Two-Way Traffic on the Presbyterian Mainline

One of the major reasons I wrote Recovering the Reformed Confession was to call attention to a weird sort of two-way traffic. Some in the Reformed Churches in North America and apparently in Scotland seem ready to abandon the very thing that some of us Gentiles, lately grafted in as wild-olive branches to the people of God, are just discovering and recovering.

This two-way traffic appears in some of the comments made in response to Carl Trueman’s analysis of the evangelical response to the problems in the Church of Scotland. One of those suggestions is that it’s time to give up the historic approach to Reformed worship because it is no longer tenable.

As one who is part of a small movement in N. America to help confessional Reformed churches recover what some of what is now being questioned, I hope that folk will re-consider at least some of their advice. The posts advocating abandoning the historic understanding of the RPW illustrate perfectly some of what I describe in RRC. I serve and live among churches that have taken your advice for a couple of hundred years (in the case of the Am. Presbyterians) and for about a century (in the case of the Christian Reformed Church and her off-spring) and it has not worked out very well.

What began as a modest revision of the Psalter in the CRC had led to the virtual abandonment of psalms in the CRC. In my own federation, any congregation that didn’t sing hymns with instruments would be considered odd. Anyone who advocates the singing of God’s Word without instruments is considered an oddball. Perhaps I am one but it shouldn’t be for the fact that I hold the historic Reformed view of worship. The sad historical fact seems to be that, on the theology and practice of worship, there is no halfway house between Geneva and Azusa Street (revivalism). I think this is because of the very nature of the Regulative Principle (WCF 21) as an application of the 2nd commandment and sola Scriptura. Either we worship God as he as commanded or we do not. Either the principle is that we do only what he has commanded or it is not. Either the typological expression of worship has been fulfilled or it has not. Today, in the North American scene, it is almost impossible to find folk who can even articulate the RPW (WCF 21 or Heidelberg Catechism 96) correctly. When asked, most give the Lutheran principle and call it Reformed. Some of our ostensibly Reformed authors have done this in print.

The folk who gave us the RPW and its application in the Directory for Public Worship did read the Bible quite carefully. They understood the alternatives you seem to be counseling and they rejected them. Certainly our confession (theology, piety, and practice) is be subject to revision according to the Word of God (sola Scriptura) but we should not initiate the process of revision under the assumption that we’re advocating arguments that have never been considered.

ps. They’re also discussing RRC at De Regnis Duobus.

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    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.

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28 comments

  1. With all due respect I think you are wrong on a couple of issues. I am reasonably sure Calvin’s Geneva did have hymns and songs and there was instruments used in worship. Yes, Zwingli was against music in worship and that attitude and belief was picked up by the Westminster Assembly. However the Dutch Reformed have always used music in their worship. So I think it is a bit unfair of you to say that those who use instruments in their worship are not inline with the historic Reformed faith. If you claim to be reformed-presbyterian and you use instruments then you’re argument hold wait, but presbyterians do not have the sole claim on the title ”reformed”.

  2. Dear RSC,

    I wonder if its a failure to recognize some weaknesses of the 16th and 17th century reformed tradition that is one (amongst others) of the reasons why people move away into weird and wonderful theology? If paelo-reformed theology (a pre-modern formulation) is so set up as the be all and end all, and there is little if any recognition of certain weaknesses, then when reformed folk find those weaknesses (as they inevitably will because not everything after 1700 has been bad) they will end up abandoning way too much. We can’t ignore developments since the 17th century (just like 16th century Roman Catholics could ignore the “new” developments of Luther and Calvin, and the more they pushed for the old religion, the more likely people would convert to Protestantism).

    The RPW is indeed a powerful tool and those who advocated it were steeped in Scripture in a way we late-moderns are not. However, the RPW has also been evaluated by many many people who know their bible well since–even if that is not the case now in a large number of reformed circles.

    Thinking since the 17th century has rightly seen some subtle problems with the 16th and 17th century formulation of the RPW. To simply return to 16th and 17th century formulations, and not account for thinking since then, may end up pushing people away from a “reformed” position. In short, to push for one extreme, will produce an equal and opposite reaction in the other direction.

    Amongst others, two problems with the original formulation of the RPW are:

    [1] Where does the NT say there are only a set number of ‘elements’ to be practiced in the Christian gathering? 1 Cor. 14:26 gives the principle of “edification”, which can be applied in a variety of ways, not to be tied down by a set number of “elements”.

    [1] The 2nd commandment didn’t originally apply to just the Israelite gathering, but all of life. Why does it especially apply now to the Christian gathering and not all of life? i.e. the RPW should apply to everything not just the gathering, if the 1nd commandment didn’t apply to only just the Jewish gathering. It won’t do to wheel in distinctions between private and public worship which is difficult to be substantiated from the NT. The chief word used for the purpose of the Church gathering is “edification”; “worship”–which translates 3 underlying Greek words and hence misses the nuances of the OT background–is never used for the public gathering in the NT.

    Whilst facile answers are given to these questions (and more) about the RPW many in the reformed tradition will be pushed away from paleo-reformed thinking IMHO.

    Blessings to you,

    Marty.

    It’s critical we recognise weaknesses in paleo-reformed

    • Marty,

      First we have to get to know the paleo-Reformed tradition before we figure out what’s wrong with it. I don’t doubt that there were problems inherent in the older formulations. I’m not arguing for repristination but I don’t see much progress in repeating the errors of the early medieval church (on worship) and calling it progress.

      • Marty & RSC,
        Great and needed discussion! Just a comment from one in the pew. After spending way too many years worshiping “what was right in our own eyes” I have found the RPW a very conforting and safe way of worshiping. I cannot see that following it would or could take away from the benefits received in Worship. Could this desire for change be in any way associated with those who are making a forey into “reformed Charismatics”? Is this a part of the sin in modern man that we get bored with things the way they are and have been and desire something “new” and “refreshing”? My wife and I attended a PCA Church in the S.D. area while on vacation. The RPW was totally absent and replaced with “relevant” worship. We left a burning trail in the carpet and headed for worship at the chapel at WSC where there was much confort and blessing in following God’s order of worship. I know there are probably many holes in my comments but this is from a laymens perspective.
        Tony

  3. Dear RSC,

    Yes, I have read RRC, and carefully. However, this is precisely the point I’m trying to make: I don’t think the above issues are resolved in it cogently–it will leave many unconvinced. My friends who’ve read RRC have the same concerns also. If we wind the clock too far back it will break into too many pieces.

    If church is now too “hip” and “relevant” we’ll only produce further problems if we swing the pendulum too far in the other direction. If the music is too me-centred and schmultzy, the problem won’t be solved by instituting unaccompanied psalmnody.

    God bless you,

    Marty.

    • Marty,

      The great problem is not “relevance” or lack thereof. The great problem is obedience to God. Evidently you did not read the book very carefully because I did not argue for EP. I argued for a canonical principle in worship. We may sing any part of the Word of God.

      I also argued, with the WCF and the DPW and the historic position, that the church (sola Scriptura) only has authority to require God’s people to sing God’s Word. When we are gathered for worship, as we must, the church’s authority is limited in worship by God’s Word and by the RPW (the 2nd commandment).

      What exactly have we learned since the 17th century that leads us to believe that the 2nd commandment no longer applies as it did then? Where is that great work of biblical exegesis that has overturned the older understanding?

  4. Dear RSC,

    I wasn’t saying you promoted EP in RRC–I was using rhetoric (mind you I struggle to agree that we can only sing Scripture). Speaking about “obedience” is only as convincing as its found in Scripture.

    There’s much that’s been written about the gathering since the 17th century (the fact that you call it “worship” still says much). Try reading David Peterson, Engaging with God for starters.

    Blessings,

    Marty.

    • Marty,

      Describing the holy, covenant assembly before the face of the living God, wherein he speaks to us in his Word and we respond to him with his Word” as worship may make me unhip and uncool, but I can live with that. “Worship” is a good and fair translation of Ex 7:23, “Let my son go in order that he may worship (EBD/’VD) me.” “Worship” is a more than adequate translation for proskunein in John 4:23 and latreuein in Heb 12:28.

      What’s your point?

