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[Covenanted Reformation] Re: True Confessions on H2O

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  • Jerry
    For Christ s crown and.....hmm, maybe, nearly there. Just say it! SAY IT!!! ... gmw.
    Message 1 of 11 , Oct 1, 2002
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      "For Christ's crown and.....hmm, maybe, nearly there."

      Just say it! SAY IT!!!

      :)

      gmw.
    • S.P.Padbury
      Dear Jerry, ... Okey-dokey. .....Covenant. But just saying it is not good enough, you may be thinking. So, what s stopping me going all the way with you
      Message 2 of 11 , Oct 2, 2002
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        Dear Jerry,

        >"For Christ's crown and.....hmm, maybe, nearly there."
        >Just say it! SAY IT!!!
        >:)
        >gmw.

        Okey-dokey. ".....Covenant." But just saying it is not good enough,
        you may be thinking.

        So, what's stopping me going all the way with you Covies?

        Some time ago I told you that I agreed with the doctrinal contents
        and sentiments of the National Covenant and the Solumn League,
        and I still do. This is because these are Reformed, and therefore
        Biblical. They oppose Rome; they promote the True Religion,
        according to the Westminster Standards. That's fine by me.

        Notice, however, that I am seeking to be Biblical first and foremost;
        placing everything else subordinate to this our only true Standard.
        What is given by inspiration of God, must always be our Rule. Sola
        Scriptura.

        So, I believe the Westminster Standards, and anything else
        (including the Covenants), insofar as they are Biblical. The
        authority of such documents, as I see it therefore, is no authority of
        their own, but is a derived authority insofar as they are Biblical.
        It is therefore the Bible, and the God of the Bible, that I seek to be
        committed to, not any man-made Covenant.

        But, I do not forget that the Covenants, so I believe, are true
        Reformed and therefore Biblical doctrine. I too, for instance, am
        committed just as the Covenanters were, to opposing, more: to
        extirpating the heresies of Popery and all false religion. This is
        none other than the flipside of the Great Commision, and I am
        committed to the Great Commission. We as Biblical Christians
        should teach the observance of all things that our Lord Jesus Christ
        has commanded -- in His word, thereby making Christian disciples
        of all the nations.

        So then, what (you may ask) do I believe concerning the perpetual
        obligation of the Covenants among God's people who have vowed
        and committed themselves themselves to these Covenants, seeing
        them as Reformed and therefore Biblical?

        Well, insofar as the doctrine contained in the Covenants as
        Reformed and therefore Biblical, herein lies the basis of their
        perpetual obligation: The Bible teaches us the Truth and the Truth
        is always true, and we are perpetually obliged to believe the Truth.
        Ergo, insofar as the Covenants are Biblical, we are perpetually
        obliged to be committed to the Biblical truths that they contain.

        So then, what is stopping me embracing the Covenants, seeing
        that I believe thay contain Biblical truth, and that I am committed to
        these truths to such a degree that I wish to see the extirpation of
        all that is false and unBiblical both in myself and in all who fall
        within the scope of the Great Commission, namely, in all the
        nations of the world?

        In a word, if this is all there was to consider, nothing.

        However, I'm not quite there with some Covenanters, on their side
        of this "line in the sand". It seems to me that to accept the whole
        Covenanter package-deal, I may be asked to abandon going to a
        church or abandon being a member of a church that is not a
        Covenanter church. Well, I am not in a position where I can
        emmigrate to Scotland or Northern Ireland or the USA or Canada.
        So, you would be asking too much of me there.

        I must seek to move my family toward the most Reformed church
        that I can, and in this case, I am already doing so, in that I have
        spent my time since February joining membership with a Reformed
        church, a Westminster Sandards believing church, a hundred miles
        away from where I now live, and about a week ago I recieved an
        offer for a job in that area, which I accepted. And on Monday,
        someone put in an offer to buy our house, which we accepted. This
        weekend I am hope to look around some houses in the vicinity of
        that Reformed (a conservative presbyterian) church.

        You may say I am in grave error here, inasmuch as this church can
        trace its roots back to the Scottish presbyterian churches that
        accepted the Revolution Settlement, and that therefore my new
        church is historically based on Erastianism. And you may also say
        that therefore I am joining membership with a church full of
        Covenant-breakers, because their spiritual ancestors accepted the
        Revolution Settlement and thereby broke with the Solumn League
        and National Covenant, which things, howbeit, most people in the
        church have never heard of.

