You Can't Spell Presbyterian with "Me"

My personal advice to any American Protestant is never to interrupt a debate between two English dissenting Protestants about celebrity pastors, but when one of them, Paul Helm, calls the other, Carl Trueman, a Presbyterian perfectionist, afflicted with “Bannerman’s Disease,” and “the zeal of a convert,” I can’t resist.

There are books of Church Order to be read, the contents of which are mastered by the lawyer-types of the church, and I confess that I do not find these a very satisfying genre. But besides this, I know without looking, that presbyterianism, like any such human system, leaks all the way. It leaks through nods and winks, through unattributable comments, through what is said and what is not said. Human society cannot be otherwise. We all know of poor people who have to protest their innocence all the way up, in courts of law and in Christian denominations, and that have been ruined by the attendant exposure, quite apart from the weeks and months of strain while documents are prepared and friendly counsel advised and the day of judgement awaited…. I say, in such circumstances thank God for religious consumerism. At least the aggrieved party can walk away, find another place of worship, and still earn a living.

I fancy that Carl goes on about this because he suffers from a sort of presbyterian perfectionism. Call it Bannerman’s Disease. A cynic might say that he has the zeal of a convert. When he bids us all to think with him of the church of Christ as a remnant, as living its life as if in exile, I’m with him all the way. And as I said in the post, I agree with critiques of the Big Men such as his. But not with the cure-all of Presbyterianism. The Black Book does not solve the bugbear of accountability. And the point is, if there’s nothing better in the Church of Christ that presbyterianism, let’s at least acknowledge its flaws. Carl recognizes the imperfections of the human natures of those that thumb the Black Book, and this is welcome. And this was my point. A perfect system administered by those with imperfections is de facto imperfect. Spurgeon famously said (from memory) ‘For me “lead me not into temptation” means “keep me off the committee”’.

Helm is right in a general Protestant church-is-imperfect sort of way that Presbyterianism leaks. But the system of church government that Calvin developed has real assets that Helm too readily ignores. Imagine, for instance, a faculty meeting where provost, department head, senior professor, and lecturer are all equal and you have some sense of the dynamics of session or presbytery. Or imagine a meeting of politicians where queen, prime minister, and back benchers are all equal, with the same authority, same access to debate, the same number of votes — 1. Presbyterianism is the great leveler and is no respecter of celebrity, age, fame, or Facebook friends. And because the meetings of elders are regular and absences must be excused by the wider body, to be Presbyterian is to be involved in a regular pattern of attendance where you are just one more member with no more rank or privilege than the guy sitting next to you. You have 12 books. He doesn’t have a Masters degree. You have journalists from national publications seeking an interview. The guy next to you fixes leaking toilets. In Presbyterianism, if you both are ordained you are both equal.

For the sake of the temptations that had to accompany his fame, Spurgeon should have said, “committees, put me on more of them.”

And even in those odd circumstances where a single officer has broad power thanks to the consolidation of finances and administration — say in a denominational committee — in Presbyterianism that rule of one becomes a secretary of a committee. The head of the foreign missions committee, does he have powers of the purse and can he influence votes? Maybe. But he’s merely a “general secretary” in Presbyterian church government. That means he is doing the bidding of the committee on foreign missions, which is a sub-committee of the whole assembly.

You want to knock the pride out of celebrity pastors? Make them Presbyterian.

If Presbyterianism checks the sort of privilege to which bishops are prone, it also beats congregationalism. To be sure, the democratic nature of congregational polity could also restrain the kind of egotism that afflicts celebrity pastors. But more often than not, the politics of local congregations witness large clans or members with large wallets having more sway than other members or families. And pastors of independent churches often resemble bishops since they function in a capacity above the rest of the church and have no formal peers in ministry.

What Helm fails to see is that Presbyterianism, if all officers go to meetings and submit to their fellow presbyters (if they don’t, they’re not Presbyterian), by its very nature humbles the proud. And face it, famous preachers are prone to pride as much as any other celebrity. But among those churches where Presbyterian government is most evident and Roberts Rules most consulted, celebrity is hardest to discern in the deliberations of assemblies.

Presbyterianism is not a perfect solution to either the parachurch (Gospel Coalition) or helicopter church (Rome), but it has its moments.


