Does the Tie that Binds Extend to Old Life?

I wondered after reading this:

Jevon is a Pastoral Resident and Church Planting Intern at Independent Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tennessee. What that means is that Jevon is a Bible-believing Christian who has devoted his life to serving Jesus Christ vocationally within the same denomination that we’re a part of. Jevon and I have a whole lot in common. Though we’ve never met personally, I can say with a great deal of confidence that our fellowship would be sweet.

But there is one observable difference: Jevon is black, and I am white. Because of the color of his skin, Jevon faces fears that I don’t face. That fact alone is profoundly disturbing to me, and it should be disturbing to all Christians. For at the foundation of Christianity is the belief that ALL men and women (no qualifications) are made in the image of God and deserve the dignity and treatment consistent with that reality.

I too like to think (all about mmmmeeeeEEEE) that I am a Bible-believing Christian who serves Christ and who has fellowship with Pastor Shurden through ecumenical ties between the OPC and PCA. And yet I wonder if the sweet, sweet fellowship that he assumes he has with Jevon Washington also includes confessional, spirituality-of-the-church Presbyterians like moi.

Or in this post-Ferguson era does Pastor Shurden feel more affinity with Michelle Higgins than with Chortles Weekly? If the basis for fellowship among Presbyterians is biblical teaching summarized in the Confession of Faith, then creed matters more than blood. After all, it takes more than being human to belong to a Presbyterian communion (though being human is pretty good).

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65 thoughts on “Does the Tie that Binds Extend to Old Life?

  1. D. G. Hart says: CW, even Mermaid?
    cw l’unificateur says: Even Ali.

    the harder test, DG, per cw, Ali 🙂 so, it’s not’ affinity’ based on most common beliefs, apparently, but feeling, ie sentiment, right cw?

    DG says: creed matters more than blood.

    summary from Jesus: same ‘dna’ (the Spirit) + same heart

    Jesus: But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who wereborn, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13

    Jesus: I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. Ex 36:27

    Jesus: For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”Matt 12:50; Luke 8:21

    D. G. Hart says: suhweet suhweet spirit in this place. hmmmm, not sure 🙂

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  2. DG wrote:

    “I too like to think (all about mmmmeeeeEEEE) that I am a Bible-believing Christian who serves Christ and who has fellowship with Pastor Shurden through ecumenical ties between the OPC and PCA. And yet I wonder if the sweet, sweet fellowship that he assumes he has with Jevon Washington also includes confessional, spirituality-of-the-church Presbyterians like moi.

    Or in this post-Ferguson era does Pastor Shurden feel more affinity with Michelle Higgins than with Chortles Weekly?”

    DG. Welcome to the weird world of the PCA. Now you know how guys like me feel when surrounded by those who want to transform the culture. The confessional guys generally hang together but we are simply out-numbered. Our votes in committee or on the floor of General Assembly are cancelled by the overwhelming numbers of the transformationalists. And for fellowship? Well, conversations are cordial and polite but I don’t think that there is deep fellowship as much as there is grudging tolerance between confessional and transformational folk. Each group hangs out by itself and views the other side with suspicion.

    If you were in the PCA you would be marginalized like the rest of the confessional folk. You would be excluded from leadership, barred from positions of influence, and if you spoke in a public forum you would be mocked. My wife was in the visitors section when the vote on the women’s study committee was being conducted. Every time a confessional person stood up to speak against that motion she noticed quite a few hipster type guys mocking and ridiculing the speaker. As I said, welcome to the weird world of the PCA. Our motto, “Faithful to the Scriptures, True to the Reformed Faith, and Obedient to the Great Commission” may need to be modified in near future. I’m not recognizing the reformed faith that many in the PCA are practicing.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. To the point of the post, when a PCA committee floated the idea of dumping NAPARC a few years ago and when (at GA) old schoolers are pilloried as pot-stirring pre-Cambrians…the love, she is not felt.

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  4. So here I am, a confessional, two-kingdoms guy quite distressed by all that is going on within the PCA. I am fortunate that my pastor and the other elders in our small church are all on the same page. I’m watching all this with some trepidation.

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  5. cw, pass this along if you happen to see anyone who may need it…..
    remind them to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men
    many will follow their sensuality,(ie any fleshy gratification) and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned

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  6. Ali, thanks for the video. I now have this strong urge to walk across a small wooden bridge and then burn it.

