Joe Bell (an independent Baptist and professing Reconstructionist) kicked me (Reg Barrow) off his email discussion group because the subjects of Presbyterianism and the Covenanted Reformation were too hot for him to handle. This is my final answer to Bell (which was censored from Bell's own list -- though he sent the letter I am answering here to the Knox Ring email discussion group). I wonder why he would not discuss this matter on his own list, but rather went after me on another list? Furthermore, no one, including Bell, has yet to even attempt an answer to my reply (which is fully contained in the book making up the pages which follow) -- though this piece has been widely distributed privately. Bell has also refused permission to include the exact words of his letter in the text of my replies (though I answered every word of Bell's previous letter including all his text in my reply). Thus, for the sake of continuity and to enhance the reader's understanding of the issues in question, I have been forced to supply summaries of Bell's questions and statements. These summaries appear under his name in this text. He did not write these summaries, I did. When phrases appear in quotations in these supplied sections (under Bell's name) they are taken directly from Bell's statements. I would have been happy to again include every word of his previous letter here, as I did in my original email text, but Bell would not agree to stand by what he had written. "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19).
I was just informed by Paul Nanson that I have been removed from the CS list. As Joe Bell had been censoring my replies to that list for some time it is no surprise to me that he would eventually want to totally silence me from reaching that forum (and this is consistent with the position that his predecessors took in trying to silence the truth by silencing the Apostles in Acts 4:18 and Acts 5:40). In any case, I was going to request the same with this post, so this is in and of itself of little consequence. I have seen enough of what takes place on the list that Bell runs (and I am speaking primarily about his mismanagement of the CS list, his censorship of the truth [which is more restrictive regarding what SWRB puts out than -- to name just one example -- the communist government of China], and his public use of *anonymous* attack letters) to know that I have no desire to continue on it.
What is interesting though is how quickly Independents and schismatics like Bell exhibit in practice what they often try to deny in theory regarding the erroneous nature of their doctrine of "pretended liberty of conscience" (as Samuel Rutherford terms it). As always, when the truth of *Jure Divino Presbyterianism* is set forth (in just about any area), the response (among covenant breakers) usually ends up including some form of disenfranchisement, or when it is in the power of the persecutors, (such as Cromwell's execution of the Covenanted English Presbyterian minister Christopher Love), even death (I guess I received the email death at CS -- the pattern continues). I rejoice in the testimony that I have been given by God to uphold (with the Covenanters of old) and I even rejoice in the attacks that this testimony has brought upon me (which have even included death threats). For the Scripture gives me comfort: "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake" (Matt. 5:11).
I will only say that Bell's final act of censorship against me (because others are sure to follow) is eloquent testimony against his inability to deal with the arguments. He admits (by his acts of censorship) that his own arguments are so weak that they cannot stand scrutiny in the open arena. Now I do not adhere to the "pretended liberty of conscience" delusion, but it is always useful to show others, on their own terms, how inconsistent such unbiblical positions turn out to be in the real world (cf. Rutherford's _Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience_ and Gillespie's _Wholesome Severity Reconciled with Christian Liberty_).
BUT NOW TO THE BODY OF MY REPLY:
Bell titled his response to me "Reg Barrow's arbitrary covenant." He was referring to the Solemn League and Covenant.
Last time I looked this "arbitrary" covenant of "mine" had been subscribed by at least three nations, their national churches, the Westminster Divines, the best Reformed theologians since, and a host of others right up to our present day. Hardly what could be *reasonably* be termed "Reg Barrow's arbitrary covenant."
Wagner has done a splendid job in showing the importance of the Solemn League and Covenant for modern Christians in his short, easy-reading, introductory booklet _Paleopresbyterianism Versus Neopresbyterianism_ . See:
I have begun to show how the teaching of the Solemn League and Covenant would be most beneficial to modern Christians by explaining its importance in the context of the history surrounding the Westminster Assembly and Oliver Cromwell. I call Cromwell the Judas of the Covenant and demonstrate how he ultimately opposed himself (and the word of God) in his day by breaking the Solemn League and Covenant -- which he had previously sworn to uphold. See:
The stand for the second Reformation, recently taken by the session of the church I attend in Edmonton, also relates the Solemn League and Covenant to modern ecclesiastical issues. See _A Brief Defence of Dissociation in The Present Circumstances_ (1996) by the Session of the Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton/Prince George
To his credit, when writing to the Knox Ring, Bell listed the URL where a free copy of the article he was attempting to refute is available. It is titled _Permanence of Covenant Obligation_ and it is located at: http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/PermCovObl.htm, if you would like to read it for yourself. However, Bell mistakenly thought that I had written the piece, when in reality it was clearly marked as having been written by another (under the pseudonym Omicron) in 1856. This article was also reprinted in the October 22, 1993 edition of the _Original Covenanter and Contending Witness_ magazine.
Joe, try to get your facts straight, even the basic ones -- this article was not written by me as is stated on SWRB's web page, on the post (one of many refuting your folly) you censored from the CS list, and at the end of the article itself. If you can't even read the author's name, that certainly makes me wonder about what is forthcoming.
Bell writes that what he thought was my article (he was referring to the Omicron piece on covenant obligation noted above) was "so full of embarrassing errors" that he, in an attempt to save me the embarrassment, "did not let it go on the Christian Statesman list."
Joe, lay off the goofiness, you could care less about me (as if you were so high-minded as to be trying to protect me from embarrassment -- what a joke). Your constant barrage of email slanders, censorship of my refutations of your positions at CS, and even your stooping to have someone publicly slander me over the list you control (under the cover of anonymity which you suggested) have proved time and time again that you will use the most dishonest and antichristian methods to discredit the covenanted reformation in our day. At least be honest enough to own up to this fact.
Furthermore, concerning your having Colin Tayler publicly slander me without putting his name to his scurrilous piece of writing, I think you should ask Andrew Sandlin what R.J. Rushdoony thinks of such cowardly tactics. Even Judas betrayed Christ with a kiss -- and to his face.
Bell tried to give the impression that he "initially" wanted to avoid "any discussion" with me; though no one that I know forced him to engage in debate with me (weeks earlier) when he began writing against my posts on his list.
Ya right, you attack me numerous times (on your CS list) and then censor my answers.
Bell stated that I am illogical, that I ignore facts, and quote "dead guys... in huge quantity" out of context.
I guess we should take your word for this, as you produce no evidence regarding your specific charge (more unsubstantiated slander?).
Bell complained that I post my comments on "every available Reformed discussion group."
BTW, there are at least five Reformed groups that I know of that I do not post to at all. I usually only post to one and sometimes two of the 8 groups available. When Theonomy-L is back on line I will also post there when I have relevant information.
Bell stated that his was a "quick and simple response to Reg's article" (he was still calling it my article, though it was not). He also noted that this article is not worth the long discussion which he says I would like to make out of it (I guess he can read my mind); especially not on the list he controls.
