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SAUL IN THE CAVE OF ADULLAM: A TESTIMONY AGAINST THE FASHIONABLE, SUB-CALVINISM OF DOUG WILSON (EDITOR OF CREDENDA/AGENDA MAGAZINE); AND, FOR CLASSICAL PROTESTANTISM AND THE ATTAINMENTS OF THE SECOND REFORMATION

by Reg Barrow, Copyright, 1997
(URLs and format updated August, 2003)

Much more on Doug Wilson's continued backsliding can be found at:
http://www.swrb.com/newslett/FREEBOOK/DWilson.htm

Most of the resources referenced in this book may be purchased through:

Still Waters Revival Books
(Reformation resources at great discounts!)
Contact us today for your FREE mail-order catalogue!
4710-37A Ave., Edmonton, AB, Canada T6L 3T5
E-mail: swrb@swrb.com
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(MANY FREE BOOKS on the home page!)


Notes to non-email readers:

The following debate took place over email and email formatting protocols have been retained.

In email > or >> means something written by a previous writer.

Underscoring before and after an item indicates italics and is usually used to indicate the use of a book or magazine title. Example: _A Brief Defence of Dissociation in the Present Circumstances_, outside of email, would read A Brief Defence of Dissociation in the Present Circumstances.

Asterisks are used to indicate emphasis. Example: "Distinguishing between the *essential* and *constitutional* character of the visible church (as the Reformers' did) would also be useful...", outside of email, would read "Distinguishing between the essential and constitutional character of the visible church (as the Reformers' did) would also be useful..."

Please note: A "Table of Contents" follows the "Introduction."


INTRODUCTION TO _SAUL IN THE CAVE OF ADULLAM_


by Reg Barrow


 

The following book chronicles a controversy initiated by

_Credenda/Agenda_ magazine when they published an attack on me in

their "Cave of Adullam" section. In my opinion this attack was clearly in

violation of the ninth commandment.

 

This episode with Doug Wilson (and _Credenda/Agenda_) evokes imagery

of walking down a long narrow path (the full covenanted testimony for the

truth [Rev. 12:6]), surrounded by darkness (the present apostasy from

covenanted attainments [2 Thes. 2:3] -- especially among professing

Christians and the visible church in its corporate character [Rev. 17:5]), my

way illumined by only a flashlight (the Word of God and the testimony of

faithful martyrs [Rev. 6:9] and other witnesses -- agreeable to the Word of

God [Rev. 6:9]). I and other witnesses press steadfastly and determinedly

onward, waiting for the sun to arise (when the Holy Spirit is poured out in

world transforming power [cf. Ezek. 47:1-12, especially verses 5-12]) and

illuminate not only the narrow path (Matt. 7:14), but the whole earth

(during the coming millennium glory, when the covenants will again be

nationally renewed and the biblical attainments of former generations

vindicated on a massive scale [Isa. 2:2-5, Matt. 13:31-33]). Across this

narrow path, blocking the way to further individual and corporate

sanctification, is a piece of splinter-filled, rotten wood

(_Credenda/Agenda's_ original attack against me for bearing witness, on

Knox Ring, against John Frame's apostasy and idolatry). Not wanting others

to stumble over this obstacle, I bend down to remove it (my use of Matt.

18:15-17 to restore the offenders at _Credenda/Agenda_) and use my

flashlight to illuminate the portion of path it obscured. To my surprise, in

so doing I am confronted with a den of scorpions (the heresies [some

Romish, some Anabaptist, some malignant, some independent, etc.] and

further slanderous accusations of Doug Wilson -- against classical

Protestantism and the biblical attainments of the second Reformation)! My

attempt to exterminate and remove these scorpion-like opinions from the

path of the covenanted Reformation make up much of what follows in this

book.

 

Before I continue, I must make an important caveat. This is in no way to

say that I judge Doug Wilson (or the others involved at

_Credenda/Agenda_) to be outside the invisible church -- that is for God to

decide. Throughout this book (and above) I am addressing those

statements and actions (1 Cor. 3:12-15, John 7:24, 1 Cor. 2:15) which either

have been published already or which Doug Wilson has agreed to make

public. Furthermore, as will be seen throughout my responses, the question

of what Calvin calls the "true and lawful constitution of the church" or the

"lawful form of the (visible--RB) church" (_Institutes_ 4.2.12) is often in

view. Please be sure to make the distinction between the visible church as

it is *duly constituted* and the "catholic or universal" visible church (or the

visible church as to its *essential* character) -- which "consists of all those

throughout the world that profess the true religion, together with their

children" (_Westminster Confession of Faith_ 25:2). This is an essential

biblical distinction which must be made when ecclesiastical questions are

in view (cf. Larry Birger's "The Visible Church: Essence Versus Lawful

Form" free at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/vischu.htm or write

us for this free newsletter). Getting this right would help clear up much of

the fuzzy thinking that permeates the church today. Distinguishing

between the *essential* and *constitutional* character of the visible church

(as the Reformers' did) would also be useful in eliminating a great deal of

the misdirected, misapplied and unnecessary name-calling that has been

bandied about of late (of which Wilson provides many examples

throughout his letters to me). On this point the Session of the Puritan

Reformed Church of Edmonton gives us one of the most mature and

faithful contemporary short summaries of the Reformation position,

 

"Though it is not necessary that a truly constituted church be absolutely

pure as to the doctrine taught or embraced, as to the ordinances

administered, or the public worship performed, it is, however, necessary

that its constitution be founded upon and agreeable to the Word of God

and that its constitution reflect the light attained to by the purest of

Reformed Churches (for all reformation must be biblical reformation if it is

reformation at all, otherwise it is not a reformation but a deformation, cf.

Phil. 3:16). Wherefore, to adopt a constitution that corrupts the light of

Scripture or the light of reformation is to adopt a false constitution. A false

constitution renders a church and its courts unconstitutional... for a church

to constitutionally adhere to Arminianism, Dispensationalism, or

Charismatic experientialism (false doctrine), singing uninspired hymns or

using instrumental music in public praise (false worship), Episcopacy or

Independency (false government), or unrestricted communion (false

discipline) is to qualify as a constitutionally false church. That is not to say

that there are no believers in churches that are not truly constituted (there

may be many in some cases). Nor is it to imply that ministers or elders

within those churches do not courageously stand for many truths taught in

Scripture. It is simply to say that authority to rule in the church must

come from Christ, and if a church does not have a constitution of which He

approves (as King of His church), then there is no lawful authority to rule

or to administer the ordinances on His behalf. Authority to administer the

divine ordinances on behalf of Christ flows directly from the King and His

constitution. Authority used within His church on any other grounds is an

usurped authority. It is tyranny" (_A Brief Defence of Dissociation in the

Present Circumstances_, pp. 1-2. Free on the web at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/BriefDef.htm ).

 

Those failing to make this fundamental distinction (which is seen

throughout Reformation writings dealing with ecclesiastical matters) are

liable to become trapped by the same error which now ensnares Wilson,

when he falsely labels me (and the other Covenanters in Edmonton) with

the horrible heresy of the Anabaptistic schismatics. This error is refuted

throughout the following debate and in appendix A by Greg Price in his

"Testimony Against the Unfounded Charges of Anabaptism."

 

Now, to enlarge upon the preceding allegory. After being informed of

_Credenda/Agenda's_ public assault upon my name and my company, I

initially spoke to the elders of the church I attend, seeking counsel as to

how best to proceed. Hoping, as much as possible, to keep this controversy

out of the public eye (for the sake of the brethren at _Credenda/Agenda_

and the broader testimony to the truth [2 Sam. 1:20]), and thinking that a

presentation of the facts of the case would quickly lead

_Credenda/Agenda_ to make their own public retraction, it was decided

that Greg Price (who is the teaching elder at the Puritan Reformed Church

of Edmonton, which I attend) would contact Doug Wilson. Accordingly, Mr.

Price then made four private attempts to resolve the situation brought

about by _Credenda/Agenda's_ publicly distributed false accusations. As

evidenced by the book you now hold, even after these four private

attempts at reconciliation, Doug Wilson was unwilling to repent -- and

actually hurled additional scornful and derisive barbs in our direction. At

this point I began the Matthew 18:15-17 process with Mr. Wilson, in the

hope of reclaiming this brother.

 

In short, this book follows this controversy as it unfolded after I began the

Matthew 18:15-17 process with Mr. Wilson, though it also includes those

previous items which gave rise to this dispute. The table of contents below

outlines each of the items covered. The most important letters -- i.e. my

second and fifth replies to Wilson and appendix A, Greg Price's "Testimony

Against The Unfounded Charges of Anabaptism" -- are marked with

asterisks. These three sections deal with a number of larger public issues

regarding the individual, church, and state, and help remove this

discussion from the realm of the specific slanders I addressed (appendix B,

my article "Pornography, the Anabaptists and Doug Wilson's Civil

Antinomianism" might also be added to this category). I mark them as

most important not because I seek to minimize the public slander that took

place, but because addressing Wilson's charges exposed much more serious

differences (Wilson's scorpion-like comments and beliefs) between

_Credenda/Agenda_ and the Covenanted testimony which Still Waters

Revival Books seeks to maintain. Some of the other letters (by Wilson and

myself) probably could have been left out of this collection, because they

add nothing to the more important public issues which we ended up

debating; but I have included them for those who don't mind following all

the rabbit trails that Wilson wanted to explore, hoping to justify himself as

to our original controversy. These items contain much posturing and a

repetition of previously discussed topics and can be skipped over without

missing much in the way of general edification.

 

My earnest desire is that the reader will engage himself in the **issues**

presented, rather than the personalities and controversy that started this

dispute. Appropriate (indeed, unavoidable) conclusions about Wilson and

many other modern "Reformed" teachers and guides may then be drawn

(Acts 17:11; Rom. 16:17; Prov. 19:27; I John 4:1). Greg Price's "Testimony

Against The Unfounded Charges of Anabaptism" (appendix A), is a case in

point. Here Price compares the differences between the Anabaptists'

heresies and the doctrines held by the early Reformers and covenanted

Presbyterians (i.e. the paleopresbyterians) of the second Reformation.

Without even mentioning Wilson, but by simply dealing with the issues

and historical record, Price readily demonstrates the lack of sound

scholarship exhibited by Wilson in his claims that we are Anabaptistic.

Furthermore, in an ironic (yet providential) twist, the reader familiar with

the public testimony of Doug Wilson and _Credenda/Agenda_ will observe

that they actually adopt some Anabaptistic distinctives themselves.

 

For example, the Anabaptists were among the first "Reformation" groups

to:

 

1. Introduce uninspired man-made hymns into worship;

 

2. Oppose the establishment of the one true Reformed religion (thereby

promoting theological and religious egalitarianism/pluralism and that cut-

throat of all true religion: anti-Scriptural tolerationism);

 

3. Deny the *specifics* of covenant obligations (though the Anabaptists go

much further in this than those at _Credenda/Agenda_, denying

covenanting outright);

 

4. Adopt forms of civil antinomianism (as Doug Wilson does regarding the

pornography question and negative civil sanctions in "Cyberporn: A Case

Study," _Credenda/Agenda_, vol. 7, no. 5, p. 11. See my appendix B,

"Pornography, the Anabaptists and Doug Wilson's Civil Antinomianism," for

a more detailed look at this error and its relationship to Anabaptist views).

 

Price's appendix on the Anabaptists is a fascinating study which further

reveals how far the modern "Reformed" community has fallen into some of

the heresies held by those once considered to be among the greatest

enemies of truth -- and the Reformation in general (i.e. the Anabaptists).

Remember that because of

 

"the covert nature of the Anabaptists' methodology... Knox regard(ed) the

Anabaptists as more dangerous than Papists... The 'horrible and absurd'

opinions of the Anabaptists are 'rotten heresies' and 'damnable errors.' The

adherents to such teachings are 'blasphemers' and vile slaves of proud

Lucifer.' In the _First Books of Discipline_, the Anabaptists are classed

among the 'enemies to the Christian religion.' The _Confession of the

English Congregation at Geneva_ speaks of the Anabaptists as 'limbs of

Antichrist'" (Kevin Reed's Introduction to John Knox, _A Warning Against

the Anabaptists_, reprinted 1984, pp. 13,16).

 

It may be obvious that a number of our modern day "Reformers" lay

comfortably in the bed of the Romish whore (as to specific doctrinal

aberrations and idolatrous worship practices), but it should never be

forgotten (as evidenced by Price's appendix A and my appendix B

"Pornography, the Anabaptists and Doug Wilson's Civil Antinomianism")

that many have also fallen into the deep pit of Anabaptist apostasy.

 

In my responses to Wilson (and _Credenda Agenda_), I have chosen, to a

great extent, to let our Protestant forefathers speak for themselves. They

are more than able to convincingly make the case for classical

Protestantism and the attainments of the second Reformation, thereby

displaying for us the "old paths" (Jer. 6:16) and "narrow way" (Matt. 7:14).

Of course, the path of the visible church can be profitably traced back to

the ancients (with the use of the Old Testament); but our present battle

focuses primarily on the church after she had "come of age," shedding the

ceremonies of her youth, stepping out of the shadows of the old

administration (of the covenant of grace), and into the glorious light and

freedom brought by the work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 10:1-18).

Notwithstanding our Reformation focus, I do, however, sometimes note the

post-apostolic and pre-Reformation fathers and counsels, when their

testimony is in accord with Scripture.

 

My point here is that the use of many (and sometimes lengthy) quotations

is by design, for it is these very Reformation quotations which clearly

demonstrate the point at issue. As Samuel Davies once wrote, "The

venerable dead are waiting in my library to entertain me and relieve me

from the nonsense of surviving mortals." These citations not only vindicate,

exonerate, exculpate, absolve, and acquit those walking in the "old paths"

(from the charges of those seeking to hinder them by burying Reformation

attainments), but clearly illustrate who is really following in the "footsteps

of the flock" (Song 1:8) -- or the paths of the best (or classical) Reformers

in their faithfulness to the Word of God (i.e. the paleopresbyterians) -- and

who is perpetrating and perpetuating the defection (i.e. the

neopresbyterians). The force of the arguments cited from the old

Reformers alone, even without my additional comments, is enough to crush

all the scorpions on the path -- and Greg Price's "Testimony Against the

Unfounded Charges of Anabaptism," in appendix A (replete with the

mature and faithful witness of the Reformers) completes the mopping up

operation (sweeping aside all the splinters left-over from the previously

removed rotten wood, as well as the remains of numerous dead scorpions).

After reading through to the end of our complete response, future

travellers engaging the narrow path should have a much easier time of

negotiating the treacherous portions of terrain that are sometimes

encountered in the dark night of apostasy, backsliding and declension.

Furthermore, unless additional stumbling blocks are cast in the way (by

Wilson, _Credenda Agenda_ or others), future specific responses should be

unnecessary.

 

Also, please note that at the *end of my fifth response* to Doug Wilson, in

the "P.P.S." section, I have answered five questions which Wilson has

previously asked. Four of these questions were initially directed to Greg

Price, were later repeated in *Wilson's second letter to me*, and again turn

up in Wilson's review of Frame's book noted below. All these questions

address problems Mr. Wilson seems to be having with the regulative

principle of worship as articulated by the bulk of Reformation divines.

That he continues to repeat them indicates to me that he considers these

questions serious challenges to historic Reformed worship principles. Here,

in conjunction with Wilson's review of Frame's _Worship in Spirit and

Truth_ (cf. _Credenda Agenda_, volume 8, number 5, pp. 34-35; in which

Wilson denigrates the classical Protestant position on worship by terming

it the position of the "strict regulativists"), we again see that our brother

has strayed from the narrow path. We also observe, once again, how

conclusively his objections and concerns have already been met by the

skilled teachers of old. Moreover, it is at this important juncture in the

Reformation road that Wilson seems surprisingly unaware that he would

have to include many of the Reformers, their Confessions, their faithful

acts of government, etc., under his arbitrarily chosen category of "strict

regulativism." For example: the Dutch Reformers, their older national

synods (cf. "The Organ in the Worship Service and the Singing of Hymns,"

in the forthcoming book _The Wonders of the Most High_ by Abraham Van

de Velde, pp. 125-126 -- Lord willing we will be providing this book free

of charge on our web page in the near future), "Calvin, Knox, Rutherfurd,

Gillespie, Henderson, Baillie, the Westminster Assembly, the entire church

of Scotland at the time of that Assembly, and John Owen, to name only a

few" (as Larry Birger points out in his shorter letter to the editor contained

in section ten below) would all neatly fit under Wilson's Reformation-

denying "strict regulativist" misrepresentation. Is this the classical

Protestantism which Wilson so loves to promote in the pages of

_Credenda/Agenda_? Or should this denial of biblical attainments and

faithfulness be a warning sign to those who desire to worship God as He

commands? Birger again comments, "readers should note that Doug Wilson

is not a 'classical Protestant' in his doctrine of worship. Indeed, he has set

himself squarely against (the) classical (Protestant view of worship--RB)."

 

To be a "strict regulativist" in the sense in which Wilson applies this term

in his review is in reality to be just a "regulativist" -- or one who seeks to

worship God according to His commands. By adding "strict" to "regulativist"

Wilson seeks to subtly carve out a niche for those who want to pay lip

service to the regulative principle, while denying its *particular*

requirements. This attempt to obscure the original meaning of the

regulative principle (of which the biblical interpretation has been clearly

hammered out *in great detail* in the writings of the Reformers) may

mislead the ignorant and scandalous, but it will in no way deceive those

familiar with the great Reformation battles already fought over these same

worship controversies -- controversies, I might add, in which much

martyrs' blood was shed for the same principles and practices I am

defending here). Those with eyes to see will recognize at once that, in

actuality, Wilson's review of Frame was nothing more than a subtle

attempt to deny our blood bought Reformation heritage, as it has been

handed down to us in the regulative principle of worship. Wilson's attempt

at hijacking the high ground by employing literary and historical

revisionism ultimately exposes him as an anti-regulativist. Wilson is closer

to Rome than the Reformation at this point and his practice proves it!

When it comes to the worship question he continues to ignore, in classic

neopresbyterian style, the biblical attainments of our paleopresbyterian

progenitors (and thus falls into bed with the Romish whore at points). My

proof for these claims (which may startle those unfamiliar with

Reformation history) is found in *my fifth response to Wilson* (section 7 in

the table of contents below). In this section I cover a portion of the general

history and teaching of the Reformation relating to the regulative principle

-- with particular focus on the Protestants' opinion relative to the "badge

of Popery" (i.e. organ use in public worship). This section of my fifth

response (tying Reformed ideas about close communion to the worship

question) also includes a demonstration of why the old Reformers (and

Calvin specifically) would have excommunicated John Frame for writing

(and publicly distributing) his book _Worship in Spirit and Truth_. Thus,

this section provides proof which vindicates my comments on the Knox

Ring email discussion group which the brothers at _Credenda/Agenda_

originally attacked. It also shows why Wilson would have come under the

same negative ecclesiastical sanctions (given his present positions and

practice) as Frame, had he lived in the days of the first or second

Reformations.

 

By the way, Wilson (in the book review noted above) commends Frame's

_Worship in Spirit and Truth_ as "careful and irenic" and "useful... for the

suggested critique of strict regulativists." Now, I have asked myself, why

would Wilson, if he is a classical Protestant (as he is wont to insist),

recommend Frame's idolatry promoting, innovation filled, anti-Protestant

book on worship, as a critique of the very classical Protestants he says he

upholds? In my opinion the answer is simple: Wilson is still an antinomian

when it comes to worship. The mystical conclusion (Wilson's protest that

"this is no appeal to mysticism" notwithstanding) found in the second last

paragraph of his review of Frame's book gives conclusive evidence that

this is the case. Here Wilson seems to have an empty bottle which he calls

the regulative principle, but he has yet to fill it with anything beyond a

statement noting that Jesus, as a person, is our regulative principle. How

could we agree or disagree with these words? Such statements leave us

where Wilson's review begins, with an "empty bottle" labelled subjective,

non-specific, musings on worship. Such writing is so ambiguous that it tells

us *nothing specific* about how we are to glorify God in our public

worship. Romanists, Arminians, Charismatics and a host of others, who all

violate the regulative principle (i.e. the second commandment) in their

public worship, could all agree with Wilson's empty platitudes (this is

worse than neopresbyterianism, it is the empty-headed nonsense of

modern "evangelicalism"). The Reformers wrote huge treatises on the

worship question, and the bulk of them (and their confessions) adopted

what Wilson calls the "strict regulativist" position. If Wilson wants to retain

any credibility at all on this topic he had best *specifically* declare his

position. If he denies the classical Protestant position on the regulative

principle (as Steve Schlissel does, whom Wilson approbates in his review of

Frame), then let him tell us *specifically* what he is going to put in its

place. And, let him show that he has researched the Reformers' position by

interacting with their **best** arguments for the regulative principle --

something woefully lacking in Steve Schlissel's modern assaults upon

Reformed worship and Presbyterian government.

 

We who uphold the Reformation doctrine of the regulative principle have

*specifically* set forth our *positive position* concerning public worship in

**numerous** cassette lectures and sermons, new books, republished

books, newsletters, videos, tracts, web pages, etc. -- it is our critics (Wilson,

Schlissel, etc.) turn to give us something *specific* as to their **positive

position** on the second commandment and the public worship of God. Let

them tell us *specifically*, to the best of their ability (after having studied

the relevant data), what the second commandment allows and what it

forbids. We have done that for them (and they have taken their shots at

our work); let them now do it for us and we will be happy to critique their

work (and let the readers judge who has done their homework on this

critical issue). And if this work ever gets done by the modern detractors of

Reformation worship, the readers should pay careful attention to all the

footnotes cited (to compare them with the footnotes in our critiques), so as

to determine who it is that is favorably citing the Westminster Divines, the

Reformation Dutch Synods, Calvin, Knox, Rutherford, Gillespie, Owen, and

even most of the early Independents. It should then be clear who the real

classical Protestants are, and who has set up tent in some other camp. I

also ask the reader to consider the following questions: Were the

Calvinistic Reformers and their Confessions all wrong in their

interpretation of Scripture concerning worship? Were the Lutherans,

Prelates and Romanists right? In providing the *specifics* of their position

on worship will our modern reformers prove to the onlooking Christian

community that they follow in the footsteps of the original Reformers? Or,

will they show that they follow in the footsteps of those who opposed the

Reformation? Will they adopt the classical Protestant position on worship

or will they reject it -- and be honest enough to say so publicly?

 

The regulative principle of worship is a two way street. Agree with it (and

continue to apply it faithfully to each specific act of worship, as your

understanding increases) and you are on the road to Westminster and the

Covenanted Reformation; disagree with it and (at the most basic level) you

are on the road to Rome. There is no neutrality; you either worship God

according to His appointment (Exod. 20:4-6), or you will find some human

substitute. "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the

commandments of men" (Mark 7:7). Regarding this observation as to the

degree of faithfulness one maintains to the regulative principle, R.L.

Dabney makes the same point in his book review of Girardeau's

_Instrumental Music in the Worship of the Church_. First, Dabney warns

that those who reject the classical Protestant position on the regulative

principle also reject "that vital truth which no Presbyterian can discard

without a square desertion of our principles." A second shot is fired when

he compounds his warning in this cautionary beacon, proclaiming that

those who do not adhere to what Wilson falsely calls "strict regulativism"

have -- in Dabney's own words -- "**set out at once for Rome**."

 

Though this introduction and some of my replies to Wilson contain strong

language, I hope it is clear that this project is presented with much prayer

and with a sincere desire to glorify God, unify the church, and win many

brothers back to the precious truths fought and died for during both

Reformations. To do this, the neopresbyterian nonsense that is being

passed off today as "Classical Protestantism" -- especially by those at

_Credenda/Agenda_ (and don't get me wrong, _Credenda/Agenda_ does

some very good work also) -- must be clearly exposed. In an attempt to

prepare those not accustomed to the heat of the battle (or familiar with the

many violently aggressive terms used by defenders of the faith, past and

present [Mark 8:33; Matt. 23:16; Matt. 3:7; and read Knox or Calvin]), I

caution you that some of what follows will periodically seem harsh. But

remember, the cultural effeminacy which presently pervades the churches

of the harlot (Rev. 17:5) is not our standard; the Word of God is!

 

Though the matter of _Credenda/Agenda's_ original slander is interspersed

throughout these pages, *please devote your attention to the larger issues

which arose*. I am convinced that a careful study of Scripture and history

will reveal that Doug Wilson and _Credenda/Agenda_ do not faithfully set

forth the whole counsel of God as it was articulated in the teaching of the

best Reformers -- and, as touched on already, in a number of cases they

actually oppose the biblical aspects of this teaching! The most prominent

example of Wilson's opposition to the Reformation (as you will see in our

letters) is his insistence that the position which we have adopted (being

the position of the Covenanted Presbyterians of the seventeenth century,

which included many of the Westminster Divines) is what he designates as

the Anabaptist position. Christ's church is under attack on many fronts

today, but some of the most dangerous assaults are coming from those who

lay claim to titles like "Reformed" and "Classical Protestant" -- their cries

being all the more plausible, because more truth is mixed with their error.

Yet, these same "Classical Protestant" groups and individuals not only

reject the hard teachings of the Reformation, but they also reject those who

are sent to once again bring them to light. I pray that this little book will

help to make a clear distinction (in the minds of Christians) between the

truths of Scriptural Reformation and the lies of our modern day pseudo-

Reformers and fashionable sub-Calvinists (for the sake of the Truth

[Christ], Doug Wilson and the brothers at _Credenda/Agenda_ included). It

is also my prayer that it may assist those laboring under similar false

conceptions about Scripture and the Reformation to disentangle themselves

from false teachers and pretended authorities (in both the church and the

state).

 

Though this started out as my attempt to reconcile with those who had

publicly attacked me (without provocation), it turned out to be much more.

**Again, and I can't emphasize this enough, please keep in mind that the

most important information contained here is found in those sections (my

second and fifth letters and Greg Price's work on the Anabaptists) dealing

with the broader questions related to church, state, worship, separation,

attainments, etc.** Don't be distracted by the side issues, personalities

involved, or the frailty of this writer; ***please focus on the issues***. Let

it also be known (because it is not always apparent in the heat of a battle

like this) that we (the Covenanters in Edmonton, Prince George, Red Deer,

the United States and elsewhere) mourn and grieve over the backslidden

state (especially at the constitutional level) of the visible church. We love

the Lord's covenanted Zion and pray for the day when she shall be

"terrible as an army with banners" (Song 6:10), unified in the truth (Zech.

14:9), with the nations (as nations) flowing into her (Isa. 2:2).

 

Though Gillespie applied the following words to the malignants (made up

primarily of professing Christians who opposed the covenants) of his day, I

think that these words continue to apply just as well to those antichristian

ideas (scorpions) which we are now seeking to oppose and vanquish in our

day. Gillespie, in his dying testimony against the forces of malignancy

(Sept. 8, 1648), wrote,

 

"I dare not be silent, nor conceal my thoughts of any sinful and dangerous

course in the public proceedings... I cannot but discharge my conscience in

giving a testimony against all such compliance (with the malignants--RB)...

Yea, all that hear of it (the covenant breaking compliance--RB) might justly

stand amazed at us, and look on us as a people infatuated, **that can take

in our bosom the fiery serpents that have stung us so sore**" ("To the Right

Reverend the Commission of the General Assembly" in Gillespie's _Works_

volume 2, p. 1)

 

This book is dedicated to assisting those with ears to hear, that we might

not be stung again and again by the same old poison of malignancy (only

now dressed in the modern and subtly attractive [to the flesh] attire of the

fashionable sub-Calvinists and the ever so "tolerant" [of sin] pluralistic

neopresbyterians).

 

The constitutional daughters of the harlot always claim " I have peace

offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows" (Prov. 7:14). Be not

taken in by her (Prov. 7:18), for "With her much fair speech she caused

him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him" (Prov. 7:21). We

live in times comparable to Isaiah's, and we should prepare to heed his

vision "concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham,

Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah" (Isa. 1:1).

 

"Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have

nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.

The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth

not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden

with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have

forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger,

they are gone away backward. Why should ye be stricken any more? ye

will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart

faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in

it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been

closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. Your country is

desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in

your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. And the

daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of

cucumbers, as a besieged city. Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a

very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have

been like unto Gomorrah" (Isa. 1:2-9).

 

One would have to be almost totally spiritually blind not to recognize that

we have nationally "provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger." The

result is that our cities are burned with fire, our land is devoured by

strangers (covenant breakers, antichristian and pagan) and that "the

daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of

cucumbers, as a besieged city." But the Lord has left us a remnant for "the

work of the restoring of the ruined temple of the Covenanted Reformation,

and thereby the effecting of a third Reformation" (James Kerr, as cited in

_Sermons Delivered in Times of Persecution in Scotland_ by the

Covenanted Ministers of Scotland, p. 47) and, by His grace, as long as we

have breath to speak and hands to write, we will be found proclaiming

from rooftops: THE COVENANTS SHALL BE OUR REVIVING! For we have a

sure promise from the "LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God,

that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his

commandments" (Neh. 1:5),

 

"For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry

ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine

offspring: And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the

water courses. One shall say, I am the LORD's; and another shall call

himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand

unto the LORD, and surname himself by the name of Israel" (Isa. 44:3-5).

 

May our Lord bless the reading of these debates to His glory, the faithful

renewing of His covenants (National and Solemn League), and to a return

to the biblical attainments of the covenanted Reformation.

 

For Christ's Crown and Covenant,

Reg Barrow

May 5, 1997

 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

(Asterisks indicate the three largest and most important sections)


 

1. REG BARROW'S LETTER TO KNOX RING REGARDING JOHN FRAME'S NEW

BOOK ON WORSHIP -- pp. 10-13

 

2. _CREDENDA AGENDA'S_ ("SAUL'S") ATTACK IN THE "CAVE OF ADULLAM" -- p. 13

 

3. REG BARROW'S FIRST LETTER (CHARGES AGAINST DOUG WILSON) -- pp. 13-14

 

4. ***REG BARROW'S SECOND LETTER (CHARGES AGAINST [WITH A

WITNESS] AND REPLY TO DOUG WILSON) -- pp. 14-53

 

5. REG BARROW'S THIRD REPLY TO DOUG WILSON -- pp. 53-59

 

6. REG BARROW'S FOURTH REPLY TO DOUG WILSON -- pp. 59-68

 

7. ***REG BARROW'S FIFTH REPLY TO DOUG WILSON -- pp. 68-117

 

8. ***APPENDIX A: A TESTIMONY AGAINST THE UNFOUNDED CHARGES OF

ANABAPTISM by Greg Price -- pp. 117-139

 

9. APPENDIX B: PORNOGRAPHY, THE ANABAPTISTS AND DOUG WILSON'S

CIVIL ANTINOMIANISM by Reg Barrow -- pp. 139-157

 

10. APPENDIX C: LARRY BIRGER'S LARGER AND SHORTER "LETTERS TO THE

EDITOR" OF _CREDENDA AGENDA_ -- pp. 157-160

 

11. APPENDIX D: THE TESTIMONY OF THE SESSION OF THE PURITAN

REFORMED CHURCH OF EDMONTON REGARDING THIS MATTER -- p. 160

 

12. APPENDIX E: FOR FURTHER STUDY OF CLASSICAL PROTESTANTISM AND

THE ATTAINMENTS OF THE SECOND REFORMATION -- pp. 160-170

 swrb-puritan-hard-drive > Puritan Hard Drive


1. REG BARROW'S LETTER TO KNOX RING
REGARDING JOHN FRAME'S NEW BOOK
ON WORSHIP


Distributed By:

JOHN OWEN BUTLER

Pastor-Teacher

Beal Heights PCA

Lawton, Oklahoma

United States of America

Moderator, The Knox Ring

INTERNET: jbutler@sirinet.net

WWW: http://www.sirinet.net/~jbutler/index.htm

================== INDEX ===================

Items posted in KR960704 are as follows:

 

Item #1 From: swrb@swrb.com (Reg Barrow)

Subject: Worship in Spirit and Truth

 

Paul R. Ipema writes:

(snip)

>

>I am especially interested to see any comments relating to Frame's

assessment

>of the traditional Puritan view of the regulative principle as "minimalist."

> James Jordan has described this view as "sectarian." [See his <Liturgical

>Nestorianism and the Regulative Principle

>published by Transfiguration Press, 1994].

>Although I cannot agree with or endorse all of what Professor

>Frame has written, I find Professor Frame's discussion to be useful in

>sorting through this issue as a pastor who wishes to take seriously the

>regulative principle of worship and apply it consistently in our worship.

 

Reg Barrow replies:

 

I've recently written a book review of Kevin Reed's _Canterbury Tales_

which dealt primarily with James Jordan and his heretical views

concerning worship. It is called "A Warning Against the False and

Dangerous Views of James Jordan Concerning Worship." From the quotes

that I have seen here and elsewhere, taken from Frame's new book, I

would say that much of my warning against Jordan would apply equally

well to Frame. This book review may be helpful and is posted on Still

Waters Revival Books (SWRB) web page at:

 

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/BlastJJ.htm

 

I have also asked an author that I know (who has already read Frame's

entire book) to produce a review which will warn people of the subtle and

dangerous views that Frame is publicly putting forth.

 

Kevin Reed's _Canterbury Tales_, is also available (FREE of charge) on

SWRB's web page at:

 

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/Canterbu.htm

 

Furthermore, Carlos Eire's book _War Against the Idols: The Reformation of

Worship from Erasmus to Calvin_ is an indispensable aid in researching

this topic - especially since Eire does not have an axe to grind concerning

this issue. More information on Eire's scholarly work (published by

Cambridge University Press) is at:

 

http://www.swrb.com/newbooks/newbe.htm

 

I think that Eire's _War Against the Idols_ proves beyond a shadow of a

doubt that Calvin would have excommunicated both Frame and Jordan

without a second thought - given the idolatrous nature of their beliefs

regarding public worship.

 

I draw the same *general* conclusion at the end of my article "PSALM

SINGING IN SCRIPTURE & HISTORY" (in the section "Psalmody, Separation,

and the Lord's Supper). This newsletter can be viewed at:

 

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/crtpssing.htm

 

A FREE copy of Calvin's _Necessity of Reforming the Church_, which is most

germane to this subject is also located at:

 

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/NRC_ch00.htm

 

I would also note that those who introduce innovations into the public

worship of God (contrary to the second commandment) are the real

sectarians; for they destroy the unity of the body of Christ. This topic is

covered in its relation to exclusive Psalmody (in a book which I

republished) in two articles titled "The Catholicity of the Psalter" - found in

_The Psalms in Worship_ edited by John McNaugher (at:

 

http://www.swrb.com/catalog/m.htm )

 

Moreover, the following quote by Jeremiah Burroughs should always be

kept in mind when dealing with the subject of worship:

 

"The nearer a false worship approaches to a true one, the more dangerous

it is. Israel came nearer to the true worship of God than the heathens: now

the prophet saith not, Though the heathens be idolators, yet let not Judah

be so too; but, 'Though Israel play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend.'

There was more danger that Judah should be drawn aside by Israel, than

that they should be drawn aside by any of the heathen. And so there is

more danger that we, at this day, should be drawn aside by those that join

with us in many things that are right, than by papists, who are hateful to

us, and whose ways we see to be abominable. There is not so much danger,

especially for those that profess godliness, of being drawn aside by those

who grossly violate the laws of God, as by brethren that join with us in

many things that are right, and come very near to the true worship of

God... We must not approach places calculated to draw us into sin,

especially to false worship... It is dangerous to indulge curiosity in visiting

places of idolatry..."

 

("Comments on Hosea 4:15 by Jeremiah Burroughs [1599-1646]" cited in

_The Original Covenanter and Contending Witness_ magazine [vol. 1, #19,

Sept. 10/93, pp. 416-417], Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Publishing,

write: P.O. Box 131, Pottstown, PA 19464 USA for a free sample issue).

 

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

_Biblical Worship_ by Kevin Reed

_Concerning Close Communion_ by W.J. McKnight

_Shunning the Unlawful Rights of the Ungodly_ by John Calvin

_Reformation Worship and Separation from Idolatry_ by Reg Barrow

_Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church_ by J.L.

Girardeau

_The Songs of Zion: A Contemporary Case for Exclusive Psalmody_ by M.

Bushell

_Foundation for Reformation: The Regulative Principle of Worship_ by Greg

Price

_Making Shipwreck of the Faith: Evangelicals and Catholics Together_ by K.

Reed

_The Badge of Popery: Musical Instruments in Public Worship_ by R.J.

George

_Paleopresbyterianism Versus Neopresbyterianism_ by Michael Wagner

_A Dispute Against English Popish Ceremonies_ by George Gillespie

_Westminster Confession of Faith_ by the Westminster Divines

_Selected Writings of John Knox_ by John Knox

_Close Communion_ by R.J. George

 

Sincerely, Reg Barrow, President, STILL WATERS REVIVAL BOOKS

ALL FREE BOOKS at: http://www.swrb.com/ - follow FREE

BOOKS link

swrb@swrb.com 4710-37A Ave. Edmonton AB Canada T6L 3T5

Voice: +1 780 450 3730 Fax (orders only): +1 780 468 1096

(Discount Christian resources by mail-order. ASK for a FREE catalogue!)

 

END KNOX RING (URL's in "Item #1" above have been updated from original

posting)

 


2. _CREDENDA AGENDA'S_ ("SAUL'S")
ATTACK IN THE "CAVE OF ADULLAM"


Cave of Adullam

Mutterings on the Regnant Follies

Rennis Dodman (i.e. _Credenda Agenda's_ editorial staff-- RB)

Great Experiments in Telepathy

 

Reg Barrow is the president of Still Waters Revival Books. He hasn't read

John Frame's new book on worship, but he thinks it is heresy anyway. In a

public on-line discussion of the book he calls it "subtle and dangerous." He

finds Frame's view that we are allowed to sing hymns, whether new and

old, a little hotter than he can handle. And Frame is acting "contrary to the

second commandment," and is a "real sectarian." And to top off his

musings, Barrow claims that Calvin would have excommunicated Frame

"without a second thought." And all this insight without reading the book!

 

We have not read all Barrow's comments on Frame, and that which we did

read was not read very carefully--but that should present no barrier to

the rigorous exchange of ideas!

(Excerpted from _Credenda Agenda_ magazine, volume 8, number 4)

 


3. REG BARROW'S FIRST LETTER
(CHARGES AGAINST DOUG WILSON)


 

Doug:

 

(This is not a letter to the editor for public use at this time).

 

I am writing in accordance with Christ's instruction in Mt. 18:15 that we

should seek to settle offences, if possible, in private before going public.

 

I had hoped you would have done the same with me before printing

"Telepathy." In fact, when I was first told (by one of SWRB's customers)

about what you had allowed, as editor of _Credenda/Agenda_, to be

printed in this section, I refused to believe him until I had checked your

web page for myself. You not only did not contact me then, but in the

intervening time you have not contacted me in order to address this

matter (though the teaching elder at the church I attend has repeatedly

reminded you of this offence via email). Sadly, this is not only an offence

that separates us as brothers in Christ (viz., your slanderous satire of my

name concerning my the defence of the truth on Knox Ring); we are also

separated by your apparent lack of love (at any time before the printing of

the article in _Credenda_ or since) to privately address your concerns to

me. Notwithstanding, I would much rather do everything in my power to

see this situation resolved in a manner that is pleasing to God (before this

becomes a larger public scandal).

 

Doug, I have always considered you and those that work with you as

friends. I have carried some of your books, linked you to my web page,

sent copies of your magazine (I get 100 copies of each) all around the

world with our orders (covering the extra postage myself), published your

magazine address in my catalogue in a number of locations (free of charge

and without your solicitation – reaching over 50,000 people), etc. I have

also spoken with you (and some of your associates) on the phone and have

always found the conversation cordial and interesting. I have long prayed

for your work and still continue to do so (even since you slandered me in

your "Telepathy" article). I would have hoped that such previous good will

between us would have warranted (at least) a personal contact before you

proceeded with attacking me publicly. To say the least I am grieved on a

number of counts. Furthermore, I can easily prove that what you said was

not true, and you certainly can't prove the contrary (i.e. that I had not read

the Frame book before speaking against it). Yet, in spite of all of our

previously unsuccessful (private) attempts to resolve this matter with you

(through Greg Price), I still think that I should make this one last private

attempt at remedying this situation. I guess I still hope that all my prayers

(of the past five or six years) for you and those at Credenda/Agenda will

still be answered (especially in regard to your coming up to the

attainments of the covenanted Reformation). Hopefully this information

will give you a little bit of an idea as to why I am reluctant to expose your

sin to our large public audience – and as to why I have not done so

already (though it would have been perfectly legitimate to do so).

 

Doug, I plead with you to acknowledge your public violation of the ninth

commandment in this case. You have allowed that which was not true

(about me) to be published in your "Cave of Adullam" column

(_Credenda/Agenda_, Vol. 8, No. 4) – under the pseudonym of "Rennis

Dodman" (thus, this letter also applies to whoever actually wrote the

"Telepathy" piece, though you have not been willing to give us this name).

I also ask, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that you repent of this

public scandal by taking all appropriate steps to indicate your repentance.

If you were to sincerely repent, and print a full retraction in the "Cave of

Adullam," then I believe that you would have not only made things right

in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of man (Rom. 12:17). This

would also allow me to point people to your retraction, as they bring the

matter up, and quell any ensuing scandal.

 

I pray that the Lord will grant you both the humility and courage to do

what is equitable in this matter.

 

Please respond at your earliest possible convenience.

 

Sincerely,

Reg Barrow, President, STILL WATERS REVIVAL BOOKS

 


4. *REG BARROW'S SECOND LETTER
(CHARGES, WITH A WITNESS, AGAINST
AND REPLY TO DOUG WILSON)


 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

Monday, January 20, 1997

 

Doug:

 

This is not a letter to the editor, but please consider it as fulfilling the

second step of recovering a wayward brother, in accord with Matt. 18:16.

My witness is Larry Birger, Jr. Should you fail to repent after this letter, I

will be taking this matter to the church (as Matt. 18:17 commands). Public

testimonies will follow.

 

Also, I am well aware that I could have immediately rebuked you publicly

for your sin of lying about me in _Credenda/Agenda_ "Cave of Adullam"

column (_Credenda/Agenda_, Vol. 8, No. 4). But to be absolutely above

reproach, and for the sake of the Gospel, I wanted to go as many extra

miles as I could (though *now* my tone will be much more straight

forward) concerning the public scandal necessitated by what you have

published.

 

I must also say, that the side issues that we have been drawn into as a

result of your slander (of myself) have certainly caused me to reflect on

the words of the Reformed Presbytery,

 

"In this age of boasted charity, but really 'detestable neutrality and

indifferency,' it is an irksome and painful task, but a duty, thus to bear

testimony against churches, in which are to be found, no doubt, many

precious sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty. But personal piety

never was, nor possibly can be, the condition of fellowship in the visible

church. To think so, and say so, is one of the most popular delusions of the

present day. It puts the supposed pious man, speaking his experience, in

the place of God, speaking his sovereign will in the Bible. This is the height

of impiety" (_Act, Declaration and Testimony for the Whole of Our

Covenanted Reformation_, [1876 edition] SWRB reprint 1995, p. 175).

 

This whole exercise has certainly been a most "irksome and painful task,"

but one that I hope will be profitable to you (and to others that may see

these exchanges in the future).

 

Furthermore, I would also like to state at the outset of this response that

my correspondence has been produced in the prayerful hope (and with the

Christian love that does not suffer sin upon a neighbor, Lev. 19:17) that

you would be granted repentance in regard to your initial lies about me;

and now, that you would also be granted repentance in regard to the

various anti-Reformation, anti-Covenanter and, of course, anti-Scriptural

errors that you espouse (that have been made manifest by your previous

responses to our attempts at reconciliation). I also hope that you noticed

the phrase "many precious sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty" in

the citation by the Reformed Presbytery above. It will be useful, as you

read my response, to keep the distinction between an individual (and his

status before the Lord) and the visible church (constitutionally considered)

in the forefront of your mind. Missing, obscuring, or forgetting this

distinction will definitely diminish the usefulness of what I have written,

likely causing the issues to be clouded by emotive responses, unthinking

caricature and the construction of not a few straw men. My hope, in

sending you this second private admonishment (though it would have been

perfectly legitimate to have publicly rebuked you long ago), is that you

will publicly repent before I am forced to take more drastic measures to

clear my name, the name of Still Waters Revival Books and the biblical

truths set forth by the covenanting Reformers of both Reformations (with

regards to the false aspersions which you have cast upon us).

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>December 19, 1996

>

>Dear Reg and Pastor Greg,

>

>I want to take the liberty of speaking somewhat plainly. This is not

because

>I am angry or provoked, and certainly not because we despise your

persons or

>the valuable work you have done over the years for the cause of Christ.

Our

>love for you may be difficult for you to see, but rest assured that we want

>to treat you lawfully with a whole heart (ninth commandment included).

In

>his letter, Reg reminded me of the support you have given our ministry in

>the past (for which we thank you again), and would only want to remind

you

>that the support and reinforcement was mutual. We promoted and helped

your

>ministry as well, and it saddens us to see you throwing it all down (what

>appears to me) an anabaptist drain.

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

That you continue to throw out the word Anabaptist is a clear indication

that you have no understanding of the second Reformation (on the points

in question) or the position that we now occupy. Were Rutherford and the

other "minority" ministers, who separated themselves (to avoid schism),

from the apostatizing Resolutioners, Anabaptists -- because they valiantly

championed separation from corrupted and corrupting churches? Was

James Renwick, the only minister to uphold faithfully the covenanted

attainments of the Church of Scotland (when he was martyred near the

close of the "killing times") an Anabaptist -- because he valiantly

championed separation from corrupted and corrupting churches? Before

the second Reformation was Calvin an Anabaptist when he pushed for

excommunication (and civil sanctions) against those who would not

covenant under the _Confession of Faith of Geneva_? What about Knox?

Athanasuis? Paul (2 Thes. 3:6)? the men of Judah (Hosea 4:15-19),

Jeremiah (Jer. 15:15-20), etc.? Hundreds of other examples can be cited. If

these men were Anabaptists, then we are too -- for we (and not you) are

occupying the same ground they did regarding separation. But to say that

these men were Anabaptists is to deny Scripture and the historic Christian

testimony (particularly the first and second Reformations), and this is

exactly what you do every time you call us Anabaptists.

 

This type of slander (i.e. calling Covenanters Anabaptists) was a common

tactic used by malignants (i.e. covenant opposers) in the days of the Second

Reformation, as I will show in the future if our problems become more

public. Furthermore, many of the positions that you have publicly

espoused (regarding Christian liberty, the church, civil government,

subscription to confessions, worship, open communion, etc.) are in reality

much closer to the Anabaptist positions than they are to the position of the

best Reformers (as will also be made known publicly in the future, if

necessary).

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>The culmination of your doctrinal

>"progress" will not be at all what you envision now. My distinct perception

>is that, unless you are careful, all your work for reformation is going to

>disappear in a tiny little perfectionistic puff of smoke.

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

How did you arrive at this "distinct perception"? You know nothing of the

great things that God is now doing from our base here in Edmonton -- or

what his plans for us are (not to mention that the matter of size is

irrelevant; truth is what we seek). Nevertheless, we have, by the grace of

God, distributed 115,000 catalogues in the last 16 months (and are aiming

at distributing between 200,000 and 500,000 catalogues in 1997),

published over 500 books in the last 5 years (or so), distributed over 1

million tracts and newsletters (many of them free of charge), planted three

covenanted churches (with upwards of 100 new possible plants marked on

the computer -- one as far away as Australia) and at the present rate we

are getting well over 500,000 hits a year on our web page (where we offer

over 100 free Reformation books and other articles). Many other projects

are in the works, but the point is we do not "despise the day of small

things" -- for in our prayers we are asking for much more (Eph. 3:20) --

viz. the re-establishment of covenanted Presbyterian nations and national,

faithful, covenanted Presbyterian churches worldwide.

 

I guess when we see God honoring our "tiny little perfectionistic puff" with

even the limited success noted above, we are exceedingly thankful; and the

increased attacks (generally, not necessarily referring to you) from the

wicked one just seem to spur us on.

 

J.A. Alexander's comment on Isaiah 6:13 also provides an appropriate

picture of our contemporary situation concerning the spiritual vitality of

the church,

 

"However frequently the people may seem to be destroyed, there shall still

be a surviving remnant, and however frequently that very remnant may

appear to perish, there shall still be a remnant of the remnant left, and this

indestructible residuum shall be the holy seed, the true church."

 

That we may be relatively small *now* is no deterrent (and it never has

been to those who love Christ) to continue to follow hard upon "the whole

counsel of God;" for we are assured that the faith that we publish will one

day cover the whole earth (Isa. 2:2-5; Ezek. 47:1-12; Ps. 72; Matt. 13:31-

33). Furthermore, seeing that the Dragon presently gives his power unto

the beast and that the testimony of the two witnesses (who prophesy

during the great apostasy, Rev. 11:3) is almost silenced, only further

attests to the truth of the classical Protestant eschatology of Historicism --

contrary to the Jesuit planted views of Futurism and Preterism (see our

free article, "Apocalyptic Interpretation," on the origins of the six major

eschatological systems, at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/ApocInt.htm or

write for a free copy of this tract).

 

By the way, if you take the reckoning of some of the old Historicists, who

place the beginning of the millennium sometime in the next hundred years

or so, who knows, this revival of the covenanted Reformation -- which has

begun to be published from Edmonton (with hundreds of the classics from

the best Presbyterian and Reformed authors being placed back in print for

the first time in centuries) -- could be the precursor to preparing the

nations for that blessed period which is to come (cf. Thomas Houston's

_Unity and Uniformity in the Church_, [1881] SWRB reprint 1996 and

Appendix D in _The Ordinance of Covenanting_ by John Cunningham

[1843], SWRB reprint 1996). I am no date setter, but it is interesting to

think (and pray) about, for what took place during the days of the writing

and international subscriptions to the Solemn League and Covenant has

been cited before as a foretaste of the millennial glory to come. The

Reformed Presbytery writes,

 

"These modern pigmies are too far dwarfed in intellectual stature to

measure the altitude, of our glorious Covenanted Reformation -- a

Reformation which, imbedded in the law and the covenant of God, has

already brought civil and ecclesiastical freedom to many millions; and

which is doubtless destined to be laid in the foundation of reconstructed

society in the millennial period of the world" (_A Short Vindication of Our

Covenanted Reformation_, [1879] SWRB reprint 1996, p. 4).

 

James Kerr, on the Sabbath, June 20th, 1880, in a sermon preached in

Greyfriar's Churchyard, in Edinburgh, titled "A Third Reformation

Necessary: or, the Piety, Principles, and Patriotism of Scotland's Covenanted

Martyrs; With Application to the Present Times," makes the same point

concerning the monumental character of the international transactions that

transpired during the Covenanters' combat with the forces of antichrist.

While also giving us great insight into some of the most important battles

of Second Reformation warfare, Kerr proclaims, regarding the combat of

these faithful witnesses,

 

"They stood for the Supreme Authority of the Holy Scriptures; for the

Exclusive Headship of the Lord Jesus over the Church; for the Church's

independent spiritual jurisdiction and power; for the Divine right of

Presbytery; for the purity of worship in the Church and the Church's

freedom from all unauthorized rites and ceremonies. They stood for every

pin of the tabernacle, for every item of truth to which they had attained...

'Whose faith follow.' Let us embrace those doctrines affecting the Church's

existence, privileges and prosperity, for which the martyrs suffered, and

let us imitate their fidelity to the high attainments of a preceding period.

The great Scriptural doctrines for which they were honoured to contend

and which constituted the Church's glory, are still more or less lightly

esteemed by even many professing Christians and ecclesiastical

denominations... (A)rminianism is making rapid strides to popularity.

Dishonour is done to the royal prerogative of Christ as Zion's King by those

Churches that appeal to or base the claim of rights upon the Revolution

Settlement -- a Settlement that proceeded upon Erastian principles and left

many of the attainments for which the martyrs suffered in the oblivion to

which the Stuarts had consigned them... The doctrine of Christ's Exclusive

Headship over His own Church, and of the freedom of the Church under her

exclusive head, requires to be vindicated and testified for against all

modern departures therefrom. There is need to maintain and propagate

the doctrine of the Divine right of the Presbyterian form of Church

government, for at the present time only two of the Churches -- and these

among the smallest -- hold this doctrine in all its Scriptural completeness.

There is a need to maintain the high scriptural doctrine concerning the

modes of worship in the Church, that no rite or ceremony is to be

introduced into the forms of worship for which an express prescription,

direct or indirect, cannot be produced from God's Own Word. The additions

to the Church's worship of forms of human invention, and called for in

order to the gratification of mere religious fashion, constitute one of the

saddest signs of the present time. 'As though God has been defective,' as

Charnock writes with reference to such innovators, 'in providing for His

own honour in His institutions, and modelling His own service, but stood in

need of our directions and the *caprichios* of our brains. In this they do

not seem to climb above God, yet they set themselves on the throne of God,

and would grasp one end of His sceptre in their own hands. They do not

attempt to take the crown from God's head but discover a bold ambition to

shuffle their hairy scalps under it, and wear a part of it upon their own.'

**By the unflinching maintenance and profession of these doctrines, then,

we are to prove ourselves the legitimate descendants of Scotland's

Covenanted Martyrs.** This duty may draw down upon us reproach and

shame, but, as the doctrines are Scriptural, the shame, like that of the

martyrs, is transformed into glory. These doctrines are not now popular

nor fashionable; still they are in advance of this age and prevailing

ecclesiastical opinions, and they shall be popular and fashionable in the

Church everywhere when 'God shall help her, and that at the breaking of

the morning.' They shall have a resurrection with power, when Zion shall

be set upon the mountains, and when the glory of her King shall array her,

they shall be triumphant when the whole banner for the truth shall wave

upon the battlements of the Millennial Church of Jesus" (Cited in _Sermons

Delivered in Times of Persecution in Scotland_ [1880 ed., SWRB reprint

1996], pp. 32-35, emphases added).

 

Hetherington, concerning the Solemn League and Covenant (the epitome of

second Reformation attainments), also comments that "no man who is able

to understand its nature, and to feel and appreciate its spirit and its aim,

will deny it to be the wisest, the sublimest, and the most sacred document

ever framed by uninspired men" (_History of the Westminster Assembly

of Divines_, [1856] SWRB reprint 1993, p. 134).

 

When the churches and nations are granted repentance in (or preparing

for) the millennium they will be found "going forth by the footsteps of the

flock" (Song 1:8) and not turned "aside by the flock of thy companions" (i.e.

those that appear religious but are actually a hindrance to the work of the

building of Christ's kingdom, Song 1:7, cf. Douglas' _Strictures on Occasional

Hearing_, [1820] SWRB reprint 1996); and there is no "footstep of the

flock" more clearly distinguished in the bedrock of history (since the days

of the apostles) than the Solemn League and Covenant; followed by those

footsteps of second Reformation attainments outlined by Kerr above

(concerning the primacy of Scripture as it is applied to purity of worship,

doctrine, and government in Christ's church).

 

By God's most magnificent grace this Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian

testimony is now also *our* testimony (as it is applied to the present

circumstances in our day); exhibiting another aspect of truth (i.e. testimony

bearing) which has been buried among the ruins of the covenanted

Reformation by the ecclesiastical beast (cf. Steele's _Notes on the

Apocalypse_, pp. 192f., 306, etc.) as he is seen to rise up in the apostate

modern churches. Regarding specific testimony-bearing (both for the truth

and against apostasy) Howie comments, in his 1779 Preface to the original

edition of _Sermons in Times of Persecution_, on the specific content of

Covenanter preaching (as cited below). Think hard, Doug, as you read this

fine summary of the covenanted or second Reformation. See if your claims

to be Presbyterian, a "classic Protestant," and a promoter of the covenanted

Reformation resemble anything like what really took place during this

watershed period of history. If you are an honest man I think it will be

becoming more and more apparent (as you read quotes like this, and the

rest of this letter) that you are far from the biblical attainments of the

covenanted Reformation. What these saints fought and often died for is a

far cry from the trendy, fashionable sub-Calvinism which you promote. But

here are Howie's comments,

 

"In the following discourse, a doctrinal banner is lifted up for the divine

right of Presbytery -- that is, the doctrine, worship, discipline, and

government of the Reformed Church of Scotland, as contained in her

excellent Standards, Confession of Faith, Catechisms, etc. But how stands

the case in this with us at present? For, not to mention these

Machiavellians, court parasites, Platonic saints, or baptized heathens,

whose wit is either some lascivious hint, or some broken jest upon

Scripture, and who can profess one religion to-day and another to-morrow,

or turn every way wherever the ministerial magnet leads them; or these

gentlemen of the *Beau-monde*, who ofttimes distinguish themselves by

the name of free-thinkers, under which may be comprehended all

Atheists, all Deists, Unitarians, Pelagians, Socinians, Arminians, etc. How

many different sects are there amongst us, whose principles (if they have

any) say that the government and discipline of the Church of Christ is a

thing purely ambulatory, that may be moulded or metamorphosed into

any form or fashion that best suits their local circumstances and the

political constitution of the kingdoms of this world will admit of. For, not to

mention Episcopalians, Independents, anabaptists, Glassites, Bereans,

Methodists, and Moravians, such a loose and vague scheme of sentiment

now obtains amongst many of the Presbyterian persuasion that, under the

notion of what they call charity, moderation, and liberty of conscience,

they can admit of almost all the forementioned tribes unto their

communion upon a bare supposition of their visible saintship (a common

error in our day--RB), or what they term sincerity in the main, without

any other test of orthodoxy than what they define the fundamentals of

Christianity. Every other creed, confession, or article of faith (if compiled

by men, though founded upon and agreeable to Scripture) must be

reprobated and discarded; and all formal testimony bearers are accounted

by them precisians, bigots, men of narrow, contracted judgements, and

illiberal sentiments, 'The Word of God (say they) is our testimony.' But

what is all this? Almost every heretic that appears in the Church will tell

us the same. Indeed a better testimony than this cannot be. But then the

Word of God properly can be no man's testimony, it is God's own

testimony. It is above eighteen times, in one portion of Scripture so called

(Ps 119). 'we declare unto you the testimony of God,' says the apostle. It is

also called the testimony of Jesus, 'The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of

prophecy.' And unto every truth, particularly that called the present truth,

every one of His professing people is to give a explicit adherence, and this

is called their testimony. 'And when they shall have finished their

testimony,' and they 'overcame by the word of their testimony.' But to

tantalize or soothe up the minds of the credulous they must needs own the

thirty-three chapters of the Confession too. And who thanks them to own

that which their own hand-writing binds them unto? But as this seems

now a point of mere form, it will likely in a little [while--RB] go out of

fashion [how prophetic--RB]; for, while some are using means to be

disentangled from that obligation, others subscribe with a mental

reservation (like Arius's paper [and the John Frame's of our day--RB]) in

their bosom; a third, to anticipate all this, must need engage with his own

explanation upon it. But hear the divine mandate, 'Son of man, shew them

the house, and all the forms, and all the ordinances thereof.' 'Hold fast the

form of sound words.'" (Cited in _Sermons Delivered in Times of

Persecution in Scotland_ [1880 ed., SWRB reprint 1996], pp. 62-63).

 

Is this your testimony for the covenanted Reformation, Doug? Close

communion? Divine Right Presbyterianism? "Strict regulativism" regarding

worship (as you would call it)? Separation from apostates (including

Arminians)? Strict subscriptionism (the only subscriptionism in keeping

with the third and ninth commandments)? etc. etc.

 

Furthermore, so far from believing our work will "disappear in a tiny little

puff of perfectionistic smoke," as is your dim prognosis, we are very

excited at the ramifications of this revival of the covenanted reformation

here, and increasingly, elsewhere. Our faithful forbears expected great

things to come of the covenanted reformation, and so do we, and thus we

cry exultingly and confidently (as good postmillennialists) with James

Guthrie (spoken as he stood upon the scaffold in anticipation of the

martyrs crown) "The Covenants, the Covenants shall yet be Scotland's

reviving!" And, we would add, not only Scotland's reviving, but that of the

whole world!

 

Moreover, and especially in the light of the above (and following)

quotations and Scripture proofs, it is *not* perfectionism to insist on

constitutional adherence to Reformation attainments at a corporate level

(ecclesiastically and civilly) -- and it certainly isn't in any way akin to the

anabaptist heresy! To the contrary, it is *essential* to sanctification, both

individually and corporately, to require maintenance of the growth in

grace that God has granted thus far. As Scripture commands of individual

believers: "Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by

the same rule, let us mind the same thing" (Phil. 3:16). Does this not apply,

*a fortiori*, to the moral person ecclesiastically (and civilly also)? If not,

how can one ever obey the fifth commandment at a corporate level? How

can anyone know what they have "already attained", if they do not

understand and know the preceding history upon which to differentiate

what they consider biblical attainments from what are not biblical

attainments? God often calls His people to remember those who have been

faithful in following Christ (Heb. 11) and the Old Testament is full of

examples in which we see God directing his people to hearken back to the

attainments and defections of the past (Judg. 2:20-22; Mal. 2:8-10; Dan.

9:16; Deut. 1:35; Deut. 4, etc.), as a means of teaching them present public

and private duties and responsibilities.

 

Furthermore, in conjunction with this point on attainments, you seem to

have no idea about how history is a term of fellowship. At a very simple

level this principle can be illustrated in the relationship between parents

and children. Tell me, how would a child obey the fifth commandment if he

did not know who his parents were? Does this not hold true regarding an

individual's responsibility concerning civil and ecclesiastical government in

their capacity as moral persons? -- though as Rutherford points out in

_Lex, Rex_ there are some important differences that need to be accounted

for, between natural parental authority and civil or ecclesiastical authority,

when one is attempting to determine the lawfulness of any given "power;"

cf. _Lex, Rex_ pages 3-5 and especially page 71.

 

The Reformed Presbytery gives us the answer concerning the question of

history as term of fellowship (in *their* testimony on this point):

 

"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 obligations,

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." (_Act, Declaration and Testimony for the Whole of Our Covenanted

Reformation_, [1876 edition] SWRB reprint 1995, p. 178).

 

It is clear, then, that we can obey the fifth commandment with respect to

our natural parents only by uninspired historical testimony. Equally so, it

is only by uninspired historical testimony that we can know who our

ecclesiastical and civil "parents" are, and so obey the fifth commandment

respecting them.

 

This is why we *must* require adherence to historical attainments in

reformation as a bond of fellowship if truly we are to promote the unity,

purity, and growth of the church. If we do not demand (as do the

Scriptures -- I Cor. 11:19; Eph. 4:11-16; Phil. 3:16; II Cor. 10:8; 13:8,10;

etc.) that history be a bond of fellowship, we will have an impossible time

determining, with certainty, if we are submitting to our mother or to a

harlot (ecclesiastically), to our father or to the beast (civilly). God

*commands* submission to lawful authority, but nowhere in his word does

he give us the names of the authorities to whom we are to submit.

Likewise, he *commands* us *not* to submit to unlawful authority, but,

again, does not tell us specifically who these alleged "powers" are. In the

nature of the case, then, we must look *outside* Scripture (using Scripture

as our criteria) in order to *obey* Scripture. With reference to the church,

those possessing lawful authority from Christ cannot be determined simply

by an abstract, ahistorical test: it is impossible to judge whether an alleged

authority is working for the truth or against it (2 Cor. 13:8; Eph. 4:11-16)

apart from an evaluation of the level of sanctification granted the church

thus far in redemptive history (Prov. 22:28; Rev. 2:25), and whether that

alleged authority is maintaining and building upon this sanctification or

rather destroying it. Thus, Paul describes his lawful authority as "power

which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction" (2 Cor.

