Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church’s Merger With New City

Talks are continuing apace between the two churches concerning the merger of Coral Ridge with New City Church. Tullian is providing regular updates on his blog. There are a few concerns I have about this whole process that I think will be rather important.

1. What will be the new worship style at CRPC? Will it turn seeker-sensitive? The purpose of worship is to glorify God, not to minister to felt needs. CRPC never needed seeker-sensitive worship to attract the people. What attracted the people was the pure Gospel preached week in and week out. Tullian seems to me to be a Gospel preacher. But what about the music? Seeker-sensitive music is usually a code-word for “me-centered” worship. I don’t know if that would happen. I merely raise the question. This is vitally important, I believe. The hymns chosen need to be deeply doctrinal in nature for people to grow. They need to be orthodox, and the music needs to fit the words. Lament is not popular in seeker-sensitive worship. However, Lamentations is in the Bible so that churches can lament their sin while they turn from it to Jesus.

2. I understand that most of the ministerial staff are not really involved in the process of the merger. Is this wise? I’m sure most of the specifics will need to be taken care of by those who really know the law (I understand there are some capable lawyers on the session). However, the more doctrinal issues need to be hammered out by the theologians. There is one very important doctrinal difference between the EPC and the PCA, and that is the role of women in the church. How will this be handled?

3. How transparent are the actual details going to be to the congregation? I realize that if everyone has their say in the matter, the issue could get ugly. However, there are many vital concerns that the congregation needs to be able to make judgments about before the merger happens and before they can make an informed vote. This is especially true, if, as I understand, the congregation will only be able to hear Tullian once, and will then be required to vote.

If you desire to comment, please be informed that first-time commenters’ comments are held in the moderation queue. After that, they are not held (if your comment is approved), unless they have three or more links in the comment. I would especially invite members of CRPC to comment on these issues.

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71 Comments

  1. Stephen Welch said,

    February 23, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    This merger is something that is very rare, in fact I have never seen it done in any denomination. This entire process will need to be handled with much wisdom. I did want to make a few comments. 1. New City does not take a seeker driven (or sensitive) approach to worship. If you read New City’s website Tullian has a set liturgy similar to what I follow or other Reformed mininsters would use, but he does use some contemporary music. Is a song from Sovereign Grace Ministries any less theological than a song like, Pass It On? If you read his blog from yesterday one of his favorite hymns comes from the New Trinity Hymnal, which CRPC does not use for worship. As a graduate of Knox and having been on staff at CRPC they have a contemporary service that is more contemporary than New City. Much of the music used at New City comes from Sovereign Grace Music, which has some solid theology. There is nothing distinctly reformed about CRPC’s style of worship (huge choir and the singing of some revivialist and Arminian hymns). You do not need a seeker driven service to have a man-centered approach to worship. Any style of worship can be man-centered. The preaching of the word should be central in any service and Tullian does believe this. He is a solid preacher. I heard more reformed theology in some of Tullian’s sermons than some of the preahing from the pulpit of CRPC (I am not referring to the preaching of the late D James Kennedy or the Knox Professors). Tullian does take a strong approach to worship. 2. We cannot speculate on things we do not know about. I don’t know if CRPC staff is involved in the process or not, but according to Tullian’s blog New City staff seems to be on board. Tullian has been very transparent with his people, but you have to remember that this is still between Tullian, his session, and CRPC session. Tullian does not have women on his session, so I am not sure if the EPC view is an issue here. If the merger does take place (Tullian has not accepted the call yet) I believe New City will go PCA. 3. Again Tullian has been very candid and upfront in his statements, so we cannot assume otherwise. The call has not been presented to the congregation, so it is really premature to involve the congregation. If Tullian and CRPC agree to the arrangement then it would have to be presented to the congregation and then the people could ask questions or voice concerns. If the congregation is not in agreement with the merger or Tullian’s philosophy of ministry they can vote against him. It will be interesting to see what happens but we need to pray that the Lord will give wisdom and direction to all involved.

  2. Dave Sarafolean said,

    February 23, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    You said, “There is one very important doctrinal difference between the EPC and the PCA, and that is the role of women in the church. How will this be handled?”

    I would add that there is another very important doctrinal difference – subscription to the Westminster Standards. To my knowledge the EPC does not expect that of its ministers or officers. The EPC subscribes to ‘the seven forms of unity’ (or something like that) while the WCF is advisory. Of course, we in the PCA require good faith subscription to the Westminster standards.

  3. February 23, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    I am a former member of CRPC, so this is of some interest to me. If the merged church goes PCA, then women elders won’t be an issue. I would think that would be a major concern for the CRPC elders and congregation. The fact that New City doesn’t have any women officers, either elders or deacons, is encouraging.

    Organizationally, I have to question trying to merge two churches with vastly different cultures. I have read Tullian’s comments to the papers and am not encouraged despite my inherent mistrust of the media. He expresses very different views from that of the Coral Ridge congregation that I knew.

    If God’s hand is in this merger, then it will succeed. The Lord has used Dr. Kennedy’s ministry to soften many hearts of stone, including mine. I pray that the powerful ministry that the Lord built through Dr. Kennedy will continue to be used to His glory.

  4. February 23, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    In reply to #2 post…
    From the EPC website:

    The Westminster Confession of Faith constitutes a system of biblical truth that an officer of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church is required to believe, acknowledging that each individual court has the freedom to allow exceptions which do not infringe upon the system of doctrine in the Westminster Confession of Faith.

  5. Thomas Riley said,

    February 24, 2009 at 1:51 am

    How long ago was it when the elders at Coral Ridge interfered and “ran” men like Fowler White, RC Sproul, Rick Phillips, Cal Beisner, and others out of Knox Seminary. Go back and look at the records involving the “Gage Controversy” and the subsequent actions of the elders. This appeared unbiblical and un-Presbyterian yet now we wring our hands over the worship style, women elders, and seeker sensitivity rather than the prior weightier issues. If I were Tullian, his board, and CRPC folks, I would call the men run out of Knox to ask them about their dealings with the Coral Ridge elders before going any further. I have yet to understand why this did not get any real scrutiny from the PCA and the blogs seem merely concerned with the possible merger. As if getting someone in Kennedy’s pulpit is more noteworthy than how truth, honesty and justice is followed.

