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Ask a Presbyterian

Discussion in 'Ask a Presbyterian' started by AMR, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. AMR

    AMR Presbyterian (PCA) - Bona Fide Reformed

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    Got a question about Presbyterianism? Ask away and I am confident someone here will have the answer for you. As we start to populate this forum with discussion topics some answers will probably be pointers to other discussion threads in this forum.

    AMR
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2009
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  2. Tzaousios

    Tzaousios Αυγουστινιανικός Χριστιανός

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    What is your opinion of the various American branches of the Presbyterian church in terms of doctrinal purity, expositional preaching from the Bible, identification with Reformed historical roots, and moral/social conservatism?
     
  3. LiturgyInDMinor

    LiturgyInDMinor Celtic Rite Old Catholic Church

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    double post already yeesh. lol
     
  4. LiturgyInDMinor

    LiturgyInDMinor Celtic Rite Old Catholic Church

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    I am relatively new to the Presbyterian church, but I can safely say that it's pretty much split down the middle with the 2 largest branches of Presbyterianism here in the States.

    PC(USA) is liberal.
    PCA is conservative.

    I belong to a Presbyterian Church in America(PCA) congregation and our new pastor is expository in preaching....I'm not sure if that's the norm in the PCA but I like it. It's motto is "True to the Reformed Faith" so IMHO it's doctrinal purity is very high...and it seems to be the baby of the US church. Formed in 1973 I believe.
    I cannot speak anything about the PC(USA) because I have very limited knowledge of that branch.
    There are also other branches here including the OPC, and more.
    I know there are other guys here that can answer your question in a more knowledgable light.


    thanks for listening.
    :)
     
  5. AMR

    AMR Presbyterian (PCA) - Bona Fide Reformed

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    Indeed, expository preaching is the rule for PCA churches. The PCA Book of Church Order states in Chapter 53:

    53-2. The subject of a sermon should be some verse or verses of Scripture, and its object, to explain, defend and apply some part of the system of divine truth; or to point out the nature, and state the bounds and obligation, of some duty. A text should not be merely a motto, but should fairly contain the doctrine proposed to be handled. It is proper also that large portions of Scripture be sometimes expounded, and particularly improved, for the instruction of the people in the meaning and use of the sacred Scriptures.


    AMR
     
  6. LiturgyInDMinor

    LiturgyInDMinor Celtic Rite Old Catholic Church

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    I love it...my former SBC preacher was expository. It's the best way to teach the Word of God.

    I have the online .PDF of the Book of Church Order...interesting read if you like that type of thing.
    I want it in hardcopy...still looking.

    Thanks for the info AMR. :)
     
  7. kenrapoza

    kenrapoza I Like Ice Cream

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    Oh my...I can foresee this one generating some controversy! But anyways...;)

    Your question actuallys calls for a somewhat thorough analysis, unfortunately I don't have the time right now, but hopefully others will chime in as the ball gets rolling.

    If I were to rank the significant American Presbyterian church bodies from liberal to conservative it would probably look something like this (remember right now I'm only talking in very broad terms):

    Liberal
    **
    PC(USA)
    EPC
    BPC
    PCA
    ARP
    RPCNA
    OPC
    **
    Conservative

    Because there can be so many definitions of "conservative" in this case I am taking it to mean "confessional". Once you get to the PCA and lower, it's really hard to actually determine who is more conservative than who. In reality it would probably be something more like this:

    PC(USA)
    EPC
    BPC
    PCA ARP
    RPCNA OPC

    More thoughts to follow tomorrow!
     
  8. Ave Maria

    Ave Maria Ave Maria Gratia Plena

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    1. What is the PCUSA's beliefs on Hell?
    2. What is the PCUSA's belief on salvation?
    3. What is the PCUSA's belief on Jesus?
    4. What is the PCUSA's belief on predestination?
    5. What is the PCUSA's belief on the rapture?
     
