Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Westminster Assembly, The Singing of Psalms and The Sleight of Slight Arguments

The question is whether the Westminster Assembly's Confession of Faith (WCF) in Chapter 21:5 Of Religious Worship  and the Sabbath Day, when it mentions the "singing of psalms with grace in the heart", is  referring to the 150 psalms of the canonical variety or were the Westminster divines  rather talking  about psalms in the broader sense of any religious song of praise, even uninspired song. We mention this because the  latest two commentaries on the Assembly's Confession  by Fesko and Van Dixhoorn  - as well as other presbyterians who should know better when framing the question? -  conclude the latter. (As to whether one agrees with the Westminster Assembly is another question. The first thing to determine is what did the Assembly actually set forth in its documents.)

Yet there seems to be no due diligence in thoroughly examining all the primary sources. This means not only the Confession and the Catechisms,  but also  the Directory for Public Worship (DPW) and the Form of Presbyterial Church Government (FPCG) along with the Minutes of the Assembly and what eventually became the Scottish Psalter 1650, or the Assembly's revision of Rouse's psalter over and above Barton's.

In other words, to suggest that "psalms" in the Westminster Standards means something other than the psalms, hymns and songs of David, Asaph and Korah in the Old Testament's Sepher Tehillim or Book of Praise,  is either disingenuous or incompetent to the question. That psalmody may or may  not be popular these days in or outside the P&R church is again, beside the question as to what the Westminster Assembly actually taught according to the primary sources. Likewise whatever  the common use or meaning of the term "psalm"  might be, whether today or in the Assembly's day is immaterial;  the Assembly's use pre-empts the common usage, if not dictates how we are to understand the term, at least when it comes to the Westminster Standards, the animus imponentis of contemporary presbyterian churches notwithstanding when it comes to their affirmation of the  WCF.

In other words, let there be no mistake about it. The overwhelming, if not unanimous use of the term in the Standards,  along with the Minutes and the Assembly's Psalter, categorically  refers to the 150 Old Testament psalms. The same, written in part by David, "the sweet psalmist of Israel" who said "The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. (2 Sam. 23:1,2)".

Singing of Psalms and the Westminster Assembly's Directory for Public Worship
While the DPW is the main emphasis below,  the FPCG does explicitly consider the “singing of psalms” to be one of the "Ordinances in a particular Congregation". Under the 9th head under the 9th rule in the "Rules for Ordination", we are told that "singing of a psalm" is to conclude an ordination service.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

More World Vision Division, Diversion and Perversion

There has been more confused scribbling on the World Vision brouhaha, one of which is  a post over at the Federalist entitled “For World Vision, is Sexuality More Important than Theology?”  The  obvious  question in response would be, “Is perverse sexuality more important than humanitarianism, never mind natural theology or natural law?”  with the answer being no.

If not that, one is reminded of the opening lines in the first of  Garet’s trilogy in The People’s Pottage,  “The Revolution Was”. 
There are those who still think they are holding the pass against a revolution that may be coming up the road. But they are gazing in the wrong direction. The revolution is behind them.
 Or  Codevilla’s remark that:
. . . the uncomfortable question common to all who have had revolutionary changes imposed on them: are we now to accept what was done to us just because it was done? (The Ruling Class, p.65)
Likewise Codevilla's previous remarks that the lure of power and acceptance co opts and confuses those who should be opposed to the revolutionary changes – illegally –  imposed upon the America,  but yet we are supposed to acquiesce and accept them as legal (cf. p.15). So  we  take Lee's comments on World Vision.

Church vs. Parachurch
There is no question that the work of the church and the work of a humanitarian organization such as World Vision are not the same thing. Yet that WV purports to be a Christian organization, albeit humanitarian or no is in part, the crux of the unrecognized issue. Would Pastor Lee quarrel with WV if they offered  abortions, if not abortifacient drugs as part of the medical plans they provided their employees? And if not, why not? (We understand there is a legal minimum wage in America – Congress knows better than the free/open  market what that should be – but we didn’t know that mandatory health care/birth control pills was also necessarily included in the definition of "wage".)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Living - And Then Marrying - In The Real World

 Updated 4/10/14

A recent  Ref 21  post by Prof. Carl Trueman compares the World Vision flip flop on homosexual "marriage" and the firing of the  Mozilla CEO because he donated to California's Prop 8 in 2008 which supported  traditional  marriage. His conclusion is that the sword of economic boycott works both ways and Christians shouldn't complain, but realize that's how the cookie crumbles in the real world. (World Vision reminds us  of Zondervan and their  gender neutral NIV. Public outcry put the last on hold, but Z had its way in the end. Any guesses on how long WV holds the line?) Besides evangelical doesn't really mean evangelical when it comes to evangelical para church organizations  or  businesses. So now we know.