48 thoughts on “You Can't Spell Presbyterian with "Me"

  1. I just can’t understand why Paul would criticize Carl. I mean, Carl preaches the gospel. Shouldn’t he just rejoice in that?

    A wise man once said:

    So, I say, don’t forget Paul. Here’s a bit more of him. (No doubt I’ll be told by some that I’m taking Paul out of context, or even, heaven forfend, of ‘proof-texting’):

    ‘Therefore, do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God’; and ‘Who are you pass judgement on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand’; and ‘Only that, in every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.’; and finally, ‘For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law….I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings’.

    Relevant? Worth keeping in mind?

    In human affairs, when we cannot get our own way, even if we are convinced that that way is God’s way, I suggest that the better course is not to keep banging on about it, but to turn one’s energies and talents in another direction.


  2. Darryl,

    On your example of the inequality of a faculty meeting I remember my first Head of Department answering an Admin Memo which asked ‘How many employees in your Department?’ with the riposte ‘Employees? We are six colleagues.’

    Those were the days!



  3. “We all know of poor people who have to protest their innocence all the way up, in courts of law and in Christian denominations, and that have been ruined by the attendant exposure, quite apart from the weeks and months of strain while documents are prepared and friendly counsel advised and the day of judgement awaited….” – Helm

    Must we remove from the kingdom all bitter vocations? Some are called to lie down besides Lazarus and let the dogs lick their sores. I have seen the very process as described bringing forth in the last hour the sublime fruit of almost a whole presbytery publicly repenting. What a blessed calling for those “poor people.”


  4. Like our gracious host and Dr. Trueman, I’m fully committed to the Presbyterian form of church government. Unfortunately, I’ve still seen it happen (recently) that the pastor promotes his buddies to the congregation, who are then, surprise, nominated and elected as elders and “share his vision.” The good old boy network can still prevail in Presbyterianism. That said, I’ve seen Presbyterianism work as intended for the good of the church most of the time. Churchill’s comment about democracy seems to apply here.


  5. Jesus to Paul—- unless I wash your feet…

    Paul to Jesus—then wash me all over

    Do you mean to say that these famous Presbyterians who quote each other to each other (in sermons and books) have less pride because they go to a presbytery meeting which looks different from the reality we see? If so, more meetings please.

    So many meetings that the meetings become the reality, and that these meetings don’t keep secret in the meetings the dirty tricks of those on whom hands have transferred “charismatic and apostolic authority to make the means of grace happen (or not) …..For the good of the meetings, we decided not to tell those outside the meeting….Besides, even though he was supposed to be coming to the meeting, it was three years before we noticed he was not there, and that was only after he got caught by another presbytery…

    The new job offer is contingent on your discovering a meaning for “sacrament” which then allows you to say what needs to be said about both water and bread….and also about the “ordination” of those who are marks of the church because they administer the marks…

    If “ordination” is life long status, what can one do to fail to stay in that status?


  6. David Gordon, as witness for Lee Irons—-WCF 19:1-2 appear to teach that the Decalogue is, in some sense, a covenant of works:God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works, by which he bound him and all his posterity to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience, promised life
    upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it, and endued him with power and ability to keep it. This law, after his fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments…
    Yet later (19:6), the standards plainly teach that believers are not under the law as a covenant of works. Although true believers be not under the law, as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified, or condemned; yet is it of great use to them, as well as to others; in that, as a rule of life informing them of the will of God… Does this mean that the Israelites were not under the law as a covenant of works, or (more likely) that Christians are not under the law as a covenant of works? Whichever,
    we are manifestly not “under the law” in the same manner that either Adam or the Israelites were under it.

    Click to access tdavid_gordon_testimony.pdf


  7. There are two problems that arise with celebrity pastors. The first is obvious, the celebrity pastor acts too big for their britches. The second is exhibited by some of the rest of us: jealousy.


  8. Curt, more to the point, I think the more common problem I think with celebrity pastors and their ilk (think TGC) is lack of accountability, but yeah, yours fit the bill too. Darryl’s post was more about how presbyterianism is an antidote to that problem, that’s how I read it.



