There is something healthy about returning to one’s roots. When it comes to evangelical Christianity, its roots are found in the soil of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation.

Questions about reform theology

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  • Questions about reform theology

    Not being good a making small talk i will spit out a few negative thoughts in this thread...

    My questions sorta center around the cold hatefulness i have found in family members that are Presbyterian .. Could be they are an off shoot ... just a small clique

    To start wiht they contend they alone are saved and if you are saved you will be come Presbyterian ... your thoughts


  • #2
    Originally posted by reba View Post
    Not being good a making small talk i will spit out a few negative thoughts in this thread...

    My questions sorta center around the cold hatefulness i have found in family members that are Presbyterian .. Could be they are an off shoot ... just a small clique

    To start wiht they contend they alone are saved and if you are saved you will be come Presbyterian ... your thoughts
    I haven't ever run into that Reba. I'd be interested in knowing which Presbyterian church they belong. I'll actually go out on a limb, and suggest that I have never encountered a wolf in sheep's clothing among Reformed members. Not like the Charismatic movement, Oneness Pentecostals ect.

    Presbyterian actually refers to our church government - Presbyterian. It is possible to be Presbyterian and not Reformed, for example, the PCUSA has no resemblance to Reformed/Presbyterian denominations.

    In the Presbyterian and Reformed churches, this form of church government is commonly described as "Elder-run" or "Presbyter-run":

    From Theopedia

    Typically, original authority--that is the authority that the church believes Christ gave to it--is said to reside at the local elder level in this model of polity. Thus the "highest" authority in a presbyterian or reformed church (after Christ) is said to be the Elders of the church. Those elders are typically elected by the congregation on a periodic basis (usually a term lasts about 3 years). Sometimes elders are elected by the drawing of lots.

    Those who are elected to office serve their terms as the spiritual/theological/moral/visionary leaders of the congregation. They also then participate in the governance of the regional body of churches (sometimes called a "classis") by sending delegates to a classis meeting on a regular basis. The "classical" level of church governance, in the presbyterian model, is not a higher authority, but rather is seen as a "delegated" authority--one that only derives it's power from the acquiescence of the Elders at the local level.

    In a similar manner, Classis will send a select number of delegates to a still broader body of authority, sometimes called a Synod. The Synod will meet regularly (yearly, for example) to discuss major issues of theology and practice facing the whole denomination. Synod too, however, does not have a "higher" authority, except insofar as its "delegated" authority is accepted by classes and local Elders.

    In this structure it is important to note as well that the "Reverend" or "Minister of the Word and Sacrament"--the Pastor--is recognized essentially as one of the Elders with a specialized role. The Pastor in this model of governance does not have special authority beyond that of the Elders, except insofar as, due to their role and training, they are recognized to be "expert" in the spiritual and theological life of the local congregation.
    Basically, you're familiar with the Presbyterian government if you're American. Our American forefathers framed the American Government with all the Presbyterian checks and balances.

    As for True Reformed/Presbyterian Soteriology - I'd like to point you to an article as to what Reformed means: What is Reformed Christian Theology? -Christforums

    A generalization: Reformed/Presbyterian adheres to the Five Solas (Lutheran) and the TULIP which is taught through Calvinism (John Calvin). Reformed/Presbyterians are also Ecumenical Creedal and Confessional (Westminster).

    God bless,
    William
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    • #3
      The questions i have hit very close to home My XD-i-L and 3 grown grandkids... I could well have name mixed up ... One child chose to live with her dad she was shunned age about 15 .. I am very thankful the kids are not in the drug world they do love the Lord but they lack much grace...
      Comment>

      • #4
        Originally posted by reba View Post
        The questions i have hit very close to home My XD-i-L and 3 grown grandkids... I could well have name mixed up ... One child chose to live with her dad she was shunned age about 15 .. I am very thankful the kids are not in the drug world they do love the Lord but they lack much grace...
        Reformed churches are very disciplined Reba. It is possible that those "members" and I am not referring to "attendees" are excommunicated if unrepentant. They would know though, because every effort has been made to bring them to repentance. I have never witnessed this myself, but there are some that go before a "trial" before excommunication. The whole purpose of excommunication is to bring someone back to repentance and official good standing in the church. Excommunicated members lose such privileges as voting though they are welcome to attend the church. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, for example, disciplines its members both in life and doctrine. Members are expected to evangelize with true and correct doctrine. We would not allow an Arminian as another example to become a member of the Reformed/Presbyterian church.

