HISTORICAL TESTIMONY, CHURCH UNION
AND THE SECOND REFORMATION
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 it 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, the very essence of a testimony, save that faithful and Scriptural one adopted in 1761, re-published in 1850, with a progressive supplement. 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.
And finally, we testify against all who, under pretext of superior charity or liberality, fiercely clamor for union of churches by a sacrifice of divine truth, and in violation of order; or, who advocate intercommunion among bodies organically separate; or who furnish testimonials of Christian character to officers or members, who avow their intention to break covenant; thus inculcating hypocrisy, by precept and example, and reducing the awful sin of perjury to system. By such sinful and debasing practices; by the haughty bearing of idle shepherds of mercenary spirit- "greedy dogs which can never have enough"-the poor sheep of Christ, whose souls starve under a fruitless ministry, are tempted to "heap to themselves teachers"-unauthorized revivalists-who "understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm;" and are thus prepared to become the vassals of anti-christ; to be led blindfold down to the chambers of eternal perdition. And, notwithstanding the judgments of God inflicted on this nation by the recent internecine war, it still refuses to submit to the authority of the Lord and his Anointed. It authoritatively tolerates all religions, necromancy and polygamy; and profanes the Lord's day by post- office and railway traffic, for profit or pleasure.
"Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shall inherit all nations."
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).
FOR FURTHER STUDY
All titles below available from Still Waters Revival Books at:http://www.swrb.com/pcopy/photoc.htm.
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 Day (1876)
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. 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. This book is also free on the web at: http://www.covenanter.org/RefPres/actdeclarationandtestimony/acttitle.htm.
Plain Reasons for Presbyterians Dissenting from the Revolution Church of Scotland. Also Their Principles Concerning Civil Government, and the Difference Betwixt the Reformation and Revolution Principles (1731)
An exceedingly rare and important book. The Contending Witness magazine (May, 1841) described Plain Reasons "as the single best volume penned defending the principles of the second Reformation." It sets forth "the grounds why Presbyterian Dissenters refused to hold communion with the revolution church and state," (Reformed Presbytery, Act Declaration and Testimony for the Whole of Our Covenanted Reformation, p. 154n). These principles still apply today and this still remains one of the best books explaining why and when an individual (our church) should separate itself from those (in church or state) who do not hold fast to all the attainments of our covenanted forefathers. The Reformed Presbytery's Act, Declaration and Testimony (p. 47) further explains the context of the so-called "glorious revolution of 1688" and overthrow of the Royalist tyranny with these words, "for in a few months, God in his righteous judgement and adorable providence, overturned that (Royalist--RB) throne of iniquity on which they depended, and expelled that inhuman, cruel monster (the duke of York--RB), from his tyrannical and usurped power, upon the Prince of Orange's (William--RB) coming over into England, in the beginning of November that same year (1688--RB). But although the Lord at this juncture, and by this means, rescued and delivered our natural and civil rights and privileges in a national way, from under the oppression and bondage of anti-christian tyranny, arbitrary and absolute power; yet the revolution, at this time, brought no real deliverance to the church of God; but Christ's rights (by these [rights--RB] are not meant the rights of Christ personal. It is not in the power of mortals, or any creature, to acquire and secure these to him; but the rights of Christ mystical, that is, of the church, or of his truth, true worship, and religion, and professors of it as such.), formerly acquired for him by his faithful servants, lay still buried under the rubbish of that anti-christian building of prelacy, erected on the ruins of his work in this land; and the spiritual liberties and privileges of his house remained, and do still remain under the bondage of Erastianism, supremacy, toleration, etc. For it is well known, that although this man (William of Orange--RB), Jehu-like, 'destroyed Baal out of Israel, yet he departed not from the sins of Jereboam, wherewith he made Israel to sin.'" See pages 55 and following in the Act, Declaration and Testimony for more on "the grounds of the presbytery's testimony against the constitutions, both civil and ecclesiastical, at the late revolution, anno 1689; as also against the gross Erastianism and tyranny that has attended the administration both of church and state, since that memorable period; with various instances thereof, etc." The only drawback that needs to be noted, regarding Clarkson's Plain Reasons, is that a few of the pages (the book being as rare as it is) in the only copy that we have been able to obtain, are a little hard to read. Even so, most of the book is easily legible and contains the highest quality of Reformation thought regarding the subjects of which it deals.
