You are only as good as your word

June 3, 2017

 

Only as good as your word!

 

Having returned from the General Assembly only one thing was on my mind the Westminster confession of faith.

 

 

Has anyone heard of the Westminster confession of faith, its an article all minsiters and elders sign up to before God and in the public eye?

 

During the English Civil War (1642–1649), the English Parliament raised armies in an alliance with the Covenanters who by then were the de facto government of Scotland, against the forces of Charles I, King of England, Scotland and Ireland. The purpose of the Westminster Assembly, in which 121 Puritan clergymen participated, was to provide official documents for the reformation of the Church of England. The Church of Scotland had recently overthrown the bishops imposed by the King and reinstated Presbyterianism .  For this reason, as a condition for entering into the alliance with the English Parliament, the Scottish Parliament formed the Solemn League and Covenant with the English Parliament, which meant that the Church of England would abandon Episcopacy and consistently adhere to Calvinistic standards of doctrine and worship. The Confession and Catechisms were produced in order to secure the help of the Scots against the king.

The Scottish Commissioners who were present at the Assembly were satisfied with the Confession of Faith, and in 1646, the document was sent to the English parliament to be ratified, and submitted to the General Assembly of the Scottish Kirk. The Church of Scotland adopted the document, without amendment, in 1647. In England, the House of Commons returned the document to the Assembly with the requirement to compile a list of proof texts from Scripture. After vigorous debate, the Confession was then in part adopted as the Articles of Christian Religion in 1648, by act of the English parliament, omitting section 4 of chapter 20 (Of Christian Liberty), sections 4–6 of chapter 24 (Of Marriage and Divorce), and chapters 30 and 31 (Of Church Censures and Of Synods and Councils). The next year, the Scottish parliament ratified the Confession without amendment.

In 1660, restoration of the British monarchy and Anglican episcopacy resulted in the nullification of these acts of the two parliaments. However, when William of Orange replaced the Roman Catholic King James VII of Scotland and II of England on the thrones of Scotland, England and Ireland, he gave royal assent to the Scottish parliament's ratification of the Confession, again without change, in 1690.[1]

Though things have changed and history has come about, the contents of the Westminster  Confession of faith have been very instrumental in forming our country, our culture and our faith.

The confession is a systematic exposition of Calvinist orthodoxy (which neo-orthodox scholars refer to as "scholastic Calvinism"), influenced by Puritan and covenant theology.

It includes doctrines common to most of Christians such as the Trinity and Jesus' sacrificial death and resurrection, and it contains doctrines specific to Protestantism such as sola scriptura and sola fide. Its more controversial features include the covenant of works in Adam, the Puritan doctrine that assurance of salvation is not a necessary consequence of faith, a minimalist conception of worship, and a strict Sabbatarianism.

 

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, where in principle holding to this confession, even if reviewed, tells us that you are only as good as your word.     

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