29 January, 2007

What is the Blue Banner?

Recently a friend of mine asked what the Blue Banner stood for. Here is a two paragraph answer that is worth reading.

Also check out Wikipedia for a starting point if you want to learn more about Presbyterian history. I would begin with a search on the RPCNA. Pay special attention to the history section. From there do a Covenanter search. You should also read on the Bishop's Wars for a better understanding of what all of the fighting was about. (Remember Wiki is only a starting point, make sure not to use it for serious research since any person can have access to writing on it.)

There are also a number of books that are worth reading:
  • Fair Sunshine by Jock Purves

  • Our Covenant Heritage by AN Moore

  • Scot's Worthies by John Howie

  • The Scottish Covenanters by JG Vos

Make sure to read the first two parts of Glasgow's History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in America for some really great information. He discusses the history of the Covenanters as well as the formation of the ARP in America.

For those of us in the center of Dutch Reformed society I would recommend The Scottish Covenanters by JG Vos. His father was Christian Reformed theologian, Geerhardus Vos who was president of Calvin Seminary in their glory days. He left Calvin to teach at Princeton and JG was 'converted' there to the RPCNA.

Feel free to add links to other places of interest concerning the Covenanters to the comments section.

14 comments:

Droll Flood said...

So what's with the change of mind regarding national government and involvement in it and loyalties to them?

Nate said...

What do you mean?

If you read the first couple of chapters of Glasgow's History of the RP you will see that there were no people who were less loyal to the cause of establishing a new country than the RPs.

The rug was pulled out from under them though when the new government decided to acknowledge that "we the people" establish governments rather than the King of the Nations!

They opposed voting in this country as a testimony against the humanistic foundations on which it was founded.

In the 1960s the RPs allowed for their members to particpate (or not to participate) in civil matters as their conscience allowed.

Droll Flood said...

"In the 1960s the RPs allowed for their members to particpate (or not to participate) in civil matters as their conscience allowed."

-Nice. Going from disallowing (you're free in Christ to obey Him in not partaking of Democracy), to you're free in Christ to obey Him in not or partaking of democracy contingent on your conscience guided by Scripture is a pretty big jump.

"They opposed voting in this country as a testimony against the humanistic foundations on which it was founded."

One forbids absolutely. The other is permissive.
Again, what's with the change of opinion?

Highland Host said...

Have you come across Maurice Grant's biographies of Cargill and Cameron? Both are excellent. And then there is Alexander Smellie's great work 'Men of the Covenant'.
Although Free St. George's concentrates on the later 19th century, the Free St. George's library has many books on the covenanters, as well as almost the complete works of 19th century R.P. pastor at Greenock J.P. Struthers.
Theologians James Denney and John Laidlaw were both brought up in the Reformed Presbyterian tradition. And I wonder how many readers of John Owen's Works know that they were edited by a Reformed Presbyterian, Dr. Goold of Martyr's Church, Edinburgh?

Nate said...

Droll
It was debated from 1880s to the 1960s.

Many RPs left over this decision. So it was not a blind game of follow the leader. It took huge chunks of people out of the denomination.

Someone is retyping all of the synod reports about this topic and a few others. They should be available this year if you are interested in pursuing the question on their change of mind.

Nate said...

Also the current position is that they would only allow for members to vote for men who 'uphold biblical principles'.

So it is not the hugest jump in the world.

Notliberal said...

There are issues with the RPCNA, such as their move away from theonomy, their ordination of women deacons and the general worthlessness of the product produced by their seminary. That said, their history is quite interesting.

Nate said...

Yes, there are issues within the RPCNA, just like any denomination. We could make a list for every Reformed denomination of its faults, but we work within the church- warts and all.

As Spurgeon told the young person looking for the "perfect church", when you find it, DON'T join it... you will ruin it!

But as for the 'general worthlessness of the product produced from the seminary..' that is pretty harsh- I cannot imagine that you or I have heard enough of these men to make such a statement.

