The Westminster Confession Of Faith. Section IV.1-2

Creation, and providence to follow, are the outworking of God’s decrees, as noted in the previous sections. “It pleased God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Gen. 1:2; Job 26:13; 33:4; Jn. 1:2-3; I Cor. 8:6), for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom and goodness (Ps. 104:24; 33:5-6; Is. 44:24; 45:12; Jer. 10:12; Rom. 1:20; Rom. 1:20), in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days, and all very good (Gen. 1; Acts 17:24; Col. 1:16).” The creation of all things must be understood to have two aspects. On the one hand the triune God created something out of nothing. Everything in creation had a beginning. Only God is eternal. Secondly, God then created the world, beginning in the rest of the first 24 hr day, and then in the other five successive days (Ex. 20:11). The first days, not being declared as different from those described with ‘day’ and ‘night’, are in fact defined by those elements which were created to in effect be that which rules ‘day’ and ‘night’ – being sun and moon.

We also are told that God’s creative work involved all three persons of the trinity. We read that God said ‘let us’ create man after their image. This rules out the only other persons that may be referred to, namely the angels, for humans only are described as being created in his image. As it is the chief end of man to glory and enjoy God for ever, even so the whole of creation was a work of God for the manifestation of his glory. Creation also conveys that knowledge of God that all humanity has of God, namely “his eternal power, wisdom and goodness.” God created both the things visible and invisible, and because of this, we ought not to forget that there is an invisible realm every bit as much as there is a visible realm. Since God is goodness himself, all that he had made he described as being ‘good’, and ‘very good’. As we will also see when looking at God’s providence, God also created time and history (Heb. 1:2; 11:3). Since creation is regarded as the outworking of his sovereign will and purpose, we know that the whole of creation, and the study and care of it, are guided by his will and purpose.

“After God made all other creatures, he created man, male and female (Gen. 1:27), with reasonable and immortal souls (Gen. 2:7; Ec. 12:7; Lk. 23:43; Mt. 10:28), endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after his own image (Gen. 1:26; Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24-25).” Besides stating that humans are created immediately by God, the Confession affirms that God created them as male and female. This is the beginning of a person’s personal self-identity, and there are only two possibilities. Second, we learn that humans are both physical and spiritual in nature. Third, the human soul is reasonable, and thus that which pertains to the soul is not anything contrary to reason, that the rational ability of humanity is more than just biological activity of the brain. Fourth, although the soul, as well as the body, have a beginning, they will have no end. Fifth, each human being is programmed with certain software, so to speak, that is both epistemological (the study of knowledge), and moral (ethics) in nature. All of this and more is part of what it means to be created in the image of God.

It is no coincidence that the fathers began the definition of the image with knowledge, for this is the first axiom of our existence. We could not function as image bearers of God if we did not have that knowledge which is from God, in this case innate and ‘a prior’, that is, the reasoning ability to deduce propositions prior to observations or experience. We are also taught that humans are moral agents who, as part of being the image bearers of God, evidence such in “righteousness, and holiness.” “Having the law of God written in their hearts (Rom. 2:14-15), and power to fulfill it (Ec. 7:29); and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject to change (Gen. 3:6; Ec. 7:29).” Human beings, from the moment of creation, had a knowledge of God’s law which was compatible with the ability to reason truthfully, and to obey it fully. Sixth, human beings, from the beginning, had a freedom to obey or disobey the knowledge of God and his law, that was given in their very constitution as his image bearers, and a conscience to make this distinction.

“Besides this law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17; 3:8-11, 23); which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures (Gen. 1:26, 28).” Seven, part of being created in God’s image is to live happily in harmony with God. Eight, all these character distinctives, which together set humanity apart from the rest of creation, equipped humanity to exercise dominion under God as his stewards. The fact that Christ appeals to the initial creation of humanity as male and female, in opposition to free divorce, supports the truth that this also was a part of humanity’s original state (Mal. 2:15; Mt. 19:4-5). This first human pair, in covenant representation in Adam, were placed in the position of having God’s law within and in a special revelatory word. By this we ought not to forget that God’s word was given for more than just redemption, occurring as it did before the fall, being the law disobeyed.

Scripture and the Confession are also emphatic that the creation of man did not come via an evolutionary process. It is also clear that the definition of the image, in which we were and are created, cannot be reduced to one aspect only. The image involves both body and soul, the visible and the invisible or physical and spiritual, the internal and external, the epistemological and moral, the inherent and the functional. We have the task of dominion stewardship, and the make-up in order to fulfill this role. Part of the image, stated here in our being created male and female, is that we have personal identity, and are designed to live in community. As was noted in the treatment of the doctrine of the trinity, only if Moses and the first recipients of the Genesis account understood the differing personalities in the Godhead, in the ‘let us’ and ‘our’, could they understand this personal and relational truth. Of course, in the creation of man by God, we also learn that there is a qualitative difference between God and humanity.

In naming the animals we also see that Adam was created from the beginning with the innate ability to speak intelligible words, which gave expression to his thinking and reasoning ability and process. Adam’s innate cognitive ability enabled him to engage in the discipline of science, examining the other creatures and giving them names that fit their distinctive characteristics. As will be stated more fully concerning the fall, though the image may be in a sense marred by the fall, it still remains, an idea which must guide our relations with all people (Js. 3:9). Furthermore, we also understand that this image is being renewed by the Spirit to be in conformity to the image of Christ, “in knowledge” (Col. 3:10), “true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). It should not be missed that there is an understanding that sin also affects our thinking, what is called the noetic effects of sin, and why we must be renewed in our minds (Rom. 12:1-2). We should also not miss the point that all races are included in our first parents, and therefore there can be no grounds for racism of any kind.

The Westminster Confession Of Faith. Section III.6-8

God predestines the means as well as the end, in his good providence. “As God has appointed the elect unto glory, so has he, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto (Eph. 1:4-5; 2:10; II Th. 2:13; I Pet. 1:2).” There is an order to the salvation of the elect in history. “Wherefore they who are elected being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ (I Th. 5:9-10; Titus 2:14).” It is by being included in the covenant made with Adam, that all humanity sinned in his sin, and thus all are fallen (Rom. 5:12). All are born in a sinful state, not by physical birth, but by covenantal inclusion. It is the same basis by which we are redeemed in Christ, by being in covenant with him. This is the context of our union with him, being ‘in Christ’. This union takes place at our effectual calling, which by grace includes our repentance and faith. We are “effectually called unto faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season.” ‘Due season’ is the working out of our salvation by providence in our history.

Effectual calling is the beginning of what has come to be called the ‘ordo salutis’, or order of salvation, as it pertains to the application of redemption which was planned before we were born. From this beginning there follows on an equal plane the three actions and states of adoption, sanctification, both definitive and progressive, and justification. We “are justified, adopted, sanctified (Rom. 8:30; Eph. 1:5; II Th. 2:13), and kept by his power through faith unto salvation (I Pet. 1:5).” The saints, the elect, will persevere to the end for a complete salvation in glorification. “Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only (Jn. 17:9; Rom. 8:28; Jn. 6:64-65; 8:47; 10:26; I Jn. 2:19).” Again, the ‘ordo salutis’ is typically seen in sequential terms only, but adoption, justification, and definitive sanctification should be seen as concurrent, directly sequential to effectual calling, and progressive sanctification as flowing upon definitive sanctification.

This one paragraph in the Confession also includes, either directly or indirectly, what has come to be understood as the ‘tulip’ understanding of salvation. Total depravity is made mention of in our fall in Adam, unconditional election and limited atonement in the elect here as those “redeemed in Christ” and “the elect only,” irresistible grace in our effectual calling, and perseverance “being kept by his power.” There is also a distinction drawn between being redeemed and being saved, as not being synonymous. This section represents the elect as “their redemption by Christ as being effectually called unto faith in Christ. Their justification, adoption, sanctification and final salvation are just the blessings which constitute the deliverance obtained through the death of Christ; and, therefore, their redemption by Christ must signify, not the deliverance itself, but the payment of the price which procured their deliverance.

Their redemption by Christ is already complete – it was finished by Christ on the cross; but their actual deliverance is to be effected “in due season,” namely, when they are united to Christ by faith. In this section, then, we are taught: 1. That Christ, by his death, did not merely render the salvation of all men possible, or bring them into a salvable state, but purchased and secured a certain salvation to all for whom he died (John 17:4; Heb. 4:12). 2. That Christ died exclusively for the elect and purchased redemption for them alone (Jn. 10:15, 28-29). 3. We are further taught that salvation shall be effectually applied by the Holy Spirit (Jn. 6:37; Acts 13:48).”1 This salvation is also affirmed as a trinitarian work. “Thus our Confession, agreeable to Scripture, represents each of the divine persons as acting a distinct part in the glorious work of human redemption, and as entirely concurring in counsel and operation.”2

In regards to Section VII and VIII, and as stated in the previous sections, grace was and is required for the elect to have the repentance and faith that is necessary, but the reprobate are simply left in the condition that all men fell into in our rebellion in the Adamic covenant. However, in that the predestination of both the elect and the reprobate happened before either were born, it is also true to say, in harmony with the scriptural testimony, that he did also ordain the reprobate to be objects of “dishonour and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice (Mt. 11:25-26; Jn. 3:36; Rom. 9:17-22; Eph. 5:6; II Tim. 2:19-20; Jude 4; I Pet. 2:7-8).” For some, grace is withheld, that in them the just punishment for sin might also be to God’s glory. “There is nothing whatever in men that provides God with a reason for electing one man and passing by another.”3

The doctrine of predestination (Sec. VIII), some argue is arbitrary, but it is not really arbitrary, because God predestines according to his own good pleasure. Also, some want to avoid this doctrine, but it has been given to us to know it by divine revelation for a purpose (Dt. 29:29; Lk. 10:20; Rom. 8:29-33; 9:20; 11:5-6, 20, 33; Eph. 1:3-14; II Pet. 1:10; . “The truth is that when the doctrine is not taught with care and prudence the danger of false presumption is increased. But when the doctrine is taught without reservation the desired diligence and humility is the God-given result. The evidence certainly does not show that neglect of this doctrine has produced that humility, diligence, and abundant consolation, that has marked the Church in better days when this doctrine was so handled.”4 “So shall this doctrine afford a matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God, and of humility, diligence and abundant consolation, to all that sincerely obey the gospel.”

“Aside from the fact that God has commanded his servants to preach all his revelation, one great reason for preaching on the eternal decree is that a knowledge of sovereignty, election, and predestination is necessary in order to understand many other doctrines. If God has not from all eternity decided to preserve me in grace, do I have any spiritual power in myself to persevere to the end? And if I have such power, would not salvation be achieved through my own efforts and by my own merits, rather than by God’s grace.”5 These doctrines also have a bearing on the biblical view of history, including the fulfillment of prophecy. “Given the sovereignty of God, his omnipotence and omniscience, predestination follows by logic alone. Given the creation of the world by an Almighty Creator, it necessarily follows that history must accord with the eternal decree.”6

“Salvation is declared to be in its very essence a matter of grace; and if of grace, the selection of its subjects is inalienably a matter of divine discretion. Lam. Iii. 22; Rom. iv. 4; xi. 6; Eph. i. 5-7; John iii. 16; 1 John iii16; iv. 10.”7 “The principle of divine sovereignty in the distribution of grace is certainly revealed in Scripture, is not difficult of comprehension, and is of great practical use to convince men of the greatness and independence of God, of the certain efficacy of his grace and security of his promises, and of their own sin and absolute dependence.”8 However, Hodge is also right to stress that “this truth ought not, moreover, to be obtruded out of its due place in the system, which includes the equally certain truths of the freedom of man and the free offers of the gospel to all. The command to repent and believe is addressed to all men indiscriminately, and the obligation rests equally with all.”9

“The salvation of the elect is wholly ‘to the praise of his glorious grace’, and the condemnation of the non-elect is ‘to the praise of his glorious justice’. Calvin justly remarks: ‘That those things which the Lord hath laid up in secret, we may not search; those things which he hath brought openly abroad, we may not neglect; lest either on the one part we be condemned of vain curiosity, or on the other part, of unthankfulness.’ Were this doctrine either dangerous or useless, God would not have revealed it, and for men to attempt to suppress it, is to arraign the wisdom of God, as though he foresaw not the danger which they would arrogantly interpose to prevent. ‘Whosoever,’ adds Calvin, ‘laboureth to bring the doctrine of predestination into misliking, he openly saith evil of God; as though somewhat had unadvisedly slipped from him which is hurtful to the church.’”10

1. Shaw, (93)

2. Ibid., (95)

3. Williamson, (38)

4. Ibid., (39-40)

5. Clark (47)

6. Ibid., (47)

7. A.A. Hodge, (75)

8. Ibid., (76)

9. Ibid., (77)

10. Shaw, (97-98 Cf. Calvin’s Institutes, book iii, ch. 21. Sec. 4.)

The Westminster Confession Of Faith. Section III.3-5

“By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death.” (3) This third part to section III states the biblical truth that God is completely sovereign. Before anyone were born, he determined their futures, “even the wicked for the day of doom” (Pr. 16:4 Cf. Pr. 8:23). Paul referred back to Jacob and Esau. “As it is written, ‘Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.’” (Rom. 9:13) The death of the wicked is what all humanity deserved, based upon the covenant made through Adam, and the choice we all made to rebel. Therefore, the wonder is that mercy should come to any (Eph. 1:4-5). “What if God, wanting to show his wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of Hid glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory.” (9:22-23)

From the account of the Fall, we learn that there was a prior ‘fall’ of the angel Satan, and with further revelation we learn that others fell with him, but there are elect angels as well (Mt. 25:41; I Tim. 5:21). “These angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number is so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished (Jn. 13:18; I Tim. 5:21; II Tim. 2:19; II Pet. 2:4).” The Lord knows who are his own, who are predestined unto election, whereas the wicked are predestined unto reprobation. “Those of mankind that are predestined unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, has chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory (Eph. 1:4, 9, 11; Rom. 8:28-30; II Tim. 1:9; I Th. 5:9).” There is also a particular election of the remnant within the larger elect nation of Israel (Mt. 24:22; Rom. 11:5).

“Out of His mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving him thereunto (Rom. 9:11, 13, 16; Eph. 1:4, 9), and all to the praise of his glorious grace (Eph. 1:6, 12).” The elect are such by grace through faith, all of which is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8-9). The elect will also not be lost. “We are assured from Scripture that they who believe ‘were ordained to eternal life’ and that they were ‘chosen to salvation’ (Acts 13:48; 2 Thess. 2:13).”1 “Election itself originated in divine sovereignty, and had no other cause than the good pleasure of God’s will (Eph. 1:5). The divine purpose is one, embracing the means as well as the end; but according to our conception of the operations of the divine mind, the end is first in intention, and then the means are appointed by which it is to be carried into effect,…that God had a respect to the mediation of Christ.”2

1. Shaw, (87)

2. Ibid., (92)

The Westminster Confession Of Faith. Section III.1-2

“God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass.” “The Bible says that all Scripture is profitable for doctrine, not just some. And the Reformers did not draw back from the difficult passages on predestination, foreordination, and God’s eternal decrees. Really, these passages are not difficult to understand, though many people find them difficult to believe. But if they are God’s words, then we should study, believe, and preach them.”1 Some of these passages are 9:15, 18; 11:33; Eph. 1:9, 11; Heb. 6:17. “By the decree of God is meant his purpose or determination with respect to future things; or, more fully, his determinate counsel, whereby, from all eternity, he fore-ordained whatever he should do, or would permit to be done, in time.”2

“That God must have decreed all future things, is a conclusion which necessarily flows from his foreknowledge, independence, and immutability. If God be an independent being, all creatures must have an entire dependence upon him; but this dependence proves undeniability that all their acts must be regulated by his sovereign will. If God be of one mind, which none can change, he must have unalterably fixed everything in his purpose which he effects in his providence.”3 “The decrees of God are ‘free’. He was not impelled to decree from any exigence of the divine nature; this would be to deny his self-sufficiency. Neither was he under any external constraint; this would be destructive of his independence. His decrees, therefore, must be the sovereign and free act of his will. By this is not meant to insinuate that they are arbitrary decisions; but merely that, in making his decrees, he was under no control, and acted according to his own sovereignty.”4

“He needs not to deliberate, or take counsel with others, but all his decrees are the result of unerring wisdom.”5 His freedom and wisdom is however not separate from any of his other attributes, including his holiness. God is ‘set apart’ in his thoughts and actions, both in his being and his moral perfection. His counsel, furthermore is trinitarian, that to which all three persons of the triune God are in agreement. “The decrees of God are ‘absolute’ and ‘unconditional’. He has not decreed anything, because he foresaw it as future; and the execution of his decrees is not suspended upon any condition which may or may not be performed.”6 “It has been objected to the doctrine respecting the divine decrees taught in our Confession, that it represents God as the author of sin. But the Confession expressly guards against this inference by declaring that God has so ordained whatsoever comes to pass as that he is not the author of sin.

The decree of God is either effective or permissive. His effective decree respects all the good that comes to pass; his permissive decree respects the evil that is in sinful actions. We must also distinguish betwixt an action ‘purely’ as such, and the sinfulness of the action. The decree of God is effective with respect to the action abstractly considered; it is permissive with respect to the sinfulness of the action as a moral evil.”7 “The same infinitely perfect and self-consistent decree ordains the moral law which forbids and punishes all sin, and at the same time permits its occurrence, limiting and determining the precise channel to which it shall be confined, the precise end to which it shall be directed, and overruling its consequences for good: “But as for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” Gen. 50:20.”8 See also Gen. 37:28; 45:7-8; Is. 10:5; Js. 1:13, 17; I Jn. 1:5.

“This does not mean that violence was done to the will of the creatures (II Sam. 17:14). But it must be noted that God established psychological processes just as truly as he established physical processes. This ties in with the next phrase, “nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.” God has established such processes for the purpose of accomplishing his will. He does not arrange things or control history apart from secondary causes. God does not decree the end apart from the means. He decrees that the end shall be accomplished by means of the means. The importance of section ii becomes much clearer when later the idea of grace alone is examined.”9 See also Pr. 16:33; Mt. 17:12; Jn. 19:11; Acts 2:23; 4:27-28.

“The free actions of men are also predestined by God. Please note: these acts are both ‘free’ and ‘predestined’. That is, those who commit these acts do so because they want to. And yet those acts which they do are predestined by God so that Scripture says they ‘must’ happen. Christ said, “it must needs be that offenses come: but woe to that man by whom the offense comes.” This statement recognizes two things: (1) the certainty of the occurrence of a future event, and (2) that those who will perform the act will do so freely and therefore with guilt. As God predetermines evil actions which are freely performed, so he predetermines good actions which are also freely performed. Christians repent, believe and seek to do the will of God because they want to. But in this case “it is God which works in [them] to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). There is, in this case, an internal operation of God’s Spirit, which is wholly absent from the wicked. But this still does not mean that the good (converted) any more than the wicked (unconverted) are not free in doing what God has predestined that they shall do.

Some people use “freedom in another sense, however, which is false in the extreme. They mean, by the “freedom” of man, that man has the ‘power’ to do good or evil at any moment of time. To say that a man is ‘able’ to do good or evil, is very different from saying that a man is ‘at liberty’ to do what he desires. We believe that man has liberty but not ability to do what is right. For the truth is that man, while free from coercion from the “outside” is ‘not free from the control of his own nature’. He who is evil by nature must of necessity do evil (just as a corrupt tree must of necessity produce corrupt fruit, Mt. 7:17-19). Just as we may say that God is good and therefore cannot do evil, so we may say that man (by nature) is evil and cannot (of himself) do good.”10

“All God’s works of creation and providence constitute one system. No event is isolated, either in the physical or moral world, either in heaven or on earth. All of God’s supernatural revelations and every advance of human science conspire to make this truth conspicuously luminous. Hence the original intention which determines one event must also determine every other event related to it, as cause, condition, or consequent, direct and indirect, immediate and remote. Hence, the plan which determines even the minutest element comprehended in the system of which those ends are parts. The free actions of free agents constitute an eminently important and effective element in the system of things. If the plan of God did not determine events of this class, he could make nothing certain, and his government of the world would be made contingent and dependent, and all his purposes fallible and mutable.”11

Supplementary scripture: I Kgs. 22:1-40; Ps. 33:11; Pr. 16:33; 19:21; 21:1; Is. 10:5; Mt. 10:29-30; Acts 15:18; Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:4ff.; 2:8-10; 3:11; Phil. 2:13 II Th. 2:13.

1. Clark, (36-37)

2. Shaw, (81)

3. Ibid., (82 Cf. Is. 23:11-12; Mt. 11:21-23; Acts 15:18)

4. Ibid., (83 Cf. Rom. 9:11-18)

5. Ibid., (83)

6. Ibid., (84)

7. Ibid., (85)

8. Hodge, (65)

9. Clark, (38 Cf. ‘Religion, Reason, and Revelation’ Ch. 5)

10. Williamson, (30-31)

11. Hodge, (64)

The Westminster Confession Of Faith. Section II.3

The Westminster Confession Of Faith. Section II.3

After treating of the attributes of the one only true God, the fathers went on in this third section to address what is most unique to the Christian doctrine of God, namely the Trinity. It is true that the word ‘trinity’ is not found in the scriptures, nevertheless the doctrine certainly is. In the history of treating this fundamental and essential doctrine concerning the godhead, the distinction has been made between the ontological understanding of the Trinity, namely that in regard to their oneness, they are “of one substance, power, and eternity.” This simply reiterates the general heads of what is found in the first two sections. One is forced to mine the words of any language, in this case English, to come up with what may best express the understanding of what and who God is. This is an important point, the scriptures would have us understand what it reveals of both what and who God is.

In this respect the Westminster Standards cannot be unjustly charged with being to academic or clinical, because it is important to make this distinction. A lot of discussion necessarily occurred in the history of this doctrine to arrive at this clear unambiguous understanding. When the Scriptures refer to that which pertains to the “substance, power and eternity” of the godhead, we are to understand this as pertaining to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit equally. That there are these three who are referred to as equally the only one and true God, the scriptures make abundantly clear (Mt. 3:16-17; 28:19; II Cor. 13:14; I Jn. 5:7). We can also be thankful that the church fathers chose the word ‘person’, coming from the Latin ‘persona’. No word is perfect, for there is the connotation in the word of an actor who wears a mask, but here the meaning is deeper and more contemporary.

