1. Dissociation and separation are two different things. At the outset I think it is important to note that we did not separate from the Reformation Presbyterian Church, but rather we dissociated from it. The difference lies in the fact that the pretended presbytery was never actually constituted at any time or in any way. You cannot separate from that which is a nonentity.
2. I also affirm that the PRCE did not actually swear any vows to the pretended presbytery of the Reformation Presbyterian Church.
Our first order of business in regard to Mr. Bacon's slanderous charge is to complete the record of correspondence between our two congregations. Mr. Bacon perhaps forgot to publish his letter of April 23, 1996, on his website, so I thought it wise to do so now for the purpose of providing a more complete record of correspondence. In so doing, we can allow Mr. Bacon to argue his case in his own words.
His correspondence is as follows:
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 11:47:12 -0500
From: Richard Bacon <dBacon@airmail.net
To: Puritan Reformed Church of Edmontondm@freenet.edmonton.ab.ca, firstname.lastname@example.org, ScotKirk@aol.com,
Subject: Question re. vow
The question came to my mailbox as to what membership and subscription vows the officers of the Reformation Presbyterian Church either had taken or were required to take. I submit the following from the July 22, 1995 minutes [inter alia]:
"Being obliged to keep pure the Faith once delivered to the saints, and to hold fast the form of sound words, we, the officebearers of Reformation Presbyterian Church (Reformation Presbyterian Church), fully subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, Larger and Shorter. Through this full subscription, we adopt and receive (without amendment or scruple) these aforesaid Westminster Standards as our individual confession of faith, the very system of truth taught in holy Scripture, To these landmarks we voluntarily, yet conscionably, pledge our engagement, in doctrine and judicature, extending through the duration of our communion with this body."
"Our full subscription to the Westminster Standards is founded upon our love of, and duty to, veracity and sincerity, as we interpret them in the plain and univocal sense, striving to discern the original intent of the framers. We bind ourselves to an immediate and forthright disclosure of our particular interpretation, should it be questioned by an office-bearer, communing member, or should our adherence to this full subscription fluctuate, we will agreeably submit (with utmost care, faithfulness, and humility) to the lawful hearing and determination of the supreme judicatory."
Not only does this statement contain such words as "subscribe, adopt, receive, confess, covenant of union, pledge our engagement, and agreeably submit," the court went on to divide the vote so as to demonstrate the unanimity of the statement. The division of the vote was 5-0 with NO ABSTENTIONS. Further, it was spread upon the minutes:
"This vote was considered by those voting as the taking of a vow obliging compliance with the statement. The moderator's vote was included in the number recorded above."
Further, these minutes were accepted and approved as accurate at the subsequent Presbytery meeting held April 1213, 1996.
Additionally, it should be noted that the Presbytery FORMALLY and unanimously repented of its previous act of breaking covenant with Whitestone Presbyterian Church of Biloxi, MS at the same (April 12-13) meeting. The sinful handling of the Whitestone situation cannot therefore be precedential in any manner.
Finally, with the formal (and again, unanimous) adoption of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland Manual "insofar as it applies to us," the Reformation Presbyterian Church has from the time of its adoption committed itself to these formal vows by all those either then or in the future seeking ordination at her hands:
1. Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and the only rule of faith and manners?
2. Do you sincerely own and declare the Confession of Faith, approven by former General Assemblies of this church, to be the confession of your faith; and do you own the doctrine therein contained to be the true doctrine, which you will constantly adhere to?
3. Do you own and acknowledge the Presbyterian Church Government of this church by kirksession, Presbyteries, Provincial Synods, and General Assemblies, to be the only government of this church; and do you engage to submit thereto, concur therewith, and not to endeavour, directly or indirectly, the prejudice or subversion thereof.
4. Do you believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, as king and head of the church, has therein appointed a government in the hands of church officers, distinct from, and not subordinate in its own province to, civil government, and that the Civil Magistrate does not possess jurisdiction or authoritative control over the regulation of the affairs of Christ's Church; and do you approve of the general principles embodied in the Claim, Declaration, and Protest, adopted by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1842, and in the Protest of ministers and elders, commissioners from Presbyteries to the General Assembly, read in presence of the Royal Commissioner on 18th May, 1843, as declaring the views which are sanctioned by the Word of God, and the standards of this church, with respect to the spirituality and freedom of the church of Christ, and her subjection to him as her only Head and to his Word as her only standard?
5. Do you promise to observe uniformity of worship and of the administration of all public ordinances within this church, as the same are at present preformed and allowed?
6. Do you approve of the Deed of separation of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland adopted by its first Presbytery at Portree on the 14th day of August, 1893?
7. Do you accept the office of an Elder (Deacon) of this Congregation and promise, through grace, faithfully, diligently, and cheerfully, to discharge all the duties thereof?
Moreover, the formula of subscription for all Probationers, Ministers, Elders, and Deacons at the time of their admission in the presence of the congregation is to be as follows:
"I, ______________________, do hereby declare, that I do sincerely own and believe the whole doctrine contained in the Confession of Faith, approven by former General Assemblies of this Church to by [sic] the truths of God; and I do own the same as the confession of my faith; as likewise I do own the purity of worship presently authorised and practised in the Reformation Presbyterian Church, and also the Presbyterian Government and discipline thereof; which doctrine, worship, and Church government, I am persuaded, are founded on the Word of God, and agreeable thereto; I also approve of the general principles respecting the jurisdiction of the church, and her subjection to Christ as her only Head, which are contained in the Claim of Right and in the Protest referred to in the questions already put to me; and I promise that, through the grace of God, I shall firmly and constantly adhere to the same, and to the utmost of my power shall, in my station, assert, maintain, and defend the said doctrine, worship, discipline, and government of this Church, by KirkSessions, Presbyteries, Provincial Synods, and General Assemblies, together with the liberty and exclusive jurisdiction thereof; and that I shall, in my practice, conform myself to the said worship, and submit to the said discipline, government, and exclusive jurisdiction thereof; and not endeavour, directly or indirectly, the prejudice or subversion of the same; and I promise that I shall follow no divisive course from the doctrine, worship, discipline, government, and exclusive jurisdiction of this Church, renouncing all doctrines, tenets, and opinions whatsoever, contrary to, or inconsistent with, the said doctrine, worship, discipline, or jurisdiction of the same.
While some may wish to argue that the particular deeds and declarations which created first the Free Church of Scotland and the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland do not apply directly to our situation (see queries #4 and 6), that would not negate the fact that the subscription act of July 22, 1995 does clearly and simpliciter apply to us.
I believe all the recipients of this post have access to the deeds and protests mentioned in the queries above.