  9. If “ordination” is life long status, what can one do to fail to stay in that status?

    Renounce one’s ordination vows, or be found guilty of going against them in a church a court.


  10. “The second is exhibited by some of the rest of us: jealousy.”

    Curt, I’m all for noting that when we point a finger there are four pointing back, but who in their right mind would want to be a celebrity pastor? And, yes, that definitely does raise a question about their mental state.


  11. love this verse of the Lord’s:

    We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom (His), so that we may present every man complete in Christ. Col 1:28


  12. yep, doin good Andrew; good chapters you list, don’t miss them;
    hard to pick just one great snippet from each but here you are: Rom 13:8; Gen 43:30,34; Mark 13:33; Job 9:32


  13. A.,

    Have you been having more success on your church website getting on facebook? Your non-denom church as memory serves hasn’t built out your presence on that platform yet, let me know if I can help. We’re doing good over here:

    If anyone wants to “like” us, we’ll take the bump. We’re trying to promote the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in our area, we could use all the help we can get. From the littlest of interlocutors to the DGH’s and beyond. I wonder if the vatican in on facebook? We know this (twitter[dot]com/pontifex) is the online profile for Frank, I wonder if he got his pizza today, let’s hope so.



  14. “You honor us with your celebrated presence.”
    Careful dgh, you might cross the line into veneration!


  15. seeker friendly, good call dgh, i’ve rarely seen this blog so exciting, and it has to be the MST (MW,Suze,TVD) factor at work, may they never leave us, with their mix of goofy and cute avatars.

    Who’s next?


  16. “What Helm fails to see is that Presbyterianism, if all officers go to meetings and submit to their fellow presbyters (if they don’t, they’re not Presbyterian), by its very nature humbles the proud.”

    So Presbyterianism works except when it doesn’t?

    “But more often than not, the politics of local congregations witness large clans or members with large wallets having more sway than other members or families. ”

    Exactly the same dynamic was at work at a regional level during the various FV hearings and trials.

    Going back to the linked articles, it’s instructive that CT brings up the case of Mark Driscoll, whilst not mentioning CJ Mahaney (to whom he gave a clean bill of health – apparently those Presbyterian instincts are not always on the nose).


  17. ChrisE, thanks for your thoughts. I was wondering who would be next, didn’t think it would be you (#emoticon).



  18. You know, I hear a lot of stories of abuse coming from churches that have episcopal and congregational polities.

    Not so much with presbyterian polities.

    (cough, nervously looks around with sweat on his brow)


  19. Jeff Cagle
    Posted May 27, 2015 at 1:04 pm | Permalink
    Yeah, but wasn’t Machen hoist on the petard of process?

    Spit happens. Don’t be a drag, Jeff. Darryl’s on a roll.


  20. AB – I think we are kidding ourselves if we start to think that total depravity doesn’t apply to the systems we prefer.


  21. D.G. Hart: “You have 12 books. He doesn’t have a Masters degree. You have journalists from national publications seeking an interview. The guy next to you fixes leaking toilets. In Presbyterianism, if you both are ordained you are both equal.”

    GW: Yea, and amen, this is indeed biblical Presbyterianism — when it is working as it ideally ought to work. But, as you know, sometimes in this fallen world and in an imperfectly sanctified church, things don’t always work as they are suppose to. And let’s admit it, even in the OPC we are prone to the sinful tendency to gravitate toward our own celebrities, especially intellectual celebrities like influential seminary professors.

    Example: I recall a time many years ago when a previous Presbytery where I held membership had questions about certain statements written by a retired seminary professor in one of his books (this professor being a member of our Presbytery). The brother hadn’t written anything heretical, but some of our number desired for him to clarify his written views on certain topics. Therefore our Presbytery erected a committee to send this brother a letter wherein it respectfully sought clarification of certain of his views.

    His response? Basically, he stonewalled, and wouldn’t answer our questions, and the motives of those presbyters desiring clarification ended up being called into question. In the end our Presbytery let the matter slide, and regrettably it never got the clarification it had initially sought.

    If it had been a newly-ordained minister or some other lesser mortal who had refused to answer a doctrinal question addressed to him by his own judicatory of original jurisdiction in the same manner this elder brother had refused to answer, one suspects that the Presbytery would not have allowed the matter to slide quite so easily.

