The Westminster Assembly and Its Work

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Westminster Assembly - Wikipedia

As one of the leading theologians of late-nineteenth century Presbyterianism, Warfield wrote extensively on the Westminster Confession and the Westminster Assembly. He begins this volume with an outline of the work of the Westminster Assembly, which, in his view, plants the historical and theological seeds of Presbyterianism in America.

Warfield also includes a lengthy commentary on the first question and answer of the Westminster Shorter Catechism—What is the chief end of man? Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield was born in in Lexington, Kentucky.

The Westminster Assembly and Its Work

He studied mathematics and science at Princeton University and graduated in In , he decided to enroll at Princeton Theological Seminary, where he was taught by Charles Hodge. He graduated from seminary in , and was married shortly thereafter.

He traveled to Germany later that year to study under Franz Delitazsch. In , Warfield co-wrote an article with A. Hodge on the inspiration of Scripture—a subject which dominated his scholarly pursuits throughout the remainder of his lifetime. Calvin was steeped in the medieval scholastic tradition and those who followed in his wake including the Westminster divines continued to utilise the resources of scholastic thought. Several detailed excursus are devoted to tracing lines of doctrinal development in these areas.

Interestingly, the issue of whether Christ's active obedience is imputed to the believer was a subject of some hot debate in the Assembly sessions. In his exposition of the theology of the Assembly, Letham devotes attention not simply to the Westminster Confession, but also to the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.

But this lacunae is offset by the Larger Catechism, in which salvation is discussed very much in terms of union with Christ.

While Letham is generally supportive of the theological stance of the Assembly, he is not afraid to be critical, singling out the failure of both Catechisms to mention the love of God. I'm a Reformed Baptist, rather than a Presbyterian.

Exiled Preacher

I believe that the Independents were right to revise the Assembly's doctrine of the Church in their Savoy Declaration and that Particular Baptists were correct in further amending Westminster's teaching on baptism in the Second London Baptist Confession Indeed, Letham's discussion of the convoluted debates over paedobaptism in the Assembly sessions only serve to confirm the difficulty of finding a biblical basis for the baptism of infants.

His exposition of Westminster's theology from Holy Scripture to Death, Resurrection and Judgement is thoughtful and thorough, appreciative without being naively uncritical.

Short Introduction to the Westminster Assembly and its Work

No one will come away from his reading of the Assembly's literature without their understanding of its Confession and Catechisms being deepened and enriched. Highly recommended.


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