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Re: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: The Covenanted Reformation: historicalfacts.

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  • Matthew Winzer
    ... Yes. There is no doubt, if one reads the writings of the evangelical CofS ministers, that they held themselves bound by both covenants, because it was
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 17, 2005
      >>>For example, can we agree that the Presbyterian Church of
      Scotland was, and is, bound to keep the Solemn League and Covenant?<<<
       
      Yes.  There is no doubt, if one reads the writings of the evangelical CofS ministers, that they held themselves bound by both covenants, because it was ultra vires to abrogate them.  And please, let us get this fact straight: the Revolution Church never abrogated the covenants.
       
      >>>That the substance of that Covenant was and is Biblical and
      morally right?<<<
       
      Yes, as long as I am permitted to understand the SL&C's statement about friends and enemies in its historical context, which afforded neutrality to non-convinced parties, and in some cases parties were permitted to subscribe with reservations (e.g., William Guild made three qualifications to the National Covenant, and numerous of the English were permitted to subscribe the SL&C though they differed in opinion on church government).
       
      >>>That ALL Presbyterians should be able to read that Covenant and
      say "Yes, this is good, and what a blessing that God moved His people to take this Covenant"?<<<
       
      Yes.
       
      >>>Can we agree that there are just grounds of ecclesiastical
      separation beyond declaring the other party "a false church" and "not a church at all"?<<<
       
      Yes, that is the traditional Presbyterian position.  But I do not see how that can be the position of "Covenanted Reformation Defended," which teaches that deviation from one truly constituted church entails a falsely constituted church.
       
      1.
      >>>I humbly say that I do not see the case as being the
      same.  To remain
      in an established National Church, despite of her defects, testifying
      against such defects, until she proves herself obstinate and
      unrecoverable by ordinary means, is laudable, and I don't know of any
      Covenanter that would say otherwise.  But to decline joining a new
      Church, established on a different constitution than the Church that
      previously existed, a constitution that makes defection her law, is
      another matter, in my opinion.<<<
       
      (1.) It was not a new church because it confessed the Westminster Confession of Faith.  It is confession of the true faith that is the *essential* mark of the church.  Now it must be admitted, surely, that the Westminster Confession was an advance on the 1560 Scots Confession.  Hence the faith confessed in 1690 must be acknowledge as being more explicit than that which was confessed prior to 1638.  Moreover the CofS after 1647 adopted the Westminster Confession as the confession of the nation, but no minister was required personally to subscribe it.  The post-Revolution church subsequently bound their ministers tighter to the Westminster Confession than the General Assembly of 1647, because it required subscription to the confession as the confession of the minister's faith.  It should be pointed out that when the Reformed Presbytery was finally established in Scotland it followed the Revolution church in this piece of reformation, not the church of 1647.  (How is that for a piece of historical irony!)
       
      (2.) It was not established on a different constitution because it was established on the same charter of Presbyterianism that the pre-1638 CofS acknowledged.
       
      (3.) Defection was not her law, but reformation was.  Defection was the law of the CofS under prelacy in the killing times.  The Revolution Settlement *improved* conditions.  Moreover, the door was left open for continued examination of the church's policy.  If one were to read Shields on Church Communion they would discover that this was a fact which encouraged the three society ministers to join the CofS.
       
      Moreover, in this little discussion, it would be well if it were kept in mind that the society people were not a constituted church.  The Revolution church was the only constituted church in Scotland at the time.
       
      Regarding the illustration: it is not an equal scenario.  A better scenario would be the abrogation of the constitution by a former govt., and then a reinstatement of the "essentials" of the constitution by the subsequent govt., with the understanding of looking into other matters as time went on.  It would be helpful if it were understood that the Revolution church did not abrogate anything.
       
      2. I had written: "But Philip Nye was minister of an Independent church."
       
      gmw response: "Sinfully so, right?  Can we agree on that?"
      The point is, that the Independents were not first required to abjure Congregational principles in order to sign the SL&C.
       
      Regarding English non-subscription to the National Covenant:
       
      >>>I'm not sure the relevance of this point myself, even if I were
      to
      grant it.  (I simply am not sure either way).  I am not an English
      Independent, though.  I don't want to be an English Independent.  I'm
      a Presbyterian, and that's what I want to be, and like most, if not
      all, of the Presbyterians in this country in which I live, I find my
      spiritual ancestory in old Scotland, where they did swear the National
      Covenant.<<<
       
      The relevance is, the National Covenant of Scotland was and is *National*.  The English were not required to subscribe it, and no Englishman ever did.  Yet the Scottish gladly communed with the English and received them into their pulpits (Independents and Presbyterians alike).
       
      *Spiritual* ancestry in a geographical locality?  Spiritual ancestry is to be found in principles, not physical features.  The English Presbyterians are as equally our ancestors as the Scottish.
       
      Concerning the Rutherford quote, "We see not how we are to separate from the reformed Churches," you cite the Informatory Vindication.  The Informatory Vindication was aimed against the prelatic disruption of the church.  Again, the Revoluton was a reformation of this.
       
      3.
      >>>Again, this is just my opinion.  But I think that other
      nations not
      bound by the previously made bonds ought to swear a new bond, of which
      the Solemn League and Covenant is a wonderful example.<<<
       
      A good opinion, in my opinion.  Hold fast to it!
       
