Video on Indigenous African-American PCAs

(HT: Anthony Carter).

This is a good start. I love it when one of the pastors says, “I’m Presbyterian by choice and I want to inculcate that into the African-American community.” Amen. This video is very encouraging. Criticisms: well, I hesitate because this is such an important work but I hope the pastors will continue to think about their use of the transformationalist model of social engagement. Is the visible, institutional church called to “transform” the culture around it? Or is it perhaps better to say that we hope and pray that the gospel will have a transforming effect in the life of Christ’s people?

    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
    Author Image

    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

    More by R. Scott Clark ›

Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!


57 comments

  1. This is one the encouraging developmemts in the PCA. Hopefully it will spread & this movement w/.in the PCA & have influence in other areas of the black church.
    However as some in the PCA & OPC define the regulative principle these churches & their worship are in violation of the RP as “they” define it. Their worship may look more like the worship in a black Baptist church than the reverential worship thay say is demanded by the the WCF & the regulative princple.

  2. Since the RPW comes to us ultimately from non-Anglo cultures (i.e. the Scriptures, which aren’t Anglo!) I think that worshippers from any culture can adopt and adapt it. I see no reason why African-American congregations cannot follow the RPW and use existing tunes to sing God’s Word in response to God’s Word. Reverence and joy are not antithetical.

    The RPW doesn’t mean “stuffy, stiff, and white.”

  3. I would agree but I’ve heard a number of proponents who hold to stricter intepretation of the RPW who would say that the RPW means that our worship must be charaterized by a quiet reverence. Many would discourage the use of choirs. (which when u see the video are prominent in many black churches.) Some would critcize the worship styles seen in the video if the churches were predominently white/anglo. (as some who critcize the worship at Christ Community in Nashville, New Life in Philadelphia)

  4. I found the video encouraging and I would just echo what Dr. Clark says; the RPW does not mean, and those who advocate it are not arguing, that the true worship of God is seventeenth century Scottish Presbyterianism, but rather if I were to attend a church in Europe, America, Asia, Africa etc the RPW means that the elements of worship will all be the same. We will all base our prayer upon the Lord’s prayer, Scripture shall be read publicly and preached, psalms shall be sung acappella, and both baptism and the Lord’s supper will be administered. God’s worship now is truly catholic (or should be)!!

  5. I also agree that the video is encouraging. Its encouraging to see the PCA growing in the black community & hopefully we will see the growth of the reformed church in other ethnic & international communities.

    But my point was not that their worship is outside the RPW b/e I believe it s w/in the RPW but that the arguments of some who critcize primarily anglo/white churches (like Christ Community, New Life, perimeter) also apply to some of these predominently black churches.

  6. Call me under-realized, but I am not sure why “transform” is always the go-to word. Whatever happened to “sanctify”? The T-word seems to be the nomenclature of the spirit of the age and a theology of glory, which seems quite taken with power. The S-word is the language of the theology of the Cross, which is the opposite of all that.

    We know the world isn’t being “transformed,” but is it really that much better to talk about “transformed” individuals over against “sanctified” ones? Sometimes I think we can tend to respond to institutional transformationalism with experiential forms. The kingdom of God is certainly located within believers, but sanctification is what’s happening, not transformation.

  7. Some of us even like to think that some amount of transformation is the inevitable result of sanctification…

  8. Rube,

    Yes, I am quite aware. But I have always understood that glorification follows sanctification. I’ll pass on the fabricated stop-over between the two, thanks. Somebody just please pass the bread and wine.

  9. The PCAA. Might there be a new Denomination in the works?

    It would be great to see our Reformed churches filled with people of every hue and background worshipping in the same Sanctuary.

    I certainly don’t want to feel like I am somehow different than my brother in Christ because of skin color. The World is preoccupied with diversity, skin color, and cultural differences.

    We are Christ’s church. We are of a wholly different Kingdom. Our cultural mandate comes from the Word of God, and that Word tells us that all are one in Christ.

    I am all for reaching every corner of the globe with the Gospel. We must do it. I do not want to see our Reformed churches divided into separate-but-equal congregations.

  10. Hi Brian,

    Great to hear from you.

    Amen!

    “Every nation, tongue, and tribe.”

    It doesn’t seem as if this group is forming a new denomination, just working within the PCA to reach a group that hasn’t been much exposed to the Reformed faith.

  11. Hello Scott,

    Great to hear from you, as well. I think these men are doing a great work. May God bless their every effort and give them wisdom to negotiate difficult waters.

  12. Call me under-realized, but I am not sure why “transform” is always the go-to word. Whatever happened to “sanctify”? The T-word seems to be the nomenclature of the spirit of the age and a theology of glory, which seems quite taken with power. The S-word is the language of the theology of the Cross, which is the opposite of all that.

    We know the world isn’t being “transformed,” but is it really that much better to talk about “transformed” individuals over against “sanctified” ones? Sometimes I think we can tend to respond to institutional transformationalism with experiential forms. The kingdom of God is certainly located within believers, but sanctification is what’s happening, not transformation.

    My experience with the PCAs who emphasize “transformationalism” has been less than stellar. I’ll be happy when the idea goes out of fashion.

  13. Dude,

    Try ground-zero in the CRC. I count the T-word used every Lord’s Day, roughly, four times. During the week, fughgitabouit.

  14. At the risk of, well, a few things, I wonder.

    How is this appreciably different from meeting the felt needs of consumers? Is it more acceptable because it falls under that more noble purpose of race relations, while meeting the felt needs of consumers is perceived as ignoble? Don’t both efforts really share the same principle that the gospel needs extra special help to reach a certain sub-group “where they’re at”?

    It would seem that all the gospel needs is to be purely preached and administered, and then all people will be gathered in from every tribe, tongue and nation. Or is that just naïve?

  15. “I see no reason why African-American congregations cannot follow the RPW and use existing tunes to sing God’s Word in response to God’s Word. Reverence and joy are not antithetical.”

    I see no reason either, but that’s not what I saw/heard in the video.
    Of course you can’t ask more of mission/outreaches than you can expect to find in the PCA in general.

  16. Be specfic. What do you see wrong in the video & how does it violate the RPW?

  17. “Be specfic. What do you see wrong in the video & how does it violate the RPW?”

    ??!!Come on please, this is elementary RG Avant (as in we’ve been through this before at GreenBaggins haven’t we?)
    The R&B funk “Come on in” chorus or dancing, choirs, uninspired songs and musical instruments, but that’s about all I could stomach to watch. I am happy to see reformed theology prosper, but that doesn’t mean anything goes because of residual liberal white guilt/patronization.

