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Re: [Covenanted Reformation] Settled vs. Broken State.

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  • Matthew Winzer
    In one breath, a broken state of the church is described as being without a GA and disestablished. In another breath, it is described as being in a state of
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 4, 2005
      In one breath, a broken state of the church is described as being without a GA and disestablished.  In another breath, it is described as being in a state of apostasy.
      The first description is true of every church on earth today; but it cannot vindicate separation.  The apostolic church was disestablished AND unity was demanded nonetheless.  The second description of a broken state of the church must depend on what one regards as the "notes" of the true church.  But according to Rutherford, the only note required to constitute a true church is sound doctrine.  That is why he was ordained in the Church of Scotland even when it ceased to require subscription to the national covenant, and was suffering under episcopacy and ceremonies.  Thus, appealing to him against Boston is futile.
      As for Boston, he held to the binding obligation of the covenants upon the Church of Scotland.  That is the reason why he did NOT separate from her, and why he sought to extirpate schism from her midst.
      Yours sincerely,
      Matthew Winzer
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Monday, July 04, 2005 6:00 PM
      Subject: [Covenanted Reformation] Settled vs. Broken State.

      "The Reformers knew their Bibles and had, to a great extent,
      systematically integrated the teaching of Scripture into a /cohesive
      system/. Those unfamiliar with the foundations of this system will
      confuse, misapply and outright oppose parts of the Reformed system of
      doctrine even when citing quotations from the very Reformers they think
      they are upholding. The writings of Richard Bacon refuted in this book
      furnishes us with a perfect example of what happens when one reads a
      sampling of some of the /best/ Reformed books and does not understand
      what he is reading, confuses the context and teaching, and turns the
      Reformers on their heads to justify the weak, insipid, "Reformed"
      Christianity of our day. A prime example of this is found on pages 95-96
      and is an indictment against the previously published unfaithfulness of
      Richard Bacon, and "his atrocious little work" (as Larry Birger
      denominates it) /The Visible Church and Outer Darkness/. In regard to
      the Covenanters doctrine of the visible church Greg Barrow writes,

          *To properly understand the Reformers' doctrine of dissociation and
          separation we must distinguish between the "settled" and "broken"
          state of the church.*

          To properly understand the Covenanter position regarding
          dissociation and separation from pretended authorities, *the reader
          must become familiar with another important distinction, viz., the
          settled vs. the broken state of the church. *The nation of Scotland
          (1638­1649) possessed both a truly constituted General Assembly, and
          the civil establishment of the true Reformed religion, thereby
          enabling the church to enjoy the blessed privilege of being
          "settled" in the land. Our case in 1997 is vastly different. We have
          no National Presbyterian General Assembly, nor do we possess the
          civil establishment of the one true Reformed religion. Among the
          Reformers, such a disorganized state of affairs was referred to as
          the "broken state" of the church. *One of the most serious errors of
          Mr. Bacon (and those like him), and one of the main reasons he so
          frequently misunderstands the Reformers' doctrine of dissociation
          and separation is his failure to grasp this important distinction*.
          Mr. Bacon is fond of quoting men like Samuel Rutherford, James
          Durham, and George Gillespie, who wrote extensively regarding true
          principles of separation. What he fails to take into account is that
          they were applying their principles to a time when the church was
          nationally established and bound by faithful reformed covenants.
          Those who fail to make this distinction are constantly taking the
          scriptural principles of separation pertaining to a national church
          (settled) and applying these principles to the church in her
          "broken" and "unsettled" state. The results are disastrous: books
          are written like Mr. Bacon's, /The Visible Church in the Outer
          Darkness/ (a book filled with both Popish error and Independent
          confusion). In his public misrepresentation of Kevin Reed, Mr. Bacon
          practically ignored the necessary distinctions of the Reformers
          (being vs. well­being, settled vs. broken state), and consequently
          led his readers to believe something far different than the doctrine
          they actually taught. Through his false teaching, sincere children
          of God are led to believe that separation from a Christian church,
          even in a time of great apostasy (broken state), should be
          exceedingly rare. Citing men (like John MacPherson, James Wood, and
          Thomas Boston) who did not stand upon the biblical principles of
          covenanted Protesters (like Samuel Rutherford, George and Patrick
          Gillespie, James Guthrie, Robert McWard, John Brown of Wamphray,
          Richard Cameron, Donald Cargill and James Renwick), Mr. Bacon has
          confused his readers into confounding the faithful teaching of the
          Second Reformation with the dissimulation of those who were
          attempting to justify their backsliding and compromise. He must be
          called to account for his error (see Appendix G).


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