Thursday, October 06, 2016

The ‎über-reformed and their wacky timelines

Warning! Self-acknowledged strawman argument to follow. Take it for what it's worth.

I notice a trend among the ‎über-reformed. They tend to look to early church history for practices, (nothing wrong with that!) and tend to scoff at modernity. Or at least they claim to do so.  But often there is one notable violation of this laudable practice: confessions. There they will hold the modern confessions (The Westminster and the 1689 Baptist--fine works of fallible genius) in the highest esteem and relegate the early confessions like the Nicene (smaller, therefore less likely to contain error) to the let's-say-them-once-in-a-while backseat. They will organize their church around the modern document, using it as a statement of faith, while not quite admitting that the early church, which they claim to want to emulate, had nothing remotely resembling a 39 page document that touched on esoteric, derived doctrines.

And while using modern (yes, they are modern) confessions, they sternly  warn (not without merit) against other modernity, such as dispensationalism or the so-called New Covenant Theology.

But, you say, the great reformed confessions are old and have stood the test of time, while dispensationalism1 is modern.

No, not really.

If the span of Christianity is compressed down to one year, the Nicene creed appears in late February. The great reformed confessions appear (rather appropriately!) around Nov. 1, while dispensationalism arrives about November 30. That means, using one of those beloved (now extinct) SAT analogies, that:

WCF : Dispensationalism :: Dispensationalism  : now

It is a bit disingenuous to claim that dispensationlism is new, and the Reformed Confessions are time-tested.

1 Just to be clear, I agree with the WCF at, oh, the 95% level and disagree with dispensationalism at, oh, the 99% level. 

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