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Re: [Covenanted Reformation] Upholding the Obligations of the SLC (for email...

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  • trygvesson@aol.com
    Shawn, Greetings! My replies at CSC below: In a message dated 12/6/2005 12:22:55 AM Eastern Standard Time, christ_saves_sinners@yahoo.com writes: If you don t
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 5, 2005
      Greetings! My replies at CSC below:
      In a message dated 12/6/2005 12:22:55 AM Eastern Standard Time, christ_saves_sinners@... writes:
      "If you don't mind answering the following so that I can best answer you:

      "1) Do you believe that the ordinance of Covenanting is a Biblical doctrine as defined by the Church of Scotland circa 1580s, 1630s and 40s, as well as the Westminster Assembly? If so, could you roughly offer the definition you understand?"
      *****CSC: Yes. Public covenanting is an ordinance of God to be observed by individuals, churches, and nations. For example, our "Covenant of Church Membership" is to be accepted and professed by individuals who profess their faith in Christ and unite with the visible church. To covenant with God is a solemn act of worship in which individuals, churches, or nations, declare their acceptance of Him as their God, and pledge allegiance and obedience to Him. The Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America entered into such a covenant in 1871, which is still binding.

      "2) Do you believe that particular faithful and lawful covenants made by societies to God, to promote and protect the True Religion, have a descending obligation upon that society's posterity?"
      *****CSC: If the terms of the covenant specify such descending obligation, then yes, until one or both parties either cease to exist or are permanently placed outside of the original jurisdiction of that particular society, then they are obligated to the terms of such covenants. Our sister churches in Northern Ireland as well as Airdrie Scotland are within the original jurisdiction of the parties of the covenant, though whether or not the other parties still exist is a matter of some discussion.
      Under fractured conditions where one party ceases to exist or is placed outside of original jurisdiction and therefore unable to properly fulfill the specific terms of the covenant, then the other party should continue to pursue the promotion and protection of the True Religion in their place and calling, and seek to establish similar covenant with such new parties as are current and local to the situation. I employ the use of the term "local" to mean that the parties should reside within the geographical boundaries of the nations involved, given we are generically speaking of types of covenants of similar or identical nature to the NC and SL&C.  

      "3) Do you believe that all nations have the moral obligation to practice the ordinance of covenanting with Christ?"
      *****CSC: Yes, per Psalm 2 they must indeed "kiss the Son." Until mass conversion of their populace takes place they will not, but that does not alleviate their obligation to recognize and bow to the Mediatorial Kingship of Christ.

      "4) Have you come across the term "moral person" and if so, what is your understanding of that term?"
      *****CSC: The first time I came across the term "moral person" was actually when I was an unbeliever back in high school, in reading a very popular quote from Thomas Jefferson to George Hammond, dated 1792, which reads "A nation as a society forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society". I did not properly understand the term in it's biblical context until 1995, as I investigated the reformed faith through the writings of Ursinus, Calvin, Knox, Beza, Gillespie, Rutherford, etc etc. William Symington provides a wonderful explanation of how nations as moral persons must uphold the establishment principle in his treatise "Messiah the Prince" in chapter 8 under "Mediatorial Dominion of Christ over the Nations." Interestingly, this is the chapter that the reconstructionists in the National Reform Association tend to avoid....

      "Finally, if I understand your question correctly, you are asking me, "How is my practice of upholding the obligations of the Covenants any different than your practice of upholding the moral obligations of the moral principles of the Covenants and for that matter the Bible itself?"
      You also go on to state that you are not bound to the Covenants themselves, primarily because the language limits those who covenant to a UK context, of which we are not. We are of a United States context. Do I understand you correctly, or does it seem that I need more precise wording to communicate your position?"
      *****CSC: Yes, this is in a nutshell my view of the SL&C as regards the RPCNA. We no longer reside in the place of original jurisdiction, and can have little to no direct influence in keeping the specific terms of the SL&C as regards the other signature parties, some of which may not even exist today. So, we apply the principles generally in our place and calling here, praying that the Lord would be pleased to bring about reformation and conversion as would engender the swearing to similar covenants in the US.
      "Thanks again, Chris, for your willingness to come to the table and discuss. May the LORD be pleased in our approach and bring us to greater clarity and unity in His Truth.

      *****CSC: Thank you as well, both for coming to the table and for the spirit and tone of your discussion.
      Christopher Coombes
      Lynchburg Reformed Presbyterian Fellowship,
      Lynchburg, VA
      Member, Triangle RPC

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