Robbie said...

who knows RPs have screwy heads at times. For the answer one would have to go back to the minutes at the time. I know at this time very few RPs do not hold to National Confessionalism as it is weak in Biblical Data, it is certainly the more preferable than the other common reformed positions today. [Christian America, Principled Pluralist, and theonomy]. Allowing the church to participate through the political process is a great asset in the process of reformation in this country. What we need however, are godly men to communicate the kingdom of Christ to other Christians as well as this world. There is so much confusion generated from Horton and Frame and then Schaeffer and others, you end up getting sick of it. Christians need to find unity in this area as we preach to a Pagan world.
FYI - did you notice that De Regno Christi was highlighted yesterday on one of the most popular and edifying blogs on the web today? i.e. Justin Taylor's of Crossway and Desiring God??

for a quick note - RPTS has stood for 200 years proclaiming Christ's kingdom - can you say that about any denomination in this land? It does not make her infallible, it certainly is not which i know from experience. But to say that an institution dedicated to the gospel AND the reformed tradition is worthless is wrong.

Droll Flood said...

“Also the current position is that they would only allow for members to vote for men who 'uphold biblical principles'.”
-Which would be the point in question…

“Yes, there are issues within the RPCNA, just like any denomination. We could make a list for every Reformed denomination of its faults, but we work within the church- warts and all.”
-I fear you misunderstood me, or maybe gleaned a sense to my words which wasn’t there. I really have no time to nit-pick, look for things wrong, scoff, and deride other denominations. That’s just unedifying, a waste of time, and foolish. However, at times I do notice things.
I found the point mentioned in the article quite glaring, thus I asked.

As Spurgeon told the young person looking for the "perfect church", when you find it, DON'T join it... you will ruin it!
-Yeah Chuck. That child wouldn’t happen to have been covenantally baptized as an infant and believe in paedo-baptism would he?

shawn said...

Hey guys, thought I'd add my 2 cents since I'm RP.

No one is looking for the "perfect" Church. If we grant each other a little charity here we will recognize that this is a defense mechanism used when someone is being critical of our denomination. If the criticism is valid, lets grant it, and wrk with it, versus dismissing the criticism by attacking the criticizer.

Further, it is a good question why the RPs judicially changed their views regarding voting. Sounds like they are seeking to collaborate the data that would give some historical background to their former position and the debates that ensued. Droll I'm sure that answer would be sufficient, if that's all Nate has. And if you are interested for interest's sake. You can contact Tom Reid at RPTS seminary. He is a wealth of knowledge and resources.

As for the comment regarding the products of their seminary, I don't see how their seminary produces any better or worse than other reformed and presbyterian seminaries. You have a few great students, a lot of average students, and a few poor students. In my very limited contact and following of those men that have been coming out of the seminary, I am familiar with a few who are persuaded by much old school RP testimony (and I've heard the same about some ARP students who are persuaded and making a stand for ARP testimony, so maybe thats just the cliche)

Thanks "highland host" for your general comments, all good points of direction.

I too would like to see more politicians who are committed to nothing less than recognizing Christ as King over this nation (and all nations for that matter) and that the laws of this land are to be legislated by the general equity of His law. Which I think most reformed and presbyterian Christians desire to differeing degrees.

Droll Flood said...

"Droll I'm sure that answer would be sufficient, if that's all Nate has."
-If Nate has only that, then Nate has only that. I wasn't pressing for what Nate didn't know.

"for a quick note - RPTS has stood for 200 years proclaiming Christ's kingdom - can you say that about any denomination in this land?"

-Well, praise God the source of faithfulness, given to them in Christ. Let them not get cocky with the 200 years. It's no badge, entitling them to become arrogant jackasses. I'm reminding us to be self-conscious in these things here, not accusing them of arrogance.

Robbie said...

Droll,
I apologize if i came across as arrogant - that was not my intention at all. The fact that RPTS has stood faithful for 200 years is only because of God's faithfulness. PTS, Pitt Theo, and Union have all fallen to Satan's Gospel in that time. This should make us humble in the fact that while we are sinners God has preserved for Himself a people and has kept his gospel from decay. The Word of the Lord endures forever.

I do take offence however at yoru statement that the men at RPTS are jackasses - they do not wear their legacy as a badge... I know the faculty there personally, and several of them are friends and mentors of mine. They are certainly godly men of God.

Droll Flood said...

-Robbie
"I do take offence however at yoru statement that the men at RPTS are jackasses - they do not wear their legacy as a badge..."
-You missed what I said. I specifically said that I was not calling them these things. It was a reminder that there is no license granted to men to get arrogant. Not an accusation or the like.
As I said:
"I'm reminding us to be self-conscious in these things here, not accusing them of arrogance."