The above cited letter clearly demonstrates the content of the Reformation Presbyterian Church's present ordination vows.
1. The PRCE dissociated before the approval of the disputed minute that allegedly constituted the Presbytery.
Mr. Bacon alleges in his correspondence that we swore a vow on July 22, 1995, and dissociated from presbytery on March 27, 1996. Subsequently (eight months later), on April 1213, 1996, the Presbytery approved the minutes of July 22, 1995.
I point this out to demonstrate that the PRCE dissociated two weeks before the approval of the minutes containing the alleged constitution of the Presbytery. We neither had, nor desired to have, any say in their approval. I contend that these alleged vows never took place. What Mr. Bacon misrepresents to be vows were simply an agreement to the wording of a statement of confessional subscription.
2. The minutes were inaccurately stated and do not reflect what took place at that meeting.
I contend that the minutes of July 22, 1995 were inaccurately stated (by the clerk) and erroneously approved by the remaining members of the Presbytery. The questionable approval of these minutes in no way reflects the belief of the PRCE. The Reformation Presbyterian Church can affirm and approve all the minutes they wish, but the fact remains that, in our judgment, the clerk misstated and misrepresented what took place at that meeting. We believe the following statement to be an editorial remark by the clerk as to his own interpretation of the vote on the subscription statement: "The vote was considered by those voting as the taking of a vow obliging compliance with the [subscription GB] statement. The moderator's vote was included in the number above." Mr. Seekamp's (the clerk) private opinion, should have been removed from the record at the following meeting but sadly it was not.
3. Every member of the pretended presbytery except the FPCR Session agrees that no vow was taken to constitute presbytery (See Appendix B).
The pretended Presbytery of the Reformation Presbyterian Church had six voting members (four ministers and two ruling elders). Mr. Price (pastor of the PRCE) was absent and therefore could not have taken any alleged vows. I (Greg Barrow), attended this meeting, representing the Session of the PRCE, but I did not take any vows as the minutes inaccurately record. Of the three ministers present at that meeting, two of them (Mr. Robinson and Dr. Crick) both argue that no vows were taken at that meeting or at any other time. One lone session consisting of Mr. Bacon and Mr. Seekamp (ruling elder) stands by itself alleging that vows were taken in the meeting of July 22, 1995. Four out of six men who had voting privileges deny that any vows were taken at that meeting, yet sadly Mr. Bacon continues to assert that they were. The voting majority has spoken but Mr. Bacon refuses to believe that the emperor (presbytery) has no clothes. No constitution was formally adopted, and no ministerial vows were sworn in God's name. What Presbytery in the history of Presbyterian polity has ever claimed to constitute in this way? Let Mr. Bacon explain why 66% of the pretended presbytery and 75% of the ministers have concluded that no vows were taken in that meeting or in any other meeting. Mr. Bacon's appeal to his erroneous minutes are sadly selfserving and he should admit that the clerk misstated the actual events and intentions of the men present.
The fallacy of begging the question is committed when, instead of offering proof for its conclusion, an argument simply reasserts the conclusion in another form.
1. According to Mr. Bacon the PRCE broke her vow when she vowed to, "agreeably submit (with utmost care, faithfulness, and humility) to the lawful hearing and determination of the supreme judicatory," and then without submitting to their authority, proceeded to unilaterally dissociate from the presbytery. However, the very point in question is whether or not a lawful authority of any kind existed in the Reformation Presbyterian Church. Mr. Bacon is simply reasserting his conclusion and begging the question when he says that we broke our vow by not submitting to something that we didn't believe existed.
2. Furthermore, I contend that even if this vow was actually taken, it was an unlawful vow. We could not lawfully promise to submit to a judicatory that did not exist. Because, in our judgment, no lawful judicatory did exist at the time of the supposed vow, the alleged vow would have been unlawful, forbidden by God, and therefore not binding. This is consistent with the doctrine taught in the Confession of Faith which states:
No man may vow to do any thing forbidden in the Word of God, or what would hinder any duty therein commanded, or which is not in his own power, and for the performance of which he hath no promise or ability from God (Westminster Confession of Faith 22:7).
Question 113: What are the sins forbidden in the third commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the third commandment are, ... perjury; all sinful cursings, oaths, vows, and lots; violating of our oaths and vows, if lawful; and fulfilling them, if of things unlawful; (Westminster Larger Catechism).
3. Moreover, I affirm that we are forbidden by the Word of God to take any oaths contrary to the lawful oaths that already bind us. We are already bound by Solemn League and Covenant and therefore bound to:
...sincerely, really, and constantly, through the grace of GOD, endeavour, in our several places and callings, the preservation of the reformed religion in the Church of Scotland, in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, against our common enemies; the reformation of religion in the kingdoms of England and Ireland, in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, according to the Word of God, and the example of the best reformed Churches; and shall endeavour to bring the Churches of GOD in the three kingdoms to the nearest conjunction and uniformity in religion, Confession of Faith, Form of Church Government, Directory for Worship and Catechising; that we, and our posterity after us, may, as brethren, live in faith and love, and the Lord may delight to dwell in the midst of us (The Solemn League and Covenant).
As already discussed in Misrepresentation #2, we believe that at the time of the swearing of the Solemn League and Covenant, both Canada and the United States were part of "his Majesty's dominion." Consequently, we believe that we are the "posterity" of these covenanters and are formally bound to uphold these covenants.
The church may be very culpable in neglecting the duty of public covenanting, whereby they give a formal consent, in their own persons, to these solemn obligations; or there may be seasons passing over the church, in which they may not have a call to engage in this solemn service; yet no neglect of this kind, whether sinful or necessary, can hinder this obligation from descending to posterity. Neither can the communication of this obligation to future generations be obstructed, by the wickedness of a people, in withdrawing their neck from the yoke of God, in acting contrary to their solemn engagements, and in openly denying that this obligation is remaining on them. No doubt, all this was the case with some of the generations of the house of Israel and Judah, nevertheless they were under the obligation of the covenants which God had made with their fathers, and the obligation of it was even through them transmitted to their posterity (Archibald Mason, "Observations On the Public Covenants," 1821, pp. 47, 48, appended to The Fall of Babylon the Great, , SWRB reprint, 1997).
Since we, as parties to the Covenant, are already bound to, "promoting Reformation and endeavouring to bring the Churches of God in the three kingdoms to the nearest conjunction and uniformity in religion, Confession of Faith, Form of Church Government, Directory for Worship and Catechising;" we could not be bound by the contrary oath that the Reformation Presbyterian Church is claiming we swore. We could neither promote reformation, nor uniformity in religion, by swearing to submit to a pretended independent denomination who were not themselves submitted, but rather opposed to our already binding Covenants. The independent Presbytery of the Reformation Presbyterian Church is submitted to no one; they have no published terms of communion and they have ordination vows that are sinful in and of themselves. Even if the PRCE swore an oath (which we didn't) to this independent body, we wouldn't have been bound to keep such a unlawful and contrary oath.
Mr. Bacon and the Reformation Presbyterian Church say, "it is not necessary to take the covenant of the three kingdoms," but we say that we already have, whether they understand it or not. Their slighting and censuring of our covenanted forefathers by slandering the intrinsic obligation of their representative promises is directly spoken against by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland:
The second sort of enemies, from which our present dangers arise, are secret malignants and discovenanters who may be known by these and like characters: Their slighting or censuring of the public resolutions of this Kirk and State. Their consulting and labouring to raise jealousies and divisions to retard or hinder the execution of what is ordered by public judicatories. Their slandering the Covenant of the three kingdoms and expedition into England, as not necessary for the good of religion (The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, [16381649 inclusive], p. 397).
To summarize. These are three main arguments we use to defend ourselves against Mr. Bacon's slanderous misrepresentation that we have broken our vows.
1. Mr. Bacon's charge is begging the question.
2. We could not lawfully promise to submit to a judicatory that did not actually exist.
3. We were already bound by the Covenants of our forefathers, and it is unlawful to take a contrary oath. An unlawful oath is not binding.
Did the Reformation Presbyterian Church ever lawfully constitute itself as an independent denomination and if so when?
I set before the reader a partial list of serious inconsistencies in the Reformation Presbyterian Church's failed attempt to constitute itself.
According to Mr. Bacon's own correspondence (as published above), the presbytery was constituted by a vow taken on July 22, 1995. If that is true (and he cannot deny that he said it), then how does he explain the following socalled actions of presbytery?
1. Ministers and congregations were received into the Reformation Presbyterian Church, Jan 28, 1995, approximately six months before the Reformation Presbyterian Church was allegedly constituted by the above mentioned vow. How does an unconstituted group receive ministers and congregations? What were they received into? This inconsistency is the most serious. All the supposed churches and ministers of the RPC were received into a nonentity. Mr. Bacon admits that the Presbytery was not constituted until six months later. How does he reconcile this irreconcilable evidence? He is condemned out of his own mouth.
2. How did an unconstituted presbytery compose a commission to examine John Cripps for licensure on February 25, 1995, if the Reformation Presbyterian Church was constituted by a vow six months later? Composing a commission is an act of presbytery. How does Mr. Bacon reconcile this with the fact that according to his own words Presbytery did not yet exist?
3. As an unconstituted presbytery how was Tim Worrell licensed to preach (June 22, 1995) with no constitutional questions directed to him? No constitutional questions at a licensure is bad enough, but further Mr. Bacon must explain upon what basis Mr. Worrell was licensed. He couldn't have been examined by Presbytery, that's for sure, since it didn't yet exist according to Mr. Bacon's own words. It should also be noted that I received an email from Tim Worrell (October 21, 1997), indicating that he is no longer affiliated with the Reformation Presbyterian Church.
This sample of condemning evidence clearly shows that the Reformation Presbyterian Church was seriously confused about how to properly constitute itself. When these inconsistencies began to be vocalized, Mr. Bacon and Mr. Seekamp began their attempt to justify the pretended Presbytery's existence. The fact of the matter is that Mr. Bacon, in his self justifying haste, chose a date (after the fact) for the constitution of the Reformation Presbyterian Church that was far to late to make sense with the RPC's previous actions. Sadly, trying to cover up bad policy simply landed him in a worse position now that all of this is being made public. Mr. Bacon's present congregation, at least, should demand answers and repentance for the way he has led them into this embarrassing public spectacle. He has already seen this evidence and rejected the correction from the other members of the group. His obstinacy is sinful. He needs to repent in the same way that each of the other men in the group has. We all should be ashamed (and are ashamed) at this ludicrous attempt at constituting a presbytery. The PRCE, as a session, formally and publicly repented at the time of our dissociation and also publicly repented before our congregation for so poorly representing the cause of Christ and Presbyterian polity. We now plead with Mr. Bacon and Mr. Seekamp to recognize their folly and do likewise.
1. The Reformation Presbyterian Church requires sinful and and unlawful ordination vows.
To further illustrate the confusion of the Reformation Presbyterian Church's alleged constitution, we direct the readers attention to the way in which they have qualified their adoption of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland Manual of Practice.
In the forgotten letter cited above, Mr. Bacon writes,
Finally, with the formal (and again, unanimous) adoption of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland Manual "insofar as it applies to us," the Reformation Presbyterian Church has from the time of its adoption committed itself to these formal vows by all those either then or in the future seeking ordination at her hands.
How are we to judge a group of men, calling itself a presbytery, who claim that they are constituted upon formal vows and manuals of practice, "insofar as it applies to us?" What if couples swore their marriage vows, "insofar as it applies to us"? Who knows what these men have sworn to uphold? With this clause anything could be included or excluded at the whim of the socalled presbytery. This leaves the pretended Presbytery's doctrine and practice open to extreme abuse and leaves the socalled constitution of the Reformation Presbyterian Church on a totally arbitrary footing.
I submit that by using this phrase, "insofar as it applies to us," the Reformation Presbyterian Church has adopted inherently unlawful ordination vows. Either the ordination vows stated in the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland Manual of Church Practice apply or they don't, but to leave them up in the air provides no certain rule or protection for their congregation. Truly this is a gross blunder on the part of the remaining two men that call themselves a presbytery. A vow (constitution?) based on subscription, doctrine and practice, "insofar as it applies to us," is no Biblical vow. There is a mental reservation built right into the ordination vows of all their officers, and this is inherently unlawful. This should not inspire confidence in those over whom these men pretend to rule.
An oath is to be taken in the plain and common sense of the words, without equivocation or mental reservation. It can not oblige to sin; but in any thing not sinful, being taken, it binds to performance, although to a man's own hurt: nor is it to be violated, although made to heretics or infidels (Westminster Confession of Faith, 22:4, emphases added).
2. The Reformation Presbyterian Church violates the binding obligations of the Solemn League and Covenant.
Finally, I would note that Mr. Bacon and the Reformation Presbyterian Church have chosen these inherently sinful vows over the intrinsically binding obligation of the National Covenant and the Solemn League and Covenant. Mr. Bacon's open antipathy to the Covenants has already been discussed in the previous section. Men who neglect what already binds them will be given over to a work of their own imagination. In the case of the Reformation Presbyterian Church they have rejected the Covenants and have taken contradictory and inherently unlawful vows, further aggravating their already serious crime of covenant breaking and perjury.
July, Session 21, 1648.
