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Seeking Guidelines for Elders

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  • Kevin
    I m a Lutheran pastor seeking information on guidelines for ruling elders. In the Lutheran church we don t have elders as such, but a Church Council
    Message 1 of 13 , Dec 3, 2004
      I'm a Lutheran pastor seeking information on guidelines for ruling
      elders. In the Lutheran church we don't have elders as such, but a
      "Church Council" instead. Howevever, since my council seems to be
      rather confused (and often apathetic) regarding their roles, I took it
      upon myself to draw up some specific guidelines regarding their ministries.
      Does anyone have guidelines for the ruling elders of their church
      that could be emailed to me? I can also accept attachments. I simply
      need some basics to begin adapting things to our own particular needs.
      Thanks ahead of time.

      In Christ,
      Kevin Guillory
      Baltimore, MD
    • Shawn Anderson
      ... Does anyone have guidelines for the ruling elders of their church that could be emailed to me? I can also accept attach- ments. I simply need some basics
      Message 2 of 13 , Dec 3, 2004
        --- Kevin wrote:
        "Does anyone have guidelines for the ruling elders of their
        church that could be emailed to me? I can also accept attach-
        ments. I simply need some basics to begin adapting things to
        our own particular needs. Thanks ahead of time."

        I hope these links will help. There is a lot here, but you can look
        through the contents and titles to see what will help specifically.

        -Shawn Anderson
        Albany, NY

        An Assertion of the Government of the Church of Scotland.
        By George Gillespie
        http://truecovenanter.com/gillespie/gillespie_assertion_govt_kirk_sco
        tland.html

        A Treatise of Ruling Elders and Deacons.
        By James Guthrie
        http://truecovenanter.com/guthrie/guthrie_james_treatise_elders_and_d
        eacons.html

        The Form and Order of the Admission of Elders,
        as done by Mr. James Renwick
        http://truecovenanter.com/renwick/renwick_elders.html

        The Duties of Ruling Elders and the People over whom they are
        Appointed Overseers.
        By Thomas Boston
        http://truecovenanter.com/sermons/bostoncommand5.html#RulingElders

        The Form of Presbyterial Church-Government.
        By the Westminster Assembly
        http://www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_sub_standards/form_presby_gov.h
        tml

        -- General Articles --
        Articles on Church Government at www.TrueCovenanter.org
        http://truecovenanter.com/kirkgovt/index.htm

        Articles on Church Government at www.SWRB.com
        http://www.swrb.com/newslett/freebook/chugov.htm

        Articles on Church Government at www.Covenanter.org
        http://www.covenanter.org/ChurchGovt/churchgovt.htm
      • Jasper
        Whit, Thank you for your kind reply. Your explanation is helpful to me in understanding. The question is: which of the Presbyterian denominations is indeed
        Message 3 of 13 , Dec 6, 2004
          Whit,
           
          Thank you for your kind reply.  Your explanation is helpful to me in understanding.
           
          "The question is:  which of the Presbyterian denominations is indeed a faithful church relative to the (covenanted) Church of Scotland in the 1600's?" 
          Interesting perspective and emphasis.  Do I understand correctly that covenantors believe the covenanted Church of Scotland sometime during the 1600's was THE MOST FAITHFUL church ever?
           
          Again, a sincere thank you.
           
          Jasper

          covie1646 <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

          "Continuing" says that although a denomination is founded or
          constituted in modern times (1970's in the PCA's case), the church
          claims its lineage back to a "root" church in history and also claims
          that it is just as faithful to Christ as the root.  In the context of
          the various denominations that profess to be Presbyterian, the
          denominations would claim that their church "continues" back to the
          Church of Scotland (the Covenanted church, NOT the Resolutioner
          church) and is just as faithful to Christ as the (covenanted) Church
          of Scotland.  "Continuing" does not say that the particular
          denomination existed all the way back to the root regarding
          constitution.  The EPC, OPC, RPCNA, RPNA, PCUSA, CRC, PRC, FPC, and
          other professedly Presbyterian denominations, although constituted in
          the 1800's or later, would claim to be "continuing" to show they are
          just as faithful now as the Church of Scotland in the 1600's and hold
          to the same distinctives and doctrine.  The PCA says: "The concept of
          the "continuing church" dates back to the Scottish Presbyterian
          churches of the 17th century and reflects the effort to maintain a
          faithful, Bible-believing Church, true to the Lordship of Christ."

          The question is:  which of the Presbyterian denominations is indeed a
          faithful church relative to the (covenanted) Church of Scotland in
          the 1600's?  Their claims are mere claims unless the denominations
          doctrine, life, and theology in fact demonstrates the same degree of
          faithfulness as the Kirk in the 1600's.  One would only have to do a
          comparison of each Presbyterian denomination with the Kirk.  In my
          study of the Covenanted Kirk and the 2nd Reformation and the claims
          of the present-day aforementioned Presbyterian denominations, the
          only Presbyterian church that I have concluded to be
          truly "continuing" is the RPNA, which is undoubtedly just as faithful
          to Christ as the Covenanted Kirk.  Sadly, the other denominations
          (PCA, OPC, RPCNA, PRC, FPC, CRC, &c.) have not remained faithful to
          Christ as the Covenanted Kirk.  

