Friday, December 07, 2007

Ought an Amyraldian to be ordained in the PCA?

Amyraldianism (denial of the "L" in TULIP, while maintaining the other petals) is clearly out of accord with the doctrines of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).

The PCA's Confession of Faith (based on the WCF) states:
8. To all those for whom Christ hath purchased redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same; making intercession for them, and revealing unto them, in and by the word, the mysteries of salvation; effectively persuading them by his Spirit to believe and obey, and governing their hearts by his word and Spirit; 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.

Since Amyraldians normally assert that Christ purchased redemption also for the reprobate (or deny that redemption is "purchased" at all), therefore I would submit that a man who teaches Amyraldianism would be unable to subscribe to the confession of faith of the PCA.

However, the PCA's BCO states (Chapter 21-4):
While our Constitution does not require the candidate’s affirmation of every statement and/or proposition of doctrine in our Confession of Faith and Catechisms, it is the right and responsibility of the Presbytery to determine if the candidate is out of accord with any of the fundamentals of these doctrinal standards and, as a consequence, may not be able in good faith sincerely to receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and Catechisms of this Church as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures (cf. BCO 21-5, Q.2; 24-6, Q.2).

Therefore, in examining a candidate for ordination, the Presbytery shall inquire not only into the candidate’s knowledge and views in the areas specified above, but also shall require the candidate to state the specific instances in which he may differ with the Confession of Faith and Catechisms in any of their statements and/or propositions. The court may grant an exception to any difference of doctrine only if in the court’s judgment the candidate’s declared difference is not out of accord with any fundamental of our system of doctrine because the difference is neither hostile to the system nor strikes at the vitals of religion.
This means that even though a candidate may be out of accord with the Confession of Faith, in the PCA such a candidate may still be ordained (this has interesting consequences for the Federal Vision controversy as well). The only remaining question, then, would be whether this difference is "hostile to the system" or "strikes at the vitals of religion."

I think "strikes at the vitals of religion," is certainly going too far. It is a serious error, and it does seem to be hostile to the system. Specifically, the doctrinal difference goes to the fundamental issue of Christ's priestly role.

Consequently, I answer the above question, "nay." I do not believe it would be proper for an open Amyraldian to be ordained as an officer of the PCA.


N.B. Note, I do not say on this blog whether I am personally a member of the PCA. I leave readers to draw their own conclusions from that disclaimer.


Albert said...

It's clear that you believe in TULIP, Covenant Theology and infant baptism. You also oppose the FV heresy. I don't think you are member of ARP, RPCNA, or KAPC. It's either you are a member of PCA or the OPC. Did I make a good guess? :)

Turretinfan said...


I'm certainly pleased by your guess.

I wonder whether this additional data point (Regulative Principle of Worship Debate [with Centurion]) would increase my chances of being in the ARP or RPCNA?


Albert said...

Hmmm...Let's see. ARP allows women deacons. I don't think you believe in that. I think RPCNA's views on the role of women and your views are much closer. Still, I have this feeling that you really are from the PCA or the OPC. I don't think that you are a member of any of those small conservative and "continuing" Reformed denominations established in recent years (e.g. WPC of Brian Schwertley and RPCGA of Matthew McMahon).

I heard from a friend, a Reformed Pastor, that not all churches in the PCA (and OPC also, I think) practice the Regulative Priniciple. I am not an American and am not familiar with the events in the Reformed world there. Is this really the case?

Turretinfan said...

Nobody's perfect. We all break the commandments.

In general, it is still the position of the PCA and OPC that the RPW ought to be followed.

The number of churches in each of those denominations that practices exclusive psalmody or avoids instrumental music altogether is quite small.

So, the interpretation of RPW is not quite the same as in, say, the Free Church of Scotland or the RPCNA.


Albert said...

That's good. Evangelicals, especially Reformed believers, should continually look to each other for the authentic interpretation of Scripture. Thanks.