    In other words I’m with Zrim. Along with reformed theology, somebody sold the brothers the latest hip fad of transformational contextualization missiologizing garbage from the PCA MTW and that is sad.

    But hey, I’m an equal opportunity bigot. I’m against the MArs Hill/Christ the King/Calvary Chapel rock and roll CCM too, so don’t bother getting the tarbrush out.

    For that matter, Girardeau, who wrote the Southern Presbyterian classic on musical instruments available here online:
    http://www.covenanter.org/Girardeau/Instrumental/instrumentalmusic.htm
    also had a tremendous outreach to the Charleston blacks: http://www.gpts.edu/resources/girardeau.html
    so it’s not like the RPW itself or the application of it re. musical instruments is an inherently racist doctrine.
    cordially

  18. I wouldn’t call it contextualized R&B funk but rather worship that reflects historic African american worship. Worship which as far as I can tell you are saying vilates the RPW.

    I don’t believe that the RPW is inherently racist but where you drw the lines may make it difficult to plant multiracial churches. You appear to have drawn the line at exclusive psalmody & a ban on musical instruments.

    I believe in the RPW but I don’t believe that it excludes historic black worship styles.

  19. Let me repeat myself, RG.
    1. The good and necessary consequences of the Second Commandment, i.e. the RPW, forbids dancing, choirs, uninspired songs and musical instruments.
    2. Your quarrel is not with me, but with historic P&R worship as confessed in the Westminster Standards/Directory for Public Worship.
    3. That rules out a lot of what passes for worship in American churches, even P&R ones whether they are white, black or purple with green polka dots. (Ever heard of Contemporary Christian Music? Ever been to karaoke warmup service at a CrRefChurch?)
    4. God doesn’t love everybody and it ain’t OK to do whatever in worship just because we are sincere and black/fill in the blank. (The pope’s sincere, but the mass is still an accursed idolatry.)
    Why not? Because worship and church government like doctrine, are not areas of adiaphora/indifference for the P&R, though they are for Lutherans and Anglicans.

  20. Like I said you’ve chosen to draw a line around worship that is far stricter than most of the reformed world even those who would consider themselves TR.
    Your issue is not just w/historic African AMerican worship (which for the most part is well w/in the RPW) but w/most of the worship found in almost all conservative Presbyterian & Reformed churches except for the RPCNA.

  21. “the RPW, forbids dancing, choirs, uninspired songs and musical instruments …. That rules out a lot of what passes for worship in American churches, even P&R ones”

    That rules out 99.99% of all worship in almost any church anywhere except for a small group of P&R churches.

  22. Bob has nailed something I think important, the deeply-seated phenomenon of white guilt. It really does a number on even Reformed confessionalists.

    He made reference to the CRC. Being at ground-zero affords the opportunity to see this quite a bit. When it comes to being politically correct the CRC (and just for clarification, the PC of the porgresive type, not so much the fundie, cultural rightist type) is probably one of the best. The bending-over-backwards patronization to prove to any non-WASP that we really aren’t racist becomes quite transparent and not a little embarassing. As someone in the 18-36 demographic, I have found that it usually heavy amongst those in older age brackets who tote their token minorities to church every other Sunday and try awkwardly to assimilate their music, etc. into worship to prove to everyone, including themselves, they are better at hiding their innate racism than others; perhaps being closer to the living memory of something like the civil rights movement makes “older” folks feel more guilty?

    What we see in this video is the PCA version of full-blown progressive PC’ism. The efforts in the CRC are to employ worldly ways (read: inclusivism, affirmative action) to gain diversity for its own sake. This is simply no different from employing worldly ways (read: church growth) to gain numbers for its own sake. Again, white guilt is one potent little pill.

  23. First there are aspects in our reformed heritage(I’m not talking abt the CRC since I know little of its history) esp in the heritage of the PCUS & the PCA that has been rascist. Its kinda hypocrytical to critcize the black church for not being reformed when we wern’t willing to admit them to our seminaries(I’m speaking primarily of the PCUS churches b/f the 60s) & supported the worst kind of Jim Crow segregation by appealing to the sprituality of the church.

    I don’t though see any of this as PC progressiveism or tokenism but the gospel reconciling sinners w/God & with each other. Those who were previously enemies are now brothers. The planting of Reformed black churches is a testimony of the power of the gospel not the power of PC. The encouragement of this video is not that it proves the PCA is not racist but that the heritage of the PCA was influenced by racism & the gospel has changed hearts.

    The biggest problem w/church planting in the PCA is not that the PCA is directing all its efforts to accomaodate itself to every minority in the USA but that 95-98% of its church planting efforts is directed towrds middle & upper class whites. (or the planting of churches in middle & upper class areas).

    How in the world you can call the church planting of a small group of primarily black churches affirmative action is puzzling. Are you saying black pastors in the PCA get an easier presbytery exam? Are you accusing the PCA of overlooking theological errors in the desire to have some black churches?

    This is not a new thing. There have been churches in the PCA with African AMerican style worship since New City Fellowship started in Chattanoga in the early 80s(or late 70s?). You can call it PC progressivism if you want but for some of us southern white guys who have even a little memory of past racial conflicts we recognize it as the “transforming” power of the gospel.

  24. Actually I believe that the RPW provides freedom & flexability in worship.
    I can let the Bible be the guide.
    I don’t have to have the worship in Latin. I don’t have to worship according to some set man made standard in some prayer book.

    I can use different musciscal instruments & different muscial styles b/e its biblical. (harps, lyres, timbrels, cymbals and trumpets. )

  25. RGA,

    The RPW is not “man-made.” It’s the law of God. It’s the second commandment. That wasn’t “man-made.”

    The point of the RPW is to keep people from imposing their opinions or preferences on other people. There is freedom as to circumstances to be sure but elements are sacred. If singing is prayer and if instruments are typological, then no consistory is free to re-instate Mosaic, typological worship in the era of fulfillment. Have you been reading the posts on the RPW?

    What about HC 96 or WCF 21 or the Directory for Public Worship (which was, in effect, the original interpretation of WCF 21) makes you think that “freedom” functions as you claim? Am I free to slaughter animals during worship? If not, why not?

  26. “Your issue is not just w/historic African AMerican worship (which for the most part is well w/in the RPW) but w/most of the worship found in almost all conservative Presbyterian & Reformed churches except for the RPCNA.”