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  7. When Christianity Today can identify the eighteen wheeler sized holes in the logic of what you’ve done, you’ve established a new standard of ineptitude.

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  8. cw l’unificateur says: Ali, “give up all our dignity” — CHECK.

    oohhh, that’s why you reject those heart songs, cw , that ‘splains it

    speaking of “gave up all dignity” — CHECK”.….
    despised, forsaken, oppressed, afflicted, not esteemed , Jesus endured the cross, despising the shame; not regarding His equality with God a thing to be grasped, taking on a man-bond-servant form, pouring Himself out unto death.
    He was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.

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  9. >>>>surrounded by those who want to transform the culture<<<<

    In France they have a word for this sort of thing . . . "Lacoste." It means big mouth, little legs. Having a big mouth has become a cottage industry within evangelicalism. Professional bigmouths. Before they transform the entire culture, I'd be grateful if they would just decrease the illegitimacy rate below 72 percent in certain neighborhoods. How hard is that?

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  10. DGH:

    Did not the Christians attempt to transform the culture after the ascension of Constantine? I think I remember reading in “The City of God” that Augustine witnessed the fall of Rome not too terribly long afterwards. Culture remained untransformed for well over a millennium.

    Where is the Scriptural or historical precedent for cultural transformation?

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  11. The answer to the question posed by the article depends on which has precedence in people’s lives: the confessions or the Scriptures. Realize that our confessions are to us what the traditions were to the pharisees’ of Jesus’s day. And the temptation they so easily fell to time and time again is waiting for us: Will we put a higher priority on our Confessions than we do on the Scriptures? For if OPC people cannot find fellowship with PCA people, something is amiss.

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  12. rev153, Christians transform culture all the time. I clean the bathrooms. I take out the trash. I change the litter box. Do I need a biblical text?

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  13. Curt, you mean, will we put a higher priority on your interpretation of Scripture than the Confession’s? It’s not like we get Scripture straight from you.

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  14. D.G.,
    Why would you say such a thing? Do you have to attack those who disagree?

    We get the Scriptures straight from neither myself nor the Confessions. I am pointing out that when we put high of a priority on the Confessions, we informally elevate them to the level that the Scriptures alone should have. And part of keeping the Confessions in their proper place is to be able to criticize them from a Scriptural point of view. Another part of keeping the Confessions in their place is to be able to freely fellowship with those who have significant disagreements with the Scriptures. After all, it wasn’t the Westminster Divines who died for our sins nor did they even have the advantage of Paul and Peter who, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote epistles that was part of God’s Word.

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  15. D. G. Hart says: rev153, Christians transform culture all the time. I clean the bathrooms. I take out the trash. I change the litter box. Do I need a biblical text?

    yes. first …clean the inside, so that the outside of it may become clean also. 🙂

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  16. Curt, before you go jumping on that Pharisee bandwagon, keep in mind that while Scripture condemns them for their hypocrisies it also commends others who also had a high view of the tradition and practiced it, however imperfectly. It’s not the tradition that’s the problem, it’s human sin. Or do you imagine that those who exalt the supremacy of the Bible are somehow immune to hypocrisy?

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  17. Zrim says:Curt, before you go jumping on that Pharisee bandwagon, keep in mind that while Scripture condemns them for their hypocrisies it also commends others who also had a high view of the tradition and practiced it, however imperfectly. It’s not the tradition that’s the problem, it’s human sin. Or do you imagine that those who exalt the supremacy of the Bible are somehow immune to hypocrisy?

    I was reading a while back how Jesus Himself never said anything positive about the tradition of man. Have never verified that.

    Anyway, zrim says that those who exalt the supremacy of the Bible are somehow immune to hypocrisy –
    ‘those’ ones are likely the greatest ‘hypocrites’ in their minds, in a sense, right zrim? – seeing and believing and proclaiming all the word of God as commanded, yet always realizing the contradiction, the great gulf, between it and oneself.
    I don’t mean to be unfair, but sometimes I get the impression your suggestion is not to exalt the supremacy of the Bible so much

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  18. Ali, the point is about abiding sin. Sometimes the impression is you don’t get it. Nothing covers it up, not even Bible touting. Have you considered that the criticisms you may have for confessionalists can just as easily be turned on biblicists, as in the moment you open your mouth to speak for God you do what confessionalists do, i.e. interpret? So what makes you immune to hypocrisy? Nothing, so why not join with those just as vulnerable but also have done serious work to interpret the Bible?

