Beginning Sunday, January 3, we will devote each Lord’s Day in 2021 at hiswordtoday.org to present a portion of the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF). For those unfamiliar with the WCF, a brief explanation is appropriate.
The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith. Drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly as part of the Westminster Standards to be a confession of the Church of England, it became and remains the “subordinate standard” of doctrine (to Scripture) in the Church of Scotland and has been influential within Presbyterian churches worldwide.
In 1643, the English Parliament called upon “learned, godly and judicious Divines” to meet at Westminster Abbey in order to provide advice on issues of worship, doctrine, government and discipline of the Church of England. Their meetings, over a period of five years, produced the confession of faith, as well as a Larger Catechism and a Shorter Catechism. For more than three hundred years, various churches around the world have adopted the confession and the catechisms as their standards of doctrine, subordinate to the Bible.
When the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America was formed in 1788, it adopted (with minor revisions) the Westminster Confession of Faith, Larger and Shorter Catechisms (1647), as its secondary standards (the Bible itself being the only infallible rule of faith and practice). Officers in the Presbyterian Church in America take a vow to “sincerely receive and adopt” these confessional documents “as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures.”
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Christianity is a religion of content. Its truths are central to the life and practice of the church. It is necessary for every generation of the church to clarify its beliefs against constant attacks and distortions of her body of truth. The Westminster Confession is the most precise and accurate summary of the content of biblical Christianity ever set forth in creedal form.”
It is to that “most precise and accurate summary of the content of biblical Christianity” that we will give our time and attention on each Lord’s Day in the year of our Lord, 2021. I trust you will be edified and encouraged each week by The Westminster Confession of Faith.
Soli deo Gloria!