    The point being, if Presbyterianism is working the way it ought to (i.e., biblically), then both the newly ordained minister who is just getting started in his ministry and the gray-headed, well-respected seminary professor who has served the church for many years are not only “equal” on paper; they ought also to be treated by their judicatory of original jurisdiction as being equally accountable to said judicatory. Consistent Presbyterianism, when it is working biblically, crushes the “good ole’ boys” club.


  22. That’s a curious scenario, Geoff. If he was retired and the Presbytery did not see heresy, what was the urgency to erect a committee? And wasn’t the committee potentially there to see if he would testify against himself and open himself up to being charged with heresy? “We’d like you to meet a committee so we can get evidence against you.” Without knowing anything more, maybe stonewalling was an appropriate response.


  23. “Geoff, yes. But episcopacy or monarchical papacy won’t fix anything.”

    Agreed. Presbyterianism is the best thing we have going this side of glory, polity-wise.


  24. Muddy Gravel: “That’s a curious scenario, Geoff. If he was retired and the Presbytery did not see heresy, what was the urgency to erect a committee? And wasn’t the committee potentially there to see if he would testify against himself and open himself up to being charged with heresy? “We’d like you to meet a committee so we can get evidence against you.” Without knowing anything more, maybe stonewalling was an appropriate response.”

    GW: The committee was erected because there was a question about certain written statements by this presbyter which could be construed (or misconstrued, as the case may be) as being out of accord with our confessional standards on a particular doctrine (in this case, certain statements the brother made in his book regarding the sabbath). It is a Presbytery’s responsibility to oversee the doctrinal soundness of its members and to make sure that their views are within the bounds of our system of doctrine, so the Presbytery was fully within its rights to seek clarification. (My recollection is that one of the reasons why the Presbytery sought informal clarification through a committee is because there was no desire to pursue formal judicial process.)

    Furthermore, it is every presbyter’s responsibility, as part of his duty to be in subjection to his brethren in the Lord, to be fully transparent about his views with respect to the confessional standards to which he has solemnly subscribed in his ordination vows should his brethren request or require an accounting or clarification of his public teachings, whether or not such transparency might expose him to potential self-incrimination before the courts of the church. (When someone, especially a church officer, puts out his views in a public forum such as a published book, then he is thereby opening himself up to public scrutiny and possibly public criticism. If you put teaching out in a public forum, you should be willing to defend, explain and clarify it publicly.)

    If my Presbytery were to seek clarification for any of my public statements or teachings, either from a sermon I had preached or in something that I had written, I would hope that I would be eager to offer any clarification my brethren might require of me. As a young presbyter it was a great disappointment to me early in my ministry to witness this otherwise sound, scholarly, and gifted older brother in the Presbytery behaving in such an unpresbyterian way. (And, no, the committee of the Presbytery was not “out to get him”; although he may have misunderstood the committee’s intentions.)


  25. Geoff, I’ve seen excellent and helpful committee work in my current denomination. I’ve also seen self-important, overreaching, and bureaucratic committee work in another NAPARC denomination, so I may have some sensitivities here.

    Committees can be helpful in pastoral situations and but I’m less comfortable with a committee, as it were, looking for trouble. The mere request for clarification would feel like a presumption of guilt on an issue weighty enough to require a committee. Then the written response looks like an attempt to collect evidence that can’t be rebutted. Given a range between “pastoral” and “inquisitorial” I wonder if a toe was just over the line.

    In light of your comments on how ministers should be open and responsive to inquiries, it’s interesting that the PCA has an overture that essentially asks to take away a minister’s right to not testify against himself. (I hope that’s accurate). I think that’s a dangerous direction – fraught with potential abuse.


  26. Muddy Gravel: “Committees can be helpful in pastoral situations and but I’m less comfortable with a committee, as it were, looking for trouble.”

    GW: I agree that committees can sometimes be clunky, over-reaching, etc. But all this committee sought was some simple clarification; it wasn’t “looking for trouble” (though my recollection is that it was unfairly spinned that way by those who did not favor the committee). It’s really that simple. But by stonewalling and refusing to offer needed clarification, the officer in question ended up actually raising suspicions in the Presbytery rather than deflating any potential concerns. If he had simply complied with the Presbytery’s request I suspect the concerns would have been laid to rest.

