Schism and Confessionalism
“And to stay in one’s own church despite much impurity in doctrine and life is our duty as long as it does not prevent us from being faithful to our own confession and does not force us, even indirectly, to…
An 11th Way Pastors Can Encourage Church Attendance
The Gospel Coalition published an article by Baptist pastor Phil Newton called “10 Ways Pastors Can Encourage Church Attendance.” Take one guess which reason fails to make the cut.
The word “sabbath” never even appears in the article, much less the biblical idea that perhaps pastors can encourage church attendance by teaching that it is a Christian duty.
WSC 60: How is the sabbath to be sanctified? The sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days; and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship, except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.
I know that TGC is an ecumenical organization, but where are its Presbyterians on this?
Conservatism is a Love of Home as Somewhere
From him most of all I took my own idea of what conservatism is, the attempt to preserve or recover a home in this world — a place of consolation, a sanctified somewhere that connects us to the dead, the unborn, and our neighbors through love, memory, and sacrifice. A place that belongs to us and implants in us a longing for the true home that can never be destroyed by storms, war, neglect, or the encroachment of speculative exurban developers who want to replace our homes with parking lots and Panera Bread. We put in our labors to preserve freedom, decency, and culture, so that our children receive this somewhere as a place prepared for me by my father.
From Michael Brendan Dougherty’s memorial to Richard Scrunton.
Westminster and Gay Christianity’s Side B
In my first post I critiqued the Nashville Statement for areas in which it conflicted with the Westminster Standards, particularly in its understanding of sin. In this post I want to engage with gay Christianity’s Side B. This post assumes the spadework of the previous installment. Side B is the belief that the only valid sexual practice other than celibacy is between man and wife in marriage, but that you can retain a gay identity without practicing homosexuality. This is in contrast to Side A, which approves of homosexuality as a valid, Christian, sexual expression. Side B is associated with the Revoice Conference and the Spiritual Friendship movement.
I think there is much to commend about Side B, but do think it falls short of the biblical standard in multiple areas. This can be difficult to pin down since this movement crosses denominational lines and is more of an ethos than an institution or statement. Nevertheless, there are some common features of the movement that do not comport with the Westminster Confession and Catechisms…
The Westminster Standards and the Nashville Statement
The first installment in this series will examine the compatibility of the Nashville Statement on Human Sexuality with the Westminster Confession and Catechisms. One of the criticisms of the Nashville Statement was its production by a parachurch organization rather than a church. However, with the endorsement of the Nashville Statement this past summer by the PCA this criticism has been rendered moot. While I am not a member of the PCA, my own EPC shares with it the same confessional standards. So, it was with great interest that I watched a Reformed and Westminsterian sister-church declare the Nashville Statement to be biblically faithful. Both the PCA and EPC require that their officers vow that they “sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and Catechisms of this Church as containing the system of doctrine found in the scripture.” The Westminster Confession and Catechisms are not the final word on scripture’s teaching, nor are they the final word on the subject matter to which they expressly speak. However, what can be inferred from this vow is that for any additional doctrinal statement to be considered biblically faithful it must be compatible with the Westminster Confession and Catechisms. The PCA asserting that the Nashville Statement is biblically faithful is not the same thing as the Nashville Statement actually being biblically faithful, and the best tool to ascertain its biblical fidelity is its compatibility with the Westminster Confession and Catechisms…