    Whew, a sigh of relief here. For a minute, RG, I thought you might be a racist when it came to “historic” AA worship. Racism as in favorably prejudiced as opposed to the more common negatively prejudiced. (Yes, racism is to be deplored and repudiated, but you know what. I have met a few racists in my day and they weren’t all lily white.)
    I was going to recommend you read something like Tom Wolfe’s MauMauing the FlakCatchers (?) which he wrote about the white liberals love affair with the Black Panthers in the ’60’s. As in the fascination with the noble savage, the real, the authentic, the hip, the different, the folksy, but you had to go and steal my thunder. Like I am totally bummed out, man.

    “That rules out 99.99% of all worship in almost any church anywhere except for a small group of P&R churches.”

    Bingo, now it’s finally starting to click. The RPCNA and a few others by default still hold to the confessional P&R position, which was the norm even for non P&R churches at the Reformation. Most modern American moderate P&R churches have left it and now cannot even recognize it when it is called to their attention. That’s because when everybody sacrifices in the high places, even including the orthodox TRs, it becomes the norm and nobody thinks anything about it, except about how weird those fools/heretics/antiquarians/idealists (tongue in cheek translation: idiots/trolls) are who object. And yup, we is one of ‘em.

    Or if you will, as RPaul puts it, truth is treason in the empire of lies.
    But the reformed confessions still teach we are to worship God alone in the First Commandment, only in the way he has explicitly or implicitly commanded in the Second, from the heart and without hypocrisy or vanity in the Third on the first day of the week in the Fourth.
    It is not about the historic worship of whomever, whether the Muggles or the Hogswarts or even about what day the Grinch stole Christmas.
    cordially

  27. Dr Clark I didn’t say the RPW was man made. I believe it. But I don’t believe that the RPW forbids musical elements nor do I believe that it restricts us to only sing the Pslams. We don’t sacrifice animals b/e we got Jesus who already sacrificed for us.
    I didn’t look at yr other post until recently; my point was that the RPW is not man made & when we let Scripture be the guide that this gives some freedom as oppossed to having the goverment or bishop impose a prayer book & say worship this way.

  28. “The encouragement of this video is not that it proves the PCA is not racist but that the heritage of the PCA was influenced by racism & the gospel has changed hearts.”

    That’s a bit too optimistic for this Calvinist. “Proves” is a strong word.

    Some sinners–and their denominations–are simply better than others at either hiding or managing their racism. I know transformationalism bids us that way, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves; try to remember that the business of *sanctification* leaves us yet at once sinners and saints. I realize it’s really tempting to mistake the embracing of progressive cultural mores for an accelerated sanctification (read: transformationalism), but the gospel you attribute such sunniness to tells me we have a lot longer to go.

  29. I think ya’ll are assuming too many things. One I think you are assuming that I am some white guy willing to compromise b/e his gt gt grandfather once owned slaves. You make the similar assumptions abt the PCA by making comments without giving specfic examples.(like “garbage from the PCA MTW”)

    Another thing is I think you are reading way too much into the video just b/e they use the word transform a few times. Personally I don’t have a problem w/the word tansform. Its not antitheical to santification but rather seems to be a good description of a new believer (from death to life) and the beginning of santification.

    When I used the word proves I wasn’t trying to put the PCA in a rosy light. I was saying that the roots of the PCA have been racist & that they are still struggling w/it & the fruits of a racist past. The video is encouraging b/e it shows a change in some hearts to be a church that welcomes all. If anything I don’t see the PCA as triumphant over it’s rascist past but bound by the cultural mores that push it to plant churches in middle & upper class areas & ignore minority & blue collar areas. At least in the South the PCA is the country club church.

    As far as the worship styles these are worship styles that have been in the PCA almost from the beginning of the denomination(PCA started in 73 & New City Fellowship started less than 10 years later.)You may believe that historic black church worship is outside the RPW, (aside from the exclusive psalmody issue which is a seperate issue) but I see this as weel w/in the RPW.

  30. I will agree w/one thing reg exclusive psalmody. I agree w/most of you here that the WCF calls for exclusvie psalm singing. Thats why I take an exception.

  31. I will agree w/one thing reg exclusive psalmody. I agree w/most of you here that the WCF calls for exclusvie psalm singing. Thats why I take an exception.

    sic: that should be well w/in the RPW.

  32. RGA,

    I appreciate your honesty. I agree w/ you re the history of the PCA.

    I believe that there have been acapella, psalm-singing black churches. When Presbyterians chased African-Americans into Baptist and Methodist churches that probably didn’t help preserve the culture of acapella psalm/Scripture singing in African-American congregations. I have, however, seen an argument that the call and response structure to African-American worship is derived from the old practice of lining out a psalm.

  33. I am sorry RG, I’d let this thread go, but you keep saying that historic black worship is well within the RPW parameters and we never got that nailed down.
    It’s not. Neither is what passes for worship in most P&R churches, but what else is new? So here goes nothing.

    Dance- yes, I know David danced before the Lord but was it in worship? No. Soultrain, the American Bandstand or doing the hokey pokey has nothing to do with being edified by the reading, preaching of the Scripture, singing or praying in the worship of God.
    Choirs – While there were levitical choirs in the temple 1&2 Chronicles, in the NT, with the priesthood of the believer and the abolishment of the ceremonial worship in Christ, the congregation is the choir. (There are no soloists either, whether we are talking about Mahalia Jackson, Johnny Cash or Amy Grant.)
    Uninspired Songs – God gave us an inspired book of songs in which we are repeatedly exhorted to sing psalms unto the Lord. It should be self explanatory. (The ‘new songs’ refer to singing with a renewed heart/mind.) To bring in uninspired songs is to degrade the inspired songs and upgrade the uninspired, which is exactly how people treat hymns. They are “sacred” while psalmsinging is legalistic and constraining.
    Musical Instruments – Only brought into the temple worship by the direct command of God to David to accompany the animal sacrifices which typify Christ at Calvary 1&2 Chronicles. They were played by the Levites who were without work now that the tabernacle was replaced by the temple and the ark was no longer carried about.

    In other words, your list of exceptions pretty much excludes the historic reformed confessional position. (Holydays haven’t come up yet and I am not talking about MLK’s birthday which is a civil celebration.)

    You are of course, entitled to your opinion, but
    1. that doesn’t make it confessional.
    2. Like it or not, the RPW/confession is colorblind. Whether or not the PCA is or is not or even once was racist has nothing to do with it.
    We all want to see the reformed faith and worship spread, but funk, soul, “gospel”, C&W, punk or rock aren’t part of it. That’s the point.
    cordially

  34. First I don’t think you really understand black gospel or black worship. It is not funk or rap or R&B. As the gospel spreads into different cultures the worship experienced will change sometimes subtle sometimes greater. To expect a group of Christians in India or Africa to worship just like you do w/a 18th century Genevan Psalter is not just unrealistic its an understanding of the RPW that hampers the gospel.

