Riddle responds to Ward's review of "Why I preach from the Received Text"

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
Interesting Andrew, I also realized a couple of days ago that in these discussions, the differences in mindset and perspective between adherence to the original WCF and the American version (forgive the long run-on wordiness) must surely be coming into play. It seems that Presbyterian denominations that hold to the original WCF also still hold to the texts (and in line with that, the use of the KJV) that prevailed in that time of reformation and church councils. I haven’t thoroughly researched this; does anyone know of a Presbyterian denomination that holds to the original WCF who doesn’t also hold to the TR view? (Via the close reasoning and consequences of it that fall in line with holding that “high view” of church establishment/reformation etc)
 
Last edited:

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Interesting Andrew, I also realized a couple of days ago that in these discussions, the differences in mindset and perspective between adherence to the original WCF and the American version (forgive the long run-on wordiness) must surely be coming into play. It seems that Presbyterian denominations that hold to the original WCF also still hold to the texts (and in line with that, the use of the KJV) that prevailed in that time of reformation and church councils. I haven’t thoroughly researched this; does anyone know of a Presbyterian denomination that holds to the original WCF who doesn’t also hold to the TR view? (Via the close reasoning and consequences of it that fall in line with holding that “high view” of church establishment/reformation etc)

I don't think that's correct.
I'm original WCF. I hold to the establishment principle. So do several others on this board, who also don't hold to the "TR view" (which is ill-defined).
Many of the TR advocates are NOT part of denominations which hold to the establishment principle. I don't see the correlation.

And I would strongly warn that to find a correlation is to create an artificial wedge between the "truly Reformed" and "the rest".

I've never heard anyone espouse Andrew's view before. He isn't a "TR advocate". He has said "Were there a CT version produced and authorized in the same way, I would have to accept that it also had merit."
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
But is it in your authority as an individual to make this judgment? (I hope you don't think I'm picking on you by only quoting you!)

Sure it is. God has given us rational faculties and a conscience. Is my judgment authoritative on others? Probably not. But for me to mentally accede to points of translation which are demonstrably faulty is to go against conscience.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
I'm original WCF. I hold to the establishment principle.
Logan, just to clarify, do you disagree with the RPCNA's constitution where in 23:3 it rejects everything after the semi-colon (including that the magistrate has the power (indeed the duty) to call synods and to be present at them)?
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Logan, just to clarify, do you disagree with the RPCNA's constitution where in 23:3 it rejects everything after the semi-colon (including that the magistrate has the power (indeed the duty) to call synods and to be present at them)?
I don't think it should matter to this discussion, but yes.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
I don't think it should matter to this discussion, but yes.
Thanks for the reply. I think it matters, in that the original WCF includes this, and it's a pretty important element in the broader discussion. You may disagree and obviously do; with that, I will have to bow out of this aspect of the discussion as I lack the time, energy, and talent to pursue it any further. I am still interested to know of any denomination that holds to the original WCF in its entirety, that does not also hold to the TR, if anyone knows of such a one.
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Junior
After catching up with this thread, I come away with the sense that much of the disconnect (to put it lightly) by the end of the thread is perhaps largely due to most participants in the US being part of fellowships (PCA, OPC, RPCNA et al) that have abandoned the establishment principle, while most in UK/Commonwealth fellowships (and their more recently established American cousins - the FCoS(C), the PRC, etc.) retain it. As someone with 2 passports and toes in two continents, I suggest that the latter see "ecclesiastical authority" in the visible Church as different than those in a denomination. When the Westminster Standards refer to "churches" (for example in WCF 25.5), they were, in the original context, I believe, referring to established national churches. I think they would largely view American denominations as schisms and sects (though perhaps without the charge of being schismatic and/or sectarian).

