I am in the habit of saying that I am glad not to be a (parochial) denominationalist because I am no raucous fan of my own CRC. I have a high view of and believe in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, not denomination. Amidst the confusions of Church and denomination, I seem more attracted to the idea of being a localist. That usually earns me the charge of being a Congregationalist. But denominations seem to be necessary evils that an institutional Confessionalist must endure, whereas the Church is that to which he must cling. Denominationalists outside the CRC usually tell me to get out of the CRC as if my first-born is about to be gobbled up. Those within say to stay in the boat or risk being fractious. I find both pleas odd as they seem to confuse Church with denomination.
Speaking of denomination mine is currently witnessing yet another disturbing cue that it is opting for what I call a low view/high opinion of its Confessional tradition, which is to say, one that comports better with the Evangelical Household. It is being manifest in the “Proposed Revision to the Form of Subscription.” Dr. Randy Blacketer expresses, more or less, my own view of this effort here.
Inasmuch as I think this latest effort reveals more of the same anti-confessional push within the CRC that was last seen in the female sub/ordination debacle, Scott Clark once posted my correspondence to him here and said he would post some further thoughts. He never did. Oh well. I guess it is enough for me that he essentially agreed.
The “whole women in office” thing is interesting for this Confessionalist. If you are CRC you may have noticed this same phenomenon. It is still a touchy issue for many for various reasons, but whenever the topic comes up conversations invariably devolve into the micro-discussion of the roles of women, society, etc. Maybe it is also the natural sociologist in me, but it is almost always a cultural conversation. It won’t take long for the “conservatives” to start making reference to the breakdown of society in gender roles, working mothers and the emotionalism of women. It also won’t take long for the “liberals” to start talking about equality, backwardness and progress. My inner sociologist goes tattling to my inner Confessionalist, and I end up finding no seat at these tables. So I make my way back out to the splinters of the Outhouse, feeling cold once again. I can hear the distant, Biblicist pleas in the Household to make what is usually the cultural case, one way or another for “what the Bible says.” I reach for the Cottonelle.
What is missed more often than not is the macro-conversation, the one that has a high view of the Confessions as those collective forms by which the Church has agreed to regulate and bind Herself. Nobody really seems to care that the Confessions reflect a churchly effort—admittedly fallible yet nevertheless churchly effort—to speak to the exegesis of Holy Writ. It doesn’t matter what a certain individual or small group of individuals thinks “the Bible says,” but what the Church has collectively agreed that the Bible says.