Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Cross-Examination of Frank: Q5

Q5: You accused me that I “equate [my] views with the work of the councils.” In your view, are the Confessions (by the non-Baptist magisterial Reformers and their descendants, i.e Baptist Confessions are not to be considered) intended to function to exclude unbelievers?

A5: The Augsburg Confession says that it was written “that in this matter of religion the opinions and judgments of the parties might be heard in each other's presence; and considered and weighed among ourselves in mutual charity, leniency, and kindness, in order that, after the removal and correction of such things as have been treated and understood in a different manner in the writings on either side, these matters may be settled and brought back to one simple truth and Christian concord.”

Luther said of the Smallcald [sic] articles that they were written “to compile and collect the articles of our doctrine [in order that it might be plain] in case of deliberation as to what and how far we would be both willing and able to yield to the Papists, and in what points we intended to persevere and abide to the end.”

Reformed.org says that Guido de Bras [sic] wrote the belgic [sic] confession “to protest against [Roman Catholic] oppression, and to prove to the persecutors that the adherents of the Reformed faith were not rebels, as was laid to their charge, but law-abiding citizens who professed the true Christian doctrine according to the Holy Scriptures.”

The additional documents for the WCF say that the primary concern of the document is to have our eyes opened, and to turn us away from ignorance and error; the specific application noted to that end is for parents and heads of household so that they may “labor in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” as they lead their families.

I trust the authors of these documents to have said what they mean — which clearly, is not what you mean. The confessions plainly say that they are intended for use among belivers [sic] for the sake of eliminated misunderstandings, offer an open hand in order to find the palces [sic] where agreement can still be made, and to teach the leaders of households how to be wise and mature in the faith. They are not issued to exclude anyone but to give exposition to the necessary truths of the faith for the sake of edifying believers and growing unity in the midst of disagreements.

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