        But I am making the choice to seek out and join the best Reformed
        church that I can find near where I live in England, where both my
        family and my wife's family reside. Inasmuch as I believe that God
        is merciful, and inasmuch as I believe that the Christians in this
        Reformed church are real Christians, and have therefore not had
        their branch of God's family tree (the olive tree of Romans 11) sawn
        off by their spiritual, covenant-breaking ancestors, therefore I do not
        percieve that I am in grave error in joining myself with these
        Christians.

        On a similar note, likewise do I not see myself as being in error if I
        sit under the preaching of someone who is not part of the
        Cpvenanted Reformed Presbyterian church, such as I will be doing
        once we have moved, God willing. Surely you would not argue that
        this is sin. If you do, you would have to argue that it is likewise
        wrong to even read books by non-Covenanters. And you can name
        better than I can which of the Puritans and Scots Presbyterians
        and Dutch and French and German Reformers, etc., were not
        Covenaners. And I read and benefit from and agree with these
        worthies, inasmuch as I believe that they are Biblical.

        Yours sincerely,

        Simon Padbury.
      • Jerry
        Dear Simon, What you write concerning Sola Scriptura is true. If our doctrinal standards are not founded on the Word of God, then let them be rejected
        Message 3 of 11 , Oct 2, 2002
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          Dear Simon,

          What you write concerning Sola Scriptura is true. If our doctrinal
          standards are not founded on the Word of God, then let them be
          rejected outright. We ask no one to believe anything merely based on
          the words of men. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak
          not according to this word, it is because there is no light in
          them"(Isaiah 8:20).

          Now, concerning covenants, the Word of God does say,

          "Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man
          disannulleth, or addeth thereto" (Galatians 3:15). This, of course,
          speaks of human covenants, between mere men, concerning whatever the
          matter. Now, how much more binding is a covenant which binds the
          Christian to the adherence and defense of the True Religion of God?
          No Reformed Christian ought to have any problem with the content of
          the Covenants. The question is, are they binding on us today? If
          not, how do you explain this in light of the Biblical teaching on
          covenants? If so, what does this mean for us today? Could it mean
          that we would need to do some things that are not at all convenient?
          Yes: "He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.... He that
          doeth these things shall never be moved" (Psalm 15:4,5).

          Concerning your decision to attend or join the Revolution Church, I
          do not condemn you for this. Simon, you are aware as well as I of
          the decline we see all around in Churches that once faithfully upheld
          the principles and practices of the Reformed Faith. The Revolution
          Settlement was near the beginning of the downward slide. Sitting at
          the bottom of the slide, looking up to where we once were, I must
          confess I would find it refreshing if the Revolution Settlement was
          the only problem in the churches today. For many churches, for many
          people, heading to the Revolution Church would, in a sense, be a step
          in the right direction. When surrounded by darkness, the children of
          light sometimes grasp for any glimmer they can find. I believe the
          Revolution Church is in error in light of the Covenants which bind
          them, and in light of the Standards they hold, but I do not count
          them to be my enemies, nor do I dare assert that they are no
          Christians at all. That would be foolish and unchristian. Honestly,
          if, when I became convinced I had to leave my unfaithful church for
          one that adheres to the Westminster Standards, I very well may have
          jumped at joining a church like the Revolution Church. I am no
          longer in a position where I can in good conscience do such a thing.
          But I certainly understand you doing so under the circumstances.
          Others may not like me saying this, but it's my opinion nonetheless.

          I will give you no more advise at this time then this: Follow your
          conscience as guided by Scripture. And when in doubt as to which
          path to take, follow the path of the faithful flock that has gone
          before you.

          Gracious Simon, I've told you this before, but I truly do enjoy
          having you in this club. I am glad that we have so many beliefs in
          common, and I am looking forward to continuing our dialogue and our
          long-distance friendship.

          Sincerely and humbly,

          gmw.
        • S.P.Padbury
          Dear Jerry, I believe that what the Covenanters did in committing themselves the the Covenants was binding upon them, since they deliberately vowed a vow to
          Message 4 of 11 , Oct 3, 2002
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            Dear Jerry,

            I believe that what the Covenanters did in committing themselves
            the the Covenants was binding upon them, since they deliberately
            vowed a vow to God himself.

            I am not sure that I fully accept the thesis of the perpetual
            obligation of the Covenants, as though there was a perpetual
            obligation that is binding upon me that arises for the nature of the
            Covenants being covenants. For, in what way were those who
            committed themselves to the Covenants federal representatives of
            me, that they could covenant with God on our behalf?

            On the other hand..............

