Many thanks to everyone for the stimulating discussion.
Despite the many different threads, I would like to conclude by pointing to what I believe to be the circumstances driving, not only our discussion, but the controversy overall. We live in dislocated, de-centered times, and this means that even the most ardent conservative has nothing incarnational, no actual society on the ground, to conserve. This is profoundly unsettling and explains a number of things — the attractions of agrarianism, the Tishbite integrity of confessional curmudgeonliness, and so on. I do not say this thing as a criticism, but rather just want to point out that when the entire society around a position changes, that position changes necessarily also. A farm in the middle of the city isn’t a farm anymore, even if the barn is painted the same way it always was. Someone here pointed out that the Westminster theologians were establishmentarians all, and now virtually no one who subscribes to Westminster is. But this is a global change of context, affecting everything in the document.
I do not say all this as one who wants to distance himself at all from the content of what our fathers knew, and which we have lost. I subscribe to the original form of Westminster for this reason, and Jones and I had a chapter on a form of agrarianism in Angels in the Architecture. But I am arguing that, having lost it in society, we cannot get it back again on paper.
This is why I believe that we, in such de-centered times, must resort to the only center that never moves, which is Christ. If we don’t do that, all our conservatism will amount to little more than historical reenactment, or being dressed-up tour guides at Williamsburg. But if we worship God through Christ, in a manner which pleases and honors Him, this really will be the engine of a new Christendom, and a continuation of the Reformation in deed and word. This is because Christ is the only true center.
Blessings on you all, and many thanks again.