Simple (or maybe better simplistic) I can agree with -- but your mind reading about my intent is way off (again). I am much toooooooooooooooooooo busy to be entering long discussions with individuals on a *regular* basis. Furthermore, that would not be a wise use of my time -- I can reach hundreds of thousands through SWRB and the books I publish, why would I desire a long discussion with you? I would much rather worship God with my family and spend time talking with my wife and children.
Bell heads the following section "Was the Reformation Permissible?" He then misrepresents my position as stating that there is no possibility of future Reform under such views; contending that my "view of eternal covents (sic)" requires as much.
More mind reading Joe? Where do you get this stuff? Besides the obvious fallacy of bifurcation, I have never said that progress in doctrine is not possible or that covenants other than the Solemn League and Covenant (SL&C) are forbidden. What I have said is that the SL&C and the Westminster standards are not contrary to the word of God at any point. Think about it for just a moment; if I am wrong here regarding the SL&C (and it was in error at any point) then every one who has ever taken this covenant has perjured themselves -- for you cannot bind yourself by oath to violate the moral law of GOD without violating (at least) the first, second, third and ninth commandments. Furthermore, the Westminster divines clearly understood this as we can see by their Confession of Faith, in chapter 22: 7,2,3,4; "Of Lawful Oaths and Vows":
VII. 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.
II. The name of God only is that by which men ought to swear, and therein it is to be used with all holy fear and reverence; therefore to swear vainly or rashly by that glorious and dreadful name, or to swear at all by any other thing, is sinful, and to be abhorred. Yet, as, in matters of weight and moment, an oath is warranted by the Word of God, under the New Testament, as well as under the Old, so a lawful oath, being imposed by lawful authority, in such matters ought to be taken.
III. Whosoever taketh an oath ought duly to consider the weightiness of so solemn an act, and therein to avouch nothing but what he is fully persuaded is the truth. Neither may any man bind himself by oath to any thing but what is good and just, and what he believeth so to be, and what he is able and resolved to perform. Yet it is a sin to refuse an oath touching any thing that is good and just, being imposed by lawful authority.
IV. 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.
Moreover, I have also said that lawful covenants like the SL&C remain binding on the moral person (whether civil or ecclesiastical) until the ends contemplated in the covenants are fulfilled or the moral person ceases. This is just classic Reformed theology. One of the most useful books setting forth this teaching, as it has been handed down to us from the OT saints, the Apostles, the church fathers, the Reformers, some of the early British American colonists (cf. _Renewal of the Covenants, National and Solemn League... as They Were Carried on at Middle Octorara in Pennsylvania, November 11, 1743_ by Alexander Craighead), etc. is titled _The Duty and Perpetual Obligation of Social Covenanting_. It has been compiled by the session of the Puritan Reformed church of Edmonton and includes the following works:
1. Samuel Rutherford, _Due Right of
Presbyteries_ , pp. 130-139
2. George Gillespie, _The Works of George Gillespie_, Vol. 2, pp. 71-88.
3. John Brown of Wamphray, _An Apologetic Relation..._ , pp. 167-175, 181-207.
4. David Scott, _Distinctive Principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church_, pp. 14-90.
5. William Roberts, _The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism_ , pp. 134- 152.
6. The Reformed Presbytery, _An Explanation and Defence of the Terms of Communion_ , pp. 181-187.
7. The Reformed Presbytery, _Act , Declaration and Testimony for the Whole of Our Covenanted Reformation_ , pp. 11-23.
8. The Reformed Presbytery, _The Auchensaugh Renovation of the National Covenant and SL&C_ , pp. 115-140.
9. The Church of Scotland (1639), _The National Covenant of Scotland_ , pp. 345-354 in the Westminster Confession of Faith published by Free Presbyterian Publications.
10. The Westminster Assembly (1644), _The Solemn League and Covenant_ , pp. 355-360 in the Westminster Confession of Faith published by Free Presbyterian Publications.
11. The Church of Scotland (1648), _A Solemn Acknowledgement of Publick Sins and Breaches of the Covenant_ , pp. 361-368 in the Westminster Confession of Faith published by Free Presbyterian Publications.
Rutherford's _Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience_ (1649) also helps to nail down this doctrine in chapter 21 "...how covenants bind us" and chapter 22 "The Pretended Liberty of Conscience is against the National League and Covenant...for the Reformation of Religion." His _Testimony to the Covenanted Work of Reformation in Britain and Ireland, From 1638 to 1649_ also adds some much needed specific application.
By the way, my view of lawful social covenants would be better termed as including *perpetual obligation* -- again, until the ends contemplated in the covenants are fulfilled or the moral person ceases -- and has never been, to my knowledge, denominated "eternal" as you mistakenly suppose above.
"They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a *perpetual* covenant that shall not be forgotten" (Jer. 50:5, emphasis added).
Bell calls this section "Conflicting Covenants." He says that if historical covenants bind us today, this "could lead to some great contradictions."
Yes, I agree they could, when the covenants are either unlawful (and thus by contradicting the Word of God they contradict themselves) and should have never been sworn in the first place; or, when lawful, they are not applied according to the *moral equity* found in them (this is also the point, in principle, at which Knox [cf. _Reformation, Revolution, and Romanism_], Rutherford [cf. _Free Disputation_] and Gillespie [cf. _Wholesome Severity Reconciled with Christian Liberty_] also offer much needed fine tuning to modern theonomists). _The Auchensaugh Renovation of the National Covenant and SL&C_ (1712, 1880) emitted by the Reformed Presbytery explains all this on pages 14-15 and fully answers the false dilemma that you pose both above and below.
Do you really think that men like the Westminster divines didn't think of these infantile questions when formulating their doctrine of covenanting? You have obviously read little of the original source material.
Same question in different words.
Bell asserts that the Pharisees used many of the same arguments I use, "to assure themselves that Jesus was wrong for disagreeing with them."
So you say, but again you offer no specific proof -- which "many arguments" are you referring to? Without something specific you give me nothing to refute and your charge fails to carry weight.
Bell questions why a present generation cannot adopt a revised covenant. He also asks why, if a present generation cannot adopt a revised covenant, the original covenanters were allowed to do so.
Now you are dealing with the question of judicially binding nature of historic testimony. It is a valid question and intricate answers have been developed by contending parties. Also, we have no problem with the use of "new" covenants as long as the intent and meaning of previous covenants agreeable to God's Word are not implicitly or explicitly rescinded in any way.
