This and That

There are a few housekeeping matters to which I have needed to attend. First of all, I have deleted all of Rey’s comments. That may make quite a few threads nonsensical, but now it means that his comments will no longer appear on the blog. They will be held for moderation, and hence deleted. He was warned that his comments would be deleted if he continued to post while under ban. Now, no doubt, he will play the innocent victim under the cruel tyrrany of those Reformed ideas. Let me just say that he was allowed a fairly free privilege of posting until he got to the point where anyone who didn’t share his Anabaptist sympathies were going to rot in hell. I don’t need that on my blog.

On an only slightly less frustrating level is the recent blowup over theonomy on this blog. Folks, it takes a fair bit to get me upset. I do not have a short fuse, especially on the internet. I have steadfastly sought to promote both peace and purity on the internet. The theonomists feel that Jeff went over the top in one of his comments. I feel that the theonomists went overboard in saying what they have said about every NAPARC denom that holds to the American revision of the WS. The Enlightenment, especially the form it took under Immanuel Kant, would have nothing to do even with the American revision of the WS, since it left in the most problematic thing: that we can in fact know the noumenal realm, as God has revealed it to us. That is the fundamental point of the Enlightenment in its Kantian form: we cannot know the noumenal realm. Anyone who says that any other point is the main point of the Kantian Enlightenment needs to go back and read his philosophy more. The Enlightenment would utterly repudiate the Westminster Standards, either in its original form, or in its American revision. So, it is hasty in the extreme to assert, as some have done, that all NAPARC denominations are basically heretical, because they accept the supposedly Enlightenment-revised form of the WS. Where is the evidence to support this conclusion, may I ask? Under the principle of innocent until proven guilty, I assert that NAPARC denoms are not guilty of caving in to the Enlightenment.


  1. tim prussic said,

    October 31, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Pr. Lane, I’d make no comments on the NAPARC at all. Nor would I disagree with your assessment of the major thrust of Kant’s ideas. It’s not however, that the Kantian Enlightenment wouldn’t touch the American revision, it’s that the spirit of the Enlightenment (more generally) has effected the American mind that revised the document. Further, Kant’s noum/phenom distinction is very bothersome philosophically, but that has only limited effect. My guess is that the broader notions of the rejection of traditional authority and the exaltation of human reason are closer to the heart of the effect of the Enlightenment upon the American revisers.

  2. tim prussic said,

    October 31, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Rey, buddy, get a life. Go get out of the house and live a little. This blog should have very little importance to you. Seriously, buddy.

  3. October 31, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Lane I explained what we meant earlier. Saying that the 1788 revision was influenced by Enlightenment philosophy, is not the same thing as saying that a man like Immanuel Kant would subscribe to it; it is merely saying that the document’s framers were influenced by the spirit of the age.

    The fact of the matter is that prior to the Enlightenment, the idea of religious toleration was completely repudiated by the Reformed churches and was condemned in the Reformed Confessions. Later, when this was dropped, it was not done so for exegetical reasons, but out of deference to the spirit of the age, and it is only later that we see people trying to make a systematic exegetical attempt to prove pluralism is Biblical.

    It never ceases to amaze me how certain Presbyterians are always telling people about the need to get back to the Confessions, but when those of us who prefer the real Westminster Confession point out that we think the 1788 is not faithful to Scripture they get upset.

  4. October 31, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    As for Rey, find something better to do with your time…like reading the Bible.

  5. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Daniel, what bothers me here is that the 1788 revision revised the confession in only three places, and yet you make it sound as if they sold out the whole family farm. The three revisions were in the area of the civil magistrate, the definition of incest, and the reference to the Pope as the antichrist (which wasn’t because they thought the Pope was not an antichrist, but because they thought there were more antichrists than just the Pope). Of these revision, the only one that is even related to this discussion is the first one. And this is not of the essence of the faith, nowhere near it.

  6. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    And I’m not upset at people who want to use the original edition of the confession. In fact, the one I use in the office as my main edition is the original. I am only upset when people accuse denoms like the PCA and the OPC of selling out to the Enlightenment simply in the adoption of the 1788 revision.

