Authenticity, Schmauthenticity

Ever since the First Pretty Good Awakening (at least), a kind of conservative Protestant has looked for indications of genuine faith — such as religious affections, or unwillingness to compromise with worldliness (read holiness) — to distinguish real Christianity from one that simply goes through the motions. (The search for certainty comes in other forms. Think of the “logic” that concludes with papal supremacy as the guarantee that inauthentic Christianity won’t prevail. Then we have the politicized Protestantism that looks for public square displays of moral outrage as indicators of the real deal.)

The First Pretty Good Awakening’s brief against nominal Christianity — going through the motions — raises serious problems for means of grace (confessional) Protestants since going to church, singing the psalms, receiving the Lord’s Supper, hearing the word read and preached are the very God-ordained motions that real Christians go through. Can singing be faked? Sure. The awakeners’ answer, then, was to find some form of Christian devotion that avoided dissimulation. One of the more recent examples of this quest for authenticity was charismatic or Praise & Worship worship (redundancy intended). Here, supposedly, was a vibrant display of worship, with music that would always yield the desired spiritual vigor.

Turns out that even charismatic worship can be faked (thanks to our Presbyterian-in-exile):

The lights are dim, candles are lit, the music swells as the lead vocalist goes up an octave for the climactic end of the song, and throughout the room dozens of college students raise their hands as they sing with abandon. It’s a powerful moment in the worship service. Then the song stops. The students drop their hands open their eyes. In front of me two of the girls who had their hands raised a few seconds earlier are having a conversation about their afternoon plans. Then the music starts up again, they end their conversation, close their eyes, and throw their hands up in the air again.

Whatever.

The solution is not to find the next devotional fix that will show when faith is real. It is instead to abandon QIRC and be content with the means that God has ordained, and the struggles that accompany seeing only by faith.

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45 Comments

  1. Posted December 19, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    The Apostle Paul has told us what the fruits of the spirit are and they aren’t very flashy. They’re downright slow and steady.

    A Baptist friend stopped by the other day and asked where I was going to church. He couldn’t comprehend that I wasn’t in a small group and that my kids weren’t in a youth group. Pretty much just Sunday worship (sigh…).

  2. Donald Philip Veitch
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Darryl:

    This pertains to the Presbyterian-in-exile.

    While perhaps a minor point to you and as an aside to your central point, note well that the Presbyterian-in-exile–as cited on his own webpage–submitted to the “regularization of orders” by the ex-Reconstructionist-once OPC-turned-REC-now-Bishop, Daniel Morse. (The same long phrase could apply to Ray Sutton inserting “dispensationalist” for “OPC.” Ray, a man longing for power, has gone through several iterations.) That is not to be missed, historically, that is, “regularization of orders.” A long back-story on Episcopal v. Presbyterian orders and validity. That change occurred in 1662. By law, Continental ministers during Elizabeth, James, and Charles 1′s reigns did “not” require re-ordination. They could minister upon receipt with recognition of their ministerial orders. By 1662, Charles II and the Anglican suppressionists changed the storyline. This event became a tool of control.

    This an entirely new trick with the RECs as they’ve lapped up several bad habits and doctrines from their new bedfellows, the ACNA. It arises from the severe temptation by a small group to be a bigger fish in a bigger pond…desperate moves for validation. This is also apparent from some of their senior leaders–the need for validation and need for a bigger pond.

    Brief admonition to Reformed Churchmen: steer clear of the REC and ACNA (except for academic purposes)–it’s full of Tractasses, charismoes and many who have rather small and selective bibliographies on Anglicanism. The new BCP isn’t terribly bad, but there are Tractasses running the show with a self-conscious anti-Reformed and anti-Reformation agenda.

    Back on point and back to the regularly scheduled programming.

    Regards.

  3. Donald Philip Veitch
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Darryl:

    One expansion on the sentence above. The ACNA—the new American-based, so-called conservative Anglicans—actively repress Reformation theology and the Reformed theology of the Thirty-nine Articles. (See: (http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=18192#.Um_6jIzD9jo).

