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What are the main differences (in Reformed circles)

Posted By: John_C

What are the main differences (in Reformed circles) - Thu Oct 25, 2018 1:27 PM

between the Continental Reformed vs the Scottish (American Presbyterianism) Reformed?

Last night in our video study, Ian Hamilton made a statement that Calvinism did not have a single expression. He called it the lesson Godly Catholicity. But when it came to discussion we mostly came to the conclusion that he was referring to the 3 Forms of Unity and Dordt vs the Westminister Confession, WLC, WSC. I really do not see those as different expressions as they are so similar.

So, what would you say are the main differences between the two?
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: What are the main differences (in Reformed circles) - Sat Oct 27, 2018 10:15 PM

There aren't many notable differences between the two. Classically, there is a difference between the matter of the Christian Sabbath. Also, the Continental Reformed churches hold to presumptive regeneration of covenant children vs. Presbyterians, particularly those of Edwardian persuasion reject any such notion. However, in practice, many Presbyterians of our day hold to a form of presumptive regeneration which varies a bit but in the end is essentially the same. Another difference which comes to mind and is related to the issue of children is the salvation of those who die in infancy.

Canons of Dordt - First Head of Doctrine: Article 17
Since we are to judge of the will of God from His Word which testifies that the children of believers are holy, not by nature, but in virtue of the covenant of grace, in which they, together with the parents, are comprehended, godly parents have no reason to doubt of the election and salvation of their children whom it pleaseth God to call out of this life in their infancy.

Westminster Confession of Faith - Article 10
Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit, who works when, and where, and how He pleases: so also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.

There are other minor differences, e.g., the election of Elders and Deacons, etc., but these are what first come to my mind.
Posted By: John_C

Re: What are the main differences (in Reformed circles) - Sat Oct 27, 2018 10:34 PM

Pilgrim, what do you mean by Edwardian persuasion?

Somehow, I thought there were differences in the kingdom. Westminster cites the kingdom of God is the church whereas the Continental Reformed (Kuyper) widens it a lot more.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: What are the main differences (in Reformed circles) - Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:18 PM

As I pointed out, there are other differences, but too many major differences. The Continental Reformed churches existed over 200 years before Kuyper. He brought in some good and some bad teachings, e.g., "sphere sovereignty", "common grace", and others. Echatologically, the Dutch churches held to Amillennialism and the Presbyterians Postmillennialism... for the most part.

Re: Edwardian persuasion (of which I would identify with) on the matter of children, Edwards considered ALL children as "little vipers in diapers", i.e., born in sin and liable to judgment unless by God's grace and the regenerating of the Spirit, they repented of their sin and believed on the Lord Christ with a true living faith. The only advantage the children of church members had was that they were exposed to the means of grace, i.e., the preaching/teaching of the Word, the example of godly people around them and their prayers on their behalf. The only "presumption" that could be legitimately held is that until there is legitimate Spirit-wrought repentance and faith is that the children were, dead in trespasses and sins, under the power of the Devil, and by nature they were the children of wrath no different than anyone else who is conceived (Eph 2:1-3).
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