Rev. Joe Morecraft
Teaching Elder Joe Morecraft made a presentation of the establishment of the constitution of Covenant Presbytery, [now the RPCUS]:…the WCF, Larger and Shorter Catechisms as originally published by the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland must be subscribed to by all ordained members. Passed.
Minutes of Covenant Presbytery August 29, 1983
Why did I make that motion? Let me give you four reasons.
First, the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland edition of the Westminster Standards is a sturdy, hardback book with readable print. It contains the Westminster Assembly’s Scriptural footnotes completely written out, for the Confession, Catechisms and book of church government. It also includes other historical documents that are important for organizing a church and understanding our heritage as Presbyterians, which documents are not included in other editions of the Standards, such as the original Directory of Publick Worship, the Form of Presbyterial Church-Government, .the Solemn League and Covenant, etc.
Second, although our presbytery has no disagreement at all with the revision of chapter 23, paragraph 3, as it appears in the Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Church in America, we believe that the original chapter 23, paragraph 3 spells out more completely, Biblically and with less ambiguity the functions and limits of the civil magistrate with reference to the Law of God and the relation of church and state, by which as nursing fathers, the state carries out its God-given duty to protect the church of our common Lord, without giving the preference to any denomination of Christians above the rest, in such a manner, that all ecclesiastical persons whatever shall enjoy the full, free, and unquestioned liberty of discharging every part of their sacred functions, without violence or danger.- the revised 23:3. In other words, it speaks directly and relevantly to the political issues facing us today, offering specific, Biblical, workable, although politically incorrect, answers to the questions people are asking.
Third, one revision of the Westminster Confession led to another and then to another and another. We want our church in some clear, although small, way to intervene and rescue the Church from the accelerated move away from the historical and Biblical Calvinism and Presbyterianism of the original Westminster Confession. Adopting the original was an attempt on our part to “stop the flow of blood,” and thereby, hopefully, by God’s grace, to bring the Church back to renewed purity and vitality.
Fourth, tying our little denomination to the original Westminster Confession of Faith was a deliberate effort to root ourselves firmly and self consciously in the English, and more particularly the Scottish, Reformations, (along with the Swiss, German and French, of course), so as to lay down a basis for a strong advance into the future, which we pray will bring us an even greater Reformation of the Church. Hopefully our people would not only love the Westminster Standards, but also come to love the historical context that gave it birth. Hopefully, our youth will find some of their heroes in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth, Centuries.
Why did American Presbyterianism, revise 23:3 in the Westminster Confession of Faith? (more…)