RE: Simon's Post
- "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!
- --- In email@example.com, thebishopsdoom
> It is true that some of the modern debates on the issue of ReformedThere is nothing new under the sun. It is sinful man's nature to say
> Presbyterians have gotten quite polemical, not just in favour of,
> but also against the views of the Reformed Presbyterians.
sinful things towards those with whom we disagree. Thanks for this
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;
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 firstthe 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 employedand 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
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 churchan 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.