modified it quite a bit was to make the Confession more specific where the WCF had left it broad.

Well, by doing so, they were excluding themselves from the WCF, because there are nontrivial disagreements between the two confessions. The Savoy is not a narrower subset of the WCF.

Can you give some examples of the looser WCF being looser? The only example I can think of is being specific about the active and passive obedience of Christ.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
Regarding Redeemer, if Redeemer is planting Catholic churches, I would have an issue with that..

Why? I know Roman Catholics who:
... believe their children have their consciences bound only by scripture.
... believe that one does not have to manifest tongues in order to be considered saved.
... do not believe that God is giving infallible new revelation.
... do not believe sinless perfection can be achieved this side of glory.
... believe that worship should be decent and orderly (you might disagree with the definition though).
... believe that your children deserve to be baptized and considered members of the visible church when they are able to profess it.
... believe children have the right to learn biblical doctrine.
... believe that elders should be held accountable, and have been judged apt to teach.

Because Pentecostal churches believe and preach the gospel and Roman Catholic churches do not.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Yet the Congregationalists still felt the need to modify it and write their own confession. Interesting.

Which only proves the point that it was too loose in some areas for them. Where Owen modified it quite a bit was to make the Confession more specific where the WCF had left it broad.

Well, by doing so, they were excluding themselves from the WCF, because there are nontrivial disagreements between the two confessions. The Savoy is not a narrower subset of the WCF.

Can you give some examples of the looser WCF being looser? The only example I can think of is being specific about the active and passive obedience of Christ.

You just found a major one where the document doesn't explicitly state it as clearly. I don't believe it provides for a denial of active obedience but it's not expressed as clearly as others wanted to ensure later. We actually discussed that issue fairly recently. The "active obedience dissenters" didn't teach contrary to the WCF after the document was signed. Also, there was a different view of passive obedience than some might think for those that challenged the active obedience.

There is more than a fear of being persecuted on the part of the Savoy wanting to match the WCF. The Puritans, when they had political power for a short time, didn't persecute congregationalists. The Puritans were largely in agreement on most matters. In fact, even when Owen modified some understandings that had prevailed prior to that period, it was not done in a way to bring disrepute upon those that disagreed.

Being a Puritan was a very difficult thing for all parties - whether Episcopal, Presbyterian, or Congregationalist. The Puritans didn't carp on each other because they were very concerned generally to show a unity of desire that the Gospel be preached purely against an overbearing Church or political establishment that wouldn't let them do so legally in many cases.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Regarding Redeemer, if Redeemer is planting Catholic churches, I would have an issue with that..

Why? I know Roman Catholics who:
... believe their children have their consciences bound only by scripture.
... believe that one does not have to manifest tongues in order to be considered saved.
... do not believe that God is giving infallible new revelation.
... do not believe sinless perfection can be achieved this side of glory.
... believe that worship should be decent and orderly (you might disagree with the definition though).
... believe that your children deserve to be baptized and considered members of the visible church when they are able to profess it.
... believe children have the right to learn biblical doctrine.
... believe that elders should be held accountable, and have been judged apt to teach.

Because Pentecostal churches believe and preach the gospel and Roman Catholic churches do not.

Oh, I thought your list above was meant to be some sort of Confession. I know some Roman Catholic Churches that preach the Gospel more clearly than some Pentecostal Churches. Would you support those on an exception basis?
 

biblicalthought

Puritan Board Freshman
Regarding Redeemer, if Redeemer is planting Catholic churches, I would have an issue with that, but to my knowledge they have not even considered it, much less done so. Unless someone has evidence to that, I think we ought not keep that on the table.

Why should we wait, when all the signs of that happening in the future are already here? In Kellers interview, he said:

Catholics are right about the importance of the Church. So, there we go. In other words, I tried to write a nonsectarian book which still admits that it’s got sectarian roots to it and tells people, when you’re done, you’re going to have to be a part of a particular church. That’s the best I can do. My best job. I mean, there are a lot of judgment calls, and I just made them.

Catholics are right about the importance of the Church? The Second Vatican Council has a section called "The Mystery of the Church" that says:

"the sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which our Saviour, after His Resurrection, commissioned Peter to shepherd, and him and the other apostles to extend and direct with authority, which He erected for all ages as 'the pillar and mainstay of the truth.' This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him" (Lumen Gentium, 8).

I can't see how this is being overlooked. It does seem that Keller is expressing his acceptance of the Roman Catholic Church. He has stated that this is his "best job" and that he has made a "judgment call." It would seem that the PCA has already made the judgment call in the BCO, which is to teach in adherance to the WCF.