  6. Dave Sarafolean said,

    February 24, 2009 at 7:39 am

    To #4

    Also from the EPC Website under Who We Are – Distinctives…

    1. Distinctive: The Essentials
    While adhering to the Westminster Confession of Faith, along with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms as containing the system of doctrine taught by the Bible, we have developed a document called “The Essentials of Our Faith.” While we believe all of our faith is important, some elements of that faith are absolutes. For example, it is essential that we agree on the meaning of the atoning death of Jesus on the cross. However, we do not believe it is essential to agree upon the timing of Christ’s second coming. The EPC, therefore, has set forth these core beliefs of the Christian faith upon which there must be agreement, but permits latitude and differences of opinion on those matters not considered essential to be a Christian.

    2. Distinctive: The Westminster Confession
    The Westminster Confession of Faith has had a number of revisions over the years. Not only has the Evangelical Presbyterian Church adopted some important revisions that bring it up to date, but in addition, it has adopted a modern language version that has carefully maintained the integrity of the document while providing greater readability to our modern world.

    So what is absolute is agreement on the Essentials. What is unclear is how much the WCF influences the minister, his church and its presbytery. I live in Michigan (heart of the EPC) and know something of which I speak. From what I have observed the WCF does not occupy a place of prominence in many EPC churches.

    Even the once stalwart Ward Memorial Presbyterian Church is not that stalwart anymore. Baptism? Take your pick. We will baptize your covenant children in accord with the WCF or we will immerse them when they are old enough to walk an aisle or pray a prayer. In the PCA and other denominations that subscribe to the WCF such things don’t happen and if they did, the presbytery wouldn’t turn a blind eye. That’s the sort of thing that leads me to believe that, in practice, the WCF is largely advisory in the EPC regardless what official dogma says on the website.

  7. greenbaggins said,

    February 24, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Thomas, with regard to your comments, many have been deeply concerned about Knox Seminary. However, many have also felt constrained to keep silent concerning this for whatever reason. Knox is technically under the oversight of the session of CRPC. Forcing men like Sproul and Phillips from the board of the seminary is probably not the way I would have gone about things.

    Steve, thanks for your comments and insights. I agree with much of your post.

  8. Stephen Welch said,

    February 24, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Bob, in reference to your comments in entry # 3 I too have some strong reservations about the merger. I don’t see how it will come about considering the strong differences between the two congregations. The 30 day deadline is past so I am not sure how much longer this will continue. The one question I have is why the search committee would have members submit the names of candidates. This is generally not how you search for a minister. Could they not find a minister within the PCA? This is certainly an odd arrangement. I am not sure what comments you read that you found discouraging, but some have raised concerns that Tullian does not hold to the cultural mandate or the CRPC approach to evangelism. Tullian is a Kuyperian and does hold to a cultural mandate as Jim Kennedy did. The difference between Kennedy and Tullian is the application of that mandate. I know the media has stated he will not speak out on moral issues, which is a great concern. Tullian believes very strongly in evangelism but to my knowledge would not use EE. The proclamation of the gospel should be central and Tullian is solid on this point. He does love Martin Lloyd Jones, who was critical of EE, so perhaps this is why he does not use EE. The greater concern should be if the merger will strengthen CRPC’s ministry for the glory of God. We owe a great debt to our beloved brother, Dr. Kennedy, but CRPC does not need to follow his exact pattern in order to carry out its ministry.

  9. February 24, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Stephen, RE #8,

    We owe a great debt to our beloved brother, Dr. Kennedy, but CRPC does not need to follow his exact pattern in order to carry out its ministry.

    Agree, as I do with the bulk of your comment. I think that all Christians, TE’s included, need to speak clearly on moral issues. The Apostles certainly did so. Otherwise, the church becomes irrelevant and ushers in their own demise as a force for the gospel in society. We’d lose our saltiness. I’m a 2K guy (though not rabidly so) and not Kuyperian, but I respected Dr. Kennedy’s approach towards social change – one heart at a time through the gospel.

  10. J Huss said,

    February 24, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    As a concerned CRPC member, I can perhaps attest to a few things, but I still have more questions than answers at this point. I have been blogging about it and trying to promote some discussion within the membership so they can make an informed vote.

    1 – The transition committee is made up of 3 REs on the CRPC side. These 3 were also on the PNC. BTW, two of them are on the board at Knox also. Our Exec Minister is not included on the team nor any of the staff. From New City side, I can’t say but it seems more inclusive there.

    2 – As for worship style, we currently have about 200 attending our Contemporary service and around 2000 in the traditional. If they want to change the worship style, that is fine. I do think it would be nice to give the congregation the details as to what the plans are though. How can members vote if they do not know the implications of the changes? Do not sneak them in later. But that never happens in a merger, right? I tend to think a no vote is all one could do in good conscience since there are so many unknowns at this point.

    3 – Right now, the merger is *the* issue. The PNC was elected to bring a candidate. That is the only congregational vote that has taken place so far – electing the PNC. The whole process then morphed into a required church merger in order to get a Pastor. I am not sure the session understands the spill over implications of this, but I am certain the staff and congregation does not. It was announced Sunday that he will preach, then we vote. It happens on March 15th as of now. The merger is being downplayed as “details.” As part of the deal, his elders will sit on the session of the merged church and his staff are all coming on board. Of course, our staff is being told they will all have jobs after the merger.

    4 – I do not know what his thoughts are on methods of evangelism. He mentions here – http://www.thirdmill.org/newfiles/tul_tchividjian/PT.Tchividjian.cry.html – about his experience that was part of what brought him back to faithfulness referring to it as Doxological Evangelism. I am confused by it since he refers to it in experiential terms, but then seems to downplay trendiness. What is doxological evangelism?

    I would agree that strict adherence to the WCF might not be the same in the two denominations, but after the Knox situation with Gage, who will care at CRPC or in the PCA? It seems it was never resolved.

    The merger is so bizarre, few can focus on it critically as we seem to have a code of silence in place. Mergers typically take much longer than 30 days to work out, but only if you have two parties to the negotiation. It seems Tullian’s folks are the ones in charge, so that makes it easy. I mean, it is a stipulation to his call as Pastor, right!?! He refuses to come without “his church” but most of them won’t realistically be coming as they live on the other side of town.

    Many of us are very frustrated. Most don’t know enough not to be. Hey, it’s a big place.

  11. Scott said,

    February 24, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    My only observation here is that this has potential to be a very good thing. The EPC is more of a broadly evangelical denomination than a reformed one, the PCA is more reformed.