      4. Concerning Rutherford quotes on church covenants not being terms of communion:
       
      >>>Are you speaking of his refutation of the Independents in New
      England
      making their own individual church covenants, and their saying that
      such a covenant is necessary to becoming a member of the visable
      Church?  If so, I agree with him.  His defense of National Covenants
      follows, does it not?<<<
       
      Yes, that is what I am speaking about.  Just as a congregation might independently separate from a Presbyterian body and establish the National and Solemn League and Covenants as necessary terms of communion, thereby excluding the said Presbyterian body from communion.  Rutherford's refutation of such a course of action is unanswerable.
       
      His defence of National Confessions follows.  At no point in this subsequent defence, however, does he make it a term of communion.  And nowhere in the whole book does he suggest that his "reverend brethren" of New England are establishing unconstituted churches because they had failed to subscribe to the SL&C, which had been subscribed by the three kingdoms the previous year.
       
      Yours sincerely,
      Matthew Winzer
    • gmw
      Greetings, Mr. Winzer. I m glad to see we can agree on so many things. As one who laments the fragmented state of the Reformed and Presbyterian churches, and
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 17, 2005
        Greetings, Mr. Winzer. I'm glad to see we can agree on so many things.
        As one who laments the fragmented state of the Reformed and Presbyterian
        churches, and who is also prone to sadness and even confusion as I hear
        the thousands of voices calling for me from all different directions, I
        long greatly for the day when the Lord's name is one, and Christians are
        united in the truth, confessing the same thing. I hate division, I
        honestly truly do. I cry over it (is that too effeminate?). It is good
        that we agree on some things. Tonight my heart is heavy again over the
        differences between Presbyterians (even between various parties which
        call ourselves Covenanters). So I'm choosing not to engage those issues
        wherein we disagree right now. There used to be a bit more fight in me,
        but I lost much of it somewhere along the way, I suppose. Right now I'm
        going to go to bed thinking about those things wherein we agree:

        ***The Presbyterian Church of Scotland was, and is, bound to keep the
        Solemn League and Covenant.

        ***The substance of that Covenant was and is Biblical and morally right.

        ***ALL Presbyterians should be able to read that Covenant and say "Yes,
        this is good, and what a blessing that God moved His people to take this
        Covenant"

        ***There are just grounds of ecclesiastical separation beyond declaring
        the other party "a false church" and "not a church at all"

        Maybe, just maybe, it's agreements like these that might be the
        occassion of further unity. Or maybe I'm just dreaming again.

        Just another quick point, though -- I've never even read Covenanted
        Reformation Defended in it's entirety, and therefore my views of
        separation and constitution are not influenced or guided by it (though
        perhaps by other works quoted therein). It's not a knock, I just never
        read the whole thing.

        Good night. And may God speed the THIRD REFORMATION.

        gmw.
      • trygvesson@aol.com
        In a message dated 7/18/2005 12:24:20 AM Eastern Standard Time, raging.calvinist@verizon.net writes: ***The Presbyterian Church of Scotland was, and is, bound
        Message 3 of 5 , Jul 18, 2005
          In a message dated 7/18/2005 12:24:20 AM Eastern Standard Time, raging.calvinist@... writes:
          "***The Presbyterian Church of Scotland was, and is, bound to keep the Solemn League and Covenant.

          ***The substance of that Covenant was and is Biblical and morally right.

          ***ALL Presbyterians should be able to read that Covenant and say "Yes, this is good, and what a blessing that God moved His people to take this Covenant"

          ***There are just grounds of ecclesiastical separation beyond declaring the other party "a false church" and "not a church at all"

          Maybe, just maybe, it's agreements like these that might be the occassion of further unity.  Or maybe I'm just dreaming again."
          GMW,
           
          I do not think you are dreaming. Along with Matthew, I also affirm all the above. I desire the day when folk in our land covenant in a SL&C for our nation.
           
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          Christopher Coombes
          Lynchburg Reformed Presbyterian Fellowship,
          Lynchburg, VA
          Member, Triangle RPC
          RPCNA


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        • Larry Bump
          ... From: ... the ... As do I, as do I. Or, in AOL terms: Me too! Larry -- Internal Virus Database is out-of-date. Checked by AVG
          Message 4 of 5 , Jul 18, 2005
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: <trygvesson@...>
            > I do not think you are dreaming. Along with Matthew, I also affirm all
            the
            > above. I desire the day when folk in our land covenant in a SL&C for our
            > nation.

            As do I, as do I.
            Or, in AOL terms:
            "Me too!"

            Larry



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            Internal Virus Database is out-of-date.
            Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
            Version: 7.0.308 / Virus Database: 267.8.8 - Release Date: 6/30/2005
          • Matthew Winzer
            ... political dissent a term of communion, I don t know.
            Message 5 of 5 , Jul 26, 2005
              >>>Why every Presbyterian Church in
              Australia is not declaring
              political dissent a term of communion, I don't know.<<<
               
              Because political dissent is not made a term of communion in the NT Scriptures.  There we find the apostle Paul claiming Roman citizenship and utilising his rights as such.  Consult also the Directory for Public Worship, where the king's majesty is to be prayed for.  There also we read, quite applicably, of praying for the Queen's conversion and the Prince's religious education.
               
              Yours sincerely,
              Matthew Winzer
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