          Whit

          --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Jasper
          <jasperh98@y...> wrote:
          > Hello All,

          > Would someone please provide an overview of what it means for a
          church or denomination to be "continuing"?   With not having a
          presbyterian background, I am unfamiliar with the significance of
          the "continuing" designation and what it means or does not mean. 
          Thanks.

          > Jasper
          >
          > __________________________________________________
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        • Whit
          Jasper, I ll leave the question to be answered by a full Covenanter. However, I do know that Covenanters view the covenanted Kirk to have made the highest
          Message 4 of 13 , Dec 6, 2004
            Jasper,

            I'll leave the question to be answered by a full Covenanter.
            However, I do know that Covenanters view the covenanted Kirk to have
            made the highest attainments in the Reformation.

            Whit

            --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Jasper
            <jasperh98@y...> wrote:
            > Whit,
            >
            > Thank you for your kind reply. Your explanation is helpful to me
            in understanding.
            >
            > "The question is: which of the Presbyterian denominations is
            indeed a faithful church relative to the (covenanted) Church of
            Scotland in the 1600's?"
            >
            > Interesting perspective and emphasis. Do I understand correctly
            that covenantors believe the covenanted Church of Scotland sometime
            during the 1600's was THE MOST FAITHFUL church ever?
            >
            > Again, a sincere thank you.
            >
            > Jasper
            >
            > covie1646 <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
            >
            > "Continuing" says that although a denomination is founded or
            > constituted in modern times (1970's in the PCA's case), the church
            > claims its lineage back to a "root" church in history and also
            claims
            > that it is just as faithful to Christ as the root. In the context
            of
            > the various denominations that profess to be Presbyterian, the
            > denominations would claim that their church "continues" back to the
            > Church of Scotland (the Covenanted church, NOT the Resolutioner
            > church) and is just as faithful to Christ as the (covenanted)
            Church
            > of Scotland. "Continuing" does not say that the particular
            > denomination existed all the way back to the root regarding
            > constitution. The EPC, OPC, RPCNA, RPNA, PCUSA, CRC, PRC, FPC, and
            > other professedly Presbyterian denominations, although constituted
            in
            > the 1800's or later, would claim to be "continuing" to show they
            are
            > just as faithful now as the Church of Scotland in the 1600's and
            hold
            > to the same distinctives and doctrine. The PCA says: "The concept
            of
            > the "continuing church" dates back to the Scottish Presbyterian
            > churches of the 17th century and reflects the effort to maintain a
            > faithful, Bible-believing Church, true to the Lordship of Christ."
            >
            > The question is: which of the Presbyterian denominations is indeed
            a
            > faithful church relative to the (covenanted) Church of Scotland in
            > the 1600's? Their claims are mere claims unless the denominations
            > doctrine, life, and theology in fact demonstrates the same degree
            of
            > faithfulness as the Kirk in the 1600's. One would only have to do
            a
            > comparison of each Presbyterian denomination with the Kirk. In my
            > study of the Covenanted Kirk and the 2nd Reformation and the claims
            > of the present-day aforementioned Presbyterian denominations, the
            > only Presbyterian church that I have concluded to be
            > truly "continuing" is the RPNA, which is undoubtedly just as
            faithful
            > to Christ as the Covenanted Kirk. Sadly, the other denominations
            > (PCA, OPC, RPCNA, PRC, FPC, CRC, &c.) have not remained faithful to
            > Christ as the Covenanted Kirk.
            >
            > Whit
            >
            > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Jasper
            > <jasperh98@y...> wrote:
            > > Hello All,
            > >
            > > Would someone please provide an overview of what it means for a
            > church or denomination to be "continuing"? With not having a
            > presbyterian background, I am unfamiliar with the significance of
            > the "continuing" designation and what it means or does not mean.
            > Thanks.
            > >
            > > Jasper
            > >
            > > __________________________________________________
            > > Do You Yahoo!?
            > > Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
            > > http://mail.yahoo.com
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            >
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          • gmw
            And I think that s a better way of putting it than the most faithful church ever. gmw.
            Message 5 of 13 , Dec 6, 2004
              And I think that's a better way of putting it than "the most faithful
              church ever."

              gmw.

              Whit wrote:

              >
              > Jasper,
              >
              > I'll leave the question to be answered by a full Covenanter.
              > However, I do know that Covenanters view the covenanted Kirk to have
              > made the highest attainments in the Reformation.
              >
              > Whit
              >
              > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Jasper
              > <jasperh98@y...> wrote:
              > > Whit,
              > >
              > > Thank you for your kind reply. Your explanation is helpful to me
              > in understanding.
              > >
              > > "The question is: which of the Presbyterian denominations is
              > indeed a faithful church relative to the (covenanted) Church of
              > Scotland in the 1600's?"
              > >
              > > Interesting perspective and emphasis. Do I understand correctly
              > that covenantors believe the covenanted Church of Scotland sometime
              > during the 1600's was THE MOST FAITHFUL church ever?
              > >
              > > Again, a sincere thank you.
              > >
              > > Jasper
              > >
              > > covie1646 <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
              > >
              > > "Continuing" says that although a denomination is founded or
              > > constituted in modern times (1970's in the PCA's case), the church
              > > claims its lineage back to a "root" church in history and also
              > claims
              > > that it is just as faithful to Christ as the root. In the context
              > of
              > > the various denominations that profess to be Presbyterian, the
              > > denominations would claim that their church "continues" back to the
              > > Church of Scotland (the Covenanted church, NOT the Resolutioner
              > > church) and is just as faithful to Christ as the (covenanted)
              > Church
              > > of Scotland. "Continuing" does not say that the particular
              > > denomination existed all the way back to the root regarding
              > > constitution. The EPC, OPC, RPCNA, RPNA, PCUSA, CRC, PRC, FPC, and
              > > other professedly Presbyterian denominations, although constituted
              > in
              > > the 1800's or later, would claim to be "continuing" to show they
              > are
              > > just as faithful now as the Church of Scotland in the 1600's and
              > hold
              > > to the same distinctives and doctrine. The PCA says: "The concept
              > of
              > > the "continuing church" dates back to the Scottish Presbyterian
              > > churches of the 17th century and reflects the effort to maintain a
              > > faithful, Bible-believing Church, true to the Lordship of Christ."
              > >
              > > The question is: which of the Presbyterian denominations is indeed
              > a
              > > faithful church relative to the (covenanted) Church of Scotland in
              > > the 1600's? Their claims are mere claims unless the denominations
              > > doctrine, life, and theology in fact demonstrates the same degree
              > of
              > > faithfulness as the Kirk in the 1600's. One would only have to do
              > a
              > > comparison of each Presbyterian denomination with the Kirk. In my
              > > study of the Covenanted Kirk and the 2nd Reformation and the claims
              > > of the present-day aforementioned Presbyterian denominations, the
              > > only Presbyterian church that I have concluded to be
              > > truly "continuing" is the RPNA, which is undoubtedly just as
              > faithful
              > > to Christ as the Covenanted Kirk. Sadly, the other denominations
              > > (PCA, OPC, RPCNA, PRC, FPC, CRC, &c.) have not remained faithful to
              > > Christ as the Covenanted Kirk.
              > >
              > > Whit
              > >
              > > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Jasper
              > > <jasperh98@y...> wrote:
              > > > Hello All,
              > > >
              > > > Would someone please provide an overview of what it means for a
              > > church or denomination to be "continuing"? With not having a
              > > presbyterian background, I am unfamiliar with the significance of
              > > the "continuing" designation and what it means or does not mean.
              > > Thanks.
              > > >
              > > > Jasper
              > > >
              > > > __________________________________________________
              > > > Do You Yahoo!?
              > > > Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
              > > > http://mail.yahoo.com
              > >
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              > >
              > > Yahoo! Groups SponsorADVERTISEMENT
              > >
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              > >
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              > >
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            • Jasper
              Thank you to both Whit and GMW, and for the better wording, the highest attainments in the Reformation . How is the (covenanted) Church of Scotland in the
              Message 6 of 13 , Dec 7, 2004
                Thank you to both Whit and GMW, and for the better wording, "the highest attainments in the Reformation".
                 
                How is the "(covenanted) Church of Scotland in the 1600's" viewed in regard to the first century church  -  was one more faithful than the other?   Or is the "highest attainment" designation viewed only in regard to "the Reformation" and not in regard to faithfulness to God?
                 
                I should add that these are honest questions on my part and are not meant to be troublesome.
                 
                Jasper

                gmw <raging.calvinist@...> wrote:

                And I think that's a better way of putting it than "the most faithful
                church ever."

                gmw.

                Whit wrote:

                >
                > Jasper,
                >
                > I'll leave the question to be answered by a full Covenanter.
                > However, I do know that Covenanters view the covenanted Kirk to have
                > made the highest attainments in the Reformation.
                >
                > Whit
                >
                > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Jasper
                > wrote:
                > > Whit,
                > >
                > > Thank you for your kind reply. Your explanation is helpful to me
                > in understanding.
                > >
                > > "The question is: which of the Presbyterian denominations is
                > indeed a faithful church relative to the (covenanted) Church of
                > Scotland in the 1600's?"
                > >
                > > Interesting perspective and emphasis. Do I understand correctly
                > that covenantors believe the covenanted Church of Scotland sometime
                > during the 1600's was THE MOST FAITHFUL church ever?
                > >
                > > Again, a sincere thank you.
                > >
                > > Jasper
                > >
                > > covie1646 wrote:
                > >
                > > "Continuing" says that although a denomination is founded or
                > > constituted in modern times (1970's in the PCA's case), the church
                > > claims its lineage back to a "root" church in history and also
                > claims
                > > that it is just as faithful to Christ as the root. In the context
                > of
                > > the various denominations that profess to be Presbyterian, the
                > > denominations would claim that their church "continues" back to the
                > > Church of Scotland (the Covenanted church, NOT the Resolutioner
                > > church) and is just as faithful to Christ as the (covenanted)
                > Church
                > > of Scotland. "Continuing" does not say that the particular
                > > denomination existed all the way back to the root regarding
                > > constitution. The EPC, OPC, RPCNA, RPNA, PCUSA, CRC, PRC, FPC, and
                > > other professedly Presbyterian denominations, although constituted
                > in
                > > the 1800's or later, would claim to be "continuing" to show they
                > are
                > > just as faithful now as the Church of Scotland in the 1600's and
                > hold
                > > to the same distinctives and doctrine. The PCA says: "The concept
                > of
                > > the "continuing church" dates back to the Scottish Presbyterian
                > > churches of the 17th century and reflects the effort to maintain a
                > > faithful, Bible-believing Church, true to the Lordship of Christ."
                > >
                > > The question is: which of the Presbyterian denominations is indeed
                > a
                > > faithful church relative to the (covenanted) Church of Scotland in
                > > the 1600's? Their claims are mere claims unless the denominations
                > > doctrine, life, and theology in fact demonstrates the same degree
                > of
                > > faithfulness as the Kirk in the 1600's. One would only have to do
                > a
                > > comparison of each Presbyterian denomination with the Kirk. In my
                > > study of the Covenanted Kirk and the 2nd Reformation and the claims
                > > of the present-day aforementioned Presbyterian denominations, the
                > > only Presbyterian church that I have concluded to be
                > > truly "continuing" is the RPNA, which is undoubtedly just as
                > faithful
                > > to Christ as the Covenanted Kirk. Sadly, the other denominations
                > > (PCA, OPC, RPCNA, PRC, FPC, CRC, &c.) have not remained faithful to
                > > Christ as the Covenanted Kirk.
                > >
                > > Whit
                > >
                > > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Jasper
                > > wrote:
                > > > Hello All,
                > > >
                > > > Would someone please provide an overview of what it means for a
                > > church or denomination to be "continuing"? With not having a
                > > presbyterian background, I am unfamiliar with the significance of
                > > the "continuing" designation and what it means or does not mean.
                > > Thanks.
                > > >
                > > > Jasper
                > > >
                > > > __________________________________________________
                > > > Do You Yahoo!?
                > > > Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
                > > > http://mail.yahoo.com
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > Yahoo! Groups SponsorADVERTISEMENT
                > >
                > >
                > > ---------------------------------
                > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                > >
                > > To visit your group on the web, go to:
                > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/covenantedreformationclub/
                > >
                > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                > > covenantedreformationclub-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                > >
                > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
                > Service.
                > >
                > >
                > >
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                >
                >
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                >
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                >
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              • Whit
                Here s my 2-cent understanding of church history. Christ established the church in the NT dispensation, and the church had its greatest purity/faithfulness
                Message 7 of 13 , Dec 7, 2004
                  Here's my 2-cent understanding of church history. Christ established
                  the church in the NT dispensation, and the church had its greatest
                  purity/faithfulness then. Over the next 1400 years, error and heresy
                  especially Catholicism infiltrated the church, and the church
                  declined in purity and faithfulness. God raised Luther and Calvin
                  (and few others) in the First Reformation to start reforming the
                  Church back to its original purity and faithfulness. The Reformation
                  reached its height in the Second Reformation, and the Church (&
                  State) reached its highest level of purity and faithfulness since the
                  start of the Reformation. Relative to the 1st century church, the
                  Covenanted Kirk was at or close to the faithfulness of the 1st
                  century church. I am still learning about the Covenanters and how
                  their live compared to the 1st century church or most importantly, to
                  God's Word. I have yet to find a Covenanter teaching or doctrine
                  contrary to Scripture, the alone infallible rule of faith which is
                  the main gage of faithfulness.