That they beware of all things which may ensnare their consciences, as evil council, evil company, false information, rash promises, and especially that they beware taking any Oaths, subscribing any Bonds, which may relate to the Covenant and cause of God unless such Oaths and Bonds be approved by the General Assembly or their Commissioners for the public affairs of the Kirk (The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, [16381649 inclusive], 1682, , SWRB reprint, 1997, p. 399).
December 20, Session 26, 1638.
Concerning the subscribing of the Confession of Faith lately subscribed by his Majesties Commissioner, and urged to be subscribed by others.
And in the mean time, lest any should fall under the danger of a contradictory oath, and bring the wrath of God upon themselves and the land, for the abuse of His name and Covenant; The Assembly by their ecclesiastical authority, prohibits and discharges, that no member of this Kirk swear or subscribe the said Confession so far wrested to a contrary meaning, under pain of all ecclesiastical censure (The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, [16381649 inclusive], p. 63, emphases added).
When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay (Ecclesiastes 5:45, AV).
Mr. Bacon's socalled constitution is a fiction and a nonentity. To recognize this independent group of men as a legitimate Presbytery would be both sinful and unscriptural. Upon investigation we have seen how seriously far off the mark they really are. Thankfully Mr. Robinson and Dr. Crick have taken the correct action and dissociated. All that is left is for Mr. Bacon and Mr. Seekamp to admit that the emperor has no clothes and this whole sordid mess can be dismissed to the scrap heap of historical anomalies in the Presbyterian church.
While Mr. Bacon's forgotten letter is fresh in the reader's mind, I wish to move on to note that Mr. Bacon requires some very surprising things of all the ordained men in his group. Let the reader keep in mind that Mr. Bacon and the Reformation Presbyterian Church have (at least in their own judgment) vowed to uphold the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland Manual of Practice. Any and all Probationers, Ministers, Elders, and Deacons at the time of their admission in the presence of the congregation must subscribe all of the vows listed in the above mentioned letter.
Perhaps Mr. Bacon will answer that he said (in his above cited letter):
While some may wish to argue that the particular deeds and declarations which created first the Free Church of Scotland and the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland do not apply directly to our situation (see queries #4 and 6), that would not negate the fact that the subscription act of July 22, 1995 does clearly and simpliciter apply to us.
I respond by saying, that according to the letter cited above Mr. Bacon has included queries #4 and #6 in his ordination requirements. He could have left them out, but chose not to. Furthermore, we note that the Reformation Presbyterian Church has purposely removed items #8, #9, #10 and #11 from the list of vows listed in the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland Manual, which would lead us to believe that they purposely included queries #4 and #6. Next, let the reader remember that Mr. Bacon has condemned us for requiring historical testimony as terms of communion and let the reader consider that Mr. Bacon is again doing precisely the same thing as he condemns. In requiring all officers of the RPC to answer queries #4 and #6 in the affirmative, he is saying that understanding and agreeing with this historical testimony is necessary if a man wants to preach or govern in the church. Does Mr. Bacon require the approbation of the traditions of men for ordination and government in the Reformation Presbyterian Church? Is this not in substance that for which he has condemned us? I am speaking as he did for the purpose of illustrating the obvious contradiction that Mr. Bacon faces. Again his own accusations are recoiling upon his own head.
Querie #4. ...Do you approve of the general principles embodied in the Claim, Declaration, and Protest, adopted by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1842, and in the Protest of ministers and elders, commissioners from Presbyteries to the General Assembly, read in presence of the Royal Commissioner on 18th May, 1843, as declaring the views which are sanctioned by the Word of God, and the standards of this church, with respect to the spirituality and freedom of the church of Christ, and her subjection to him as her only Head and to his Word as her only standard? (Ordination Vow of the Reformation Presbyterian Church cited from A Manual of Practice of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland based on the Practice of the Church of Scotland in her Several Courts, 4th edition as revised in 1886 p. 98, emphases added).
To be ordained, to preach or govern in the Reformation Presbyterian Church you must approve of the following judgments of history.
To be ordained in the RPC you must approve of the installation of William of Orange and Mary (both Erastian) as lawful King and Queen of Scotland. You must approve of the Revolution Settlement and consequently the constitutionality of the Revolution Church as set up by Parliament on the grounds of the common consent of the people (rather than upon the biblical grounds of divine right).
What follows is a short excerpt provided as an example of what is required by the Reformation Presbyterian Church in her ordination vows.
First, the said Confession itself, containing the doctrine and principle above set forth, was, "ratified and established, and voted and approven as the public and avowed Confession of this Church," by the fifth Act of the second session of the first parliament of King William and Queen Mary, entitled, "Act Ratifying the Confession of Faith, and Settling Presbyterian Church Government" (1690, c.5) (Claim, Declaration, and Protest cited from A Manual of Practice of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland based on the Practice of the Church of Scotland in her Several Courts, 4th edition as revised in 1886, p. 98, emphases added).
It is evident that all who seek ordination in this Presbytery must agree that the way Presbyterianism was settled in this act was lawful. They must approve of an Erastian King and Queen calling upon the popular sentiment of the majority to establish the Form of Government in the Church of Christ. It is easy to see that this is a direct repudiation of the divine right Presbyterianism set up in the Second Reformation.
To further illustrate the pernicious principles inculcated in the Reformation Presbyterian Church's ordination vows I direct your attention to their sixth ordination querie.
6. Do you approve of the Deed of separation of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland adopted by its first Presbytery at Portree on the 14th day of August, 1893?
A sample portion of the Deed of Separation reads as follows:
We the undersigned Ministers and Elders of the Free Church of Scotland considering that the constitution of the said church as settled in 1843 is contained in the Westminster Confession of Faith, as approved by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1647, the First and Second Books of Discipline, the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, the Claim, Declaration, and Protest of 1842, the Protest of 1843, the Act of Separation and Deed of Demission executed in the last mentioned year, the formula appointed to be subscribed by probationers before receiving license, and by all officebearers at the time of their admission, together with the Questions appointed to be put to the same parties at ordination and admission, and the Acts of the Assembly of the Church of Scotland prior to 1843... seeing that the present Church now calling herself the Free Church of Scotland has... repeatedly passed resolutions having for their object the separation of church and state... by sanctioning the use of uninspired hymns, has departed from the original standard of the Free Church of Scotland; and by the authorization of instrumental music in the public worship of God has altered the ancient and universal practice of the Church of Scotland... not only tolerates but supports office bearers who do not hold the whole doctrine of the Confession of Faith... have practically embraced Voluntaryism.... has ceased to represent the church of Scotland as settled in 1843.... we do hereby separate from the present subsisting church calling herself the Free Church of Scotland (Deed of Separation cited from A Manual of Practice of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland based on the Practice of the Church of Scotland in her Several Courts, 4th edition as revised in 1886, p. 116117, emphases added).
