Setting all Presbyterian Evanjellyfish Aside...

Discussion in 'A Puritan's Mind Updates' started by C. Matthew McMahon, Jun 5, 2005.

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  1. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Adopting the WCF:

    "That such is the system of doctrine of the Reformed Church is a matter of history. It is the system which, as the granite formation of the Earth, underlies and sustains the whole scheme of truth as revealed in the Scriptures, and without which all the rest is as drifting sand. It has been from the beginning the life and soul of the Church, taught explicitly by our Lord himself, and more fully by his inspired servants, and always professed by a cloud of witnesses in the Church. It has, moreover, ever been the esoteric faith of true believers, adopted in their prayers and hymns, even when rejected from their creeds. It is this system which the Presbyterian Church is pledged to profess, to defend, and to teach; and it is a breach of faith to God and man if she fails to require a profession of this system by all those whom she receives or ordains as teachers and guides of her people. It is for the adoption of the Confession of Faith in this sense that the Old School have always contended as a matter of conscience."

    Amen and Amen Dr. Hodge! Get rid of the Evanjellyfish that are plaguing the Presbyterian Churches throughout the world, and get some true ministers with real backbones in the pulpit! We need men of integrity who uphold the Scriptures and the system of doctrine in the WCF!

    Read more here:
  2. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate


    I was happy that my Church required that I covenant and vow to uphold and be in submission to the Westminster Standards as part of becoming a member of that local church (which I joined in front of the congregation this morning, along with being able to give my testimony to the whole church).

  3. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Its too bad overall that our denomination's ministers have no integrity when it comes to thier confessed standard. :(
  4. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    Do members of your church have to confess the Westminster? Apparently it is the normal procedure in our denomination, but I wasn't sure about the bigger ones.
  5. Dan....

    Dan.... Puritan Board Sophomore

    I should hope not.... require the laity to adopt the standards before becoming members would be to lock the church out of the church.
  6. Abd_Yesua_alMasih

    Abd_Yesua_alMasih Puritan Board Junior

    I was talking to a pastor's son this week. His father is minister at a Presbyterian Church here in New Zealand. We got talking about these things and he had to think long and hard about the church's confession of faith. Eventually after lots of thinking and grazing skyward he said "I think it is the WCF isn't it? I am not sure what it says. I have glanced at it a few times."

    The Presbyterian Church here in New Zealand would be one of the more liberal churches in the country. Just last year they decided they would ordain no more gay pastors. They would keep the ones they have though and even this 'conservative' decision was only narrowly passed.
  7. rmwilliamsjr

    rmwilliamsjr Puritan Board Freshman

    this is the "doors of the church are open just as wide as the door of the kingdom" argument. To require subscription for the laity is to narrow the doors of the church unjustly and without Scriptural warrant. This applies in particular to the Lord's Table. Now to require subscription for full or voting membership is a different object.

  8. Dan....

    Dan.... Puritan Board Sophomore

    :ditto: ...what Richard Williams and Charles Hodge said.

    Although I do have a question concerning the "Now to require subscription for full or voting membership is a different object."

    Would that require three levels of membership? 1. Non-communicant members, 2. Communicant, non-voting members, and 3. Communicant, voting members.

    Are there any denominations that have such a set up?

    Are there any confessional or biblical principles for distiguishing between communicant voting and non-voting members, or would this only be a result of the desire to maintain full subscriptionism among the office holders?
  9. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    No, people do not need to fully embrace the WCF to join the church.

    But....having gone through the membership class myself, they neither have to believe the doctrines of grace. (?? i.e. the Gospel ??)

    I was aiming this more towards the elders and ministers who seem to be giving up the confession overall and having little intergrity when it comes to explaining doctrine.
  10. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    Your congregation votes on things? Is it not a Presbyterian church? :candle:
  11. Dan....

    Dan.... Puritan Board Sophomore

    See OPC BCO, FOG Chap. XVI, Section 1.

    See also PCA BCO Chap XXIV, Section 3 and Chap XXV.

    [Edited on 6-6-2005 by Dan....]
  12. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Yes, like electing elders. We're not episcopal.
  13. Puddleglum

    Puddleglum Puritan Board Sophomore

    In my (OPC) we vote on electing officers, and to concur with the budget. There may be other things, but not that have come up while I've been a member (2 yrs).

    And no, you don't have to suscribe to the WCF to be a member. As one of our elders told me, as Christ's undershepherd, he can't make the requirements to be a member of Christ's church stricter than what Christ has made them. So, yes, if someone was Arminian, but the elders judged them to be a Christian, and they wanted to join, they could. That's not the norm. I've appreciated the elder's gracious attitude - and, when I disagree, if they have a gracious attitude I'm a whole lot more willing to consider what they're saying, than if they just laid down the line on a non-essential instead! :)
  14. Dan....

    Dan.... Puritan Board Sophomore


    While you're at it, see your own church's Directory for Church Government, chapter 2, sections 13, 15. Chapter 3, Section 1 D.

    [Edited on 6-6-2005 by Dan....]
  15. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    Ah, for some reason when you said "voting members" the voting for elders and pastors completely slipped my mind. Thanks for the references. :book2:
  16. Myshkin

    Myshkin Puritan Board Freshman

    Back to Hodge's article.....

    In relation to the subscription debate going on in the PCA, how does this article help us? At first glance it seems that the debate is between Hodge's first and second categories, with those in the first claiming that those in the second are in reality of the third.

    Hodge strikes a balance of catholic essentials plus reformed distinctives as the "system"- over against those who think catholic essentials are enough on one extreme, and against those who think nuances of differences within reformed distinctives is too broad on the other extreme. I am now confused by it all, as I had thought that the debate today was between categories two and three, but Hodge's article seems to imply that today's debate is really between categories one and two. Could someone define for me what "strict" subscription and what "system" subscription means in today's debate? Does the system subscription side in today's debate have Hodge as an ally here, or are they claiming his second category and filling it with the content of the third category? Relative to those I have read (very limited) I'm beginning to think it's the former. So again, could we discuss today's debate in light of this article?
  17. rmwilliamsjr

    rmwilliamsjr Puritan Board Freshman

    i'm working on my 2nd sunday school class which is on subscription. i believe i've referenced the majority of the papers available online on the topic. class is next sunday.
  18. rmwilliamsjr

    rmwilliamsjr Puritan Board Freshman


    This is the heart of the problem of subscription and why the issue will not just go away.
    The Confession is an index into Scripture, an index organized not by alphabetic order but by order of importance or significance. Not just any importance but the importance as perceived by the Westminster Divines in their society, in the 1640's. The list of 'essential' doctrines is a result of theological battles as well as the zeitgeist of their times.

    The problem is when you subscription to the system of doctrine, you are creating a sublist of doctrines from/out of the WCF, you are saying that these represent the highest priority to believe, the most important to hold to in order to preserve the distinctive faith expressed by the WCF. The problem is two fold, one listing these essential doctrines, realizing that your list is as reflective of your culture and time as was the WCF. This is added on top of the usual hermeneutical problems of how to extract meaning from the text and how to align that meaning with current expositions of the same doctrines today.
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