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Re: Simon's Post

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  • Colin
    ... Gerry, if you read my words carefully, you would note that I qualified them by saying some . And in case anyone would miss that, I even added there are
    Message 1 of 16 , Apr 6, 2004
      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "gmw"
      <raging.calvinist@v...> wrote:
      > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Colin "
      > <cbx292000@y...> wrote:
      > > I certainly do not do what some Steelites Covenanters do, who
      > > call all non-Steelite Presbyterians "backsliders" and "covenant
      > > breakers" (never mind what they call all hymn singers!). My point
      > > here is that I am far more charitable towards non-Theonomists
      > > than some Steelites are to non-Steelites (there are some
      > > exceptions of course).
      > Can't miss a chance to take a shot at Covenanters.

      Gerry, if you read my words carefully, you would note that I
      qualified them by saying "some". And in case anyone would miss that,
      I even added "there are some exceptions of course").

      I was not criticizing the entire Covenanters, or even all the
      Steelite ones.

      > Look, in all the time you've been in this group, it seems to me
      > you've spent far more time and effort disagreeing with the things
      > said here then agreeing.

      I've never been good as acting as a mere "Yes man". I'm sorry that
      you think that I make a poor candidate for the Steelite
      Covenanter "cheerleading squad".

      But I have in the past expressed my agreements with the Scottish
      Covenanters (though admittedly far less so with the modern Steelite

      Agreements such as 5 point Calvinism, The Free Offer of the Gospel,
      the pedagogic value of puritan and presbyterian church history,
      Postmillennialism, the pedagogic value of creeds and confessions, the
      pro-nomian views of the law of God between Covenanters and
      Theonomists. The belief in the universal kingship of Christ (as ably
      expressed in William Symington's "Messiah the Prince" and similar
      covenanter writings). The militant protestant stand against Romanism
      and idolatry in the Church. The appreciation for the Protestant
      Reformers like Calvin and Knox, as well as for the Protestant Martyrs
      of England and Scotland. The opposition to political tyranny and
      pluralism in government (e.g. "Lex Rex"), etc.

      > Don't take this as me picking on you because you're the
      > theonomist....
      > I would have read your post without any comment had I not come
      > across this shot taken at those who strive to uphold the principles
      > of the Covenanted Reformation.

      My "shot" Gerry, was not intended as a shot at the Steelites at all,
      but only to point out to Simon that his concerns about Theonomy were
      entirely unjustified. And if he is really concerned about the matter
      of state punishment of heretics (that he wrongly imputes to
      Theonomists), he ought to more concerned about a group of Christians
      who actually believe in that (such as the Steelite Covenanters). But
      Simon appears oblivious to the real irony of where he actually
      expressed his concerns about State punishment of heretics, that is,
      on this very forum which holds to that view.

      So I was really taking more of a "shot" at Simon's paranoia, than at
      the Steelites. I am sorry that you took it the wrong way, Gerry.

      > This is the Covenanted Reformation Club, mind you.

      Yes, and I have learned much from many of your posts, and from BD's
      posts, and I appreciate your zeal for reformed Church history.

    • gmw
      ... wrote: I m sorry that you think that I make a poor candidate for the Steelite Covenanter cheerleading squad . We got spirit, yes we do,
      Message 2 of 16 , Apr 6, 2004
        --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Colin "
        <cbx292000@y...> wrote:

        "I'm sorry that you think that I make a poor candidate for the
        Steelite Covenanter "cheerleading squad".

        We got spirit, yes we do, we got spirit....

        How 'bout you?

