One of the earliest and most rhetorically powerful charges made by the proponents of the eighteenth-century (colonial) revivals was that their critics were either unregenerate or impious. Religious experience is usually defined by proponents of revival as being composed of certain religious feelings and experiences. Those who’ve raised questions about those experiences have often been said to be “unconverted” or impious. Gilbert Tennent, George Whitefield, and Jonathan Edwards all charged their critics with the crime of being unregenerate. That argument, or a version of it, continues into the present day.
One of the criticisms that John Frame levels against Recovering the Reformed Confession is that it seeks to stifle religious experience. Again, this is partly true and partly false. He takes RRC as being opposed to genuine religious feeling:
Can there be any objection to people having a deepened sense of the power and authority of God? Later we learn that in revival people sometimes experienced a heightened conviction of sin, assurance of salvation, relief of fears and doubts (90-91). Is any of this objectionable? Scripture tells us that our sins are heinous in God’s sight. Should we not agree with Scripture about that? And if we agree with Scripture about that, will we not feel a sense of our own wickedness? Can we have that conviction without an accompanying feeling? Think of David’s words concerning his own sin, in Psalms 32 and 51. Should we not feel the same way about our own sins, and feel an extreme joy (Rom. 8:1-39) in knowing they have been forgiven? If we acknowledge these facts “intellectually” as we say, but have no feeling about them, isn’t there something wrong?
The answer is no, there is no objection in RRC to people having a “deepened sense of the power and authority of God. There’s no objection to people experiencing a “heightened conviction of sin” etc. The objection in RRC is making the sorts of experiences described by Edwards and others either the measure of the ordinary Christian life or the thing to be sought above all other things or the organizing principle of the Christian life. In broad terms, I call the desire for the such extraordinary experiences the Quest for Illegitimate Religious Experience (QIRE). More narrowly, it is the desire to know God as he is, in himself (something on which Frame and Clark disagree), and/or to experience God apart from the divinely ordained means, apart from Word and sacrament ministry.
Over the years I’ve had conversations like the one represented by Frame’s critique and thus I tried (and apparently failed) to anticipate the very objections he makes. In several places in RRC I discussed what I understand the ordinary Christian life and Christian piety to be. I take it that, in John’s case, those passages did leave the impression I hoped. I won’t recount them all, but anyone who reads the book fairly and carefully will notice that I do discuss a warm-hearted, vital, and even passionate piety and experience of the presence of God but unlike some in the revivalist tradition, I keep that very closely connected to the divinely ordained means of grace, the preaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments. I hope that other readers will be more patient than John has been with my account of what happened in the 18th century revivals and how they function for many Reformed folk today, as a sort of golden age to which we need to return. I realize that it is difficult to look at heroes such as Edwards and Whitefield and others in the light of critical, modern history but that’s what I tried to do, to introduce readers to the modern academic study of these figures and their time, drawing particularly on George Marsden’s wonderful and massive work on Jonathan Edwards.
Without rehearsing the whole argument of the book regarding Reformed piety let me simply say, as I do in the book, I’m in favor of piety. The subtitle is “our theology, piety, and practice. I argue that there is a Reformed piety, that it is hearty, that is warm, that it is passionate but it is not Anabaptist, it is not revivalist, and it is not quasi-Pentecostal. Failure to make that distinction in our time has led lots of Reformed folk to try to synthesize forms of Christian piety drawn from the mystical traditions into the Reformed faith. This book is an attempt to question that synthesis. So, yes, to the degree the Lord permits, I do hope to stifle or encourage the stifling of some forms of religious experience. I think there’s good biblical precedent for such stifling.
I hope that readers will not simply take at face value John’s summary of my argument but rather will investigate the book carefully and calmly for themselves.
Rest assured that your servant does love Jesus and he loves John Frame, and he loves Jonathan Edwards but he thinks that John Calvin, Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, the Westminster Standards, William Perkins, William Ames, and John Owen, to name just a few, present us with a different picture of Christian piety than is often presented to us today under the heading of “Reformed piety” and those voices are worth hearing, even if they may make us a little uncomfortable at first.
Indeed, there is a visceral component to Reformed piety, as God’s design of the constitution of man necessitates this. Even our Lord Jesus Christ was moved to heights of emotion many times in His earthly sojourn.