  9. kenrapoza

    kenrapoza I Like Ice Cream

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    That depends. What I mean is that if you were to look in the PC(USA)'s book of confessions you would generally see traditional protestant views on all of those doctrines. However, in reality things can be quite different. The PC(USA) is, overall, a relatively non-confessional and liberal church body. Typically,the moderate to liberal church bodies don't subscribe to the confessional documents all that strictly. They are seen more as guidelines than rules/standards, as such there might be great variation from minister to minister as far as the actual doctrines go.
     
  10. Evenstar253

    Evenstar253 somewhere else

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    It really does depend. The Book of Confessions includes most of the traditional statements of faith (Westminster, Heidelberg, Nicene, etc.), but it also states that these confessions have to be understood in their historical context and allows for variation in interpretations among churches and clergy. The only requirement for regular church members is to accept Jesus Christ. Ordained ministers, deacons, and elders are required to affirm their adherence to the confessions, but there is still room for differing views and interpretations.

    The church as a whole does affirm Jesus as fully human and fully God, although once again, this isn't a requirement for church membership. In response to the other questions, there really is no easy or clear answer, and at least in my experience, issues like the rapture and predestination aren't addressed in your typical church service. I spent 4 years at a Reformed Presbyterian college (not knowing anything beforehand about different brands of Presbyterianism and figuring it couldn't be "that different"), and it was the first time I really heard these issues addressed in great detail. This freedom and acceptance of a variety of views is probably my favorite quality of the PC(USA). This is also the main reason why, although my theological views have grown more liberal over time, I haven't questioned remaining a PC(USA) member. My personal favorite part of the confessions is the most recent, "A Brief Statement of Faith": PC(USA) - Presbyterian 101 - The Brief Statement of Faith

    I realize this doesn't really answer any of your questions, but it's the best I can do. I'm certainly no minister or theologian, but as the only PC(USA) representative I've seen in this section so far, I figured I'd give it a stab ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2009
  11. breanne

    breanne Newbie

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    My husband and I are currently looking for a church home. We are considering visiting a Presbyterian church, however, as Former Seventh-day Adventists we see little difference between the SDA view and Presbyterian view of the Sabbath. Why do Presbyterians hold a transferrence view of the Sabbath (Saturday to Sunday)? How do they arrive at their position Biblically and what about passages like Colossians 2, Hebrews 4 and Romans 14? We are in agreement with every other doctrine of the denomination, but really struggle with this one given our past.

    Thank you!
    Bree
     
  12. LiturgyInDMinor

    LiturgyInDMinor Celtic Rite Old Catholic Church

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    That the first I've ever heard that Presbyterians take this view.I'm curious now too. :)
     
  13. breanne

    breanne Newbie

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  14. LiturgyInDMinor

    LiturgyInDMinor Celtic Rite Old Catholic Church

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    Sounds good to me...thanks for the link sister! :)
    I apologize for not being qualified to answer your direct questions about this here.
     
  15. Willtor

    Willtor Not just any Willtor... The Mighty Willtor

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    I think the PCUSA tends to legislate fairly liberally. But I don't think this reflects the views of most PCUSA churches. I think most of the Churches tend to be fairly orthodox. My wife is a PCUSA pastor and her notion is that many of the individual churches don't see the decisions as having a lot of bearing on them -- and those that do tend to leave.
     
  16. LiturgyInDMinor

    LiturgyInDMinor Celtic Rite Old Catholic Church

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    I do NOT want to open a can of worms here...but I must state this...I've never heard of any church that thinks of themselves as orthodox(in the orthodox sense...umm....not sure how to word that!), at the same time have a female pastor.

    *the worms are free...run!!!!!!* :wave:
     
  17. Willtor

    Willtor Not just any Willtor... The Mighty Willtor

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    Haha! No worries. :)

    Perception is kind of a funny thing. She and I were talking about liberalism and conservatism the other day and how they are at the point of having almost no common frame of reference anymore. For example:

    In college I went through a period of fundamentalism. I got out while reading the thoughts and interpretations of the early Church and finding them quite at odds with what I was hearing from the pulpit. Gradually, I came to think that the conservative church is gradually moving towards fundamentalism. Now, I can't really call myself a conservative -- and most self-professed conservatives I know wouldn't call me one, either.