    It seems like there are a lot of safeguards in place in the PCA to make sure there is agreed discernment that this is the Lord’s will, that the Teaching Elder is equipped, senses a calling there, and will fit into the new congregation, which they (both) will need to confirm.

  12. Stephen Welch said,

    February 24, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Thanks, Lane.

  13. Stephen Welch said,

    February 24, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    I agree that ministers should take a stand on moral issues. We are called to proclaim the gospel, which brings change to the culture. I agree with much of Dr. Kennedy’s position on the cultural mandate, but I did not agree with some of his ideas in this area.

  14. Zrim said,

    February 24, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    I’m a 2K guy (though not rabidly so) and not Kuyperian, but I respected Dr. Kennedy’s approach towards social change.

    Sometimes I wonder if by “2K” some mean to create some strange peaceful co-existence between “Kline and Kuyper” and not the spirituality of the church a la Stuart Robinson. And if Kennedy is afforded an approach toward social change someone remind me what all the brouhaha was over 20th century social gospel: was it that it was simply the wrong social gospel or that “they can’t but we can”?

  15. Stephen Welch said,

    February 24, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    The social gospel rejected the authority of Scripture and saw that salvation came by humanitarian means, i.e. feeding the poor and social justice. This was the purpose of the church. Kennedy and those who subscribe to the truth of Scripture believe that salvation comes by grace alone. The church’s purpose is to proclaim that salvation is found only through faith in Christ alone. The preaching of the gospel is the purpose of the church. There is a huge difference.

  16. February 24, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    Zrim,

    If you don’t get the difference between effecting social change via the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ blessed by the Holy Spirit and the social gospel of the theological liberals, then there’s nothing anyone here can say here that will make a difference. I would think that every Christian believes that the gospel empowered by the Spirit changes hearts, and that changed hearts change societies. That’s the gospel of Christ, not the social gospel.

  17. February 25, 2009 at 3:13 am

    [...] even the liturgical. One Reformed blog, Green Baggins expresses these concerns well (read it here). I share this blogger’s [...]

  18. Stephen Welch said,

    February 25, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Amen!

  19. February 25, 2009 at 10:25 am

    The church’s purpose is to proclaim that salvation is found only through faith in Christ alone. The preaching of the gospel is the purpose of the church.

    Well said!

  20. Stephen Welch said,

    February 25, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Brother, I can emphatize with the frustration of many like yourself who feel like they are left in the dark. I believe that in this kind of situation, which is an oddity and a very unusual move, it is imperative that the leadership communicate with the congregation. I did not realize that it was announced this past Lord’s Day that Tullian accepted the call and the merger will take place, providing the congregation approves the call and the Presbytery of Southern Florida approves it. Tullian will still need to be examined by the Presbytery before he can become your pastor. I would hope that the Presybtery will examine him throughly as he is coming from outside the PCA. Will the vote come the same Sunday he preaches? The congregation needs to ask hard questions of the candidate and the session before they simply vote. I hope that people would not vote simply because they need a pastor. I would urge you and others to guard against presumption and speculation. Perhaps you can approach Tullian with questions before March 15 or one of the elders from CRPC. I am a full subscriptionist when it comes to the Westminster Standards and find the EPC loosely reformed, so I have some reservations about the merger. How will his coming to CRPC affect Knox Seminary? I read your link to his testimony of his own life and his view of evangelism. His view of doxological evangelism comes from Ed Clowney’s book entitled “Living In Christ’s Church.” He subscribes to Clowney’s view of the ministry of the church, which is refreshing to hear in this day. Unfortunetly I was confused in some of his article when he references Henri Nowen and John Nehaus, who were both Papists and way off base.

  21. Zrim said,

    February 25, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Stephen,

    I realize Liberalism was based upon a “gutted religion.” What isn’t as clear to me is why those of us who haven’t gutted it think, in a manner of speaking, the resurrection implies something about very narrow socio-political cultural agendas and excludes other very narrow socio-political cultural agendas. But I guess that might have something to do with my being a “rabid 2Ker,” as the man once said.

    Reformedmusings,

    I adhere to the conventional Reformed understandings of sanctification one finds in churchly formulations and less formal things like the ordo salutis; but they never seem to include power lingo like (personal or social) “transformation.”

    So I believe that “the gospel empowered by the Spirit changes hearts.” I just don’t think that means what we seem to think. I mean, given that we even being regenerated we also remain more sinful than not, and that even the holiest of us makes but the smallest progress in this life and our works are but filthy rags, I don’t see quite as readily how this translates into “changing societies.” Especially since there is nothing new under the sun and human history and the world condition looks pretty similar as time either retreats or progresses and places vary, even with God’s people in it.

    I know prosperity gospel is ever only allegedly something to do with crasser things like money and stuff, but that seems like an easy way to dismiss prosperity gospel one doesn’t like and champion a more socially acceptable one—not too unlike distinguishing between social gospels.

  22. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 25, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Zrim, I’ve been watching you make these arguments for some time, and several things strike me.

    First, you seem genuinely sincere in wanting to preserve the purity of the church, to keep it free from the love of money and political power that we all agree corrupted Rome during the period 1000-1500. I support you in this goal.

    That said, you seem to place “culture” or “government” in a special location that is different from “people.” And for that reason, it seems reasonable to you that people could be transformed by the Gospel, but culture would simultaneously remain unchanged.

    For me, who sees “culture” as “the sum expression of our relationships with one another”, a change in people is axiomatically a change in culture. Your thesis is nonsensical to me on its face.

    Likewise, it makes sense to you that Christians could be obedient to Christ in his personal life and yet participate in government without reference to Christ’s commands.

    To me, this is a self-contradictory proposition. It creates two laws that the Christian is morally obligated to. You will no doubt recall our lengthy conversation on this point.

    All of this is to say that as you interact on the relationship of the church and state (or culture), what you are labeling as “power lingo” probably has a different explanation. Rather than seeing people as being on power trips, perhaps you could see them as denying a hard wall between culture and people.

    Jeff Cagle

  23. Karen Gushta said,

    February 25, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Attention “J. Huss”

    We are thankful to see that you have apparently not garnered a following on your blogspot. Richard only came across this because he had set up a Google alert for Tullian Tchividjian.

    As fellow members of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, we would respectfully ask you to take your blog down and to “cease and desist” in your efforts to, as you say, “ask probing questions, give factual answers, and make constructive comments.”