Strictures on Occasional Hearing
An inquiry into Song 1:7, "Why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?" This book sets out to demonstrates the proposition that one should not hear the public preaching of those he can not take communion with (i.e. it proposes a ban on occasionally hearing those with whom you can not maintain organic fellowship with). The implications contained in this truth are immense; especially when one has adopted the Biblical doctrine of close communion and is set upon upholding the covenanted reformation. The duty to separation and to true visible unity are all encompassed here. A review of this book, written in 1818, notes that the "treatise may be viewed as a complete repository of all that has yet been said on the subject." It is filled with Scriptural, as well as historical testimony, and is a welcome tonic to the weak and compromising books of our day that so often sacrifice the truth of the altar of some other man made expediency (such as unity for political or ecclesiastical advantage). For as the introduction notes, "It is the revealed will of God, and not saintship, which is the only rule of a visible profession." That Christians exist in other denominations is not denied, but that they are faithful to the covenanted reformation (already historically obtained) is. The arguments set forth here are reminiscent of those found in Rutherford's Due Right of Presbyteries. If you are struggling with questions related to separation, the unity of the visible church, close communion, etc. this book may be exactly what you've been looking for. A massive appendix also lays out the historical testimony concerning this matter.
An Explanation and Defence of the Terms of Communion, Adopted by the Community of Dissenters, etc.
Defends the inescapable necessity of creeds and confessions, while promoting a fully creedal church membership. Shows how the law of God obliges all Christians "to think the same things, and to speak the same things; holding fast the form of sound words, and keeping the ordinances as they have been delivered to us" (Col. 3:13). After laying some basic groundwork, this book proceeds to defend the six points of the "Terms of Ministerial and Christian Communion Agreed Upon by the Reformed Presbytery." These six points are the most conservative and comprehensive short statements of consistent Presbyterianism you will likely ever see. Besides the obvious acknowledgement of the alone infallible Scriptures, the Westminster Standards, and the divine right of Presbyterianism, these points also maintain the perpetual obligation of our Covenants, National and Solemn League, the Renovation of these covenants at Auchensaugh in 1712, and the Judicial Act, Declaration and Testimony emitted by the Reformed Presbytery. In short, this book sets forth adherence to the whole of the covenanted reformation, in both church and state, as it has been attained by our covenanting forefathers.
Reformed Presbytery in North America (RPNA)
The Meeting Reconstituting the Reformed Presbytery in North America (RPNA)(Aug. 5, 2000)
As of August 5, 2000 (and FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 113 YEARS) a Reformed Presbyterian (Covenanter) PRESBYTERY exists which embraces the faithful biblical attainments of the best Churches of both the first and second Reformations (Phil. 3:16). In accordance with Scriptural doctrine of the Church, the "Deed of Constitution for the Reformed Presbytery in North America" (RPNA) states,
We do sincerely profess that it is the glory of God, the edification of Christ's Church, as well as the preservation and promotion of the true Christian religion throughout the whole world that does persuade us to unite in constituting this Presbytery.
We do voluntarily promise to be subject in the Lord unto the Reformed Presbytery In North America; to promote and to preserve the doctrine, worship, government, and discipline as summarized in the above cited "Six Terms Of Ecclesiastical Communion" (http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/6points.htm -- RB); and to receive with meekness all brotherly counsel and admonition tendered by fellow members of this Presbytery.
We do not consider the Reformed Presbytery In North America to be an entirely new entity, but rather a continuation of the one moral person with other covenanted judicatories of the past, and with those faithful witnesses of the Covenanted Reformation known as Protesters and Society People (1650-1742 inclusive). Accordingly, when we refer above to our "Constitution", we include within it all the judicial documents comprehended and engaged unto in our "Six Terms Of Ecclesiastical Communion ( http://www.swrb.com/newslett/FREEBOOK/RefConf.htm -- RB)" -- specifically, only those documents which are agreeable to the Word of God, and consistent with our covenanted attainments, as they were formally received and approved by the following covenanted judicatories between the following inclusive dates:
1. The Church Of Scotland (1560-1602, 1638-1649).
2. The Reformed Presbytery In Scotland (1743-1808), and the Synod Of The Reformed Presbyterian Church In Scotland (1809-1821).
3. The Reformed Presbytery In Ireland (1763-1779, 1782-1810), and the Synod Of The Reformed Presbyterian Church In Ireland (1811-1839).
