Lord’s Day Schedule‚Ä°

  • Sabbath School—9:45 a.m.
  • Morning Worship—10:45 a.m.
  • Afternoon Worship—2:00 p.m.
  • ‡ Regular schedule temporarily suspended.

Confessing the Reformed Faith

D.G. Hart comments on John Frame’s critique of R. Scott Clark’s book Recovering the Reformed Confessions. Hart’s comments and the ensuing discussion are very worthwhile reading. Here is a sampling.

The review reveals a very interesting difference between Clark and Frame on the Reformed tradition. For Clark, the Reformed faith has an objective standard, found in the churches’ creeds and confessions. He concedes diversity as the churches emerged in such diverse settings as Scotland and Transylvania. But Clark (like me) finds these confessions the best way to understand what Reformed Protestantism stood for, while also providing a good deal of uniformity on what it means to be Reformed.

Frame, however, thinks this is a narrow way of understanding the Reformed tradition and suggests an alternative: “I think it better to regard anyone as Reformed who is a member in good standing of a Reformed church. I realize there is some ambiguity here, for we must then ask, what is a really Reformed church? Different people will give different answers. But, as I said above, I don’t think that the definition has to be, or can be, absolutely precise. The concept, frankly, has ‘fuzzy boundaries,’ as some linguists and philosophers say.”

And from the comments….

First, the confession is the theology that the church confesses. By Frame’s account, the churches theology is whatever anyone who belongs to a Reformed church professes. On Frame’s view, there is not constitutional confession. It is simply the voice of the people.

This is akin to the way the Courts have read the Constitution since WWII. If a church or nation wants to amend its law, then it still needs to enforce and live by those laws. What I see in Frame’s account is lawlessness. I mean, preference — his word.

Plus, let’s not forget that the people responsible for those amendments in the 1910s and 1920s where progressives, who were overwhelmingly liberal Protestants, who also amended the Confession of Faith in 1903. In both cases they didn’t like what they had in the original documents and changed them. There is a measure of honesty in that, except that both sides unleashed theological and legal traditions what “make things up” as they go.

I’m not sure why any conservative, whether Presbyteiran or American, would want to stand on that side of the debate.

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