But emotional ecstasy should never be the benchmark by which piety is measured since we find in Scripture this emphasis on TRUTH.
The soul, consisting of the MIND, WILL and EMOTIONS, must first apprehend (or be apprehended by!) the truth through the MIND. The truth then stirs up the EMOTIONS with godly affections, which then impels the WILL to action, animating the BODY.
TRUTH has the place of primacy.
You explained, “The objection in RRC is making the sorts of experiences described by Edwards and others either the measure of the ordinary Christian life or the thing to be sought above all other things or the organizing principle of the Christian life.”
There is a strong possibility that Frame would also affirm the above-mentioned idea. I could be wrong. I think his issue with you was about the means by which one is ushered into the experience: Frame writes, “For Lloyd-Jones, the revival experience was not “apart from the mediation of word and Sacrament” Rather, it starts with “the preaching of the biblical message.” This was the paragraph above what you quoted in this blog.
That got me confused. How is your construct different from Lloyd-Jones’ (“Word & sacrament” vs. “preaching of the biblical message”)?
(scheduled to read RRC on March)
Well, see the book but no, I don’t think John agrees with this or at least he says that he doesn’t and that’s the only thing by which I can judge. “The Doctor” (ML-J) set up a scheme (as I document in the book) whereby what matters most is a certain sort of religious experience. I say that what matters most is confession and that a healthy, vital religious life will flow from that. The goal is not experience. Making the goal experience is one of the problems of American Christianity since the 18th century and particularly since the 19th century. This is why many (most?) evangelical (and many Reformed) congregations since choruses for 35-40 followed by a sermon, because Charles Finney discovered that it was the most effective way to have the most affective worship “experience.” It’s why when people say, “We really worshipped today” they mean, “we had the most exquisite religious experience today.” They don’t usually mean, in colloquial speech, “We heard the law which convicted me of the greatness of my sin and misery and the gospel which God the Spirit used to assure me that, despite my sins, God accepts me for the sake of Christ’s righteousness and renewed within me a desire to die to sin and live to Christ.”
That’s a sketch of the difference. The book explains at greater length.
Thanks for the response. So you question Frame’s use of Lloyd-Jones’ “preaching of the biblical message” that Frame doesn’t mean what he says by that? That, what he actually means is the goal of preaching is to give the experience?
If that is the case I seem to be missing something. What I took Frame to mean is merely a rephrasing of your “what matters most is confession and that a healthy, vital religious life will flow from that” (Dr. Clark) into ” what matters most is [preaching the biblical message] and that a healthy, vital religious life will flow from that.” (Lloyd-Jones/Frame).
Quezon City, Philippines
Take a look at the book when you get the chance. The stuff I’m questioning isn’t really the sort of thing that John describes in his review. By taming down the problem he makes my concern seem unwarranted but if the problem is greater than he suggests, then my concern is warranted.
no, but unreformed anti-confessionalism is. 😉
Scott, I was hoping you would answer Frame’s review. I am happy to see you continuing the discussion. I am reading with great interest.
You’ve mentioned Owen a couple of times in the last week. Would you consider him and other Independents or Congregationalists like Thomas Goodwin to be Reformed? Others who would hold to a confession like Savoy?
Yes. There were independents, episcopalians, & prebyterians at Dort & Westminster. Polity is of the bene esse (well being) but not of the esse (being) of the Reformed faith.
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Could it be said that issues that do not essentially emanate from covenant theology are not of ontological significance to the denotation of “Reformed”, as is the case with church polity?
This would mean that “infant baptism” is among these hedges that we speak of.
It’s a good question but i would hesitate to frame the answer thus because the ecclesiastical confessions don’t frame everything relative to covenant theology.
In your opinion, if we were looking for a single animating principle would it be covenant theology? It does seem to permeate the groundings of most of the statements made by the confessions.
Warfield called covenant theology the “architectonic principle” of Reformed theology and it does underlie or undergird the theology of the confessions but the confessions themselves appeal variously to covenantal categories. Obviously the Westminster Standards are more overt than the Three Forms of Unity.
Time for a new word in theological dictionaries: Goosebumpier. As in goosebumpier than thou.