  5. Marty.

    In response to your first:

    1). The NT doesn’t have to explicitly detail the elements of worship. Read WCF 1:6. It’s called good and necessary consequences. An example would be Christ’s reply when the Sadducees asked him about the woman married seven times. It’s how theology is done. As in where does the Scripture use the term “trinity”? Yet the church confesses and believes the doctrine.
    In the approved examples of worship in the Bible, what happened? Were there any dramatic skits? Puppet shows? You get the idea. They read the Bible and expounded it. There was prayer, praise and the administration of the sacraments. The ceremonial aspects of the temple were only typical of Christ or the Holy Spirit and with Calvary, much more Pentecost, they have passed away, unless we desire to be judaizers.

    2). To say that the RPW applies to all of life is to do no more that give us a parrot perfect and repeat performance (repristination) of the propaganda – I use the word deliberately – of John Frame and his followers, Schlissel, Gore, Leithart, Horne et al, on the RPW. It sounds good. It rolls off the tongue. But it is not true.

    Rather if JF and his disciples can’t or won’t even give us the classic confessional version of the RPW to begin with – hint, it has something to do with the Second Commandment and its good and necessary consequences – they ought to be disqualified in the real world from offering any legitimate criticism of the RPW.

    JF’s version of the RPW is not only fraudulent, ridiculous and unconfessional, it is a violation of the Ninth Commandment. See for example, JF’s Worship in Spite of the Truth (1996) on p. 38 and note the inexcusable absence from his discussion of LC.109 and SC. 51 on the Second Commandment. Yet JF and the boys go merrily along spreading this nonsense. And sadly enough, people buy into it.

    True, if you believe in the lottery, maybe JF through blind chance could make some valid criticisms of the RPW. But since when is treating a doctrinal issue like it’s a pinata at a Mexican birthday party the way presbyterians do theology?

  6. Marty, there are very good reasons why the RPW is not for “all of life”.

    First, it has to do with freedom of conscience. If the RPW is “all of life” in will either be watered down to nothing to protect Christian freedom (in which case ironically, there’s nothing to stop the church from vexing my conscience by forcing me to endure liturgical dance or crayon coloring stations to find my sacred space at Sunday service), or it will become the tool for oppressive lording as church begins bossing members around in areas where they have no business to.

    Secondly, considering Scriptural testimony, Deut 12:29-32 is pretty clear about worshipping God only in ways he commanded, not adding or subtracting; we saw what happened to Nahab and Abihu in Lev 10:1-3 for adding. But you probably want some NT examples? How about 1Cor 11:33-34, about participating in the eucharist in a worthy manner — there’s a proper place for eating and drinking in merriment, but it’s not at the Lord’s table. Or 1Cor 14:33-35 … unless you’re suggesting that Paul wants women to be silent in “all of life” as well.

  7. OK on second glance, I can see that I might not have addressed your #2 as directly as possible, Marty.

    Yet it is pretty well accepted in P&R theology that the first four commandments deal with who we worship, how externally and internally and when we worship. This worship then flows over to respect for parents, refraining from murder, adultery etc. Neither does the Second forbid pictorial representation outside of worship, but only inside. Rather it is Islam which thinks the only kind of art permissable is the abstract and nonrepresentational. Again, the RPW applies to the external means and elements of worship. As far as private vs. public worship, see WCF 21. It distinguishes between private, family and public though I suppose JF would quarrel with that too in his roundabout way.

  8. Dear RSC,

    Yes, I DID read the book carefully, and as I said before (and say again) your arguments I personally found unconvincing (along with my pastor and academic friends). Indeed, the responses of Bob and Dareen are just a replay of the old arguments that fail to come to grips with later responses. This is has been my point from the beginning.

    For what it’s worth, I’m not working from John Frame et. al. Those guys have had little influence on me or in my circles and I find them unconvincing. So tirades against them falls on deaf ears.

    What are some of the advances since the 17th? Amongst many, the 20th century revolution in eschatology spearheaded by Geerhardus Vos, and its accompanying biblical theology. It has uncovered how we read OT texts in light of the New (and vice versa) in a profound way.

    To save a long discussion here, I’ve suggested you read Peterson, because he’ll show the problems in how you’re deploying OT texts without considering carefully enough how they are transformed in light of Christ.