    In our view, you have done none of these, and instead you have made false and unsubstantiated accusations against Rev. Tchividjian and the respective Sessions of CRPC and New City. That, in our view, comes under the category of causing “strife and division.”

    Your cynicism and lack of trust in the work of the Sessions of both churches is distressing to anyone who has been praying over the past months for the Lord to bless this process and the pulpit committee in their efforts, and for Him to prepare the heart of the man whom He is calling to assume the leadership and pastoral care of our church.

    Upon reading your postings on your blog, we were stunned by the manner in which you freely threw out innuendos and accusations about the process and those involved in it. By our reading of our Church Order, we can find nothing that is not in accordance with the direction provided by Chapter 20. In fact, this chapter gives a lot of latitude and assumes that the congregation will carry out the entire process in a Godly manner, leaving much to the discretion of the Session and the pulpit committee.

    Therefore, rather than cynicism and accusations, as a member of the CRPC congregation, we would think you would be constantly in prayer for all of those involved and that you would be making every effort to encourage those who are giving of their time and energy to see that the process is carried out with diligence and care. On several occasions, we have both agreed that we are very thankful we had not been elected to the pulpit committee!

    Finally, dear brother, if you have truly been as concerned about this process as you claim to be, surely you would be taking your concerns directly to the Session, rather than using this public forum to share and air your views.

    In sum, we believe you have ignored both Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 18, and Paul’s in I Corinthians 6 concerning how we should handle our disagreements with brothers and sisters within the church.

    Therefore, as your brother and sister in the Lord, in accordance with Matthew 18, we would gently invite you to remove your blog and to discontinue any further efforts to sully the reputations of Rev. Tchividjian, the members of both church Sessions, and the pulpit nominating committee, and to stop sowing doubt and distrust of the process among CRPC members and staff.

    Sincerely in Christ,

    Karen & Richard Gushta

    Members of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church

  24. February 25, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Dittos!

  25. Todd said,

    February 25, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Jeff,

    On your second point, we (R2kers) never argued that Christ’s commands have nothing to do with our participation in government, we just disagree how the commands are to be applied, and even which commands apply.

    On your first point, given your more general definition of culture as people, let’s apply your thesis to a work environment. I used to drive a UPS truck. There were a number of believers that worked with me also, though for sure a small minority. How do you expect we should have changed the culture of UPS because we were believers? Do you expect management to ask us how to run things? Will they change any policies because we are present? Will they be a more profitable company just because we work there? Will they be less greedy? Or do you simply say that the culture around our persons, the lack of gossip, the gracious words, the quiet, hard labor, might be noticed and maybe appreciated by others? Who would disagree with that? So if you cannot expect any noticeable changes to your work environment just because you are a Christian, why do you expect a minority of believers to make any noticeable difference in government policy, or the arts, etc…?

    (And how did this turn into a 2k thread? Oh yes, Kennedy…)

    Todd

  26. February 25, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Karen and Richard,

    Welcome to greenbaggins! It seems that you had duplicate comments in the queue. I approved the first one that I saw, and it was the one from Karen. No slight to Richard, but since your comments overlapped and both of you signed both comments, I did not approve Richard’s duplicate. Let me know if this is a problem, as I have not deleted it from the queue yet.

  27. Karen Gushta said,

    February 25, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Please delete Richard’s and post Karen’s…. THANKS!

    “And this is my (our) prayer: that your love may abound more and more in
    knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is
    best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the
    fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and
    praise of God.” – Philippians 1:9-11

  28. February 25, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Todd,

    As a 2Ker myself, I believe that you missed our point. I never said that we would “overthrow” the social order through our efforts. By reflecting Christ’s light and love in the world and obeying (though imperfectly) His commands per John 14:15, we are naturally different than the unregenerate. Under a lifestyle evangelism construct, our friends and associates notice the difference and open the door to evangelism. If it be God’s will, that leads to the Spirit empowering the gospel and regenerating the unbelievers’ hearts. As this progresses geometically, their votes, examples, and perhaps office holding cause society to naturally shift. Society is, by definition, a collection of people.

    Yes, we’re all sinners and fall short of the glory of God, even after regeneration, but God has promised that His Word will not return to Him empty. The history of redemption shows how God uses miserable, sometimes notorious sinners to accomplish His will.

    I’ll close by observing that the apostles on Pentacost were small minority of believers. Draw your own conclusion.

  29. Zrim said,

    February 25, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Jeff,

    For me, who sees “culture” as “the sum expression of our relationships with one another”, a change in people is axiomatically a change in culture. Your thesis is nonsensical to me on its face.

    To the extent that at one point in time I would have wholly agreed, I understand. But since the state of things in the world seems to be the same wherever I go, it just doesn’t follow to me that the more believers the better their world. I mean, I live in Grand Rapids where there are tons and bunches of us. And it looks brutally similar to any other place I go. We have good stuff and bad stuff and mediocre stuff.

    Likewise, it makes sense to you that Christians could be obedient to Christ in his personal life and yet participate in government without reference to Christ’s commands.
    To me, this is a self-contradictory proposition. It creates two laws that the Christian is morally obligated to. You will no doubt recall our lengthy conversation on this point.

    I do. And I still agree with you that this taxonomy makes no sense either. So I’ll see your confusion and raise you some mystification: How anyone infers that what is being said is that one “can be obedient in his personal life and yet participate in government without reference to Christ’s commands” is, well, mystifying. The only thing I can ever chalk it up to is the natural result of a moralized politics and a politicized religion. And I must confess some frustration when the chalk keeps getting knocked out of my hand for no good reason.

    All of this is to say that as you interact on the relationship of the church and state (or culture), what you are labeling as “power lingo” probably has a different explanation. Rather than seeing people as being on power trips, perhaps you could see them as denying a hard wall between culture and people.

    Perhaps. But every time I flip through the channels and see Kennedy in a pulpit, wrapped in the American flag and baptizing the cultural right and basking in the power it seems to afford I guess I tend to get punchy.

  30. Todd said,

    February 25, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Musings,

    You had me until you said, “As this progresses geometically, their votes, examples, and perhaps office holding cause society to naturally shift.”

    Why does it need to shift? Was the Holy Roman Empire any less sinful than Ancient Greece, or just different sins? How has the millions of Christians in China changed the government? And why would Christians voting cause a shift – does this assume Christians should all vote alike?