  7. October 31, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    And actually, as far as I am aware, nobody said anything about the OPC and PCA et al being heretical. In error on the issue of toleration? Yes. Heretical? No. But the bottom line is the concept of religious toleration was inspired by the Enlightenment; prior to that, the idea that the civil magistrate should not suppress false religion was unheard of in Reformed circles.

  8. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Tim, the fracture of the phenom/noum realm has profound ramifications for the fracturing of all knowledge. If there is no over-arching science like theology to govern all the other sciences, thus keeping knowledge and truth ultimately unified, then the fracture of all knowledge is the inevitable result. This is the field of my doctorate, by the way. And I wasn’t referring to your comment so much as to Daniel’s.

  9. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Daniel, what is your evidence? Even if you were right in saying that they cowtowed to the spirit of the age, you have not proven that that age was Enlightenment thinking.

  10. October 31, 2008 at 2:15 pm


    When you revise a document like a Confession of Faith, it becomes a different document. For that reason we do not call the Savoy Declaration or the 1689 the Westminster Confession – even though they are only mild revisions.

    BTW, I am not saying the original WCF is beyond improvement, but only that we should not call what is another document the WCF.

  11. October 31, 2008 at 2:18 pm


    It was the age of reason – i.e. the Enlightenment. In that era the idea of absolute religious toleration was popularized by various philosophers, and this rubbed off on the Church. For example, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland in the late 18th century endorsed things like total equality for Roman Catholics, a postion which would have been totally condemned 100 years earlier.

  12. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    That isn’t an argument, Daniel. Plenty of people in the age of reason rejected the Enlightenment. Just because the revision happened in that time doesn’t mean that the Enlightenment caused it. That is a sort of post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

  13. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    And, what the Irish did didn’t happen in the other denoms until liberalism took over much later.

  14. tim prussic said,

    October 31, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Pr. Lane, I didn’t know you had a doctorate! Where from? Tell me all. By the way, that makes me very happy.

    I know you weren’t talking to me on this issue, but I figured I’d chime in, nonetheless. I don’t disagree that Kant’s proposal has done massive epistemological damage, and that may have more impact on the average Joe than I think. My contention is that the major poison of the Enlightenment, which has been administered to the masses (not just those with philosophical interests), is the rejection of authority and the self-sufficiency of human reason. Those notions, I think, are VERY pervasive and supremely injurious.

  15. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Not so fast there, Tim! ;-) I am writing it, have not written it yet, but am doing research on it, and when I write it, then I will apply to a school and get the Ph.D.

    I agree with you on the major poison of the Enlightenment, which is why I don’t think it has anything to do with the revisions to the WCF, which have nothing to do with God’s authority.

  16. G.C. Berkley said,

    October 31, 2008 at 2:59 pm


    Given Daniel’s position, perhaps we should call the American revision, Imitation Westminster Standards* or Westminster Standards Lite*

    *theonomic implications have been removed from this product.

    Just a thought.

  17. its.reed said,

    October 31, 2008 at 3:15 pm


    Lane has outlined the three revisions in question. Given the nature of those revisions, I find your conclusion hard to justify. Your argument would only follow if:

    1. The document was wholesale revised, or
    2. The items revisised were in fundamental areas, so as to alter the basic principles of the document.

    Clearly the first possiblity is not the case. These were three, count them, three revisions, touching on purely secondary matters. There was no wholesale revision in 1788, or subsequently in the WS used by the PCA or the OPC.

    Possibility no. 2 does not follow either, mainly because of the subject matter in view in the revisions. Further, the revisions in question all occured, not from the impetus of cultural accomodation but from exegetical convictions. This should be relatively obvious from the matter of incest and the pope. Neither of these revisions even comes close to a suggestion of accomodation.

    The same can be said for the civil magistrate revision. The revision flowed, not from some sense of accomodation to culture, as it did to a belief that the revision was a better reflection of what Scripture teaches, to wit, that the civil magistrate does not have authority over the church in its affairs, but rather that the civil magistrate and the church are like two spheres revolving around a common center, but each in its own orbit (a more or less consistent paraphrase from the intro. in the PCA’s BCO).

    How you can get from such minor revisions as these to the conclusion of a taint flowing from Enlightment toleration is not at all obvious. Frankly, it seems ludicrous.

