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.
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 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…
This is a list of my top (i.e. favorite) posts from the past year. This list is most helpful for me to look back later to see what captured my attention during 2019.
- What’s the purpose of benedictions? In this post I examine the biblical basis and liturgical purpose of benedictions.
- I started a four-part series on confessional renewal in my own denomination. Only the first installment was published, but I intend to post the remaining portions sometime early this year. I also added a followup to this first installment which elaborates on my philosophy of essential doctrines.
- This post is a critique of the biblical warrant for episcopal polity, and provides a presbyterian perspective. I plan to return to this subject and explain the biblical warrant for the office of ruling elder…some day.
- One of my few ventures into political commentary, in April I argued that Pete Buttigieg’s candidacy was going to expose evangelical hypocrisy and put social conservatives in a bind. I had hoped that prominent Christians would take a more explicitly pragmatic approach to politics instead of claims to moral virtue, but unfortunately developments over the last eight months have not been encouraging.
- A topic to which I often return is the subject of biblical translation and ministry. I did so again this year on the closed circle nature of biblical translation and the account of Jephthah and his daughter in Judges 11. Ministers need to know Greek and Hebrew.