Confessional Churches?

When a church or denomination has a statement of faith, a creed, or confession, what does this mean? The reality is that there are a variety of possibilities–ranging from a historical memory, general appreciation, to a present and full commitment on the part of ministers, elders and the church body as a whole. The answer really depends on the way confession, adherence, or subscription vows are implemented and maintained. Issues relating to confessional subscription continue to vex confessional churches, as they have in the past.

In a historical context in some respects similar to that of the present day, a Scottish theologian named John Dick argued in 1796 before the Associate Synod for a biblical charity, wisdom, and commitment toward those who no longer believed in the necessity of a fully subscribed confessional theology and church order.(1) Continue reading

Boston on Bible Reading

Thomas Boston (1676-1732) is one of the great post-Reformation Scottish theologians, well-known for his role in the Marrow controversy, in which he championed the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ as the all sufficient Savior, offered to everyone. Less known are some of his other writings. Here is an excellent (updated and edited) excerpt on Bible reading:

“To commend the Bible to you, I say these things of it…

1. It is the best of books. Continue reading

On Women, War, and Education

Gijsbertus Voetius (1589-1676) was one of the leading Dutch Reformed theologians of the 17th century; one of his lesser known works is his fascinating treatise “Concerning Women”, in which he puts forward what is essentially a theology of womanhood, with a wide range of practical applications. For those who might think women in military service is a recent issue, Voetius answers the question “whether it is fitting for a woman to serve as a soldier and take part in expeditions of war, sieges, assaults, battles, and attacks,” noting that in Judges 4 Deborah even undertook an expedition with Barak. Continue reading