Does the RPCNA removal doctrinal status from Pope that Antichrist, etc. in WCF 25.6?

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NaphtaliPress

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To not enter a long rabbit trail on the original thread where this came up, I thought I'd start this new one to fully address and get all info available on the question, does the RPCNA Testimony remove from confessional status, in WCF 25.6, "pope ... is that Antichrist that man of sin, and son of perdition," etc. Cards on the table, I don't have any reason at this date to not hold that statement as the deduction from what Scripture teaches. However, I'm not of the mind it is a hill to sacrifice church unity over though if it became a matter of dispute in a church that held to it, I think it shoiuld be defended. The only historical article I've read is Wikipedia who I don't know who is editing that, which implies as much, and arguably anti RPCNA literature that seems to say the language clouds the confessional status at least (someone linked to that in the old thread, not doing so here). I did chat with an RPCNA minister who holds to the original WCF but says the Testimony was changed at the push of those with other eschatological views and in essence does the same thing to remove the statement from confessional status, as the excise of it does in those denominations that have struck the language from the confession; again, same result, different methods. That at least was my take away. But I look forward to seeing if the discussion coming up on the Jerusalem Chamber on WCF 25.6 will shed historical light on the intent of the Testimony and maybe give definitive resources, which so far I've not discovered (anyone please post if you discover or know of any or replicate anything from the other thread I have not copied below). It is hard to imagine that something that happen as recently as 1980 wouldn't have clear memory of the events if not written discussion that would settle this definitively. https://jerusalemchamber.com/
You got me curious because I'd never checked. Why is this statement in the Testimony? The testimony says, 'Many antichrists will be present in the world throughout history. Prior to Christ’s coming the final “man of lawlessness” will be revealed. He will be destroyed by Christ.'
Does the Testimony date to 1782 or later or has it been changed over the years? Is there a history of the text or something that may shed light on why language was introduced and when?
I'm with Edward; I'm not at all sure it means that but it is introducing some sort of clarification. I was actually surprised by this (no idea who edits these things and there is a heavy Steelite focus), but the Wikipedia entry for the RPCNA indicates it is a third denial (see below). When was the Testimony or this place in it at least drafted? Is the Testimony subject to individual interpretation where unclear or is there any record of discussions of the text of the Testimony where one can find out the thinking or intent of it in that place to be sure? Is there a consensus or difference of opinion on what that text means within the denomination? I see the Jerusalem Chamber is going to be getting to 25.6 soon so I guess I'll tune in to see what those RP men have to say.

As far as this thing the Testimony, if a document has interpretive status and rejects part of the confession, it's an equal authoritative document, call it a testimony, commentary or think of it as second confession document that literally sits in parallel with the original confession. The ARP has authoritative footnotes that reject portions, the PCA/OPC change the text, the RP has a commentary that changes or expands the meaning of the confession. They all say in some way they hold to the WCF with exceptions. One may have a preference to method, but at the end of the day they all reject or change the meaning of the original WCF some way.
 

ADKing

Puritan Board Junior
To not enter a long rabbit trail on the original thread where this came up, I thought I'd start this new one to fully address and get all info available on the question, does the RPCNA Testimony remove from confessional status, in WCF 25.6, "pope ... is that Antichrist that man of sin, and son of perdition," etc. Cards on the table, I don't have any reason at this date to not hold that statement as the deduction from what Scripture teaches. However, I'm not of the mind it is a hill to sacrifice church unity over though if it became a matter of dispute in a church that held to it, I think it shoiuld be defended. The only historical article I've read is Wikipedia who I don't know who is editing that, which implies as much, and arguably anti RPCNA literature that seems to say the language clouds the confessional status at least (someone linked to that in the old thread, not doing so here). I did chat with an RPCNA minister who holds to the original WCF but says the Testimony was changed at the push of those with other eschatological views and in essence does the same thing to remove the statement from confessional status, as the excise of it does in those denominations that have struck the language from the confession; again, same result, different methods. That at least was my take away. But I look forward to seeing if the discussion coming up on the Jerusalem Chamber on WCF 25.6 will shed historical light on the intent of the Testimony and maybe give definitive resources, which so far I've not discovered (anyone please post if you discover or know of any or replicate anything from the other thread I have not copied below). It is hard to imagine that something that happen as recently as 1980 wouldn't have clear memory of the events if not written discussion that would settle this definitively. https://jerusalemchamber.com/
A cursory review of historic RPCNA writings, and earlier testimonies indicates that the position that the pope is the antichrist was the historic position of the RPCNA. The fact that the church moved from a clearer, to a less clear statement lends credence to the idea it was the intent to move away from the historical position, without coming right out and saying it. They didn't reject the doctrine in 1980 because many still held it (and still do). But it does open the door for those who do not. In the RPCNA today there are quite a number of office bearers who do not hold the position that the pope is the antichrist. The testimony says "Prior to Christ's coming the final man of lawlessness will be revealed. He will be destroyed by Christ." RPCNA Testimony 25.18. This is certainly an odd and less clear way to state the position if the belief was that the man of sin has already been revealed--which is what earlier generations of RPs believed (compare the long historical section in Reformation Principles Exhibited). The 1980 testimony was the culmination of a long effort to move away from other historic principles. I find that those circumstances mitigate against interpreting the present testimony consistently with the position that the RPCNA still holds--as a denomination--that the pope is the antichrist--although I believe men who do hold that position are still within the pale of the language.
 
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Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I would suggest that the Testimony's statement could be called "a purposeful ambiguity" (N.B. said without any accusation of malicious intent) in order to accommodate different views. When I was examined as a minister, who was coming into the RPCNA from outside her ranks, I indicated that I took no exception to the Testimony on this point unless its intention was to weaken or contradict what the Confession said originally. I received no explanation or objection to what I said so I gather, also knowing the convictions of those who differ with me, is that multiple viewpoints on the identity of the Antichrist might be acceptable to a Presbytery.
 
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