    On the other hand, my wife went to Harvard Divinity School. She says the scholarship was amazing. But many of the students (and even professors) seemed to think (for example) that Jesus was not actually raised from the dead. She's afraid of the liberal church moving in this direction. So she can't call herself liberal, and most self-professed liberals wouldn't count her as one of them, either.

    All that is to say, we feel stuck in between two groups that we perceive as polarizing each other. I refuse to call myself conservative and she refuses to call herself liberal, and it turns out we're _really_ close to each other, theologically (she has issues with icons and I don't, for example). But we both take the historic creeds very seriously. We both strive to understand Scripture and make that the primary and overriding influence of our doctrine. We both value the input of the saints throughout the ages as informing our interpretations. I co opted the term 'orthodox' for this.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2009
  18. LiturgyInDMinor

    LiturgyInDMinor Celtic Rite Old Catholic Church

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    I understand what you are saying here. :thumbsup:
    The very foundations of orthodoxy are being redefined in some circles...along with the definition of liberal, and conservative...just look at our current government! ;)

    Your wife is a very learned person! It would be fun to talk with her.
    Does she have a CF account???
    :)
     
  19. AMR

    AMR Presbyterian (PCA) - Bona Fide Reformed

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    From the Westminster Larger Catechism (Scripture references omitted):
    "The fourth commandment requires of all men the sanctifying or keeping holy to God such set times as he has appointed in his Word, expressly one whole day in seven; which was the seventh from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, and the first day of the week ever since, and so to continue to the end of the world; which is the Christian sabbath, and in the New Testament called the Lord's day.

    The sabbath or Lord's day is to be sanctified by an holy resting all the day, not only from such works as are at all times sinful, but even from such worldly employments and recreations as are on other days lawful; and making it our delight to spend the whole time (except so much of it as is to be taken up in works of necessity and mercy[Matthew 12:1-13]) in the public and private exercises of God's worship: and, to that end, we are to prepare our hearts, and with such foresight, diligence, and moderation, to dispose and seasonably dispatch our worldly business, that we may be the more free and fit for the duties of that day.

    The charge of keeping the sabbath is more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors, because they are bound not only to keep it themselves, but to see that it be observed by all those that are under their charge; and because they are prone ofttimes to hinder them by employments of their own.

    The sins forbidden in the fourth commandment are, all omissions of the duties required, all careless, negligent, and unprofitable performing of them, and being weary of them; all profaning the day by idleness, and doing that which is in itself sinful; and by all needless works, words, and thoughts, about our worldly employments and recreations.

    The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it, are taken from the equity of it, God allowing us six days of seven for our own affairs, and reserving but one for himself, in these words, Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: from God's challenging a special propriety in that day, The seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: from the example of God, who in six days made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: and from that blessing which God put upon that day, not only in sanctifying it to be a day for his service, but in ordaining it to be a means of blessing to us in our sanctifying it;Wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

    The word Remember is set in the beginning of the fourth commandment, partly, because of the great benefit of remembering it, we being thereby helped in our preparation to keep it, and, in keeping it, better to keep all the rest of the commandments, and to continue a thankful remembrance of the two great benefits of creation and redemption, which contain a short abridgment of religion; and partly, because we are very ready to forget it, for that there is less light of nature for it, and yet it restrains our natural liberty in things at other times lawful; that it comes but once in seven days, and many worldly businesses come between, and too often take off our minds from thinking of it, either to prepare for it, or to sanctify it; and that Satan with his instruments much labor to blot out the glory, and even the memory of it, to bring in all irreligion and impiety."
    AMR
     
  20. Willtor

    Willtor Not just any Willtor... The Mighty Willtor

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    She does... or did. We actually met on CF. Haha! She was Macrina. She helped to establish the Conservative Christians subforum before she was chased out. She doesn't post to CF, anymore, though she still lurks once in a while.
     
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