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  19. @Ali
    I don’t recall if Jesus ever commended tradition per se, but the Holy Spirit speaking through Paul wrote,
    “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits[d] to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.”

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  20. Curt, here’s a hint: Old Life is not a safe space.

    I don’t know about you, but I took vows which involved subscribing the Confession. When you achieve that status, I’ll think about upgrading my estimate of you.

    Do you think a high priority on your marriage vows is akin to what the Pharisees did?

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  21. Zrim says: Ali, have you considered that the criticisms you may have for confessionalists can just as easily be turned on biblicists, as in the moment you open your mouth to speak for God you do what confessionalists do, i.e. interpret? So what makes you immune to hypocrisy? Nothing, so why not join with those just as vulnerable but also have done serious work to interpret the Bible?

    1) first of all, I don’t see creeds as ‘tradition’ – I think of them as summary of doctrine.
    2) criticism of confessionalists? Who said that?
    3) immune to hypocrisy? Who said that?
    4) speak for God? Who said that? (though I guess all do in a way when we speak His word; though the Spirit is the One who does something with it).
    5) I appreciate all who have done serious work to interpret the Bible. We all rely and count on that from the Lord.
    6) I appreciate faithful creeds and the faithfulness of faithful teachers.
    7) Creeds and their content have to be individually received/rejected;everything taught affirmed/denied.
    8) We each are accountable to the Lord for receiving and believing Him and His Word
    9) Th Creator of the Universe Himself has spoken = His Word. We should listen.
    10) I forgive you

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  22. D.G.,
    Fulfilling those vows does not imply that one must violate the Scriptures. I Corinthians 1:10-17 puts a limit on allegiance to groups in the Church. If we cannot find fellowship with other Christians because of one’s vows to uphold the Reformed Confessions and standards, then either those writings are off and divisive or there is something we have failed from them.

    BTW, are you comparing marriage vows to the vows you made to subscribe to the Confessions? Commitment to a person is not the same as commitment to the writings of mere people. What does it mean to subscribe to the Confessions? In the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church, subscription means to view the Confessions as being inerrant. Do you believe that the Reformed Confessions are inerrant? And if not, then does disagreement with the Confessions mean you have broken your vows? In fact, if your vows to uphold the Confessions causes unnecessary divisiveness in the Church, how valuable are those vows?

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  23. Curt, oh, so you’re not a Protestant, because, like, we shouldn’t divide from other Christians.

    I made a promise to my wife. I made a promise to church officers and laity who are people. How exactly is that different?

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  24. D.G.,
    What is more important to you, labels or concepts? The concept of division in the Church is problematic to what was written in I Corinthians 1 and yet is necessary when the Faith is compromised. So division is messy. But division that denies the existence of fellowship between different groups of Christians is not messy, it is wrong. That part of division is directly addressed by Paul in I Corinthians. It isn’t the Confessions that died for our sins or the Confessions who are made in the Image of God and for whose sins Christ died. And yet, if division to you means that we deny the existence of fellowship with Christians who do not hold to our Reformed Confessions, then how could you not be ignoring what Paul warned us against?

    Also, it seems that you are sweeping a lot of the details under the carpet of vows. We both made vows to our wives. Now I wasn’t at your wedding, but my vows never mandated that I agree with the wife on everything or that I cannot have friends, male and female ones, outside of our marriage and family.

    So what is it about the vow you took to subscribe to the Reformed Confessions of our denomination that prohibits you from having fellowship with Christians from other groups, especially those who are not reformed? Do you believe, like the Lutherans do about their confessions, that the Reformed Confessions are inerrant? Or is it that that Reformed Confessions say that those who cannot subscribe to them cannot be counted as Christians? Isn’t the Biblical basis for our fellowship with other Christians our faith in Christ rather than our subscription to the Reformed Confessions?

    If you are merely saying that you have more in common with fellow believers who are reformed in their theology, I understand. But it seems that you are saying that you cannot have fellowship with Christians who do not subscribe to the Reformed Confessions. Can you clarify things?

