The Westminster Confession of Faith is a thoughtful document that the Westminster Assembly wrote in 1643 to explain the basic teachings of the Bible.
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It was 1643. London. The little British world—Scotland, England, and Ireland—was caught in a civil war. And the Christian church wasn’t doing much better.
Debates still raged over the authority of the Bible. The Reformation—the return to the truth of the Bible, which had begun a century earlier—had spread all over Europe, and biblical teaching was beginning to take root in churches.
But it was time for reform in the Church of England—the official church of the British Isles. Time to re-forge its foundational documents according to the clear doctrines of Scripture and change Anglicanism for the better.
So in order to find peace within warring factions of the church, in 1646, over a hundred men of one mind piled into Westminster Abbey to rewrite the Church of England’s foundational documents.
Three documents emerged . . .
The emotions of the heart, in which many seem to think religion too exclusively to consist, ever follow the movements of the thought. Passion for service cannot take the place of passion for truth, or safely outrun the acquisition of truth… This is why God establishes and extends his Church by the ordinance of preaching; it is why we have Sunday schools and Bible classes.| Source
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
You do not know the truth, my brother,
merely because you
accept the Westminster Assembly’s Confession,
and have studied it perfectly.
No, we know nothing till,
we are taught, of the Holy [Spirit],
who speaks to the heart rather than to the ear.
“What is the chief
end of man?”
Man’s chief end is
to glorify God
and to enjoy him forever.
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
WESTMINSTER CONFESSION OF FAITH
IN MODERN ENGLISH
Songwriter Dana Dirksen wrote six albums that sing the Westminster Shorter Catechism questions and answers. Though created for children, they are a wonderful memory tool for people of all ages.