Here Mr. Bacon and the RPC vow to embrace the Revolution Church and all the Acts of General Assembly prior to 1843. This proves, unless this is one of the vows that do not apply to Mr. Bacon, that he has finally declared himself as approving of an Erastian government (at least as being lawful in a covenanted nation), and that all officers of the Reformation Presbyterian Church must approve of the Revolution settlement before their ordination.
The Revolution Settlement was founded in compromise and as we shall see, was composed of men not fit to constitute the true Church of Scotland. These were men who founded the church upon constitutional principles different than those of the previously established and covenanted Church of Scotland (16381649). In effect, the Revolution Church was a group of men, of whom, the vast majority were unqualified (by means of perjury) to be ministers of God, and who brought forth a schismatic body (a pretended Assembly) upon a backslidden version of the original constitution of the Church of Scotland. At the Revolution Settlement, the scriptural attainments of the Second Reformation were thrown aside. These men were ready to change the constitution of the Covenanted Church of Scotland to suit the fashion of their circumstances. They broke covenant with God by changing the Constitution and Form of Government from that of the faithful General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (1649), to that of "The Act for the Abolishing of the Acts Contrary to the True Religion" (1592). By the notorious action of the Parliament of 1690, the higher attainments of the Second Reformation were wilfully buried in the interests of political expediency.
Andrew Clarkson explains:
Now let it be considered, that this retrograde Settlement [1690 GB], or this Act of Parliament unto which this church fled back and founded on the late Revolution, was before the Church had been reformed from several abuses, viz., Before she had got the heavy yoke of the King's Erastian Supremacy and Patronages shaken of, and long before she had Ecclesiastically asserted, and practically maintained her scriptural Claim of Right, viz., the Divine Right of Presbytery, and intrinsic power of the church, the two prime branches of Christ's headship in and over his own House and before the National Covenant was explained as condemning Prelacy, together with the Five Articles of Perth, and the civil places and power of Kirkmen; and before the Solemn League and Covenant was made, and before the Westminster Confession of Faith, Catechisms Larger and Shorter, Directory for Public Worship, Form of Presbyterian Church Government, were made and established, as parts of the Covenanted Uniformity in Religion between the Churches of Christ in the three kingdoms of Scotland, England and Ireland; and exceeding far short of that blessed, attained, Covenanted Reformation so happily established in this church in 1649: I say, the accepting of, and going into this way of settling, thereby deserting and shamefully disregarding so many excellent and truly valuable pieces of Reformation, privileges and liberties sworn to, in our sacred and solemn Covenants, attained between 1637 and 1650, seems to be a plain yielding to them, who deny Presbyterian government to be of Divine Right though often clearly proven, and judicially asserted by the Church, and legally established in her purer and better times; yea, this amounts to such a Step of Defection and apostasy, as seems without parallel in sacred or profane history and withal too shrewdly discovers this Revolution Church to be upon another footing, and to be called by another name, than the successors of the true and genuine Reformed Covenanted Church of Christ in Scotland; namely Changelings, yea, Backsliders (Andrew Clarkson, Plain Reasons for Presbyterians Dissenting From the Revolution Church of Scotland, 1731, SWRB reprint, 1996, pp. 1415).
The friends of the Reformation must regret that this Parliament did not repeal those iniquitous Acts which condemned the National Covenant and Solemn League as in themselves unlawful oaths: which annulled all Acts and Constitutions, ecclesiastical and civil, approving of these covenants which stigmatized the General Assembly that met at Glasgow, 1638, as an unlawful and seditious assembly... and that instead of modifying the law of patronage, it did not restore the Act of 1649, by which this evil was utterly abolished ("Secession Testimony," 1831, cited in J.C. Johnston, Treasury of the Scottish Covenant, 1887, SWRB reprint, 1995, p. 151)
Not only did the Revolution Church principally change the constitution of the Second Reformation, most if not all of the constituent ministers who made up this pretended Assembly were guilty of complying with the corruptions and evils of those times. This body was composed of Resolutioners (the first compromisers, covenant breakers and overturners of the Second Reformation); Indulged ministers (those who would paid allegiance to bloodthirsty tyrants rather than defend the crown rights of Christ over His Church); those who gave their bond of security to the bloody council; and those who accepted the Duke of York's Popish toleration which promoted Antichrist's sects, heresies and errors. This Revolution Church was made up of men who would use all their force and pretended authority against any witnesses of Christ who would remind them of their sins and stand for the cause of Christ (especially the United Societies). These Revolution ministers kept silent about the burning of the Covenants (1661), the Abjuration Act (1662) which declared the National and Solemn League and Covenant to be unlawful oaths, and the Act Recissory (1661), which annihilated all the civil and religious liberties of the people of Scotland. The character of these men and their fitness for the ministry is well described in the following statements:
There was one thing in which it proved practically disastrous, but which at the time there seemed to be no way of evading. This was the receiving without very rigid test of the "curate" as they were called into the Presbyterian ministry. There were at that this period about 900 parishes in Scotland, and these were occupied by men who had conformed to Prelacy. Of the ejected ministers only about 90 survived. Even after room, therefore, had been made for them, there remained many charges which would have been left unoccupied if the former incumbents had not been employed. That they were ready to change their colours to suit the fashion of the hour did not say very much for their strength of principle; and that before that they had approved themselves to a government whose hands were red with the blood of martyrs was not a point in their history from which very favourable conclusions could be drawn a to their personal piety.... They were incorporated into the church accordingly; and we shall see how their presence came to complexion after its history. In point of fact they became the founders of the moderate party that party to whose spirit and policy may be ascribed a good many of the misfortunes of the church of Scotland ("Our Church Heritage," cited in J.C. Johnston,Treasury of the Scottish Covenant, 1887, SWRB reprint, 1995, pp. 151152, emphases added).
When the faithful witnesses (the United Societies) petitioned this pretended Assembly calling them to repent of these defections and calling these men to admit their compliance with the corruption and evils of the times, how did this Revolution Assembly respond?
Matthew Hutchison in his book entitled The Reformed Presbyterian Church in Scotland, summarizes their response as follows.
Its [the Revolution General Assembly GB] meaning was simply this: there is no hope of obtaining what you ask for from the Assembly, your only course is to follow the example of your ministers, fall quietly in with the church as now constituted, and make the best of it (The Reformed Presbyterian Church in Scotland, 1893, SWRB, 1997, p. 104).