    Todd

  31. February 25, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Zrim,

    But every time I flip through the channels and see Kennedy in a pulpit, wrapped in the American flag and baptizing the cultural right and basking in the power it seems to afford I guess I tend to get punchy.

    I’m guessing from that statement that you did not presonally know or ever have a chance to fellowship with Dr. Kennedy. I don’t think that you could be further off base about him.

  32. Zrim said,

    February 25, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    R’musings,

    I’m guessing from that statement that you did not presonally know or ever have a chance to fellowship with Dr. Kennedy. I don’t think that you could be further off base about him.

    I hear this sort of criticism quite a bit and I have about as much patience for it as I do social gospel.

    No, I do not have the luxury of knowing every human being on earth personally. For most, especially those who have elected to be public figures, I can only go by what is written or otherwise formally communicated. Moreover, knowing someone personally is still irrelevant when that person is off base, since to get something wrong is to get something wrong no matter how well he is personally known. If my best friend robs a bank because he lost his job, do I really have grounds to say you are off base to hold him accountable simply because “I know him and you don’t”?

    I recall a local minister telling me that to criticize another’s adoption of the Willow Creek model to attract the upper crust was a bad idea for the same reason. But just because I don’t know Bill Hybels or Schuller doesn’t mean I can’t criticize their methods or writing, nor those who adopt them.

  33. February 25, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    You can criticize anyone you wish, I suppose. I was just offering you a first-hand data point.

  34. Scott said,

    February 25, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    While there seem to be some biblical, reformed congregations within the EPC, and there certainly are many dear Christian brothers and sisters there, the EPC clearly is not a reformed denomination.

    The EPC is a broadly evangelical denomination with a reformed heritage.

    At a minimum, a presbyterian reformed denomination is

    “five points” + “covenant theology” + “confession” and probably also
    a spiritual view of the sacraments, practices church discipline, and a few other points.

    The EPC is not “confessional,” the PCA is.

    In the EPC, a church officer can “except” virtually any point of reformed theology, not the basic gospel, but virtually any reformed distinctive. One could be a “three point” Calvinist in the EPC. While I would argue biblically that the “five points” are all logically and necessarily related and dependent on one another, there is no question the Westminster Standards hold that view… that the whole of reformed theology is based on the doctrine of God which necessarily holds all “five points.” Anything less is Arminian influenced theology, held to varying degrees within “broadly evangelical churches,” which includes denominations like the EPC. The Standards may be held in much higher regard by an individual or a congregation in the EPC, but that is not binding. So, the EPC is not a “confessional” denomination (allowing that some particular churches or individuals might be).

    The PCA is a confessional denomination. That makes a world of difference.

    In the PCA, a church officer must evaluate and vow he receives every statement and proposition of the Westminster Standards unless granted a peer-reviewed “exception.” By PCA court precedent that could not possibly include the limited atonement or infant baptism, for example.

    The PCA, because it is a reformed, biblical denomination does not view the Westminster Standards as only a general spiritual legacy that one generally agrees with. It views it as the basis for unity in the church because in reformed theology, the unity of the church is based on doctrinal agreement.

    My point is not to debate the requirement of only a minimal statement of beliefs that the EPC requires, only to clarify that the denomination is what it is, and intentionally so. The PCA is intentionally and deliberately reformed and confessional, the EPC is not.

    One of the reason I think this merger has great potential for good and to glorify God is because it is moving toward a biblical, reformed, confessional standard in the PCA. I believe that will be confirmed in the process, both by this dear Pastor, and the members of both congregations, and the sessions which lead them.

    The prospect of a group of God’s people “growing” into a more reformed theology and understanding its power and fullness, frankly, thrills me.

  35. Rita Chamberlin said,

    February 25, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    We are members of CRPC. My husband and I were talking at home about this merger and he suggested that I contact Rev. S., our Executive Minister, for more information about the merger. Rev. S’s. office gave me the e-mail of the Transition Team. I have not yet contacted them but will. In talking to a former Elder, he suggested I ask Tullian T. a question and I will e-mail him also.

    I did go to the article written by Tullian Tchividjian titled “A Cry For Difference from the Culturally Weary” as sited on # 10 above. I quickly read it but did not notice the name Henri Nouwen the first time I read it but did notice it in the first reply to #10 above. Tullian quoted Henri Nouwen: “The late Henri Nouwen, too, points us in the right direction saying, “I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely ‘irrelevant’. That is the way Jesus came to reveal God’s love”

    With that said, here is what Henri Nouwen wrote in his last book:

    “”Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s love, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.”

    From Sabbatical Journey, Henri Nouwen’s last book, p. 51, 1998 hardcover.

    So, a question I have recently asked one of the Elders is,”Does Tullian T. have anything to do with the Contemplative Prayer, Meditation, Eastern religion philosophy, New Age,…etc. movement? I was assured that he definitely does not. Yet, I will ask him (Tullian) why he quotes one of those who believe so when there are so many others not involved in that “movement” whose quotes are in line with what our church believes. Now, Tullian did not write the article for our church but it does give us an insight to the likes of whose philosophy he follows. That tells us a lot.

  36. Zrim said,

    February 25, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Bob,

    I understand that. What confuses me is what relevancy that has to anything in this discussion.

  37. J Huss said,

    February 25, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Thanks for the understanding. I want to correct a misunderstanding I had. While we have known of the new minister for over a month now, the merger meeting of the Session is coming up on the 10th, with Tullian then coming to preach perhaps “as soon as” the 15th but not necessarily on the 15th. Apparently enough phone calls are coming in that they are allowing for more time at this point. Guess I was not the only one to misunderstand. One has to happen before the other, but they are linked at this point so one vote does both.

    Not sure if there will be time in between the preaching trial and the vote, though. I sure hope so.

    If the congregation approves him, the Presbytery will not oppose it. Just a rubber stamp as I have been told.

    You know, the church is growing even absent a Senior Pastor and it is really kind of nice right now. The staff is fantastic and incredibly talented.

    I think Knox is not affected directly. Please pray for both congregations. We have the right to vote, but I understand the Session at New City makes the decision – no vote. Does anyone else know for sure?

    Anybody know about this conference? I guess Pastor T is speaking there.

    http://www.ontargetevangelism.com/sessions

  38. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 25, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    But since the state of things in the world seems to be the same wherever I go…

    This is a reasonable possibility to raise. Do you have hard numbers to back it up? Or is it just an intuitive hunch?