    As far as the issue of exclusive Psalmody & non instrumental worship others have arugued that but I don’t think that was the point of the post or my original comment. Most of the Reformed world disagrees w/yr view (but that dosen’t make it wrong/right) but is becoming a settled point for many of us.
    But if you’re going to split the church its as good a reason as any.

  35. RG,

    Are you saying that the churches are beyond reform on the RPW? Semper reformanda is out of the question? Sola scriptura doesn’t apply to worship?

  36. Not at all. What I’m saying is that we are going back & forth on this issue & don’t see very many people changing their positions. While that might change 50-100 years from now I don’t see it changing much in the next 10 or even 25. In other words I don’t see the PCA or even the OPC become an exclusive Psalm singing body anytime soon. Nor do I believe the RPCNA is about to change their position soon. Thats what I menat by settled.

    Personally I don’t see this as an issue that should divide the church but folks have divided the church for far less.

  37. RG,

    I don’t know the future or the providence of God. My vocation as a minister is to call the church to fidelity to the Word as confessed by the Reformed churches. Until quite recently we confessed a certain understanding of the RPW.

    It’s time for us to “get serious” again about the RPW. We’ve had our fling with quasi-Pentecostal, quasi-Anglican, quasi-Methodist, quasi- (and not so quasi-) revivalist worship. It happens. I’m sure that folk never thought that anyone would challenge the absolute dominance of the medieval understanding of the mass.

    Twenty-five years ago virtually no one was talking about “law and gospel.” When I became Reformed, no one was talking about two kingdoms or about “archetypal” (as God knows things) and “ectypal” (as we know things) theology. Twenty-five years ago few were talking about or practicing weekly communion. Until about 10 years ago I had never seen a minister pronounce an absolution/declaration of pardon. Now these things are becoming commonplace in Reformed churches.

    If we can recover all these lost categories, we can recover the RPW. I agree with your implication that, if it’s going to happen, it’s going to take a long time. Theology is one thing but liturgy is something else.

    It took me about 15 years to get where I am. I’m willing to give others the same amount of time. Things have changed, however. 15 years ago there was no such thing (for most of us anyway) as the internet. I knew few people who could explain the RPW properly and could find few resources on subject. 18 years ago I was still trying to modify church growth nonsense. Now I think we all see the futility and foolishness of the church growth pragmatism. I think an entire generation is turning its collective back on the self-indulgence and Narcissism of baby-boomer “worship music.” I know of at least one multi-ethnic Reformed congregation in the LA metro that is following the RPW with converts from every strata of society and they love it.

    All these things encourage me to think that it’s really possible. It might not happen soon but it can happen.

  38. Thats pretty much what I meant. But I would differ in the since that we’ve lost it. unless you say that exclusive psalmody & a ban on musical instruments are essential elements for the RPW.

    As I said I don’t think this should be a cause of division. John Murray didn’t see it that way. He stayed most of his life in the OPC.

  39. I should have said: I differ over yr opinion that we(Reformed believers) have lost the RPW.

  40. “First I don’t think you really understand black gospel or black worship. It is not funk or rap or R&B.”

    Right. Or should I say, what does that comment have to do with anything? If the “Come on in” chorus wasn’t a shuck and jive “gospel” version of a funk/soul riff/routine what exactly was it? Oh yeah, it was baptized and sanctified in the holy spirit (sic). That makes it special/scriptural. Sorry. I forgot.

    Rather what we really saw and heard was the black/AA version of the contextual transformational PC missiology garbage of reaching the fill in the blank – punk rockers, valley girls and hip hoppers “where they’re at”. Yo been there, done that. It’s called compromise. Worldliness. Sin. The gospel doesn’t need it and neither do the reformed churches. Maybe it’s a change/improvement for the PCA, but it still ain’t reformed. That’s the point and at this stage some of us still don’t get it.

    But while I’m on the soapbox a few more comments regardless of how popular it might be.
    The reformed church was the church that reformed out of the deformed Romish church at the time of the Protestant Reformation. In doctrine, worship and government.
    That is to say, God is not God if he is not sovereign and he has sovereignly given us rules for our doctrine, worship and government. Or Sola Scriptura, the RPW and jus divinum/divine right presbyterianism.
    Not only that, Christ is the great prophet, priest and king of his church or again, doctrine, worship and government.

    Which is all to say, many reformed churches and individuals are reformed in name only, just like republicans. Today’s reformed churches only differ from reformed baptists on infant baptism, ruling elders, and maybe psalmody if they are TR (truly reformed) while they both believe in the 5 points of calvinism. They might think they are home free, but in fact what we are really talking about is the Reader’s Digest version of the reformed faith.

    In one respect, that’s not a problem, we all have to start somewhere. But willful ignorance is another thing and has this thread goes on, I am starting to wonder bigtime. Granted, the Lord holds teachers and preachers to a higher accountability, but that doesn’t let everybody else off the hook, which is the immediate problem.

    Further it is today’s P&R churches that have split from the Reformation. Don’t forget that – as in so much for that smear, which is exactly what it is RG – much more that a forthright acknowledgment of that departure and a repudiation of the confessions would be the honest thing to do. An even better and more honorable solution would be joining a lutheran/anglican/community bible church instead of remaining in a reformed church and turning the confession into a nose of wax (and this discussion into a subjective opinion fest).

    Thank you.

  41. One of the biggest problems in internet theology is the tendency to see someone you disagree with in the worst possible light.

    I had to watch the video again b/f I commented. Now if you put up the restriction that anything other than exclusive psalmody & acappella singing is w/in the RPW then you’ll def be disappointed. But the PCA is not an exclusively psalm singing body & therefore the video should not be judged that way.
    (As far as I know though nothing prevents a church from being exclusive psalm singing w/in the PCA. I don’t believe it is an issue that should divide.)

    But you don’t like the style of music & the spontanity. Much of this worship style is one that has a rich heritage in the black church & can be seen even in the few black reformed churches throughout the years. (Historically Presbyterians tended to discourage blacks from being Presbyterian.)
    I’ve been to many of these African American PCA churches (New City, Redemption Fellowship) as well as others & they are nothing like you describe.

