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#46797 - Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:06 PM Re: The Suicide of a Denomination [Re: Tom]  
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His main point was to remain steadfast on the essentiasl, and not make non-essentials essential.

Who decides what is essential and what is non-essential?

#46798 - Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:17 PM Re: The Suicide of a Denomination [Re: Newman]  
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Originally Posted by Newman
Who decides what is essential and what is non-essential?

Good question. So what would be your answer?

Another hypothetical question: What if whoever/whatever you think has the authority to determine what is essential and non-essential declared that the Trinity, or the deity of Christ or the sacraments or the perpetual virginity of Mary or that homosexuality is non-essential. Would you acknowledge that decision and embrace it? scratchchin


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#46799 - Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:30 PM Re: The Suicide of a Denomination [Re: Tom]  
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Tom,

Sorry for the confusion. Sometimes it seems I make leaps but I just do not have the discipline to write 3-4 sentences in expaining what I mean. I was reading DeYoung's article around the same time I was reading through this thread. It has always puzzle me when conservatives within the PCUSA ranks are referenced. I am unwilling to give them the seal of biblical conservatism as apostasy has been accepted within the PCUSA ranks for decades. So, I agreed with Pilgrim before he replied. Still, I wonder if some elements of egalatarianism can fit into biblical orthodoxy.

When reading DeYoung's article it is good for us to be open that we may be overly dogmatic Not necessarily with our convictions; but the lack of graciousness we display with others that may disagree with us. Christianity is more than just right doctrine, though we can never forsake biblical Christianity.

On this subject of the PCUSA, I have a difficult time with the naming of the minority as conservatives. I just don't think arguiing for a correct view on some issues does not make one a biblical conservative. Yet it is good to be reminded that I should always be gracious.

(I think I am rambling, so I will stop)

Last edited by John_C; Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:38 PM.

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#46800 - Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:48 AM Re: The Suicide of a Denomination [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim
Originally Posted by Newman
Who decides what is essential and what is non-essential?

Good question. So what would be your answer?

Aha, answering a question with a question. :cool: I don't know if that means you don't have an answer, but here's mine. There was much dispute in the early church about whether or not it was essential to be circumcised (and avoid pork etc.) in order to be Christian. A council was convened, a decision was reached, and then Paul and Timothy were sent to the cities to tell the people to obey the decrees. So, the visible church decides. That's my answer.

Originally Posted by Pilgrim
Another hypothetical question: What if whoever/whatever you think has the authority to determine what is essential and non-essential declared that the Trinity, or the deity of Christ or the sacraments or the perpetual virginity of Mary or that homosexuality is non-essential. Would you acknowledge that decision and embrace it? scratchchin

Well, that would never happen in an official and binding way. It's a false dilemma. That is to say, it was not possible that the Jerusalem Council would declare that it was essential for Gentiles to be circumcised and then send Paul and Timothy to tell everyone to obey that false decree as a matter of dogma. In the same manner, it would simply be impossible for the Jerusalem Council to bind the faithful to believe in Unitarianism or gay marriage etc. Would you not agree? In the same manner, it is simply not possible to bind the faithful today to deny the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the PVM, or to deny that homosexuality is disordered.

Last edited by Newman; Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:08 PM.
#46801 - Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:29 AM Re: The Suicide of a Denomination [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim
Originally Posted by John_C
So, if using our understanding of biblical theology when it comes to biblical roles between men and women, there really are not many, if any, conservatives in the PCUSA.

I read a good article by DeYoung regarding making non-essentials essentials. I really do not think we are in our view on ordination of women, but there would be those who disagree. Should we not be so dogmatic on it?

IF there are any TRUE conservatives, i.e., those who hold to the traditional, historic Reformed faith as set forth by the Westminster Standards and its application as held for centuries by the Reformers and Puritans, they are extremely rare.

The ordination of women is NOT a non-essential for it has to do with the nature and order of the Church in which the truth is expounded and applied, the sacraments are administered and discipline is acted upon, all according to God's revealed will. The Church is a reflection of Christ himself and His 'beloved' for whom He sacrificed himself for the redemption of the elect. This is no small matter but the very essence of sending forth the Christ.


This is a late response to Pilgrim's post but I would like to thank him for that.

The issue of the ordination of women as TE and RE in our denomination will yet again be on the table at our next synod in January 2012. At the synod of 2009 the vote was against women being allowed as TE and RE. However, a number of petitions against that decision are apparently in the process of being prepared. Our church has also prepared such a petition. Of course, I don't agree with that and the pastor and others knows it. One of the points being made in the petition is that it has nothing to do with salvation, ie. being a non-essential matter, but Pilgrim's view as expressed above is, I think, right on target.