    Being an officer in a NAPARC denomination like the OPC is not a “right,” it is a privilege. And if you are an officer in the OPC, you have the duty, under God, to be subject to the oversight of your judicatory of original jurisdiction. Ministerial members of the OPC are subject to the oversight of their brethren in the Presbytery. As a ministerial member of my Presbytery I recognize that my Presbytery has the right to ask me any questions it wants to with regards to my confessional adherence. (I.E., they have the right to subject me or any other presbyter to an “inquisition” should they judge that such is necessary.) Should a committee of Presbytery ever seek to “look for trouble” against me, I would have no reason to worry. I would hope, by the grace of God, that I would be as transparent as possible, and if said committee were to try to lynch me ecclesiastically by misconstruing any of my public statements or teachings, our Book of Discipline contains ample provisions for me to defend my good name and reputation in the courts of the church. (And, in the OPC, the courts of the church and the General Assembly tend to be mightily resistent to frivolous or unfounded charges, especially those brought against church officers.)


  27. Muddy: “Geoff, in light of what you’ve said, do you like the PCA proposal?”

    GW: I’d have to study this proposal and learn the history and circumstances behind it before I could offer an educated opinion on it. But from just the quote you offer above it sounds like this has to do with a formal accusation made before the courts of the church, in which case it isn’t really relevant to what I am speaking to (i.e., a committee of Presbytery “informally” seeking clarification from a brother presbyter rather than bringing formal charges against him).

    There is certainly a place for formal ecclesiastical charges and formal church courts (after all, I am a Presbyterian, so I wholeheartedly affirm Presbyterian discipline). But in my opinion formal ecclesiastical judicial action is by nature more adversarial than it is pastoral; therefore I think that, under ordinary circumstances, formal judicial charges should be brought only as a last resort after every other (informal, pastoral, and more personal) avenue has been pursued. (I believe that was actually one of the reasons why the Presbytery had decided to seek clarification through a committee of Presbytery which “requested” clarification rather than through the more compulsory avenue of judicial charges, which no one was inclined to pursue. This presbyter was a well-respected, orthodox servant of the church, and all that was sought was clarification, not ammunition for judicial charges. He should have gladly offered the clarification that was sought, even though he was not under the constraint of judicial charges, without the defensiveness and stonewalling.)

    (BTW, the brother in question is now a member of the church victorious, so any previous ecclesiastical imperfections on his part no longer remain.)


  28. #MachenWasProphetic

    Presbyterians and “Decently Ordered” Schism
    Schism, like everything else in the Presbyterian Church, appears to be “decently ordered.” Like the neat, clean Excel spreadsheet rows that delineate the membership decline of America’s largest Presbyterian denomination (PCUSA), the process of leaving the PCUSA is laid out for churches and groups who decide they can no longer exist under the its authority. And I’m not just saying that tongue-in-cheek: In an interview not too long ago, Dr. Laura Smit, a professor at Calvin College and Presbyterian minister, made the case that schism is actually a form of obedience to PCUSA polity.

    And if that’s not enough, here is what you might read—as the member of a PCUSA congregation—when your church is going through the process of changing denominations:

    The Exploratory Task Force gave their final report to Session last month. Their recommendation was to leave PCUSA and enroll the church in [insert your favorite flavor of new Presbyterianism here]. On motion, and after much discussion, the Session accepted the Task Force recommendations and agreed to move forward with the discernment process as defined by Presbytery. The Listening/Discernment Team from Presbytery presented their proposed Listening/Discernment Process plan which the Session agreed to implement. This will result in a number of congregational informational meetings and discussions culminating in a congregational vote, which will decide on the options of staying with the PCUSA or joining another Presbyterian denomination.

    See what I mean by decently ordered?

    Of course, like divorce, reading about the legal requirements of separation is always much more sterile and tidy than the truth about the situation for those living through it. I know this because the excerpt above was lifted from this month’s newsletter from my own church here in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

    Here are a few thoughts, in no particular order, which may flit through the mind of a Presbyterian when it is announced that his/her church might be leaving the PCUSA:

    Are we considering the PCA, EPC, or another newfangled denomination?
    Will we keep our building?
    How will this impact the church budget?
    Is this because of the gay issue?
    What about the ordination of women?
    Why now?
    I have to vote on this.

