Where Do You Go When You Leave Progressive Presbyterianism?

Certainly not to the OPC.

The PCUSA last year lost the equivalent of three OPC’s:

Updated statistics made available today by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of the General Assembly (OGA) show a denomination continuing a steep, uninterrupted decline in 2016. The U.S.-based denomination shed 89,893 members in 2016, a decline of 5.7% percent, dropping below 1.5 million members for the first time. A net 191 congregations closed or were dismissed to other denominations, bringing the denominational total to 9,451 congregations.

I’ll do the math. The OPC has roughly 30,000 members (I hear chortles), the PCUSA lost almost 90,000 members. Ergo, the PCUSA lost three OPC’s last year. The thing is, these mainliners didn’t show up in OPC congregations. The OPC lost roughly 250 members last year.

This brings back memories of Orthodox Presbyterian hopes from 1936 to 1967 that members of the PCUSA would awaken (#woke?) to the ways in which liberalism had infected their denomination and lead them to join with the OPC. Here’s an excerpt from Between the Times (for UPCUSA think PCUSA):

In a remarkable display of responding to the moment, the Assembly appointed the Committee on the Confession of 1967 to address the recommendation from its two standing committees. Typically, study committees appointed by the Assembly have a year or several to reflect on the matter and report back to the body. But the Committee on the Confession of 1967 had the task of responding by the end of the Assembly. This explains another unprecedented development – the Moderator’s decision to appoint this committee rather than receiving nominations and casting ballots. In this case, Robert W. Eckardt, the moderator, appointed John Galbraith, Calvin Cummings and Edward Eyres to consider the recommendation from Home Missions and Christian Education. The Committee on the Confession of 1967 ended up following closely the original recommendation from the standing committees. It encouraged the Assembly to reach out to conservatives in the UPCUSA, to remind them of a common heritage, and to recommend the OPC as a “logical choice” for those concerned to maintain historic Presbyterianism. The Committee also followed the basic elements of the program suggested by the standing committees for outreach. To show that the OPC was serious about these measures, the Committee also recommended a resolution, again that followed the standing committees, designed to clarify exactly the kind of church the denomination was: “the Orthodox Presbyterian Church is completely committed to the Bible as the written Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice, and to the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms as faithfully and fully setting forth the teachings of Holy Scripture.” In addition, the Committee recommended that the OPC resolve that it “express its desire to serve those in the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. who wish to continue adherence to the historic Christian faith as summarized in the Westminster Standards.” After some minor editing of the resolution’s language, including changing it to read that the OPC was committed to the Westminster Standards as “faithfully setting forth” (instead of “faithfully and fully”) the teaching of Scripture, the Assembly approved.

One of several curiosities of devoting so much OPC energy to another denomination, and especially a mainline one at that, was that after the first decade or so many Orthodox Presbyterian leaders resigned themselves to the determination of conservatives in the mainline not to leave but to stay. The Presbyterian Guardian had run a number of articles giving reasons for conservatives to exit and affiliate with the OPC. Once that did not happen by 1947, many in the OPC readjusted and conceived of the denomination as a small continuing remnant of conservative Presbyterians. Now, with substantial evidence of liberalism in the UPCUSA, the old hopes for a mass exodus of conservatives into the OPC found life.

The one factor that explains the OPC’s hopefulness was a letter from Edward Kellogg, then a minister at San Diego OPC in Paradise Hills. Only a week before the Assembly – written on the national holiday of July 4th – Kellogg alerted commissioners to rustling among United Presbyterians in California. Bruce Coie, Robert Graham, and he had met a number of conservatives in the UPCUSA who were alarmed over the influence of modernism in their church. These interactions led to a rally held at the Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego where close to three hundred packed a room designed to accommodate 250. Kellogg conceded that the normal channel for his letter was through presbytery but, he explained, “the events that caused me to feel that assembly action was important were too recent for the normal course of procedure.” What Kellogg proposed was the formation of a Presbyterian Covenant akin to the Presbyterian Constitutional Covenant Union that had been the organizational chrysalis for the OPC. The new covenant would enlist Presbyterians from all denominations to stand for the true faith and to oppose the Confession of 1967. It would also involve a pledge from United Presbyterians who entered it to leave the UPCUSA if the denomination adopted the new confessional standard. Kellogg’s letter was not the only impetus for the resolution adopted by the 1965 General Assembly; the standing committee recommendations actually contained more of the substance of the OPC’s response to the Confession of 1967 than did Kellogg’s letter. But the encounter between Orthodox and United Presbyterians in Southern California led some to believe that an outreach to conservative mainline Presbyterians might lead to the kind or realignment for which some had hoped in the 1930s. (93-94)

Of course, a defection to the OPC didn’t happen then and it still isn’t happening. Why?

The OPC has many afflictions, but its bark is much worse than its bite. Most congregations have a degree of autonomy that outsiders likely find perplexing. Ordination exams are rigorous and each presbytery has its own short list of non-negotiables, but the OPC doesn’t require exclusive psalmody, affirming the National Covenant, or sending children to Christian day schools. In fact, what characterizes the OPC, aside from fairly strong adherence to the Confession of Faith and Catechisms, is a commitment to Scripture and a high view of preaching. If you are a Reformed Protestant and want to sit under the ministry of the word, you can reasonably rely on finding that in the OPC.

But if you want a certain “style” of ministry, or if you want to send specific signals about the kind of Calvinist you are, chances are the OPC will not scratch your itch.

So that raises a question, if matters proceed in the PCA such that conservatives there want to find another ecclesial home, where will they go? I have heard some say that the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church is one option. Being southern apparently matters. On the other side of the coin, if the PCA doesn’t become as progressive as some want it to be, where will the relevant wing of the denomination go? The likely destination is the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

But don’t forget what happened to The Village Church. If urban sort-of Presbyterianism is your preference, you could wind up in the Reformed Church in America. At that point, the difference between you and the PCUSA would vanish.

If we had a state church, we wouldn’t have this problem opportunity.

Advertisements

127 thoughts on “Where Do You Go When You Leave Progressive Presbyterianism?

  1. Of course the most important matter that characterizes the OPC is that it’s OPC. And that’s part of the problem: if your foremost emphasis is on the denomination, then your local congregations won’t have much of this so-called “autonomy.” That the denomination is replete with standing committees led by permanent chairmen is just one indication that the scale has tipped a bit closer to the top-down, centralized autocracy that Machen bemoaned in the old Presbyterian Church.

    Like

  2. Ben, are you in the URC?

    I serve on an OPC session. We could give the full amount to World Wide Outreach or we could give nothing. We can do pretty much whatever we want. It takes the presbytery to act.

    Complaining about standing committees sounds more like Dutch Calvinism than the OPC.

    Like

  3. vv,

    “Higher ed is a microcosm for what is going on in the world,” Jun said. “I infuse a Christian perspective into matters of social justice.”

    Like

  4. VV,

    Jun is a coauthor of a book on White Privilege. This is the description of the book from Amazon:

    Colleges across the country, and the nation as a whole continue to be divided along racial lines. White Out: Understanding White Privilege and Dominance in the Modern Age is about the role of Whiteness and a defense of White dominance in an increasingly diverse society. Whiteness is socially constructed, just as race is undoubtedly a social construct, documented through various periods in history. This book proposes that White Out is a learned habit that serves to defend White dominance in a multicultural age. White Out is a strategy that covers systems, dispositions, and actions that cannot cover the full indentation or impact. However, the action of blotting, either intentional or unintentional, serves to obscure experiences of people of color in lieu of a competing definition of reality. The authors introduce the White Architecture of the Mind as a metaphor highlighting the mind as a collection of walls, doors, windows, and pathways that influence individuals to react based on a systemic logic that was socially constructed reason. White Out, a byproduct of a White architecture of the mind, is a set of individual actions, choices, behaviors, and attitudes that are guided by a system that predisposes these attitudes and perpetuates privilege for core members of a dominant majority. The often-unconscious purpose in denying privilege and articulating colorblind ideology is to support a larger system and view of reality. The concepts covered in this volume include: White Pain, Whitefluenza (privilege as a virus), White 22 (White if you do, White if you don’t), Whitrogressions, Angry White Men, White Pilgrims, and Good White Friends.

    Now I haven’t read the book, but that description is concerning to me.

    Like

  5. Robert – what about that is so concerning that electing this person the moderator of the GA signals a need to leave the denomination? I may not agree with everything in the book (I have no idea – never read it), but I don’t see what this has to do with him being the moderator of the GA. And I especially don’t see how this would nudge anyone in the direction of leaving the PCA.

    Like

  6. VV,

    Look, I have no doubt that my being white has given me certain advantages that others do not have, although I don’t know how much of it is my “whiteness” and how much it is that I was born into a middle class family with parents who expected me to get an education. But we have a guy who, at least from the book description, looks like he’s adopted the whole “white privilege” angle, which has increasingly become a tool to bludgeon anyone who wants to question a whole bunch of the racial tribalism that the left encourages. It is a concept used to accuse anyone who wants a colorblind society of racism when a colorblind society is actually what people like MLK Jr were working for. The whole idea of “whiteness” is being used to shame as a racist anyone who raises questions about certain ideologies.

    It’s concerning that a person who seems to be advocating a lot of that social science stuff would be elected moderator when people in the PCA have been very publicly attacked for merely questioning the association of the daughter of a Covenant Seminary professor with groups that promote the LGBTQEIEIO agendas. Google Michelle Higgins. And she’s all about the “white privilege” stuff.

    Do you honestly not see the potential problems this could raise having someone who seems to have bought into certain leftist social science ideologies as moderator? I’m not saying that him as the moderator is in itself a problem. But we also know that the moderator was essentially chosen ahead of time by the more progressive elements in the PCA.

    All of these things are concerning for those who want to see the PCA remain biblical and confessional. Racism has no place in the church, but some of these decisions are not helpful for actually dealing with the problem.

    He was also so bad at parliamentary procedure that he surrendered the gavel to another who knew the procedure better. So there are also questions of his basic qualifications.

