Presbyterian and Reformed Family Trees

Darryl G. Hart speaks about the storied histories of the Presbyterian and Reformed churches.

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Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.

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étrangère

8 years ago

Does Dr Hart focus on American reformed churches, or does he consider the European scene? The latter is of most use to me, hence asking before listening.

Camden Bucey

8 years ago

Dr. Hart spends more time on the American Presbyterian church. He mentions some about the European church, but definitely not as much.

Adam Koontz

8 years ago

This was fantastic. I wanted to add to two things about Lutherans. The third use of the law was controversial in the LCMS around the time of the Seminex controversy at our St. Louis seminary in ’60s and ’70s, but otherwise, in our Synod’s history, it hasn’t been publicly denied or fought over. The real issue with the third use is its neglect in modern Lutheran preaching in favor of a Law-Gospel sequential outline to every single sermon, which is where the rubber meets the road. My sense is that boomers are much more likely to preach that way than men younger or older than they.

Darryl’s passport idea was used in the early church, as Werner Elert chronicled in Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries, which Concordia Publishing House still prints. When I commune at an LCMS congregation that isn’t my home congregation, the pastor of that church generally sends my pastor a signed letter notifying my pastor that he communed my family. We also have the elders and/or the pastor speak with visitors to inquire about their standing in or out of the LCMS; sometimes this happens at the communion rail, which is awkward in individualist America but necessary. One advantage of the LCMS talking to conservative Reformed guys is that we could let each other know about these types of things so that no one has to reinvent the wheel.

Baus

8 years ago

There is a glaring contradiction between the biblical piety that informs the sort of Reformed ‘denominating’ that confessionalists uphold, and the latitudinarian ersatz ecumenicism of “open communion” that Darryl recommends at the end.

It is impossible to properly reconcile these two impulses. The latter is precisely what causes erosion of the first. Darryl indicates that he senses the contradiction, but hasn’t come to terms with it yet.

Rev. John Anderson (c.1748 – 1830) offers some help on this:
http://tiny.cc/ctoats
http://honest2blog.blogspot.com/2010/04/recovering-reformed-communion-2.html

Jared

8 years ago

Great comments on how a church’s purpose is more than just a high number of converts, but positively shepherding members throughout their entire life.

Pat Roach

8 years ago

z

Pat Roach

8 years ago

I am one of the PCA church planters in Portland, OR that Darryl threw under the bus. He lazily suggested that we might be sheep stealing from the OP church in town because we are also in Portland. Innuendo doesn’t count as proof. We neither “targeted” or have attracted any folks from First OP. In fact, we have not had one person from First OP join Hope. Jack Smith knows that is the truth, too. Did he tell you that? As it turns out, there are a lot of folks in Portland who do not go to any church at all, and we have tried to see them brought in. Not disgruntled OP folks.

Darryl, you could have (should have) know that. Email and phone work all the way in Oregon, too. Neither Jason have ever gotten the courtesy of either from you. The truth wouldn’t have made as good an illustration for your purposes, though. Aside from your comments being gutless, they also fall short of any sort of confessional rigor (which I suspect is only selectively applied anyway). Did you take an exception to WLC 78?

Pat Roach

Art Finley

8 years ago

Pat, with respect, your response was unmeasured and unkind. More so even, given the general treatment of a broad topic Derryl was engaged in and given he clearly showed care to note that problem(s) go both ways.

I understand the particular reference was pointedly personal for you, but please take it from your PCA brother- the comments you take objection to come across to a ‘neutral party’ not the least offensive, and much less do they appear to be endued with the spirit you seem to attribute to them. You would do well to remember to, when tempted to respond in an aggravated spirit, step away from your monitor for a few days and pray. You may find this advice useful in life in general, notwithstanding the myriad of means this age offers up to satisfy our urge for instant satisfaction (and justice).

