PCA vs RP vs OPC Differences

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TheBruisedReed

Puritan Board Freshman
If I were to guess, he's looking at the NAPARC denominations with the most presence in Pittsburgh/Western PA where he's from. Although there are a handful of ARP congregations around there too.
Oh, I figured as much. My comment was all in jest!
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
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.

If changes to the Confession are authorized, I think it would serve the purpose of accuracy to alter the text very carefully, but preserve the original reading in a footnote and note the date the change was introduced. People think they're reading "The Westminster Confession of Faith" at times when they really aren't.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
There is definitely a reform movement within the RPCNA, and ministers coming in are taking exceptions to the Testimony’s exceptions/additions to the WCF. A few other things the Testimony addresses are tithing, the impropriety of participating in door prizes, and the use of alcohol (in effect recommending though no longer mandating abstinence). It seems that once the formalizing and elevating of commentary to the level of confessionalism began, it was easy to keep going.

Speaking from my experience in the RPCI, The Testimony, with its numerous extra-confessional additions and often superfluous commentary on matters sufficiently addressed in the Westminster Standards, always took priority over the Confession. In my opinion, it was a serious barrier to unity with other Reformed groups. A man could adhere to every single proposition in the Westminster Confession yet potentially be excluded from ordination because he scrupled a badly written line in The Testimony. Indeed, many confessional people could not even be members of the RPCI because of The Testimony's proscriptions on certain matters of an extra-confessional nature.

BTW, what is a door prize?
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
If changes to the Confession are authorized, I think it would serve the purpose of accuracy to alter the text very carefully, but preserve the original reading in a footnote and note the date the change was introduced. People think they're reading "The Westminster Confession of Faith" at times when they really aren't.
I agree; but it should be clear when the name is changed, as like in the OPC I think, to "as adopted by"; but I think changes should be made clear, particularly given the splittering and multitude of changes over the years.
 

Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Junior
BTW, what is a door prize?

At many events, tickets are handed out at the door (entrance) to everyone who attends. Sometime during the event, a drawing is made from those tickets for a winner. They are called "door prizes" becuse most of the time all you have to do to win them is walk through the door. Many times the ticket to the event itself is used for the drawing.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
At many events, tickets are handed out at the door (entrance) to everyone who attends. Sometime during the event, a drawing is made from those tickets for a winner. They are called "door prizes" becuse most of the time all you have to do to win them is walk through the door. Many times the ticket to the event itself is used for the drawing.

Why would that be considered immoral? Is it like a ballot where you have to pay for a ticket, which many would see as a form of gambling?
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Why would that be considered immoral? Is it like a ballot where you have to pay for a ticket, which many would see as a form of gambling?
It's been a while, a long while, since I've read Mason on lots, but I think it is the idea irrespective of money, that the lot used trivially is an abuse of one of the ways by which God makes His will known.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
It's been a while, a long while, since I've read Mason on lots, but I think it is the idea irrespective of money, that the lot used trivially is an abuse of one of the ways by which God makes His will known.

Okay, thanks. I am familiar with that argument and have never found it convincing.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
Here's an example I like of the RP approach. In WCF 1:8 there is a statement, "The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by His singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them."

Some have interpreted this to mean that the Received Text (related to the family of Greek New Testaments that were in use at the time of the Reformation) is the preserved word of God for all generations, and tend to eschew the studies of Warfield and other Reformed theologians have made since the 17th century on this topic in relationship to additional manuscript evidence that continues to be unearthed and studied. The RP Testimony adds this note to this section of the WCF:

"The Church is responsible to examine the documents available to determine as far as possible what was originally written, and to study the translations as to their accuracy in conveying the meaning of the original, and to advise the public concerning them."

Other denominations simply keep the WCF in tact, but in practice use translations like the ESV and NASB. Many in the RPCNA use the ESV and NASB, but now have a less ambiguous Confessional basis on which to do so thanks to the clarification in the Testimony based on additional learning over the centuries.

I do not mind a denomination having a very brief document setting forth how it receives the Confession or stating its principles. I would have had no problem with the RPCI Testimony if it had just been a list of propositions such as the following:

1. We believe in the descending obligation of the covenants.
2. We understand the WCF to teach exclusive psalmody without musical accompaniment.
3. We do not understand the WCF to demand the exclusive use of translations based on the TR. ... and so on and so forth.

Where it really becomes problematic, at least in my experience, is when you have a very lengthy Testimony that adds a lot of commentary to the propositions.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
If changes to the Confession are authorized, I think it would serve the purpose of accuracy to alter the text very carefully, but preserve the original reading in a footnote and note the date the change was introduced. People think they're reading "The Westminster Confession of Faith" at times when they really aren't.
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Ruben, your post reminded me of something that I experienced personally early on when I first came out of the SBC world and entered into my first presbyterian experience, the PCA. I was given the above booklet and nowhere in this booklet is it indicated that there had been modifications and revisions to the original. As still being fairly green this led me to believe that this booklet was the original Westminster standards.

In other words I had to discover on my own that American revisions were made.
 
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