        To become a member at a Reformed church, usually entails quite a process. If that's what you mean, then I suppose from an outsider that is used to altar calls or a one time sinners prayer, that could be their observation.

        I would never expect someone battling with drug addiction to be excommunicated, however, I would, like you, expect loved ones or family and brethren to demonstrate much grace to them.

        Personally speaking, Reba, I battled a 15 year meth addiction, but I have been free from what I call "the devils drug" now for 6 years. I received nothing but congregational support and superb leaders from the pulpit in my case, though I remained repentant and struggling with my sin for so long.

        God bless,
        William
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        • #5
          From your replies she may be caught up in fringe deal.. I will have more to ask..

          Added: Praise God for the deliverance .. as a family we know meth..
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          • #6
            Originally posted by reba View Post
            The questions i have hit very close to home My XD-i-L and 3 grown grandkids... I could well have name mixed up ... One child chose to live with her dad she was shunned age about 15 .. I am very thankful the kids are not in the drug world they do love the Lord but they lack much grace...
            Reba,

            And by the way, not knowing the details, I can't imagine why family would shun one child when the child chose to live with one parent (custodian). Especially considering there was a divorce. Unfortunately divorce exists in a fallen world.

            God bless,
            William
            Comment>

            • #7
              Originally posted by reba View Post
              To start with they contend they alone are saved and if you are saved you will be come Presbyterian ... your thoughts
              They are right ... [Just kidding] ;)
              Somewhere in Proverbs God warned me that everyone thinks that they are right [there it is, Proverbs 21:2 ]. That was good advice that saved me from a lot of unpleasant surprises.
              So on a basic level, who doesn't think their interpretation of the Bible is the best and their church is the one everyone should attend?

              Then comes empathy and maturity. Either you are born with some ability to feel for other people and tread a little lighter than the bull in a china shop that we are by instinct (or not), or we eventually smarten up enough and stop trampling all over people by accident and dealing with the consequences later (or not). As a Pentecostal Church attendee, I get to hear 'grow where you are planted' a lot. The reality is that some flowers seem to just rot in their pots. [shrug] That's just the way that it is.

              Reformed Churches work really hard (as a general rule) at trying to avoid 'how you feel' and focusing on 'what the Bible says'. I admire that. The up side is that they tend to get most of God's truths more right than wrong (not just because I say so, but their beliefs stand the test of time and the winds of fads). The down side is that it places a lot of pressure on believers to defend the truth against a world that wants to say 'you have your truth and I have mine' ... and it is illegal to slap them until they come to their senses. So the combination of immaturity, pride in your beliefs and a call to defend truth can attract some pretty hard legalistic 'believers' and some bulls in a china shop zealots with good intentions.

              You could have run into victims of any of the potential Reformed pitfalls ... they just happened to choose the Presbyterian Church.

              Just for the sake of argument, imagine a 'what if' that they are correct about all of the secondary issues like baptizing babies and who should be allowed to teach Sunday school, the rapture, etc. but mistaken in their belief that you need to be right on all of these issues to be saved. Can you see how they might be wound a little too tight in their attitude about getting saved? They are right about so much. They know those who disagree are wrong about so much. They fear that anyone who disagrees may be in danger of damnation. It is a flawed view, but it is a view that appears as malice but is not actually born from a desire to hurt, but rather a desire to help.

              I don't know if this applies to YOUR family or not, I just know people like this. People who do the wrong thing for the right reasons. Since it took me a long time to stop being a complete bull in a china shop (ask William, I still have some work in that area) I can hardly deny them the grace and patience that God has had with me.