Johan


#46804 - Thu Jun 23, 2011 4:46 PM Re: The Suicide of a Denomination [Re: Newman]  
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Originally Posted by Newman
Originally Posted by Pilgrim
Originally Posted by Newman
Who decides what is essential and what is non-essential?

Good question. So what would be your answer?

Aha, answering a question with a question. :cool: I don't know if that means you don't have an answer, but here's mine. There was much dispute in the early church about whether or not it was essential to be circumcised (and avoid pork etc.) in order to be Christian. A council was convened, a decision was reached, and then Paul and Timothy were sent to the cities to tell the people to obey the decrees. So, the visible church decides. That's my answer.

Oh, but I do have an answer. The Lord Christ sometimes answered a question with a question, so it seemed good in this case that I followed suit. wink

1. Re: your answer: Unfortunately, the visible Church consists of myriad and varied members, some of whom are not even regenerated. Thus, this begs the further question, Who in the visible church does one trust? The situation which evoked this question is paradigmatic. One part of the visible church has decreed that homosexuals are qualified to hold the office of elder and deacon. Another part has decreed that women are qualified to serve in both offices. But many others have decreed that neither are qualified. nono

2. Now for my answer. As you probably anticipated, I believe that God's inspired, infallible, inerrant, written Word is the final arbitrator in all such matters of doctrine and life. It is the Holy Spirit who leads those who are Christ's to the truth.

Originally Posted by Newman
Originally Posted by Pilgrim
Another hypothetical question: What if whoever/whatever you think has the authority to determine what is essential and non-essential declared that the Trinity, or the deity of Christ or the sacraments or the perpetual virginity of Mary or that homosexuality is non-essential. Would you acknowledge that decision and embrace it? scratchchin

Well, that would never happen in an official and binding way. It's a false dilemma. That is to say, it was not possible that the Jerusalem Council would declare that it was essential for Gentiles to be circumcised and then send Paul and Timothy to tell everyone to obey that false decree as a matter of dogma. In the same manner, it would simply be impossible for the Jerusalem Council to bind the faithful to believe in Unitarianism or gay marriage etc. Would you not agree? In the same manner, it is simply not possible to bind the faithful today to deny the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the PVM, or to deny that homosexuality is disordered.

The problem I have with this suggestion is that 1) The Jerusalem Council is irrelevant to the issue at hand. It was a gathering of the Apostles during the infant stage of the Church wherein decisions had to be made in regard to the inclusion of the Gentiles in matters of the ceremonial law and justification by faith alone. Once the Church as an organization was established (cf. Eph 4:10-16), those called to serve in the office of Elder, Presbyter, Bishop, were to preach, teach, and maintain doctrine according to what they had been taught according to the Scriptures. 2) Church councils since that time; I'm including the modern councils of Synods, General Assemblies and such, have erred, do err and will continue to err in their declarations as evidenced by the two abhorrent declarations referenced above. Members of those respective churches/denominations have given their assent to the authority of those bodies and are bound to acknowledge them through their obedience. HOWEVER, they are only obligated to render obedience as far as they are faithful to the Scriptures. This obedience is seen to be universal in scope and application in all spheres of life; e.g., children to parents, wives to husbands, citizens to their governing authorities, etc. When such authorities demand that which is contrary to the teaching of Scripture, then they are not obligated to render obedience. Likewise, where such authorities forbid that which God requires in the Scriptures, then such decrees/requirements are to be ignored.


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#46805 - Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:14 AM Re: The Suicide of a Denomination [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim

Another hypothetical question: What if whoever/whatever you think has the authority to determine what is essential and non-essential declared that the Trinity, or the deity of Christ or the sacraments or the perpetual virginity of Mary or that homosexuality is non-essential. Would you acknowledge that decision and embrace it? scratchchin


Pilgrim,

What is your definition of perpetual virginity of Mary and what is your view concerning it? Are you saying that A) Mary's virginity with respect to Jesus or B) Mary's perpetual virginity even after Christ's birth is essential? From my reading, many of the Puritans/Reformers disagreed about this.

Thanks,
John

#46806 - Fri Jun 24, 2011 6:57 PM Re: The Suicide of a Denomination [Re: john]  
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Originally Posted by john
Pilgrim,

What is your definition of perpetual virginity of Mary and what is your view concerning it? Are you saying that A) Mary's virginity with respect to Jesus or B) Mary's perpetual virginity even after Christ's birth is essential? From my reading, many of the Puritans/Reformers disagreed about this.

