And I wore a broad-brim hat…”

Perhaps I shall explain the title of this blog.  By outlaw presbyterian I do not mean someone who is in rebellion with a Presbyterian church yet holds to Presbyterian doctrines.   Rather, it is a hat tip to the old Dukes of Hazzard television series, arguably one of the greatest TV series of all time.  I would encourage people not to read too much into beyond that.

Others have claimed that I’ve “shifted” too much too often in the past ten years.   That’s not entirely true.   I’ve remained in full communion with NAPARC churches for the last nine or ten years; before that I was Southern Baptist (Reformed).  A Spurgeonite, if you will.  Yes, for the past three years I’ve written some stuff on the Trinity and Bible that has caused some consternation to some Presbyterians (though it was fully in accord with the Cappadocian Fathers and St Maximus the Confessor).   For what it’s worth, though, I never denied justification by faith alone.  Many Presbyterians cannot make that claim.

But what about your teachings on sola scriptura?  Didn’t you deny that?  Depends on how you are formulating it.   If by sola scriptura you mean the stuff published by Zondervan and Crossway, then yes I denied sola scriptura, and more power to me for doing so!  I was doing the Reformed church a favor by teaching them not to rely on 10th grade arguments.  To rub salt in the wounds, many “ultra-Confessionalist” pastors in R2K school also deny sola scriptura (and that’s why Jason Stellman went Romanist).  But if by Sola Scriptura you mean the heritage of Reformed Scholasticism, then no, I didn’t deny that.   I tried to find arguments against it but ended up admitting they were right all along.

(Today I finished reading Calvin through for the third time.)

I’ve given my reasons for why I can’t go Orthodox. I can give a lot more, if one wants.  The person-nature distinction is important, but if pushed too far it collapses the entire project.   If you apply that (ala Maximus the Confessor) to John 6, it ultimately turns back on itself.  But I really don’t want to spend a lot of time criticizing Eastern Orthodox guys.  I’ve benefited a lot from their triadology and prefer to leave it at that.

Back to the “Outlaw” tag.

I am  a loyal Prebyterian because I hold to the Confessional standards. I am an “outlaw” Presbyterian because I read and advocate men whose thought, if pushed consistently, would not be welcome among mainstream Presbyterianism (Dabney, Thornwell, John Knox, the Covenanters).   Another reason for the Outlaw tag is that as the American government gets more violently anti-American, anti-Traditionalist, and anti-Christian, we shall all be outlaws.


6 comments on “And I wore a broad-brim hat…”

  1. Andrew says:


    But if by Sola Scriptura you mean the heritage of Reformed Scholasticism, then no, I didn’t deny that. I tried to find arguments against it but ended up admitting they were right all along.

    What arguments are these, and where can I find them?

  2. Andrew Buckingham says:

    I don’t want to be annoying here, but the best argument I’ve read for a doctrine of Scripture is (as hard as it may seem) from Scripture! That doesn’t mean you will find language articulated like that in chapter one of the WCF (especially where it says it takes the Holy Spirit to convince someone that the Bible is the Word of God). What I am saying is that by reading it, you begin to see what the puritans were getting at in WCF chapter 1. Because it contains power.

    People can call me circular. The best thing for my spiritual life has been daily time in Scripture, before work. You can google, “M’Cheyne plan” for some ideas. Been going about 4 chaps a day for 8 months now. Best thing for my relationship with God in a long time. Jacob may make comment about Richard Muller. I enjoyed listening to his level of reformed scholastic study. Though maybe he’s thinking of something different. He’s well read (much more than me).

  3. Andrew Buckingham says:

    ^meaning jacob, is well read. muller is too 🙂

  4. Andrew Buckingham says:

    Just a stab in the dark:

    FEBRUARY 13, 2006
    Richard Muller on Sola Scriptura
    sola Scriptura: Scripture alone; the watchword of the Reformation in its establishment of the basis for a renewed and reformed statement of Christian doctrine. We find the concept of sola Scriptura, Scripture alone as the primary and absolute norm of doctrine, at the foundation of the early Protestant attempts at theological system in the form of exegetical loci communes, or common places. In the orthodox or scholastic codification of Lutheran and Reformed doctrine, the sola Scriptura of the Reformers was elaborated as a separate doctrinal locus placed at the beginning of theological system and determinative of its contents. Scripture was identified as the principium cognoscendi, the principle of knowing or cognitive foundation of theology, and described doctrinally in terms of its authority, clarity, and sufficiency in all matters of faith and morals. Finally, it ought to be noted that sola Scriptura was never meant as a denial of the usefulness of the Christian tradition as a subordinate norm in theology. The views of the Reformers developed out of a debate in the late medieval theology over the relation of Scripture and tradition, one party viewing the two as coequal norms, the other party viewing Scripture as the absolute and therefore prior norm, but allowing tradition a derivative but important secondary role in doctrinal statement. The Reformers and the Protestant orthodox held the latter view, on the assumption that tradition was a useful guide, that the trinitarian and christological statements of Nicaea, Constantinople, and Chalcedon were expressions of biblical truth, and that the great teachers of the church provided valuable instruction in theology that always needed to be evaluated in the light of Scripture. We encounter, particularly in the scholastic era of Protestantism, a profound interest in the patristic period and a critical, but often substantive, use of ideas and patterns enunciated by the medieval doctors.

    Richard Muller, Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms: Drawn Principally from Protestant Scholastic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1985), 284.

    • Andrew says:

      Thanks for digging that up, Andrew. Sadly, there’s nothing here that I haven’t heard before. I’ll have to check out Richard Muller’s work on my own.

      I’m learning Latin this summer in preparation for grad school, and my Latin tutor did his doctoral studies in Reformation studies under Muller. I’m sure he’s familiar with Muller’s work. I can ask him, I suppose.

  5. Andrew Buckingham says:

    No prob. I only first heard of Muller from Jacob, a few weeks ago, or so. I’d love to hear what you learn in Grad school. Keep in touch.

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