    As far as the word transform/transformation I only heard the word once(although it could have been used more than once) & it was used in the context of the impact that a Reformed growning church w/indigenous African American leadership will have on the community. The transformative effect. In other words the church will reach out to its community & the people will be changed b/e of the gospel. Personally I don’t see what the cause is to be concerned when the word is used in that context. It definetely dosen’t warrent: “black/AA version of the contextual transformational PC missiology garbage.” Again see it in the worst possible light & when you’re finished w/yr description it looks one step away from James Cone/Jeriamiah Wright.

    As far as the snippet “Come on In” thats all you here is a snippet. Easily taken out of context. But it’s probably means Come on In: the kingdom or our fellowship or our worship. An invitation to worship. But even this does not warrent: “Come on in” chorus wasn’t a shuck and jive “gospel” version of a funk/soul riff/routine’ (By the way using the term shuck n jive has certain racial connations & could easily cause offense & be considered racist by some. It would be best to lower the tempature a bit.)

  42. RG,

    I realize you think there is too much being made of the word “transform.” But I think the linguistic distinctions RSC is making in his post on grace and law can be just as well made here about transformation and sanctification. The way some play fast and loose linguistically with “grace” and “mercy” or “benefit,” for example, finds it parallel in how you make no distinction between “transformation” and “sanctification.” If it makes no difference, why not go with sanctification? I would guess it is because that word doesn’t fit with what meaning is intended. Certainly, when I mean sanctification I deliberately don’t use the T-word. Moreover, the phrase used in the Reformed expressed articles is sanctification, not transformation. Where is the word in conventional, Reformed formulations of the ordo salutis?

    Certain words belong to particular traditions. Revivalists have a stake in the word “revival.” Just as we have no stake in the word “revival,” what stake have we in the word “transformation”? What is to be gained by retaining the word or lost by refusing it?

    My guess is as it always is: the T-word is a power phrase associated with the spirit of the age, while the S-word is seen as weak and much too mysterious to be of any earthly good. But if we are confirmed in faith by things as seemingly weak as water, bread and wine it seems we are not really people associated with worldly power. What is happening within us is entirely God’s work alone, thus necessarily mysterious and not often, if ever, easily translated into relevance to the affairs of the world.

  43. RG,

    Just to be clear, and I don’t think that you’re responding to me above, I would love to see African-American congregations singing God’s Word acapella with the same joy and enthusiasm with which they presently sing uninspired songs.

    I’m not arguing for a “style” or a preference, but a principle that is trans-temporal and trans-cultural.

  44. Other than substituting ‘all nominal P&R congregations’ for the AA congregations in the statement above, exactly.
    Thank you, Dr. Clark.

  45. Zrim- abt the word transform. I think(although I con’t read his mind) that the word transform fit the situation that the speaker was describing. He was talking abt the change that happens to a community when a church is preaching the gospel & reaching out to the community. He was not just talking abt indivuduals (who b/c sanctified) but a community that is changed (transformed). In other words a community is affected when a Bible believing church is in the neighborhood. I don’t see how sanctify fits when you are talking a abt a church & its relationship w/a nonbelieving/nominal community. i would imagine that the pros/cons of the word transformation never entered the speakers mind when he used it. He says he wants to be Reformed, Presbyterian, plant PCA churches. I give him the benifit of the doubt.

    As far as the word revival my understanding is that it is a word that many in the reformed world have used & been supportive of. (ie.Great Awakening & J. Edwards) except that most reformed proponents have seen a revival as something that the Soverign God sends through his Spirit. While Baptists have seen a revival as something you conduct(ie evangelistic meeting) that is a tool to produce a real revival.

    (there has also been a wing in the PCUS & later in the PCA that could best be described as a revivalistic wing. They used to regularly hold revival/renewal evangelistic meetings & put great stress on evangelism. Probably best represented today)by the Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship PEF)
    No Dr Clark I wasn’t responding to you but I took from your original posts & later comments that you were not judging the video or the development of African American worship in the PCA on the basis that they are not exclusive Psalm singers since the PCA is not an exclusive Psalmody body. I also saw yr post as one generally supporative of the video & of the efforts described in the video.(although w/small reservation).

    Dr. Clark, You help plant any ethnic Reformed churches that preach the gospel & sing only the Psalms acapella, I’ll support it. But I’m not going to tell them that singing hymns & songs (outside the Scriptures) w/musical instruments is not biblical b/e I believe it is & w/in the RPW.

    Bob S.m I guess yr remarks wern’t addressed to me.

  46. “Bob S.m I guess yr remarks wern’t addressed to me.”

    What difference would it make if they were, RG? You haven’t demonstrated any real understanding of the issues so far in my opinion.

    In other words, let’s face it RG. Somebody is not reformed. Somebody is a pentecostal. (I was already thinking along these lines, but Dr. Clark’s recent Reformed and Pentecostal? post countersunk and clinched it.) We are into spontaneity and uninhibited enthusiasm. Emotionalism and joyous experience. Rich and vibrant ethnic history/worship traditions. Shake and bake, shout and shake an’ raise a holy spirit ruckus style of worship. It ain’t live, it ain’t real unless you got a ‘dose of the holy ghost’. (Yes, I really have heard that phrase.)

    In other words, make no mistake about it. Sensual worship is to be preferred over spiritual worship. One may crayon in whatever color for the complexion of the actors one wishes. It makes no real difference whatsoever.

    Or does it? Is it PC and acceptable in the AA community, but not in the lower class white AofG pentecostal community/tradition? Folk religion is folk religion, right? Who cares as long as the gospel is preached and people are being saved. Just ‘come on in’, right?

    Well have at it. You are welcome to it. Just don’t mistake it for the reformed faith, the RPW or the worship of God and lecture us accordingly, please.

    Yes, you are entitled to your opinion, but the subjectivity and special pleading is rather pathetic all the while we are patronized and the reformed confessions are gainsayed.

    In other words, thanks, but I see no point in carrying on the discussion, if we won’t come up to speed.

  47. I’m not sure what you expect. I’ve stated clearly that I believe & hold to the RPW but I don’t agree w/yr interpretation of the RPW.
    I don’t see how you expect anyone to dialogue w/you when you continue to see the worst in another’s position & use extreme language to describe AA worship(Ie sensual worship) & the PCA(ie “MTW contexual garbage”) is not something that will draw me to yr position.

    When Dr. Clark 1st put this post up he put it up as a positive development w/in the PCA(w/some small qualification). He didn’t mischaracterize the worship or use extreme language to describe the part that caused concern. Bob if you want those of us in the PCA to “reform” our worship in a way that reflects what you view as important you might want to use a way that encourages dialogue.