The Assembly of the Revolution Church made no formal effort toward repentance and no protests to the King to undo the evils that were done since 1649. Indeed, these men are notable for nothing but cowardly compliance with the Erastian government. At the First Reformation (15601596) and at the Second Reformation (16381649), the church adopted its own Form of Government and the civil government afterward sanctioned it. Under the compromise and silence of these Revolution Church leaders, we find that the restoration of Presbytery was a state act altogether not adopted upon the biblical ground of the divine right of Presbyterian church government but instead grounded upon that which was agreeable to the inclinations of the people.
This is what Mr. Bacon and the Reformation Presbyterian Church would have their officers swear to uphold and embrace at the time of their ordination.
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them (Romans 16:17, AV).
I again ask whether the pretended presbytery of the Reformation Presbyterian Church is lawfully constituted? No, not lawfully! When she finally got around to adopting the Constitution of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, she adopted an unlawful constitution that approves of the Revolution Church and all the unlawful acts of her unfaithful and pretended Assemblies. Ultimately, the Reformation Presbyterian Church is swearing to uphold the testimony of the church that overthrew the Covenants and the original constitution of the Second Reformation. I unswervingly affirm that the officers of the Reformation Presbyterian Church are required to swear to a false constitution which is schismatic and destructive to the Church of Christ. If the Reformation Presbyterian Church truly approves of the Revolution Settlement (as they profess by their present ordination vows), then let the reader consider that Mr. Bacon stands atop a mountain of corporate backsliding. It is not hard to understand why anyone would be justified in staying separate or dissociating from him until he repents.
Then again Mr. Bacon may simply say that he vowed to hold to these ordination vows, "insofar as they applied to us," and that he doesn't approve of the Revolution Settlement. I have already discussed how it is impossible to pin down a man who places a mental reservation in his vows. Either way, Mr. Bacon has a real problem. He can choose between the Revolution Settlement and his mental reservation in his ordination vows. Whatever he chooses he needs to repent. I pray that he recognizes that either option is sinful.
This is a brief explanation of the events and circumstances that led to Mr. Bacon's frivolous and sinful charges. I have demonstrated that his charges are unwarranted and that the pretended presbytery of the Reformation Presbyterian Church is sadly confused about what constitutes a presbytery. This nonentity called the Reformation Presbyterian Church should be disbanded and remembered as a mistake of gross ignorance and foolish pride. Every original member of this group, except for the First Presbyterian Church of Rowlett Session, has admitted that no constitutional vows were taken and has since dissociated. Mr. Bacon needs to realize that the emperor has no clothes, and then perhaps he will repent of his slanderous charges against the PRCE. If the public presentation of his serious inconsistencies, covenant breaking and promoting unlawful ordination vows won't do it, then I am afraid that he may continually labour under his delusion. His charge that the PRCE has broken her vows is a sad testimony of a man either lacking integrity or too proud to admit his sin. I pray it's not both.
Go back to Table of Contents
Go to Appendix B
This book, The Covenanted Reformation Defended (318 pages), is also available from Still Waters Revival Books (email@example.com) as a cerlox bound photocopy (for $14.99 US funds) or as a Hardcover photocopy (for $25.00 US funds). Please add appropriate postage and handling. Thank you.
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The Westminster Confession of Faith
"The product of Puritan conflict," stated Shedd, reaching "a perfection of statement never elsewhere achieved.""All that learning the most profound and extensive, intellect the most acute and searching, and piety the most sincere and earnest, could accomplish, was thus concentrated in the Westminster Assembly_s Confession of Faith, which may be safely termed the most perfect statement of Systematic Theology ever framed by the Christian Church," writes Hetherington in The History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines (p. 345, emphasis added). "These are worth an hundred victories on the battle field. We do not fear to say of them that they are the finest transfusion into uninspired language of the sublime, awful, blessed truths of the Word of God which the Church has as yet been honored to make... Never can the Covenanters be robbed of the immortal honor of having, while at the summit of their power, published this great principle to the world" noted J.A. Wylie, in praise of the Westminster Standards (cited in Johnston_s Treasury of the Scottish Covenant, p. 101). Concerning the Shorter Catechism, which is one of the items also included in this book, Mitchell, in his Westminster Assembly: Its History and Standards, notes: "...it is a thoroughly Calvinistic and Puritan catechism, the ripest fruit of the Assembly's thought and experience, maturing and finally fixing the definitions of theological terms to which Puritanism for half a century had been leading up and gradually coming closer and closer to in its legion of catechisms" (p. 431). The WCF is the greatest of all the creeds of the Christian church. The church of Christ cannot be creedless and live. Especially in an age of doubt and confusion, it is her duty to define and proclaim the one true faith. Nowhere has the Reformed church done this so effectively as in the Westminster family of documents. This book represents Reformed thinking at its purest and best. It was intended, as part of the covenanted reformation taking place during its compilation, to be adopted as the binding confessional standard for every individual, family, court, church, and legislature in the British Isles. Study it carefully and we think that you will see why this same goal should be covenanted to by all serious minded followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the definitive edition of the WCF and its many related documents. It contains Manton's "Epistle to the Reader," the Larger Catechism, Shorter Catechism, "The Sum of Saving Knowledge," "The National Covenant (1638)," "The Solemn League and Covenant (1643)," "Acknowledgment of Publick Sins and Breaches of the Covenant (1648)," "The Directory for the Publick Worship of God (1645)," The Form of Presbyterial Church Government (1645)," "The Directory for Family Worship (1647)," an extensive index and more! "Every effort has been made, by sparing no expense or labour... to render it the Standard Edition," note the publishers. An essential book for every Christian home, church, and state! Next to the Bible itself, no other book can furnish you with as much necessary spiritual information. Related item: William Hetherington's History of the Westminster Assembly ($9.98/cerlox bound photocopy or $19.00/Hardcover photocopy).
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Protesters Vindicated: Or, A Just and Necessary Defence of
Protesting Against, and Withdrawing from This National Church of Scotland on
Account of Her Many Gross and Continued Defections (1716)
The title continues: "More particularly, her approving of, and going into the legal establishment of the Prelatic constitutions of England. The generality of ministers swearing, in the Oath of Abjuration, to maintain Erastianism, Prelacy, and English Popish Ceremonies. Non-Jurants joining with Jurants, judicially approving that practice to be free of scandal. The Church's establishing tyranny in government, against all who will not join in communion with her, and approve her practices without redress of grievances. Wherein these and several other causes of withdrawing are proven to be justly chargeable on the Church, demonstrated to be contrary to the Word of God and Reformed principles of this Church, and just grounds of withdrawing, and setting up judicatures distinct from her; and the objections of Jurants and others fully answered." This is a classic, detailed statement of the old covenanted principles and the biblical attainments of the second Reformation (like the Solemn League and Covenant, the Westminster standards, etc.). It is also an excellent defense against the modern malignants who counsel Christ's children to remain in the backsliding and covenant breaking denominations that abound in our day. Very Rare! 270 pages.