13:10). Backsliding from attained growth in grace (i.e. corporate

sanctification) is not edification, but destruction. Therefore, no "authority"

working against any of these former biblical attainments bears God's

stamp of approval: God has granted no authority for backsliding. For more

on this topic see my _A Contemporary Covenanting Debate; Or, Covenanting

Redivivus_ FREE at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CovDebRB.htm (or as

a bound photocopy from SWRB), especially the last half (in the sections)

dealing with ecclesiastical and civil attainments. A very helpful exposition

of these principles, as they apply to the civil government, is also found in

Greg Price's, _Biblical Civil Government vs. the Beast; and the Basis for Civil

Resistance_, FREE at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/BibCG_GP.htm (or as

a bound photocopy from SWRB).

 

To put a little sharper point on this part of the discussion, Shield's classic

_A Hind Let Loose_ ([1678, 1797 ed.] SWRB reprint 1995) demonstrates

how separation from backsliding churches has long been considered the

classical Protestant position,

 

"5. 'It is granted by *all that write against separatists*, that separation

from a church is lawful, when the case so falleth out, that union cannot be

kept up with her without sin,' Voet. Polit. Eccles. p. 68 quest 17.

 

6. The grave author of Rectius Instruendem Confut.. 3 dial. chap. pag. 7 &c.

'Allows, every separation is not schism, even from the church which hath

essentials; yea, and more than essentials: if it be from those (though never

so many) who are *drawing back from whatever piece of duty and

integrity is attained*; for this is still to be held fast, according to many

scripture commands. So Elias, when God's covenant was forsaken, was as

another Athanasius (I and I only am left) in point of tenacious integrity"

(empahses added).

 

It is interesting that the best of the older Reformed writers designated our

position (regarding attainments and separation) as one of "tenacious

integrity," while you and the backslidden modern church rain down (in

your ignorance) slander and derisive comments on the classic Protestant

position.

 

Clarkson, in _Plain Reasons for Presbyterians Dissenting..._, also proves (by

numerous Scripture proofs, specific acts of Assembly, the Solemn League

and Covenant, etc.) how retrogression from attainments (corporately)

makes a church unfit for ecclesiastical fellowship. He documents exactly

what historical attainments were achieved during the second (or

covenanted) Reformation and how these are to be reflected in our

ecclesiastical terms of church communion. Reason 14 in this book

("Presbyterian Dissenters decline the Communion of this Church; because

she is unsound and sinful in the Terms of her Communion") is an

exceedingly valuable section of writing and should be pursued by all those

who are willing to take an honest look at what we (in Edmonton) are also

maintaining at the close of the twentieth century (with application to the

contemporary "churches"). I can't imagine anyone reading this section of

_Plain Reasons_, never mind the whole book, and then proclaiming any of

the modern *Presbyterian* denominations lawfully constituted visible

churches.

 

With a return to the understanding of these lost Reformation truths we

will again see the power of the the Lord's remnant testimony -- as "the

woman in the wilderness" (Rev. 12:6) cries out against the civil and

ecclesiastical beast (and their usurping of Christ's royal prerogatives). This

is beautifully illustrated by the Reformed Presbytery (the last covenanted

Reformed Presbyterian Presbytery) in their _Act, Declaration and

Testimony for the Whole of Our Covenanted Reformation_,

 

"Likewise the presbytery testify against all ministerial or church

communion with such, who, though they may occupy the place of office-

bearers in the church of Christ, yet are destitute of those qualifications

indispensably required by the church's Head, or enter not into their office

by the door he has appointed in his word, own another head than Christ, or

apostatize and *fall from the truth* and cause of Christ, *formerly*

espoused and sworn to by them in a church capacity; against all active

owning and countenancing of such, by attending upon any of their corrupt

ministrations, or receiving any ordinances from such, to whom the Lord

has denied his blessing. Against all voluntary contracting with prelates,

curates, or such officers of human invention in the church, for paying

tithes or other dues unto them, as unto lawful, scriptural parish ministers.

For besides that there is nothing due unto them, their office having no

divine authority; so there being under the New Testament a change of the

priesthood, there is also a change of the law, respecting tithes; according to

Heb. 7:12; Rev. 2:20, etc. By all which it appears, from what is above

asserted and declared concerning these two divine distinct ordinances, the

ministry and magistracy, that the principles maintained thereanent by the

presbytery, are nothing else than an endeavour, as a judicatory of the Lord

Jesus Christ, constituted in his name, *to hold fast the church of Scotland's

testimony*, agreeable to the scriptures of truth, her confession and

covenants, fundamental acts and constitutions both of church and state;

and this, according to the command of the church's sole King and Head;

Rev. 2:25, and 3:11. And what is testified against (above--RB), is, in the

nature of it, an homologation of the church's faithful opposition to

*backsliders, in their course of defection, from the national attainments in

religion and reformation*, resisting even unto blood, striving against sin"

(pp. 202-203, emphases added to highlight sections resting on the

foundation of the biblical doctrine of attainments).

 

(The preceding comments are also inextricably linked to the matter of

*close communion*, which is the classical Protestant position. I have

already written on this subject and thus refer you to my _Calvin, Close

Communion and the Coming Reformation_ [it is available FREE of charge at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CalvinCC.htm or you

can write us for a free copy of the hard copy version].)

 

In sum, we are not "Reformed Finneyites" as you calumniate, but are

simply adhering to the Scriptures' command to try "them which say they

are apostles [or any other leaders in the church -- RB], and are not" (Rev.

2:2). We do this by Scripturally evaluating, in the light of the growth in

sanctification God has granted to his church, whether such alleged leaders

are using their authority for edification (by holding fast what Christ has

given his church) or for destruction. In doing so, we affirm that,

*essentially*, there are not differing terms of communion for Christ's

church throughout history. However, we also affirm (with the Scriptures)

that it is only in history that these essential terms can be faithfully

applied, expounded, and defended. Thus, what was not explicitly required

as a term of communion at an earlier date must be explicitly required at a

later date, for a challenge to that portion of the truth has been made at

some later point (not all such challenges occurred within the first century),

and it is incumbent upon all generations thereafter to maintain the

testimony emitted by her faithful predecessors. 'For there must be also

heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest

among you" (I Cor. 11:19). Although we are called to be "perfect" (Matt.

5:48) we are not "perfectionistic," but are simply upholding what is

absolutely necessary for true obedience to the fifth commandment. We

value the unity, peace, and purity of Zion so highly that we will not suffer

the freedom God has granted through previous reformations to be

encroached, "No, not for an hour" (Gal. 2:5).

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>I realize you may

>feel that we are now in "controversy mode" and it may be easy to blow off

>what we are saying as expressions driven by that controversy. But please

>hear me out. I am not sure that you really understand how you all come

>across to those who are your friends.

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

The problem is not in our perception of how we look to "our friends,"

(though I don't know many friends that lie about me [as in your

"Telepathy" mudslinging], and against the Reformation, publicly [by calling

the modern day Reformers "perfectionists' and "anabaptists."]), the

problem is among those who have apostatized from the faith (in various

areas). That, in the hardness of their hearts, these "friends" become angry

when we expose their sin, is a sign of their backsliding, *not* our

unfaithfulness or lack of understanding (cf. _Alexander and Rufus_

throughout). I pray that you will take this to heart before you are

judicially stricken with more blindness (II Thess. 2:10-12) than you are

already exhibiting. Moreover, many of our friends are repenting of the sins

that we are now pointing out, as we by God's grace did ourselves when

these things were revealed to us. That the great Reformation truths which

we are publishing are shaking up the comfortable neopresbyterians (PCA,

OPC, RPCNA, etc.), sub-Reformed "evangelicals" (whether they be

Independents, Arminians, Baptists, Charismatics, CRC, etc.),

Reconstructionists, Lutherans, etc. (and that some, in their folly oppose

themselves regarding the covenanted Reformation), is to be expected --

this has always been the case. Thankfully, many others are being granted

repentance. The cleansing of the temple (individually, ecclesiastically and

civilly) is never accomplished without controversy. Anyone who thinks

otherwise is just not familiar with Scripture or history (John 2:13-17; Acts

17:6ff.; Acts 16:20ff.; Ezek. 16:2; etc.)

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>Public offenses may be addressed publicly. This is how Christ dealt with

the

>Pharisees, and how Paul dealt with Peter at Antioch. This is how (in one

>respect) you dealt with Frame. He had written a public book, and public

>responses to it are quite acceptable. You had no responsibility to go to

>Frame privately before responding to his book

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

Agreed, and the only reason that I have taken the non-public route (thus

far) regarding the lies that you have printed about me was in the hopes

that you would have already publicly repented (and thus saved yourself

the future loss of credibility that will occur when these matters are made

public, and it is demonstrated that you have lied in what you printed

about me). Even some of my customers, after they had asked me about

your "Telepathy" smear and then heard my side of the story, thought that

you would repent -- maybe this engendered some false hope on my part

(though I still pray that you will be granted repentance).

 

Furthermore, and most importantly, throughout your last reply to me *you

do not answer the one major charge that I was bringing against you*: This

charge remains and is that *what you printed about me in

_Credenda/Agenda_ was a lie*. You did not even address this charge. Did

you lie or did you tell the truth? If you told the truth please prove that I

had not read Frame's book, as you printed in _Credenda/Agenda_. I can

easily prove otherwise.

 

The question here is not whether I had studied enough of Frame to say

what I did; the question is whether you lied or not. You said that I had not

read Frame's book. I had read some of it. Thus, you publicly lied about me.

This is the sin of which you need to repent.

 

Keep in mind that you did not print that I had not read *enough* of

Frame's book to make the charges that I did (even if that was what you

were thinking, as your leters to Greg Price seem to indicate): you said that

I had not read it *at all*.

 

If you want to make other charges, as you do below (regarding whether I

had read *enough* of Frame), that is a different question; but it is not the

question that I am addressing -- it is also not what you printed. You lied

about me publicly and you need to repent.

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>, and we had no responsibility

>to come to you before responding to your public denunciation of Frame.

(And

>again, the issue for us is not the fact of your disagreement with Frame; the

>problem was how you managed your disagreement with him -- i.e.

unscripturally).

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

Again, this is *not* what you printed, and therefore this is *not* the issue.

The issue is that you printed what was not true about me and you are

unwilling to repent.

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>With regard to the controversy over Frame, we would be willing to print

>something like this from Reg: "I acknowledge that I was out of line by

>publicly declaring on the justice of excommunicating John Frame without

>myself having evaluated the evidence in question according to the highest

>standards of evidential rigor required by such a serious pronouncement."

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

I would never agree to printing this because it is not true. I had seen

Frame's previous debate in the _Westminster Theological Journal_ and his

book is just repeating many the same heresies for which he was challenged

there. I had read (and had had read to me) more than enough of Frame's

Reformation-denying heresies in his new book to assert that anyone who

knows even a little about what took place at the Reformation would

correctly conclude that Frame would have been excommunicated by all the

faithful churches of those days. Moreover, I am not bound to satisfy a

"standard of evidential rigor" that arises, not from sound scriptural or

historical scholarship, but from your ignorance of the Reformation

doctrines regarding worship, the sacraments, and the church. I have not

only read numerous pre-twentieth century books concerning worship, the

sacraments, and the church, but I have also read a number of the modern

books that attempt to deal with these questions -- and, in my opinion,

Frame's book on worship is the worst I have seen yet. Additionally, the

Koran can be sharply denounced without having read all of it (as you

yourself readily admitted in an earlier correspondence), and so can

heretics like Frame, whose folly is manifest unto all with eyes to see (II

Tim. 3:9).

 

What I said on the Knox Ring regarding Frame was true and totally

appropriate -- and I am grieved that others had not publicly rebuked

Frame, in this manner, previous to my testimony. If we lived in the

covenanting days Frame would have not only been excommunicated, but

he would have also been proceeded against with negative civil sanctions.

Are there no David's in the land who will take on our modern Goliaths (i.e

those who have become the chief enemies of the Lord's covenanted Zion by

taunting the church with their attainment-denying heresies)? Have those

who profess themselves shepherds grown so dull that they can watch the

sheep being mauled and carried away by those who prey upon the weak

and sickly in the flock -- and yet not even lift their voices against such

folly? What Frame promotes (regarding worship) is closer to a circus than

the worship commanded by God for use in the church of Christ. But, again,

what you said in "Telepathy" (about what I said) was a lie and totally

inappropriate. Simply put, **that** is the issue: cease your puerile evasions

and deal with it!

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>We

>would be glad to print something like this, and we would be happy then

to

>include something from us on our continued fellowship both with you and

with

>John Frame. And if your conscience will not permit you to make such a

>statement, we nevertheless want to continue in fellowship with you, if

you

>would be kind enough to permit it.

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

We have no ecclesiastical fellowship with you (and you would not be

allowed to be a member in our church -- because of your aberrant beliefs

and practices), so I will assume that you are talking about private

fellowship. As long as you will hear the truth and not oppose it, then this

can continue -- but you are perilously close to putting an end to even that

(2 Thes. 3:6; Rom. 16:17).

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>We do not suppose that such disagreements

>as we are having necessarily require nefarious or dishonest motives on

the

>part of the other. We assume this of you; please consider that as a

>possibility from your vantage as well.

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

I am not (nor have I ever been) talking about your motives (because I do

not know them -- my telepathic skills are a little rusty); I'm talking about

what you *did.* Again, the issue which started this controversy between us

is: Was what you printed in _Credenda/Agenda_ about me true or was it

false? I maintain that it was a lie and that you need to repent of this lie.

 

The smokescreens that you keep throwing up do not refer to what you

printed or what the initial point of controversy was (and is) between us

(though the consequence of your initial attack on me has stirred up

numerous other areas of disagreement). *You printed*, referring to my

comments regarding Frame's book: "all this insight without reading the

book." You *did not print* "all this insight without reading *enough* of the

book." If you would have printed the latter statement then I would have

just brushed it off as your misinformed opinion; but you printed the

former words and these words are violations of the ninth commandment --

because I had read some of the book (which I can easily prove, and which

was already clearly stated in my comments on the Knox-ring).

 

Furthermore, as previously noted, I had also seen the interchange that

took place (a number of years ago) in the _Westminster Theological

Journal_ in which Frame was pushing many of the same heresies

(regarding worship) which he repeats in his book. He has been answered

before (though not sternly rebuked), showing that others are well aware of

his deviations from the classical Protestant views concerning worship. By

the way, the views on worship which Frame espoused in the _Westminster

Theological Journal_ were also worthy, in any duly constituted church, of

excommunication. That the PCA does not excommunicate John Frame (and

all the others in that declining denomination that deny the regulative

principle) is just one more clear demonstration of their apostasy.

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>If you permit, I would like to take a paragraph or more to answer a

number

>of the various questions which have come up between us, and then move

on to

>address what I consider to be the root problem. Pastor Greg, you asked if

it

>had occurred to me that I had a duty to contact Reg in order to remove

the

>offence. First, I thought you were interceding on his behalf and so I did

>not respond to him directly. Secondly, with regard to the principle, I have

>contacted Reg as many times as he contacted John Frame, and we were

*both*

>within scriptural boundaries. Third, I am more than happy to contact Reg

>directly in order to remove any grounds of offense between us (if you all

>think that this would be profitable). I suggest a phone conversation which

>may communicate some nuances which are beyond the black and white of

these

>letters. Would that be agreeable?

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

I have nothing against this, but I do wonder why you didn't call me earlier.

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>With regard to covenanted reformation, you asked if we really were

promoting

>the same thing. Please check my article in Antithesis written years ago

>entitled "Covenant Evangelism."

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

You seem to have little (or no) idea about what we are talking about when

we say "covenanted Reformation" -- your article in _Antithesis_

notwithstanding. We are not talking about a *general* application of

covenants to a few aspects of Christian concern: we are talking about

*specific* historical attainments (and they are not attainments unless they

are agreeable to the Word of God) concerning the moral persons of the

church of Christ, and of the nations (cf. _A Short Vindication of Our

Covenanted Reformation_ by the Reformed Presbytery and Samuel

Rutherford's "How Covenants Bind Us," in chapter 21 of his _Free

Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience_ [1649]).

 

Even the little you seem to understand about the descending obligation of

lawful covenants would only serve to exhibit further your spiritual

adultery in the matters in which we differ. In your article you speak of the

continuing obligation of the Solemn League and Covenant -- thus

sanctioning it as a legitimate (and therefore containing no matter

disagreeable to the Word of God) covenant. Forgetting civil obligations for

the moment, please tell me: If this was a binding covenant (and as you

seem to understand it can only be binding so long as it is in accord with

the Word of God), when did the Presbyterian church (descending, in her

purest form, as she did from the original covenanting church, the Church of

Scotland) come out from under the covenanted uniformity "in religion,

confession of faith, form of church-government, directory for worship and

catechising," sworn 350-odd years ago?

 

Are you aware that the Westminster Standards, including the _Directory

for Public Worship_, were produced in fulfillment of the Solemn League

and Covenant (cf. the title pages of this and the other documents produced

by the Assembly, which read, "as a part of the covenanted uniformity in

religion betwixt the churches of Christ in the kingdoms of Scotland,

England, and Ireland")? Are you aware that the _Directory for Public

Worship_ mandated only the singing of Psalms in public worship (as a part

of the covenanted uniformity in worship)? This is easily demonstrated by

consulting Robert Baillie's _Letters and Journals_ ([1647-1661] SWRB

reprint 1994), pp. 3, 12, 21, 60, 97, 525-556; Michael Bushell's _Songs of

Zion_, (Crown and Covenant, second edition, 1993), p. 190ff.; and the _Acts

of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland from the Year 1638 to

the Year 1649 Inclusive_, ([1682] SWRB reprint 1996), pp. 228, 238, 172,

353-354. In fact, I defy anyone to produce one shred of evidence that the

making of a separate "hymnal" (full of man-made compositions) was ever

discussed at the Westminster Assembly (much less presented to

parliament, as was all the work of the Assembly), or the Scottish General

Assembly (from 1638-1649, or long after) -- which General Assembly

ecclesiastically ratified the Westminster Standards. Regarding worship this

speaks to the original intent of the framers of the Westminster standards

and exposes how prevalent the sin of perjury is among those ministers

who have taken vows, without mental reservation, to uphold these

standards -- while they continue to practice (even in ignorance) anything

other than exclusive Psalmody. The battles over the Psalter (i.e. the

debates concerning translators, publication, civil and ecclesiastical

ratification, etc.) are all well documented; yet strangely, not one word was

ever recorded about any debates, votes or proclamations regarding a man-

made "hymnal." This is truly amazing, if a human "hymnal" had indeed

ever been considered (never mind ratified by the different levels of

church and civil government) as in keeping with the covenanted

uniformity in worship aimed at by these divines -- given the "strict

regulativist" makeup of both the Westminster Assembly and the Scottish

General Assembly. On top of this these divines did not even need to

mention the judaizing heresy of the use of musical instruments in public

worship, because that was not an issue among the Reformed folk of the

day. Even the civil magistrate of that period knew enough about Scripture

to provide for the eradication of organs, "along with (the--RB) other

remains of Popery" (_Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of

Scotland from the Year 1638 to the Year 1649 Inclusive_, [1682] SWRB

reprint 1996, p. 228). Those that celebrated Popish holy-days like the

"Christ-mass" were also censured (in accord with the Scottish _First Book of

Discipline_ [1560, here even civilly] and _Acts of the General Assembly of

the Church of Scotland_, p. 285 and Scripture). This is not to mention

second Reformation views concerning close communion, ultra "strict

subscriptionism" (as you call it) and the many other points (all agreeable to

the Word of God) included in the original intent of the source documents of

the Covenanted Reformation (what you have already termed

"Anabaptistic," "perfectionistic," etc.).

 

I will not enter into this any further now, but if you do not repent after

this letter, this whole subject (of the specific nature of the covenanted

uniformity of worship [doctrine, government, etc.] called for [in Scripture]

and by this Reformation covenant) will be addressed in my public

testimony against you -- along with many of the other questions that you

have raised throughout these discussions (previously and below).

 

I do not know if you understand this yet, but on this count you are in the

same boat as Frame, aimlessly drifting down the stream of defection and

deformation. You openly deny the covenanted uniformity aimed at in the

Solemn League and Covenant regarding worship and you practice and

preach (contrary to the Solemn League and Covenant and the second

commandment) idolatry in your public worship. That you are a covenant

breaker in this regard is simply historical fact (and can be easily verified

by reading the source documents of that period, not the least of which is

the _Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland from the Year

1638 to the Year 1649 Inclusive_). The biblical basis for each of my

assertions can easily be demonstrated (and already has been demonstrated

in numerous books that I have republished) for those who have ears to

hear.

 

Your review of Frame's book, alone, provides plenty of covenant-denying,

anti-Reformation evidence to attest to what I am saying here against you.

In that review you explicitly deny one of the four major points of

covenanted uniformity (i.e. the point to do with the specific doctrine and

practises concerning the purity of public worship). There is no way around

this: historically you would have been seen as one of the malignants, not as

a classical Protestant -- and certainly not as one upholding the blood-

bought heritage of the Covenanters.

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>The thing that grieves me most about what

>you all are doing is this: you appear to be working hard to find every

>caricature of faithful covenanting ever mentioned by the enemies of

>covenants, and doing your level best to live out that caricature in flesh

>and blood.

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

Can you provide some specifics? To which caricatures are you referring?

Please cite books (or articles) and page numbers. Sorry Doug, but given

your track record, your word is no longer good with me: you have shown

great facility in making such unsubstantiated assertions before.

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>More on this below, but I have no hesitation in saying that your

>work is rapidly becoming the single biggest obstacle to a renewal of the

>covenants. Of course the enemies of covenantal thinking will always see

what

>they want to see, but you are rapidly alienating every natural ally you

>might have in the work of reformation.

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

Come on Doug, how do you know all this? Telepathy? We are experiencing

a tremendous outpouring of support for every facet of our work (as noted

above) -- along with the increased opposition from the modern day

malignants. If you could only see what is happening I am sure that you

would be staggered by the magnitude of God's blessing that we see and

experience every day! What is happening here is so exciting that I often

find it hard to fall asleep at night. What I have read concerning how the

Holy Spirit was working in Geneva in the time of Calvin, in Scotland during

Knox's day and at the height of second Reformation, is what we see

happening here. That we believe the same things that these great

Reformers did, follow the same confessions, promote the same books, etc.,

is certainly no coincidence. That you (and others like you) oppose these

Reformers at some of the most fundamental points of Reform (especially

concerning worship, church government, the sacraments, covenanting and

church discipline) should also be noted. Those who trust you need to be

made aware that though you mouth some of the language of the

Reformation, you are an enemy to some of the most important biblical

attainments of this period -- at some points leading the simple and

ignorant into anabaptism (one example being your promotion of the

doctrine of pretended liberty of conscience) and at others leading them

right into the arms of the Roman harlot (your Jesuit eschatology [i.e.

Preterism] being a case in point here). You may continue to judge who you

think is "every natural ally" (though the flesh is often mistaken regarding

such matters); we will praise God for all those who continue to prove

themselves to be our true (and super-natural) allies -- and for those who

have and are about to join with us in the Lord's call for a third

Reformation!

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>I agree with Rutherford's distinction between a valid calling and a lawful

>calling. Caiaphas was a valid High Priest, but he did not come to the office

>lawfully. But you say, referring to Brown, that the ministry of the scribes

>and Pharisees was not to be endorsed. This places you at some variance to

>someone else who failed to live up to the standards of the first and second

>Reformation when he said, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses'

seat.

>Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do

not

>do according to their works; for they say, and do not do" (Matt. 23:2b-3).

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

Doug, do you think that you are the first one to have asked Protesting

Covenanters these questions? You sometimes sound as if you do. If so

please see 1 Cor. 10:12. This objection has been cleared in a number of

Reformation books, of which I will cite only two. Interestingly, Brown went

on to answer the very objection you have raised against us, in the section

of his book (_Apologetical Relation_) just below the quote Greg Price sent,

to which you here refer (above). Perhaps you haven't read Brown for

yourself. He states, in answer to your question regarding Moses' seat:

 

START QUOTE

 

"It will be objected, 1. That Christ commandeth to hear the scribes and the

Pharisees who did sit in Moses' chair, Matt. xxiii. And those of whom now

the question is are not worse than the scribes and Pharisees were; and

therefore it cannot be lawful to refuse obedience unto this act. Ans. For

solution of this objection, which seemeth to be the main one, these things

would be considered: 1. That those scribes and Pharisees were as naughty

men as then lived upon the face of the earth, and were still enemies unto

Christ, and were false teachers; their doctrine was leavened with sour and

dangerous tenets, among which this was a chief, That Christ was not the

Messias; and upon this account Christ desireth his disciples to 'beware of

the leaven of the Pharisees,' Matt. xvi. 6. 2. They were men that had no

lawful call unto that place which they did assume to themselves, which

appeareth from these particulars: (1.) Christ calleth them thieves, and

robbers, and strangers, John x. 1, 5, 8, and that not merely because of their

false doctrine, nor yet merely because of their carnal way of entry, as

hirelings seeking gain, but also because of their usurping the place and

office, and entering thereinto without a call from God; for the ground and

reason why Christ calleth and proveth them to be thieves and robbers is,

because they entered not by the door, but climbed up some other way, and

the porter did not open unto them (ver. 3), and they came before him; that

is, without his warrant and commission: they took not the right way of

entry, they came not in at the right door, and with God's approbation. (2.)

Matt. xv. 13, Christ calleth them plants which his 'heavenly Father hath not

planted,' and there he is speaking of themselves (and not of their doctrine

only), who were offended at Christ's doctrine, and it was them (and not

their doctrine alone) that Christ would have his disciples to let alone: 'Let

them alone (says he), for they be blind leaders of the blind;' and this will

suit the scope very well; for his disciples had laid some weight on this, that

they were men in office, and therefore the stumbling and offending of

them seemed to be some great business. But Christ replieth, that albeit

they had been planted, or had planted themselves, in that office and

charge, yet they were such plants as his heavenly Father had never

planted, and therefore they were the less to be regarded. Gualther on the

place saith, 'That it is clear, out of history, that God did never institute the

order of the scribes which then was, far less the Pharisees and Sadducees;

but they had their rise from that Greek or heathenish school, which Jason,

whom Seleucus made high priest, did institute in Jerusalem, contrary to

the law; and that the Pharisees did spring from the Stoics, and the

Sadducees from the Epicures?' and citeth in the margin, 1 Mach. 1, and 2

Mach. 4. So, ibid., he giveth the sense of that word, 'let them alone,'

*discedite abiis*,-go away from them. (3.) The place which they had

assumed did properly and of right belong unto the priests and Levites, as

Pareus hinteth on the place; yet these, because of their learning and pride,

thinking themselves only worthy to be in office, took upon them that place,

without any further call; which is the more likely, considering, (4.) That

those times were times of confusion and disorder, so that (as Grotius

observeth) there was no care had about this business, but every man who

pleased was free to take upon him to instruct and teach the people; and

this is confirmed by that passage, Acts xiii. 15, 'And after the reading of

the law and the prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them,

saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the

people, say on.' Consider, 3. That though the words (ver. 2), be rendered,

'They sit in Moses' seat,' they may be as well rendered, They have set

themselves down in Moses' seat. Pareus, on the place, doth fully clear this,

where he saith, 'In my judgment *ekathisan* is better rendered with the

ancient Latin edition, *sederunt*, -- they did sit, than as now commonly,

*sedent*, -- they do sit; for that phrase of sitting in Moses' seat signifieth

the office of teaching publicly the doctrine and law of Moses. The verb in

the aorist taketh not from them, but giveth unto them the present

ordinary office of teaching; but, withal, it importeth that this sect had, by

hook and crook, usurped this office and place which, at the first, was given

by God unto the priests and Levites. They have sitten; that is, they have

set themselves down in that seat of Moses which they now possess; for the

verb *kathizo* doth signify not only neutrally to sit, but also actively to

cause to sit, to place in a seat. Thus he. And Scapula indeed rendereth the

verb actively, 'to cause or command to sit,' and citeth authors for it: so doth

Pasor say, that properly it signifieth to 'place in a seat,' or 'to cause one sit.'

4. There is no word of a command here given to his disciples (to whom,

with the multitude, he is speaking) to attend the ministry of the scribes

and Pharisees; for if he had commanded them to do so, it is like the

disciples would have done so in obedience to Christ's command; but the

scripture speaketh nothing of this. And then they should have left Christ

and followed the Pharisees, which is not very probable; and Christ himself

would have taught them to do so by his own example, for he came to fulfil

all righteousness; but there is no word of this either. 5. By the contrary,

Christ is so far from commanding his disciples and others to follow their

ministry, that he dissuadeth them therefrom, not only, elsewhere, calling

them 'blind leaders of the blind,' and such as should be let alone, and fled

from as imposters, (Matt. xv. 13, 14), and saying, (John x. 4, 5), that the

sheep know the voice of a lawful shepherd, but not the voice of a stranger;

yea, they will not follow a stranger, but will flee from him: and this is

meant of the Pharisees, as any may see who will look back to the end of

the 9th chapter; but also in this same chapter throughout, showing at great

length how naughty and perverse men they were, denouncing many a

heavy woe and curse upon them and at length he calleth them a

'generation of vipers,' and serpents who could not escape the damnation of

hell, (ver. 33); all which is but small encouragement to his disciples and

hearers to follow them, or attend their ministry. And it is observable how

fitly many of the particulars for which here Christ denounceth a woe unto

these Pharisees do agree unto the persons concerning the hearing of whom

the question is: As, (1.) 'Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!

for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in

yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.' (2.) They are

at great pains to bring poor simple people over to their opinion, and make

them proselytes, and, when they are made such, they make them the

children of hell with themselves. (3.) As the scribes and Pharisees taught

people shifts to evade the bonds of oaths, telling them that it was nothing

to swear by the altar, or by the temple, so do these excel in that art of

teaching perjury, and loosing the knots of covenants and oaths, as is too

well known. (4.) They are much taken up with punctilios of formalities,

and in causing people to attend all their nods and desires; but as for the

weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith, they cast these

behind their back. (5.) They declare themselves the children of them who

killed the prophets, and are fast filling up the measure of their fathers.

But, indeed, (6.) They are behind the Pharisees in cleansing the outside of

the cup and platter, and in appearing like whited tombs; for they have no

show of piety, and therefore are so much the more to be shunned, and may

certainly, unless they repent, expect all the woes that here are denounced

upon the scribes and Pharisees. 6. It would be considered, for further

confirmation of the last particular, that the main thing which Christ is

pressing upon his hearers here is, that they would beware to follow the

practices of these Pharisees, for all that high place which they took upon

themselves in the church; and, on the by, as it were, he speaketh anent

[concerning -- RB] their receiving of their true doctrine, by way of

concession, or of their doing and observing whatsoever they delivered, as

sitting in Moses' seat, whereof they were presently in possession, by their

usurpation, and while there were no other ordinarily occupying that seat

at that time. So that, these things being considered, it will appear that this

place maketh no way for the attending the ministry of such men, there

being no command here to hear the Pharisees at all, let be to hear them

always and constantly" (_An Apologetical Relation_, [1660, 1845] reprinted

1995 as a rare bound photocopy by Still Waters Revival Books, pp. 148-

150).

 

END QUOTE

 

A little additional testimony should suffice, as a word to the wise:

 

"'All, therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do'

(Mat. xxiii. 3). 'Our Lord's words bear no command to the people to hear

them at all, but only not to reject sound doctrine because it came from

them: surely he would not bid them hear such as he calls plants that his

Father had never planted; whom he bids let alone, and who were thieves

and robbers, whom his sheep should not hear' (Shields, _Hind Let Loose_,

p. 292). Since these Pharisees rejected the gospel scheme, and taught for

doctrines the commandments of men, and the observance of circumcision;

yea, to keep the law of Moses; and the apostles were injoined to teach the

observance of all things that were commanded them, it is not reasonable to

suppose that they would be required to attend the place of instruction so

entirely opposite: nevertheless the words, without affecting the case in

hand, require that those who did there regularly attend, should carefully

observe and practise whatever good was there taught; as much good may

attend very unwarrantable administrations. These very persons,

notwithstanding, were under strict command to come out from among

them, and be separate: and not to hear the instruction which causeth to

err" (see note AA, cited below) (James Douglas, _Strictures on Occasional

Hearing_, [1820] reprinted 1996 as a rare bound photocopy by Still Waters

Revival Books, pp. 83-84).

 

Note AA, from _Strictures on Occasional Hearing_ (p. 84), referred to by

Douglas reads,

 

"Say some on the words: "The Pharisees and Sadducees were declared

enemies to our Lord, and some of them did commit the unpardonable sin;

and as our Lord always bore a pointed testimony against them, we cannot

understand the place of scripture, referred to in the objection, as in point.

There was no place for the public worship of God but at Jerusalem, and

therefore there could not be any separation from the church without

giving up with the true God. We are not singular in understanding an

attendance on the ministrations of the Scribes and Pharisees to be meant

of civil subjection to the laws of Moses, and their sitting in Moses' seat

means that they were as the executive of the laws of Moses, &c."- _Act of

the Asso. Pres. of Pennsyl. &c._, p. 16

 

"Saith one on the words, 'A mere inadvertancy in the translation, that

misled many commentators, in opening up this passage, having taken that

for a command which is truly a reproof, while they translate the words

imperatively, which are as clearly in the indicative mode, and the whole

connexion of words and phrases requireth it to be so understood. Thus the

sense is plain; viz. The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat, (here is the

snare and temptation, and hence ye are simply and sinfully imposed upon)

so that, whatsoever they bid you observe, that (so great is your stupidity)

ye observe and do, (right or wrong) but do not ye according to their works,

for they say and do not: Though they imposed upon you, whose simplicity

rendereth you an easy prey to them, yet they are not such fools, as at the

expence of their own ease to put their necks under the grievous yokes

which they wreathe for others, as verse 4.'" James' _Letter to Holmes_, p.

18.

 

I think that it is now clear that the Lord had something quite different in

mind, when He spoke of Moses' seat, than what our modern, false

ecumenists would take from His words.

 

The principles involved in this question are summarized by Marshal,

 

"Mr. Walter Marshal _Gospel Mystery of Sanctification_ printed 1692 from

Page 310 to 314. says -- Follow no Church any further, than you may

follow it in the way of Christ, and keep Fellowship with it, only upon the

Account of Christ, because it follows Christ (surely such as betray and bury

the Cause and Truth of Christ, cannot be said to follow and keep the Way of

Christ) and has Fellowship with Christ, I John 1:3, Zech 8:23. If a Church

revolt from Christ, (as this present Church has done, in deserting the

covenanted Reformation) we must not follow it, how ancient so ever it be,

as the Israelitish Church was not to be followed, when it persecuted Christ

and his Apostles (which so far confirms what is above said upon their

Point) and many by adhering to that Church fell from Christ, Phil 3:6, Acts

6:13,14. and 21:28. We are indeed to hear the Church, but not every one

that calls itself so, nor none any further than it speaks as a true Church,

according to the Voice of the Shepherd, John 10:27. We must subject

ourselves to Ministers of Christ, and Stewards of his Mysteries. I Cor 4:1.

But must give up ourselves to Christ first absolutely, and to the Church

according to the Will of Christ, 2 Cor 8:5. Our Fear (which is very much in

Fashion with this Church) must not be taught by the Precepts of Men,

Matth 15:9. The Doctrines of any Men are to be tried by Scripture,

whatever Authority they pretend to, Acts 17:11. An unlimited Following

Church-Guides, brought the Church into Babylon, and into all Manner of

spiritual Whoredoms and Abominations; you are not baptised into the

Name of the Church, but into the Name of Christ, I Cor 1:13---Keep

Communion with a Church for the Sake of Communion with Christ, I John

1:3, Zech 8:23. Therefore you must keep Communion in Christ's pure Ways

only, and in them seek Christ by Faith, &c. --- Chuse therefore Fellowship

with the most spiritual Churches, Judge of Churches and Men, according to

the Rule of the New Creature, 2 Cor. 5:16,17. and try them, Rev. 2:2 and

3:9. otherwise a Church may corrupt you --- I only add --- that Church-

Fellowship, without practicing the Ways of Christ (which this Church

cannot be said to do, even many of themselves, and Assembly-Acts being

Judges) is but a Conspiracy to take his Name in vain, and a counterfeit

Church-fellowship of Hypocrites: It is Impudence to invite others to their

Communion, and Tyranny to compel them. Every Christian is bound to seek

a better Church-fellowship by Reformation; and those that do so, are the

best Sons of Christ's Church, who inquire, is this the Way to enjoy Christ? A

Church-way being appointed to enjoy Christ therein; especially leave not

the Church in Persecution (as the Indulged and Tolerated, &c. did in the

late Times) when you need its Help most, and are then most tried whether

you will cleave to it, this is a Sign of Apostasy, Heb. 10:25,26. Matth.

24:9,10, ---13. We should cleave to one another as one Flesh, even to

Prisons and Death, or else we deny Christ and his Members, Matth. 25:43."

(from _Plain Reasons for Presbyterians Dissenting_, [1731] SWRB reprint

1996, pp. 212-213).

 

Furthermore, the following testimony (which refutes your wresting of the

Scriptures above), written by the session of the church I attend (in their

_Brief Defense of Dissociation in the Present Circumstances_ [1996], FREE

on the web at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/BriefDef.htm ), is

apropos:

 

START QUOTE

 

"2. We do testify with our covenanted and presbyterian forefathers that all

churches and assemblies which do not subscribe the moral substance of

the covenants have departed from the biblical light attained to by the

Second Reformation and are constitutionally false (especially is this true of

churches that profess to be presbyterian and which know of the covenants,

but yet have refused to own them in their constitutions).

 

4. We do testify with our covenanted and presbyterian forefathers that it

is not schismatic to dissociate from a constitutionally false church in order

to be faithful to a constitutionally true church. It is rather schismatic,

sectarian, and unpresbyterian to refuse to subscribe the covenants of the

Second Reformation. With Mr. Rutherford we do take our stand:

 

'When the greatest part of a Church maketh defection from the Truth, the

lesser part remaining sound, *the greatest part is the Church of

Separatists* (Samuel Rutherford, _Due Right Of Presbyteries_, p. 255,

emphases added).'

 

"7. We do testify with our covenanted and presbyterian forefathers that it

is our duty to honor the church of Jesus Christ as our mother who bore us

(Ex. 20:12; Gal. 4:26). However, Jesus asked, "Who is my mother? For

whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is . . . my mother" (Mk.

3:33,35). The church of Jesus Christ as represented by the Church of

Scotland and all churches adhering unto her covenanted and presbyterian

principles since then are our mother. To presently own the ________

Church as a true constitutional expression of our mother is to disown in the

same breath The Church of Scotland at the time of the Second Reformation

as a true constitutional expression of our mother. When the constitutions of

two churches disagree (one church requiring as a term of communion the

sincere owning of the covenants while the other church refusing as a term

of communion the sincere owning of the covenants), both cannot be true

expressions of our mother. Thus, we are conscientiously compelled to own

The Church of Scotland at the time of the Second Reformation as a true

expression of our mother, and to disown The ________ Church as being

such."

 

END QUOTE

 

In sum: Christ commands us to *flee* from unlawful teachers, who are

working for the destruction of his church (in perpetuating backsliding from

reformation attainments), not to *countenance* them, as you foolishly

assert here and elsewhere (e.g. your response to Kevin Reed regarding

separation, which stated something to this effect: "When modern

evangelicalism holds her Trent, then we will separate. We are reformed

evangelicals."). That such *fleeing* is a divine command is evident from

Prov. 19:27; 2 Cor. 6:17; John 10:5, etc. Indeed, this principle is taught by

the light of nature itself, for if we are to preserve our lives from danger,

how much more our souls?

 

Additionally, for those who try to soothe their conscience by claiming that

they protest against given errors, but remain joined unto the apostate

bodies, we enter the following rebuke,

 

"Some say, People may thereby have their Consciences exonered

(exonerated -- RB), &c.. Well, be it so, I ask, What better was Pilate's

Conscience, that he gave in a Protestation against the Crucifixion of our

Lord (which is indeed recorded by the Holy Ghost, not to the Honour of the

Protester) seeing he concurred in the Action, and thereby consented to the

Deed done? And so in the present Case, What better would Peoples

Consciences be, to give in a Protestation against this Church, for crucifying

the precious Truths of Christ, and yet Pilate-like join with her? Or, what

better would they be to protest against Arianism, Socinianism,

Arminianism, Erastianism, and Legalism, &c. and yet join with a Church

sadly leavened with such Errors (a few excepted) and which harbours and

tolerates the Promoters thereof, and will not put away the accursed Thing

from among them? The plain Sense of this Kind of Protesting and Joining,

seems to be in short this, as if one should say to another, I see by the

Word, you are pursuing a Course really evil, and truly dishonourable to

Christ, inconsistent with his holy Word and Ordinances of House, and

offensive to his People; and therefore, I protest against that Practice and

Way of yours, for the Exoneration of my Conscience, &c. nevertheless, I will

still attend and countenance you in that sinful Course, altho' ye should not

receive and record my Protestation. Is this a sufficient Salvo to a Man's

Conscience; or, will it free him when he comes before the Bar of God?"

(Andrew Clarkson, _Plain Reasons for Presbyterians Dissenting_, [1731]

SWRB reprint 1996, pp. 195-196).

But, as these questions just adumbrate the resolution of the controversy

concerning your public sin against me in _Credenda/Agenda_, I will leave

off any further answer at this time. These questions (which are all very

important) do not comprise the *first* issue (in regard to my charges of

slander against you) that needs to be resolved between us -- as I have

pointed out above. For now, let us try to resolve the issue of whether or

not you lied about me in your magazine.

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>We do not differ with you about what many modern clowns are doing up

there

>on "Moses' seat." But we reject utterly your anabaptistic and

>perfectionistic way of responding to them. When God removes the clowns

from

>their teaching office, He does in the massive upheavals like the

destruction

>of Jerusalem, or the continent-wide, century-long turmoil of the

>Reformation, culminating in the apostasy of Trent. It does *not* happen

when

>one tiny splinter group separates from another tiny splinter group. This is

>not Reformation; it is the separatism of fundamentalist baptists.

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

"The separation of the fundamental baptists"? Doug, are you trying to lose

all credibility? Your carefree name-calling is annoying, inaccurate, and

consistent with the slander you allowed to be printed about me in

_Credenda/Agenda_. "Reformation in the church has ever been effected by

the protestation and separation of a virtuous minority" (_Act, Declaration

and Testimony for the Whole of Our Covenanted Reformation_, p. 165). Tell

me, Was the Apostolic church in ecclesiastical fellowship (and sharing the

same courts, ordinances, discipline and worship) with the apostate church

of the Jews before the destruction of Jerusalem? Have you ever noticed

what Paul did relative to this question? "But when divers were hardened,

and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he

departed from them, and *separated the disciples*..." (Acts 19:9). Calvin, on

Paul "separating the disciples," writes, "Therefore, Paul did separate the

disciples, lest the goats should with their stink infect the flock of sheep;

secondly, that the pure worshippers of God might make profession freely."

This is exactly what we, the Protesting Covenanted remnant of

"fundamental baptists," (as you call us -- you are going to get the Baptists

really mad with that one) contend for -- just like Paul (and Calvin).

 

Furthermore, we do not deny that sometimes "massive upheavals" do occur

for the good; we merely contend that Scripture gives ample warrant for

faithful sheep to remove themselves from the corporate stink of the

modern goat denominations, when apostasy has compromised the visible

church at a constitutional level.

 

Additionally, your deference to majorities, as opposed to truth, puts you at

odds with a certain exemplary classical Protestant:

 

"It is an offense to a great many people that they see almost the whole

world opposed to us. And indeed the patrons of a bad cause do not neglect

their own advantage, using a stratagem like this so as not to upset the

ignorant and weak, that it is extremely absurd that almost the whole

Christian world is disregarded, so that the faith is to be possessed by a few

men. But, in particular, to destroy us they defend themselves with the

sacred title of "the Church" as if with a mallet. But I wish to know how

those who are alienated from the Gospel by the smallness of our numbers

are to preserve their faith against the Turks.

 

As far as we are concerned, if one man, Noah, condemned all the men of

his generation by his faith, there is no reason why a great crowd of

unbelievers should move us from our position. At the same time, I say that

it is not only hardly a probable, but indeed an unjust and disgraceful,

cause of a scandal when regard for men outweighs the Word of God. . . . If

anyone perhaps objects that we are not excused by the example of Noah, if

we separate ourselves from that crowd which keeps the name of "the

Church," Isaiah, when he gave orders to abandon the conspiracy of men

and follow God alone, was referring not to strangers but to those who were

at that time glorying exceedingly in the name of the people of God (Isa.

8:12). And when Peter compares the Church to the ark, because in a

perishing world a small company of men is saved as if through a flood, he

is giving warning enough that we must not be dependent on the multitude

(I Pet. 3:20ff.). Why then does it please wretched men to grasp at the

chance of staggering and tottering in the changeable breezes of the world

when God makes us firm on the eternal foundation of his Word? Why do

they prefer to be tossed about in the midst of the storms of opinions rather

than lie quietly in the safe harbor of certain truth, where God invites us?"

(John Calvin as translated by John W. Fraser, _Concerning Scandals_,

Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI, [1550] 1978, pp. 109-110).

 

Also, didn't the Reformers pull out of Rome long before Trent? I am not

sure why you would bring this up or how such a point helps your case.

Surely you don't think that individual Christians are absolved of

responsibility to remove themselves from and testify against apostasy

until "God removes the clowns from their teaching office"? If your

ecumenical rhetoric has dulled your senses to the point of such stupidity,

then you should know that you are taking a page out of the antinomian

handbook, as well as denying the following, clear biblical testimony:

 

"Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly,

and not after the tradition which he received of us" (2 Thes. 3:6).

 

"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and

offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them"

(Rom. 16:17).

 

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord,

and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (2Cor. 6:17).

 

Furthermore, do you have no regard (or a low regard), for the growth in

sanctification of the church and the greater responsibility that this growth

brings upon those who live in its greater light? Do you really think that the

church that will cover the earth during the millennial glory will be as

confused, divided and impotent as the contemporary "churches" that

profess Christ? With this in mind it is easy to see how our case differs (in

many ways) from that of the early church -- and that of the church of the

Reformation also (cf. Fraser's _The Lawfulness and Duty of Separation

From Corrupt Ministers and Churches Vindicated and Explained_, [1744]

SWRB reprint 1996, Chap. 4, sect. 5) . You will put up with many things in

your children when they are 2 or 3 years old which you would never

tolerate when they are 10 or 15 years old. Taking into account those

responsibilities that come with biblical attainments is imperative if one is

to speak with any clearness on the subject of the Lord's covenanted Zion.

John Brown of Wamphray (Samuel Rutherford's student, previously cited)

makes this clear when he writes,

 

"(F)or there is a vast difference to be put betwixt a time wherein the

church is advancing in a course of reformation, and a time wherein she is

declining and sliding back from that degree of reformation unto which she

had already attained. In a time wherein the church is but coming out of

darkness, and the day is but beginning to break up, many things may then

be comported with and tolerated which may not be submitted unto after

the church hath got all these abuses reformed. Every believer and every

church is bound to stand fast in that which they have attained unto, and

not to cede in a hoof: so that Christians living in a time wherein the church

is but beginning to wrestle up from under the heap of error and

corruption, may be allowed to do many things which must not be done

when the noontide of the day is come. In the time of the reformation

begun by Luther and others, many things might have been comported

within the church (reformation being a gradual motion that hath but small

beginnings and risings) which now, since the reformation hath been

carried on, through the blessing of God, to that degree it was advanced to,

cannot be allowed. When God hath wonderfully, by his mighty power and

outstretched arm, brought a church to a great length in reformation, it will

be the duty of that church, and of the members thereof, to adhere to that

degree unto which they have attained with all perseverance. It will be

lawful for the church which is but coming up the hill to stand at such a

step until they gain another, when yet it will not be lawful for the same

church to go backward after they have advanced. The truth once bought

should never be sold. So then the consequence is null. Their forefathers

stumbled not nor did scruple at the doing of such or such things; therefore

those in this generation who have advanced, through the blessing of God,

unto a farther degree of reformation, should not scruple either. It is a poor

consequence to say, The posterity may return backwards because their

forefathers could not advance further. Much more may be seen when the

sun is up than in the twilight: therefore the scrupling of honest people now

doth no way condemn their forefathers; but, on the contrary, the

steadfastness of their forefathers, in standing to the degree to which they

had reached, and their endeavouring to advance, will condemn this

generation for backsliding. In their days those abuses and corruption were

not remedied,-- the church was not then freed of that yoke of oppression,-

- and, further, their after consent unto such ministers made up this defect;

but those in this generation are not at liberty to give or grant their after

consent, because they are engaged to stand to the work of reformation, and

to own it in all its parts" (_An Apologetical Relation_ [1665, 1845], SWRB

reprint 1995, pp. 145-146).

 

Again, your lack of knowledge regarding Scripture, history, and

Reformation doctrine (such as the doctrine of attainments) is surprising.

You may find it helpful, in seeking to master some of the fine points of

these classic Reformation distinctives, to pursue the appendix in David

Steele's _Notes on the Apocalypse_ (1870, forthcoming). In the section

"Pastor Steele's Printed Communications With the Editor of _The

Covenanter_" (pp. 395-423) Steele and James Willson debate these very

issues in great detail.

 

But the present question between us continues: Did you lie about me in

what you printed in your magazine?

 

We will gladly continue to address your other questions and comments at

the appropriate time, but let us first deal with the question at hand.

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>You remind me that satire directed at Frame (without going to him first)

>would have fine, but that it was not fine directed against you. You point

>out (rightly) that what Christ could do to the Pharisees the Pharisees could

>not lawfully do to Christ. In other words, whether or not the ninth

>commandment has been broken *depends upon who is right and who is

wrong in

>the dispute.* So could we talk about *that* before the rush to judgment? I

>would love to discuss with you whether or not there was an offence

before we

>separate over the purported need to remove it. The fact that someone is

>offended is not biblical grounds for assuming that offence, biblically

>defined, was given.

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

And that is what I have been saying throughout this letter. Stick to the

issue of whether what you publicly printed was true or not. Do you still

maintain that I had not read Frame's book, as you printed? I am not asking

you whether you maintain that I had read *enough* of Frame's book,

because that is not what you printed. Whether I had read enough of

Frame's book (in your opinion) is another question completely and has

nothing to do with the lies that you printed about me. You said of me "He

hasn't read John Frame's new book...", you did not say "he has not read

*enough* of Frame's book... to make such a charge." Why is this so hard for

you to see? Is your heart so hard? You lied (or at least allowed the lie to be

published); why do you refuse to repent? Is it so hard for you to

"(d)emonstrate true integrity by confessing a lack of discretion in

promoting" the Telepathy slander "and by repudiating the" Telepathy

slander "publicly"? (adapted from Hagopian and Wilson, _Beyond Promises:

A Biblical Challenge to Promise Keepers_, Canon Press, 1996, p. 263).

 

I call you to stand to what you have written, in _Beyond Promises_ (p.

266), regarding my case, when you said, "If anything we have written here

is shown to be in error, we will not pretend that it did not happen. We will

publicly retract the error and apologize for having made it."

 

If you do not repent of and publicly retract the Telepathy slander, but

harden yourself in your position, "and continue to defend the indefensible,

then we, along with all Christians concerned for the authority of Scripture

and the gospel of Christ would have no choice but to move from being

concerned, to opposing" you and your work "outright" (adapted from

Hagopian and Wilson, _Beyond Promises: A Biblical Challenge to Promise

Keepers_, Canon Press 1996, p. 267).

 

Furthermore, will you tell me the name of the individual who wrote the

Telepathy section in the "Cave of Adullam" which started all this

controversy?

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>You say, "We are not for an immediate revolution of thought and change

in

>the church. However, we must not tolerate the false teaching that is

>promoted in churches, seminaries etc. by those professing to be ministers

of

>the gospel." Put this another way. "We are not for an immediate

revolution

>of thought and change in the church, as long as it happens right away. If it

>does not, we're leaving!"

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

Doug, who are you joined to ecclesiastically? Whose courts do you

recognize? Do you recognize our courts? What are your terms of

communion? What confession and covenants are you constituted under in

ecclesiastical union with these other groups? It seems to me that you are

just as revolutionary as anybody -- practically speaking. Do you think that

your ecumenical rhetoric absolves you of your practical separatism? At

least our walk matches our talk. Maybe I should call you the Anabaptist

for not joining with the many other so-called "Reformation" denominations

which are available, and which you seem to believe are so constituted as to

have in them lawful courts of Christ. Why have you not submitted yourself

to these courts and their ministers if they are indeed lawful? Why have

you not joined with any of these denominations? The way you talk I would

think that this would be a duty which you would not have ignored for so

long (Matt. 7:5).

 

As you note above, the question of truth is paramount -- we are forbidden

by Scripture to remain in ecclesiastical fellowship with those who publicly

deny the corporate testimony of the church as it has been attained at any

given point in history (Eccl. 3:15). As the Reformers said, "to avoid schism

we must separate." We remain ecclesiastically separated from you (and

consider you to be a schismatic group, i.e. you are alienated, as are many

others, from the lawfully constituted visible church as she has shown

herself to remain faithful to Christ historically), and others who deny the

Reformation (at various points), for many reasons. Two of these reasons,

comprehending very important biblical issues (i.e. worship and

government), are noted by Shields in his _Hind Let Loose_ when he writes,

"Those who innovate the worship and government, owned and established

in a true church (i.e. the Church of Scotland at the height of the second

reformation--RB), are schismatics... (p. 310). I should have the "Schism"

section from Clarkson's' _Plain Reasons for Presbyterians Dissenting From

the Revolution-Church..._ up on our web page soon (at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/Schism.htm ). I

would strongly suggest that your read this before commenting much

further on any of these issues regarding separation and schism. What you

have said to us so far is a complete denial of the Reformation doctrine on

this point and the section on "schism" in _Plain Reasons_ cites many quotes

(from major Reformers) which confirm this. After reading this splendid

work you might want to deny the classical Protestant position on schism

(as you do with worship), but I hope, rather, that you will be humbled by

the clarity of God's Word on this point, as we were, and that you will

repent and embrace the truth.

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>In common with the anabaptistic view of the

>church, you think that crossing the street removes you from all the

>covenantal error and sin at the place you just left. *It does not.* You

>believe a change in latitude and longitude removes covenantal

connections.

>But on the fundamental level, you are as covenantally connected to the

PCA

>as anyone can be. So are we, ecclesiastical boundaries notwithstanding.

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

This is nonsense. I am testifying against the PCA as the malignant remnant

of the spawn of the spawn of the Revolution settlement (1689) defection

(constitutionally and theologically) and as a limb of ecclesiastical Antichrist

(again, considered constitutionally; cf. Calvin's _Institutes_, 4.2.12). They

never have been any part (constitutionally) of the visible church and they

have from their very inception denied the Reformed view of the visible

church concerning doctrine, worship, government and discipline. They

have officially opposed many Reformation attainments (usually in

ignorance, I hope), tolerated many forms of public idolatry and the

promoters thereof (e.g. John Frame), and have never given any indication

that they have any idea of the covenant obligations that all true

Presbyterians come under (much less attempting to fulfill those

obligations).

 

As proof of some of my most recent testimony against this apostate false

church (i.e. as to constitution), I cite the following item, which I composed

during a discussion I was having on a PCA email discussion group:

 

START QUOTE

 

The PCA is apostate (constitutionally) and has no ministerial authority (or

courts) which Christ recognizes, as is proved in:

 

_Why the PCA is Not a Duly Constituted Church and Why Faithful

Christians Should Separate from this Corrupted "Communion"_ by Larry

Birger (Two letters from Larry Birger, Jr. to the session of his former

congregation in the PCA, with an historical introduction. Birger states, "This

work is emitted by way of testimony against the defections from the

reformation of the true religion granted by God in ages past, in hopes of

playing some small part in the edification of God's people currently

languishing under such defected and defecting denominations." It

spotlights the differences between classic Presbyterian thought

[paleopresbyterianism] and what today is but a pale imitation

[neopresbyterianism] of the Reformation attainments that have been won

[at the cost of much suffering and many lives] in the past. This is a good

practical introduction to ecclesiology, testimony-bearing, and second

Reformation thought.

FREE at: http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/PCAbad.htm

 

_A Testimony Against the Prominent Errors of Our Times_ Adullam

Presbyterian Church (Kevin Reed and others produced this testimony in

June [1990]. It is directed at many specific areas of corruption found in the

PCA.)

FREE at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/TestProm.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) by

Andrew Clarkson (An exceedingly rare and important book now back in

print after 265 years! 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]. The biblical

principles contained in this book still apply today and thus _Plain Reasons_

remains one of the best books explaining why [and when] an individual

[church or citizen] should separate himself [or itself, as a corporate moral

person] from those [in church or state] who do not hold fast to all the

attainments of our *covenanted Reformation forefathers*. In this regard

the session of the Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton calls this the one

book that best explains why faithful Covenanted Presbyterians must, for

conscience sake, remain ecclesiastically separate from all Presbyterian

denominations that have backslidden from second Reformation

attainments. (This being the classic corporate Calvinistic application of such

commands as "Nevertheless, whereto we have already *attained*, let us

walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing" [Phil. 3:16, emphasis

added]. It is also the acknowledgement that the Lord has clearly stated in

his Word that he "requireth that which is past" [Eccl. 3:15].) Furthermore,

the session of the PRC of Edmonton has noted that this book "clearly spells

out the reasons why to unite with the Revolution Church (1689) or any of

its descendants [The Free Church of Scotland, The Free Presbyterian Church

of Scotland, and American Presbyterian Churches. etc] is to undermine and

subvert the work of the Second Reformation. The argumentation is cogent

[with an abundant supply of documentation]. *The section [in the book] on

schism is a "classic of classics" and clearly demonstrates how very few in

our day [even in the Reformed camp] understand the Reformation doctrine

regarding schism, separation and the visible church.* In this file you will

find the complete table of contents, the preface and the first reason for

dissent. Lord willing, other sections will follow in time. The table of

contents is very valuable as it lays out in summary [and with a fair

amount of detail] the whole scope of the book. It can serve as a kind of

summary of second Reformation thought concerning the church, state,

separation, schism, worship, civil dissent, church planting, opposition to

idolatry and tyranny, and much more!)

FREE at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/PlainTOC.htm

 

END QUOTE

 

(The first and third books cited above are also available from Still Waters

Revival Books in hard copy format, and the second title is available from

Presbyterian Heritage Publications [at: P.O. Box 180922, Dallas, TX, USA,

75218] for those that do not have a connection to the world wide web.)

 

The Reformed Presbytery has also (long ago) furnished us with a

testimony which applies to the PCA and those who do not testify against

this harlot daughter's many corruptions (including "liturgical dance,"

drama, crosses, man-made hymns, instrumental music, etc. in public

worship; "ministers" who deny the Sabbath, deny six day creationism, and

approve of women preachers, etc. -- and this list could extend to pages --

all the fruit of open communion, the denial of covenanted standards and

the lack of Scriptural discipline, doctrine and government in this corrupt

and corrupting body),

 

"(W)e 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" -- unauthorized revivalists --

who "understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm;" (they--

RB) are thus prepared to become the vassals of anti-christ..." (_Act,

Declaration and Testimony for the Whole of Our Covenanted Reformation_,

[1876 edition] SWRB reprint 1995, p. 175)

 

But to continue, even the Resolutioners (from whom Samuel Rutherford,

James Guthrie and the other seventeenth century Protesters separated)

were so far superior to the PCA that there is no comparison. In fact, at the

beginning of this controversy, the Protesters and Resolutioners

*constitutionally agreed on every point* except who would be allowed into

the Scottish army, the hasty admittance of Charles II to the Covenants and

the general toleration of malignants and backsliding. Because of these

differences the Protesting Covenanters would not recognize the

Resolutioner body as a duly constituted segment of the visible church

(constitutionally) or serve the members of this diseased body the Lord's

supper. Some prominent Protesters even questioned the salvation of some

of the arch-malignants in their prayers. We, with Rutherford, Guthrie and

the other Protesting witnesses, take the same stance in our day with

regard to the PCA (and other constitutionally corrupted bodies); while

noting that the level of corruption in our day is much more pronounced

and therefore it is much easier for us to determine a faithful course

according to Scripture. Notwithstanding, the history of this period and the

biblical justification for separation used by our classical Presbyterian

forefathers in the faith remains eminently instructive. The following rather

lengthy quote (recounting some of this history) may help you see how

these men dealt with a situation that was far less clear than the rampant

and open apostasy that we see on all fronts today (especially in so-called

"Presbyterian" denominations). The Session of the Puritan reformed Church

of Edmonton has written (in their _Brief Defense of Dissociation in the

Present Circumstances_ [1996]; this entire article is FREE on the web at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/BriefDef.htm ),

 

START QUOTE

 

"Though false allegations of schism, separatism, and independency will

likely attend our decision to dissociate from The ________ Church, the

session of Puritan Reformed Church offers this brief defence in support of

its action.

 

Though it is not necessary that a truly constituted church be absolutely

pure as to the doctrine taught or embraced, as to the ordinances

administered, or the public worship performed, it is, however, necessary

that its constitution be founded upon and agreeable to the Word of God

and that its constitution reflect the light attained to by the purest of

Reformed Churches (for all reformation must be biblical reformation if it is

reformation at all, otherwise it is not a reformation but a deformation, cf.

Phil. 3:16). Wherefore, to adopt a constitution that corrupts the light of

Scripture or the light of reformation is to adopt a false constitution. A false

constitution renders a church and its courts unconstitutional. When the

Confession of Faith (25:4) speaks of degrees of purity among particular

churches within the "catholick church", we believe it designates degrees of

purity within truly constituted churches. For example, though the church

of Corinth was plagued with division, immorality, and false doctrine

promoted by some within the church (and therefore manifested a lesser

degree of purity than other truly constituted churches, cf. the church of

Smyrna in Rev. 2:8-11), it was, nevertheless, a truly constituted church for

it was constituted by apostolic authority (with apostolic doctrine, apostolic

worship, apostolic government, and apostolic discipline). Thus, for a church

to constitutionally adhere to Arminianism, Dispensationalism, or

Charismatic experientialism (false doctrine), singing uninspired hymns or

using instrumental music in public praise (false worship), Episcopacy or

Independency (false government), or unrestricted communion (false

discipline) is to qualify as a constitutionally false church. That is not to say

that there are no believers in churches that are not truly constituted (there

may be many in some cases). Nor is it to imply that ministers or elders

within those churches do not courageously stand for many truths taught in

Scripture. It is simply to say that authority to rule in the church must

come from Christ, and if a church does not have a constitution of which He

approves (as King of His church), then there is no lawful authority to rule

or to administer the ordinances on His behalf. Authority to administer the

divine ordinances on behalf of Christ flows directly from the King and His

constitution. Authority used within His church on any other grounds is an

usurped authority. It is tyranny. For this reason, the magistracy and the

church (during the Second Reformation) did not recognize the

constitutional viability of any other church within the realm of Scotland

than the Church of Scotland:

 

'. . . there is no other face of kirk, nor other face of religion, than was

presently at that time, by the favour of God, established within this realm:

"Which therefore is *ever styled God's true religion, Christ's true religion,

the true and Christian religion, and a perfect religion' (The National

Covenant of Scotland, emphases added).

 

To live in Scotland and yet to be outside the Church of Scotland was to be

outside the visible church, for no other church was tolerated or recognized

as a constitutionally true church. It was to be excommunicated from a

truly constituted church and ministry. An essential term of communion

within the Church of Scotland was The National Covenant (and

subsequently The Solemn League and Covenant). Concerning the National

Covenant as a term of communion note the following historical accounts.

