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5295[Covenanted Reformation] Re: American Presbyterianism

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  • fraasrd
    Sep 3, 2002
      Thank you for the explanation.

      "They felt that this settlement
      established Presbyterianism not on a scriptural but on an Erastian
      basis and that the covenants had been ignored."

      In that sense, in what ways was the settlement church in
      Scotland "Erastian", and in what ways did it contrast with scriptural
      grounding. (I mean aside from their neglect of the existing

      As far as America goes, I think the early Presbyterians would have
      preferred an establishment of religion according to sound doctrine
      and church government, but did not hope for it. They realized this
      had no chance of happening in America, where Presbyterians were a
      minority even in their stronghold (Pennsylvania). So they went for
      the next best thing--prevention of established error and protection
      against persecution.


      --- In covenantedreformationclub@y..., "Wayne Whitmer"
      <Wayne.Whitmer@a...> wrote:
      > Dan of Bethel Park, hope this helps explain Erastianism.
      > Erastianism takes its name from Thomas Erastus (1524 - 83), who was
      born at Baden, studied theology at Basel, and later medicine,
      becoming professor of medicine at Heidelberg. He was a friend of Beza
      and Bullinger and was a Zwinglian.
      > A controversy arose in Heidelberg over the powers of the
      presbytery. Erastus emphasized strongly the right of the state to
      intervene in ecclesiastical matters. He held that the church has no
      scriptural authority to excommunicate any of its members. As God has
      entrusted to the civil magistrate (i.e., the state) the sum total of
      the visible government, the church in a Christian country has no
      power of repression distinct from the state. To have two visible
      authorities in a country would be absurd. The church can merely warn
      or censure offenders. Punitive action belongs to the civil magistrate
      alone. The church has no right to withhold the sacraments from
      > In practice, the term "Erastianism" is somewhat what elastic.
      Figgis calls it "the theory that religion is the creature of the
      state." Generally it signifies that the state is supreme in
      ecclesiastical causes, but Erastus dealt only with the disciplinary
      powers of the church. When the Roman emperors became Christian, the
      relations of civil and ecclesiastical rulers became a real problem.
      It became universally accepted until modern times that the state
      could punish heretics or put them to death.
      > The name Erastian emerged in England in the Westminister Assembly
      (1643) when outstanding men like Selden and Whitelocke advocated the
      supremacy of the state over the church. The assembly rejected this
      view and decided that church and state have their separate but
      coordinate spheres, each supreme in its own province but bound to
      cooperate with one another for the glory of God.
      > Wayne Whitmer
      > http://waynewhitmer.blogspot.com
      > Pittsburgh, PA
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: fraasrd
      > To: covenantedreformationclub@y...
      > Sent: Monday, September 02, 2002 5:33 PM
      > Subject: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: American Presbyterianism
      > Hey Wayne,
      > What is an "Erastian" establishment of Presbyterianism?
      > Dan of Bethel Park
      > --- In covenantedreformationclub@y..., "Wayne Whitmer"
      > <Wayne.Whitmer@a...> wrote:
      > > I didn't realize until stumbling on this page
      > >
      > > That basically the first Presbyterian denomination to arrive in
      > America was called the Reformed Presbytery and had as it's
      > distinctives:
      > >
      > > Reformed Presbytery:
      > > These were the first Covenanters to come to America from
      > and Northern Ireland. They were Reformed Presbyterians. These
      > had suffered greatly during the "killing times" under James II,
      > defense of Presbyterianism. They held to the continuing
      > of both the Scottish National Covenant of 1638 and the Solemn
      > and Covenant of 1643. They had refused to accept the "revolution
      > settlement" in 1690 that established Presbyterianism in Scotland
      > after the Glorious Revolution of 1688. They felt that this
      > established Presbyterianism not on a scriptural but on an
      > basis and that the covenants had been ignored.
      > >
      > > As found when reading the above link, the Reformed Presbytery
      > joined the Associate Presbytery and thus gave up the Covenanter
      > Testimony of the National and SLC. And if you read down through
      > laundry list it seems as if all American Presbyterian
      > are an erosion of the establishmentarianism principle in favor of
      > supporting the constitution and government of the United States.
      > Their formation in many respects had much to do about politics.
      > >
      > > So with that all said, to me the choice of what Presbyterian
      > denomination/church to choose comes down to
      > the "Establishmentarianism" principle and the perpetual
      obligation of
      > the National Covenant and the SLC. If the binding element of
      > covenants can be proved to be in error for me as a US Citizen
      then I
      > would want to avoid the RPNA or any other church or denom which
      > unneccessarily binds my conscience with that which is no longer
      > binding. OTOH, if I come to embrace the National and SLC as
      > on me as a US Citizen and my posterity and that it should be a
      > of Communion, then I have no choice but to become a member of the
      > RPNA or another group which upholds these Covenants as Terms of
      > Communion.
      > >
      > > It's as simple as that.
      > >
      > > Wayne Whitmer
      > > http://waynewhitmer.blogspot.com
      > > Pittsburgh, PA
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