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#31824 Fri Mar 31, 2006 9:00 PM
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gotribe brought up an interesting topic:

Should there be any changes to the WCF and/or other documents to address current concerns in theological development? Here is a brief article addressing changes that are being considered: Revision of the Confession of Faith (Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America). Everyone may enjoy this development as well: Appendix 4 – Westminster Confession

I also know there is a book out there someplace discussing this issue, but I can not remember its name.

Remember the PCA has already changed it for the USA:

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The Presbyterian Church in America received the same Confession and Catechisms as those that were adopted by the first American Presbyterian Assembly of 1789, with two minor exceptions, namely, the deletion of strictures against marrying one's wife's kindred (XXIV,4), and the reference to the Pope as the Antichrist (XXV,6).

Other than these changes, and the American amendments of Chapter XXIII on the civil magistrate (adopted in 1789), this is the Confession and Catechisms as agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster which met from 1643-1647. The Caruthers edition of the Confession and Catechisms, which is based upon the original manuscript written by Cornelius Burgess is the Edition presented to and adopted by the First General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America.


Reformed and Always Reforming,
J_Edwards #31825 Fri Mar 31, 2006 10:13 PM
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Wow! Ask and you shall receive! That was fast.

I am printing out the two documents you linked for my evening reading.

If you don't see me here this weekend, it's not for lack of interest, but for lack of time. It's a busy time leading up to my son's wedding in May and this is just one more of those busy, busy weekends.

I'll sneak in to read what's being posted.

I'm looking forward to this discussion.

Thanks, Joe!

Hey, everyone! This should be a good conversation! Read up and enter in!


Trust the past to God's mercy, the present to God's love and the future to God's providence." - St. Augustine
Hiraeth
J_Edwards #31826 Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:01 PM
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For what reasons in changing it.

Is it incomplete?

Is it not written well for today?

Does it have errors?


John Chaney

"having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith . . ." Colossians 2:7
J_Edwards #31827 Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:53 PM
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What I believe gotribe has voiced concern over and which I also share is perhaps exemplified by this statement found on the page of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church link you provided:

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It is no surprise that the Cumberland Presbyterian Church would take such a step. It was the first church in this country to revise the Westminster Confession of Faith. The revision, which removed from the Confession the concept of unconditional election and enlarged the scope of human freedom, was adopted by Cumberland Synod in 1814.
I say to such people/churches, if the Westminster's doctrinal statements are not to their liking, then leave the Presbyterian Church and join with any of the number of Arminian churches out there. But leave Presbyterianism alone; don't try and redefine it. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/scold.gif" alt="" />

In His grace,


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J_Edwards #31828 Sat Apr 01, 2006 7:52 AM
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Joe,

The following quote is from the "Revision of the Confession of Faith" document:

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"2. Updating concepts and ideas--The dividing line between updating and changing is difficult to describe. One of the problems of the revision process could be at this point. The Church has grown and has had new experiences in the past 100 years. This new understanding and experience cannot be ignored in the revision."

It is apparent to me that this is even more dangerous than calling a constitutional convention in the U.S.

What exactly has changed in the last 100 years that calls for a change in the understanding of God's words? Things in this world do indeed change (often for the worse) but God's words do not. IMO, this undertaking (pun intended) has a very foul and corrupting odor to it.

The things that have changed in this world are not necessarily niceties we should be proud of. Included are such destructive new philosophies as Evolution, Socialism, Feminism, Ecumenism and Liberalism. IMO, there is a great clamor to make the "Church" more receptive to these evil ideas for the sake of a "peace" with these doctrines of demons.

Are these calls for peace with our world (by revising the time tested WCF) because of the fact that many people in our churches are becoming ashamed of the Gospel and the "foolishness of God"? I certainly hope not.

I wish them well but I smell a rat.

Denny

Romans 3:22-24


Denny

Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." [John 6:68]
J_Edwards #31829 Sat Apr 01, 2006 10:19 AM
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Well for me I do not see a need to change the original WCF, et. al. However, it does not directly address many of the theological problems seen today: NPP, Feminism, Postmodernism, etc. However, is it even suppose to?

IMO the WCF and the other historic documents are general statements of the faith and are not meant to directly address these concerns (though they somewhat do if properly interpreted). Thus, IMO a Reformed Apologetic Appendix may be discussed where certain heretical doctrines (syncretic--fusion of Jewish or pagan with Christian elements, formatory--when the Christian faith is being formulated, undue emphasis may be put on one aspect, and thus a statement of truth may result in error, and anti-ecclesiastical--against the Reformed church, its theory and its practice, etc.) are listed, discussed, overthrown, however not appended to the WCF, et. al. In other words just create another document addressing these concerns and to which future additions may be made. I think it would be great to have a document focused on such issues.