 

'Copies of the Covenant were carried into every corner of the land to be

subscribed, and were looked upon as *tests of faith in Christ*. . . . The

Presbytery of Kirkcaldy resolved, 1st August 1639, that no '*wilful non-

Covenanters should be admitted to the Sacrament*' (James King Hewison,

_The Covenanters, A History of the Church in Scotland from the

Reformation to the Revolution_, Vol. I, p. 272, emphases added).

 

'At length, on 2nd August 1643, the epoch-making Assembly met in the

east division of St. Giles' Church, Edinburgh, when Sir Thomas Hope had the

unique distinction of sitting as Commissioner, and Henderson, for the third

time, filled the Moderator's chair. They began business by enacting that

the National Covenant of 1638 should be issued in a little quarto volume,

with blank leaves, *to be subscribed in every synod, presbytery, and

parish, and that non-subscribers of it should be censured*' (Hewison, _The

Covenanters_, Vol. I, p. 377, emphases added).

 

Furthermore, those accounted as having defected from these covenants

(the defectors were called "malignants") were censured by the Church of

Scotland.

 

'On 12th July [1648], the Assembly met in Edinburgh, George Gillespie

being Moderator, approved of the Argyll policy, and condemned the

'unlawful engagement' as sinful and censurable. The Church opposed the

Engagement because it violated the Solemn League and Covenant,

inasmuch as it proposed the reinstatement of an Episcopal monarch, the

formation of a party of Covenanters in alliance with their opponents, and

the delegation of power to a government who 'mind not religion.' The

Assembly further declared the Engagers to be malignants, non-

Covenanters, sectaries, and enemies to the one righteous cause. . . . *The

Covenant was to be the sole test of patriotism and of religion*. Other bonds

and the toleration of sects were to be avoided like the pest. *Favourers of

any other policy were to be excommunicated if unrepentant. Ministers

approving of the Engagement were to be deposed...'* (Hewison, _The

Covenanters_, [1908] SWRB reprint 1996, Vol. I, p. 446, emphases added).

 

In fact, the issue of faithfulness to the covenants actually rent the Church

of Scotland into two parties so that the Protesters declared the Assemblies

of the Resolutioners (the covenant-breaking party that developed out of

the Engagers) to be unconstitutional and pretended Assemblies. The

covenants were obvious terms of communion, for Protesters and

Resolutioners refused to meet in the same General Assemblies together.

Protesters did not recognize the unlawful courts of the Resolutioner

Assemblies and would not attend them when cited to appear. Protesters

were deposed from the ministry by Resolutioner Assemblies when they

refused to recognize their lawful authority to rule on behalf of Christ.

 

'It [the joint General Assembly of Protesters and Resolutioners--PRC] met

in St. Andrews on 16th July. . . . Rutherford, and other twenty-one

sympathisers, protested against the meeting as *unconstitutional*. . . .

There [later at Dundee, where the General Assembly of Protesters, who had

separated themselves from the Resolutioners, was now meeting--PRC], on

22nd July [1651--PRC], Rutherford's cogent Protest declining the

Assembly* was read. Balcarres [a Resolutioner--PRC] in vain demanded

that the twenty-two absent Protesters should be reported for civil

punishment for their reflections on the King, Parliament, and Church. The

Assembly [of Resolutioners--PRC] ordered Presbyteries to deal with them.

It was ultimately agreed to cite [James--PRC] Guthrie, Patrick Gillespie,

James Simson, James Naismith, and John Menzies. *They did not compear*

[i.e. appear at the Resolutioner assembly--PRC]. The [Resolutioner--PRC]

Assembly deposed Guthrie, Gillespie, and Simson, suspended Naismith, and

referred Menzies to the Commission. After the meeting of the Assembly at

St. Andrews, a work was published entitled _A Vindication of the Freedom

and Lawfulness of the late Assembly_ [by James Wood, a Resolutioner--

PRC], etc. This was answered by _The Nullity of the Pretended Assembly at

Saint Andrews and Dundee_" [signed by 40 Protesters including Rutherford

and Guthrie--PRC] (Hewison, _The Covenanters_, Vol. II, pp. 34,35,

emphases added).

 

Separate Assemblies of Protesters and Resolutioners met in 1652 and in

1653 in Edinburgh. The Protesters declared the Assembly of the

Resolutioners in 1652 to be "unlawful, unfrie, and unjust" (Hewison, _The

Covenanters_, Vol. II, p. 43). It is worthy to be noted that the issue

between the Protesters and the Resolutioners did not deal at all with the

propriety of ministers and members of the Church of Scotland swearing

the covenants, but over the issue of faithfulness to the covenants. Both

sides upheld the obligation of ministers and members to own the

covenants. Furthermore, unfaithfulness to this term of communion (i.e.

faithfully maintaining the covenants) on the part of the Resolutioners led

the Protesters to separate from their brethren to avoid schism and in order

to maintain a truly constituted church. They would not serve with the

Resolutioners while they maintained different terms of communion,

neither would they serve them the Lord's Supper (e.g. Rutherford refused

to serve communion with Blair at St. Andrews; and on another occasion

Rutherford and Moncrieff debarred Resolutioners from the table at

Scoonie). Such actions can only be defended if the covenants were terms of

communion. Were the covenants biblical terms of communion? We testify

that they were and still are biblical terms of communion. To affirm

otherwise is in effect to charge the faithful covenanters (Protesters) of the

Second Reformation with sin and to undermine their covenanted

reformation and the biblical presbyterianism they taught and practiced.

 

Therefore, we must maintain a faithful testimony in defence of this

covenanted reformation and presbyterianism as it was taught and

practiced by faithful covenanters of the Second Reformation as being

biblical and "which therefore is ever styled God's true religion, Christ's true

religion, the true and Christian religion, and a perfect religion" (The

National Covenant of Scotland, emphases added).

 

END QUOTE

 

As shown, then, we are striving to bear faithful testimony against the PCA

and other backsliding (constitutional) daughters of the harlot (Rev. 17:5);

and by this we deny that the PCA is a *duly constituted* segment of the

visible church. This is not to deny the visible church (in those that believe

and their children) *at* the PCA (as Calvin did with Rome in his

_Institutes_ 4.2.12). In fact, I have no problem affirming a covenantal

connection with those in the PCA at this level (i.e. in as far as we are

covenantally bound to Christ, as individuals). It is only at the "organic

ministerial" level that I deny that the PCA is a *duly constituted* segment

of the visible church.

 

This very teaching is also proclaimed (along with an expression of true

love to the brethren) in one of the covenanted Presbyterian church's

judicial standards. In the Reformed Presbytery's _Auchensaugh Renovation

of the National Covenant and Solemn League and Covenant..._ (1712, 1880,

SWRB reprint 1994) we read,

 

"Believing that *the Christian Church is one by her divine constitution*, and

lamenting existing divisions among the children of God; recognizing the

obligation upon us to love the brotherhood, we will endeavor to cultivate

charity in **private intercourse** towards all who reflect the divine image;

and help to elevate them to the platform of the *Covenanted Reformation*

as our **only recognized bond of organic and ministerial church

fellowship**. Nor will we, in reliance upon the promised and continued

supplies of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, permit ourselves to be divided from

this our *covenanted unity and uniformity* by the promises, threats, or

solicitations of surrounding communities. Through divine grace we will

endeavour, *by practical manifestation of the truth*, to commend

ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God, as the most

effectual means of healing Zion's breaches, that are great like the sea" (p.

139, emphases added).

 

This may seem hard to understand without the knowledge of the doctrine

of "moral persons." Here is a short explanation from David Scott's

_Distinctive Principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church_ (1841, SWRB

reprint 1996, pp. 61-63) :

 

"1. Ecclesiastical and national societies are moral persons. By a moral

person I mean that each of these kinds of society has an understanding

and a will of its own, by which it perceives, deliberates, determines and

acts. An individual person, is one that has the power of understanding and

willing; the name moral person is therefore applied to a society, having an

understanding and a will common to the whole body, by which, though

made up of a vast number of individuals, it possesses the power of

knowing, deliberating, determining, and acting. A moral person may enter

into contracts and covenant obligations; and these are as valid when

entered into, as the covenant obligations of individual persons. Being moral

persons, churches and nations are capable of entering into covenant with

God; and that it is their duty to do so, I have demonstrated in the

preceding section. Such obligations, when constituted agreeably to the will

of God, are necessarily perpetual; for it is not the individuals merely of

which the society consists, but the society itself, as a moral person, that

covenants. In the case of personal covenanting, no one will question that

the covenant obligation extends throughout the whole life of the

individual; the same principle prevails in relation to social covenanting: the

obligation extends throughout the duration of the moral person.

2. The church is a permanently existing body. It has undergone, indeed,

several changes in its external administration, but it is the same now that

it was when first constituted. The church in the wilderness of Sinai is

identical with the church in the days of Adam and Eve, and continues still

the same moral person in the nineteenth century. The removal by death of

individual members, does not destroy the identity of the moral person,

which remains unaffected by the removal of a thousand generations.

Covenant obligation entered into by the church, in any given period,

continues of perpetual obligation throughout all succeeding generations,

and that too, on the recognised principle that the church continues the

same moral person."

 

You see Doug, without an understanding of this doctrine, all the Scripture

which speaks of the church as one (visibly) and the faithful testimony we

are commanded to proclaim against the false church (as it is visible

constitutionally) will make little or no sense. This is why my earlier

comments regarding the fifth commandment, as applied to the church (and

the state) in regard to our responsibility at a corporate level, were so

important. Notice below how the _Westminster Larger Catechism_

succinctly highlights this very truth.

 

"Question 124: Who are meant by father and mother in the fifth

commandment?

 

Answer: By father and mother, in the fifth commandment, are meant, not

only natural parents, but all superiors in age and gifts; and *especially*

such as, by *God's ordinance*, are over us in place of authority, whether in

family, *church, or commonwealth* (emphases added)."

 

In light of these teachings it is easy to see why we maintain, with the

Reformed Presbytery (citing Thomas Sproull thoughout, below), that it is

not we who are the schismatics, but those who willfully abandon and

disregard their covenant obligations and Reformation attainments,

 

"'By the National Covenant our fathers laid Popery prostrate. By the

Solemn League and Covenant they were successful in resisting prelatic

encroachments and civil tyranny. By it they were enabled to achieve the

Second Reformation... They were setting up landmarks by which the

location and limits of the city of God will be known at the dawn of the

millennial day... How can they be said to go forth by the footsteps of the

flock, who have declined from the attainments, renounced the covenants

and contradicted the testimony of "the cloud of witnesses"... All the

Schisms (separations) that disfigure the body mystical of Christ...are the

legitimate consequences of the abandonment of reformation attainments --

the violation of covenant engagements.' This is sound doctrine and

historical truth combined. Again our author puts the important question,

'Is it not unfaithfulness to reject the obligations of the covenants of former

times?' Yes, we think so, when their objects are not yet reached; and

moreover, that 'Confession of sin, and especially the sins of covenant

breaking should always accompany the renewal of our obligations.' This is

well said. Was it thought of at Pittsburgh, 1871? To good purpose he adds,

'In the renewal of covenants there should be no abridgment of former

obligations.' (All these excellent sentiments seemed to have been totally

forgotten or wholly disregarded when the time came for their practical use

and appropriate application. Some said, 'We have all we want;' and we

strongly suspect too many wanted none of the former obligations -- 'in this

free country.') And can this be denied? Once more we quote, -- 'The

opposition is not so much to covenanting, as it is to the covenants of our

fathers, and to the permanence of their obligations.' Then the author says

emphatically and somewhat prophetically, 'The church never will renew

her covenants aright until she embraces in her obligations all the

attainments sworn in the covenants, National and Solemn League. This was

done in the renovation at Auchensaugh, in Scotland'" (_A Short Vindication

of Our Covenanted Reformation_, [1879] SWRB reprint 1996, pp. 38-39).

 

Our principles, constitution and terms of ecclesiastical fellowship (which

are in keeping with the attainments [2 John 8] won in both Reformations)

have been published for the whole world to see. That you might not

further misrepresent our standards (and thus oppose yourself) our terms

of ecclesiastical communion follow:

 

START QUOTE

 

The Session of Puritan Reformed Church

 

Motion Concerning Terms of Communion

Adopted March 22, 1996

 

Moved that the session of Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton adopt as

terms of communion (or communicant membership) the following six

terms:

 

1. An acknowledgement of the Old and New Testament to be the Word

of God, and the alone infallible rule of faith and practice.

 

2. That the whole doctrine of the Westminster Confession of Faith, and

the Catechisms, Larger and Shorter, are agreeable unto, and founded upon

the Scriptures.

 

3. 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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

6. Practically adorning the doctrine of God our Savior by walking in all

His commandments and ordinances blamelessly.

 

END QUOTE

 

(The six "Terms of Ministerial and Christian Communion in the Reformed

Presbyterian Church" listed above, along with "Queries to be put to

Candidates for Ordination," can be found on pages 216-217 in the _Act,

Declaration and Testimony for the Whole of Our Covenanted Reformation_,

[1876 edition] SWRB reprint 1995.)

 

Sadly, you seem blissfully unaware of any of the specific principles of the

covenanted Reformation which I have outlined, our specific terms of

communion, or how they apply to our situation today; and yet you are

willing to oppose us (and therefore the old Covenanters) with the most

severe epithets. Moreover, your simplistic equating of our views with

those of the anabaptists only continues to testify of your ignorance; as

anyone who has even the least familiarity with the Protesting Covenanters

will recognize at once (and the others just have to check the history books

-- as even some of our worst enemies, over the last 350 years, have been

more intellectually honest than you have in representing our positions).

Rutherford an anabaptist? -- wow, Doug, I find it hard to believe that you

are that ill informed.

 

>You did not like my assertion that you all are perfectionistic. In your

>defense, you say that you have cited many "historic references in our

>discussion." The issue is not your representation of (some) of our

reformed

>forefathers. The issue is your ignoring of the flow of covenantal history

>since that time.

 

No, the issue is *your* ignoring of the flow of covenantal history since that

time: which has been decidedly downhill.

 

Tell me, how many nationally covenanted Presbyterian churches are there

today? What General Assembly would you say matches that of the Church

of Scotland from 1638-1649? How many churches and nations are filled

with people (and leaders) willing to submit to a covenanted uniformity

such as was aimed at in the Solemn League and Covenant? How many

churches and nations have bound themselves to obey all of Christ's law

and testimony, as England, Scotland and Ireland did in the Solemn League

and Covenant? What confessions are being produced today which rival the

Westminster Confession of Faith? What catechisms are being produced

which match the Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms? What

scholars are producing works which compare to the works of Samuel

Rutherford, George Gillespie, and many others of this period?

 

The period since the second Reformation has been one step back after

another. This is clearly seen when one compares the standard practices

prevalent during the second Reformation with those of the so-called

"Presbyterians" of our day. Because you are so much a part of the modern

defection (and, to be fair, you are at some points among the best of the

neopresbyterians) this will be very hard for you to see -- but we will

continue to pray that God will open your eyes.

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>You objected to my "ad hominem assertions" which were "not

>the truthful and gracious speech" you had hoped for. Believe me, I am not

>trying to resolve this by name-calling. I honestly believe that you do not

>see what you are doing. Your handling of my scriptural counter-examples

are

>a case in point. When I asked about David and the showbread, and bowing

in

>the house of Rimmon, and worshipping in a synagogue, and sacrificing

only to

>the Lord in the high places, etc. you said that to "ask such questions as

>above is not helpful to me at all."

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

All these questions will again (they are not new questions and have all

been answered by faithful Presbyterians before) be fully answered (D.V.)

in due time in the books and articles that I intend to publish (or distribute)

in the future. Many of the books that I have already published also contain

the answers you are asking for. If I get time I will send you the books with

the answers to each of these questions all marked out (free of charge -- to

show you that I am arguing in good faith and that I still desire the best for

you). Remember, I didn't start this strife between us, you did (Prov.

26:17).

 

Also, what I believe Greg was referring to when he said that to "ask such

questions as above is not helpful to me at all," was that such questions

have nothing to do with the charges at hand -- concerning what you

printed in slandering me. He was not saying these question are of no value

regarding the other issues that you raised. Greg would not be presently

writing a book which revolved around these types of questions if he

thought they were of no value in any sense. He was merely trying to keep

you focused on the issue of the false claims which you published about me.

 

Your questions are good questions and you are to be commended for even

thinking of them -- it shows that you have done more thinking on this

issue than most. But, these questions (regarding separation and worship)

have nothing to do with answering the charges about whether or not what

you printed about me was true. The issue concerning what you printed is

what we need resolved first. These other questions regarding biblical

separation and worship will be answered (again) in due time -- as I (really

the old Reformers) have already answered your question regarding Moses'

seat above (cf. Prov. 12:15).

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>You then said I had not brought any

>evidence! What are such passages if not evidence of the very point at

issue?

>You said you want to keep "the whole law." So answer me this -- in

keeping

>the whole law, would you excommunicate Obadiah for remaining in charge

of

>Ahab's house?

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

Of course not, this was a civil matter and no sinful oath or actions were

involved (that we know of). At the point at which Obadiah would have had

to take any sinful oaths to serve Ahab (cf. Appendix A and C in _The

Ordinance of Covenanting_ by John Cunningham [1843], SWRB reprint

1996), or would have had to publicly violate the law of God *HIMSELF,*

then he would have come under the discipline of a duly constituted church

court, if the sin was known (and if such a court existed -- remember that

in the days of Elijah the visible church had become so "invisible" that even

the greatest prophet in Israel at that time thought that he was the only

believer left [1 Kings 19:14]; cf. vol. 1, p. 25 of Calvin's _Institutes_ [Battles

edition, Westminster Press] for some interesting comments on Elijah's

situation and the teaching which Calvin draws out of it in regard to the

visibility of the visble church. More on this can also be found in Wylie's

_Two Sons of Oil_; pp. 50-53).

 

This is also the case regarding all slaves, employees, and even those living

in covenant breaking nations like Canada and the USA.

 

Shields again sheds light on the principles involved, having qualified what

follows with the qualification that I cite above (and many more). He writes,

 

"As we find the Lord's resenting it as a servitude, under which they were

servants even in their own land, which did yield increase unto the kings

whom the Lord had set over them, because of their sins, Neh. ix. 36, 37. 2.

In divers cases there may be some compliance with a mere occupant, that

hath no right to reign; as upon this account the noble marquis of Argyle

and lord Warriston suffered for their compliance with the usurper

Cromwell. Such may be the warrantableness, or goodness, or necessity, or

profitableness of a compliance, when people are by providence brought

under a yoke which they cannot shake off, that they may part with some

of their privileges, for the avoidance of the loss of the rest, and for the

conveniency and profit, peace and safety of themselves and their country,

which would be in hazard, if they did not comply; they may do whatsoever

is due from them to the public weal, whatsoever is an office of their station

or place, or which they have any other way a call unto, whatsoever may

make for their own honest interest, without wronging others, or the

country's liberties in their transactions with these powers, even though

such a compliance may be occasionally to the advantage of the usurpers,

seeing good and necessary actions are not to be declined for the ill effects

that are accidental to them, and arise from the use which others make of

them" (_A Hind Let Loose_, [1797 ed.] SWRB reprint 1996, p. 339).

 

Furthermore, it has been pointed out, using other Old Testament worthies

as examples, why some acted in one way (toward the civil government of

the day) and some in another (and as I am sure you will agree, this was

not because the Bible contradicts itself or is unclear regarding the

Christian's duty concerning civil government). The article _The Right of

Dissent from an Immoral Civil Government_ (an SWRB reprint taken from

a mid-nineteenth century Covenanter magazine) states,

 

START QUOTE

 

"But, it may be asked, how is the conduct of Joseph, Nehemiah and Daniel,

&c., who held office under immoral governments, to be reconciled with the

principle pleaded for in this paper. The acts even of good men cannot be

used in argument against a principle approved of God, and established by

the strongest testimony. To their own Master they stand or fall. The acts of

none of these men, in accepting office, is marked with that full and

indubitable evidence of divine approval that characterizes the act of Moses

in refusing office. If consistency required us to condemn one or the other,

we must condemn them and not him. But consistency does not demand the

disapprobation of either. They all acted in obedience to God, and on the

same great principles. All the instances on record in the Bible, of good men

holding office under an immoral government, are clearly of an

extraordinary character, and arose from very peculiar circumstances, and

were designed by God to accomplish special purposes. Such cases are not

the regular and ordinary operations of the government, but are spoken of

as rare and singular exceptions which happened in its administration. The

conduct of these worthy and eminent saints is referred to as a remarkable

interposition of Divine Providence in behalf of the church of God, when she

had been brought into the greatest extremity of suffering and danger.

There is no evidence that Joseph in Egypt, Mordecai in Persia, or Daniel in

Babylon, identified themselves with those governments, or took an oath of

allegiance to them. The remarkable circumstances in which they were

called to office, and the wonderful and miraculous powers which they

displayed, and for which they were appointed, would evidently supersede

the necessity of an ordinary and routine introduction. These men were

ministers by authority raised up and fitted, and appointed to rule in and

over these governments, and clothed with extraordinary powers by

Jehovah himself, for the accomplishment of grand purposes in divine

providence.

 

It follows, therefore, that the conduct of such men, acting in such

circumstances, and clothed with such powers, and for special purposes,

cannot afford a precedent for Christians in totally different circumstances,

approving of an immoral government and swearing to support it. The acts

of an ambassador extraordinary and duly authorized, appointed for a

special purpose, are they the rule of petty magistrates and constables?

In the government of Egypt, Joseph accepted an office, and Moses refused

one. The office which Joseph accepted was not an integral part of the

government, but one appointed at the instance and recommendation of

Joseph himself, for a specified object, and not governed by existing laws.

Here then was no obstacle to his acceptance. The office which Moses

refused was a permanent and essential part of the existing government, to

be regulated by established principles and precedents of acknowledged

authority, and implied incorporation with the political organization. Hence

the different conduct of these men, both serving God and doing his will.

It were easy to show, were it necessary, but it is not, that, during the

period of the Babylonian captivity, the people of God continued to sustain a

distinct civil character, and did not identify with the Chaldean, or Persian

government.

 

We have now before us a great truth. From the calling of Abraham until

the coming of Christ, the people of God never acknowledged or identified

themselves with any government, but that one which God himself placed

over them. They continued to maintain the ground of dissent from all

immoral governments under which they lived for twenty-eight

generations."

 

END QUOTE

 

The answer to your Obadiah question also ties into why it is sinful for a

Christian to vote in Canada or the USA. Currently, to vote in these countries

is to homologate immoral civil constitutions and to put someone, as your

representative, in a position to swear a sinful oath to these antichrist

documents (which is a violation of the third commandment). The same

applies to the church -- immoral constitutions necessitate sinful terms of

communion. No Christian can lawfully submit himself to an immoral

ecclesiastical constitution or sinful terms of communion (since church

members enter into the sins of the backsliding ministers who draft such

unlawful constitutions when they testify to their oneness with these harlot

bodies by receiving the Lord's Supper at their hands [cf. Reasons 1, 9, 10,

and especially 14, plus the whole section on civil government, in _Plain

Reasons for Presbyterian Dissenting..._ by Andrew Clarkson, John

Anderson's _Alexander and Rufus: or a Series of Dialogues of Church

Communion_ and W.J. McKnight's _Concerning Close Communion_] or by

sitting under their preaching [cf. James Douglas's _Strictures on Occasional

Hearing_]).

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>The fact that you do not see the relevance of such questions

>reveals the extent of your problem. Which is greater -- the Reformation or

>the faith which produced it?

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

All *true* Reformation is the outworking of the faith -- if it is not

faithfulness it is not Reformation!

 

"Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set" (Prov.

22:28).

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>For the Covenants,

 

>Douglas Wilson

>Cordially,

>

>Douglas Wilson

>Credenda/Agenda

>dougwils@moscow.com

>P.O. Box 8741

>Moscow, Idaho 83843

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

Which covenants are you referring to? You deny the Reformation

covenants on many fronts, not the least of which is clearly displayed in

your writings on worship, separation and the church.

 

Your recent review of Frame's book is another case in point. When you say

that Frame's book is useful as a "critique of the strict regulativist," who are

you talking about? The "strict regulativists" are all the best Presbyterian

and Reformed leaders since the sixteenth century (even the best Dutch

writers counseled the civil authorities to remove the organs from their

churches on the basis of what you call the "strict" application of the

regulative principle). If you think that Frame's book is useful for anything

other than exemplifying and thereby revealing the gross apostasy

prevalent in modern church, then you are far more ignorant (and blinded

by your own idolatry) than I had first suspected. Moreover, and I wouldn't

be surprised if you already know this, your version of so-called "classical

Protestantism," as espoused in your public writings, would have definitely

put you outside of the visible church as it was constituted during the

covenanted Reformation of the seventeenth century. Furthermore, if you

look carefully at the "covenanted uniformity" which Calvin was setting up

in Geneva, you would have not lasted long there, either. Your heterodox

views of worship, government, discipline and the sacraments would have

placed you outside of the two most classical of the visible Protestant

settlements of Christ's kingdom on earth, thus far in history. You may not

have the literature at this point to understand what I am saying (and I do

not say it with any malicious intent, as I still plan on sending you a

number of these titles to review, which I hope will help you to see how far

you are from what the church has already attained); but when the source

documents from the first and second Reformation periods, which we are

now publishing (at a rate of about 150-200 titles per year), get into the

hands of enough people, it will become a lot harder for the modern anti-

Covenanters (whether "evangelicals," neoprebyterians, or what have you)

to bamboozle their followers with a few quotes out of context, slick looking

covers, sound bite articles, and a little slander of those with whom they

disagree.

 

Those "natural allies" of which you speak above will soon have to declare

themselves for the Reformation as it was (and repent, as we have, of our

pride and arrogance in thinking that we have improved on what our best

Reformed forefathers had done -- because after reading them I can't think

of a single area where the modern church has outdone the best Reformers)

or honestly declare that they do not follow the best of the Reformation

forefathers. At that time the lines will be drawn: the paleopresbyterians on

one side (adhering to the biblical attainments of "mother Kirk" and "the

faith which was once delivered unto the saints") and the neopresbyterians

(and other so-called "evangelicals") on the other (espousing an eclectic

mishmash of truth and heresy which no one from the past would fully

recognize).

 

Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye

well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the

generation following (Ps. 48:12-13).

 

>and with the hope of peace between us,

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

There will be no peace between us on a false basis. Any peace before you

repent of your slander and biblical attainment denying heresies would be

the same type of false peace that you so vehemently contend for in the

ecclesiastical realm -- and which we, with all the faithful followers of

Christ, denounce. "They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my

people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace" (Jer. 6:14).

The scripture is clear: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which

cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have

learned; and avoid them" (Rom. 16:17). Should I listen to Scripture or your

latitudinarian fantasies?

 

I will close with a pertinent and timely citation from _A Short Vindication

of Our Covenanted Reformation_ by the Reformed Presbytery,

 

"(T)here is a rule in Logic which the learned acknowledge to be correct,

*Majus et minus non variant speciem*, -- 'greater or less does not vary the

nature of a thing.' And we are enjoined to 'mark them which cause

divisions and offences *contrary to the doctrine which we have learned*;

and avoid them, Rom. 16:17: as also to 'withdraw ourselves from every

brother that walketh disorderly' -- yes, though a brother. 2 Thes. 3:6; 1

Tim. 3:5. No, no, we are not uncharitable. While hating Pharisaic

exclusiveness, we no less dislike the spurious charity that 'suffers sin upon

a brother' without rebuke. Lev. 19:17; Titus 1:13... We pretend to no

superior light, or wisdom, or sanctity; we aim only at removing the

rubbish, that the ancient landmarks may reappear, and on the principle of

charity, which comprises the whole moral law (Rom. 8:8-10), we have not

shunned to mention names of leaders in public measure of defection,

following the example of our Lord, prophets, apostles and our witnessing

ancestors... We (also--RB) distinguish here between such as are advancing

and those who are retrograding (lamentably, which category, Doug, we

would put you in at this point--RB), as our witnessing fathers always did,

and towards which parties our deportment ought to be different. To those

advancing we extend a helping hand, but from those declining we are

commanded to 'turn away.' (2 Tim. 3:1-5)... To all those in whose heart the

Lord has preserved a supreme love to Himself and to His truth, sealed by

the blood of heroic and patriotic martyrs, as that truth has been

transmitted historically in doctrine, worship, government and discipline, --

the practical results of our Covenants, National and Solemn League: to all

such we address the words of good Hezekiah: 'Now, be ye not stiff-necked,

as your fathers were; but yield yourselves unto the Lord, and enter into

his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified forever, that the fierceness of his

wrath may turn away from you'" (pp. 48, 49, 50).

 

Again, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I call you to repent of your

sinful slander of my name (and now, also of your sinful slander of the

Covenanters [old and new] and the biblical attainments of the covenanted

Reformation). For in these slanders you have stated that I and the

Covenanted forefathers which I follow are the ones who "troubleth Israel:"

thus, I can only reply with Elijah, "I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and

thy father's house (i.e. all those modern "evangelical" neopresbyterians

who are the malignant spawn of the Reformation denying Revolution

settlement, theologically), in that ye have forsaken the commandments of

the LORD" (1 Kings. 18:17-18).

 

I appeal to you Doug: deal with the sin which started this controversy (i.e.

your slanderous "Telepathy" column) so that true reconciliation can take

place and further scandal (regarding this point) can be obviated. Obviously,

though, your numerous departures from the pattern of Apostolic

Presbyterianism as set forth in Scripture (and reasserted by our classical

Protestant forefathers) will need to be more fully addressed (and

hopefully resolved) in future correspondence (books, newsletters, etc.).

 

Please reply at your earliest convenience.

 

Sincerely, Reg Barrow, President

STILL WATERS REVIVAL BOOKS

swrb@swrb.com

4710-37A Ave. Edmonton AB Canada T6L 3T5

Voice: +1 780 450 3730

 

P.S. The following Scripture verses pretty much sum up my view of you

and much of modern "evangelicalism" (especially its leaders) -- in regard

to all that has been lost in terms of the attainments of the Reformations of

the past (especially concerning the visible church) -- and this is not to say

that I am not grieved by our contemporary defection or that I do not pray

often for a return to "the old paths":

 

O LORD, thou knowest: remember me, and visit me, and revenge me of my

persecutors; take me not away in thy longsuffering: know that for thy sake

I have suffered rebuke. Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and

thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called

by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. *I sat not in the assembly of the

mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand*: for thou hast filled

me with indignation. Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable,

which refuseth to be healed? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and

as waters that fail? Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will

I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth

the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: *let them return

unto thee; but return not thou unto them*. And I will make thee unto this

people a fenced brazen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they

shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to

deliver thee, saith the LORD (Jer. 15:15-20, emphases added)

 

See Calvin's _Commentary_ (vol. 9, pp. 282-300 in *part II*) on this

passage and see if Calvin did not understand the Scripture regarding the

church and separation as I set it forth above.

 


5. REG BARROW'S THIRD REPLY TO DOUG WILSON


 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>February 25, 1997

>

>Dear Reg,

>

>Look. In the interests of obeying the ninth commandment, I do not tell

>people that I have read a book unless I have read it all. If I have read a

>chapter or two, I do not say I have read the book. That would be untrue.

>When I give my students an assignment, they do not have the honest

option of

>saying they have read the assignment unless they have read it all. If they

>have not read it all, then I am under no obligation to credit them as

having

>done so. It is entirely reasonable to say that someone who has read part

of

>a book has not read the book. This is how I speak when referring to my

own

>book-reading; we have done nothing here inconsistent with the golden

rule.

>On the other hand, in all fairness, it would also be misleading to say that

>someone had *not* read a book if they had merely failed to read the last

few

>sentences.

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

Monday, February 3, 1997

 

Sorry Doug, but I don't buy your evasiveness. Everyone who has talked to

me about the "Telepathy" piece (excepting one, who said that it could

*possibly* mean what you put forth above) has taken what you have

written to mean that I had not read the book at all (i.e. that I had not read

even one page). Since this is not the case (and you have not shown a

willingness to clarify publicly what you have written) the charge of

violating the ninth commandment stands.

 

Just for the record (and in case this goes before the session of the Puritan

Reformed Church of Edmonton) I have highlighted (below) the portions of

the ninth commandment which I believe you have violated. Questions and

Answers 143-145 are cited in full from the original edition of the

_Westminster Larger Catechism_.

 

Question 143: Which is the ninth commandment?

Answer: The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness

against thy neighbor.

 

Question 144: What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?

Answer: The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the

preserving and *promoting of truth* between man and man, and the *good

name of our neighbor*, as well as our own; appearing and standing for the

truth; and from the heart, sincerely, freely, *clearly*, and fully, speaking

the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in all

other things whatsoever; a *charitable esteem* of our neighbors; *loving,

desiring, and rejoicing in their good name*; sorrowing for, and covering of

their infirmities; freely acknowledging of their gifts and graces, defending

their innocency; a ready receiving of a good report, and *unwillingness to

admit of an evil report*, concerning them; discouraging talebearers,

flatterers, and slanderers; love and care of our own good name, and

defending it when need requires; keeping of lawful promises; studying and

*practicing of whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good

report*.

 

Question 145: What are the sins forbidden in the ninth commandment?

Answer: The sins forbidden in the ninth commandment are, all

*prejudicing the truth, and the good name of our neighbors*, as well as our

own, especially in public judicature; *giving false evidence*, suborning

false witnesses, *wittingly appearing and pleading for an evil cause*,

*outfacing and overbearing the truth*; passing unjust sentence, *calling

evil good, and good evil*; rewarding the wicked according to the work of

the righteous, and the *righteous according to the work of the wicked*;

forgery, concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause, and holding our

peace when iniquity calls for either a reproof from ourselves, or complaint

to others; speaking the truth unseasonably, or maliciously to a wrong end,

or perverting it to a wrong meaning, or *in doubtful and equivocal

expressions*, to the prejudice of truth or justice; *speaking untruth, lying,

slandering, backbiting, detracting, tale bearing*, whispering, scoffing,

reviling, rash, harsh, and partial censuring; *misconstructing intentions,

words, and actions*; flattering, vainglorious boasting, thinking or speaking

too highly or too meanly of ourselves or others; denying the gifts and

graces of God; aggravating smaller faults; *hiding, excusing, or extenuating

of sins, when called to a free confession*; unnecessary discovering of

infirmities; *raising false rumors, receiving and countenancing evil reports,

and stopping our ears against just defense; evil suspicion*; envying or

grieving at the deserved credit of any, endeavoring or desiring to impair it,

rejoicing in their disgrace and infamy; *scornful contempt*, fond

admiration; breach of lawful promises; *neglecting such things as are of

good report, and practicing, or not avoiding ourselves, or not hindering

what we can in others, such things as procure an ill name*.

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>In a discussion between reasonable people, if we had unknowingly misled

>people on how informed (or uninformed) you were concerning Frame's

book, you

>could have said to us, "Hey, guys, lighten up. So I didn't read the

>Scripture Index. Give me a break." We would then have said, "Sorry," and

>published a correction. What we got was a lot of static about the ninth

>commandment and the inaccuracy of the charge of telepathy, as though

we were

>seriously claiming that you are telepathic! Please remember what a joke

is,

>and keep in mind that the key word is Covenant, and not Solemn.

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

To lie about a brother in jest is no virtue. Maybe this will help you, when

you are tempted to this sin in the future, to learn not to joke about such

serious matters. Many have commented to me that your work (especially

in the "Cave of Adullam") lacks credibility because of the excessive use of

sarcasm, satire and jesting. "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or

covetousness, *let it not be once named among you*, as becometh saints;

Neither filthiness, nor *foolish talking*, nor *jesting*, which are not

convenient: but rather giving of thanks" (Eph. 5:3-4). Also see: 1 Tim. 2:2-

4; 1 Tim. 3:8, 11; Titus 1:8; Titus 2:2, 6-7.

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>In your Knox Ring post, one of the phrases you used about Frame (and

Jordan)

>was this: "given the *idolatrous* nature of their beliefs regarding public

>worship." The thing which prompted us to make fun of what you were

doing was

>our distress that you would say such things in a public discussion when

>*your own* comments clearly indicated that your first-hand knowledge of

his

>book was minimal.

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

But not minimal in regard to the specific comments I was making or the

previous writings of Frame *and Jordan* (**on worship**) which I had

read. Please note that I was referring to their beliefs in general (in the

portion cited above) and not just as espoused in Frame's latest book. You

argue (above) from my general statement about Frame *and Jordan* based

on my knowledge of Frame's book alone. How does this follow? In the

portion which you quote from me I was taking into account all of the work

done by Frame and Jordan, which I have read. Surely you don't think that

I would argue that Jordan was idolatrous solely based on what Frame

wrote in his latest book. In any case, this is your mistake and does not

justify what you did in the "Telepathy" column.

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>You said, "From the quotes I have seen here and elsewhere

>. . .", thus indicating that your knowledge of the book was from "quotes."

>You also said that you had requested a review from someone who had

read

>Frame's entire book. We concluded from your words that your first-hand

>knowledge of Frame's book was piece-meal, and obtained from "quotes."

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

Then you should have said that I had not *finished* reading the book and

not written the "Telepathy" piece in a way that was so misleading -- or as

the Westminster divines wrote, "in doubtful and equivocal expressions."

 

By the way, who was it that wrote the "Telepathy" slander? Is there some

reason why you do not want to let me know who actually penned this

piece? Continuing to hide the author's name would be in keeping with my

charge that the writer of "Telepathy" lacks moral courage (cf. my "Letter to

the Editor" below).

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>Perhaps we can resolve the situation in this way. We are willing to stand

>corrected, and in public. How much of Frame's book had you read (and

how

>much of it was read to you) before you made your comments about his

likely

>excommunication in the days of the Reformation? Because we are not

>perfectionists, if you had read all but the last three paragraphs, say, we

>will publish a full clarification & correction. If you read isolated quotes

>here and there, then we think you still owe Frame an apology (his errors

>notwithstanding), and we stand by the justice and accuracy of what we

>printed. If it is somewhere in between, let's talk.

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

I had glanced at the book and had had read to me (in a 3 hour

conversation with a friend) a number of the most offensive sections of

Frame's work. I had also seen portions elsewhere (in promotional material

and on the web). Each section was a *clear violation* of the second

commandment -- and therefore idolatry -- especially those sections which

were read to me over the phone (as they were selected, by someone who

understands the classic Reformed position regarding the regulative

principle, to highlight Frame's apostasy). Not only were these sections of

Frame's book against Scripture, but they also transgressed the teaching of

the Westminster Confession -- which Frame has supposedly vowed to

uphold. I do not know exactly how many pages comprise what I had seen

and heard (of Frame's book) previous to my comments on the Knox Ring,

but that is beside the point; Frame (and Jordan) are both idolaters and I

will not apologize for bearing witness to the truth.

 

In short, the point is not (and never has been) the *quantity* of

information I had; rather, the salient point of our discussion is the

*quality* of information upon which I based my comments concerning

Frame. Unless Frame contradicted and denied all the specific information

which I had regarding his book, in the rest of his book (and I don't think

that he is that stupid), then the question of quantity is of no consequence

anyway. As it turned out the lesser amount of evidence (which I first had)

and the greater amount of evidence (which I had after finishing the book)

agreed completely -- Frame had not contradicted himself (generally

speaking) and had proven himself to be a consistent apostate, heretic and

idolater (regarding biblically Reformed worship). Calvin would have most

certainly excommunicated him and I continue to maintain that I have

testified to the truth -- on the Knox Ring and since -- and God giving me

strength I will continue to do so!

 

Furthermore, after my Knox Ring post and before your "Telepathy"

comments (as I note above) I had finished reading Frame's book for

myself. Taken as a whole, this book is much worse than I had originally

thought (when I just had knowledge of portions of it). Had I known how

thoroughly vile the book was throughout, my comments on Knox Ring

would have been much stronger (again see below).

 

Unless you are willing to print a full retraction of your statements (without

qualifications) in the "Cave of Adullam" section of your magazine, I will be

taking this matter to our session for a ruling (in keeping with the third

step of discipline listed in Matt. 18:15-17). I will then be publishing what

has transpired.

 

If you are not willing to repent publicly after receiving this letter, please

let me know.

 

I would also like to know (should you refuse to repent) whether or not I

have your permission to publish your comments regarding our discussions

-- in this and our previous letters regarding the "Telepathy" scandal.

 

Barring your public repentance I am planning on making my responses to

you available to the Christian community at large (in book form, on the

web, etc.).

 

If you are willing to repent, please send me a copy of the retraction which

you will be printing in the "Cave of Adullam."

 

Please respond at your earliest convenience.

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>Cordially in Christ,

>Douglas Wilson

>Cordially,

>Douglas Wilson

>Credenda/Agenda

>dougwils@moscow.com

>P.O. Box 8741

>Moscow, Idaho 83843

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

Sincerely, Reg Barrow, President, STILL WATERS REVIVAL BOOKS

swrb@swrb.com 4710-37A Ave. Edmonton AB Canada T6L 3T5

Voice: +1 780 450 3730

 

P.S. My Letter to the Editor concerning this matter is attached below.

 

Monday, February 3, 1997

 

Dear Doug:

 

Since I have long prayed that you (and the others who write for

_Credenda/Agenda_) would come up to the attainments (especially the

corporate attainments which still bind the moral person of the visible

church in its lawfully constituted form [cf. Calvin's _Institutes_ 4.2.12]) of

the second (or covenanted) Reformation (Phil. 3:16), it is with some

sadness that I read the comments found in your "Cave of Adullam" (Vol. 8,

No. 4). Here you critique my comments from Knox Ring regarding the

spiritual harlotry promoted by John Frame in his heretical new book on

worship. In this column your writer twice claims that before I had made

my comments regarding Frame, I hadn't read his book; and like a court

jester (Eph. 5:4, Prov. 26:17-19) you title this diatribe "Great Experiments

in Telepathy."

 

I have two problems with your invective.

 

First, what you claim (that I had gained "all" my insight on Frame "without

reading the book!") is not true and thus you have violated the ninth

commandment. I openly and freely admit that at the time of the writing of

my letter (which can be viewed at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/FrameExc.htm ) I

had not *finished* reading Frame's *complete book* -- though I had read

portions of it. Furthermore, large (and the most "damnable") sections of

Frame's book, which I had not yet read personally at that time, had

*already been read to me over the phone*. Surely you recognize that most

people can smell a cesspool long before they step in it and that one need

not read every page of every heretic before speaking against heresy. Thus,

it should be obvious, that contrary to the comments in your column, I was

already thoroughly familiar with the most salient points of the book

relative to the critique that I was making. On this point you have clearly

and publicly slandered my name and therefore (after numerous

unsuccessful private attempts) I now, publicly, call you to repentance.

 

Moreover, after having read through Frame's entire book (some portions

twice) and having annotated and indexed it, I want to make it perfectly

clear that this work is *much worse* than I had at first thought. Frame's

book is a nauseating example of the backsliding and ignorance that exists

today regarding Reformed worship – especially among those who call

themselves Reformed. I now only wish that I had *more severely

denounced Frame's poisonous piece of pestilent propaganda*. Not only

would Calvin have excommunicated Frame (cf. my _Calvin, Close

Communion and the Coming Reformation_ which is FREE at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CalvinCC.htm ), but

so would have the Westminster Divines -- especially the Scottish

Covenanters (cf. _The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of

Scotland, From the Year 1638 to the Year 1649 Inclusive_), some of whom

shed their blood in opposition to false worship far less heinous (at points)

than that which Frame promotes. And Frame thinks he holds to the

Westminster Confession. What delusion!

 

Kevin Reed's defense of classical Protestant worship, in his review of

Frame, should also be of special interest in this case (it's free at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/FrameWor.htm ) The

Charismatics may be taking the long road to Romish worship (with most of

the contemporary "Reformed" crowd lagging just behind), but Frame is no

friend of the Reformation when he is standing by waiting to fill the

ecclesiastical beast's gas tank. With his rejection of the classic Reformation

understanding of the regulative principle he has already conceded victory

to ecclesiastical antichrist (speaking in terms of the complex moral person

denoted as antichrist in Scripture). Even a cursory reading of George

Gillespie's _Dispute Against English Popish Ceremonies_ or John Flavel's

_Antipharmacum Saluberrimum..._ (which I retitled _A Warning Against

Backsliding, False Worship and False Teachers_ when I published it) will

testify to this fact (not to mention 99.9% of the literature on worship which

came out of the *Calvinistic* Reformations of the sixteenth and

seventeenth centuries).

 

My second problem with your comments is that they not only demonstrate

a manifest lack of integrity, but they also expose a lack of moral courage

on the part of the writer. How so you ask? My comments about Frame's

book were first publicly submitted to the Knox Ring email discussion

group. As your writer notes this is "a public on-line discussion" group. Why

did your author not challenge me on the Knox Ring? Why did he wait for

some time and then run back behind "mama's skirt" to trash my reputation

behind the full editorial control of Credenda/Agenda? I put my comments

in the public arena and believe me I took the heat. The gutless wonder

who wrote "Great Experiments in Telepathy" didn't even have the integrity

to meet me with his slander face to face – where I could freely reply. Such

tactics are more becoming a Jesuit than one who claims to be Reformed.

 

Moreover, to exhibit further how the Lord traps the unfaithful in their own

snares, you add an editorial comment stating "We have not read all

Barrow's comments on Frame, and that which we did read was not read

very carefully--but that should present no barrier to the rigorous

exchange of ideas!" "The *rigorous* exchange of ideas;" give me a break!

This was exactly what your author seemed to be studiously avoiding -- he

certainly was too cowardly to exchange any ideas in the open forum of

Knox Ring, where he was not protected by _Credenda/Agenda's_ editorial

control.

 

At this point I think that it would be safe to say that we have discovered a

Saul in the "Cave of Adullam" (Prov. 19:5).

 

If your writer has evidence that I violated the ninth commandment (as he

insinuates in his "Mutterings" about your "Regnant Follies") then so charge

me and produce proof. If not, he would be wise to "hold his peace" (Prov.

17:28), *after* having publicly repented for this violation of the ninth

commandment. The same goes for you Doug. As editor of

Credenda/Agenda_ (notwithstanding the good you do), you have now

printed lies concerning matters that you had not verified (and which you

cannot verify!). Sadly, even if you now do what is right and publicly repent

and retract your false statements, this will still be a blow to your

credibility among your more thoughtful readers. I know I will have a hard

time trusting anything that you say in your "Cave of Adullam" again. But,

on the other hand, by publicly repenting you will also be showing genuine

integrity, thus restoring some of the lost confidence and trust that this

incident has engendered among your readers and your friends.

 

I had expected better from _Credenda Agenda_ (and have in the past and

still continue to pray for it) -- but it seems that the love of idols (like

"Watts whims," i.e. uninspired man-made "hymns") can be very distracting

to those taken captive by them -- for this is not the first time that I have

been slandered in conjunction with my defense of Reformation worship

(Matt. 5:11).

 

I pray that you will be granted the grace to properly repent of this mis-

step and that your repentance will be publicly perceived as genuine (in

that you "bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance" Luke 3:8).

 

Sincerely,

Reg Barrow,

President, STILL WATERS REVIVAL BOOKS

 


6. REG BARROW'S FOURTH REPLY TO DOUG WILSON


 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>February 7, 1997

>

>Dear Reg,

>

>I am sorry we are not yet of one mind, but still hope that we can make

some

>little progress.

>

>You should try the same thing with your post on the Knox Ring that you

did

>with my explanation to you. Read your initial post to ten folks, and how

>many people would come away from your post thinking that you had read

>Frame's book? With a clean conscience on this before the Lord, *we sure

>didn't.* If this is not the case, and we were wrong, we *have* said that we

>are willing to stand corrected. That is why I asked you in my last letter

>for a clarification concerning how much of it you had actually read (a

>question you didn't exactly answer). If you had read a substantial portion

>of the book (or had it read to you), we are more than willing to say so in

>print.

>

>In response to this inquiry of mine, you said, "I do not know exactly how

>many pages comprise what I had seen and heard (of Frame's book)

previous to

>my comments on the Knox Ring, but that is beside the point . . ." But this

>is exactly the point concerning your charge against me over the ninth

>commandment. Whether your assumption about the rest of the book was

accurate

>is not our point. (I *agree* that the parts you didn't read were very much

>like the parts you did, and perhaps worse.) Oftentimes, a vigilante mob

will

>hang the right guy, but the process is still a matter of concern. Our reason

>for going into print was your method and lack of consideration for due

>process. You say that you don't know how many pages it was. Could you

>approximate? We would be happy to take your word for it.

>

>I have just reread your initial post. A fair reading of your statements

>would be that you had researched Jordan's views thoroughly and had

concluded

>he would be excommunicated by Calvin without a second thought, and

that from

>the quotes you had seen from Frame's book, he was in the same category.

Is

>this not a fair representation of what you said? And does this not lead the

>average reader to think you had not read Frame's book?

>

>However, if this does not convince you, and you are still wanting to

submit

>a letter to the editor, I have a practical suggestion, divided in two. The

>first brings some small limitation to your letter, but the other offers an

>expansion of it.

>

>Would you be willing to cut your letter back to two-hundred and fifty

words,

>and limit the subject to your concerns over Adullam and the ninth

>commandment? (This would only be if you do not see the justice of what I

>have said above.) Incidentally, to save you space in this letter, we are

>*not* trying to protect the identity of the author of that piece. Adullam

>usually functions as a group editorial effort. Doug Jones first saw your

>comment on Knox Ring, I decided we needed to do something with it,

made some

>suggestions concerning it to my son, Nathan, who wrote the rough draft.

The

>thing was then processed through an editorial meeting with all of us, etc.

>For your writing purposes, the best thing to do is simply hold me

>responsible as the editor of the magazine.

>

>Secondly, with regard to the broader issues, we would be happy to give

you

>space in our Disputatio column to debate with me concerning the

substantive

>theological issues involved with situation revolving around the second

>commandment and the regulative principle. We would be willing to

debate the

>subject of worship under the title (if Frame doesn't mind), "Is John Frame

>an Idolater?" Would you be willing for something of that nature?

>

>Taken together, this would give you more space than your letter as it now

>stands. If my explanation of how we took your words -- "I know that

Jordan

>is an idolater, and from the bits and pieces I have seen, Frame is too." --

>proves satisfactory and you do not want to submit a letter to the editor,

>the offer of a debate in Disputatio still stands. (The offer of debate would

>also extend, if you preferred, to Pastor Price).

>

>I hope this is satisfactory to you, and look forward to hearing from you

again.

>

>

>Cordially in Christ,

>Douglas

>Cordially,

>

>

>Douglas Wilson

>Credenda/Agenda

>dougwils@moscow.com

>P.O. Box 8741

>Moscow, Idaho 83843

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

Wednesday, February 12, 1997

 

Doug:

 

I do not believe that our correspondence is getting anywhere. You keep

making the same excuses, with a slightly new spin each letter. I still

maintain that what I did (in "Knox Ring") was perfectly legitimate (and

part of my covenanted duty) and that your response (in the "Cave of

Adullam) was a violation of the ninth commandment. You have said

nothing that would cause me to retract my initial charges against you (for

all the reasons which I have already previously stated in our letters to

each other). Therefore I will be taking this matter to our session (in

fulfillment of Matt. 18:17). I will also be publishing my responses to you --

to help clear my name and the name of Still Waters Revival Books -- on

the web and as a book. If you do not contact me (before Feb. 19/97) giving

me your permission to use your exact words (without monetary

compensation) in the book I plan to publish (for sale, and the book will be

sold at close to cost so as to eliminate the profit motive), then I will

summarize what you have said myself (as I did in my debate with Joe Bell,

cf. _A Contemporary Covenanting Debate; Or, Covenanting Redivivus_ free

at: http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CovDebRB.htm ).

If I had the choice I would rather include all your words exactly as you

wrote them (and I do not know why you would not want your words to be

published, if you are not willing to retract them and repent of what you

have written). Furthermore, if you are willing to stand by what you have

written you will obtain a much larger hearing for your position. My

publication of your words will grant you a large amount of free publicity

which you would not otherwise have access to (and my publications [web

and book] will likely reach a much larger audience than you could ever

reach through Credenda/Agenda and Canon Press, including many people

that would never hear of your views). Since you have not retracted

anything which you have written against us thus far, I hope that you will

have the courage of your convictions to stand by your words; and be

willing to subject our "rigorous exchange of ideas" to public scrutiny. But,

given your previous exhibition of lack of moral courage (as outlined in my

original letter to the editor, which you would not print because you said

that it was too long), I do not expect you to let your words stand.

Moreover, though you will not repent of and retract your slanderous

accusations against me, Still Waters Revival Books, the elders of the session

of the Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton and the attainments of the

second Reformation, I believe that you will prove to the world that you

will not *publicly* stand by what you have written against us -- by not

giving me permission to use your words as you wrote them. Again, this

would be in keeping with my aforementioned assessment of your

character -- though I hope you prove me wrong. I guess we will see if I am

correct, regarding your level of courage and willingness to stand by what

you have written, on Feb 19/97. I am more than willing to stand by what I

have written; are you willing to do the same, Doug?

 

Concerning Disputatio, you already have a very bad reputation regarding

how you handle the editorial process in this section of your magazine.

Thus, I have no desire to enter into that forum with you **in its present

format**. It is my opinion that the sound byte quality of the debates in

Disputatio are for all practical purposes virtually useless (at least I thought

they were when I used to read your magazine). I would be much more

interested in seeing you produce a book length response to the book that I

am about to publish rebuking you. We could then, as time permits, trade

book length responses back and forth. I think that this would be much

more edifying to those who would read our exchanges (as it would allow

for much more development of ideas, leave a better record for posterity,

etc.) and at the same time avoid all the misunderstandings and

shallowness engendered by the dwarfish debates that you presently

publish in Disputatio.

 

I may, however, consider debating you in your Disputatio column if you

increased the length of the debate to *at least* 6 magazine pages (though I

would prefer even more pages). I would also insist that what I write be

printed exactly as you receive it, without editorial tampering. This, of

course, would all take place within a pre-determined structure which

would give us both exactly the same amount of space (we could use word

counts to determine this) in which to present our cases. Written agreement

to these terms would have to be secured before I would write anything

that I would allow you to print.

 

I'll also ask Greg Price if he wants to debate you in your magazine; but I

will be suggesting to him that strict (and fair) guidelines be agreed to by

both parties before one word is ever exchanged. For example, that you (or

your writers) both begin and end the debates in Disputatio is certainly not

in keeping with standard (or fair) debating practice (and I am surprised

that no one has pointed this out to you earlier). I will also suggest that all

other points related to the format of debate (regarding length, editorial

rights, republication rights, copyrights, etc.) be negotiated and that both

parties agree *in writing* to these terms before any exchanges actually

takes place. Of course if Greg Price decides to accept your challenge you

two will have to work out the details.

 

In any case all the elders of the Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton will

be receiving a copy of this letter (and they already have copies of

everything else that has transpired in our previous correspondence

concerning the "Telepathy" controversy, including my exact charges against

you). I am also considering this reply my submission to our session to

render their official ecclesiastical judgement on my previously outlined

charges against you (in keeping with Matthew 18:17). The email addresses

of our session appear in the "cc" section of this letter. Furthermore, since

you have finally divulged the specific identity of *some* of the others

involved in the "Telepathy" slander, I am now asking the elders of the

Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton to include these people (Doug Jones

and Nathan Wilson) in the charges which I am now presenting before the

session. I will be forwarding copies of our previous correspondence to both

of these individuals so that they will know that they are being included in

my original charges (of violating the ninth commandment) against you.

Moreover, if you, and all those who had a hand in the production of

"Telepathy" continue to stand by what was published against me in

_Credenda/Agenda_ (Vol. 8, No. 4), I think that you should bring to light

(cf. John 3:19-21, Eph. 5:13, etc.) the names of all the individuals who

agree to and/or worked on the production of this piece -- so that they can

be included in my charges. If any of them are willing to repent *publicly*,

the charges against them will of course be dropped, forgotten and forgiven

(in keeping with the Scriptural directives).

 

You know Doug, this whole controversy has an ironic providential twist to

it. Before I was aware of your "Telepathy" piece (and probably before you

had written it) I was already working on a book proving that Calvin, the

Westminster Divines, the Scottish General Assembly (1638-1649), the

Reformed Presbytery, etc., would have all rightly excommunicated Frame

(in accordance with Scriptural commands) for what he has written in his

new book on worship (had Frame lived under their authority). I was also

in the process of proving that the basis for Frame's excommunication (by

all the aforementioned individuals and bodies) would have taken place

because they would have considered him an idolater, schismatic, and

covenant breaker. Your attack on me interrupted the completion of this

book and instead resulted in a book rebuking you. I have taken this as a

providential indication (though both you and Frame stand in need of public

rebuke according to God's revealed will as expressed in Scripture) that

though Frame's heresy and idolatry (in opposition to the biblical

attainments achieved during previous Reformations) is much more obvious

than yours, the subtle nature of the errors which you publish (regarding

worship, the church, unity, etc.) is much more dangerous to the church. I

hope that my public testimony against you will serve as a warning to all

those who seek to faithfully walk in the "footsteps of the flock" (Song 1:8) -

- and that one day you, and the others who work with you to bury the

covenanted Reformation (at points), will be granted repentance (regarding

not only your sins against me, but also [and more importantly in my mind]

regarding your rejection of the truth concerning the broader theological

matters which we have been discussing). You do not yet seem to

understand how many of your present positions deny the "Classical

Protestantism" you often claim you hold; but if you ever do any detailed

study of the many Reformation source documents which we are once again

bringing back into public view (through our publication and distribution

channels), I do not think that you will be far from agreement with us -- at

least in agreeing that we are the theological heirs to the best Reformers

(i.e. the Classical Protestants) of the second or covenanted Reformation.

Many of the documents which prove this are now once again available

through Still Waters Revival Books (and many more are to come) and it is

my prayer you (and all others who love the truth) will make the time to

study these great treasures in detail. Furthermore, other men, far more

accomplished historians and scholars than you or any of the writers at

_Credenda/Agenda_, have already admitted what I set forth above. This is

extremely significant in light of what Scripture teaches about attainments

(as outlined in my second letter to you) and in that the Covenanters which

we follow produced the Westminster Standards as part of a desired

covenanted uniformity -- which was ultimately aimed at not only the

British Isles, but the whole world (cf. "The Solemn League and Covenant"

cassette by Greg Price). The Covenanters desired a biblically unified and

covenanted Protestantism, and Protestants in France, the Netherlands, etc.,

had already expressed their desire to join in this covenanted uniformity.

How this noble venture was blocked and then buried (even by succeeding

generations of Protestants) is recounted in Greg's study (in the cassette

noted above); but please do not lose sight of the fact that this vision of a

covenanted and unified Protestantism is what we are once again reviving.

"And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt

raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The

repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in" (Isa. 58:12).

 

I have long hoped that you would join with us in this task, and still pray

for the same; so, please, prayerfully consider all of what has recently

transpired between us as my best attempt (following the biblical pattern)

at procuring your pubic repentance (on all the points at issue between us)

and opening the way to future cooperation (in the unity of the one true

faith). There will be no revival of truly classical Protestant belief until the

church (individually and corporately) repents of all her previous

backsliding. To pretend that a compromised, attainment-denying unity is

of any use to the modern church will help no one and will do nothing to

remove the causes of God's wrath upon the church and the nations.

 

We will continue to fight for a biblically unified Protestantism -- but only

within the terms of unity which the Scripture prescribes. Though it may be

hard for some to understand, the fight for this unity will continue to

include (as it always has) public testimony against error; separation from

backsliding individuals, churches (to avoid schism) and nations; and

judicial actions against those who publicly oppose the truth. Therefore I

hope you understand that all my actions in our dispute have been

motivated by my love for the truth and my desire to see you, as a brother

in Christ, granted repentance. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the

kisses of an enemy are deceitful" (Prov. 27:6).

 

In light of everything that I have written above, and to demonstrate my

sincerity in desiring the best for you, I would like to make the following

proposal. Before you do yourself any more damage in the public arena, I

suggest that you better acquainted yourself with the source literature of

the second Reformation (and some of the best books by those who have

written significant studies about this Reformation or defended certain

controversial points included in the covenanted testimony). If you (or any

of the others who write for you) will promise to read any of the following

books in the next year, I will send them to you free of charge. I am making

this offer with the hope that a careful study of this literature will bring us

closer together and ultimately clear up many of the differences that now

exist between us. Let me know which of the following books any of your

writers at _Credenda/Agenda_ agree to read within the next year (please

list their names along with the books they promise to read if you take me

up on this offer) and I will forward copies to you free of charge. I am not

listing the original editions of the the National or Solemn League and

Covenant, the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Westminster Larger or

Shorter Catechisms, the Directories for Public and Family Worship, the

Form of Presbyterial Church Government, or the the Acts of the General

Assembly of the Church of Scotland relative to these documents, etc.,

because these items are all readily available (in the Free Presbyterian

Publications edition of the _Westminster Confession of Faith_) -- and I

would think that most of your writers already have copies.

 

1. _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) by the REFORMED PRESBYTERY

 

2. _Auchensaugh Renovation of the National Covenant and Solemn League

and Covenant; with the Acknowledgement of Sins and Engagement to

Duties as they were Renewed at Auchensaugh in 1712... Also the

Renovation of These Public Federal Deeds Ordained at Philadelphia, Oct. 8,

1880, By the Reformed Presbytery, With Accommodation of the Original

Covenants, in Both Transactions, to their Times and Positions Respectively_

(1880 ed.) by the REFORMED PRESBYTERY

 

3. _A Hind Let Loose; or An Historical Representation of the Testimonies of

the Church of Scotland for the Interest of Christ with the True State thereof

in all its Periods. Together with a Vindication of the Present Testimony

Against Popish, Prelatical, and Malignant Enemies of that Church, as it is

now Stated, for the Prerogatives of Christ, Privileges of the Church, and

Liberties of Mankind; and Sealed by the Sufferings of a Reproached

Remnant of Presbyterians there, Witnessing Against the Corruptions of the

Time: Wherein Several Controversies of Greatest Consequence are Enquired

into, and in Some Measure Cleared; Concerning Hearing of the Curates,

Owning of the Present Tyranny, Taking of Ensnaring Oaths and Bonds,

Frequenting of Field-Meetings, Defensive Resistance of Tyrannical Violence,

with Several Other Subordinate Questions Useful for these Times_ (1687,

1797 edition) by ALEXANDER SHIELDS

 

4. _The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, From the

Year 1638 to the Year 1649 Inclusive (1682)_ by the CHURCH OF

SCOTLAND GENERAL ASSEMBLY 1638-1649

 

5. _A Dispute Against the English Popish Ceremonies Obtruded on the

Church of Scotland_ (1637, reprinted from the 1660 edition) by GEORGE

GILLESPIE

 

6. _A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience_ (1649

edition) by SAMUEL RUTHERFORD

 

7. _The Divine Right of Church Government and Excommunication: A

Peaceable Dispute for the Perfection of the Holy Scripture in Point of

Ceremonies and Church Government in which the Removal of the Service

Book is Justified. The Six Books of Erastus Against Excommunication are

Examined; with a Vindication of the Eminent Divine Theodore Beza Against

the Aspersions of Erastus, The Arguments of Mr. William Pryn, Richard

Hooker, Dr. Morton... and the Doctors of Aberdeen; Touching Will-Worship,

Ceremonies, Imagery, Idolatry, Things Indifferent, An Ambulatory

Government; The Due and Just Power of the Magistrate in Matters of

Religion, and the Arguments of Mr. Pryn, in so Far as they Side with

Erastus, are Moderately Discussed. (Facsimile, 1646, also contains: "Scandal

and Christian Libertie")_ by SAMUEL RUTHERFORD

 

8. _A Short Vindication of our Covenanted Reformation_ (1879) by the

REFORMED PRESBYTERY

 

9. _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) by

ANDREW CLARKSON

 

10. _Come Out From Among Them: The "Anti-Nicodemite" Writings of John

Calvin_ by JOHN CALVIN (forthcoming)

 

11. _An Apologetical Relation of the Particular Sufferings of the Faithful

Ministers and Professors of the Church of Scotland Since 1660, Wherein

Several Questions, Useful for the Time, Are Discussed, etc., etc._ by JOHN

BROWN OF WAMPHRAY (Samuel Rutherford's student)

 

12. _Wholesome Severity Reconciled With Christian Liberty, or, The True

Resolution of a Present Controversy Concerning Liberty of Conscience_

(1644) by GEORGE GILLESPIE

 

13. _Alexander and Rufus; or a Series of Dialogues on Church Communion,

in Two Parts. Part 1: Vindication of Scriptural Church Communion in

Opposition to Latitudinarian Schemes. Part 2: Defence of the Communion

Maintained in the Secession Church_ (1862) by JOHN ANDERSON (Contains

some Seceder errors, but possibly the best book on Church communion).