Pat Roach

8 years ago

Art,

Thanks for what is no doubt intended as good advice, one Christian to another. I genuinely appreciate it, and need it. The intent you offer is heart-felt. The substance, however, misses the mark, I’m afraid. Two things:

1) Notice that I read the comment at 11:28pm on July 15th, but did not give a full response until the next morning. I slept on it. I wasn’t angry when I wrote, but was (and am) disappointed in what is unarguably ignorant innuendo, and suggestive language about Hope’s relationship to First-OP. Offered, no less by a friend (Hart offers thanks to me in “With Reverence and Awe” for reading an early version of the material. Check the foreword.) Honestly, it is not a credible read to call Darryl’s comments “neutral.” He was using my church and our efforts to illustrate a point. His point may be vaild, but it cannot be supported with evidence from Hope PCA’s existence, or my motives for planting. I don’t regret a word, and did so cognizant of my role as a minister. It is no virtue of grace to defend or excuse sin. Hopefully, you agree with that.

2) One of the forum hosts personally called me today to apologize for the comments, acknowledging without reservation the poor and suggestive quality of what Darryl said about me and my colleague and our church. So, the offense I took was not just personally felt, but also recognized by another who frankly has more to gain by ignoring me, dismissing me, or simply giving pious advice. He resisted all of those inclinations, which was good and wise on his part. And much appreciated.

Best,
Pat

dgh

8 years ago

Pat,

Sin?

Have you been reading Jay Adams again?

dgh

8 years ago

Pat, where’s the love?

I didn’t mention you or Jason by name. There are several PCA plants in Portland. Why assume that I was singling you out?

But why interpret this as throwing you under the bus? I did mention that problems exist on both sides of the comity line. I did mention the situation of the OP plant in St. Louis, the PCA’s Jerusalem (or it is Atlanta?).

It’s not a question of sheep stealing. It’s a question of how struggling little communions like the OPC and PCA survive (yes, the PCA is small compared to the Wisconsin Synod). If the people in your church went to the OPC’s work, would the Reformed faith in the U.S. be better off? Does the PCA have any literature, like Starbucks or Walmart, on figuring out how many Reformed churches a city can sustain? Think Wendell Berry and the carrying capacity of spiritual land for spiritual food.

BTW, I’d appreciate if you encourage the podcast host to call me and ask me to issue an apology. Seems like under-bus throwing goes on even with the best of intentions. Think Matt. 18.

Nicholas T. Batzig

8 years ago

Pat, Darryl, et al,

I was the panelist who called Pat and issued an apology. I think we need to be careful about what we say about brothers in public forums that are not giving them a fair opportunity to voice their defense. I know absolutely nothing about the situation between Hope PCA and First OPC in Portland. I am concerned that we be careful about singling out a church in NAPRC who has not been addressed by any Presbytery for doing anything wrong. Even if they had, and were under the scrutiny of any given Presbytery, church courts are the Presbyterian way of dealing with these things. When we speak of breaching of comity agreements working both ways (i.e. from PCA to OPC, as well as from OPC to PCA) we should be guarded in making accusations. Why not single out OPC churches that have stolen sheep from PCA churches. This charge has been leveled against an OPC minister I know. I would not tell you his name or location, since I do not know the whole story. I wholeheartedly stand by my apology offered to Pat. But I thought Darryl’s interview was very well done nevertheless.

Camden Bucey

8 years ago

As he already commented, Darryl mentioned the OPC work in St. Louis first in the interview. I’ve listened to the recording several times and Darryl is simply voicing a concern that a new plant a few miles from the OPC church not take members or potential members from the church. He was not making accusations or suggesting intent according to my listening.

Darryl has a concern that the OPC and PCA not breach a comity agreement. Is he not allowed to voice that concern and point out an instance from each side where churches have been planted in close proximity to another NAPARC church?