              Arthur Pollard
              (Reformed Baptist worshiping at a Pentecostal Church)
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              • #8
                Generally speaking.. as a group are RP anti USA government?
                believing the founding fathers went against Rom 13 when USA was established. so the USA is not lawful
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by reba View Post
                  Generally speaking.. as a group are RP anti USA government?
                  believing the founding fathers went against Rom 13 when USA was established. so the USA is not lawful
                  Wow, you are a trouble maker.
                  I like you. :)

                  ... while I go read Romans 13, what is an RP? Reformed Presbyterian?
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                  • #10
                    OK, I'm back.
                    Was Moses guilty of violating the principles of Romans 13 ... or is that only applicable to the New Covenant?
                    For that matter, is opposing the antichrist a violation of Romans 13? God will have allowed him to rise to power.
                    Since no argument is complete until it mentions the Nazis, should we be criticizing the work of Corrie Ten Boon and Dietrich Bonhoeffer? Hitler was the authority over them. :)

                    I'll let William answer for the Presbyterian Church.
                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Originally posted by atpollard View Post
                      OK, I'm back. Was Moses guilty of violating the principles of Romans 13 ... or is that only applicable to the New Covenant?
                      For that matter, is opposing the antichrist a violation of Romans 13? God will have allowed him to rise to power.
                      Since no argument is complete until it mentions the Nazis, should we be criticizing the work of Corrie Ten Boon and Dietrich Bonhoeffer? Hitler was the authority over them.
                      Excellent point. So the question is, should believers (or anyone for that matter) obey the government under any and all circumstances? Is that what Rom. 13 really teaches? When brought before the Sanhedrin and ordered to stop in Acts 5, Peter said "We must obey God rather than men."
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                      • #12
                        Very sadly what i am learning is my lovely D-i-L is in an off shoot ... That beautiful little girl in the trash can,,, {That is fun story} :) is 27 and still lives at home only allowed to date some on from that church group... A lot about that is great... There is a extremely strong belief is the quiver full ideal ....

                        This is a lot of persona stuff.
                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          Originally posted by atpollard View Post

                          Wow, you are a trouble maker.
                          I like you. :)

                          ... while I go read Romans 13, what is an RP? Reformed Presbyterian?
                          I am a preacher's kid we are know for trouble.:)

                          Kinda nice to post without first thinking youi are staff so watch it.. :)
                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            Originally posted by reba View Post
                            Generally speaking.. as a group are RP anti USA government?
                            believing the founding fathers went against Rom 13 when USA was established. so the USA is not lawful
                            Why would they be against what they helped frame, Reba? I can see how "some" people could view us as such, that is, as anti-governmental. It really comes down to whose side someone was/or is on. Presbyterians, above all, were responsible for convincing the colonists to revolt even though, prior to the war, about forty percent of the population was pro-British.

                            From the English perspective, the American revolution was often perceived as a “Presbyterian Rebellion.” And its supporters were often disdained as “those blasted Presbyterians.” Those Blasted Presbyterians: Reflections on Independence Day -Christforums

                            "Whatever the cause, the Calvinists were the only fighting Protestants. It was they whose faith gave them courage to stand up for the Reformation. In England, Scotland, France, Holland, they, and they only, did the work, and but for them the Reformation would have been crushed... If it had not been for Calvinists, Huguenots, Puritans, and whatever you like to call them, the Pope and Philip would have won, and we should either be Papists or Socialists." ~ Sir John Skelton
                            2/3rds of the soldiers that died on the battle fields of America's Revolutionary War were Calvinist. An estimated three million people lived in the colonies at the time of the Revolutionary War. Of that number, “900,00 were of Scotch or Scotch-Irish origin, 600,000 were Puritan English, while over 400,000 were of Dutch, German Reformed and Huguenot descent. That is to say, two thirds of our Revolutionary forefathers were trained in the school of Calvin.” (Carlson, p. 19)


                            Further Sources:

                            "[Calvinists] are the true heroes of England. They founded England, in spite of the corruption of the Stuarts, by the exercise of duty, by the practice of justice, by obstinate toil, by vindication of right, by resistance to oppression, by the conquest of liberty, by the repression of vice. They founded Scotland; they founded the United States; at this day they are, by their descendants, founding Australia and colonizing the world." ~ French atheist Hippolyte Taine (1828 to 1893)

                            "Calvinism has been the chief source of republican government." ~ Lorraine Boettner

                            "In Calvinism lies the origin and guarantee of our constitutional liberties." ~ Goren van Prinsterer

                            Historian George Bancroft called Calvin "the father of America," and added, "He who will not honor the memory and respect the influence of Calvin knows but little of the origin of American liberty."

                            "John Calvin was the virtual founder of America." ~ German historian Leopold von Ranke

                            "The Revolution of 1776, so far as it was affected by religion, was a Presbyterian measure. It was the natural outgrowth of the principles which the Presbyterianism of the Old World planted in her sons, the English Puritans, the Scotch Covenanters, the French Huguenots, the Dutch Calvinists, and the Presbyterians of Ulster." ~ George Bancroft

                            It is no wonder that King James I once said: "Presbytery agreeth with monarchy like God with the Devil." In England, our First War for Independence was referred to as the "Presbyterian Rebellion."

                            A Hessian captain (one of the 30,000 German mercenaries used by England) wrote in 1778, "Call this war by whatever name you may, only call it not an American rebellion; it is nothing more or less than a Scots-Irish Presbyterian rebellion."

                            Another monarchist wrote to King George III: "I fix all of the blame for these extraordinary proceedings on the Presbyterians. They have been the chief and principle instruments in all of these flaming measures. They always do and ever will act against government from that restless and turbulent anti-monarchical spirit which has always distinguished them everywhere."

                            In a letter from New York dated November 1776, the Earl of Dartmouth was informed by one of his representatives: "Presbyterianism is really at the bottom of this whole conspiracy, has supplied it with Vigour, and will never rest, till something is decided on it."

                            John D. Sergeant, a member of the Continental Congress from New Jersey, credited the Scots-Irish with being the main pillar of support for the Revolution in Pennsylvania. A New Englander, not supportive of the Presbyterians, agreed, calling the Scots-Irish "the most God-provoking democrats this side of Hell."

                            Prime Minister Horace Walpole rose in Parliament to say: "There is no use crying about it. Cousin America has eloped with a Presbyterian parson," referring to John Witherspoon, president of Princeton University (the "seminary of sedition"), and the only minister to sign the Declaration of Independence. Witherspoon was not only one of the founding fathers, he was the instructor of the founding fathers. Nine of the 55 delegates at the Constitutional Convention had been students of Witherspoon's. In fact, David Barton notes that 87 of the 243 founding fathers graduated from Presbyterian Princeton, so it is hardly surprising that the founders created a republic.

                            "When Cornwallis was driven back to ultimate retreat and surrender at Yorktown, all of the colonels of the Colonial Army but one were Presbyterian elders. More than one-half of all the soldiers and officers of the American Army during the Revolution were Presbyterians." ~ J.R. Sizoo

                            "From 1706 to the opening of the revolutionary struggle, the only body in existence which stood for our present national political organization [republicanism] was the General Synod of the American Presbyterian Church... The Congregational Churches of New England had no connection with each other, and had no power apart from the civil government. The Episcopal Church was without organization in the colonies, was dependent for support and a ministry on the Established Church of England, and was filled with an intense loyalty to the British monarchy. The Reformed Dutch Church did not become an efficient and independent organization until 1771, and the German Reformed Church did not attain to that condition until 1793. The Baptist Churches were separate organizations, the Methodists were practically unknown, and the Quakers were non-combatants." ~ Dr. W.H. Roberts

                            Only the Presbyterian Church lined up solidly behind the colonists, and without them independence would not have been possible. Oh, and that Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson? It came along a full year after Scots-Irish Presbyterians in Charlotte, North Carolina, wrote their own declaration of independence. The Mecklenburg Declaration, written on May 20, 1775, "by unanimous resolution declared the people free and independent, and that all laws and commissions from the king were henceforth null and void," as Lorraine Boettner writes. Jefferson's biographer notes: "Everyone must be persuaded that one of these papers must have been borrowed from the other." George Bancroft observes that the Mecklenburg assembly consisted of "twenty-seven staunch Calvinists, one-third of whom were ruling elders in the Presbyterian church, including the President and Secretary, and one was a Presbyterian minister." Ephraim Brevard, who drafted the document, and after whom Brevard, NC, is named, was a Presbyterian ruling elder and a Princeton graduate. (Mecklenburg is far more desirable than anything inspired by John Locke. It is interesting to note that these Charlotte Presbyterians, who had been under the guidance of Alexander Craighead, later rejected the non-covenantal national Constitution.)

