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14059RE: Steelites

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  • Edgar Ibarra
    Nov 6, 2005


      RE: “Steelites”


      Hermanos de Colombia and Brothers Larry, Chris, et al,



          I just want to make some clarifications, that I did not in my initial post, (for one it was very late & two Theophilus had asked what were the differences), to address certain items.


          The "Steelites", better termed Camerionian Covenanters (if one needs to label us) and the RPCNA (the generic covenanters, in that they do not recognize the SL&C anymore) agree in a lot of things as it pertains to the Gospel, the Regulative Principle of Worship, Church Government (to a point I guess), and may be a few other things, that fail to come to mind at this moment.  I did not mean to be uncharitable in that post, again, that was a misread of my intentions.  It is a fact that the RPCNA did renounce the Solemn League & Covenant (SL&C) and it is a fact that all maintainers of the Covenant of the past said that to do so was in fact a severe act of covenant-breaking, rebellion against God and His Church by those who were obligated to uphold it, and such. John Brown of Wamphray, the same Covenanter minister that wrote that great book on Reformed Spirituality/Sanctification (that being Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life) wrote another book (in 1665) named An Apologetical Relation of the Particular Sufferings of the Faithful Ministers and Professors of the Church of Scotland since August 1660 in which he defends the Covenanter wars against the tyrannical King and the perpetual obligation of the SL&C.  In it he calls abjuration and breaking of the SL&C, “a dreadful sin”, an aggravated sin “dreadful…perjury”.   I am just summing up what the Covenanted church has always maintained.  These are historical facts.  The RPCNA of today state that their fore-fathers in America were in error, mistaken, and unbiblically applied the SL&C to themselves and to America , therefore they had to rectify that and make the necessary corrections to their testimony & standards. This latter statement nor the former are not uncharitable in themselves, but rather are the views of two differing Presbyterian bodies.  This is the major divide between the Cameronians & the RPCNA.


        But, let us examine what the SL&C means, its purpose, and why it still is binding upon all Presbyterians that adopt the Westminster Standards and upon the civil nations that directly descend from the United Kingdom .  In order to do this I will cite men who had nothing to do with David Steele, but did maintain that the SL&C is a perpetual Covenant binding upon us today.


      First Thomas M’Crie, the church biographer that re-introduced the Presbyterians of his day to John Knox, also the author of the History of the Reformation in Spain .  From his book, The Unity of the Church, first published in 1821 (before David Steele came on the scene) he wrote the following in his book.  First it would serve well to briefly state in his words what the “Covenanted Reformation” is and the importance of maintaining Biblical attainments. 


                  By the good hand of God upon her, Scotland attained to a greater degree of purity in religion, and higher degrees of reformation, than any other Protestant country.  It is the duty of one generation to declare the works of God to another, and no people can depart from religious attainments without being deeply guilty.  But this is not all.  In no nation has the true religion been so solemnly avouched as in Scotland .  Every important step taken in reformation was accompanied with confessions, protestations, vows, covenants, and oaths, which were made and subscribed by all ranks, voluntarily, cheerfully, joyfully, repeated on every new emergency and call, and ratified by every authority in the land.  Hence, it has obtained the distinguishing name of the Covenanted Reformation. P.148 bold emphasis mine.


        You see that even M’Crie stated that the Covenanted Church of Scotland achieved such a purity in religion and higher degree in reformation that that example is what we should endeavor to follow and to build upon. To retrograde from that, as did the Revolution Church and the myriad of offspring that came from that schismatic church is a departure from purity and to be guilty of back slidding.  So why the SL&C?  Why is it still binding upon us all today?  M’Crie’s summation is great.  Here is what he states.


         The continued obligation of our National Covenants is of greater importance than any particular measure adopted in prosecuting them.  In what I have to say on this branch of the subject, I shall keep the Solemn League more particularly in eye, both because it comprehends the substance of the National Covenant of Scotland, and because it has the object of more frequent attack (boy, things have NOT changed since then!-Edgar).  It is not every lawful covenant, nor even every lawful covenant of a public nature, that is of permanent obligation.  Some of both kinds, from their very nature of from other circumstances, may undoubtedly be temporary.  The permanent obligation of the Solemn League results from the permanency of its nature and design, and of the parties entering into it, taken in connection with the public capacity in which it was established.  Some talk of it as if it were a mere temporary expedient to which our fore-fathers had recourse in defending their civil and religious liberty; and, when they have paid a compliment to it in this point of view, they think they have no more concern with the matter.  This is a very narrow and mistaken view of the deed…The emergency which led to the formation of the covenant is one thing, and the obligation of that covenant is quite another; the former might quickly pass away, while the latter may be permanent and perpetual.  Nor is the obligation of the covenant to be determined by the temporary or changeable nature of its subordinate and accessory articles. P. 194-195 bold emphasis mine.