Pat Roach

8 years ago

Darryl,
I’m glad you responded. A few quick things.
a) I didn’t ask Nick to apologize for himself or others, when I emailed him. I wanted to make sure I could publicly respond, because the website was not allowing me to post comments here, for some reason. I only let him know I wanted to respond because you misrepresented me, and more importantly the work of my church, with the assumption that truth, fairness, etc. mattered on Reformed Forum. He didn’t apologize for you or Camden. And I didn’t ask him to apologize for you guys, or even for himself for that matter.

b) Speaking of Camden, His comment of July 17, 2010 at 9:19 am is off. The point is not whether Darryl used an example of PCA transgressions of the comity agreement [I don’t have an obsequious relationship to the PCA that precludes me from being critical of it.] I know there are examples of PCA churches that don’t think about the comity agreement (e.g. Chestnut Hill?) It is whether the example is accurate or not, that matters. His use of Hope is not. That is why I wrote. It is not that abstract of a point, Camden.

c) What other PCA churches are being planted in Portland by your former students? You did say we were “Southerners” so maybe you were thinking of someone else, since Jason and I are Texans. As it turns out, it was us. No other PCA church plants exist in Portland currently – though we would welcome more along with OP, ARP or whoever else wants to come. “The fields are white”, and all that.

d) You asked: “Does the PCA have any literature, like Starbucks or Walmart, on figuring out how many Reformed churches a city can sustain? Think Wendell Berry and the carrying capacity of spiritual land for spiritual food.”

I don’t know if anyone at MNA has done any demographic work on “Reformed church maximum sustainability” in an area. Why don’t you send yours over? I do know we look at things like population, church attendance, etc. (cf. “The None Zone” – Patricia O’Connell Killen) and probably thought “one OPC church for 2.2 million people in the Metro area (most of whom are not Christian and/or attending worship regularly) won’t tax the spiritual land.” But maybe our reasoning reflects different purposes for planting Reformed churches, that we don’t share. In any case, First OP was not and is not threatened by the presence of another Reformed church – separated as we are by several hundred thousand people with no church home. We are not in their “community” (cf. Comity Agreement language). In short, your use of us as an example (ignorantly & recklessly, if not maliciously) was false.

Some rhetorical advice: The PCA can’t be Wal-Mart and a “struggling little communion” at the same time. Choose a theme for your insults and stick to it. It is just tedious to read otherwise:-)

Best,
PGR

Camden Bucey

8 years ago

I didn’t say there was a breach in the comity agreement. I said Darryl had a concern that churches not do that. It’s a matter of fact that churches have planted near other churches. Saying so is not to say there has been a breach in the comity agreement. Even if there wasn’t a breach in the agreement (which I am not qualified to say nor speculate about), it would still be reasonable to have a concern that a church might take members or visitors (current or future) from the existing church.

Nicholas T. Batzig

8 years ago

I also am wholeheartedly committed to NAPARC church planters being upright in regard to the comity agreements. I know that there are churches that have gone into a town and planted a church in a distance less than 5 miles from a fellow NAPARC church without any consideration for the agreement. This is dishonorable and dishonest, but I think that proper measures need to be taken to amending situations like this. I suppose I am concerned about right dealings on the front end and tail end of the matter. So, I do not want to be heard as promoting any lack of integrity among members of NAPARC. “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.”

Nicholas T. Batzig

8 years ago

Darryl,

You’re comment was public and therefore I did not need to come to you in a Matt. 18 fashion. I apologized on my part. I did not apologize for you. I think we could have been more careful about being so specific. That is all. I agree that lack of integrity with regard to comity agreements is a great problem. I think it is largely coming from the broad PCA side of things (I say this as someone who has seen old school PCA churches get hurt by progressive PCA church planters). At the end of the day, I just want us to be careful about who we single out on either side.

dgh

8 years ago

Nick, the point of Matt. 18 us not whether it’s public or not. I do not get how once something goes “public” then it’s okay to conclude the person has committed a sin. The point of Matt. 18 is to find out if the brother has committed a sin, or to try to convince him that he has. You concluded something without checking what I meant. You didn’t give me a chance to explain myself. Plus, you could have brought up – ahem – the problem “on air.”

dgh

8 years ago

Nick, why not email me and ask me to apologize to Pat before emailing Pat and apologizing for . . . For what did you apologize? Shouldn’t I be the one, from your perspective, to issue the apology? So why not give me the chance first?