      • thebishopsdoom
        It is true that some of the modern debates on the issue of Reformed Presbyterians have gotten quite polemical, not just in favour of, but also against the
        Message 3 of 16 , Apr 6, 2004
          It is true that some of the modern debates on the issue of Reformed
          Presbyterians have gotten quite polemical, not just in favour of, but
          also against the views of the Reformed Presbyterians.
          Perhaps it's time to take a closer look at David Steele, since so
          much of the modern controversy seems to revolve around appeals to
          him. It seems much ado has been made about Steele for a whole lot of
          nasty things.
          Despite popular opinion, Steele was not absolutely loathed by the
          RPCNA in his day as a minister among them. J.R. Willson had
          handpicked him for a professorship at RPTS (while the controversy
          with Synod was ongoing in which Steele had taken a part), and had
          promised Steele that he already had the votes to get him in as co-
          professor. Steele declined, because he felt he was not adequately
          prepared for a professorship at that time. (This is incidentally
          notably absent from the book on RPTS history, Spare No Exertions.) He
          was during that time also called to be minister in one of the
          congregations in the Pittsburgh area, though he had declined the call
          at that time. Yes, Steele for his leaving synod did accrue some
          strong opponents in the RPCNA. But the view some of them had of him
          was not universal.
          Despite some polemical language used of a few ministers who he
          believed weree engineering what became the New Light split, and a few
          others afterwards who he believed were attempting to bring the Old
          Lights down the same road - talk of former brethren, false brethren,
          and the like, David Steele did not as a rule speak of people in that
          way, either within nor without the RPCNA. Even "false brethren"
          didn't mean "false Christian" (as some appear to have assumed) but
          rather the falsity was with claiming to be fellow covenanters when
          the persons in question were attacking the views expressed in the
          standrads themselves. In particular, it might be noted that Steele
          late in life mentioned that he never ceased all the while to regard
          Willson Sr as a godly man upon whom he had no known quarrels (in
          spite of the fact that Willson did not feel compelled to leave when
          Steele, Lusk, and several ruling elders determined just cause to
          dissent from synod). In some of the issues of the magazines edited by
          Steele, it mentions some of his travels, both preaching and
          vacations. In there you find that Steele was granted by various RPCNA
          ministers the allowance to use their buildings to preach a sermon
          while in the area. The UPC allowed members to attend Mr. Steele's
          preaching. Steele preached to vacant congregations of the RPCS and
          RPCI in Ireland and Scotland by request of the people, and in one
          case was asked to consider a call to be their pastor. In this, he
          declined, stating that he would have to join with the RPCI to do so,
          and he could not in good conscience join them in the present
          constitutional state that they were in. No talk of "you wicked
          covenant breaking apostates," no talk of "come with me and flee
          babylon" or anything like that. He did not encourage people to leave
          their churches if unconvinced with the covenanter side of the church
          splits, though he encouraged people to consider the issues, and
          inform themselves of why the churches had so broken up. If they were
          convinced, and wished to transfer themselves under care of their
          presbytery (or later, general meeting), they were free to do so. If
          they did not fully understand the issues, but did enough to desire to
          transfer over to the reformed presbytery with a willingness to be
          instructed, he would not turn them back, though they were not made
          communicants without attaining some knowledge of the reason for the
          church's existence as a separate branch of the presbyterian church.
          It seems from my knowledge of him that if any were to ask about what
          problem Steele had with their church, he would certainly oblige to
          explain as best he could the causes of splits in the church and why
          they existed as a distinct church and did not agree to the routes
          taken in the other splits, believing them to have introduced error
          into the churches and broken off from the root. Undoubtedly if they
          did not agree or were unsure, he would have encouraged the inquisitor
          to continue considering these things as they progressed in their
          understanding of the faith. This is at least the picture of David
          Steele that I have gotten from the materials I have read with
          firsthand accounts. It also agrees with the fact that the Associate
          Presbyterian magazine actually published one of his articles that
          addressed an in-house issue going on at the time among the Associate
          Presbyterians, giving his take on the controversy. I don't see they
          would have done that if he was supposedly so universally viewed as a
          theological or ecclesiastical monster.
          In one of the articles concerning Steele's travels, in one of the
          covenanter magazines, he mentions a man coming up to him after
          sermon. Steele recognized him as a former congressman who was an old
          neighbor of his. He mentions the person as having been a member of
          the Methodist church, and also states (Steele was authoring the
          article) about the man being a friend of his and old neighbor whom he
          hadn't seen in a long time. Steele gladly obliged his friend's
          request to lodge at his home for some time. This at the least shows
          that Steele was able to do what most people can do, hold friendships
          with those he disagrees with. Something I think some people in the
          way they paint Steele can not conceive of.
          David Steele also took to task elder J.J. Peoples of the reformed
          Presbytery for vitriolic language in expressing his views on
          political dissent.

          I will conclude by merely quoting a bio of Steele from a secular book:

          The REVEREND DAVID STEELE was ordained and installed as the third
          pastor of the Brush Creek Presbyterian Community Church of Adams
          County, Ohio on June 24, 1831. Brush Creek is an historic
          congregation due to church disputes over dogma.
          Dr. Steele was among the early settlers of Adams County, Ohio.
          Several members of his family followed him west from Pennsylvania. He
          was born in Londonderry, Ireland, November 2, 1803 of scotch-Irish
          ancestry. He was the the youngest of six brothers, whose father,
          David Steele, was the fourth generation from Captain John Steele of
          Lismahago, near Glascow, Scotland who fought on the side of the
          Covenanters in the battle of Drumclog, June 22, 1679. He was trained
          up according to the strict order of observance in Covenanting
          families. When he was about 20 years old he emigrated to the United
          States, arriving in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 7, 1824, where
          he stayed with an uncle and pursued his classical studies. Later on
          he taught in Edinburg Academy in Pennsylvania.
          In 1826 he was graduated from Western University of Pennsylvania and
          after studying theology with the late Dr. John Black of Pittsburg,
          Pennsylvania, he was licensed to preach the Gospel in April 1830. The
          following year he married Miss Eliza Johnson of Chillicothe, Ohio and
          one month afterward was ordained and installed as pastor of the
          Reformed Congregation of Brush Creek by the Ohio Presbytery at a
          salary of $400 a year.
          Brush Creek was then a wilderness and he and his wife found
          everything primitive and uncongenial to educated and refined living.
          Thousands of miles he travelled on horse-back yearly, having often to
          ford rivers when he had to get up on his knees in the saddle to keep
          from being saturated with water as there were few bridges in those
          days. For 29 years he labored in this congregation upon a salary
          hardly sufficient to procure the necessities of life. He also took
          care of several other community churches - one being Mill Creek,
          Although a little below medium in stature, he possessed an excellent
          constitution which enabled him to bare up under difficulties which
          would have been too great for others.
          As a scholar Dr. Steele was far above most of his compeers,
          particularly in the ancient classics as he could read the most
          difficult Latin and Greek at sight. His "Notes on the Apocalypse"
          show he was a master of Bible truth. He trained quite a number of
          young men for the Gospel ministry; and his home was the resort of all
          educated people who came to the neighborhood, and hospitality was a
          marked feature of his house.
          It is but proper to state that his wife cooperated heartily with him
          in all his plans for the elevation and culture of all who dwelt in
          the vicinity of Brush Creek. Brush Creek owes much to him as a leader
          in morality and culture.
          As an orator the Reverend David Steele was concise, clear and
          frequently eloquent and impassioned and his discrimination in the use
          of words showed his mastery of the English language. He received the
          Doctor of Divinity degree from his Alma Mater a few years before his
          After leaving Ohio he spent several years near Sparta, Illinois,
          retiring to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he died in the 54th
          year of his ministry at the age of eighty-four. His remains lie in
          the Petersburg Cemetery in Huntington, Pennsylvania.
          -Taken from A History of Adams County, Ohio by Evans and Stivers

        • s.padbury@tiscali.co.uk
          I accept your hand of genuine Christian Fellowship. Thankyou Colin, but I guess I either forgt about that part, or else I didn t think it was worth anything
          Message 4 of 16 , Apr 8, 2004
            "I accept your hand of genuine Christian Fellowship."

            Thankyou Colin, but I guess I either forgt about that part, or else I didn't
            think it was worth anything since you refuse to retract your repeated references
            to me as wicked and ungodly and slanderous.

            You say we might not be so far apart as I might think. That may be true
            in some of the outcomes, but we arrive at them by distinctly different routes.
            But at least you're backing off from suggesting that I am somewhat an antinomian
            or a dispensationalist now.

            As for raking through past posts and engading you in these matters again,
            I can't be bothered, sorry. I've had enough of debating with (some!) Theonomists,
            because of their abusive language.

            But I do admit that you are not as bad as some in that respect, and I appreciate


            Broadband from an unbeatable £15.99!

          • gmw
            ... There is nothing new under the sun. It is sinful man s nature to say sinful things towards those with whom we disagree. Thanks for this informative post.
            Message 5 of 16 , Apr 9, 2004
              --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, thebishopsdoom
              <no_reply@y...> wrote:

              > It is true that some of the modern debates on the issue of Reformed
              > Presbyterians have gotten quite polemical, not just in favour of,
              > but also against the views of the Reformed Presbyterians.

              There is nothing new under the sun. It is sinful man's nature to say
              sinful things towards those with whom we disagree. Thanks for this
              informative post.

              I'm not sure if this has anything to do with the present topic or
              not, but the following are objections and answers taken from A Short
              Vindication of Our Covenanted Reformation, published by a commitee of
              the Reformed Presbytery, Philadelphia, 1879 (the objections sound
              familiar, and the answers are refreshing):

              1. "You think nobody right but yourselves." Just so; that is, in the
              points wherein others differ from us; otherwise we will only proclaim
              our own hypocrisy. We believe, and therefore speak.

              2. "You think nobody will be saved but such as adopt your peculiar
              principles." This is an old objection. It was "cast in the teeth" of
              one of our martyred ministers, Mr. Donald Cargil, as he was "led as a
              lamb to the slaughter." He meekly answered, "No." "Well, and what
              more would you want than to be saved?" "I want a great deal more,"
              was his simple reply, "I want Christ glorified on earth." He
              understood the first question of the Shorter Catechism, of which too
              many are ignorant to-day. "Man's chief end is neither his salvation
              nor destruction." Rev. 4:11.