1. I refrained earlier from commenting. However, I must. Someone on this list has called you “Clark” a few times. I am not amused. We called “boots” off the bus arriving at Parris Island by their “last names.” They deserved nothing more. They weren’t Marines. They were “slimey civilians, wannabees and mamas’ boys.” We had a cadence on runs, “Tell my mama what the Corps has done to me…If I die in a combat zone, pin my medals upon my chest, tell my mama I did my best…lefty righta left…” When they graduated from boot camp, the “Crucible,” they earned the title “Marine.” Even then, they’re still lads and they don’t start getting respect–minimally, rightly–for about 3-4 years into the system, officer or enlisted. For officers, it starts about 6-7 years into the program.
I could tell some stories about junior officers arriving “to lead” senior enlisted with towering years over the young officers.
From another perspective, first year students at Reformed Episcopal Seminary were called by their last names as a matter of policy. They were “non-rates.” Second and third year students were called “Mr.” First names were never used. Dr. Philip Edcumbe Hughes at WTSP routinely called us “Mr. _____.”
I think “Dr. Clark” or “Prof. Clark” fitting. However, “Clark” as a term of address offends good order, decorum, discipline and decency. Perhaps contradictorily, at times, I call you Scott, being an older fellow and a bit long in the tooth. I also do it as one who calls Marine Generals in town by their first name–in private, but never, ever in public. And, always, privately or publically, with respect. I’ve earned that right–as one with rank and the privileges thereof. However, for consistency of principle, it’ll be Dr. Clark. As an older Churchman, in private, it will be Scott. NEVER “Clark,” ever, anywhere or anytime!
Calling you “Clark”–in any venue, by anyone–makes you a “boot”–derisively– and that offends this old nasty, nail-chewing, two-by-four-eating, Horse Marine. Calling you “Clark” is abusive, disrespectful and intolerable. I shudder–yeah cannot comprehend–a junior Marine calling any senior by his last name. I do know what would happen if that occurred. There would be one winner and one “clear, punished and hurting loser.” One “little word” would fell the fella.
I hate to take up space with an issue like this. This isn’t the Marine Corps, but as Christian Churchmen, the fifth commandment and good order apply. I’ve said my “peace.”
I think that most people, most of the time enjoy clear and well-defined interpersonal boundaries. Within the U.S. military, I believe that its traditions are in fact sacrosanct and absolutely necessary for good order (an upshot of this is that some sort of discipline is necessary to maintain good order). It’s a complex system that has proven its worth time and again. Perhaps there’s not too much room to explore novel methods of address. Outside the U.S. Military, there do however exist some significant counter examples to the U.S. Military’s preferred forms of address. Other cultures (foreign and domestic) create respect and interpersonal boundary markers in very different ways.
A foreign cultural example:
In at least one culture today use of Mr./Mrs. can easily come across as a joke. For better or worse, in any Russian-speaking part of the xUSSR (including modern day Russia), strangers including teachers are normally addressed by their first names along with the names of their fathers. Just check out some discussions online about differences in forms of address, which can and does regularly create mild culture shock. See here:
In Soviet times, prior to the fall of the USSR, tovarishch (comrade) was an acceptable means of address. But it has gone the way of the USSR. And in the time before 1917, Mr. and Mrs. were used, but these like comrade (except for some continued use then and now for and by foreigners) are curious cultural relics.
My understanding is that in the U.S. a requirement to use the first name of professor (at least among graduate students) is often taken to mean that the professor or the institution he/she is affiliated is insecure/2nd rate. At least that’s what some professors from and at MIT told me.
For what it’s worth, I only ask students at WSC to call me Dr and that’s to maintain some decorum and order. Students come from a highly egalitarian culture and so it’s good for them to learn a little respect. When they graduate I ask them to call me by my Christian name. I don’t think it’s about insecurity but about challenging the assumptions of radical egalitarianism and about recognizing office. I don’t know that profs at MIT have quite the same relation with their student that we do with ours. They are training/preparing pastors. It’s a little different. I don’t mind what anyone else calls me. I’m a minister and there are places, I suppose where recognition of that office is appropriate but I don’t mind what people on the HB call me. I’m not offended. I often identify myself by surname as in “Clark here…”
Hi Dr. Clark,
a correction, I should have written “requirement to [not] use the first name of professor” and not “requirement to use the first name of professor”.