1. Perpetual virginity I understand to mean that Mary never had sexual relations with Joseph her husband nor any other man throughout her entire lifetime.

2. My view is that the assertion that Mary was a virgin throughout her entire lifetime is absurd and biblically untenable.

3. I do not think that on its face that the view that Mary was a perpetual virgin is essential. However, some of the reasons behind the doctrine are greatly contrived and the view itself is but a means to attempt to justify other even more pernicious doctrines. For example is the theory which is connected with the removal of Mary from the sphere of ordinary life and duties as too commonplace for one who is to be surrounded with the halo of a demi-god, and to be idealized in order to be worshipped.

4. Faith accepts the biblical passages which speak perspicuously of the family of Joseph and Mary, Jesus and his brothers and sisters.

Matt 12:46 (ASV) "While he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, seeking to speak to him."

Matt 13:55-56 (ASV) "Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?"

Mk 6:3 (ASV) "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended in him."

Gal 1:19 (ASV) "But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother."


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#46829 - Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:58 AM Re: The Suicide of a Denomination [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim
Originally Posted by john
Pilgrim,

What is your definition of perpetual virginity of Mary and what is your view concerning it? Are you saying that A) Mary's virginity with respect to Jesus or B) Mary's perpetual virginity even after Christ's birth is essential? From my reading, many of the Puritans/Reformers disagreed about this.

1. Perpetual virginity I understand to mean that Mary never had sexual relations with Joseph her husband nor any other man throughout her entire lifetime.

2. My view is that the assertion that Mary was a virgin throughout her entire lifetime is absurd and biblically untenable.

3. I do not think that on its face that the view that Mary was a perpetual virgin is essential. However, some of the reasons behind the doctrine are greatly contrived and the view itself is but a means to attempt to justify other even more pernicious doctrines. For example is the theory which is connected with the removal of Mary from the sphere of ordinary life and duties as too commonplace for one who is to be surrounded with the halo of a demi-god, and to be idealized in order to be worshipped.

4. Faith accepts the biblical passages which speak perspicuously of the family of Joseph and Mary, Jesus and his brothers and sisters.


Pilgrim,

Thanks. I agree as well. I asked because it was not clear from your original quote what you were indicating concerning the idea. I still find it interesting that a number of the initial reformers seem to agree with perpetual virginity or at least not to disagree with it. I suppose this was due to the influence of their times.

John

#46833 - Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:16 PM Re: The Suicide of a Denomination [Re: john]  
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim
Oh, but I do have an answer. The Lord Christ sometimes answered a question with a question, so it seemed good in this case that I followed suit. wink
Hey, quit stealing my lines pal. tongue wink

Originally Posted by Pilgrim
1. Re: your answer: Unfortunately, the visible Church consists of myriad and varied members, some of whom are not even regenerated. Thus, this begs the further question, Who in the visible church does one trust? The situation which evoked this question is paradigmatic. One part of the visible church has decreed that homosexuals are qualified to hold the office of elder and deacon. Another part has decreed that women are qualified to serve in both offices. But many others have decreed that neither are qualified. nono
But surely during the time of the Jerusalem Council, the visible church consisted of myriad and varied members, some of whom were not even regenerated. No? So, Iím not sure I get your point. confused

Originally Posted by Pilgrim
2. Now for my answer. As you probably anticipated, I believe that God's inspired, infallible, inerrant, written Word is the final arbitrator in all such matters of doctrine and life. It is the Holy Spirit who leads those who are Christ's to the truth.
Well, I wasnít sure what to expect. I think your answer is the same one the Judaizers gave is it not? When they advocated for Gentiles to observe the law in order to become Christian, they were appealing to Godís inspired, infallible, inerrant written word. As it turned out though, the final arbitrator was the church, ie. the council, guided by the Holy Spirit.


Originally Posted by Pilgrim
The problem I have with this suggestion is that 1) The Jerusalem Council is irrelevant to the issue at hand. It was a gathering of the Apostles during the infant stage of the Church wherein decisions had to be made in regard to the inclusion of the Gentiles in matters of the ceremonial law and justification by faith alone. Once the Church as an organization was established (cf. Eph 4:10-16), those called to serve in the office of Elder, Presbyter, Bishop, were to preach, teach, and maintain doctrine according to what they had been taught according to the Scriptures.
Now that I didn't expect. I didn't expect you to say the Jerusalem Council is irrelevant to the discussion at hand. Hmmm. Ok, is it relevant to any discussion we might have today? Are you telling me that had the Jerusalem Council decided upon whether homosexuals and women are qualified to serve, it would be relevant, but since they decided upon some other issue it is not relevant? Also, in the New Testament, Elders and Presbyters are the same thing and already existed by this time, as did bishops, so that seems to be more irrelevant to the subject at hand than the council.