A fascinating debate on this topic (judicially binding historic testimony) is contained in the appendix to the forthcoming book _Notes on the Apocalypse_ by David Steele. Steel takes on James M. Willson and shows how not only covenants, but confessions also, lose all their meaning and authority when you lose the concept of historical testimony. Without a knowledge of original intent confessions (and covenants) become so elastic as to become virtually useless. The following quote, illustrates the point,
To this it is answered, -- by no means -- every way the contrary, in accordance with the alone infallible rule; for "Christ's scholars never learn above their Bible." This presbytery believes firmly, that the testimony of Christ's witnesses is necessarily progressive, and that is will assuredly advance in the face of all opposition till it be "finished." Rev. xi,7. There is no such anomalous document recognized among the faithful witnesses as a "Standing Testimony." All such measures of compromise they must repudiate. The church of God is one, Song vi.9; Eph. iv, 4-6; the only true historical society on earth; Ps.lxxxix,29; cv,10; Rom. iv.13; the only indestructible and immortal corporation. Is. liv,17; Matt. xvi, 18. Her earnest contendings against the devil, the world, and the flesh, are to be put on record, but not to be confounded with confession of her faith, though both be inseparable. Thus it is that when the spouse is in perplexity, as to present duty, her glorious Husband directs, to "go her way forth by the footsteps of the flock;" Song i,8; to "take for an example of suffering affliction and of patience, the prophets who have spoken in the name of the Lord." Jas. v,10. Christ himself hath left us an example that we should "follow his steps," as well as receive his doctrines. In total disregard of such plain and reiterated declarations of the Holy Spirit, all the so-called judicial testimonies, which have been emitted since the overthrow of the Second Reformation, have excluded *history and argument* (emphasis added--RB) -- the very essence of a testimony, save that faithful and Scriptural one adopted in 1761, re-published in 1850, with a progressive supplement (this refers to the _Act, Declaration, and Testimony_--RB). Thus different parties claiming to be the followers of Christ's witnesses, have palmed upon a credulous world a confession, instead of a testimony. The Reformed Presbytery would earnestly desire to disabuse the Christian mind of this gross deception and great imposition, by which many sincere and devout disciples are befogged and distracted.
1. The Bible, both Old and New Testament, is largely historical -- the books of Genesis and Matthew beginning with narrative, the wonderful works of God. It is thus adapted to the rational nature of man, and equally to the spiritual nature of the new man.
2. The church cannot ascertain the fulfillment of prophecy -- the cumulating external evidence of her divine original: nor can Christ's witnesses otherwise than by history identify her confederated enemies- the man of sin and son of perdition, his paramour -- the well favored harlot, and her harlot daughters -- the offspring of her fornication with the kings of the earth.
3. The present cannot in faith confess the sins, or express thanks to God for the mercies, of a former generation, except on the credibility of human history.
*4. Nor otherwise can a Christian know the time or place of his birth, or the persons whom God commands him to honor as his father and mother, than by uninspired testimony; and the same is true of his covenant obligation, if baptized in infancy. Against all who ignorantly or recklessly reject or oppose history as a bond of fellowship, in the family, in the state, but especially in the church, we thus enter our solemn and uncompromising protest.* (emphasis added--RB)
Excerpted from: _The Act, Declaration and Testimony for the Whole of Our Covenanted Reformation..._ by the Reformed Presbytery, pp. 177-178 (a SWRB rare bound photocopy , reprinted 1995 from the 1876 edition). Notice the word *testimony* in the title.
This is really a very simple concept, for at the most basic level your cannot even obey the fifth command without the aid of uninspired historic testimony. How would you obey your parents if you did not know who they were? How will you obey God's ministers (civil and ecclesiastical) if you do not know who, at a constitutional level, they are?
Our fifth term of communion also addresses this issue:
"5. An approbation of the faithful contendings of the martyrs of Jesus, especially in Scotland, against Paganism, Popery, Prelacy, Malignancy and Sectarianism; immoral civil governments; Erastian tolerations and persecutions which flow from them; and of the Judicial Testimony emitted by the Reformed Presbytery in North Britain, 1761 with supplements from the Reformed Presbyterian Church; as containing a noble example to be followed, in contending for all divine truth, and in testifying against all corruptions embodied in the constitutions of either churches or states."
It is also interesting to note, as a friend from Europe recently told me, that some of the more consistently antichrist Romanist churches overseas still require the *repudiation* of the "faithful contendings of the martyrs of Jesus" during the Reformation, as a term of communion.
The Six Points of the "Terms of Ministerial and Christian Communion in the Reformed Presbyterian Church by the Reformed Presbytery are at:
"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3).
Bell correctly states that if the Solemn League and Covenant is Biblical then I would have to defend every point of it. He also correctly notes that if any point was unbiblical it would require correction.
Yes, I defend the SL&C as a covenant which is not contrary to Scripture at any point. Furthermore, I agreed that any covenant which is not biblical *requires* that it be brought into conformity to the word of God -- or it is unlawful -- and should be repudiated. This is the same thing that I maintain, at a constitutional level regarding both civil and ecclesiastical polity. This is clearly illustrated, concerning the visible church, in Calvin's _Institutes_ (cf. 4.2.8 to 4.2.12). Here Calvin recognizes the *visible* church *at* Rome (in those who profess the truth and their children), then promptly calls for separation from the church *of* Rome, which he says is no visible church because it lacks the constitutionally "lawful form of the church."
Dodson has done an excellent job of applying these principles to our modern situation in his _An Open Letter to an RPCNA Elder_ at:
and his _Dodson Versus the RPCNA_ at:
Bell questioned what happens when "intermediate" generations adopt different covenants; then asserted that this would somehow (he doesn't explain how) nullify a covenant such as the Solemn League and Covenant.
That does not follow. The second covenant (if also lawful) would merely become an additional bond upon those who are under it. Do you think covenanting in the church would somehow annul the marriage covenant of an individual? Or would it just add an additional bond? The same applies to social covenanting. For example, Scotland as a nation is still under both the National and SL&C -- both these covenants being biblical and entered into by lawful magistrates in accord with the word of God. Scotland still exists, God has and always will exist, therefore both covenants remain a binding obligation upon the "moral person" of the nation of Scotland.
Maybe now you can understand why the national reformations that took place in the OT always included the recognition and national confession of the sins of the fathers -- for those sins brought God's wrath upon the *nation* (2 Chr. 34:21, 2 Chr. 29:6-7, 2 Chron. 30:7-9, Ezra 9:6-10:2, Neh. 9:2-37). Previous attainments and obligations continue to bind the national moral person (for more on the "moral person" of nations and churches see Scott's _Distinctive Principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church_, pp. 61,70,195f.,285f. and Robert's _The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism_, p. 150).