    It’s not a rhetorical question; I honestly don’t know what to make of your claim. Yes, certainly, we have good stuff and bad stuff and mediocre stuff — but do we have that stuff in the same proportions everywhere? And how do you know?

    How anyone infers that what is being said is that one “can be obedient in his personal life and yet participate in government without reference to Christ’s commands” is, well, mystifying.

    OK, fair question. Let me attempt to demystify.

    First, I’m associating your position with Dr. Hart’s. So if that’s not a correct association, please distinguish your differences.

    As I understand y’alls’ thesis, a Christian who is a magistrate should judge issues according to “natural law” and should not judge issues according to God’s law, whether from the OT or NT. I won’t belabor the point by producing quotes from the infamous 900-post thread, but I’m sure you’ll agree that that language is there.

    It follows, apparently, that the Christian magistrate is to adopt a different law from God’s law when making decisions.

    Hence my statement that you appear to want Christians to be obedient in their personal lives but to govern without reference to Christ’s commands. Is that clearer?

    Jeff Cagle

  39. J Huss said,

    February 25, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Um, I guess you posted here because you thought I would not post your comment on my Blog? Well, I already responded to you back there, so I won’t waste the alphabet here. I hope we can all agree that free speech is still important. I actually had a few additional questions for you back there also, so I hope we can continue to speak cordially about these issues.

    It occurs to me if Tullian has such a glass jaw that he can not take a few honest questions, well, he might consider that the job he is going for is not for the faint of heart. Keep praying.

  40. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 25, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    Todd:

    On your second point, we (R2kers) never argued that Christ’s commands have nothing to do with our participation in government.

    Well, hm. I’m not really sure what to make of the “Election Cycle 2008″ then. In that thread, anyone who proposed that the Scripture should be used as the source of the magistrate’s ethical norms was called a legalist and and a theonomist.

    Zrim, for example, was appalled that I would appeal to a multiplicity of Scriptural examples to justify civil disobedience.

    *grump*

    But seriously, if R2k-ers don’t intend to decouple Christ’s commands from governance, then y’all need to make that much more clear, perhaps by explaining the ways in which Christ’s commands *should* inform the magistrate. That alone would satisfy my original concern.

    Jeff Cagle

  41. Zrim said,

    February 25, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Jeff,

    (I’m laughing to myself over here—did we not get enough of ourselves in the mega-thread called “Election Cycle”?)

    Re the things-are-the-same-wherever-I-go point (great, now I’ll have “Ebony and Ivory” in my head all night), you seem to imply that there is something wrong with using intuition in this sort of discussion. Well, don’t look now, but subjective interpretation of the state of things is what all of us use 98.6% of the time. Moreover, I am not persuaded that we are well served by simply making this like the “Thesis on Gun Control” where everyone tosses around statistics to persuade our own side about what we already believe in theory. My point is that if it is true that believers make their world better then wouldn’t you expect that (1) places that have lots of us would be really, really super great and (2) places that don’t would be not so much? Don’t strain too much because this really isn’t all that complicated. That is the plain and simple implication of this principle that those who are being sanctified directly impact their world for the better and those who are not make it a bad place.

    Re the alleged duplicity in private and public life (yes, my position is that of the good doctor’s), there is an easy answer here: there is no competition between natural law and God’s law—they are one and the same. (If I might, methinks some of the confusion here is that most religionists seem to want to erase the political nature of politics and make it completely moral. But you can’t do that. Indeed, to pick up on cultural rightist’s favorite issue to make the point, were I a fetus I would want political power to be rightly recognized and to have those who understand that politics are politics and not ethics fighting for my right to life, not moralists shouting about my innate innocence and how choicers are immoral people. Get out of the way and let those with greater understanding fight for me.)

  42. February 25, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    I think that it started about the different congregational cultures at CRPC and New City.

  43. Zrim said,

    February 25, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Bob,

    Maybe I wasn’t clear enough. What I meant was, What does a man’s personality and being (relatively well) known by another have to do with his stated work? Good men can get things pretty wrong, yes? I can’t hire a nice guy I’ve known for years if he has shown he doesn’t have the chops for the position, can I?

  44. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 25, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Well, rather than get to 900 comments, I’ll leave it here. My final shot:

    Well, don’t look now, but subjective interpretation of the state of things is what all of us use 98.6% of the time.

    And this is good because … ? I spend a lot of energy persuading my students that “ethics by intuition” is a Bad Idea. Now you compound it with an “everyone else is doing it!” fallacy?! :)

    Moreover, I am not persuaded that we are well served by simply making this like the “Thesis on Gun Control” where everyone tosses around statistics to persuade our own side about what we already believe in theory.

    Yes, certainly, it is possible to lie with statistics (although if you look at carefully at the Gun Control thread, the statistics range from “gun control doesn’t help” to “gun control causes harm” — not a very wide margin there).

    But since you share with me a high view of God’s revelation in the natural world, would you not agree that a careful study of the effects of Christianity on culture would be preferrable to blanket intuitive generalizations?

    It’s not a sharp criticism. After all, I haven’t invested the time into it myself. But then again, I’m not making a claim about the effects. My argument is all about our moral obligation. :)

    Grace and peace,
    Jeff Cagle

  45. February 26, 2009 at 4:51 am

    Zrim,

    I’ve totally lost you. I don’t see how that relates to anything said here by me or others.

  46. J Huss said,

    February 26, 2009 at 7:32 am

    Here is where tremendous prayer is needed and goes to the heart of my concern. You eloquently stated what I have felt but could not articulate. That is, instead of moving towards the higher standards, the higher standards start to be watered down by folks who do not care much for details.

    As I listened to Tullian’s sermon tape from the day the announcement was made back in January, he states emphatically that he hates details. Boy, have I heard that before. “You people are so nitpicky” blah, blah, blah.

    If you know CRPC at all, you know it has been a church of a great many details. Every part of the architecture has symbolic meaning much like the Temple had very specific details that were given by God. Did you know the main sanctuary is in the shape of a fish if you are looking down at from the sky? All I am saying is that things that are in the bylaws and governing documents may “seem” like unimportant nonsense, too, but I am certain each part of the original is there with purpose. I understand that the New City side has offered to “simplify” all this language down to a more manageable level and I am sure there is some stream lining that could be done. But not taking out more than half. Lots of details could be thrown away that could just be very important. You get the drift of where this heads. We wind up becoming more like them rather than the other way around.