  18. E.C.Hock said,

    October 31, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Lane, you have a doctorate? I thought pastors in the PCA, or anywhere, were not supposed to have doctorates and stay within the realms of the pastorate with its down-to-earth preaching and simple manner shepherding. I mean, once you get a doctorate, you are ready for a different . higher realm of study and communication, where you do all that reading, yes? (And of course we cannot have pastors who read too much in the pastorate – especially theology). The pastorate is really about ‘practical’ and ‘pastoral’ things. And since being a shepherd is being able to relate to common people, as they say, the doctorate seems too out of place, too rarified. Should not your calling be in the college or seminary? I mean….really! (All this tongue-in-cheek of course, but church members will lay that on you at times).

  19. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    E.C., see my comment 15. I’m working on a Ph.D. And, as a matter of fact, the subject matter of my work has a great deal to do with the artificial divisions people put in between theology and the church, theory and practice. So, I find your post highly ironic, in a good sense. ;-) Lane

  20. October 31, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Lane and its.reed

    It is an argument because RELIGIOUS TOLERATION was a fundamental part of the Enlightenment; the move to it in the Reformed Churches was not based on Biblical exegesis.

  21. October 31, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    The spirit of the Reformation, Puritan and Covenanting movements was anti-tolerationist; the spirit of the Enlightenment was tolerationists. The American Revised Confession is tolerationists, therefore it is closer to the Enlightenment than the Reformed tradition on this point. This does not need to be debated.

  22. G.C. Berkley said,

    October 31, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    In other words, there is NO toleration! Stones at the ready! Tremble, ye sinners…

  23. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Daniel, are saying that you approve of the Crusades? Should non-belief be punished by the state? If so, then how does the theonomist interpret the passage in Ephesians which states categorically that our struggle is NOT against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual rulers? Is there no distinction between church and state?

  24. tim prussic said,

    October 31, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    #23 – what the? Daniel’s talking about a spectrum of toleration of false religion and you blast off into the Crusades?! All Daniel is saying is that, with regard to toleration, the American church is closer to the Enlightenment than the Reformation. That’s hardly a scandal! Further, I think one could argue that the revisions reflect a rejection of authority relative to the state.

  25. October 31, 2008 at 4:07 pm


    No, you are failing to make the Confessional distinction between religious toleration and religious liberty. Unbelief is not a crime – it was not even punished in Israel – yet public seduction to idolatry, witchcraft, blasphemy, damnable heresy etc, etc, is criminal and should be punished by the civil magistrate.

    And why is it that you are so upset about people charging the 1788 being influenced with the Enlightenment, when you tolerate a moderator who wants the original WCF to be investigated by the FBI??

    GC Berkley

    Just keep in mind that humanismdom has killed many more people than Christendom ever did. Just ask the 40 million innocent children slain in their mother’s womb in the United States post 1973.

  26. October 31, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    And with reference to comment 23, you seem to be adopting an Anabaptist-like Absolutist interpretation of the text; you can hardly say that we have no struggles with flesh and blood, otherwise there would be no physical persecution, instead what Paul is saying that our struggle is primarily with demonic powers which inspire this.

  27. its.reed said,

    October 31, 2008 at 4:21 pm


    I for one find you to keep going over the top. I urge you father to consider a little more humility in your efforts to defend the faith.

    In no.s 20 and 21 you are making mere assertions. You have not proven your point that the revisions flowed from considerations of the Enlightenment concept of religious toleration. I offered an argument with some guts, something you could easily argue against. You have not.

    (And no Tim, Daniel is not simply noting a historical closeness for the 1788 WCF vs. the original to the Enlightenment. Daniel is making a cause and effect argument – one which he has yet to provide any substantiation).

    Accordingly Daniel, I find your continued lambasting to be quite obnoxious. I recognize you believe you are motivated by a holy zeal. Given your failure to interact, I’d hesitate for a moment and reconsider.

    As to your continued reference to Jeff and the FBI comment, please just cease and desist along this line of argument. Lane has already offered you one explanation that Jeff was offering a comment couched in some humor.

    Even more, you continue to misread what Jeff said. He said nothing about submitting the original WCF to the FBI for investigation. He said nothing of the kind and if you would stop for a moment thinking you need to fight off the heathen within the gate you might reflect for a moment and see that this is so.