    I’ll try and give a quick example of what I mean. The problem with the 17th century understanding of the Christian gathering is that it assumed that the OT gathering (particularly at the temple) was it’s counterpart. Hence, because going to the temple was to “worship” so going to church is to “worship”. However, we can’t make that jump so quickly. Christ is the fulfillment of the OT tabernacle and temple (John 1:14, 2:19-22), and because believers are united to him, they also are the temple (1 Cor. 3:16-17). We are the temple at all times, not just when we gather, precisely because we’re united to Christ at all times. Hence, we can’t simply look to OT temple worship and see in it a blueprint for the NT gathering.

    The word “worship” is never used in the NT to describe the purpose of the gathering. That is “edification” (1 Cor. 14:26). I’m not denying that worship doesn’t go on in Church gatherings, however, it depends on what one means by “worship” as there are 3 underlying words, which have subtle nuances: homage, respect, service. Each of these have been transformed by the coming of Christ. For example, “service” (the latreuo word group) was the work the Levites did in the temple. Now that believers are in Christ, the true priest, all believers “serve” (worship) with their entire life, the sacrifice they make is offering their body in a living manner which is so eloquently stated in Rom. 12:1-2.

    RSC, you mention Sinai as a model for NT church worship. I respond, what has Sinai to do with a NT church gathering? Just because Israel gathered there is that our model for new covenant church gathering? Not necessarily because look at how the NT understands Sinai. In Heb. 12:22-24 believers have come (note the perfect tense) to the gathering of Zion (in heaven), and this is in contrast to the gathering of Sinai (Heb. 12:18-21). In other words, the gathering believers are in, is all the time in heaven by virtue of our union with Christ. We are united to Christ who is in the heavenly gathering (Eph. 2:6). This doesn’t occur when we go to church; it’s all the time.

    Anyway, I’ve rambled long enough. But hopefully you get my drift.

    As I keep saying, if we don’t come to grips with post-17th century developments, we run the risk of pushing people away from the Reformed tradition.

    Blessings to you all,

    Marty.

    Marty.

    • Marty,

      I recommend that you read Exodus 24 and Hebrews 9 (that’s in the NT, last I knew).

      Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship (latreias) and an earthly place of holiness. 2 For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence.

      9:20 is a direct quotation of Exodus 24. It draws upon the scene of Moses et al on the mount as the picture for the way the New Covenant church relates to God. This is the background for 10:2 –

      “Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sin? ” and 10:19ff –

      Heb. 10:19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, ”

      This public, cultic setting is the context in which v. 23 must be read:

      “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. ”

      That “confession” is at least the Shema, which was a central part of the Synogogue liturgy.

      This reading explains the following (and to my mind, conclusive) language:

      “24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

      How can you say that the NT does not connect the language of “worship” with the public assembly of the NT church?

      It sounds as you you’ve joined the cross-traffic I’m describing. I hope you’re not heading to Emergent Village. I guess you’ll find it unsatisfactory.

  9. Marty, it seems like your view of the RPW is also screwing with your view of Reformed ecclesiology. Though we are the Temple (fulfillment), ergo we don’t need to “worship” together but just edify? There’s a lot of equivocation, I think, in your argument. I think you need to provide more substantive criticisms before you can make blanket statements about disagreeing with RSC, or anyone for that matter. I definitely think you’re wrong when it comes to Calvin and his Genevan worship service. If you disagree with that statement, just read W. Robert Godfrey’s “John Calvin: Pilgrim and Pastor.” Dr. Godfrey is unabashedly honest and thoroughly cogent in presenting Geneva’s worship as EP. One needs only read his preface to the Psalms commentary.

  10. Hey Julio,

    Read Peterson. You’ve misconstrued what I’ve said and put all sorts of words into my mouth. And where did the EP Geneva issue come from? I haven’t even addressed that issue??

    Yes, I’ve read Godfrey–it’s my job to read these books and teach reformation church history. I love Bob’s work. However, the Bible is inspired whereas Bob and Calvin, great as the are, are not; they are only useful when they illuminate the meaning of Scripture.

    And by the way, the reformed tradition continued after the 16th and 17th century; great minds have been at work reading the Bible ever since. Let’s try reading them as well.