    Like

  7. Robert – you’re veering into tin foil hat territory here. Actually, I’m not sure what territory you’re in – really hard to connect the dots. So, the PCA elects as its GA moderator a Ruling Elder who happens to study social justice as it relates to race – and explicitly from a Christian perspective, mind you – and that is concerning because some people have been criticized for criticizing an African American PCA member who goes overboard in her civil disobedience and who is related to groups that promote LGBTetc agendas? Yeah, I don’t see how those are related, much less concerning “for those who want to see the PCA remain biblical and confessional.”

    What you (and many others) are doing is confusing progressive politics with progressive theology; the two are not necessarily related. A person can be a flaming political liberal and thoroughly confessional and biblical, while another person can be a hard core political conservative and be completely lost theologically. Your concerns with the GA moderator seem to be purely political, in which case you (and Dr. Hart) really have no basis for any concern over abandonment of the Bible or the WCF.

    Like

  8. Dr. Hart,
    Rightly or wrongly, the OPC is seen as uncompromising jerks. The trial a few years ago of the pastor for delinquency in managing his household because his physically disabled wife often stayed home on Sunday is seen as characteristic. The details of the case are immaterial: to the rest of the Reformed community, the fact that a case like this even occurred is representative of the OPC’s culture and priorities. Again, that may be unfair, or may be something that the OPC is proud of, but that, not the fact that the ARPC is southern, is why conservatives in the PCA aren’t excited to look at the OPC.

    Like

  9. The Higgins family appear to think having Jun as moderator was a “win” for their side.

    Like

  10. Speaking of the ARP Option, does anyone know how many ARP churches actually have deaconesses? I understand it is an option, but many churches do not exercise that option.
    Any chance of the deaconess option being eliminated in the future?

    Like

  11. VV,

    So, the PCA elects as its GA moderator a Ruling Elder who happens to study social justice as it relates to race – and explicitly from a Christian perspective, mind you – and that is concerning because some people have been criticized for criticizing an African American PCA member who goes overboard in her civil disobedience and who is related to groups that promote LGBTetc agendas? Yeah, I don’t see how those are related, much less concerning “for those who want to see the PCA remain biblical and confessional.”

    You’re missing the point, and that might be my fault. So let me try again.

    1. If you want to study racial relations from a Christian perspective, then fine.
    2. If you’re going to study racial relations from a Christian perspective, then I’m fairly certain you are not going to be talking about how advocating for a colorblind society is an unconscious way to prop up your own whiteness, being that the gospel is supposed to be for all races.
    3. The AA PCA member in question has openly praised women who were involved in violence against others (Angela Davis), talked about her LGBTQ “brothers and sisters”, and openly questioned on Twitter why Christians should even care about homosexual acts. She has done this as a supporter of Black Lives Matter, which openly endorses concepts such as “embracing blackness” and criticizes the same “Whiteness” that is mentioned in the book description.
    4. The book description talks about perpetuating privilege. That is typically code words for “you white people are bad and there’s nothing you will ever be able to do to atone for the sins of your ancestors” in the modern social justice community.

    Can you really not connect the dots as to why one might be legitimately concerned that the moderator has contributed to a book that, at least from its description, appears to embrace critical racial theory as if it is a benign subject? Can you really not connect the dots that people harping about whiteness also typically ally themselves with other ideologies that are at least potentially racist? Maybe the moderator is golden from the head to the toes, but the description seems to assume a certain inherent bent towards injustice in among white people that must be corrected. Such things bias the conversation from the get go. We’ve heard from the same people talking about “whiteness” that somehow wanting the facts about a particular police shooting before making a judgment are racist, as if looking for truth is somehow a racist act. I thought a basic concern for truth was supposed to be, you know, a trans-racial Christian thing.

    What you (and many others) are doing is confusing progressive politics with progressive theology; the two are not necessarily related.

    No I’m not. But it’s also worth noting that those with progressive politics also, more often than not, are progressive in theology. But in any case, the second you start talking about “whiteness” and “unconscious racism” and other such topics, that’s a pretty big signal that you’ve likely bought into a particular cultural narrative that is as anti-gospel as anything we’ve seen from white bigots.

    A person can be a flaming political liberal and thoroughly confessional and biblical, while another person can be a hard core political conservative and be completely lost theologically.

    Yes, I agree.

    Your concerns with the GA moderator seem to be purely political, in which case you (and Dr. Hart) really have no basis for any concern over abandonment of the Bible or the WCF.

    They are theological concerns. Somebody who starts adopting the signal phrases of anti-gospel movements is concerning. Maybe he’s just naive. I think a lot of these Christian SJWs are simply naive. Maybe the book dismantles the entire movement. I don’t know, but it doesn’t look like it.

    Progressive racial ideology, ie tribalism, is always associated with progressive theology. Do I think Jun is out to destroy the PCA or is going to make the church deny the deity of Christ or something like that. No. But there is such a thing as a slippery slope. Denominations don’t go liberal immediately. It’s a slow process that occurs when people don’t pay attention and are excited to adopt whatever cultural movement is currently in vogue.

    Like

  12. “If you are a Reformed Protestant and want to sit under the ministry of the word, you can reasonably rely on finding that in the OPC.” True, but you also have to deal with overwhelming negativity, and constant pointing out what everyone else is doing wrong, and passionate debates about things that a huge majority of people in christianity have not even heard of (republication), and so much more. The reformed faith is beautiful, and should make us beam with joy, but the opc wing of the reformed faith is not appealing.

    Like

  13. CD,

    I’m not sure how any of those things are unique to the OPC. The PCA debated Federal Vision, but nobody else knows or cares about that besides very conservative Reformed bodies. There’s also plenty of negativity to be had in the PCA both on the confessionalist and progressive sides. And plenty of pointing out what is wrong.

    I’m not in the OPC, by the way.

    Like

  14. Well, If I can tie Jun and either Higgins together, I can reasonably say they’re looking to bring their racially moored reformed theology, which includes social/political activism, to not only bear upon and be represented, including offices(Jun as moderator), in the PCA but to have it doctrinally/confessionally ratified(Lucas’ generational sin eisegesis-which presbyterys are being asked to pray over and consider). Shoot, just parliamentary procedure is inescapably rife with WP and Colonialism. Roberts Rules of order will be deemed an example of institutional racism any moment now, 3,2,1………………………

    Like

  15. Suggestion: OPC = PCUSA ca. 1880; PCA = PCUS ca. 1940; ECO= UPCUSA ca. 1967; EPC = PCUSA ca. 1920

    Like

  16. Robert, these people really need to listen to Glenn Loury and John McWhorter talk about race at bloggingheadstv.com. Adding Christianity to social justice perspectives generally means enjoying privilege in Christian circles because believers have no experience with critical race theory. It’s all an abstraction.

    Like

  17. CD, who said the Reformed faith is beautiful. Do you know anything about the sixteenth century, Calvin’s consistory, iconoclasm in the Netherlands, or the Puritans’ constant kvetching about the beautiful Church of England.

    And how much do you really know of the OPC. I admit, it’s not beautiful. But the only church I know that approximates beauty is the Church of England. And oh the baggage you have to carry.

    Like

  18. If there was a “tagline” for the ARP today it would be “We are confessionally Reformed, but not mad about it.”

    I’ve been ARP for 9 years now and the conservative drift is really something wild to have lived through. My first General Synod had the president of the Seminary bemoaning his inability to be involved in the ordination of a female graduate of ETS. This summer at General Synod the provost of the Seminary and the president of the College openly confessed the sinful actions of the College and Seminary over the past several decades and then asked forgiveness from the Synod. Read more here: http://www.arptalk.org/2017/06/16/the-lord-showed-up-and-showed-out/

    The ARP is in an interesting time theologically, slowly and methodically re-gaining our confessional heritage.

    On the deaconness issue we have no churches with them (and no agitation for them) in our Presbytery the biblical drift of the church is seeing them die a natural death.

    A big concern many in the ARP have of a possible PCA influx is that there would be an upsetting of the organic slow and careful flow of confessional re-habbing that’s progressing (no pun intended) in a positive way.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Darryl, Keller went consultant which means setting my own hours, doing the things I want to do, only doing the things I’m feeling. IOW, he’s semi-retired and going even more abstract, particularly if the money is settled. If the money is settled, expect Piperesque reflection but showtunes.

    Like

  20. Running out of BBQ at the Wednesday Erskine lunchen at General Synod. 😉

    One of the cultural differences, which is hard to describe, but something I am more convinced about, between the two “southern-derived” denominations, the ARP and the PCA, is the historical sociopolitical differences. While there are certainly exceptions I like to refer to it as the “Tall Steeple/First Church Downtown” dynamic vs. the “rural, farmer Church” outlook. Traditionally the ARP was always the small town church out in the county, whereas the PCUS/PCA churches were the chamber of commerce, white-collar church that always was involved in the life and politics of the community. This has led to a natural concern with being involved in wider movements and national issues to a degree not present in the discussions at ecclesiastical meetings in the ARP. I’m thinking out loud a bit here, but hoping this word salad makes some sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. If he’s really feeling it, he’ll go Africa where they’re treated with the “reverence we deserve”. The priests coming back from Zimbabwe were insufferable. Protestant pastors in Uganda, Kenya, same thing.

    Like

  22. To clarify, I don’t know if that *is* representative of the OPC (hence my comments “rightly or wrongly,” “that may be unfair”). What I do know is that in the broader P&R world that trial was seen as representative of and consistent with the OPC’s culture. No one was surprised that the trial happened. It may not be representative, and my personal experience with the OPC has been nothing but good. But in answering the question why a defection didn’t happen to the OPC, it is because from the outside the OPC appears to embrace a certain style of ministry that elevates and makes regular the circumstances that lead to that trial.

    Like

  23. Cameron, all you’ve clarified is that implicit bias exists. You really the OPC is known for that trial when it also has minor celebs like Truman and VanDrunen. Then you add that you’ve had nothing but good experiences.

    You’re starting to sound like a wife.

    Like

  24. D. G. Hart says: Cameron, You’re starting to sound like a wife

    Cameron Shaffer says from the outside the OPC appears to embrace a certain style of ministry that elevates and makes regular the circumstances that lead to that trial.

    see?, Cameron, why maybe you don’t have to retrack or qualify your words too much?