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(Hardcover photocopy) $24.00 (US funds)
Records of the Kirk of Scotland, Containing the Acts and
Proceedings of the Generals Assemblies, From the Year 1638 Downwards, As
Authenticated by the Clerks of Assembly; With Notes and Historical
Illustrations, by Alexander Peterkin (1838 edition)
"The object of the present work is to present to the public, in a form that may be generally accessible, the history of one of the most interesting periods in the annals of our National Church, by the republication of the Acts and Proceedings, at and subsequent to the era of her second Reformation; and, combined therewith, such historical documents and sketches as are calculated to preserve the memory of an important, and, ultimately beneficial revolution," notes Peterkin in his introduction. This is one the most valuable publications we offer related to second Reformation history and the many important questions that were debated (and oftentimes settled) during this watershed period -- before, during and after the sitting of the Westminster Assembly. It also contains some indispensable information on the Protester/Resolutioner controversy (which reveals many valuable lessons for Reformed Christians today), including excerpts from some lost books and papers written by the Protesting Covenanters. The excerpts from James Guthrie's The Waters of Sihor, or the Lands Defectione, in which Guthrie enumerates the errors of the Resolutioners, as well as the marks of malignancy, is one prime example. Other rare Protester documents (inveighing against the "pretended Assemblies" of the Resolutioners), signed by the likes of Samuel Rutherford and Robert Traill are also included. Very rare and very valuable -- a gold mine for the serious student of the second Reformation! 684 pages.
(Bound photocopy) $99.95-75%=24.99
(Hardcover photocopy) $34.00 (US funds)
Act, Declaration, And Testimony, For The Whole Of The
Covenanted Reformation, As Attained To, And Established In, Britain and
Ireland; Particularly Betwixt The Years 1638 and 1649, Inclusive. As, Also,
Against All The Steps Of Defection From Said Reformation, Whether In Former Or
Later Times, Since The Overthrow Of That Glorious Work, Down To This Present
Upholds the original work of the Westminster Assembly and testifies to the abiding worth and truth formulated in the Westminster family of documents. Upholds and defends the crown rights of King Jesus in church and state, denouncing those who would remove the crown from Christ's head by denying His right to rule (by His law) in both the civil and ecclesiastical spheres. Testifies to the received doctrine, government, worship, and discipline of the Church of Scotland in her purest (reforming) periods. Applies God's Word to the Church's corporate attainments "with a judicial approbation of the earnest contendings and attainments of the faithful, and a strong and pointed judicial condemnation of error and the promoters thereof" (The Original Covenanter and Contending Witness, Dec. 17/93, p. 558). Shows the church's great historical victories (such as the National and Solemn League and Covenant, leading to the Westminster Assembly) and exposes her enemies actions (e.g. the Prelacy of Laud; the Independency, sectarianism, covenant breaking and ungodly toleration set forth by the likes of Cromwell [and the Independents that conspired with him]; the Erastianism and civil sectarianism of William of Orange, etc.). It is not likely that you will find a more consistent working out of the principles of Calvinism anywhere -- and fittingly this work has been called "the most profoundly reasoned document ever issued by the (R.P.) Church." It deals with the most important matters relating to the individual, the family, the church and the state. Sets forth a faithful historical testimony of God's dealings with men during some of the most important days of church history. A basic text that should be mastered by all Christians.
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Auchensaugh Renovation of the National Covenant and Solemn
League and Covenant; with the Acknowledgement of Sins and Engagement to Duties
as they were Renewed at Auchensaugh in 1712... Also the Renovation of These
Public Federal Deeds Ordained at Philadelphia, Oct. 8, 1880, By the Reformed
Presbytery, With Accommodation of the Original Covenants, in Both Transactions,
to their Times and Positions Respectively (1880 ed.)
"In 1712, at Auchensaugh, the Covenants, National and Solemn League, were renewed... At the renewal the covenant bonds were recognized as binding the descendants of those who first entered into those bonds. The Covenanters, however, sought to display the true intent of those Covenants with marginal notes. These notes explained that the Church of Jesus Christ, in Scotland (and around the world), must not join hands with any political power in rebellion to the crown rights of King Jesus. The Covenanters pledged the Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church to the support of lawful magistracy (i.e. magistracy which conformed itself to the precepts of God's Word) and declared themselves and their posterity against support of any power, in Church or State, which lacked biblical authority." (From "About the Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church" newsletter). An excellent introduction (historical and moral) regarding the reasons, motives and manner of fulfilling the duty of covenanting with God. Especially helpful concerning the Biblical view of the blessings (for covenant-keepers) and cursings (for covenant breakers) related to covenanting. As noted on page 37, "the godly usually in times of great defection from the purity and power of religion, and corruption of the ordinances of God's worship, set about renewing their covenant, thereby to prevent covenant curses, and procure covenant blessing; as we find both in scripture record, 2 Chron. 15:12-13; 29:10; 34:30-31; Ezra 10:3, and in our own ecclesiastical history." Times like ours certainly call for a revival of the Scriptural ordinance of covenanting, for "[t]he nations throughout Christendom, continue in league with Antichrist and give their strength to the beast. They still refuse to profess and defend the true religion in doctrine, worship, government and discipline, contrary to the example of the kingdoms of Scotland, England and Ireland in the seventeenth century" (p. 136 in this book).
(Rare bound photocopy) $19.95-70%=5.99
(Hardcover photocopy) $19.00 (US funds)
Various Official Acts, Declarations, Protestations, etc.,
Concerning the Covenanted Reformation
Contains 24 rare documents from the period 1638-1650. One document, "The Act of Covenant Renovation" (1880) by the Reformed Presbytery (which was a faithful renewal of the National Covenant and the Solemn League and Covenant [adapted to the present time], with a confession of public sins), is added from outside this period to illustrate the continuing obligations that rest upon the moral person (civilly and ecclesiastically). Among the seventeenth century documents we find much (from both the church and the state) that relates to the central place that covenanting played in the second Reformation. We also find various authoritative international testimonies against Popery, Prelacy and Schism (i.e. Independency, Cromwell, etc.), and for biblical covenanted uniformity, divine right Presbyterian church government, and apostolic worship. Military documents related to the second Reformation are also added. One proclamation by Charles I is even included, to illustrate Royalist opposition to Reformation. 686 pages.
