Christians and the United States

I have heard our nation’s plight (war, loss of freedom, dissolution of the family, financial downfall, etc.) blamed on lack of prayer, on unforgiveness among Christians, on lack of Bible reading, etc. I believe that all of these reasons, and more, are foundational and true. However, they are all essentially internal, heart issues. We must begin there, but we have halted there. We must not end with the heart. We need to develop a full-blooded ethic and worldview for all of life.

The Westminster Confession

Have the Westminster Standards become our Pope? Infallible? I asked a question in Sunday School about the “Catch 22” in the document. They are not infallible. Yet, there is no way for them to be amended without branding yourself as unorthodox and in the process subject to discipline. In his inimitable fashion, our pastor failed to grasp the catch, stating that the Book of Church Order spells out a process, but missing that only the ordained leadership can bring the issue up, hence subjecting themselves to process. I let it drop, having already risked violating an earlier edict by a ruling elder teaching Sunday School that substantive questions which broach basic issues are off limits. Our doctrine is so wonderful that we have allowed ourselves to become rolled up in it, untouched by anything at all and unconnected with anything at all.

While I thank you for the kind offer to set myself on a path leading to Worms, I don’t think I am ready for any Wittenberg theses yet. No German princes to hide me from the wrath of the Reformed…

What, no conviction? What’s a little Diet of Worms for someone with your appetite!

While I thank you for the kind offer to set myself on a path leading to Worms, I don’t think I am ready for any Wittenberg theses yet. No German princes to hide me from the wrath of the Reformed. Actually, I don’t think that the Standards are wrong, though I have a quibble here and there as do many. I believe that the process begun in 1643 has not been propagated and developed. The foundation is excellent. The superstructure has not been brought forward and the parts that were have been allowed to decay, like building started and not finished. I’m still formulating my concerns, a process that for me can go on for years as I try out pieces of it on various people or am alerted to implications as I read. I have nothing substantive enough for you.

It would be more accurate to say that my concern is with a lapse in application of the standards today. A constitution is a framework, but not every brick or board in the structure. We have a good blueprint but failed to bring in the construction materials and continue to build.

Where is there, today, a robust Reformed theology which can provide a clear trail from the Westminster Standards up to the issues of immigration, international law, price controls, military draft, etc.? We have rather a relentlessly introspective practical doctrine today. Dare to speak a single sentence against, say, the economic bailouts and you will hear some Christian say that we all need to search our hearts for the imprudence and greed that can be found there. Now, surely, our economic problems do have their feeders in our own hearts, but to reflex every concern away from “out there (in the world)” to only “in here (in our hearts)” is to be ineffective, irrelevant, and disengaged. In effect, we are adjured to get ourselves out of the public square and to hunker down in our own form of Hindu navel-gazing. I don’t think Kuyper got it all correct, but we need some more like him now.

I have increasing concerns over the adequacy of the Westminster standards 362 years after they were penned. I am concerned that the Reformation became frozen not long after they were written. We are not semper reformanda.