    Like

  25. Robert – if Jun affirms the Westminster Standards and the Bible, and I assume he does since he’s an RE, then what’s your problem with his views on race? From the blurb about his book I probably disagree with much of it. But so what? If he holds to the Bible and the confessions, what more can you ask? Isn’t that what being a Presbyterian is all about? If he somehow advocated that the white race is collectively inferior I would have a problem theologically. On the other hand, if his point is that there are ways in which society is generally unfair to minority races, then the issue is cultural, not theological, whether or not I agree with his views. So again, I think you’re infusing politics into his theological views, which is why you and DGH seem to have a problem with him being elected moderator of the GA. I don’t think that infusion is necessary or appropriate. It certainly isn’t 2K.

    DGH – it’s New York: there’s no such thing as yard work, plumbing, or deck installation.

    Like

  26. Ben, upset in the sense that the rehab would be accelerated/pushed or derailed? Some PCA confessionalists are going to be shocked that they are viewed with suspicion from, well, everybody. But I really can’t blame everybody.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. VV, this by way of sarcasm sounds worldview-ish: “…infusing a Christian perspective into social justice as it pertains to academia. Oh the horror!”

    This sounds 2k-ish: “…if Jun affirms the Westminster Standards and the Bible, and I assume he does since he’s an RE, then what’s your problem with his views on race? From the blurb about his book I probably disagree with much of it. But so what? If he holds to the Bible and the confessions, what more can you ask? Isn’t that what being a Presbyterian is all about?”

    So which is it you want to promote, worldviewry where theology infuses political outlook and sacralizes all of life, or 2k where a distinction is made between eternal and temporal things such that those who confess the orthodox faith may have diverging political outlooks without one being spiritually impugned by another?

    Like

  28. VV,

    If he holds to the Bible and the confessions, what more can you ask? Isn’t that what being a Presbyterian is all about? If he somehow advocated that the white race is collectively inferior I would have a problem theologically. On the other hand, if his point is that there are ways in which society is generally unfair to minority races, then the issue is cultural, not theological, whether or not I agree with his views.

    It starts to become theological when every attempt on the part of whites to address racism turns into unconscious racism. That’s typically what we see from the “white privilege” crowd. All of a sudden, well-meaning attempts to judge people on the content of their character become ploys to keep white people in power. We’ve had people from this critical race theory crowd go after individuals who question the wisdom of bringing such concepts into the church. Just ask Todd Adkins how “merely cultural” this stuff is.

    We’ve seen people throw the ninth commandment to the curb in the name of seeing through the lenses of critical racial theory, as if the truth of what happened in high profile police shootings is somehow only a “white” concern. And this from individuals in the PCA, so don’t tell me it’s just a “cultural” issue.

    Now, not having read Jun, I don’t know what his argument is. I just know that there are plenty of people who are adopting critical racial theory, which itself has problematic origins. I just have seen enough of this stuff inside and outside the church to be wary of it.

    Like

  29. Jun’s is boiler plate WP stuff with the focus on the systemic as a patronizing way of telling white eva, it’s not exactly their fault for not ‘seeing it’ but still their fault for not being ‘woke’ to systemic and they(whitey) needs to ‘step aside’ while people of color fix it for you. Then he grounds it in ‘biblical equity’-conflation and theologizing of CRT. I’d like to talk to him about all the race hating that goes on among Asian people, but he’s too busy fixing whitey and working on Robert’s Rules inherent WP and Colonialism. He’s busy.

    Like

  30. Zrim – I don’t think the line of demarcation between “2K” and “worldview” is as clean and neat as you seem to think. I’m an “every square inch” neo-Calvinist, but that doesn’t inform the non-ethical aspects of life. For example, God wants me to honor Him through my work, but that means performing my best, conducting myself with honor and integrity in the way I work, treating co-workers with kindness, etc. It does not include where I park in the morning, what I eat for lunch, or what instruments I use to complete my tasks, etc.

    It’s the same with politics, culture, race, or any number of aspects of life. As Christians we are called to respect and obey authorities God places over us. But in a democracy the person we vote for is a matter of conscience; as long as a Christian adheres to the Bible and confessions he should vote his conscience. Worldview-ish and 2K-ish at the same time.

    Like

  31. ” I’m an “every square inch” neo-Calvinist, but that doesn’t inform the non-ethical aspects of life.”
    This looks like a contradiction. “Every square inch” includes non-ethical aspects of life. I have the transformationalists telling me I can’t truly understand math without the right worldview. “Every” is pretty expansive for these guys. Once you exclude non-ethical spheres, you have 2k. Now your just quibbling over the boundaries. It seems to me that there are two distinct but related questions:
    1. What is the proper scope of activity for the institutional church? Should it be restricted to what is commanded by scripture or can she be involved in anything not expressly forbidden in scripture?

    2. What is the scope of the authority of the church? Should congregants be called to repent of voting Trump? Can I be brought up on charges for having a Sanders sign in.my yard? Or must the church be silent where scripture is silent?

    If there is one kingdom that covers “every square inch”, then it seems to me that there is no boundary for activity (shall the church start a used car ministry out back?) or area of the believer’s life that isn’t a concern for the church.

    Like

  32. Cameron, I think you’re wrong. Or at least mostly wrong. Here are the reasons southern confessionalists in the PCA typically give for staying away from the OPC:

    1) They’re odd.
    2) They’re Yankees.
    3) They’re odd Yankees.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. The mission creep for the transformationalists as regards the institutional church is the diaconate. The diaconate has become the catch-all for all things social justice(“the hellenistic widows were being neglected” is the proof text launch pad for fixing everything from poverty to health care to race relations to the climate). And if you really want to do that, go ahead and sign up all the Betty’s you can find. I know some nuns who can help, too. I can’t even manage my dogs half the time.

    Like

  34. sdb – to be sure there are varying views and applications within Neo-Calvinism. As I said originally, I view all of life through a Scriptural lens, but that doesn’t mean that Scripture speaks to every detail of life (e.g. which shoe I put on first in the morning). And quibbling over boundaries is the real 2K vs Neo-Calvinist debate.

    Robert – you’ll get no argument from me on CRT or many other far left positions on race, but that’s not the point. One can hold some of those positions and still be squarely in line with Scripture/confession.

    Like

  35. VV, that’s not how it’s playing out in the PCA. The political is driving the bus. This is always the threat and then reality. Christian office and virtue is conscripted to serve a dubious sociological theory which is in service to a political end. And if it’s not coming in the door of virtue-sanctification it’s riding on the magic carpet of the therapeutic and there’s no end to that wizardry. Though if I can get some scrips for klonopin I’ll sign on the line.-SIPTSD goes both ways.

    Like

  36. VV, sdb beat me to it. 2k affirms the sovereignty of God over every square inch but scratches its head when worldview says God is irrelevant to parking and lunch. Huh? Both are part of every square inch. What’s with the arbitrariness? And when it comes to the ethical categories, those where God apparently all of a sudden becomes relevant, you’re pretty vague in an after school special sort of way–be nice and do your best. Profound. I learned that in kindergarten.

    But my point was how does a worldviewer think theology should be injected into politics but then want liberty on politics? If God has revealed how politics should go, then some politics adhere and some don’t, right? But if God is silent on politics then it’s simply a matter of opinion.

    If it helps, when Robert says “It starts to become theological when every attempt on the part of whites to address racism turns into unconscious racism,” I don’t know what he means. It becomes unfair perhaps, but theological? Maybe he can elaborate.

    Like

  37. Zrim,

    If it helps, when Robert says “It starts to become theological when every attempt on the part of whites to address racism turns into unconscious racism,” I don’t know what he means. It becomes unfair perhaps, but theological? Maybe he can elaborate.

    CRT so often devolves into accusing whites who want to try and deal with racism into sin, ie, unconscious racism. It essentially makes for a situation where no matter how many times a denomination or individual apologizes for past sin and tries to do better, it is never, ever enough. Essentially, it creates a works-oriented gospel whereby we have to keep proving how sorry we all are for slavery because the CRT proponents never really accept it. No reconciliation.

    IOW, it’s all theological.

    Like

  38. It also goes theological because that’s where the persuasive power is. Stupid sociological theories never get off the chalkboard but “God’s endorsement/intent”, now you’re cooking with grease.

    Like

  39. Robert, thanks. So theological as an ideological weapon, which is what makes religion in the hands of angry idealogues so scary.

    Still, I can concede the reality of white privilege since I’m not so sure doing something drastic about it is so obvious. Privilege is a reality in every culture, so what? I sometimes wonder if those who sound like flat-earthers about WP do so because they think to concede it implies having to reform it in an activist sort of way–not to complicate the discussion, but something like those who deny homosexuality can be in the DNA because they assume to concede it is to have to then affirm it. Maybe it just is (that is, if all of life really did get affected by the original disobedience) and the answer is to slog through it instead of either affirming it or sticking your head in the sand about its reality.

    Like

  40. Zrim, what’s the reality you’re conceding? It has a couple of sociological underpinnings and specific applications to remedy-bring equity. Your slogging through it isn’t a concession they endorse or prescribe.

    Like

  41. Sean, I’m conceding that it’s better to be a straight white male than a black lesbian in America. (Yes, I know slogging through doesn’t obtain among either the Exodus International or Gay Pride camps, but that’s because slogging isn’t the easy answer both want in either make ’em-straight-therapy or total affirmation.)

    Like

  42. Zrim, I know what you’re conceding to. My point is that isn’t an option, in fact, where you landed makes you more culpable than the white slobs who don’t know know better. Furthermore, your assertion isn’t necessarily true. Depends on the town, state and occupation.

    Like

  43. ” But if God is silent on politics then it’s simply a matter of opinion.”
    No. It means that being wrong isn’t sinful. Scripture may be silent on arithmetic, but there are right and wrong answers. That doesn’t mean the church has the authority to weigh in. 2k isn’t advocacy of relativism, it is recognition of the proper authority/role of the church.

    In principle, a moderator who is a marxist, goldbug, CRT, or anti-vaxxer isn’t a problem. The problem is when a moderator uses his role to advocate for these things in the church. Unfortunately the PCA hasn’t done a great job drawing these boundaries, so folks who worry about denominational capture by political progressivism don’t have much of a leg to stand on.

