Tag Archives: D. G. Hart
Is there an American form of Christianity? Many believers who live in the United States would be content simply to identify themselves as Christians, others as American Christians, and still others would be inclined to say they are Christians in America. But are believers in any of these groups able to identify distinctive traits of American Christianity? Do you know enough of the history of Christianity in this country to recognize how your own expression of Christian faith and practice has been shaped by America in the modern age, for good or ill?
None of us are simply “biblical Christians” but have a history that has shaped us in one way or another. Reformed Christians have a rich heritage going back to the Protestant Reformation in sixteenth-century Europe, but they also have a peculiar history in the United States. Join us for this free two day conference which will explore some of the major outlines of the history of Reformed & Presbyterian Christianity in the United States.
Friday, November 1
Session 1 at 7:00pm
Alan Strange: “The Tumultuous Beginnings of American Presbyterianism.” The beginnings of American Presbyterianism, with a focus on the First Great Awakening and the Old Side/New Side controversy. We’ll also briefly reflect on the Reformed in America and the phenomenon of “becoming American.”
Session 2 at 8:15pm
Darryl Hart: “The Challenge of Americanism.” The talk will cover the problems posed by new ways of recruiting and sustaining Christians (through the Second Great Awakening). It will cover Reformed responses to the predicament from German Reformed, Dutch Reformed, and Presbyterians.
Session 3 at 9:30am
Alan Strange: “Politics and the Pulpit.” Charles Hodge developed his doctrine of the spirituality of the church in a subtle and nuanced fashion that permitted him to distinguish the church from the state and its political concerns while allowing the church to retain a prophetic voice to society. We’ll examine Old School Presbyterianism with respect to the spirituality of the church and the place of the doctrine among the Reformed.
Session 4 at 10:45
Darryl Hart: “Kuyper & Machen–Models of Reformed Witness.” This talk will examine the differences between Machen and Kuyper’s attempts to recover a consistent Reformed witness, especially those that stem from the differences between church life in the United States and Netherlands.
Lunch 12:00pm ($5.00 Fee for all participating)
Session 5 at 1:00pm
Alan Strange: “Unity without Union — Beyond Acronyms.” The CRC recognized and congratulated the OPC on its formation and the OPC did the same with the URC on its formation. We’ll look at OPC/CRC union talks, the formation of the URC and OPC/URC relations.
Session 6 at 2:15pm
Darryl Hart: “Anti-Modernism.” This presentation will examine the efforts of conservative Presbyterians in the United States and Reformed Protestants in the Netherlands to combat theological liberalism and indifference in the dominant churches. It will also discuss the need for secession or separation when those efforts were no longer viable.
Session 7 at 3:30
Q&A with speakers
Reformed in America” will take place at Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church (3615 University Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa). This conference is hosted by Providence Reformed Church and Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church, which are both congregations in Des Moines.
Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church (OPC): http://www.GraceReformed.org
Providence Reformed Church (URCNA): http://www.ProvidenceRC.org
Please RSVP to: ReformedInAmericaDM2013@gmail.com
At Green Baggins, PCA Pastor Lane Keister asks:
what is the linchpin of Romanist claims? Surely, it is the Petrine succession argument for the Popes. Without an ironshod succession from Peter to Benedict XVI, there is no sacramental magisterial authority at all. It does no good at this point to claim that the apostolic succession can be legitimated without the Papal succession, since the Papal succession is what legitimates all the rest of the succession down to the ordination of priests. If the Papal claims are void, then so are the ordinations that come from a false Papacy.
As I write 631 comments follow his question.
Given the historical nature of the Romanist claims, it’s nice to have a historian in the house. In response to the Romanist church history D.G. Hart presents a Protestant view:
From a historical perspective, not to mention the way we understand ourselves, truths don’t simply fall out of the sky, pile up in neatly proportioned columns, steps, and arches, and remain intact for time immemorial.
…The church began among the apostles and disciples in Jerusalem and then spread to the center of the ancient church in Asia Minor and eventually to Europe. The Eastern Church remained relatively strong until the rise of Islam. The Western Church picked up the pieces of the Roman Empire and had fewer threats from Islam. Both of these churches, though different in culture and language, did not formally sever ties until the eleventh century. After 1054 Constantinople went into decline, Rome went the opposite way. The papal reforms of the eleventh century improved the authority of Rome. But even during the heyday of the papacy’s vigor — the high middle ages –Rome hardly controlled what was going on in the British Isles or France. Europe had no trains, not postal service, and little political consolidation. Trying to give coherence to Christianity was an impossible proposition until modernity gave us print, the nation-state, and effective transportation.
…The contention here, then, is that justification came late to debates in the Western Church. Protestants initiated those debates and made proposals. Rome rejected those proposals outright at least at Trent. But prior to Trent Rome had no official position on justification. Protestantism accordingly developed within Roman Catholicism, which developed from relations with churches in the East, which developed from the ministry of Jesus and the apostles in Jerusalem. To say that what we have in Roman Catholicism is what the early church had in the first three centuries is like saying that some angel of God left some gold plates containing the final revelation buried underground somewhere in upstate New York.
For those inclined to “blame” Stellman’s conversion on his Two Kingdom perspective, Hart has discovered a blog entry in which a Roman Catholic credits transformationalists John Frame and Tim Keller for helping him to appreciate images.
For those of you drawn more by “Presbyterian” than “blues,” John Frame has recently blasted Westminster Seminary California in his book The Escondido Theology. I’m not a close follower of Frame, having been mystified (not in a good way) years ago by his Evangelical Reunion and then more recently bumping into his interesting (as we say in the Midwest) view of the regulative principle of worship.
All of us on the faculty of Westminster Seminary California are shocked and saddened by John Frame’s book, The Escondido Theology. …We are very troubled…to find John so utterly misrepresenting and misstating our views.. . . all of us on the WSC faculty wish to state clearly that we reject all [emphasis added] of these thirty-two points as a fair or accurate presentation of our views.
For the most part, I’ll let others battle this one out, but clearly Frame presents a distorted view of Two Kingdom thinking, and, unfortunately, will be stirring up misinformed rhetoric from his partisans rather than the principled discussion that is so much needed.
Green Baggins: Review of the Escondido Theology
Green Baggins: Chapter 1 Part One: The Law-Gospel Distinction
Some words have died because, like “hepcat,” they were a passing fad. Other words, like the “n-word,” were intentionally killed because of widespread conviction that there is no profitable use of the word. A similar but distinct class of words are those that should be abandoned because they conceal more than they reveal; an example of this is “evangelical.”
The Association of Religious Data Archives includes as “evangelical” denominations as diverse as the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection, the American Baptist Association, the Assemblies of God, the Mennonites, the General Association of Regular Baptists, the Hutterian Brethren, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the Pentecostal Church of God and The Primitive Baptist Church, among others. Do you see the common ground? I don’t, or at least I don’t see much.
But let’s play it out: what do you know when someone tells you he is an evangelical? Continue reading