The OPC uses the American revision of the WCF, it would seem, since it is numbered in Arabic numerals, and chapter 25 deletes a reference to the pope being Antichrist.Hugh McBryde"There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ: nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God."The original, and the revised version of the WCF Chapter 25, says this:"The purest churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error; and some have so degenerated, as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan. Nevertheless, there shall be always a church on earth, to worship God according to his will."Thus per the WCF, there is error in the WCF, and by your allegiance to it, you say there is error in the OPC and in it's local representative, the Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church of Vermont.
I am, and have been appealing to this principle of WCF Chapter 25. For this to be faithfully adhered to there can be no artificial restriction on time or subject of discussion with regard to any article of the WCF. Granted, there are those articles that if rejected would cause a man to be no believer at all, but then their interest in the church should wane. For all other articles and chapters of the WCF, there must be the possibility of discussion. Marriage is not an issue central to salvation. If it was, King David burns in hell along with his wives as do most of the Kings of Israel and Judah. They reside there with the Lawgiver Moses and with the father of the prophet Samuel as well as Israel himself, and Abraham.
I wholeheartedly agree that if I am shown to be at variance with WCF, there is cause for discussion. Discussion I contend, has yet to take place. Carl and I spent most of our time in fellowship discussing other topics, and at the slightest pressing of the issue, which would have had to have been in a public place among unbelievers, he became reticent.
The session has met with me only once and only to gain an appraisal of my point of view. There is no record of conversation between the session and I, or any member of it, in a face to face setting with the express topic of marriage, monogamy and polygyny on the table.
The sessions only interactive response with any argument I have made is actually that of "Woody" Lauer. My reply to Woody in June of 2009 remains unanswered. Indeed, the session has corresponded with me since that time, most notably in July, but made no interaction with my responses to Woody, most notably my refutation, complete and utter, of his contention that Kings were directed to be monogamous and his appeal to the nuances of the Hebrew word "Rabah" and it's stem and aspect.
In the cases of the first use of "rabah" in verse 16 of Deuteronomy 17, the "stem" and "aspect" of the word are the same as in the case of it's use with wives in verse 17. It is the "Hiphil" stem and "imperfect" aspect. This renders the two constructions parallel. Furthermore, there are some other uses of the same stem and aspect that are worth looking into. Genesis 16:10:"Moreover, the angel of the LORD said to her, 'I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count.' "(NAS)Or Genesis 17:2:"I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly."Genesis 22:17:"...I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies."Genesis 28:3:"May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples."This simply cannot be a word that is confined to the use "make more than one." As it is used, in the immediate context, and others, the Hebrew "rabah" in the Hiphil stem and imperfect aspect means "a bunch." It may mean "a really big bunch." It is in fact conceivable, by stretch of the imagination, that the 1000 consorts of Solomon were actually not too many. This is consistent with Nehemiah chiding him only for foreign wives.
If interpreted to mean "more than one wife" which is distinctly inconsistent with "rabah's" usage elsewhere by Moses in other books, the interpretation would have the effect of limiting a King to one horse. The sentence construction again, is parallel. Whatever is said about a wife, is also being said about a horse. If a King is not to have more than one wife, he is also being said to be forbidden to have more than one horse. If a King lives in a way that is instructive to the rest of the populace, then indeed we are to have only one wife, as the King would, and indeed, only one horse. This would make animal husbandry problematic, and getting horses a really big problem because in this same passage we are told that a King was not to go down to Egypt again, for the purposes of multiplying horses. Why not say "don't have horses at all?" which would be a far simpler instruction. This is only one example of well documented answers I gave to Woody's letter to the session, which was intended for me.
The Orthodox Presbyterian Church also takes this position:"Members are received into a local Orthodox Presbyterian congregation by the session on the basis of their credible profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. While members are exposed to the Reformed faith from the pulpit, from the teaching ministry of the church, and from the sincere convictions of their elders and deacons, they are not required to receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and Catechisms as a standard for membership....This helps the church to be unified and all of one mind. Officers are, by the way, allowed to take exceptions to the Standards, within reason. This allowance somewhat distinguishes the Westminster Standards from the Scriptures (on which we are NOT allowed to take exception!).
All church officers-ministers, ruling elders, and deacons-are required to receive and adopt the Confession and Catechisms as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Bible, and to approve of the government, discipline, and worship of the Church."
To hold me to a standard the rest of the denomination does not share, and to hold me to that standard without discussion, both are sins. I renew my insistence that I be accepted as a member of COPC in Barre Vermont.
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