Posted by: reformedmusings | October 1, 2007

Federal Vision-style Freedom

I already commented about PCA teaching elder Jeff Meyers’ Subscription & Freedom post, but I wanted to tie it to this post I wrote some time ago to further clarify my position.

Specifically, the Presbyterian Church in America’s Book of Church Order contains several Preliminary Principles upon which the overall church government is based. Preliminary Principle #1 states:

God alone is Lord of the conscience and has left it free from any doctrines or commandments of men (a) which are in any respect contrary to the Word of God, or (b) which, in regard to matters of faith and worship, are not governed by the Word of God. Therefore, the rights of private judgment in all matters that respect religion are universal and inalienable. No religious constitution should be supported by the civil power further than may be necessary for protection and security equal and common to all others.

Meyers seems to like that one, but the BCO doesn’t stop there. Preliminary Principle #2 states:

In perfect consistency with the above principle, every Christian Church, or union or association of particular churches, is entitled to declare the terms of admission into its communion and the qualifications of its ministers and members, as well as the whole system of its internal government which Christ has appointed. In the exercise of this right it may, notwithstanding, err in making the terms of communion either too lax or too narrow; yet even in this case, it does not infringe upon the liberty or the rights of others, but only makes an improper use of its own. [my emphasis]

My guess is that Jeff isn’t so hot on this principle. My overall point is that these Federal Vision adherents are free to believe whatever they want, but the PCA has spoken loudly and clearly through the General Assembly in accordance with all applicable parts of the BCO, including the Preliminary Principles, that their Federal Vision views are not in accordance with Westminster Standards and therefore have no place amongst officers in the PCA. Six other orthodox Reformed denominations have decided similarly for their own officers.

Contrary to those who continually muddy the waters, there’s no ambiguity in this situation. These church officers indeed have the freedom to believe whatever they want, but they cannot do so and hold/retain a church officer position in the PCA. I’m not saying that, the 35th General Assembly said that. Somehow, this simple fact seems lost on these supposedly learned men.

But then again, I’m not their presbytery.



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