It would help the evangelical discussion re church/state (e.g., masks, distancing, meeting indoors etc) to distinguish between the state's interest in regulating things *around* worship, that are common to all gatherings, and regulating the material of worship.
We all recognize (or we did before Covid) that the community, as represented by civil gov't, has a proper interest in the general welfare of the community. Thus, I'm unaware of any church that has refused to allow the fire dept or the health dept to do inspections.
How many churches now certify that their youth/nursery workers are not sexual offenders? How many have made training in re ipsa mandatory? Our church buildings must be built to local safety/fire codes. No one reasonably objects to such civil regulation.
When an easily communicated virus breaks out, the community at large has an interest in how other members act. Church congregations are no more immune from the virus than any other gathering. Tribal arguments for a favored group (e.g., protestors) are special pleading
when "health officials" (apparently not always actual physicians) make them and thus specious and when church members make them.
In the case of LA County, some of the regs are onerous and arguably unreasonable. Clearly the county is now seeking to punish GCC and to make their life difficult but what role has GCC played in this? Are they free of blame?
Have they distinguished between the state's/community's interest around worship, i.e., as a public assembly, vs the state seeking to regulate the content of worship? It does not seem so.
This was evident when they 1st publicized their return to worship and in their services since returning. They made a point of not following *any* of the guidelines. Isn't that right? Didn't they note how they weren't wearing masks or distancing?
If the state has a proper interest in regulating public gatherings relative to health/safety, & we agree that they do, then why the resistance to masks & distance? You're entitled to your personal view of the efficacy of masks/distancing. That's not the issue.
The issue is that the state has a proper interest, which we have always recognized, but now we're supposed to resist the very same interest that we were recognizing 8 months ago? Why? On what basis?
Is there an exception in Romans 13 that I can't see? Paul doesn't say that Claudius is correct in all that he does. He says that Claudius has been installed by God and we have to submit to him. 1 Peter 2:17 says "honor the emperor."
When Peter wrote that Nero was most likely Caesar and by comparison Gov Newsom is a choirboy. Nero put Christians to death to cover up his own crimes. He made them mere pawns.
I'm not defending Gov Newsom. I think he's mishandled Covid about as badly as possible. I have a rather low opinion of his policies and his abilities but I think highly of God's Word and I am concerned about the witness to the watching pagan world that this controversy gives.
Is GCC honoring the emperor? The reply that Newsom isn't emperor is disingenuous. He's an elected governor subject to recall, fine. Recall him but as long as he is in office, by analogy, so long has he's not requiring us to disobey God, we must submit.
I've *never* criticized GCC for meeting but I have criticized them for *how* they have conducted themselves while meeting. Some congregations in CA, bec they don't have their own facilities, haven't been able to meet indoors since mid-March. They aren't making a public scene.
GCC prides itself on its fidelity to God's Word. Consider the adverb "quietly." 1 These 4:11 says that we're to seek/aspire to live quietly. 2 These 3:12 ditto. 1 Tim 2:2 we're to pray for our rulers "that we may live a peaceful and quiet life, godly & dignified in every way."
Does the cheering congregation at GCC (or anywhere else for that matter) fit that description? Are they gathering together reverently, soberly, doing all that they can to meet the concerns of the civil magistrate to the best of their abilities?
Again, I understand that they feel conscience bound to meet. I am NOT criticizing them for meeting but it is fair to raise questions about *how* they are conducting themselves publicly since we are all being judged by what they do and how they do it.
Personally, I hate wearing a mask. I think the efficacy of most masks is dubious. There's probably some value but I think the Trump admin's early language about masks was probably the truth but be that as it may, the magistrate gets to make such rules.
I'm not saying that we have to like it. I'm not saying that we have to agree with it. I am saying that *biblically considered* the NT doesn't condition our submission to the magistrate upon the magistrate being correct.
I'm not saying that Christians cannot make use of the civil remedies available to us, e.g., suing LA County or seeking to have an elected official (e.g., Gov Newsom) recalled by petition & election. Paul invoked his rights as a Roman citizen but he also submitted to Caesar.
He submitted to the civil authorities even when the treated him unjustly and contrary to Roman law. He noted their illegal actions but he submitted. As Christians we may not allow our political/cultural views to swamp our fidelity to the Word of God.
There are congregations that are meeting that are not calling attention to themselves and not inserting themselves into the media-SocMedia/political culture war with Trump. GCC has publicly aligned itself with the Trump admin and the latter w/GCC.
This makes the visible church a pawn in a broader political-cultural conflict. I've made this point before on the HB. This is a dangerous place for the visible church to be. This history of such an alignment is not promising.
These concerns might help explain why some of us are not cheering on GCC & JM. It's out of concern for fidelity to God's Word. It's not cowardice as more than commenter has suggested. If I thought that GCC were right, I would say so but I don't for the reasons I've given.
Again, I'm NOT criticizing GCC for meeting. I understand that case and sympathize personally. The early church assemblies were, if not outright illegal, somewhat borderline. Their affirmations of Christ as Lord (and not Caesar) were bound to seen as treasonous & impious.
And they were seen as such by the pagans, even though the early Christians sought to make it clear that they were not seeking to establish any sort of earthly political empire or power.
If the requirement to meet in small groups or to meet outdoors contradicts the moral will of God, we should make that case to the magistrate and explain why we are conscience bound to disobey. This is America.
The 1619 Project notwithstanding, one of the principal reasons people came here was to be able to worship freely, according to conscience. Any such case would have prima facie Constitutional support.
There is a difference, however, in obeying the dictates of conscience soberly, quietly, reverently, and respectfully and defying the magistrate at every turn.
TLDR; It's one thing to meet for church. It's another to meet while celebrating defiance of Covid regs thereby setting up a conflict w/the magistrate.

