Reformed Confession Club

What does Reformed theology look like when it becomes a club with secret code words and handshakes? John Frame confronts the beast in his frank and helpful (and long) review of R. Scott Clark’s book Recovering the Reformed Confession: Our Theology, Piety, and Practice. It’s rare to read such a thorough and balanced critique, but worth it if you enjoy hard-hitting and edifying confrontation (which is what charitable critique is–it builds the church, even when encountering its opposite).  Read the whole thing or enjoy this worthy slice that provides a kind of summary both of the review and the issue:

Toward the beginning of this review, I criticized Clark’s definition of “Reformed.” Here I will say something about his general view of how the Reformed communion is related to the overall body of Christ. As one reads this book, the general picture that emerges is of what Van Til used to call the “isolation” of the Reformed community. We are not Eastern Orthodox, or Roman Catholic, or Lutheran, or Anabaptist, or evangelical. We are distinctive, holding a viewpoint defined more or less unchangeably by our confessions, a favored group of theologians, and various traditions. From Clark’s point of view, it is very important that such distinctiveness be maintained. So we must define every aspect of church life by the confessions and tradition. Both officers and (however implausibly) the whole congregation must subscribe in a strict and comprehensive sense to the confessions. We should study the Scriptures too, but there is a “Reformed reading” of Scripture that we must never depart from, a way of reading Scripture that will be governed by the confessions and therefore will never lead us away from the Reformed traditions. So when controversies arise, the most prominent question is not “what does Scripture say?” (which would be “biblicist”), but rather “what do the confessions say?”

2 Comments Reformed Confession Club

  1. Pingback: Is Reformed Theology “Isolationist?” « Heidelblog

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