Re: [asa] Confessional Statements and TE Views

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Sat Jan 19 2008 - 17:03:07 EST

On Jan 19, 2008, at 1:52 PM, wrote:

> The more conservative Presbyterian denominations may give less
> freedom with regard to the details of their confessions; typically
> these use only the Westminster Confession rather than a diversity of
> confessions. For example, I have gotten the impression (there are
> some here who could correct me) that in the PCA the Westminster
> Confession is treated only slightly below Scripture as an
> authority. And Terry Gray could tell us about his heresy trial in
> the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, which I believe was based on
> Terry's view about the physical origin of Adam's body that was
> claimed to be in opposition to a passage in the Westminster
> Confession.

Within the PCA all elders (ruling and teaching) must subscribe to the
Westminster Standards. Members need only have a credible profession of
faith. There are two basic approaches to subscription known to their
proponents as strict and system subscription. Within both approaches
there are allowances for so-called exceptions whose acceptance are at
the discretion of the court that evaluates the candidates (sessions
for ruling elders and presbyteries for teaching elders). The
differences between the two is the strict confessionalists tend to
(but not exclusively) look at the ipsisimma verba of the confession
while the system subscriptionists look at the system of doctrine
(again not exclusively) implied by taking the confession as whole.
Irrespective of this distinction, the concept of "The Fall" is so much
a part of the "system of doctrine" that a denial of it would
disqualify anyone who might be a candidate to be an elder.
Furthermore, in my opinion even so-called system subscription would
also require an historic Adam. An "evolved" body of Adam does not
preclude a specially created soul or an historic Adam and is why I
believe the OPC erred in censuring Terry. On the other hand, I do not
believe that it is required to believe in the fact that Adam is the
literal ancestor of all people.

Roughly five years ago, a study committee of the PCA looked at the
phrase "space of six days" in the confession and whether old earthers
would need to take an exception to it. While in the end old earthers
(of the OEC stripe rather than TEs) were tolerated it is clear that
YEC is clearly in control of the denomination. (This is a recent
phenomenon and not the case historically for conservative
Presbyterianism.) While Terry has made a persuasive argument why an
exception is not necessary if I rejoined the PCA as an elder I would
most likely take an exception here for the sake of clarity. As I
described above, I believe in a variant of TE that is compatible with
an historic Adam and a "Fall". Thus, I could subscribe again to the
confession with a clear conscience. I originally subscribed to it when
I was a YEC/OEC (my label for a conflicted YEC).

Rich Blinne (Member ASA)

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Received on Sat Jan 19 17:04:09 2008

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