Which fundamentals?

After listening to Tom Spence’s seminar on A Biblical Wordlview of History, I began to wonder about the research I had done on biblical fundamentalism. I’ve read from Beale, Carpenter, Dollar, and various articles. But how many of them were quoting from original sources? This thought surfaced as I prepared for today’s class. As I researched the exact wording of the original five fundamentals, it seemed that everyone had there own list and even historians disagreed about the exact wording. David O. Beale refers to the minutes of the General Assembly of 1910 in his book In Pursuit of Purity.

To support and expand the 1892 Portland Deliverance, the General Assembly of 1910 adopted a five-point doctrinal declaration in response to a complaint about ministerial candidates who did not believe certain cardinal doctrines. Referring to the Adopting Act of 1729, it stated that the following doctrines were “essential and necessary” to the Presbyterian system: (1) the inerrancy of the original manuscripts of Scripture; (2) Christ’s virgin birth; (3) His vicarious atonement; (4) His bodily resurrection; and (5) the reality of miracles as recorded in the Scriptures (149; He cites the Minutes of the General Assembly of 1910, pp. 272-73.).

But then I came across the PCA Historical Center which archived the Doctrinal Deliverance of 1910. Supposedly, they were also citing the minutes of the General Assembly.

1. It is an essential doctrine of the Word of God and our Standards, that the Holy Spirit did so inspire, guide and move the writers of the Holy Scriptures as to keep them from error. Our Confession says [Chapter I, Section 10]: “The Supreme Judge, by whom all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scriptures.

2. It is an essential doctrine of the Word of God and our Standards, that our Lord Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary. The Shorter Catechism states, Question 22: “Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to Himself a true body and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.”

3. It is an essential doctrine of the Word of God and our Standards, that Christ offered up “himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and to reconcile us to God.” The Scripture saith Christ “once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the Spirit.” [Cf. the Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q. 25]

4. It is an essential doctrine of the Word of God and our Standards, concerning our Lord Jesus, that “on the third day he arose form 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.” [Cf. the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter VIII, Section 4]

5. It is an essential doctrine of the Word of God as the supreme Standard of our faith, that the Lord Jesus showed his power and love by working mighty miracles. This working was not contrary to nature, but superior to it. “Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” [Matthew 9:35]. These great wonders were signs of the divine power of our Lord, making changes in the order of nature. They were equally examples, to his Church, of charity and good-will toward all mankind.

The two differences are minimal and are in regards to inspiration and biblical miracles. Beale refined the first point to apply to the original manuscripts but broadened the miracles to apply to all of Scripture. While I agree with both, I am wondering which was the original wording. Is there more in the minutes than what the Historical Center quoted?

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