Friday, December 07, 2007

Even in the PCUSA may an Amyraldian Properly Be Ordained?

This is a followup to the previous post regarding whether an Amyraldian could be properly ordained in the PCA (link).

The PCUSA has many confessions. I've tried to select the most germane portions of the confessions to the issue. That is to say, I've tried to select the portions to which it seems that Amyraldians cannot, in good faith, subscribe. Obviously, they could subscribe to many other portions of the various confessions, and to some of the confessional documents of the PCUSA in their entirety:
8. To all those for whom Christ hath purchased redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same;38 making intercession for them,39 and revealing unto them, in and by the Word, the mysteries of salvation;40 effectually persuading them by his Spirit to believe and obey; and governing their hearts by his Word and Spirit;41 overcoming all their enemies by his almighty power and wisdom, in such manner and ways as are most consonant to his wonderful and unsearchable dispensation.42

(Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter VIII [as presented by the PCUSA])

THE FRUIT OF CHRIST’S DEATH AND RESURRECTION. Further by his passion and death and everything which he did and endured for our sake by his coming in the flesh, our Lord reconciled all the faithful to the heavenly Father, made expiation for sins, disarmed death, overcame damnation and hell, and by his resurrection from the dead brought again and restored life and immortality. For he is our righteousness, life and resurrection, in a word, the fulness and perfection of all the faithful, salvation and all sufficiency. For the apostle says: “In him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell,” and, “You have come to fulness of life in him” (Col., chs. 1 and 2).

(Second Helvetic Confession Chapter XI [as presented by the PCUSA])

The same Jesus Christ is the judge of all men. His judgment discloses the ultimate seriousness of life and gives promise of God’s final victory over the power of sin and death. To receive life from the risen Lord is to have life eternal; to refuse life from him is to choose the death which is separation from God. All who put their trust in Christ face divine judgment without fear, for the judge is their redeemer.

(The Confession of 1967, Item 9.11 [as presented by the PCUSA, which may be the original version])

Finally, as with the PCA, the PCUSA does not require unflinching acceptance of everything in the "Book of Confessions." Nevertheless, they are to be taken seriously.

While all creeds and confessions, including those in The Book of Confessions, are subordinate standards, they are standards for the church and its ordered ministries. “[The confessions] are not lightly drawn up or subscribed to,” states the Book of Order, “nor may they be ignored or dismissed.”5 Thus, the church requires that ministers of the Word and Sacrament, elders, and deacons give affirmative answer to an ordination question that specifies the source and the function of confessional authority:
"Do you sincerely receive and adopt the essential tenets of the Reformed faith as expressed in the confessions of our church as authentic and reliable expositions of what Scripture [teaches] us to believe and do, and will you be instructed . . . by those confessions as you lead the people of God?6"

(Taken from the PCA's "Book of Confessions")

Now, frankly, considering some of things I've seen preached from PCUSA pulpits (and by whom), Amyraldianism is really the least of their concerns. Nevertheless, if - by God's grace -a revival stirs the PCUSA, and a return to the Reformed faith follows, it seems there is more than adequate ground for refusing to ordain Amyraldians, on the basis of the doctrinal standards of the church.

I really wonder, though, whether these standards are taken seriously by the elders of the PCUSA? Ah well. That's not the point.


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