15

Note that this response has been divided into two parts: the first is the original response, and the second tries to elaborate based on a comment from the OP. Part 1 Great question. This response includes a very brief description of some of the basic points of predestination/election, and some references with in-depth, historic information. Here are a few ...


12

I like this question because it forces us to read the Westminster Confession in its context, and not just as a settled statement of belief. In summary, the two confessions are in continuity, but the earlier Scots Confession was more permissive. Especially, it did not exclude the option of episcopal polity, or of royal power over the Church. The Westminster ...


11

There is nothing absolutely specific in the Westminster Confession about Roman Catholic baptism. What there is supports its validity. However there was a long-established acceptance of baptism by Roman Catholic priests, even more than by laymen or even women, and the Westminster Confession says nothing against it. Perhaps more significantly, actions speak ...


7

I found a great explanation by John Piper on why some people are "predestined" to hell: https://soundcloud.com/askpastorjohn/god-glorified-predestination-hell Summary As preface to the question, he makes the following qualifying points: Nobody is in hell that doesn't deserve to be there, and isn't in active rebellion to God. The idea that there could be ...


6

Yes, the Westminster Confession of Faith answers this apparent, but not real, circularity as follows. In Chapter 1 Paragraph 5, we read: We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture. And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of ...


5

No. The Article of the Westminster Confession quoted in the question clearly identifies the Pope as the Antichrist. However the Westminster Confession is not a doctrinal standard of the Anglican Churches. In the UK the Westminster Confession is the official doctrinal standard in Scotland, but not in England. The Church of Scotland, however, is not an ...


5

The Westminster Confession of Faith and its associated catechisms (collectively referred to as the Westminster Standards) are designed to teach the Reformed faith, but not necessarily to defend it. Even the inclusion of the footnoted scripture proofs was at the request of the English House of Commons and would not have been included otherwise (it was adopted ...


5

All that God has made, expresses himself. The creation of luminaries in the heavens expresses something about Light. And God is Light; and in him is no darkness at all. The creation of vegetation, the creation of animal life, expresses something about life itself. And all life is of God and from God. I would not understand and appreciate what 'the Lion of ...


5

First of all, it's important to recognize that "Reformed theology" does not mean "theology of the reformers" – the terminology is a bit confusing, which is why the tradition is often referred to as Calvinism, even though Calvin was just one of many theologians in this tradition. Other commonly cited "Reformed" confessions are the Belgic Confession and the ...


4

The entire line of reasoning you're following, from the quotes themselves to your re-statements of what the quotes mean to your final conclusion, takes some alogical jumps that end in a flat-out contradiction. The contradiction becomes plain if you start with the first quote: When a Confession corresponds to Scripture as an account of the Church’s ...


4

There is a particular problem with using the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) to either defend, or attack, doctrinal positions. It is that the Westminster Assembly (in the mid 1600s), and I quote: “…was rather reluctant to include texts and only added them after the catechism had been completed. In other words, the original catechism was not ...


4

The word dispensation has been around for a long time, long before John Darby founded Dispensationalism, and the use of it is not unique to his followers. Covenant theologian Vern Poythress writes: Virtually all branches of the church, and all ages of the church, have believed that there are distinctive epochs or “dispensations” in God’s government of ...


4

There is no risk in saying that no well known person has ever tried to categorize all of the commands of the Old Testament into moral, ceremonial and civil categories. The reason is that although it is helpful to consider the Law among those divisions Christians have never felt it that important to do so. Christians do not even have a unanimous view on ...


4

I'll quote from two notable opponents of these two chapters. The first is John Murray; his comments on the Confession were published in 1936 in the newsletter edited by J. Gresham Machen, the founder of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The second is the 2014 report of the study committee of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, which recommended that ...


4

American Presbyterians have indeed made a number of significant changes to the Westminster Confession through the years. Some portions of the Confession have been revised (or outright rejected) by most American Presbyterians, while other changes provoked (or were the result of) debate and division. The most significant changes can be broken down as follows:...


3

Adherents to this line of the Westminster Standards who nonetheless reject exclusive psalmody argue in three primary ways: The Westminster divines were divided on the issue The Confession does not specify that only psalms may be sung The word "psalms" should not be understood as necessarily referring only to the Book of Psalms Division at Westminster J. V....


3

I don't think we're going to resolve the whole predestination vs freewill debate here, so I'm not going to go into the arguments for either side. But let me try to clarify the debate. The whole idea of predestination is that God has determined in advance who will be saved and who will not. As Arafangion points out in his comment, a Calvinist would not say ...


3

A refutation of Dr. Whitby's: Discourses on the 5 Points (1710). Calvinist/Arminian Debate: "Dr. Whitby asserts freedom, not only from coaction, but Necessity, to be essential to any thing deserving the name of sin, and to an action being culpable; in these words, (Discourse on Five Points, edit. 3. p. 348.) “If they be thus necessitated, then neither ...


3

I believe the answer is self-explanatory in the first sentence of the answer to 109: "The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and any wise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself..." Since the Lord's supper and the bread and wine are instituted by Christ Himself, we can conclude ...


2

Circumstances where a Subordinate Standard takes precedence over Scripture. For some issues, in limited contexts, a Subordinate Standard is seen as more appropriate and authoritative, to the matter at hand, than Scripture. Many denominations and individuals accept the Holy Scriptures as the source of all doctrine and the supreme rule in all matters of ...


2

The closest things we have to an "authoritative" commentary on the Westminster Confession are the two catechisms that were published alongside it.1 Both the Confession and those catechisms have attached to them "scripture proofs" that were appended somewhat hastily after the original writing of the documents, and which are sometimes criticized as being ...


2

Frankly, but only in my opinion, I think you may be over-complicating things a tad. To say there is an inherent paradox in Chapter I, Article IV of the Westminster Confession (hereafter, WC) is simply not accurate. In writings generally and not just in religious writings, for there to be a paradox there needs to be either a real contradiction or an ...


1

To discover why the first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism appears to be different to the first section of the Confession (‘Of The Holy Scriptures’), I read comments written by those subscribing to that Confession. Here are some quotes: Thomas Watson, 17th century divine, on glory and enjoyment re. Q38 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism (‘...


1

See John Piper's article: What happens to infants who die? All infants are sinners (Romans 5:12-21) "At least" Some infants are saved: John the Baptist (Luke 1:15), David (Psalm 22:9-10). Those not capable of perceiving good and evil are not guilty of sinful acts (John 9:41, Romans 1:20). God is good (Psalm 119:68). Trust that he will do what is just and ...


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