 

14. _Strictures on Occasional Hearing_ (1820) by JAMES DOUGLAS

 

15. _An Explanation and Defence of the Terms of Communion, Adopted by

the Community of Dissenters, etc._ by the REFORMED PRESBYTERY

 

16. _The Testimony of Some Persecuted Presbyterian Ministers of the

Gospel Unto the Covenanted Reformation of the Church of Scotland, and to

the Present Expediency of Continuing to Preach the Gospel in the Fields,

and Against the Present Antichristian Toleration in its Nature and Design,

Tending to Bury all these in Oblivion, Lately Obtruded Upon, and Accepted

by the Body of this Nation_ by JAMES RENWICK

 

17. _The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism_ (1853) by WILLIAM ROBERTS

 

18. _A Warning Against Backsliding, False Worship and False Teachers_ by

JOHN FLAVEL

 

19. _A Testimony to the Covenanted Work of Reformation Between 1638-

1649 in Britain and Ireland_ by SAMUEL RUTHERFORD

 

20. _Calvin, Covenanting and Close Communion_ (1996) by REG BARROW

 

21. _A Contemporary Covenanting Debate; Or, Covenanting Redivivus_ by

REG BARROW

 

22. _Biblical Civil Government Versus the Beast; and, the Basis for Civil

Resistance_ (1996) by GREG PRICE

 

23. _The Solemn League and Covenant_ (1997) by GREG PRICE (cassette)

 

23. _The National Covenant_ (1997) by GREG PRICE (2 cassettes)

 

24. _Concerning Close Communion_ by W.J. MCKNIGHT

 

25. _The Covenant of Life Opened; Or, A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace,

Containing Something of the Nature of the Covenant of Works, the

Sovereignty of God, the Extent of the Death of CHRIST, the Nature &

Properties of the Covenant of Grace: And Especially of the Covenant of

Suretyship or Redemption Between the LORD and the SON JESUS CHRIST,

and the Seal of Baptism: With some Practical Questions and Observations_

(1655) by SAMUEL RUTHERFORD

 

26. _The Declaration of Repudiation: A Public Testimony Against Modern

North American Evangelicalism_ (1996) by MICHAEL WAGNER

 

27. _Paleopresbyterianism Versus Neopresbyterianism_ (1996) by

MICHAEL WAGNER

 

28. _Sketches of the Covenanters_ by J.C. McFEETERS

 

29. _The Lawfulness and Duty of Separation from Corrupt Ministers and

Churches Explained and Vindicated_ (1744) by JAMES FRASER (of Brae)

 

30. _Against Romish Rites and Political and Ecclesiastical Tyranny_ (1554)

by JOHN KNOX (Was "A Faithful Admonition to the Professors of God's

Truth in England")

 

31. _An Admonition to Flee Idolatry, Romanism and All False Worship_

(1554) by JOHN KNOX (Was "A Godly Letter of Warning, or Admonition to

the Faithful in London, Newcastle, and Berwick")

 

32. _Reformation, Revolution and Romanism: An Appeal to the Scottish

Nobility_ (1558) by JOHN KNOX (Was "An Appellation to the Scottish

Nobility")

 

33. _The Songs of Zion: A Contemporary Case for Exclusive Psalmody_ by

MICHAEL BUSHELL

 

34. _Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church_ by JOHN

GIRARDEAU

 

35. _Our Reformation Heritage_ by JIM DODSON (3 cassettes)

 

36. _A Cloud of Witnesses for the Royal Prerogatives of Jesus Christ Being

the Last Speeches and Testimonies of those Who Have Suffered for the

Truth in Scotland Since... 1680_ J.H. THOMPSON

 

37. _The Scots Worthies_ by JOHN HOWIE

 

38. _Distinctive Principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church_ (1841) by

DAVID SCOTT

 

39. _The Duty and Perpetual Obligation of Social Covenanting_ Compiled by

GREG PRICE

 

40. _Unity and Uniformity in the Church_ (1881) by THOMAS HOUSTON

 

41. _The Distinct Denominational Position of the Reformed Presbyterian

Church_ (1860) by JAMES M. WILLSON

 

42. _Civil Government: An Exposition of Romans 13:1-7_ (1853) by JAMES

M. WILLSON

 

43. _The Ordinance of Covenanting_ (1843) by JOHN CUNNINGHAM

 

44. _Statement of the Difference...Particularly on the Power of Civil

Magistrates Respecting Religion, National Reformation, National Churches,

and National Covenants (1871) by THOMAS M'CRIE

 

45. _John Knox, Oliver Cromwell, God's Law and the Reformation of Civil

Government_ by REG BARROW

 

46. _Reformation Worship and Separation from Idolatry_ by Reg Barrow

 

47. _A Warning Against the False and Dangerous Views of James Jordan

Concerning Worship: A Book Review of Kevin Reed's Canterbury Tales_ by

REG BARROW

 

48. _Shunning the Unlawful Rites of the Ungodly and Preserving the Purity

of the Christian Religion_ by JOHN CALVIN

 

49. _Vindiciae Legis: or, A Vindication of the Moral Law and the Covenants,

from the Errors of Papists, Arminians, Socinians, and more especially,

Antinomians_ (1647) by ANTHONY BURGESS

 

50. _The Two Sons of Oil; or, the Faithful Witness for Magistracy and

Ministry upon a Scriptural Basis_ (1850 edition, reprinted 1995) by

SAMUEL B. WYLIE

 

I hope that you and some of your writers will take advantage of this offer

and that this offer will help to prove to you that I have your best interests

at heart (even though I must now testify publicly against your errors). I

pray that God would use these books to unify us in the truth (1 Cor. 1:10; 2

Cor. 13:11), and bring about reconciliation between us. I harbor no

personal ill will toward you and would (and hope to) rejoice in your future

repentance. You and all those at _Credenda/Agenda_ will continue to be in

my prayers.

 

Sincerely, Reg Barrow, President, STILL WATERS REVIVAL BOOKS

ALL FREE BOOKS at: http://www.swrb.com/ - follow FREE

BOOKS link

swrb@swrb.com 4710-37A Ave. Edmonton AB Canada T6L 3T5

Voice: +1 780 450 3730 Fax (orders only): +1 780 468 1096

(Discount Christian resources by mail-order. ASK for a FREE catalogue!)

 

P.S. My shortened letter to the editor of Credenda/Agenda, which you

requested above, follows:

 

Since I have long prayed that you (and the others who write for

_Credenda/Agenda_) would come up to the attainments (especially the

corporate attainments which still bind the moral person of the visible

church in its lawfully constituted form [cf. Calvin's _Institutes_ 4.2.12]) of

the second (or covenanted) Reformation (Phil. 3:16), it is with some

sadness that I read of your attack upon myself and my company (Still

Waters Revival Books) in your "Cave of Adullam" (Vol. 8, No. 4), titled

"Great Experiments in Telepathy." Furthermore, since you have rejected

my initial letter to the editor, claiming that it was too long to print, please

let the following synopsis of what has transpired, in the controversy that

you have started between us, suffice to alert your readers as to our

differences.

 

In an attempt to allow you time to repent of your sin of violating the ninth

commandment in Credenda's "Telepathy" piece we have now contacted you

by email eight times, and kept all this private. Since you have not repented

and I am now in the process of taking the third step of discipline found in

Matthew 18:15-17 regarding your case, we have now (after eight private

attempts to resolve this situation) decided to defend our good name

publicly. My charges against you (following the first two steps of Matthew

18:15-17) and against all those involved (which are known at this time) in

this act of public slander, along with your responses (or at least a summary

of them, should you fear to have them brought to light and not grant me

permission to publish them) can now be viewed on our web page at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/Saul.htm. These two

items (stating my charges and answering your increasingly slanderous

attacks upon me, my company, the church I attend, and the attainments

and leaders of the covenanted Reformation), along with my original letter

to the editor (which you rejected) and the forthcoming (at the time of the

writing of this letter) ruling of our session will also be found in this free

file on our web page. My letter to "Knox Ring" (which you attacked in

"Telepathy") exposing John Frame's apostasy will also be attached. All of

this information will also be available in a forthcoming book titled: _SAUL

IN THE CAVE OF ADULLAM: A TESTIMONY AGAINST THE FASHIONABLE,

SUB-CALVINISM OF DOUG WILSON (EDITOR OF CREDENDA/AGENDA

MAGAZINE); AND, FOR CLASSICAL PROTESTANTISM AND THE

ATTAINMENTS OF THE SECOND REFORMATION_.

 

Your magazine does noes not allow for serious theological interaction

(because of the truncated nature of the items printed) I hope that (barring

your repentance) our differences can be aired in a more suitable form (i.e.

in book length responses). This would help all those following the dispute

and leave a better record for posterity.

 

Sincerely,

Reg Barrow,

President, STILL WATERS REVIVAL BOOKS

 


7. *REG BARROW'S FIFTH REPLY TO DOUG WILSON


 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>February 13, 1997

>

>Dear Reg,

>

>You certainly have my permission to reprint my letters in your "book"

>with the proviso that this letter is included in the package.

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

May 5, 1997

 

Thank you for your permission to use what you have written.

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>I would also encourage you to include (somewhere, *anywhere*) in your

>portion of the book an approximation of HOW MUCH OF FRAME'S BOOK

>YOU HAD READ at the time you publicly approved of his judicial

>excommunication. That would no doubt be as edifying to posterity as the

>rest of this little dust-up.

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

My position concerning how many pages I had read of Frame's books has

already been explained (in a previous letter) and I do not feel any need to

go over it again. If you understood the truth about the Reformation

regarding worship, close communion, covenanting, etc., you would have

had no problem seeing why I said (originally based on a few *outright

violations* of the second commandment in Frame's book) that Calvin would

have excommunicated Frame.

 

Also, as previously noted I have started writing a short book detailing why

Calvin would have excommunicated Frame. I will show, in this book (if I

ever get the time to finish it), how many of the other major Reformers, as

well as the creeds and confession of both Reformations would lead us to

the same conclusion concerning Frame's apostasy from Reformation

standards (of communion) in the areas of doctrine, worship and discipline.

This is especially clear in _The Acts of the General Assemblies of the

Church of Scotland, From the Year 1638 to the Year 1649_ (which contains

the acts of the most faithful general assembly since the days of the

Apostles). Rather than rehearsing *all* of this material now (though I will

cover some of it below) I would direct you to Kevin Reed's recent review of

Frame's _Worship in Spirit and Truth_. We offer a free copy of this review

on our web page at:

 

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/FrameWor.htm

 

(Those without a connection to the web may request a free copy from Still

Waters Revival Books).

 

My summary of Kevin's review states:

 

_Presbyterian Worship: Old and New_ by Kevin Reed (A Review and

Commentary upon _Worship in Spirit and Truth_, a book by John Frame).

Reed shows how Frame has abandoned the Reformation, both scripturally

and confessionally, in regard to worship. He also gives an excellent

summary of historic Reformed views and then contrasts them with the

novel ideas now being touted by Frame. In light of the fact that Frame

teaches at a Presbyterian seminary and is also a Presbyterian pastor [in

the P.C.A.], Reed notes the "distressing implications regarding the

disingenuous nature of confessional subscription within both the churches

and the seminaries." Moreover, Reed comments that "there are also

troubling ramifications concerning the doctrine of scripture, since the

regulative principle rests upon the foundation of the sufficiency of

scripture, with respect to worship." He continues by concluding that

"Frame's book furnishes patent evidence that ecclesiastical discipline is

lacking in the churches, and that seminary professors can teach heterodox

views with impunity. If Presbyterians took their creed seriously, Mr.

Frame would be removed from both the seminary and the pastorate, and

not allowed to teach. But in the current situation, the majority of pastors,

seminarians, and the people are partners in the crimes of corrupt worship

and confessional laxity. 'A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in

the land; the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their

means; and my people love to have it so.'")

 

If you compare my article _Calvin, Covenanting and Close Communion: A

Book Review of Alexander and Rufus... by John Anderson (1862)_, (which

is free at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CalvinCC.htm ) with

Kevin's review above, you will get a brief outline as to why I contend that

Calvin would have excommunicated Frame for his public promotion of

heresy and idolatry. My review (which I have included below) shows how

Calvin practiced close communion and how the biblical view of this

ordinance is intended to purify the individual, church and state. It refutes

the Popish and paedocommunion heresies (regarding this sacrament), as

well as all views of open communion. It also argues that Arminians, anti-

paedobaptists, anti-regulativists, and all those who openly violate the law

of God (and are unrepentant) should be barred from the Lord's table -- as

a corrective measure ordained of God for their recovery.

 

If you compare the specific violations of the second commandment which

Kevin Reed notes in his review of Frame's book with Calvin's view of

discipline, excommunication and the Lord's Supper in my review of

_Alexander and Rufus_ below, it should not be hard to see why I said the

Calvin would have excommunicated Frame.

 

Here is my review (note: for non email readers a "*" equals bold emphasis

and "_" indicates italics):

 

START REVIEW

 

_Calvin, Covenanting and Close Communion_

 

(A book review of _Alexander and Rufus_ by John

Anderson, the first book listed after this review.)

 

Reviewed by Reg Barrow

 

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and

offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

(Rom. 16:17)

 

John Calvin listed *the doctrine of the sacraments as the third most

important element*, in cataloguing his four major areas of concern,

regarding Christianity and the ecclesiastical Reformation of his day,

writing,

 

"If it be inquired, then, by what things chiefly the Christian religion has a

standing existence amongst us, and maintains its truth, it will be found

that the following two not only occupy the principal place, but comprehend

under them all the other parts, and consequently the whole substance of

Christianity: this is, a knowledge, first, of the mode in which God is duly

worshipped; and, secondly, of the source from which salvation is to be

obtained. When these are kept out of view, though we may glory in the

name Christians, our profession is empty and vain. After these come the

sacraments and the government of the church..." (_The Necessity of

Reforming the Church_ [Presbyterian Heritage Publications, 1544,

reprinted 1995], p. 15).

 

*Second Reformation thought on church communion* is clearly echoed in

the words of the Reformed Presbytery, in 1876, when they declared,

 

"In this age of boasted charity, but really 'detestable neutrality and

indifferency,' it is an irksome and painful task, but a duty, thus to bear

testimony against churches, in which are to be found, no doubt, many

precious sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty. But personal piety

never was, nor possibly can be, the condition of fellowship in the visible

church. To think so, and say so, is one of the most popular delusions of the

present day. It puts the supposed pious man, speaking his experience, in

the place of God, speaking his sovereign will in the Bible. This is the height

of impiety." (_Act, Declaration, and Testimony for the Whole of Our

Covenanted Reformation_, p. 175).

 

These testimonies remain true today (and maybe even more so), as the

close communion doctrine of the Reformation continues to be much

misunderstood and even more maligned. The false ecumenists (and

*theological egalitarians and pluralists*) of our day continue to batter away

at this foundation of the Reformation doctrine of the church – while even

many of those that profess to be the heirs of the Reformation are found to

be ignorant regarding this point. Any doctrine of communion which does

not take into account the biblical command to "be of one mind" (cf. Rom.

15:6, 2 Cor. 13:11, Phil. 1:27, Phil. 2:2, 1 Pet. 3:8) at a corporate, visible

level is skewed from the beginning. In short, latitudinarian schemes of

open communion (which only include the so-called "essentials" of the faith)

are schismatic (i.e. *if we do not confuse "schism" with "separation"*).

 

As Dodson notes, in his Open Letter to an RPCNA Elder, one should not

 

"confuse 'schism' with 'separation.' They are not the same thing. John

Brown, of Haddington, states, *'that schism in scripture, chiefly, if not

solely, represents alienation of affection, and disagreement among those

who continue the same joint attendance on the ordinances of the gospel,'* 1

Cor. 12:25; 1:10. Augustine said, 'It is not a different faith makes

schismatics, but a broken society of communion.' In no place, in the Bible,

does the word 'schism' appear to signify 'visible separation.' *Error in

doctrine, corruption in worship and tyranny in discipline, render

separation unavoidable, to escape the sin of schism*. Your conception of

what constitutes 'schism' is that of Rome. If 'schism' is 'separation;' and

'There is no precedent for schism [re: separation] in the Bible;' then, on

what basis did Protestants leave Rome? Every Reformer owned that Rome

is, in some sense, a Church of Christ. After all, that man of sin is seated in

the 'temple of God,' as they taught."

 

Schismatic schemes promoting open communion (of which

*paedocommunion* is presently at the head), attempt to "*dumb down*"

(to a greater or lesser degree) the requirements for partaking at the Lord's

table. Loose and latitudinarian schemes of communion lead to churches

that stand for little – or nothing – over time; while a Scripturally regulated

close communion tends to the exact opposite end. Anderson makes this

very point in his preface to this book, "*corruption is the native

consequence of latitudinarian schemes, (while) scriptural order in

sacramental communion tends to make the visible church a heaven on

earth to the faithful, terrible as an army with banners to her enemies, and

to her King and Head for a name, for a praise and for glory*."

 

If you love the purity and peace of Christ's church and agree with the

words of John Calvin, when he wrote, "*We are only contending about the

true and lawful constitution of the church, required in the communion not

only of the sacraments (which are the signs of profession) but also

especially of doctrine*" (_Institutes_, 4.2.12), then you will find a meaty

meal in _Alexander and Rufus_ – for the author not only deals with the

larger questions related to church communion, but also weaves into the

fabric of this book many specific threads relating to practical applications

and doctrinal controversies. Moreover, notwithstanding a couple of

peculiar doctrinal foibles originating from the Seceder camp, in opposition

to the Covenanters (especially regarding civil government and some points

of the law), a plethora of subjects relative to the Reformed view of

communion, church union, testimony-bearing, etc., are all dealt with here –

and these points are given the kind of attention (along with Scriptural and

historical accuracy) that will be greatly appreciated among those familiar

with the precise views of the "old dissenters" of Scottish origin.

 

Additionally, Anderson is not shy about proclaiming the fact that

*Scripture teaches that anti-Calvinists (i.e. Romanists, Pelagians, Arminians,

Amyraldians, etc.), anti-paedobaptists, anti-regulativists, and a host of

others that deny the apostolic faith (at points related to the doctrine,

worship, government and discipline of the church), should be barred from

the table of the Lord* (arguing a fortiori from Math. 5:23-24); but, he is

also careful to distinguish between the Popish and Prelatical views of

excommunication (which equate excommunication with a sentence to hell)

and the Calvinistic view which recognizes that those who are among the

elect can at times come under the sentence of excommunication. For

example, Greg Price has noted (in a forthcoming book on the visible church

and separation) that "Calvin distinguishes between *anathema and

excommunication*. The former sentences one to hell, the latter puts one

outside the fellowship of the church" (cf. Calvin's _Institutes_ 4.12.10).

Samuel Rutherford makes the same distinction in his _Survey of the

Survey of that Summe of Church Discipline_ (1658) commenting on 1 Cor.

16:22 and 1 Cor. 5, as does James Fraser of Brae, on page 210, in _The

Lawfulness and Duty or Separation from Corrupt Ministers and Churches_

(1744).

 

It is also not without significance that Anderson's contendings can be seen

to be nothing more than classic second Reformation teaching regarding

fencing the Lord's table. Samuel Rutherford comments,

 

"Because the Churches take not care, that Ministers be savoury and

gracious; from Steermen all Apostasie and rottenness begin. O if the Lord

would arise and purge his House in Scotland! As for Church-members, they

ought to be holy; and though all baptized be actu primo members, yet such

as remain habitually ignorant after admonition, are to be cast out, and

though they be not cast out certainly, as paralytick or rottened members

cannot discharge the functions of life: So those that are scandalous,

ignorant, malignant, unsound in faith, lose their rights of Suffrages in

election of Officers, and are to be debarred from the Seals. Nor can we

defend our sinful practise in this: it were our wisdom to repent of our

taking in the Malignant party, who shed the blood of the people of God,

and obstructed the work of God, into places of Trust in the Church State,

and the Army, contrary to our Covenants, they continuing still Enemies"

(_Survey of the Survey..._, p. 373).

 

This is confirmed throughout _The Acts of the General Assemblies of the

Church of Scotland, From the Year 1638 to the Year 1649 Inclusive_. Here

is a *partial list of offences recorded in _The Acts_ for which people were

disciplined*: innovations in worship; neglecting daily family worship;

Sabbath breaking; covenant refusing, covenant breaking and speaking

against the national covenants; Arminianism; celebrating man-ordained

holydays (e.g. Christmass); familiar fellowship with those excommunicated;

promoting, countenancing, hearing or accepting false church government

and unlawful ministers (whether Popish, Episcopal or sectarian

[Independent]); slander; contumacy, etc.

 

Furthermore, recognizing Calvin's (biblical) distinctions concerning the

*visible church* (distinguishing between the visible church as to *essence*

and the visible church as to *constitution*, cf. Calvin's _Institutes_ 4.2.12),

Anderson writes:

 

"The catholic church comprehends all that profess the true religion. There

is a lawful and necessary division of it into sections in respect of local

situation. *But when a number of people, bearing the Christian name,

combine together as a distinct society, for the purpose of maintaining and

propagating doctrines and practices, which, instead of belonging to the true

religion, are contrary to it; they ought not, considered as such a

combination, to be called a lawful section of the catholic church* (i.e.

constitutionally, according to their public character and profession–RB). It

is not denied, that they belong to the catholic church (in as far as they, as

individuals, profess the truth–RB); but it is denied, that there ought to be

any such section or division in it. **Thus, there ought to be no section of

the catholic church, having for the peculiar end of its distinct subsistence,

the support of episcopal hierarchy, unknown in the Scripture, of the

propagation of antipaedobaptism, or of anti-scriptural doctrine, in

opposition to that of God's election, redemption, effectual calling and the

conservation of his people, as delivered in the scripture; or for the support

of ways and means of divine worship not found in Scripture. If the catholic

visible church were brought to a suitable discharge of her duty, she would

abolish all such sections**. But no society ought to be called such an

unlawful section, while it can be shown that it subsists as a separate

society for no other end, than for the maintaining of something in the

doctrine, worship or government of the church which belongs to the

Christian religion as delivered in the word of God, or for exhibiting a

testimony against prevailing errors and corruptions which the scripture

requires the catholic church to condemn. Such a profession of any party of

Christians is no sectarian profession; and a union with them is not a

sectarian, but properly a Christian union; and, being cordial and sincere, is

a union in Christ; and communion upon the ground of this union is truly

Christian communion. *On the other hand, however much of our holy

religion any body of Christians hold in common with others, and however

many of them we may charitably judge to be saints, yet while their

distinguishing profession is contrary to the word of God, communion with

them, as a body so distinguished, is sectarian communion; as it implies a

union with them in that which ought to be rejected by the whole catholic*

church" (pp. 10-11).

 

Commenting on "Alexander's" *latitudinarian contention that Calvin would

have tolerated Arminians and idolaters at the Lord's table* (which

together comprise the two main areas of Calvin's concern for ecclesiastical

Reformation, as cited at the head of this review), "Rufus" replies,

 

"Considering that the Arminian scheme includes some of the most

pernicious errors of Popery, how reproachful it is to the memory of Calvin,

to call such a base proposal, his plan revived and prosecuted? Did Mr.

Calvin ever speak of independent churches in the one church of Christ? Or

of promoting union, by holding sacramental communion with the professed

teachers of false doctrine, as every Arminian teacher is, or with the

professed defenders of superstition in the worship of God? By no means"

(_Alexander and Rufus_, p. 159).

 

Furthermore, it is a well documented fact that *the Genevan Presbytery of

Calvin's day, in 1536, sought to excommunicate anyone who would not

swear an oath to uphold the Reformed doctrine as it was set forth in their

_Confession of Faith_*.

 

T.H.L. Parker writes,

 

"Since the evangelical faith had only recently been preached in the city,

and there were still many Romanists, *the ministers also urged

excommunication on the grounds of failure to confess the faith*. The

Confession of faith, which all the citizens and inhabitants of Geneva... must

promise to keep and to hold had been presented to the Council on 10

November 1536. Let the members of the Council be the first to subscribe

and then the citizens, 'in order to recognize those in harmony with the

Gospel and those loving rather to be of the kingdom of the pope than of the

kingdom of Jesus Christ.' *Those who would not subscribe were to be

excommunicated*" (_John Calvin: A Biography_, p. 63, emphases added).

 

Moreover, those who would not submit to "Calvin's" close communion were

not only proceeded against with *negative ecclesiastical sanctions*, but

they came under *negative civil sanctions* also.

 

Mike Wagner, in _Up From Reconstructionism", states,

 

"*John Calvin, during the First Reformation, showed that he supported the

concept of Covenanted Reformation by requiring all the residents of

Geneva to take an oath in support of the Reformation*. The 'Register of the

Council of 24' of Geneva notes as follows:

 

12 November 1537. It was reported that yesterday the people who had

not yet made their oath to the reformation were asked to do so, street by

street; whilst many came, many others did not do so. No one came from the

German quarter. *It was decided that they should be commanded to leave

the city if they did not wish to swear to the reformation*" (Scribner, Bob

and Pamela Johnston. 1993. _The Reformation in Germany and

Switzerland_, Cambridge University Press, p. 138).

 

Now, it should be obvious to those who know the commandments of God

that **an honest man cannot swear an oath to uphold a confession that he

does not believe. To do so, even if the man disagrees with only one point of

the confession, is to violate both the third and ninth commandments** –

and to play the Jesuit (see the _Westminster Larger Catechism_ on the

duties required and the sins forbidden concerning the third and ninth

commandments; these can be found as questions and answers 112, 113,

144, and 145). Such false swearing is also, by definition, perjury (I wonder

how many perjured officers reside in Presbyterian and Reformed churches

today?). To encourage others to so swear is subornation to perjury. These

are all serious sins in themselves and all worthy of excommunication and

civil penalties – as the Genevan Reformers rightly taught and practiced.

 

In _Alexander and Rufus_ *close communion is also shown (as above) to be

God's ordained method of promoting truth, unity and Reformation*; not

destroying it, as the ignorant and scandalous claim,

 

The term sectarian, the favorite watch-word of this author, tends to divert

the attention from the matter in dispute. The question is, whether a

church's refusing to have sacramental communion with such as openly

avow their opposition to one or more articles of her scriptural profession

has such effects as are now mentioned? Does this refusal break up the

unity of the church at large? By no means. *The truths of God's word

constitute the bond of unity in the catholic church; so far as they are

publicly professed and preserved in the doctrine, worship, and

government of the several particular churches. Hence it is evident, that

what breaks up the peace of the catholic church, is not the faithfulness of

particular churches in refusing, but their laxness in granting sacramental

communion to the avowed opposers of undoubted truths of God's word, as

exhibited in the public profession of any of the churches, every instance of

this laxness tending to weaken the bond of their union*. Does refusing

sacramental communion with the avowed opposers of the truths of God,

publicly professed by a particular church, chill the warmth of love to the

catholic church? surely no: for it is manifestly the interest of the catholic

church that every particular church should hold these truths in her public

profession, and not tolerate opposition to them in her communion. Hence it

must give sincere pleasure to a lover of the catholic church to see a

particular church uniformly faithful in refusing church communion to open

opposers of any one of the truths of God contained in her public

profession... Does the faithfulness of a particular church, in refusing to have

sacramental communion with the open opposers of any article of her

scriptural profession, hinder her from using any means appointed in the

word of God for promoting his spiritual kingdom? This is so far from being

the case, that this refusal is supposed and implied in the use of several

proper means for that end; such as, a church's contending for the whole

truth exhibited in her public profession; the judicial assertion of the truths

of God's word, and the judicial condemnation of the contrary errors;

committing the word to faithful men, who will teach others the whole truth

and nothing but the truth, according to the public profession or testimony

of the church, in due subordination to the holy scriptures; recognising the

solemn engagements, which the church has come under *to preserve

whatever measure of reformation has been attained. These means, which

are certainly appointed in the word of God, cannot be sincerely used by

any particular church, unless she be careful, that such as are avowed and

obstinate opposers of any article of her scriptural profession, may not be

received into, or continued in her communion*. Whilst these means, of our

Lord's appointment, are willfully neglected, we have little ground to expect

the Divine blessing on such other means as men may pretend, to use for

the advancement of his spiritual kingdom (pp. 92-93, emphases added).

 

To see how closely this mirrors Calvin's teaching, see pages 126 to 135 in

_The Necessity of Reforming the Church_ (Presbyterian Heritage

Publications' edition).

 

Anderson also does an excellent job concerning: Calvin's plan for promoting

a union among the churches (p. 151ff.); the place of confessions and

confessional subscription (pp. 85, 179); covenanting (pp. 358-384);

separation (pp. 92, 132); worship (pp. 10-13, 87, 107, 142, 155, 161-164,

456ff., etc.); the marks of the church (p. 132ff.); uniformity (pp. 7, 103,

168, 205); the Westminster Assembly (p. 169ff); the Dutch views (p. 158f.);

distinctions between essentials and non-essentials (p. 168); the so-called

"glorious revolution" of 1688 (p. 263); the French Reformed churches (p.

156); the covenanted Reformation (p. 253); discipline (p. 103); attainments

(pp. 11, 93, 137, 162ff., 206, etc.); the government of the church (p. 123);

the so-called "Apostle's creed" (pp. 100-104); the Belgic Confession (pp.

135-138); councils in the ancient church (p. 104); the Donatists (p. 112);

the forsaking of sin, false doctrine, and false teachers (pp. 92, 132);

occasional hearing (p. 83); Owen against open communion (p. 207);

sectarianism (p. 92); and much, much more.

 

On the topic of church and sacramental communion you are unlikely to

find many other books with as much solid information. Recommended for

advanced study. Indexed, 518 pages.

 

_Alexander and Rufus_ is a "rare bound photocopy" and sells for $19.99

(US funds) or for $39.00 (US funds) as a "hardcover rare

bound photocopy."

 

This is Reformation History Notes number 2, issued Dec. 7, 1996.

 

END REVIEW

 

Though I do not want to steal all my thunder from the forthcoming book

(detailing why Calvin would have excommunicated Frame), the reader may

want to consider that one would have to be either absolutely ignorant of

Calvin's position (on discipline, the Lord's supper, worship, etc.) or

purposely misleading people to dispute the fact that "Eire's _War Against

the Idols_ proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Calvin would have

excommunicated both Frame and Jordan without a second thought - given

the idolatrous nature of their beliefs regarding public worship," as I wrote

on Knox Ring.

 

Eire, in _War Against the Idols_ shows how tenaciously Calvin held to and

defended the regulative principle of worship, as well as separation from

those who deviated from it:

 

"Because Calvin sees human nature as inherently prone to idolatry, he

constantly warns that it is dangerous to accept even the most insignificant

form of material worship in the Church, for "men's folly" cannot restrain

itself from falling headlong into superstitious rites (_Institutes 1.11.3)...

Calvin takes into account... that all impure worship not only displeases God,

but goes to Satan as well. Those who become embroiled in idolatry, he

points out, are handing themselves over to the devil, because the ultimate

result of false worship is abandonment by God:

 

'As long as we keep this rule (that one conform to the pure doctrine of

God), we know that God will approve the worship that is rendered by us;

but if we add any of our fantasies or borrow anything from men,

everything will be perverted and corrupted. And then the devil will be

placed in charge of everything we do' (_Sermons on Deuteronomy_,

_Corpus Reformatorum (CR)_ 28.715; _Petit Traicte_, _CR_ 6.548).

 

The practical implications of Calvin's warnings about the dangers of

idolatry are significant. Since idolatry is a fertile danger, **the true

Christian must maintain a strict separation from all kinds of misdirected

worship**" (pp. 225, 227, 228, emphasis added).

 

The implications of idolatrous worship on a societal scale and the centrality

of biblically regulated worship in the Calvinist tradition are also noted by

Eire.

 

Though Eire's comments focus primarily on the civil ramifications of

idolatry, the application to those ecclesiastical tyrants (such as Frame) --

who destroy true Christian liberty (i.e. that liberty which only comes from

obedience to Christ's commands [cf. _Westminster Larger Catechism_ 108-

110]; a liberty which includes a hearty opposition to all worship which

imposes or promotes the non-Scriptural commandments of men [cf.

_Westminster Confession of Faith_ 20:2]) -- can easily and legitimately be

made. For one such contemporary application regarding our duty to attend

and promote only those visible churches who are faithful (i.e. duly

constituted, avoiding public idolatry, etc.) and separate and testify against

the harlot daughters of the Romish whore, see: _Why the PCA is Not a Duly

Constituted Church and Why Faithful Christians Should Separate from this

Corrupted "Communion"_ by Larry Birger, free at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/PCAbad.htm. An

ecclesiastical antichrist (constitutionally) is at least as dangerous as a civil

anitchrist (constitutionally). Christians must be at war against idolatry and

revolt against its promoters and practitioners (whether civil or

ecclesiastical), or else, practically speaking, they will find themselves at

war with Christ and His commands. Eire writes,

 

"What I propose, against Skinner and Walzer, is that any definition of

Calvinism needs to take theology into account as a real motivating force,

especially as a vision of reality that becomes an ideology, a blueprint for

behavior on the individual and social level. In regards to theories of

resistance, the issue of idolatry assumes central importance. Calvinists

resorted to revolution not just as a way of ensuring their survival solely

for its own sake, but rather to promote a new kind of social and political

vision based on certain theological principles. 'Right worship' and 'true

belief' are the heart of their ideology. Calvinists struggled not just against

'tyrants' in a strictly political sense, but also, very clearly, against

'idolaters.' What made their 'tyrants' deserving of resistance is not just

political or social oppression, but rather the perversion of religion. When a

ruler disobeys the First Table of the Law, when he breaks the covenant

with God for pure worship, then and only then is revolution fully justified:

This is what Calvinist theorists never tired of repeating" (_War Against the

Idols_, pp. 308-309).

 

For those interested in the "revolutionary" thought of John Calvin as it was

worked out in practice, see Robert Kingdon's _Geneva and the Coming of

the Wars of Religion in France 1555-1563_. That Frame's book would have

never been allowed to be published in Geneva can be seen from consulting

pages 46 and 96-98.

 

To put a little sharper point on our discussion of worship, Calvin's thoughts

on the type of "human traditions" (i.e. those actions introduced into the

public worship of God without basis in the Word of God) which Frame

would introduce into public worship (as noted throughout his book

_Worship in Spirit and Truth_) can be seen in the comments below (as

found in section 17 of the _Geneva Confession of 1536_). Calvin drew up

this confession, in the same year as the first edition of the _Institutes_, to

assist in fencing the Lord's table. Remember, as is shown in my review of

_Alexander and Rufus_ above, those who would not swear to this

Confession were not only to be *excommunicated*, but also "*commanded

to leave the city*."

 

Section 17 of the Genevan Confession reads,

 

"17. HUMAN TRADITIONS

The ordinances that are necessary for the internal discipline of the

Church, and belong solely to the maintenance of peace, honesty and good

order in the assembly of Christians, *we do not hold to be human traditions

at all*, in as much as they are comprised under the general command of

Paul, where he desires that all be done among them decently and in order.

**But all laws and regulations made binding on conscience which oblige the

faithful to things not commanded by God, or establish another service of

God than that which he demands, thus tending to destroy Christian liberty,

we condemn as perverse doctrines of Satan, in view of our Lord's

declaration that he is honoured in vain by doctrines that are the

commandment of men.** It is in this estimation that we hold pilgrimages,

monasteries, distinctions of foods, prohibition of marriage, confessions and

other like things."

 

(John Calvin, "Confession of Faith Which All the Citizens and Inhabitants of

Geneva and the Subjects of the Country Must Promise to Keep and Hold

[1536]," _Corpus Reformatorum_, X/I ["Calvini opera quae supersunt

omnia"], as translated [from the French] and cited in _Calvin: Theological

Treatises_, [The Westminster Press, 1954], pp. 30-31, emphases added).

 

In the emphasized sections above we clearly see the regulative principle of

worship stated and defended in Calvin's words, "laws and regulations made

binding on conscience which oblige the faithful to things not commanded

by God, or establish another service of God than that which he demands,"

and "that he (God--RB) is honoured in vain by doctrines that are the

commandment of men." In this section of the _Geneva Confession_ Calvin

not only twice incorporates words often used in the classic summary of the

regulative principle, repudiating "things not commanded by God" and

enjoining only "that which he demands;" he also calls all contrary teaching

the "perverse doctrines of Satan." It is the denial of the regulative principle

of worship, at its most foundational points, which is one the primary

threads running throughout Frame's new book on worship (again see Kevin

Reed's review of Frame's book titled _Presbyterian Worship: Old and New_,

free at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/FrameWor.htm , for

more specifics on Frames denial of the regulative principle).

 

Those (like Frame) who repudiate the Calvinistic

Presbyterian/Reformed/Puritan understanding of the regulative principle

are described by R.L. Dabney below, in his Review of Girardeau's

_Instrumental Music in the Worship of the Church_,

 

"The framework of his argument is this: it begins with that vital truth

which no Presbyterian can discard without a square desertion of our

principles. The man who contests this first premise had better set out at

once for Rome: God is to be worshipped only in the ways appointed in His

Word. Every act of public cultus not positively enjoined by Him is thereby

forbidden. Christ and His apostles ordained the musical worship of the New

Dispensation without any sort of musical instrument, enjoining only the

singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Hence such instruments are

excluded from Christian worship. Such has been the creed of all churches,

and in all ages, except for the Popish communion after it had reached the

nadir of its corruption at the end of the thirteenth century, and of its

prelatic imitators."

 

As Dabney notes, those who try to repudiate the Scriptural Regulative

principle of worship have already set out for Rome, in principle (whether

they recognize it our not); but most (in the first few generations) usually

adopt the milder forms of "Romish," man-ordained worship -- as they are

(and have been) practiced among the Lutherans and Episcopalians

(including the use of musical instruments, man-made hymns, etc.). The

wild extravagances of the Anabaptists (which find expression in a much

muted form among the modern Charismatics) are also another man-

ordained option with which Satan tempts many, and Frame seems to favor

this "free-flowing" direction in worship at most points (cf. _Worship in

Spirit and Truth_ pp. 145-154). Interestingly, as Greg Price points out in

appendix A below, the Anabaptists were among the first groups to begin to

introduce man-made hymns into public worship during the days of the

Reformation.

 

I have long said: If someone tries to argue with you against the regulative

principle of worship it is always a good idea to ask them what they are

going to put in its place (making sure that they provide Scriptural proof for

all those "liberties" and ceremonies which they conjure up out of their own

brains). Also ask them: By what standard are you binding my conscience to

your forms and ideas regarding worship? Where does God institute this?

Or, are you just making this up yourself? Because for those who are

familiar with the humanistic systems that have already developed in

opposition to the Scriptural law of worship, it will soon be apparent "that

there is nothing new under the sun." These "new" ideas regarding worship

vary little (in practice), and not at all (in principle), with the ideas set forth

in opposition to the Reformers throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth

centuries. There is no neutrality! You are going to buy into a system

(whether you know it or not); and the system you buy into is guaranteed

*not* to be new (at the level of principle). You will either worship God

according to His appointment or you will do so at the behest of men (Matt.

15:9).

 

That Calvin and Frame hold to diametrically opposed views on worship is

obvious to those familiar with both authors. One clear example of a specific

point of divergence between Calvin and Frame can be seen in their views

of the application of the regulative principle as it comes to bear on the

question of the use of musical instruments in public worship (though

application to Frame concerning the differences between his and Calvin's

conception of worship could fill a book in and of themselves). This one

specific example of Frame's violation of the regulative principle (i.e. the

second commandment) is compared below with Calvin's view. I am

deliberately choosing an area that seems insignificant to most Christian's

today (instrumental music) to make this point, for we have seen (in Eire

above) that Calvin "constantly warns that it is dangerous to accept even

the most insignificant form of material worship in the Church." I am

choosing the instruments question to illustrate Frame's rejection of the

regulative principle because the most important point to remember is not

found in the actual practice which I will note (though it is a sin to use

instruments in public worship), but in the prior abandonment of the

regulative principle which must first take place before this idolatrous

practice can performed. I have often said that we (as Protestants) would

no more use instruments in worship than we would take a sheep or goat

up to the front of our meeting house and slaughter it, as if that had some

religious significance for today. Both instrument music and animal sacrifice

were ordained parts of worship originating in the now abrogated Old

Testament ceremonial law. If you don't think this is an accurate statement

ask yourself this question: Were musical instruments part of the

ceremonial or moral law? -- and why? This is why the use of musical

instruments in public worship was often called "the badge of Popery" by

the Reformers (cf. R.J. George's _The Badge of Popery: Musical Instruments

in Public Worship_). It was also considered a denial of the work of Christ

(bringing back those ceremonial shadows which disappeared in the light of

the work of Christ).

 

But, now, let's compare Calvin and Frame.

 

Girardeau (_Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church_, pp.

63, 64) summarizes Calvin's view on instruments in public worship in this

way,

 

"To sing the praises of God upon the harp and psaltery," says Calvin,

"unquestionably formed a part of the training of the law and of the service

of God under that dispensation of shadows and figures; but they are not

now to be used in public thanksgiving." (Calvin on Ps. lxxi. 22).He says

again: "With respect to the tabret, harp, and psaltery, we have formerly

observed, and will find it necessary afterwards to repeat the same remark,

that the Levites, under the law, were justified in making use of

instrumental music in the worship of God; it having been his will to train

his people, while they were yet tender and like children, by such

rudiments until the coming of Christ. But now, when the clear light of the

gospel has dissipated the shadows of the law and taught us that God is to

be served in a simpler form, it would be to act a foolish and mistaken part

to imitate that which the prophet enjoined only upon those of his own

time" (Calvin on Ps. lxxxi. 3). He further observes: "We are to remember

that the worship of God was never understood to consist in such outward

services, which were only necessary to help forward a people as yet weak

and rude in knowledge in the spiritual worship of God. A difference is to

be observed in this respect between his people under the Old and under

the New Testament; for now that Christ has appeared, and the church has

reached full age, it were only to bury the light of the gospel should we

introduce the shadows of a departed dispensation. From this it appears

that the Papists, as I shall have occasion to show elsewhere, in employing

instrumental music cannot be said so much to imitate the practice of God's

ancient people as to ape it in a senseless and absurd manner, exhibiting a

silly delight in that worship of the Old Testament which was figurative and

terminated with the gospel (Calvin on Ps. xcii. 1)"

 

Frame writes,

 

"Many of the same people who restrict song in worship to the Psalms

disallow the use of instruments, choirs and musical solos in worship. On the

surface, this second issue does not seem to pertain to the regulative

principle. There are many commands in Scripture to use instruments in

worship (e.g., Pss. 68:24-25; 98:4-6; 149:3; 150:1-6). However, some have

argued that instruments and choirs were part of the distinctive worship of

the Old Testament temple, and that since the temple worship has passed

away in Christ, there is no warrant for the use of instruments and choirs in

the church today" (_Worship in Spirit and Truth_, p. 127).

 

Frame then produces seven arguments which he thinks justifies the use of

musical instruments in public worship -- all which Calvin would have

opposed -- and all which prove that Frame is not at all familiar with the

many times these very questions have been answered in the body of

Presbyterian and Puritan literature (cf. James Glasgow's _Heart and Voice:

Instruments in Christian Worship Not Authorized_ and Begg's _Anarchy in

Worship_). Frame also believes that "we are free to use instrumental

music, even without words," to cover other distracting noises during

worship (p. 130). Furthermore, as worship leader in his congregation he

encourages individuals in the congregation "to clap, whistle, tap

tambourines, or otherwise use their gifts to enhance worship" (p. 148). He

also plays instrumental solos, but would in principle "like to see more

instrumentalists" than just himself (p. 148). Finally, as if to totally thumb

his nose at the Reformers and the regulative principle (and embrace an

outright popish heresy), Frame states that he does "not believe that we are

limited to the instruments mentioned in Scripture, but in considering how

to set hymns to music, the biblical instrumentation can give us some clues."

If this is not the wholesale repudiation of the regulative principle (just on

this one point) then lookout, because "bo-bo the clown" may soon appear in

a pulpit near you -- whistles, tambourines and all.

 

Even given what we have seen thus far, concerning Calvin's views

regarding worship and excommunication, I do not think that there is any

question as to what would have happened to Mr. Frame if he had tried to

peddle his nonsense in one of the Genevan Churches. In fact, when I

picture the Libertines with swords in hand, ready to kill Calvin if he would

not serve them the Lord's supper -- and Calvin risking his life in standing

up to them, in fencing the Lord's table, until they backed away (and by

God's grace left him unharmed) -- and compare that with the circus-like

atmosphere that Frame seeks to conjure up each Lord's Day (as described

in his book on pages 145-154) during what he calls "worship" services: I

can only wonder at the inroads that the ecclesiastical beast has made in

our day. Furthermore, that others would defend such blatant idolatry is

staggering apostasy. But this is the fruit of the anti-regulativist mentality,

not a nation-changing church, indomitable, an army "terrible with

banners;" but an entertainment-filled carnival, a vanity fair, apostasy

cloaked in pious language and "righteous" rhetoric, assuring itself that this

is real progress (for we certainly know better than those old Reformers).

 

Additionally, similar proofs (exhibiting Frame's rejection of the regulative

principle) could be offered contra Frame's declarations against exclusive

Psalmody (pp. 123-127); for drama (pp. 92-93), dancing (pp. 130-132, cf.

_The Reformation in Germany and Switzerland_, pp. 150-151, in regard to

dancing), children's church (p. 150), grape juice at the Lord's table (p. 151),

non-elders speaking as a voice of one in the congregation during worship

(p. 106); and a host of other errors (many more serious) which are

extensions of Frame's rejection of the Presbyterian/Puritan view of the

regulative principle.

 

Now that we have noted a few of the differences between Calvin and

Frame (and Frame's rejection of the classical Protestant or Calvinistic

position on worship) we can look at how the _Geneva Confession_ which

Calvin wrote counsels us to deals with men like Frame.

 

In conjunction with section 17 of the _Geneva Confession of Faith_, section

19 on "Excommunication" states,

 

"19. EXCOMMUNICATION

Because there are always some who hold God and his Word in contempt,

who take account of neither injunction, exhortation nor remonstrance, thus

requiring greater chastisement, we hold the discipline of excommunication

to be a thing holy and salutary among the faithful, since truly it was

instituted by our Lord with good reason. This is in order that the wicked

should not by their damnable conduct corrupt the good and dishonour our

Lord, and that though proud they may turn to penitence. Therefore we

believe that it is expedient according to the ordinance of God that all

manifest *idolaters,* blasphemers, murderers, thieves, lewd persons, *false

witnesses,* sedition-mongers, quarrellers, those guilty of defamation or

assault, drunkards, dissolute livers, when they have been duly admonished

and *if they do not make amendment, be separated from the communion

of the faithful until their repentance is known*" (John Calvin, "Confession

of Faith Which All the Citizens and Inhabitants of Geneva and the Subjects

of the Country Must Promise to Keep and Hold [1536]," _Corpus

Reformatorum_, X/I ["Calvini opera quae supersunt omnia"], as translated

[from the French] and cited in _Calvin: Theological Treatises_, [The

Westminster Press, 1954], p. 7, emphases added).

 

Notice that *idolaters* head the list of those who should be "be separated

from the communion of the faithful until their repentance is known."

Calvin, Knox and the bulk of the reformers considered **idolatry to be

committed wherever and whenever the regulative principle was not

followed**. In their opinion you will either worship God according to His

appointment (as espoused in the regulative principle which Frame seeks to

overturn) or you will do so at the behest of men (Matt. 15:9, cf. Kevin

Reed's _Biblical Worship_, FREE at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/BibW_ch0.htm for

proof). With this in mind numerous specific charges of idolatry (some

already noted above) could be brought against Frame based on what he

has written in his book. These charges (based on transgressions of the

second commandment) prove that Frame would have been considered an

idolater, according to Calvin and most other Reformers, and thus

excommunicated.

 

One of the many examples verifying Calvin's hatred for Frame's view of

worship can be seen in his comments on Acts 7:44. Calvin writes,

 

"This is the first mark whereby the holy Spirit doth distinguish all

bastardly and corrupt worshipping from the true and sincere worship. Yea,

(to speak more briefly,) the first difference between true worship and

idolatry is this: when the godly take in hand nothing but that which is

agreeable to the Word of God, but the other think all that lawful which

pleaseth themselves, and so they count their own will a law; *whereas God

alloweth nothing but that which he himself hath appointed*" (emphasis

added to highlight the regulative principle).

 

Calvin is even more pointed regarding his denunciation of idolatry and

idolaters (i.e. those who do not worship God in the way "which he

demands") in his "First Sermon, on Psalm 16:4" in _Come Out From Among

Them: The "Anti-Nicodemite" Writings of John Calvin_ (Protestant Heritage

Publications, forthcoming).

 

"So, let us hold to this rule, that *all human inventions* which are set up to

corrupt the simple purity of the word of God, and to undo the worship

which *he demands and approves*, are true sacrileges, in which the

Christian man cannot participate without blaspheming God, and trampling

his honour underfoot" (p. 141, emphases added).

 

It should be clear by now that anyone who repudiates the regulative

principle (which is simply the teaching and application of the second

commandment), as Frame does in his book _Worship in Spirit and Truth_,

would have been excommunicated from the Genevan church of Calvin's

day.

 

However, I do openly admit that Calvin was, at times, inconsistent in his

*application of some* of the biblical principles he was beginning to glimpse

concerning worship, discipline and separation. For example, his great love

for the unity of the church (and his keen perception of the threat posed by

Romanism and the Anabaptist scourge) sometimes seemed to cloud his

vision and cause him to be far too lenient towards the idolatry and error

practised by the Lutherans. Such pragmatism is unbecoming a Christian no

matter how eminent for gifts and testimony (Gal. 2:11). This is especially

evident when we compare the sometimes contradictory advice that Calvin

gave concerning the "Nicodemites" (and their separation from Rome) with

his advice to the English Calvinists fleeing Bloody Mary, who had settled in

Lutheran Germany (and who asked his counsel concerning separation from

some of the "lesser" Lutheran forms of idolatry). This is also illustrated in

Calvin's unwillingness to openly oppose Luther (by name, while Luther

was alive) and his particular view of the Lord's Supper, though he often

condemned the Popish Mass. After Luther's death Calvin began (or better

was forced into) responding to Lutheran attacks directed against him on

this very point. At one point in 1556, dealing with this controversy, Calvin

wrote to Bullinger complaining that "the Lutherans have conspired to snow

us under with a mass of polemical pamphlets." Dealing with issues like this

we see some of the lingering negative effects of the widespread darkness

from which the earlier Reformers were just extracting themselves, and

how a much clearer testimony against error and idolatry arose during the

covenanted Reformation (of the seventeenth century). Samuel Rutherford

is a case in point when he states,

 

"At the conference of Wittingberge, an. 1529, where were present Capito,

Bucerus, Musculus, and other grave Divines of higher Germany; on the

other side, Luther, Melanthon, Pomeranus, Cruciger, in which Luther said

brethren, 'If ye teach and believe that the true body and true blood of the

Lord is exhibited in the Supper, & quod hee perceptio vere fiat, and that

truely or really there is a receiving thereof, we agree as brethren;' **but

the truth is, there were contrary faiths touching the presence of Christs

body and blood in the Sacrament; and therefor I humbly conceive all such

Generall confessions as must be a coat to cover two contrary faiths, is but a

daubing of the matter with untempered mortar**; much dealing like this

was in the Councell of Trent, in which neither Papist not Protestant was

condemned; and yet the truth suffered; I speake not this as if each side

could exactly know every lich and veine of the controversie, for we

'prophesie but in part,' but to shew ***I cannot but abominate truth and

falsehood, patched up in one confession of faith***" (original spelling

retained, _A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience_,

[1649], p. 67, emphases added).

 

Furthermore, we know from various postmillennial Scriptures that we can

expect even greater attainments in the future (in the moral person of the

duly constituted visible church) during the millennium (Isa. 2:2-5), and

that like the sanctification of individuals, the church is ultimately growing

(Eph. 4:13) and her public testimony will one day be unified (Zech. 14:7-9)

and cover the whole earth (Isa. 11:9).

 

I should also explain that it is never my intent to sanction positively the

errors of even the greatest of Christian teachers. Our *final authority*

always remains the Scriptures, but because of the nature of this paper

(discussing Classical Protestantism and my previous comments related to

Calvin), much recourse, of necessity, must be made to history. We are to

approbate the *faithful* contendings of our forefathers (Jer. 6:16, 1 Cor.

11:1, Phil. 3:17), but never to follow them in any form of dissimulation or

error. As Steele notes, "only the *faithful* contendings of the martyrs of

Jesus demand our approbation and imitation" (_A Concise History of the

Reformed Presbyterian Church from the Middle of the Sixteenth Century

and of the Reformed Presbytery from 1840 Till the Present Time_, p. 14,

emphasis in the original). The Reformed Presbytery concurs, in their

explanation of our fifth term of communion, "it is only to such of them as

truly deserve the characteristic epithets of SCRIPTURAL AND FAITHFUL,

that we require the assent of our church members" (_An Explanation and

Defence of the Terms of Communion Adopted by the Community of

Dissenters..._, p. 189, emphasis in the original).

 

Thus, here, in regard to my comments about Calvin and Frame, I consider

Calvin's testimony concerning the Nicodemites to have been in accord with

Scripture -- and worthy of our imitation -- and *some* of his testimony

regarding the Lutherans to have been faulty -- and therefore not worthy

of our imitation.

 

Moreover, it is good to keep in mind that Calvin was relatively mild-

mannered in comparison with Knox (who I think was more consistent on

the questions we are addressing). He said,

 

START QUOTE

 

"Moses, the mouth of God to the Israelites, spoke as follows: "If thy

brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of

thy own bosom, or thy neighbour whom thou lovest as thy own life, shall

privily solicit thee, saying, 'Let us go serve other gods, which thou hast not

known,' etc., obey him not, hear him not, neither yet let thy eye spare him;

be not merciful unto him, nor hide him not; but utterly slay him. Let thy

hand be first upon him, that such one may be slain. And then the hands of

the whole people stone him with stones that he may die," etc. (Deut. 13:6-

18). And so likewise he commands to be done with a whole city, if the

indwellers thereof turn back to idolatry; adding also that the whole city,

and the spoil of the same, should be burnt, and that no portion thereof

should be saved; neither yet that the city should be re-edified or built

again for ever, because it was accursed of God.

 

Here is a plain declaration, what God requires of them that will continue in

league with him; and what he has damned by his express word (Ex. 20).

And do we esteem, beloved brethren, that the immutable God will wink at

our idolatry as that he saw it not? seeing that he commanded judgment to

be executed so severely against idolaters, and against such as only

provoked or solicited to idolatry, that neither should blood nor affinity,

multitude nor riches, save such as offended; neither yet that the husband

should conceal the offence of his own wife; neither the father the iniquity

of his son or of his daughter, but that the father, husband, or brother,

should be first to accuse son, daughter, brother, or wife. And why?

"Because he intended," says Moses, "to bring thee from the Lord thy God,

who led thee forth of the land of Egypt. And therefore let him die, that all

Israel hearing may fear, and that thereafter they commit not such

abomination in the midst of thee. "Let nothing appertaining to such a man

or city cleave unto thy hand, that the Lord may turn from thee the fury of

his wrath, and be moved to have compassion over thee, and multiply thee

as he has sworn unto thy fathers" (Deut. 13:10-11, 17).

 

In these words most evidently is expressed unto us, why **God wills that

we avoid all fellowship with idolatry, and with the maintainers of the

same**; in which are three things appertaining to our purpose chiefly to be

noted. First, that the Holy Ghost pronounces and gives warning unto us,

that maintainers of idolatry, and provokers to the same, intend to draw us

from God; and therefore he wills that we neither obey them (be they kings

or be they queens), neither yet that we conceal their impiety (were they

son, daughter, or wife), if we will have the league to stand betwixt God and

us. And here is the confirming of my first cause, why it is necessary that

we avoid idolatry, because that otherwise we declare ourselves little to

regard the league and covenant of God; for that league requires that we

declare ourselves enemies to all sorts of idolatry.

 

Secondly, it is to be noted, that idolatry so incenses and kindles the wrath

of God, that it is never quenched till the offenders, and all that they

possess, are destroyed from the earth; for he commanded them to be

stoned to the death, and their substance to be burnt; and if a city offended,

that it shall be altogether destroyed without mercy. This may appear a

severe and rigorous judgment. But if you shall consider the cause, God's

great mercy towards us shall be espied; forthereunto he declares himself

[an] enemy unto our enemies. For all those that would draw us from God

(be they kings or queens), being of the devil's nature, are enemies unto

God, and therefore God wills that in such cases we declare ourselves

enemies unto them; because he would that we should understand how

odious is idolatry in his presence, and how that we cannot keep the league

betwixt him and us inviolate if we favour, follow, or spare idolaters. "Lord,

open our eyes that we may understand the great necessity of this thy

precept. Amen."

 

Thirdly, it is to be noted, that obedience given to God's precepts in this

case, is the cause why God shows his mercy upon us, why he multiplies us,

and does embrace us with fatherly love and affection. *Where by the

contrary, by consenting to idolatry, by haunting or favouring of the same,

the mercies of God are shut up from us, and we [are] cut off from the body

of Christ*, left to wither and rot, as trees without sap or moisture; and

then, alas! in what estate stand we? In the same assuredly that Christ

declares the unfruitful branches to be, which are cut from the stock,

wither, and are gathered in fagots to the fire.

 

O, dearly beloved, if we will stand in league with God, and be accounted

the children of faith, we must follow the footsteps of Abraham, who, at

God's commandment, left his native country, because it was defiled with

idolatry. God gave to him but a commandment, saying, Pass out of thy

father's house; and he, without further reasoning, did obey. And, alas! shall

not so many precepts as are given to us to flee and avoid idolatry, move

us, seeing that God shows himself so offended with idolaters, that he

commands all such to be slain without mercy?

 

But now, shall some demand, What then? Shall we go to and slay all

idolaters? That were the office, dear brethren, of every civil magistrate

within his realm. *But of you is required only to avoid [the] participation

and company of their abominations, as well in body as in soul*; as David

and Paul plainly teach unto you. David in his exile, in the midst of

idolaters, says, I will not offer their drink offerings of blood, neither yet

will I take their name in my mouth (Ps. 16:4). And Paul says, Ye may not

be partakers of the Lord's table and of the table of devils. Ye may not

drink the Lord's cup and the cup of devils (1 Cor. 10:21). As these two

places of God's most sacred scripture plainly resolve the former question,

so do they confirm that which is said before, that the league betwixt God

and us requires the avoiding of all idolatry" (John Knox, "A Godly Letter of

Warning or Admonition to the Faithful in London, Newcastle, and Berwick

1553," Extracted from: _Selected Writings of John Knox: Public Epistles,

Treatises, and Expositions to the Year 1559_ [Presbyterian Heritage

Publications, reprinted 1995], pp. 173-176, emphases added).

 

END QUOTE

 

But back to one more specific surrounding the situation in Geneva. This

example further strengthens both my argument that Frame would have

been disciplined in Geneva (even civilly) and my contention that you are

no Reformer when the worship question is in view -- and remember,

purity of worship was one of the two major concerns (according to Calvin

and many others) of the Reformation. Stevenson (who is no friend of

classic Reformation worship), after noting that "Calvin had most intimate

dealings (with) Louis Bourgeois" and took pleasure in singing Bourgeois'

melodies to the Psalms, relates the following episode,

 

Bourgeois "was arrested in 1551 and placed in prison for having changed

'without permission' the melodies of certain psalms, which he had himself

written some years earlier. Robert Bridges (_The Yattendon Hymnal_, p. 9)

remarks: 'He was imprisoned by his employers for his musical innovation...

and having suffered Calvin for sixteen years...lost his appointment and left

Geneva on account of Calvin's objection to part-singing" (_Patterns of

Protestant Church Music_ [Duke University Press, 1953], p. 19).

 

All his proof of classic Calvinist worship patterns considered, even the

antagonistic Stevenson (_Patterns of Protestant Church Music_) is honest

enough to admit that

 

"(i)n our day Calvin's precepts on church music are more honored in the

breach than in the observance. His authority has been invoked for the

introduction of certain high-church practices into our large Presbyterian

churches; but no responsible scholar has been able to discover evidence in

his writings for current practices in the conduct of church music. Modern

departures from Calvinist musical theory are basic. These departures from

Calvin's straight and narrow path have led modern Presbyterians

(neopresbyterians--RB) into an acceptance of instrumental music, and

particularly organ music, as a permitted feature of divine worship; into an

acceptance of 'hymns of human composure' as a permitted feature of

worship song in place of the inspired psalms; into an acceptance of singing

in parts as a permitted feature of worship song. But Calvin never allowed

organ music in the churches of Geneva. He (positively--RB) sanctioned only

inspired psalms and material suitable for congregational singing. And he

vigorously opposed any attempt to introduce part singing into the

congregational singing of the psalms" (pp. 13-14).

 

Stevenson cites Calvin's _Commentary of the Book of Psalms_ III, 494-495;

V, 312; III, 98; III, 312 for corroboration.

 

Stevenson also charts Calvinistic opposition to "Frame-like" innovations in

worship from Augustine and the covenanted Reformation in the British

Isles to John Cotton ("who vigorously denounced organs: 'singing with

instruments was typical, and so a ceremonial worship and therefore

ceased,'" p. 17) and Cotton Mather in New England. Continuing his survey

he notes,

 

"So reverentially did the Scottish churches regard Calvin's interpretation of

Scripture that authorizations for organs in the various branches of the

Presbyterian Church were delayed until 1866 for the Established Church,

1872 for the United Presbyterian Church, and 1883 for the Free Church.

And, of course, the ultra-Calvinist Reformed Presbyterian Church of

America even now forbid the use of organs and the singing of hymns" (pp.

17-18).

 

The paleopresbyterian suppression of idolatry is no new position, and if

you think the circus that Frame would conjure up under the pretense of

Christian worship would have escaped negative sanctions in all the major

(non-Lutheran) centers of Reform (in the sixteenth and seventeenth

centuries), then you are dreaming in some colors that have yet to be

discovered. Clearly, Frame would have been disciplined (ecclesiastically, as

well as civilly) for his apostasy and idolatry (as exhibited in his book

_Worship in Spirit and Truth_). Only those grossly ignorant of classic

Reformation thought would dispute this. Frame would have been

disciplined *even* under first Reformation standards, never mind under

the greater attainments of the second Reformation (and the standards

many Presbyterians -- including Frame -- today *pretend* to adopt).