My point was about comity agreements. I used two examples that I have some first hand acquaintance with, one of the side of the PCA and one OPC. I don’t see how that is an accusation. It’s an illustration.

The funny thing about this is that I suspect (not sure) that one of the reasons why Pat and I bonded at WTS was that I was willing to supply illustrations to the general convictions of being Reformed. Maybe my debate with Frame comes to mind? I understand that someone would not like to be used by a Reformed meanie in an illustration. But a certain inconsistency comes with applauding said meanie when he takes on a problem and when that meanie happens to notice what the applauder may be doing.

Nicholas T. Batzig

8 years ago

Darryl,

I did not email Pat. He emailed me. I apologized on my part because the said example happened on a show that I was a panelist on. If I thought it was inappropriate, I had a responsibility to ensure that it was edited out. That is all. You have a right to make a criticism. The venue of the criticism makes the criticism appropriate or not. Wouldn’t you agree. If I criticize you in a private conversation it is less offensive than if I do it on a platform that thousands of people listen to.

I agree that you did criticize both an OPC and a PCA church. Again, I agree with your concerns. I also thought you did a great job on the show. I was addressed and therefore issued an apology on my part.

Audio Resources: The Presbyterian and Reformed Family Tree « Heidelblog

8 years ago

[…] Audio Resources: The Presbyterian and Reformed Family Tree Posted on July 18, 2010 by R. Scott Clark Ever wonder whence the split Ps and broken Rs come? Here’s a great interview with WSC’s Darryl Hart on the Presbyterian and Reformed family tree. […]

DP Cassidy

8 years ago

I clicked on this link because I was quite interested in what Dr Hart would have to say about the important issue of why the Reformed and Reformational have had a tendency to be somewhat, well, fractious. Before ‘tuning in’ for the talk I read through the comments section. Hmmmm. And we wonder why we have a problem? Irony abounds. This would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

Baus

8 years ago

DP, hurt feelings over Darryl’s thoughts about “sheep stealing” and the question of NAPARC’s comity agreement [ http://www.opc.org/relations/comity.html ] are not the main points of the episode.

But I suggest (fourth comment down from the top) that the question of biblical principle for “denominating” (and how that exists in ironic contradiction to inter-denom communion) is much more worth getting agitated about (for the gospel’s sake).

Nicholas T. Batzig

8 years ago

David,

Thank you for your condescension–it is a real demonstration of Christian unity and love of the brethren.

Flotsam and jetsam (7/19) « scientia et sapientia

8 years ago

[…] Forum has an interview with Darryl Hart on understanding the Presbyterian family tree. The interview itself was interesting, though he misunderstood (misrepresented?) the situation here […]

Art Finley

8 years ago

Pat, you are wrong. But the convincing part is not mine so I will make this short (and last) post on this thread.

What you have additionally written changes nothing in fact, and Nick’s misguided apology is simply beside the point (sorry, Nick!).

Even if one grants you that the specific situation mentioned on the podcast is about you, and takes your description of the same events as 100% accurate, ‘misinformed’ or ‘wrong’ is just about the sharpest critique you could have levied against Darryl’s opinion to stay within the bounds of appropriateness (not too mention Christian brotherly love and charity). You went far beyond that. And the fact that you seem to be implying that a night’s sleep is enough to cool one’s head likely means that you are either, young, or that you find yourself generally under pressure (elsewhere). Either way you would do well to heed my advice.