Reformed and Always Reforming,
J_Edwards #31830 Sat Apr 01, 2006 10:40 AM
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I agree.

Is the psalms only statement the lone statement in the WCF that is basically ignored in examining Pastors for ordination?


John Chaney

"having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith . . ." Colossians 2:7
J_Edwards #31831 Sat Apr 01, 2006 12:59 PM
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Joe,

I agree with your assessment. We do need a new and powerful document. There is nothing wrong with the old one excepting that the writers could not foresee the new corrupting and vile heresies that would plague the church in our day.

I would love to see an absolute affirmation of the first articles of faith of the old, concerning Sola Scriptura. I would then relish a new an ordered refutation of Liberalism, Neo-legalism (NPP), Socialism (liberation theology), Ecumenicalism, Feminism and homosexuality. All of this in a way that leaves no doubt or room for argument as to the stand (non-tolerance) of the Reformed Church in these postmodern and murderously destructive philosophies and sins.

I guess I don't want much, huh?

Denny

Romans 3:22-24


Denny

Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." [John 6:68]
Adopted #31832 Sat Apr 01, 2006 2:22 PM
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I, too, found some alarming statements in the Cumberland Presbyterian COF paper.

I had the one that Pilgrim shared highlighted. Here are some other concerns that, I believe are emblematic of the kinds of slippery slopes that revision will create:

"Let it be understood, in short, that ours is not a fixed and changeless, but a progressive creed; and through all the decades we are to seek a more and more nearly exact statement of the truth revealed in Scripture, and believed by our own people"

As if the people's beliefs should inform the truth of the creed. . .

I am pressed for time, but I do want to make one quick remark that will, hopefully, bring about some discussion.

Under Section II, Scope of the Revision"

Language changes--the use, even meanings, of words change in the course of time (agree). Since we use words as vehicles of communication, they should communicate our ideas and concepts as clearly as possible. (agree) In the revision, lay people, including children, should be considered as well as the person trained in theology. (disagree)

The precise language of the WCF is it's greatest strength. While I do realize that the language has changed since the origin of the document, I don't believe it necessarily follows that the original should be changed to reflect that. Rather, the terms and the nuances of doctrine should be preserved and carefully explained. We do no one any favors by "dumbing down" such precise terms. How much better it would be to value the document as it stands and challenge the clergy and laymen alike in the exercise of their intellect as well as develop right understanding through the study of the document in its historical context. Words mean things and we need not change the words to understand them.

My family is waiting for me to get off the computer and fix them some lunch so I will cut this short for now, but I will return to post a personal example of how taking the time to go through the nuances of the confession (or in my case, the catechism) actually sparked a deep love and respect for the original intent of the Westminster Divines in some women who started out saying that this antiquated document didn't "reach" them "where they were."

Pilgrim #31833 Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:28 PM
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Pilgrim said:

I say to such people/churches, if the Westminster's doctrinal statements are not to their liking, then leave the Presbyterian Church and join with any of the number of Arminian churches out there. But leave Presbyterianism alone; don't try and redefine it. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/scold.gif" alt="" />

In His grace,

You are right if a person does not believe what denomination he belongs in he should leave. This should be for any denomination. But most will not do it they will want to change it.

Some might not want to leave because they will have to start a new group with no members. They will not want to give up the nice buildings others have built and they use.

Pilgrim #31834 Sun Apr 02, 2006 2:08 PM
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Pilgrim said:

I say to such people/churches, if the Westminster's doctrinal statements are not to their liking, then leave the Presbyterian Church and join with any of the number of Arminian churches out there. But leave Presbyterianism alone; don't try and redefine it. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/scold.gif" alt="" />

Amen! We know people tend to drift away and we can see how liberalism has taken hold in many former denominations which were considered fundamentally sound. I whole heartedly agree that people who are not happy with their denominations, beliefs, or confessions, should leave rather than try to modify them according to their personal preferences.

I thank God we have the Westminster Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Creeds to seperate us from those who would lead us astray. I'm opposed to amending these documents to suit the present culture. You'd think we'd learn from history. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/nope.gif" alt="" />




Wes <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/rolleyes2.gif" alt="" />


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts
Wes #31835 Sun Apr 02, 2006 7:15 PM
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Joe said,

"In other words just create another document addressing these concerns and to which future additions may be made. I think it would be great to have a document focused on such issues."