In the context of this next quote, keller has already lumped-in Catholics as Christians. He said:

This puts me in a position where I don’t want to defend just one kind of Christianity. I think I want to defend the Apostles Creed. And I want you, as a nonbeliever, to buy the Apostles’ Creed, and then after that figure out where you want to go.

As for the concern of Keller planting RCC's, he'll either do it (only God knows) or he won't. But from the inclusivistic message that resounds from his new book, as well as the heretical trash in Mere Christianity by Lewis, it doesn't seem like Keller is overly concerned about whether his book will lead people to the RCC, EO, etc.

If the book, or his interview - any publicity, were to proclaim the gospel of grace alone against the backdrop of the wrath of God, and denounce Rome as a false religious system, while proclaiming that Scripture is the final authority in matters of morals and doctrine (NOT the Pope), and on and on, you know, like a Calvinist!, then I don't think we'd see any of his converts darkening the doorsteps of anything other than Bible-based houses of worship!
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
Oh, I thought your list above was meant to be some sort of Confession. I know some Roman Catholic Churches that preach the Gospel more clearly than some Pentecostal Churches. Would you support those on an exception basis?

Actually, the list was in response to SEAGOON'S own list and was not meant to be a confession. See the above posts.

I cannot give an answer to your question about gospel-preaching RC churches. It is purely a hypothetical in my mind because I have yet to encounter it. Do they preach the gospel of faith ... plus works? No only do they preach the gospel, but do they also believe it? Do they teach it? Do they recognize its centrality? Are they able to recognize it? If so, why are they associating with a church body that clearly denies the gospel?

The idea of a gospel-believing, teaching, preaching Roman Catholic church is mind-boggling. I don't think you can do this without compromising the gospel. Could you post a link to these gospel-centered RC churches?
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
If someone believes it is a sin to baptize babies, how is supporting a paedobaptist church not a compromise? Likewise, how can someone who subscribes to the WCF which states that to neglect infant baptism is a sin help to plant baptist churches without compromising their view of the ordinances? How can one plant a congregational church if they are Presbyterian without compromising their polity? and vice versa, on and on.

Honestly, at this point I think I have more respect for the views of the Arminian (or "one pointer") Baptist dispensationalists who would rather chop off their right arm than plant a Presbyterian church than for the views of the broad evangelicals who somehow think it wouldn't be a compromise.

Interesting, Chris. Maybe I am simply betraying my "broad evangelical" upbringing, but do baptists really consider infant baptism a "sin"? More particularly, would a baptist of Reformed convictions characterize infant baptism as sin?

The 1689 LBCF (Ch 29) does not use the word "sin" in the section on baptism at all. The WCF, on the other hand, speaks of "a great sin to condemn or neglect this ordinance" (WCF 28:5). It may indeed be viewed as sin and compromise for a presbyterian to help a baptist (e.g., Keller's action notwithstanding). But, I'm not sure that the opposite case would be true. I guess on issues of baptism, eschatology, etc., (i.e., specific doctrinal distinctions that grow out of an honest attempt to be biblical and that fit within orthodoxy), I might grow exercised, vocal, loud, and agitated at someone yet still not castigate his exegetical conclusion as "sin." So, it would seem that you would call Mohler or Piper's practice "sinful" whereas I do not believe that they would characterize yours as such.

I would NEVER be comfortable promoting a ministry that was heterodox, or even one that contiained a huge amount of error. Pentecostals are my sisters and brothers, but YIKES! However, despite real heart-felt differences on issues that are important, I cannot summon up much outrage at Reformed presbyterians. Afterall, the 1689 confession is practically the WCF with changes on baptism.
 
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Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Oh, I thought your list above was meant to be some sort of Confession. I know some Roman Catholic Churches that preach the Gospel more clearly than some Pentecostal Churches. Would you support those on an exception basis?

Actually, the list was in response to SEAGOON'S own list and was not meant to be a confession. See the above posts.

I cannot give an answer to your question about gospel-preaching RC churches. It is purely a hypothetical in my mind because I have yet to encounter it. Do they preach the gospel of faith ... plus works? No only do they preach the gospel, but do they also believe it? Do they teach it? Do they recognize its centrality? Are they able to recognize it? If so, why are they associating with a church body that clearly denies the gospel?

The idea of a gospel-believing, teaching, preaching Roman Catholic church is mind-boggling. I don't think you can do this without compromising the gospel. Could you post a link to these gospel-centered RC churches?

No, I can simply refer to my own experience growing up in a Church where the Priest preached about being saved by faith in Christ and that you were saved thereafter. Mind boggling? Yes.

Frankly, the issue isn't where they start out it's how you nurture that faith. I think you have a very naive understanding of what the role of a Church is toward discipleship both in your list and your simple statement that they just preach the Gospel and that's enough. I could take you on a tour of the island of Okinawa to show you what that leads to. It's a microcosm of the spirtual morass that is setting in throughout the U.S.