When taken in the context of the doctrine of the trinity, the word ‘person’ has the more specific meaning of a genuine personhood as we would understand the word today. Incidentally, it is worth noting, that it is in fact this Christian conception of personhood which has such theological significance to the biblical understanding of that which is part of the image of God of humanity. We have personhood, because we are created in the image and likeness of God. The Christian ought to have a biblical conception of human personality. The fact that there is a trinity of persons in the godhead, is also the creational basis for our constitution as creatures who, as image bearers of God, live in community with others, which is foundational to a biblical conception of society and sociology. The idea of personhood also ties into the idea of the roles we play. We all have differing roles but this does not detract from our equality of substance as humans.

This is what is conveyed here, namely that as regards to substance, the godhead shares a ontological equality, or their being as God. “The word ‘Godhead’ signifies the divine nature. This is a scriptural term (Rom. 1:20; Col. 2:9).”1 However, as to the distinction as separate persons, including the roles that they each play, there is three, or what has come to be referred to as the economical understanding of the Trinity. It is necessary to understand their distinct roles and functions, because this is what we find in the testimony of the scriptures. To this end the fathers also highlighted the interaction of the three persons with each other, namely, first of all, that “the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding.” Again, these are points having to do with how the three persons are related to each other as regards the economical understanding.

The Father is the ultimate source of their unified purposes, whereas the Son, who “is eternally begotten of the Father” (Ps. 2:7; Jn. 1:14, 18), executes their will. Thus, the son proceeds from the Father to bring into reality said purposes. Finally, the Spirit eternally proceeds “from the Father and the Son,” to the same end (Jn. 15:26; Gal. 4:6). It is absurd to seek to argue for a kind of generic theism, because the Christian biblical doctrine of God is radically different from all others. “There are many passages in the Old Testament which prove a ‘plurality’ of persons in the Godhead; such as those passages in which one divine person is introduced as speaking of or to another. To these we can only refer (Gen. 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Ps. 45:6; Ps. 110:1; Is. 6:8; 61:1).”2

There are a number of evidences that show the equality of substance of the (Son) with the Father, and of the [Spirit]. They share the same ‘names’ (Nu. 21:6-7; Is. 4:6; 6:1; 40:3; Jn. 1:1, 23; 12:41; Rom. 4:5; Titus 2:13; I Jn. 5:20), [Is. 6:8-9; Acts 5:3; 28:25; I Cor. 3:16], ‘attributes’ (Mic. 5:2; Ps. 102:25-27; Mt. 28:20; Jn. 2:24; 21:17; Phil. 3:21; Heb. 1:10-12; 13:8; Rev. 1:8), [Gen. 1:1-2; Ps. 139:7; I Cor. 2:10-11; 12:11], ‘works’ (Mk. 2:5; Jn. 1:3; 5:17, 27-29; Rom. 14:10; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3; 9:12), [Gen. 1:2; Job 33:4; Ps. 104:30; I Cor. 6:11; Titus 3:5, ‘divine worship’ (Jn. 5:23; Acts 7:59; 2 Cor. 12:8; 2 Thess. 2:16; Heb. 1:6), [2 Cor. 13:14; Rev. 1:4,5], ‘equality’ between the Father and the Son (Is. 42:1; Zech. 13:7; Jn. 5:18; 10:30, 38; 14:28; Phil. 2:6).3

“While (1) the Old Testament believer was to know that the true God was one, (2) that yet the Angel of God (and sent by God) was God, (3) there was also a clearly recognized presence of God the Holy Spirit (Ps. 51:11; cf. I Sam. 16:13,14 etc.) distinct from either “God” or “the Angel” Thus while the Old Testament believer did not yet see so full a manifestation of the three Persons as we have seen (in Christ becoming incarnate, and the Holy Spirit’s being poured out at Pentecost), yet undeniably the God who is being revealed in Old Testament history (little by little) is this God and no other.”4 There is no such generic theism. From the perspective of special revelation, the scriptures, there is the one only living triune, and everything else is man-made and conceived.

1. Shaw, (74)

2. Ibid., (75-76)

3. Ibid., (78-9)

4. Williamson, (27)

The Westminster Confession Of Faith. Section II.1-2

The Westminster Confession Of Faith. Section II.1-2

The authors of the Confession realized the obvious, that contrary to the popular view of some, one must begin with the question of how we know anything, especially as it pertains to theology and philosophy from a Christian perspective. They grounded the Christian worldview in the revelation of God, both natural and special, but with the preeminence given to the scriptures. It is laughable that in the area of apologetics, for example, a Christian should supposedly argue for a generic theism, when everyone knows that such a theism is really one founded upon scripture. Besides being duplicitous, it is an insult to any thoughtful person that it presupposes what it seeks to prove from some supposed objective standpoint. The fact is there is no neutral facts as such, for all humans bring to the data given a certain worldview about truth and reality. Therefore, besides being the teaching of scripture, it is also the honest position to state that this is in fact our starting point, our one chief axiom of all thought.

