Thursday, October 20, 2005

Hatred for the Past

I just had to post a comment from Rev. Meyers that can be found in the comments to article under previous discussion.

1. The fact that REFORMED churches are still clinging to a 500-year old document is evidence of our loss of theological vitality.

2. The Westminster standards were written to answer the pressing issues and questions for 17th-century people - mostly English speaking people, too. This is fine. Confessions and catechisms are supposed to speak to the culture and use the language and conceptual categories familiar to people in order to disciple them in the biblical faith. But we no longer live in the 17th century. Duh.

3. Does anyone really think that we will still be using the Westminster Standards 200 years from now? Yikes.

4. There's been a great deal of theological and exegetical work done since the 17th century. Just think of the work on the Trinity in the broader church, but also in our own Reformed circles the theological work done on the covenant. The best of that work needs to be proclaimed publicly in our confessions and catechisms.

5. Until we compose something contemporary we will continue to have people tempting us to accept some form of "living in the past" as the answer to modern problems. As if repeating Reformed scholastic definitions of terms is what the modern world needs.

Never before has such a clear case of Mercersburg Theology been laid before us. These 5 points are full of Historical and Theological Development, but also contempt for the past. Nothing shows the Federal Vision’s hatred of the past more than point number 1. Rev. Meyers is actually saying that there is no way people 500 years ago could have come up with quality of theology that we can today, even though they have access to the same bible. Theological vitality is tied to shedding off theologies of the past and coming up with innovative ideas. If it such a bad idea to be clinging to 500 year old documents as good theology, just think how awful it must be to read documents from the Middle Ages, or worse yet those poor simpletons that sat at the feet of the apostles. Poor Polycarp and Ignatius! What trash their letters must be! And the Nicene Creed? Utterly useless. Just look at point 4 if you doubt Rev. Meyers argues that way. We have improved the doctrine of the Trinity and have better exegesis because a few guys now know what Judaism really looked over 19 centuries ago.

Charles Hodge once said of Philip Schaff’s Theological Development that it would cause people to always see an evolution of and never a possible devolution from the gospel. Could there be any clearer proof than Rev. Meyers’s point number 1?


Mr. Baggins said...

Yikes. He is as bad as Henry Ford saying, "History is bunk!" He does seem to have an evolutionary viewpoint wrt to the church. What about decline, as Hodge pointed out? How can one tell whether one is progressing or regressing? Satan loves to confuse those two things in our minds. As George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Rev. Meyers would do well to remember that fact.

neocovenanter said...

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever. Hebrews 13:8.

On the other hand, I guess it all depends on what the meaning of same is.

You're so old school.

Mr. Baggins said...

Thank you for the compliment.

Andrew McIntyre said...

Hmmm. If all of Christianity which can have any claim to orthodoxy must adhere to a creed which is almost 1500 years old, I tend to think that the Reformed standards have a chance of outlasting the Federal Vision heresies. Attacking the antiquity of a creed is a cowardly way to attack its content. Its antiquity proves its worth in many respects. The FVs need to overtly and aggressively attack the Reformed doctrines written in the creeds if they have a problem with the documents. Of course, if they do that they will show their true colors and loose all of the last vestiges of their orthodox support.