With the emphasis throughout Scripture on God's dealing with nations, the onus seems to be on those proposing the idea that a denomination has the authority to produce or promote a translation to show the Biblical warrant for (first) denominations and (then) that they have such authority. "Is Christ divided?" / "For there must be heresies even among you, that they which are approved among you, might be known." / "...no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation." These texts (and others) communicate the desired oneness of the visible Church and necessarily preclude intranational divisions of churches. God is not divided, and He is not the author of confusion. The establishment principle in the WCF allows (if not instructs) the civil magistrate to call upon the Church to make a judgment on a matter such as the text and translation of Scripture (31.2 - see also the end of 31.5), but precludes magistrates from making such a judgment themselves (31.3) - it is unto the visible Church that "Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God" (WCF 25.3). It is not optional for the visible Church to assemble in synods (national) and councils (international) - "For the better government and further edification of the Church, there ought to be such assemblies as are commonly called synods or councils." (WCF 31.1) Denominations can call their gatherings "synods" and "councils," but the members of the Westminster Assembly would not view them as such. The Westminster Assembly itself was not even a regular ecclesiastical assembly, but rather an advisory commission called by the civil magistrate in keeping with what the Assembly would go on to write in WCF 31 where it states the 4 justifications for a meeting of a synod or council:
  1. if a magistrate called upon them to consult and advise with them about matters of religion (31.2);
  2. if the magistrate is an open enemy to the Church, the ministers can call for a synod on their own by virtue of their office or send delegates to an ecumenical council to consult about matters of religion (31.2);
  3. if the magistrate accepts their petition to "intermeddle with civil affairs" in extraordinary cases (31.5);
  4. if the magistrate requires them to give advice on civil affairs (31.5).
If you believe that the original Westminster Standards are agreeable with Scripture, then the idea that a Church (a national church in the view of the Assembly) or Council of Churches, and only a Church/Council can authorize a translation or approve of a translation should not seem odd. These bodies do not have to, but no other body can. This action would, I believe, fall under their synodical/conciliar authority to "determine controversies of faith, and cases of conscience; to set down rules and directions for the better ordering of the public worship of God, and government of his Church" (WCF 31.3). Since their "decrees and determinations, if consonant to the Word of God, are to be received with reverence and submission, not only for their agreement with the Word, but also for the power whereby they are made, as being an ordinance of God, appointed thereunto in his Word," (Ibid.), it would make sense (and perhaps be wise) that they decide which text of the original languages and/or vulgar translation they are using to make such decrees and determinations (the former being more important than the latter). As I posted in a different discussion, an example of this occurred in Scotland. The "Bassandyne Bible," a reprint of the first folio Geneva Bible, was the first Bible authorised to be printed in Scotland (Edinburgh, 1579) and was ordered to be in each parish kirk by King James' Privy Council after a petition to that effect from the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (see History of the Bassandyne Bible, the first printed in Scotland; with notices of the early printers of Edinburgh by William Dobson, 1887, Chapter 4). (This would have been King James VI of Scotland before he became King James I and decided he didn't like the Geneva translation after all - though when he expressed his disfavor, it was directed at the commentary in the notes and not necessarily the translation). This appears to be an example of what the Westminster Assembly later approved of - the Church petitioning the civil magistrate to "take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire" (WCF 23.3). To clarify some of the misconceptions in the above posts, unlike the Geneva Bible in Scotland, there is no official record showing James I(VI) authorised the final product of what became known as the KJV/KJV - rather he authorised the process that led to it (see Logan's reference to Barlow and the 1603 Hampton Court in #38 above).

Logan, I hope what I posted above and believe are principles drawn from the WCF are different from what you find repugnant - I agree that there is no merit for a. through f. (though to be consistent in what I believe is a confessional view, I believe e. is valid if stated "Is accepted by an established church").

