One Among Ten Thousand

Extended quotations are always good for getting back in the groove of writing. The following is (as always) for those with ears to hear. Anyone?
" George Knight observes [as noted by Tim Keller] that the practice of the American Presbyterian church has 'always' been to distinguish between 'what was required in a confession of faith... for salvation and church membership and what was required in a confession of faith' for ordination to special ecclesiastical office. As a matter of history this seems to be the case in modern times, but it is also true that it has not always been the case. It is not obvious that establishing two levels of subscription, one for laity and another for ordained officers, is either biblical or consistent with the Reformation. From where in Scripture [or the Confessional documents] would one deduce that God expects one level of subscription for officers and another for laity? Certainly it is possible for one to be a Christian without affirming every proposition in the Reformed confession, but that is beside the point. On that rationale, why should we bother establishing Reformed congregations at all? If the Reformed confession defines what it is to be Reformed, then establishing two distinct relations to the same constitutional document would seem to be a recipe for confusion and effectively two churches within one.

...From 1647 to the beginning of the ambiguity in the American Presbyterian church in 1729 [and arguably even beyond that, into the 1890s in many congregations and presbyteries], the Westminster Confession was subscribed 'because' it is biblical [as opposed to only affirmed 'in so far as' it may be biblical]... in the European [continental] Reformed tradition, ministers and members alike have been expected to subscribe the confessions in the same way... Why should a church [hypocritically] adopt a 'confession' that some or even most of the church believes to be at least partly unbiblical?
From R.Scott Clark's Recovering the Reformed Confession: our theology, piety, and practice; pages 179-180.

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