            I do believe that the National Covenant and the Solumn League
            were the means whereby those who committed themselves to
            these covenants were vowing a vow before God that *they* would
            uphold and defend and propagate the Reformed religion, according
            to their abilities and opportunities.

            Likewise...............

            I do believe in the very same Reformed religion.

            So...............

            Certainly I should want to uphold and defend and propagate the
            Reformed religion too.

            Furthermore................

            Certainly I should want to commit myself to this end, even by
            vowing a vow to God.

            And...............

            There's no good reason that I can see why such a vow should not
            be the Solumn League. Does anybody who believes in the same
            Reformed religion know of any....? No, of course not! Why bother
            asking whether and Reformer can see a good reason not to believe
            in, uphold, defend and propagate the very Reformed religion that he
            himself believes in.

            Now, please consider..............

            Whether or not one believes in the perpetual obligation of the
            Reformed Covenants, as though such perpetual obligation resides
            in their very nature of being covenants tha somebody else vowed
            who allegedly federally represented me, is, as I see it, a surplus
            argument in the case of these Reformed Covenants. It is a surplus
            argument because, whether or not perpetual obligaion is true:
            inasmuch as the content (or, better, the substance) of these
            covenants is a vow of personal commitment (at least) to upholding,
            defending and propagating the Reformed religion, which very same
            Reformed religion I also believe in, it stands inescapable that the
            substance of any vow to uphold, defend and propagate the
            Reformed religion is a substance that is agreeable to me as a
            Reformed Christian. And this stands inescapable, I say again,
            whether or not it can be legitimately claimed that the Covenants
            have a nature that is perpetually binding upon me through
            somebody else having vowed them, allegedly on my behalf.

            One can therefore commit oneself to upholding, defending and
            propagating the Reformed religion according to one's ability and
            opportunity, that is, one can vow the vow of the Covenants and
            Covenanters, whether or not one believes in perpetual obligation.
            Whether the perpetual obligation of these Covenants is true or not,
            the substance of the Reformed Covenants is agreeable to anyone
            who seeks to be a Reformer, which Reformed religion, as I have
            said, I should certainly want to covenant myself to upholding,
            defending and propagating.

            The Reformed Covenants are surely, at least, an outward,
            formalized, communal expression of what everyone who seeks to
            uphold, defend and propagate the Reformed religion should commit
            themselves to. This fact remains inescapably true, whether or not
            the Covenants have a nature that is perpetually binding upon a
            person through someone else vowing them, who allegedly federally
            represented them.

            Yours sincerely, Simon Padbury.
          • Jerry
            Simon, You re asking the right questions. Forgive me for doing this, but I m going to ask a couple questions right back at you. 1. According to Scripture
            Message 5 of 11 , Oct 3, 2002
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              Simon,

              You're asking the right questions. Forgive me for doing this, but
              I'm going to ask a couple questions right back at you.

              1. According to Scripture (even according to light of nature), can
              civil magistrates make covenants which bind posterity?

              2. According to Scripture, can ecclesiastical bodies bind themselves
              and their posterity to a covenant?

              gmw.
            • Jerry
              S.P. wrote, Why bother asking whether and Reformer can see a good reason not to believe in, uphold, defend and propagate the very Reformed religion that he
              Message 6 of 11 , Oct 3, 2002
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                S.P. wrote, "Why bother asking whether and Reformer can see a good
                reason not to believe in, uphold, defend and propagate the very
                Reformed religion that he himself believes in."

                I wanted to emphasize something Simon touches on a bit. The articles
                of the SL&C, being agreeable to the Word of God, contain nothing in
                essence that the Christian is not already bound to do by the Moral
                Law. Defense of the True Religion, obedience to the lawful
                magistrate, mutual defense of our brothers and sisters in Christ
                against the enemies of Christ and His Church, etc, are things
                Christians are bound to do anyway. As I gather, Simon's dispute is
                NOT that the things contained in the Covenants are not binding on
                Christians as Christians, rather, his questions (if I'm understanding
                him correctly) are regarding whether or not the Covenants bind us
                with an additional bond.

                We, as Christians, are bound to tell the truth by the Moral Law. But
                when standing as a witness in court we may be required to swear to
                tell the truth. Having sworn, we are now not only liars if we do not
                tell the truth, but we are guilty of perjury as well.

                The question is not that Christians are obligated to the duties
                outlined in the Covenants, the question is whether or not the
                Covenants themselves bind as Covenants.

                Important distinction to make.

                gmw.
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