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  25. Curt, you’re the one who introduced the Bible against the Confession and invoked the Pharisees. The post raised a question about whether Nate Shurden’s feelings of fellowship extended to another Presbyterian. In case you haven’t noticed, New Calvinists don’t exactly have Old Calvinists’ backs. Where’s your fellowship now?

    Why do you try to be Jesuitical about vows? I take a vow to people to hold to the Confession. I take a vow to people to honor and protect and love my wife. You weaken the former vows with some stupid analogy with inerrancy. “Donny, you’re out of your element” comes to mind.

    I have fellowship with lots of Christians at the Lord’s table. When we fence the table we don’t restrict to Reformed Christians. I don’t have fellowship with non-Reformed in the pulpit. When we ask people to preach or pray, we limit our search to Reformed pastors.

    And you went to a Reformed seminary? Did you only take courses with Harvey Conn?

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  26. Curt, what exactly is the point of taking membership vows then? if it’s as loosey-goosey as you suggest then don’t you see how you make vow-taking mere rote, and in so doing the charge of ceremonial phariseeism boomerangs on you? But vows are all about increasing spiritual fellowship among others with whom one disagrees on plenty of provisional things. What’s the point of trying to find spiritual fellowship among those with whom disagrees spiritually? Maybe that’s your problem, you don’t distinguish between spiritual and provisional life.

    You also say “We both made vows to our wives. Now I wasn’t at your wedding, but my vows never mandated that I agree with the wife on everything or that I cannot have friends, male and female ones, outside of our marriage and family.”

    But friendship isn’t fellowship (more distinctions challenges). Friendship is provisional, fellowship is spiritual. Sometimes friendship is had among those with whom one has fellowship, sometimes not; and sometimes it’s had among those with who one doesn’t have fellowship, sometimes not. And if we really understand marriage, we have a unique relationship to our wives that nobody shares. That’s the point of marriage. In your reasoning, I don’t get what the point of marriage is. We may have friends outside the bounds of our marriages, but those friendships aren’t marital in nature. You spiritually reason like an open marriager.

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  27. “Repenting of racism {mostly of others} sends the message that we are heirs to a great legacy, but not one free from sin.” I thought an understanding of total depravity would have explained that for us. Who are these man-children who have discovered a new doubleplus ungood category of sin? And total depravity might even remind us that we can even “repent” in ways that are sinful or unwise.

    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/should-we-apologize-for-sins-we-did-not-commit

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  28. Zrim,
    I think you are asking the wrong question. The appropriate question is this: What is the purpose of taking membership vows to a particular church if keeping those vows separate us from believe from other churches?

    As for being loosy-goosy, I have no idea what you are talking about. But I do know that the NT Scriptures do not smile on real divisions in the Church. And though we segregate according to our respective confessions, to deny that we can have real fellowship with any Christian is not supported by the Scriptures. For to deny that we can have real fellowship with a Christian because of the theology of their confession implies that we have nothing in common. But such contradicts the Christianity of us and the other person. We have Christ and the Holy Spirit in common with every true believer regardless of the confessions of their denomination.

    As for marriage, yes, my relationship with the wife is unique. But such does not rule out other friendships. That is because husband/wife relationships can vary according to how each a husband and wife relate in a given marriage. And yet, the vows and certain constants are present in every marriage. So, again, I don’t get your point about claiming that I am spiritually reasoning like someone who has an open marriage. That is quite claim simply because my marriage doesn’t match either yours or your ideal notion of what marriage is.

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  29. D.G.,
    Just because there are parallels between our Confessions and the Traditions of the Pharisees in that both consists of interpretations of the Scriptures, that doesn’t imply that there have to be respective similarities between us and the Pharisees. And yet, those who have put the Confessions on too high a pedestal so that the Confessions start competing for our time in reading with our reading of the Scriptures and we limit what the Scriptures can say to us by what the Confessions say are volunteering to become more like the Pharisees of Jesus’s time. As long as we don’t restrict what the Scriptures say by what the Confessions say, then we are not using our traditions in the same way that the Pharisees used their traditions. Thus, what you miss is this, just because our Confessions are the equivalent to the traditions of the Pharisees, it doesn’t mean that a particular group that relies on the confessions are acting like Pharisees. What the Pharisees did was to put their traditions on too high a pedestal so that their traditions competed with, if not overshadowed, the Scriptures.

