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[Covenanted Reformation] Re: Continuing

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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 1 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
      > >
      > > __________________________________________________
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    • gmw
      And I think that s a better way of putting it than the most faithful church ever. gmw.
      Message 2 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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        > >
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        > > covenantedreformationclub-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
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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 3 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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        • 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 4 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
            > > > >
            > > > > __________________________________________________
            > > > > 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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            > > >
            > > >
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            > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
            > > >
            > > > To visit your group on the web, go to:
            > > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/covenantedreformationclub/
            > > >
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            > > > covenantedreformationclub-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
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            > > >
            > > >
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            > >
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            > >
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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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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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