Anyone with even a introductory knowledge of the Reformation, and a

cursory acquaintance with Frame's book would rightly and readily be

compelled (by honest historical scholarship) to adopt the conclusions I've

set forth. This is just a matter of the historical record; you may disagree

with what the Reformers did, but you can not deny that I have faithfully

represented their position. Even the apostate, schismatic "church" historian

Philip Schaff is honest enough to admit that my position concerning the

covenanting, confessionalism, discipline and antitolerationism of both

Calvin's Geneva and the later Covenanted Reformation in the British Isles is

accurate. Though he clearly disparages the Reformers' beliefs and actions,

Schaff conjoins Calvin's covenanting under the terms of the _Geneva

Confession of Faith_ with

 

"the same inconsistency and intolerance (that) was repeated a hundred

years later on a much lager scale in the 'Solemn League and Covenant' of

the Scottish Presbyterians and English Puritans against popery and

prelacy, and sanctioned in 1643 by the Westminster Assembly of Divines

which vainly attempted to prescribe a creed, a Church polity, and a

directory of worship for the three nations" (_History of the Christian

Church_, vol. 8, pp. 356-357).

 

Schaff gets the history right, but he confuses the Reformer's corporate

obedience to the first, second, third, fifth and ninth commandments with

what he calls a vain attempt "to prescribe a creed, a Church polity, and a

directory of worship for the three nations." Though the idea of covenanted

uniformity grates on Schaff's sectarian sensibilities, and he conveniently

forgets that Josiah (and other kings) made the same "vain attempts" under

the old administration of the covenant, he retains enough integrity not to

attempt to bury Reformation history on this point -- though he obviously

disdains this aspect of classical Protestantism.

 

A list of *other offences* which the Geneva Presbytery would have never

tolerated in Frame can be found in _The Register of the Company of

Pastors of Geneva in the Time of Calvin_, edited and translated by Philip

Edgcumbe Hughes (Eerdmans, 1966). I see six chargeable offences which

could be leveled against Frame in the section "Vices which are intolerable

in a pastor," under the "Ministerial discipline" heading (pp. 38-39). Four

others could be added from the section "Vices which can be endured

provided they are rebuked" (p. 39).

 

Not to leave out our Dutch Reformed brothers and sisters (in our

recounting of the old Reformed paths), and with the hope that I am not

trying the reader's patience by multiplying citations, let us look at one

quote exhibiting the old standards of Reformation maintained in the

Netherlands. In a forthcoming book _The Wonders of the Most High; or, An

Indication of the Causes, Ways and Means Whereby the United Provinces,

Against the Expectation of the Whole World, Were Elevated in Such a

Marvelous Way from Their Previous Oppression to Such Great, Awe

Inspiring Riches and Acclaim_, just translated into English (from the Dutch)

for the first time, Van de Velde (circa 1678), in the section "The Organ in

the Worship Service and the Singing of Hymns," writes,

 

START QUOTE

 

With one word, we judge this and other novelties, in these carefree days, a

useless hindrance. This we also say of the introduction of new hymn-

books, and present day ditties, which we do not find in God's Word; as also

the playing and peeping of organs in the Church. The former are all against

the decrees of our Synods. See about singing in the Church, the National

Synod of Dordt held in 1578, art. 76; the National Synod held in

Middelburg, 1581, art. 51; the National Synod held in the Hague, 1586, art

62; at which gatherings hymns not found in Scripture are expressly

forbidden (in a footnote: those who would like to know more about singing

of the Psalms, from the Old as well as the New Testament, can read the

learned treatise by S. Omius, called 'Dissertation", the first book. Chapter 5,

cap. 3).

 

It is known from Church history, that those who are after novelties, by

introducing man-made hymns and errors, have corrupted the

Congregation. Although these people have no wrong motives, it is

nevertheless not advisable to follow in their steps, since we may receive

from them copper instead of gold, as the Pious Peter Martyr witnessed

about the time hymns were introduced into the Roman Church. See Peter

Martyr on 1 Cor. 14:26. The words of lord van Aldegonde in this respect

are remarkable. In the introduction to his book of Psalms he says, "The

experience of earlier days has taught us that it is often harmful to

introduce something which is not based on the Scriptures of the Old and

New Testaments." The Synod of Dordt, 1578, art. 77; of Middleburg, 1581;

of Gerderland, 1640, art. 3, have all dealt with terminating, when

determining the place of the organ in the Church. The statement made by

the Synod of Dordt, 1574, art. 50, needs our special attention; where we

read, "Concerning the use of Organs in the Congregation, we hold that

according to 1 Cor. 14:19, it should not have a place in the Church; and

where it is still used when the people leave the church, it is of no use but

to forget what was heard before;" they witness that it is nothing but

frivolity. It is also remarkable that lord Rivet, contending against the

papists, mentions several of their authors, who condemn the novelty of the

Organ, and point out that is is without profit. Rivet, Cathol. Orthodox. tom.

1, pag. 561.

 

To know the reason why Organs should be kept our of the church, read our

learned theologians and their polemics about Organs against the Lutherans

and Papists, see Faukee, about Psalm 45, pag. 20. Also Lodoc. Larenus, in

cap. 12 Esa, pag. 47, where we find the story of the duty of Middleburg's

consistory to do away with the Organ; Hoornbeek disput. 2, de Psalmodia.

thes 7; Rivet, in Exod. cap. 15 vs. 12. Imprimis Gisb. Voetii. Polit. Eccl. part

1, pag. 548. Hospiniamus de Templis, pag. 309. It would be better if this

and other novelties were not mentioned.

 

END QUOTE

 

In the days of the Westminster Assembly even the civil magistrates had

more sense than most modern "preachers." Girardeau, in his _Instrumental

Music in the Public Worship of the Church_ (pp. 132, 133 in the 1888

edition) notes,

 

START QUOTE

 

Before the Westminster Assembly of Divines undertook the office of

preparing a Directory of Worship, the Parliament had authoritatively

adopted measures looking to the removal of organs, along with other

remains of Popery, from the churches of England. On the 20th of May,

1644, the commissioners from Scotland wrote to the General Assembly of

their church and made the following statement among others: "We cannot

but admire the good hand of God in the great things done here already,

particularly that the covenant, the foundation of the whole work, is taken,

Prelacy and the whole train thereof extirpated, the service-book in many

places forsaken, plain and powerful preaching set up, many colleges in

Cambridge provided with such ministers as are most zealous of the best

reformation, altars removed, the communion in some places given at the

table with sitting, THE GREAT ORGANS AT PAUL'S AND PETER'S IN

WESTMINSTER TAKEN DOWN (emphasis added), images and many other

monuments of idolatry defaced and abolished, the Chapel Royal at

Whitehall purged and reformed; and all by authority, in a quiet manner, at

noon-day, without tumult." (Girardeau cites this quotation from the _Acts

of Assembly of the Church of Scotland,_ 1644.) So thorough was the work

of removing organs that the "Encyclopaedia Britannica" says that "at the

Revolution most of the organs in England had been destroyed." (Girardeau

cites Art., _Organ._)

 

When, therefore, the Assembly addressed itself to the task of framing a

Directory for Worship, it found itself confronted by a condition of the

churches of Great Britain in which the singing of psalms without

instrumental accompaniment almost universally prevailed. In prescribing,

consequently, the singing of psalms without making any allusion to the

restoration of instrumental music, it must, in all fairness, be construed to

specify the simple singing of praise as a part of public worship. The

question, moreover, is settled by the consideration that had any debate

occurred as to the propriety of allowing the use of instrumental music, the

Scottish commissioners would have vehemently and uncompromisingly

opposed that measure. But Lightfoot, who was a member of the Assembly,

in his "Journal of its Proceedings" (Girardeau cites _Works,_ Vol. xiii., pp.

343, 344; London, 1825.) tells us: "This morning we fell upon the Directory

for singing of psalms; and, in a short time, we finished it." He says that the

only point upon which the Scottish commissioners had some discussion was

the reading of the Psalms line by line.

 

END QUOTE

 

The larger history on this subject is also instructive. Again Girardeau

informs us ("Historical Argument" pp. 158, 159, 161, 165, 170, 179 in the

1888 edition of _Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the

Church_),

 

START QUOTE

 

With reference to the time when organs were first introduced into use in

the Roman Catholic Church, let us hear Bingham: "It is now generally

agreed among learned men that the use of organs came into the church

since the time of Thomas Aquinas, Anno 1250; for he, in his Summs, has

these words: 'Our church does not use musical instruments, as harps and

psalteries, to praise God withal, that she may not seem to Judaize."...Mr.

Wharton also has observed that Marinus Sanutus, who lived about the year

1290, was the first who brought the use of wind-organs into churches,

whence he was surnamed Torcellus, which is the name for an organ in the

Italian tongue....Let us pause a moment to notice the fact, supported by a

mass of incontrovertible evidence, that the Christian church did not

employ instrumental music in its public worship for 1200 years after

Christ....It deserves serious consideration, moreover, that notwithstanding

the ever-accelerated drift towards corruption in worship as well as in

doctrine and government, the Roman Catholic Church did not adopt this

corrupt practice until about the middle of the thirteenth century....When

the organ was introduced into its worship it encountered strong opposition,

and made its way but slowly to general acceptance. These assuredly are

facts that should profoundly impress Protestant churches. How can they

adopt a practice which the Roman Church, in the year 1200, had not

admitted...Then came the Reformation; and the question arises, How did

the Reformers deal with instrumental music in the church?...Zwingle has

already been quoted to show instrumental music was one of the shadows

of the old law which has been realized in the gospel. He pronounces its

employment in the present dispensation "wicked pervicacity." There is no

doubt in regard to his views on the subject, which were adopted by the

Swiss Reformed churches...Calvin is very express in his condemnation of

instrumental music in connection with the public worship of the Christian

church...In his homily on 1 Sam. xviii. 1-9, he delivers himself emphatically

and solemnly upon the subject: "In Popery there was a ridiculous and

unsuitable imitation [of the Jews]. While they adorned their temples, and

valued themselves as having made the worship of God more splendid and

inviting, they employed organs (emphasis added), and many other such

ludicrous things, by which the Word and worship of God are exceedingly

profaned, the people being much more attached to those rites than to the

understanding of the divine Word..." Whatever may be the practice in

recent times of the churches of Holland, the Synods of the Reformed Dutch

Church, soon after the Reformation, pronounced very decidedly against the

use of instrumental music in public worship. The National Synod at

Middleburg, in 1581, declared against it, and the Synod of Holland and

Zealand, in 1594, adopted this strong resolution; "That they would

endeavor to obtain of the magistrate the laying aside of organs, and the

singing with them in the churches...." The Provincial Synod of Dort also

inveighed severely against their use...The Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon,

...upholds an apostolic simplicity of worship. The great congregation which

is blessed with the privilege of listening to his instructions has no organ "to

assist" them in singing...The non-prelatic churches, Independent and

Presbyterian, began their development on the American continent without

instrumental music. They followed the English Puritans and the Scottish

Church, which had adopted the principles of the Calvinistic Reformed

Church...It has thus been proved by an appeal to historical facts, that the

church, although lapsing more and more into defection from the truth and

into a corruption of apostolic practice, had no instrumental music for

twelve hundred years; and that the Calvinistic Reformed Church ejected it

from its services as a element of Popery, even the Church of England

having come very nigh to its extrusion from her worship. The historical

argument, therefore, combines with the scriptural and the confessional to

raise a solemn and powerful protest against its employment by the

Presbyterian Church. IT IS HERESY IN THE SPHERE OF WORSHIP (emphasis

added).

 

END QUOTE

 

Tying this into the discipline question, McKnight gently and succinctly

summarizes the classic Presbyterian position on worship and admission to

the Lord's Supper in his book _Concerning Close Communion_. This book

was originally written for young people in the RPCNA and is an excellent

introduction to the governmental aspect of the Lord's Supper. In it

McKnight writes,

 

"We hold, whether rightly or wrongly, that to undertake to praise God with

songs other than those which the Holy Spirit has inspired for that purpose

is a sin, and such a sin as, unrepented of, should prevent a person from

sitting down at the Lord's table, either in our Church or in any other.

 

We hold, whether rightly or wrongly, that to introduce instrumental music

into the New Testament worship, when the Apostles organized that

worship without it, is a sin, and such a sin as, unrepented of, should

prevent a person from sitting down at the Lord's table, either in our

Church or in any other...

 

The fact is that we find ourselves under obligation, in these respects, to

bear a faithful testimony not only to the world, but to such other Churches

also as differ with us on these intrinsically important questions. At the

communion table our testimony comes to its climax. Shall we weaken

where we should be immovable? Shall we make it apparent on the Holy

Mount that we are sincere in our conclusions and mean to maintain them

to the end, or shall we choose the Holy Mount to make it apparent to other

Churches and to the world, that we only half believe what we profess?

Here, of all places, it would seem, we ought to aim to be perfect, even as

our Father which is in heaven is perfect (Matt. 5:48)."

 

Oh no, another one of those bad "perfectionistic and schismatic anabaptists"

some might claim; but those who know the truth know better. I wonder

how many who claim the classic Presbyterian position today still teach

their young people to walk down these "old paths." Do you teach these

truths to your young people Doug?

 

In light of all this information I ask: Would Frame have survived Calvin's

Geneva, Knox's Scotland or the Covenanted Reformation of the seventeenth

century without being excommunicated for the views he sets forth in his

book _Worship in Spirit and Truth_? I say no way! That is what I said on

the Knox Ring, it is the truth, and I stand by it -- in spite of all the

neopresbyterian nonsense spouted by our modern-day malignants!

 

The real problem here is not what I did (on the Knox Ring) or what the

Reformers did (in their covenants and confessions), but rather the general

level of historical ignorance (regarding these matters) prevalent in the

modern professing Reformed community. The historical testimony to the

truth (which cost many lives) has been to a great extent buried and

forgotten in our day and your attacks on me and classic Reformation

thought (and history) are a prime example of the prevailing ignorance. I do

not say this out of any personal animosity against you or for any other

reason than that it is true; and that it is an expression of Christ's love to

tell the truth to those who are in error. I still pray that you will be given

grace from God to humble yourself and repent of your errors and slander;

and even that you would become open, over time, to studying the many

source documents of the Reformation that I have offered to you. I would

like nothing better than to join hands with you in the unity of the one true

faith (Ps. 133) and together fight the ongoing battle for Reformation truth.

But as two cannot walk together unless they be agreed (Amos 3:3), any

show of unity at this point would be a false show and compromised unity -

- which is always displeasing to God. Unity is only in the truth (cf. _Unity

and Uniformity in the Church_ by Thomas Houston).

 

Other testimonies verifying the Reformation position on close communion

and the ecclesiastical suppression of public idolatry could easily be

multiplied. For those who are willing to research this subject I suggest the

following works:

 

ON CLOSE COMMUNION

 

_Concerning Close Communion_ by W.J. McKnight (especially pp. 27-49 in

regard the Frame/worship controversy). Also available on cassette.

 

_Close Communion_ by R.J. George

 

_An Explanation and Defence of the Terms of Communion, Adopted by the

Community of Dissenters, etc._ by The Reformed Presbytery

 

_The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, From the

Year 1638 to the Year 1649 Inclusive_ by the Church of Scotland General

Assembly

 

_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_ Andrew

Clarkson (Free sections at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/Schism.htm and

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/PlainTOC.htm )

 

_A Hind Let Loose_ by Alexander Shields

 

_Strictures on Occasional Hearing_ by James Douglas

 

_Covenanting, Communion and Confessions: With a Short Summary of the

Westminster Confession of Faith_ by by W.J. McKnight

 

_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_ by the Reformed Presbytery

 

_A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience_ by Samuel

Rutherford

 

_Wholesome Severity Reconciled with Christian Liberty_ by George

Gillespie

 

_A Modest Apology for the Conduct of Seceders, in Refusing to Join in

Christian Communion with Sectarians, Latitudinarians, etc. Who Have

Departed From the Purity of Reformation Once Attained to in these

Kingdoms_ by Anonymous

 

_The Lawfulness and Duty of Separation from Corrupt Ministers and

Churches Explained and Vindicated_ by James Fraser (of Brae)

 

ON WORSHIP

 

_Biblical Worship_ by Kevin Reed (also free at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/BibW_ch0.htm )

 

_The Songs of Zion: A Contemporary Case for Exclusive Psalmody_ by

Michael Bushell

 

_Come Out From Among Them: The "Anti-Nicodemite" Writings of John

Calvin_ by John Calvin (forthcoming)

 

_Shunning the Unlawful Rites of the Ungodly and Preserving the Purity of

the Christian Religion_ by John Calvin

 

_War Against the Idols: The Reformation of Worship from Erasmus to

Calvin_ by Carlos Eire

 

_Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church_ by John

Girardeau

 

_The Badge of Popery: Musical Instruments in Public Worship_ by R.J.

George

 

_Exclusive Psalmody_ by Greg Price (7 cassettes)

 

_Instrumental Music in Public Worship_ by Greg Price (2 cassettes)

 

_Foundation for Reformation: The Regulative Principle of Worship_ by Greg

Price (also on 2 cassettes)

 

_Reformation Worship and Separation from Idolatry_ by Reg Barrow (Free,

in two parts, at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CRTPWors.htm and

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CRTPsSing.htm )

 

_A Warning Against the False and Dangerous Views of James Jordan

Concerning Worship: A Book Review of Kevin Reed's Canterbury Tales_ by

Reg Barrow (Free at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/BlastJJ.htm )

 

_Christmass: A Biblical Critique_ by Kevin Reed

 

_The Regulative Principle of Worship and Christmas_ by Brian Schwertley

 

_Heart and Voice: Instruments in Christian Worship Not Authorized _ by

James Glasgow

 

_A Dispute Against the English Popish Ceremonies Obtruded on the Church

of Scotland_ by George Gillespie (for advanced study)

 

_The Canterbury Tales_ by Kevin Reed (Free at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/Canterbu.htm )

 

The study of these books will show how far from the Reformed faith Frame

and most modern Presbyterian and Reformed denominations have strayed.

 

All of what I have said should be also considered in light of the fact that

the church as a moral person (cf. "What is a Moral Person? How God Views

the Church and the Nations" free at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/moral.htm ) had

grown considerably (in its corporate sanctification) from the time of the

first Reformation to the time of the second Reformation. (In my book on

Frame I hope to show, using documents such as the _The Acts of the

General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, From the Year 1638 to the

Year 1649 Inclusive_ by the Church of Scotland General Assembly, that my

statement regarding Frame's excommunication for idolatry would have not

even been close to coming into question. In fact, Frame would have never

even come close to being ordained under these standards because he

would have not have been allowed to be a member of the Church of

Scotland in these days -- in that he publicly opposed their confessions,

covenants and terms of communion.) She (the visible church) was thus

then obligated to a much higher standard (in terms of public historical

attainments), in the same way an individual is obligated to a greater

degree of sanctification as he progresses in the faith (though we always

have a duty to conform to the whole moral law of God). These

**superadded obligations** are brought upon the church in the same way

an oath further obligates one to do that which is already a moral duty

(such as telling the truth). To think or do that which is a declining from

previous attainments is backsliding and apostasy, and this applies to the

moral person of the church as well as to individuals. Thus,

 

"every separation is not schism, even from the church which hath

essentials; yea, and more than essentials: if it be from those (though never

so many) who are drawing back from whatever piece of duty and integrity

is attained; for this is still to be held fast, according to many scripture

commands (see the five listed below--RB). So Elias (Elijah--RB), when God's

covenant was forsaken, was as another Athanasius (I and I only am left) in

point of tenacious integrity" (Shields, _A Hind Let Loose_, p. 271).

 

"Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set" (Prov.

22:28).

 

"Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same

rule, let us mind the same thing" (Phil. 3:16).

 

"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).

 

"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old

paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for

your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein" (Jer. 6:16).

 

"That ye be not slothful, but *followers of them* who through faith and

patience inherit the promises" (Heb. 6:12, emphasis added).

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>As for the charges you are bringing against me (& Nathan & Doug) in your

>church court, I would encourage you to wait until after the publication of

>your book. A casual reader of the correspondence might wonder why

charges

>against members of Church A were being brought before the elders of

Church

>B. "Gee, is that presbyterian?" they might wonder. And no wonder. But no

>doubt you have found somewhere a big fat book showing how the

attainments of

>the Reformation, properly understood, require that we all become

>perfectionistic and schismatic anabaptists. Well, speaking for me and my

>house, we are not going to have any of it.

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

First, you still don't seem to understand that you do not belong to a church

that is *duly constituted* (because of the false doctrine that you preach

and adopted constitutionally -- and as demonstrated by what you tolerate

at the Lord's table) and therefore you posit a false premise. There is no

church A and church B (constitutionally), as demonstrated in my previous

letters. There is just a church A and I am bringing my charges before

them. You and your "church" have no lawful *ministerial authority* from

Christ.

 

I should also mention, in light of the fact that you have no church

(constitutionally) and that you are no duly called minister (while you

obstinately maintain serious errors contrary to Scripture), faithful

Christians should not attend your public Lords' days services (Rom. 16:17,

Prov. 19:27). Furthermore, those who attend your preaching practise the

sin of occasional hearing (cf. _Strictures on Occasional Hearing_ by James

Douglas) and those who take the Lord's Supper from your hand also sin (cf.

_Alexander and Rufus_ by John Anderson on occasional communion and

close communion).

 

Second, another point at which you continue in darkness has to do with

how the Reformers judged the true from the false church. You confuse our

statements concerning *doctrinal* attainments and faithfulness *at a

constitutional level* with the Anabaptist error of focusing on the conduct

of individuals in the church (as a basis for separation). Greaves, in

_Theology and Revolution in the Scottish Reformation_, comments,

 

"Knox was faced with the possibility of men withdrawing from his

movement because of immoral behavior by some of his adherents. He

repudiated this course by contending that the lives of church members are

no assured sign of a true visible church. Much more significant is the

doctrine preached and accepted in the church. If the Word of God is given

supreme authority, if Christ is accepted as the sole Savior, and if the

sacraments are rightly administered, the church is legitimate. There have

always been vices in the true church and virtuous heathen outside it. If

virtuous lives are an assured sign of election, Knox argued, Moslems would

have to be counted among the elect. Thus the church's status as true or

malignant must be determined by doctrine rather than by the morality or

immorality of its members (the endnote here refers the reader to Knox's

_Works_, vol. 4, pp. 263-267).

 

Calvin also used and made the same distinctions regarding the visible

church. The famous ecclesiastical section of the _Institutes_ (Book 4,

Chapter 2), particularly the portion so often referred to in debates

concerning the nature of the visible church (section 12), includes Calvin's

indispensable delineation of the two ways in which the church is visible

(i.e. as to *essence* as seen in those professing the truth [with their

children] and also as corporately *constituted*). Calvin here recognizes the

visible church at Rome in the remnant of professors there present, but

goes on to call for separation from Rome in that she, as a corporate entity

(being a harlot and not Christ's chaste bride), is not duly (or lawfully)

constituted. The Battles edition of the _Institutes_ (4.2.12) beautifully

translates Calvin's summary of this Scripturally faithful argument,

 

"However, *when we categorically deny to the papists the title of the

church, we do not for this reason impugn the existence of churches among

them*. Rather, we are only contending about **the true and lawful

constitution of the church**, required in the communion not only of the

sacraments (which are the signs of profession) but also especially of

doctrine. Daniel [Dan. 9:27] and Paul [II Thess. 2:4] foretold that Antichrist

would sit in the Temple of God. With us, it is the Roman pontiff we make

the leader and standard bearer of that wicked and abominable kingdom.

The fact that his seat is placed in the Temple of God signifies that his reign

was not to be such as to wipe out either the name of Christ or of the

church. From this it therefore is evident that we *by no means deny that

the churches under his tyranny remain churches*. But these he has

profaned by his sacrilegious impiety, afflicted by his inhuman domination,

corrupted and well-nigh killed by his evil and deadly doctrines, which are

like poisoned drinks. In them Christ lies hidden, half buried, the gospel

overthrown, piety scattered, the worship of God nearly wiped out. In them,

briefly, everything is so confused that there we see the face of Babylon

rather than that of the Holy City of God. To sum up, **I call them churches

to the extent that the Lord wonderfully preserves in them a remnant of his

people**, however woefully dispersed and scattered, and to the extent that

some marks of the church remain–especially those marks whose

effectiveness neither the devil's wiles nor human depravity can destroy

(note: this is why the Reformers accepted Roman Catholic baptisms as

valid, though not lawful–RB). But on the other hand, because in them those

marks have been erased to which we should pay particular regard in this

discourse (i.e. the faithful preaching of the Word, scripturally regulated

worship, etc. -- RB), **I say that every one of their congregations and their

whole body lack the lawful form of the church** (emphases added).

 

Without the understanding of Calvin's (and the bulk of other major

Reformers') ecclesiology on this point, it is impossible to fully appreciate

the Reformers' position regarding separation, schism, the sacraments, the

ministry, eschatology, etc. This is one of the reasons you confuse what we

(and the Reformers) are saying with what the Anabaptists taught. We are

dealing with the visible church (and those that profess to be such) as to its

*constituted corporate character* (regarding separation), as Calvin and

Knox did; not as to the acts and beliefs of her individual members, as the

Anabaptists did. By the way, the latitudinarian neopresbyterian

"Alexander" makes charges similar to those you are bringing against us,

against the almost paleopresbyterian "Rufus" (who represents the Seceder

position), by misusing the Donatist's and Novation's (who maintained a

number of positions similar to the Anabaptists). These false charges are

soundly answered and refuted in John Andersons's book, _Alexander and

Rufus_, on pages 110-123.

 

Larry Birger has been granted the following insights (adapted from a letter

origianlly written to Larry Woiwode), further collaborating the

development of this teaching from both first and second Reformation

confessional documents,

 

START QUOTE

 

My studies of the original teachings of the reformers, over the last year

and a half, have led me to many striking and saddening conclusions. In

short, I am more convinced than ever that if the reformers were

*essentially * correct... in their exposition of the scriptures, then only one

evaluation can be made of today's "reformed" and "presbyterian" churches

by the candid student of scripture and history: *we are apostate*. I see

clearly taught by outstanding reformers that the Roman church was the

whore of Babylon (indeed, this teaching was *creedal* in at least one case),

who makes war with the woman (the faithful church) and her seed,

driving them to exile in the wilderness (Rev. 12; WCF 25:4; note the

Scripture proofs for the WCF, suprascript 'h', here). It should be carefully

noted that this wicked harlot is described as being a mother (Rev. 17:5).

Who then are the daughters? All those churches who, regardless of their

glorying in names like "Protestant", "reformed", etc., nevertheless follow in

the footsteps of the Roman whore and her idolatry and filth.

 

Please note that I am referring to the churches here in their *formal* or

*constitutional* capacity, for I believe that there are some, if not many, of

God's people still among them. It is in this capacity that we are to apply

the tests of the marks of the true church (Scottish Confession of Faith,

Chapter 18, and WCF 25:4), whereas the church in her *essential* capacity

is simply, "all those throughout the world who profess the true religion,

together with their children" (WCF 25:2; WLC 62), and not the church's

organization or government. This government and ministry is given

"*unto* this catholick visible church" (WCF 25:3), which presupposes her

existence apart from them; this is confirmed in WLC 62-63, where the

ministry, etc., are privileges given to her, not essential characterisics. That

the organizational form of the church equals the church is a Popish error

rampant in our day; Calvin considered this a fundamental difference

between Protestants and Papists, as he says in his "Prefatory Address to

King Francis," _Institutes_, p. 24-25 (Battles edition):

 

"Our controversy turns on these hinges: first, they contend that the form of

the church is always apparent and observable. Secondly, they set this form

in the see of the Roman Church and its hierarchy. We, on the contrary,

affirm that the church can exist without any visible appearance, and that

its appearance {i.e. when the church in her organized form is indeed

visible} is not contained within that outward magnificence which they

foolishly admire. Rather, it has quite another mark: namely, the pure

preaching of God's Word and the lawful administration of the sacraments.

They rage if the church cannot always be pointed to with the finger. But

among the Jewish people how often was it so deformed that no semblance

of it remained? What form do we think it displayed when Elijah

complained that he alone was left [I Kings 19:10, or 14]? How long after

Christ's coming was it hidden without form? How often has it since that

time been so oppressed by wars, seditions, and heresies that it did not

shine forth at all? If they had lived at that time,would they have believed

that any church existed?"

 

Therefore, in the former capacity a given church can be considered false, a

synagogue of Satan, and of the whore, while at the same time, considered

in the latter capacity, she nevertheless can have in her a true church. This

is evident from Rev. 18:4, where God's people are yet among Babylon the

whore (note that Rev. 18:2 is a proof-text for the phrase, "some have so

degenerated as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan"

in WCF 25:5). It is also evident from Calvin's _Institutes_,, IV:2.12 (by the

way, please note in this and the quote above how often Calvin uses the

word "form" and similar words when considering the church from these

two different angles)... It must be stressed that, because these churches

have followed in the whore's footsteps, they are guilty of dividing the body

of Christ; they are *schismatics*, who have *separated* themselves (though

they be in the vast majority numerically) from the company of the faithful

(who are the great minority), and are instead walking disorderly and

causing divisions contrary to the apostolic doctrine and practice (II Thess.

3:6,14; Rom. 16:17).

 

END QUOTE

 

As a short aside, it is also interesting to note that Birger refers to Chapter

18 of _The Scottish Confession of Faith (1560)_. This chapter (and the

whole _Scottish Confession_ for that matter) should be required reading

for every modern evangelical and neopresbyterian. I bring this up here

because it confirms my previous answer regarding your assertion about

"Moses seat," separation and the visible church. Notice how chapter 18

deals with scribes, Pharisees and the "whole priesthood of the Jews" in the

first century. I am going to cite the whole chapter (from the Presbyterian

Heritage Publications edition reprinted in 1992) so that the reader can get

the whole context. I will add emphases to the sections that address your

assertion about "Moses' seat." (The complete 1560 _The Scottish Confession

of Faith_ is available free of charge on SWRB"s web page at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/ScotConf.htm ).

 

START QUOTE

 

Chapter 18

 

Of the Notes by Which the True Kirk is Discerned from the False and Who

Shall be Judge of the Doctrine

 

Because that Satan from the beginning has laboured to deck his pestilent

synagogue with the title of the kirk of God, and has inflamed the hearts of

cruel murderers to persecute, trouble, and molest the true kirk and

members thereof -- as Cain did Abel; [Gen. 4:8] Ishmael, Isaac; [Gen. 21:9]

Esau, Jacob; [Gen. 27:41] and **the whole priesthood of the Jews, Christ

Jesus himself, and his apostles after him**; [Matt. 23:34; John 15:18-20,24;

11:47,53; Acts 4:1-3; 5:17, etc.] it is a thing most requisite that the true

kirk be discerned from the filthy synagogue, by clear and perfect notes,

lest we, being deceived, receive and embrace to our own condemnation the

one for the other. The notes, signs, and assured tokens whereby the

immaculate spouse of Christ Jesus is known from that horrible harlot, the

kirk malignant; we affirm are neither antiquity, title usurped, lineal

descent, place appointed, nor multitude of men approving an error -- for

Cain in age and title was preferred to Abel and Seth; [Gen. 4:1] Jerusalem

had prerogative above all places of the earth, [Ps. 48:2-3; Matt. 5:35] where

also were the priests lineally descended from Aaron; and **greater

multitude followed the scribes, Pharisees, and priests, than unfeignedly

believed and approved Christ Jesus and his doctrine**; [John 12:42] and

yet, as we suppose, **no man (of whole judgment) will grant that any of

the forenamed were the kirk of God**.

 

The notes, therefore, of the true kirk of God we believe, confess, and avow

to be: first, the true preaching of the word of God, into the which God has

revealed himself to us, as the writings of the prophets and apostles do

declare; secondly, the right administration of the sacraments of Christ

Jesus, which must be annexed unto the word and promise of God, to seal

and confirm the same in our hearts; [Eph. 2:20; Acts 2:42; John 10:27;

18:37; 1 Cor. 1:13; Matt. 18:19-20; Mark 16:15-16; 1 Cor. 11:24-26; Rom.

4:11] last, ecclesiastical discipline uprightly ministered, as God's word

prescribes, whereby vice is repressed, and virtue nourished. [Matt. 18:15-

18; 1 Cor. 5:4-5] Wheresoever then these former notes are seen, and of any

time continue (be the number [of persons] never so few, about two or

three) there, without all doubt, is the true kirk of Christ: who, according to

his promise is in the midst of them: [Matt. 18:19-20] not that universal

[kirk] (of which we have before spoken) but particular; such as were in

Corinth, [1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 1:2] Galatia, [Gal. 1:2] Ephesus, [Eph. 1:1; Acts

16:9-10; 18:1, etc.; 20:17, etc.] and other places in which the ministry was

planted by Paul, and were of himself named the kirks of God.

 

And such kirks we, the inhabitants of the realm of Scotland, professors of

Christ Jesus, confess ourselves to have in our cities, towns, and places

reformed; for the doctrine taught in our kirks is contained in the written

word of God: to wit, in the books of the New and Old Testaments: in those

books, we mean, which of the ancient have been reputed canonical, in the

which we affirm that all things necessary to be believed for the salvation

of mankind are sufficiently expressed. [John 20:31; 2 Tim. 3:16-17] The

interpretation whereof, we confess, neither appertains to private nor

public person, neither yet to any kirk for any preeminence or prerogative,

personal or local, which one has above another; but appertains to the Spirit

of God, by the which also the scripture was written. [2 Pet. 1:20-21.]

 

When controversy then happens, for the right understanding of any place

or sentence of scripture, or for the reformation of any abuse within the

kirk of God, we ought not so much to look what men before us have said or

done, as unto that which the Holy Ghost uniformly speaks within the body

of the scriptures, and unto that which Christ Jesus himself did, and

commanded to be done. [John 5:39] For this is a thing universally granted,

that the Spirit of God (which is the Spirit of unity) is in nothing contrary

unto himself. [Eph. 4:3-4] If then the interpretation, determination, or

sentence of any doctor, kirk, or council, repugn to the plain word of God

written in any other place of scripture, it is a thing most certain, that there

is not the true understanding and meaning of the Holy Ghost, supposing

that councils, realms, and nations have approved and received the same.

For we dare not receive and admit any interpretation which directly

repugns to any principal point of our faith, or to any other plain text of

scripture, or yet unto the rule of charity.

 

END QUOTE

 

You used the example of "Moses' seat" to buttress your false ecumenism

and confusion over the visible church; the National Presbyterian church of

Scotland (in Knox's day) obviously came to the exact opposite conclusion.

They term those sitting in Moses' seat Satan's "pestilent synagogue," adding

that "no man (of whole judgment) will grant that any of the forenamed

were the kirk of God." Once again you are at odds with the classic

Presbyterianism view of what Scripture teaches -- even to the point of

mistaking Presbyterianism for the Anabatist heresy. More on this question

is also found in John Anderson's _Alexander and Rufus_ on pages 237-238.

 

The distinction between the two ways in which the visible church was

viewed by the Reformers , which we continue to maintain, is sprinkled

throughout their writings (and the writings of those who followed in their

footsteps). Some examples of this can be seen in:

 

_Alexander and Rufus_ by John Anderson

pp. 10, 15-17, 53, 77.

 

For those interested in specifically determining the differences between

what Greg Price terms the "Constitutional vs. the Unconstituional Church,"

he has also provided this short list:

 

_An Apologetical Relation_ by John Brown (of Wamphray)

pp. 156, 157, 158.

 

_Due Right of Presbytery_ by Samuel Rutherford

pp. 64, 67, 72, 73, 74, 78, 79, 117, 240, 241, 151, 158, 265, 283, 286, 287,

415, 223 (--the second p. 223 in the book), 230 (b), 231 (b), 243(b),

249(b).

 

_A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience_ by Samuel

Rutherford

pp. 36, 41, 66, 67, 68, 73, 98, 271.

 

Larry Birger has also written a useful introduction to these ideas, see his

"The Visible Church: Essence Versus Lawful Form" free at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/vischu.htm (or write

us for this free newsletter).

 

While the Reformers did not always utilize the exact same terminolgy we

use, the ideas are clearly the same.

 

Third, some examples from history will further serve to expose your

ignorance of Presbyterianism and your "church A, church B" scenario.

These examples prove that those outside of a duly constituted visible

church can come under discipline (even if only as a matter of testimony

before God and men). This is due, in part, because they are baptized

members of the visible church (as to her essential character). If the greater

sanction of excommunication can be brought against those not of the same

church, then certainly the lesser steps (i.e. charges) leading up to

excommunication are also legitimate. Because you are not a member of the

a duly constituted visible church (though individually you are part of the

visible church, as to essence, by baptism and profession) there is no reason

that Matthew 18:15-17 can not be used to reclaim you to the truth.

 

Below I will site two examples (enacted by two covenanted Presbyterians)

of public excommunications of those outside duly constituted churches.

This will be followed by an appeal to two classic Presbyterian standards of

the first Reformation. The two historical examples and the the two

confessional citations prove that your comments (above) reflect anything

but the classic Presbyterian view of discipline.

 

John Macmillan, was the principle architect of the Auchensaugh Renovation

(of the National and Solemn League and Covenant). He was the first

minister of the Covenanting Societies (when he accepted a call on Oct. 9,

1706) since the martyrdom of James Renwick in 1688 and the defections

of Boyd, Linning and Shields (in 1689 to the apostate and compromised

Revolution church). Three days after the Auchensaugh Renewal of the

National and Solemn League and Covenant, a remnant of faithful

Presbyterians in Scotland came together for the Lord's Supper (on July 27,

1712). The excommunication or "fencing of the tables" which took place on

this momentous occasion, including some of the words which Macmillan

proclaim, is explained by the Reformed Presbytery when they note,

 

START QUOTE

 

It may be some will desiderate an account of the other solemn holy action

that followed upon the back of this (i.e. the covenant renewal lead by John

Macmillan at Auchensaugh in 1712--RB), in regard there were some

circumstances in it not so ordinary in this church in former times, because

of the paucity of public instruments; but neither do we think it needful to

give any large account of it, nor will it fall so properly into this preface,

which concerneth only national covenanting, and, it is likely the reader's

patience is too far transgressed upon already; *nor was there any

substantial or formal difference betwixt it and the comely order of the

Church of Scotland observed in our purest times of reformation in the

celebration of that sacred ordinance, except what in the form arose from

the circumstances we were in, and the reason now mentioned*. The work

was awful and great, the persons employed about it few, insignificant in

their own eyes, as well as mean in the eyes of others; and hence the Lord's

power and grace was the more conspicuous, who (we must not dissemble

it) was present to the sensible experience of many, sealing instruction

upon the hearts of some, and granting, strengthening, and confirming grace

to others, for which he ought to have all the glory.

But because there has been, as we are informed, no small clamor raised

anent some expressions used in debarring the ignorant and scandalous

from the holy table of the Lord; *That the Minister should have

unreasonably and presumptuously excommunicated the Queen and

Parliament, and the whole Ministers of the established church of Scotland*;

Therefore, we shall here insert the very words relating to that affair, as

they were uttered by him without any alteration. In warning the ignorant,

scandalous and profane to beware of presuming to approach to the holy

table of the Lord, the minister observed (as the manner is) the order of the

decalogue, where, in the sins forbidden in the second commandment, as

they are enumerated by the very Reverend the Assembly of Divines sitting

at Westminster, in their humble advice concerning a Larger Catechism, we

find these amongst others -- "All devising, counseling, commanding, using,

and any ways approving any religious worship not instituted by God

himself, tolerating a false religion. -- All superstitious devices, corrupting

the worship of God, adding to it, taking from it, whether invented and

taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under

the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretence

whatsoever." Hence, he expressed himself in these words -- "**I

excommunicate and debar from this holy table of the Lord, all devisers,

commanders, users, or approvers of any religious worship not instituted by

God in his Word, all tolerators and countenancers thereof**; and by

consequence I debar and excommunicate from this holy table of the Lord,

Queen and Parliament, and all under them, who spread and propagate or

tolerate a false superstitious worship, ay and until they repent." And in

relation to the opposing of the covenants and work of reformation, he had

these words -- "I excommunicate and debar all who are opposers of our

covenants and covenanted Reformation, and all that have taken oaths

contrary to our covenants, and such particularly as are takers of the Oath

of Abjuration, whether Ministers or others, until they repent."

That this was no presumptuous and rebellious arrogance is evident,

because the sins for which he debarred Queen and Parliament, and all

others guilty of them, are proven from Scripture to be gross breaches of

God's law, and every violation thereof persisted in without repentance, is a

sufficient cause (in the opinion of Protestant Divines) to debar and exclude

from the Lord's table. Now, it is certain that even those ministers of the

established church who make such obloquy against the work for this

particular, do the same thing in effect every time that they administrate

this ordinance, for (as can be proved if they please to require it, or do deny

it,) *they excommunicate from the table all guilty of such sins as are

forbidden in the second commandment, according as they are specified in

the foresaid Catechism*; and so, by an infallible consequence, they

excommunicate the Queen and Parliament, who are grossly guilty of the

most of them, only they have not the courage ingenuously and freely to

own and express the consequence, but that it follows natively and

necessarily from the premises, even according to their own principles, they

will never be able to disprove.

Now, Reader, thou has a just and true account as far as was necessary, of

our poor and weak endeavours in this matter, which we hope will, at least,

stand as a witness and testimony (without arrogance we desire to speak it)

against the apostacy of some and indifferency of others, who should have

been to us as the he-goats before the flock in paving our way to Zion, but

are rather making to themselves captains to carry us back to Babylon, and

pollute our land with idolatry and superstition; and, as a pledge to

posterity that the Lord has not yet utterly deserted the land, though we

rather wish, (if so it may consist with his holy purpose, who is wonderful

in counsel and excellent in working) that it might tend to excite some to

bethink "whence they have fallen, and repent, and to do their first works,

lest the Lord come quickly, and utterly remove his candlestick from us:"

and engage them to renew these covenants in a more public way, and

prosecute the ends of them with more zeal, fidelity, and constancy, "that

the Lord may yet delight to dwell amongst us, make our judges peace, and

our exactors righteousness," and make us to be called Hephzibah, and our

land Beulah" (_Auchensaugh Renovation of the National Covenant and the

Solemn League and Covenant_ by the Reformed Presbytery and John

Macmillan [Still Waters Revival Books, 1880, reprinted 1995], pp. 54-56,

emphases added).

 

END QUOTE

 

This is an interesting quote for many reasons. I will mention just two.

 

First, it demonstrates that those who held to the full covenanted testimony

(of second Reformation attainments) focused on one of the same areas

(worship) which I did when bearing testimony (on Knox Ring) against

Frame and his heretical book. That the Covenanters would have included

Frame in this excommunication, had he been living in their day (and had

written what he wrote), is beyond a shadow of doubt. In fact, Frame's

views are so novel that I doubt that any Presbyterian church of that day

(including the constitutionally apostate Revolution Church -- who still

practised exclusive Psalmody, forbad instruments in worship, etc.) would

have even allowed Frame membership in the congregations.

 

Second, Macmillan's charges would also include you and your congregation

in the above excommunication (based on original intent of the specifics

mentioned in the Larger Catechism concerning both worship and the

covenants). You do not hold to the covenants and you publicly practice and

condone false worship. Moreover, with your slanderous charges of

Anabaptism against us (the modern heirs to Macmillan and the older

Covenanted testimony) you would have been a prime candidate for

excommunication on many counts.

 

Another example of disciplinary proceedings against those outside of a

duly constituted church can be seen in the actions of Donald Cargill. Cargill

studied under Samuel Rutherford at St. Andrews, so I think that he would

be considered at least "somewhat" representative of second Reformation

Presbyterianism. Those familiar with Rutherford and Cargill know that

both these men held to the covenanted attainments of the second

Reformation and were willing to risk their lives for these truths. The

_Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology_ gets it right when

they note that "for many," Cargill's "abiding legacy was the steadfast

endurance he displayed in asserting the historic claims of the Church at a

time of intense testing and trial" (p. 137). These "historic claims" can easily

be seen to be congruent with the doctrine and practice of his teacher

Samuel Rutherford. Not two months after the martyrdom of Richard

Cameron (whom Cargill preached with in the fields in the summer of 1680)

we read of the following account,

 

START QUOTE

 

"Cargill's audience were now well prepared for what was to follow. After

closing his discourse and calling his hearers to prayer, 'that we may the

better proceed', he came directly to the climax of his day's work. 'We have

spoken of excommunication', he said, 'of the causes, subjects and ends; we

shall now proceed to the action, being constrained by the conscience of our

duty, and zeal for God, to excommunicate some of those who have been the

committers of so great crimes and authors of so great mischiefs of Britain

and Ireland, but especially those of Scotland, and in doing of this we shall

keep the names by which they are ordinarily called, that they may be the

better known.'

Cargill then pronounced: 'I, being a minister of Jesus Christ, and having

authority and power from him, do in his name, and by his Spirit,

excommunicate, cast out of the true church and deliver up to Satan, Charles

II, king, and that upon the account of these wickednesses:

            1. For his high contempt of God, after he had acknowledged his own

sins, his father's sins, his mother's idolatry, and had solemnly engaged

against them in a declaration at Dunfermline, the 16th day of August 1650,

he has notwithstanding of all this gone on more avowedly in these sins

than all that were before him.

            2. For his great perjury, after he had twice at least solemnly subscribed

that Covenant (i.e. the Solemn League and Covenant--RB), he did so

presumptuously renounce, disown and command it to be burnt by the

hand of the hangman.

            3. Because he had rescinded all laws for establishing of that religion and

reformation engaged to in that Covenant, and enacted laws for establishing

its contrary, and is still working for the introducing of popery in these

lands.

            4. For commanding of armies to destroy the Lord's people who are

standing in their own just defence and for their privileges and rights

against tyrannies, oppressions and injuries of men; and for the blood he

has shed on fields and scaffolds and in seas of the people of God, upon

account of religion and righteousness (they being most willing in all other

things to render their obedience, if he had reigned and ruled them

according to his covenant and oath) more than all the kings that have been

before him in Scotland.

            5. That he has still been an enemy to, and a persecutor of the true

Protestants, a favourer and helper of the papists, both at home and abroad,

and has hindered, to the utmost of his power, the due execution of just

laws against them.

            6. For his relaxing of the kingdom by his frequent grant of remissions

and pardons for murderers (which is in the power of no king to do, being

expressly contrary to the law of God) which was the ready way to

embolden men to commit murders, to the defiling of the land with blood.

            7. To pass by all other things, his great and dreadful uncleanness of

adultery and incest, his drunkenness, his dissembling with God and man

and performing his promises where his engagements were sinful.'

Cargill then went on to pronounce sentence 'by the same authority, and

in the same name' on six of the king's leading officers of state: the Duke of

York, brother of the king, 'for his idolatry'; the Duke of Monmouth, 'for

leading armies against the Lord's people, and for refusing, that morning at

Bothwell Bridge, a cessation of arms, for hearing and redressing their

injuries, wrongs and oppressions'; the Duke of Lauderdale, the king's

former commissioner in Scotland, 'for his dreadful blasphemy, his scoffing

at religion, his perjury, his adulteries and uncleanness, his gaming on the

Lord's Day, and his usual and ordinary cursing'; the Duke of Rothes,

Chancellor of Scotland and President of the Privy Council, 'for his perjury,

his adulteries and uncleanness; his allotting the Lord's Day for his

drunkenness; for the heathenish, barbarous and unheard-of cruelty,

whereof he was the chief author, contriver and commander, to that worthy

gentlemen David Hackston of Rathillet, and for his ordinary cursing,

swearing and drunkenness'; Sir George Mackenzie, the king's Advocate, 'for

his apostasy, his constant pleading against and persecuting to death the

people of God, his pleading for sorcerers, murderers and other criminals,

and his ungodly, erroneous, fantastic and blasphemous tenets'; and Thomas

Dalyell of Binns, general of the king's forces, 'for his leading armies and

commanding the killing, robbing, pillaging and oppressing of the Lord's

people; for his lewd and impious life led in adultery and uncleanness from

his youth, with contempt of marriage, which is an ordinance of God; and for

his other injurious deeds, in the exercise of his power'.

Cargill had now come to the close of his momentous work. 'I think', he

said as he concluded, 'none that acknowledge the Word of God can judge

these sentences to be unjust. And as the causes are just, so being done by

a minister of the gospel, and in such a way as the present persecution

would permit, the sentence is just; and there are no kings or ministers on

earth, without repentance of the persons, can reverse these sentences upon

any such account. God, who is the author of that ordinance, is the more

engaged to the ratifying of them, and all that acknowledge the Scriptures

of truth ought to acknowledge them.' And he ended by applying to the

case the following words of Scripture: 'Should he deal with our sister as

with an harlot? Would they deal with our God as with an idol? Should

they deal with his people as murderers and malefactors, and we not draw

out his sword against them?'

For Cargill the consequences of the Torwood excommunication were

incalculable. The news of it spread like wildfire throughout the country;

copies were posted up in prominent places in Edinburgh and other

principal towns, and the subjects of the sentence soon came to know of it.

In a day when ecclesiastical censures meant more than they do now, the

significance of the excommunication was not lost upon the authorities, for

they recognized that those people who believed that Cargill had divine

authority for his action would now regard themselves as loosed from their

allegiance. Cargill well knew the dangers to which he had exposed himself

and the outburst of fury to which he would be subjected. He had entered

on the work in the certain assurance that he was obeying God's command,

and his utterance was characterized at every step by assertions of the

divine authority. But there is evidence too that he was under intense

mental strain: he forgot at first to include the Duke of Lauderdale in the

sentence and was obliged to mention him separately in the afternoon, and

also during his discourse he referred mistakenly to St Ambrose as Bishop

of Lyons instead of Bishop of Milan. These were slips of which Bishop

Paterson of Edinburgh took full advantage when writing later that week to

Lauderdale expressing his horror at what Cargill had done. But the fact

that Cargill had taken this action was of itself of profound significance. For

one thing it showed that it had been no empty gesture by a rash or

impetuous spirit, for deliberation and forethought characterized all Cargill's

public actions. Nor was he inclined by nature to the sensational or

dramatic, or to any action which invited public attention. The mere fact

that his work that day had been uncharacteristic and alien to his natural

inclinations suggests strongly that he had been acting under a compulsion

which overbore his own nature and which he clearly recognized as

carrying divine authority.

Speaking some time later he said, 'I know I am and will be condemned

by many for what I have done, but condemn me who will, I know I am

approved of God, and am persuaded that what I have done on earth is

ratified in heaven; for if ever I knew the mind of God, and was clear in my

call to any piece of my generation-work, it was in that.'

...on any dispassionate analysis, **Cargill's action can be seen as being

fully in accord with the historic principles of Scottish Presbyterianism**.

As he had said, *all baptized persons -- all members of the visible church

(as to essence--RB), whatever their rank or station* -- were subject to the

discipline of the church and so were potentially liable to her ultimate

sanction. This had been made abundantly clear in the Reformation

standards of Knox and his successors, which had stressed the **essential**

unity and catholicity of the visible church (speaking here as to those who

profess the truth, notice 'essential' or as to essence--RB) and her

jurisdiction (only lawfully constituted churches have true jurisdiction; thus

though Grant comes to the correct conclusion and is historically accurate he

has mixed his terms somewhat--RB) over all within her pale, high or low,

whatever their religious allegiance or affinities might be" (Maurice Grant,

_No King But Christ: The Story of Donald Cargill_ [Evangelical Press, 1988],

pp. 135-139).

 

END QUOTE

 

This historical information is also noted and confirmed, beginning on page

408, in _The Covenants and the Covenanters: Covenants, Sermons, and

Documents of the Covenanted Reformation__ (James Kerr, ed.) and Shield's,

in _A Hind Let Loose_ (pp. 169-172), also recounts this episode; verifying

that the persecuted remnant of covenanted Presbyterian's saw Cargill's

"Torwood excommunication" as an action of faithfulness to Christ and His

cause. Shield's also calls Cargill "a burning and shining light" and notes

that shortly after this testimony he was "crowned with the glory of

martyrdom" (_A Hind Let Loose_, p. 172).

 

Furthermore, endnote 7 (found on page 258 of Grant's, _No King But Christ:

The Story of Donald Cargill_, right at the end of the longer quotation that I

have provided above in the preceding paragraph) completely confirms my

position (regarding the taking of disciplinary actions against those outside

the bounds of a duly constituted church). Notice that Grant's references are

taken from _First Books of Discipline_ and _Order of Excommunication_;

"somewhat" *classic* statements of the Presbyterian position.

 

"'To discipline must all estates within this realm be subject, if they offend,

as well the rulers as they that are ruled' (_First Books of Discipline_, in

Laing's _Works of Knox_, vol. II, p. 233). Similarly in the _Order of

Excommunication_ of 1569: 'All crimes that by the law of God deserve

death, deserve also excommunication from the society of Christ's church,

**whether the offender be papist or Protestant, for it is no reason that

under pretence of diversity of religion open impiety should be suffered in

the visible body of Christ Jesus**' (Ibid., vol. VI. p. 449, emphasis added)."

 

So you see, your question "Gee, is that presbyterian?" should be no cause

for "wonder;" for it would have been answered by the faithful

Presbyterians of the past with a resounding "YES! THIS MOST CERTAINLY

IS PRESBYTERIANISM." I must say, Doug, that I am surprised that you

have not read (or at least remembered) these citations from the _First

Books of Discipline_ and _Order of Excommunication_; though I am *not

surprised* that you were unaware of the history surrounding the second

Reformation excommunications which I have recounted above. I'll send

you a free copy of the _First Books of Discipline_ and the _Order of

Excommunication_ if you promise to read them.

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>Reg, you are having trouble hitting the presbyterial ground with your

>covenantal hat.

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

I don't know what presbyterial *ground* you are talking about (and you

have not yet given any evidence that you even know where the

presbyterial *planet* is). On the other hand I have provided ample proof

that I adhere to classic Presbyterian thought -- whereas you have

provided nothing but a number of virtually useless one-liners, much

empty rhetoric and some wild-eyed (and unsubstantiated) charges. But I

am content to let the reader study the CLASSIC PRESBYTERIAN position

and determine who knows what they are talking about; that is why I have

included so many clues (throughout our correspondence) directing

individuals to Reformation source documents and books chronicling the

history of Reformation thought. Neopresbyterianism is dead, it just needs

to be buried by Paleopresbyterian truth. Get (and read) the books which I

have noted and you will see what I mean.

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>You say you subscribe to the covenants. So did Charles II.

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

So what? What does an argument from abuse prove? It is not hard to see,

from the excommunications noted above (which I agree with), what my

position on Charles II is. Charles only added to his monumental

antichristian wickedness by sinfully perjuring himself by swearing a

covenant which he did not believe or intend to keep. Moreover, my

position on Charles II is that of the Covenanted Presbyterian Protestors of

the second Reformation. I have already publicly addressed this question in:

 

_Oliver Cromwell_ by Reg Barrow (Barrow's letters on Theonomy-L

exposing Cromwell as a covenant-breaker, a liar and a dictator [who

executed and imprisoned covenanted Presbyterian ministers -- so much

for his so-called toleration and his "pretended liberty of conscience"]. These

letters also set forth some of the biblical basics of the covenanted

Reformation [of the seventeenth century] which gave us the Westminster

standards and the Solemn League and Covenant.)

FREE AT: http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/Crom.htm

 

For those that do not have access to the web, this material touching on the

Protester/Resolutioner controversy, along with other articles I have

authored is found in the book _John Knox, Oliver Cromwell, God's Law and

the Reformation of Civil Government_.

 

DOUG WILSON WRITES:

 

>For the covenants,

>

>Douglas Wilson

>Credenda/Agenda

 

REG BARROW WRITES:

 

You still haven't answered which covenants you are for and how you are

for them; or any of the *many* other questions which I asked you

throughout our exchanges (I challenge the reader to look back over all the

questions which Mr. Wilson has left unanswered, for his silence tells as

great a story as his replies). You seem to like to attach labels to yourself

which you do not understand, while stigmatizing others falsely, based on

your ignorance of Scripture and history. I guess that is one of the most

disappointing aspects of our interaction in these letters -- for I had

expected so much more from you. You exhibit almost no knowledge of the

doctrines and history which we have discussed, you have not answered

even a fraction of the questions which I asked you (though I have given

detailed answers to your questions and will be providing more in books

which are presently being written), you show virtually no familiarity with

the many source documents of the Reformation which are now available,

you wildly slander us with ridiculous charges (that apply better to yourself

and not at all to us), and beyond all this you provide no proof to back up

your erroneous and imaginary charges and assertions. Moreover, you

exacerbate the situation by remaining stubborn and obstinate in your

error to the extent that you will not even take one of the many free books

which I have offered you throughout our discourses -- not even to try and

refute them (Luke 6:39; Matt. 23:34).

 

Calvin faced a similar situation in his day and gave an useful reply, with

which I fully concur. Calvin's rebuke of those who falsely charged him with

schism can be appropriately directed at you; for you have a tendency (on

one hand) to adopt *portions* of Rome's view of the church, schism,

separation and excommunication.

 

START QUOTE:

 

"But the most serious charge of all is that we have attempted to

dismember the Bride of Christ. Were that true, both you and the whole

world might well regard us as past redemption. But I will not admit the

charge, *unless you can make out that the Bride of Christ is dismembered

by those who desire to present her as a chaste virgin to Christ; who are

animated by a degree of holy zeal to preserve her spotless for Christ; who,

seeing her polluted by base seducers, recall her to conjugal fidelity; who

unhesitatingly wage war against all the adulterers whom they detect

laying traps for her chastity*. And what but this have we done? Had not

your factious Church attempted and even violated her chastity by strange

doctrines? Had she not been violently prostituted by your numberless

superstitions? Had she not been defiled by that vilest species of adultery,

the worship of images? *And because, I suppose, we did not suffer you so

to insult the sacred chamber of Christ, we are said to have wounded his

Bride!* But I tell you that this wound, *of which you falsely accuse us*, is

observed not dimly among yourselves -- a wound not only of the Church,

but of Christ himself, who is there beheld miserably rent. How can the

Church adhere to her Spouse, while she fails to hold him safe? For where

is the safety of Christ when the glory of his justice, and holiness, and

wisdom is transferred elsewhere?

But it appears that, before we kindled the strife, all was tranquillity and

perfect peace! True: among pastors, and also among the common people,

ignorance and indolence had been at work so that there were almost no

controversies respecting religion. But in the schools, how lustily did

sophists brawl! You cannot, therefore, take credit for a tranquil kingdom,

when there was tranquillity for no other reason than that Christ was silent.

I admit that, *on the revival of the gospel, great disputes arose where all

was quietness before. But that is unjustly imputed to our side, who, in the

whole course of their actions, desired nothing but that religion be revived

and that the Churches, which discord had scattered and dispersed, might

be gathered together into true unity*. And not to go back upon old

matters, what did they lately decline to accept, just to procure peace for

the Churches? But all their efforts are rendered vain by your opposition.

For while they desire peace, that with it the kingdom of Christ may

flourish, you on the other hand think that all which is gained to Christ is

lost to you, and it is not strange that you strenuously resist. And you have

artifices by which you can in one day overturn all that they accomplish for

the glory of Christ in many months. I will not overwhelm you with words,

because one word will dispatch the matter. **The Reformers offered to

render an account of their doctrine**. If overcome in argument, they do

not decline to give way. Whose fault then is it that the Church does not

enjoy perfect peace and the light of truth? Go now, and charge us with

sedition for not permitting the Church to be quiet!

But lest you might omit anything which might tend to prejudice our

cause, since many sects have sprung up during these few years, *you with

your usual candour lay the blame upon us*. But note with what fairness or

even plausibility. If we deserve hatred on this account, the Christian name

also must of old have deserved it from the ungodly. Therefore either cease

to molest us on this subject, or openly declare that the Christian religion,

which begets so many tumults in the world, ought to be banished from the

memory of man. It ought not to hurt our cause in the least that Satan has

tried in all ways to impede the work of Christ. **It would be more to the

point to enquire which party has devotedly opposed itself to all the sects

which have arisen. It is plain that, while you were idle and fast asleep, we

alone bore the whole weight**.

The Lord grant, Sadolet (Doug--RB), that you and all your party may at

length perceive ***that the only true bond of ecclesiastical unity consists in

this, that Christ the Lord, who has reconciled us to God the Father, gather

us out of our present dispersion into the fellowship of his body, that so,

through his one (!!!--RB) Word and Spirit, we may join together with one

heart and one soul***."

 

(John Calvin, "Reply by John Calvin to the letter by Cardinal Sadolet to the

Senate and People of Geneva" _Corpus Reformatorum_, V ["Calvini opera

quae supersunt omnia"], [pp. 369-416 for the Latin text], as translated and

cited in _Calvin: Theological Treatises_, [The Westminster Press, 1954], pp.

255-256, emphases added.)

 

This debate has also been published separately and can be found in our

photocopy edition of _Calvin's Selected Works_ [in volume 1] or in our

photocopy edition of just this reply [with Sadolet's letter] which I have

titled _Defending the Reformation_. Baker Book House also released a

softcover edition, titled _A Reformation Debate_, in 1976, which is now out

of print but may be available in some libraries.).

 

END QUOTE

 

Calvin also said,

 

"I come now to our doctrine. Many people condemn it out of prejudice,

without hearing or exploring it. They are too occupied with some opinion

or other that totally dulls the sharp edge of their minds. I am not going to

mention the insults and even criminal acts that are imputed to us in an

effort to keep everyone from tasting our doctrine. Only one thing can be

charged against us, that we strive to call back to their own banner

(namely, the Word of God) all those who are counted as belonging to Christ

but who have been wandering about wretchedly. We are also bringing it

about that all controversy over the worship of God is settled on the basis of

his Word, so that each person may believe what is established as being

from God.

What of our adversaries? They are making a counterfeit church, a sort

of shield of Ajax, so that they may hide safely behind its empty facade.

The prophets and apostles faced the same situation when they had to deal

with men who were usurping, by their wicked beliefs, the very name of

the church of its highest authority.

We acknowledge a church that rests on the sure foundation of *prophetic

and apostolic doctrine*, whose single and unchanging head is and remains

Christ. The church in which God's Word does not rule is adulterous. **On

this basis we conclude that the worship of God must be instituted in

accordance with his command. Nothing handed down or introduced by

men can be tolerated. It is for God alone to fix the law in our consciences.

Only he has the right to ordain what he wants us to do.**

This causes people to complain: "You have destroyed the statutes of holy

mother church." We teach, following Isaiah and with Christ as our

authority, that God is worshiped in vain when worshiped by the commands

of men. James likewise says that there is one lawgiver, who is able to save

and to destroy. Any embellishment added in the name of worshiping God

will be found, on closer inspection, to be a pure fiction invented by the

human brain."

 

(John Calvin, "A Letter of Exhortation and Defense, Addressed to a Certain

Pontiff," _Corpus Reformatorum_, vol. 38, part I, pp. 181-184, as translated

and cited in _Calvin's Ecclesiastical Advice_ [Westminster/John Knox Press,

1991], pp. 55-56, emphases added).

 

Moreover, as can be clearly seen in the Covenanters' defense of their own

position, you would have been considered the schismatic *and* separatist,

because you are the cause of the breach, in that you have separated from

the truth. See _Plain Reasons for Presbyterians Dissenting from the

Revolution Church_ by Andrew Clarkson, especially the chapter on schism,

for proof of this assertion. This chapter is FREE on our web page under the

following description and URL:

 

"The Reformed View of Schism" by Andrew Clarkson (The Reformers often

said "that to avoid schism we must separate." This should give the

perceptive reader some indication of how badly misunderstood the biblical

teaching regarding schism and separation [which should be differentiated

in many ways] has become in our day. Sadly, some of the most anti-

Reformed work on this subject has been written by contemporary

individuals, who, though calling themselves Reformed, "understand neither

what they say, nor whereof they affirm" (1 Tim. 1:7). This excerpt from

Clarkson's _Plain Reasons for Presbyterians Dissenting_ should contribute

much to correcting the promotion of unbiblical ecumenism and place this

doctrine back on its Scriptural foundation -- which was recovered during

the Reformation. Clarkson cites Beza, Rutherford, Gillespie, Dickson,

Durham, McWard [Rutherford's "disciple"], Marshal, Watson, Owen,

Burroughs, and many others, while defending the truth about schism.

