Professing the Protestant Spirit vs. Hypocrisy

2012/08/07

I am touched by the truly Protestant spirit and motivations behind the notion that if a Presbyterian minister has come to convictions that conflict with the Westminster Standards, on the basis of his reading of Scripture, then by golly, he ought to be courageously open about those convictions and warn his flock that they’re in a church with flawed creeds! This is nice and all but this supposedly courageous act has already contradicted the Bible. You doubtless remember a famous rule known as Ninth Commandment. “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness.”

The problems only start there. This view puts one minister’s conscience above the conscience of the whole church. It also slothfully and pridefully eschews the paths for confessional revision already in place. In this way, Revisionists, if they lack a healthy self image as mere men, will freely trample on honesty and integrity in professed loyalty to Sola Scriptura. This in turn leads to the sort of lawlessness that Protestantism is famous for in the mouths of its detractors.

There seems to be a couple of rather weak justifications for this sort of hubris. Let’s see if there’s anything to them.

1. “Confessions are just the traditions of men,” etc.: Yeah, should have figured this one out before taking up ministry in a confessional church. This is a ultimately a rhetorical stab in the back and a glaring example of hypocrisy. Revisionists seem to want the prestige that comes with ordination in confessional Reformed churches but little to none of the attendant discipline and restraint.

2. “The creeds need an update”: Well, there are channels for that, and it’s not appropriate for any minister to declare himself a super-presbyter and sit in singular judgment over the creed which is the agreed upon interpretation of Scripture, uniting the church in its Biblical witness.

So there isn’t much to it. If the creeds are really unbiblical, then put up or shut up. Start sincerely and patiently proposing serious amendments or resign! Don’t engage in the self-serving corruption of bashing your church’s official doctrine while drawing a paycheck and enjoying other benefits of the mantel of authority that comes with subscribing to that doctrine. It’s hypocrisy. 

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