Reformed Christian Idolatry
(Christian Gallery News Service, 8/16/2011) The idol is institutions created by men, like Westminster Theological Seminary, or like the government of the United States of America that claim to serve God but in fact serve the creature.
The reality is not institutions but the Creator who created flesh and blood real people, people who at this point in time are being legally torn limb from limb in the USA, people Westminster is ignoring as they go about doing everything in their power to convince people that they serve the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, convince people that they know how to "Cure the Souls" of the people in this nation.
PHYSICIAN, HEAL THYSELF!
Westminster prides itself on being the voice of Reformed Theology in the USA and the world--The voice of Calvin, the voice of John Knox...the voice of J. Gresham Machen, Cornelius Van Til.
During John Knox's famous encounter with Mary Queen of Scots in 1561 he explained what became the primary justification for the Wars of the Reformation. He told the Catholic Queen, "For there is neither greater honor, nor greater obedience, to be given to kings or princes, than God hath commanded to be given unto father and mother. But the father may be stricken with a frenzy, in which he would slay his children. If the children arise, join themselves together, apprehend the father, take the sword from him, bind his hands, and keep him in prison till his frenzy be overpast: think ye, Madam, that the children do any wrong? It is even so, Madam, with princes that would murder the children of God that are subjects unto them. Their blind zeal is nothing but a very mad frenzy, and therefore, to take the sword from them, to bind their hands, and to cast them into prison, till they be brought to a more sober mind, is no disobedience against princes, but just obedience, because it agreeth with the will of God."
Westminster ignores the fact that the children of God are being butchered.
Now obviously every person at Westminster will be quick to declare they have done due diligence in their opposition to abortion. Perhaps there are some who will admit their "due diligence" has been woefully inadequate for the grievous and bloody breakdown in law in the USA. But no matter how the people at Westminster explain themselves, the history of the last 38 years in the United States of America proves the people at Westminster have not, as John Knox stipulated, joined themselves together, apprehended the father, took the sword from him, bound his hands, and kept him in prison till his frenzy be overpast.
In fact the Westminster Divines, like the myriad Pastors and teachers in this land have taught people how to institutionalize legalized murder.
My Encounter With Westminster Idolatry
As a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary, I came face to face with the glaring anomaly of conservative, evangelical Christianity: Westminster still teaches that God's Word is noncommittal on the question of legalized slavery.
In 1985 my Church History professor at Westminster, Dr. Clare Davis, and I had a serious discussion about that anomaly. The discussion came in the aftermath of my realizing that Westminster still taught what had been taught by Christians in the Old South about God's attitude toward slavery: He was noncommittal: God was noncommital on the question of slavery. With this premise in view, I immediately recognized that to Southerners who were taught that God was noncommittal about slavery, then the question shifted to what gave Yankees the right to threaten the (our Southern) peculiar institution. Knowing Southerners like I do, I realized that was all it took to unleash the torrents of blood that came from the Civil War.
So I asked Dr. Davis to talk to me in his office after class.
"Dr. Davis," I said, "I'm from Georgia. My people paid a terrible price in blood and treasure because they decided that God was noncommittal on the institution of chattel slavery. It was that decision that led them to be willing to fight the Civil War. Now for me to realize that Westminster is still teaching the same hermeneutic principles that led to the idea that God is noncommittal on the question of slavery just blows my mind."
Dr. Davis asked, "Neal do you have a problem with our hermeneutics?"
I answered, "Dr. Davis, that's the problem. I think Westminster's hermeneutics are the best ever conceived in history. It's just that to conclude God is noncommittal on slavery after what we went through seems to be totally bizarre.
Dr. Davis said, "Well Neal it is a dangerous thing to get your ideas about what God allows from anywhere other than Scripture."
"Dr. Davis," I said, "God settled the question of what He thinks about chattel slavery in the USA, He settled it in the Civil War."
Dr. Davis said, "Well we can't say that Neal."
I told him, "Well I can. Not only can I say it, I'm going to act like God made His Mind clear: that He committed Himself on the matter of chattel slavery and is opposed to it."
And then I waited for Dr. Davis's response because I knew that he had the power to decide that my decision to act like God expressed His Will both in Scripture and in History disqualified me to take a degree from Westminster Theological Seminary.
