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What are Non-subscribing Presbyterians?

Discussion in 'Confessional, Covenantal, Creedal - Presbyterian' started by dms1972, Nov 16, 2019.

  1. dms1972

    dms1972 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi,

    I just thought I'd ask here as I got a flyer through my door from one advertising a a performance of Dickens: A Christmas Carol. There are a few dozen churches locally that go by this title, but not sure as to whether they only in exist in Ireland?

    What I have gleaned is that they don't subscribe to the Westminster Confession? They say that they:

    "assert and uphold the right of each and every individual to search these scriptural records for themselves and to use reason and personal conscience to discover God’s Divine Truth."

    Does that mean they are theologically liberal?

    Or would it vary from church to church?
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2019
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  2. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Most likely.
    Probably not much.
     
  3. dms1972

    dms1972 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yeah, thanks I had a look at their website again and see they describe themselves as liberal. That kind of means everyone there interprets the Bible as they see fit? What does the minster do? What does he preach?
     
  4. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Well, the functioning of the church is almost certain to be similar to any other. And you should not expect that every member is left to his own devices, trying to come up with his personal statement of beliefs.

    In a liberal church/congregation, the pastor, etc. has a POV regarding all doctrines and conveys that to the members, just as the pastor in a conservative or traditionalist church does, but the Bible is not treated the same way.
     
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  5. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    When I did a Google search for non-subscribing Presbyterian the references seemed to be to the Irish church by that name. They're liberal, but 18th Cent. liberal. They promote individual freedom of conscience. At one point they had some relationship with the Unitarians, but pulled away because they want to remain Christian. Their Wikipedia article summarizes their history and beliefs: Non-subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland - Wikipedia
     
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  6. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    This characterization of "liberal" is true to varying degrees. My impression from the web pages is that it's more true of the Non-Subscribing church than the mainline Presbyterian body (PCUSA). The PCUSA does in fact have confessional documents, including recent ones. We allow differences in belief, but there's substantial guidance for members. You just don't agree with it. The Non-Subscribing church, however, seems to be a non-confessional body that places a high priority on individual judgement.
     
  7. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    So you who DO agree with it use sympathetic language. I get it. However, I tried to avoid doing that in my reply and that's why I would be interested to know what causes you to say that I "just don't agree with it."

    Was it the following?

    Or perhaps this?

    and if it's either of those, please explain why the statement is supposedly prejudicial.
     
  8. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    You're defending where I'm not attacking.

    You talked about members not being left to their own devices. My point is that this is true to varying degrees in different churches. The PCUSA provides significant doctrinal guidance, but my impression from their web pages is that the Non-Subscribing church probably does not.
     
  9. dms1972

    dms1972 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thankyou

    Could you say more about how 18th century liberal differs from liberal today?
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
  10. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    I was thinking of the English free thinkers, who tended to be non-Trinitarian, and at times deist. I only know what I saw on a couple of web pages, so it could certainly be that the non-subscribing church wasn't that, but their alignment until recently with the Unitarians suggested it.

    Mainline Christianity is more influenced by the German tradition, which is skeptical about the literal accuracy of Scripture, but is Trinitarian, and not typically deist.

    There are certainly many points on which these approaches agree, but I think they're sort of separate traditions. I'm not sure they've stayed separate, though.
     
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