As an undergraduate and graduate student, I enjoyed using Dr./Prof. to address my professors. As far as I know, the possibility of addressing a professor informally is a graduate-student-only phenomenon. It was in graduate school where I was first encountered professors who told me that it was a sign of insecure faculty who require their graduate students to address them using Dr. or Prof. I was actually in near-disbelief to hear this.
For what it’s worth, I later read that starting back in the late-1920’s Reinhold Niebuhr as ruled had his students call him Reinie. According to one of his biographers Richard Wightman Fox, this raised quite a few eyebrows among the faculty at Union Seminary. Here’s a quote from a review of Fox’s book on Niebuhr:
[Reinhold] “Niebuhr’s power meant that he could be intimidating. Yet his friendliness was legendary. Students, who often called him Reinie, thronged to his apartment on those evenings when he and his wife were “at home” to friends.”
I doubt they called him “Reinie” to his face.
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They did at least according to Fox. Niebuhr suggested it to his students. From Fox’s bio, it sounded as though Niebuhr insisted. That’s what made it such a memorable factoid.
Here’s a quote I could find online: “Findlay Scott shuddered at Niebuhr’s wild generalizations, his radical
friends, his unrefined manners, and the fact that students called him “Reinie.”
In this context, a to-his-face seems far more probable of an interpretation at least. (I returned the Fox bio to library long ago. Otherwise, I’d check it and quote it for you.)
Perhaps this isn’t definitive evidence that students called Niebuhr “Renie” to his person, but it leans towards that interpretation at least in my mind. Otherwise, Moffatt, Scott, and Brown are concerned about something that is outside Niebuhr’s control. Judge for yourself:
Niebuhr’s charging style, brash, outspoken, vehement, did not sit well with most of the senior faculty, who favored the clipped, understated, Scotch reserve of seminary tradition. James Moffatt, professor of church history, Ernest Scott, professor of Biblical theology, and William Adams Brown, professor of systematic theology (and blue-bloded scion of NewYork’s Brown Brothers), judged it improper for students to address a professor as “Reinie.” They also shook their heads when Niebuhr turned up for a tuxedo affair in honor of a visiting German dignitary in his everyday rumpled suit and carelessly knotted tie.
(from page 112. of Reinhold Niebuhr: a biography By Richard Wightman Fox)
(Turns out, I was able to get my hands on another copy of Fox’s book.)
Eric (unless you prefer Mr. Black):
1. Call me Phil. (And not Philip–as my mother did and does. It’s sort of reserved for her. Dr. Allen C. Guezlo still calls me Philip and never quite had the heart to request otherwise.)
2. Thanks for the cross cultural observations. My Canadian grandparents routinely called their life-long friends Mr. and Mrs., for example. As to your last paragraph, however, I didn’t understand. Is there or not a requirement in grad schools to call a Prof by his or her first name? A sign of what? Wasn’t clear.
3. I don’t want to revise and extend on what I’ve said already. I’ve said enough to the issue and do not wish to see the importance of the thread sidetracked. Further, I’ve stated that I wouldn’t.
4. Back on point. Over the last few hours since posting, as the question lingers, I’ve thought abouy the question of “impiousness” and Reformed Confessionalism.
What a “joy” to “actively confess” the faith with well-ordered, biblically informed and accurate, intelligent, hearty, and thoughtful words, e.g. the WCF. I actually memorized the WCF en toto years ago…not boasting, but “joyfully thankful” for those who put me up to it. Over the years, here and there, at sea, or with friends over coffee, or in the college class room–as needed, as opportunity was afforded–paragraphs would come back to me. Sections of it have left me, but thinking of re-working it.
I would recommend WCF-memorization to all the younger Churchmen here. Yes, all 33 chapters. Of course, WSC for youths and those with learning challenges. And, surely, at least 1-90 for the WLC.
Impious to “confess” this faith? Not at all! A joy! And utterly useful.
Thanks Dr. Clark for the question. It recalls many, many “joyous” (not impious) memories of “confessing the faith” with these very words. (Was just looking at ch.5 today…sterling indeed!)
I’m lucky when people call me by my first or last name inasmuch as the other names they call me tend to be not altogether pious in content.
For whatever it’s worth … and this is coming from a civilian … I try to be patient with those who fail to show proper respect for the ordained ministerial office. I’m well aware that we live in an egalitarian culture and we need to be patient with people who have not learned what God’s Word says about order, authority, and deference to elders.