    The poor “Presbyterian-in-exile” now turned REC, a Tractass-friendly group, has been “regularized” and will not be “forced” to use an anti-Reformational catechism. Watch the whole REC follow this new catechism. Oh how men fall, forget, obfuscate or diminish things as needed!

    Trust me, the ACNA is doing all of this behind closed doors with little publicity. The “cover game” when the catechism is unveiled will be the “Be nice theme.”

    The hand-wavers in the ACNA don’t have enough doctrine and don’t care about doctrine. Hence, the new catechism will get over on them.

    Back on point and the regularly scheduled programming.

  4. Posted December 19, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    With all that free time we’re able to take our boys to the gym almost every day and we can have family Bible study almost every night before bed. More “structured religious activity” for its own sake isn’t necessarily the goal. Paid clergy probably feel pressure to have lots of “programs” though, so people know they are busy.

  5. Donald Philip Veitch
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Typo above. “…will not be `forced’ to use an anti-Reformational catechism” should read: “…will now be `forced’ to use an anti-Reformational catechism.” But, this chap, being far down on the food chain with Tractass-Bishops lording over them, will get blind-sided. Or, perhaps he won’t care about the Confession and Catechisms, being PCA.

  6. Botticelli's Squaw
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    It is instead to abandon QIRC and be content with the means that God has ordained, and the struggles that accompany seeing only by faith.

    Amen, Darryl.

    It is as Erik says. I’d only add that the fruits of the spirit produce a decent order (that’s not a very popular word, I suppose) because of the conviction of one’s sin by the Holy Spirit. And it’s quiet because it’s humbling and continual. Maybe that’s what Jesus meant when he said that unless we be like children, the Kingdom of God is lost to us.

  7. Andrew
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    The Reformed faith may not be as old as Rome or Constantinople, but its most reliable guide posts are—to put it bluntly—old. At the same time, many Reformed Protestants consider themselves conservative, a disposition that is also oriented to the past and conserving as much of it as possible. Old life indicates that the old things are actually valuable and capable of sustaining authentic Christian faith, and that historic Reformed Protestantism specifically embodies a piety as vigorous and alive as any of its rivals.

    Who says this place is only brohaha. You sure get grief for simply sharing your thoughts, D.

    “..strugles that accompany seeing only by faith.”

    Well put.

  8. d4v34x
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    [I]n honor of Holy Week, Liberty held a special communion service in the basketball arena. It was a pretty spectacular sight. A hundred-foot cross was constructed on the floor of the arena, with thousands of grape juice-filled plastic cups and industrial-size buckets of communion wafers sitting on top. The whole thing was spotlit from below, which gave it a strange ethereal glow.

    …after[the communion service], the campus praise band played a song called “Make a Joyful Noise to the Lord.” It’s a catchy, upbeat number, and the only thing that distinguishes it from the twenty other catchy, upbeat numbers in the praise band’s repertoire is that this one has built-in audience participation–when the front man sings the title line, the congregation whoops and hollers, literally making joyful noises.

    That’s when it happened. When I heard thousands of Liberty students erupting in joy all around me, in a dark arena with a huge glowing cross, I got that same tingling sensation. This time, it began to feel like there was a string connected to the top of my head, and it was being pulled slowly upward, toward the ceiling. Pretty soon, I was joining the rest of my classmates in shouting and cheering–not out of any duty or desiring to blend in, but because in that moment, I couldn’t restrain myself.

    from The Unlikely Disciple (2009, Grand Central) by Kevin Roose.

  9. matt
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    If you’re not raising your hands to a rockin ‘n rollin U2 rip-off praise song (better have a life-changing extended guitar solo too) I ask, are you really authentic? Gimme the QIRC! I want my freedom to worship God any way I want. I want Liberty!

  10. Wholesome Severity
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Darryl, you’re in the OPC. That Trinity Hymnal is not a Psalter.

  11. mikelmann
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Severity, there is no mandatory hymnal or psalter in the OPC. I know there’s at least one OPC that sings from a Psalter.

    So batta batta batta swwwwing! and miss.

    Have you started therapy yet to sort this out?