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More from @RScottClark

25 May
The distinction between *for* and *from* is the distinction between law & gospel, between the covenants of works & grace. Learn it well.
There are a number of teachers/preachers within NAPARC & without who teach that we do good works *for* salvation. Some say that good works are the instrument of “final salvation.”
Any such teaching would turn the covenant of grace into a covenant of works, were it possible. They want to steal your joy & freedom in Christ & replace it with guilt & servile fear in order to drive you to more good works.
Read 17 tweets
8 May
The people who tell you "Reformed Is Not Enough" almost never know what they're talking about. First try actually being Reformed for a week before you start telling people to move on.
People who tell you that "Reformed Is Not Enough" and who corrupt the holy gospel are not qualified to criticize the Reformed faith. They don't even get the gospel right.
How hard is to to get the gospel right? It's not that complex: salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. The ground of justification is the imputed righteousness of Christ, received through faith alone.
Read 12 tweets
21 Apr

To whom it may concern, Geerhardus Vos was not a Baptist. He did not read the history of redemption the way Baptists do. He saw ONE covenant of grace running throughout redemptive history, with various administrations.
Recognizing progress in the revelation and realizing of redemption does not make one a proto-Baptist. The Reformed have ALWAYS done this. For Vos, as a Reformed theologian, the covenants in the OT were the covenant of grace.
They did not merely anticipate the covenant of grace or somehow participate by anticipation (prolepsis) the covenant of grace. They WERE the covenant of grace or administrations of the covenant of grace.
Read 6 tweets
2 Mar
@joythruChrist @PrometheusX303 Jen,

@JulesDiner is correct. The expression “Reformed Baptist” is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. One is either Reformed or Baptist. One cannot be both. This is not uncharitable. This is the truth.

@joythruChrist @PrometheusX303 @JulesDiner The expression “Reformed Baptist” has only become widely used very recently. The earliest usage I’ve seen dates to 1823, almost 3 centuries after the meaning of “Reformed” was established. That 19th-cent usage is ambiguous. 2/x
@joythruChrist @PrometheusX303 @JulesDiner Think of it this way. Your family has lived in a house called “Reformed House” since the 1540s and suddenly other folks begin moving in and moving the furniture around and telling you to be quiet and stop complaining about the new arrangements. How would you like it? 3/x
Read 9 tweets
10 Feb
This thread illustrates what happens when Reformed theology is reduced to divine sovereignty. The premise is that as long was attribute our works to grace, doctrines like “final justification...based on works” are Reformed.
This is one of the many reason I object to the reductionist (re-) definition of Reformed. With it we not only lose the rest of our theology, piety, & practice but our ecclesiastical confessions.
We confess truths and distinctions that are completely ignored here. Those truths & distinctions are much more satisfactory, account for Scripture more adequately, account for the history of the church & theology more carefully than the approach represented in the thread.
Read 34 tweets
15 Jan
Thread. Theonomy/Reconstructionism (overlapping movements, with distinguishing interests but sufficiently similar to be treated as one thing) is a controversial ideology, which has been rejected by most orthodox Reformed churches and people.
Nevertheless, it has succeeded in gaining adherents for two reasons: 1) it seems biblical on the surface; 2) it offers clear-cut answers and certainty to difficult questions.
The most controversial feature of theonomy is its conviction that the Mosaic civil laws and penalties should be reinstated. this view contradicts Westminster Confession 19. 4.
Read 67 tweets

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