    I Corinthians 1 warns us against divisions. How does that apply today with all of our denominations? At least, I think I Cor 1 warns us against identifying with a group or theology to the extent that it prohibits us from having fellowship with other Christians for whom Christ died..

    BTW, you have never answered the question about what does it mean to you to subscribe to the Reformed Confessions. For example for Lutherans from the Missouri Synod, it means that one believes that their Confessions are inerrant. Does your understanding of your vows to subscribe to the Reformed Confessions mean that you believe that the Reformed Confessions are inerrant?

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  30. @ Curt: No, Reformed confessions are not inerrant.

    The WCF rules itself out as an inerrant document (WCF 31.4)

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  31. Jeff,
    I didn’t need the WCF to tell me that it was not inerrant. But such is not the point. The point is what does subscribe to the reformed confessions mean if it has errors and thus demands dissent?

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  32. Curt, you fall back in typically evangelical stereotypes of confessional Protestantism. The insinuation of Phariseeism. Confessions as inerrant.

    You disagree with me. Admit it. Then square that with no divisions in the church. Shouldn’t you agree with mmmmeeeeEEEE??

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  33. Apologies for jumping in here, but, Curt, the leap to “demands dissent” seems too far. As a layman I’m grateful for having the WCF as a stable foundation for understanding scripture. Even as the WCF is subordinate to Scripture. It serves wonderfully in its intent to establish consistent doctrine and function as a teaching instrument. It seems smug to me that the fact that it isn’t considered inerrant would call us to demand dissent. Occupy Westminster?

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  34. Curt, I don’t think you grasp the nature of vows. By nature they are at once inclusive and exclusive. You seem to presume away the latter for some reason, probably a form of over-realized ecclesiology. Consistent with that is an emphasis on the negative aspect of division, but division is both good and bad. But there is both a visible and triumphant and a militant and visible church. You speak as if the latter doesn’t exist and want to live in the former in the here and now. Tut-tut., all things in good time.

    Re the marriage analogy, I didn’t say marriage rules out friendships (I said the opposite). That was part of the point, which is that spouses relate to each other in unique ways that they simply don’t with other people. The vows involved are both inclusive and exclusive, they are meant to increase fellowship with another and exclude others from it. Exclusion then becomes vital to the marital fellowship. For whatever reason, to you exclusion is a four letter word. But when I exclude all other human beings from the kind of union I have with my wife, she’s comforted and vice versa. It’s not a bad thing, it’s actually essential to our inclusivity.

    Confessional Prots have historically understood how creeds and confessions actually increase fellowship among those within and buttress good relations (something short of fellowship) among those in other traditions. I hear you scoffing, but the Lutheran with whom I don’t have fellowship is looking in this direction and nodding and shaking it in your direction. We need well plotted doctrinal dots so we know what fellowship is supposed to look like among serious believers and not rely on childish religious sentimentality. In that way, my fellowship with you as a Reformed believer (OPC, right?) as a sentimentalist should go some distance with you since it’s an example of what I said above about having fellowship with those whom one FEELS distant but not with those with whom one FEELS fraternity (a confessional Lutheran). I guess there’s always Darryl.

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  35. If Presbyterians viewed the confession as inerrant, no exceptions would be allowed. Of course there are a some who think that the WCF contains no errors, but that’s not the position of the whole. And even among those who might think the WCF contains no errors, there are precious few absolute strict subscriptionists.

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  36. Zrim says Confessional Prots have historically understood how creeds and confessions actually increase fellowship

    Welll, depends. mental assent only, only goes so far, though right?
    Jesus: fellowship increase =
    of the Spirit; in God (Father,Son,Spirit);
    of faith;
    of His sufferings …
    Ie, we actually have to walk by the Spirit and faith needs to become effective

    I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake. Phil 6

    if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

    what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.1 John 1:3

    Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose Phil 2:1-2

    zrim say: rely on childish religious sentimentality

    yep, in the right way, right?

    Jesus: “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matt 18:3.

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  37. @Robert I agree, but one might believe that everything in the wcf is correct without ascribing inerrancy (which I think of as protected from error) to it. If I say, “your name is Robert”, I might be correct. But we wouldn’t say that phrase is inerrant. I could have been wrong. The truth of the phrase is contingent on correctly identifying your name. The Bible is different. It is the very word of God. As Peter noted about apostolic authority:

    For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

    There many true things that we can write. There might even be whole math books with no errors. The revised version of the WCF might even be a correct in everything it summarizes about scripture. But these things aren’t inerrant.

