Saturday, November 01, 2008

Rejoinder on the Reading of Scripture

Adam has pointed out that the PCA BCO 57-3 and 57-4 speak of people when admitted into church membership, or when admitted to the Lord's Supper "should make a public profession of their faith in the presence of the congregation." This he likens to "testimonies." As Chapter 57 of the BCO continues, however, it seems pretty clear that this "public confession of faith" means the response to the membership vows, and not to any sundry "testimony."

Are testimonies thereby excluded? Not necessarily. However, my own sense of this is that the session of the church has the responsibility of oversight on such testimonies. Knowing the human tendency to speak at length when given the opportunity to do so, my preference is for testimonies in informal settings, not in the public worship. That, however, is up to the session of the local church. They may allow such testimonies. I also think that if the person intends to read Scripture during his testimony, the session should formally approve it, so that a woman would not be exercising an authority not properly hers.

The fact remains that the public reading of Scripture in the context of worship is by its nature an authoritative act. It is the responsibility of the session to guard that authority.

This will probably not satisfy Prodigal, but it's as much as he's going to get.

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