    Like

  44. Zrim,

    I freely concede that my being a white male from a middle class background gives me certain advantages that others don’t have. What I don’t concede is every opinion I have or every success I have enjoyed is a function of my “White privilege.”

    Like

  45. SDB,

    In principle, a moderator who is a marxist, goldbug, CRT, or anti-vaxxer isn’t a problem.

    In principle, maybe, depending on the ideology in question. I’m not sure it’s possible to be a 2K Marxist because Marxism is worldviewery that makes everything about economics and class struggle, including religion.

    It would also seem that some political opinions are ruled out even in a 2K scheme if you are going to be confessional. I’m not sure how one could be in favor of any economic system that denies the right to private property and be confessional. The commandment against theft presupposes some kind of private property.

    Like

  46. VV, wrong. Lots of wealthy in NYC have decks, greenery. And you think NYC gets by w/o plumbing? Wow!

    You sound gullible. I’m sure you’re much more attuned to the subtext of appointments and gestures in the political and cultural world. But when the PCA appoints an Asian-American who is known for his work in social justice a year after confessing the sin of racism and the year they receive a report on women in ministry — no, this is just old-fashioned Presbyterianism.

    Charles Erdman would be proud of you.

    Like

  47. Zrim, ” it’s better to be a straight white male than a black lesbian in America.”

    Change America to Walmart.

    Don’t include universities or Hollywood or New York Times.

    Like

  48. This is a good question and I’m not sure that there is a good landing spot. The problem is that many of the “conservative” churches in the PCA are less confessional than the mainstream of the obvious landing spots like the OPC, URC, ARP, etc. I’m PCA, mostly due to lack of a better local option, but if I were in any of the other denominations there wouldn’t be many PCA congregations that I’d be eager to welcome into the fold. Even the conservative side probably has more in common with lapsed-Reformed-but-still-mostly-evangelical denominations like the EPC but the women’s ordination issue would be a deal breaker.

    My money would be on the formation of yet another new P&R denomination.

    Like

  49. sdb says: If there is one kingdom that covers “every square inch”, then it seems to me that there is no boundary for activity (shall the church start a used car ministry out back?) or area of the believer’s life that isn’t a concern for the church.

    sdb, at least ,couldn’t we highlight we agree on this (part of VV’s point?) –the church witnesses to,proclaims the good news of the kingdom, and the kingdom manifests itself through the church

    Like

  50. Sean, my assertion is general. As a straight white male, I’m sure I’d be under-privileged where black lesbians are ascendant. That’s just how the world works. I’d like to think I wouldn’t whine about it and look for ways to demonize the dominant ladies, but I’m only human.

    sdb, I don’t disagree (so I’m not sure what you’re trying to clarify).

    Robert, agreed, though so would saner progs. Does anyone really take those who think in such fundamentalist ways such that one’s whole humanity is reduced to race (or sexuality) seriously? Maybe, but those people are as dumb as Trunpkins.

    And you may have appoint about some politics being ruled out under 2k, but it may be lost on your example. What’s private property have to do with being confessional, unless you’re talking about a republican confession. A better example might be an anarchist (Gregory Baus, are you lurking?).

    Darryl, but Wal-mart is Trumpland. Watch more “People of Walmart” clips:

    http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2017/05/24/arkansas-walmart-racist-rant-orig-vstop.cnn

    Like

  51. Zrim,

    And you may have appoint about some politics being ruled out under 2k, but it may be lost on your example. What’s private property have to do with being confessional, unless you’re talking about a republican confession.

    The teaching of the Westminster Standards on the Eighth Commandment presupposes private property, which would rule out Marxism, no?

    Robert, agreed, though so would saner progs. Does anyone really take those who think in such fundamentalist ways such that one’s whole humanity is reduced to race (or sexuality) seriously? Maybe, but those people are as dumb as Trumpkins.

    The problem is that the saner progs don’t tend to be the ones who actually attain power. And just look at how the left is chewing itself up trying to figure out who can be most virtuous.

    Like

  52. and zrim too, look at this example of clear, complete, non-sidetracked focus on making known the kingdom. What really is there to do here of significance once one has been saved?

    Luke 8 Ministering Women 1 Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him, 2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3 and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means.

    Like

  53. Sean – “that’s not how it’s playing out in the PCA. The political is driving the bus. This is always the threat and then reality.”

    Any concrete examples of this? I don’t concede that the PCA is “becoming liberal,” much less that it is being driven by progressive politics.

    Zrim and sdb – God is sovereign over every aspect of creation, including every aspect of our lives, correct? I mean, I don’t know how you can call yourself Reformed and believe otherwise. In that case, we have to submit every part of our lives to God in a very real way, not in an abstract, philosophical sort of way. God doesn’t say that He is sovereign of X part of our life but not Y. That said, God is sovereign over every part of my life but hasn’t specifically revealed how to make every decision. God is sovereign over where I park my car, but that doesn’t mean He has revealed to me where to park my car. He has revealed to me principles that should inform my decision-making about political ideologies and candidates, but He hasn’t revealed exactly which candidate to support or which ideologies to embrace. He tells us clearly that all races have equal standing before God, but He doesn’t tell us specifically how to deal with racial problems today. Perhaps some very thorough-going Neo-Calvinists believe otherwise, but I don’t.

    I agree with much of 2K – almost all of it in fact. Where 2K proponents err is in drawing a line where God’s sovereignty in our lives ends. Searching for Scriptural principles to inform our views of politics and race seems perfectly valid to me – even mandatory – but to many 2K people it seems God leaves us to our own devices entirely and we should simply follow our own intuition. I don’t believe it is a sin to vote for one candidate or another, but that decision should be based on principles He has given us through His Word. Same with our views of race, culture, etc.

    DGH – no one is building their own deck in NYC. Or even doing their own plumbing – ever heard of a “super?” So what do you think the powers that be in the PCA are after by approving Jun as the moderator? Maybe it’s somewhat symbolic of racial conciliation, but is that nefarious? Or a descent into theological liberalism?

    Like

  54. Robert, re Marxism, seems like a reach. But since the loony bin theos haven’t attained much ascendancy in confessional churches, I’m more optimistic about their counterparts getting much. Then again, conventional wisdom about institutions let me down in 2016, so…

    Like

  55. VV,

    Higgins, CTS, Women’s study committee, Sean Lucas and Michelle Higgins on racial reconciliation being considered at the presbytery and session level. Required response to presbytery on RR considerations at the session level. Jun as moderator not based on qualification but as part of RR insistence on quota mandates for people of color in official DENOMINATION WIDE offices as part of reparations and sign of good faith on behalf of PCA that they make good on their “confession” of the sin of racism and bigotry proffered last year. I got more when you’re ready.

    Zrim, I appreciate that you have your own version of WP. What you offer as your acknowledgement of WP isn’t what’s on the table in these discussions in either the PCA or political spectrum. In fact your level of wokeness would be considered more offensive and bigoted(white eva at BLM events and the voting booth and the PCA is a real point of disappointment and anger among people of color) than the Trumpeteers who don’t know know better. We get a pass cuz we just can’t see. You, enlightened as you are, are one guilty white guy. But it’s ok, I still like you. It’s the white in me, I’m sure.

    Like

  56. VV, sure, but then you might re-think the idea of injecting theology into politics and the language of every square inch neo-Calvinism.

    “…but to many 2K people it seems God leaves us to our own devices entirely and we should simply follow our own intuition.”

    What’s wrong with intuition? God gave it, so why not use it? Like eyes and feet–and conscience. You think that’s some sort of autonomy?

    “I don’t believe it is a sin to vote for one candidate or another, but that decision should be based on principles He has given us through His Word.”

    I get it, this sounds pious and all but it really isn’t how we work, even as redeemed creatures. God is sovereign over all of life, but how that translates into me consulting the Bible when I vote really doesn’t resonate. It simply isn’t very useful to the task at hand. Plus, plenty of believers will say they did the same thing but came to different conclusions, so they were obviously using another set of parameters.

    Like

  57. Sean, no, it’s the dog person in you. We’re supposed to hate Darryl and his cats, and yet…

    But, oh, what what I’m talking about isn’t what the activists are talking about. Tell me something I don’t know.

    Like

  58. Zrim, you need to back away from the whole white people and their dogs attachment and associations, look what your sort did to Michael Vick. “We’re talking about dogs! Dogs! White people.” Your wokeness is infuriating to others. I’m all good with it.

    Like

  59. Sean – you didn’t really address the issue. Two issues: 1. The PCA becoming more theologically liberal; 2. That trend to liberal theology being driven by liberal politics. Do you have concrete examples of either of these phenomena? You’ve listed several names, mentioned an ad interim report that was anything but liberal, made a dubious claim about a GA moderator, and mentioned concrete steps taken towards racial reconciliation. Where’s the political liberalism? Where’s the theological liberalism?

    Zrim – intuition and thoughtfulness are great when used in context of Scriptural principles. Again, God doesn’t tell us how to vote, but He does give us principles to consider. How those principles are applied in choosing a candidate can vary from Christian to Christian, but those principles should still guide our consciences nonetheless. And I never said we should infuse theology into politics – I actually said the opposite in the sense that we should not confuse political liberalism with theological liberalism.

    Like

  60. VV, I can’t help you see what you don’t want to see. But, briefly, the theological liberalism is built on two fronts, so far, one is the idea of culpability of succeeding generations for prior generations iniquity, that manifests both individually and institutionally, this is inclusive with Lucas’ eisegisis and the Higgins’ insistence. The Jun plank(others as well) is the diaconal mandate(hellinistic widows seeking fair treatment) and the idea of biblical equity equating to a reparations styled remediation necessitating both paid and figurehead placement in denominational positions of power. Also, part of these remedy’s include the setting aside of funds to plant and support people/pastors/theologians of color as part of PCA mission work. All I’ve done is give you concrete examples.

    Like

  61. VV, there’s also SIPTSD(Slavery Induced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which Leon Brown and others were hanging some meat on. I actually have some affinity for that plank if for no other reason than I see an opportunity to claim for myself some victimhood AND a shot at some meds.

    Like

  62. VV, this wasn’t sarcasm? “…infusing a Christian perspective into social justice as it pertains to academia. Oh the horror!”