Originally Posted by Pilgrim
2) Church councils since that time; I'm including the modern councils of Synods, General Assemblies and such, have erred, do err and will continue to err in their declarations as evidenced by the two abhorrent declarations referenced above. Members of those respective churches/denominations have given their assent to the authority of those bodies and are bound to acknowledge them through their obedience. HOWEVER, they are only obligated to render obedience as far as they are faithful to the Scriptures. This obedience is seen to be universal in scope and application in all spheres of life; e.g., children to parents, wives to husbands, citizens to their governing authorities, etc. When such authorities demand that which is contrary to the teaching of Scripture, then they are not obligated to render obedience. Likewise, where such authorities forbid that which God requires in the Scriptures, then such decrees/requirements are to be ignored.

Yeah, I certainly get all that, but how do you know theyíre wrong? Its interp vs. interp. To put it another way, how do you know their interpretation of scripture is wrong while yours is right? Is your interpretation infallible? I'm guessing you wouldn't claim that, so how then do you know your interpretation about what is essential and non-essential is the correct one?

Last edited by Newman; Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:31 PM.
#46844 - Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:42 PM Re: The Suicide of a Denomination [Re: Newman]  
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Hey Brian,

As usual you raise an interesting point but as a counterpoint, and I believe you stated in the past that this is non-essential, but the fact that the Roman Catholic church places the condition on a priest that he take a vow of celibacy. I don't know all the history there but obviously I would question those in authority on that issue as well as a few others that seem to run contrary to Biblical teachings.

Obviously, I realize the Roman Catholic church also appeals to scripture to support their practices and beliefs.....

Are there any 'essentials' in which you ever questioned the authority or can you not entertain that type of thinking?

I do believe there are some areas of Protestant Reformed teaching that are not as clear-cut as we'd like but nothing that I would jump ship over (maybe you feel the same, but that would be more of a problem for you as a Catholic then for me, no?) Because we don't claim that the Protestant church is infallible. We claim that God's Word is infallible and hope to rightly divide His Word.


The mercy of God is necessary not only when a person repents, but even to lead him to repent, Augustine

#46848 - Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:05 AM Re: The Suicide of a Denomination [Re: AC.]  
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Originally Posted by AC.
Hey Brian,
I believe you stated in the past that this is non-essential, but the fact that the Roman Catholic church places the condition on a priest that he take a vow of celibacy.

Its essential in the fact that, by and large (there are exceptions) Latin Rite (though not Eastern Rite) priests take this vow and they are expected to uphold it. Its non-essential in the fact that this discipline is not unchangeable. Its not dogma.

Originally Posted by AC
I don't know all the history there but obviously I would question those in authority on that issue as well as a few others that seem to run contrary to Biblical teachings.

Why? Would you have questioned the Council of Jerusalem when they bound all Christians (rather than a small few) to not eat meat from strangled animals, to not eat blood etc? Do you eat kosher only?

Originally Posted by AC
Are there any 'essentials' in which you ever questioned the authority or can you not entertain that type of thinking?

Not really. Sometimes I don't fully understand an issue at first, like in vitro fertilization for example. But in such a situation, I question myself before I question the church. If Paul and Timothy had come to my door in Acts 16:4 and told me not to eat chicken unless all the blood was drained out, I might be confused thinking that all foods were declared clean. But I'd question myself before I'd question the council. Other people, obviously, trust themselves more, and thus they have problems with abortion, gay marriage, birth control, celibacy, women priests etc. In other words, as you say, they have a problem with authority.


#46849 - Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:20 PM Re: The Suicide of a Denomination [Re: Newman]  
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Ok thanks for the response.

No I wouldn't question the Council of Jerusalem.

AC


The mercy of God is necessary not only when a person repents, but even to lead him to repent, Augustine

#46850 - Tue Jun 28, 2011 4:51 PM Re: The Suicide of a Denomination [Re: AC.]  
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That was a rhetorical question. I KNOW you are a man of great faith, and I KNOW you wouldn't question. As always, you are also too kind. :cool:

#46852 - Tue Jun 28, 2011 8:06 PM Re: The Suicide of a Denomination [Re: Newman]  
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Hey Brian,

All is fair in love and Board.... rolleyes2 man, that was too corny! laugh

AC


The mercy of God is necessary not only when a person repents, but even to lead him to repent, Augustine

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