         As you see M’Crie states that the SL&C is a permanent covenant and that we are not to view it as a one-sided covenant.  It was both a civil and religious covenant.  It was not a temporary covenant to help the Presbyterians of then to fight against King Charles I and then after the war to declare the covenant fulfilled in its intent and therefore no longer binding. No the SL&C was/is way much more than that.  The intent of the Covenant still lies unfulfilled, moreso today as the Presbyterian church has splintered since defecting from and breaking the SL&C, thereby causing a lamentable schism in the Body of Christ.  This schism the RPNA and Camerionian Covenanters seek to heal by recalling the church to its Covenant obligation and to return to faithful, pure, and Biblical attainments and advancement in spiritual growth that occurred during the Covenanted Second Reformation between 1638-1649, which testimony was sealed in blood during the “Killing Times”  M’Crie even agrees that the SL&C has yet to be fulfilled as he states on p.195, “But unhappily there is no need of having recourse to this line of argument (that being that the SL&C has been fulfilled & realized-Edgar); its grand stipulations remain to this day unfulfilled”.


         Some closing question from Thomas M’Crie, before I move on.   From p. 200:


                  Have the pledges given by the nation been yet redeemed?  Do not the principal stipulations in the covenant remain unfulfilled at this day?   Are we not as a people still bound by that engagement to see these things done?   Has the lapse of time cancelled the bond?  Or, will a change of sentiments and views set us free from its tie?  Is it not the duty of all the friends of reformation to endeavor to keep alive a sense of this obligation on the public mind?


        Before I conclude this part of the post and take it up on another, I wish to respond in particular to some words from my brother Larry.


      > Edgar, as usual, casts this particular part of the history according to his

      > bias,

      And Larry, do you not have a bias? We all have biases, the question is which bias is the correct bias to maintain?

      >and without the charity the other brothers (us) deserve.  He (and the

      > other Steelites) insist upon saying that we willfully defected... was it willful on the Synod's part to reject the Covenant or against thier will?  If the former  then they were cozignant of their actions, and therefore, yes willfully broke the Covenant!  If the latter, then what happended? Did some liberal strain in the RPCNA hijack the Synod proceedings and pass some ruling against the majorities desire to maintain and uphold the SL&C?  I do not think you worded that part correctly.

      >, when the  truth of the matter is that we, as a denomination, became convinced of

      > certain errors within the WCF and sought to, as we should, continue the

      > Reformation by becoming more and more consistent to the Biblical standards

      > for the Church.


      > There were mistakes made; some of which have been repaired, some of which

      > are being repaired, and some that are beginning to be known.


      These latter statements already answered above.


      >  But to freeze  the Church to a particular age, calling it perfect Here again, Larry, you are misrepresenting us, and here I thought this was cleared up before in past posts.  We never claim to be a perfect church, instead we seek to be pure and to sanctify ouselves in the Lord and by His aid, as a corporate body as much as individuals.  Please restate this statement of yours and retract that one word, we seek purity of doctrine. 

      > is wrong in the face of a clear conviction that the secondary standards are wrong in a particular spot.


      > Also, there is no way that the Covenants can, as they stand, be applied to

      > the US states.


      See M'Crie's & John Anderson's quotes I provided to clarify this erroneous claim.



      > Not upset, just disappointed that you continue to misrepresent us as willful

      > rebels rather than brothers seeking to be true to God and His Covenant(s),

      > properly understood and applied..




      Again you are our brothers, but our Covenanter fore-father would also call you covenant-breakers (you even admit above that the RPCNA broke their obligation to the SL&C, and state that the early RPCNA were mistaken and that mistake has since been corrected),  but would not deny you the name of brothers in Christ.  They (the Covenanters during 1660-1688) called the indulged/compromised Presbyterians, brothers, but would not attend to their preaching nor partake with them in communion in order to make that visible protestation against their sinful compromise and breach of covenant.


      For the cause of Christ

      & His kingdom,


      Edgar Ibarra


      Albany, NY

      www.espanol.albanycrpc.org       www.reformedpresbytery.org

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