Pragmatic Churches and Pastoral Ministry Students, Introduction to Part Two

For context, be sure and read the first five articles listed here.

The duty of testing an elder is not one that can be fulfilled pragmatically. The church cannot assume, as the pragmatists do, “that meaning resides not in propositions, but in consequences.”[1] Were this so, parents would be validated in choosing not to spank their children. Disobedience to God’s command to spare not the rod would be justified when parents find that they have a strong-willed child who reacts negatively to such discipline rather than positively. Likewise, churches would be justified in not preaching the unadulterated word of God, because such preaching does not always make for density in the pews. In contrast with the pragmatic method, the testing of an elder must be undertaken with the understanding that Scripture itself is the very word of God, while the words and reasons of men are subject to their fallen nature.[2] To this end, elders must be tested.

[1]K. Scott Oliphint, footnote in The Defense of the Faith, by Cornelius Van Til (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2008), 28.

[2]John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. John Allen (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Christian Education, 1936), 83.

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