THE RPNA: SOME AREAS OF AGREEMENT AND CONCERN
I have benefited in various ways from publications, etc. associated with the RPNA, and I agree with much of what it stands for, but I also have some areas of question and concern. Here is an outline of some areas of agreement and concern.
Some areas of agreement
· Full subscription to the original Westminster Standards
· Descending obligation of the Solemn League and Covenant
· Their doctrine regarding ‘occasional communion’, which frowns upon joining in communion with schismatic church bodies
· The historic Christian position regarding artificial birth control
Some areas of question and concern
Was the RPNA really justified in forming a new
denomination when there already was a church, the Free Presbyterian Church of
Scotland (FPCS), fully subscribed to the original Westminster Standards,
upholding the Solemn League and Covenant, and reasonably upholding these
standards? Is this multiplying
denominations? And is it good to forfeit
a body with developed presbyterian church courts for one without such, when what is gained from
it is questionable? (see http://www.puritans.net/news/historicaloriginsfpcs011008.pdf
for rough sketch of the historical origins of the Free Presbyterian Church of
While it is certainly correct that the current
civil governments of
· Given such passages as I Corinthians 11 and Isaiah 47:2-3, is it really justified in opposing female headcovering in the public worship?
· Given such passages as I Timothy 2:8-10 and Exodus 33:5-6, is it really justified in permitting tattoos, make-up, ornamental jewelry, etc.? Does this not contradict the plainness and modesty of attire we are to strive for?
Is it right to permit movie and stage-play entertainment,
when stage-acting is uniformly treated in a pejorative manner in scripture
(generally translated ‘hypocrite’, but more literally translated
‘stage-actor’)? Does not this form of
entertainment erode the moral fiber of a people, which is why it was
historically banned in reformed nations like
· Is it right to separate from a church body on the grounds that it does not explicitly refer to a covenant with descending obligation, even though the church body is upholding the moral substance of the covenant? Is it necessary, for example, for a church explicitly to mention the Nehemiahic covenant in its terms of communion?
· Is its opposition to the FPCS’s stance on distinction of attire (by requiring women normally to wear dresses) justified?
· Does its position regarding ‘occasional hearing’ really make sense? Is it right to promote the books and tapes of various theologians and ministers, but in a blanket policy forbid hearing them teach in person? Does merely hearing someone teach and preach in person really imply one is prepared to unify with them in ecclesiastical communion?