But is it in your authority as an individual to make this judgment? (I hope you don't think I'm picking on you by only quoting you!)
Hi Andrew,
From my perspective, I think this is exactly the kind of approach that Logan is critiquing.
1) for all its appeal to church councils, it is idiosyncratic. None of the Reformers or Westminster divines actually made this kind of argument in favor of the KJV, nor is it this the argument made by modern day denominations. Compare for example the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland's explanation of its use of the KJV here: https://www.fpchurch.org.uk/about-us/what-we-contend-for/the-authorised-version/; its rationale is quite different. Your argument sets a standard whereby the KJV cannot be challenged in any foreseeable world.
2) It leaves large parts of the church worldwide with no way to have a "proper" Bible. You say that it is enough that it is accepted by "an established church" but it is unclear why a church with which my denomination potentially has no relationship (not even the same language!) has the power to determine what Bible our churches use, but our churches themselves do not. This is fundamentally unPresbyterian. Moreover, the conditions you have laid down whereby other churches might get a "proper" Bible are unfulfillable in the modern world. Perhaps they might become plausible again in some Presbyterian millennium (though it is worth noting how few countries have fulfilled the conditions and for how short a time down through history - in England, it was less than one generation), but in the meantime, people need a Bible. What should those churches do? Why does the wisdom of 17th century English bishops and Scottish presbyters trump the legitimate pastoral oversight of the shepherds of their local flock gathered together as a Presbyery?
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I am still interested to know of any denomination that holds to the original WCF in its entirety, that does not also hold to the TR, if anyone knows of such a one.
Although it is no longer around, having just recently collapsed, the RPCUS, as far as I know, was not TR, although I’m pretty sure they adopted the original WCF jot and tittle.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
Although it is no longer around, having just recently collapsed, the RPCUS, as far as I know, was not TR, although I’m pretty sure they adopted the original WCF jot and tittle.
Did they really hold to the WCF since evidently they misconstrued its teaching to imply theonomy? But this line of inquiry could go into the rabbit hole, I see. :)
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Did they really hold to the WCF since evidently they misconstrued its teaching to imply theonomy? But this line of inquiry could go into the rabbit hole, I see. :)
You asked for a denomination that 1) adopted the original WCF and 2) was not TR. Whether or not one disagrees with their interpretation of the original WCF is logically irrelevant to whether or not they in fact adopted it.
 

JP Wallace

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thanks for the reply. I think it matters, in that the original WCF includes this, and it's a pretty important element in the broader discussion. You may disagree and obviously do; with that, I will have to bow out of this aspect of the discussion as I lack the time, energy, and talent to pursue it any further. I am still interested to know of any denomination that holds to the original WCF in its entirety, that does not also hold to the TR, if anyone knows of such a one.
Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland
Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland
Evangelical Presbyterian Church of England and Wales
Free Church of Scotland

I don't think any of these make any subtractions to the the Confession of Faith.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
Interesting Andrew, I also realized a couple of days ago that in these discussions, the differences in mindset and perspective between adherence to the original WCF and the American version (forgive the long run-on wordiness) must surely be coming into play. It seems that Presbyterian denominations that hold to the original WCF also still hold to the texts (and in line with that, the use of the KJV) that prevailed in that time of reformation and church councils. I haven’t thoroughly researched this; does anyone know of a Presbyterian denomination that holds to the original WCF who doesn’t also hold to the TR view? (Via the close reasoning and consequences of it that fall in line with holding that “high view” of church establishment/reformation etc)
When I first starting attending an FCoS(C) congregation the NKJV was the pulpit Bible. I believe there was a recommendation made at presbytery to switch to the KJV for conformity, but I'm not sure if all FCoS(C) congregations across the denomination are now using the KJV. For a while NKJV was used in some congregations.

I've seen that some congregations of the Associated Presbyterian Church of Scotland use the ESV. I can't find a current example, but you can search their website and find quotations from the ESV in many articles on their website and "APC News" publication. The FPCoS is of course KJV only.

I don't know about all of the descendants of the RPCUS, but the RPCUS claimed to use the original WCF. I know the NASB was used alongside the NKJV in the RPCUS congregation I attended. I don't see anything on the RPCGA distinctives about Bible versions.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks everyone. Faithful adherence to the WCF with no exceptions/subtractions is what I had in mind, but I now see there can be the formality of adherence without the faithfulness. Jake, since the NKJV is arguably based on the TR, that makes sense. This isn't a KJV-only line of inquiry but it is a TR-only line.
 

JP Wallace

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thanks everyone. Faithful adherence to the WCF with no exceptions/subtractions is what I had in mind, but I now see there can be the formality of adherence without the faithfulness.
And all of those four denominations are faithful in their adherence in general terms...and in more specific terms.....other than perhaps in maintain the exclusive psalmody etc. from which EPECEW has not held to and that the FCofS has abandoned.

Are you now determining faithful adherence to the WCF as being equivalent to TR holding?
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
I'm curious how we're defining KJV only
To use their words, "The Authorised (King James) Version of the Bible is used exclusively throughout the English-speaking congregations of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland."


I should probably be careful because of the loaded use of the term by many heretics, but the FPCoS more exclusively uses the KJV than any other Presbyterian denomination I'm aware of.
 