                  Whit

                  --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Jasper
                  <jasperh98@y...> wrote:
                  > Thank you to both Whit and GMW, and for the better wording, "the
                  highest attainments in the Reformation".
                  >
                  > How is the "(covenanted) Church of Scotland in the 1600's" viewed
                  in regard to the first century church - was one more faithful than
                  the other? Or is the "highest attainment" designation viewed only
                  in regard to "the Reformation" and not in regard to faithfulness to
                  God?
                  >
                  > I should add that these are honest questions on my part and are not
                  meant to be troublesome.
                  >
                  > Jasper
                  >
                  > gmw <raging.calvinist@v...> wrote:
                  >
                  > And I think that's a better way of putting it than "the most
                  faithful
                  > church ever."
                  >
                  > gmw.
                  >
                  > Whit wrote:
                  >
                  > >
                  > > Jasper,
                  > >
                  > > I'll leave the question to be answered by a full Covenanter.
                  > > However, I do know that Covenanters view the covenanted Kirk to
                  have
                  > > made the highest attainments in the Reformation.
                  > >
                  > > Whit
                  > >
                  > > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Jasper
                  > > wrote:
                  > > > Whit,
                  > > >
                  > > > Thank you for your kind reply. Your explanation is helpful to me
                  > > in understanding.
                  > > >
                  > > > "The question is: which of the Presbyterian denominations is
                  > > indeed a faithful church relative to the (covenanted) Church of
                  > > Scotland in the 1600's?"
                  > > >
                  > > > Interesting perspective and emphasis. Do I understand correctly
                  > > that covenantors believe the covenanted Church of Scotland
                  sometime
                  > > during the 1600's was THE MOST FAITHFUL church ever?
                  > > >
                  > > > Again, a sincere thank you.
                  > > >
                  > > > Jasper
                  > > >
                  > > > covie1646 wrote:
                  > > >
                  > > > "Continuing" says that although a denomination is founded or
                  > > > constituted in modern times (1970's in the PCA's case), the
                  church
                  > > > claims its lineage back to a "root" church in history and also
                  > > claims
                  > > > that it is just as faithful to Christ as the root. In the
                  context
                  > > of
                  > > > the various denominations that profess to be Presbyterian, the
                  > > > denominations would claim that their church "continues" back to
                  the
                  > > > Church of Scotland (the Covenanted church, NOT the Resolutioner
                  > > > church) and is just as faithful to Christ as the (covenanted)
                  > > Church
                  > > > of Scotland. "Continuing" does not say that the particular
                  > > > denomination existed all the way back to the root regarding
                  > > > constitution. The EPC, OPC, RPCNA, RPNA, PCUSA, CRC, PRC, FPC,
                  and
                  > > > other professedly Presbyterian denominations, although
                  constituted
                  > > in
                  > > > the 1800's or later, would claim to be "continuing" to show they
                  > > are
                  > > > just as faithful now as the Church of Scotland in the 1600's and
                  > > hold
                  > > > to the same distinctives and doctrine. The PCA says: "The
                  concept
                  > > of
                  > > > the "continuing church" dates back to the Scottish Presbyterian
                  > > > churches of the 17th century and reflects the effort to
                  maintain a
                  > > > faithful, Bible-believing Church, true to the Lordship of
                  Christ."
                  > > >
                  > > > The question is: which of the Presbyterian denominations is
                  indeed
                  > > a
                  > > > faithful church relative to the (covenanted) Church of Scotland
                  in
                  > > > the 1600's? Their claims are mere claims unless the
                  denominations
                  > > > doctrine, life, and theology in fact demonstrates the same
                  degree
                  > > of
                  > > > faithfulness as the Kirk in the 1600's. One would only have to
                  do
                  > > a
                  > > > comparison of each Presbyterian denomination with the Kirk. In
                  my
                  > > > study of the Covenanted Kirk and the 2nd Reformation and the
                  claims
                  > > > of the present-day aforementioned Presbyterian denominations,
                  the
                  > > > only Presbyterian church that I have concluded to be
                  > > > truly "continuing" is the RPNA, which is undoubtedly just as
                  > > faithful
                  > > > to Christ as the Covenanted Kirk. Sadly, the other denominations
                  > > > (PCA, OPC, RPCNA, PRC, FPC, CRC, &c.) have not remained
                  faithful to
                  > > > Christ as the Covenanted Kirk.
                  > > >
                  > > > Whit
                  > > >
                  > > > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Jasper
                  > > > wrote:
                  > > > > Hello All,
                  > > > >
                  > > > > Would someone please provide an overview of what it means for
                  a
                  > > > church or denomination to be "continuing"? With not having a
                  > > > presbyterian background, I am unfamiliar with the significance
                  of
                  > > > the "continuing" designation and what it means or does not mean.
                  > > > Thanks.
                  > > > >
                  > > > > Jasper
                  > > > >
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                  > > >
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                  > > > covenantedreformationclub-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
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                • Shawn Anderson
                  How is the (covenanted) Church of Scotland in the 1600 s viewed in regard to the first century church - was one more faithful than the other? Or is the
                  Message 8 of 13 , Dec 8, 2004
                    "How is the "(covenanted) Church of Scotland in the 1600's" viewed
                    in regard to the first century church - was one more faithful than
                    the other? Or is the "highest attainment" designation viewed only
                    in regard to "the Reformation" and not in regard to faithfulness to
                    God?" - Jasper

                    Phil 3:16ff "Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us
                    walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing."

                    Eph 4:11-16 "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and
                    some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the
                    perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the
                    edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the
                    faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man,
                    unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we
                    [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried
                    about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and]
                    cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But
                    speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things,
                    which is the head, [even] Christ: From whom the whole body fitly
                    joined together and compacted by that which every joint
                    supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of
                    every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself
                    in love."

                    "Highest Attainments" might not be as helpful a term as "Faithful
                    Attainments". The "faithful attainment" designation is viewed in
                    regard to faithful obedience of the Church in response to the
                    progression of revelation of the Covenant of Grace. This does not
                    only consider a select time in the Churches' history, but includes
                    the whole life of the Church as ONE Bride, ONE Body or ONE Moral
                    Person, primarily in Her relationship to Christ, and secondarily with
                    those in that ONE Body.

                    The Reformers would not have considered themselves MORE faithful
                    than the Apostles, but rather maintaining the same faithfulness
                    found in the Apostolic Doctrine taught by the Apostles, and upheld
                    in the Church of Christ. As we see the progression of revelation
                    from infant Church, Israel to young Church and then having Gentiles
                    grafted into Her, we see her attainments progress, and grow. To
                    properly understand "progressive revelation" we must define this
                    not as a delivery of NEW doctrine, but rather an unveiling of the
                    Covenant of Grace, or a blossoming of such.