Moreover, these teachings formed the biblical basis as to why the Reformers (especially during the second Reformation) where always eager to seek out the *causes of God's wrath,* and repent of these, whether individual, ecclesiastical or national. The best Reformers did not try to gather together all manner of infidels, idolaters, sectarians, etc. and form some kind of general, moralistic, conservative crusade to uplift the nation -- never! (Cf. Gillespie's "Another Most Useful Case of Conscience Discussed and Resolved, Concerning Associations and Confederacies With Idolaters, Infidels, Heretics, or Any Other Know Enemies of Truth and Godliness" in his "Treatise of Miscellany Questions", _Works_, volume two). They aimed at purifying and unifying the church, state and family on the basis of a *covenanted* uniformity -- always seeking to be faithful to Christ's Crown and Covenant and shunning all suggestions of humanly based solutions to the problems of the day! They looked first to God's mercy and grace (after recognition and confession of sin of course) in their individual lives; and they weren't about to start to build on a resurrected covenant of works, after having faithfully begun building on the covenant of grace, in the civil or ecclesiastical realms either -- when dealing with the reformation of church and state. This is why the Reformations under Asa, Hezekiah, Josiah, Ezra and Nehemiah all involved the biblical aspects listed below. They sought to:
1. Nationally eradicate idolatry and false religion (with iconoclastic zeal) (cf. 2 Chron. 34:3-7; 2 Chron. 7:1; 2 Chron. 15:8; 2 Chron. 15:16, etc.).
2. Nationally promote the true worship, discipline, and doctrine of the church of Christ (2 Chron. 29:11-30:6; 2 Chron. 30:12-27; Ezra 10:10vv.; Neh. 10:31-32, etc.).
3. Nationally establish the one true religion and church (cf. 2 Chron. 34:8- 17; 2 Chron. 29:3-5; 2 Chron. 7:2-3; 2 Chron. 7:20-21; 2 Chron. 32:12, etc.).
4. Nationally confess their own sins and the sins of their fathers (2 Chron. 34:21; 2 Chron. 29:6-7; 2 Chron. 30:7-9; Ezra 9:6-10:2; Neh. 9:2-37, etc.).
5. Nationally publish the truth (2 Chron. 34:30; Ezra 10:7-8, etc.).
6. Nationally renew covenant with God (with specific regard to the present testimony) and set the state upon a fully covenanted biblical pattern, agreeing to nationally obey the law of God (2 Chron. 34:31; 2 Chron. 29:10; 2 Chron. 15:12-15; Ezra 10:3-4; Neh. 9:38-10:31, etc.).
7. Nationally cause (by civil power) the inhabitants of the nation to stand to the covenant (2 Chron. 34:32-33; 2 Chron. 15:12-13; Ezra 10:5, etc.).
Bell asserted that my approach is dishonest on the basis of his previously stated misunderstanding (above) of successive covenants and their descending obligation (though I doubt if he is even familiar with the terms that I am using here to describe his thoughts). Furthermore, he asserted that my dishonest and illogical approach (as he calls it) will cause many to be "wrongly suspicious of national covenants, in general."
I have never called for anybody to repudiate any valid covenant and since you have not (and cannot) cite any such statement on my part, I must note that you are violating the ninth commandment here -- by attributing to me what I do not believe and have never said or written.
Bell wrote, as an interrogative, that he is under the _Mayflower Compact_ (instead of the Solemn League and Covenant), because his ancestors "came over on the Mayflower and to Virginia" (which is an amazing concept for a Baptist to even consider). He also asked what prevents a contemporary generation from adopting a different form of covenant from the previous generation.
Yes, the Mayflower Compact would theoretically bind all posterity legitimately comprehended under it if it were biblical, but it was not -- and sinful oaths can never comprise the foundation upon which biblical political (or ecclesiastical) unions can be duly constituted in the eyes of God.
Furthermore, if it were legitimate, I would argue that it would have only bound the direct descendents of these men as they did not form a recognized (by God) national civil or ecclesiastical body, neither were they the representatives of such a body (having their charter from James I who had not only backslidden from national attainments during the reign of Edward VI in England, but who had as James VI of Scotland come under the obligation of the National Covenant in Scotland -- but that is another story).
This idea that legitimate NATIONAL covenants (binding the moral person of the nation or the church and their posterity) is one of the points that makes the Solemn League and Covenant so special. The SL&C was subscribed by both *legitimate* civil and ecclesiastical authorities (on behalf of the nations they represented). One writer has commented that outside of Israel, Scotland and the other signatories to the SL&C no other nations have had this great *privilege.* But we are working to see this historical statement of fact changed in the future and we know that our goal (of seeing the nations covenanted to Christ) will certainly be accomplished -- for this will be a distinct mark of millennial progress (cf. _The Millennium: Peace, Prosperity and National Covenanting_ by Matthew Murray (1879). I tend to think that the SL&C will be renewed nationally (both civilly and ecclesiastically) when the millennium arrives. But additional *Scriptural* bonds with revised (and likely more comprehensive) terms will most likely also be enacted. Can you imagine CNN reporting that the "United Nations of the International Presbyterian and Covenanted Communities of the World" have agreed to covenant with Christ internationally and to ...
"For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent" (Zeph. 3:9).
"Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him" (Ps. 72:11).
Some short notes on the sinful terms of the Mayflower Compact follow:
1. In the Mayflower Compact there is no explicit mention of the Scripture being the rule by which laws, ordinances, acts, constituents or officers would be regulated. This is not surprising since the largest group on the Mayflower consisted of Brownist heretics and their slaves, and even included one professed Roman Catholic, Myles Standish. Moreover, though Standish signed the Compact, his name *never* appear on any of the Protestant church roles at the Plymouth colony and historians agree (based on available information) that he never repented of his adherence to the Roman Antichrist. Gillespie's work _Forbidden Alliances: Concerning Associations and Confederacies with Idolaters, Infidels, Heretics, or Any Other Known Enemies of Truth and Godliness_ (Excepted from his _Works_) has been reprinted by Presbyterian Heritage Publications and speaks directly against sinful compacts like the Mayflower compact.
2. There is no mention of religious qualifications for office (thus the Roman Catholic Standish could function as the chief of the armed forces, noted supra).
3. There is no mention of the Lordship of Jesus Christ . Rather, the rule for laws is stated to be based upon this rule: that which "shall be thought most meete and convenient for ye generall good of ye Colonie." (And even a professed Reconstructionist, such as yourself, should not easily swallow such humanistic nonsense -- but since you say you do we will have to take your word for it.) Moreover, unto laws formed on the basis of these anti- Scriptural grounds is promised "all due submission and obedience." This is clearly an unlawful oath. Furthermore, the people aboard the Mayflower were a mixed group (Christian and non-Christian) and this was the most that could be agreed upon in order to quell a mounting mutiny.
Additionally, are you now admitting that covenant obligation binds posterity?
Bell continues to build a straw man based on his misunderstanding of covenants; constructing a question about the revision of covenantal language upon this misunderstanding. He also said that we should be asking "What is *unchangeable* about covenants?"