So the fathers begin with epistemology (the study and ground for knowing anything), before moving on here in chapter two with ontology, or the study of being. To this end, the scriptures teach that God is the supreme being, the Creator of all things, and the Redeemer of some. The first thing to acknowledge is that this God is one. Moses, by divine inspiration, reiterated to the covenant community that “the LORD our God, the LORD is one” (Dt. 4:35; 6:4; 32:39; Mk. 12:29-32; I Cor. 8:4-6; I Tim. 2:5). He is also the ‘only’ God, therefore the first commandment was given, namely “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex. 20:2; Dt. 5:7; Is. 43:10; Gal. 4:8). Furthermore, unlike other gods and idols, the LORD is living and true. All human conceptions of a god and idol are but lifeless products of a fallen imagination. We also learn here that the LORD is truth itself (Jer. 10:10; I Th. 1:9). The true God “is infinite in being and perfection” (Job 11:7; 26:14). The biblical God “is a most pure spirit” (Jn. 4:24), “invisible” (I Tim. 1:17).

Our God is also “without body parts” (Dt. 4:15-16; Jn. 4:24; Lk. 24:39), “or passions” (Acts 14:11, 15), “immutable” (Mal. 3:6; Js. 1:17), “immense” (I Kgs. 8:27; Jer. 23:23-24), “eternal” (Ps. 90:2; I Tim. 1:17), “incomprehensible” (Ps. 145:3). As indicated by the psalmist, this incomprehensibility refers to God’s greatness. In this sense our knowledge of God can never, in a quantitative way, grasp in totality the depths of everything about God, or in any of our knowledge per se. However, since God is true, and truth itself, what he has revealed to us is true, and in this sense our knowledge of something is the same qualitatively as God’s, otherwise we would have no true conception of anything. Our God is also “almighty” (Gen. 17:1; Rev. 4:8), “most wise” (Rom. 16:27), “most holy” (Is. 6:3; Rev. 4:8); “most free” (Ps. 115:3-7), “most absolute” (Ex. 3:14), “working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will” (Eph. 1:11).

God’s sovereign will is absolute (Dan. 4:35), and “for his own glory” (Pr. 16:4; Rom. 11:36). He is also “most loving” (I Jn. 4:8, 16), gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin” (Ex. 34:6-7; Nu. 33:19). He is “the rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6), “and withal most just and terrible in his judgments” (Dt. 32:4; Ne. 9:32-33; Rom. 7:12), “hating all sin” (Ps. 5:5-6), “and who will by no means clear the guilty” (Ex. 34:7; Nah. 1:2-3). From these sections, it was important for the fathers to make clear that the one and only God of scriptural revelation is decidedly not some generic general theism to be conceived in the human imagination. Our God is not lifeless idol, but rather, he is living and powerful, as is his word (Heb. 4:12). In all these descriptions of the attributes of God, it must be understood that each is also defined by the whole, the comprehensiveness of the whole being such that we need the revelation to truly understand each.

The second paragraph of this chapter carries forward the authors treatment of theology proper, namely the person and work of God, with particular emphasis on his unique attributes. Again, we must remind ourselves that this conception of God comes from the Holy Scriptures, although there is indeed a true knowledge of God in the heart of every man, and in the whole of creation, which although not sufficient for salvation, does leave people without excuse for the suppression of that knowledge. For this reason the authors rightly began the Confession by positing the Scriptures as the primary axiom of all thought, especially as it concerns how we are to understand natural revelation, and here the being of God more particularly. In him is all “life” (Jn. 5:26), “glory” (Acts 7:2), “goodness” (Ex. 33:18-19; 34:6; Ps. 33:5; 106:5; 119:68; 145:9), “blessedness” (Rom. 4:5; I Tim. 6:15), “in and of himself; and is alone in and unto himself all sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which he has made” (Acts 17:24-25).

Robert Shaw in his commentary, gave what amounts to a primer on systematic theology concerning this chapter, one to which the reader would surely prophet from (60-80). Suffice here to highlight the scriptural proof given for these various attributes, and some high points as it were. Of particular note is the subject of the attributes of God, which Shaw sees in the word ‘perfection’. “The perfections of God are called his ‘attributes’, because they are ascribed to him as the essential properties of his nature. They have been called incommunicable and communicable attributes. Those attributes are called incommunicable, of which there is not the least resemblance to be found among creatures; and those are called communicable, of which there is some faint, though very imperfect resemblance to be found among creatures.”1 Should one wish to expand on these attributes further, one can hardly do better that Charnock’s work by this title.