    Is anyone interested in using the Bible here? Or am I just going to be accused of being “biblicist” for saying this?

    Marty.

  11. Dear RSC,

    Thanks for pointing me to Scripture! I appreciate it.

    Again, let me recommend David Peterson Engaging with God–he has an excellent chapter on worship in Hebrews.

    I love Hebrews 9-10 and it seems to me to prove exactly the point I’m making. Indeed, it gives the explicit reason why believers now gather (and it’s not worship). Indeed, I can’t find any commentators on my shelf that follow your argument here (just to show you that I’m no biblicist but want to confer with others as I read the Bible).

    I recommend that you read Exodus 24 and Hebrews 9 (that’s in the NT, last I knew).

    Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship (latreias) and an earthly place of holiness. 2 For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence.

    Well, in 9:1-10 we have a description of the cultic worship of the OT earthly tabernacle which then allows the writer to show how Christ’s priestly work is superior in 9:11-10:18.

    However, the “cultic regulations for worship” (dikaiomata latreias) is a reference to the activity of the priests (see v. 6 and v. 10 where the vocabulary is repeated of their work). This is not a refernce to Jews gathering, but the day-to-day activity of priests in their work with altar lights, sacrifices etc. etc. I can’t find any commentary that follows you here. [See for example the commentaries by Lane and Peterson here]

    9:20 is a direct quotation of Exodus 24. It draws upon the scene of Moses et al on the mount as the picture for the way the New Covenant church relates to God. This is the background for 10:2 –

    The use of Exod. 24 in 9:20 concerns the ratification of the old covenant. It is not talking about some general gathering of Israel, but a specific event in the life of Israel. (So Peterson, Lane, and Ellingworth).

    Heb. 10:19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, ”

    This public, cultic setting is the context in which v. 23 must be read:

    The writer has established in 9:11 – 10:18 the superiority of Christ’s priesthood. The setting is not about our cultic activity on earth but Christ’s “cultic” activity in heaven, where the true sanctuary is. In short, it is Christ who is the true (priestly) worshipper here. The major point is that believers can now approach God through Christ the true priest (who worships / serves in the heavenly sanctuary). [I’m not denying that Christians worship, see Rom. 12:1-2, but that is not the particular issue in this context]. 10:19-39 addresses what believers on earth are now to do in response to Christ’s cultic activity, and the fundamental thrust is for the Hebrew believers hold on to the blessings of the new covenant. 10:19-21 summarises the argument of chs 7-10 and 10:22-25 contain the three “let us” exhortations. (See below)

    “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. ”

    That “confession” is at least the Shema, which was a central part of the Synogogue liturgy.

    Again, no. This is but one of the three “let us” exhortations showing how believers should respond to the priestly work of Christ, the first concerns the believer’s faith (v. 22), the second hope (v. 23), and the third love (vv. 24-25).

    Lane and Peterson both argue that the 1st “let us” concerns how believers can now approach God in prayer and find mercy and help. The 2nd is about how believers are to let the future (hope) control their present. [I don’t know how you get the Shema into the 2nd exhortation. Perhaps if it was a “confession of faith”. But it’s a “confession of hope”. Hence, Lane (et. al.) don’t see this as concerning an objective formal confession.]

    And the third specifically concerns Christians gathering …

    “24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

    How can you say that the NT does not connect the language of “worship” with the public assembly of the NT church?

    Quite easily. You are referring to the 3rd “let us” exhortation, which proves my point precisely. It explicitly gives the reason why believers are meet together: “to encourage each other”. There is no mention of worship here (because the worship on view is that specific priestly activity of Christ). This is the classic NT teaching about the purpose of the gathering being edification (cf. 1 Cor. 14:26). How clear do you want it? It’s explicit.

    It sounds as you you’ve joined the cross-traffic I’m describing. I hope you’re not heading to Emergent Village. I guess you’ll find it unsatisfactory.

    My Australian context is very different to yours. You’ll be glad to know that I can’t stand the emerging stuff; it is theology-less and has too little respect for Scripture. I teach historical theology, so how possibly could I be emergent!!

    My desire is test everything according to the word of God, as it is our supreme rule, tradition is subordinate. If it means asking hard questions so be it.

