Around 1750 Reformed theology everywhere fell into decay. People retreated from the churches confessions to Scripture and abandoned doctrines characteristic for the Reformed faith, such as original sin, covenant of works, limited atonement, etc. In beautiful dress and the name of being biblical, a variety of Remonstrant and Socinian errors rose to the surface. At best, those who professed the Reformed religion accepted the theology they had "in stock," but they no longer had their hearts in it, nor did they any longer speak out of its content. The old dogmatics simply became an object of historical study.Examination by Presbytery is not a "test" that one must get past so that you can get in past the guards and start preaching. Examination by Presbytery ought to be an opportunity for the examiners and examinee to celebrate their shared faith that the Westminster Standards accurately summarize the system of doctrine set forth in Scripture. If Presbytery exam has you sweating bullets (and I say this as someone who has been brought under care, but not yet been examined for ordination), then you should examine yourself and make sure that you are not simply preparing to recite the theology you've learned "in stock," but that it is really and truly your doctrine. The PCA is full of "stock men," I hear about them through hearsay all the time. What we need is not ministers who know how to get past the "gatekeepers" at examination time. What we need are ministers who "have it in their hearts."
(Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 1, 189)
Friday, August 31, 2012
"Stock" Men, Go Home
Posted by Adam Parker