              3. "Your principles are impracticable." If they are scriptural the
              objection is true in one sense, but false in another. Our Saviour
              told his real disciples—"Without me (separated from me) ye can do
              nothing." Jno. 15:5. This was Paul's experience (Rom. 7:18), and he
              tells us that this is part of all believers' experience. Gal. 5:17.
              On the other hand, if our distinctive principles are scriptural, as
              we believe them to be, they are certainly practicable to a true
              believer; for of such no impossibilities are required. 2 Cor. 12:9;
              Phil. 4:13.

              4. "You meddle with political matters;—preach the gospel and let
              civil government alone." We often meet this objection under the form
              of friendly advice; and we believe none is of deeper significance or
              more pregnant with consequences. (a) It confounds politics and civil
              government. (b) It separates between the gospel and civil government.
              (c) It excludes the Bible and its Author from the commonwealth. (d)
              It conducts us to infidelity and issues in blank atheism. But this
              objection involving, as it does, so much both of principle and
              practice, demands more consideration and a particular and
              intelligible answer. It is not true that we meddle with politics; for
              a Covenanter can affiliate with no existing political party because
              no party will consent to be governed by the Bible. The gospel, as we
              understand it, covers the whole of the Scriptures. Gen. 18:18, Gal.
              3:8, Heb. 4:2. It is "another gospel" which excludes any part of the
              Bible. That we may be more fully understood, we assert that the Holy
              Scriptures are the only infallible rule to direct mankind in
              individual and social life: that all the lawful relations of this
              life are instituted, defined and limited in the Bible. We find in the
              Sacred Oracles that God has organized society in three, and only
              three departments, both for its conservation and reformation. These
              are the family, the church, and the state, the two latter being
              auxiliaries of the first—the church and civil commonwealth to be
              helpful to the family. The plain lesson of history and experience is,
              that insubordination in the family generates contumacy in the church,
              and issues in insurrection and rebellion in the state. If there be
              no "church in the house," there will be no godliness in the church,
              nor honesty without godliness in the state. To effect a real
              reformation then, these three divine ordinances are the proper
              instrumentalities to be employed—and no other. These have the promise
              of their Author to render them effectual. Prov. 22:6; 1 Tim. 4:16;
              Josh. 1:8. Of course, we cannot co-operate in the voluntary and
              irresponsible confederacies of our time, having but one condition of
              fellowship, and demanding a pledge of fidelity. To ask or give such
              pledge involves an insult offered to our Master, to whom alone our
              pledge has been previously given, that we will be governed by that
              law in His hand, which commands every duty and forbids every sin in
              all our relations. According to our interpretation of the gospel,
              therefore, we must have scriptural and definite views of the divine
              ordinance of civil government, while we do not "meddle with politics"—
              earth's party politics, which disregard the Lord, His Anointed and
              His word.

              5. "You will admit none to your communion but those who adopt your
              peculiar principles: and does it not follow that you account none to
              be Christians but yourselves? All others, by your close communion,
              you would shut out of heaven." We have given this objection in
              greater fulness than the preceding ones, because of the frequency and
              plausibility of its utterance by the generality of professors. Well,
              we readily admit the truth of the first part of the objection: but in
              the practice of restricted fellowship we are not peculiar, and we
              think consistency, common sense and honesty, justify this part of
              Christian practice. Nor does this practise involve a denial of the
              Christianity or meetness for heaven of any others. This part of the
              objection denies, or at least confounds the necessary distinction
              between the visible and invisible state of the church—an error which
              is logically followed by many others. Consistently with our
              distinctive principles and practice, which alone exemplify true
              charity, as we sincerely believe, we doubt not many are now in heaven
              and also on earth, partakers of the "common salvation," who never
              heard of Covenanters. And, moreover, Covenanters have always, in
              private intercourse, been ready to embrace in their heart's
              affections, all who in their judgment love God in Christ. This they
              do on the principle that "every one that loveth Him that begat loveth
              Him also that is begotten of Him." 1 Jno 5:1. But this private and
              occasional intercourse the Scriptures distinguish from public,
              ecclesiastical fellowship; and Covenanters endeavor to act according
              to that supreme rule. They cannot, therefore, at the same time,
              consistently testify against the errors and sins of parties, and
              appear under an official or judicial banner as one with them. "If any
              man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple,
              shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat
              those things which are offered to idols?" 1 Cor. 8:10.—Not that we
              charge all others with idolatry: but there is a rule in Logic which
              the learned acknowledge to be correct, Majus et minus non variant
              speciem,—"greater or less does not vary the nature of a thing." And
              we are enjoined to "mark them which cause divisions and offences
              contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid them, Rom.
              16:17: as also to "withdraw ourselves from every brother that walketh
              disorderly"—yes, though a brother. 2 Thes. 3:6; 1 Tim. 3:5. No, no,
              we are not uncharitable. While hating Pharisaic exclusiveness, we no
              less dislike the spurious charity that "suffers sin upon a brother"
              without rebuke. Lev. 19:17; Tit. 1:13.

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