Another Golden Oldie

Thanks to Zrim, I remembered another internet intervention about 2k. This one was at Greenbaggins at the instigation of Reed DePace. It was a threepart series but here reproduced in one post.

Theological Affirmations

1) Affirmation: Jesus is Lord

Denial: Jesus is not Lord over everyone in the same way; he rules the covenant community differently than those outside the covenant.

2) Affirmation: the visible church is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ

Denial: Outside the visible church is not part of the redemptive rule of Christ (even though Christ is still sovereign).

3) Affirmation: the Bible is the only rule for the visible church (in matters of conscience).

Denial: Scripture does not reveal everything but only that which is necessary for salvation.

4) Affirmation: Christ alone is lord of conscience

Denial: Christians have liberty where Scripture is silent.
Denial: the pious advice and opinions of Christians are not binding.

5) Affirmation: the visible church has real power (spiritual and moral, ministerial and declarative, the keys of the kingdom) in ministering the word of God.

Denial: the church may not bind consciences apart from Scripture.
Denial: the church may not bind consciences on the basis of one minister’s or believer’s interpretation but must do so corporately through the deliberations of sessions, presbyteries, and assemblies.

6) Affirmation: Christ’s righteousness alone satisfies God’s holy demands for righteousness, and believers receive this righteousness through faith alone (i.e., justification).

Denial: believer’s good works, much less unbelievers’ external obedience to the law, do not satisfy God’s holiness but are filthy rags.

Affirmations about Vocation

1) Affirmation: the church is called to gather and perfect saints through word, sacrament and discipline.

Denial: the church is not called to meddle in civil affairs.

2) Affirmation: the Christian family is called to nurture and oversee children in both religious and secular matters.

Denial: Christian families will not all look the same but have liberty to rear children according to Scripture and the light of nature.
Denial: non-Christian families do not rear children in godliness or holiness but still have legitimate responsibility for rearing their children.

3) Affirmation: the state is called to punish wickedness, reward goodness, and promote peace and order.

Denial: the state does not hold the keys of the kingdom.

4) Affirmation: A Christian is called to use his talents and gifts to serve God and assist his neighbor.

Denial: some Christians are not called to engage in civil affairs.
Denial: the responsibilities attending one Christian’s vocation may not be the standard for other Christians.

Affirmations on Ethics

1) Affirmation: Christians have an obligation to submit to God’s laws as they are found in general and special revelation.

Denial: persons cannot obey God’s law truly apart from regeneration by the Holy Spirit.
Denial: non-Christians may not please God in their external observance of God’s law.
Denial: even if non-Christians may not please God, their civic virtue is crucial to a peaceful and orderly society.

2) Affirmation: Christians please God in their good works thanks to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

Denial: the good works of Christians are not free from pollution (i.e. they are filthy rags).

3) Affirmation: the state and families have the responsibility for establishing and maintaining social order.

Denial: the church does not have the responsibility for establishing and maintaining social order.

4) Affirmation: church members have a duty to obey the laws of civil magistrates.

Denial: church members may not rebel against or disobey the magistrate.
Denial: church members must not obey the magistrate rather than God.

5) Affirmation: God has established a pluriformity of institutions (e.g. civil society) for the sake of social order.

Denial: the church has no calling to establish social order but will have an indirect influence on peace and order by encouraging godliness in her members.

12 thoughts on “Another Golden Oldie

  1. “Believer’s good works do not satisfy God’s holiness but are filthy rags”

    mcmark–No Controversy? Can believers’ good works function as worship God accepts and NOT filthy works, for the very reason that believers in God’s gospel do not attempt to satisfy God’s holiness or otherwise gain blessing by their good works?

    Luke 6: 3 “A good tree doesn’t produce bad fruit; on the other hand, a bad tree doesn’t produce good fruit. 44 For each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs aren’t gathered from thorn bushes, or grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart

    If believers in the gospel claim that they can and must also live in the “common creation ” and “leave Jesus out of it in that kingdom” ” and use there the same “natural law” as unbelievers do, are the works of believers in the “common kingdom” nevertheless “good works”?

    1. persons cannot obey God’s law truly apart from regeneration by the Holy Spirit.
    2. non-Christians may not please God in their external observance of God’s law.
    3. even if non-Christians may not please God, their civic virtue is crucial to a peaceful and orderly society

    mcmark asks–Are these three proposition being denied, or are the three propositions the denials in question?

    Jesus Christ is NOT the Savior of everyone “in different ways”. Jesus Christ is not the Savior of those who will not be saved.