That is quite a mess, but I have already answered this question above (cf. _The Auchensaugh Renovation of the National Covenant and SL&C_ [1712, 1880] emitted by the Reformed Presbytery, especially pages 14-15, but the whole book applies here). This book is a good practical example of the answer that you seek above. And I will say it again, because you have missed it in the past, Yes! the specific words used in succeeding covenants may be (and were) revised, but that does not change the obligation of the any previous biblically legitimate covenant. Furthermore the "new" covenant must be agreeable to the word of God at every point or it can not be swore in the first place.
Moreover, I think a better question might be "Did Moses, Joshua, Joash or Hezekiah" recognize that they were bound by the previous covenanted attainments of the people of God? Or did they think that they were born into a historical vacuum of neutrality with no civil or ecclesiastical obligations devolving upon the moral person?
Josiah certainly answers this question for us:
"Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, *because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD,* to do after all that is written in this book (2 Chron. 34:21, emphasis added).
Even though the book of the law had been lost, and the previous national leaders (ecclesiastical and civil) had apostatized, God's great wrath was being poured out on Josiah's generation because their *fathers* had not "kept the words of the Lord."
Furthermore, the individual is clearly commanded to walk by previous attainments (or else he is a backslider); is the visible church somehow exempted from this obligation?
Listen to the Scripture regarding the individual:
"Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing" (Phil. 3:16).
And concerning the visible church at Ephesus :
"Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent" (Rev. 2:4-5).
I should also note that our fourth term of communion states:
"4. That public, social covenanting is an ordinance of God, obligatory on churches and nations under the New Testament; that the National Covenant and the Solemn League are an exemplification of this divine institution; and that these Deeds are of continued obligation upon the moral person; and in consistency with this, that the Renovation of these Covenants at Auchensaugh, Scotland, 1712 was agreeable to the word of God."
And again, where did you get this "eternal" covenant idea from?
Bell wrote that Paul is rebuking covenanters (who understand descending covenantal obligation) with these words, "But AVOID foolish disputes, GENEALOGIES, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition" (Titus 3:9-10, NKJV). He called my position "contentious" and "foolish."
Talk about a misuse of Scripture. Titus 3;9-10 has nothing to do with what you are twisting it to apply to. Check any commentary ever published in history and I am sure that no such "insightful" application will be found. Moreover, the Scripture itself would be guilty of what you charge me of, if such a convoluted use of Scripture were legitimate.
Scripture abounds in proof of the continuous public obligations of social covenants which require exactly what you inveigh against above. I will cite just one example from _The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism_ by William Roberts (1853); but the whole chapter "The Duty of Covenanting, and the Permanent Obligation of Religious Covenants" should be pursued by all interested parties:
This complete chapter can now be viewed free of charge at:
"Another instance in which posterity is recognized in covenant obligation is found in Joshua 9:15. This covenant was made between the children of Israel and the Gibeonites. Between four and five hundred years after that time, the children of Israel are visited with a very severe famine, in the days of David. 2 Sam. 21:1. And it is expressly declared by the Lord that, "It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites." And at the same time, v. 2, that very covenant is recognized, and the breach of it is stated, as being the formal reason of the divine displeasure. Now, had it not been for this covenant, the extirpation of the Gibeonites would not have been imputed to Israel as a thing criminal; for they were comprehended in Canaanitish nations, which God had commanded them to root out" (pp. 139-140).
The wrath of God upon a whole nation could have been avoided in this situation had someone done what you call "contentious," "foolish," and apt to "promote strife." At this point Joe, I really have to conclude that you just do not know your Bible.
Examples abound in Scripture of the point that I am trying to make (regarding the binding nature of lawful covenants concerning the moral person -- especially when God is a party to the covenant, as He was in the Solemn League and Covenant), but I will leave you with just one more biblical example:
Jehoram was thirty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, like as did the house of Ahab: for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD. Howbeit the LORD would not destroy the house of David, *because of the covenant that he had made with David*, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons for ever (2 Chr. 21:5-7, emphasis added).
Even God binds himself to previous covenant engagements -- but you would have us forget ours.
BTW Joe, why doesn't the Lord just destroy everybody, including the elect -- even before they are Christians -- He certainly couldn't be charged with unrighteousness in doing so? I think that it has something to do with a covenant that was made before the foundation of the world -- the benefits of which the elect are still enjoying to this very day -- don't you? Thus, more proof of the perpetually binding nature of lawful covenants (until the ends contemplated in the covenant are fulfilled or the moral person ceases).
Bell stated that contradictions, like those made by the Sadducees regarding marriage, are "unavoidable *on earth*," given my position. He also made it known that he isn't trying to avoid national covenanting altogether, just my "inflexible and overly-specific model of it."
See the argument, from _The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism_ directly above -- and *please* look up the Scriptures references cited.
Hey, if Joe's right, and we didn't know about Adam breaking the covenant of works maybe his sin would not be imputed to us -- wouldn't the reprobates (including the Pelagians) love that one. (Protestant Reformed brethren see Anthony Burgess' _Vindiciae Legis: A Vindication of the Moral Law and the Covenants from the Errors of Papists, Arminians, Socinians, and more especially, Antinomians _ (1647), "Whether God Did Enter Into a Covenant with Adam," pp. 122ff. for biblical proof concerning the covenant "of works" made with Adam.)
But the _Westminster Larger Catechism_ corrects any thought that legitimate covenants do not bind posterity (all emphases added):
Question 22: Did all mankind fall in that first transgression? Answer: The *covenant* being made with Adam as a *public person*, not for himself only, but for his *posterity*, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation, *sinned in him*, and fell with him in that first transgression.
Even more startling, with Bell's view, we would also lose the covenant of grace. "But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many (Rom. 5:15).
Perpetually binding covenant transactions (as I have qualified them above) are at the heart of the gospel; lose the point on social covenanting and you have already given up much more than you can imagine. Maybe you won't see the obvious fruits of the results of your unfaithfulness in your generation, but your grandchildren may (to the third and fourth generation). Moreover, Baptists deny this doctrine at a much more fundamental level regarding their own children and in doing so bring God's "displeasure" not only upon themselves (Exod. 4:24-26) but also upon their whole household -- when they refuse the commanded sign and seal of the covenant of grace to their own children in infant baptism.
For those interested I also have a book (of 400 pages) defending what I am saying here regarding covenanting. It covers every aspect of covenants and covenanting and is considered by many the classic in the field. It is titled _The Ordinance of Covenanting_ (1843) and is written by John Cunningham. The photocopy we have was taken from the edition that Cunningham presented to George Smeaton in 1843 when the book was first printed. Interestingly, JC wanted his friend GS to get this one major point that the Free Church of Scotland was missing. I always wondered why Smeaton never took the opportunity to push the SL&C in his _Scottish Theory of Ecclesiastical Establishments_.
