Purpose of This Blog

The Final Goal of this Blog is to work towards the unification of the seceding denominations (and the one true original denomination) into a unified and public body of believers so as to properly fight the False Presbyterian Church (better known as the PC (USA)) and to subdue it from preaching a false gospel.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Question 5: What are the Major Differences between the "Continentals" and the "Westminsters"?

Polymathis said in the post below,
"However, it might be better to start out small: try to unite those within the WCF tradition or Continental first, before tackling that."

I know next to nothing about the North American "Continental" denominations. What are the Major Differences between the "Continentals" and the "Westminsters"? And how do these divisions manifest themselves?


Turretinfan said...

I think he was referring to those who follow the Dutch Reformed tradition rather than the Scottish Reformed tradition.

In North America, the CRC is the largest body claiming to be part of the "Continental" (i.e. Dutch) tradition, while the PCA is the largest body claiming to be part of the Scottish (i.e. Westminster) tradition.

I suppose one might even count the Lutherans as "Continental Reformed" in the German tradition, depending on how much one wanted to stretch the meaning of the word Reformed.

Rev. Brian Carpenter said...

Also RCUS, which I think is of German Reformed origin. Most of the Hugenots folded into the Presbyterian denominations long ago, but there might be some floating around that I know not of, esp. in Quebec and in Louisiana.

Ebenezer Erskine said...


Thank you for that. Considering the Lutheran view on the NPW and Consub I doubt they would be much interested in this discussion, but they are free to join if they wish.

Rev. Carpenter,

I think that is the heritage of the Reformed Church of Quebec. How do you think these bodies fir in to this discussion? What really is the dividing points (besides culturally differences) between the continentals and the Scots?

Steven Carr said...

Continental vs. Westminster is neither a helpful distinction nor an historical one. The Reformed Church was divided historically by the geographic Confessions, vis., the Helvetic Confession, the French Confession, the Genevan Confession, the Scottish Confession, the Thirty-Nine Articles, etc.

The Historic Distinctions were between the Lutherans, Zwinglians, and, later, the Calvinists. Zwinglians and Calvinists later were lumped under the rubric of Reformed.

As I've said, Continental vs. Westminster is not a helpful distinction. It gives the false impression that there are conflicts between the the two, when there historically never was any.

Rev. Brian Carpenter said...


True. But there are subtle differences. Heidelberg's mode of Sabbath observance is one difference, for instance, though Dordt does clean it up a little bit.

It's nothing different than what we've been discussing already.

polymathis said...

when I mentioned Westminster and the Continentals, I was referring to:

1) The cultures (usually Dutch idiosyncrasies)

2) The differences in ecclesiology

3) The small confessional differences (as noted by brian).

It is 1 & 2, IMHO, that I have seen as major blocks to unity.

Steven Carr said...


Look at the question being asked here. What are MAJOR differences between the Continentals and the Westminsters. There are no MAJOR differences. That is my point.

Rhea said...

I'll be honest, you've sorta lost me guys on this one. I did notice something though that I felt like I could make a legitimate comment about. Polymathis states that the cultures of the two are different. I think that culture is something that we often times fail to take into a count. Now, I'm not saying that we should cater to a culture, or try to make everything "culturally relevent" (<--I tend to think that's one of the WORST things we can do), BUT, I think that it's important that we see the world in a more global light, especially in regards to our faith. I think that at times, we do certain things a certain way less b/c of what the Bible says about it, and more b/c that's how things are done in our culture.

So I think that it's important that we learn a little about other cultures that we're trying to dialog with (whether they be fellow Christians, or the lost), and at the same time, I think that it's important that we begin to examine our own religious practices more carefully, to figure out what we do in our attempts at "doing church" that have more to do simply with our culture, and less to do with the Bible.

polymathis said...


This is partly the point of my previous comments: cultural differences.

Certainly, from a systemic viewpoint this is not a major difference, but from a psychological point it is a big difference. I know of families and even officers who were so uncomfortable with the American/Scottish church-culture that they left to create their own churches (I'm sure American/Scots have done similarly).

WRT the ecclesiastical question, the Continental (Dutch) tradition allows deacons to operate on the local consistory (session) within certain conditions. Frankly, I find that rather odd from a biblical standpoint!