JH

Puritan Board Freshman
I should probably be careful because of the loaded use of the term by many heretics, but the FPCoS more exclusively uses the KJV than any other Presbyterian denomination I'm aware of.
I exclusively use the KJV, as do many. When I hear "King James Onlyism" from others, typically it's used as a catch-all net for those who prefer the KJV over other available English Translations – whereas when I hear "King James Onlyism", my mind immediately jumps to men like Peter Ruckman. Personally I'm at a point where (by exhaustion) I'm just going to start embracing the term.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
And all of those four denominations are faithful in their adherence in general terms...and in more specific terms.....other than perhaps in maintain the exclusive psalmody etc. from which EPECEW has not held to and that the FCofS has abandoned.
Thanks. Are ministers in these denominations permitted to take exceptions to the WCF?
 

JP Wallace

Puritan Board Sophomore
Jeri,

You asked for information about denominations who hold to the original WCF and who do not require TR only. I have provided that information.

I will be saying nothing more on this forum.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
It would appear that Andrew's hypothesis has been shown false. The use of the TR and full subscription to the original WCF are not necessarily related.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
Jeri,

You asked for information about denominations who hold to the original WCF and who do not require TR only. I have provided that information.

I will be saying nothing more on this forum.
I hope people won't misunderstand. I'm not trying for any kind of 'gotcha.' I am genuinely trying to work through a question of particulars concerning those Presbyterian denominations who hold to the exclusive use of the TR (including the NKJV) (at least in preaching) and those who don't. So far it seems to be the case that there is a link between those who are strictest on confessional subscription, including from their officers, and that use; but it makes sense that would be the case.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
So far it seems to be the case that there is a link between those who are strictest on confessional subscription, including from their officers, and that use; but it makes sense that would be the case.
We should not confuse strict subscription with strict subscription to the original confession. Subscription speaks to a particular church’s confessional standards, not to a preferred historical confession of faith. Of course, I would prefer that the OPC at her founding went back to the original WCF. Be that as it may, when my brothers and fathers ask me, Lord willing, in a couple months regarding my understanding of confessional subscription, I will say “strict” with an absolutely clear conscience, because the question has to do with the OPC’s doctrinal standards, not any others. Whether or not we agree with it, the American revision of the WCF, which is essentially what the OPC adopted, are just as much a product of the church as the original WCF was.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
I hope people won't misunderstand. I'm not trying for any kind of 'gotcha.' I am genuinely trying to work through a question of particulars concerning those Presbyterian denominations who hold to the exclusive use of the TR (including the NKJV) (at least in preaching) and those who don't. So far it seems to be the case that there is a link between those who are strictest on confessional subscription, including from their officers, and that use; but it makes sense that would be the case.
I think the responses that have come in have shown this not to be the case. The "strictest sense" is not something that can be tested without bias or context so it must be thrown out as a data point. All that can be tested in reality are those that subscribe without exception and those that subscribe with exception. It has been demonstrated that there are several denominations that subscribe without exception and do not hold to TR only. If people are not able to be logical and reasonable when it comes to these types of observations then we will get nowhere. There does come a point when we have to be willing to admit we are wrong (on either side) when the evidence just isn't there to support our conclusions. Otherwise, we might as well all start subscribing to post modernism and throw out all standards.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
We should not confuse strict subscription with strict subscription to the original confession. Subscription speaks to a particular church’s confessional standards, not to a preferred historical confession of faith. Of course, I would prefer that the OPC at her founding went back to the original WCF. Be that as it may, when my brothers and fathers ask me, Lord willing, in a couple months regarding my understanding of confessional subscription, I will say “strict” with an absolutely clear conscience, because the question has to do with the OPC’s doctrinal standards, not any others. Whether or not we agree with it, the American revision of the WCF, which is essentially what the OPC adopted, are just as much a product of the church as the original WCF was.
I understand that, but of course you realize that some disagree with the various denominations' acts in changing standards that were handed down to us from a time of great light, reformation, and national church establishment. And that brings us back around to the never-ending full circle! I will let it go, all. Not sure I've been any kind of good representative of a view I believe, but am not qualified to argue. Thanks for putting up with me.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I understand that, but of course you realize that some disagree with the various denominations' acts in changing standards that were handed down to us from a time of great light, reformation, and national church establishment.
I can absolutely grant that. And, again, I personally prefer the original WCF. I was just trying to make the point that strict subscription has reference to a given church’s doctrinal standards as put forth by that particular church.
 
Top