Bell reasserted that my (really "Omicron's") article assumes that it had made a case which it hadn't; and that he unapologetically (no pun intended) disagrees with me (i.e. "Omicron").
I never made any such remark -- you must be confusing me with the author of the article you are referring to -- again. Pretty sloppy.
Bell tried to discount my (i.e. Omicron's) use of Joseph's oath regarding his bones. (cf. "And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence" Gen. 50:25)
The author was making a point about the principles involved but you obviously missed it.
Also, if our ancestors did take unlawful (i.e. unbiblical) covenants, we are *not* bound by such covenants, but are responsible to testify against and correct such violations of the third commandment ("swearing falsely in the name of the Lord"). A great example of this very duty can be seen in Reformed Presbytery's _Short Vindication or Our Covenanted Reformation *(1879), where Steele and Campbell (the RP committee) show how the RPCNA has specifically defected from covenanted attainments, as well a "sworn falsely" in covenants since the SL&C.
Bell attempted to discount my (i.e. Omicron's) use of Joshua's covenant with the Gibeonites (see my answer below for more specifics). Since my answer to Bell, I have found some more extremely useful comments, in Gillespie's _A Dispute Against English Popish Ceremonies_ , concerning this covenant. For specifics see pp. 450- 459 in the Naphtali Press edition; in other editions this can be found in Part Four, Chapter Eight, "That the Ceremonies Are Not Things Indifferent to the Church of Scotland; Because She Did Abjure and Repudiate them By a Most Solemn and General Oath."
It is always interesting to look directly at the Scripture when people are devising fairy tales about what they mean.
Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites. And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.) (2 Sam. 21:1-2)
Bell says: "many Gibeonites were full members of Israel" Scripture says: "now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel"
Bell says: "The covenant with Gibeon was a moot point by this time" Scripture says: "and the children of Israel had *sworn* unto them"
Moreover, "the exemplification of the principle is the more striking in this case, as the punishment was not inflicted at the time the covenant was violated, not upon those who were personally concerned in it, but upon a succeeding generation, half a century afterwards" (2 Sam. 21:1). (Scott, _Distinctive Principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church_, p. 57).
That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; *AND GOD REQUIRETH THAT WHICH IS PAST* (Eccl. 3:15, emphasis added).
Bell noted that my arguments are "so arbitrary and so poorly presented" that they will "do much" to make others avoid the subject of covenanting. He also reiterated some of his previous misunderstandings of my position in what he called the "arbitrary canonization of the Solemn League and Covenant for all time."
I don't doubt that my arguments are poorly presented, especially after reading the old Covenanter books that I publish (that is why I would rather refer others to the books than my own weak attempts at trying to justify these great truths of God's Word). IMO, the Covenanters were so advanced of this generation theologically that it is almost impossible to express in words -- you really have to read (and understand) their arguments for yourself. Moreover, I would ask forgiveness if I have unnecessarily stumbled anyone regarding these truths and I gladly accept all your flames (when they are attacking me personally -- for I know that I deserve far worse); but I beseech you brethren, please let the word of God speak on this issue.
Bell wrote that Psalm 2 helps his case (based on a twisted civil [and unlawful] use of the regulative principle) and stated that "national covenanting stands on its own, without 'help' from Reg Barrow." Meaning, as I take it, that covenanting somehow takes place in a vacuum; and that we can safely ignore specific historical applications, testimonies, precedents and the original intent of the banders (i.e. covenanters).
Though the precise form of a covenant may be altered as to the text (to more directly confirm the present testimony), all older legitimate covenants still remain binding (with the qualifications set out earlier in this letter); however, the "newer" covenant may not be altered with the intent or purpose of disobliging a succeeding generation from previously attained biblical Reformation.
Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto (Gal. 3:15).
Here are three questions that everyone interested in this topic must deal with:
QUESTION ONE: Who has disannulled the Solemn League & Covenant as it applies to either the British "parent" or to her covenanted "children" (including the USA, Canada, South Africa, Zambia, etc.)?
QUESTION TWO: When did this disannulment take place?
QUESTION THREE: By whose authority was this lawful international covenant with God disannuled?
I can understand how a Baptist, like yourself, would have a hard time understanding these things (I would have never been able to understand them when I was a Baptist almost two decades ago). Baptists can't even grasp the principles behind the covenantal biblical teaching of infant baptism, how will they ever understand the more complex verities of social covenanting? (Furthermore, most Christians recognize the wickedness of easy-divorce laws, they just don't apply them to nations).
I conclude, walking in the footsteps of the flock, bearing witness along with the faithful martyrs testimony of two of our covenanted forefathers:
Going further back in the history of our thrice burned, often buried and betrayed Covenants, which despite the Dragon's rage and subtlety are still alive; let us hear some of the proto martyrs speak their mind on their (i.e. the covenants--RB) obligation and perpetuity:
The noble marquis of Argyle, upon the scaffold, said, "God hath tied us by covenants to religion and reformation. These that were then unborn are yet engaged, and it passeth the power of all the magistrates under heaven to absolve them from the oath of God. They deceive themselves, and it may be, would deceive others, who think otherwise." --And it also "passeth the power of all" Synods, Assemblies, etc.
Rev. James Guthrie, about to be launched into the presence of the final Judge, lifted the napkin, and said, " The Covenants, the Covenants shall yet be Scotland's (and the world's--RB) reviving." These worthies, who may be considered archetypes of a Scriptural magistracy and ministry, understood the catholic nature of our Solemn League, its adaptability to all churches and all nations.
From: _A Short Vindication of Our Covenanted Reformation_ by a committee of the Reformed Presbytery consisting of David Steele and James Campbell (SWRB rare bound photocopy,  1996), p. 9.
Sincerely, Reg Barrow, President, STILL
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P.S. For the sake of a testimony against your popish ways, I have found your writing to be unbiblical, illogical, sectarian, truce (or covenant) breaking, etc. I (and others have pointed this out to you -- even on your own list -- one individual calling your slanderous tactics and disingenuous and deceitful innuendo "deplorable") believe that your writing lacks any hint of Christian civility ("the blind are bold enough") and I can now see why your were kicked off of the Theonomy-L list.
Joe, I think that I have spent more than enough time with you now (*maybe* even more then Scripture allows in a case such as yours [Titus 3:10]), so I am now shaking the "electronic dust" off my feet regarding you and your list (not the others there, just you and the [CS] list itself).
Furthermore, it is a sad testimony to the days in which we live that a Covenanter (such as myself) would be kicked off a so-called "Christian Statesman" list over a dispute about covenanting that was started with an censored article titled the "Permanence of Covenant Obligation."
