R S Clark http://heidelblog.wordpress.com/2008/02/29/more-on-bible-and-confession/
Someone who teaches at a presbyterian seminary such as WTS/P and has taken an oath that he believes the Westminster standards should teach presbyterian theology.
L Irons http://www.upper-register.com/blog/?p=149
argues that WTS/P calls teachers to adhere to the system contained in the Westminster Standards. This permits acceptance of a diverse collection of details over whch people will differ, while at the same time accepting the system. (examples – essential to the system? covenant theology. details? view of the Sabbath, creation days).
R S Clark http://heidelblog.wordpress.com/2008/03/06/even-more-on-bible-and-confession/
The problem with Lee Irons’ view is: who gets to describe what is essential to the syatem and what is not? It is a recipe for anarchy. We are called to confess these confessions, not be “sympathetically critical” as we might be to an author of a systematic theology.
L Irons http://www.upper-register.com/blog/?p=150
Irons argues that Hodge, Warfield, Machen did not hold to the view that Clark does. Nor did Kline while at WSCal. We must hold to the system, while allowing the freedom that an individual’s study of scripture takes him.
R S Clark http://heidelblog.wordpress.com/2008/03/06/confession-and-repristination/
Notes there is much that we have learned since the 17th century but there is much we need to relearn from then. The original intent of the writers of the confession is very important to avoid subjectivism. Critical of Hodge et al.
Matt Morgan http://beritolam.blogspot.com/2008/03/confessional-subscriptionredux.html
The tradition is not quite so clear on the question of subscription. The North American Presbyterians permitted limited subscription to “all essential and necessary articles” of the Confession of Faith and catechisms. (Adopting Act of 1729.)
Definitions – quote from Hodge:
Every minister at his ordination is required to declare that he adopts the Westminster Confession and Catechism, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the sacred Scriptures. There are three ways in which these words have been, and still are, interpreted. First, some understand them to mean that every proposition contained in the Confession of Faith is included in the profession made at ordination. Secondly, others say that they mean just what the words import. What is adopted is the ‘system of doctrine.’ The system of the Reformed Churches is a known and admitted scheme of doctrine, and that scheme, nothing more or less, we profess to adopt. The third view of the subject is, that by the system of doctrine contained in the Confession is meant the essential doctrines of Christianity and nothing more. (Discussions in Church Polity, 1878, p.335-36)
Some argue that the second and third are two shades of the same grey. The Princeton theologians held to the second but not the third. Morgan argues that this is a rational position and should not be dismissed because some want to make it similar to the third.
Historically it cannot be proved that strict subscription makes for a more unified church.
Subscription to the Westminster Standards in the Presbyterian Church of America [e.g. the precursor to the OPC] is not to every word in those Standards, but only to the system of doctrine which the Standards contain. (The Presbyterian Guardian, October 1936, pg. 45)
The problem with strict subscription [if indeed that means ‘every word’] is that it elevates the confessions to plenary status alongside scripture. Morgan points out WCF 31.4 which allows for the fact that councils and assemblies err.
A test case if the Belgic Confession Art.4 which says that Hebrews was one of Paul’s letters. Few in URCNA believe this. So system subscription is in operation!
Scripture is the rule of faith. The confessions are a guide.
L Irons http://www.upper-register.com/blog/?p=151
Agrees with Morgan.
L Keister http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/different-kinds-of-confessional-subscription/
Keister lists the views on subscription:
They seem to correspond with Hodge’s three.