It seems as though we are in substantial agreement that it is not necessary, nor desirable to change the WCF. I agree with Joe. It is not this generations task to rewrite the historic confessions and creeds, however, it is our task to address the current heresies that threaten sound doctrine today.

How do the rest of you weigh in on the need for a document that directly addresses the current issues in Christendom today that threathen the Reformed church?

A couple other questions: what are the issues that the Reformed church should formally "protest" against? Do you think it could be addressed within the larger Reformed community or do you think it must be done denomination by denomination? One more; who do you think should serve on this kind of magisterium? Do you like the slate of men who are going to be involved in this conference in July?


Trust the past to God's mercy, the present to God's love and the future to God's providence." - St. Augustine
Hiraeth
gotribe #31836 Sun Apr 02, 2006 8:00 PM
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A couple other questions: what are the issues that the Reformed church should formally "protest" against? Do you think it could be addressed within the larger Reformed community or do you think it must be done denomination by denomination? One more; who do you think should serve on this kind of magisterium? Do you like the slate of men who are going to be involved in this conference in July?
These are loaded questions. As far as what we should “formally protest,” IMO there should be a year set to go forward from and then begin there. For instance beginning in 1900 and forward ….. This would cover the last hundred years or so and give some needed context to many of the problems—i.e. post modernism, etc. AS needed, and since error tends to repeat itself in different forms and names, the previous years (prior to 1900) could be added over time, as needed.

As far as doing this denom by denom it would pose many problems as there would be multiple entries for each false doctrine. Of course, uniting all these denoms is not without its problems as well … However, the focus should be on a unified apologetic of the Christian faith that is Reformed in its theology. Getting different scholars together to fully discuss the issues would be life changing in more than one way—and a long process. IMO something like the Reformed Evangelical Association would be a good beginning for such a study and purpose.

As far as the community of men that would serve on such a committee (for lack of a better term) these would be numerous. Each should be a respected scholar in the area they are writing about. The slate of men in July would be a good beginning, but many others would need to be added.

<img src="/forum/images/graemlins/my2cents.gif" alt="" />


Reformed and Always Reforming,
gotribe #31837 Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:49 PM
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gotribe said:

How do the rest of you weigh in on the need for a document that directly addresses the current issues in Christendom today that threathen the Reformed church?

Just a couple of thoughts... churches that drift away break ecclesastical fellowship with their more conservative brothers and so there is no platform for dialogue between them. (like I John 2:19) One of the problems here is that they once held to the same confessions that we hold to but now see a need for change.

A couple of examples that come to mind are the PCUSA and CRC which have gone off the deep end embracing egalitarianism. In both of these cases they have compromised church polity to relate to the current culture. There was a time of protest from within these denominations but as time went on the majority bought into the change. The thing that amazes me is that the conservative voices left when they saw the direction these denominations were going and with their departure these churches became apostate.

I think we have sufficient documents without modifying the old standards. Thankfully we have some really good Reformed theologians who have addressed the current issues quite well. Through preaching, articles, speeches, and books, the popular heresies of our day have been defined and refuted. However, in our current culture many people aren't always looking for biblical answers. That's why Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, and others fill their churches quite well on Sundays. But what does the sinner hear?


Wes


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts
J_Edwards #31838 Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:50 PM
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Sorry about the loaded questions, Joe. I hope none of them are deemed inappropriate. It's just that that's what I've been thinking about. . .

Joe said:

"IMO there should be a year set to go forward from and then begin there. For instance beginning in 1900 and forward ….. This would cover the last hundred years or so and give some needed context to many of the problems—i.e. post modernism, etc. AS needed, and since error tends to repeat itself in different forms and names, the previous years (prior to 1900) could be added over time, as needed."

I really like this idea. Not only does it set parameters, it allows the examiners to follow the related threads and the developmental trends of the various issues being examined and addressed.

Joe said:

"As far as doing this denom by denom it would pose many problems as there would be multiple entries for each false doctrine. Of course, uniting all these denoms is not without its problems as well … However, the focus should be on a unified apologetic of the Christian faith that is Reformed in its theology."

I see the strengths and the problems with both approaches but I am with you that the focus should be on a unified apologetic of the Christian (Reformed) faith. That would sort of reflect the intents and focus of the Westminster magisterium, wouldn't it?

I'll have to go back and look at the brochure again. There were many names I was familiar with and there were several I had never heard before.

BTW, are you going to be able to attend? I sure hope someone from the Highway gets to go; wouldn't it be cool if someone could do nightly updates, a la Tim Challies and Doug McHone at the Shepherd's Conference?


Trust the past to God's mercy, the present to God's love and the future to God's providence." - St. Augustine
Hiraeth
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