This book is considered by many as the classic work on covenanting. "The theology of Covenanting is here unfolded with a richness of scriptural research and a maturity of intellectual strength which would have made the grey eye of Peden glisten with delight. The treatise is a valuable addition to that solid theological literature of which the Reformed Presbyterian Church has produced repeated and enduring specimens, and stamps Mr. Cunningham as a distinguished disciple of the thoughtful and scriptural school of Mason and the Symingtons" (Presby Rev., (1844) as cited in The Treasury of the Scottish Covenant by Johnston). The author himself notes that "Prayer and the offering of praise are universally admitted to be duties of religion. The Scriptures announce a place among these for the exercise of solemn Covenanting... What the word of God unfolds concerning it, is addressed to the most resolute consideration of all, and is capable of engaging the most extensive and prolonged investigation. And yet, though none have found this subject, like all God's judgements, else than a great deep, still in meditating upon it, the ignorant have been brought to true knowledge, and the wise have increased in wisdom. 'The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant' (Ps. 25:14)... Mutual federal engagements, concerning things religious and civil, whether entered into merely by simple promise, or confirmed by the solemn oath, have been made from the highest antiquity to the present. The hostility to some such engagements, and also the proud disregard for their obligation, which have been evinced by some in all ages, demand a most careful examination into their nature and design... Furnished with the key of Scripture, approaching the subject, we are enabled to open the mysteries in which ignorance and prejudice had shut it up; and equipped with the armour of light shooting forth its heavenly radiance, in safety to ourselves we assail the darkness thrown around it, and behold the instant flight of the spirits of error which that darkness contains. Standing alone in beauteous attractions descended from heaven upon it, this service beckons us to approach it, and engages to connect extensive good with a proper attention to its claims. The observance, under various phases, is described in Scripture as an undisputed and indisputable reality." In this book Cunningham exhaustively covers the subject of covenanting in over 400 pages. He deals with the manner, duty and nature of covenanting (including personal and social covenanting), the obligation covenanting confers, how covenanting is provided for in the everlasting covenant, how it is adapted to the moral constitution of man and how it is according to the purposes of God. Numerous Divine examples are cited from Scripture and covenanting is shown to be one of the great privileges of the Christian life. An interesting chapter covers "Covenanting Enforced By the Grant of Covenant Signs and Seals;" which touches on circumcision, baptism, the Sabbath, the Priesthood, the new heart and the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Furthermore, this book demonstrates how God's approbation rested upon Covenanters in formers ages, how covenanting is predicted in prophecy, how it is recommended by the practice of the New Testament Church and at what seasons it is appropriate. The appendices touch on the relationship of covenanting to immoral and unscriptural civil governments, the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the British constitution and the apostasy of the Revolution settlement. Additionally, Cunningham acknowledges that the true church is "bound by the obligations of the Church of God is past times" and is still obligated to pay what it has vowed to the Lord in those magnificent attainments of the second Reformation (the epitome of these attainments being embodied in the Solemn League and Covenant and the Westminster Standards). If you are interested in the ordinance of covenanting this is the most extensive treatment you will find in one book. It is a gold mine of Scriptural references and should be read at least once by everyone who calls upon the name of Christ.
The Duty of Covenanting,
and the Permanent Obligation of Religious Covenants (1853)
Excerpted from the Reformed Presbyterian Catechism below, this book deals with an almost forgotten ordinance of God. It explains what covenants are, while contrasting them with oaths, vows and law. Furthermore, it distinguishes between civil and religious covenants and shows how the individual, family, church or nation can (and should) enter into covenants -- especially religious covenants. Explains why, when and how covenants are binding on posterity, citing abundant Scriptural proof for each assertion made. Here is a sample argument from this book, demonstrating how even covenants made between men are viewed as binding upon posterity by God himself: "Another instance in which posterity is recognized in covenant obligation is found in Joshua 9:15. This covenant was made between the children of Israel and the Gibeonites. Between four and five hundred years after that time, the children of Israel are visited with a very severe famine, in the days of David. 2 Sam. 21:1. And it is expressly declared by the Lord that, 'It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.' And at the same time, v. 2, that very covenant is recognized, and the breach of it is stated, as being the formal reason of the divine displeasure. Now, had it not been for this covenant, the extirpation of the Gibeonites would not have been imputed to Israel as a thing criminal; for they were comprehended in Canaanitish nations, which God had commanded them to root out" (pp. 139-140). Take the time to look these verses up. This subject has great bearing on the unity of the church, the Christian's response to godless covenant-breaking nations, hermeneutics, the family and general faithfulness to God (because many today -- individually, ecclesiastically, and nationally -- are breaking covenants which God still views as binding though they are oblivious to this obligation). Great price too!
(Rare bound photocopy) $5.95-70%=1.78
The Duty of Nations, in
their National Capacity, to Acknowledge and Support the True Religion (1853)
Excerpted from the Reformed Presbyterian Catechism below, this book deals with the inescapable necessity, of the demand found in the Word of God, for the Civil establishment of Christ and King and Lawgiver over every nation on earth. If you are sick of the cease-fire with humanism, set forth by the syncretistic, Satanic and pragmatic pagan politicians of our day, (those who bargain with votaries of Antichrist [the Pope], publicly tolerate all manner of false religions (e.g. Islam) and idolatry, and compose their policy and draw their pretended authority from the beast [and not the Word of God], this book is for you! For all pagan politics is summed up in the words of the Cameronian (Covenanter) political philosopher Alexander Shields, as "rotting away under the destructive distempers of detestable neutrality, loathsome lukewarmness, declining, and decaying in corruptions, defections, divisions, distractions, confusions; and so judicially infatuated with darkness and delusions, that they forget and forego the necessary testimony of the day" (A HIND LET LOOSE, 1797 edition, p. 20). Pick up this book and begin the political walk in the "footsteps of the flock," traveling the covenanting road of Reformation and Scripture (with the magisterial Reformers of the past)!
(Rare bound photocopy) $5.95-70%=1.78
The Reformed Presbyterian
A manual of instruction, drawing from such notable authors as William Symington and J.R. Willson, presenting "arguments and facts confirming and illustrating the 'Distinctive Principles'" of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. Chapters deal with: "Christ's Mediatorial Dominion in general;" Christ's exclusive Headship over the Church;" "The Supreme and Ultimate Authority of the Word of God in the Church;" Civil Government, the Moral Ordinance of God;" Christ's Headship over the Nations;" "The Subjection of the Nations to God and to Christ;" The Word, or Revealed Will of God, the Supreme Law in the State;" "The Duty of Nations, in their National Capacity, to acknowledge and support the True Religion:" "The Spiritual Independence of the Church of Christ:" "The Right and Duty of Dissent from an immoral Constitution of Civil Government;" "The Duty of Covenanting, and the Permanent Obligations of Religious Covenants;" "The Application of these Principles to the Governments, where Reformed Presbyterians reside, in the form of a Practical Testimony;" and finally "Application of the Testimony to the British Empire." A most important book, as we approach (possibly) the end of the great apostasy and will be in need of preparing for the dawning of the glorious millennial blessings to come; the days prophesied in which the church "shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings" (Isa. 60:16).