But all he said was, "We'll keep an eye on you Neal."
And they let me take a degree from Westminster in spite of my refusal to concede their fundamental hermeneutic principle: that God only speaks in Holy Scripture; along with its necessary corollary, God only speaks in accordance with our interpretation, our othodoxy, of what He says in Holy Scripture.
That encounter with Westminster Orthodoxy made me know then that if the most intelligent, best educated Christians that I had ever met in the USA were not interested in correcting the fundamental error Southern Christians had made before the Civil War, there was a real good chance I would have to fight exactly the same problem Abolitionist Christians had to fight in Antebellum America.
What's this got to do with Westminster today?
The very nature of a convention is that it is not thought about; it simply is. It is the convention at Westminster as well as every seminary and church in the United States of America to tolerate legalized abortion while presuming such toleration makes no difference in a Christian's ability to "Cure Lost Souls."
That convention is perniciously evil. For people who value reason and logic as much as the people who make up--or make it to--Westminster to have tolerated legalized abortion for 38 years means one thing: they do not grant that the fetus is a human being like they are a human being. The fetus is treated, as the Southern slave was treated, as some portion of a person--1/8, 2/3, 1/32--whose rights under God are different than the rights God gives to all His born children who are considered whole persons with souls that can be "cured."
Because the government has decreed the unborn person not be a person in the full sense of the word, the Westminster Divines have created the convention, have said Amen in exactly the same way the Reformed Theologians said Amen to the South's Right to own human beings, and in their "amen" there is complicity not just in slavery but in the murder of the slaves, the wholesale, legally and theologically sanctioned murder of the unborn babies enslaved in the wombs of the mothers who do not want them to live.
And therein is the meaning of evil made clear. In this situation, the convention is not merely about the Right of ownership of God's children but about the Right to literally kill God's child if the mother so decrees. It is this meaning that Westminster sanctions by ignoring the murder so they can "cure the souls of the born people."
The parallel between Caesar killing Paul, or Stephen, or James...or the Lord Jesus Christ is literally inescapable...unless one embraces the convention that such awful anomalies as this are not to be discussed, not to be thought about at the institution above all others that poses as one of the, if not the, preeminent location for truthful thought on earth. (Where did I hear these words? "Insofar as truth is known, we teach it at Westminster.")
Oh, Westminster, like all reformed Christian institutions, gives lip service to the idea that abortion is wrong. But by giving lip service to the idea that the legalized slaughter of unborn children is against God's Will while at the same time refusing to, as John Knox said, "...join themselves together, apprehend the father, take the sword from him, bind his hands, and keep him in prison till his frenzy be overpast..." Westminster Theological Seminary along with the Legions of other churches, seminaries, and Christian media, belies every thing they say about legalized abortion.
Were the people at Westminster to grant that unborn babies were CHILDREN OF GOD being legally butchered in the USA, Westminster would have to decide do they want to act like the Lapsi Christians in the ancient church who stood by and burnt incense to Caesar as he went about methodically slaughtering untold numbers of CHILDREN OF GOD or does Westminster want to recognize the power that God had given Reformed Christians to "...join themselves together, apprehend the father, take the sword from him, bind his hands, and keep him in prison till his frenzy be overpast..."
Vern Poythress said something during one of my classes with him those many years ago. "There is no meaning without application," Vern proclaimed as if those words summarized the truth he was attempting to convey to his students.
I got it. There was no meaning except in the way we applied our understanding of the truth. If we snorted coke or ran with whores or treated the Lord Jesus Christ as if serving Him was not the most important thing in our lives, we belied everything it meant to call ourselves Christian.
I got what Westminster was trying to teach. Yet for nearly three decades since I took a degree from Westminster I have watched the Westminster divines along with every other Reformed Pastor in the nation, with the exception of Rev. Paul Hill, act as if legalized abortion had no meaning that would alter the normal procedures of Christian life in the USA. I have watched Westminster's response prove the meaning Westminster teaches this generation of Christians.
And what does Westminster teach? Westminster's response provides the tacit imprimatur that PROVES Westminster does not grant the unborn babies being slaughtered the same standing as children of God as the people Westminster makes the objects of their ministry outreach.
God damn an institution--any institution--that teaches such lies in your name without repentance.