    God bless you,

    Marty.

  12. Dear RSC:

    I find the weight of your argument convincing, but I also find Frame’s argument, and exegesis, in his old book (pretty thin) on Worship to be solidly grounded in Scripture, which of course brings some confusion in the mix. As I am not at the level of critical comparison and coming down to an answer.

    I don’t know if you have the time to quickly highlight a few places where Frame might have gotten it wrong, or at least suggest to me where I can start to critically review Frame’s book.

    • RS,

      have you read the chapter in RRC on worship? There are many leads there in the footnotes.

      Marty,

      You complain that I don’t appeal to Scripture, then you complain when I do that I don’t get it right. I guess there’s no pleasing you.

  13. Dear RSC,

    You complain that I don’t appeal to Scripture, then you complain when I do that I don’t get it right. I guess there’s no pleasing you.

    The devil quoted Scripture at Jesus in the wilderness … it’s not the use but the right use of Scripture that’s critical. I couldn’t find one commentator who followed your reading of Hebrews 9-10. What am I meant to do–ignore what Scripture says, so I can agree with you?

    I find it amazing you can hold so strongly to ideas that lack Scriptural backing.

    Blessings,

    Marty.

  14. Marty,

    Not to be arrogant, but I don’t have to read Petersen.
    Why?

    Because contrary to your/Petersen’s assertion, the 17th century didn’t see the temple as being the approved example for Christian worship. Rather it was the abiding didactic and moral elements of the synagogue worship that carried over into the new. Christ fulfilled the OT ceremonial temple worship which is why the curtain was torn. The whole gist of Hebrews is that the priesthood of Aaron has been fulfilled/surpassed by Christ in the order of Melchizedek and Christians are not to go back to it. If we can’t get that right, what next? Read more Petersen? I don’t think so and I think maybe you can at least understand why.

    And regardless if you have read Frame or not, for whatever reason you might as well be lip synching him. That’s why it got brought up and that’s why people keep thinking it and repeating it.

    Hope that helps you understand where some of us are coming from, even if you don’t agree.

  15. Dear RSC,

    Thanks for your reply, and yes, it does help me to see from where you’re coming. But it’s frankly not a happy perspective for me to see.

    As I look back on the discussion I’ve tried to explain another position (which you rubbish) but then are told you don’t need to read about it! That’s neither fair-minded or generous.

    I just get the impression from all this that 17th century tradition has trumped the supreme authority of the Bible for you. (That’s the predominant comment I get after people read RRC). I love the 17th century and have devoted much of my life to understanding it. Perhaps it is the most important century. However, there are 19 other centuries of tradition as well and to ignore them is reductionism of a gross kind.

    Peterson’s book is a good example of how the reformed tradition has developed since the 17th century. If you wish to ignore it and stay locked into 17th century categories that’s your choice. But you can’t complain if people don’t find your arguments convincing. And, more importantly, you can’t complain if people who once followed you leave in droves when later they eventually listen to the other side you never explained.

    If people want to conflate Peterson and Frame, that’s their issue. But if they’re going to do it, ignorant of what Peterson has said, that’s frankly how cults work–not willing to question.

    God bless you, and I hope one day you read Peterson (and a whole raft of other literature from very good scholars on this issue).

    Marty.

  16. Um, Marty,
    I might have rehashed something old, but unless I missed something, where did you adequately answer that rehash? I mean, I suggested a couple Biblical reasons and felt a bit swept under the rug by your flippant dismissal.

    For more background info, I’m not EP, but I find redefinition of the RPW for “all of life” to be fatally flawed. I’m not terribly read up on the 17th century guys. I did far more readings in patristics. The points I make on the RPW come from a very down-to-earth witnessing a number of “all of life” revisions in practice — spanning the OPC, PCA, CRC, PC(USA), and various Chinese churches. You might give a sophisticated Redemptive-Historical-Positive case for your view. I can give a sophisticated RH+ case for mine. But where the rubber meets the road, most people in the congregation will appreciate a guard preventing the church from dictating which school they must enroll their kids in, and preventing the church from making everyone in the congregation come up to the stage to do the motions as they sing “Pharaoh Pharoah (ooo baby!)”.

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