You may recall that Austin Seminary was having a colloquium this week on the question, “Joining and Being Church: What’s Not Negotiable?” Well, Classical Presbyterian Toby Brown went to it, and discovered the answer:
I don’t know what I should have expected from the over-planned Colloquium yesterday, but what we got was an orchestrated, manufactured dog-and-pony show. I felt this way. Jim Rigby and the people from St. Andrews [who started the controversy by admitting a professed atheist to membership–DF] felt this way. What a cop out!
But where the presbytery needed a guided discussion of the real issues involved in our ideas about church membership–what it means and why it matters–we instead received a pre-fab product, designed for our consumption. Each of the two featured speakers got 45 minutes and there was a panel from the presbytery of three. After all of this, we had 15 minutes for questions. 15 minutes??
Both speakers came down on the basic side of St. Andrews, in my opinion. Jim Rigby seemed to agree with my assessment. Both speakers went out of their way to state that faith is not intellectual assent.
For this being said in a roomful of intellectuals, I found this darned ironically funny! If our faith has no intellectual component, then what’s with the whole seminary thing?
Little from Scripture was used in all of it. No confessions were brought to the discussion. Imagine that, friends: Presbyterians not mentioning what the Bible or the confessions have to say about church membership, or any issue for that matter! I found that ludicrous.
Michael Jinkins did find the time in his talk to dismiss Westminster-type Calvinists and Puritans. He found the time to rhetorically diss the beliefs of the historic Reformed community. And (surprise, surprise!) no time was found to defend or even investigate what those silly old Reformed confessions might say about the issue.
In other words, just another day at the office at a mainline seminary. Thanks for the report, Toby.
(Hat tip: Will Spotts.)