    But what would those biblical principles for voting be? And if they’re so clear, why so much variance among Christians in their application?

    Like

  63. Sean – maybe you’re seeing things that aren’t there? I cannot see how institutional confession for past individual and institutional sins is theologically liberal. You may disagree with such a confession, but that doesn’t automatically make it liberal; it passed by an overwhelming majority, meaning it wasn’t even controversial. To your second point, making a greater effort to include minorities in the pastoral staff seems completely reasonable given the diverse society in which we live. Plus, if that helps heal old wounds within the church, isn’t it worth it? Doesn’t that fit Paul’s ideal of being “all things to all people, that by all means I might save some?” Confessing past racial sins and striving for racial diversity among its clergy is nothing remotely like liberal theology.

    Zrim – we’re talking about two different things in two different contexts. In the case of Jun I was discussing infusing a Christian view of race in to academic discourse. In the case of politics I was addressing the confusion of liberal theology with liberal politics. I probably should have used a different word to avoid confusion.

    In terms of biblical principles for voting, deciding who will best be “God’s servant for good” balances many factors that will have different orders of priorities for different Christians. So naturally Christians will have different views and vote for different people. That doesn’t mean that God isn’t sovereign over their decisions and their decision-making processes.

    Like

  64. VV, but I’m asking for concretes. What are these biblical principles for voting? And just because Christians vote and diverge in doing so doesn’t mean they’re all somehow merely employing these alleged principles differently. Maybe you’re assuming too much of Christians? Maybe they’re using a whole raft of ideas which are informing them well beyond any principles culled from the Bible?

    Like

  65. @VV I don’t think you’ll get any thoughtful proponent of 2k theology to say that God isn’t sovereign over all of creation. But 2k isn’t addressing the scope of God’s authority. Rather 2k addresses the scope of the authority and responsibility that God has delegated to the Church. It is not sufficient for a belief to be true or useful (much less harmless). The church must have the authority to speak on the matter.

    Of course, one should study the scriptures and be transformed by them. One should never steal, murder, covet, lie, etc… in church or in the course of one’s secular employment. But we should be cautious about reading our own contemporary convictions into scripture.

    Like

  66. VV, when you have political ideologies marrying themselves to illegitimate ‘biblical’ mandates and selling it as the kingdom of god/christian charity/sanctification you have everything like liberal theology. So, when I tell them I don’t buy their diaconal mandate or their accounting to me of my plantation owning kin’s sin of slavery(not that I have any) and they tell me I’m a sinner and need to repent of my WP, we have a problem born of liberal theology.

    Like

  67. Sean – the PCA is not doing anything like your second sentence. As for your first sentence: again, just because you disagree with 90%+ of the GA delegates doesn’t make them all liberal.

    sdb – “But we should be cautious about reading our own contemporary convictions into scripture.”

    I agree with this wholeheartedly. I even agree with your point that the church must be given authority in order to speak on a matter. But I believe an individual Christian contributing to academic discussions on race from a Christian perspective is certainly allowed, and I would argue is even commanded (Col 3). That is very different from the church as an institution pronouncing the remedy to race relations in 21st century American society.

    Zrim – if civil rulers are God’s servants for good, then we should look to the attributes of God and his relation to society. The Bible clearly teaches that He protects the poor and oppressed, that He protects the children and the helpless, that He ensures justice for all equally, that He values honesty and integrity, fair dealing, etc. I would look for candidates who broadly meet those criteria, though Christians may disagree on how to apply them. To use a very simplistic example, I would favor Trump’s views on abortion over Hillary’s, since he is (ostensibly) anti-abortion and she is pro-abortion. On the other hand, Trump has not addressed criminal justice reform in a meaningful way, while Hillary is a strong advocate for such reform, which I believe is important, so I would favor her views on that matter. So if those were the only two criteria, how do I choose? That is a matter of conscience, and two Christians can disagree on how to apply them, but that’s a far cry from arbitrarily voting for a candidate based on individual whim.

    Like

  68. VV, check out the WP classes Higgins is holding at her church in St. Louis. Go read the race and rec justification that the presbyteries have passed out to the sessions to pray and contemplate over and get back to them. Work on not telling me what I do and don’t know.

    Liked by 1 person

  69. VV, you might be reading some eternal truths a bit too politically, i.e. God’s protecting the poor and oppressed has to do with a concern for an eternal poverty and oppression; this is where 2kers worry about what the Bible-as-handbook-for-temporal-life does to a transcendent faith. And you don’t need the Bible to know that honesty and integrity matter, so claiming to be culling that from special revelation is a bit of special pleading. And while I get some of your answer makes you sound open-minded and beyond political devotions, it’s no small thing that you have to vote for just one, so how does the Bible help you decide?

    PS HRC isn’t pro-abortion. Doesn’t the Bible have something to say about fairly representing others?

    Like

  70. Zrim,

    God’s protecting the poor and oppressed has to do with a concern for an eternal poverty and oppression

    So if I have an abundance and see my brother in need, I can just ignore him? Way to over-spiritualize the text.

    HRC isn’t pro-abortion
    I missed where HRC is in favor of even basic abortion restrictions. Oh, and the whole business about unborn persons having no rights…

    Like

  71. vv, “if civil rulers are God’s servants for good, then we should look to the attributes of God and his relation to society.”

    And if God hates Esau, government should reflect hatred of ethnic groups?

    I think you’re 2k needs a bit of refinement. beware importing theology to politics.

    Like

  72. Robert, the point isn’t to give license to disregard. It’s to caution against making the Bible into a handbook for provisional life. Like Jesus said, it’s all about him, meaning eternal life. Or do you really think biblical ethics exists to translate into political theory?

    Re HRC, mainstream choicers don’t actually want to see more abortions anymore than mainstream lifers want to see more rights stripped away. I know, this is where you say but HRC is rrrrrrrradical, but before you continue with the “pro-abortion” propaganda, how do you feel about your views characterized as “anti-choice”? I’m not wild about it myself, so maybe the “pro-abortion” stuff is also a bit too hyperbolic?

    Like

  73. Vae victis (@masonmandy) says: Zrim – intuition and thoughtfulness are great when used in context of Scriptural principles.

    Zrim says: It’s to caution against making the Bible into a handbook for provisional life. Like Jesus said, it’s all about him, meaning eternal life.

    …eternal life – meaning starting now; the bible –for one thing: ‘a handbook’. (per Jesus)

    Ditto on vv’s suggestion: ‘supplement’ your ‘intuition’ with bible knowledge – it will serve you well – and most importantly it will glorify God.
    It seems very unfortunate your dismissiveness of the value at all times of God’s word. I think maybe your intuition is failing you

    Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 2 Peter 1:2-3

    godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. 1 Tim 4:8b-9

    Like

  74. Zrim,

    Robert, the point isn’t to give license to disregard. It’s to caution against making the Bible into a handbook for provisional life. Like Jesus said, it’s all about him, meaning eternal life. Or do you really think biblical ethics exists to translate into political theory?

    It’s a false dichotomy that if the Bible is about eternal life, it’s not also a handbook for provisional life. You can have a handbook for provisional life that doesn’t translate into political theory.

    IOW, God protecting the poor isn’t just about eternal life even if eternal life is more important than provisional life.

    Re HRC, mainstream choicers don’t actually want to see more abortions anymore than mainstream lifers want to see more rights stripped away.

    Planned Parenthood is about as mainstream as you get in the choice movement, and they’ve been known to reward clinics for certain abortion quotas and to pressure women into abortion who are unsure of it.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/444685/planned-parenthood-abortion-quotas-exposed-live-action-video

    I know, this is where you say but HRC is rrrrrrrradical, but before you continue with the “pro-abortion” propaganda, how do you feel about your views characterized as “anti-choice”? I’m not wild about it myself, so maybe the “pro-abortion” stuff is also a bit too hyperbolic?

    Well, perhaps you are on to something. Maybe it would be fairer that HRC is pro letting anybody murder a certain class of people for any reason at any time. And that would mean I’m anti letting anybody murder a certain class of people for any reason at any time.

    Like

  75. Sean – I did read the recs being passed around, and I can tell you that you are wrong about what’s in them. There is nothing like “their accounting to me of my plantation owning kin’s sin of slavery(not that I have any) and they tell me I’m a sinner and need to repent of my WP…” It’s simply dishonest to characterize it this way. I welcome correction if you can prove me wrong. I couldn’t find any classes on race taught by Michelle Higgins. Regardless, why are you getting so worked up about one woman in the PCA who literally has no power whatsoever?

    Zrim – I don’t mean to pile on what Robert said above, but it’s a poor hermeneutic to say all the many references to God’s protection of the poor and oppressed in the OT are purely spiritual/eternal. Yes, Scripture points to Christ and He certainly will provide ultimate justice to the poor and oppressed at the Last Judgment. But there is also a temporal sense in which this is generally true as well. At the very least it clearly demonstrates the perfect society that God desires, and provides a principle for how we should order our society today. The particulars of that are debatable, but striving for justice for everyone should be a Christian ideal. And I don’t mind being called anti-choice when it comes to abortion.

    DGH – your point is valid: pretty much any group can rationalize any activity from the Bible. That’s why the church as an institution should not make pronouncements on things outside the spiritual realm, and that’s where 2K is strongest and has its greatest value. But Christians can and should use God’s Word to guide every aspect of their lives. Yes, it can be taken to extremes such as the example you cited (although weren’t Jacob and Esau of the same ethnicity, being twins and all?), but that doesn’t mean it should not be used. From WCF 1.6:

    “The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture”

    Like

  76. Robert, once you allow for the Bible to be a handbook for provisional life then how does it just stop and political theory? That’s a fairly arbitrary line if provisional life includes politics. You want some Kantian Christianity and Protestant liberalism but not too much? Just scotch tape Jefferson’s Bible back together but don’t correct his civil and moralistic religion? Can Kantian religion really co-exist with Protestantism?