Objections brought against the Reformation view of schism are also

carefully answered. This is probably the single best short treatment of this

subject.)

FREE at: http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/Schism.htm

 

Additionally, you publicly ridicule me with with false charges (when I told

the truth) and jest about my use of *telepathy* (and you wonder why

people get the impression that I had not read *any* of Frame's book) and

yet you do far worse yourself (in lying against the truth and fabricating

charges which you do not even attempt to defend). This is just rank

hypocrisy. In these things you prove yourself the separatist and

schismatic, destroying the very unity of the church (which is a commanded

duty [1 Cor. 1:10; 2 Cor. 13:11; Phil. 1:27; 1 Pet. 3:8, etc.]) that you think

you defend. Our reasons for warning others of your schismatic behavior

are well stated by Shields (regarding the prelates of his day),

 

"That party in a reformed church, which having overturned her

reformation, hath shut out, laid aside, and persecuted away sound

adherers thereunto, both ministers and professors, and will not admit

ministers to officiate, but upon sinful terms of compliance with their way,

are schismatics... therefore they are the schismatics to be withdrawn from,

and their way is schism, which we are bound to extirpate in the covenant.

 

Those who separate from a church whose principles and practices are

subservient to that church's true union and communion, and right

establishment, are properly schismatics... but their principles are stated in

opposition to her purity and reformation. Those who innovate the worship

and government, owned and established in a true church, are schismatics.

 

Finally, for union's sake, and to avoid schism in the body, we must

withdraw from them."

 

"But they must be such as we can own church communion with in the

ordinances administrated by them, as to the matter of them. Otherwise if

they pervert and corrupt their ministry, by preaching and maintaining

errors, either in doctrine, worship, discipline, or government, contrary to

the Scripture, our confessions, and principles of our covenanted

reformation, and contradictory to our testimony founded thereupon, and

agreeable thereunto, maintaining errors condemned thereby, or

condemning truths maintained thereby, we must withdraw from them. (cf.

Deut. 13:5,8; Prov. 19:27; Rom. 16:17; 1 Tim. 6:3, 5)... Hence we must not

hear false teachers, who, in preaching and prayer, bring forth false

doctrine contrary to the principles of our reformation... and vent there

bitter invectives against presbyterian government, condemn the work of

reformation, and inveigh against the covenant, and so teach and encourage

people to follow them in open perjury, and condemning all our testimony,

as nothing but treason and sedition."

 

"But with those that oppose, suppress, reproach, and abandon this

testimony, we cannot own this organical communion, in this broken state

of the church... (The testimony includes those who own and adhere to--RB)

the true received principles of the church of Scotland, in doctrine, worship,

discipline and government, founded upon the written word of God, and

whatsoever declarations or testimonies, former or later, particular or more

general, are agreeable thereunto; though differing from us in some of the

integral and not essential parts of our testimony against the enemies of our

covenanted reformation. But with such as deny or decline from it, by

schism or defection, or compliance with the enemies thereof, we cannot

own this congregational communion, in this broken state of the church."

 

(Alexander Shields, _A Hind Let Loose_ [Still Waters Revival Books, 1797

edition reprinted 1996], pp. 265, 293, 294, 309, 310, 311).

 

Our (i.e. the Reformed Presbyterian) terms of communion (cf. Greg Price's

19 lectures on cassette called _Terms of Communion_) and the

requirements for membership in a duly constituted church (cf. Greg Price's

cassette _Biblical Church Membership_), mirroring the old Covenanter

testimony given by Shields in his last comment (cited above), have long

been published and known. I listed them in my second reply to you, so you

have no excuse as to our *exact* position concerning church and

sacramental communion (cf. "Terms of Ministerial and Christian

Communion in the Reformed Presbyterian Church," as listed in the

Reformed Presbytery's _The Act, Declaration and Testimony for the Whole

of Our Covenanted Reformation_ (SWRB reprint 1995, [1761, 1876], p.

216). This makes your recent sin of calling us "perfectionistic and

schismatic anabaptists" all the more grievous, because it is a sin against

more light. Hear the rebuke of _Westminster Larger Catechism_ on this

point,

 

Question 150: Are all transgressions of the law of God equally heinous in

themselves, and in the sight of God?

 

Answer: All transgressions of the law of God are not equally heinous; but

some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more

heinous in the sight of God than others.

 

Question 151: What are those aggravations that make some sins more

heinous than others?

 

Answer: Sins receive their aggravations, From the persons offending: if

they be of riper age, greater experience or grace, eminent for profession,

gifts, place, office, guides to others, and whose example is likely to be

followed by others. From the parties offended: if immediately against God,

his attributes, and worship; against Christ, and his grace; the Holy Spirit,

his witness, and workings; against superiors, men of eminency, and such as

we stand especially related and engaged unto; against any of the saints,

particularly weak brethren, the souls of them, or any other, and the

common good of all or many. From the nature and quality of the offense: if

it be against the express letter of the law, break many commandments,

contain in it many sins: if not only conceived in the heart, but breaks forth

in words and actions, scandalize others, and admit of no reparation: if

against means, mercies, judgments, light of nature, conviction of

conscience, public or private admonition, censures of the church, civil

punishments; and our prayers, purposes, promises, vows, covenants, and

engagements to God or men: if done deliberately, willfully,

presumptuously, impudently, boastingly, maliciously, frequently,

obstinately, with delight, continuance, or relapsing after repentance. From

circumstances of time and place: if on the Lord's day, or other times of

divine worship; or immediately before or after these, or other helps to

prevent or remedy such miscarriages: if in public, or in the presence of

others, who are thereby likely to be provoked or defiled.

 

Also, as previously noted, these terms of communion were adopted by the

session of the Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton on March 22, 1996.

By all six of these terms I (and all other Reformed Presbyterians) are

bound to *testify for* the true doctrine, worship, government and

discipline set forth in Scripture (i.e. Divine Right Presbyterianism and all

that is included in it, addressing every aspect of life). We are also bound to

*testify against* all deviation from these truths (whether set forth by John

Frame, yourself or any other individual, church or nation that opposes the

Crown Rights of King Jesus).

 

Examples of such testimony-bearing abound. I will cite only one, because it

continues to testify against both Frame and you (as covenant-breakers,

schismatics, idolaters, etc.). In Andrew Clarkson's _Plain Reasons for

Presbyterians Dissenting from the Revolution Church in Scotland_ (Still

Waters Revival Books, reprinted 1996, [1731]) we read on pages 182-184,

 

"It is also evident... that Schism from our covenanted Church consists in

this, to wit, When Members of the Church make Defection to the contrary

Part, that is in plain Terms, when they associate or incorporate with, assist

and defend Parties against whom the Covenant was made and sworn, viz.

Papists, Prelatists, and the Underlings, Heretics, etc. the common Enemies

of Reformation; and fall from the Duties of preserving and propagating the

Reformation of the three Kingdoms (which now include the churches in

Canada and the USA because the church is one moral person--RB); and

refuse to join with, assist and defend those, who adhere to the Covenants,

in the necessary Work of Renewing them, for Extirpation of Popery,

Prelacy, Erastianism, Superstition, Heresy, Error and Prophaneness, and

whatsoever is contrary to sound Doctrine and the Power of Godliness; and

for re-establishing, preserving, and propagating the covenanted

Reformation, once happily established in these Lands, and sworn unto by

our Covenants.

 

Schism from our covenanted Church consists also in this, viz. When

Members, Ministers or others, give themselves to a detestable Indifferency

and Neutrality, in the Cause of God, namely, in the preserving and

propagating the covenanted Reformation of these three kingdoms; that is

to say, When Men are like so many Gallio's in the Cause of God, preferring

worldly Ease, Honour and Wealth, their own Interest to the Interest of

Christ, become easy, whether the covenanted Reformation in these Lands

sink or swim; and, from a cowardly Disposition in some, and a malignant,

perfidious, Temper in others, coalesce and accord in apostatizing from the

Articles of the Covenant foresaid (i.e. the Solemn League and Covenant--

RB), the Cause of God, and its honest-hearted friends; and frighted from

both, as if they thought it both Sin and Shame to have it said, that they

carried any warm Side to either the one or the other. I say, All Members of

the National Church, who, on Account of any Combination, Persuasion, or

Terror, and Fear or worldly Loss, or Sufferings of whatsoever Kind, are

guilty in any of these two Cases, are also guilty of making SCHISM from the

covenanted Church, as is clearly manifest by the 6th Article of our Solemn

League.

 

Now, seeing this Church is notoriously and grossly guilty of making

Defection to the contrary Part, by altering, or rather departing from the

legal Establishment 1649, changing the Terms of Communion, and by going

into the legal Establishment of the incorporating Union with England,

whereby English Erastian Supremacy, and English Popish Ceremonies

(Frame especially!--RB) are established; and the Jurants, by the

Abjuration-Oath (abjuring the Solemn League and Covenant; that is

claiming that the SL&C has no lawful authority over the individual, church

and state--RB), have solemnly ratified that Union, as proven above: Then it

plainly follows, by a just Consequence, that this Revolution-Church (whom

the modern Presbyterians have followed in renouncing the covenanted

Reformation and the faithful Covenanters--RB) is not only guilty of Schism

(and the Jurants most hainously guilty by their Oath) on Account of the

foresaid Defection and sinful Deserting of the foresaid Establishment, etc.

But also in respect of Neutrality and Indifferency in the Cause of God, in

never making any suitable Endeavours to have that glorious Work revived

and restored, or her own lost Ground retrieved; and so she is allowed to

apply the Hainousness of Schism, the bitter Effects, and lamentable

Concomitants thereof, to herself, which she endeavours to father upon, and

apply unto Presbyterian Dissenters (times don't change much, Doug!--RB).

 

Any who have rejected our Covenants, and design not willfully to trample

on that Reformation, may be fully satisfied as to this Sense of the Solemn

League and Covenant, from the printed Acts of the Venerable Assemblies,

Anno 1645, Sess. 14 p. 283. 1647, Sess. 15. p. 334 and 1648, Sess. 21. p.

391, 392, in their Explications of that 6th Article of the Solemn League and

Covenant."

 

After reading the Acts referred to above (which are available in our

reprinted edition of _The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of

Scotland, From the Year 1638 to the Year 1649_) and interpreting them

according to *original intent* of the banders, please tell me Doug: Are you

still *really* "for the Covenants"? If you can honestly answer yes, most of

your present practice and belief *must* change -- or you make yourself a

liar.

 

By the way, the type of innovations in worship which Frame would

introduce into the Presbyterian church are also condemned throughout

_The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland_. One of

many examples of excommunications which included the charge of

"pressing the Kirk with novations (innovations--RB) in the worship of God,

and for sundry other haynous offences, and enormites" can be found of

pages 18-19 of this book. In this particular example you will find the

"Sentence of deposition and excommunication against Mr. John

Spottiswood, pretended Archbishop of St. Andrews..." and many others.

 

Finally, to your charges that we are the separatists, I reply, using the

faithful words of Macmillan and Mackneil in their "Secession from the

Revolution Church" (Kerr, ed., _The Covenants and the Covenanters:

Covenants, Sermons, and Documents of the Covenanted Reformation_, pp.

440-442),

 

START QUOTE

 

"Let none say, That what we have done here flows from ambition to exalt

ourselves above others, for as we have great cause, so we desire grace

from the Lord, to be sensible of what accession we have with others in the

land, to the provoking of His Spirit, in not walking as becomes the Gospel,

according to our Solemn Engagements, neither proceeds it from irritation

or inclination (by choice or pleasure) to discover our mother's nakedness

or wickedness, or that we love to be of a contentious spirit, for our witness

is in heaven (whatever the world may say) that it would be the joy of our

hearts, and as it were a resurrection from the dead, to have these

grievances redressed and removed, and our backsliding and breaches

quickly and happily healed, but it is to exoner consciences by protesting

against the defections of the land, especially of Ministers: and seeing we

can neither with safety to our persons, nor freedom in our consciences,

compear before the Judicatories, while these defections are not

acknowledged and removed, so we must, so long decline them, and hereby

do decline them, as unfaithful judges in such matters: in regard they have,

in so great a measure, yielded up the priviledges of the Church into the

hands and will of her enemies, and carried on a course of defection contrar

to the Scriptures, our Covenants, and the acts and constitutions of this our

Church. And hereby we further protest and testify against whatever they

may conclude, or determine, in their ecclesiastick courts by acts,

ratifications, sentences, censures, &c., that have been, or shall be made or

given out by them, and protest that the same may be made void and null,

and not interpreted as binding to us or any who desire firmly to adhere to

the Covenanted work of Reformation.

But let none look upon what we have here said, to be a vilipending or

rejecting of the free, lawful, and rightly constitute courts of Christ, for we

do acknowledge such to have been among the first most effectual means

appointed of God for preserving the purity and advancing the power of

reformation in the Church of Christ; the sweet fruits and blessed effects

whereof, this Church hath sometimes enjoyed, and which we have been

endeavouring and seeking after, and are this day longing for.

We detest and abhor that principle of casting off the ministry, wherewith

we are odiously and maliciously reproached by these who labour to fasten

upon us the hateful names of schismaticks, separatists, despisers of the

Gospel: but, herein as they do betray their enmity to the cause we own, so

till they bring in their own principles and practices, and ours also, and try

them by the law and testimony, the measuring line of the sanctuary, the

Word of God, and the practice of this Church, when the Lord keeped house

with, and rejoiced over her as a bridegroom over his bride, they can never

prove us schismaticks or separatists from the kirk of Scotland upon the

account of our non-union with the backslidden multitude, ministers and

others.

Finally, that we may not be judged by any, as persons of an infallible

spirit, and our actions above the cognisance of the judicatories of Christ's

appointment: we appeal to the first free, faithful and rightly constitute

Assembly in this Church, to whose decision and sentence in the things

lybelled against us we willingly refer ourselves, and crave liberty to

extend and enlarge this our Protestation, Declinature, and Appeal as need

requires.

 

END QUOTE

 

It is interesting to note that among the reasons given for separation from

the apostate Revolution church we find: defection from attainments,

defection from and ignoring the covenants (civilly and ecclesiastically), not

renewing the covenants (National and Solemn League), Erastianism, failure

to explicitly and by formal act proclaim the Divine Right of Presbytery,

"not confirming and ratifying the Acts of the (faithful--RB) Assemblies,"

"admitting in many places, ignorant and scandalous persons to the Lord's

table," etc.

 

So, in short, what has our little "dust up" proved? I think that the reader

can be the judge of that; but one thing is certain: We continue the

covenanted Reformed Presbyterian (i.e. the most classic form of

Protestantism) testimony, while you, at present, continue the defection

(not even up to the backslidden standards of the Revolution church --

especially concerning worship!).

 

May the our Lord have mercy on you and grant you repentance.

 

For Christ's Christ's Crown and Covenant,

Reg Barrow

President, STILL WATERS REVIVAL BOOKS

ALL FREE BOOKS at: http://www.swrb.com/ - follow FREE

BOOKS link

swrb@swrb.com 4710-37A Ave. Edmonton AB Canada T6L 3T5

Voice: +1 780 450 3730 Fax (orders only): +1 780 465 0237

(Discount Christian resources by mail-order. ASK for a FREE catalogue!)

 

P.S. I have decided that I would be willing to engage in a debate with you

in your _Disputatio_ column (even in the short two page format) if you will

agree to the following three stipulations:

 

1. We both get exactly the same amount of space (by word count) in the

debate.

 

2. You agree not to edit anything that I write, if I stay within the word

count limit which we agree to in point one.

 

3. We agree as to what the topic of debate will be in its exact wording.

 

Are you willing to step into the ring under these conditions?

 

P.P.S. In our previous correspondence you had asked four questions

regarding worship which I have yet to address. You said, "I asked about

David and the showbread, and bowing in the house of Rimmon, and

worshipping in a synagogue, and sacrificing only to the Lord in the high

places." I will take up each question, in order, giving *short* answers to

each below. I've also answered one question you have raised outside of our

discussions here. This question has to do with using "Hezekiah songs" as a

warrant for uninspired hymns in worship.

 

In answer to "David and the showbread."

 

I don't see how transgressing a ceremonial law (in the most extraordinary

of circumstances -- "hard cases make bad laws") to fulfill a moral law (i.e.

the sixth commandment -- "The duties required in the sixth commandment

are, all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of

ourselves and others..." _Westminster Larger Catechism_ answer 135)

would somehow overthrow or annul the duty to obey another moral law

(i.e. the second commandment or the regulative principle). All 10

commentaries I checked are in essential agreement, but I think that

Matthew Henry best gets to the heart of the matter when he writes,

"*Ritual observances* must give way to *moral obligations*; and that may

be done in a case of necessity, which otherwise may not be done" (_A

Commentary of the Whole Bible_ volume 5, p. 463, Henry is commenting

on Mark 2:25-26, emphases added). Calvin (on Matt. 12:3) writes "that the

*ceremonies* of the Law are not violated where there is no infringement of

godliness (i.e. the moral law--RB)" for "if David had attempted to do what

was contrary to (moral--RB) law, it would have been in vain for Christ to

plead his example" (emphasis added). Matthew Poole, on 1 Sam. 20:5,

states that ceremonial enactments "must give place to the great law of

necessity and charity (the law of love or the moral law--RB), because God

will have *mercy* preferred before *sacrifice*" (emphasis Poole's). "The

ceremonies of the Law are not against the love of our neighbour" (The

1599 _Geneva Bible_, sidenote on Matt. 12:8). Or, finally, as our Lord said,

in answering this question (and in rebuking the *real* Pharisees; those

who added to the moral law and burdened men's consciences with man-

made innovations and ceremonies), "But if ye had known what this

meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have

condemned the guiltless" (Matt. 12:7).

 

In answer to "bowing in the house of Rimmon."

 

Your question about Naaman's "bowing in the house of Rimmon" is

answered in Anderson's _Alexander and Rufus_ on page 15. Anderson

writes,

 

"They who have justly withdrawn from the communion of any particular

church on account of its corruptions; and yet allow themselves in the

practices of occasional communion with the church in her public

ordinances, are far more involved in the guilt of its corruptions, than

Naaman the Syrian was, in the guilt of worshipping Rimmon, when he

bowed in the temple of that idol: for they cannot pretend, that communion

with such a church is no end of their attendance on her public ordinances;

as Naaman pleaded, that his intention, in going to the temple of Rimmon

and being present there, was not to worship the idol, but to serve his

master. Grotius, indeed, and some other commentators, justify or excuse

the conduct of Naaman. But more candid interpreters hold that the

indulgence, which Naaman desired, was unlawful; that there was such an

appearance of evil, such a countenancing of idolatry in it, as he ought to

have avoided, that his presence in the temple of Rimmon in the time of

worship of that idol, was a dangerous example to others; that, on such an

occasion, he ought either to have obtained leave of absence from his

master, or to have quitted his service; and that even his desire of pardon

intimated his consciousness of something sinful in this matter."

 

Matthew Henry takes a stronger line on Naaman's dissimulation, but

ultimately tempers it with his usual pastoral insight. See Henry's

commentary (volume 2, p. 716) on 2 Kings 5:18. I especially like his

following comment, which faithfully answers your question, because in the

final sentence he uses the words "house of Rimmon" analogously for sin.

 

"If, in covenanting with God, we make a reservation for any known sin,

which we will continue to indulge ourselves in, that reservation is a

defeasance (i.e. a making void or breaking--RB) of his covenant. We must

cast away all our transgressions and *not except any house of Rimmon*"

(emphasis added).

 

For Calvin's more lengthy response to your "Naaman question," see "A

Short Treatise Setting Forth What the Faithful Man Must Do When He is

Among Papists and He Knows the Truth of the Gospel" (1543). This article

can be found in the book _Come Out From Among Them: The 'Anti-

Nicodemite' Writings of John Calvin_ (Protestant Heritage Publications,

forthcoming), pp. 70-73 (in the proof copy).

 

In answer to "worshipping in a synagogue."

 

You questioned us (Greg Price and me) regarding "worshipping in a

synagogue" in an attempt to weaken the force of the regulative principle. I

would suggest that you read Bushell's treatment of "Psalmody and

Synagogue Worship" in his book _The Songs of Zion: A Contemporary Case

for Exclusive Psalmody_. This is found on pages 68-74 of the second

edition. Though this was written before Steve Schlissel started pushing his

novel views on worship, it does a good job of shooting holes in Steve's

over-simplification of the matter. Besides noting some of the differences in

synagogue services and those of the early church (destroying the one-to-

one identification that Schlissel implies throughout his arguments against

the regulative principle), Bushell writes (and shows) that "the temple

rather than the synagogue is the ultimate source of a number of the most

important aspects of Christian worship" (p. 72). He also shows that "the

primary function of the synagogue was instruction, not worship. The

Christian Church, however, was a replacement for both the synagogue and

Temple, and as such it combined in one structure the instructional aspects

of the former and the ritualistic aspect of the latter' (p. 71) -- of course,

also incorporating the changes which the New Testament era brought

about.

 

Some useful notes on the synagogue are also found on pages 93-94 in

Samuel Rutherford's _The Divine Right of Church Government and

Excommunication: or a Peaceable Dispute for the Perfection of the Holy

Scripture in Point of Ceremonies and Church Government; in Which the

Removal of the Service Book is Justified..._ (1646). Gillespie's _Dispute

Against English Popish Ceremonies_ (Naphtali edition) deals with the some

aspects of synagogue worship on pages 290-292 and Gillespie even

comments, "Yet the synagogue was tied to observe those (and no other

than those) ceremonies which the word prescribed" (p. 292).

 

It is also interesting to me that if the synagogue was not regulated by

some kind of divine command (in keeping with the second commandment

which is of perpetual moral force), which was not recorded *for us* in

Scripture (which was sometimes the case in the Old Testament economy,

see Greg Price's outline below),

 

"1. That there was no such thing as an uninspired hymn ever sung; and

2. That there was no such thing as an instrumental accompaniment to

singing ever employed in the ancient synagogue."

 

(Robert Nevin, _Instrumental Music in Christian Worship_, 1873, pp. 15-

16).

 

All those years of supposed "de-regulation" in the synagogue and no

innovations: astounding! Give our modern anti-regulativists and

pretended-regulativists a decade and you'll have all sorts of innovations

(from instruments and man-made hymns to dance, drama, responsive

readings, women preachers, cool-aid communion and a host of other

heresies). Were the Jews really that much more holy than men today (in

restraining themselves from introducing innovations and violating the

second commandment); or did they understand something that the modern

anti-regulativists don't?

 

On the question of the origin of the synagogue and similar ploys to

undermine the historic (classic) Protestant/Presbyterian defense of the

second commandment (i.e. the regulative principle), Dr. R.D. Anderson, in

_Prophetic Singing in the Corporate Worship of the Church_ (unpublished

manuscript, p. 13), has written,

 

START QUOTE

 

Modern scholarship has come up with a variety of theories regarding the

origin of the synagogue. It has been dated from the time of the exile, from

the time of Ezra, or even later (long footnote not cited here). What enables

scholars to come up with such divergent theories is the fact that we have

very little information to go on.

 

What we do have, however, is a common tradition in the first century that

dated synagogue worship back to the time of Moses. Josephus says that

Moses ordained "that every week men should desert their other

occupations and assemble to listen to the Law and to obtain a thorough and

accurate knowledge of it" (_Ag. Ap._ 2:175). Likewise, Philo traces the

practice in his own day of meeting in synagogues every sabbath, to the

command of Moses to set aside the sabbath for the study of the Scriptures

(_Vit. Mos._ 2.215-16; cf. _Op. Mund._ 128).

 

Important for us is the fact that this explanation of the origin of

synagogues is also recorded in the New Testament. When James delivered

his speech at the council of Jerusalem, he noted that "Moses from ancient

generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the

synagogues every Sabbath," Acts 15:21. This explanation also fits in with

what we discussed above concerning the command of Lev. 23:3 for every

Israelite to assemble every Sabbath to worship God.

 

END QUOTE

 

Since Greg Price is now preparing a book-length defense of the regulative

principle, in light of some of the modern attacks on it (including answers to

questions surrounding the synagogue and its institution), I will not

elaborate further at this time. But here is the outline for Greg's book (as it

stands at present):

 

_Defending the Reformation Regulative Principle of Worship; or, Was

Synagogue Worship Regulated By God's Revealed Word?_

 

1. The Second Commandment (like the First Commandment) is moral,

and therefore of perpetual and universal obligation having been written

upon the hearts of all men from the point of creation (i.e. God has written

upon the hearts of all men not only that He alone is to be worshipped as is

taught in the First Commandment, but also that He is to be worshipped

only by those means which He has authorized as is taught in the Second

Commandment).

 

2. The Regulative Principle of Worship (RPW) is simply an articulation

of the Second Commandment, and therefore is morally binding upon all

people from the first man to the last. Since the RPW is a part of the moral

law of God, it cannot be limited to the Ceremonial Law. To the contrary,

tabernacle/temple worship, synagogue worship, and all public worship

must be regulated by the Second Commandment/RPW.

 

3. The RPW defined and defended from Scripture (both the Old

Testament and the New Testament).

 

4. The RPW expounded in history (especially its articulation from the

First and Second Reformation).

 

5. The Sabbath is a creation ordinance having been instituted as a day

of rest and and worship at the creation of the world (Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 20:8-

11). The Sabbath was observed as a weekly day of rest and worship prior

to the institution of tabernacle worship (Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 16:23-30). Since

God gave one day each week to be dedicated to Himself in rest and

worship, and since God regulated worship from the very beginning of time

(Gen. 4:1-7), it is therefore inferred that God's people must have used only

worship authorized by God before the regulated worship of the tabernacle

was instituted.

 

6. Worship was in fact regulated by God's authorization prior to the

tabernacle/temple, even though one may search in vain to find the original

and explicit authorization of God within the pages of Scripture.

 

a. Blood sacrifices were required by God, though no explicit

authorization was recorded (Gen. 4:1-7). Thus, it must be inferred that

God revealed His will concerning blood sacrifices to Adam, Eve, Cain and

Abel, but did not record His original authorization in Scripture.

 

b. Clean animals were offered in sacrifice by Noah rather than

unclean animals (Gen. 8:20-21). Where does God specifically authorize

clean animals and forbid unclean animals in sacrifice? Or where does God

identify which animals are clean and which are unclean prior to the

Levitical law? It must be inferred that the Lord revealed His will

concerning clean and unclean animals to Noah, though He did not record

the original prescription in Scripture.

 

c. Melchizedek was priest of the Most High God, and thus

performed worship on God's behalf (Gen. 14:18-20). Where is the office of

priest instituted prior to Melchizedek? What were his duties as a priest?

Abraham paid tithes unto Melchizedek as the priest of God (Heb. 7:1-10).

Where is there any warrant for tithing stated in Scripture prior to

Abraham? Therefore, it must be inferred that God gave explicit instruction

concerning these matters related to worship, although these instructions

are not specifically stated in the biblical record.

 

d. In like manner, God's people faithfully gathered each Sabbath to

worship the Lord in synagogues subsequent to the institution of

tabernacle/temple worship. Where is synagogue worship specifically

authorized in Scripture? It must likewise be inferred that it was explicitly

regulated by God (since He authorized their meeting in such assemblies

each Sabbath), although that regulation (like the examples above) is not

explicitly recorded in Scripture.

 

7. Even if (for the sake of argument) tabernacle/temple worship alone

was explicitly regulated in the Old Testament, that does not alter the fact

that New Covenant worship is regulated (according to the Second

Commandment and the RPW) by the explicit precepts, the approved

examples, and the good and neccesary deductions derived from Scripture,

the light of nature, and the general rules of God's Word even as all public

worship was regulated in the Old Testament (Mk. 7:6-13; Jn. 4:24; 1 Cor.

11:16; 1 Cor. 14:26-40; Eph. 5:19; Col. 2:23; 1 Tim. 4:2; Heb. 10:1 etc).

 

8. The example of the Lord in worshipping in synagogues during His

ministry provides no proof that the Lord approved of unregulated worship

outside of temple worship. It must first be demonstrated that the

synagogue worship which He attended was not regulated by God's

revelation (by revelation not recorded in Scripture). The Lord did indeed

forbid His disciples from sitting under the ministry of heretical scribes and

Pharisees (Mt. 15:13,14; 16:6,12; 23:2-36), but He did not forbid His

disciples from attending faithful synagogue worship.

 

9. It has been claimed by the opponents of the RPW: "Jesus is our

RPW." We agree. However, it is only by His revelation that we know

Christ as our RPW.

 

10. What is the biblical alternative to the RPW? All views of worship

principally lead either to Rome or to Westminster. Thus, that which

prevents churches from becoming epistemologically consistent with their

Romish views of worship is ultimately preference, expediency, and mere

pragmatism, not biblical principle.

 

Lord willing this book will be ready sometime in the near future and if I

remember I will send you a complimentary review copy.

 

In answer to "sacrificing only to the Lord in the high places."

 

I see nothing in what took place at the high places, rightly considered,

which militates against the regulative principle correctly understood. The

high places were

 

"places of worship, specifically of idolatrous worship. So the title was

transferred from the elevation to the sanctuary on the elevation (1 Kings

11:7; 14:23) cf. the burning of the 'high place' in 2 Kings 23:15), and so

came to be used of any idolatrous shrine, whether constructed on an

elevation or not (note 2 Kings 16:4; 2 Chron. 28:4 the 'high places are

distinguished from the 'hills'). So the high places in the cities (2 Kings 17:9;

2 Chron. 21:11 [LXX] could have stood anywhere, while in Ezk. 16:16 a

portable structure seems to be in point" (_International Standard Bible

Dictionary_ hereafter _ISBD_, (Hendrickson, 1939, 1956, reprinted 1994,

vol. 3, p. 1390).

 

Furthermore, the _ISBD_ notes,

 

"The opposition to the high places had many motives. When used for the

worship of other gods their objectionable character is obvious, but even

the worship of Jeh in the high places was intermixed with heathen

practices (Hos. 4:14, etc.). In Amos. 5:21-24, etc., sacrifice in the high places

is denounced because it is regarded as a substitute for righteousness in

exactly the same way that sacrifice in the Temple is denounced in Jer.

7:21-24. Or, *sacrifice in the high places may be denounced under the best

of conditions, because in violation of the law of one sanctuary* (2 Chr.

33:17, etc.)" (pp. 1391, emphasis added).

 

One aspect of this question, with which we must be careful if we are to

determine a faithful answer to the biblical view of the "high places" (and

which may be confusing to those who have not yet be given better insight

into the regulative principle worship -- at least to the level which most of

the Reformers seemed to enjoy), has to do with the historical chronology of

worship in "high places". For example, "in 1 Kings the practice of using the

high places is treated as legitimate before the construction of the Temple

(1 Kings 3:2-4), *but after that it is condemned unequivocally*" (_ISBD_, p.

1391, emphasis added).

 

In short, worship (contrary to the second commandment or what we call

the regulative principle) in the high places brought national judgement

upon the covenanted people of God in the OT (for much Scriptural

corroboration see the second column, page 1393, of volume 3 in the _ISBD_

article on the "high places"). Our modern "Reformed" and "evangelical"

communities are much like Israel (to give the moderns the benefit of the

doubt) when she worshiped Jehovah in the high places. "Reformed" and

"evangelical" defection from biblical and Reformation attainments

(concerning worship) is of such long standing and has become so much a

matter of habit (or the traditions of the elders, Mark 7:9) that she

denounces those faithful servants of Christ sent to rebuke her and

overthrow her idols. The _ISBD_ (p. 1391) notes, "the practice had been of

such long standing that Hezekiah's destruction of the high places (2 Kings

18:4) could be cited by Rabshakeh as an act of apostasy from Jehovah (2

Kings 18:22; 2 Chron. 32:12; Isa. 36:7)."

 

I think we need to pray for the success of our modern paleopresbyterian

Hezekiah's and Josiah's (2 Kings 23:19-22) and the overthrow of the

modern neopresbyterian and "evangelical" Rabshakeh's. We also need to

mark the words and actions of our faithful Reformation forefathers (Phil.

3:16-17, and as noted throughout my letters), who have already fought

and won many of the same battles against idolatry and apostasy which are

being rekindled today. Note Gillespie's answer to your question,

 

"whereas many of the kings of Judah and Israel did either themselves

worship in the groves and the high places, or else, at least, suffer the

people to do so, howsoever they might have alleged specious reasons for

excusing themselves (Hospin, _De Orig. Templ._, lib. 1 cap. 1; Wolph. in 2

Reg. 12:4) as namely, that they gave not this honor to any strange gods,

but to the Lord only; that they chose these places only to worship in

wherein God was of old seen and worshipped by the patriarchs; that the

groves and the high places added a most amiable splendor and beauty to

the worship of God, and that they did consecrate these places for divine

worship in a good meaning, and with minds wholly devoted to God's honor;

yet notwithstanding, because this thing was not commanded of God,

neither came it into his heart, he would admit no excuses; but ever

challenges it as a grievous fault in the government of those kings, that

those high places were not taken away, and that the people still sacrificed

in the high places. From all which examples we learn how highly God was

and is displeased with men for adding any other sacred ceremonies to

those which he himself has appointed (Hospin., ibid., p. 3)." (_A Dispute

Against English Popish Ceremonies_, Naphtali edition, p. 318)

 

In answer to "Hezekiah songs" as a warrant for uninspired hymns in

worship.

 

You (outside of our recent letters) and others often appeal to Hezekiah for

warrant to sing uninspired songs in public worship. Because this is a

common (and I believe fleshy) appeal, please note the following from

pages 85-86 in SWRB's republication of _The Psalms in Worship_

(McNaugher, ed., 1907, reprinted 1992),

 

START QUOTE

 

"Prof. Heron claims the songs of Hezekiah were sung. This claim is based on

a line contained in Hezekiah's song of thanksgiving composed on the

occasion of his recovery from sickness:

 

'Jehovah is ready to save me:

Therefore we will sing my songs with stringed instruments

All the days of our life in the house of Jehovah.' (Isa. 37:20, R.V.)

 

The Hebrew word here rendered 'sing,' whenever it occurs in the Bible,

except three times, is translated 'stringed instruments.' The word rendered

'we will sing' should be rendered 'we will strike'; Gesenius' Hebrew Lexicon

gives no other meaning for it. The verse is properly translated:

 

'Jehovah is ready to save me:

Therefore my stringed instruments we will strike

All the days of my life in the house of Jehovah.'

 

Cheyne, Delitzsch, George Adam Smith, Orelli, Blake, the Cambridge Bible,

the Encyclopedia Biblica, and, indeed, all modern commentators translate

the verse as I have given it. Prof. Heron's argument is based on what is

certainly a mistranslation of this verse.

 

END QUOTE

 

This rendering would be in accord with what we know of all the great

Reformations of Old Testament times,

 

START QUOTE

 

As to the Biblical evidence outside the Psalter, the various references to

praise in the Old Testament show conclusively that the Psalms were the

matter of the songs. At the dedication of the temple in Solomon's time, and

again in the days of Zerubbabel, when the foundation of the new temple

was laid, the Psalms we sung. 2 Chron. 5:13; Ezra 3:11-12. And again they

were sung when good King Hezekiah, in a reformation that is worth more

than all the history of the years of Israel's backsliding as a testimony to

what had divine appointment, did everything "according to the

commandment of David... for so was the commandment of the Lord by His

prophets" 2 Chron. 29:25. "Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded

the Levites to sing praise unto the Lord with the words of David and of

Asaph the seer." 2 Chron. 29:30. The singers came up from captivity with

Ezra and Nehemiah. We are told that "both the singers and the porters kept

the charge of their God... according to the commandment of David, and of

Solomon his son. For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were

chief of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving unto God." Neh.

12:45-46. These reformations and rededications are the best witness of

what was the real practice required by the Lord, for they then sought to do

everything according to the divine pattern. The objection that songs

outside the Psalter were used in God's worship, as the songs of Moses, of

Hezekiah, and of Habakkuk, is no positive sanction for singing extra-

Biblical hymns. And if there were uninspired songs used at times, they are

only exception and infractions that prove the rule ("The Psalms Are the

Divinely Authorized and Exclusive Manual of Praise" by Kennedy, as cited

in McNaugher, ed., _The Psalms in Worship_ , p. 62).

 

END QUOTE

 

Do you think that things were more in order ecclesiastically in Calvin's

Geneva, Knox's Scotland and during the covenanted second reformation

than today among the OPC, PCA, CRC, etc.? What about the times of OT

reformation versus the days of OT backsliding? Even though it is unlikely

that uninspired songs, outside of those God provided for his people (and

possibly still inspired outside of the Psalms), were ever sung in public

ecclesiastical services; that they may have very sporadically appeared at

times of declension and apostasy is no argument for their lawful use --

much less an argument for writing and singing *uninspired* songs today.

This is not to mention that most (or possibly even all) of the modern

uninspired hymns are unbalanced and full (to a greater or lesser degree)

of heretical statements. But this is not surprising, because the hymn

writers often held to various heresies themselves -- from Wesley's

Arminianism to Watts' denial of the Trinity (and many hymns written by

Papists, Universalists and sundry other malignants). For your information

Watts' denial of the Trinity can be found in his _Works_, volume 7, pages

476-477 (Leed's edition). It may also be of interest to you to know that

when Watt's was subverting Reformation exclusive Psalmody with his

_Imitations of David's Psalms_ his stated purpose was to make David a

Christian. He also said that there are words in the Psalms which ought

never to be found on the lips of a Christian (information on Watts gleaned

from a letter by Jim Dodson). Our modern hymn-mongers fear not to

compose their own ditties for public worship, while the Apostles and the

Lord Himself, while He walked the earth, saw no need to add to God's

already existing hymnal (i.e. the Psalter). Why is it that heretics, from

Bardesanes (a Syrian Gnostic in the third century), Arius (d. 336 A.D.), the

Donatists (of Augustine's day), the Anabaptists (during the Reformation),

Wesley, Watts, and the "Frame's" of our day, always want to add to God's

finished Psalter? Why is it that the Council of Laodicea (about 360 A.D.),

the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.), the Calvinistic Reformers (and their

creeds) all opposed the introduction of uninspired hymns? Were the most

orthodox defenders of the church *always* wrong on this question and the

heretics and the compromised *always* right? Are you walking in the

footsteps of the flock (Song 1:8)? Who really defends the classic Protestant

(and Apostolic) position today? (cf. "The Psalms in the Post Apostolic

Church" in _The Psalms in Worship_, pp. 159-168 for more).

 

Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye

well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the

generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be

our guide even unto death (Ps. 48:12-14).

 

P.P.P.S. So as not to leave the honest inquirer after truth in confusion as to

your ill informed and slanderous charges of Anabaptism against us, I will

use your false charge as a case in point to exhibit how far from the

classical Protestant mark you have drifted. Greg Price has already been

working on a book refuting this charge (because it is a continuing favorite

false charge of fashionable malignants, the ignorant and factious). This

short book, which will be called _A Testimony Against the Unfounded

Charges of Anabaptism_, is instructive in exposing the level of defection

and backsliding that has taken place in in the professing Reformed

community today. Thus, I am including it (in as far as it is completed) as

Appendix A below. You will notice that we do not hold to any of the

*distinctives* of the historic Anabaptist positions outlined by Price. You

will also notice (I hope) that it is actually you who has adopted some

Anabaptist distinctives! But this is illustrative of one of the main problems

with our whole discussion. You have been speaking in vague generalities

and I have been dealing with specifics. You have proved almost nothing,

while I have provided ample proof of my assertions. You often oppose

classic Reformed thought, I have upheld the Reformation.

 

Well, here we go with some more specifics and proof. Greg's comparison of

Reformation views with those of the Anabaptists should convince any fair

minded reader of the ridiculous nature of your charges that we are

"perfectionistic and schismatic anabaptists." This work should also help

convince anyone who is even moderately knowledgeable about Reformed

truth (and familiar with the Anabaptist heresies) that you (and not us)

have picked up on some of the Anabaptistic distinctives. Notice how the

Anabaptists were among the first "Reformation" groups to introduce man-

made hymns, oppose the establishment of the one true Reformed religion

(thereby promoting tolerationism and religious pluralism), deny the

specifics of covenant obligations, adopted forms of civil antinomianism (as

you do in _Credenda/Agenda_ regarding the pornography question and

civil sanctions, see appendix B, "Pornography, the Anabaptists and Doug

Wilson's Civil Antinomianism"), etc.

 


8. APPENDIX A: A TESTIMONY AGAINST THE UNFOUNDED CHARGES OF ANABAPTISM by Greg Price


 

When theological and historical knowledge sinks so low that those

who walk in the good old paths of their covenanted forefathers of the First

and Second Reformations are smeared with the names of heresies their

forefathers vigorously attacked (which is simply a contemporary case of

historical revisionism), it becomes necessary to answer such unfounded

allegations for the sake of the truth as found in holy Scripture. It seems

as though it has become a popular way of debating in some "reformed"

circles to accuse a person or church of being "anabaptistic" (of course,

without supplying any historical evidence that would tie the heretical

views of the Anabaptists to faithful descendants of the reformers). All to

often, such *ad hominem * arguments focus upon the unlawful separatism

and perfectionism practiced by the Anabaptists (for which the Anabaptists

and all walking in their paths should rightly be condemned). However, we

must not stoop to the tactics of the world who falsely label a person or

church "racist" and "homophobic" simply because they condemn

affirmative action and sodomy. Neither should a person or church be

falsely labeled "anabaptistic" simply because they condemn ecclesiastical

toleration of false doctrine, unauthorized public worship, and unbiblical

church government. The warning of Calvin alerts us to the danger of such

misapplied labels:

 

Thus, the wickedness of many is still the reason why the Church is

troubled by divisions, and why contentions are kindled. *Yet those who

disturb the peace, throw the blame on us, and call us Schismatics*; for the

principal charge which the Papists bring against us is, that our doctrine has

shaken the tranquility of the Church. Yet the truth is, that, if they would

yield submissively to Christ, and give their support to the truth, all the

commotions would immediately be allayed. But when they utter murmurs

and compaints against Christ, and will not allow us to be at rest on any

other condition than that the truth of God shall be extinguished, and that

Christ shall be banished from his kingdom, they have no right to accuse us

of the crime of schism; for it is on themselves, as every person sees, that

this crime ought to be charged. We ought to be deeply grieved that the

Church is torn by divisions arising among those who profess the same

religion; but it is better that there are some who separate themselves from

the wicked, to be united to Christ their Head, than that all should be of one

mind in despising God. *Consequently, when schisms arise, we ought to

inquire who they are that revolt from God and from his pure doctrine*.1

 

Thus, let us clearly distinguish between the heresy of the Anabaptists

and the orthodoxy of the Reformers (and those who own the biblical truths

for which the reformers stood), and thus shun the sin of calling evil good

and good evil:

 

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for

light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for

bitter! (Is. 5:20).

 

Anabaptism is indeed rampant throughout the ecclesiastical

landscape of the present era. Like a cancer, anabaptism has infected the

modern church (including many churches that profess to be reformed), and

its malignancy continues to spread. But unless we can accurately diagnose

this heresy in its various forms, we will not be able to destroy it by

means of the Spirit and the truth. To the end that this ancient heresy

might be exposed and removed from the Church of Christ, the following

contrasts between the positions of the Anabaptist and Reformed churches

are made. Anabaptism has generally shunned confessional formulations

(one exemption to this general rule however is the _The Schleitheim

Confession_, also known as_The Seven Articles _ of 1527):

 

They [i.e. the anabaptistic Brethren movement-GLP] emphasized believer's

baptism (as opposed to infant baptism) and *shunned creeds and

"statements of faith"* due to the possibility of over-emphasizing some

teachings or beliefs, and minimizing or ignoring others. *They took the

entire New Testament as their creed*.2

 

Thus, it is not always a simple task to identify the "distinctive" beliefs and

practices of the Anabaptists, for they were far from a monolithic system.

In fact, the Anabaptists at times differed as much amongst themselves as

they did with those who were within the Reformed Church (a covenanted

uniformity in doctrine, worship, and government was not one of the

distinctives of anabaptism, though it was a distinctive of the Reformed

Church particularly of the Second Reformation). Although all of the

positions cited below may not be representative of every anabaptist

church, nevertheless, there has been made a serious attempt to catalogue

some of the prominent errors embraced by various historical

representatives of Anabaptism.

 

1. The Incarnation

 

a. The view of Anabaptists

 

(1) Though Christ was fully God, he lacked a true

human body (i.e. a human body that was derived from the Virgin Mary).

Christ's body was no different than that of angelic appearances in the

flesh.

 

He is called, they [the Anabaptists-GLP] say, the "Son of David," not

because He has taken anything from the Virgin Mary or was made man

from her substance, but only because she carried Him in her body, *as

water passes through a tube*.3

 

This same woman [i.e. the Virgin Mary-GLP] conceived in her womb the

afore-mentioned seed [i.e. Christ-GLP], which is God's Word, *not from her

body nor of her body*, but of God, by the power of the Holy Ghost, through

faith. . . . The Word [i.e. Christ-GLP]. . . was not Abraham's natural

flesh and blood. . . . For Christ Jesus, as to His origin, is no earthly

man, that is, a fruit of the flesh and blood of Adam.4

 

(2) This is simply the ancient heresy of the

Valentinians who denied that Christ's human nature was derived from the

virgin Mary.

 

As the divinity of Christ was attacked by the fury of various heresies, so

Satan has raised up many enemies against his humanity. . . . The

Valentinians held that indeed he had a body, but one sent sent from

heaven, not one received from the virgin. They also believed that the

body of the virgin was like a channel through which the body of Christ

passed. . . . Treading in the footsteps of all these, *the modern Anabaptists

deny that Christ took flesh and blood from the substance of the blessed

virgin*.5

 

b. The view of the Reformers

 

(1) It was absolutely essential that Christ should

receive a real body and a reasonable soul in order to become a mediator

between God and man who could redeem us from the fall of the first

Adam.

 

Furthermore, *the matter was necessary for our redemption*: that the

disobedience which was committed in our nature might also be repaired in

the same. For this reason our Lord Jesus became *true man*, presenting

Himself as in the person of Adam, whose name He also assumed (Rom.

5:14; 1 Cor. 15:47), in order to pay the price of sin *in the flesh in which it

was committed*.6

 

Q.37. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?

A. Christ the Son of God became man, by taking to himself *a true body*,

and a reasonable [i.e. rational-GLP] soul, being conceived by the power of

the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary, *of her substance*, and

born of her, yet without sin.7

 

Q.39. Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be man?

A. It was requisite that the Mediator should be man, that he might

advance our nature, perform obedience to the law, suffer and make

intercession for us in our nature, have a fellow-feeling of our infirmities;

that we might receive the adoption of sons, and have comfort and access

with boldness unto the throne of grace.8

 

 

2. Salvation

 

a. The view of Anabaptists

 

(1) Divine election is conditioned upon the foresight

of God in knowing all those who would first choose to believe in Him.

 

For with the Pelagians and Papists, *ye [Anabaptists-GLP] are become

teachers of free will*, and defenders of your own justice.9

 

(2) Salvation or corresponding punishment are only for

sins personally committed rather than for original sin imputed and

inherited from Adam.

 

They [i.e. Anabaptists-GLP] deny that the posterity are

guilty on account of the fall of their first parents.10

 

(3) Good works are necessary to justification . Schaff

notes that the Anabaptists rejected Luther's theory of forensic, solifidian

[by faith alone-GLP] justification.11

 

Balthasar Hubmaier, one of the early pillars of Anabaptism, articulated

this subjective view of salvation when he represented God as stating, Man,

help yourself, and then I will help you.12

 

(4) True believers may finally fall from grace and true faith.

 

The question concerning perseverance is agitated by us with old and new

Pelagians and Semipelagians, who agree in opposing and denying it. Such

are the Romanists, Socinians, *Anabaptists* and Remonstrants, *who, on

this point (as in the others concerning grace), depart from the orthodox

doctrine and were condemned by the Synod of Dort in Article 5* (Acta

Synodi Nationalis . . . Dordrechti [1619-20], 1:311-17).13

 

(5) These errors are rampant in Arminianism (which

promotes a thoroughly man-centered salvation).

 

b. The view of the Reformers

 

(1) Divine election is not conditioned upon forseen

faith in man or any merit found in man, but rests entirely in the freedom

of God's sovereign will.

 

Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the

foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable

purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen

in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love,

*without any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of

them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving

him thereunto*; and all to the praise of his glorious grace.14

 

(2) Justification is an objective, judicial act of God

whereby He forgives all those who believe in Christ and declares the

believing sinner righteous on the basis of the righteousness of Christ alone.

Justification is an act of God's free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins,

and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, *only for the righteousness of

Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone*.15

 

 

3. The Scriptures

 

a. The view of Anabaptists

 

(1) Though the Old Testament is of divine inspiration,

it was given only to the Israelite nation as a rule. It is the New

Testament alone that is the rule for the Christian, for only the New

Testament manifests the perfection of Christ.

 

[T]hey rejected the Old Testament as equal with the New Testament

*as a basis for faith and practice*.16

 

This question [concerning the authority of the Old Testament-GLP] brings

us into collision with Anabaptists who reject the books of the Old

Testament from the canon of faith, as if they had not the least reference to

Christians and as if they should not draw from them doctrines of faith and

rules of life. *The Mennonites in their Confession (Article 11) teach that

"all Christians, in matters of faith, ought to have recourse necessarily

only to the gospel of Christ . . . .*"17

 

The second question treats of the morality of the Sabbath-whether the

fourth commandment, sanctioning the sanctification of the Sabbath, is

moral and perpetual; or only ceremonial and constituted for a certain time

. . . . The second [view-GLP] asserts that it is merely ceremonial and so

entirely abrogated by Christ. *This was the opinion of the ancient

Manichaeans and of the Anabaptists and Socinians of the present day (who

hold that it was so abrogated as to pertain in no way to Christians)*.18

 

According to Anabaptists,

 

*The Old Testament was given to the Jews alone and had no authority

for Christians*. The Old was therefore especially inferior to the New,

because the hope of everlasting life was lacking.19

 

(2) This error has been (in substance) propounded by

modern day dispensationalists.

 

b. The view of the Reformers

 

(1) All of Scripture (Old and New Testaments) is

inspired by the Holy Spirit, and is "profitable for doctrine, for reproof,

for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16). The moral

law found in the Old Testament binds the consciences of all men, even as

that same moral law does that is revealed in the New Testament.

 

*The Old Testament in Hebrew*, (which was the native language of the

people of God of old,) *and the New Testament in Greek*, (which at the

time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations,) being

immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept

pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; *so as in all controversies of

religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them*.20

 

There are not therefore two covenants of grace differing in substance, *but

one and the same [covenant of grace-GLP] under various dispensations [i.e.

Old Covenant and New Covenant-GLP]*.21

 

 

4. The Church

 

 

a. The view of Anabaptists

 

(1) Only those who profess faith in Christ and have

reached a demonstrable level of sanctification are eligible to become

members of the Visible Church. Thus, the Visible Church is a body

composed of a regenerate membership.

 

Its [Anabaptism's-GLP] characteristics were. . . a "pure" church

*consisting of the "truly" converted* who desire a "holy community"

separated from the world.22

 

Although we think true believers alone are [truly-GLP] members of the

church, we do not on this account favor the error of the Novatians,

Catharists and Donatists, or of the modern Anabaptists (which the

Romanists calumniously charge us with doing), *who hold that the church

consists of those who are perfectly sanctified*. For besides the fact that in

theexternal communion hypocrites are mixed with true believers, the elect

(who alone formally belong to the mystical body of Christ as long as they

live on earth) are always exposed to various stains and sins (1 Jn.1:8); as

the moon never shines in such a way as to be without various spots.23

 

(2) There is no formal connection between separate

congregations. Thus, there is no church court higher than the independent

congregation to whom the congregation must submit.

 

(3) This humanly instituted form of church membership

and church government may be observed in various independent and

congregational churches.

 

b. The view of the Reformers

 

(1) The visible church consists of all those who

profess (in the judgment of charity) the true religion together with their

children. Within the membership of the visible church are both regenerate

and unregenerate. God addeth such as should be saved to the visible

Church by baptism, because the adjoining to a visible Church is a way to

salvation, *but it followeth not that all whom God addeth to the visible

Church are saved ones*, for then the visible Church should consist only of

believers, which only Anabaptists teach.24

 

(2) There ought to be a formal constitutional connection

between individual congregations, and higher ecclesiastical courts to which

individual congregations must submit in the Lord.

 

It is lawful, and agreeable to the word of God, that the church be governed

by several sorts of assemblies, which are congregational, classical

[presbyterial-GLP], and synodical . . . . *It is lawful, and agreeable to

the word of God, that there be a subordination of congregational,

classical, provincial, and national assemblies, for the government of the

church*.25

 

And it is so obligatory to all persons, states and degrees, that none ought

to be exempted from that Church-government which is jure divino [by

divine right-GLP], nor to be *tolerated* in another Church-government,

which is but jure humano [by human right-GLP]; nor ought any Christian

to seek after, or content himself with any such Exemption or

*Toleration*.26

 

For in so doing, inventions of men are [would be] preferred before the

ordinances of God; our own wisdom, will, authority [would be]

before the wisdom, will, [and-GLP] authority of Christ. . . . *That the

Law of God holds forth a subordination of a particular Church to greater

Assemblies, consisting of several choice members, taken out of several

single Congregations, which Assemblies have authoritative power and

Ecclesiastical jurisdiction over that particular Church by way of

sentencing in and deciding of Ecclesiastical causes*.27

 

 

5. Worship

 

a. The view of Anabaptists

 

(1) Baptism (according to Anabaptists) should only be

administered to those who sincerely profess their faith in Chirst and give

evidence of genuine repentance. Since infants can neither believe in

Chirst nor repent of sin, they cannot receive Christian baptism.

 

*Baptism shall be given to all those who have learned repentance and

amendment of life, and who believe truly that their sins are taken away

by Christ*, and to all those who walk in the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

and wish to be buried with Him in death, so that they may be resurrected

with Him and to all those who with this significance request it (baptism) of

us and demand it for themselves. *This excludes all infant baptism, the

highest and chief abomination of the Pope*.28

 

This is simply the unbiblical view of Baptists today who exclude the

children of believers from the blessings of the covenant.

 

(2) Furthermore, Anabaptists composed some of the earliest

Protestant [uninspired-GLP] hymns in the German language. . . . They

dwell on the inner life of the Christian, the mysteries of regeneration,

sanctification, and personal union with Christ.29

 

In composing uninspired hymns to be used in worship (contrary to the

universal practice of the Reformed Churches), the Anabaptists find

expression in most twentieth century churches (regardless of

denominational label) who have departed from the Regulative Principle of

Worship.

 

 

b. The view of the Reformers

 

(1) Baptism is rightly administered to all who profess

faith in Christ and to the infant children of one or both believing

parents.

 

Q.95. To whom is baptism to be administered?

A. Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible

church, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him; *but

the infants of such as are members of the visible church are to be

baptized*.30

 

*[T]hose infants who derive their origin from Christians*, as they have

been born directly into the inheritance of the covenant, and are accepted

by God, are thus to be received into baptism.31

 

(2) The spiritual descendants of Calvin and the Westminster

Assembly have steadfastly maintained that God is only to be worshipped

according to His own revealed will. This is known as the Regulative

Principle of Worship and is simply an articulation of the Second

Commandment.

 

So let us hold to this rule, that all human inventions which are set up to

corrupt the simple purity of the word of God, and to undo the worship

which he demands and approves, are true sacrileges, *in which the

Christian man cannot participate without blaspheming God*, and trampling

his honour underfoot.32

 

Now, if you will prove that your ceremonies proceed from faith, and do

please God, *you must prove that God in expressed words has commanded

them*; or else you shall never prove that they proceed from faith, nor yet

that they please God; but they are sin, and do displease him, according to

the words of the apostle, "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin."33

 

But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by

himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be

worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the

suggestions of Satan, under any visble representation, *or any other way

not prescribed in the holy Scripture*.34

 

*But what Augustine says is true, that no one can sing things worthy of

God, unless he has received them from Himself [i.e. from God-GLP]*.

Therefore, after we have sought on every side, searching here and there,

we shall find no songs better and more suitable for our purpose than the

Psalms of David, dictated to him and made for him by the Holy Spirit. . . .

it should accustom itself hereafter to sing *these divine and heavenly

songs* with good King David.35

 

The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear; the sound preaching, and

conscionable hearing of the word, in obedience unto God, with

understanding, faith, and reverence; *singing of psalms with grace in the

heart*; as also the due administration and worthy receiving of the

sacraments instituted by Christ; *are all parts of the ordinary worship of

God*.36

 

*It is the duty of Christians* to praise God publicly, *by singing of

psalms* together in the congregation.37

 

With one word, we judge this and other novelties, in these carefree

days a useless hindrance. This we also say of the introduction of new

hymn-books, and present day ditties, which we do not find in God's Word;

as also the playing and peeping of organs in the Church. The former are all

against the decrees of our Synods. See about singing in the Church, the

National Synod of Dordt held in 1578, art. 76; the National Synod held in

Middleburg, 1581, art. 51; the National Synod held in the Hague, 1586, art.

62; *at which gatherings hymns not found in Scripture are expressly

forbidden*.38

 

*It is known from Church history, that those who are after

novelties, by introducing man-made hymns and errors, have corrupted the

Congregation*. . . . The statement made by the Synod of Dordt, 1574, art.

50, needs our special attention; where we read, "*Concerning the use of

Organs in the Congregation, we hold that according to 1 Cor. 14:19, it

should not have a place in the Church*. . ." To know the reason why Organs

should be kept out of the church, read our learned theologians and their

polemics about Organs against the Lutherans and Papists.39

 

 

6. Separation

 

a. The view of Anabaptists

 

(1) It is warranted and justified to separate from a

church due to the toleration of moral corruption within the life of members

of the church. Where scanalous sin is evident in the life of professing

members of a church, such a church is not perfected in Christ and cannot

be a true church. Like the Novatians and the Donatists of old who would

not allow repentant sinners back into the fellowship of the church until

they had manifested years of fruitful repentance, so the Anabaptists

required a pure membership in the visible church. From this we should

learn that everything which is not united with our God and Christ cannot

be other than an abomination which we should shun and flee from. *By

this is meant all Catholic and Protestant works and church services*.40

 

The debate is over this: they [the Anabaptists-GLP] think

that wherever this order [i.e. the ban or excommunication- GLP] is not

properly constituted, or not duly exercised, no church exists, and it is

unlawful for a Christian to receive the Lord's Supper there. *Thus they

separate themselves from the churches in which the doctrine of God is

purely preached, taking this pretext: that they do not care to participate in

the pollution committed therein, because those who ought to be

excommunicated have not been banished*.41

 

(2) This is the error practiced by true schismatics and

sectarians.

 

b. The view of the Reformers

 

(1) It is warranted and justified to separate from a

church due to an habitual and notable defection from the truth in

doctrine, worship, or government. However, separation is not justified

merely on the grounds that a church tolerates sin in the members of its

congregation.

 

This is undoubtedly a warning highly necessary, in order that when the

temple of God happens to be tainted by many impurities, we may not

contract such disgust and chagrin as will make us withdraw from

it. *By impurities I understand the vices of a corrupt and polluted life.

Provided religion continue pure as to doctrine and worship, we must not

be so much stumbled at the faults and sins which men commit, as on that

account to rend the unity of the Church*. Yet the experience of all ages

teaches us how dangerous a temptation it is when we behold the Church of

God, which ought to be free from all polluting stains, and to shine in

uncorrupted purity, cherishing in her bosom many ungodly hypocrites, or

wicked persons. From this the Catharists, Novatians, and Donatists, took

occasion in former times to separate themselves from the fellowship of the

godly. *The Anabaptists, at the present day, renew the same schisms,

because it does not seem to them that a church in which vices are tolerated

can be a true church*. But Christ, in Matth. xxv.32, justly claims it as his

own peculiar office to separate the sheep from the goats; and thereby

admonishes us, that we must bear with the evils which it is not in our

power to correct, until all things become ripe, and the proper season of

purging the Church arrive.42

 

When the greatest part of a Church maketh defection from

the Truth, the lesser part remaining sound, *the greatest part is the

Church of Separatists*.43

 

*The blame of Schism must not be upon those who forsake such as have

forsaken Christ, and the ancient Faith, but upon those who have thus

forsaken Christ, and his Truths*: Yea farther, if they impose that which

is not necessary, (tho' in itself not sinful) and will not bear with the

Weaknesses of such as think it to be evil; *if, upon that, they be forced

to withdraw, in this the Governors are the Schismatics, because the Rent is

in them*.44

 

 

7. Perfectionism

 

a. The view of Anabaptists

 

(1) Christians are saints, and as those who are holy,

they are not to have any contact with those who are polluted and

corrupted with sin. Christians should withdraw from the corruption in this

world and live in their own communal societies.

 

A separation shall be made from the evil and from the wickedness which

the devil planted in the world; in this manner, simply that *we shall not

have fellowship with them*.45

 

Once the Novatians stirred up the churches with this teaching, but our own

age has certain Anabaptists (not very different from Novatianists) who are

lapsing into the same madness. *For they feign that in baptism God's

people are reborn into a pure and angelic life, unsullied by any carnal

filth*.46

 

The same question [concerning perfectionism-GLP] was renewed in this

century by the Neopelagians, Romanists, Socinians and *Anabaptists*, who,

to pave the way for the merits of works, *maintained that the law can be

perfectly fulfilled by the renewed*.47

 

(2) This is the dangerous error of Wesley and Finney

who taught that Christians can (through a second work of grace) reach a

perfect state of entire sanctification in this life.

 

b. The view of the Reformers

 

(1) Christians are saints by calling and are being

conformed by the power of the Word and Spirit into the image of Christ.

However, sanctification is gradual in this life, and the remnants of sin

remain within every Christian. Although the Christian cannot remove

himself entirely from sin and sinners in this life, yet he is not to

consent (in thought, word, or deed) to the sin around him. Furthermore,

establishing and guarding purity in doctrine, worship, and government as a

part of a church's true constitution is not perfectionism, but simply

faithfulness to Christ.

 

This sanctification is throughout in the whole man, yet imperfect in this

life; there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part.48

 

No man that takes due care of his salvation, can join himself to it [i.e.

to a church-GLP], when the fundamentals of religious worship are

corrupted or overthrown, *it is absolutely unlawful to join unto, or abide in

any [such-GLP] Church*.49

 

However, when we categorically deny to the papists the title of the

church, we do not for this reason impugn the existence of churches among

them. *Rather, we are only contending about the true and lawful

constitution of the church, required in the communion not only of the

sacraments (which are the signs of profession) but also especially of

doctrine*. . . . To sum up, I call them churches to the extent that the

Lord wonderfully preserves in them a remnant of his people, however

woefully dispersed and scattered, and to the extent that some marks of the

church remain-especially those marks whose effectiveness neither the

devil's wiles nor human depravity can destroy. But on the other hand,

because in them those marks have been erased to which we should pay

particular regard in this discourse, I say that everyone of their

congregations and their whole body lack the lawful form of the church.50

 

 

 

8. Civil Government

 

a. The view of Anabaptists

 

(1) Civil government is outside the realm of Christ's

kingdom and, and thus no Christian should serve in a civil capacity. War,

capital punishment, judicial retribution, nor self-defence have any place

in the life of a Christian.

 

Therefore, there will also unquestionably fall from us the unchristian,

*devilish weapons of force*-such as sword, armor and the like, and all

their use (either) for friends or against one's enemies-by virtue of the

Word of Christ. Resist not (him that is) evil.51

 

Shall one be a magistrate if one should be chosen as such? The answer is

as follows: *They wished to make Christ king, but He fled and did not view

it as the arrangement of His Father. Thus, shall we do as He did*, and

follow Him, and so shall we not walk in darkness.52

 

(2) The civil magistrate should not establish by law

the Reformed Church (or any other church) nor a reformed and

presbyterian creed (or any other creed) as the official church and creed

within a nation. Rather a civil government should establish a position of

liberty of conscience with regard to all religions.