4. The Reformed Presbytery In America (1774 -1778, 1798 -1805, 1840 -1845, 1854 -1887).
In constituting the Reformed Presbytery In North America in moral succession to these aforementioned faithful judicatories, it is evident that we have not included any of the present bodies designated as "Reformed Presbyterian" whether in Scotland, Ireland, Canada, or the United States.
In full agreement with the official position of the Reformed Presbytery In America, as recorded in their Minutes of June 2, 1841 (which are attached as an Addendum to this Deed of Constitution), we hold these ecclesiastical bodies to be unfaithful to the attainments of the Covenanted Reformation. With full persuasion of conscience, we stand separate from them and cannot unite with them until they publicly repent of their shameful backsliding.
Thus, we affirm that we, having returned to faithful terms of communion, and a true constitution, are not a schismatic body that has further divided the Church of Christ. To the contrary, the Reformed Presbytery In North America is a moral perpetuation of that faithful and unified manifestation of Christ's Covenanted Church in Scotland, Ireland, and the United States. It is our goal to unite the Church of Christ in every land by means of promoting a truly covenanted reformation in accordance with the prayer of our Lord, "That they may be one, even as we are one" (John 17:22).
This resource provides a video and/or audio (cassette) record of this historic meeting and includes the complete Deed of Constitution for the REFORMED PRESBYTERY IN NORTH AMERICA (RPNA). Just the "Deed of Constitution," and not the complete meeting, is also available in etext (free of charge) at: http://www.reformedpresbytery.org/books/index.html .
Cassettes below are for sale at:http://www.swrb.com/music/cassets.htm
The Apostolic/Reformation Way to Worldwide (Biblical) Church Unity(7 cassette sermons, 1998)
Seven astounding sermons on God's biblically ordained method to fulfill His command for unity (and the great commission) in the visible church:
1. What Are Terms of Communion? (2 cassettes)
2. What is Close Communion? (2 cassettes)
3. What is Occasion Hearing (or Occasional Communion)? (3 cassettes)
These truths which have been prominent from Old Testament times to the days of the Apostles -- and in all great subsequent Reformations and true revivals (especially during the second Reformation) -- are clearly, simply and Scripturally presented. These forgotten or ignored doctrines are once again coming to public notice in the preaching of Greg Price (and the publishing of classic Covenanter literature), as well as in the contemporary call for a third Reformation in which the nations of the earth will once again enter into (or renew) covenant with Christ.
As Price points out from Scripture, these truths will also be well known in the days of millennial glory to come. "And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one (visibly--RB)" (Zech. 14:9). These sermons give us a foretaste of the blessings that God will pour out upon His church when she runs "the way of thy commandments" (Ps. 119:32) and when "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (Isa. 11:9)!
All these seven sermons are also free in MP3 audio on the web, beginning with the first tape in each set (which are linked to subsequent sermons in the series), at:
What Are Terms of Communion? (1/2)
What is Close Communion? (1/2)
What is Occasion Hearing (or Occasional Communion)? (1/3)
Terms of Communion(19 cassettes by Greg Price)
This set explains the six "Terms of Ministerial and Christian Communion in the Reformed Presbyterian Church" (i.e. the historic Covenanters). These terms represent a high water mark concerning covenanted Reformation attainments thus far in history. They are thoroughly Scriptural (as this set proves) and should be adopted by all Churches as the minimum standard by which people are admitted to to the Lord's Supper. The "rare bound photocopy" An Explanation and Defense of the Terms of Communion... ($US3.98 cerlox; $US15.00 hardcover) by the Reformed Presbytery also covers much the same ground, adding some arguments not found in this tape set, but generally containing less detail. McKnight's "rare bound photocopy" Concerning Close Communion ($US3.99 cerlox; $US15.00 hardcover) is also very helpful in regard to the general subject of the Scriptural propriety of a close communion and explicit, open, honest, and biblical terms for fencing the table of the Lord. Separate sections of this cassette series can be purchased individually as outlined below.
