published, "A Defense Departed" , his
alleged refutation of the Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton's
(PRCE), "A Brief Defence of Dissociation in the Present Circumstances" (FREE at http://www.swrb.com/ newslett/actualnls/BriefDef.htm) , in early August of last year (1997) on the web page of the First Presbyterian Church of Rowlett, Texas.
exemplifies this dreadful dynamic in our day.
To make matters worse, men like Richard Bacon
and Brian Schwertley are further confusing Christ's already confused and scattered sheep with their shoddy scholarship and lying publications.
As the full title indicates, Richard Bacon
has manufactured a controversy involving faithful Covenanters , whom he
disparagingly designates, "Steelites."The first objective, then, is to vanquish without hope of resurrection the slanderous caricature Bacon has made of the Covenanter position and the PRCE
(and other modern Covenanters).In the second installment of "Bacon
Bits" (the preliminary response to Bacon's essay; FREE at http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/BaconBit.htm), I anticipated that Barrow's refutation of Bacon would be "nothing less than an annihilation."My expectations were completely justified.If Bacon
has any integrity and humility, he
will with profound shame beg the PRCE
, the Church at large, and most importantly the living God to forgive him for ever emitting his
Second, in keeping with the ninth commandment Barrow vindicates the good names of modern and historical brethren.Bacon
has, in "Defense Departed
" and elsewhere, blackened the names and doctrines of quite a number of godly men, and even General Assemblies (see for example, #3 Bacon Bits, by Greg Price).
has uttered numerous falsehoods and smears in his
scurrilous attack, and in the body of his
work Barrow has responded to four primary misrepresentations.In each case he
obliterates these falsehoods, and with remarkable restraint (given the outrageousness of Bacon
's accusations and assertions) lovingly and firmly calls Bacon to repentance.
After briefly and graciously stating the disposition of the PRCE
, and their desire for his
reclamation, "Defense Departed
's" two opening sentences are first dealt with.
exhorts, "The error into which you have fallen is serious and until you come out of the little group which claims that they alone of all the inhabitants of the earth have a true constitutional church, you will continue attached to the dead body of human tradition."This emotive smoke screen is dispelled quickly and readily, first, by noting that Bacon
has therein made such an unqualified charge as to be useful only in misleading the ignorant or unwary reader.
, either by ignorance or design, has directed all the attention to the wrong question.He
wishes to make the PRCE say that it is necessary to take the Covenants in order to be a Christian church
(esse [i.e. "being" , LB]).
In an amazing display of moral baseness too foul and too obvious to be dismissed as simply scholastic incompetence, Bacon
constructs the grossest caricature of our terms of communion.He
says, "The Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton
has adopted this entire line of thinking by the approach of 'first accept the doctrine, then you can understand it later.' But this is the very kind of implicit faith required by Rome and condemned by our confession....
...These include: the nature of terms of communion; an expose of Bacon's and modern "Reformed" churches, Popish notions and triple standards for communion; the danger of modern, latitudinarian schemes of church union; a description of how one becomes a member of the PRCE; how subscribing Confessions, Catechisms, Directories for Worship and Church Government, Covenants, and uninspired historical testimony are all required by Scripture as terms of Communion; and more.
alleges vociferously that vows were broken in dissociating, Barrow proves first, that no vows were ever taken, and second, that if they had been taken, a vow to something sinful (i.e. unlawful associations with covenant-breaking denominations) is no lawfully binding vow, but must be repented of.
A third appendix discusses the alleged rejection of modest means of reconciliation by the PRCE
, showing that this charge instead rests squarely upon Bacon
The fourth appendix, the Form of Examination for Communion approved by the Scottish General Assembly of 1592, sheds further, detailed light upon Barrow's discussion of truly Protestant requirements for coming to the Lord's Table.The fifth appendix provides the reader with a complete list of the Terms of Communion of the Puritain Reformed Church of Edmonton
.The sixth appendix makes an important qualification of the discussion of the visible church, explaining that although hypocrites do partake of the sacraments, this is only an external participation and not an effectual means of grace to them.Finally, as noted, in the seventh appendix Bacon's Popish heresy which denies to individual believers the right of private scriptural judgment of the doctrines, officers, ordinances, government and discipline of the church is succinctly destroyed.
The net result of Greg Barrow's obliteration of Richard Bacon's
strident slander is the clear exposition of the classical Protestant doctrines and practices of the Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton
, and modern and historical Covenanters.
Examples of misleading and seriously flawed presentations of Rutherford's position on the church and separation have been seen in Walker's The Theology and Theologians of Scotland 1560-1750, Bacon's The Visible Church
and Outer Darkness and a host of other works -- all of which overlook foundational second Reformation truths set forth by Rutherford and his fellow Covenanters.