                    The Apostles only had a glimpse of "denominationalism" and really
                    in their day, you were in the Church of Christ, or you weren't. So
                    the unity they saw in their day was relative to the separation
                    manifested in their day. Though the Apostles envisioned a
                    Covenanted Reformation, they did not attain to such in their day.
                    The Reformers did, and so as God shed more light on the glorious
                    Kingdom of Christ advancing to the ends of the Earth, our
                    Reformation forefathers (especially those of the Covenanted
                    Scottish Church) understood a greater degree of unity. Considering
                    the separation and independency they witnessed, as well as that
                    Man of Sin being revealed in their age, all the more magnificent
                    was the Covenanted Unity and Uniformity of Religion.

                    Of course, the Church's Testimony (Rev 12:11) will continue to
                    expand as she continues to MARK those who have followed after the
                    Apostolic "tradition" (Phil 3:17 – the faithful testimony) and those
                    who cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which
                    she has learned (Rom 16:17 – the unfaithful testimony) until she
                    become mature or perfect. So the attainments are to help the
                    Christians know who they should avoid, and who they should be in
                    communion with. So Attainments can also be called Terms of
                    Communion. And since it is maturity that is our full attainment,
                    which shall be reached, as Paul says, when Christ "shall change our
                    vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body,
                    according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all
                    things unto himself," (Phil 3:21) then we shall see a continual
                    progression of clarity and precision in our Terms of Communion
                    according to this "attainment principle".

                    I guess the more appropriate question as to our contemporary
                    context is…

                    How is the Covenanted Church of Scotland's Terms of Communion
                    viewed in regard to:

                    1) Other Church's Terms of Communion? (in relation to the
                    opportunity to be united in Truth)

                    2) The Terms of Communion of those Churches that claim to be the
                    posterity of that Covenanted Church of Scotland? (in relation to
                    who is really maintaining the ancient landmarks)

                    There are other things to consider, and I do not pretend to have
                    even formulated the right questions, let alone having answers. It
                    would not be edifying to bring them up unless some of these other
                    issues have been dealt with first.

                    I doubt that this will aid in the understanding of "faithful
                    attainments", because I am typing this off the top of my head, but
                    potentially this could be picked apart, and bring out further clarity
                    of our position? *smiles

                    May God help us in our endeavor to be united in His Truth,
                    -Shawn Anderson
                    Albany, NY
                  • thebishopsdoom
                    ... That was a good post, I would only add a word or two, also off the top of my head. We all regard creeds and other constitutional documents of the church to
                    Message 9 of 13 , Dec 9, 2004
                      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Shawn Anderson"
                      <christ_saves_sinners@y...> wrote:
                      >> I doubt that this will aid in the understanding of "faithful
                      > attainments", because I am typing this off the top of my head