    Jeff suggested that a comment you made might be one that would be investigated by the FBI. He was making the point that your comment seemed to him to be egregious in nature, to the point where even the secular world might take notice. Further his reference was to a comment you made, not an express statement in the WCF.

    He neither recommended nor suggested that you or the WCF should be investigated. Nor did he suggest he was going to submit you or the WCF to such silliness. You do need to back up a bit and consider whether or not the strength of your convictions is leading you to unjustly malign your brothers in both their words and their intents.

  28. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Tim, I know that Daniel was not talking directly about the Crusades. What I mean is this: does Daniel’s position require him to say that the magistrate must not tolerate unbelief, to the point of prosecuting unbelievers? If this is so, then how can the Christian magistrate do anything other than wage war against another country that does tolerate unbelief? What I am doing here is an attempt at reductio ad absurdam. Hope this is clear.

    Daniel, what Reed said. And encouragement to unbelief did not have to be public to be a criminal offense in ancient Israel. Anyone who secretly encourages someone to worship false gods (as in Deut 13:6ff) was also to be stoned, whether they were prophets or not. How can the worship of other gods be interpreted as anything other than encouragement to those who know to do the same thing? Therefore the worship of false gods in the OT period merited capital punishment. I would argue that the corollary today is excommunication, which is arguably more dire than capital punishment. The typical relationship of OT Israel draws a line to the church, not to modern governments.

  29. October 31, 2008 at 4:39 pm


    Jeff may not have actually said that he wants the original WCF to be investigated by the FBI, but that is where his logic is taking him.

    Your previous argument on religious toleration falls as there was/is no exegetical basis for it. The 1788, at this point, is inspired by the spirit of the age. I get the impression Lane and yourself expect me to find a document which says “the Presbyterians meeting at Philadelphia revised the WCF due to writings of Rousseau”, but this means that we could never accuse anyone of being influenced by anything. For instance, I know plenty of people who have been influenced by post-modern ideas that there is no objective standard of beauty, but they have never heard of postmodernism. Yet the fact that they don’t make reference to Michael Foucalt et al does not mean that they have not been influenced by their ideas.

    None are so blind as those who will not see. Just like the Puritan Board, I feel I am banging my head off a brick wall here. The comments of your fellow moderator were downright scandalous; yet nothing is done about it.

    Perhaps Elijah also went “over the top” and needed to show more humility when defending the faith? It would seem modern Reformed guilt-manipulators have little in common with the prophet…or John Calvin…or John Knox…or Samuel Rutherford…or George Gillespie…or Richard Cameron…or James Renwick. Like others, they seek to make God’s righteous ones feel guilty.

    I have had enough of the totally unreasonable attitude displayed here; it is time to say farewell.

  30. October 31, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    28 – That is an Anabaptist interpretation refuted by Calvin in his commentary on 1 Cor. 5; it is not a Reformed one. And you are not reading my comments correctly with relation to enticement to worship false gods.

  31. its.reed said,

    October 31, 2008 at 4:45 pm


    “None are so blind as those who will not see.”

    You admit you are taking umbrage at something Jeff did not say (you are upset at where you think the logic takes his statement). Thus you read into his words. If your inference is necessary, your argument stands. If it is not, you are guilty of maligning your brother.

    I believe your appeal to the necessity of logic is fallicious.

    You ignored again my argument about the exegetical basis for the revisions, insisting that your opinion that it flowed from a condescension to the Enlightment toleration principle is fact. Are you serious? Do you not see that you have not offered an argument, but an assertion?

    And then you continue to don the mantle of the unjustly condemned prophet, choosing to include again a maligning against another board and its moderators/commenters.

    Daniel, have you no shame?

  32. October 31, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    And one more thing before I go; if capital punishment has been replaced by excommunication then there is virtually no role left for the civil government. As Samuel Rutherford said, the magistrate may as well go and hunt goats. It means that we could not even execute murderers today, but just excommunicate them (what about murderers outside the church in the first place??). Not to mention the fact that it overlooks the fact that capital punishment was applied to the strangers in Israel who were NOT members of the church (Lev. 24). Moreover, it was the very argument the Erastians used at the Westminster Assembly to say that was no distinction between church and state in the OT. Furthermore, the Confessional view is that Israel in the OT was a church and a nation, it was not a type of the church.

