Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Meaning of "Reformed"
I could never be an American Presbyterian. I don't believe in subscription. Don't get me wrong, subscription to the Westminster Confession, that's fine, it's my objection to the mandatory subscription to World Magazine that probably keeps me from being acceptable in those circles. But in the midst is an on-going identity crisis as what it means to be "Reformed" and can those who are "Reformed" be "Evangelical", and if so, in what sense. John Frame responds to a book written by R. Scott Clark about these very issues. This is very much an insider debate in the USA because outside of conservative American Presbyterian circles people generally don't write books on who is in and who is out; those of us who live as religious minorities in either secular or Muslim countries have bigger priorities like survival, evangelism, and discipleship. The whole debate is very personal and vitriolic too and I don't want to take sides because there is a lot more than meets the eye here and I haven't fully read both sides of the argument so I'll reserve judgment. However, I tip my hat to Frame's points about the diversity within the Reformed tradition, the danger of treating the Confessions like inerrant Scripture, the Reformed need for catholicity, and the lack of charity that exists among certain doctrine warriors. Frame's review is lengthy, but the final section on "Two Visions of the Reformed Faith" is well worth looking at. To know what the fuss is about, you can read Clark's book Recovering the Reformed Confession.