27 November, 2016


The Relative Positions within the Free Church and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Australia

By its adoption of the Report, the Free Church Synod of 1971, being the highest court of that Church, has in effect made a Declaratory statement binding that Church to the doctrine of universal benevolence in God, and to the position that the particularistic doctrines held by the Evangelical Presbyterian Church are invalid and to be rejected. Every Minister and Elder of the Free Church must, therefore, consider his position relative to his vows in respect to the government and doctrine of his Church. He is bound to oppose the position taken by Calvin’s Calvinism. He must embrace and support the doctrine, that God loves that which He hates and desires the salvation of those whom He does not purpose to redeem, together with all the ambiguities and inconsistencies of that system. It is relevant to ask the question, how the Free Church Synod can affirm that “the point at issue is an open one on which individuals may have their own views,” and at the same time outrightly reject and virtually outlaw the doctrine held by the Evangelical Presbyterian Church?

The Evangelical Presbyterian Church, conversely, has declared against the system which has been embraced by the Free Church. Every Minister and Elder of that Church is therefore bound to oppose the doctrines of universal benevolence in favour of the particularistic doctrines of Calvin’s Calvinism, in the light of which the Westminster Confession must logically be held. Only then is the Westminster Confession properly subordinate to Scripture, because it represents an interpretation of Scripture according to its own internal principle, that Scripture must be interpreted with Scripture and not according to the philosophies and traditions of men. As long as the Evangelical Presbyterian Church remains true to Scripture, Calvin’s Calvinism, and the Reformation, it must remain opposed to the position declared by the Free Church at its 1971 Synod.

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