  33. October 31, 2008 at 4:52 pm


    Whatever you think of the various other revisions, the fact is that there can be no exegetical justification for religious toleration, and none was provided in 1788.

    And no I am not reading into Jeff’s statement. He said I should be investigated by the FBI for adovocating the execution of Popish priests – something that many of the Covenanters and Puritans who wrote the WCF believe in.

  34. E.C.Hock said,

    October 31, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Lane (re: #19),

    I wish you well in your studies (and your wife also). I also hope you have a decent office set aside for such research and writing. One cannot do their doctorate on the kitchen table. Remember, too, the goal is to finish, not to publish. Let the ideal of the latter come later in its time. Theory and practice perhaps ought to re-phrased more simply as thinking and doing, confessing and acting, for as we think about God so we live before Him. How much Amercian Protestant religion, in its more revivalistic strain, has contributed to that disparity alsone is fascinating? Yet, this is a hot topic, for as Vanhoozer has recently written, to what extent theology is drama, needs to be explored.

  35. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    It is a shame, Daniel. If I am totally unreasonable, then so is the entire Reformed world that is not theonomic. That is the plain logic of where you are headed. I honestly think that I have the ability to listen and to understand positions that do not jibe with my own. You have two choices, then. You can cut yourself off from the rest of the Reformed world (all that is non-theonomic), or you can engage and hope to persuade by gentle arguments. You may feel that you are banging your head against a wall. You have to realize that that is exactly how I feel some of the time as well! Beware of sectarianism. It is definitely a danger to theonomists.

  36. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    E.C., great thoughts to live by in the academic world. I have a wonderful office that is huge and almost completely free from distractions.

  37. tim prussic said,

    October 31, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    #28 – Pr. Lane, I don’t think you reductio works because you’re confusing things. First, it maybe immoral not to be a Christian, but it’s never been a crime. Secondly, nations rightly have jurisdiction within their own lands. I have not read theonomists advocating wars of aggression against pagan lands. Our laws would function domestically. Thus, your attempt at a reduction ad absurdum fails, I think, as it confuses those issues – especially the latter.

  38. its.reed said,

    October 31, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Ref. 33:

    Daniel, am I reading you correctly? Are you saying that the three revisions in 1788 are, in essence, accomodations rooted in the notion of toleration in the Enlightenment?

    If so, maybe I was not clear enough. I deny that this is what those revisions intend, or result in.

    The revision to the consanguinity of marriage in no way offers religious “toleration”. What, do you think that the change accomodates itself to some variation (perversion) of Christianity that wants to allow marriage between brother and sister, but couldn’t quite go that far? This is silliness.

    The change in the pope as the Antichrist is clearly not in the direction of toleration, as it actually expands the application from merely one man to the whole system of Roman Catholocism. By what logic do you read any sense of Enlightenment toleration influence in a religion that actually strengthens the argument against apostasy?

    As to the civil magistrate revision, again, demonstrate that this flowed from some sense of toleration. Rather, it flowed from a conviction that the original over-stated the case of Scripture. I would argue that the revision of 1788 revised an inappropriate accomodation to an Erastian influence in the original.

    Daniel, you are not making an argument, merely pounding your chest over a presupposed conviction. If you want to interact, discuss, and possibly be used of the Spirit to persuade us of the errors of our ways, this is not the Biblical way to go about it.

    As to Jeff’s comments, yes you are reading into what he said, and you should have the integrity to go verify that before you deny my challenge to your sinful behavior.

    Daniel, sadly you are fitting the unfortunate stereotype of theonomists. As it is, I reject that stereotype. As much as I disagree with theonomy, it is unfair to blame that system with your fleshly behavior. You’re pounding your head against a wall that you have set up.

    “None are so blind as those who will not see.”

  39. October 31, 2008 at 6:39 pm


    Its not the rejection or non-rejection of Theonomy that is the problem, it is the totally unreasonable nature of your (collective) behaviour. You asked a question on an earlier thread: I gave an honest Confessional and I believe Biblical answer to the question.

