The Westminster Confession Of Faith. Section I.10
“The supreme judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scriptures.” The scriptures, being authored by the Holy Spirit, are the supreme judge for truth and error. It does not matter who has received a word they claim has authoritative, how long opinions have been held and codified, or whether they can be traced to ancient times – the scriptures are the supreme judge as to their truthfulness. It is for such an examination by the scriptures alone in which we can rest. Contrary to some so-called evangelical proponents, the Holy Spirit is here taken as the author of every word in the whole of the canon, and not just that which interpreters decide are the words of the Spirit extracted from what is left as only a human husk.
“Reformed Christianity refuses to allow the conscience to be bound by anything except the infallible Word of God itself, as it interprets itself to the individual conscience of the believer. It is the task of the church to express, set forth, or declare what the Word of God says so that the individual believer will be able himself to prove what the will of God is (Rom. 12:2).”1 Synods and councils are dealt with more extensively in chapter XXXI. Suffice it to say that “it belongs to them to explain and enforce the doctrines and laws contained in the Word of God, yet their authority is only ministerial, and their interpretations and decisions are binding on the conscience only in so far as they accord with the mind of the Spirit in the Scriptures (Isa. 8:20; Matt. 22:29).”2 We must also note that we should not ‘rest’, as this paragraph points out, until everything we believe and confess is confirmed as true by the authority of the scriptures.
Supplemental scripture: Mt. 22:31; Acts 28:25; Eph. 2:20.
1. (Williamson, 20)
2. (Shaw, 58)