  12. mikelmann
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    How about a how-to guide on speaking in tongues and interpreting them? Whether you’re speaking in tongues or interpreting, you have to build up credibility by really getting into worship. Close your eyes and sway with a smile on your face. Then when it’s time to speak in tongues, don’t use a Spanish, French, or Asian accent. Sound like you might imagine Old Testament Hebrew would be spoken. If you’re interpreting, say something like like a psalm or a benediction. Whatever you’re saying, speak about as long as what you are “interpreting.”

    Not that anyone would ever fake such a thing.

  13. Andrew Duggan
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    But the singing of the Psalms is a means of grace, singing Amazing Grace is not. The ministers in the OPC just most of the mainline presbyterian and successor ministers have, since the time of the great awakening, redefined psalms in WCF 21.5 to include counterfeits. The Kings of Israel from Jeroboam onward were as insistent as your average minister or “pew-sitter” of today that counterfeits are just as good as the real thing. The spiritual reality though still comes into play, and the P&W worship has to keep upping the frenzy to get that same “spiritual” high, and increasingly masks that the source of that “spiritual” high is not the Spirit of Christ richly dwelling in them. You can wipe the New Life P&W lip-stick off the golden calf, and return to those traditional hymns of the first and second great awakenings, but it’s still a golden calf.

  14. mikelmann
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Should I call you Wholesome Duggan or Andrew Severity?

    Well there now, you got it out. Itching for the umpteen to the power of umpteenth debate on exclusive psalmody. Been there, done that, resolved it to my satisfaction so you’ll have to see if anyone else will take the bait.

    Of course the Blue Trinity Hymnal has psalms within it and they are a regular part of the mix. But I don’t recall getting bigger pupils from singing the hymns than I do the psalms. There tunes are pretty much interchangeable and the primary thematic difference may be that the hymns directly speak about Christ. So your argument that the one puts us in a frenzy and the other doesn’t is batta batta swwwwing strike 2.

    We are currently working with the URC on a book that will contain all the psalms and fill the rest of its pages with hymns. I wonder how much that will confuse you. No, I get it, all it takes is one hymn – one golden calf, right?

  15. kent
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Oh great, another RPW and EP nut who them tweets how South Park rocked tonight?

  16. Bob S
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    Oh great, another RPW and EP nut who them tweets how South Park rocked tonight?

    John Murray?

  17. The Mad Hungarian
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    In American Presbyterian circles there are traditions both of singing hymns and exclusive psalm singing. Personally, I am convinced of the theological correctness of EP, but I have no problem worshiping in a church that also includes hymns. Why? Because frankly this is not a theological hill I am willing to die on. No church or denomination is perfect and this is an issue that is of secondary importance.

    I respect the EP position (even more so now that I am attending a RPCNA), but such wild-eyed denunciations do more harm than, say, a hymn in a worship service.

    Besides, Andrew, clearly you have never sung the Trinity Hymnal… there’s no “high” to be found there, lol. .

  18. Posted December 20, 2013 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Wholesome, duh.

    Identify yourself.

  19. Posted December 20, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Hold on to your orders of service — Chortles is about to drop some wisdom on church music. 1) Instruments (if any) should be modest and subservient. 2) Tunes should be singable and appropriate (free from unwholesome or distracting associations as much as possible). 3) Singing should be congregational (“speaking to one another”) — singing together, not being sung “at”. 4) Song leaders and praise teams introduce unnecessary visual and personal elements (and create a priest class), therefore kill them off 5) Any Reformed congregation which does not sing as many or more psalms than hymns is doing it wrong. Mic dropped.

  20. Bob S
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    There’s no question of what the original intent of the Assembly was, regardless of something like Needham’s special pleading in the WCF in the 21st Century series. There’s also no question what Am. presbyterianism’s understanding of WCF 21:5 – and this just in: they are not the same. AmPres left off what groups like the RPCNA still practice. Unfortunately imo but it is what it is.

    Wholesome? Let me guess. George Rutherford or Samuel Gillespie.

    Monsignor Chort. Not bad for a mediating position. You only left out the holy water and extreme unction.

  21. Posted December 20, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink
  22. Posted December 20, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink
  23. George
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m just recovering from a bought with norovirus that’s been going around so I probably am not in a proper frame of mind to even respond, but….