                      That was a good post, I would only add a word or two, also off the
                      top of my head.
                      We all regard creeds and other constitutional documents of the church
                      to mark out the boundaries of the church - not necessarily the
                      boundaries of the invisible church, but they mark of what a
                      particular body of the church believe to be the correct
                      interpretation of Scriptural doctrine.
                      When we pass from the apostles's own days into the early subapostolic
                      age, we find that while supernatural revelation granted to the
                      inspired apostles was perfectly suited by God to apply to a variety
                      of situations, controversies, and issues that would come up through
                      the history of the church, many of these issues had not as yet in
                      fact come up. As a result, the church was left with a guide for the
                      further understanding of the truth in various areas that were not
                      immediately at the fore in the 1st century. The same may be said with
                      respect to the OT. I don't think we need understand that the 1st
                      century church knew and perfectly understood everything that we would
                      find in any one of the reformed creeds, and that their progeny simply
                      decided to ignore these truths and forge their own way. There were
                      issues that had not yet come up, ways of thinking about certain
                      things which were not yet considered, which the Scripture is adequate
                      to address - such as the relationship between the covenant of grace
                      and of redemption, which I don't think anyone in the 1st century
                      church was really asking, and so the church made no official
                      pronouncements therein, nor gave much consideration to exactly how
                      systematically to work such things together. So while the church was
                      founded perfectly upon the Holy Writ, we today have "Bible churches"
                      who say "no creed but the Bible" and find that amongst them there can
                      continue to exist a wide variety of opinion on how it is to be
                      interpreted. Though the 1st century church did have the apostles to
                      declare and explain to them, surely the apostles did not explain in
                      exhaustive detail every possible nuance of everything that was
                      written and how it would apply to every possible theological
                      question, including those that noone was yet asking in their day. It
                      would also be a mistake if one were to assume the 1st century
                      churches themselves always fully understood every word delivered by
                      the apostles. We find the varied conditions of the churches of
                      Asia in the Apocalypse, and we see in Corinth apparent evidence of
                      questions still floating about whether the dead were raised!
                      In fact, when we look into the 2nd and 3rd century patristic authors
                      that we have reasonable access to, we find that the extent of creed
                      that was passed onto them was overall quite minimal. You can find it
                      occasionally laid down in their writings, and it amounts to little
                      more than the apostles' creed. As a result, there were in fact
                      errours that early crept. Various, sometimes new questions led down a
                      certain paths in attempt as to how to explain it all, not all of
                      which, of course, we hold to be consistent with the Scriptures. Now
                      we may argue that the Scriptures have the answer, but they may not
                      have fully understood it. Further, some of the churches at least
                      early on probably did not have a full NT in their possession to draw
                      from in evaluating different explanations. And I have heard more than
                      once that by the 4th century, much had arisen in thought and
                      practice, but there had been little previous attempt to
                      systematically compare everything going on with Scripture and
                      philosophy to explain the church's beliefs and practice for some
                      time. By the 4th century, there was push more to justify everything
                      somehow, than try to prune things. After all, they thought, this is
                      what we have recieved. There were some necessary corrections, as when
                      Augustine got the Western church to collectively recognize the
                      doctrine of original sin in some more official manner, and while in
                      his defense he was able to show that hints of the doctrine were not
                      entirely unheard of in previous generations. There had to be some
                      understanding that some of the earlier fathers had in not fully
                      comprehending the matter erred in some of their thoughts and
                      statements when they seemed to deny the concept of original sin by
                      some of their statements.
                      Augustine of course had his detractors as well, being labelled an
                      innovator on the point. But even among his detractors, Vincent of
                      Lerins had to admit that there must be some legitimate sense in which
                      the church could progress at least in some manner to better
                      understand some matters than had been understood before, tho he
                      denied that there could be any alteration, only further progressive
                      understanding or the like. In the progression of history in fact some
                      things did get better, other things got worse. Furthermore, there
                      were a lot of issues to which even the default position taken into
                      and thru the medieval era were not themselves necessarily "official"
                      positions. Debates continued, sometimes at a national level, over the
                      relationship between church and state, the limits of ecclesiastical
                      power, predestination, and a number of other issues. Some other
                      issues we should like to have seen debated were taken for granted.
                      The few centuries prior to the reformation, things were quite bad.
                      The push for a reform in fact had gone on for some time. But Trent's
                      answer by and large was not the answer given by the protestants.
                      The protestant reformation may be seen as correcting a number of
                      errours which had crept into the church in eras when some
                      of these matters were not so well understood, as well as new errours
                      that developed either out of pure corruption or based upon the
                      unfolding of earlier erroneous pathways that had been followed. Now
                      of course, I don't want to in stating it that way belittle the
                      serious magnitude of what those errours in fact were, and how
                      necessary the reformation was. The protestant reformers also loosed
                      themselves from the bonds of the man of sin, as well as those
                      abusesthat may have benefitted the ecclesiastics in the hierarchy,
                      but were false means of profiting the souls of those seeking refuge
                      in those paths.
                      In dealing with various matters, the reformed churches were able to
                      give their own sense, both correcting errour and finetuning the
                      limits of what they held as a church to be the true understanding of
                      the Biblical religion.
                      They were able to draw from the Scriptures, as well as the study
                      therein of men gone by, as well as having the opportunity to see
                      where some previous mistaken answers had led, to the better see why
                      this or that answer that had been pressed before by this or that
                      party had been wrong. At times, they were able to draw from the
                      reasoning of others where they had also been correct. As an end
                      product, you will note that their creeds were more detailed than what
                      they called the "rule of faith" in the early patristic era. In this,
                      they attained to a greater precision and broader
                      scope of what they held forth to the world to be the teachings of the
                      Holy Scriptures. In addition, they were able to take the testimony of
                      the unfolding of history, and identify the man of sin, as well as
                      testify against various things, giving their official sense as a
                      church as to why it was wrong. As errours arose, and cmae to be
                      recognized by the church as such, there was a need to finetune the
                      creed and attain to a more detailed understanding and explanation of
                      what is the faith of the church.
                      Anyway, you can disagree with me, this is just a thought off the top
                      of my head anyway, for whatever it's worth.
                      -doom
                    • thebishopsdoom
                      ... I. The unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, ought to be the endeavour of all that are members of the one body of Christ, partakers of his one Spirit,
                      Message 10 of 13 , Dec 9, 2004
                        --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Shawn Anderson"
                        <christ_saves_sinners@y...> wrote:

                        > How is the Covenanted Church of Scotland's Terms of Communion
                        > viewed in regard to:
                        >
                        > 1) Other Church's Terms of Communion? (in relation to the
                        > opportunity to be united in Truth)
                        >
                        > 2) The Terms of Communion of those Churches that claim to be the
                        > posterity of that Covenanted Church of Scotland? (in relation to
                        > who is really maintaining the ancient landmarks)

