Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Re-Writing History

The re-writing of history is the chosen past-time of the idle. We see it in the revisionism of the pure teaching of Calvin regarding God's way of reconciliation; in the refusal of reformed and Calvinistic ministers to wear their Geneva preaching gowns; and in the insistence of some churches on the necessity of Episcopalianisn as God's way of governing His church.

We also see it in NI where men are prepared "to call good evil, and evil good," and where the indescribable barbarity of the various terrorist organisations is now being airbrushed out of existence, with a view to presenting both convicted and unconvicted terrorists in a much better light. Engaging in this past-time are very senior churchmen and the religious class, as well as the political class in Northern Ireland.

This "chosen past-time of the idle" has already created unnecessary disruption within the Reformed churches. Those churches that profess to follow Calvin depart from his teaching on the sacraments, e.g, our Baptist brethren, on church government, e.g, our independents and the episcopalians, on Calvin's understanding of the atonement, or reconciliation, the hyper-calvinists and high orthodox denying Calvin's universal emphasis, e.g, the Congregationalists and Episcopalians. If Roman Catholicism had been a Christian church, it would have been included in the later category.

On the matter of ministerial dress, there has also been an almost universal departure from Calvin's practice, and that of his worthy Huguenot sons. The ministers most likely to follow this practice are the liberals and ecumenicals within the professing reformed churches, the very people who ought not to desecrate this noble and respected reformed symbolism.

The wearing of Geneva gowns by reformed preachers was a clear theological statement, that they were 'reformed' men, and not Romanists. This distinction is not proper in today's decadent and 'politically correct' churches who worship and bow down at the shrine of modernity. They were used to cover the man, so that only the pure Word of God was heard. It disallowed the parading of man's self-importance, and prevented every semblance of fashion displays by preachers. It was also a mark of the preacher's educational achievement, though academic hoods were not worn by Calvin and his Huguenot sons. These simple and plain gowns also gave the impression of authority in the preacher, though, of course, these, of themselves, cannot convey authority; only the Word of God taken by the Spirit of God can give the Word of God divine authority.

Whilst it is unacceptable that men who do not embrace the teaching of Calvin should wear these gowns, it is equally unacceptable that those who follow Calvin because he follows Scripture, do not. There has been a loss of historical perspective on the part of many reformed ministers, and their refusal to wear the insignia of Calvin's orthodoxy, are doing themselves, their congregations, and their denominations, and generations yet unborn, a great disservice. They are trying to re-write reformed history!

When men lose the preciousness of God's dealings with them in the past, they are destined to cheapening His dealings with them in the present and in the future!