What is the Westminster Confession of Faith and how can it help me?
First, the WCF is not a confession of sin, but a summary of core Christian doctrines. A confession in this sense is a statement of what Christians believe. This document contains chapters covering such key doctrines as the Trinity, the person and work of Jesus Christ, salvation, how the law of God is to function in our lives today and much more.
A little history—In 1643, during a period of tremendous political turmoil, an assembly of “learned and godly” pastors and theologians was called by the English Parliament to meet in session at Westminster Abbey (hence its name). They were tasked to provide advice on worship and doctrine for the Church of England. For the next few years they met, deliberated and produced a confession of faith and two catechisms (larger and shorter) which have been widely used for the last 375 years to summarize Christian doctrine and promote the Christian faith.
As to why this should interest you, there are many benefits that will follow a close study of WCF. Here are just a few:
- It can root you and our church in love and in truth. Paul prayed that the Ephesians might be rooted and grounded in love, which can never be separated from truth (Ephesians 3.17; 4.15), providing the proper foundation for stability and fruitfulness in uncertain times.
- Jude 3 exhorts us to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. But how can we contend and maintain a faith that we do not know? A study of the Confession will enable us to know and to hand down to future generations our precious gospel heritage. I am jealous that our church be a faithful gospel witness long after I’m gone. This is not only for our benefit but for our children and grandchildren.
- This study will help us in finding our place among the church universal. It has stood the test of time and been used across many cultures to promote reformed confessionalism.
- WCF is a consensus theological document (it’s not just the thought of one man, but the distillation of the work of 120) teaching us who God is and what He has done. All true theology leads to doxology. In other words, this study will help us to worship God in Spirit and truth—the reason we were created!
As an aid we will use the book Confessing the Faith, by Chad Van Dixhoorn. Dr. Van Dixhoorn is a church historian and authority on the Westminster Assembly, who spent more than a decade producing a multi-volume edition of the Assembly’s minutes. His book is a very helpful guide and while not required it is highly recommended. His wife, Emily, has produced a companion study guide. We hope you will join us for this class.
Teacher: Robin Boisvert
Dates: Thursdays, February 4 - September 30
Times: 10-11am *OR* 7-8pm
Book: Chad Van Dixhoorn, Confessing the Faith, Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, 2014 (not required by highly recommended)
Format of class: We will begin by singing some great hymns of the church and then study a portion of the Confession.
WATCH HERE on Thursdays
Please contact Amy Merryman if you have any questions.