Fisking an idea on how to treat Confessional Documents

In a recent denomination magazine someone wrote a op-ed piece. This is my attempt to find the humor in it.

December 5, 2015 — Discussions about our denomination’s confessions, also known as the Three Forms of Unity—the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dort, and the Heidelberg Catechism—are ongoing.

Some believe that we should preserve these confessions as they were written. Others argue that we should adapt them to contemporary times but continue to affirm their authority. Still others argue that we should do away with these confessions altogether and start anew. And some have proposed that we add a fourth document to the Three Forms of Unity, such as the Belhar Confession, to make our testimony more complete.

I propose that we refer to the Three Forms of Unity as the “historical confessions” of the CRC. This implies, of course, that the exact language of each confession be minutely preserved. After all, they are historical documents that reflect the precise spirit of their time. These documents should never be altered, and for that reason should always be referred to as “the historical confessions of the Christian Reformed Church.” Further, these historical confessions should never be considered normative for our times because their normativity for today would violate their historicity of yesterday.

Bret responds,

Great idea. Lets apply this reasoning to other historical documents.

1.) I propose that we refer to my wedding vows as the “historical wedding vows.”  This implies, of course, that the exact language of the wedding vow would be minutely preserved. After all, those vows are a historical document that reflect the precise spirit when I was married. This document should never be altered, and for that reason should always be referred to as “the historical wedding vows of Mr. & Mrs. Bret L. McAtee.” Further, this historical wedding vow should never be considered normative for our times because its normativity for today would violate its historicity of yesterday.

II.) I propose that we refer to the membership vows that our members take as their “historical vows” to the local church. This implies, of course, that the exact language of each membership vow be minutely preserved. After all, they are historical vows that reflect the precise spirit of their time. These vows should never be altered, and for that reason should always be referred to as “the historical vows of the members of sundry Christian Reformed Churches.” Further, these historical vows should never be considered normative for our times because their normativity for today would violate their historicity of yesterday.

III.) I propose that we refer to the  Scriptures as “historical Scripture” of the CRC. This implies, of course, that the exact language of each Scripture be minutely preserved. After all, the Scriptures are a historical document that reflects the precise spirit of their time. This document should never be altered, and for that reason should always be referred to as “the historical  Scripture of the Christian Church.” Further, these historical Scriptures should never be considered normative for our times because their normativity for today would violate their historicity of yesterday.

Except for assorted 5 year olds, closed head injury patients, and adult post-moderns who “reasons” like this?

How is it that Historicity is put into antithesis with normativity?

With this kind of methodology how is it possible to still believe that true truth is timeless?

“Yes Aunt Agnes, I know in your time serial adultery was wrong, according to the historic Confessions, but today the normative confessions say that God is pleased with serial adultery.”

What would be normative, however, is a Contemporary Confession. Such a new document would be similar to the CRC’s Contemporary Testimony Our World Belongs to God, but not necessarily identical to it. This Contemporary Confession would be drawn up by the CRC synod. From then on, a synodically appointed standing committee would, upon the instruction of the annual synod, recommend certain modifications, alterations, or additions to the Contemporary Confession as needed.

This process would be repeated at the commencement of each subsequent synod, at which time all the synodical delegates would also subscribe to the Contemporary Confession. The document would then be normative throughout the entire year. Newly elected or appointed office-bearers would also be expected to subscribe to it.

Something to think about!

 

 

Wasn’t this tried before? Some guy, wearing a pointy hat speaks ex-cathedra from the synod (whoops… I mean “The Chair”) and then all of Christendom knows what is true and what they should think. After all, if Synod says it is true then  why would anyone disagree? Didn’t Luther have something to say about this idea.

“I put no trust in the unsupported authority of Pope or councils or CRC Synods, since it is plain that they have often erred and often contradicted themselves) by manifest reasoning.”

I can just see it now.

“My only comfort in life and death (until next years synod meets) is that I am not my own …”

This year the Heidelberg gives us “Sin and Misery,” “Our Redemption,” and “Gratitude.” Next year the Heidelberg could  be divided into, “Low Self Esteem,” “Our Self Actualization,” and “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough,  and doggone it, people like me,” categories.

Really, I fail to understand how any thinking person could reason like this.

 

For Your Reading Pleasure

I.) Library

A.) Tuininga, VanDrunen & Hart are analyzed by Littlejohn, Wedgeworth & Escalante

Tuininga’s Kingdoms and the Reformed Tradition

John Calvin and the Two Kingdoms- Part 1

John Calvin and the Two Kingdoms, Part 2

I am not in complete agreement with these chaps but this is some fine historical theology work. In point of fact, this looks to be particularly devastating to the Cartwrightian R2K cause. Now the only question is, will it gain traction in all the hub bub.

B.) Valuable top down look at the inroads made by Liberalism (before it was known as Cultural Marxism) by Joseph Sobran

http://www.wildwestcycle.com/f_pensees.htm

C.) Fourth Generation Warfare by William Lind

http://antiwar.com/lind/?articleid=1702

Having some knowledge of this is important because this is the warfare we are currently seeing.

D.) Chesterton & Distributism

http://distributistreview.com/mag/2011/08/g-k-chestertons-distributism/

II.) Audio

Podcast no. 6 Jonathan Bowden’s “Western Civilization Bites Back”

Around the Web

I. Theater

A quite good video series based on Henry Hazlitt’s “Economics in One Lesson.” If you can’t or won’t read the book give these videos a spin.

http://www.cosmolearning.com/courses/economics-in-one-lesson/video-lectures/

II.) Library

Was the 14th amendment Constitutionally passed?

http://www.constitution.org/14ll/no14th.htm

Was the 17th amendment Constitutionally passed?

http://www.thelawthatneverwas.com/seventeenth.aspx

The Wizard Of Oz a allegory?

http://www.usagold.com/gildedopinion/oz.html

A exemplary piece of writing on what the Zimmerman trial will be all about,

http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/46011

A piece that supports the conclusions of the above piece,

How Not To Draft A Probable Cause Affidavit

III.) Audio

http://chalcedon.edu/research/audio/a-theology-of-resistance-and-victory/

Dipping into some of my learning today — 04 April, 2012

I.) Library

http://www.vdare.com/articles/why-western-music-is-superior-to-eastern (Article Mentioned In The Wed. Classes)

Pseudo-Sciences: Sociology and Psychology….

http://www.reformed-theology.org/html/issue08/blumenfeld.htm

Marxist Revolution of the West

http://www.opc.org/os.html?article_id=302&cur_iss=Y (Maddening)

http://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/2012/03/31/in-gods-name/ (slippery)

http://historiasalutis.com/2012/03/30/welcome-back-culture/

Jim Wallis: Consistently Applying the Two Kingdoms Theology

Confederate History Month 2012: Stephen F. Hale’s Letter To Kentucky

http://www.etherzone.com/2012/cron040212.shtml

http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/politics/english/e_polit

http://reason.com/blog/2012/03/28/the-obama-administrations-limiting-princ

http://kevincraig.info/salvian.htm

That Which is Lost

II.) Audio

Around the Web

I.) Library

http://www.hornes.org/theologia/rich-lusk/what-is-biblical-theology

http://chalcedon.edu/research/articles/the-family-3/

http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=167

http://www.realnews247.com/who_rules_america_updated_2004.htm

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/021843.html

II.) Video

III.) Audio