It is certainly obvious that addressing people as “Rev. Smith,” “Elder Smith,” or “Dr. Smith” is nowhere near as important as the Trinity or the Resurrection or other central doctrines of the Christian faith. Furthermore, a solid conservative Reformed argument can and has been made in the past that academic titles such as “Dr.” are inappropriate in ecclesiastical circles, and that the title “Rev.” is Romanist and ought to be replaced by “Pastor” or “TE” or “Dominie” or some other term.
I respect those arguments when they are made by people who understand office and ordination.
But the solution to dealing with our American culture’s disrespect for authority is not to capitulate.
If we do not teach our members and **ESPECIALLY** our future ministers that office and ordination carry real authority, and tremendous responsibility along with that authority, we invite chaos into the churches of the future. God gave pastors, elders and deacons to the churches for a reason, and failure to teach respect for the ordained offices of God’s church will not end well.
Theoretically, that doesn’t require a title. I can respect “Sam” just as much as “Rev. Sam Smith.” But common experience tells us that the way we address people is both a reflection of and a contributor to how we esteem them.
Maybe that’s totally foreign to Southern California culture. But isn’t most of the rest of the Reformed faith just as foreign? The solution is to rebuke egalitarianism, not accomodate ourselves to it.
1. Now, to the point at hand. I’ve been touring Prof. Frame’s articles at the poythress-frame website. Also, reread his piece on Dr. Horton’s “Christless Christianity.” Troublingly, I could not escape, again, the sense that this was a “hit piece.” Unless I misread it, I didn’t see one positive observation.
2. In answer to the title of this post re: Confessionalism and “impiety.” Prof. Frame seems to think that Reformed Confessionalism is “divisive.” It’s a conclusion he draws in one of his articles at the website.
3. Also, Mr. Frame suggests or implies that “Reformed Confessionalism” may be a threat to sola scriptura and represents a Romanist notion of the magisterium.
4. I’ll need to order Prof. Frame’s Evangelical Reunion as well as your other books as well. Mr. Frame’s article on “denominationalism” and “traditionalism” offer clues also. While Mr. Frame wants to be known as “confessional,” the net impression is that he opposes “Confessional Churchmanship.” How does that square with the “ex animo” allegiance to the WCF required of professors at WTSP in earlier days?
5. I love “confessing my faith” with the words of the WCF as a Prayer Book man, to boot. I’ve done that for decades. What’s Mr. Frame’s problems with that? It’s a confession to unbelievers and believers alike of my faith. If I may, it’s a “heart cry” and “statement of the mouth” of what I believe.
When you and others [like Dr. Clark] use the term “hit piece” in reference to Frame’s review[s], is there an implication of Frame transgressing the 8th commandment? I for one think Mr. Frame has and continues to do so. Then again, Dr. Clark, has said he loves Frame as a Christian–not to say that someone who tends to break the 8th commandment is beyond lovable in a Christian sense–but still perhaps I’m too hard on Mr. Frame. (See my correction about my mis-wording, noted in my reply to my response to Clark’s.)
That was terrible. Sorry. 9th commandment is what I obviously meant!
A hit piece is a review which is designed not to help but to hurt. The NwTS review of The Law is Not of Faith and John’s review of Christless Christianity were, in my opinion, classic examples of this genre. A review may disagree strongly with a text. I’ve done so, without being a “hit piece.” The latter is designed to destroy, to tarnish one’s reputation, or to settle a score. It’s usually personal, not professional. It goes beyond a negative review (which goes with the territory; if you don’t want negative reviews, don’t publish). A hit piece is not designed to help advance a discussion or to help readers understand issues more fully. Sometimes one can tell when a hit piece has been published by the reaction of its readers. In that case, even John’s most ardent defenders were embarrassed by his review of Christless Christianity because most of what John said there was just patently silly. He was so desperate to disparage the book (and the author) that he was forced to take absurd positions (e.g., suggesting that Horton was just making up things about the state of American Christianity when both experience and research supports Mike’s claims.
