The whole new confession is built around Jesus Christ. Part I offers the subject, “The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” Thus it uses a Scriptural phrase, and the first section is devoted to Jesus Christ.

However, what is here done with Jesus Christ-the way in which He is used and the manner in which He is presented-is just as revolutionary as is their rejection of the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.

The Christ of this confession is a sinner. In the plainest of language we are told He “became a brother to all kinds of sinful men.” He was “a Palestinian Jew,” who “lived among his own people and shared their needs, temptations, joys, and sorrows.”

But in truth He redeemed sinful men and became an elder brother to those who were of the household of faith. He was in no sense a brother to the Pharisees, whom He rebuked and assigned to hell. The leaders of the Sanhedrin He said were “of your father the devil.” He excoriated them in the strongest of terms and said they could not escape the damnation of hell. They were a “generation of vipers” (Matt. 23:33).

At this point the confession embraces the erroneous doctrine that is so popular today, the universal brotherhood of man and the universal Fatherhood of God, which is used as the text for the Great Society and socialism.

We are told that in Jesus Christ “true humanity was realized once for all,” and that “his complete obedience led him into conflict with his people.” What was the obedience that led Him into conflict? The confession does not say. These matters, as they relate to sin and His sacrifice, must be spelled out clearly. Always at this particular juncture, as we shall see when we come to the chapter dealing with the Cross, there is a vagueness, a broad area in which all these different viewpoints can safely rest and find comfort.

When the entire confession is built around Jesus Christ with this emphasis upon Him, so as to get away from the Bible’s infallibility, surely it was incumbent upon the framers of the new confession to give more of a detailed declaration concerning His person, especially if they were going to follow His work and carry that work through the reconciling processes of the twentieth century social revolution.

Who then is this Christ? Was He pre-existent? Was He conceived by the Holy Spirit? A motion was made on the floor of the General Assembly to amend the confession so that it would declare that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. A second to the motion was obtained, but no one would rise to defend it. A sad spectacle it was indeed! The Christ of the new confession is not virgin born. The virgin birth of Jesus Christ had been one of the main issues in the great fundamentalist-modernist controversy through the years. It is taught in the Old and New Testaments. It was specifically attacked by the historic Auburn Affirmationists in 1923. I shall devote a chapter to this affirmation.

What one must now recognize is that these matters of the birth, the resurrection, the crucifixion, the ascension, the return of Christ are phrases which in the modern theological jargon are symbolic. Many liberals have no objection to them at all. All are a part of the myth of Christianity. To speak of the resurrection of Christ is perfectly proper because it is only a symbolical allegorical representation. Because of this, the references to Jesus Christ especially can be so misleading; they are capable of many understandings. This is the reason the confession uses these words over and over again, but never gets down to specifics and definitions.

The key to this condition, as it is developed in the confession, is seen in a declaration in the Preface, which says, “The Trinity and the Person of Christ are not redefined but are recognized and reaffirmed as forming the basis and determining the structure of the Christian faith.”

How are they reaffirmed? They are never spelled out. How are they recognized? The Westminster Confession, which goes into great detail in both of these great areas of Christian truth and doctrine, has now been laid aside. It is no longer binding on the church; it has been placed in a new category in a “book of confessions,” where it now represents the mind of the church 300 years ago. None of the earlier creeds, even the Apostles’ Creed, are any longer binding on the church. All represent the mind of the church in the time of their writing, just as the Confession of 1967 does today.

Thus we have references in the new confession to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but no actual definition of the Trinity or of the Person of Christ. The Christ of the new confession has to be left undefined and uncertain, or the purpose of the document can never be attained.

How can the person of Christ be recognized in a confession which demotes the old Westminster Confession, and does not lift up itself to the place which the old Westminster Confession occupied?