    WCF, chapter 19– “The promises of the gospel, in like manner, show them God’s approbation of obedience,and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof: although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works So as, a man’s doing good, and refraining from evil, because the law encourages to the one and deters from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law: and not under grace.”

    mcmark–but and also a man’s doing is no evidence of his being under grace and not under law. We don’t know if we are doing good unless we know if we are good trees, in a justified state before God. We don’t sin to get more grace. We don’t not sin to get more grace.

    Herman Hoeksema—“In all attempts to show how a wholly corrupt tree may still bring forth good fruit, natural man, as he actually reveals himself in this world, is not totally depraved, the antithesis is obliterated and the chasm between the church and the world is removed. The church is justified in making common cause with the church in the things of this present life. with regard to this so-called civil righteousness, a term does not occur in the Reformed Confessions. The Confessions declare that the natural man is incapable of using natural light right even in things natural and civil, nay further, that in various ways man renders this light, such as it is, wholly polluted and holds it in unrighteousness.”


  2. I was stunned and so proud to see the most original theological blog site on planet earth hosting a glorious picture of my fellow Englishmen at the top of this post. Did ever a better bunch of long haired dope heads like Yes bring such wonderful British music to the USA? Maybe Zeppelin, Bad Company and ELP were part of our last pretty decent invasion as well. The picture is from around ’69, a poignant reminder of their fleeting prime years as Chris Squire was so ill and died looking so different recently and Peter Banks is also now sadly dead.
    And the ‘Golden Oldie’ post is a stunner which gives more food for thought than the entire slickly produced Gospel Coalition web site. Please keep such vintage and new stuff coming. Thanks.


  3. I owned several YES vinyl LP’s back in the early 70’s along with other great ones like Emerson, Lake, and Palmer; King Crimson; McDonald and Giles, etc. In a strange moment of weakness I gave them all to my nephew decades ago who, knowing him, probably held onto them and then sold them for a sizable profit. I still have dents in my hi-fi cabinet where my head hit it repeatedly for making such a dumb move.


  4. Haha I thought that was Jon Anderson in front in the pic, but the rest of the guys look so different that I wasn’t positive that it was Yes. It is truly amazing how young they were when making that music.

    Cam – most of those bands are re-releasing their old albums on vinyl, with Steven Wilson remixing a lot of Yes, ELP, and KC stuff. Worth checking out if you like taking money out of your wallet.


  5. I repeat:

    1. persons cannot obey God’s law truly apart from regeneration by the Holy Spirit.
    2. non-Christians may not please God in their external observance of God’s law.
    3. even if non-Christians may not please God, their civic virtue is crucial to a peaceful and orderly society

    mcmark asks–Are these three proposition being denied, or are the three propositions the denials in question?

    John Y:

    1. So the regenerate can and do obey God’s Law? Is that their source of life and blessing? Would the following be denied too? “FAITH SEEKS LIFE THAT IS NOT FOUND IN COMMANDMENTS.”

    2. Is it “may not” or do not?

    3. Didn’t the Reformers run into all sorts of problems when trying to implement this proposition?

    Why not Gospel politics with 1K?


  6. A quote from the booklet, “A Triple Breach……”:

    First of all, we may remark in answer to this question that, from a purely formal viewpoint, it cannot possibly be maintained that the three declarations of doctrine, adopted in 1924, are meant to be interpretations of the Reformed Standards. For, under what circumstances are interpretations of the Confession necessary? Only when certain parts of the Standards are not clear, or if doubt or difference of opinion should arise with some regarding the meaning of certain articles of our faith. But in 1924 this was not at all the case. There was no request before the synod of 1924 to explain or interpret any part of the Confessions. There was no difference of opinion with respect to the meaning of any particular article or articles of the forms of unity. The synod was called to consider certain protests against the doctrine of the Revs. H. Danhof and H. Hoeksema, who denied the theory of Common Grace. These two pastors maintained (1) negatively: (a) that God is not gracious to the ungodly reprobate; (b) that there is no operation of grace in the hearts of the reprobate whereby sin is restrained; (c) that there is no influence of grace outside of regeneration whereby the sinner is enabled to do good before God; and (2) positively: (a) that God’s grace is always particular, for His people, the elect only; (b) that the development of sin follows the organic line of development of the human race; (c) that the natural man is wholly incapable of doing any good and inclined to all evil.


  7. Steve Howe joined Yes in 1970 after Squire and I think Anderson rather bluntly sacked Peter Banks as they wanted Howe instead. They did something similar in replacing Tony Kaye with Rick Wakeman, but admittedly both musicians were excellent choices; who else could have played the guitar on Turn of the Century except for Steve? The greatest loss from this line up was Bill Bruford, the very gifted drummer. Bill has written a good autobiography which details his time with Yes and other known groups like King Crimson. Chris Welch wrote a very informative book about the history of Yes and their music.


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