    At least, these were the things I pondered (instead of listening to the sermon) a couple of Sundays ago when I heard that my church was considering leaving the denomination.

    At some point during the same service, a representative from the PCUSA interrupted our pastor mid-sentence to let the congregants know that he had joined us “to listen” to the congregation’s concerns. My pastor, to his credit, graciously affirmed the interrupting voice, introducing the man as someone who had been assigned to us from the Presbytery.

    After the service, I was given a stack of informational documents that were supposed to help me in my discernment process leading up to the congregational vote. Included in these documents was a denomination comparison chart, in which I was shocked to learn that a majority of PCUSA pastors and elders question the exclusivity of Christ as a means to salvation.

    Could this be true?

    Having grown up in an age of constant media spin, I wondered if this was perhaps an embellishment based on an obscure survey’s poorly worded question.

    Unfortunately, subsequent research has only served to reconfirm this shocking fact. In a 2011 survey—released by the PCUSA itself—it was found that only 40 percent of elders and pastors believe that “only followers of Jesus Christ can be saved.” As if to demonstrate that their commitment to order is stricter than their commitment to scripture, tradition, or religious authority—the PCUSA continues to make this stat widely available through an easily searchable document on their own website (see for yourself by clicking here).

    Of course, the Institute on Religion and Democracy reported on this alarming statistic years ago. I guess in the deluge of dismal statistics about the PCUSA over the last few years, I missed this finding of the Presbyterian Panel Survey.

    Still, I think it is important to note that the PCUSA’s Book of Confessions—which describes the central tenets of Presbyterian faith—is quite clear: Jesus is the only means to salvation.

    There is no easy way to reconcile the fact that the results of the 2011 Presbyterian Panel survey are at odds with PCUSA’s own guiding statement of faith. The writing is on the wall, though. Presbyterians often boast that democracy is older in our church than it is in our country. With scores of Presbyterians leaving the PCUSA every year for more orthodox denominations, the voting body is becoming increasingly liberal. It seems inevitable that the day will come when the denomination votes to add language to the Book of Confession which rejects the exclusivity of Christ.

    There is one silver lining, though, for those who insist on remaining in the PCUSA: The denomination could very well grow after they formally vote to reject Christ’s unique role in salvation. After all, such a vote would align the PCUSA nicely with the Unitarian Universalist church and perhaps the two could merge.

    Peter Johnson is External Relations Officer at the Acton Institute. A graduate of New York University where he studied English and philosophy, Johnson lived and worked in Africa and in South America, where he taught rural subsistence farmers


  29. OLTS’s own Chortles Weakly get’s honorable mention in GA blog junkie’s blog post, as OPC GA starts tonight, way to go cw l’u!

    82nd General Assembly Of The Orthodox Presbyterian Church
    Leave a reply
    210px-OrthodoxPresbyterianChurchlogoThe 82nd General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church begins this evening, 3 June, at Dordt College in Souix Center, Iowa. The meeting will conclude no later than noon next Tuesday, 9 June.

    This GA does not have live streaming but we have the next best thing: There is a tradition of very well done running daily reports for the OPC GA and if the tradition continues this year I will update here with the link.

    The agenda and reports are not posted on line but you can access the Book of Church Order and the Standing Rules and Instructions of GA if you need background material.

    Last year one of the individuals following the GA, Chortles Weakly, tweeted “#OPCGA may be the twitterverse’s loneliest hashtag.”


  30. Doesn’t “the regulative principle” say that you have to get permission before you “withdraw”? Or is just the want to be “reformed baptists” who say that? Gaffin’s not -yet is a cure for all perfectionism. Perfectionism wants to keep the “alone” in the solas. No balance….

    Truman—“ Acceptance of the teaching of the Church on the issue once it has been legislated is what Presbyterianism means. He could well have referred to Charles Hodge’s statement on such an ecclesiastical point: once the Church as a whole has made a formal decision on a matter, ministers have but three options – they can wholeheartedly support the position, passively accept it, or peaceably withdraw


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