No novelties; just agreeing with our fathers...
(Tim) When ClearNote Church was founded and her officers were exploring extending a call to me to serve as her pastor, I asked for something quite large from them. What I wanted was the freedom to hold to, live, and preach and teach historic Christian, Protestant, Reformed doctrine. Nothing new--just the old stuff. Were they willing to grant me that inestimably precious liberty?
They said "Yes," and on such a very simple question and answer hang the destinies of men and women across the ages and around the world.
Today, churches would do well to know the historic Christian, Protestant, and Reformed (which is to say the Biblical) faith and doctrine, and to fire any pastor or elder who wants to go a different way. Oppositely, churches should love and protect any pastor or elder who has those commitments and teaches truth, rebukes sin and false doctrine, and lovingly calls the souls under His care back to the Word of God.
This thought came to mind reading this from an e-mail just received from a friend who described his teaching and writing ministry...this way:
As a young boy I "paid attention to things," especially the things my own father thought important (our fathers were doubtless much alike), and I, like you, am one of those sons who agrees with his father, who for his own part, agreed with his. I have no desire in life to do anything new or spectacular, only to lay another course, as straight and plumb as I can make it, on the foundation they left us. That, indeed, takes all I've got.
Here's how Charles Hodge put it in 1857 in a letter to the Scottish historical theologian, William Cunningham:
I have had but one object in my professional career and as a writer, and that is to state and to vindicate the doctrines of the Reformed Church. I have never advanced a new idea, and have never aimed to improve on the doctrines of our fathers. Having become satisfied that the system of doctrines taught in the symbols of the Reformed Churches is taught in the Bible, I have endeavored to sustain it, and am willing to believe even where I cannot understand.”
-David B. Calhoun, Princeton Seminary, vol. 2: The Majestic Testimony, 1869-1929, Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1996, p. 57.
Don't you love that? What humility! What faith! What grace! Praise God for fifteen years, now, that our pastors and elders and I have been loved and surrouned by women and men at least as committed to the doctrine of Scripture as we are--and we live together in love and unity! Amazing. Such wonderful grace from God!
Thank you, Heavenly Father!