    Re HRC, keep working on your descriptions. Still sounds like you’re on the moral high horse while your opponents are running around beneath you killing babies like wild injuns. All they’re going to do is counter by saying they’re “pro women having as much personal liberty as men while you’re anti personal liberty for anyone with a uterus.” You like that description? Somehow I doubt it. The whole tired debate is a sustained polarizing between two American virtues, the right to liberty and the right to life. Lifers and choicers demand we all choose one over the other. Maybe both are important enough not to make such demands? Heck, maybe the fixation on rights is a problem in the first place?

    Like

  77. Zrim,

    Robert, once you allow for the Bible to be a handbook for provisional life then how does it just stop and political theory?

    So you’re good with stealing? I mean “thou shalt not steal” has nothing to say for provisional life, right?

    Oh, and I guess you’re willing to throw out the book of Proverbs as well. That book offers no guidance for provisional life.

    That’s a fairly arbitrary line if provisional life includes politics. You want some Kantian Christianity and Protestant liberalism but not too much? Just scotch tape Jefferson’s Bible back together but don’t correct his civil and moralistic religion? Can Kantian religion really co-exist with Protestantism?

    I’m not sure why it’s controversial to say that the Bible gives us principles that inform provisional life but does not outline a specific political program. I’m not even sure how that would be incompatible with 2K theology.

    Re HRC, keep working on your descriptions. Still sounds like you’re on the moral high horse while your opponents are running around beneath you killing babies like wild injuns. All they’re going to do is counter by saying they’re “pro women having as much personal liberty as men while you’re anti personal liberty for anyone with a uterus.” You like that description? Somehow I doubt it.

    If personal liberty means the liberty to kill defenseless human beings, then I’m against personal liberty. But of course, historically and constitutionally, personal liberty hasn’t mean that.

    The whole tired debate is a sustained polarizing between two American virtues, the right to liberty and the right to life. Lifers and choicers demand we all choose one over the other. Maybe both are important enough not to make such demands? Heck, maybe the fixation on rights is a problem in the first place?

    I just don’t understand why you have to paint yourself as being above the abortion fray as if it is an indifferent matter. Every time the topic comes up, you act as if the Bible and natural law really offer no guidance here: “Maybe both are important enough not to make such demands?”

    But back to the matter at hand, if you are prepared to say the Bible isn’t a guide to provisional life, then are you prepared to throw out The teaching in the Reformed standards about the right application of the Ten Commandments? They give some pretty specific guidelines for applying them in provisional life even outside the political sphere.

    Like

  78. Robert, the point isn’t to shirk something like stealing or toss out the confessional teaching on the law. It’s that nobody needs the Bible to know the law but to know the way of salvation. And the more you make it about provisional knowledge (as if nobody knew stealing was wrong until the Bible came along) the more you undermine its more transcendent message.

    “I’m not sure why it’s controversial to say that the Bible gives us principles that inform provisional life but does not outline a specific political program.” I just said why. Political theory is a part of provisional life, so if the Bible provides principles for provisional life then why can’t we say it also contains the principles for a political theory?

    The abortion question isn’t so much indifferent as it is one among many. It’s the activists who like to think it’s special and western civilization hangs on it. What do you mean “every time the topic comes up, you act as if the Bible and natural law really offer no guidance here”? The sixth and second greatest commandments, both of which are in both forms of revelation, seem relevant (not Psalm 139, by the way, that’s about Jesus. Oops there goes that Bible-about-Jesus thing again, sorry). Is all of this just not sufficiently pro-life for you? Careful, political correctness crouches at the door.

    Like

  79. Zrim – “It’s that nobody needs the Bible to know the law but to know the way of salvation. And the more you make it about provisional knowledge (as if nobody knew stealing was wrong until the Bible came along) the more you undermine its more transcendent message.”

    This is neither Scriptural nor confessional. Read WCF 1.6 and WLC 3-6. Read Psalm 119, Deut 6:1-9, 2 Tim 3:16-17. Yes, the primary purposes of Scripture are to give us knowledge about God and to lead to salvation, but those aren’t the only purposes. By your logic there is no reason to pick up a Bible after conversion.

    As for abortion, one doesn’t have to be an activist to acknowledge it is a great evil.

    Like

  80. VV, read what I’m saying a little closer. It’s a matter of emphasis. The only way you’re getting what you allege I’m saying is if you don’t want to emphasize eternity over temporality, gospel over law, things unnaturally known over things naturally known but rather want to give equal weight to both. How do you have hope in eternity when you have equal concern for this passing life? Do you understand the discourse of the cost of being a disciple?

    Re abortion, one can acknowledge its blight without adopting the breathless ethos of activism. I’d’ve thought the humilaxing Kellerites would get this, guess not.

    Like

  81. VV, look at Overture 43’s overlap w/overture 30 and affirming Overture 4 out of the Missouri presbytery that was passed and then look up Tisby and Higgins and the Leadership Development Conference. Then lookup the Higgins’ involvement at CTS and the tie in w/the National Partnership and Jun’s election as moderator. Finally you can look up Sean Lucas’ eisegesis on generational iniquity which was undergirding this latest overture. The Overtures themselves, the Aquila Report, By Faith Online, RAAN (Reformed African American Network) are all co-belligerents and help fill out the in between spaces. I’m not engaged in any misrepresentation or dishonesty. This has all been part of the dialogue at session and presbytery which we’ve been asked to undertake. Presbytery of the Mississippi has some lengthy engagement and analysis on their website as well. I haven’t read all their stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  82. @Z I’m not sure you can justify such a clean boundary between the temporal and the eternal. Our sanctification is involved with the temporal and has eternal consequences. That being said, I agree that much of what the scriptures teach about temporal matters can be found elsewhere – virtually every religion has some version of the golden rule, one need not be a Christian or have ever read the Bible to think that stealing, murder, and lying are wrong. Lots of secular societies seems to be humming along just fine (e.g., Japan, Denmark, and the Czech Republic aren’t exactly Somalia). That won’t do the unbelieving citizens of these countries any good on the day of judgment though.

    @Robert I think one can agree that abortion is morally equivalent to murder and also believe (perhaps mistakenly) that outlawing abortion would be a bad idea. For example, one might think that passing laws banning abortion would be counterproductive because women with unwanted pregnancies would have abortions anyway – only black market abortions have other bad side effects (women dying from botch abortions, etc…). One might be wrong about this (and I think they would be), but I don’t see that such a view is sinful.

    Another more subtle objection is grounded in the “famous violinist” analogy. In short (in case you aren’t familiar with it), there is a famous violinist who has slipped into a coma due to complications from an illness causing problems with his kidneys. To survive, he needs to be hooked up to someone so that their kidneys can function for the violinist until he recovers. You have been identified as a match, so some overzealous fans kidnap you and you wake up connected to the violinist. If you disconnect yourself from the violinist, he will instantly die. If you remain connected, there is some risk to you, but it is highly likely he will recover and live a long and fruitful life. He did not choose to have you kidnapped and as he will be in a coma for the duration, there is no way for him to signal his wishes in the matter. Is it immoral for you to kill the violinist in order to free yourself from your connection to him? If you say yes (and I think most people would intuit that this is indeed justified), then you have a hard time opposing pregnancies that resulted from non-consensual sex. This is why most people intuit that abortion should be outlawed except in cases of rape and incest. Say however, you volunteered to get hooked up to the violinist, but there are complications that arise that mean you might lose your kidneys and have to be on dialysis for the rest of your life. Are you justified in cutting yourself loose (killing the violinist) to save your kidneys? Again, I think most people would intuit that indeed you would be, and thus abortion in the case of the health (not just life) of the mother is justified. Here is where it gets really tricky from a legal perspective. If abortion is justified in the case of rape and incest, then the law is going to have a really hard time accommodating bans on abortion. Ditto for a health exception. If the criminality of an act is based on factors our judicial system is not very good at determining, then criminal justice system may not be the best way of handing the situation (this is the strongest objection to affirmative consent laws regarding sex), While I think the Bible makes it clear that murder is sinful and that abortion is a form of murder, it does not tell us how to handle these factors and decide whether the state should be involved in prohibiting/punishing abortion. One may disagree with this analysis (I think it I has problems, but it is not a slam dunk), but I don’t see how scripture bears on the legal analysis. Thus I can imagine that HRC may believe that abortion is a grave evil and that it should safe, legal, and rare and not be sinning by advocating for this formula.

    Like

  83. SDB,

    The basic problem with what you are saying is that the Bible does indeed prescribe what is to happen for murder both in the Mosaic Law and in the Noahic covenant that predates the Mosaic law. If abortion is a species of murder and Scripture prescribes criminal penalties for murder, then advocating for de-criminalizing abortion simply isn’t a Christian option. Now there might be justification in not being a single-issue voter, but I simply don’t see where it is possible to sinlessly advocate for the legalization of abortion. And if it is and abortion is a species of murder, then consistency demands the decriminalization of murdering those who make it outside the womb.

    It really all hinges on whether abortion is a species of murder. If it is, then it shouldn’t be decriminalized. If it isn’t, then who cares if abortions take place? It would be no more morally consequential than liposuction.

    Like

  84. Zrim,

    Zrim,

    Robert, the point isn’t to shirk something like stealing or toss out the confessional teaching on the law. It’s that nobody needs the Bible to know the law but to know the way of salvation. And the more you make it about provisional knowledge (as if nobody knew stealing was wrong until the Bible came along) the more you undermine its more transcendent message.

    Nobody needs the Bible to have a very basic idea of what God demands, so in that sense, no, you don’t need it to know the absolute barebones basics of the moral law, but frankly, if you don’t need to know the Bible to know the law, then God wasted his time with Moses.

    And the more you think its treatment of provisional knowledge is essentially inconsequential, the more you make the Bible incapable of revealing its more transcendent message.

    Political theory is a part of provisional life, so if the Bible provides principles for provisional life then why can’t we say it also contains the principles for a political theory?

    I didn’t say we can’t. I said it doesn’t lay out a political program. It gives lots of principles for political theory—honesty, protection of innocent life, etc.. It doesn’t say whether democracy is better than monarchy or that it’s okay to have a police force but not to force the garrisoning of troops in certain circumstances.