    I was then subject to a torrent of disrespectful comments and persecution by one of your moderators and other individuals. Instead of confessing an obvious fault on the part of one of your moderators, which actually involved no personal guilt on the part of yourself and others, you have chosen to make a big deal of what seems like a fairly reasonable observation that the American Presbyterians adovacy of religious toleration was influenced by the spirit of the age and not be Biblical exegesis. But it was okay for you to accuse Theonomists of making “mince-meat” out of the Confession – without any basis in fact.

    I have no problem having fellowship with non-Theonomists – and do so all the time – I am even prepared to answer fair and reasonable questions. However, what I cannot stand is the constant “building the tombs of the prophets” by Cloister Calvinists who advocate the persecution of those of us who hold to the teaching of the WCF on the toleration question. The comments made on that previous thread were downright scandalous; yet, as per usual, the non-Theonomists get off with verbal murder.

    You are right: sectarianism is a danger for Theonomists – however it would help if we were not verbally stoned at every opportunity by professing Calvinists who seem to have more in common with Marcion (not referring to you here) than with the Reformers, Puritans and Covenanters. Yet sectarianism is also a danger for Presbyterians in general; and I fear most are more worried about tithing mint and cummin than observing the weightier matters of God’s Law.

  40. its.reed said,

    October 31, 2008 at 6:47 pm


    How do you suspect us non-Theonomists feel about beinig maligned as “Clositer Calvinists.”? Your sense of fellowship does not seem to flow from what the Scripture teaches.

    You were not verbally stoned. You made a strong comment, that two others founnd egregious based on their convictions of what the Scriptures teach. They made one comment in in opposition, a comment no stronger than the one you made that evoked it. You then chose to go on the warpath. You and G.C. then decided to have some verbal jousting – a joust which I twice asked you both to stop, and you continued to the point of simply ignoring my request. How can you Biblically defend such behavior? (Please, at this point it is a rhetorical question, so don’t bother answering).

    And its not Lane, as it is as much me who has been objecting to your toleration observation. He did call you on it. I keep jumping you on it. You just keep asserting what is a fallicious charge instead of demonstrating your right.

    (Funny how you take umbrage at what others see as an inconsequential statement, one that has been discussed now on three posts with you, and yet you can’t seem to find the same courteousy is this case with your “reasonable” observation.”)

    Seriously Daniel, when my sons respond like that to inconsequential provocation, I tell them to quit being a weeney.

  41. October 31, 2008 at 6:47 pm


    The revision of the magistrate’s duties explicitly removed the state’s Biblical duty to suppress false religion – this is toleration.

    It was said over, and over, and over again in that thread that my views should be investigated by the FBI. My views are those of the WCF, the Reformers, Puritans and Covenanters. Therefore, Jeff – if consistent – would have to have the FBI investigate the WCF.

    By continuing to justify such sin you are only increasing your guilt. And if you are going to accuse others of sin, then at least be man enough not to hide behind a screen name.

    I fear for the state of American Calvinism, I really do. God will not tolerate such high-handed rebellion to his word.

  42. October 31, 2008 at 6:49 pm


    I give up on you; you will go to any lengths to justify your scandalous conduct.

  43. Paul M. said,

    October 31, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    “When you revise a document like a Confession of Faith, it becomes a different document.”

    This is unclear to me. The confession doesn’t claim it’s unrevisable. Presumably, if new evidence came to light making some confessional view in tension with Scripture, the framers themselves would change the wording of the confession the next time around. After all, the framers did make that point about Scripture, not the confession, being unable to err.

    And, the claim is sufficiently vague as to make it absurd. Suppose the framers thought some *wording* should be revised. Would changing an “a” to an “an” make it not the Confession anymore? If not, how would I know? The claim itself is sloppy.

    Also, what about the Confession grants it that if one revises it (whatever this means) it makes it a different document? I mean, the Institutes went through revisions, Calvin himself waffles back and forth. Should we call the original Institutes the Institutes and all the rest Institutes Lite?

    Anyway, when Israel wasn’t in their physical land they sure tolerated other religions! David didn’t pray to Darius but prayed to Jehovah. I didn’t see him advocating that those engaged in the public worship of Darius be put to death, though.

    Was daniel a crypto-Enlightened thinker?

  44. G.C. Berkley said,

    October 31, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Hey Reed, please forgive me for not abiding by your gracious request to cease and desist the theonomy banter.