                        "I. The unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, ought to be the
                        endeavour of all that are members of the one body of Christ,
                        partakers of his one Spirit, called in one hope, professing one Lord,
                        confessing one faith, sealed with one baptism, Eph. 4:3, etc. And for
                        brethren to dwell together in unity, is good and pleasant, and like
                        the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon Aaron's
                        beard, Psal. 133:1,2. A fragrant ointment indeed, if it be composed
                        aright of gospel simples, according to divine art, and the wisdom
                        that is from above, which is pure, and then peaceable: and not made
                        up of adulterate politics: that union that hath the spirit for its
                        author; the scripture for its rule, peace for its bond and beauty,
                        love for its cement, faith for its foment, Christ for its foundation,
                        and truth and holiness for its constant companions, cannot but be
                        intensely desired, enixly endeavoured, and fervently followed by all
                        the professors of the gospel of peace, and subjects of the prince of
                        peace: which makes division and schism not only a great misery, but a
                        grand sin. But it must be in the way of truth and duty, and
                        consistent with holiness and the honour of Christ, otherwise if it be
                        in the way of apostasy and defection, it is but a confederacy and
                        conspiracy against the Lord. And true union can neither be attained,
                        nor retained, nor recovered, except the sinful cause of division,
                        defection; and the holy overruling cause, the anger of the Lord be
                        removed in turning to and following him.
                        II. Though there be not perfect union, but diversity both of
                        judgments and practices, in several cases there may be communion with
                        a church in its ordinances and ministry. As,
                        1. We may have a catholic communion with all christian ministers and
                        members of the catholic church, considered as such; holding the head
                        Christ, and the fountain sure. And so we may meet for worship with
                        all devout men in every nation under heaven, whether they be
                        Parthians, or Medes, or Elamites, or French or Dutch, etc. though
                        differing in controversies of lesser moment, not overturning that; if
                        they hold the universal testimony of the gospel, against the common
                        enemies thereof, Jews, Turks, or Pagans: for there is neither Greek
                        nor Jew, if he be a christian, Christ is all and in all, Col. 3:11.
                        But if they be heretics, we can have no communion with them.
                        2. We may have a more special communion with all Protestant ministers
                        and members of the Reformed church, considered as such, more
                        strictly, and upon stricter conditions: providing they hold, not only
                        the universal of Christians, but the general testimony of
                        Protestants, against the greater and lesser Antichrists; though
                        differing from us in some circumstantial points, not Reformed, and
                        not contradictory unto the Protestant testimony against Popery, and
                        all heresy; nor declining from their own reformation, by defection or
                        schism. And consequently, it is lawful to own communion with the
                        churches of the United Provinces, and take ordination from them,
                        though they have some forms not allowable, from which they were never
                        Reformed, because they are sound in the Protestant testimony. But
                        with the Sectarians, or Schismatics, or Apostates among them, we
                        cannot own that special communion.
                        3. We may have a more particular communion upon yet stricter
                        conditions with all our Covenanted brethren, ministers and members of
                        the churches of Britain and Ireland, considered as such: providing
                        they hold, not only the universal; not only the more special,
                        Protestant testimony against the greater and lesser Antichrists, but
                        the Covenanted testimony for the reformation in doctrine, worship,
                        discipline, and government, against popery, Prelacy, superstition,
                        heresy, schism, and profaneness, according to the Covenant; though
                        differing from us in those controversial points, never Reformed, and
                        which were never the word of Christ's patience, and do not overturn
                        the covenanted testimony. But with those that contradict and
                        counteract that, we cannot own that particular communion.
                        4. We may have yet a nearer organical communion, upon stricter
                        conditions still with all the ministers and members of the national
                        church of Scotland constitute and confederate under one Reformed
                        government, according to the rule of Christ: providing they hold, not
                        only all the former testimonies under the foresaid considerations,
                        but the Presbyterian testimony as stated in the ecclesiastical
                        constitution, and sworn to in the national covenants and engagements
                        of that church, founded upon the word of God, against popery,
                        Prelacy, Erastianism, sectarianism, toleration, schism and defection;
                        though differing in some things from us, never Reformed, never
                        considered in ecclesiastical judicatories, never engaged against in
                        our covenants, never stated as the word of patience and matter of
                        testimony. But with these that oppose, suppress, reproach, and
                        abandon this testimony, we cannot own this organical communion, in
                        this broken state of the church. We may have yet a stricter
                        congregational communion, upon stricter conditions, and with the
                        ordinary or extraordinary meetings or societies of the Lord's people
                        for gospel ordinances, with any minister or ministers, duly and truly
                        admitted to that function according to Christ's appointment, and the
                        call of the people, whether in a fixed or unfixed relation; providing
                        he holds the testimony of Christ, under all the considerations, and
                        owns and adheres unto the true received principles of the church of
                        Scotland, in doctrine, worship, discipline and government, founded
                        upon the written word of God, and whatsoever declarations or
                        testimonies, former or latter, particular or more general, are
                        agreeable thereunto; though differing from us in some of the integral
                        and not essential parts of our testimony against the enemies of our
                        covenanted reformation. But with such as deny or decline from it, by
                        schism or defection, or compliance with the enemies thereof, we
                        cannot own this congregational communion, in this broken state of the
                        church."
                        -Alexander Shields (A Hind Let Loose. 1797 edition. pp 262ff.)
                      • thebishopsdoom
                        ... And just off the top of my head indeed. Sorry for all the poor grammar in that post. I trust it s at least somewhat readable. -thegrammariansdoom
                        Message 11 of 13 , Dec 9, 2004
                          --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, thebishopsdoom
                          <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                          > just a thought off the top
                          > of my head anyway, for whatever it's worth.
                          And just off the top of my head indeed. Sorry for all the poor
                          grammar in that post. I trust it's at least somewhat readable.
                          -thegrammariansdoom
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