Monday, January 29, 2007

"Slipping in the Back Door"
(Some Random Thoughts on the Siouxland Presbytery Report)




The Siouxlands Presbytery of the PCA recently adopted a report by a study committee it had erected to deal with the so-called New Perspective on Paul, the so-called Federal Vision and Norman Shepherd's theology. Now, whether or not I agree with (all of some of) its findings is besides the point. The point of this post is to highlight a few random thoughts.


1. At a time when a lot ministers in the PCA are becoming increasingly frustrated with the denomination's current trajectory--a trajectory that is anti-ecumenical and increasingly uncharitable--and a few churches have withdrawn from the denomination, I'm thankful that the PCA is the kind of place that allows each presbytery the freedom to decide matters like these on their own. Moreover, the Siouxlands Presbytery document carries little if no weight in other presbyteries and in the denomination as a whole (thankfully!).

2. The document itself is far from nuanced. The conclusion reads: "The proponents of these views are outside the system of doctrine of the Westminster standards and do contradict the Scriptural teaching."

Therefore...

3. I believe that the good majority of people who are gearing up to fight this particular battle also support (or have supported) strict subscription to the Westminster Standards in the denomination. Therefore, it's another way of getting at the issue of strict subscription adherence (or the need for strict subscription adherence) to the Standards. In other words, I believe that the argument for strict subscription adherence to the Standards is trying to slip into the back door and has found a way to piggyback itself on this issue.

5 comments:

Lane Keister said...

Hey, Matt, it's good to catch up with you. Lane Keister here, one of the authors of the report.

I agree that the issue of subscription is a key issue in this debate. It is my opinion that the PCA is getting too big for itself, in the sense that we have loads of people in it whose theology completely contradicts other people's theology in the same denomination. Wouldn't you agree that this is a problem? I already know that you like N.T. Wright, and that you think he's right. I like a lot of what he's written myself. I think he's dead wrong on justification, and that what he says is a complete repudiation of the Reformation's teaching on the doctrine. See my article here for detailed refutation of WSPRS:

http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2007/01/29/study-committee-report-supporting-document-2/

We certainly were not aiming for nuance in the sense of a detailed critical report of what each of these men in the NPP and FV say. That was not our intention. To do so would have been to duplicate the many fine reports out there which are already on offer, some of which are quite extensive (the OPC report, for one). Our intention was to close the door on these aberrant theologies.

Matthew Paul Buccheri said...

Good to hear from you too old dormmate! As for the committee's findings: Not even Nicea had the balls to declare heretics in its statement...

Lane Keister said...

Matthew, that didn't really answer my queries.

Furthermore, by filing this under the category of "stupidity," is that supposed to reflect the level of intelligence you feel has been revealed in the report? More than that, do you feel that stupidity can be therefore charged to its authors? I'm not sure you would be saying the same things if you were face to face with me rather than on the internet, Matthew.

Matthew Paul Buccheri said...

I don't know of a charge in presbyterian circles called "stupidity." What is stupid, however, is what this current debate is turning into (take that for what it's worth)!

Lee said...

As a minister of a different Reformed denomination, I find it funny that you think the PCA is heading down a non-ecumencial direction. You guys send out letters asking the RCUS (and I am sure other denominations) to join and merge with you every year. Since we do not even use the Westminster I find it hard to think the PCA is not pursuing an ecumenical direction.