Counsel of Chalcedon
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2000 Issue 1

Many Christians are familiar only with a number of stories in the Bible which they heard as a child or learned in Sunday School. Thus, they have the impression that the Bible is a book of stories about interesting people of faith and incredible events. Lacking an appreciation for the unified story-line of the Bible, they view it as a collection of disconnected incidents rather than as the coherent, purpose-driven Word of God. They have been exhorted and encouraged to read the Bible and perhaps have done so once or twice, but they usually fizzle out by Exodus, certainly by Leviticus.

They read exciting things about the Bible, "Thy word light unto my path" (Ps. 119:105). It gives wisdom and understanding (119:98, 99). Some verses declare how the Bible is a source of joy (Psalm 119:14, 47, 70, 162). Jeremiah 15:16 reads, "When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight...." The Thessalonians "Welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit" (1 Thess. 1:6). Unfortunately, it never or rarely becomes such to them.

Every serious-minded Christian should endeavor to build a working research library, especially if he does not have an evangelical college or seminary nearby. If we as Christians are to challenge unbelief and promote the truth, we must be prepared to provide a clear-thinking and relevant answer to those who ask a reason for the hope that is within us. Christian novels and light-reading material are fine for relaxation, but a library stocked with research materials is essential for the knowledgeable Sunday school teacher, seminarian, pastor - and any other Christian desiring to promote the cause of Christ.

Too many evangelical bookstores are stocked with Jesus junk and trite literature, and too few evangelical homes have anything approaching a working library. For those of reformed persuasion, especially, this should not be the case.

The Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States (RPCUS) is wholeheartedly committed to the method of defending the Christian faith commonly called presuppositional apologetics. Briefly stated, this method insists that as the Holy Scriptures are the only foundation for human knowledge and experience, our presentation of the faith must challenge the unbeliever to abandon his rebellion and submit to the Scriptures before he can understand even one fact correctly. The unbeliever comes to the factual conclusions that he does because his presuppositions are what they are. Accordingly, we must call upon him to abandon his presuppositions of autonomy and submit to Christ's Lordship in every area of life. We require all our officers, ministers, ruling elders, and deacons to subscribe to this view of our Standards. We do so because we believe that this is the apologetic methodology required by full or strict subscription to the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. Three initial objections are commonly raised against our position. They are addressed first to prep,re the reader for the discussions that will follow.