With Presbycast And D. G. Hart: Re-Framing Machen’s Warrior Children

Last night was 2/3 of a full-Rogan (who hosts really long podcasts) with Darryl Hart, Wresbyterian, Brad (“Chortles Weakly”) Isbell, and Dr Clark as they discussed and dissected the recent re-publication, on the website of the National Partnership (the formerly secret organization composed of PCA TEs and REs), of a 2003 essay blaming “Machen’s Warrior Children” for most of the ills in Christianity. Because the essay first appeared nearly two decades ago, they discuss  history (Hart and Clark were there) and consider the merits of the original essay and what its republication intends to say to the PCA today. As always there was much bad bumper music (although last night’s music was not horrible), laughter, and some very insightful comments by listeners. If you are looking for an alternative history to “Machen’s Warrior Children” we recommend:

  1. D. G. Hart, The Lost Soul of American Protestantism(2004)
  2. R. Scott Clark, “‘Magic and Noise:’ Reformed Christianity in Sister’s America,” in eds. R. Scott Clark and Joel E. Kim Always Reformed: Essays in Honor of W. Robert Godfrey (2010), 74–91. (Apple Books version)
  3. R. Scott Clark, Recovering the Reformed Confession (2008).

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  1. I didn’t watch the Presbycast, so maybe you already said this, but the Left always assumes the moral high ground and keeps-up bad-faith accusations endlessly. They can churn out accusations much faster than you can respond to them. The goal is to exhaust you. Whenever you turn the tactic back around on them, they ignore the accusation or respond with an accusation.

    Where are we in Hirschman’s “Exit, Voice, and Loyalty” paradigm at this point?

  2. I so appreciate this podcast episode. As I started to question what was being said in my church and presbytery over the past 2 years, no less than three different TEs sent me the MWC article on the side and said “read this, it will help”. It didn’t help. I was a questioning RE trying to figure out things like why presbyters eagerly wanted to allow teaching WCF exceptions and why a speech on the Nashville statement was “intemperate speech”.
    Then I found that all of them had been mired in the NP since the beginning. This article by Frame is the NPs “get out of debate free” card; they use it to quiet the confessional types with the implied accusation of being combative and intolerant.
    I have left the PCA, but I would love to see it recover.

  3. A few notes

    “Frame is Pat Sajak. … [he] says the regulative principle applies to everything. Well it if applies to everything it applies to nothing.” -RSC 32:00

    In terms of the Heidelblog, I see this as eroding the sacred/secular distinction.

    “You get to do more or less whatever you want. … Contextulatization puts the contextualizer in charge.” (RSC 35:10)

    In terms of preaching, I think of this as conflating the meaning of the text with the application of the text.

    Did someone connect Frame’s triperspectivalism to his definition of theology and I missed it? Frame’s definition (the application of the word of God to … everything) has been used by many pastors to subtly (and perhaps unintentionally) shift the study of God to the study of … ourselves.

    Peter Jones writes about conflating the creator with creation (RSC 47:47 “categorical distinction” creator/creature)

  4. Again, thank you, Dr. Clark and friends for this discussion. The pieces in my muddle are beginning to fall into place, and what had been separate irritants or, on the other hand, places of confessional integrity now form a meaningful, clearer whole. For me, the surety of an objective standard, the submission to the whole of what one confesses and the refusal to make endless individual exceptions, and particularly the ultimate authority of the Word over personal perspective – these are, for me, the source of steadfast assurance for belief, practice, and worship. What I am implying but not saying outright is that I see the resolution to a period of discomfort, then distress, and finally sadness. What were disparate symptoms now present a clear diagnosis. Thank you and yours for persisting in contending for the truth.

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