Terms of Communion: The Word of God (2 cassettes)
Explains and defends the first term of communion, which is "An acknowledgement of the Old and New Testament to be the Word of God, and the alone infallible rule of faith and practice." Covers the attributes of Scripture, including the necessity, inspiration, authority, sufficiency, perspicuity, perpetuity, etc. of the Word of God. Also deals with principles of interpretation (hermeneutics) and how we know that God's Word is His Word, and thus can be trusted as the absolute, inerrant, infallible and inspired truth. Touches on higher criticism and the debate over bible version, upholding the Textus Receptus (i.e. the ecclesiastical or received text) and the King James Version. A fine defense of Sola Scriptura which also touches on how "extra-biblical" terms of communion are not only required by Scripture itself, but are an inescapable necessity. Price is careful to point out the difference between the primary, infallible standard of Scripture and those uninspired subordinate standards, which nevertheless bind the conscience whenever they say the same thing as Scripture. A great introduction to God's Word that comes with our highest recommendation. "I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name" (Ps. 138:2).
Terms of Communion: The Westminster Standards (5 cassettes)
Explains and defends the second term of communion, which is "That the whole doctrine of the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Catechisms, Larger and Shorter, are agreeable unto, and founded upon the Scriptures." Price not only explains why we need creeds and confession (answering the question: Isn't the Scripture sufficient?), but he shows how everyone has a creed and how such statements of faith are actually inescapable -- for as soon as one says what he believes the Bible means, has has (be definition) put forth his creed ("credo" in Latin means "to believe"). There is no neutrality! He also gives a summary of the Westminster standards and the history of this august assembly, demonstrating why these standards are agreeable to the word of God. After showing how faithful creeds and confessions (i.e. human testimony) have brought untold blessings to the church he gives a history of the Westminster Assembly (setting the context for the study of the Standards themselves). The doctrines contained in the confessional standards are then summarized. Price also exposes and rebukes much false teaching and false practice (contrary to the standards) using the specific names associated with each heresy refuted. The following doctrines are covered: sola Scripture (refuting popery, neo-orthodoxy, liberalism and the charismatics), the doctrine of God (refuting Unitarianism, Oneness theology [Modalism, Sabellianism], and tritheism), God's decrees and predestination (refuting Arminianism, fatalism [Islam]), creation (refuting Evolutionism, Pantheism and New Age and Eastern mysticism), the covenant of works, Providence (against "luck" and "accidents"), the fall of man (refuting Arminianism and Pelagianism), the covenant of grace (refuting dispensationalism), Christ our mediator (refuting Arianism [JW's], Apollinarianism, Nestorianism, Eutychianism [which led to the transubstantiation and consubstantiation heresies], the free offer of the gospel, effectual calling (contra Arminianism), justification by faith alone through Christ alone (contra Rome and the Arminians), sanctification and good works (condemning antinomianism and legalism), assurance of faith, perseverance of the saints, the law of God, Christian liberty (against pretended liberty of conscience and the imposition of legalistic standards outside of the law of God), worship (against the anti-regulativists and promoters of will-worship), the regulative principle (condemning Arminianism in worship), the Sabbath (taking the high Scottish view), lawful oaths and vows (condemning covenant breaking [churches and nations included], perjury, etc.), the civil magistrate (against pluralism, false toleration, Erastianism, and for biblical establishments), marriage, the church (contra popery, prelacy and independency [all of which are forms of sectarianism]), and the resurrection and general judgement.
Terms of Communion: Presbyterian Worship and Government (2 cassettes)
Explains and defends the third term of communion, which is "That Presbyterial Church Government and manner of worship are alone of divine right and unalterable; and that the most perfect model of these as yet attained, is exhibited in the Form of Government and Directory for Worship, adopted by the Church of Scotland in the Second Reformation." "To many readers, the subject of church government will not seem terribly exciting. Judging from the lack of contemporary literature on the topic, one might conclude that church polity is not very important. Yet, if the truth were known, many of the practical problems facing the church are the result of an abandonment of scriptural church polity. The church is not a mere social club. The church is the kingdom of Christ (Col. 1:13), subject to his rule. In the Bible, the Lord has established an ecclesiastical government by which his people are to be ruled. Just as Christ has instituted civil government to ensure civil order, so he has established ecclesiastical government to preserve order in the church (1 Cor. 14:33). A man is not free to dispense with the church's government anymore than he is at liberty to disregard the (lawful--RB) civil authorities. We do not contend that the divine order for church government extends to every detail. Obviously, the Lord did not mandate how many times the elders of the church must meet each month; nor did he prescribe any particular attire for them to wear while performing their official duties. Such incidentals are adapted to the needs and exigencies of the time and place; according to the general rules of the word, which are always to be observed. Nevertheless, the scriptures do provide an overall plan of government which the church must follow if she is to remain faithful to her Lord. Therefore, it is important to examine biblical principles of church polity," writes Kevin Reed in his Biblical Church Government. Much the same could be said regarding worship. These tapes are an excellent introductory explanation of the fundamentals of Divine Right Presbyterian church government and Divine Right Presbyterian worship. They are jam-packed with Scripture, history and sound reasoning and should be very helpful to all those seeking the Lord's will concerning these two important subjects. Price distinguishes between the elements and circumstances of worship (contra John Frame's heretical innovations, wherein he rejects these distinctions), while the vital issues of unity and uniformity, separation from false worship and false man-made church governments are not forgotten. All this is set in the context of faithfully approaching the Lord's table. "Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you" (1 Cor. 11:2).
