Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Idiot Posts from Phil Johnson, Turk, & AnaBaptists at T$G, Lexington, KY

Should we be surprised by Johnson and Turk's posts from T$G, the AnaBaptacostalist workout of enthusiasms and exhalations in Lexington, KY?  The entire breed was, is and has always been shaped by revivalist theologies, worship and pieties.  They are not our kind in doctrine, worship or piety.  T$G are Baptacostalist and Baptaholic.  Big sales goin' on in the backstalls, right?  They all long for the mantle of national influence and the title "evangelical."  Let their lusts be fulfilled.  What do they know about "Reformational" theology, Confessions, music and liturgy?  We shall, at RA, retain our Confessional, Creedal, Protestant, Reformed and Anglican doctrine, worship and piety.  What do or does Big Al the President of Southern, Shady Mahaney in a fugitive status from SGM, Slic Lick Lig who never met a "Baptist he didn't like," or the Dreary Dever ever know of these things?  DE NADA.  ZIPPO. BIG ZERO.

We've not learned ONE THING from any of these men for many, many years.  NOTHING, ZERO, DE NADA.

T4G Day 3: Maybe More Study
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Tim Naab: Half-whacked & Half-witted Baptacostalists

Pentecostalists, Baptacostalists, and
Others Disoriented to the Classics.
Said to include Piper, Grudem, Mohler
Driscoll, Chandler, MacDonald, inter alia.
Deep inhalers and hedonistic seekers of unnecessary, unexamined, hyped
and unjustified religious experiences. Turn up the drum kit and music, puleeze.
Another classic from Tim Naab
about monkeyish, half-whacks, half-wit-jobs, half-idiots, full nutjobs, ignorant, un-educated, half-educated, wildcattish, drum-banging, guitar-pluckin' and tub-thumping, enthusiasts in the Baptacostalist and revivalist tradition.  Tim has a long history amongst these cougars of ignorance.  Tim forlornly impugns the generations of his past, the half-whacks who disullimine his past.  May Tim's tribe--his children and grandchildren--be delivered from the twilight, chaos and darkness of these benighted half-whackjobs. Tim honourably posts the following.

Here is a funny one by Tim Naab


Since the mid 19th century there has been a mystery illness that has baffled Medical science. It is now referred to as: Syncopetarantismutopianpachydermatousidiopathicdelirium.

It appears now that it is may be associated with the onset of dispensationalism. Another outbreak began in the early 20th century and grew rapidly until the late 60s when the instances grew at an alarming rate. Doctors have determined that the outbreak in the early 20th century followed Pentecostalism and the alarming growth rate in the 1960s followed the Charismatic Movement.

The scientific name for this disease, ... See More
Syncopetarantismutopianpachydermatousidiopathicdelirium, is constructed from 6 words

1.) Syncope (Partial or complete loss of consciousness with interruption of awareness of oneself and ones surroundings.)

2.) Tarantism (associated with melancholy, stupor, madness and an uncontrollable desire to dance)

3.) Utopian (Proposing impracticably ideal schemes.)

4.) Pachydermatous (to be thick-skinned; insensitive to criticism, insult, etc.)

5.) Idiopathic (Of unknown cause)

6.) Delirium (characterized by anxiety, disorientation, hallucinations, delusions, and incoherent speech.)

The patient with this diagnosis is referred to by its acronym, S.T.U.P.I.D.. At this time there is neither cure nor treatment.

~ Tim Naab

Old Brassy, Small-Big Balls C.J. Mahaney at T$G (Together for the Gospel, T4G) 2012

Mahaney, the half-wit, half-literate (high school only) and half-whacked Baptacostalist
at Together for the Gospel 2012. A favourite
and friend of Drs. Dever, Mohler and Duncan,
enablers of the Half-wit from SGM.  They as leaders and followers deserve what they've sought, an Enthusiast and Mountebank.
Never mind the title. We think the leaders of T$G, or T4G, actually have marshmellow, soft and malleable balls, or, anatomically, soft gonads, like Dever, Mohler and Duncan.  The big ballster, of big brass, big indifference, big boldness, and impenitent ballisnessm, is the wild ignoramus, half-literate, high schooling, and and Narcissistic-in-Chief of SGM, old ignorant baldy, C. J. Mahaney. Is there no decency, order, decorum, dignity, depth, order, catholicity, biblicality and wisdom?  Not at T$G.  Old Baldy has been speaking.

Mahaney Reclaims Throne at T4G

Wed, Apr 11 2012
"We are called to take the gospel to those with hard hearts and blind eyes."


C.J. Mahaney (in The Sustaining Power of the Gospel at 2012T4G)

Marching Sheep
I just finished listening to the audio of C.J. Mahaney's message The Sustaining Power of the Gospel which was delivered during the opening session of the 2012 Together for the Gospel conference. Don't get confused if you watch the video on the T4G website, which shows this subtitle – When a Pastor Loses Heart. You see, this is the actual title of his message, which I initially heard back in November 2011. How is that possible? Mahaney explained in his opening remarks that each speaker decides which message to share, and this is the one he selected. If you're not familiar with C.J. Mahaney, he is famous for recycling his messages, and this one was first delivered at the most recent SGM Pastors Conference.

In preparation for this post, I listened to the SGM version a second time, and it is very similar to the one given at T4G. In case you're wondering about the identity of the theologian who worries that he botches his sermons, Mahaney identifies him in the SGM message. He is talking about a Presbyterian pastor named Sinclair Ferguson, who was one of the speakers at the 2011 SGM Pastors Conference. I remember hearing Sinclair preach once during a chapel service at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Alistair Begg was initially scheduled to speak but had to cancel at the last minute. Ferguson is a fine speaker. I'm just sorry he has gotten involved with Sovereign Grace Ministries.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and frankly T4G attendees, the above photo is what you look like to us. In the foreground is the T4G pacer vehicle with the Fab Four – Mohler, Dever, Mahaney, and Duncan – leading the flock down the road to so-called reformation. This is the fourth T4G conference that has been held, and we wonder how many of you keep flocking back time after time to hear the same speakers. We have to assume that you've been too busy to vet one of the Fab Four – C.J. Mahaney – and that you know nothing about the devastation that has occurred in Sovereign Grace Ministries. That is the only possible explanation we can come up with for for why you would listen to C.J. Mahaney's message.

On the opening day of T4G, Jim over at SGM Refuge featured this post by Praise Warrior:

"We find it ironic that CJ Mahaney will preach a session called “When A Pastor Loses Heart” at the T4G (Together For The Gospel) conference soon. Perhaps before stepping up to the plate to hit his homerun, CJ might consider interviewing the many pastors and church members who have lost heart and left Sovereign Grace Ministries.
It might surprise the many that will be gathered to hear the strength of the arguments that CJ might not be the best choice to deliver a message on this topic. In fact, many of us would call it downright rude – an ‘in-your-face’ blow to those who are convinced that CJ charging ahead in his public ministry poses a significant lack of integrity on his part and the part of those around him.
Let the discussion panels be comprised of just 4 pastors who have lost heart under CJ’s leadership and the conversation would become quite lively.

CJ, would you please consider recusing yourself from speaking at this conference? Don’t you think you might have a slight conflict of interest here? Here is a suggestion: rather than taking your cues from your buddies Mohler, Duncan and Dever, why don’t you simply ask all the remaining pastors in your family of churches if they think it is wise for you to continue in public ministry at this time?

No one is out to destroy you. Most of us feel sorrow for you. It might be time for you to consider the following:
1) Have you failed to both teach about AND PRACTICE meaningful membership at Covenant Life Church?
2) Doesn’t the nature of a church covenant require the church’s consent to both enter and leave the membership of the church?
3) Do you have unresolved conflicts with your family of churches and their leaders?
4) Are you aware your flock (the one you pastored for so many years) is studying you?
5) How many people are struggling with you because your teaching does not line up with your practice?

Answer these questions and we will be happy to not walk out when you begin to speak at T4G. If you get around to answering these, maybe clue us in as to why Dave Harvey is continuing in his ministry as well. Not that you owe us anything. You might have already forgotten about us."

For more, see:

Roundup: 2nd Degree Homocide Charges Against George Zimmerman

Finally, an intelligent inquiry on the situation re: Trayvon Martin.  Facts, just the facts.  Homocide, by definition, is not about race.  By definition, it is about the killing of one human by another.  See Boyce's Criminal Law, a standard text in law schools.

 Not race, but facts!

All humans, white, black purple, pink, yellow or polka-dotted abhor murders.

Now, let Witless, Sharpless Sharpton address black-on-black crime, sorta like a 94%-ish.  The ever Sharpless and Silent Sharpton.

Yet, these cable-caterwaulers, enthusiasts and wildcats like the Irreverent Rev. Sharpless (Rev. Al Sharpton), the Irreverent-Ignorant Jesse Jacked-Over (Rev. Jesse Jackson) and the Black Panthers invoked racism, these bigots.

Fortunately, intelligent and thoughtful African or Black Americans would not hoodwinked by these racist-baiters, e.g. Dr. Alveda King.  Dr. King observes that racists are leveraging the news to a level of race-baiting.  Dr. King is educated and intelligent, unlike the Revs Sharpless and JackedOver.

Will Eric Holder hold Black Panthers guilty of hate crimes and communicating a threat?  Hah!?  Sharpless or JackedOver, your views here?  Rather quiet, laddies.

Eric Holder, Attorney General for Obama, where are you?  Re: the clear, present, articulated, and documentable "communication of threats" by black racists?  Eric, Obama?  The call for the shedding of blood?

We've had enough of bigoted racist-baiters like the ignorant and non-educated race-hustlers like the Irreverend Al Sharpless-Totally Stupid  and the Not-educated Irreverend Jesse JackedUp-JackedOver-Jesse Jackson.  Both are very stupid and ignorant men.

We genuinely support intelligent people of colour, e.g. Dr. Alveda King and Congressman Allen West.  People who are intelligent and thoughtful.

Let the thinkers, deliberaters, forensic specialists, medical examiners, lawyers, prosecutors and defense attorneys, with a jury prevail.  Finally, toss the race-hustlers under the bus in favour of deliberative thinkers, heretofore, unknown in Sharpless Sharpton's and JackedOver Jackson's constituencies. 

The Case Against George Zimmeran

Second degree murder charges filed by the FL State Attorney General's office against George Zimmerman.

The Case Against Zimmerman

Civil Rights Crime?

Zimmerman, facing Second Degree Homocide Charge

Zimmerman will plead "Not Guilty" to 2nd Degree Homocide Charges

MSN "BS's" Chief-Bigoteer-in-Chief, Monsigneur Chirs, the August, the Mighty, his Majesty, Sir Chris Matthew's "Hardball, " a hothouse forum, for Chris's opponents and historic "Softball" for Chris's friends.  As to this clip, it's fairly balanced (unlike Chris's usual, bucolic exhortations).

Martins's parents weigh in with the Rev. Sharpless, Ignorant, Stupid, Non-educated, Irreverend, Ignorant Al "Stupid, Illiterate, No Degree" Al Sharpton.  Want an ignorant surgeon to perform surgery?  Or, an ignorant and uneducated pilot to fly your next flight out of Raleigh, NC?  Irreverend and Ignorant Not Sharpton engages here.

Attorneys react to issues re: Zimmerman.

Effects of media coverage.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Revivalist/Predestinarian Enthusiasts "Enthuse" Over Lloyd-Jones's Sermon Release

Rev. Dr. Scott Clark. Recovering the Reformed
Confessions.  Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian
and Reformed, 2008.  Print.  A must-have,
a must-read, and must-ponder.
The Baptacostalists, including MacArthurian enthusiasts, quasi-Reformed enthusiasts (without Confessions or liturgies), Anabaptist exhorters, Phil Johnsonians at PyroManiacs (the title itself is telling), Frank Turkishites (again, no Confessions or liturgies), and (British-type) Evangelical types (like Dr. Carl Trueman) "enthuse" over the imminent release of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones's sermons.  Oh my, the second coming? We even have a PCA Pastor--who won't be named--enthusing over the release of these sermons, as if older scholars haven't said what Martyn said.  Hodge, Luther, Calvin, Meyer or others? Or the great Confessions of the Reformation?

The "Biggest Announcement," the lead enthusiast of Crossway tells us, Justin Taylor.  Really?  Is it this big?

Was Westminster Chapel instrumental in catechetical instruction?  Liturgical education? 

Oh, oh.  Justin Taylor tells us this is the "biggest announcement" from MJL Trust. So be it, but it ain't the "biggest announcement" in church history, Justin.

Justin Taylor|8:38 pm CT

The Biggest Announcement the Martyn-Lloyd Jones Trust Will Ever Make

Jonathan Catherwood:

This is probably the biggest announcement the MLJ Trust will ever make. Starting from tomorrow, April 12th, all 1,600 recorded sermons by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones will be available to download, at no cost, to anyone who wants to listen to them! There are no exceptions, so the Ephesians sermons, Romans sermons, etc. will all be available (it will take a few days to make sure that they are all included in the library). All one has to do is join the MLJ Library (membership is free of course) and start to download! Simply go to our newly updated site at and click on “MLJ Library”.

This is a decision that the UK Board has been wrestling with for a long time, because by moving away from the sale of MP3 discs (and tapes before that), which has kept the Recordings Trust in existence for 30 years in God’s grace, they will become completely dependent (as we are in the United States MLJ Trust ministry), on the voluntary donations of brothers and sisters who feel called to support the ministry while downloading sermons.

In the end, however, and after much prayer and discussion, our brothers in the UK felt that as the world of low-cost distribution through the internet was now far reaching enough that most people around the world (even in developing countries) can gain access to this ministry through a computer, and as many other ministries have had a positive experience shifting to a voluntary donation approach to on-line sermons, they felt (as we do) that this change might be in accordance with God’s will.

While there is some nervousness about such a big change, it our our most earnest hope, on both sides of the Atlantic, that this announcement will help us to fulfill the objective that has fueled this ministry since its inception 30 years ago: To preserve, and make as widely available as possible, the doctrinal exposition of God’s word by the late Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a man who could never quite believe how God had used him for the benefit of the Gospel over his long ministry in the pulpit of Westminster Chapel.

This announcement eMail has been timed to coincide with our formal announcement at “Together for the Gospel”. This morning (Wednesday, April 11th), we will be making the announcement on stage to the approximately 7,000+ Christian leaders and teachers who will be attending, and we never forget that the participation of the MLJ Trust at this conference was made possible by the kind support of our subscribers.


Black, Racistic Non-Reverend, Irreverend, Tub-Thumping Jeremiah Wright: Obama's Stupid Pastor of Choice for 20 Years

A premier African-American, racistic, hate-mongering, hustling, fast-talking, opportunistic, and tub-thumping racist and "backwoods Hillbilly" (the black version) of the first order magnitude, the ever-Irreverend Jeremiah Wright, Obama's Pastor of choice for 20 years.  Jeremiah is the black equivalent of the KKK.  This wildcat's buddy is Louis Farrakhan, another racist. Obama chose this racist.  What does that tell anyone?  Importantly, we revere thoughtful, intelligent, educated, deliberative and scholarly African Churchmen, e.g. the Archbishops of Nigeria, Rwanda, and Kenya.

More bigotry, hate, anger, ignorance, non-Confessionalism, non-Biblicality, non-catholicity, enthusiasm, non-liturgy, ignorance, hucksterism, divisiveness, racistic and despicable speech from Obama's former minister of choice for 20 plus years, the ever-Irreverend and ever-unBiblical Jeremiah Wright.

Thank God for our careful, kind, deliberative, scholarly and educated brethren, African Anglicans, for their mature and careful reflections...unlike these African Anabaptist enthusiasts. Who cannot love these black brothers and sisters in Africa?  We love em.'  However, who, pray tell, can love race-hucksters like Wright, a hater of the first order.

Tim Naab Goes Poetic-Rapsta' on TULIP

Tim Naab, a friend with a long story in Pentecostalism, its gross misfortunes, its misleadings, its ignorances, its deceptions, its manifold abuses in American religious history and its long shadows over his own generations personally (not to mention America), has turned Calvinistic on TULIP with a rap beat.  RA is not inclined to poetry.  Even Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, Canterbury, told Henry VIII, that he was not a poet, but a liturgist.  Never mind Petrarch, Shakespearean sonnets, John Donne, or John Milton.  Here's Tim Naab on TULIP...and we hear a rapsta' beat behind it.  Watch some salesman, marketeer, musician and enthusiast pick up on it and sell it.

Tim Naab
I’ve heard it told in the testimony of men
how they struggled to climb from the pit they were in
and battled with God and wrested with sin,
yet always slid back, unable to win.

... They spoke of the horrible acts they had done
and knowing God sought them, the harder they run
to break all the laws and keep not a one
till life unraveled, to their end they had come.

Someone spoke and they heard them say,
"You've tried everything. Let me show you the way.
Jesus loves you, and your debt He did pay.
Just bow your head and pray what I pray."

Proclaimed as redeemed, and forever secured.
Heaven's your home of that you’re assured,
for the act of your faith, new life was procured.
Just do good work and your future’s insured.

This lie has been told time after time.
“precept upon precept; line upon line;”
The more it is told the greater the crime.
Deceptive and deadly, far from benign.

Darkness is more than just "not as bright."
It condemns not itself for its lack of all light.
As the lost do not see the state of their plight,
they see no pit, and all appears right.

The dead never struggle to climb from their grave;
The lost are as dead and Totally Depraved,
contrite and content yet simply a slave.
The road to hell with good intention is paved.

Unconditional Election? Yes it must be!
Did God roll the dice and now waits to see
who will come on their own, since the will is so free?
So God makes no promise and there's no guarantee?

Election is true and God paid the price
for those that are His, not just to entice.
Limited Atonement, to be more precise,
for the Church it's efficient and will fully suffice.

His call is effective, an irresistible grace
to raise us from death and a faith to embrace.
Only then will we see our state of disgrace.
for we’re slain by the law, our sin to erase.

God has worked in us to both will and to do.
(Our will to work outward will definitely ensue.)
Perseverance of the saints will carry us through!
It is all about God, not about you.

Tim Naab
April 10, 2012

Sales, Marketeering & Influence: Together for the Gospel 2012

Salesmen are not inherently evil, as the stereotype of car salemen provides.  Sales is involved with all facets of life.  But, in the religious world of hucksters and enthusiasts, hypsters and hucksters, the wary, prudent, cautious, careful and thinking observer must keep the hand on the wallet...firmly.  Here's some salesmanship from Ligonier Ministries. You can be sure that all the speakers at T$G, or, T4G, like SGM's Mahaney, with royalties to their own personal accounts, will be "selling books."  Caveat emptor.

4 Reasons You Should Visit The Ligonier Booth At T4G

Apr 11, 2012
Category: Ministry News

It’s day two of the Together for the Gospel (T4G) conference and Ligonier is having a wonderful time meeting so many people who have been impacted through R.C Sproul’s teaching ministry, and hearing sessions on the underestimated gospel.

We thought it would be helpful to let you know four reasons why you should come visit our booth while you’re here at T4G:

1. Free Tabletalk Magazine Trial

Stop by our booth and you can sign-up for a free three month trial subscription to Tabletalk magazine.

2. Get a Free Copy of What Is Reformed Theology?

When you sign-up for your free three month trial of Tabletalk magazine, we’ll give you a copy of R.C. Sproul’s, What Is Reformed Theology? This popular title is an introduction to Reformed theology, the heart of historical evangelicalism.

3. Grab Free Copies of Tabletalk Magazine

We have lots of copies of Tabletalk and we encourage you to take copies for yourself, or to give away to family friends.

4. Meet Ligonier Staff

You have an opportunity to meet some of the Ligonier staff. We’d love you to come by and introduce yourself.

Our booth also has additional information about our resources, Ligonier Connect, Reformation Bible College, and Reformation Trust Publishing.

Marcionism & Montanism Revived and Flourishing in America

Modern-Day Marcionism
Bettany Hughes, an expert in ancient history, was quoted recently in London’s Daily Telegraph as saying that Christianity “was originally a faith where the female of the species held sway. To oppose the ordination of women bishops in the Church of England is to deny the central role women played in the faith’s founding.” She added: “Who knows whether God is a girl, but mankind has turned to the female of the species for good ideas.”

It is not clear from the report whether Ms. Hughes was speaking as a Christian or as an expert in ancient history, but it doesn’t really matter, for she is wrong on both counts. In fact, though, her remarks can be connected loosely with two very old Christian heresies, Marcionism and Montanism, which seem to have undergone something of a revival among trendy religion pundits.

Marcion of Sinope taught that the teachings of Jesus were totally at odds with what the Old Testament revealed about the God of the Jews. Consequently, Jesus had been the messenger and savior sent by a previously unknown heavenly father, a merciful and compassionate God, to redeem mankind. The God of the Jews, by contrast, was an arbitrary, legalistic, punitive, and jealous god who had no connection whatsoever with Jesus or his message.

This meant that the Hebrew Scriptures had no authority for Christians, since they were the revelation of an inferior god to whom Jesus and his teachings stood in opposition. But it also meant, since Marcion’s views conflicted with the clear sense of most of the New Testament, that these books had either been corrupted at an early date or else had been the work of ignorant disciples. And so, Marcion produced his own heavily edited New Testament Canon, consisting of one gospel (a bowdlerized version of Luke) and ten of St. Paul’s epistles, themselves heavily edited, as well as his own Antitheses contrasting the inferior creator God of the Old Testament with Jesus the heavenly father of the New Testament.

In creating his own Scripture, Marcion appears to have driven the Church not only to confirm its acceptance of the Old Testament books as authoritative, but to begin to reflect on the identity and authority of the Christian books that comprised its New Testament.

Marcion himself went to Rome in the early 140s, setting himself up as a Christian teacher and apologist. His startling views soon drew the attention of the Roman Church authorities, and, after some contentious exchanges, Marcion was excommunicated, and went on to found his own church. Strange and arbitrary as Marcion’s ideas may appear to us, in its own time his theological system was subtle and intellectually appealing. Indeed, it would be no easy task to prove Marcion’s ideas any more fantastic in their context than those of Ms. Bettany Hughes in ours.

Montanus, a younger contemporary of Marcion, claimed to be a prophet who spoke in ecstatic utterances when possessed by the Holy Spirit. Unlike Marcion and his followers, Montanus and his colleagues did not, at least at first, have strictly theological differences with Church authorities. Rather, they claimed that their revelations clarified and supplemented what was obscure in Scripture, and they commanded a rigorous asceticism, forbidding second marriages under any circumstances and mandating strict fasts.

As time went on, they met with skepticism and opposition, and in some regions had to found their own separate congregations after being expelled from churches. They may have allowed female bishops and presbyters, while setting up a new superior order, or orders, of prophets and apostles over the bishops and presbyters; and they allowed the apostles and prophets to forgive sins.

The Montanist impulse, the desire to supplement or reinterpret the Bible, or the tradition of Christian doctrine and practice generally, has recurred constantly among Christians. One may think of the Millerite “great disappointment” of 1844 which, far from killing off their prophetic credibility, underwent various adjustments and in the end produced the various strands of Adventism, or how the Jehovah’s Witnesses (themselves an offshoot of a strand of “Milleritism”) continued to spread and increase after the world did not come to an end in 1914.

Contemporary academics and intellectuals generally do not incline much towards inspired utterance, ecstatic or otherwise, nor for prophesy (unless they wish to characterize as “prophetic” the expression of some political or social notion conventional in their circles), and so Ms. Bettany Hughes may owe relatively more to Marcion than to Montanus. But the very exuberance of her language, and the remarkable absence from her remarks of the kind of qualifications by which academic pundits can, if necessary, beat a safe retreat from exaggerated claims, may well betray an echo of what Montanus’ opponents labeled in their day “the Phrygian frenzy.”

William J. Tighe is Associate Professor of History at Muhlenberg College.

Dr. R. Scott Clark: Transitioning to Reformation Churches

Clark, R. Scott. Recovering
the Reformed Confessions.
Phillipsburg, NJ:
Presbyterian and Reformed
Publishing, 2008.  Print.
May Dr. Clark's
tribe be extended.
Note that Together
for the Gospel, Gospel
Coalition and Ligonier
Ministries, Alliance of
Confessing Evangelicals,
Etc., do not feature
Dr. Clark.  Nuff said.
Dr. R. Scott Clark speaks of the transition by revivalist evangelicals to Confessionally Reformed Churches, an experience for the pilgrim as much for host church.  Dr. Clark, a Professor, Scholar, Thinker and Reformed Churchman, writes wisely and invitingly for those transitioning to "better pastures for the sheep."  The same observations may be made for those transitioning to Confessionally Lutheran and (few though they are) Confessionally Anglican Churches.

Pilgrims (and Their Hosts)

A wise traveler adapts to the customs and languages of the host country. When we lived abroad, people never asked us about our health. It is considered rude. The day we left England, however, we were peppered with questions by an American woman who was being polite. What was rude in England was polite in Dallas. Changing theological traditions is like traveling abroad. Upon arrival, the visitor is likely to find new language and culture, that is, a new theology, piety, and practice. This cross-cultural encounter creates opportunities and obligations for hosts and pilgrims alike.

There are about sixty-million evangelicals in North America. By contrast, the confessional Reformed communions number fewer than one million members. One effect of these disproportionate numbers is that the theology, piety, and practice of American evangelicals shape the expectations of many Christians. That ethos is the product of a series of religious revivals that began in the eighteenth century and continued through the nineteenth century. These two episodes were different in significant ways but they were similar in important ways too. They were both organized around various kinds of religious experience. They differed on how to arrive at that experience and even on what the experience means. Nevertheless, the common thread of religious experience, whether it be a sort of direct encounter with the risen Christ or a conversion experience at the anxious bench, ties them together. Since the early eighteenth century, all American evangelicals have been shaped by a desire to have an intense, personal religious experience.

By contrast, the theology, piety, and practice of confessional Reformed congregations has been shaped not so much by religious experience but rather by a certain kind of confession of faith, worship, and approach to the Christian life. These confessional churches believe strongly in Christ’s work in us, by His Spirit, through His gospel, but it all begins with what Christ did for sinners in history. For the revivalist traditions, the present work of the Spirit in us often displaces the objective work of Christ for us.

American Protestant denominations trace their roots to the Protestant Reformation, and many invoke memories of that heritage. Most of those denominations and churches, however, came to agree with the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century critics of Christianity and thus rejected the old Reformation tradition. Like the revivalists, they too turned to religious experience. They replaced the Jesus of history with the “Jesus of faith,” or the Jesus of personal experience.

There remain, however, churches that not only trace their roots to the Reformation but who also continue to believe the same faith confessed by Calvin and his successors. Those churches confess the same worship and the same approach to the Christian life that marked Calvin’s church. These Reformed churches have a vital theology, piety, and practice, but it is of a different sort than that shaped by American revivalism. It is more interested in nurture than in crisis. It is more interested in what the Reformed call the means of grace (Word, sacraments, prayer) than it is in the anxious bench or the sinner’s prayer.

Because many parts of the American revivalist traditions retained a memory of their Reformation roots, the confessional and revivalist wings of American Protestantism coexisted and cooperated temporarily. Eventually, however, the underlying tensions surfaced and the relationship failed. Now the confessional churches are isolated from both the old liberal mainline and the revivalist traditions.

Despite these shifts, pilgrims from the revivalist and mainline traditions often find their way into confessional Reformed churches. If you are one of those, I hope this map helps you understand a little better why your first time in a confessional Reformed congregation felt so strange: It was. You crossed a border, an international dateline, and did not know it. If you found yourself in an intentionally historic, confessional Reformed congregation, you may have even done a little time traveling to the seventeenth or even the sixteenth century. Be a wise traveler. Give yourself a moment to get oriented. Enjoy the destination.

Now, a word to those congregations (such as mine) who find themselves host to such pilgrims. Please remember that our new friends are probably disoriented. The language, customs, and food are strange to them. They bring with them expectations not shaped by the Reformation. Our emphasis upon the gospel, sacraments, and the visible church may strike them as overly formal. We have two choices. We can pretend that we really belong to their tradition or we can gently, gradually welcome them to ours. I recommend the latter. It may take time for Americans raised on religious fastfood to learn to enjoy a new diet, language, and culture. If we try to become what the pilgrim has left behind, what use are we to the pilgrim? (Matt. 5:13). Let us welcome our brothers and sisters with open arms, open Bibles, and warm smiles. As we do so we will be imitating our great-grand father John Calvin who both welcomed pilgrims and maintained a faithful witness to the Reformation faith.

Culture Shock: Moving From an Evangelical to Reformed Church

The Rev. Dr. R. Scott Clark (D.Phil., Oxford University).  Professor of Church History, Westminster Seminary California.  Author of the must-buy, must-have, must-read, and must-ponder volume, Recovering the Reformed Confessions. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 2008.  Print.
Church Campanologist, our English friend, has posted the following at:  Thank you, my English friend, for posting this.  Of course, the same issues are posed to those transitioning to old school, Confessional and Prayer Book services.  We most strongly recommend purchasing Dr. Clark's volume.

Culture shock: moving from an Evangelical to a Reformed church

"Dr R Scott Clark has been a professor at Westminster Seminary California (in Escondido) since 1997, where he teaches Church History and Historical Theology. He is the author of Recovering the Reformed Confession and contributes to a variety of theological publications and books. He also serves as Associate Pastor at Oceanside United Reformed Church. (If you are in San Diego County, it would seem a good place to go for Sunday worship.) My Reformed readers remember his late, lamented — now deleted – Heidelblog.

"In an article for R C Sproul’s Ligonier Ministries’ Tabletalk Magazine, ‘Pilgrims and Their Hosts’, Clark describes the ecclesiastical culture shock which occurs when Evangelicals attend a Reformed (Calvinist) church. Clark himself is an ex-evangelical. There are messages here for both Evangelicals and Reformed church members. Emphases mine below.

There are about sixty-million evangelicals in North America. By contrast, the confessional Reformed communions number fewer than one million members. One effect of these disproportionate numbers is that the theology, piety, and practice of American evangelicals shape the expectations of many Christians. That ethos is the product of a series of religious revivals that began in the eighteenth century and continued through the nineteenth century. These two episodes … were both organized around various kinds of religious experience. They differed on how to arrive at that experience and even on what the experience means. Nevertheless, the common thread of religious experience, whether it be a sort of direct encounter with the risen Christ or a conversion experience at the anxious bench, ties them together. Since the early eighteenth century, all American evangelicals have been shaped by a desire to have an intense, personal religious experience."

PCA Pullout from NAE? NAE VP Resigns after Culture War Controversy

We have preliminary indications that the (conservative) Presbyterian Church in America may consider pulling out of the National Association of Evangelicals.  We doubt that such a motion at the General Assembly would carry, but RA will follow it. (As an aside, the last PCA GA was a liturgical and musical quasi-mosh pit with drumkits and guitars to classical hymns.  A mess.)

By Michelle A. Vu , Christian Post Reporter
December 12, 2008|8:12 am

NAE VP Resigns after Culture War Controversy

Long-time evangelical lobbyist Richard Cizik has resigned as the vice president of governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, the group announced Thursday.

After nearly three decades at the helm of the NAE’s political arm, Cizik has decided to leave the organization after a storm of controversy enshrouded him following remarks he made about abortion and gay marriage in a recent interview.

NAE President Leith Anderson explained, in a letter to the group’s board of directors, that Cizik in the interview had “responded to questions and made statements that did not appropriately represent the values and convictions of NAE and our constituents.”

Although Cizik later expressed regret, apologized, and affirmed the NAE’s values, there was “a loss of trust in his credibility as a spokesperson among leaders and constituents,” Anderson wrote.

“[B]ecause Richard traveled to a previously scheduled international conference in Europe shortly after the airing of the broadcast it was not possible to meet with him until his return,” the NAE president explained. “He and I have recently met together and mutually concluded that his resignation is a difficult but appropriate decision.”

In a National Public Radio (NPR) interview last week, Cizik said that a pro-life Christian could still find reason to support an abortion rights candidate, and admitted he voted for now President-elect Barack Obama in the Virginia primary.

He also conceded to believe in homosexual civil unions, which the overwhelming majority of NAE constituencies do not support. Regarding gay marriage, Cizik said he currently does not support redefining marriage, but is “shifting” on the issue.

His comments sparked a firestorm of protest and criticism by pro-life, pro-traditional marriage Christians – including NAE members and constituencies - and forced the NAE president to release a letter last week reassuring the group’s board of directors that Cizik has confirmed his support of NAE values and positions.

But apparently the letter was not enough to cool down the heat directed at Cizik and subsequently the NAE. Cizik resigned Wednesday night.

The former NAE VP is perhaps best known for his advocacy on climate change – a cause that has inflamed the anger of prominent conservative Christian leaders who declared that he does not speak for them and many evangelicals when he states global warming is real and mainly human-caused.

Arguing that Cizik misrepresented evangelicals, the group of prominent evangelical leaders – which included Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family - attempted to get Cizik fired, but failed in 2007.
Time magazine, however, applauded Cizik for his climate change advocacy and rewarded him by naming him as one of its top 100 most influential people in the world for 2008.

But aside from the divisive issue of climate change, Cizik has been a tireless advocate on behalf of a long and diverse list of issues during his 28-year tenure at NAE. Those issues include anti-persecution legislation, laws against human trafficking, pro-family bills, protection of children, justice and compassion for the poor and vulnerable, sanctity of human life, opposition to abortion on demand, and more recently the campaign against the genocide in Darfur.

Prominent evangelical figure Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship, in response to Cizik’s resignation, said:

“He was gradually, over a period of time, separating himself from the mainstream of evangelical belief and conviction. So I'm not surprised,” Colson said, according to Christianity Today magazine. “I'm sorry for him, but I'm not disappointed for the evangelical movement.”

Meanwhile, Mark Tooley of the conservative Washington-based Institute on Religion and Democracy commented:

“Both Rev. Cizik and the NAE leadership made a wise decision in his departure. Cizik had lost credibility for advocating positions that were not those of the NAE or most Evangelicals,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of IRD, Tooley hopes the NAE can “now focus on theological and ethical convictions that evangelicals hold strongly in common.”

Tooley added that he wishes Cizik well and expressed gratitude for his “long history of service to evangelicals” that has “laid the groundwork for many opportunities.”

The National Association of Evangelicals is composed of over 50 denominations and 45,000 churches, representing about 30 million constituents. The NAE vice president’s resignation is the latest leadership controversy for the organization, which was just settling down after its former president, Ted Haggard, resigned due to a drug and sex allegation scandal in 2006.

Rev. Paul Levy (Ref21): Reformed Liturgical Incompetence & Ignorance

A young cleric, Rev. Paul Levy
International Presbyterian Church
If an open necked shirt, why
not a Hawaiian shirt, shorts, and flip flops?
On principle, why not a bathrobe and slippers?

Rev. Paul Levy, of the "International Presbyterian Church," offers an odd, confused, and rather broadly "evangelical" statement about Creeds and confessions in worship.  He notes that "written confessions of sin and confession of faith and the Apostles Creed are particularly helpful in screwing good solid theology into the minds and hearts of our people." This has long been known, but Paul was not reared with this.  He apparently is just learning this.  Yet, he unhelpfully opines--again oddly and unhelpfully--that there are "Presbyterians who are really `'wanna be anglicans' and want to legislate for every bit of the service with endless liturgy."  So, toss your hymnbooks, Presbyterians, be consistent, and have all sing whatever lyrics you please.  Yet, you use "written hymns" with 700 plus hymns in the books!  Yet, you  have 33 written chapters in the Westminster Confession.  What's the complaint here of value?  None.  What confused thinking!  Is this the best Paul can offer?  Or Ref21?  Or the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals?  Or, what does R.C. Sproul, Sr., one of the better voices, know about it? Or, the congregations and followers of these "parachurch" outlets?  Rev. Levy or Churchmen at ACE or Ref21, inter alia, modern Cranmers?  No.  But, then, what does Paul, or what does anyone on the staff or on the board of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, or on the faculties of Westminster or Reformed Seminaries, know about the disciplines, lections, collects, rhythms, and piety of Prayer Book Anglicans?  Answer:  a LARGE ZERO.

Sorry, Paul, or other Reformed readers, but if you choose to make a snarky comment about "wanna be Anglicans" who seek to "legislate every bit of the service with endless liturgy" (as if you haven't), you can and should expect this Marine, a Reformed Anglican, to push back with commensurate and measured force.  Some of us tire of it.

We've learn our Confessional theology from the Reformed.  Thank you.  But we have learned nothing about worship, music and Prayer Book Churchmanship from any of you, anywhere, or anytime.  Frankly, we didn't learn alot about the Bible from you either.  Paul, and Ref21, just stay off the topic of Prayer Book Churchmanship, since all of you know nothing about it.

We saw unfortunate comments recently about Lent 2012 as well and did a push back.

We're also beginning to believe that this Prayer Book incompetence, like Paul's, informs many conservative American Anglicans as well. 

Remedy?  Use the BCP daily 365/52/24/7 for decades. After a few decades of this type of use, return to make further comments.  Of course, there are several hundred books that could be recommended also.  At least the English Puritans were skilled in the Book of Common Prayer, e.g. Richard Baxter.

I was brought up in a church that didn't have a written liturgy. That's not to say there wasn't a liturgy. The argument that we have no set liturgy is ever so slightly ridiculous. Can you imagine getting up and announcing a hymn and saying, 'There are no words. Please feel free to sing along to the tune and ad lib'. The prayers also were pretty much the same every week and you had what was known as the long prayer which struck dread into the heart of every small boy. On occasions you were lifted up to heaven but more often than not it was interminably dull. I seem to have spent quite a number of the prayers with my father's hand clamped around my neck or leg longing for it to end.

Anyway, since coming to IPC, I've been introduced to a light liturgy. There are Presbyterians who are really ''wanna be anglicans'' and want to legislate for every bit of the service with endless liturgy. I'm aware that we live in a culture where there are many people who are not particularly literate and find reading uncomfortable. However, written confessions of sin and confession of faith and the Apostles Creed are particularly helpful in screwing good solid theology into the minds and hearts of our people.

I've learnt to love the Creed; the certainty of it, the joy in confessing our faith with one another. There is a sense in which we should roar with joy after reading it but of course we never would.

We live in an age where people don't know what they believe or why they believe it. In the film Chocolat where one of the main characters was asked 'what do you believe?', this was the reply:

Magic carpet rides, rune magic. Ali Baba and visions of the Holy Mother, astral travel and the future in the dregs of a glass of red wine...Buddha. Frodo's journey into Mordor. The transubstantiation of the sacrament. Dorothy and Toto. The Easter Bunny. Space aliens. The Thing in the closet. The Resurrection and the Life at the turn of a card...I've believed them all at one time or another. Or pretended to. Or pretended not to.

We have certainty in an age of uncertainty. We confess our faith with an army of believers around the world and down through the ages. Next time you say the creed give a cheer and rejoice in rock solid truth

(Anglican) Kingdom Conference 2012: Bps. Thompson and Minns

Promotional video of an Anglican Conference called Kingdom Conference 2012, entitled "The Church for the 21st Century."  Date: 23 Mar 2012.  It is sponsored by the Diocese of Western Anglicans, The Anglican Church of North America.  The promotional video is at:

The music?  Prayer Book Churchmanship?  Scholarly addresses?  What differs here, aside from a few purple shirts and collars, from a "generic, broad, non-confessional, non-liturgical and non-doctrinal" evangelicalism?  Mitred bishops on the left with guitar-drum kits on the right?  Why not go totally faddish, like Rick Warren or the other non-confessional evangelicals, and doff the collars and pointy hats?

Admittedly, the children and grandchildren would do better here--ACNA--than elsewhere or anywhere, other than a few URCNA or OPC churches (but they have no liturgy, but does the ACNA?).  ACNA is a marginal improvement over the TEC.
Kingdom Conference 2012:  Introduction by Bishop Thompson

Kingdom Conference 2012: Bishop Minns, Part 1

Kingdom Conference 2012: Bishop Minns, Part 2

Kingdom Conference 2012: Bishop Minns, Part 3