                            "[Patrick Henry's] mother drilled him in Presbyterian or Calvinistic theology, which provided the backbone for the American resistance to British tyranny. As one author has noted, Calvinism 'has been able to inspire and sustain the bravest efforts ever made by man to break the yoke of unjust authority...' It has 'borne ever an inflexible front to illusion and mendacity, and has preferred rather to be ground to powder, like flint, than to bend before violence, or melt under enervating temptation.' By the time of the American Revolution, approximately two-thirds of the colonial population had been 'trained in the school of Calvin.' Henry, through his mother, was a spiritual descendant of Calvin and represented the liberating element of a Reformed theology and world-view." ~ Isaac Backus

                            One example among many in the "Black Regiment" (of parsons) was the Rev. James Caldwell of the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethtown, New Jersey. Caldwell also served as chaplain to the Continental Army. A Redcoat murdered his wife by firing into his home. Leaving his children in the care of the townsfolk, Caldwell rejoined the fight, which had moved to Springfield. When wadding for ammunition ran low, Caldwell ran to the First Presbyterian Church of Springfield and returned with as many hymnals as he could carry. Tearing out the pages, he yelled, "Put Watts into 'em, boys! Give 'em Watts!" He was killed in battle one year later.

                            This was a man who carried pistols with him to church and laid them on the pulpit before he began the sermon. One of the nine orphaned Caldwell children became a U.S. Supreme Court clerk and worked for the cause of African colonization. A town in Liberia is named Caldwell in his memory. War hero Lafayette, George Washington's close friend, and the man who incidentally was given the honor of naming a cousin of mine from 5 generations ago (Carolina Lafayette Seabrook), took another of the Caldwell children home with him to France. The Presbyterian Rebellion
                            God bless,
                            William
                            Comment>

                            • #15
                              Originally posted by atpollard View Post
                              I'll let William answer for the Presbyterian Church.
                              13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
                              Quick question for anyone, "For he is the servant of God".

                              What is a servant of God?

                              Here's a comment from the Geneva Study Bible on Romans 13:1:

                              (a) Indeed, though an apostle, though an evangelist, though a prophet; Chrysostom. Therefore the tyranny of the pope over all kingdoms must be thrown down to the ground. (2) A reason taken from the nature of the thing itself: for to what purpose are they placed in higher degree, but in order that the inferiors should be subject to them? (3) Another argument of great force: because God is author of this order: so that those who are rebels ought to know that they make war with God himself: and because of this they purchase for themselves great misery and calamity.

                              Further Commentary by Calvinist:

                              John Calvin: For though tyrannies and unjust exercise of power, as they are full of disorder, (ἀταξίας) are not an ordained government; yet the right of government is ordained by God for the wellbeing of mankind. As it is lawful to repel wars and to seek remedies for other evils, hence the Apostle commands us willingly and cheerfully to respect and honor the right and authority of magistrates, as useful to men: for the punishment which God inflicts on men for their sins, we cannot properly call ordinations, but they are the means which he designedly appoints for the preservation of legitimate order....

                              .... Magistrates may hence learn what their vocation is, for they are not to rule for their own interest, but for the public good; nor are they endued with unbridled power, but what is restricted to the wellbeing of their subjects; in short, they are responsible to God and to men in the exercise of their power. For as they are deputed by God and do his business, they must give an account to him: and then the ministration which God has committed to them has a regard to the subjects, they are therefore debtors also to them. And private men are reminded, that it is through the divine goodness that they are defended by the sword of princes against injuries done by the wicked.
                              I dunno about others, but I see a distinction between a tyrannic dictator and a "servant of God". When a servant no longer acknowledges his master or is no longer submissive and subject to God, then they are no longer a servant. Exodus 18:21

                              God bless,
                              William
                              Comment>
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