  48. One thing I’ve learned about music & by extension worship is that people take their musical tastes personally. When you critcize their music thay often will take it personally & see it as an attack on them. I think this is one reason debates over worship can be so hard & even painful.

    Thats why we need to be pastoral when we critque other’s worship even when we feel strongly about the errors in another’s worship. (I doubt mant R. Catholics would listen to me if the first words I use to describe the Mass is Papal idolatry.)

    In years past I had opportunity to be involved in youth ministry. I remember several boys who were in to hard rock & rap w/questionable lyrics(at best). When I first questioned their music by calling it something like dirty garbage they shut down & wouldn’t listen. It was like I had attack them not just their music. But after some time I took a different tack. I listened to their music(it was garbage) & instead of attacking it I just discussed it w/them & asked open ended questions. This proved a more constructive & succesful path to deal with them.

    My point: when dealing w/music & worship pastoral wisdom & grace needs to be used & extended.

    Ps:Sorry. I don’t know how I put the smily face on the last comment.

  49. “I’m not sure what you expect. I’ve stated clearly that I believe & hold to the RPW but I don’t agree w/yr interpretation of the RPW.”

    RG, ultimately this discussion is not about my interpretation of the RPW and never was. That’s the one thing necessary for you to understand and which you don’t give any indication of and from which all else flows in this discussion. What is really under discussion is not only the doctrine of the historic reformed confessions, but also the application of that doctrine. That too is an objective matter and fact of history and the plain statement of the confessions.

    See the WCF 21, the LC and SC on the Second commandment and the Directory for Public Worship. We may not worship God by adding to or jazzing up the commanded elements of worship, which are: prayer, the reading and preaching of scripture, acapella singing of psalms and the administration of the sacraments besides occasional oaths and vows.
    The Belgic implicitly deals with it in Chapt. 32. What has Christ instituted in worship which we are not to depart from? And the HC in Q&A 96-98 on the Second Commandment.

    But you pretty much ignore this as can be seen by your comment above. At this stage in the conversation then, one consequently wonders if anybody has been paying attention. If we don’t know what the confessional application of the doctrine is in the first place and mistake it for somebody’s personal opinion and subsequently discount it merely on that basis, how can somebody be said to be competent to hold up their end of a reasonable and edifying discussion? But that is what is going on, is it not? It sure looks like it from here.

    That’s why I said what I said previously. Without getting something as fundamental as this out of the way, categorically there is no point in going on, though one might have other reasons for not continuing this thread.

    Thank you.

  50. Hi Bob,

    I probably agree with you about what the RPW requires but given the history of the African-American congregations and given the long-term corruption of worship in Reformed and Presbyterian churches since the 18th-century, I also think it’s going to take a very long time for people to begin to come around. Many folks have never heard of the RPW. I’ve been a Reformed minister since 1987 and it took me 15 years to come around in principle and more than a few years to act on my convictions.

    Part of the problem is plausibility. If no one else around is applying the 2nd commandment in the way we think it ought to be applied or if there’s precious few examples — only about 1% of the NAPARC world follows the historic understanding of the RPW — it makes it less likely that people will do it. Can 499,000 people be wrong?

    If it took us 30 years to confront the crisis in justification, how long will it take us to confront the loss of the RPW? We went to war in against liberalism 150 years ago and when we came home, the place was in ruins. It wasn’t in great shape liturgically when we left. It’s going to take time.

    Patience.

    Ask questions.

    If we can get people to question the status quo then perhaps they’ll be more willing to ask why we’re not obeying God’s law the way we once did.

    Why did we change? We’re there good reasons? What was the older understanding?

  51. My last point was I’d be more willing to listen to you if you’d lower the temperature a bit &cease using language that paints AA worship in a way that paints the worst picture possible. (Esp language that some AAs will intepret as racist ie. sensual worship, shuck n jive)

    You get frustrated that I don’t follow yr intpretation of the RPW while I find yr mischarterization & seeing the worst frustrating. Use some patience & pastoral wisdom & maybe we’ll make some progress.

  52. Greetings Dr. Clark,

    Thank you for your comments. I agree with them however much in the heat of the discussion that might not be apparent. My apologies. Or should I say, I might have come around in principle, but it’s taking me some time to act on those convictions? Patience, right? (How’s that for taking your advice and asking questions?)

    Seriously I would only add two things. One, a preacher and teacher’s job in the church is not only to ask provocative questions, it is to proclaim the truth, even unpopular truths, in season and out. Two, that feeds into the idea of momentum or critical mass. The reformed faith had kind of gone to pot in the 20th century, but arguably for instance, beginning with MLJ’s ministry, the Free Pres republishing of the West. Standards and the Banner of Truth, the tempo has begun to pick up. There has been virtually a renaissance and explosion in Christian literature and publishing. Of all things, Turretin is in print in English. I never expected to see that. As you also know, Smith and Coldwell detail that explosion in literature on worship in the last two issues of the Conf. Pres.

    We might be surprised to see how fast things turn around – and we might not. While Westminster West has been OK in the past, I certainly wasn’t expecting that much out of the last couple of years. Another pleasant surprise. Maybe there will be more. (Like a conference/book on worship?)

  53. Greetings RG,

    Since your last post was itself not too pastoral and patient, I’ll attempt to reply to your previous.
    (Or am I the only one that is not allowed to admonish anybody else?)

    Musical instruments are by their nature “sensual”. Or “affective” as Dr. Clark puts in the May 3, Could Instruments be Idols? post. They appeal to our emotions, not our reason. Add to that the traditional black/AA musical emphasis on rhythm and the “come on in” soloist with a dancing chorus might be seen in a less than favorable light by the reformed. “Sensual” even in the sense of sexual, (regardless if blunt speech is considered racist by the PC and dancing is seen as religious joy and enthusiasm by the pentecostals. But again, pentecostal worship really is that bad/sensual/carnal. They are not happy walking by faith.) While the reformed generally have instruments and uninspired song in worship, from what I know they have pretty much steered clear of the popular CCM garbage of whatever color. Which is exactly what it is. Most of it is poor musically and even it isn’t, it even more egregiously panders to our senses and sensuality than typical uninspired sacred music. I saw the PCA outreach as incorporating this further decline and objected strongly. And met strong reaction.

    Nevertheless the emphasis in reformed worship is on the Word which builds up our reasonable faith. It is literally heard in the reading, preaching and singing and arguably is the basis for the prayers. It is seen in the sacraments. But if Paul in 1 Cor. 14 exalts speaking in that worship so that people are edified and deplores even an unknown tongue because it defeats the purpose of speech, how much more are musical instruments condemned because they are things “without life giving sound”? Instruments cannot speak even though they make sounds. They cannot edify. Consequently at the Reformation the reformed terminated their gig in public worship and showed them the door, if not smashing them . Unfortunately they made it back to the union hall on their own just fine to prevail another day judging from the status quo in reformed worship nowadays.

