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Re: Steele

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  • 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 1 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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