  47. Todd said,

    February 26, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Jeff,

    Commands relating to our participation in government:

    Rom 13:1 – Submit, allow participation
    I Peter 2:17 – Honor gov. leaders
    I Tim 2:1&2 – Pray for gov. leaders
    I Peter 4:15 – Do not meddle in other people’s affairs
    I Cor 5:12&13 – Do not judge those outside the church
    John 18:36 – Do not attempt to establish God’s kingdom politically or forcefully
    Matt 7:12 – Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you
    Luke 10:37 – Be a good neighbor to all
    I Cor 10:31 – Do all for God’s glory

    Since the Bible does not provide a blueprint for modern governments, I cannot go much beyond this

    Todd

  48. Zrim said,

    February 26, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Jeff,

    I spend a lot of energy persuading my students that “ethics by intuition” is a Bad Idea. Now you compound it with an “everyone else is doing it!” fallacy?!

    I’m not doing ethics. I’m doing what I consider common sense.

    …would you not agree that a careful study of the effects of Christianity on culture would be preferrable to blanket intuitive generalizations?

    Look, I’m not trying to be anti-intellectual here. But I am questioning this idea that it’s all a matter of some sort of “clean science,” which is all a bit too clinical for me. And since it always seem to come back to certain presuppositions, your proposal seems, well, futile. I mean, do we really think that someone who fundamnetally believes that sanctification = immediate self- and societal-improvement will know what to do with the fact that Hindi and Mormon people can make pretty darn good society?

    Bob,

    That was my shot at trying to be as clear as possible. I guess it didn’t take, sorry. I made an assertion about the wildly off-base antics of Kennedy, you said I was off-base because I likely never had the chance to at least have lunch with him. If the irrelevancy of your reponse isn’t clear to you it may be because either I am really bad at describing colors or you have a heckuva blind spot.

  49. Rita Chamberlin said,

    February 26, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    I e-mailed Tullian T. and he responded very quickly. He did say he has nothing to do with the Contemplative Prayer/Emergent Church movement. He quoted Henri Nouwen from a book he had to read in Seminary but does not follow Nouwen’s beliefs. Tullian is Reformed in his theology.. He does ask us to search what he says against the Scriptures. That is a very good sign as that is the way it ought to be.

  50. Richard Gushta said,

    February 26, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    FYI –

    Praying and Burdens
    - by Tully T.(Thursday, February 26, 2009)
    http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/Tchividjian/11600113/

    “Over the last two months I have learned a lot about prayer. This proposed merger between New City and Coral Ridge has me feeling more desperate than I’ve ever felt. I have a thousand questions and not nearly as many answers as I’d like. I’ve had concerns, fears, and doubts. I hate “the unknown.” People who don’t know me have said things about me that are untrue and cruel, calling into question my character, my leadership, and my motives. At times, the weight of this burden has made me want to give up and give in. After all, I didn’t go looking for this and I don’t need it. Before God brought this around for the third time, I was enjoying the thrill of pastoring a thriving 5 1/2 year old church that I had the privilege of planting. Therefore, in my weaker moments I have been tempted to relieve myself of this burden and go back to the way things were. But God won’t let me. He’s clearly up to something big. He’s moving in a profoundly tangible and unexplainable way. He is doing things. He is working. We know it.

    So, as we continue to “follow the cloud” with fear and trembling, I have had to learn in new ways what it means to pray. I’ve had to learn afresh “not to be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” I’ve learned the hard way that the primary thing which separates the spiritually mature from the spiritually immature is what one does with his/her burdens and fears and unanswered questions. The late, great Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said in a sermon from Genesis 26:17-18:

    ‘The man who is really feeling the burden is a man pressed to his knees and pressed into the presence of God. His supreme activity is prayer. For he realizes that this is a province that God alone can deal with. He knows the burden. And a man who is burdened is a man who prays.’

    Throughout this process, I’ve learned the difference between responding to my burden in a self-centered way and responding to my burden in a God-centered way. A self-centered response reveals itself through gossip, vain speculation, and an unruly demand for answers. A God-centered response reveals itself in prayer. All too often my fears and lack of answers have made me want to demand from God and others an explanation for what is going on. “After all, I’m a paying customer. I have a right to an explanation for what you’re doing God.” And in the process, God has revealed my own spiritual immaturity. The words of the great hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” have been a source of great comfort and correction for me. May they be a great source of comfort and correction to you as well:

    ‘What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
    What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
    O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
    All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
    Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
    We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
    Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
    Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
    In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.
    Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
    May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
    Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
    Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.’ “

  51. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 26, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    I can understand these passages as a Scriptural defense of your position.

    But they don’t answer my question. Suppose that I am a Christian in government, and suppose further that I take the Scriptures above in the way that you do.

    Now: given that God’s word is sovereign in all of my life, the “sole basis for faith and practice”, how do I apply the Scriptures to my particular practice of magistrate?

    Or put another way: if I as the Christian magistrate am to be a good neighbor to all (we agree here), then what is the content of that neighborliness? How do I know?

    (To be fair, Dr. Hart said explicitly that he had no answer to my question, either.)

    Given that you can’t go much beyond this, can you understand why your position appears, from the outside, to place most of Scripture entirely off-limits to the Christian involved in public life?

    Jeff Cagle

  52. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 26, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    P.S. Thank you for providing a Scriptural overview of the position. That was helpful in understanding where R2k is coming from.

  53. Zrim said,

    February 26, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Jeff,

    If I might, it seems to me that you may be interpreting the non-answer wrongly, that is to say, the non-answer is an answer but perhaps just not the one you expect.

    Given that the New School has decidedly won the day over the Old School when it comes to the spirituality of the church, I wonder if you are thinking RPW when you should be thinking adiaphora. Though certainly not exhaustive, one check might be to ask, when it comes to the stated worship of God, do you think adiaphora more than RPW?

    From accounts that I gather about Coral Ridge (such as Stephen’s account in post 1) that certainly seems to be the case. It’s almost spooky how one can almost bet the farm that when something like W2K is looked upon with suspicion by all-of-life-is-worship Presbyterians the stated worship looks way more revivalist and New School than Presbyterian. Let me ask (Todd, look away, I’m just making a point): what’s the first response you have to weekly communion?