    If people want to argue for them on the practical basis of setting the pitch, Girardeau said, go ahead. Let the mighty organ give a toot before the song and then remain quiet.

    One last note. Bushell’s Songs of Zion is the contemporary unanswered and unaswerable classic on psalmody and the RPW that has been pretty much blackballed and blacklisted in contemporary P&R churches. It is literally that dangerous. In it Bushell also talks about the history and decline of psalmody in P&R churches. At the time of the Reformation, to be reformed was to sing psalms and catechize. In France it was so popular among the reformed that even the romanists sang psalms. Later public worship and psalmody was outlawed and the protestant martyrs were gagged or had their tongues torn out so they couldn’t sing the psalms.

    Subsequently since I have been exhorted to ask questions: How come the P&R churches of today have so effectively driven the psalms out of public worship themselves, instead of being forced to by persecution? If Bushell says, at the time of the Reformation, the reformed loved the songs of the Word and sang them pretty much exclusively because they instinctively loved the Word of God, what’s wrong with us today? Do we love the Word of God like our reformed forbears and confessions and if not, why not? Could it be ignorance of the Word of God, not to mention Reformation history and doctrine? Further, could that ignorance be sinful? Even worse, could it be arrogant?

  54. Hi Bob,

    Of course the law of God obligates all of us equally. The second commandment obligates all of us. The law of love also obligates all of us.

    It seems to me that, though I agree with you on the RPW, I haven’t seen RGA raise the rhetorical temperature.

    As a matter of wisdom (rhetorical strategy), when you’re arguing for a view and a practice (the RPW and biblical and confessional worship) which is not held by 99% of your target audience, which is virtually invisible, which 99% of your target audience has never seen and doesn’t really understand, it doesn’t help the audience to yell at them for not obeying it.

    We need to help those with whom we disagree to see the need for worship conducted according to God’s Word. We need to help them see the danger of will worship and the blessing of worship according to God’s Word alone (sola scriptura).

    There’s nothing inherently Anglo/caucasian with the RPW. The kingdom of God is not Anglo/caucasian. Paul wasn’t an Anglo/caucasian.

    This video is encouraging because it witnesses to the fact that the Reformation is finding purchase within the African-American community, because the theology of the Reformation is biblical, it’s liberating. We simply need to find a way to say to Anglo-American (or whatever) and African-American Reformed congregations — soteriology is a great place to start but it’s not the place to stop when coming to the Reformation. We need to carry on all the way to church, sacraments, and worship.

  55. Greetings Dr. Clark,

    Thank you for your comments.
    I shall try to be as brief.

    “Of course the law of God obligates all of us equally. The second commandment obligates all of us. The law of love also obligates all of us.”

    What takes priority if I may ask? The first table or the second?

    “It seems to me that, though I agree with you on the RPW, I haven’t seen RGA raise the rhetorical temperature.”

    1. Respectfully, are you implying I have?
    2. I thought his last was a little snide. I made a brief comment re. the absence of the RPW in the video, he challenged it/asked for clarification and here we are. It has been pointed out to him twice, first by you, that the specific applications of the RPW under discussion are confessional and at this late date he is still calling it my “interpretation”. If I may be excused we are still stuck in the prolegomena and he is gainsaying the confessions. Genuine ignorance is not the end of the world or the discussion, but wilful is. Again, I am beginning to wonder.
    Of course, RG considers my use of the terms “shuck and jive” and “sensual” to be unnecessarily offensive, if not outright racist (and raising the rhetorical temperature/shouting). I think I adequately cleared the last in my last.

    As to the first, a few comments.
    1. I said what I said, it is what it is. Black folks got their little traditional cultural idols just like white folks however that may surprise/stumble some people. While it is true, that the “come on in” chorus is not Ike and Tina Turner (even old white folks know who that is), there ain’t no dancing in the worship of God. That’s pentecostal. It is not Reformed. You want to have a female chorus clapping hands and gyrating along with the ‘gospel’ rhythm section, do it someplace else other than God’s house. It’s bad enough that non RPW worship is sense oriented enough, even without a hint or whiff of “sensuality”.
    Yes, I know it wasn’t anybody’s intention, but the heart is deceitful beyond measure and this was after all the PCA’s take on a reformed version of AA seeker sensitive worship/church planting imo. Sadly I don’t think it will be any more successful than any other seeker sensitive program, reformed or not for little green people.
    2. Most black folks that I have known are considerably more thick skinned and blunt spoken than your typical guilty and patronizing white liberal will allow them to be.
    But don’t take this wb’s word for it, google Chris Rock on YouTube. No, he’s not a Christian, but he is black and that ought to be good enough for some folks. I’ll let him scald some ears and sensibilities for me.
    3. Along with pastoral wisdom and patience, there is a time and a place for some plain speaking, if not prophetic. I don’t claim to be either a pastor or a prophet, that’s a job for the preachers and teachers, but somehow, someway the bell got to be put on the cat and we know it ain’t going to get done in the PCA because they are too PC.
    If I may say so, patient putting up with it kinda got us into this mess in the first place. A minister’s job is to be preaching the whole counsel of God and if the minister don’t preach it, it ain’t going to get started, never mind done. We know what the past was, are we to expect the same in the future just because that’s the way it is?

    That’s all I got to say, however self justifying some might think it is.
    Whatever (however unrepentant some might take that.)

    “As a matter of wisdom (rhetorical strategy), when you’re arguing for a view and a practice (the RPW and biblical and confessional worship) which is not held by 99% of your target audience, which is virtually invisible, which 99% of your target audience has never seen and doesn’t really understand, it doesn’t help the audience to yell at them for not obeying it.”

    Again respectfully, I do not take blunt, pointed or direct to be the same as yelling or ranting. Obviously (?) you do. My apologies.
    There seemed to be an opportunity to clearly and directly state some things about the RPW in the course of the discussion and I tried to make the best of them, without wasting a whole lot of time or words. I won’t say I succeeded, obviously we agree on that, but I always appreciated somebody giving me a forest view of the trees when things get lost with the bugs in the bark and I tried to respond in kind.

    “We need to help those with whom we disagree to see the need for worship conducted according to God’s Word. We need to help them see the danger of will worship and the blessing of worship according to God’s Word alone (sola scriptura).”