    Of course we have a process for adjudicating whether an exception is legit or the WCF needs revision. We don’t get to do our own thing and remain in fellowship. So Curt’s approach is out of bounds (believe whatever).

    As many of the texts pasted by Ali attest, truth (i.e. fidelity to the scriptures) is necessary (if arguably not sufficient). Part of that truth to which we are to adhere is submission to our elders. This is related to the reason that independent churches are deeply problematic – the ecclesiology of the NT is part of the truth to which we are to adhere.

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  38. @Ali What translation are you using for the text from Matthew? Mine says “turn” and references the text in Luke where Jesus tells Peter to strengthen his brothers after he has “turned”. Seems like the meaning of the text is different in these translations. I know no greek, do you know whether the word being used in Mt and Lk are the same?

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  39. sdb says The Bible is different. It is the very word of God.

    amen sdb, and in His own very word is promise and power…

    -For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, Isa 55:10-11
    -the seed is the word of God. Luke 8:11
    -It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. John 6:63
    -for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.1 Pet 1:23
    -he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life John 5:24
    -sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. John 17:17
    -in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21
    -long for the pure milk of the word that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 1 Pet 2:2
    that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word Eph 4:26
    -the word of God is living and active.. Heb 4:12
    -man shall live on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” Matt 4:4
    -let the word of Christ richly dwell within you Col 3:16

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  40. sdb says: @Ali What translation are you using for the text from Matthew? Mine says “turn” and references the text in Luke where Jesus tells Peter to strengthen his brothers after he has “turned”. Seems like the meaning of the text is different in these translations. I know no greek, do you know whether the word being used in Mt and Lk are the same?

    NASB. and in English, NASB shows the following; will look at the Greek sometime unless you do first .
    Have a great day.

    Psalm 51:13Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You.
    Matthew 18:3and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
    John 12:40“He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them.”
    Romans 16:5also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia.
    1 Timothy 3:6and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.
    https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=convert&qs_version=NASB

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  41. “will look at the Greek sometime unless you do first.”
    Great. I won’t have time this weekend, but I will check in to see if you find something…

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  42. Zrim,
    Your criticisms show an eagerness or, perhaps, a defensiveness. For example, you wrote:


    Curt, I don’t think you grasp the nature of vows. By nature they are at once inclusive and exclusive. You seem to presume away the latter for some reason, probably a form of over-realized ecclesiology

    First, I am not making pronouncements on the vows. I am reacting to a blogpost that says:


    I too like to think (all about mmmmeeeeEEEE) that I am a Bible-believing Christian who serves Christ and who has fellowship with Pastor Shurden through ecumenical ties between the OPC and PCA. And yet I wonder if the sweet, sweet fellowship that he assumes he has with Jevon Washington also includes confessional, spirituality-of-the-church Presbyterians like moi.

    and responses that say


    I don’t know about you, but I took vows which involved subscribing the Confession. When you achieve that status, I’ll think about upgrading my estimate of you.

    and


    I have fellowship with lots of Christians at the Lord’s table. When we fence the table we don’t restrict to Reformed Christians. I don’t have fellowship with non-Reformed in the pulpit. When we ask people to preach or pray, we limit our search to Reformed pastors.

    and


    Why do you try to be Jesuitical about vows? I take a vow to people to hold to the Confession. I take a vow to people to honor and protect and love my wife. You weaken the former vows with some stupid analogy with inerrancy. “Donny, you’re out of your element” comes to mind.

    Now tell me is how he is writing corresponds with how Paul wrote I Corinthians 1:10-17.

    And your statement to me that exclusion is a four-letter word is completely wrong. I have always talked about exclusion in context. And what I have said is that exclusion is necessary in terms of certain situations for those who aren’t Christians or those who leave the faith. When talking about division I already wrote the following:


    The concept of division in the Church is problematic to what was written in I Corinthians 1 and yet is necessary when the Faith is compromised

    And certainly, marriage demands certain exclusions. So your description of my view of exclusion is simply wrong and goes against what I have written in this thread.