  45. Vern Crisler said,

    October 31, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    The Enlightenment borrowed its idea of toleration from the political philosophy stemming from the English civil wars, i.e., Cromwell, Milton, and later Sydney and Locke, et al. Don’t equate the whole of the Enlightenment with Kant or the French philosophes, though they get all the attention.

    Kant’s phenomenal/noumenal distinction. Does it apply to itself?


  46. Deb said,

    October 31, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    To what extent does redemptive-historical Christ factor into the discussion of religious toleration?
    My understanding for putting to death non-believers and even the wholesale extermination of, for example, the Canaanites, in the OT has to do with the “Seed Battle.” All those non-believers were potential vessels of Satan to kill the lineage that led to Christ, and to try to keep the Messiah from being born.

    If that holds, then this side of Christ, now that the Seed of the Woman has come, our “Seed Battle” is with sin that wars within against God’s Spirit and no longer against flesh and blood-specific peoples. This is different from dispensationalism and I think has more to do with typology and understanding how the New Covenant upholds the Old by fulfilling it.

    Does anyone else think the “Seed Battle” concept has validity?

  47. Matt Holst said,

    October 31, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    Lane, Reed et al.

    I have followed the theonomy posts over the last few days (and pointed others to it) and am deeply distressed by the contributers’ inability to behave with the most basic of Christian graces.

    I for one, have no desire to see “brothers” spewing out the kind of hate that I have seen in recent days. I’m sure there are others like me.

    I appreciate the blog greatly and have learned much from it. I also appreciate your attempts to keep dialogue open, especially on some of the hot topics, like theonomy. However, it seems to me you have a RESPONSIBILITY AND AN ABILITY to cut short some of these discussions. Frankly, Daniel Ritchie should have been banned long ago. His comments were appauling, not from a theological perspective (though I have zero sympathy with theonomy) but from a behavioural one. To allow his kind of vitriol does nothing for your blog. I am sick and tired of hearing “Christians” who without any grace, constantly claim to be upholding the truth, yet are happy to tear the throats out of fellow Christians who disagree with them. If they speak thus to members of the body of Christ, one wonders what their tone is to those outside the body?

    Forgive me if you feel I am tinkering in something that is not my business (management of YOUR blog), but I think we would all be much more edified by a more stringent monitoring of the comments. The blog has served you and us well, thus far. However, if these kinds of discussions continue, the blog is in danger of losing its appeal.

    This is NOT a rebuke to you and the other moderators, more of a plea to exercise more control over who posts what. Frankly I’m nearly always happy when you step in and try and cool things down a little. And another plea to people who comment – before we hit the “Submit Comment” tab, it might be worth re-reading and then praying over what we have just penned.

    Just some thoughts

    Blessings to you all

    Matt H

  48. jeffhutchinson said,

    October 31, 2008 at 9:58 pm


    How many times does Lane have to ask you (and some others commenting here) to stop? How many times does Reed have to ask you? I deleted your comment because for the umpteenth time you made the same ridiculous charge, and you show no signs of letting up. More of the same and comments on this thread will have to be turned off as well.

  49. Darryl Hart said,

    October 31, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    Daniel Ritchie: you keep asserting there is no exegetical justification for religious toleration. Well, that begs the question that there is any justification for either the National Covenant or the Solemn League and Covenant. Seriously, why would a vow that Scots (and later English) made with a Stuart monarch have anything to do with the rest of the world? I know, rule Britannia.

    I suppose you will appeal to the general equity of the Reformation. Well, actually the Huguenot political theorists, with help from Calvin and Beza thought about Kings very differently from the Scots, partly because they could never find one to go along with them.

    So how’s this for exegesis? The OT church killed idolaters. God told them to. The NT church did not kill them but excommunicated them. So the church tolerates false religion, not in its own ranks, but in the larger society. I know that’s a little crude, and doesn’t use much Greek or Aramaic, but can you point to a single instance in the NT aside from the apocalyptic lit. where the church either executes unbelievers or asks the magistrate to do so?

    Daniel, you really have to become a completed Christian and enter the New Testament age.

  50. jeffhutchinson said,

    October 31, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Matt H’s comments are very helpful, as are Darryl Hart’s. Thank you, brothers. We will see if they are heeded. [Update: They were not, and so comments have been turned off on this thread.]

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