Believe you me, I do not hesitate to call people out (when ‘calling out’ is due), even as I pray other brothers would do the same for me when “the law warring in my members” gets the better of me. So I agree with you very much that it is no virtue to defend or excuse sin. However, I must (very pertinently) strive to always be quick to forgive, nay overlook, the sins committed against *me*, be it perceived or real. [It is likewise no virtue, Pat, to ‘shout’ and be quick to complain when feeling offended, I think you would agree?]

And so I tell you, if we were members of the same local congregation, and you reacted to another brother’s (similar) comments in the manner you did on this forum- you can rest assure I would have withstood *you* to your face.

In grace and in Him.

Tony P

8 years ago

I’d like to ask a question unrelated to the discussion that has been taking place in this thread.

I learned a lot from this episode and it caused me to think differently about networks and denominations than I previously had. So thank you, all. Much food for thought and prayer here.

My question is about where reformed baptist communions fall in the reformed family tree? Could anyone point me to a resource that explains the reformed lineage of different baptists communions? If you had to point to a baptist denomination that is closest to the OPC or PCA in terms of theology, ecclesiology, and church gov’t where would you point?

Thank you all again. The guests and hosts on CTC teach and challenge me consistently.

Stephen

8 years ago

Having just read that the island of Sumatra is home to 49 unreached people groups totaling 25 million souls, only 5000 of whom are followers of Christ, the preceding back and forth seems trivial in comparison.

Nicholas T. Batzig

8 years ago

Stehhen

Is it any more trial than the three you tube videos you have on your website? I am asking in all sincerity, not to be snide!

Nicholas T. Batzig

8 years ago

And…

I accidentally hit “enter” and so misspelled “Stephen” and “trivial.” Sorry.

Old Life Theological Society » Blog Archive » Comity of Errors

8 years ago

[…] minor kerfuffle broke out last week at Reformed Forum thanks to remarks I made during an interview about the history of American Presbyterianism. This subject invariably leads to questions about the […]

Old Life blog – Comity of Errors « Pilgrimage to Geneva

8 years ago

[…] minor kerfuffle broke out last week at Reformed Forum thanks to remarks I made during an interview about the history of American Presbyterianism. This subject invariably leads to questions about the […]

Highlights from 2010 - ReformedForum.org

8 years ago

[…] Episode 130 – Darryl Hart […]

Stephen MacKenzie

8 years ago

I am rather new to the OPC. I have been attending an OPC church for the past couple of years and have just become a member. With this in mind, I really appreciated this interview.

It helped me understand why I object to with the missional church movement – at least the one here in Seattle.

Paul rejoiced when the gospel was preached, even when it was preached against him, so we do not want to discourage spreading the name of Christ. However, I do not believe that popularity or numbers are the goal. The ends to not justify the mean and the missional church leaders have no ears to hear anything contrary to their means.

I really appreciate the point made about the OPC focused on caring for the flock for an entire lifetime as opposed to constantly applying pressure to expand the “fan-base”.

I was initially attracted to the missional church movement because of the evangelical outreach, the vital membership, and the seemingly solid preaching. However, what I found to be a real problem is the over-emphasis on growing the church at all costs that ends up being 100 miles wide and one inch deep. All of the focus (and boasting) is on what “we” are doing; on our activities. The missional churches seem to identify more with their own brand name that with the broader church at large.

There is a lot of pressures applied to the members to give more financially. When financial goals are not met, expect a chastising sermon from the pulpit, from men’s retreats, etc.

Pastors are commanded to tend and feed the sheep. You are not tending the sheep when you have gotten so big that all you are to the sheep is a TV show on a big screen. How can you say that you are feeding the sheep when you are so focused on entertaining the goats?

The bottom-line litmus test is this: If you take away the hip and happening preacher and the rock concert worship team, who will remain? You will have a church about the size of the OPC.

The conclusion that I have come to is that the missional churches border on being mere “tare factories” merely focusing on bringing in new members and once in the door, are distracted by activism.

Sincerely,
Stephen MacKenzie
Bellevue, WA

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