After pondering it more through the day, Mr. Frame’s reviews suggest anger. The aim appears to be settling old scores. Further, there is a smell of “fear.” Also, I did not detect serious interaction with a long progeny of Reformed writers. I detected an “anti-historian attack” after claiming to appreciate historians, e.g. Prof. Wooley. Also, it was difficult to correlate, that is, see a resemblance between RRC itself, as a book, and Prof. Frame’s review. As you can see, I’ve had several charlie horses between the ears.
As to the 9th commandment, an interesting question and an angle I’ve not considered. At this point, I’d prefer to engage this issues objectively for a long time prior to preferring that point.
..detect, smell, are you to laugh on the floor or a tongue? Are you currently prophesying from your charlie horse? I mean in all seriousness, we’d laugh at those weirdos on youtube who sound a like your “subjectivity”!
“I’d prefer to engage this issues objectively for a long time prior to preferring that point.”
Is that after your personal feelings? Or before? Can you be straight on this? I don’t even think that Dr. Clark would say that John Frame is anti-historian. That alone is a big charge! Or am I missing something Clark has said or is it just your personal detection?
Dr. Al Mohler’s take on vanishing theological boundaries.
Wish I had the source and specifics, but alas, the failure to record footnotes. In, on, or around 2001-2002, I recollect reading a Princeton historian who observed that the PCUSA was still dealing with the issues of the Machen matters of the 1930’s.
What’s the problem here with “confessing one’s faith” with confessions? It’s a joy!
Mind if I ask your reaction to the Mohler article?
Quezon City, Philippines
P.S. Thanks to your website link to the catechism of Thomas Becon.
Haven’t read it.
Mr. Veitch. hehehehe
My reaction to Dr. Mohler’s article is affirmative. Dr. Mohler says it all with these lines:
“Evangelicals should consider this tragedy with humility and theological perception. If similar trends are allowed to gain traction among evangelical churches and denominations, the same fate awaits. The larger issue here is not the continued vitality of any denomination as an end in itself, but the integrity of our witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Make no mistake — in the end, vanishing theological boundaries will amount to vanishing Christianity. This report makes that point with devastating clarity.”
I’ve rubbed shoulders, theologically and pastorally, with many, many liberal Pastors for a couple of decades…liberal Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ and others. I’ve got some sea stories on that too, e.g. having to speak to Senator Sam Nunn’s committee on homosexuals and the military. Or, a liberal Methodist, thrice-decorated purple heart winner from Vietnam, preaching–on its face–a powerful sermon on the Resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday. The following morning, I said, “Norm, that was powerful.” He looked to the floor and said, “Yea, too bad I didn’t believe it.” I have a barrel full of those experiences covering all the liberal denominations including liberal Southern Baptists.
Dr. Mohler is saying nothing new, but it is good to hear it said again.
Dr. Mohler to the side, as to the point of the thread, Reformed Confessionalism and piety/impiety, I repeat what I said earlier.
It is “joyful” (to me pious) to “confess” my faith from the heart, after and with much thinking, and warmly from the heart. And by that, I mean from memorization of the WCF. And by that, I mean “actively confessing the faith” with the very words of that Confession.
I can’t for the life of me see what Prof. Frame’s problems are about this.
Thanks Mr. Veitch for your response. I also like the “sea stories’; I’ll probably borrow that one on “too bad I didn’t believe it” for people who ask me about theological liberalism.
I thought about this yesterday and again today.
All this negativity towards Confessional Churchmanship, or “actively confessing the faith” with the Reformed Confessions, may be a “poor example” by a Professor of Systematic Theology. This has been bothering me for two days.
A “poor example” to young ministerial postulants to orders. That’s a very serious question and concern.
I can imagine a younger Churchman or seminary student thinking, “Well, I hear Prof. Frame’s arguments and, as good as the WCF is, I can’t take it as seriously as those `Reformed Confessionalists.’ It’s divisive. It creates an appearance of militating against sola scriptura. It’s `traditionalism.’ It’s supported by all those “historical types.’ Those `Confessionalists’ act like the Romanist magisterium.” What kind of impression is left with younger men? With seminarians? And, later, with lay Churchmen?
As a Presbyter myself, and not a Presbyterian one either, this is a bothersome thought.
How long have you been pondering about this? Because your charge against Frame using the WCF and Reformed Confessionalists isn’t a good one.
Rest in the reality bro that God is sovereign….”even over his church”!