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The Book of the Universal Kirk of Scotland
Contains the earliest official records (acts and proceedings) of the Established Reformed Church in Scotland, covering the period from 1560 to 1616. Peterkin calls them "the only sure and satisfactory memorials of the course of Ecclesiastical affairs in the times immediately succeeding the Reformation." Lee, Clerk of the General Assembly in 1828 writes (regarding the originals), "there is no difficulty in proving that the volumes in question were laid on the table of the General Assembly which met at Glasgow in 1638; and that they were pronounced by that Assembly to be true and authentic Registers of the Kirk of Scotland." Concerning this copy of "The Booke" ("for the first time fully printed from the copies in the Advocates' Library"), Lee further states that these records exhibit, "the real character of the internal government of this national church. They display the operation of the principles by which the first Reformers and their immediate successors were actuated. They demonstrate that these men were not more distinguished by zeal for the truth, than by loyalty to the head of the government, attachment to true principles, (I do not say of toleration--for that was a term which they certainly did not employ or approve)--of religious liberty and civil subordination. They bear testimony to the strictness and impartiality of ancient discipline. They vindicate the character of those illustrious men whose names have been unjustly aspersed, but who, both by their doctrine and lives,--by their unwearied exertions and their patient sufferings,--left an example, not indeed or faultless excellence, but assuredly of the most noble, magnanimous, and fearless adherence to the standards of our constitution. These Registers also contain much that is capable of correcting erroneous representations of historical facts with regard to the internal state of the kingdom-- institutions, habits, and customs, as well as the morals of the people, and the spirit which was most prevalent at particular periods in various districts of the land... they prove, that from the very first moment, it was the determined object of the leaders of the Reformation, to establish such a Presbyterian Government, as was at last, with the utmost difficulty completed... they deserve to be preserved with care, as the most venerable remnants of a distant age--as the earliest annuls of our infant church... of confessors and martyrs, who counted not their lives dear to them; and who when they thought it necessary, never shrunk from sealing their testimony with their blood... (they) present the seal and superscription of glory to God, and good will to man--peace to the church, and happiness to the state" (pp. xi-xii). John Knox, the first name listed in the first record of the first General Assembly (in 1560), of course, plays a prominent role in much of what is recorded here. 631 pages.
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Saul in the Cave of Adullam: A Testimony Against the Fashionable Sub-Calvinism of Doug Wilson (Editor of Credenda/Agenda Magazine); and, for Classical Protestantism and the Attainments of the Second Reformation by Reg Barrow
Doug Wilson and others at Credenda/Agenda used their magazine to publicly attack and slander Reg Barrow (President of Still Waters Revival Books) in a column that they call the "Cave of Adullam." This invective was Credenda's response to Barrow's comments on Knox Ring (where Barrow noted that John Calvin would have excommunicated John Frame for the apostasy that he manifests in his new book on worship). Numerous private attempts were unsuccessfully made (by Barrow and others) to call Wilson to repentance for this slander. Ultimately, charges for violation of the ninth commandment were brought (in accord with Matt. 18:15-17) against Wilson by Barrow. This book recounts the salient points of the controversy (and the Matthew 18 proceedings) between Wilson and Barrow -- in their actual email debates! Also included is Barrow's demonstration of why Calvin would have excommunicated Frame and Greg Price's Testimony Against The Unfounded Charges of Anabaptism. These debates are a classic example of the differences that exist today between paleopresbyterians (Barrow) and neopresbyterians (Wilson). Wilson's charges against Barrow, of Anabaptism, separatism, etc. are all refuted under a mountain of quotations from Reformation source documents. Barrow's refutations of Wilson's spurious charges bring to light many aspects of Reformation thought that have been lost or forgotten in our day. Besides the initial controversy (over Frame and worship) and the restoration process (set forth in Matthew 18:15-17), this book should be of special interest to all of those who love the "old paths" of truth -- trod by our forefathers in the Reformed faith -- for some of the most pressing issues of our day (regarding the individual, church and state) are addressed herein. Classic statements, cited by Barrow, not only exhibit the wisdom which God granted the best Reformers of both the first and second Reformations, but also specifically demonstrate how Wilson and many other modern Protestants actually reject the Reformation at many points (all their protests not withstanding). "And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in" (Isa. 58:12). This item is also available as a bound photocopy for $7.98 (US funds) or a Hardcover photocopy for $19.00 (US funds).
Why the PCA is Not a Duly Constituted Church and Why Faithful Christians Should Separate from this Corrupted "Communion" by Larry Birger
Two letters from Larry Birger, Jr. to the session of his former congregation in the PCA, with an historical introduction. Birger states, "This work is emitted by way of testimony against the defections from the reformation of the true religion granted by God in ages past, in hopes of playing some small part in the edification of God's people currently languishing under such defected and defecting denominations." It spotlights the differences between classic Presbyterian thought [paleopresbyterianism] and what today is but a pale imitation [neopresbyterianism] of the Reformation attainments that have been won [at the cost of much suffering and many lives] in the past. This is a good practical introduction to ecclesiology, testimony-bearing, and second Reformation thought.
Brief Defence of Dissociation in the Present Circumstances (1996)
This work explains why Christians should separate themselves from those churches which deny biblical truth and its implications. It defends this position using many Reformation source documents. Samuel Rutherford has been especially misunderstood concerning separation. Examples of misleading and seriously flawed presentations of Rutherford's position on the church and separation have been seen in Walker's The Theology and Theologians of Scotland 1560-1750, Bacon's The Visible Church and Outer Darkness and a host of other works -- all of which overlook foundational second Reformation truths set forth by Rutherford and his fellow Covenanters. This book clearly demonstrates, from Rutherford's own actions and teaching (during the Protester/Resolutioner controversy in the Scottish church), how far off many previous works on this subject have been. It is the best short introduction to questions regarding the visible church and separation which we list.
(Bound photocopy) $9.95-60%=3.98
Reformed View of Schism"
The Reformers often said "that to avoid schism we must separate." This should give the perceptive reader some indication of how badly misunderstood the biblical teaching regarding schism and separation (which should be differentiated in many ways) has become in our day. Sadly, some of the most anti-Reformed work on this subject has been written by contemporary individuals, who, though calling themselves Reformed, "understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm" (1 Tim. 1:7). This excerpt from Clarkson's Plain Reasons for Presbyterians Dissenting should contribute much to correcting the problem of unbiblical ecumenism and place this doctrine (of biblical unity in the visible church) back on its Scriptural foundation -- which was recovered during the Reformation. Clarkson cites Beza, Rutherford, Gillespie, Dickson, Durham, McWard (Rutherford's "disciple"), Marshal, Watson, Owen, Burroughs, and many others, while defending the truth about schism. Objections brought against the Reformation view of schism are also carefully answered. This is probably the single best medium length treatment of this subject.)
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