Sunday, October 26, 2008

The WCF Into the 21st Century:

But Not Without Confusion on the Regulative Principle of Worship, Psalmody and Musical Accompaniment.
(From a Dec. 2005 review revised, corrected and updated through 2/1/09)

A Long Overdue Review in Part 
of:
The Westminster Confession of Faith in the 21st Century, Essays in Remembrance of the 350th Anniversary of the Westminster Assembly,
Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, (Vol. 1, 2003, 443 pages), Vol. 2, 2004, 540 pages.

This symposium on the Westminster Confession of Faith flows from the 350th anniversary of the 1643 Assembly at Westminster Abbey. While the actual lectures given at that commemoration in 1994 are perhaps better known (See To Enjoy and Glorify God, BoT, 1994), the introduction to the WCF in the 21st Century (WCF21) tells us that the purpose of the essays enclosed is to inform, challenge, evaluate and commend the Assembly and its theology to today’s church (p.x), a most (note) worthy goal. While not outstanding, on the whole the two volumes are worthwhile. Particularly in the second volume, the focus of this review, Ryken on the pastoral ministry of Oliver Bowles, the oldest member of the Assembly and J.L. Duncan, the series editor, on the consensus between Calvin and the Westminster Assembly regarding the Lord’s Supper are good efforts. (Unfortunately the proposed translation of Bowles’ Puritan classic on the pastoral ministry, A Treatise on the Evangelical Pastor is on hold.)

Drs. Kelly and Needham
That said, the essays by Drs. Kelly and Needham on the Regulative Principle of Worship (RPW) - the good and necessary consequences of the Second Commandment as confessed in the reformed catechisms and creeds - and its application to the singing of psalms and musical instruments in worship, fall short of the mark and leave much to be desired, if not that their shortcomings should corrected in the planned third volume. Of the two, Needham’s is by far the longest, if not the centerpiece of all the essays in WCF21 at 116 pages with the next closest in length being Fesko’s 50 pages on Calvin, the Confession and supra/infralapsarianism, while Kelly's at 36 pages is seventh of fourteen articles and about average in length.

General Error and Negligence
Whatever their respective lengths though, the general error of Kelly and Needham is a twofold negligence of the primary sources and the secondary literature. 

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Jeremiah or Judas? Rev. Wright or Wrong?

Much ado has recently been made in the popular press about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, senior pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ congregation in Chicago, Illinois, where Senator Barak Obama, a leading 2008 US Democratic Presidential candidate has attended and held membership for over 20 years. Wright’s remarks about God damning America for its foreign policies particularly predominate in the sound clips that are played. These comments are considered unpatriotic and unAmerican, if not also unChristian and divisive by the mainstream media which presents little substantial criticism to the status quo and current policies of either of the mainstream parties, Democratic or Republican. 

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The "Federal Vision" Confusion is Not Enough, Only the Roman AntiChrist Will Do.

[Updated 5/3/08.]

In that Robbins and Gerety's Not Reformed At All answers, if not largely obliterates Doug Wilson's ""Reformed" is Not Enough", it was a stroke of genius to put Brueghel's masterpiece, "The Parable of the Blindmen" on the front cover of NRAA. In other words, so much for Wilson's touted "medieval mindset"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Reply to A Question About Ron Paul’s ‘08 Presidential Campaign

[revised 12/18/09]

While there is much to agree with in Chuck Baldwin’s column of Jan. 28, ‘08 on Ron Paul and his supporters, “Why Are Ron Paul's Supporters So Angry?”, let’s not put the “high horse” of politics before the gospel or Christianity. Contra the conservative Baptist pastor’s closing comments, if American Christians would just support “the principles of liberty, the U.S. Constitution, and limited government” is not enough in itself to provoke “a spiritual revival as well”, however much that is needed. Rather the problems of modern American Christians are far worse than just their “elitism, and partisan phoniness,” though their “ignorance” does have a lot to do with it. 

Sunday, February 3, 2008

2/3/08, The Reformed Argument Against Musical Instruments in Public

2/21/08, Updated Addendum to the Federal Vision's Fraudulent Revision of Reformed Worship.

John L. Girardeau's exposition of the historic reformed argument against musical instruments in public worship is little known and somewhat beside the point of the previous comments on Federal Vision's mischaracterization of the Regulative Principle of Worship. Nevertheless it is still worth mentioning, not only in order to persuade people to further examine the question, but also purely for the love of the truth alone (2 Thess. 2:10), without which nothing good or great can be accomplished. Yet not only has Girardeau's Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church (1888) been reprinted along with Robert Lewis Dabney's review of it a year later, G.I. Williamson, who is well known in American presbyterianism for his popular study guides on the Westminster Confession and Shorter Catechism, also wrote a not so well known tract on Instrumental Music in Worship