 

From this we should learn that everything which is not united with our

God and Christ cannot be other than an abomination which we should shun

and flee from. *By this is meant all Catholic and Protestant works and

church services, meetings and church attendance*, drinking houses, civic

affairs, the oaths sworn in unbelief and other things of that kind, which are

highly regarded by the world and yet are carried on in flat contradiction to

the command of God, in accordance with all the unrighteousness which is

in the world.53

 

Wherefore we condemn *the Anabaptists*, and all those troublesome

spirits, *which do reject higher powers and magistrates, overthrow all laws

and judgments*, make all goods common, and, to conclude, do abolish and

confound all those orders and degrees, which God hath appointed among

men for honesty's sake.54

 

Gillespie provides a very helpful summary of the three major positions

concerning established religion and liberty of conscience. *The Papists*

believed that the civil magistrate should put all heretics to death (and

promoted the use of many abominable means of torture in order to compel

confessions and recantations) without making any distinction amongst the

various degrees or obstinacy of heresy. *The Anabaptists* believed that

the civil magistrate should tolerate all religions, even legally protecting

the free exercise of false religions (this is the position endorsed by not

only evangelicals today, but also the position propounded by Reformed

Churches as well). *The Reformed Churches* offered a mediating position

wherein the civil magistrate should legally establish the one true Reformed

Religion, protecting and defending it from all heresy, schism, and false

worship. Although not tolerating false religions, the magistrate,

nevertheless, should make distinctions amongst heresies as to the degree

of seriousness and as to the degree of obstinacy in the heretic (i.e. all

heretics should not be punished to the same extent).

 

*The first opinion is that of the Papists*, who hold it to be not only no

sin, but good service to God, to extirpate [i.e. uproot-GLP] by fire and

sword, all that are adversaries to, or opposers of the Church and the

Catholic religion. . . that all heretics without distinction are to be put

to death.55

 

*The second opinion [which represents the position of the Anabaptists,

Independents, and other sectaries-GLP]* falls short, as far as the former

exceeds: that is, that the Magistrate ought not to inflict any punishment,

nor put forth any coercive power upon heretics or sectaries, but on the

contrary grant them liberty and toleration.56

 

*The third opinion [which represents the position of the Reformed

Churches-GLP]* is that the Magistrate may and ought to exercise his

coercive power, in suppressing and punishing heretics and sectaries, *less

or more, according as the nature and degree of the error, schism,

obstinacy, and danger of seducing others, requires*. . . . And lest it be

thought that this is but the opinion of some few, that the magistrate ought

thus by a strong hand, and by civil punishments suppress heretics and

sectaries: let it be observed what is held forth and

professed concerning this business, by the Reformed Churches in their

public confessions of faith. *In the latter Confession of Helvetia

(cap.30)*, it is said that the magistrate ought to "root out lies and all

superstition, with all impiety and idolatry." And after, "Let him suppress

stubborn heretics." *In the French Confession (art.39)*, "Therefore he

hath also delivered the sword into the hands of Magistrates, to wit, that

offenses may be repressed, not only those which are committed against the

second table, but also against the first." *In the Belgic Confession

(art.36)*, "Therefore hath he armed the Magistrate with the sword for

punishing them that do evil, and for defending such as do well. Moreover

it is their duty not only to be careful and watchful for the preservation

of the civil government, but also to defend the holy ministry, and to

abolish and overthrow all idolatry, and counterfeit worship of God."

*Beza* (De Hareticis), tells us in the beginning, that *the ministers of

Helvetia* had declared themselves to be of the same judgment, in a book

published of that argument. And toward the end he cites *the Saxon

Confession, Luther, Melancthon, Brentius, Bucerus, Wolfgangus Capito, and

Bullinger. The Synod of Dordt (ses.138)*, in their sentence against the

Remonstrants does not only interdict them of all their ecclesiastical and

academical functions, but [does] also beseech the States General [of the

Netherlands-GLP] by their secular power to suppress and restrain them.57

 

(3) Herein we find the ever popular heresy of religious

pluralism (or religious toleration) which legally protects (and therefore

promotes) all false religion (contrary to the First Table Commandments),

thus subverting the true Reformed religion, the truth of Christ, and the

unity of faith.

 

b. The view of the Reformers

 

(1) Civil government is an ordinance of God established

for God's glory and and the welfare of man. To that end God has entrusted

into the hands of the *lawful* magistrate the sword. It is lawful for

Christians to serve as magistrates in a *lawful* government in order to

exercise capital punishment, just wars and judicial recompense to the

guilty.58 It is also lawful for a Christian to exercise self-defence after all

other options to preserve one's life have been exhausted.

 

*We condemn the Anabaptists*, who, as they deny that a Christian man

should bear the office of a magistrate, so also they deny that any man can

justly be put to death by the magistrate, or that the magistrate may make

war, or that oaths should be performed to the magistrate, and such like

things.59

 

We do clearly protest, that, together with all other doctrines which are

directly contrary to the sound and pure doctrine of Jesus Christ, we do not

only not receive, *but, as abominations and blasphemies*, reject and

condemn those strange and erroneous doctrines, which the spirits of

hurlyburly [i.e. commotion-GLP] among other damnable opinions do bring

forth, *saying, &c. that magistrates cannot be Christians*. And, in the

margin:-*The magistrate doth then shew himself to be a good magistrate,

when he is a true Christian*.60

 

(2) A Christian may even serve and hold civil office in

an unlawful government provided no sinful act is required in order to hold

office, such as an oath of allegiance to an immoral constitution.

 

It is, I grant, often God's decree revealed by the event, that a conqueror

be on the throne, but this will [i.e. God's providential will-GLP] is not

our rule, *and the people are to swear no oath of allegiance contrary to

God's Voluntas signi, which is his revealed will in his word regulating

us*.61

 

And I have never been able to satisfy myself, how it was consistent, in

those who profess Presbyterianism, to swear an oath [e.g. when assuming a

civil or military position-GLP], which involves the supporting of idolatry

[by means of consitutionally protecting false religions-GLP], &c., while, at

the same time, in their creeds and church constitutions, they solemnly

recognize their obligation, in their respective stations, to remove every

monument and vestige of it from the land [as expounded in "The Larger

Catechism", Q. 108, i.e. in the original Larger Catechism of 1648-GLP].62

 

The friends of truth cannot justifiably persevere in supporting the British

Constitution as the ordinance ofGod. . . . The friends of truth under the

present government should say to it in such a manner as not to be

misunderstood,--We will obey your good laws, because they are good; *but

by oaths or otherwise we will not recognize your authority as of God*.--We

will co-operate with you in doing what is good; *but so long as you

continue to support evil, we cannot swear allegiance to you*. Abolish

all oaths of allegiance, and we will act along with you in every right

matter.--Were all those who hold the truth in the united kingdom to do so,

would not the request extort regard? And might not rulers see the

propriety of yielding? Were such oaths to the present government

abolished, then those who love the truth might enter parliament, and act

without being responsible for the evils of the civil constitution and of the

administration, and at the same time lead to essential political reformation;

and the people could with a clear conscience return to parliament such

men as might be possessed of proper character, and be of known

attachment to the truth. Were a door opened in this manner for men

consistently uttering their voice in the councils of the nation, then means

should be assiduously used, on the part of the people and on the part of

their representatives, for scripturally reforming the State, and for giving to

true religion that external countenance and support which is due it.63

 

 

(3) It is the duty of civil magistrates to suppress all

false religion and to establish the true reformed religion (in doctrine,

worship, and government) by law within his realm.

 

Yet civil government has as its appointed end, so long as we live

among men, *to cherish and protect the outward worship of God, to defend

sound doctrine of piety and the position of the church*, to adjust our life to

the society of men, to form our social behavior to civil righteousness, to

reconcile us with one another, and to promote general peace and

tranquility.64

 

Moreover, to kings, princes, rulers, and magistrates, *we affirm that

chiefly and most principally the conservation and purgation of the religion

appertains*; so that not only they are appointed for civil policy, but

also for maintenance of *the true religion*, and for suppressing of

idolatry and superstition whatsoever: as in David, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah,

Josiah, and others, highly commended for their zeal in that case, may be

espied.65

 

The orthodox churches believe also, and do willingly acknowledge, that

every lawful magistrate, being by God himself constituted the keeper and

*defender of both tables of the law*, may and ought first and chiefly to

take care of God's glory, and (according to his place, or in his manner and

way) *to preserve religion when pure, and to restore it when decayed and

corrupted*: and also to provide a learned and godly ministry, schools also

and synods, as likewise to restrain and punish as well atheists,

blasphemers, heretics and schismatics, as the

violators of justice and civil peace.66

 

All pious fatherlanders rejoiced when the States General [of the

Netherlands-GLP] in the great Assembly of 1651 declared, "*That each in

his own province must keep and maintain the Reformed religion*, as it is

presently preached and taught publicly in our Churches, as was established

by the National Synod held at Dordt in 1619." They also decided that "*the

before mentioned religion*, by the provinces, as well as by the States

General in the provinces under their jurisdiction, *shall be maintained with

the law of the land, without allowing anyone ever to make any changes*."

Synod of Dordt, Article 1 and 2.67

 

Q. 108. What are the duties required in the second commandment?

A. The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving,

observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and

ordinances as God hath instituted in his word. . . *as also the

disapproving, detesting, opposing, all false worship; and, according to

each one's place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry*.

. . .68

 

Q. 109. What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?

A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising,

counselling, commanding, using, *and any wise approving, any religious

worship not instituted by God himself; tolerating a false religion*. . ..69

 

 

9. Oaths

 

a. The view of Anabaptists

 

(1) All oaths (personal, ecclesiastical, and civil) are

forbidden to the Christian, because his own word is sufficient to bind him

to his duty.

 

The oath is a confirmation among those who are quarreling or making

promises. In the Law it is commanded to be performed in God's Name, but

only in truth, not falsely. *Christ, who teaches the perfection of the

Law, prohibits all swearing to His (followers), whether true or false*.70

 

(2) Anabaptism denies a biblical warrant for personal and

social covenanting in this age, thereby denying the perpetual obligation of

 

personal, ecclesiastical, or national covenanting.

 

b. The view of the Reformers

(1) Covenanting (whether personal, ecclesiastical, or national)

is a moral duty binding all men under the New Covenant even as it did

under the Old Covenant. Oaths required on certain solemn occasions are

lawful provided that the matter of the oath is agreeable to the Word of

God and is able to be performed.

 

Calvin's first objective was to obtain, at a meeting attended by the whole

city, *an oath forcing the entire population to abjure the papacy and

adhere to the Christian religion and its discipline, as comprehended under

a few headings*.71

 

*Register of the Council of 24* *12 November 1537*. It was reported that

yesterday the people who had not yet made their oath to the reformation

were asked to do so, street by street; whilst many came, many others did

not do so. No one came from the German quarter. *It was decided that

they should be commanded to leave the city if they did not wish to swear

to the reformation*.72

 

*26 November 1537*. Some people have been reported to have said that it

was perjury to swear to a confession which had been dictated to them in

writing . . . [Farel or Calvin] replied that if the contents of the written

confession were studied carefully it would be seen that this was not so, but

that it was a confession made according to God. Examples from holy

Scripture (in Nehemia and Jeremiah) proved that the people should

all be assembled to swear to keep faith with God and observe his

commandments.73

 

*To swear to the true religion, the defence and maintenance thereof is a

lawful oath*; as to swear to any thing that is lawful, and to lay a new band

on our souls to perform holy duties, where we fear a breach, and find by

experience there hath been a breach, is also *a duty of moral and

perpetual equity*; therefore such a sworn covenant is lawful.74

 

(2) The Westminster Assembly, the Church of Scotland, and

the kingdoms of Scotland, England, and Ireland (and "*all his Majesties

dominions*") swore the Solemn League and Covenant on behalf of not only

their living posterity, but also on behalf of all their national, ecclesiastical

and individual posterity who would follow them.75

 

We Noblemen, Barons, Knights, Gentlemen, Citizens, Burgesses, Ministers of

the Gospel, and Commons of all sorts, in the kingdoms of Scotland, England,

and Ireland, by the providence of GOD, living under one King, and being of

one reformed religion. . . *after mature deliberation, resolved and

determined to enter into a mutual and solemn League and Covenant,

wherein we all subscribe, and each one of us for himself, with our hands

lifted up to the most High GOD, do swear*. . . we shall each one of us,

according to our place and interest, endeavour that they may remain

conjoined in a firm peace and union *to all posterity* . . . .76

 

Note who the "all posterity" (as mentioned in the Solemn League and

Covenant) includes by the language of the Westminster divines in their

letter to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (1644):

 

Those Winds which for a while do trouble the Aire, do withall purge and

refine it: And our trust is that through the most wise Providence and

blessing of God, the Truth by our so long continued agitations, will be

better cleared among us, and so our service will prove more acceptable to

all the Churches of Christ, but more especially to you, while we

have an intentive eye to our peculiar Protestation, *and to that publick

Sacred Covenant [i.e. the Solemn League and Covenant- GLP]* entered into

by both the Kingdomes [Ireland is not formally omitted here, but is

omitted only because this English Assembly is addressing the Scottish

General Assembly-GLP], for Uniformity *in all his Majesties Dominions*.77

 

Not only did the Westminster Assembly understand the posterity bound

by the Solemn League and Covenant to be "all his majesties dominions",

but the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland also officially declared

the same to be true in their letter (1648) to Charles I:

 

As we do not oppse the restitution of your Majestie to the exercise of your

Royall Power; So we must needs desire that that which is GODS be given

unto Him in the first place, and that Religion may be secured before the

setling of any humane interest; Being confident that this way is not only

most for the Honour of GOD, but also for your Majesties Honor and Safety.

And therefore as it was one of our Desires to the High and Honourable

Court of Parliament that they would solicte your Majestie for securing of

Religion, *and establishing the Solemn League and Covenant in all your

Dominions* [the Solemn League and Covenant having been sworn and

made law by the Parliaments of England and Scotland, it was required that

Charles I swear to establish it and to enforce it in all his dominions before

he would be allowed to return to his throne and to exercise his royal

authority-GLP].78

 

Is it possible to know which nations were bound as posterity by the

Solemn League and Covenant (1643) and included in "all his majesties

dominions?" Clearly, it was all the subjects and the dominions under the

Crown of Great Britain (including the United States and Canada both of

which were then designated as "the dominions in America").

 

*The first colonial Charter* issued by the English crown (1606) was for the

settlement of Jamestown in Virginia. Here it is noted that the colony of

Virginia is declared to be one of the kings "Dominions" as much as any

other royal dominion, and its members are considered by James I to have

the same rights as those living in the "Realm of England." It provided that

all . . . Persons, being our Subjects [i.e. subjects of the Crown of

England-GLP], which shall dwell and inhabit within . . . any of the said

Colonies and Plantations, and every [one] of their children, which shall

happen to be born within any of the Limits and Precincts of the said

several Colonies and Plantations, shall Have and enjoy all Liberties,

Franchises, and Immunities, *within any of our other Dominions*, to all

Intents and Purposes, as if they had been abiding and born, within this our

Realm of England, *or any other of our said Dominions* . . . .79

 

In 1663, Charles II granted a charter to eight English gentlemen who had

helped him regain the throne of England. The charter document contains

the following description of the territory (then designated Carolina) which

the eight Lords Proprietors were granted title to:

 

All that Territory or tract of ground, situate, lying, and being

within *our Dominions in America* . . . .80

 

In a document written by Thomas Jefferson entitled "A Summary of the

Rights of British America", the following brief reference to an Act from

King

#

 

George III demonstrates that even those living in America understood

they were a dominion of his majesty.

 

One other act passed in the 6th year of his reign [George III-GLP],

entituled "An Act for the better securing dependency of *his majesty's

dominions in America* upon the crown and parliament of Great Britain.81

 

The following excerts occur in the newspaper that Benjamin Franklin

published in Philadelphia (The Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser)

wherein reference is made to colonies in what is now Canada and the

United States as being dominions of the Crown.

 

In considering of these questions, perhaps it may be of use to recollect;

that the colonies were planted in times when the powers of parliament

were not supposed so extensive, as they are become since the Revolution: -

- That they were planted in lands and countries where the parliament had

not then the least jurisdiction: -- That, excepting *the yet infant colonies of

Georgia and Nova Scotia*, none of them were settled at the expence of any

money granted by parliament: That the people went from hence by

permission from the crown, purchased or conquered the territory, at the

expence of their own private treasure and blood: That these territories

thus became *new dominions of the crown*, settled under royal charters,

that formed their several governments and constitutions, on which the

parliament was never consulted; or had the least participation. January 6,

1766.82

 

The Colonies had, from their first Settlement, been governed with more

Ease, than perhaps can be equalled by any Instance in History, *of

Dominions so distant*. February, 1773.83

 

Whereas Anabaptist churches have not viewed themselves as being bound

by such national covenants as the Solemn League and Covenant, Reformed

churches have rightly viewed such historical covenants as obligating their

posterity even as biblical covenants bound the posterity of the fathers who

swore them. Francis Turretin (1623-1687) of the Academy of Geneva has

declared concerning such national covenants that *covenants once

sanctioned are to be kept*, as they bind the magistrate no less than the

people . . . .84

 

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (1649) declared without

reservation that even unfaithfulness on the part of any one kingdom could

not free another covenanted kingdom from its obligation to the Solemn

League and Covenant.

 

Although there were none in the one Kingdome who did adhere to the

Covenant [i.e. The Solemn League and Covenant sworn by the kingdoms of

Scotland, England, and Ireland in 1643-GLP], yet thereby were not the

other Kingdom nor any person in either of them absolved from the bond

thereof, *since in it we have not only sworne by the Lord, but also

covenanted with him. It is not the failing of one or more that can absolve

others from their duty or tye to him; Besides, the duties therein contained,

being in themselves lawfull, and the grounds of our tye thereunto moral,

though others do forget their duty, yet doth not their defection free us

from that obligation which lyes upon us by the Covenant in our places and

stations*. And the Covenant being intended and entered into by these

Kingdoms, as one of the best means of stedfastnesse, for guarding against

declining times; It were strange to say that the back-sliding of any should

absolve others from the tye thereof, especially seeing our engagement

therein is not only nationall, but also personall, every one with uplifted

hands swearing by himself, as it is evident by the tennor of the

Covenant.85

 

10. Eschatology

 

a. The view of Anabaptists

(1) Christ will reign bodily upon the earth for a thousand

years.

 

It appears that Calvin was well informed about the preference for chiliasm

[premillenialism-GLP] on the part of the Radicals [from the Anabaptist

movement-GLP]. *[C]alvin named Muntzer, Melchior Hoffman, and Storch,

all of whom were chiliasts, as leaders of the Anabaptist movement*.86

(2) "Some [Anabaptists-GLP] believed in the sleep of the

soul between death and resurrection."87

 

It is renewed in this age by the milder Socinians and *Anabaptists* who,

pressing in their footsteps, presume to defend at least *a night of the

soul (viz., that souls either sleep and are without all sense or are

extinguished until the resurrection)*.88

(3) The one thousand year reign of Christ upon the earth after

His coming is the error of the premillennialists.

(4) The doctrine of soul sleep is prevalent among those cults

(e.g. Jehovah Witnesses) who deny the immortality of the soul.

 

b. The view of the Reformers

(1) Christ will reign from heaven over all nations for an

extended period of time. This glorious era will be evidenced by the

success of the gospel, the calling of the Jews, the uniformity of one faith

throughout the world, national covenanting (and covenant renewal), and

both civil and ecclesiastical governments working together for biblical

reformation.

 

*The coming of Christ to reign here on earth a thousand years is, if not a

groundless opinion, yet so dubious and uncertain* as not to be admitted a

place in the analogy of faith to regulate our interpretation of

Scripture. . . .89

 

(2) At death the souls of the righteous immediately ascend to

enjoy conscious rest in God, while the souls of the wicked immediately

descend to endure conscious torment in hell.

 

[F]aithful souls immediately after death experience some enjoyment of the

heritage that has been promised to them, but inasmuch as the glory of

Jesus Christ their king has not yet appeared and the heavenly city of God

has not yet been established in its fullness, they must wait until that day

arrives.90

 

The bodies of men after death return to dust, and see corruption; *but

their souls, (which neither die nor sleep,)* having an immortal

subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them. The souls of the

righteous, being then made perfect in holiness, are received into the

highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory,

waiting for the full redemption of their bodies; and the souls of the wicked

are cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness,

reserved to the judgment of the great day. Besides these two places for

souls separated from their bodies, the scripture acknowledgeth none.91

 

The hesesy of Anabaptism lives today! It has infected the modern church

with its cancerous errors and heresies: anti-creedalism, arminianism,

dispensationalism, independency (sectarianism), anti-paedobaptism,

will-worship (anti-regulativism), perfectionism, societal escapism,

religious pluralism and tolerationism (anti-establishmentarianism), denial

of the perpetual obligation of social covenanting, pacifism, pietism,

socialism, premillennialism, and a refusal to recognize *lawful* civil

government as the ordinance of God. These unbiblical positions of the

Anabaptists were not tolerated by the Reformed Churches of the First and

Second Reformations, and neither should they be tolerated by any Church

today that claims to be Reformed or Presbyterian.

 

To those who would mindlessly hurl anabaptistic stones at churches

espousing the biblical principles of the Reformers (as found in the

citations above), the words of our Lord should be carefully heeded:

 

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye

shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to

you again (Mt. 7:1,2).

 

Thus, let us all remove the anabaptistic beam from our own eyes before

we seek to pull out the anabaptistic mote from our brother's eye.

Moreover, Reformed and Presbyterian Churches must repent of their

defection into anabaptistic tendencies and affirm again the biblical views

of their reformed forefathers in the following areas: the regulative

principle of worship, biblical unity founded upon the truth, biblical

separation from all churches who are constitutionally committed to false

doctrine and worship, and covenanted uniformity in doctrine, worship, and

government (through means of a faithful covenant as exemplified in the

Solemn League and Covenant, sworn and emitted by the Westminster

Assembly in 1643).

 

Finally, we must be willing to buy the truth of Christ and sell it not,

even when it appears to the majority that we are too few in number to be

committed with the truth. Let us never forget that it was to the two spies

(Joshua and Caleb) and not to the ten spies that Jehovah our God entrusted

His precious truth. Remember, God warns us that we are not to follow the

majority (multitude) to do evil (Ex. 23:2).

 

*It is an offense to a great many people that they see almost the whole

world opposed to us*. And indeed the patrons of a bad cause do not

neglect their own advantage, using a strategem like this so as not to upset

the ignorant and weak, that it is extremely absurd that almost the whole

Christian world is disregarded, *so that the faith is to be possessed by a

few men*. But, in particular, to destroy us they defend themselves with

the sacred title of "the Church" as if with a mallet. . . . If anyone perhaps

objects that we are not excused by the example of Noah, if we separate

ourselves from that crowd which keeps the name of "the Church," *Isaiah

[Is.8:12-GLP], when he gave orders to abandon the conspiracy of men and

follow God alone, was referring not to strangers but to those who were

at that time glorying exceedingly in the name of the people of God*.92

 

**********

Endnotes

**********

 

1. John Calvin, Commentary on John 10:19, _Calvin's Commentaries_ (Grand

Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1979), XVII:411. Emphases added.

 

2. Cited from the World Wide Web page entitled "Anabaptists." Emphases

added.

 

3. John Calvin, _Treatises Against the Anabaptists_, Benjamin Wirt Farley,

ed. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1982), p. 110. Emphases

added.

 

4. Menno Simons, _Incarnation_ [1496-1561], cited by Benjamin Wirt

Farley, ed., _Treatises Against the Anabaptists_ (Grand Rapids, Michigan:

Baker Book House, 1982), pp. 114,115, footnote 58. Emphases added.

 

5. Francis Turretin, _Institutes of Elenctic Theology_, James T. Dennison,

Jr., ed. (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing), 2:306. Emphases

added.

 

6. John Calvin, _Treatises Against the Anabaptists_, Benjamin Wirt Farley,

ed. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1982), p. 114. Emphases

added.

 

7. _Westminster Larger Catechism_, Question 37. Emphases added.

 

8. Ibid., Question 39.

 

9. John Knox,_Works_ , V:121-122, cited by Kevin Reed, ed. in _A Warning

Against the Anabaptists_ (Dallas, Texas: Presbyterian Heritage

Publications, 1984), p. 4. Emphases added.

 

10. Francis Turretin, _Institutes of Elenctic Theology_, James T. Dennison,

Jr., ed. (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing), 1:614.

 

11. Philip Schaff, _History of the Christian Church_ (AP&A, no date),

VIII:38.

 

12. Ray Sutton, "The Baptist Failure," _Christianianity & Civilization_,

James B. Jordan, ed. (Geneva Divinity School, 1982), p. 156.

 

13. Francis Turretin, _Institutes of Elenctic Theology_, James T. Dennison,

Jr., ed. (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing), 2:593,594. Emphases

added.

 

14. _Westminster Confession of Faith_, 3:5. Emphases added.

 

15. _Westminster Shorter Catechism_, Question 33. Emphases added.

 

16. Kenneth Ronald Davis, _Anabaptism and Aceticism_ (Scottdale,

Pennsylvania: Herald Press, 1974), p. 72. Emphases added.

 

17. Francis Turretin, _Institutes of Elenctic Theology_, James T. Dennison,

Jr., ed. (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing), 1:98. Emphases

added.

 

18. Ibid., 2:83. Emphases added.

 

19. Willem Balke, _Calvin and the Anabaptist Radicals_ (Grand Rapids,

Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1981), p. 310. Emphases added.

 

20. _Westminster Confession of Faith_, 1:8. Emphases added.

 

21. Ibid., 7:6. Emphases added.

 

22. Ray Sutton, "The Baptist Failure", _Christianity & Civilization_, James

Jordan, ed., (Geneva Divinity School, 1982), p. 152. Emphases added.

 

23. Francis Turretin, _Institutes of Elenctic Theology_, James T. Dennison,

Jr., ed. (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing), 3:23. Emphases

added.

 

24. Samuel Rutherford, _The Due Right Of Presbyteries_ (London: E.

Griffin, 1644), p. 261. Emphases added.

 

25. _The Form of Presbyterial Church-Government_ [1645] emitted by the

Westminster Assembly. Emphases added.

 

26. _The Divine Right of Church-Government_ originally asserted by the

Ministers of Sion College (London: December, 1646), pp. 7,8. Emphases are

in the original text.

 

27. Ibid., p. 238. Emphases added.

 

28. Michael Sattler,_The Schleitheim Confession_ [1527], Article 1.

Emphases added.

 

29. Philip Schaff, _History of the Christian Church_ (AP&A, no date),

VIII:40.

 

30. _Westminster Shorter Catechism_, Question 95. Emphases added.

 

31. John Calvin, _Institutes_, John T. McNeill, ed. (Philadelphia: The

Westminster Press,1960) IV, xvi, 24:1347. Emphases added.

 

32. John Calvin, "The First Sermon, On Psalm 16:4", cited by Kevin Reed,

ed., _Come Out From Among Them-The 'Anti-Nicodemite Writings of John

Calvin_ (Dallas, Texas: Protestant Heritage Press, forthcoming), p. 141.

Emphases added.

 

 

33. John Knox, _Works_ (Edinburgh: The Bannatyne Club, 1846), I:195,196.

Emphases added.

 

34. _Westminster Confession of Faith_, 21:1. Emphases added.

 

35. John Calvin, Opera, VI:171, cited by Michael Bushell, _The Songs of

Zion_ (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Crown and Covenant Publications, second

edition, 1993 [1977]), pp. 181,182. Emphases added.

 

36. _Westminster Confession of Faith_, 21:5. Emphases added.

 

37. _The Directory For The Publick Worship Of God_, "Of Singing of

Psalms," emitted by the Westminster Assembly. Emphases added.

 

38. Abraham Van De Velde, _The Wonders Of The Most High or Indication

of the causes, ways and means whereby the United Provinces [of the

Netherlands-GLP], against the expectation of the whole world, were

elevated in such a marvelous way from their previous oppression to such

great, awe inspiring riches and acclaim. As related by several eminent

historians, and which after the manner of the time are compiled to a

necessary and profitable use_ (c.1674, first English translation

forthcoming), p. 125. Emphases added.

 

39. Ibid., pp. 125,126. Emphases added.

 

40. Michael Sattler,_The Schleitheim Confession_ [1527], Article 4.

Emphases added.

 

41. John Calvin, _Treatises Against the Anabaptists_, Benjamin Wirt Farley,

ed. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1982), p. 57. Emphases

added.

 

42. John Calvin, "Commentary on Psalm 15:1", _Calvin's Commentaries_

(Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1979), IV:204. Emphases

added.

 

43. Samuel Rutherford, _The Due Right Of Presbyteries_ (London: E.

Griffin, 1644), p. 255. Emphases added.

 

44. Voetius, cited by James Fraser, _The Lawfulness and Duty of

Separation from Corrupt Ministers and Churches_ (Edinburgh: George

Patton, 1744), pp. xxxi,xxxii. Emphases added.

 

45. Michael Sattler, _The Schleitheim Confession_ [1527], Article 4.

Emphases added.

 

46. John Calvin, Institutes, John T. McNeill, ed. (Philadelphia: The

Westminster Press,1960), IV, i, 23:1036. Emphases added.

 

 

47. Francis Turretin, _Institutes of Elenctic Theology_, James T. Dennison,

Jr., ed. (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing), 2:694. Emphases

added.

 

48. _The Westminster Confession of Faith_, 14:2.

 

49. John Owen, _Inquiry into the Nature and Communion of Evangelic

Churches_, p. 180, cited by Andrew Clarkson, _Plain Reasons for

Presbyterians Dissenting from the Revolution-Church in Scotland_ (1731),

p. 214. Emphasis added.

 

50. John Calvin, _Institutes_, John T. McNeill, ed. (Philadelphia: The

Westminster Press,1960), IV,II,12:1052,1053. Emphases added.

 

51. Michael Sattler, _The Schleitheim Confession_ [1527], Article 4.

Emphases added.

 

52. Ibid., Article 6. Emphases added.

 

53. Ibid., Article 4. Emphases added.

 

54. _Belgic Confession_, Article 36. Emphases added.

 

55. George Gillespie, _Wholesome Severity Reconciled_, cited in _An

Anthology of Presbyterian & Reformed Literature_ (Dallas, Texas: Naphtali

Press, 1991 [1645]), 5:179,180,181. Emphases added.

 

56. Ibid., 5:180. Emphases added.

 

57. Ibid., p. 181. Emphases added.

 

58. For a more detailed discussion of biblical civil magistracy, consider

the author's recent book, _Biblical Civil Government Versus The Beast; &

The Basis For Civil Resistance_, also available through Still Waters

Revival Books.

 

59. _The Second Helvetic Confession_ [1566], Chapter 30, "Of Magistracy."

Emphases added.

 

60. _The Confession of Basle_ [1532], Article 11. Emphases added.

 

61. Samuel Rutherford, _Lex, Rex, or The Law And The Prince_

(Harrisonburg, Virginia: Sprinkle Publications, 1982 [1644]), p. 40.

Emphases added.

 

62. Samuel Wylie, _Two Sons Of Oil; or, The Faithful Witness For Magistracy

And Ministry Upon A Scriptural Basis_ (Pottstown, Pennsylvania:

Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Publishing,1995 [1803]), pp. 36,37.

 

63. John Cunningham, _The Ordinance of Covenanting_ (Glasgow: William

Marshall, 1843), p. 392. Emphases added.

 

64. John Calvin, _Institutes_, John T. McNeill, ed. (Philadelphia: The

Westminster Press,1960), IV,XX,2:1487. Emphases added.

 

65. _The Scottish Confession of Faith_, Chapter 24. Emphases added.

 

66. George Gillespie, _Works_ (Edmonton, Alberta: Still Waters Revival

Books, 1991 [1846]), 1:12. Emphases added.

 

67. Abraham Van De Velde, _The Wonders Of The Most High or Indication

of

the causes, ways and means whereby the United Provinces [of the

Netherlands-GLP], against the expectation of the whole world, were

elevated in such a marvelous way from their previous oppression to such

great, awe inspiring riches and acclaim. As related by several eminent

historians, and which after the manner of the time are compiled to a

necessary and profitable use_ (c.1674, first English translation

forthcoming), p. 157. Emphases added.

 

68. _Westminster Larger Catechism_, Question 108. Emphases added.

 

69. _Westminster Larger Catechism_, Question 109. Emphases added.

 

70. Michael Sattler, _The Schleitheim Confession_, Article 7. Emphases

added.

 

71. Pamela Johnston and Bob Scribner, _The Reformation in Germany and

Switzerland_ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), p. 138.

Emphases added.

 

72. Ibid. Emphases added.

 

73. Ibid. Emphases added.

 

74. Samuel Rutherford, _The Due Right Of Presbyteries_ (London: E.

Griffin, 1644), p. 134. Emphases added.

 

75. For further information about the binding obligation of the Solemn

League and Covenant upon the United States and Canada, please consult

the author's forthcoming work which is available through Still Waters

Revival Books, _Are the United States and Canada Covenant-Breaking

Nations? _

 

76. _The Solemn League and Covenant_ [1643-GLP]. Emphases added.

 

77. _The Acts Of The Generall Assemblies Of The Church Of Scotland: From

the Year 1638 to the Year 1649 Inclusive_, 4 June 1644, Session 7, "The

Letter from the Synod of Divines in the Kirk of England, to the General

Assembly", pp. 231,232. The original spelling and punctuation have been

retained. Emphases added.

 

78. Ibid., August 12, 1648, Session 40, "The Humble Supplication of the

Generall Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland unto the Kings Most Excellent

Majesty", p. 439. The original spelling and punctuation have been

retained. Emphases added.

 

79. Cited by Clarence Carson, _Basic American Government_, (Wadley,

Alabama: American Textbook Committee, 1993), p. 126. Emphases added.

 

80. Cited on the World Wide Web page entitled, "State Library of North

Carolina," http://HAL.DCR.STATE.NC.US/ncs1home.htm. Emphases added.

 

81. Cited from the World Wide Web page at:

gopher://gopher.vt.edu:10010/02/106/8. Emphases added.

 

82. Cited from the World Wide Web page at:

gopher://gopher.vt.edu:10010/02/85/28. Emphases added.

 

83. Cited from the World Wide Web page at:

gopher://gopher.vt.edu:10010/02/85/28. Emphases added.

 

84. Francis Turretin, _Institutes of Elenctic Theology_, James T.

Dennison, Jr., ed. (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing), 3:327.

Emphases added.

 

85. _The Acts Of The General Assemblies Of The Church Of Scotland: From

the Year 1638 to the Year 1649 Inclusive_, 6 August 1649, Session

Ultimate, "A Brotherly Exhortation from the Generall Assembly of the

Church of Scotland, to their Brethren in England", pp. 474,475. The

original spelling and capitalization have been retained. Emphases added.

 

86. Willem Balke, _Calvin and the Anabaptist Radicals_ (Grand Rapids,

Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1981), p. 297, emphases added.

 

87. Philip Schaff, _History Of The Christian Church_ (AP&P), VIII:40.

 

88. Francis Turretin, _Institutes of Elenctic Theology_, James T. Dennison,

Jr., ed. (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing), 3:327. Emphases

added.

 

89. John Owen,_Works_, 20:154, emphases added.

 

90. John Calvin, _Treatises Against the Anabaptists_, Benjamin Wirt Farley,

ed. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1982), pp. 138,139,

emphases added.

 

91. _Westminster Confession of Faith_, 32:1, emphases added.

 

92. John Calvin, _Concerning Scandals_ (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans

Publishing Co., 1978), pp. 109,110, emphases added.

 


9. APPENDIX B: PORNOGRAPHY, THE ANABAPTISTS AND DOUG WILSON'S CIVIL ANTINOMIANISM by Reg Barrow (A special note of thanks is offered to Larry Birger for his editorial expertise and assistance in completing this piece.)


 

"For the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the

children of light" (Luke 16:8b).

 

The civil antinomianism which Doug Wilson adopts regarding pornography

and negative civil sanctions in "Cyberporn: A Case Study"

[_Credenda/Agenda_, vol. 7, no. 5, p. 11] is a fundamental error also

prevalent among antiestablishmentarian *modern* Theonomists. Wilson

believes that

 

"Christians must learn to distinguish sins from crimes. If God reveals His

will on a matter, disobedience is sin. If God reveals the civil penalty which

must be applied, then it is also a crime. But without wisdom from Him on

the civil penalty to be applied, the civil order must leave enforcement of

God's law to the church, family, or the providence of God."

 

He further states that "when pornography is made and distributed, it

should simply be used as evidence -- of the adultery or of the sodomy,

etc." In his analogy between adultery/pornography and theft/movies

showing theft, he laments, "Why do we resist punishing what God requires

punishment for, and insist on punishments found nowhere in Scripture?"

In short, according to Wilson, because God in his word has *not specifically

mandated* negative civil sanctions against pornography *per se*, "with a

biblical approach, pornography would not be [a] crime."

 

It bears mentioning that not all modern Theonomists agree with Wilson

that pornography is not a crime. For example, R. J. Rushdoony states, "the

link between pornography and revolutionary totalitarianism is a necessary

one. The rise of totalitarianism has always been preceded by moral

anarchism... the politics of pornography is a moral anarchism whose

purpose is revolution, a revolution against Christian civilization. . . .

Certainly new and clearer legislation [against pornography--RB] is

*necessary and urgently needed*. . . we need and must have sound

legislation" (_Law and Liberty_, pp. 18-20; emphasis added). However,

others, like Greg Bahnsen (cf. his cassette "Pornography, Obscenity,

Censorship"), do concur that the making and distribution of pornography,

generally, is not a crime. Regardless of some disagreement amongst

themselves, the idea that the civil magistrate is limited by *explicit*

biblical pronouncements in what and how he may punish is a teaching

some *modern* Theonomists (as opposed to biblical "*historical*

theonomists" like Calvin, Knox, Rutherford and Gillespie) have promoted

for about three decades. In fact, some in the movement even suggest this

"hyper-regulativism" (defined below) extends to the actual method of

punishment, while others are content to apply it only to the crime and

negative sanction itself. Either way, its proponents insist that their view

alone provides an antidote to civil despotism by offering divinely

prescribed limitations on the civil magistrate's power in punishing

offenders of God's law. Such a view may sound pious, appeal to a

libertarian mentality, and appear to be the only possible check against civil

tyranny, but it is in opposition to God's revealed will and therefore must

be rejected as just another form of modern heresy -- a heresy, which as

Rushdoony notes above, actually helps usher in civil tyranny.

 

There are a number of major problems with Wilson's principles and their

applications, and it may be helpful to survey some of these before giving a

more full refutation from history and Scripture.

 

To begin with, on the pornography question Wilson (and other *modern*

Theonomists) apply a *form* of "regulativism" (really "hyper-

regulativism"; see below) where it does not belong -- i.e. in the case of

negative civil sanctions. Ironically, many of these same people also deny (if

only by their practice; James 1:22; Titus 1:16) the true regulativism where

Scripture teaches it does belong -- i.e. in the public worship of God.

 

The regulative principle *of worship* has been skillfully handled in _The

Songs of Zion_ by Michael Bushell, _Instrumental Music in the Public

Worship of God_ by John Girardeau and _A Dispute Against English Popish

Ceremonies_ by George Gillespie, and reader is urged to consult these. For

our purposes here, we simply note that the regulative principle, as taught

and practiced by the Reformers, permitted only those acts of public

worship which had "divine warrant from God's Word either by (1)

command; or by (2) authorized example of the apostles; or by (3) good and

necessary inference" (Greg Price, _Foundation for Reformation: The

Regulative Principle of Worship_, p. 5).

 

The imposition of anything God has not prescribed has long been *rightly*

exposed and rejected in the area of *public worship* (cf. my _The

Regulative Principle of Worship in History_ [free at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CRTPWors.htm ], my

_Psalm Singing in Scripture and History_ [free at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CRTPsSing.htm ] and

my _Doug Wilson's Five Questions on the Regulative Principle of Worship

Answered_ [free at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/Doug5Qs.htm ]).Wilso

n and other *modern* Theonomists, however, take this approach not to

*worship*, but to *negative civil sanctions*. As he says, "We do not have

the capacity to legislate wisely where God has been *silent*" (emphasis

added). Not only does he make a *fundamental* mistake in attempting to

apply a form of the "regulative principle" to negative civil sanctions, he

takes it one step further by misconstruing the regulative principle itself.

Wilson's form of "regulativism" in the civil sphere denies "good and

necessary inference" (an integral part of the true regulative principle), and

therefore cannot be rightly called biblical regulativism without causing

some confusion. Hence, I call Wilson's view "hyper-regulativism" because

he makes the regulative principle *more strict* than do the Scriptures, or

the Reformers who expounded this principle from the teaching of

Scripture. Furthermore, Wilson's rejection of what Samuel Rutherford

termed "logical or natural consequences," and what the _Westminster

Confession of Faith_ (1:6) designates as that which "by good and necessary

consequence may be deduced from Scripture," (when applied to the

pornography question before us) does not comport with the classical

Protestant position on negative civil sanctions.

 

The combination of these errors by Wilson, in the distortion (through the

denial of natural consequences) and misapplication of the regulative

principle, actually turn the making and distribution of pornography into a

*civil right* (except for certain *actual participants* who explicitly violate

biblical judicial laws; i.e. those actually committing the acts of adultery,

sodomy, etc. in the making of the pornography). Noted author and

Reconstructionist-turned-Covenanter, Michael Wagner (who is presently

completing his doctorate in political science), has defined one aspect of civil

rights as "imposing an obligation on the state not to interfere with some

aspect of an individual's life by applying negative civil sanctions." This

definition, given Wilson's view of pornography, would grant most aspects

of the pornography industry a *civil right* (based on Scripture falsely

interpreted) to practice their vile trade freely, without any threat of civil

punishment; and, according to ministries like _Credenda/Agenda_ (unless

they disagree with their editor), such actions would have a kind of "civil

blessing" from God, inasmuch as Scripture allegedly *forbids* negative civil

sanctions against pornographers.

 

Even more, not only would the making and distribution of pornography be

a civil right (and not a crime), but it would actually be a **sin** for the

civil government to intervene and violate Wilson's "hyper-regulativism" in

such cases (outside of "simply" using the pornography "as evidence -- of

the adultery or of the sodomy, etc." in civil trials). Sin is "any want of

conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God" (_Westminster

Shorter Catechism_ question and answer 14). By applying negative civil

sanctions to the pornographers the civil government would be doing that

which God has given them *no mandate* to do; and thus, in Wilson's

scheme, the civil government would "lack conformity unto... the law of

God" in punishing pornographers. As Wilson writes, "If God reveals His will

on a matter, disobedience is sin;" and, "Why do we resist punishing what

God requires punishment for, and insist on punishments found nowhere in

Scripture?" Therefore, if God has indeed revealed his will on this matter --

that most pornographers are *not* criminals -- then *for the civil

government to treat them as such* is sin.

 

We cannot escape this conclusion to which the regulative principle drives

us. For example, concerning public worship, if everything except that

which God has instituted is forbidden (outside of "some circumstances...

common to human actions and societies"; cf. Westminster Confession, 1:6),

then any addition of elements and regulated circumstances not instituted

of God for use in public worship (e.g. man-made hymns, musical

instruments, drama, dance, women preachers, holy days other than the

Sabbath, etc.) is, of necessity, sin. The same is also true if Wilson's "hyper-

regulativism" is to be applied to negative civil sanctions. The addition of

any negative civil sanctions *not explicitly revealed* in Scripture would be

a transgression much akin to the sin we speak against in the sphere of

public worship. Thus, Wilson must argue that a civil government that

enacts laws for which it has no biblical warrant, such as laws against the

possession, production and/or distribution of pornography, ***must be

sinning***.

 

On a practical level, the situation that has developed in the African nation

of Zambia may be instructive here. Shortly after Zambia threw off her

communism and embraced Christianity as the official state religion it was

reported that "whether by accident or design, new found freedoms also led

to the legalization of pornography and abortion" ("Those Who Walk In

Darkness, Will See A Great Light... The Christian Reconstruction of Zambia"

by Abshire, free at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/zambia.htm ). In the

case of pornography, was this a good or bad testimony to the other nations

of the world? Wilson would have to say that it was very good, as it was in

keeping with God's (alleged) instruction concerning negative civil sanctions.

The communists kept the nation relatively free of pornography but a

professedly Christian government actually initially legalized it (along with

abortion) -- and Wilson's views would have the Zambians "glorifying" God

by legalizing pornography! (One wonders where the civil leaders of Zambia

originally got the idea that it was honoring to God that pornography be

free from negative civil sanctions!) But , thanks be to God, it came to pass

that,

 

"the Zambian government then took a most encouraging turn. President

Chiluba made a public speech against pornography and called for its total

eradication. This was followed by vigorous action by the Zambian police in

rooting out all publicly displayed pornography and arresting those who

sold it. Representations of Zambia Christian Action convinced the Zambian

government to have the police burn the pornography on the streets

wherever it was found" (ibid.).

 

Given these developments in Zambia it would now seem appropriate for

_Credenda/Agenda_ to provide a short article (their specialty) rebuking

the Zambian civil government for "backsliding" into this latter state of

affairs (by enacting negative civil sanctions against those involved with

pornography). After all, "Why do [Zambians] . . . insist on punishments

found nowhere in Scripture? . . . [Zambians] must learn to distinguish sins

from crimes. If God reveals His will on a matter, disobedience is sin. If God

reveals the civil penalty which must be applied, then it is also a crime. But

without wisdom from Him on the civil penalty to be applied, the [Zambian]

civil order must leave enforcement of God's law to the church, family, or

the providence of God." Articles, attacking the faithful, are becoming more

common in the pages of _Credenda/Agenda_, so the production of such a

column should not catch many off guard -- especially if _C/A's_ writers

turn the Zambian's faithfulness on this matter (and disagreement with

them) into some kind of a joke or parody (thus confusing people into

believing something about such righteous actions which have nothing to do

with what has actually transpired in reality). Beware the man who is

*quick* to jest about sin or other serious matters related to the kingdom of

God (Eph. 5:3-4). Somehow I doubt we will ever see such an article

(rebuking the Zambian's) from our "jovial" (I'm being kind) friends; for I

think -- or at least hope -- that they are already wiser than the principles

Wilson espouses in "Cyberporn: A Case Study." But, if no rebuke to the

Zambian civil government (for their "sin" of outlawing pornography) is

forthcoming from _Credenda/Agenda_, a public retraction of Wilson's

published principles may be in order. But alas...

 

Having thus given a brief overview of some of the glaringly absurd and

destructive problems inherent in Wilson's position, we now turn to an

examination of irrefutable historical and Scriptural evidences against it.

We will thereby briefly, but I believe sufficiently, demonstrate that Doug

Wilson's position (though we doubt that he holds to it consistently) on the

application (or lack thereof) of negative civil sanctions, especially

regarding pornographers, is not the "classical Protestant" position, nor is it

biblical.

 

Beginning with some historic proof we find that Wilson's "hyper-

regulativism" can be soundly refuted in citations taken from the individual

(major) Reformers, their confessions and their covenants. Our first quote is

taken from _Wholesome Severity Reconciled With Christian Liberty; or, the

True Resolution of a Present Controversy Concerning Liberty of

Conscience_ by George Gillespie (1644; free at:

http://www.reformed.org/ethics/wholsome.html). Gillespie, one of the

Scottish commissioners to the Westminster Assembly, here illustrates that

the basis of Wilson's position has historically been used by at least one

Anabaptist. Gillespie writes,

 

"I have endeavored in the following discourse to vindicate the lawful, yea

necessary use of the coercive power of the Christian Magistrate in

suppressing and punishing heretics and sectaries, *according as the degree

of their offense and of the Church's danger shall require*: Which when I

had done, there came to my hands a book called _The Storming of

Antichrist_ (by Christopher Blackwood, 1644--RB). Indeed, "The Recruiting

of Antichrist, and the Storming of Zion" (if so be that I may *anabaptize an

Anabaptist's book*). Take one passage for instance (p.25): 'And for Papists,'

says he, 'though they are least to be borne of all others, because of the

uncertainty of their keeping faith with heretics, as they call us, and

because they may be absolved of securements that can arise from the just

solemn oaths, and because of their cruelty against the Protestants in

diverse countries where they get the upper hand, and because they are

professed idolaters, yet may they be born with (as I suppose with

submission to better judgments) in Protestant government, in point of

religion, **because we have no command** to root out any for conscience,'"

etc. (1644 edition, p. v, emphases added).

 

Note that this Anabaptist's tolerationism is built on the same foundation

Wilson insists is the magistrate's guide regarding negative civil sanctions.

The Anabaptist argues that we must not punish the "papists" because "we

have **no command** to root out any for conscience" (emphasis added).

Gillespie subsequently distinguishes the truth from the error in the

Anabaptist's statement (on tolerationism and conscience), but for our

purpose it illustrates that this was one instance where Wilson's principle of

civil hyper-regulativism is called upon to justify the Anabaptist position

regarding civil penal sanctions.

 

I also addressed this question on pages 17-18 of my work, _John Knox,

Oliver Cromwell, God's Law and the Reformation of Civil Government_:

 

"One further example of weakness in the modern Theonomic movement is

found in the application of the *regulative principle to civil penal

sanctions*. This idea has led some to such logical extremes that they would

deny the civil government the right (or should I say duty) to censor or

prohibit the *investment* in, or the *distribution* and *sale* of,

pornographic materials (the seventh commandment notwithstanding). In

such a 'Theonomic' state hard-core pornographic movies, books and

magazines would be protected by a 'Theonomic' civil legal code -- while

the 'Theonomic' police would have authority (based on a constitution which

establishes the application of the regulative principle to civil penal

sanctions) to apprehend *only* those who have *participated* in the

adultery, fornication or sodomy of the pornography *itself*. The regulative

principle, when applied to penal sanctions, would insure all other 'non

participants' the constitutional *right* to involve themselves in the chain of

production and distribution of pornographic materials, because the civil

penal sanctions of the Old Testament don't *specifically* cite them as

offenders. One further example would involve the sixth commandment.

Would it be no crime to hire, counsel or plan a murder that was carried out

by another because the penal sanctions do not *specify* anything other

than the *actual murdering* as the crime? Obviously, matters must be

judged in regard to allowing for an interpretation of Scripture, concerning

crime and punishment, which takes into account those things which can,

'by good and necessary consequence... be deduced from Scripture'

(_Westminster Confession of Faith_, ch. 1, sect. 6). Questions 91 to 151 of

the _Westminster Larger Catechism_ would be an indispensably helpful

guide to the civil magistrate here."

 

In this vein Gillespie notes:

 

"Fourthly, I distinguish between bare opinions or speculations, and

scandalous or pernicious practices, as Mr. Burton does in his _Vindication

of the Independent Churches_. 'You must distinguish,' he says, 'between

men's consciences and their practices.The conscience simply considered in

itself is for God, the lord of conscience alone to judge, as before. But for a

man's practices (of which alone man can take cognizance) **if they be

against *any* of God's commandments, of the first or the second table; that

appertains to the Civil Magistrate to punish**, who is for this cause called

custos utriusque tabuloe, the keeper of both tables.' For this he cites Rom.

13:3-4, and he adds, 'So as we see here that is the object of civil power, to

wit, actions good or bad, not bare opinions, not thoughts, not conscience,

but actions.' And this in his answer to the interrogatory concerning the

lawful coercive power of the civil Magistrates in suppressing heresies. In

which he handsomely yielded the point, for who advises the Parliament to

punish men for their thoughts, bare opinions, or for conscience simply

considered in itself? It is for preaching, **printing, spreading** of

dangerous opinions, for schismatical, pernicious and scandalous practices,

for drawing factions among the people contrary to the covenant [the

Solemn League and Covenant -- RB], for resisting the reformation of

religion, for lying and railing against the covenant [the Solemn League and

Covenant -- RB], the Parliament, the [Westminster -- RB] Assembly of

Divines, or against the Reformed Churches" (_Wholesome Severity_, p. 34,

emphases added).

 

Likewise:

 

"Those that are in authority are to take such courses and so to rule, that we

may not only lead a quiet and peaceable life, but further that it be in all

godliness and honesty (1 Tim. 2:2). The Magistrate is keeper of both tables,

and is to punish the violation of the first table, as well as of the second. 3.

'Will any man,' says Augustine, 'who is in his right wit, say to Kings, "Do not

care by whom the Church of God in your Kingdom is maintained or

opposed; it does not concern your Kingdom, who will be religious, who

sacrilegious:" to whom, notwithstanding, it cannot be said, "It does not

concern you in your Kingdom who is chaste, who whorish," etc. Is the soul's

keeping faith and truth to God a lighter matter, than that of a woman to a

man?'" (_Wholesome Severity_, p. 14).

 

In another place Gillespie goes so far as to say that

 

"though *other* judiciall or forensecall laws concerning the punishments of

sins against the Moral law, may, yea, *must* be allowed of in Christian

Republickes; Provided always they be **not contrary** to Gods own

Judiciall laws: yet I fear not to hold with Junius, _de Politia Mosis_ cap. 6,

that he who was punishable by death under the Judiciall law, is punishable

by death still; and he who was not punishable by death them, in not to be

punished by death now" (_Wholesome Severity_, p. 9, emphases added).

 

So we see, whereas Wilson would not even have the godly magistrate

protect the public for the "lesser" second table physical whoredoms (of

pornography), Gillespie would have the magistrate punish for the "greater"

first table spiritual whoredoms (e.g. tolerationism, heresy, false worship,

etc.). Wilson says that we need **specific institution** for sanctions;

Gillespie says that the magistrate can punish as long as the punishment is

"**not contrary** to Gods own Judiciall laws." The antithesis is clear: either

Gillespie and his fellow Covenanters at Westminster were wrong on this

point, or Wilson, the "Classical Protestant"; for there are no revealed penal

sanctions which specifically call upon the magistrate to punish people "for

drawing factions among the people contrary to the covenant [the Solemn

League and Covenant -- RB]... for lying and railing against the covenant

[the Solemn League and Covenant -- RB], the [English -- RB] Parliament ,

the [Westminster -- RB] Assembly of Divines, or against the Reformed

Churches." Negative civil sanctions for these crimes must be specifically 'by

good and necessary consequence... deduced from Scripture' (_Westminster

Confession of Faith_, ch. 1, sect. 6). Clearly, Gillespie and other *historic*

theonomists oppose Wilson and many *modern* Theonomists.

 

John Knox's "Appellation... to the Scottish Nobility" in volume 4 of his

_Works_ also refutes Wilson's civil regulativism. In this appeal Knox

repudiates the use of the regulative principle to guide magistrates (in

regard to negative civil sanctions) when he notes that we are to submit to

the laws of the magistrate except "*such as be expressly repugning to God's

commandment*" (cited in Knox's "Appellation" as printed in _John Knox on

Rebellion_, R.A. Mason, ed. [Cambridge University Press, 1994], p. 107; see

also the discussion of Westminster Confession 20:2,4 below). This is not the

regulative principle applied to negative civil sanctions, which Wilson sets

forth (i.e. only that which is expressly *instituted* of God is a lawful

negative civil sanction), but the Reformation principle of negative civil

sanctions, which allows for sanctions rightly **deduced from Scripture "by

good and necessary consequence"**. The bulk of Reformed divines believed

that God allows the magistrate much more room to *apply* Scripture to the

area of negative sanctions -- as the Judges in Israel of old did, as well as a

father disciplining his children -- than our modern "Presbyterians" and

Theonomists do. Samuel Rutherford clearly states, "that which the *master

of a christian family* may doe, that the *father of the Common-wealth the

King*, in his place may doe" (_A Free Disputation Against Pretended

Liberty of Conscience, p. 176; emphasis added).

 

One contemporary author who has diagnosed part of the problem with

applying the regulative principle to the state, writes:

 

"I have read in other places the argument that government should have no

involvement in education because the Bible does not give instructions for it

to be involved. These authors set forward what I call the 'regulative

principle of the state.' Just as the regulative principle of worship says that

what is not explicitly commanded is therefore forbidden, the regulative

principle of the state says that what is not explicitly commanded to the

government is forbidden. This principle is, as far as I know, without

significant precedent in Church history, lacking in exegetical support, and

leads to absurd policy implications (e.g. the elimination of traffic laws).

This "libertarian model" of Christian statesmanship is inferior to the

historic Calvinist view, which I call the 'patriarchal model.'" (Jerry Bowyer,

_Christian Statesman_ magazine, "Bowyer's Blast" in the Educational Choice

Issue, January/Feb., 1993).

 

This leads us to some incisive questions. Is the state really forbidden to

intervene, because there is no explicit or specific biblical law mandating

civil punishment against those who would *corrupt the morals of young

children* through the use of lewd pictures? What about when hard core

pornography is being displayed in a local community playground (or the

local corner store)? Are we really to think that a godly civil magistrate

would be honoring God by allowing triple X billboards on public highways

because there is *no specific negative civil sanction* against the public

display of such morally reprehensible trash -- only negative civil sanctions

against those who actually participated in the act, as Wilson asserts? And

what if the participants were married, or only one person was before the

camera? Are pornographers then free from any form of punishment? Is

there a *specific* negative civil sanction against *watching* married

couples copulating or against self stimulation for public viewing? Against

filming such acts? Against publicly displaying the film? Against selling the

film? Against selling the film to minors? Is God really a civil libertarian?

Or is He a "covenanter"? Can we lay on our beds at night and thank God in

prayer that He is biblically glorified by a civil government that protects

those that *publicly* pimp off of the base lusts forbidden in Scripture --

rather than bringing negative civil sanctions against them? Or would we

not rather bless God for his benevolent ordinance of civil government

which, rightly functioning, would have delivered us from the filth that has

defiled so many, and which continues to sound its siren song? Can a

*public* moral wrong, which is an affront to God (openly violating the

seventh commandment) and destructive to society (violating the fifth and

tenth commandments), be a civil right? Or should it be punished by the

civil magistrate?

 

Just stop for a moment and try to thank God in prayer that pornographers

(at just about every level -- excepting paedophiles -- from production to

distribution) are free from civil punishment in our society today. In

attempting such a prayer, at a very practical level (by the testimony and

witness of the Holy Spirit with your spirit) you should know immediately

and intuitively that pornography is not a civil right positively sanctioned

by Scripture. If fact, if your conscience is acting in accord with truth, you

should also clearly see what the civil magistrate should *deduce from

Scripture, by good and necessary consequence* regarding negative civil

sanctions against pornographers (unless, of course, you have become so

hardened that you can falsely "bless" God in prayer that the pandering

dogs of pornography are free from civil sanctions). And, it should be

carefully noted that these same type of questions -- which produce such

horrid answers if approached with Wilson's principles of biblical

interpretation -- may with equal force and revulsion be asked of other

areas. For example, is there a *specific* negative civil sanction in the

Scripture against *promoting* Nazism (or similar immoral political

philosophies, ideas and/or antichristian civil governments)? Or was Paul

Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's official propagandist, undeserving of civil

sanctions in his marketing of Hitler and his murderous and tyrannical

regime? The reader is left to continue this reductio ad absurdum (see the

end of this essay for other examples) and conclude for himself whether

Wilson and *modern* Theonomy really provide the check against civil

tyranny as they claim; whether their conception of the civil magistrate

really is "the minister of God to thee for good" (Rom. 13:4). "Wisdom is

justified of her children" (Matt. 11:19) and the offspring of Wilson's and

many *modern* Theonomists' principles (on this point) are illegitimate --

and look much more like the bastard children of the Anabaptists and

Libertines.

 

As an interesting side note, we also see that the application of the

regulative principle to civil penal sanctions (what we might rightly term a

"sub-theonomic" view of God's law) ties closely together with the

antiestablimentarianism prominent in many Reconstructionist and

"evangelical" circles today. Antiestablishmentarianism is also another

aspect of Anabaptist thought that finds its ways into the pages of

_Credenda/Agenda_ (when was the last _Credenda/Agenda_ article, much

less entire issue, defending -- or even mentioning -- the truth of

establishmentarianism?), and sadly much of the modern "Reformed"

community as well adopts this species of defection (moving away from

Reformation attainments to the innovations and heresies of the

Anabaptists). We will not discuss extensively why Wilson's view of civil

sanctions is the sister to antiestablishmentarianism, but the Anabaptist

connection is clearly evident. Cunningham notes:

 

"Under the general head of the civil magistrate, or of civil magistracy, --

that is, in the exposition of what is taught in Scripture concerning the

functions and duties of the supreme civil authority of a nation, whatever

be its form of government, -- *the Reformers were unanimous and decided

in asserting what has been called in modern times the principle of national

establishments of religion*, -- namely, that it is competent to, and

incumbent upon, nations, as such, and civil rulers in their official capacity,

or in the exercise of their legitimate control over civil matters, to aim at

the promotion of the honour of God, the welfare of true religion, and the

prosperity of the church of Christ. This principle, which comprehends or

implies the whole of what we are concerned to maintain upon the subject

of national establishments of religion, we believe to be fully sanctioned by

Scripture; and we can appeal, in support of it, to the decided and

unanimous testimony of the Reformers, -- *while the Anabaptists of that

period seem to have been the first, if we except the Donatists of the fifth

century, who stumbled upon something like the opposite doctrine*, or

what is now-a-days commonly called the Voluntary principle" (William

Cunningham, _Historical Theology_, Still Waters Revival Books, [1882]

reprinted 1991, vol. 2, pp. 559-560, emphases added).

 

According to the Anabaptists, then, it was not the civil magistrate's official

task "to aim at the promotion of the honour of God, the welfare of true

religion, and the prosperity of the church of Christ" by causing the nation,

in her official character, to make a public confession of the one true

reformed religion, to the exclusion and suppression of all contrary heresies

and corruptions. If, rather, his job is to ensure every citizen's "freedom to

choose" their own religious practices (even if only amongst the differing

sects of Christianity) then it is not difficult to see the link between

"freedom" in this area and "freedom of speech" in disseminating

pornography. And, we need look no farther than the United States, with its

dogmatic religious pluralism and thriving pornographic market, for

verification.

 

Citations could be multiplied from Calvin, Knox, Rutherford, the General

Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1638-1649, the best Dutch Synods,

other Reformed Confessions, etc., to offer further historical "Classical

Protestant" support of our position and opposition to Wilson's. We will

consider only four more, however: another from Gillespie; one from _The

Register of the Company of Pastors of Geneva in the Time of Calvin_; a

third from the Solemn League and Covenant; and the fourth, and perhaps

most powerful, from a fruit of that Covenant, the Westminster Confession

of Faith.

 

Turning again to _Wholesome Severity_, we find mentioned a number of

others who concur with the position on civil punishment here set forth. In

answering the question of "Whether Christian Judges may lawfully punish

Hereticks" (p. 1), Gillespie deals with three views, first disposing of the

Papists' opinion, "who hold it to be no sin, but good service to God, to

extirpate by fire and sword, all that are adversaries to, or opposers of the

Church and Catholick Religion" (p. 1).

 

He then says,

 

"The second opinion falls short, as far as the former exceeds: that is, that

the Magistrate ought not to inflict any punishment, nor put forth any

coercive power upon Heretics or Sectaries, but on the contrary grant them

liberty and toleration. This was the opinion of the Donatists, against which

Augustine has written both much and well, in diverse places: though [he]

himself was once in the same error, till he took the matter into his second

better thoughts, as is evident by his Retractations (lib. 2, cap. 2, & epist.