You'll get your short term results in men who confess Christ. It's the long term that people never think about. There's a surprising amount of post-Modern thinking about what "...all that I have commanded you..." means. If these distinctions make no difference then why do you prefer to attend a Reformed Baptist Church? Why do you state that you confess something Reformed?
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Peter Kreeft considers himself an "evangelical" Catholic? Mind boggling, perhaps. But I heartily hear him over any Pentecostal any day. I can definitely fathom someone getting saved listening to him (not necessarily endorsing him, though.

The Official Peter Kreeft Site
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
Frankly, the issue isn't where they start out it's how you nurture that faith. I think you have a very naive understanding of what the role of a Church is toward discipleship both in your list and your simple statement that they just preach the Gospel and that's enough. I could take you on a tour of the island of Okinawa to show you what that leads to. It's a microcosm of the spirtual morass that is setting in throughout the U.S.

You'll get your short term results in men who confess Christ. It's the long term that people never think about. There's a surprising amount of post-Modern thinking about what "...all that I have commanded you..." means. If these distinctions make no difference then why do you prefer to attend a Reformed Baptist Church? Why do you state that you confess something Reformed?

I clarified that the list was not intended to be a confession, and I clarified that I was not stating "preach the gospel and that's enough" and I never said distinctions don't make a difference. I don't really have a response other than that because I can't really respond to a mischaracterization of what I said.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
Peter Kreeft considers himself an "evangelical" Catholic? Mind boggling, perhaps. But I heartily hear him over any Pentecostal any day. I can definitely fathom someone getting saved listening to him (not necessarily endorsing him, though.

The Official Peter Kreeft Site

Jacob, maybe Francis Beckwith considers himself the same thing now that he has migrated from the presidency of the ETS to Rome? At least in 2008-2009 he will be a visiting prof at Nortre Dame (probably a better spot for a Roman Catholic than in his tenured position at Baylor).
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Frankly, the issue isn't where they start out it's how you nurture that faith. I think you have a very naive understanding of what the role of a Church is toward discipleship both in your list and your simple statement that they just preach the Gospel and that's enough. I could take you on a tour of the island of Okinawa to show you what that leads to. It's a microcosm of the spirtual morass that is setting in throughout the U.S.

You'll get your short term results in men who confess Christ. It's the long term that people never think about. There's a surprising amount of post-Modern thinking about what "...all that I have commanded you..." means. If these distinctions make no difference then why do you prefer to attend a Reformed Baptist Church? Why do you state that you confess something Reformed?

I clarified that the list was not intended to be a confession, and I clarified that I was not stating "preach the gospel and that's enough" and I never said distinctions don't make a difference. I don't really have a response other than that because I can't really respond to a mischaracterization of what I said.

Would you please let me know who has your username and password then:
elnwood said:
If I were in a country with just a handful of Christians, though, and the only churches within a hundreds of miles were my church and a Pentecostal church (which is quite common because quite frankly, Pentecostals in general have been more aggressive in church planting than my Reformed brethren), I would quite happily partner with them to bring the gospel to that region while not compromising what I believe to be taught in Scripture.
I'm in a country like that. Yes, Pentecostals are more agressive and get better results: because they sow to the flesh.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
The untenability of "let's all play nice and win the whole wide world for Jesus while we downplay our doctrinal distinctives" was demonstrated the other week when probably the most outspoken advocate of this view posted a statement of bare minimal evangelical doctrines as an example of a statement those with differing views could subscribe to in cooperating on the mission field. The statement asserted "believer's baptism" by immersion.


Dude, next time to misrepresent my words, at least let me know you are doing it.


I am a baptist and can get along with many strains of baptistic churches for church planting purposes.

Furthermore, many folks on the mission field operate in non-church planting roles. What's wrong with having an Mennonite pilot or a presbyterian mechanic or a dutch reformed translator? A Methodist school teacher also sounds fine.

In many evangelical missions communities you see just that. While the church planters needs to agree more to partner together, there are many places for others to serve in non-teaching roles.

When it comes to church planting, I need to partner with those that bear some doctrinal resemblance to myself, but many task over here do not need a sworn agreement to the WCF.


I suspect that at least some of the churches represented on the PB support Wycliffe Bible Translators... they are an example of a broad evangelical group that focuses on linguistics. Praise God for them. I fear to think of what would happen if this task were controlled by some on the PB...the transaltors would dwindle to about 10 personnel probably.


Remember, in some places of the world there is not the option to shop around.

I went to an OPC church and under their "Missions Budget" they were mostly supporting a church plant in a major urban center out west where the OPC did not yet have a church. They spoke of this city as "needing the Gospel" Hello! That is just slighltly off base. This city had a PCA church, many baptist churches, even a "reformed" type baptist church and this church spent large amount in calling this "missions." Plus, Bibles are plentiful and Christian radio is abundant.