    I agree.

    “There’s nothing inherently Anglo/caucasian with the RPW. The kingdom of God is not Anglo/caucasian. Paul wasn’t an Anglo/caucasian.”

    Ditto above.

    “This video is encouraging because it witnesses to the fact that the Reformation is finding purchase within the African-American community, because the theology of the Reformation is biblical, it’s liberating. We simply need to find a way to say to Anglo-American (or whatever) and African-American Reformed congregations — soteriology is a great place to start but it’s not the place to stop when coming to the Reformation. We need to carry on all the way to church, sacraments, and worship.”

    Amen.

    (I gotta laugh Dr. Clark. Used to be from what I remember, you didn’t allow any commenting at HB because generally speaking nobody had anything intelligent to say. Oddly enough I agreed with that. Then I started reading this site again a week or so ago and . . . . yeah, never mind.)

  56. Hi Bob,

    “Shuck,” “jive,” etc were what I had in mind in re the rhetorical temperature.

    You know the answer in re the two tables.

    As to what got us into the mess, you’re assuming that everyone knew that they were violating the 2nd commandment/RPW. That’s a big assumption. I don’t think that I believed that I was doing it and I doubt that most thinks that they are doing it.

    That’s why those who hold to the historic understanding of the RPW must persuade those who don’t. As satisfying as it is, venting won’t persuade anyone.

    I shut down the comments on the old site because, with the FV controversy came an enormous number of comments and I just couldn’t keep up. The moralists more or less forced me to close the comments. The HB was on the OURC site and I felt some responsibility to make sure that there wasn’t nonsense on it that might confuse or mislead the members or somehow damage the congregation. I still feel that obligation but since we’ve more or less finished the FV controversy there don’t seem to be too many nutballs showing up. If needs be, (with no reference or prejudice to the current discussion), I’ll shut them down again.

    Personally, I prefer to be blunt and pointed and colorful. Speaking one’s mind plainly and directly and colorfully is a family tradition going back a very long way.

    I love Luther and Calvin and I wish we were allowed to talk like that today, but we’re not. I’ve written on the HB about it. I’ve complained about it. I’ve written essays for the Nicotine Journal about it. In my opinion the rhetoric in this country (and perhaps everywhere else) has become sissified. In my experience, people won’t listen if we use rhetoric that they do not understand or that they consider harsh. For a variety of reasons the rhetorical rules have changed. It’s been a very hard lesson for me to learn. I’ve had to spend a lot of time saying, “I’m sorry.”

    In truth, however, I’ve also used bluntness as a selective weapon. I’ve used it to hurt people because I was angry with them. I’m not accusing you of that only explaining why I’ve tried to change my own rhetoric. Obviously I don’t succeed in being gentle all the time.

    In the case of the RPW, I think the best way to get people to begin to re-think their views is to ask questions. The most basic question that they must be asked, and on which we do have a right to insist on an answer, is: what exactly is the RPW? Then we should ask, “When planning a service, what question does the RPW want us to ask?” (that question is: what must we do?”). The third question is: “What have we learned since the 17th century that has fundamentally changed our understanding of the RPW?” In my view the answer is nothing, but people have to confront this question for themselves in order to be persuaded. There is, I think, a widely held but false assumption that “Well, we used to follow the RPW in a certain way but over time we learned better.” I reply with more questions: “Really? When? Where? Who taught us? What’s the title of that book?” The typical answer is silence.

    Rhetorically, you were doing fine, until the last two sentences. Were those zingers really necessary? Did it really help the cause of the RPW to imply that everyone who disagrees with you/us on the RPW is stupid?

  57. Thanks for your comments, Dr. Clark.
    Let me do a little catching up.

    What I am referring to as to what got us into this mess, is the whole ‘as in the past, so in the future’ mentality. Arguably there has been a groundswell re. the RPW ever since the ‘90’s. For instance Greenville Seminary’s ‘92 Worship in the Presence of God which basically walks through WCF 21:5 and the parts of worship and Naptali’s reprint of Gillespie’s Dispute Against English Popish Ceremonies to the Boice festschrift on worship and the Greenville conference on Reformed Worship in ‘03 has bookended a real explosion that still continues pro and con. (Need I fire up the rhetorical temperature by mentioning another little three word phrase, “Frame, Jordan and Schlissel”? The FV practiced their moves and gave away their routine trying to take the RPW down, before they moved on to the doctrine of justification.) But even if there wasn’t a Christian publishing renaissance, Paul talked about preaching the whole counsel of God in Acts 20. The doctrine is confessional and if violation of it will remain popular and plausible until it is confronted – not just questioned, though that should happen too – well best get cracking.

    In other words, I repeat myself to say the doctrine – and the repudiation of errors ala the Canons, right? – should be proclaimed. True reformed preaching does not just or mainly consist of asking even Scriptural questions. I realize in your setting, you want to not only indoctrinate, but also train the students to be able to think for themselves. Nevertheless the crying need is for genuine preaching and teaching that confronts us with the truth in love. Not one or the other, but both, if not that to tell the truth is loving. Or are things so bad, that any genuine teaching and preaching on the RPW will be cried down?

    While rhetorically I suppose you might be able to argue that my last two ‘zingers’ implied that everyone who disagrees with the RPW is stupid, I do not understand ignorance to be stupidity. The one implies ability to become knowledgeable, the other the absence of that ability. In other words, I would prefer to be called ignorant rather than stupid. There is hope with the one. If in this dumbed down age, they practically are synonymous, well, my bad. My purpose in asking the questions was to confront those who so confidently had taken exception to the confessional view or distorted it and challenge them as to if they really knew anything at all about the original and orthodox position. And if they didn’t, well how much do you think people would or should listen to them?
    Some, of course will think that arrogant. I don’t know. Within reason I don’t know if I am inclined to care that much. Why? One, we live in a day when, because there is no ultimate standard of truth, opinions are sacred. The American church is ignorant of Scripture and sound doctrine and Reformation and American history. Ah, but the truth will set you free, even of the fear of men and their opinions. Two, because if things are really as bad as you might be taken to say they are, you are going to take some hits and get persecuted for the truth even if you are a much smoother operator that yours truly.

    But I for one, am glad you have finally said something about the RPW, elements and circumstances and singing in worship and not just asked questions. I think it high time and was not only surprised, but encouraged to find out that you believe in psalmody, though your solution to non EP worship had not occurred to me. I did have a friend though when I was in the RPCNA that adhered to it when if came to the congregational reading of Scripture, NIV vs. KJV.

    Thanks again.

Comments are closed.