(Rare bound photocopy) $29.95-70%=8.99
Distinctive Principles of
the Reformed Presbyterian Church (1841)
This book is not designed to discuss "the (many-RB) doctrines which the Reformed Presbyterian church holds in common will others," but is written to set forth RP distinctives. It tackles its subject from three major heads: "Social Covenanting;" "The Dominion of Christ;" and "The Universal Application of Scripture (civil as well as religious)." It shows that while these doctrines "are held by many, as abstract doctrines of divine truth, they are not embodied in the testimony of any other Christian denomination: nor made necessary to ministerial or Christian fellowship. Although other individuals may hold these doctrine, it is a 'distinctive' feature of the RPC to embody them in her testimony; and to make them terms of communion." It also explains how these are the same distinctives that were maintained "at the era of the reformation, (when) the covenanted church of Scotland bore a distinguished testimony for all the offices of Christ, as prophet, priest and king: and for the pure doctrines, worship, discipline, and government of the house of God." The author states that "the great object aimed at is to help forward the glorious triumph of the Messiah, so beautifully described in the 72nd Psalm. When 'all Kings shall fall down before him; and all nations shall serve him.'"
(Rare bound photocopy) $49.95-80%=9.99
The Duty and Perpetual
Obligation of Social Covenanting
The material found in this bound photocopy addresses a forgotten and neglected ordinance of God: social covenanting. God's people in times of repentance and thanksgiving, trial and blessing have been a covenanting people. In the most pure times of ecclesiastical and civil reformation throughout history, both church and state under the mediatorial rule of Christ have by the grace of God bound themselves together by covenant to promote and defend the true Christian religion. The first document adopted by the Westminster Assembly was in fact, the Solemn League and Covenant (1644). It united the kingdoms of Scotland, England, and Ireland in a covenanted reformation of both church and state in order to preserve, promote and defend the true Christian religion (as summarized in the Westminster Confession of Faith, Larger and Shorter Catechisms, Directory For Public Worship, and Form of Church Government), and in order to expose and uproot all false teaching contrary to the Scripture and these standards. Furthermore, it was not only the desire of the Westminster Assembly to unite in covenant the three British kingdoms, but rather to include in this covenanted reformation all of the Reformed Churches throughout Europe. Consider the goal of the Assembly as summarized by Hetherington: "There was one great, and even sublime idea, brought somewhat indefinitely before the Westminster Assembly, which has not yet been realized, the idea of a Protestant union throughout Christendom, not merely for the purpose of counterbalancing Popery, but in order to purify, strengthen, and unite all true Christian churches, so that with combined energy and zeal they might go forth, in glad compliance with the Redeemer's commands, teaching all nations, and preaching the everlasting gospel to every creature under heaven. This truly magnificent, and also truly Christian idea, seems to have originated in the mind of that distinguished man, Alexander Henderson. It was suggested by him to the Scottish commissioners, and by them partially brought before the English Parliament, requesting them to direct the Assembly to write letters to the Protestant Churches in France, Holland, Switzerland, and other Reformed Churches. . . . and along with these letters were sent copies of the Solemn League and Covenant, a document which might itself form the basis of such a Protestant union. The deep thinking divines of the Netherlands apprehended the idea, and in their answer, not only expressed their approbation of the Covenant, but also desired to join in it with the British kingdoms. Nor did they content themselves with the mere expression of approval and willingness to join. A letter was soon afterwards sent to the Assembly from the Hague, written by Duraeus (the celebrated John Dury), offering to come to the Assembly, and containing a copy of a vow which he had prepared and tendered to the distinguished Oxenstiern, chancellor of Sweden, wherein he bound himself 'to prosecute a reconciliation between Protestants in point of religion'. . . . [O]n one occasion Henderson procured a passport to go to Holland, most probably for the purpose of prosecuting this grand idea. But the intrigues of politicians, the delays caused by the conduct of the Independents, and the narrow-minded Erastianism of the English Parliament, all conspired to prevent the Assembly from entering farther into that truly glorious Christian enterprise. Days of trouble and darkness came; persecution wore out the great men of that remarkable period; pure and vital Christianity was stricken to the earth and trampled under foot. . ." (William Hetherington, History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines , [Edmonton, Alberta: Still Waters Revival Books], pp. 337-339). The material presented herein is commended to the reader with the sincere prayer and confidence that God will again restore the Church of Jesus Christ to a glorious covenanted reformation--one that will even surpass that one to which she had attained at the time of the Westminster Assembly. However, when the Lord brings that future covenanted reformation it will not be limited to only three kingdoms of the earth, but by the grace and power of Christ our King, it will be a covenanted reformation that will encompass all of the nations of the earth (Ps. 2:6-12; Is. 2:1-4; Mt. 28:1-20) and will bring to the church a visible unity and uniformity that (unlike pleas for unity today) is firmly grounded upon the truth" (Greg Price, Preface). The material contained in this compilation was gathered together by the session of the Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton/Prince George. Its 210 pages contain the following items, as listed in this bibliography for social covenanting.
1. Samuel Rutherford, Due Right of Presbyteries , pp. 130-139
2. George Gillespie, The Works of George Gillespie, Vol. 2, pp. 71-88.
3. John Brown of Wamphray, An Apologetic Relation , pp. 167-175, 181- 207.
4. David Scott, Distinctive Principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, pp. 14-90.
5. William Roberts, The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism , pp. 134- 152.
6. The Reformed Presbytery, An Explanation and Defence of the Terms of Communion , pp. 181-187.
7. The Reformed Presbytery, Act , Declaration and Testimony , pp. 11- 23.
8. The Reformed Presbytery, The Auchensaugh Renovation , pp. 115- 140.
9. The Church of Scotland (1639), The National Covenant of Scotland , pp. 345-354 in the Westminster Confession of Faith published by Free Presbyterian Publications.
10. The Westminster Assembly (1644), The Solemn League and Covenant , pp. 355-360 in the Westminster Confession of Faith published by Free Presbyterian Publications.
11. The Church of Scotland (1648), A Solemn Acknowledgement of Publick Sins and Breaches of the Covenant , pp. 361-368 in the Westminster Confession of Faith published by Free Presbyterian Publications.
(Rare bound photocopy) $22.95-70%=6.89
Dr. Reg Barrow at PuritanDownloads.com - Free Online Reformation Resources by Dr. Reg Barrow - Pornography, the Anabaptists, and Doug Wilson's Civil Antinomianism by Reg Barrow - Covenanters and Covenanted Reformation - Calvin, Covenanting, Close Communion and the Coming Reformation (1996) by Reg Barrow -