    The abortion question isn’t so much indifferent as it is one among many. It’s the activists who like to think it’s special and western civilization hangs on it. What do you mean “every time the topic comes up, you act as if the Bible and natural law really offer no guidance here”? The sixth and second greatest commandments, both of which are in both forms of revelation, seem relevant (not Psalm 139, by the way, that’s about Jesus. Oops there goes that Bible-about-Jesus thing again, sorry). Is all of this just not sufficiently pro-life for you? Careful, political correctness crouches at the door.

    Every time the topic of abortion comes up, you very quickly want to make sure everyone knows you aren’t down with the Eeeeevangelical emphasis on abortion and that trying to advocate against abortion on demand in any kind of is unbecoming to the church for some reason. I get the annoyance and concerns with the religious right. I don’t get the “look down on the man” attitude simply because “the man” in conservative circles is the religious right or the whatever we do, let’s not signal any agreement we might have with those who might be politically naive.

    Like

  85. Robert, I’m not sure how you can connect all the dots to conclude that the Christian who doesn’t favor outlawing abortion is sinning but that while the Bible gives all sorts of principles for politics one can’t find a political theory among all those revealed principles. Why so much work when it comes to abortion but less when it comes political theory? Somehow there ends up being liberty for you on political theory but none on abortion (i.e. the one who opposes its criminalization is sinning).

    On your last remark, I don’t get it. Instead of engaging the point, you analyze my perceived attitude. But fine: I do think this issue is one that has gotten the better of even otherwise conservative Calvinists. There tends to be a fair amount of group-think and bandwagoneering that goes on. Conservatives understand the problems of moralized politics and politicized faith among progressives and liberals and even among their own in plenty of spots, but somehow when it comes to abortion everyone goes weak-kneed and becomes a social justice warrior.

    Yeah, it’s annoying, so sue me.

    Like

  86. Zrim – “It’s a matter of emphasis.”

    Of course it is – no one is denying that! Understanding justification by faith is far more important than knowing how much money to give to the poor. That said, conducting ourselves in a manner that is obedient and ultimately glorifying to God is an eternal matter. (Since God is absolutely sovereign and exists outside time, I would argue every single matter is an eternal matter – a somewhat different discussion altogether). We should take great care to strive for obedience in absolutely every aspect of our lives. Yes, that can lead to excessive scrupulosity and even legalism if taken too far, but viewing all of life through a Scriptural lens is really mandatory for a mature Christian. As Psalm 119:24 says: “Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.”

    As for abortion, I agree with what Robert said above. I get your frustration with the religious right and some of their beliefs and antics, but they are fundamentally correct that (elective) abortion is evil. Abortion has been denounced throughout the entire history of the church, to one degree or another. Having pieced together the body parts of fetuses after intrauterine demise when I was a med student, I cannot fathom how other physicians perform abortions on healthy, living fetuses, and in such a callous manner. Elective abortion is morbid, grim work, and as a Christian I am appalled at my own profession and our society at large for allowing it to continue.

    DGH – the Bible doesn’t tell me how much flour to put in the cake batter or what kind of piping to use in the new high-rise, but it does tell me how I am supposed to work and why. Without God’s Word we might just think work is something we do for a paycheck, since it’s not eternal. The Bible tells us otherwise.

    Sean – Overture 4 specifically calls for repentance for racism during the “Civil Rights period.” That’s not confessing to the sins of slavery or any other racial sins other than that period, contrary to what you previously stated. (Maybe you read Civil War instead of Civil Rights?) I see nothing objectionable – or even controversial – in that overture. I looked up all the other things you referenced, and could find nothing the least bit objectionable in any of it. The only thing that might be mildly, possibly, maybe controversial is the LDR’s call for “activism” rather than mere words and commiseration. But even then I found nothing that advocated law-breaking, and they really didn’t even define activism. The point is there is no creeping liberal theology in any of what you cited. I don’t say this to be unkind, but I really believe you are being paranoid about this. Unless you can point to concrete liberal theology rather than vague, distant connections between individuals and groups you don’t like, I can’t really take your concerns seriously, and I doubt any other thoughtful PCA men will either. And for what it’s worth, unfounded suspicions of possible liberal theology are no reason to leave a denomination.

    Like

  87. Hi Robert,

    “The basic problem with what you are saying is that the Bible does indeed prescribe what is to happen for murder both in the Mosaic Law and in the Noahic covenant that predates the Mosaic law.”
    I don’ t see how Genesis 9:5-6 is prescribing a particular political theory. Insofar as it is, it requires the death penalty for murder cases. I don’t see anyone arguing for that in the abortion debate. A better reading of Gen 9 is that it is descriptive and highlighting the dignity of mankind. This (and the mosaic law) also have to be read within the context of Jesus’s exposition on this in the sermon on the mount – hatred is murder too. I don’t think that makes the 1st amendment unChristian though.

    “It really all hinges on whether abortion is a species of murder. If it is, then it shouldn’t be decriminalized. If it isn’t, then who cares if abortions take place? It would be no more morally consequential than liposuction.”
    Your thinking is muddled here. There are other factors that determine whether a particular immoral action should be criminalized. Think again about the problems with the affirmative consent laws. We all agree that rape is wrong and should be criminalized. We might also agree that having sex with an intoxicated partner unable to consent (for example) is a species of rape. But in our adversarial system of justice in which the accused is presumed innocent, prosecuting such a crime is very difficult. Not only that, agreeing to pursue charges when the only evidence of the crime is the state of mind of the participants and words uttered in private opens the door for all sorts of malicious prosecutions. Thus critics of affirmative consents laws can agree that the covered cases are a species of rape, but disagree that the state ought to insert itself in such situations. That does not mean that the action is morally inconsequential or that we must leave pass on prosecuting other instances of rape.

    In the case of abortion, one might conclude that abortion can be morally justified in some instances (again the violinist analogy). If those instances are not possible for the law to distinguish from unjustified instances, one might conclude that not criminalizing abortion is in the best interest of society. I don’t see how this is an inherently sinful conclusion to arrive at. Law is not just about right and wrong, it also has to balance unintended consequences (will the law create a blackmarket and exacerbate the problem to be solved?), cost (does enforcing the law reduce resources for enforcing more important laws), prudence (does the existence of the law open the door to abuse whose harm outweighs the benefit?), competing rights (does the enforcement of the law conflict with other rights?), and pragmatism (can the law actually be enforced). The list goes on…

    Like

  88. VV, here is what can be head-scratching. On the one hand, “…viewing all of life through a Scriptural lens is really mandatory for a mature Christian.” On the other, “…the Bible doesn’t tell me how much flour to put in the cake batter or what kind of piping to use in the new high-rise…” So why isn’t fair to say that when I go to ice the cake I’m not really viewing this part of life through any scriptural lens? Is that somehow impious? It’s not that icing the cake isn’t under God’s sovereignty, but I really can’t describe that activity as being viewed through a scriptural lens on my part. I happen to like Darryl’s description of this neo-Calvinist impulse as intellectual pietism, this push to wear faith on the sleeve and outwardly prove how Christian the speaker is, so much so that everything from practicing medicine to icing cakes is done christianly instead of from a more proximate knowledge. Sorry, but it’s really quite eye-rolling.

    I think the abortion discussion has run its course. I’m not sure my point has landed the way I would hope, but maybe close enough.

    Like

  89. SDB,

    Given the standards for prosecution and conviction under the Mosaic law (multiple witnesses), you have a judicial system that is just as adversarial as our own. And yet God thought that justice system was able to discern between cases of rape and murder.

    Law is not just about right and wrong, it also has to balance unintended consequences (will the law create a blackmarket and exacerbate the problem to be solved?), cost (does enforcing the law reduce resources for enforcing more important laws), prudence (does the existence of the law open the door to abuse whose harm outweighs the benefit?), competing rights (does the enforcement of the law conflict with other rights?), and pragmatism (can the law actually be enforced). The list goes on…

    Sure. And the case law of the OT recognizes this, but it also penalizes murder in every case, whether it is what we would call second-degree murder or whatever. So again, if abortion is murder then there should be a criminal penalty, and that would be discerned depending on intent and all the other factors that we use for determining blame and penalty for the killing of born persons. Our failure to be able to figure all that out perfectly every time doesn’t mean we decriminalize the murder of born persons like we’ve done with abortion.

    It does go back to whether abortion is a species of murder or not. If you want to say prosecuting abortion would be difficult, then sure. If you want to say that there are vagaries with respect to things such as incest and consent, then that can be discussed. But we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about modern abortion laws that make it legal to kill an unborn person at any time for any reason. Do you really want to say that it’s possible to hold that position and not be sinning? And then of course, if it’s possible to advocate for that position and not be sinning, why not just let Christians become abortion doctors who will do abortions at any time and for any reason?

    Like

  90. VV, Overture 43 found precedent in position papers adopted at 30th GA 2002 in which the PCA confessed their sins and the sins of their fathers in participating in chattel-slavery. This is also referenced in Lucas’ Higgins’ and Tisby’s work. I was just pointing you in the general direction. If you want me to do all the prep, my boss bills me out at $200/hr for forensic work. Since you felt free to do some diagnosing of my character and possible personality defect, I’ll play patient and tell you what I end up telling most doctors: “you aren’t the diagnosticians you purport and charge to be.” I’ve done nothing but give you concrete, specific examples of theology and praxis.

    Still, I hope the PCA corrects it’s slide.

    Like

  91. Do you really want to say that it’s possible to hold that position and not be sinning? And then of course, if it’s possible to advocate for that position and not be sinning, why not just let Christians become abortion doctors who will do abortions at any time and for any reason?

    Robert, because it’s a long distance between political advocacy and personal behavior. Think about it: do you really want to say that simply having a political conclusion is the same as actually having a direct hand in the taking of life? This is where I wonder what’s wrong with simply using political weapons to fight political battles and stopping short of smuggling in religious weapons to fight political battles. You’re effectively saying that to disagree with you politically is to be spiritually culpable. You don’t like it when the CRT SJWs do it to you on race, so why do you do it to your abortion opponents? My own political views are anti-abortion, but I don’t get spiritually impugning my opponents–it’s an over-played hand.

    Like

  92. Robert,
    ” Sure. And the case law of the OT recognizes this, but it also penalizes murder in every case, whether it is what we would call second-degree murder or whatever.”
    Was it wrong to not spill David’s blood for his commission of murder? Was it sinful for Rome to not execute S/Paul for his muderous actions?

