Back in Print

As I said before, this book is exceedingly timely. It was out of print for a while, but now it is back, and it is essential reading for all pastors and elders. The reason it is important is that many, many people have subscription confused. Most people today, of course, are confusing good faith subscription with loose or system subscription, which are not the same thing at all. I advocate full subscription myself.

About these ads

11 Comments

  1. Scott said,

    November 28, 2008 at 10:52 am

    “Most people today, of course, are confusing good faith subscription with loose or system subscription, which are not the same thing at all. I advocate full subscription myself.”

    Can you contrast for us the differences?

    Isn’t “good faith” subscription full subscription that allows for peer reviewed scruples?

  2. greenbaggins said,

    November 28, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Full subscription=no exceptions allowed, or if they are, they must be firmly outside the circle of central truths. Good faith subscription= exceptions are declared and ruled on by the Presbytery, and the remainder of the confession is taken on good faith to be upheld by the candidate. System, or loose subscription: the candidate has a confession within the confession, and need not tell the Presbytery what it is, as long as he can convince the Presbytery that he holds to the system of doctrine.

  3. Scott said,

    November 28, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    “Good faith subscription= exceptions are declared and ruled on by the Presbytery, and the remainder of the confession is taken on good faith to be upheld by the candidate.”

    Doesn’t “good faith” assume comprehensive knowledge of every doctrine and statement in the standards and agreement with every one of them unless an exception is stated and approved (and can involve a presbytery not allowing it to be taught also). Isn’t there also the same requirement as full subscription in that an exception must also be “firmly outside of the circle of essential truths”?

    Is there no provision for “scruples” in full subscription?

  4. Josh said,

    November 28, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    I was wondering if you could give me some input on a question that I recently had someone bring up in my presence: How does our understanding of WCF chapter 1, article 8 (dealing with the preservation of God’s Word) relate to the differences that we see between translations such as the ESV and the King James. I’ve heard KJV-only advocates use this article to say, “Well, that just shows that the KJV manuscripts were preserved by God.”). Thanks!

  5. David Gilleran said,

    November 28, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    The issue in the whole debate is not just the candidate holding to a position outside of what the Presbytery understands the WCF. Does Presbytery have the right to forbid the candidate to teach his exception to the WCF or to tell him he must teach the WCF when his exception comes up in preaching or teaching?

  6. Stephen Welch said,

    November 29, 2008 at 7:58 am

    Josh, the Reformers and the Puritans who framed the Westminster Confession of Faith believed that God preserved the original texts of the Hebrew and Greek. The Puritan divines did not believe that God preserved a particular version of Scripture. The Reformers rejected the Latin vulgate because it was corrupted and not based on the authentic text. The English translations that were introduced by the Reformers were based on the original texts. This view of the KJV is a minority view especially in Reformed circles. The KJV was translated as a reaction against the Geneva Bible, which had the footnotes of men like Calvin.

  7. Stephen Welch said,

    November 29, 2008 at 8:08 am

    Scott, you are correct that “Good Faith Subscription” does assume that the candidate does hold to the confessional standards unless he states otherwise. I do not like this “Good Faith Subscription” category and find it very problematic. It was designed to have candidates register their exceptions, but unfortunetly the PCA is allowing all kinds of exceptions to the standards and this has created an even more slippery slope. In one Presbytery of which I was a member I took exception to the American Edition (I hold to the original WCOF) and was told this was not an exception. I think the “Good Faith” has created much confusion.

  8. ReformedSinner said,

    November 29, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Full Subscription…. hmmm… so do I have to call the Pope the Anti-Christ? Can I ask my governmen to call for national synod?

    I know what you mean. I actually claim no exceptions myself based on the American editions… :)

  9. Lee said,

    November 29, 2008 at 10:35 am

    So let me get this straight. Your definition of Good Faith Subscription is a man says his scruple or scruples and the presbytery decides whether or not it is an acceptable scruple? How is that different than the Adopting Act of 1729? Is this not what the PCA always had? Is this not what the Presbyterian church has always done?
    I guess I thought the passing of Good Faith Subscription was something new, a new way to look at the debate.

  10. Scott said,

    November 29, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    There is some confusion about the meaning of “good faith subscription,” and how that term is used when describing a system.

    It seems to me, based on Reverend Keister’s explanation (post 2) that what we have in the PCA is really closer to full (strict?) subscription. If I am understanding correctly, scruples allowed by full subscription, being “firmly outside the circle of central truths” are what is protected in the PCA system by the language:

    “neither hostile to the system nor strikes at the vitals of religion.” It seems this trying to allow exceptions only that are
    “firmly outside the circle of central truths.”

    Granted, the presbytery is given responsiblity of protecting the system, but where else would we be able to vest that authority in a presbyterian system? It seems a presbytery is the logical place- a non local spiritual jury of peers. If we can’t trust that authority, where would be be able to go?

    Also, isn’t there even an additional layer of protection at the General Assembly level by review of exceptions granted?

    This seems more like a full subscription system while still allowing for conscience based exceptions that presbyterianism historically allowed.

    Am I understanding the difference between “good faith” and “full” correctly?

    Also, I am interested in how kindred denominations such as the OPC and ARP handle this.

  11. December 1, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Josh

    The problem with the argument that was being put to you is that it overlooks the fact that there are variants among the manuscripts that the KJV was based on, just as there are variants among the manuscripts we have today.

    Moreover, people who make this argument overlook the fact that the NT quotes the LXX at places where it differs from the Masoretic Text which the KJV translators used.

    The original intent of WCF 1:8 is to deny Popish views of the Latin Vulgate as being of greater authority than the original Hebrew and Greek – as David Dickson’s comments in Truth’s Victory Over Error show. It is not to claim one printed Greek text or translation is perfect.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 338 other followers

%d bloggers like this: