Monday, April 23, 2007

4/23/07, Some Further Brief Remarks on the Reply to The Covenant Reformation Offended

The Covenant Reformation Offended of 4/2/07 is a dissent to the so far 29 excommunications in the RPNA(GM) on the basis of a refusal to take "Confidential [Loyalty] Oath" imposed because it is supposedly synonymous with the Membership Agreement consented to upon joining the PRCE/RPNA/RPNA(GM). (The title is an obvious reference to the previous Covenant Reformation Defended written by Ruling Elder G. Barrow of the then PRCE in 1998.) A subsequent letter of 4/14/07 on disassociation follows.

This in turn not only provoked the brother's excommunication on 4/23/07 - one of three for a total of 34 - it also gave us the Reply to the Covenant Reformation Offended of 4/20/07 by Teaching Elder G. Price. The last is obviously an attempt to defuse its criticisms and runs to 28,000 words in answer to the 8,000 of the CR Offended.

Yet to quote one William 'Shakspere' after a fashion (or the Earl of Oxford, if one prefers Joe Sobran's take), 'methinks the brother doth protest too much.' In other words, far be it from us to object to a thorough rebuttal, if need be. The problem though, is that for one thing, the Reply spends 6,000 words quoting verbatim the original CR Defended to justify "historical testimony," particularly the 'growing dynamic and binding judicial testimony' of the RPNA(GM) which the oath affirms. Of course we have no quarrel with historical testimony per se, but this appeal to historical testimony is from one of the very same officers responsible for the Position Paper of 16,000 words defending the "Sessional Authority" of the RPNA(GM) Session - the very same paper which had absolutely no RP historical testimony to speak of to defend or support the RPNA(GM) "court" in the first place. Canst thou say "hypocrite?"

Again, the Reply to the CR Offended defends an oath to affirm the current papers and positions of the RPNA(GM) added to the historic Reformed Presbyterian Terms of Communion and implicitly contained in the RPNA(GM) Membership Agreement on the basis of an argument from "historical testimony". But if the official apologists for the RPNA(GM) court will insist as they most emphatically do, in appealing to historical testimony to justify that oath/membership agreement to which a growing and dynamic body of binding judicial testimony has been added, why cannot the same officers of the RPNA(GM) be required to demonstrate from RP historical testimony the justification and lawfullness of their own court to begin with? Because it is an unprecedented, unlawful, sinful and fraudulent court according to RP historical testimony, that's why.

The root of this whole matter - the RPNA(GM) "court" and the paper defending that same "court" - categorically does not and cannot appeal to any RP historical testimony at all from Renwick to Steele's day in favor of it's existence. It is therefore a rotten root that needs to be torn up and cast into the fire. The RPNA(GM) Session cannot have its cake and eat it too when it comes to arguing from historical testimony for an oath affirming its binding judicial decisions, but not for its very existence. But that is exactly what it wants to do and it is willing to excommunicate any and sundry all who point this out and object to its double standard. (to be continued DV.)