    Finally, while you write as if I was proclaiming something wrong, the main gist of my comments as been that of asking for clarification of D.G. meant by the vows he made concerning the Confessions. And rather than answering the question, he attacked, which is his normal mode for reacting to those who are not in his inner circle of confessional fellowship. IN addition, I already wrote that I under the different denominations that we have divided into. I never criticized that. What I have question are statements that given an indication that fellowship with Christians outside of our denominational or confessional standards should be eliminated or significantly reduced. That is the only thing I have challenged.

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  43. D.G.,
    Notice what you write:


    Curt, you fall back in typically evangelical stereotypes of confessional Protestantism. The insinuation of Phariseeism. Confessions as inerrant.

    and then notice what you are reacting to


    Just because there are parallels between our Confessions and the Traditions of the Pharisees in that both consists of interpretations of the Scriptures, that doesn’t imply that there have to be respective similarities between us and the Pharisees.

    There is no insinuation of Phariseeism for valuing the confessions. Rather, I explicitly state that the parallels between our confessions and the Traditions of the Pharisees DOES NOT imply Phariseeism. When does Phariseeism occur? I answer that question directly:


    And yet, those who have put the Confessions on too high a pedestal so that the Confessions start competing for our time in reading with our reading of the Scriptures and we limit what the Scriptures can say to us by what the Confessions say are volunteering to become more like the Pharisees of Jesus’s time.

    It is when we put the confessions on too high a pedestal. When does that occur? It occurs when our loyalty to the Confessions compete with and limits our reading of the Scriptures. Another indicator that says our priority on the Confessions is too high is found in how we treat fellow Christians who don’t agree with our Confessions or some other pet theology we have. When our pride in the Confessions cause us to look down on other Christians, Paul’s question to us should be did the Confessions die for your sins?

    So what is it in what I wrote that upsets you so much? Do you believe that we can put the Confessions on too high a pedestal that they become the cause for the kind of divisions Paul preached against in I Corinthians 1?

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  44. Curt, what upsets me is the silly question “did the Confessions die for our sins?”

    The point of the post was about the fraternal ties that guide relations among NAPARC churches (as opposed to empathy over race relations).

    And you go “there.”

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  45. D.G.
    Why should that question upset you once you consider the context of the question. The context was about putting the Confessions on such a high pedestal that they limit either our reading of the Scriptures or our fellowship with other Christians. Don’t tell me that doctrine and the collection of the confessions of faith have not become instruments that unnecessarily divide Christians. I see that here when some Christians become such easy targets for insults because of differences in doctrine.

    My point is not minimize the Confessions, it is to note that the more our Confessions deal with specifics, the more opportunities there are to cause unnecessary division. At the same time, there is a place for those specifics. Also, we should note that while some basic beliefs are important for fellowship, how close a fellowship we can have with another person depends on other factors like having common concerns, experiences and trials.

    So our conflict really depends on what is meant by what you mean by ‘Confession of Faith.’ If you were referring to basic documents like the Apostles Creed, then I fully agree with your note and I apologize for misreading your note. But what you wrote about before about whether Shurden can have fellowship with a ‘ confessional, spirituality-of-the-church Presbyterians like moi. ,’ I was assuming that documents like the Westminster Confession of Faith was your frame of reference. Regarding your note here, why would you even question whether Shurden would same sweet fellowship with you? Why would you even ask that question unless, because of the emphasis you put on the Confessions, you are expecting too much.

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  46. Curt, “Regarding your note here, why would you even question whether Shurden would same sweet fellowship with you? Why would you even ask that question unless, because of the emphasis you put on the Confessions, you are expecting too much.”

    Well, because Pastor Shurden has taken subscription — not empathy — vows.

    In case you haven’t noticed — and you went to Westminster!!??!! — church officers take vows and cross their fingers. That’s called deception and I think the Bible condemns it (plus the catechisms).

    Anyway, why don’t you agree with me. Paul says you should.

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  47. D.G.,
    Again, and you never answered the question, what does subscription vows mean? I ask that especially if the Confessions are not considered to be inerrant.

    And we do have a difference of opinion regard with whom Paul agrees.

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  48. D.G.,
    BTW, one thing you don’t know about me is that I went into WTS from Oral Roberts University and a local PCUSA chuirch, down the road from the Seminary where the head minister was enamored with Robert Schuller. So there will be things that are very familiar to you that are not to me even though I now go to an Orthodox Presbyterian church.

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