48). In the same error are the Socinians and Arminians (See Peltii

Harmonia, Artic. 21; Nic. Bodecher, Sociniano. Remonstrantismus, cap.25.

See also Grotii Apologeticus, cap. 6, p. 130; Theoph. Nicolaid, Refut.Tractat.

de Ecclesia cap. 4, p. 33). The very same is maintained in some books

printed amongst ourselves in this year of confusion: viz. The Bloody Tenent

[by Roger Williams -- RB]; Liberty of Conscience; The Compassionate

Samaritan; John the Baptist; and by Mr. [Thomas--RB] Goodwin [the

Independent --RB] in his Theomaxia, p.50, and in his Innocencies Triumph,

p.8. In which places he denies that the Magistrate, and particularly that

the two houses of Parliament, may impose anything pertaining to the

service and worship of God under fines or penalties. So M.S. to A.S. (pp. 53-

55, &c.), disputes against the coercive power of the Magistrate to suppress

Heresies and Sects" (pp. 2-3).

 

Finally, Gillespie gives the classical Protestant position:

 

"The third opinion is that **the Magistrate may and ought to exercise his

coercive power, in suppressing and punishing Heretics and Sectaries, less

or more, according as the nature and degree of the error, schism, obstinacy,

and danger of seducing others, requires**. As this was the judgment of the

orthodox ancients (_vide Optati opera_, edit. Albaspin, p. 204, 215), so it is

followed by our soundest Protestant writers; most largely by Beza against

Bellius and Monfortius, in a peculiar treatise, _De Hareticis a Magistratu

puniendis_. And though Gerhard, Brochmand, and other Lutheran writers,

make a controversy where they need not, alleging that the Calvinists (so

nicknamed) hold as the Papists do, that all Heretics without distinction are

to be put to death: the truth is, they themselves say as much as either

Calvin or Beza, or any other whom they take for adversaries in this

question, that is, that heretics are to be punished by *fines, imprisonment,

banishments*, and if they be gross idolaters or blasphemers, and seducers

of others, then to be put to death. What else does Calvin teach, when he

distinguishes three kinds of errors: some to be tolerated with a spirit of

meekness, such as ought not to [cause] separation between brothers; others

not to be tolerated, but to be suppressed with a certain degree of severity;

[and] a third sort so abominable, and pestiferous, that they are to be cut off

by the highest punishment? And lest it be thought that this is but the

opinion of some few, that the Magistrate ought thus by a strong hand, and

by civil punishments suppress Heretics and Sectaries: let it be observed

what is held forth and professed concerning this business, by the Reformed

Churches in their public confessions of faith. In the latter Confession of

Helvetica (cap.30), it is said that the Magistrate ought to "root out lies and

all superstition, with all impiety and idolatry." And after, "Let him

suppress stubborn Heretics." In the French Confession (art. 39), "Therefore

he hath also delivered the sword into the hands of Magistrates, to wit, that

offenses may be repressed, not only those which are committed against the

second table, but also against the first." In the Belgic Confession (art. 36),

"Therefore hath he armed the Magistrates with the sword for punishing

them that do evil, and for defending such as do well. Moreover it is their

duty not only to be careful and watchful for the preservation of the civil

government, but also to defend the holy ministry, and to abolish and

overthrow all idolatry, and counterfeit worship of God." Beza, _De

Hareticis_, tells us in the beginning, that the ministers of Helvetia had

declared themselves to be of the same judgment, in a book published of

that argument. And toward the end he cites the Saxon Confession, Luther,

Melancthon, Brentius, Bucerus, Wolfangus Capito, and Bullinger. The Synod

of Dordt (ses. 138), in their sentence against the Remonstrants not only

interdicts them of all their ecclesiastical and academical functions, *but

also beseeches the States General by their secular power further to

suppress and restrain them*" (pp. 3-5, emphases added; spelling and some

wording modernized).

 

Moving next to _The Register of the Company of Pastors of Geneva in the

Time of Calvin_ (P.E. Hughes, ed. and trans., Eerdmans, 1966), it is evident

that Wilson's view of negative civil sanctions was alien to Calvin and the

Geneva Presbyteries. Blasphemies, contradiction of the Word, drunkenness,

usury over five percent, dissolute games, missing church, being late for

sermons, women (midwives) baptizing, superstitious worship, observing

Romish festival days, attending Mass, etc., all came under civil cognizance

(usually fines, pp. 53-59). Never mind punishing pornographers, the

Genevans correctly deduced from the seventh commandment that "anyone

who sings indecent, dissolute, or outrageous songs, or dances the fling or

some similar dance shall be imprisoned for three days and shall then be

sent before the Consistory" (p. 58). This, and even stronger laws, could be

used in our day to rid the land of the Devil's minstrels, and all the literary

"pornography" (in the form of the antichristian propositions that infect our

society through Rock and Country music, blasphemous comedy, etc.) that

bombards us through radio and television. Is there any real question how

AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Madonna,

Michael Jackson, "Rappers" or even Shania Twain (and their videos) would

fare among the real classical Protestants? How much more those who

corrupt the nations with pornography!

 

Thirdly, we consider an illustrative section from the Solemn League and

Covenant (SL&C), the bond that joined the nations and churches of England,

Scotland and Ireland in a covenanted "uniformity in religion, confession of

faith, form of church-government, directory for worship and catechising"

(Head 1). The portion in question is Head 4, which we simply reproduce

with appropriate emphases (noting that reference can be made to the _The

Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, From the Year

1638 to the Year 1649 Inclusive_ for further understanding of the original

intent and actual implementation of this section of the SL&C, concerning

the question of negative civil sanctions):

 

"We shall also, with all faithfulness, endeavour the discovery [disclosing or

making known -- RB] of *all* such as have been or shall be incendiaries,

malignants, or evil instruments, by hindering the reformation of religion,

dividing the king from his people, or one of the kingdoms from another, or

making any faction or parties among the people, contrary to this League

and Covenant; that they may be brought to public trial, and receive

*condign [appropriate -- RB] punishment*, as the **degree of their offences

shall require or deserve**, or the supreme judicatories of both kingdoms

respectively, or others having power from them for that effect, **shall

judge convenient [suitable or proper -- RB].**"

 

Finally, we look at the fourth and perhaps most powerful example, taken

from chapter 20 of the **original** Westminster Confession of Faith, "Of

Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience." Section 2 of that chapter

teaches, "God alone is lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the

doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing **contrary**

to his word, or *beside it*, in matters of faith or worship." Section 4

condemns practices subversive of lawful power and lawful exercise thereof

which might plead Christian liberty for their warrant. It frankly describes

the biblical sanctions due to such offenders: "And for their ***publishing***

of such opinions, or **maintaining** of such practices, as are **contrary to

the light of nature**, or to faith, worship, ***or conversation [conduct or

behavior -- RB]***; or ***to the power of godliness***; or such erroneous

opinions or practices, as either in their own nature, or in the manner of

publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the external peace and

order which Christ hath established in the church; they may lawfully be

called to account, and proceeded against by the censures of the church,

***and by the power of the civil magistrate***.

 

Note carefully the distinction between the qualifiers, "contrary to" and

"beside" the word of God in Section 2. The latter, "beside", is a reference to

the regulative principle of worship which teaches that God may only be

worshiped in ways "prescribed in the Holy Scripture" (cf. 21:1). Anything

*beyond (or "beside") this*, except those "circumstances . . . common to

human actions and societies" (1:6) is strictly forbidden in public worship.

"Contrary to," on the other hand, is applied to all other "doctrines and

commandments of men," which would include (according to the *historic*

theonomists at Westminster) the laws and punishments of the civil

magistrate. We saw this view in our earlier mention of John Knox, and it

truly is the "Classical Protestant" position as taught by the reformers and

their creeds.

 

This observation on Section 2 alone overthrows Wilson's position. Even

more pointed, however, is the wording in Section 4, which not only

contradicts Wilson's principles, but would subject Wilson himself to the

civil sanctions of a truly biblical magistrate. This is evident because Wilson

(and many *modern* Theonomists) are "publishing such opinions . . . as are

contrary to the light of nature . . . or conversation [conduct or behavior --

RB]; or to the power of godliness," inasmuch as they declare most of those

involved in the making and dissemination of pornography (excepting

certain participants) to be free of negative civil sanctions. Of course, this

says nothing of their erroneous views of worship which likewise are

"contrary to . . . the power of godliness" and "are destructive to the

external peace and order which Christ hath established in the church." (Cf.

Larry Birger's copious citations from the National Covenant and Solemn

League and Covenant which prove the same point regarding his former

elders, in "Why The PCA Is Not A Duly Constituted Church, And Why

Faithful Christians Should Separate From This Corrupt Communion," free on

the web at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/PCAbad.htm ).

 

It is time for those like Wilson to acknowledge that not only are they *not*

holding to the positions of our reformed forefathers, but these very

forefathers (as evidenced by their national **confessions and covenants**)

would have sought civil sanctions against them if they did not repent of

their errors! Then, based on this admission they must either repent (as we

ourselves have done by the grace of God) or cease claiming to be the

progeny of the Reformation.

 

Even a cursory survey of the small amount of historical evidence

presented above renders impossible the conclusion that Doug Wilson (and

a number of *modern* Theonomists) adopt anything near the classical

Protestant position on negative penal sanctions. But historical practice is no

rule outside of its agreement to Scripture; so we now turn to some clear

examples revealed by "the supreme Judge, by which all controversies of

religion are to be determined" (WCF 1:10).

 

Gillespie, in "Whether it be lawful, just, and expedient, that the taking of

the Solemn League and Covenant be enjoined by the Parliament upon all

persons in the kingdom under a considerable penalty" (Chapter 16 of "A

Treatise of Miscellany Questions," pp. 85-88 in _The Works of George

Gillespie_ volume 2, Still Waters Revival Books reprint -- or free at

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/SL&CGil.htm ),

presents a *positive* biblical example of approved negative civil sanctions

which are nowhere *expressly* revealed in the portions of Scripture

dealing with the laws related to civil punishments:

 

"When king Josiah made a solemn covenant (the effect whereof was a

thorough reformation, the taking away of the ancient and long-continued

high places, the destroying of Baal's vessels, altars, priests, &c. 2 Kings 23,

throughout), he did not leave his covenant arbitrary; but 'he caused all that

were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it,' 2 Chron. 34: 32. In

all which he is set forth as a precedent to Christian reformers, that they

may know their duty in like cases" (p. 86).

 

Likewise, his comments in _Wholesome Severity_ (p. 10):

 

"Josiah caused 'all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to

the Covenant,' 2 Chron, 34:32, which could not be without either

threatening or inflicting punishment upon the transgressors; there being

many at that time disaffected to the Reformation."

 

Did Josiah "not have the capacity to legislate wisely where God had been

silent," as Wilson contends? Where in Scripture is Josiah, as king, told to

**cause** "all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to"

this *particular covenant*? Does Scripture commend or condemn Josiah's

work as a covenanting king?

 

Another clear example, contrary to Wilson's position (as noted in my, _A

Contemporary Covenanting Debate; or, Covenanting Redivivus_; free at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CovDebRB.htm ), is

King Asa -- who "nationally caused (by civil power) the inhabitants of the

nation to stand to the covenant." The Scripture relates it thus:

 

"So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in

the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. And they offered unto the LORD the

same time, of the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred oxen and

seven thousand sheep. And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD

God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; *That

whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death,

whether small or great, whether man or woman*. And they sware unto the

LORD with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with

cornets. And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all

their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of

them: and the LORD gave them rest round about" (2 Chron. 15:10-15).

 

Was this **particular** covenant renewal revealed in Scripture as a duty

which king Asa was to enact (in his civil capacity over the nation), or was

this civil duty deduced by Asa "by good and necessary consequence" from

the moral law of God? (See "Covenanting a Duty," chapter 3 in John

Cunningham's _The Ordinance of Covenanting_ for a *detailed* explanation

of the answer.) Were the *negative civil sanctions* attached to the

malignants (covenant refusers) in Judah *explicitly* revealed or were they

also deduced from Scripture, "by good and necessary consequence," from

the moral law of God? Was God "found of them" for these actions? Was Asa,

at this point in his reign, a Covenanter or an Anabaptist? On this point is

Wilson closer to the Covenanters or the Anabaptists?

 

Samuel Rutherford touches on matters related to negative penal sanctions

in numerous places in his _A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty

of Conscience_ (1649). Pertinent, in principle, to the Scriptural question

before us are Rutherford's comments when he writes,

 

"but they had just powers, as the [civil -- RB] Ministers of God, to punish

seducing Prophets as well as other ill-doers, by the law of nature and

Nations. And this I take is holden forth by Job 31.26,27,28. *who being

under no Judicial Law*, obliging the Jewes, but a Gentile, and so in this led

**by the Law of nature and Nations**, maketh Idolatry and worshipping of

the Sunne and Moone, to be an iniquity to be punished by the Judge"

(_Free Disputation, p. 313, emphases added).

 

Two final Scriptural examples follow demonstrating that God approves of

negative civil sanctions which are not *explicitly* revealed in the judicial

law.

 

The first is found in Ezra's godly example during the covenanted

Reformation of his day.

 

"Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the

wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord,

and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be

done according to the law. Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we

also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it. Then arose Ezra, and

made the chief priests, the Levites, and all Israel, to swear that they

should do according to this word. And they sware. Then Ezra rose up from

before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Johanan the son of

Eliashib: and when he came thither, he did eat no bread, nor drink water:

for he mourned because of the transgression of them that had been carried

away. And they made proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem unto

all the children of the captivity, that they should gather themselves

together unto Jerusalem; *And that whosoever would not come within

three days, according to the counsel of the princes and the elders, all his

substance should be forfeited, and himself separated from the

congregation of those that had been carried away*" (Ezra 10:3-8, emphases

added).

 

Where in the judicial law do we find civil penalties which state that if one

did not attend this particular covenant renewal "within three days" that

the civil magistrate could relieve him of all his "substance," and separate

(exile) him from the covenanted people of God? If no such negative civil

sanction can be expressly found in God's Word, then Wilson's view of

penology stands overturned. Clearly we need to look beyond his truncated

view for guidance on such contemporary questions as how the civil

magistrate should deal with the pornography plague.

 

Though the preceding Scriptural and historical examples provide more

than ample refutation of Wilson's hyper-regulativism as applied to

negative civil sanctions, we consider briefly one final, devastating account.

Nehemiah, a civil reformer par excellence, exemplifies God's ordinance of

civil magistracy as a "nursing-father" (Isa. 49:23) to the church of Christ:

 

"In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath,

and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs,

and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the

sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold

victuals. There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all

manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in

Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them,

What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? Did not

your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon

this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath.

And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark

before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and

charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and some of

my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in

on the sabbath day. So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged

without Jerusalem once or twice. Then I testified against them, and said

unto them, Why **lodge ye** about the wall? **if ye do so again, I will lay

hands on you**. From that time forth came they no more on the sabbath"

(Neh. 13:15-21, emphases added).

 

Note carefully that in his treatment of those who just gave "the appearance

of evil," by waiting outside the gate for the Sabbath to end, Nehemiah

threatens to apply negative civil sanctions ("I will lay hands on you")

*before* any actual *explicit* Sabbath violation (i.e. buying and selling,

etc.) occurs. Is there an explicit judicial law requiring the magistrate to

punish those who look as if they are about to break the Sabbath? Or were

Nehemiah's civil threats a logical inference deduced by good and necessary

consequence from the fourth commandment and the Scriptural duty of the

civil magistrate?

 

But further -- and this observation once-and-for-all nullifies Wilson's civil

hyper-regulativism -- consider the nature of the offense for which

Nehemiah was to punish these merchants who were camping outside of the

city. It is apparent from the context that Nehemiah was seeking to keep

the inhabitants of Judah, and especially Jerusalem, from desecrating the

Sabbath by merchandising. He does not wait until the actual infraction

occurs to threaten punishment, nor does he promise those lodging outside

the city that they will be punished *if they break the Sabbath by buying

and selling the following day*. Rather, he assures them that if they even

***tempt*** his constituents to break the Sabbath ***he will "lay hands on"

them***. Matthew Poole concisely concurs: "For this was a *temptation* to

covetous or needy Jews, that lived in or near the city, to steal opportunities

of buying their commodities, which then they might do with more

advantage" (emphasis added). And thus we have righteous Nehemiah's

example standing as an eternal and irrefutable testimony against the

teaching of Wilson and a number of *modern* Theonomists, for what is

pornography but ***a temptation to violate the seventh commandment***?

 

As we have seen, at the root of this issue are two questions. First, Is

Wilson's "hyper-regulativism" to be applied to negative civil sanctions?

And second, what is the place of logical consequences in determining upon

whom (and why) these sanctions should be applied? Samuel Rutherford,

one of the greatest biblical political philosophers ever to have lived (and

one of the Westminster Divines) answers both of these questions as we

have answered them (contra Wilson).

 

In arguing against the application of "hyper-regulativism" to negative civil

sanctions, Rutherford writes,

 

"I see *nothing said against bodily punishing* [notice Rutherford does not

say I see something 'said *for* bodily punishing,' as Wilson's view

requires--RB] of such as teach transubstantiation to others: for the

Idolaters and Seducers in the Old Testament believed the same way, there

is one true God 'Jehovah that brought them our of Egypt,' Exod 32.4,5.

Jereboam who made two Gods, and Jehu who was zealous for Jehovah, 1

King 13.6,c.13.1,2,3,. 2 King 9.25-36,37.c.10.16.20,21... [Rutherford here

adds many biblical examples concerning various idolaters, some who

claimed to worship Jehovah and some who did not, which we have

omitted--RB]" (_A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of

Conscience_ [1649], p. 71, emphases added).

 

He then states, on the question of logical consequences, that each of these

idolaters

 

"yet denyed and hated this *logicall consequence* that they had 'forsaken

the Lord,' Jer. (.13,14. or Deut 32.18. 'forgotten the rocke that begat them',

Ps.78.11,41. Ps. 107.12,13. that 'they forsooke him dayes without

number'... and *they did error indeed in a consequence*, against the light

of nature, yet the irreligious and wicked stopping of eyes and eares at

*naturall consequences in matters of Religion is no innocent errour*, as is

cleare, Isa.44.18... yet *the Papist will deny this consequence*, that he

multiplyes Gods as loaves are multiplyed in an oven; because as Esaiah

saith, 'he knoweth not, he understandeth not, God hath shut his eyes';

certainly that knowledge he denyes to the Idolater, *is the natural

knowledge of a naturall consequence*; if ye worship a bit of a ash-tree, or

a bit of bread, ergo, the halfe of your God, or the quarter thereof, 'is baken

in an oven', ergo, 'there is a lye, and an abomination in your right hand';

then **the deniall of logicall consequence in Religion, and the teaching

thereof to others, may be, and is an heresie, and punishable by the

Magistrate**, as Duet.13 and Exod. 32. So Christ rebukes Matth. 22 Saduces

as ignorant of the Scripture, when they denyed but the consequence or a

logicall connexion, as God is not the God of the dead but of the living, ergo,

the dead must rise againe, and Abraham must live, and his body be raised

from the dead. And the Idolaters who were to dye by the Law of God,

Exod. 32. Deut.13. denyed not the true God more than our false teachers

doe now [who deny him in consequence--RB]. We see no reason why none

should be false teachers, but such only as deny fundamentals, and that

pertinaciously, though these by Divines be called Heretickes" (_A Free

Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience_ [1649], pp. 72-73,

emphases added).

 

Moreover, in accord with these principles, Rutherford writes,

 

"I say not for believing tran-substantiation only, men are to be hanged; the

question now is of bodily punishing, hanging and burning quick, are

particular kinds of punishing, in which I should be as sparing as another

man, but the question may draw to this, whether the Laws of England &

Scotland be bloody and unjust, that ordains seminary Priests and Jesuits,

whose trade it is to seduce souls [soul murder--RB] to the whole body of

Popery, to bee hanged. I conceive *they are most just Lawes*, and

warranted by Deut. 13. [based on the good and necessary inference that

the enticing of the people to Romanism, and 'Romanism' is not mentioned

by the name 'Romanism' in Scripture, is the enticing of the people to 'go

and serve other Gods' Deut. 13:2,6,13--RB] and many other Scriptures, and

*that the King and Parliaments of either Kingdomes serve Christ, and Kisse

the Son in making and executing these Laws*" (_A Free Disputation Against

Pretended Liberty of Conscience_ [1649], pp. 70-71, emphases added).

 

But you may say that "This is an hard saying; who can hear it?" [John 6:60].

The answer from the lips of our Lord: "My sheep hear my voice, and I

know them, and they follow me" [John 10:27].

 

Thus, we find that here, using different examples (idolatry,

transubstantiation and seduction to soul murder [as an occupation]),

Rutherford has summarized and refuted Wilson's view of negative civil

sanctions on the pornography question -- at a principial level. Rutherford

attacks the use of Wilson's "hyper-regulativism" and approbates the use of

lawful ("good and necessary") inferences regarding negative penal

sanctions (for further study see the whole section "Errours in non-

fundamentalls obstinately spread, punishable," pages 64-77, in _A Free

Disputation..._ for extensive Scripture proofs on this point). On the two

most important points of principle related to the question of pornography

and criminal penalties Rutherford (the Westminster Divine) is

diametrically opposed to Doug Wilson the "classical Protestant." And

Rutherford's view was not novel in his day, but rather the majority

position among the Reformers.

 

We agree with Rutherford (and Scripture), and thus proclaim that all

pornographers should come under negative civil sanctions (to a greater or

lesser degree depending on the level of offence) as a logical consequence of

their public violation of the law of God (and in light of the damage their

actions do to the promotion of godliness in society as a whole). This is the

"classical Protestant" position on the power of the civil magistrate, in

opposition to the "freedom of choice," Anabaptistic, Libertarianism

rampant among Christians today.

 

In our brief treatment we have noted a number of Scriptural and historical

examples squarely opposed to the civil "hyper-regulativism" which Doug

Wilson promotes in _Credenda/Agenda_, and thus we must reject forever

this hermeneutic and its illegitimate, socially destructive offspring.

 

One of the tragic ironies of the *modern* Theonomy/Reconstructionist

movement is its (seemingly) paradoxical antinomianism. We say

"seemingly" because, as noted, their principles lead some of them

unembarrassedly to avow that the civil magistrate leave stumbling blocks

in the middle of the road (such a pornography) which ultimately encourage

its citizens -- especially the young and immature -- to break the seventh

commandment (and how many Christians compromise their testimony and

injure their soul by watching "off color" movies and television programs or

listening to "adultery glorifying" music?, "But I say unto you, That

whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery

with her already in his heart" Matt. 5:28). Such stumbling stones, if they

were found in the middle of a busy highway (and caused car accidents)

would never be tolerated, yet we are told that the *greater dangers* posed

by *spiritual stumbling stones* are to be left alone civilly, until they are

removed by the "church, family, or the providence of God." Even a civil

highway department couldn't be run on the bases of such principles, much

less a nation seeking to honor God. Could you image the traffic jam that

would occur on a busy mountain road, after a landslide (leaving massive

boulders on the highway), as people waited for the "church, family, or the

providence of God" to clear the way? This is a graphic picture of the

problem caused by civil antinomianism and the antiestablishmentarianistic

views of civil government held by many Christians today -- and we have

many detouring off the road to Zion (practically speaking) and on to the

highway to hell, along with multiple car collisions in ruined Christian

testimonies, to prove it. Hordes are held captive to the lusts that readily

available pornography feeds, when civil governments are commanded by

Scripture (rightly understood) to have long ago brought out the graders

and rock crushing equipment and to have removed such impediments

from the road. And this is not to say that externals will produce salvation

or righteous behavior, but the older Reformed writers all recognized the

value of (civilly) limiting the public expression of sin in every legitimate

way possible. But this aspect of the Reformed understanding of Scripture

has been largely ignored or forgotten in our day.

 

Others have also noted this antinomian streak of which we speak (e.g.

Kevin Reed, _The Antinomian Streak in the Reconstructionist Movement_

free on the web at:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/AntinomR.htm ),

particularly concerning offenses against the first four commandments (the

first table of the moral law). Every bit as tragic, however, have been their

opponents' insipid and equally antinomian criticisms. Indeed, we are

convinced that one of the greatest strengths of *modern* Theonomy is the

weakness and more blatant lawlessness (at least at a principial level) of

the majority of its critics.

 

Likewise lamentable has been Doug Wilson's insistence in claiming the

title, "Classical Protestant"; yet as we have briefly demonstrated he is

simply rehashing antinomian *Anabaptistic* principles. Similarly, other

Theonomists have mustered the alleged support of the Westminster

Confession (and other products of the Reformation), when in reality their

principles fly directly in the face of the biblical truths championed by the

best of our reformed forefathers. We believe much of this

misrepresentation has arisen from ignorance, for many of the compositions

of our covenanted forebears have laid buried for centuries. However, by

the abundant grace and lovingkindness of God many of these works are

again being made available to the general public. Thus, while we do not

denounce everything these brethren have asserted (for who could not be

roused by the invigorating return to God's law that some of them have so

eloquently proclaimed?) we do call upon them to beware of willful

ignorance (2 Pet. 3:5), and to reject the cockiness exemplified in Wilson's

one-liner dismissals of the true "classical Protestantism" of the

Westminster Divines and other reformers (Rom. 12:3). We also admonish

them to consider a verse often appealed to in their writings: "Whosoever

therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach

men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven."

 

We ourselves once zealously promoted many of the errors we now abhor

and testify against, so it is not a matter of who is superior: we are *all

desperately wicked*. We only ask that our brethren humble themselves

and admit their ignorance and errors, as we by God's grace have done, and

that in the meantime they do not rail against the truth they fail to

comprehend. May they also heed another sobering warning: "It is

impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom

they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his

neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little

ones" (Luke 17:1-2). Civil magistrates are to be the church's "nursing-

fathers, and their queens [her] nursing-mothers" (Isaiah 49:23), not the

protectors of her enemies.

 

A more extended treatment of this topic is well overdue, and perhaps this

essay will arouse such an edifying endeavor. In the meantime, we

encourage the reader *not* to be content with the evidence shown herein.

Rather, armed with an introduction to the true, *historical* theonomy held

by our reformed progenitors, and tasting of how their faithfulness to

Scripture would deliver us (as a body politic and as individuals) from

many of our society's temptations, let the reader obtain the *source

documents* of the Reformation for himself and enjoy a hearty spiritual

feast. In doing this he will certainly partake of Christ's wondrous gift to the

church: "And he gave . . . *pastors and teachers*, for the perfecting of the

saints, for the work of the *ministry*, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of

God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of

Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and

carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Eph. 4:11-14, emphases

added).

 

The following list presents some questions, aimed at the thoughtful reader,

which we believe will help demonstrate the absurdity of the modern

"Anabaptist" view of negative civil sanctions. When we speak of civil

punishments, we do not have anything particular in mind, for the type and

severity of punishment are other issues which need to be addressed

separately. But, once civil coercion is allowed in a given instance, outside of

an *explicit* negative civil sanction from God's Word (as in the biblical and

historical examples we have cited above), Wilson's "hyper-regulativism" as

applied to the state stands overthrown.

 

- Is the magistrate to punish a neighbor who inconsiderately and

obstinately plays his stereo (from his front porch) at 120 decibels (every

night of the week) from 3 to 5 A.M.? What if "Mr. Rock and Roll" decides to

do the same thing outside of an old folks home? A hospital? A church

"meeting house" on the Lord's day (at 11 A.M.)?

 

- Should those in favor of abortion be allowed to speak publicly in favor of

their views, or to print pro-abortion literature, or make pro-abortion

videos and music? Should they be punished for seeking to win others to

their view?

 

- Should medical establishments be free from civil punishment for training

abortionists?

 

- Should the civil magistrate allow triple X videos to be intermingled in the

children's section of the local video store? Should those who do such things

be liable to negative civil sanctions? What would you think of a father who

said that he doesn't agree that civil sanctions are lawful in such a case, and

though he would boycott such a store *personally*, and have his church

pray against them, he would also defend (in his magazine?) the *civil

right* of the store owner to pervert others who do not find (in their

reprobate minds) such public perversion to be offensive to them or their

children? This is an interesting question, as *modern* Theonomists often

denounce those who focus on *only* individual (or family) piety, to the

exclusion of civil matters -- and yet some of them exempt pornographers

from criminal penalties (which in effect makes them less reconstructionists

than some of the pietists who understand by "the law of nature and

nations" [as the old divines would say] that public pornography should be

suppressed by the civil magistrate).

 

- Should heroin, LSD, PCP, MDA, mescaline, peyote, pot, or other mind (and

spirit) altering drugs be legal and available at your local corner store? Does

the Bible explicitly mandate any civil restrictions on the *age of buyers* of

such poisons? Does the Bible explicitly mandate any civil restrictions on

the age of buyers of alcohol? Tobacco? Pornography?

 

- If a group of university students takes it upon themselves to block a

major interstate as some sort of protest (as happened a few years ago in

San Diego), should the magistrate use his coercive force to intervene, and

later punish these offenders in some way? Given Wilson's published

principles civilly defending pornographers, could there even be a law

making such behavior criminal?

 

- Can the police, as police (and not as private men) stop a crime at its

beginning, or even before it begins, or do they need to wait until it's been

committed to apply negative sanctions (even death to the criminal) against

the perpetrator (or would-be perpetrator)?

 

- Should terrorists be apprehended and proceeded against with sanctions

*before* they have detonated the bombs they are found to be

manufacturing? Which *explicit* biblical negative civil sanction deals with

bomb *making* (in and of itself)? Is there not much which a lawful civil

magistrate must determine, that is not explicitly stated in Scripture, in

order to rightly apply the *spirit of the law of God* in a case such as this?

 

- Should a teacher (in a public, private or home school) be punished for

positively *promoting* (not just exposing) homosexuality, atheism,

communism, Romanism, Islam, occultism, or even bestiality in the

classroom? What about for providing recipes for home-made

hallucinogenics (as one of my high school teachers did many years ago)?

For teaching evolution as a fact?

 

- Should a drunk driver be punished by the civil magistrate before he

actually hurts anyone?

 

- Should those flagrantly violating traffic laws be punished, though they

may not yet have hurt anyone or damaged property? Should there even be

traffic laws (or other safety standards applied to vehicles)?

 

- Should those wearing flagrantly immodest clothing in public (e.g. bikinis)

be prevented from doing so by the magistrate, and punished if they persist

in this sin? Should those running naked in public ("streaking") be subject

to civil sanctions?

 

- Should those making movies, songs or books promoting blatant error be

subject to civil sanctions?

 

- Should the civil government ever repress godless (and blasphemous) art

or music, and punish those producing and promoting such filth?

 

- Is the U.S. law mandating civil punishments for "conspiracy to violate an

international treaty" biblically legitimate (apart from the question of

whether or not the US in a duly constituted nation)? Does this depend on

which treaty is being violated (i.e. whether it is lawful or unlawful to begin

with)?

 

- Is it a crime in Scripture for one person to commit adultery, while, on the

other hand, promoting, counselling and encouraging millions to do so (as

pornographers do) is free from civil punishment?

 

- Is the public toleration of pornography, Romanism, abortion, Islam,

homosexuality, idolatry, the occult, atheism, etc. (all parts of the complex

moral person of Antichrist) one of the causes of God's wrath upon our

nations? Should all publicly know national or provincial causes of God's

wrath be dealt with by the civil magistrate?

 

- Are patent laws legitimate?

 

- Should cigarette companies, who knowingly deceived the public about

the health hazards of smoking, be liable to civil penalties?

 

- Are there explicit penal sanctions revealed in Scripture (without the use

lawful inferences) regarding medical malpractice (which does not result in

death)? For example, if the undisputed negligence of a doctor causes a

person to become a paraplegic, is the negligent doctor free from civil

liability?

 

- Would it be a crime for a company to produce a food containing traces of

peanut extract, and not alert their customers as to this ingredient, if they

knew that severe allergic reactions would seriously harm a small portion

of those who consume this product? What *explicit* Scripture deals with

this from the civil standpoint? Do we again have to rely on necessary and

lawful inferences, based on Scripture, to determine this case?

 

- Should avowed Satanists be allowed to homeschool their children?

Unitarians? Romanists?

 


10. APPENDIX C: LARRY BIRGER'S LARGER AND SHORTER "LETTERS TO THE EDITOR" OF _CREDENDA AGENDA_


 

September 13, 2010, 1996

 

Editor

Credenda/Agenda

P.O. Box 8741

Moscow, ID 83843

 

Dear Sir:

 

            It is with grieved indignation that I write you concerning your recent

piece (Vol. 8, No. 4) in "Cave of Adullam," concerning Reg Barrow, president

of Still Waters Revival Books. Therein you state that Barrow "hasn't read

Frame's new book on worship," and go on to lampoon him for the serious

charges he made about Frame on the "Knox-Ring" on-line forum. Your title,

"Great Experiments In Telepathy," and commentary, imply great

carelessness on Barrow's part -- and really, even worse things than this.

 

            In your concluding barb, you state that, "we have not read all Barrow's

comments on Frame, and that which we did read was not read very

carefully." In saying this you indicted yourselves, for had you read

carefully, you would have noted what Barrow actually said (and not what

you slanderously reported): "From the quotes that I have seen here [on

Knox Ring] and elsewhere taken from Frame's new book. . . ." From his

actual statement it is clear that Barrow had read at least some of Frame,

and was appraised of his views concerning worship.

 

            Barrow has earned a well-deserved reputation for his zealous

promotion of the best historic reformed teaching available today. You

have sullied this reputation, presenting to your readership a gross

caricature of Barrow's character and scholastic aptitude. Thus, I call upon

you to repent of this violation of the ninth commandment, which forbids

"all prejudicing the truth, and the good name of our neighbours. . . [and]

giving false evidence" (Westminster Larger Catechism, Q. 145). Should it

be asserted that Barrow was himself guilty of violating the ninth

commandment, inasmuch as he had not read all of Frame's book before

commenting that Calvin would have excommunicated Frame (and

therefore, that he made this serious charge recklessly), I obviate this by

noting two things. First, even if this were true, it is NOT what you printed;

and if this was indeed the concern -- that Barrow was too hasty -- you

should have printed something to THAT effect: NOT that he had not read

ANY of Frame's book. Second, had you printed something to this effect

(instead of your libel), it would still be to no avail. Having read Frame's

book myself (and please, don't misrepresent me as well on this point), I

submit that anyone with a basic knowledge of the classical reformed

doctrine of worship would not need to read much more than the

introduction to conclude that Frame has deviated egregiously from this

position. A further skimming (let alone thorough reading) of the book

bears this out, indicating that Barrow's allegation about how Calvin would

have responded to Frame was right on target. One does not need to read

all of the Koran to condemn it, and neither are more than a few quotations

(and for the record, Barrow had considered far more than simply a few)

from Frame's recent work necessary to demonstrate that he has

abandoned, and is attacking, the very regulative principle he claims to

uphold -- at least if we're judging by the teaching and practice of the

Westminster divines who so clearly enunciated it, and who Frame

disingenuously claims as his theological fathers.

 

            This leads me, in conclusion, to comment briefly upon Doug Wilson's

review of Frame's book in the latest issue of C/A. I have noted Wilson's

apparent fondness (e.g. in his response to Kevin Reed, concerning

separation) of such terms as 'classical Protestant' and 'reformed

evangelical', and his readiness to apply them to himself and his positions.

However, Wilson, in criticizing the "strict regulativists" as he does, shows

very clearly that he is not historically reformed in his doctrine of worship.

Indeed, he has set himself squarely against such classical Protestants as

Calvin, Knox, Rutherfurd, Gillespie, Henderson, Baillie, the Westminster

Assembly, the entire church of Scotland at the time of that Assembly, and

John Owen, to name only a few. This does not automatically mean that he

is wrong (for history is only a hand-maid, and not a mistress, to borrow

from Anthony Burgess), but it does mean that in keeping with biblical

candor, C/A ought to inform its readers that Wilson (and any on staff who

agree with him) are not 'classical Protestants' in their doctrine of the

worship of God.

 

For the cause of God and truth,

Larry Birger, Jr.

 

LARRY BIRGER'S SHORTENED LETTER:

 

Dear Doug,

 

Here is the edited version of my earlier letter to the editor. Hopefully it is

suitable now. I must say that it is virtually impossible to communicate

meaningfully and cogently any important idea in only 150 words. Such a

restriction, it seems to me, is well-suited to the sound byte format of your

magazine -- which I find very distasteful, and a hindrance to the

competent scholarship which alone can promote and defend the true faith

to the true edification of the saints. What was wrong with the _Antithesis_

format? It seemed much better suited to the ends of promoting 'classical

Protestantism'.

 

Please receive my criticism as a loving challenge from a concerned brother.

I am convinced that you are capable of far better than what you currently

publish, and I long to see you and the other writers use your talents to

best profit the scattered and confused church of Christ.

 

Yours in Christ,

 

Larry

 

------------------------------------------------------------

 

March 16, 1997

 

[Note: The following is a condensation of my previous letter concerning

Reg Barrow, which I was informed was too long for publication.]

 

Dear Sir:

 

            Reg Barrow's original piece said: "From the quotes that I have seen here

[on Knox Ring] and elsewhere taken from Frame's new book. . . ," clearly

indicating he had read **some** of Frame. One does not need to read all of

the Koran to condemn it publicly; likewise, a few quotes from Frame

readily show he has abandoned, and is attacking, the very regulative

principle he claims to uphold.

 

            You have sullied Barrow's reputation, presenting to your readership a

gross caricature of his character and scholastic aptitude; thereby violating

the ninth commandment, which forbids "all prejudicing the truth, and the

good name of our neighbours. . . [and] giving false evidence" (Westminster

Larger Catechism, Q. 145).

 

            Finally, your readers should note that Doug Wilson is not a'classical

Protestant' in his doctrine of worship. Indeed, he has set himself squarely

against such classical Protestants as Calvin, Knox, Rutherfurd, Gillespie,

Henderson, Baillie, the Westminster Assembly, the entire church of

Scotland at the time of that Assembly, and John Owen, to name only a few.

 

For Christ's Crown and Covenant,

Larry Birger, Jr.

 


11. APPENDIX D: THE TESTIMONY OF THE PURITAN REFORMED CHURCH OF EDMONTON REGARDING THIS MATTER


 

From the minutes of the March 4 (1997) Session meeting of the Puritan

Reformed Church of Edmonton:

 

OUR TESTIMONY AGAINST THE STAFF OF CREDENDA AGENDA:

 

We note in our public record that Mr. Reg Barrow has faithfully addressed

and answered the scandalous article published in Vol. 8 No. 4 of _Credenda

Agenda_ magazine entitled "Great Experiments in Telepathy." We note that

Doug Wilson, Doug Jones and Nathan Wilson have failed to repent of their

public violation of the ninth commandment and that Doug Wilson has

subsequently aggravated his sin by slandering the Puritan Reformed

Church of Edmonton, falsely and maliciously labelling us "anabaptists" and

"separatists" in his written correspondence. Since these men are outside

the jurisdiction of a lawful judicatory of Christ, we have no other recourse

than to publicly testify against their sinful obstinacy, by warning others to

mark them and avoid them.

 

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and

offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

(Romans 16:17-16, KJV).

 

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that

ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and

not after the tradition which he received of us. (2 Thessalonians 3:6, KJV).

 

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the

words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to

godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and

strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth,

supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. (1 Timothy

6:3-5, KJV).

 

A record of the false accusations of the above mentioned men and the

answers that were returned to them can be found in the book entitled

_Saul in the Cave of Adullam_ published by Still Waters Revival Books. An

answer to their false charge of Anabaptism can be found in the book

entitled _A Testimony Against The Unfounded Charges of Anabaptism_ by

Pastor Greg Price.

 

We will continue to pray that God will grant the above-named offenders

repentance, and bring us to a likemindedness in doctrine, worship and

government.

 


12. APPENDIX F: FOR FURTHER STUDY OF CLASSICAL PROTESTANTISM AND THE ATTAINMENTS OF THE SECOND REFORMATION


 

The NEW REFORMATION BOOKSHELF CD series (30 CDs) super sale is at:
http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/reformation-bookshelf-CDs.htm

PURITAN BOOKSHELF CD series (32 CDs) super sale at:
http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/puritan-bookshelf-CDs.htm

FREE etext sermons and books (by Calvin, Knox, Rutherford and other Covenanters) at:
http://www.swrb.com/newslett/newslett.htm

FREE audio sermons and books (by Calvin, Knox, Rutherford and other Covenanters) at:
http://www.sermonaudio.com/swrb

Much more on Doug Wilson's continued backsliding (since the debate above) can be found at:
http://www.swrb.com/newslett/FREEBOOK/DWilson.htm

 

CASSETTES FOR FURTHER STUDY

 

PRICE, GREG

Each CASSETTE listed below sells for $2.55 (US funds) each,

unless marked otherwise.

 

Terms of Communion: Covenants and Covenanting ($17.85, 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. Roberts, in his Reformed Presbyterian Catechism ($8.99), catches

the spirit of this tape set in the following question and answer: "Q. May we

not indulge the hope, that, in the goodness of our covenant God, and by the

promised outpouring of his Holy Spirit, 'the kingdoms of the world' at

large, and the British empire in particular, will dedicate themselves to God

in a covenant not to be forgotten - animated by the example of our

covenant fathers exhibited in these memorable deeds? A. Yes. We have the

most cheering grounds for this blessed hope; for it is written, that the

nations at large in the spirit of devoted loyalty, shall cry -- 'Come and let

us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be

forgotten': and it cannot be well doubted, that the death-cry of the

martyred Guthrie has been heard on high, and shall be verified -- 'The

covenants, the covenants, shall yet be Scotland's (and the world's -- RB)

reviving'" (p. 151). A thoroughly amazing set of tapes -- among our

best!

 

Terms of Communion: The Martyrs and Historic Testimony ($4.99, 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 Westminster Standards ($12.75, 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 confessions

(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 ($4.95, 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: The Practice of Truth ($2.55, 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."

 

Many of Greg Price's cassettes are available at: http://www.swrb.com/catalog/p.htm

Also see the free samples online at: http://www.sermonaudio.com/swrb

 

BOOKS FOR FURTHER STUDY

 

PURITAN REFORMED SESSION

A Brief Defence of Dissociation in the Present Circumstances

(1996)

This work explains why Christians should separate themselves from those

churches which deny biblical truth and its implications. It defends this

position using many Reformation source documents. Samuel

Rutherford has been especially misunderstood concerning separation.

Examples of misleading and seriously flawed presentations of Rutherford's

position on the church and separation have been seen in Walker's The

Theology and Theologians of Scotland 1560-1750, Bacon's The

Visible Church and Outer Darkness and a host of other works -- all of

which overlook foundational second Reformation truths set forth by

Rutherford and his follow Covenanters. This book clearly demonstrates,

from Rutherford's own actions and teaching (during the

Protester/Resolutioner controversy in the Scottish church), how far off

many previous works on this subject have been. One example given by the

Puritan Reformed elders exhibits Rutherford's (and the other Protesters)

stand regarding covenanting, close communion and separation,

 

In fact, the issue of faithfulness to the covenants actually

rent the Church of Scotland into two parties so that the Protesters declared

the Assemblies of the Resolutioners (the covenant-breaking party that

developed out of the Engagers) to be unconstitutional and pretended

Assemblies. The covenants were obvious terms of communion, for

Protesters and Resolutioners refused to meet in the same General

Assemblies together. Protesters did not recognize the unlawful courts of

the Resolutioner Assemblies and would not attend them when cited to

appear. Protesters were deposed from the ministry by Resolutioner

Assemblies when they refused to recognize their lawful authority to rule

on behalf of Christ.

 

It [the joint General Assembly of Protesters and

Resolutioners--PRC] met in St. Andrews on 16th July. . . . Rutherford, and other

twenty-one sympathisers, protested against the meeting as unconstitutional. . . .

There [later at Dundee, where the General Assembly of Protesters, who had

separated themselves from the Resolutioners, was now meeting--PRC], on 22nd

July [1651--PRC], Rutherford's cogent Protest declining the Assembly was read.

Balcarres [a Resolutioner--PRC] in vain demanded that the twenty-two absent Protesters

should be reported for civil punishment for their reflections on the

King, Parliament, and Church. The Assembly [of Resolutioners--PRC]

ordered Presbyteries to deal with them. It was ultimately

agreed to cite [James--PRC] Guthrie, Patrick Gillespie, James Simson, James

Naismith, and John Menzies. They did not compear [i.e.

appear at the Resolutioner assembly--PRC]. The [Resolutioner--PRC]

Assembly deposed Guthrie, Gillespie, and Simson, suspended

Naismith, and referred Menzies to the Commission.

 

After the meeting of the Assembly at St. Andrews, a work was

published entitled A Vindication of the Freedom and

Lawfulness of the late Assembly [by James Wood, a Resolutioner--PRC],

etc.

This was answered by The Nullity of the Pretended

Assembly at Saint Andrews and Dundee [signed by 40 Protesters

including Rutherford and Guthrie--PRC](Hewison, The Covenanters,

Vol. II, pp. 34,35, emphases added).

 

Separate Assemblies of Protesters and Resolutioners met in 1652 and in

1653 in Edinburgh. The Protesters declared the Assembly of the

Resolutioners in 1652 to be "unlawful, unfrie, and unjust" (Hewison, The

Covenanters, Vol. II, p. 43). It is worthy to be noted that the issue

between the Protesters and the Resolutioners did not deal at all with the

propriety of ministers and members of the Church of Scotland swearing

the covenants, but over the issue of faithfulness to the covenants. Both

sides upheld the obligation of ministers and members to own the

covenants. Furthermore, unfaithfulness to this term of communion (i.e.

faithfully maintaining the covenants) on the part of the Resolutioners led

the Protesters to separate from their brethren to avoid schism and in order

to maintain a truly constituted church. They would not serve with the

Resolutioners while they maintained different terms of communion,

neither would they serve them the Lord's Supper (e.g. Rutherford refused

to serve communion with Blair at St. Andrews; and on another occasion

Rutherford and Moncrieff debarred Resolutioners from the table at

Scoonie). Such actions can only be defended if the covenants were terms

of communion. Were the covenants biblical terms of communion? We

testify that they were and still are biblical terms of communion. To affirm

otherwise is in effect to charge the faithful covenanters (Protesters) of the

Second Reformation with sin and to undermine their covenanted

reformation and the biblical presbyterianism they taught and practiced.

 

The following excerpt gives a short synopsis of those truths which this

book seeks to vindicate. The elders of The Puritan Reformed Church write:

 

"Though it is not necessary that a truly constituted church

be absolutely pure as to the doctrine taught or embraced, as to the

ordinances administered, or the public worship performed, it is, however,

necessary that its constitution be founded upon and agreeable to the Word

of God and that its constitution reflect the light attained to by the purest of

Reformed Churches (for all reformation must be biblical reformation if it is

reformation at all, otherwise it is not a reformation but a deformation, cf.

Phil. 3:16). Wherefore, to adopt a constitution that corrupts the light of

Scripture or the light of reformation is to adopt a false constitution. A false

constitution renders a church and its courts unconstitutional. When the

Confession of Faith (25:4) speaks of degrees of purity among particular

churches within the "catholick church", we believe it designates degrees of

purity within truly constituted churches. For example, though the church

of Corinth was plagued with division, immorality, and false doctrine

promoted by some within the church (and therefore manifested a lesser

degree of purity than other truly constituted churches, cf. the church of

Smyrna in Rev. 2:8-11), it was, nevertheless, a truly constituted church for

it was constituted by apostolic authority (with apostolic doctrine, apostolic

worship, apostolic government, and apostolic discipline). Thus, for a

church to constitutionally adhere to Arminianism, Dispensationalism, or

Charismatic experientialism (false doctrine), singing uninspired hymns or

using instrumental music in public praise (false worship), Episcopacy or

Independency (false government), or unrestricted communion (false

discipline) is to qualify as a constitutionally false church. That is not to say

that there are no believers in churches that are not truly constituted (there

may be many in some cases). Nor is it to imply that ministers or elders

within those churches do not courageously stand for many truths taught in

Scripture. It is simply to say that authority to rule in the church must

come from Christ, and if a church does not have a constitution of which He

approves (as King of His church), then there is no lawful authority to rule

or to administer the ordinances on His behalf."

 

This book is the best short introduction to questions regarding the

visible church and separation which we list.

Available at http://www.swrb.com/catalog/p.htm

 

SYMINGTON, ANDREW, editor

Lectures on the Principles of the Second Reformation (1841)

Written by ministers of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland, this

book contains the following chapters: "Introductory Lecture on the

Principles of the Second Reformation" by Andrew Symington; "The

Headship of Christ Over His Church and Her Independent Jurisdiction" by

James Ferguson; "Evils, Constitutional and Practical, of the Prelactic

Establishment of the British Empire" by Thomas Nelson; "The Revolution

Settlement of the Church of Scotland: Its Provisions, in several Respects,

Inconsistent with the Approved Principles of the Second Reformation" by

John Graham; "Patronage Opposed to the Independence of the Church, and

to the Scriptural Rights of the Christian People" by W.H. Goold; "Headship of

Christ Over the Nations" by Andrew Symington; "Nature and Obligation of

Public Vows; with an Explanation and Defence of the British Covenants" by

William Symington; "The Sin and Danger of Union Between the Church of

Christ and an Immoral or Antichristian Civil Government" by Stewart

Bates; and "The Evil of Relaxed Discipline in the Church" by John Milwan.

472 pages, each chapter can also be purchased separately, except the

preface.

Available at http://www.swrb.com/catalog/s.htm

 

SHIELDS, ALEXANDER

A Hind Let Loose; or An Historical Representation of the Testimonies of

the Church of Scotland for the Interest of Christ with the True State thereof

in all its Periods. Together with a Vindication of the Present Testimony

Against Popish, Prelatical, and Malignant Enemies of that Church, as it is

now Stated, for the Prerogatives of Christ, Privileges of the Church, and

Liberties of Mankind; and Sealed by the Sufferings of a Reproached

Remnant of Presbyterians there, Witnessing Against the Corruptions of the

Time: Wherein Several Controversies of Greatest Consequence are Enquired

into, and in Some Measure Cleared; Concerning Hearing of the Curates,

Owning of the Present Tyranny, Taking of Ensnaring Oaths and Bonds,

Frequenting of Field-Meetings, Defensive Resistance of Tyrannical Violence,

with Several Other Subordinate Questions Useful for these Times (1687,

1797 edition)

First printed in 1687 (near the end of the "killing times"), we have used

the 1797 edition for this rare bound photocopy because all of the Latin has

been translated into English (an obvious improvement for English readers).

This rare Covenanter classic, concerning Calvinistic political philosophy and

tactics of civil resistance, is comparable to Samuel Rutherford's Lex, Rex; in

fact it could rightly be referred to as "Lex Rex volume two." It is solidly in

the line of John Knox's teachings on civil disobedience and addresses

numerous topics that are relevant to today's Christian. "In A Hind Let

Loose, Shields justified the Camerionian resistance to royal absolutism and

the divine right of kings. He argued that government is divinely ordained,

but the people are entitled to bring a king to judgement for wrongdoing.

Parliament is commissioned by the people to oversee the nation's affairs,

but the compact between the people and their rulers does not entail a

forfeiture of the people's power to depose tyrants and confer authority on

someone else. Government is by consent, and must justify itself to the

consciences of the people. God has given men the right of self defence, and

this extends to a a right not only passively to resist, but also to kill

relentless persecutors" writes Isbell (in the Dictionary of Scottish Church

History and Theology, p. 773). Controversial chapter titles include:

"Concerning Owning of Tyrants Authority;" "Defensive Arms Vindicated;"

"Of Extraordinary Execution of Judgement by Private Men;" and "Refusing

to Pay Wicked Taxation Vindicated." This book sets forth the Crown

rights of King Jesus, against all usurpers in both church and state, giving a

history of some of faithful sufferings endured by the elect, in maintaining

this truth. It bears testimony against "the popish, prelatical and malignant

enemies' of Christ and proclaims the only true basis of liberty for

mankind. "The matter is argued with a vast abundance of Biblical

illustration, and with much reference to Reformation and Puritan divines.

It should be consulted, if practicable, by all who wish fully to understand

the inner spirit of the Covenanting Movement," writes Purves in Fair

Sunshine (p. 202). Isbell interestingly notes that Shields was once

"amanuensis to the English Puritan John Owen." Over 750 pages, this very

rare item sells for from $250-$800 on the rare book market. Now you can

have it for much less!

Available at http://www.swrb.com/catalog/s.htm

 

REFORMED PRESBYTERY

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. Write for a sample of this highly

recommended publication at: P.O. Box 131, Pottstown, PA, 19464, USA).

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.

Available at http://www.swrb.com/catalog/r.htm

 

REFORMED PRESBYTERY

Auchensaugh Renovation of the National Covenant and Solemn League

and Covenant; with the Acknowledgement of Sins and Engagement to

Duties as they were Renewed at Auchensaugh in 1712... Also the

Renovation of These Public Federal Deeds Ordained at Philadelphia, Oct. 8,

1880, By the Reformed Presbytery, With Accommodation of the Original

Covenants, in Both Transactions, to their Times and Positions Respectively

(1880 ed.)

"In 1712, at Auchensaugh, the Covenants, National and Solemn League,

were renewed... At the renewal the covenant bonds were recognized as

binding the descendants of those who first entered into those bonds. The

Covenanters, however, sought to display the true intent of those Covenants

with marginal notes. These notes explained that the Church of Jesus Christ,

in Scotland (and around the world), must not join hands with any political

power in rebellion to the crown rights of King Jesus. The Covenanters

pledged the Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church to the support of

lawful magistracy (i.e. magistracy which conformed itself to the precepts of

God's Word) and declared themselves and their posterity against support

of any power, in Church or State, which lacked biblical authority." (From

"About the Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church" P.O. Box 131,

Pottstown, PA 19464). An excellent introduction (historical and moral)

regarding the reasons, motives and manner of fulfilling the duty of

covenanting with God. Especially helpful concerning the Biblical view of the

blessings (for covenant-keepers) and cursings (for covenant breakers)

related to covenanting. As noted on page 37, "the godly usually in times of

great defection from the purity and power of religion, and corruption of

the ordinances of God's worship, set about renewing their covenant,

thereby to prevent covenant curses, and procure covenant blessing; as we

find both in scripture record, 2 Chron. 15:12-13; 29:10; 34:30-31; Ezra

10:3, and in our own ecclesiastical history." Times like ours certainly call

for a revival of the Scriptural ordinance of covenanting, for "[t]he nations

throughout Christendom, continue in league with Antichrist and give their

strength to the beast. They still refuse to profess and defend the true

religion in doctrine, worship, government and discipline, contrary to the

example of the kingdoms of Scotland, England and Ireland in the

seventeenth century" (p. 136 in this book).

Available at http://www.swrb.com/catalog/r.htm

 

REFORMED PRESBYTERY

A Short Vindication of our Covenanted Reformation (1879)

Until the church comes to terms with what is written in this book it will

remain weak and divided. Covenant breakers will not prosper, as this rare

item demonstrates from both Scripture and history. The power packed

ordinance of covenanting, (the National and Solemn League and Covenant

in particular), was foundational to the second Reformation and the work of

the Westminster Assembly. "By the National Covenant our fathers laid

Popery prostrate. By the Solemn League and Covenant they were

successful in resisting prelatic encroachments and civil tyranny. By it they

were enabled to achieve the Second Reformation... They were setting up

landmarks by which the location and limits of the city of God will be

known at the dawn of the millennial day... How can they be said to go forth

by the footsteps of the flock, who have declined from the attainments,

renounced the covenants and contradicted the testimony of 'the cloud of

witnesses."...All the schisms (separations) that disfigure the body mystical

of Christ... are the legitimate consequences of the abandonment of

reformation attainments, the violation of covenant engagements." If you

are interested in knowing how to recognize a faithful church (or state),

when and why to separate from unfaithful institutions, who has held up

the standard of covenanted Reformation attainments and who has

backslidden (and why), what it means to subscribe to the Westminster

Confession (and why most that say they do so today do not have any idea

of what that means), and much more concerning individual, family, church

and civil duties, this is one of the best books you will ever lay your hands

on. It chronicles "some instances of worldly conformity and mark(s) some

steps of defection from our 'covenanted unity and uniformity,' " noting

how "it is necessary to take a retrospect of our history for many years; for

we did not all at once reach our present condition of sinful ignorance and

manifold apostasy." Presbyterian and the Reformed churches lay under the

heavy hand of God's judgement in our day, because of the very defections

noted throughout this fine work. "We heard (hear) from various quarters

the cry, 'maintain the truth, stand up for the principles of the Second

Reformation;' and yet many of those who are the most loud in uttering this

cry, appear desirous to bury in oblivion those imperishable national and

ecclesiastical deeds, by which the church and kingdom of Scotland became

'married to the Lord.'" Are we married to the Lord, or have we thrown off

the covenants of our forefathers; are we the chaste bride of Christ, or a

harlot who is found in the bedchambers of every devilish suitor (whether

ecclesiastical or civil) who tempts us with the favors of this world? Let us

cry out, as with "the noble Marquis of Argyle, upon the scaffold," when he

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." Not for the weak of heart.

Available at http://www.swrb.com/catalog/r.htm

 

ROBERTS, WILLIAM L.

The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism (1853)

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).

Available at http://www.swrb.com/catalog/r.htm

 

RUTHERFORD, SAMUEL

A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience (1649

edition.)

Rutherford's Free Disputation, though scarce, is still one of his most

important works – with maybe only a few copies of the actual book left in

existence. Though Rutherford is affectionately remembered in our day for

his Letters, or for laying the foundations of constitutional

government (against the divine right of kings) in his unsurpassed Lex

Rex, his Free Disputation should not be overlooked – for it

contains the same searing insights as Lex Rex. In fact, this book

should probably be known as Rutherford's "politically incorrect"

companion volume to Lex Rex. A sort of sequel aimed at driving

pluralists and antinomians insane. Written against "the Belgick Arminians,

Socinians, and other Authors contending for lawlesse liberty, or licentious

Tolerations of Sects and Heresies," Rutherford explains the undiluted

Biblical solution to moral relativism, especially as it is expressed in

ecclesiastical and civil pluralism! (Corporate pluralism being a violation of

the first commandment and an affront to the holy God of Scripture). He

also deals with conscience, toleration, penology (punishment), and the

judicial laws, as related to both the civil and ecclesiastical realms. Excellent

sections are also included which address questions related to determining

the fundamentals of religion, how covenants bind us, the perpetual

obligation of social covenants (with direct application to the Solemn League

and Covenant and the covenant-breaking of Cromwell and his sectarian

supporters), whether the punishing of seducing teachers be persecution of

conscience, and much more. Walker adds these comments and context

regarding Rutherford's Free Disputation, "The principle of toleration

was beginning to be broached in England, and in a modified shape to find

acceptance there. Samuel Rutherford was alarmed, or rather, I should say,

he was horrified, for he neither feared the face of man or argument. He

rushed to the rescue of the good old view... It is not so easy to find a

theoretical ground for toleration; and Rutherford has many plausible things

to say against it. With the most perfect confidence, he argues that it is alike

against Scripture and common sense that you should have two religions

side by side. It is outrageous ecclesiastically, it is sinful civilly. He does not,

however, take what I call the essentially persecuting ground. He does not

hold that the magistrate is to punish religion as religion. Nay, he strongly

maintains that the civil magistrate never aims at the conscience. The

magistrate, he urges, does not send anyone, whether a heretic (who is a

soul murderer--RB) or a murderer, to the scaffold with the idea of

producing conversion or other spiritual result, but to strengthen the

foundations of civil order. But if he gives so much power to the king, he is

no lover of despotism withal: the king himself must be under law. To

vindicate this great doctrine is the object of another book, the celebrated

Lex Rex; of which it has been said by one competent to judge, that it

first clearly developed the constitutionalism which all men now accept"

(Theology and Theologians..., pp. 11-12). In our day Francis

Schaeffer, and numerous others, have critiqued many of the problems

found in modern society, but most have spent little time developing

explicitly Biblical solutions – especially regarding the theoretical

foundations that Rutherford addresses here. Rutherford's Free

Disputation provides a detailed blueprint for laying the foundations

that must be laid before any lasting, God-honoring solutions will be found.

Furthermore, Rutherford and his writings were the enemies of all

governments not covenanted with Christ. This book will give you a very

clear picture as to why "the beast" (civil and ecclesiastical) has reserved

his special hatred for such teaching. As Samuel Wylie noted "[t]he dispute,

then, will not turn upon the point whether religion should be civilly

established... but it is concerning what religion ought to be civilly

established and protected, -- whether the religion of Jesus alone should be

countenanced by civil authority, or every blasphemous, heretical, and

idolatrous abomination which the subtle malignity of the old serpent and a

heart deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, can frame and

devise, should be put on an equal footing therewith" (Two Sons of Oil: or,

The Faithful Witness For Magistracy and Ministry Upon a Scriptural

Basis, softcover). Can our generation swallow Rutherford's hard, anti-

pluralistic, Covenanter medicine, poured forth from the bottle of the first

commandment, without choking on their carnal dreams of a free and

righteous society divorced from God (and His absolute claims upon

everyone and everything)? Not without the enabling power of the Holy

Spirit -- that is for sure! In summary, this book answers all the hardest

questions theonomists (and their wisest and best opponents) have been

asking for the last 20-30 years (and these answers are much more in

depth than any we have seen in the last couple of millennia [less about a

century to account for the apostles]). As the reader will discover,

Rutherford was a wealthy man when it came to wisdom (and much

advanced theologically), and those who take the time to gaze into the

King's treasure house, as exhibited in this book, will find that they are

greatly rewarded. Furthermore, because of its uncompromising stand upon

the Word of God, this book is sure to be unpopular among a wicked and

adulterous generation. However, on the other hand, it is sure to be popular

among the covenanted servants of King Jesus! This is one of the best books

(in the top five anyway) for advanced study of the Christian faith. We have

now obtained an easy-to-read, amazingly clear copy of this very rare, old

treasure. Great price too, considering that a copy of the 1649 edition,

containing this quality of print, would likely cost upwards of $1000 on the

rare book market -- though it is unlikely you would ever see a copy for

sale!

Available at http://www.swrb.com/catalog/r.htm

 

ANDERSON, JOHN

Alexander and Rufus; or a Series of Dialogues on Church Communion, in

Two Parts. Part 1: Vindication of Scriptural Church Communion in

Opposition to Latitudinarian Schemes. Part 2: Defence of the Communion

Maintained in the Secession Church. (1862)

Anderson does an excellent job concerning: Calvin's plan for promoting a

union among the churches (p. 151ff.); the place of confessions and

confessional subscription (pp. 85, 179); covenanting (pp. 358-384);

separation (pp. 92, 132); worship (pp. 10-13, 87, 107, 142, 155, 161-164,

456ff., etc.); the marks of the church (p. 132ff.); uniformity (pp. 7, 103,

168, 205); the Westminster Assembly (p. 169ff); the Dutch views (p. 158f.);

distinctions between essentials and non-essentials (p. 168); the so-called

"glorious revolution" of 1688 (p. 263); the French Reformed churches (p.

156); the covenanted Reformation (p. 253); discipline (p. 103); attainments

(pp. 11, 93, 137, 162ff., 206, etc.); the government of the church (p. 123);

the so-called "Apostle's creed" (pp. 100-104); the Belgic Confession (pp.

135-138); councils in the ancient church (p. 104); the Donatists (p. 112);

the forsaking of sin, false doctrine, and false teachers (pp. 92, 132);

occasional hearing (p. 83); Owen against open communion (p. 207);

sectarianism (p. 92); and much, much more. On the topic of church and

sacramental communion you are unlikely to find many other books with as

much solid information. Recommended for advanced study. Indexed,

518 pages.

Available at http://www.swrb.com/catalog/a.htm

 

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