    I agree with CW’s five points of church worship except that I’d add a (4a) to the list: I don’t even think there should be a choir up in front of the congregation,let alone a praise team. I get tired of looking at them and even more tired of them eye balling us in the congregation. They ought to be in the back, in a choir loft as some confessional denominations practice (and most RCC, if I’m not mistaken) where they’re heard and not seen. They’re distracting to the worship and add not viable purpose.

  24. Posted December 20, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    I meant having song leaders, choirs, or praise teams was the problem — not that there was a way for them to do it better/right. That’s why I said kill them off (paging Sean). We agree, George…disturbingly enough.

  25. sean
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    C-Dubs I have sworn off all violence until next time, which means I’ve got two more days to try and align my chi

  26. Alexander
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    So is holiness not to be pursued? Are you saying there is no internal experience of the Spirit? And my understanding was that the OPC sings hymns. So by your own standards doesn’t that call into question your authenticity?

  27. Alexander
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Mm- I would have thought the main difference between the psalms and hymns is that the former were written by the Holy Spirit and the latter were not. I guess that’s a minor difference, eh?

    And the Psalms don’t talk about Christ? The only people who say that clearly haven’t read them or don’t understand them. The fact that the words “Christ” and “Jesus” aren’t mentioned is really irrelevant. No songs express the work and very thoughts of Christ in more depth, breadth and splendour than the Psalms.

    Hungarian- I would have thought the right worship of God was a pretty good hill to die on. You honestly think God considers how He is worshipped to be of secondary importance?

  28. Alexander
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Mm- So one congregation in the OPC sings from a Psalter? There goes uniformity of worship as well.

  29. Posted December 20, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Alexander, dripping faucets, poison ivy, Pajama Boy, the ENTIRE cast of Duck Dynasty, and “The Song that Has No Has No End” find you tiresome and annoying. We like the psalms, we sing them. We just aren’t going on a jihad against decent hymnals and those who use them. Merry Xmas.

  30. Alexander
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Saying you “like” the Psalms, you might as well say you “like” Scripture. I’m glad you “like” the testimony of the Spirit. It’s not for us to choose how to worship God, but only to obey.

    Hart said, in criticising those who seek evidence of the work of the Spirit in their lives, that we should sing the Psalms and that is an evidence of Christian devotion. But his denomination sings uninspired hymns as well and has its own hymnal. The OPC cannot be allowed to claim true worship when it does not adhere to it. And it’s members should not judge others according to standards to which they themselves refuse- arrogantly as exhibited by the comments here- to adhere.

    You all mock the p&w people for their subjective emotional songs, but you are clearly just as in love with your own hymns. And so many of these hymns were the p&w of their time. Why is Scripire not enough for you?

  31. Chortles weakly
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Standing by “like” — we Old Lifers are not given to emotional excess.

  32. Posted December 20, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m thinking the Hungarian sings psalms only after thinking about it a lot. No problem with that. I’m thinking Alexander has a long list of rules so he knows whose naughty and whose nice. This is rule number 241.

  33. Bob S
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    Alex the Great.
    I don’t sing hymns, but the one RPCNA that I had a chance to attend had such p*ss poor preaching. I couldn’t stick around. That’s if you could even call it preaching.
    The ProtRefChs, which were next on the itinerary, are psalmsingers. But along with denying the John Murray version of the Free Offer – that God has an archetypal love for the reprobate – they also deny the confessional and Scriptural free offer – that God freely offers salvation to all who repent and believe. (Yes, there is more to it than that. God is gracious in that he provides what he demands of the elect, faith, but ectypal theology is what it is including the historical use of the terms “offer” and “condition”.)
    Another splinter RP covenanting group sang psalms acapella, but also excommunicated anyone who didn’t acknowledge the authority of their “session” which ordinarily met/conducted business over international long distance phone lines.
    We now is in (sic) the URCs which are supposed to sing psalms predominantly according to their church order. Not the greatest, but hey, how about the CanRefChs? They still use the Anglo Genevan psalter – that’s right, the English translation of Calvin’s Genevan psalter! (granted along with some hymns that they keep adding to the mix) – but worse some CanRef don’t have a problem with Norm Shepherd or the FedVision which came up at their last synod vis a vis relations with the URCs and essentially nixed those relations.

