The Westminster Confession of Faith: Of the Civil Magistrate. Part 2.

We will continue to devote each Lord’s Day weekend in 2022 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.

It is to that “most precise and accurate summary of the content of biblical Christianity” that we will give our time and attention to 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.

Chapter Twenty Three: Of the Civil Magistrate. Part 2.

3. The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven:a yet he hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed.b For the better effecting whereof, he hath power to call synods, to be present at them, and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God.c

a. 2 Chron 2:8 • b. Isa 49:23 • c. 2 Chron 19:8

4. It is the duty of people to pray for magistrates,a to honor their persons,b to pay them tribute and other dues,c to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority, for conscience’ sake.d Infidelity or difference in religion doth not make void the magistrate’s just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to him:e from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted;f much less hath the Pope any power or jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and least of all to deprive them of their dominions or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon any other pretense whatsoever.g

a. 1 Tim 2:1-2. • b. 1 Pet 2:17. • c. Rom 13:6-7. • d. Rom 13:5Titus 1:3. • e. 1 Pet 2:13-1416. • f. 1 Kings 2:35Acts 25:9-11Rom 13:12 Pet 2:110-11Jude 1:8-11. • g. 2 Thes 2:4Rev 13:15-17.

I encourage you to read the portions of Scripture listed in this post. Have a blessed Lord’s Day.

Soli deo Gloria!

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