Furthermore, we are told in the first sentence of the Preface, “The church confesses its faith when it bears a present witness to God’s grace in Jesus Christ.” And this “present witness” does not require a declaration or a spelling out of the person of Christ or of the Trinity! It simply is not done. Moreover, when the confession talks about reaffirming these doctrines it is reaffirming something which, so far as the present witness of the church is concerned, does not exist. It is not reaffirming them in the Westminster Confession that has been laid aside. How many were keen enough to recognize the break and transition that was made at this point by this use of terms? Thus the confession “recognizes” the Trinity and the person of Christ in a meaningless statement which effectively eliminates them in their “present witness.” Words and a convenient twist have successfully enabled the framers of the confession to leave the Christ of the Westminster Confession far behind. In fact, the church has ceased to be a witness to the Christ confessed in the Westminster Confession. He is a hindrance to their cause of reconciliation and revolution.

Let us now consider what has been rejected.

Chapter VIII of the Westminster Confession is entitled, “Of Christ the Mediator.” Section I reads:

It pleased God, in his eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man, the prophet, priest, and king, the head and Saviour of his Church; the heir of all things, and judge of the world; unto whom he did, from all eternity, give a people to be his seed, and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.

Section II reads:

The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance, and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come take upon him man’s nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin: being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ the only Mediator between God and man. Section III reads:

The Lord Jesus, in his human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit above measure; having in him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell: to the end that being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth, he might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a Mediator and Surety. Which office he took not unto himself, but was thereunto called by his Father; who put all power and judgment into his hand, and gave him commandment to execute the same.

Section IV reads:

This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake: which, that he might discharge, he was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfill it; endured most grievous torments immediately in his soul, and most painful sufferings in his body; was crucified, and died; was buried, and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption. On the third day he arose from the dead, with the same body in which he suffered; with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of his Father, making intercession; and shall return to judge men and angels, at the end of the age.

All this has been done away with in the new confession in favor of a sinful Christ.

How could these great summaries of the teaching of the Bible possibly be out of date? This truth abides forever, and should not the “present witness” of the church include all of this with a binding obligation to maintain it and to teach it?

But this problem is not common to the Presbyterians today. Anthony Towne, writing in the Christian Century, January 11, 1967, “In Defense of Heresy,” discussed the 39 Articles of the Episcopal Church, and the Church of England also, which in the main were taken over by the Methodists. Article I, “Of Faith in the Holy Trinity,” reads: “There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”

Then he mounts his scoffing: “Do the indignant bishops who accuse Bishop [James A.] Pike of heresy seriously expect the faithful today to pray to the whatever it is Article I presumes to describe? I have news for those indignant bishops: few pray to that whatever it is.”

In summary he indeed fulfilled the prediction of Scripture, “that there shall come in the last days scoffers.” He writes: “Having examined the Articles of Religion with all faithful diligence, I conclude that they are generally vain, frequently pompous, sometimes vacuous, often uncharitable, occasionally incomprehensible, now and then preposterous, and, most of the time, authentically hilarious. If such an opinion constitutes heresy, you, dear Episcopal reader, are sullying your eyes with the words of a hapless heretic. Set aside this dangerous wickedness and betake yourself to the nearest confessional (if you are high church), or fall on your knees (if you are low church)!

“I do not know ‘all Satan’s lurking-places,’ but I am in no doubt that one of them is the Articles of Religion.”

Getting back to the Confession of 1967, it does not have Christ Jesus sitting at the right hand of the Father. It does not have Him interceding for the saints. It does not have Him coming again in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. It does speak of His being raised from the dead on the third day. What happened to Him after He was raised from the dead? Where did He go? Where is He now? All references to Heaven and hell were left out of the confession. When these are the issues at stake as they relate to the confession and loyalty to the truth of the Bible, their elimination has a double significance. It is under the strategy of rephrasing, restating, so that matters will be acceptable to men of the twentieth century, that this unbelief is manifest, and the full nature of it is sought to be obscured by using familiar and honored words. It is shrewdly and brilliantly accomplished.