  54. Zrim said,

    February 26, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    (Exacting Calvinist alert: if we have to use two letters to desginate the 2K position, I vote for “W” over “R.” The latter is a theonomist slur. Thanks.)

  55. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 26, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    Well, my first response is “might be helpful, might not.”

    Let me ask you this in way of response: if you are a plumber (which we agree is a “common” profession), why would you refrain from cheating your customers (assuming that you did not fear detection)?

  56. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 26, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    I’m happy to go with W2K. In return, could you drop the “legalist” slur?

  57. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 26, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    By the way, you almost owe me a farm.

    It’s almost spooky how one can almost bet the farm that when something like W2K is looked upon with suspicion by all-of-life-is-worship Presbyterians the stated worship looks way more revivalist and New School than Presbyterian.

    Here in Maryland, there are a number of churches that believe that all of life is worship and do not have particularly revivalist worship services. (Funny thing: Calvin’s church in Geneva was far from W2K, and it was far from revivalist also).

    I prefer cotton farms.

    Jeff Cagle

  58. Zrim said,

    February 26, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Jeff,

    Well, my first response [to weekly communion] is “might be helpful, might not.”

    Why not, “Does scripture prescribe it?”

    If I were a plumber I wouldn’t cheat my customers because (imperfect) covenant-keepers are supposed to live a life of grateful response where the law is the structure of their sanctification.

    Not so fast on claiming a deed to cottom farms. I said it was not an exhaustive sign, just a helpful guideline. Besides, when I say “revivalist” three songs and a lecture still count. Calvin’s Geneva couldn’t be W2K. But when he was begged to return from exile he made it clear that one of his stipulations was that the dominions be understood something darn close to it (not for nothing, but he also wanted weekly communion in Geneva).

    I’m not sure where I used the L-word, but if you mean that my RPW/adiaphora point implies it, well, you said it, not me. That wasn’t the thrust.

  59. D G Hart said,

    February 27, 2009 at 6:44 am

    Jeff, if God’s word is sovereign over all of your life, and you are a plumber, what does the Bible say about your practice of plumbing?

  60. Stephen Welch said,

    February 27, 2009 at 9:15 am

    What does the original discussion have to do with the two-kingdom view? Can we get back to the original discussion and leave the two-kingdom view for a different thread? This is confusing the entirety of the discussion.

  61. Stephen Welch said,

    February 27, 2009 at 9:18 am

    I am sorry about my reply to Rita. I did not intend to make that a reply related to her comment. It was meant to be a new point. I am still getting used to this new format.

  62. Stephen Welch said,

    February 27, 2009 at 9:21 am

    That is good to know. I did not think that Tullian advocated the emerging movement, but you have to be careful in quoting Nouwen, who is a Roman Catholic and very liberal in his views. He has also quoted Richard Neuhaus, who was no friend of Protestants.

  63. Stephen Welch said,

    February 27, 2009 at 9:26 am

    I commend you, sister for being observant of Tullian’s philosophy of ministry. People need to check these things out and not blindly question. I do appreciate much of Tullian’s views and he does seem to follow much of Martin Lloyd Jones views, so this is encouraging.

  64. Zrim said,

    February 27, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Stephen,

    Hey, Kennedy started it.

    Anyway, that was what I was trying to do with Jeff in my RPW/adiaphora point. Part of the original post asked about worship style. It seems to imply that CRPC was immune to seeker-senstivity and wondered if that could happen as a result of the merger. I’m not sure it really was so immune in the first place. It arguably met the felt needs of cultural rightists. Just because it didn’t have a set of drums doesn’t mean it wasn’t seeker sensitive. You even said:

    There is nothing distinctly reformed about CRPC’s style of worship (huge choir and the singing of some revivialist and Arminian hymns). You do not need a seeker driven service to have a man-centered approach to worship. Any style of worship can be man-centered.

  65. Stephen Welch said,

    February 27, 2009 at 9:38 am

    I don’t think you understand Presbyterian government. The Presbytery does not simply rubber stamp what the congregation approves, so whoever told you this is wrong. The Presbytery cannot allow a man to move onto the field until he has been examined and approved by Presbytery. We are not Baptists or congregationalists but Presbyterians. If he was being examined and it was found out that he rejected infant baptism or the standard position on the sacraments, he would not be approved. Presbyterians have this added step to calling a minister to protect the congregation from false teaching.

  66. Stephen Welch said,

    February 27, 2009 at 9:50 am

    I was directing my comment generally to the discussion. It has gone off on rabbit trails. My comment that you quote was directed to the original discussion, not the two-kingdom issue. Dr. Kennedy did not hold to the two-kingdom view.

  67. Zrim said,

    February 27, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Stephen,

    Come now. The alleged trailhead started up in 8 and 9 between you and R’musings with all that jazz over Kennedy, society and moral issues, etc. (indeed, R’musings uttered the “2K” phrase in the first place).

    No fair piping up all under- and anti-2K and calling foul when someone raises his hand.

  68. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 27, 2009 at 11:57 am

    My bad. I’ll shut up now.

  69. Scott said,

    February 27, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    This certainly sounds like God working in the life of someone called to leadership in His church.

    Pray, be patient, trust God- we have every right to believe our prayers will be answered and God will confirm whatever is to happen to all involved, including this dear brother.

  70. John B. Cameron said,

    November 28, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Very sad. There has been a clash of cultures which will never meet. New church should return to where they came from and Coral Ridge Presbyterian folks should be permitted to return to their own beautiful building and continue with their very Biblical form of reverent worship. Until that happens, God will not bless the way He has even though the fleshly people will think so.
    Get on your knees and stay there until this is resolved.

  71. Nangteiskhem Marwein said,

    January 10, 2012 at 8:40 am

    John B Cameron I agree with you. We in the Presbyterian Church are always divided on several matters. I myself I’m not an American Presbyterian, I’m a member of a Presbyterian Church in India. We here are united and the church grow rapidly and big churches are divided into smaller churches without any conflict. Here in India we stress more on preaching the gospel and working together as a church. However, I pray for the church in America, with no offence the church in America have so much junk and entertain lots of demons like homosexuality, confusion, division and many other things. I grief when I heard that some Presbyterian churches keep both the Koran and the Bible together in the church. No wonder the church continue to lose its members and God’s presence is withdrawing from the church.

    I hope the church will wake up and alive in the Holy Spirit.


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