    Long story short, there are hills to die on and there are hills to die on. Psalmody notwithstanding, the pulpit is central and the gospel is a non negotiable item in biblical worship.

    But let the flaming commence. If not you, somebody else will probably have a dig or two to get in. This is a prot combox after all.

    cheers

  34. Andrew Duggan
    Posted December 21, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Sounds like y’all got your oh-so-sensitive feelings hurt a little bit, did you?. The unrepentant always say that any message (even one that is not personally specific) that points out their sin is severe and justify themselves, suppressing the truth in hardening of their own hearts.

    Actually there is more than one EP church in the OPC. Whether or not the RPCNA has poor preaching has nothing to do with EP. Being EP by itself doesn’t mean one has gotten worship right.

    The fact that the TH has some Psalms, so what? It has hymns which are not authorized by God. So what if a new Psalter-Hymnal has all the Psalms. It’s still corrupted by the idolatrous hymns. The Psalms are the Word of Christ, those counterfeits you call hymns are not. That’s a fact you can’t change. So reform and publish all the Psalms, and maybe you do as well as Jehu. Just remember, Jehu’s dynasty was rejected because he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat that made Israel to sin. I’m sure you think you’ll do better.

    CW, instruments were to be played while burning the sacrifice. Where is the offering of the sacrifice on your list, since they go together? Don’t you believe that the ceremonial law has been fulfilled in Christ? No altar, no instruments. Fortunately, Christ has spoken in His Word as to how he is to worshipped, so we don’t need suggestions of CW.

    Enjoy yourselves.

  35. Posted December 21, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Andrew, I prefer no instruments and more psalms than hymns. I’m just not going to blow up my church and join a five-member house church to get it. I think it’s a good plan to follow Paul’s emphases when you’re ordering the church. He commanded psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (yes, I know, etc.) and that things be done decently and in order. If you can show me where Paul shut down a church and anathametized everyone over the occasional uninspired hymn (which he seems to quote), fine. And, remind me again — did St. Jean Cauvin sing only psalms?

  36. Zrim
    Posted December 21, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Alexander, you have a point about some old hymns in the hymnal being the praise choruses of their day–old does not equal orthodox. But by the same token, neither does new equal pious. So is the answer really to let P&W go unchecked? Maybe for the semi-revivalist, but not for the old lifer. If it helps, this old lifer isn’t convinced exclusive psalmody solves everything. Maybe something closer to sola scriptura.

  37. Alexander
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Zrim- P&W shouldn’t go unchecked, I agree. My point is that it’s a tad disengenuous for those in the OPC to criticise P&W for not adhering to the ordained means of grace when the OPC does not; for arguing that churches should be singing the Psalms when their own churches also sing uninspired songs with musical instruments. The OPC for of worship is certainly, I’m sure, superior to the charismatic: but it’s not the RPW, which is the Biblical form of worship.

    Bob s- Of course circumstances dictate where we worship. And if the psalm singing church isn’t preaching the Gospel then one may have to go elsewhere. But we’re taking here about principles as well. There doesn’t seem any desire amongst the OPCers to reform their worship. They se quote content: that is a problem.

    Chortles- I wasn’t taking issue with “like” because it wasn’t expressive enough. I took issue because the idea of a Christian saying he likes the Psalms, as if that wasn’t something that would be assumed, is strange to me. It would never occur to me to say I “like” any part of Scripture in the way you did. It’s the Word of God: it’s not for me to review. Of course there are parts of Scripture which people go back to again and again because of how it appeals of affects them or because of a great truth it expresses.

  38. Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Alexander, I don’t know what church you’re in in the UK, but the OPC has fraternal relations with all the conservative Reformed UK communions. Some of those are exclusive psalmody. And none of them have abandoned fraternal relations with the OPC for singing hymns. Not even Mr. Murray left the OPC over that.

    So where did you get your high horse?

    BTW, it’s interesting that your IP Address locates you in Methodist Central Hall in London. Ironic, no?

  39. mark mcculley
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Bob S: But along with denying the John Murray version of the Free Offer – that God has an archetypal love for the reprobate

    mark: Does that mean you also deny the “John Murray version”? Even though the “John Murray version” is not confessional, I was not aware that anybody in the OPC disagreed with the idea that God loves the non-elect. Even if they do not teach that God desires to save the non-elect, don’t they all teach some kind of “common grace” which is more than, other than “providence”?

    Isn’t it some kind of “love” to the non-elect for God to include some of them temporarily in “the covenant?

    I John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

  40. Zrim
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Alexander, have you considered that the criticism isn’t about the superiority of denominations, that it is also aimed at those within Reformed communions who aren’t being as consistent with their tradition as possible? In fact, maybe it’s more so from that vantage point, as in let the evangelicals behave like evangelicals but why would Presbyterians want to behave like evangelicals? So again you have a point (that plenty of P&R embrace P&W), but bringing it in for criticism isn’t so much disingenuous as it is old-fashioned Protestant.

  41. Alexander
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Mr Hart- I’m a member in the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland: a conservative Uk Reformed denomination with which the OPC does NOT have fraternal relations (not does any other denomination). Mr Murray left us for you.

    In your post you criticised contemporary worship for its subjective, emptionalistic approach to worship and devotion. I agree with your criticism. You argued for the ordinary means of grace approach; I concur. My issue is that you argue for the confessional approach to worship as if your denomination is a pure expression of that: but it’s not. You sing hymns and use instruments. As I’ve already said I understand that circumstances are sometimes less than perfect. But you shouldn’t hold up the OPC as the definition of confessional worship because it’s not. My church does adhere to the RPW, and the fact that almost no one else does is one reason we remain separate.

    If you were advocating for a reform of worship in the OPC that would be one thing but as far as I can tell you’re not.

    I don’t know why you insist on using language like “high horse” but it’s slightly ironic coming in the comments on a post you wrote attacking people over THEIR worship.

    Considering you extend a lot of energy arguing for the Reformed tradition- and exposing flaws in others’ practice- I feel justified in pointing out the flaws in your own denomination’s practice.

  42. Posted December 28, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Alexander, thanks for identifying yourself. So does Free Pree’s not have fraternal relations because everyone else sings hymns?

    BTW, I never identified the OPC as the pure church. I have enough of a paper trail that you would know that. And I did link to a chapter where I see ties between the hymnody of the First Pretty Good Awakening and praise songs.

    My high horse is simply the seat of the scoffer. I recognize plenty of foibles and errors on my part. My wife recognizes more. If purity were the basis for criticism, then you should go away.

  43. Bob S
    Posted December 29, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    MM, the OPC holds the door open with both a majority and minority report on the “free offer”.
    http://opc.org/GA/free_offer.html

    [Note: General Assembly reports (whether from a committee or its minority) are thoughtful treatises but they do not have the force of constitutional documents—the Westminster Standards or the Book of Church Order. They should not be construed as the official position of the OPC.]

    One synopsis would be that those who disagree with the FO deny that there is some kind of mysterious/paradoxical desire on God’s part that is unfulfilled when it comes to the salvation of the reprobate.

    Alexander,
    Had a chance to visit what used to be the FreeP congregation in Vancouver BC, but which by that time had become APC. Psalmsinging notwithstanding, ouch, the APC? Sorry not interested. I understand further that the APC’s can sing what they want in worship.
    And after Murray left the FP for the OPC, he helped institute the Reformed Pres. Ch. over here. There used to be a congregation in Portland, Ore. but which unfortunately is no more.
    We no like, but that’s generally the way it is here in the colonies. First Pres in San Francisco, Ca would be a OPC psalm singing congregation.

    cheers,

  44. Alexander
    Posted December 30, 2013 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    The APC are a completely different denomination, a breakaway from us. A liberal breakaway where, it seems, anything goes. Some of its ministers have even moved over to the Church of Scotland.

  45. Bob S
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    Alex, that is pretty much what I thought. The Vancouver APC is still a psalmsinging body but i would wonder for how long. If the root is rotten, it has to catch up sooner or later.

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