The obligation placed upon the church by the Scriptures is to confess the whole counsel of God. The Presbyterians now have a document of some 4,000 words which reorganizes everything around the idea of reconciliation. It is indeed a tortuous reappraisal which leaves the heart and the mind of the true believer groping and struggling. In instance after instance it seems to come close to the truth, but it does not quite make it. These statements presuppose a present knowledge and understanding in the hearts of those who read, and this presupposition is essential to the acceptance of this inclusivist concept of the church. The Westminster Confession of Faith spelled out the truth so simply, clearly, and in such detail, that there could be no doubt as to what the church believed and confessed. Thus it had to be abandoned. And if there is one point where the church should be clear in its confession it must be with Jesus Christ. Yet at this point, Jesus Christ is used to take the people away from the Christ of the Holy Scriptures. One wonders, indeed. When Antichrist comes he will be much like the original Christ and yet counterfeit; and will not the Antichrist carry on the ministry of reconciliation which is outlined here in all these matters of social action?

The reference to the resurrection of Jesus is as follows, “The resurrection of Jesus is God’s sign that he will consummate his work of creation and reconciliation beyond death and bring to fulfillment the new life begun in Christ.” It sounds well, but could have many different explanations. Romans 1:4 teaches that by the resurrection of Christ from the dead God declared Jesus Christ to be His Son with power. And this reference, bringing “to fulfillment the new life begun in Christ” offers the kind of language that can satisfy people who read into it the bodily resurrection of the dead, the just and the unjust. This is the kind of language that satisfies individuals who consider this new life begun in Christ to be what they are seeking to do in transforming society and establishing the kingdom of God on earth, God accomplishing this through the Christian community rather than through the personal, visible return of Jesus Christ from Heaven. Thus we have illustration after illustration of how language is employed to make comfortable a wide variety of opinions and viewpoints, even contradictions, all appealing to the same phraseology, with all agreeing that this is satisfactory to them. Certainly such a formula for inclusivism could never be satisfactory to the God of truth. This will kill any church.

Another example may be seen in the statement concerning Jesus Christ in His relationship to the church, “Christ is head of this community, the church, which began with the apostles and continues through all generations.” Aside from the fact that it is not Presbyterian or Reformed doctrine that the church began with the apostles, the real point here is that the head of this community determined the nature of the community. All that is necessary to do is to change the complexion of the person at the top and this will alter the nature of the work which this head performs.

The Christ of the Scriptures, as the Head of the Church, gives us a true and pure and militant body of faithful believers, obedient to His commandments; but the Christ of this modern reconstruction heads an entirely different type of organization, which is now moving out to destroy the difference between the sacred and the secular and to soil its hands in the social revolution of the hour. By this confession either type of Christ, or any sort of Christ or Jesus can head the church, and it is in the phrase, “Christ is head,” that we have buried the fact that a great revolutionary change has taken place in the very nature of the church because a different kind of individual has been placed in charge. Yet they still call him “Christ,” and all agree that whoever he may be in their view he is “head.” All use the name of “Christ” though their understanding of His person and work may and often does vary as widely as Heaven and hell.

The new confession is full of the technique of revolution. The use of the word “love” also covers a multitude of contradictions. The phrase, “The purpose of His love,” does not identify that purpose, and whoever reads the phrase is able to impart to that phrase what he in his subjective thinking considers that purpose to be. Thus all agree in their affirmation, while they disagree in their belief. This phrase is the conclusion of the sentence, “The power of God’s love in Christ to transform ;.he world discloses that the Redeemer is the Lord and Creator who made all things to serve the purpose of his love.” But this Redeemer who is the Lord-is He not the Redeemer when He leads in revolutionary adjustments and conflicts with the Communist world as rapprochement and dialogue bring about reconciliation and peace between the Communist world and the free world? Is He not just as much a Redeemer by producing this sort of realignment as He is in His death upon the Cross?

Brilliant minds indeed, far beyond the compass of mortal men, inspired and designed this use of language and phraseology! It is the formula necessary to bring a declared unity out of a host of real and irreconcilable contradictions. Disunity becomes unity, not in truth, but only in outward affirmation.

When we look at the real and specific meaning of the Cross and the death of our Lord, we see this strategy being employed with an obvious endeavor to approach as near to the truth as possible without ever reaching the truth itself.