RMP Adopts "Affirmations and Denials"
November 18, 2009
"At Westminster Theological Seminary, we consciously see ourselves as servants of Christ’s Church, and are delighted that the 'Affirmations and Denials' on the doctrine of Scripture are proving useful in the life of the PCA’s Rocky Mountain Presbytery.
"An orthodox view of Scripture is critical to the integrity and vitality of the Church, and with the wave of new attacks on the doctrine of Scripture from various places within evangelicalism, it is imperative that pastors and denominations engage consciously and rigorously in the defense of the faith in their work of kingdom advance.
"Christ honoring ministry grows out of fully affirming the Scriptures as God’s Word and denying any compromising definition, assumption, or methodology. It is our hope that others will employ the 'Affirmations and Denials' as an aid toward a Christ-honoring, Gospel ministry."
- Rev. Dr. David B. Garner, associate professor of systematic theology and vice president for advancement (pictured)
Dr. Garner asked Dr. Aquila to give some background to the Rocky Mountain Presbytery's decision:
"It has been just under 40 years from the PCA's beginning and now we are having to speak to and defend the necessity of the authority of Scripture. Of all the doctrinal issues we could debate, the inerrancy of Scripture should not be one of them; this should be a settled doctrinal position.
"One of the primary reasons the PCA began was because there had been a loss of the authority and inerrancy of Scripture in the PCUS. Note this from 'A Brief History of the Presbyterian Church in America':
Organized at a constitutional assembly in December 1973, this church was first known as the National Presbyterian Church but changed its name in 1974 to Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). It separated from the Presbyterian Church in the United States (Southern) in opposition to the long-developing theological liberalism which denied the deity of Jesus Christ and the inerrancy and authority of Scripture. Additionally, the PCA held to the traditional position on the role of women in church offices.
"Views antithetical to the Westminster Standards' statements on Scripture are beginning to encroach and infiltrate the PCA. Now is the time to sound the clear trumpet to warn of this encroachment in order to forestall it from growing in influence and overwhelming the church.
"One way to do this is for the PCA to reaffirm its commitment to the inerrancy and authority of Scripture. Church history teaches that one of the first doctrinal casualties is a church's commitment to the authority of Scripture. Once this authority base has eroded then other doctrinal errors manifest themselves in the ministry of the church.
"This is the time for gatekeeper courts, Sessions and Presbyteries, to question candidates carefully with regard to their views on inerrancy. It is no longer enough to just ask, 'Do you believe the Bible is God's Word;' we must also press candidates to define their terms with clarity.
"We do not need a study committee on the authority of Scripture; we just need to apply the statements already contained in our confessional standards. Words have meaning and we should bind ourselves to those words that express what we believe God has said in his Word."
- Dominic Aquila, D.Min (WTS 1978)
**Rev. Dr. David B. Garner's photo by MDiv student, Chae Chong, luxdei photography.