Monday, April 17, 2006

Should Churches Leave PCUSA?

A Classical Prebyterian's blog has posted a blog article entitled "Schism Never?Ever? . Within that article, he as a link to David Teague's (from VOW.org) article, which tries to make a case that evangelicals should not separate from the PC(USA).

I think the article is pretty good, but his case is ultimately not convincing, because in my opinion, he has wrongly equated the denomination with the church.


John Frame writes:

It is fairly obvious that Novatian and Donatus should not have left the one, true church to start their own churches. They were, in truth, "schismatic." Sometimes today, one believer will call another one "schismatic" when he leaves one denomination to join another. Is that fair?

I do believe that it is possible to commit the sin of schism today. Most of the time, when people start new denominations, adding to the divisions in the body of Christ, I do not hesitate to call them schismatic. I also consider them schismatic when they switch denominations for the same reasons that motivated Novatian and Donatus: pride, unwillingness to submit to legitimate discipline, desire for autonomy.
2 But in many, perhaps most, situations where people make such transfers, there is no schismatic behavior at all. The true church is scattered among many denominations today. Often transfer is simply a matter of wanting to go from one part of the church to another, to share the gifts of Christians in a different group. Let us become clear about this: leaving the church is one thing; leaving a denomination quite another. The former is a very serious matter, the latter much less so.

This is the sort of practical case in which it is very dangerous for us to identify the New Testament church with some modern denomination. That confusion can lead to unfair judgments against one another. We should rather seek to make the right distinctions, to judge wisely. The church is found in the denominations; but the denominations are not the church.


Take from:
http://www.thirdmill.org/newfiles/joh_frame/PT.Frame.EVR.3.html

To see John Frame's full argument, read his book "Evangelical Reunion", which can be found here:
http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/bio/johnframe.html

2 comments:

Classical Presbyterian said...

This is a perfect response from Dr. Frame. I really appreciate his work and his commitment to being Reformed yet not judgmental.

I think that your critique of Teague is exactly right. Since when did humanly-organized denominations become the Church Universal? It really strains reason to equate denoms with the true catholic Church. Doing that smacks of Roman arguments against the Reformation!

ps--I added you blog to my links list!

Backwoods Presbyterian said...

I concur with classical. Very good response to Teague.