Saturday, June 03, 2006

To creed or not to creed: that's the question

John Armstrong has two basic problems with the TR. On the one hand:


“Why do conservative Reformed Christians treat only certain confessional traditions, such as the Westminster Confession or its cousin the London Baptist Confession, as if only these confessions and catechisms were the proper confessional grounds for the Reformed faith and thus for contemporary understanding of the Bible and classical Christian thought, if they even care about classical thought? These important creedal standards of the 17th century are not the only standards for orthodoxy, for all time and all cultures, and few have ever treated them in this manner. Therefore, why do ordinary Christians hardly ever hear this from the many of the conservative Reformed spokesmen? (There are few if any conservative Reformed spokeswomen, which is another question for another time.)”

“Isn’t it time to address these questions honestly so that a new generation can hear the real beauty of how Reformed theology can actually make a solid contribution to restoring classical Christian faith and holy tradition to a culture-bound church that is knee deep in compromise and confusion? I see a growing number of younger Christians who find this whole "Reformed" view completely irrelevant the more they read widely and encounter real people in real churches. One can pray that their tribe will increase as people realize that we must live in the 21st century, not the 17th.”

Yep, that’s our problem, all right. The TR are mired in the muddy hardpan of our fossilized 17C creeds.

Our partisan attachment to the sclerotic formalism of Reformed tradition has rendered us irrelevant to the younger generation.

On the other hand:


“Why do modern conservative Reformed Christians seem to have historical amnesia when it comes to events that transpired in church history from the death of John on the Isle of Patmos, late in the first century, until the completion of the Canon several centuries later?”

“Why do modern conservative Reformed Christians virtually ignore the Church Fathers as well as the catholic creeds of the Christian church?”

“Why do modern conservative Reformed Christians ignore the fact that John Calvin was especially influenced by the Church Fathers?”

“Do they realize that what they have created, in many cases, is a modern lecture hall with hymns and a collection? Do they realize that this is much more like a Plymouth Brethren gathering than a truly Reformed service, with all its variations and rich use of older liturgical tradition?”

Yep, that’s our problem, all right. The TR are far to footloose. Slaves to every passing fad. Trendier than thou. Disrespectful of our elders and betters.

Instead of making common cause with the fundies—the Nephilimic spawn of Anabaptism—we should get back to the family business of burning or drowning pretribers and Hutterites—what with them their soul-killing heresy of believer’s baptism and other deviltry.

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