    “We’re talking about modern abortion laws that make it legal to kill an unborn person at any time for any reason.”
    I’m not so sure that is true. There are restrictions on later abortions. Abortion is arguably different from other types of murder because of the nature of the victim. Morally it is equivalent, but sociologically it is distinct. A helpful parallel is the use of deadly force by police. We’ve heard a lot about that recently, and the consensus is that it is very hard to convict a cop of murder. The reason is that the difference between justified killings and unjustified killings is indistinguishable to the jury. We could pass a law banning lethal force by cops, but I suspect that most believe that would be unwise – letting a few cops get away with murder is better than the chaos caused by outlawing shootings by police. I’m sure reasonable people can disagree on how much lattitude we give the police, but I don’t see that there is a sinful position.

    Now the analogy to abortion is not perfect of course, but I think it helps clarify the challenges we face translating our moral views into law.

    ” And then of course, if it’s possible to advocate for that position and not be sinning, why not just let Christians become abortion doctors who will do abortions at any time and for any reason?”
    Because abortion is sinful. The fact that it is sinful does not entail that the government should prohibit it. I think it should be legal for RCs to celebrate the mass and for satanists to do their thing. Toleration as a prudential action is not endorsement of that action.

    Liked by 1 person

  93. Sean – I just want you to back up your assertions with factual evidence, or at least some analysis. Here is what you said: “when you have political ideologies marrying themselves to illegitimate ‘biblical’ mandates and selling it as the kingdom of god/christian charity/sanctification you have everything like liberal theology.” What’s the political ideology? What’s the unbiblical mandate? Improving race relations is absolutely charitable and sanctifying. I’ve read everything you’ve pointed out and can’t see anything unbiblical, liberal, or otherwise concerning in any of them. Make your case. I’m obviously not connecting the dots (such as they are), so please show me where I’m wrong.

    Zrim – let me use a silly illustration to make my point. When I go see a 3D movie (which is rare), I wear the 3D glasses throughout the entire movie. However, not all of the movie is actually 3D. For those parts I still view the film through the 3D glasses, even if they aren’t directly helpful. But for the parts of the movie that are 3D, those glasses are absolutely essential. Sometimes there are both 2D and 3D images on the screen at the same time, and sometimes there are segments of only 2D and only 3D. But I don’t take off my classes during the 2D sections and put them back on for the 3D – I wear them the entire time. It’s the same way with viewing our lives through a Scriptural/Gospel lens. Sure, God doesn’t directly instruct me to how to bake a cake, but He tells me why, how, and for Whom. The physical act of baking the cake, which is not directly addressed by God, is inseparable from the ethics of baking the cake, which are directly addressed by God. God’s Word colors every single aspect of our lives, even if it doesn’t specifically address every single detail on a practical level.

    sdb – I see your point, and agree to an extent – it’s not sinful to be both pro-choice in a legal sense and anti-abortion in a moral sense, just as it’s not wrong to believe gay marriage is sinful and yet believe it should be legal in a secular society. The problem is that elective abortion is ALWAYS performed with the intent to kill the fetus, which is murder. Now I do believe that abortion is morally permissible – possible mandatory – in cases where the life of the mother is at significant risk. But in all other cases the purpose of the abortion is to unjustifiably kill, regardless of how or why the fetus was conceived. If we believe that abortion is effectively murder – and I do believe that in the vast majority of cases – then the physician performing the abortion is guilty of murder, whatever their intentions.

    Like

  94. Sure, God doesn’t directly instruct me to how to bake a cake, but He tells me why, how, and for Whom.

    VV, really? So what’s the why, how and Whom exactly? Usually for me it’s I want one or it’s a special occasion (why), by following a recipe (how), and for me or someone else or all of us (for whom). I don’t think I’ve ever described the wherefore’s of my cake baking in more pious ways.

    The physical act of baking the cake, which is not directly addressed by God, is inseparable from the ethics of baking the cake, which are directly addressed by God.

    There are ethics to cake baking?

    Like

  95. vv, so if the Bible tells you to bake a cake for a gay couple and it tells your fellow Christian not to bake a cake for a gay couple, does the Bible contradict itself?

    Like

  96. Zrim – “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” Psalm 127:1 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Cor 10:31. “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Col 3:1 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Col 3:17 “What is the chief and highest end of man? Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy Him forever.” WLC 1

    I bake the cake to glorify God, in a manner that glorifies Him, with thankfulness for the ability and means to bake it, and ultimately for Him as well. If our sins are ultimately against God (Psalm 51:4), then our good works are ultimately for Him. (1 Peter 2:5) That’s not “intellectual piety,” that is what we are commanded to do in the Bible. You seem to be advocating a sort of quasi Dualism where temporal things are base and unimportant, while spiritual things are the only matters that really concern God. This thinking is clearly refuted throughout the NT. God never says “whatever you do in word or deed – well, except baking a cake – do in the name of the Lord.”

    DGH – every moment is eternal to God – from His perspective there is no time, there just is. So every moment is eternal to God, even this blog and even marriage. From our perspective they are temporal, but from His perspective they just are.

    Like

  97. VV, no not really. I’m just saying there seems to be little to no room in your scheme to simply say you followed a recipe to bake a cake. Somehow for you that’s just not Christian enough, despite the fact that you more than likely do use recipes to bake cakes. I think what you’re trying to say but with a pietist tick is that God is sovereign over all of a believer’s life, which is clearly agreeable, but then the tick kicks in and out pops something awkward about the Bible having something to say about baking cakes.

    If it helps, I’m also saying that temporal things are very good and worthwhile but also passing, which is different from “base and unimportant.” But it’s not unusual for neo-Calvinists to misinterpret these things in that direction.

    Like

  98. VV, I’ve made my case adequate to the forum and I’ve highlighted more than you note. The political ideology is radical racial politics. The unbiblical diaconal mandate is expansion of the diaconate work(institutional office and scope) beyond the membership of the church to include society at large as well as securing the outcome of the SJW work-see coercive gov. mandate(or even church gov. mandate-overtures, adoption), and assumption of competency of the church to even attempt the work-conflation of kingdoms. The theological liberalism is the expansion of the KOG beyond preaching of the gospel and conversion of souls through the preaching and administration of the sacraments to now include political agitation and binding of religious conscience to include support of specific political platforms and abide questionable sociological theories which may or may not be true(I have an opinion) but which can’t be grounded in exegesis of the relevant texts including generational iniquity, institutional sin, and supernatural repentance which would require substantiation of the aforementioned precursors.

    But, I’ll throw you a bone, it’s entirely possible that the agitation and turnover of the current SJW trend is so vacuous and persistent that it may die of it’s own weight through sheer fatigue, irrelevancy and relative lack of transformation-See the PCUSA on racial reconciliation and resulting lack of demographic change. What’s remarkable isn’t that we’re repeating the history of protestant liberalism but the speed at which the repetition is going. Much of that is attributable to the rapid dissemination of information through the internet and social media and the subsequent exhaustion of substantive content. IOW, there just isn’t much there to substantiate the movement other than a lot of noise and our attention span isn’t available for it. Think of the speed at which the current political climate transitions from one crisis(legitimate and otherwise) to the next and the resulting rapidity at which one ‘historic moment’ gives way to the next one, the next day. Lacking substance and eventually financial resources, I half expect this to go the way of all other fads-it’s likely to be out of fashion sooner than later. I know I’m already tired of it.

    Like

  99. Sean – thanks for taking the time to provide a more complete explanation of your views. I don’t agree with you, but I appreciate your time and thoughtfulness. You are wrong about the role of deacons. The PCA BCO says this: “It is the duty of the deacons to minister to those who are in need, to the sick, to the friendless, and to any who may be in distress. It is their duty also to develop the grace of liberality in the members of the church, to devise effective methods of collecting the gifts of the people, and to distribute these gifts among the objects to which they are contributed.” (9-2) It says nothing of ministering ONLY to the “membership of the church,” which is effectively contradicted in 9-1 (“after the example of the Lord Jesus”). So the diaconate certainly should minister to society at large, including the poor, oppressed, marginalized, etc. I have seen no PCA overtures or documents – or even individuals in PCA leadership – suggesting “political agitation” of any kind, much less binding of spiritual conscience to social theories. Do you have any examples? And repenting of institutional sins is not liberal theology at all. Again, all of these measures were accepted by overwhelming majorities. Do you honestly believe 85%+ of PCA elders are theologically liberal? Racial reconciliation is undoubtedly a biblical and moral good. Do you believe this is wrong?

    Zrim – “do all to the glory of God” means “do all to the glory of God.” Just because you view them as passing does not mean God does not want them done for His glory, as menial and seemingly innocuous as they may seem to us.

    Like

  100. VV, I’m right about the role of diaconate. The expansion to ‘society at large’ is beyond the competency of the diaconate, obligates them beyond charter(calling and under supervision of the session) and strains resources such as to imperil their ability to give preference to members in need. The context of office is the temporal affairs of the church. Does the diaconate sometimes and on occasion and as are able extend temporal help beyond membership of the church? Sure. On a case by case basis and particularly as it relates to the impoverished with an eye to the priority of those w/in the church and a recognition of the limitation of their duty and competency and resources. The attempt to smuggle into the diaconal mandate the idea and execution of racial equity(Jun, Tisby, Higgins, Keller, Lucas) including reparation, activism(including signing public policy petitions) and agitating for political reform as part of the great commission-work of the KOG are all examples of liberalizing influence in the theology and praxis of the church. Yes, VV, I believe racial reconciliation is wrong. Of course, that’s the reasonable conclusion to my objecting to the influence of SIPTSD, WP, illegitimate claims of generational iniquity, biblical equity, political activism and finally racial quotas in filling denomination wide offices. I obviously hate people of color.

    Like

  101. Sean – the diaconate serves both the church and those in need locally. All Christians should “execute racial equity,” not just the diaconate. Who exactly has agitated for “political reform” and in what way? Who has advocated reparations? I haven’t seen any of that advocated by any of these people. Any specific writing, or maybe a link? I don’t know to what extent you’re being facetious in your last sentence, but “biblical equity” is certainly true with regards to race and should be desired by all Christians.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s