Who Moved My Gospel?
One of the best-selling business books is called "Who Moved My Cheese?" It's about coping with change. Change causes anxiety, because it threatens to replace what is familiar and comforting, with the new and the different. Conservatives by nature dislike change, feeling that any longstanding institution is a precious thing, usually erected incrementally and at great cost. The conservative is ever mindful of the truism that it is always easier to destroy something than to create it in the first place. This impulse to preserve what is meaningful, established, or traditional can be a blessing to human civilization, as in the case of the Christian Gospel, or it can be disastrous when the tradition being preserved is demonic, as in communism.
The opposite impulse, which is a delight in change and a tearing-down of what is familiar or ancient, and which is labelled "liberalism" by the established order, can likewise be a creative force (as in the Renaissance) or a destructive even suicidal influence (as in the French Revolution). But there are areas of culture, in the arts and in philosophy, where change is always a diminishment, a movement away from the Platonic ideals of the good, the true, and the beautiful. Hanging a toilet on a wall is not art, nor is redefining evil as good an improvement in morality.
This is to say that there are some "ideals" which transcend time, culture, opinion, or development.
This applies to the Reformed Church in the matter of creedal and confessional subscription. When a man is ordained into the ministry, he is asked to reply in the affirmative:
1. "Do you believe the books of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God and the perfect doctrine of salvation; rejecting all doctrines contrary thereto?"
2. "Will you proclaim the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; will you from the Word of God instruct, admonish, comfort, and reprove, according to everyone's need; and uphold the witness of holy Scripture against all schisms and heresies?"
One is also required to support the Constitution of the church, which includes the Three Forms of Unity (Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, and Canons of Dordt).
That many men (and contrary to Scripture, women) take these sacred oaths with mental reservations, outright deceit, or with the intention of undermining the very doctrines they have sworn to uphold, is obvious. The creeds are considered "quaint." The confessions, outdated. The gospel must be moved aside to make way for new wisdom from the "Holy Spirit" or further accommodation to worldliness. So I ask, "Who moved my gospel?"
The answer? Those who have taken positions in the church and in the seminaries who while making solemn oaths before God, while living well off the tithes of God's peoples, and while publicly demeaning the teaching of the Bible, nonetheless consider themselves both Christian and faithful shepherds of God's people.
"But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed" (Gal 1:8). "Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture, declares the Lord" (Jer 23:1).
Listen to J. Gresham Machen, words written nearly eighty years ago, but sadly relevant: "the Church of today has been unfaithful to her Lord by admitting great companies of non-Christian persons, not only into her membership, but into her teaching agencies" ("Christianity and Liberalism," p.159). "Christianity is being attacked from within by a movement which is anti-Christian to the core" (Ibid. p.178).
I believe it is time to make a division in the RCA. Let the deceivers and oath-breakers go their own way. They will find happy homes in the UCC and other apostate "churches." Let the conservative Reformed take back the church, institute strict subscription, and boot out those who teach and preach other "gospels." Why should the orthodox leave...we were here first.
If you aren't reading his blog Reformed Revival, you are missing a great analysis of not only the decline in the Reformed Church in America, but many other mainline churches as well.