Terms of Communion: Covenants and Covenanting (7 cassettes)
Explains and defends the fourth term of communion, which is "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." Includes the studies offered separately on the National Covenant (2 tapes), the Solemn League and Covenant (1 tape), the Auchensaugh Renovation (2 tapes), as well as two introductory lectures (only available in this set) on the biblical principles related to the ordinance of covenanting, the descending obligation of lawful covenants, objections against covenanting, etc. A thoroughly amazing set of tapes -- among our best!
Terms of Communion: The Martyrs and Historic Testimony (2 cassettes)
Explains and defends the fifth term of communion, which is "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 (i.e. The Act, Declaration and Testimony for the Whole of Our Covenanted Reformation--RB) 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." Price demonstrates how and why uninspired historical testimony must be a term of communion. A number of the same arguments apply to this question (of fencing the Lord's table based on uninspired historical testimony), as apply to fencing the table based on biblically accurate creeds and confessions -- so those that understand biblical creedalism (and close communion) should have no problem with this aspect of Reformation thought. Reformation views are also differentiated from Romish views of history, church authority, etc., as they come to bear on this point. At one of the most interesting points of this study, Price also proves how one cannot even keep the inspired commandments of God without the use of uninspired history (using the fifth and ninth commandments as examples). History is here set on its biblical foundations. Testimony is also well dealt with. Testimony is defined as "That record which a witness gives (in a court) in defense of the truth and in opposition to error." Faithful biblical testimony is shown, by various examples from inspired and uninspired history, to bring the fury of the enemy. This is where the Reformation theological rubber meets the road of experimental Christianity and disinterested self-sacrifice (often resulting in suffering and persecution as the antichristian beast [ecclesiastical and civil] is stirred from his slumber by the barbs of faithful Christian witnesses as they testify to the truth and against "all corruptions embodied in the constitutions of either churches or states" -- thus the long list of Christian martyrs throughout history).
Terms of Communion: The Practice of Truth (forthcoming, 1 cassette)
Explains and defends the sixth term of communion, which is "Practically adorning the doctrine of God our Savior by walking in all His commandments and ordinances blamelessly."
and LARRY BIRGER
Reformation Principles Re-Exhibited: An Historical Witness and Brotherly Entreaty.
Summary and Analysis of Changes within Terms of Communion of the Reformed Presbyterian Churches of Scotland and America from 1761 to the Present, and a Particular Analysis and Testimony Against the Present Day RPCNA.(August 5, 2002)
In a day of spiritual confusion and complacency, what could be more welcome than a clarion call to godly faithfulness and a clear testimony for the truth?Among the Reformed Presbyterian community, the appearance of this new book by Elder Greg Barrow and Dr. Larry Birger, Jr. should be like a magnificent flare lighting up a pitch-black night sky. The terrain that is revealed by the light might not be pretty, but the soldiers of God's Army can easily identify enemy positions and avoid them. Some may actually discover that they are surrounded by deserters and need to get back to the position marked out by the Lord.
One can tell much about a church from its terms of communion, and Barrow and Birger are able to trace the progressive defection of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA) by analysing the changes in that denomination's terms of communion.Terms of communion are the formal basis for admitting people to the Lord's Table. The RPCNA began as a Covenanter church, but later turned away from the Covenants (National and Solemn League) and defected from the Covenanter testimony. This is demonstrated in the evolution of its terms of communion, from clear, faithful terms, to loose and general ones.
The Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland (RPCS), like the RPCNA, defected from faithful terms of communion.It did this largely to make communicant membership easier for new members. "Rather than patiently teaching the people, and bringing them up to 'own' and 'acknowledge' the testimony of the past contendings of faithful witnesses (as Scripture commands), they opted to 'dumb down' their constitutional standards which were originally designed to protect the unwitting, ignorant, and the scandalous from partaking of the Lord's Supper. In so doing they declined from a more pointed testimony unto one which is more evasive, loose and general" (p. 15). This is a significant issue raised by Barrow and Birger: over time, doctrinal standards and terms of communion should become clearer and more precise. If the reverse is happening, that is undeniable evidence that a church is backsliding and progressively abandoning the Biblical attainments of previous generations.
The defection of these churches has included a growing doctrinal latitudinarianism. This leads to an important question: "How can a group of people who obviously incorporate, inculcate, and tolerate serious differences amongst themselves regarding the doctrine contained in the Westminster Confession of Faith, come to the Lord's Table professing themselves to be in agreement, and of one mind, before our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, without overtly and highhandedly violating the precepts of the ninth commandment?" (p. 28).
Barrow and Birger conclude that the "RPCNA must be accounted guilty of extreme spiritual adultery, and must be testified against"(p. 49).
This is an important document for those who would avoid the doctrinal declension of our day.
This book is also available on all the Reformation Bookshelf CDs (in the "Free Books" file) at: http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/reformation-bookshelf-CDs.htm
Freein html, PDF, and zip formats, at: http://www.reformedpresbytery.org/books/index.html
Or directly at:
Other Reformation Resources:
The Divine Right of Presbyterianism
Versus the Sin of the Independent Church Government
(and John Owen Represbyterianized) Super Sale
Westminster Confession of Faith Super Sale
Reformed Presbytery (RPNA, Covenanters)
(reconstituted after 113 years) Super Sale
Puritan Bookshelf CD Series Super Sale
Reformation Bookshelf CD Series Super Sale
Doctrinal Integrity: The Utility and Importance of Creeds and Confessions and Adherence to Our Doctrinal Standards by Samuel Miller
The Covenanted Reformation Defended Against Contemporary Schismatics: A Response and Antidote Primarily to the Neopresbyterian Malignancy and Misrepresentations, and the Manufactured "Steelite" Controversy, Found in Richard Bacon's A Defense Departed; With a Refutation of Bacon's Independency, Popery, Arminianism, Anabaptism and Various Other Heresies (Including an Exhibition of His Opposition to Scripture and the Covenanted Reformation, in General; and His Opposition to John Calvin, John Knox, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland [Especially 1638-1649], Samuel Rutherford, George Gillespie, the Testimony of the Covenanter Martyrs, the Reformed Presbytery, the Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton and a Host of Other Prominent Reformers from Past Generations, in Particular) -- With Copious Notes on Mr. Bacon's Backsliding and His Blackening of the Blue Banner; as Well as Various Replies to Other Modern Malignants by Greg Barrow (Greg Price, Reg Barrow, Larry Birger, et al.) (Though set in the context of a debate with one individual, this book addresses a number of specific problems which plague the Presbyterian and Reformed churches of our day in general. "It conclusively and irrefutably demonstrates that those churches which today call themselves Presbyterian [and even many which claim a more general Reformed heritage] have grievously departed from the Scriptural standards and principles of the previous Spirit led Reformations [of the 16th and 17th centuries]. This will become progressively [and painfully] clear as the reader witnesses evidence upon evidence of defection from biblically based Reformation attainments (Phil. 3:16) -- and the burying and/or removing of the ancient Reformation landmarks. Ultimately, when the testimony and evidence [presented in this book] is weighed in light of Scriptural verities, it is entirely safe to say that the original Reformers would not only have sought negative ecclesiastical sanctions against our modern pseudo-Reformers, but in many cases negative civil sanctions as well," writes Reg Barrow in the "Publisher's Preface." This book, of over 300 [8.5" X 11"] pages, is also offered as a cerlox bound photocopy [$14.98 US funds] or a Hardcover photocopy [$25.00 US funds]. It is also free on most of the CDs in both the REFORMATION BOOKSHELF CD set [30 CDs, http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/reformation-bookshelf-CDs.htm ] and the PURITAN BOOKSHELF CD set [32 CDs, http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/puritan-bookshelf-CDs.htm ])
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