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Hold the phone, Leon. This Just In.  Due to the moral leprosy that literally oozes from pores  of ex Mozilla CEO and inventor of javascript  B. Eich, the usual raft of amoral refugees, self righteous homophiles  and homosexualist twits  will be announcing their boycott of javascript real soon now on twitter. Along  with their boycott of the internet, because the internet  uses javascript indiscriminately and won't quit anytime soon. Uh, huh. Stay tuned. More late breaking fairy tales to come.
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The Stacked Deck
There are a couple of objections. One, there is not a level playing field out there. The main stream moron media, the courts, the schools  and the other elite powers that be, are all pushing for marital rights for sodomites and lesbians despite the fact that  the LGBTQ@#%?  whatever  contingent  in society is a marked minority. The Kinsey Report notwithstanding (Judith  Riesmann among others,  dismantled  that fraud and egregious propaganda long ago), at most we are talking about  1 to 3 percent of the population.  (Even 5 percent would be hopelessly  optimistic in our opinion, but in la la land, one never knows what the  progressives will dream up next.)

The Big Lie
Two, the campaign for  "equal rights/protection" is a lie. While it  purports to be another way of saying everyone is equal before the  law, all it really is  about is the French Jacobin notion of √©galit√©, i.e. the egalitarian  perversion of equal opportunity to mean "equal outcome" or "equal results". And since both male and female homosexual liaisons don't measure up to  the historic definition  of marriage, ergo  we need to do some meddling, preferably by  the coercive power  of the state, so that everybody can get "married"  and live happily ever after. See. Wasn't that easy, boys and girls?

After all, it is not just the  pursuit  of happiness that is constitutionally guaranteed, but the attainment of happiness. Which is to say government guarantees, if not supplies an education, a job, healthcare and a marriage. If not  also children, if homosexuals are allowed to adopt. (I  know.  It's not loving to forbid homosexuals to love children. Therefore they must be allowed to adopt them.)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Crooked Arrows and Analogies,

All The While Spray Painting Targets  And Snipe-hunting For Protestant Fish In a Roman Barrel Full of Cloistered Monkeys

[corrected  2/4/14]

Well, the  combox zeitgeist over at Old Life Theological Society for Callers Cognitive Dissonance seems to have moved on to discussing the quality of home made vs. Safeway pastry. Still  it does provoke us to quietly weep a few crocodile tears for the eminent first commenter (as always) and his denial (as always)  on these kinds of posts at OLTS. 

Particularly since the same interlocutor has just given us "Clark, Frame, and the Analogy of Painting a Magisterial Target Around One’s Interpretive Arrow " in which he attempts to frame confessionalist RS Clark in his own words, of committing the same crime as Clark accuses biblicist John Frame to be guilty of: Setting oneself up as the interpretive authority over Scripture. 
As in do tell, William Tell.

The gentleman goes on at length – thankfully not quite as eye glazing as usual – in appealing to the Prot reader's private judgement in order to demonstrate the solipsism of that same private judgement and the subsequent necessity of privately judging that the sacred magisterial authority of the pope alone can break the solipsistic stranglehold. Circular pleading indeed, if not sophistical solipsistical.

Oblio's Obligatory Obfuscation/Inexcusable Ignorance
As for  Harry Nilsson, where is he  when we need him? You know, the singer  of the song  about "Me and my Arrow, taking the high road". Of integrity, honesty, credibility, stuff like that. Of correctly characterizing the Prot Roman paradigm if you are going to critique the Prot  Roman paradigm? (But  Protestants  paradigmatically eschew  paradigms/the Holy Father hasn't given them one, so no worries?)

As in the reformed confessions never claim to be above correction from Scripture, contra our protagonist's assumption/accusation. In short the whole "norma normans, norma normata" paradigm. The  Scripture is the infallible rule that rules; the norm that norms all other norms, while the creeds are rules that are normed/ruled by Scripture. And this Mr. Cross, as someone with an M.Div from Covenant Theological Seminary, (PCA) an ex-P&R churchman* ought to know. But doesn't. Or at least won't admit for all practical public purposes of his popish propaganda.

Just as he ought to have known that the Mormon claim to Joseph Smith's apostolic addition to Scripture in the Book of Mormon was contra Scripture as WCF Chapt.1 "Of Holy Scripture" confesses. And answered accordingly when the Utah missionaries knocked on his door. Instead, this incident supposedly precipitated his capitulation to Rome's claim to apostolicity  in order to resolve the existential torment, if not ecclesiastical angst that resulted from the encounter with the disciples of the  Mormon Apostles.