In some places in Asia and other parts of the Third World I would help out the local body of believers regardless of minor doctrinal deviations because in some places these are the only beleivers and I am the only help.


Perhaps Tim Keller thinks New York is dark enough to support these other churches that are near to him in their doctrine.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
If someone believes it is a sin to baptize babies, how is supporting a paedobaptist church not a compromise? Likewise, how can someone who subscribes to the WCF which states that to neglect infant baptism is a sin help to plant baptist churches without compromising their view of the ordinances? How can one plant a congregational church if they are Presbyterian without compromising their polity? and vice versa, on and on.

Honestly, at this point I think I have more respect for the views of the Arminian (or "one pointer") Baptist dispensationalists who would rather chop off their right arm than plant a Presbyterian church than for the views of the broad evangelicals who somehow think it wouldn't be a compromise.

Interesting, Chris. Maybe I am simply betraying my "broad evangelical" upbringing, but do baptists really consider infant baptism a "sin"? More particularly, would a baptist of Reformed convictions characterize infant baptism as sin?

The 1689 LBCF (Ch 29) does not use the word "sin" in the section on baptism at all. The WCF, on the other hand, speaks of "a great sin to condemn or neglect this ordinance" (WCF 28:5). It may indeed be viewed as sin and compromise for a presbyterian to help a baptist (e.g., Keller's action notwithstanding). But, I'm not sure that the opposite case would be true. I guess on issues of baptism, eschatology, etc., (i.e., specific doctrinal distinctions that grow out of an honest attempt to be biblical and that fit within orthodoxy), I might grow exercised, vocal, loud, and agitated at someone yet still not castigate his exegetical conclusion as "sin." So, it would seem that you would call Mohler or Piper's practice "sinful" whereas I do not believe that they would characterize yours as such.

I would NEVER be comfortable promoting a ministry that was heterodox, or even one that contiained a huge amount of error. Pentecostals are my sisters and brothers, but YIKES! However, despite real heart-felt differences on issues that are important, I cannot summon up much outrage at Reformed presbyterians. Afterall, the 1689 confession is practically the WCF with changes on baptism.

The PB has spoken about the issue of calling for the other side to 'repent'. See this thread: http://www.puritanboard.com/f24/repent-22580/
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Regarding Redeemer, if Redeemer is planting Catholic churches, I would have an issue with that, but to my knowledge they have not even considered it, much less done so. Unless someone has evidence to that, I think we ought not keep that on the table.

Why should we wait, when all the signs of that happening in the future are already here? In Kellers interview, he said:

Catholics are right about the importance of the Church. So, there we go. In other words, I tried to write a nonsectarian book which still admits that it’s got sectarian roots to it and tells people, when you’re done, you’re going to have to be a part of a particular church. That’s the best I can do. My best job. I mean, there are a lot of judgment calls, and I just made them.

Catholics are right about the importance of the Church? The Second Vatican Council has a section called "The Mystery of the Church" that says:

"the sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which our Saviour, after His Resurrection, commissioned Peter to shepherd, and him and the other apostles to extend and direct with authority, which He erected for all ages as 'the pillar and mainstay of the truth.' This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him" (Lumen Gentium, 8).

I can't see how this is being overlooked. It does seem that Keller is expressing his acceptance of the Roman Catholic Church. He has stated that this is his "best job" and that he has made a "judgment call." It would seem that the PCA has already made the judgment call in the BCO, which is to teach in adherance to the WCF.

In the context of this next quote, keller has already lumped-in Catholics as Christians. He said:

This puts me in a position where I don’t want to defend just one kind of Christianity. I think I want to defend the Apostles Creed. And I want you, as a nonbeliever, to buy the Apostles’ Creed, and then after that figure out where you want to go.

As for the concern of Keller planting RCC's, he'll either do it (only God knows) or he won't. But from the inclusivistic message that resounds from his new book, as well as the heretical trash in Mere Christianity by Lewis, it doesn't seem like Keller is overly concerned about whether his book will lead people to the RCC, EO, etc.

If the book, or his interview - any publicity, were to proclaim the gospel of grace alone against the backdrop of the wrath of God, and denounce Rome as a false religious system, while proclaiming that Scripture is the final authority in matters of morals and doctrine (NOT the Pope), and on and on, you know, like a Calvinist!, then I don't think we'd see any of his converts darkening the doorsteps of anything other than Bible-based houses of worship!




Hello, it appears that you might have misquoted Keller.


It is a world of difference between saying that the Catholics are right about the IMPORTANCE of the church and that the Catholics are right about the church.
 
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