“As he has life in himself, so he is the author of that life which is in every living creature. ‘In him we live, and move, and have our being.’ All the life of the vegetative, animal, and rational world, the life of grace here, and the life of glory hereafter, are of him, and derived from him. ‘With him is the fountain of life’ – of all sorts of life. ‘Of him, and through him, and to him, are all things’ (Rom. 11:36).”2 God does not derive his glory from any of his creatures, although our chief and highest end is to give him glory (Job 22:2-3). “But only manifesting his own glory, in, by, unto, and upon them: he is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom, are all things” (Rom. 11:36), and has most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever himself pleases (Ps. 103:19; Dan. 4:25, 35; I Tim. 6:15; Rev. 4:11).

In his sight all things are open and manifest (Heb. 4:13); his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature (Ps. 139:2-4; Pr. 15:3; 147:5; Rom. 11:33-34), so as nothing is to him contingent or uncertain” (Ez. 11:5; Acts 15:18). “He knows the most contingent events: the actions of free agents, and all events concerned in them, were always known with certainty to him; so that, though they be contingent in their own nature, or ever so uncertain as to us, yet, in reality, nothing is to him contingent or uncertain.”3 We can also add, that he is aware of all contingencies, because everything is subject to his own sovereign will and purpose, as already noted. “He is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands (Ps. 89:35; 145:17; Is. 6:3; Rom. 7:12). To him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience, he is pleased to require of them (Rev. 5:12-14).”

1. (Ibid., 63)

2. (Ibid., 64)

3. (Ibid., 67)

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)

The Westminster Confession Of Faith. Section I.9

The Westminster Confession Of Faith. Section I.9

“The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself.” To suggest otherwise is to place another source of authority above that of scripture. Anyone thus interpreting scripture must be able to show that their interpretation is grounded in the comparison of scripture with scripture. This rule is of course based upon the belief that the bible is not just the words of men, but is also the word of God, who cannot contradict himself. “And therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture, (which is not manifold, but one) it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.” Here we have another principle of biblical interpretation. Contrary to the postmodern worldview, there are not many subjective truths to be had from scripture, rather there is but one conception of objective truth. This does not mean that there is only one application, or one implication. It simply means that the truth of scripture is uniformly true truth, and not whatever subjective spin any one might put upon it.

It is this unity of truth that is the standard applied to the question of canonicity. Those books which followed that of Moses and the Pentateuch, were judged by whether they were in harmony with the law already given. The people were given the criterion by which to judge any future prophetic activity and writing (Dt. 13, 18:15-22). This particular paragraph also carries on the thought that even though the scriptures are clear, there are nevertheless those parts which are more difficult to understand than others. In this case, one must go to those parts which deal with the same matters but in a clearer context. “It is precisely because we believe that the Bible is plain that we value the creeds. Hence, the creeds are evidence that the Bible is clear. The creeds represent the consensus of many, who therein testified that they plainly saw the same great truth revealed in the Bible.”1 “It seems undeniable that when there are two or more Scripture passages on the same subject, we should compare them for the light they throw on each other.”2

“The Reformers made it a principle never to establish a doctrine on the basis of a single verse. The question has nothing to do with how many times God must say something to make it true, but, rather how many times must God say something before we can understand it. And the answer to this question is, usually several times.”3 “In some sense, this is a very familiar rule, for we should approach any book in the world in this way. If we are trying to understand any statement by any author we need to read it in context. This is especially true if we encounter trouble in understanding a book. We assume that an author is trying to make sense when we read someone’s book. In fact we see this procedure in the Bible itself, where the writers of inspired Scripture insist on referring to other books in the Bible. We see this again in the first council of Jerusalem, where the apostles and elders compare a battery of Old Testament texts to understand the place of the Gentiles in the early church (Acts 15:15-18).”4

Supplemental scripture: Ps. 119:105; II Tim. 2:15; 3:15-17; II Pet. 1:20-21.

1. (Williamson, 19)

2. (Clark, 23)

3. (Ibid., 24)

4. (Van Dixhoorn, 25-26)

The Westminster Confession Of Faith. Section I.8

This section of the Confession is one of those places where there needs to be added those portions written in Aramaic, and some words in the New in other languages. As such, it also reinforces the point that these languages were the common spoken languages of the people, and that which was inspired by God. The authors also believed that the transmission of the manuscripts were also “by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, and therefore authentical; so as in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal unto them.” “No other ancient texts survive in such great number and in such good form as do the biblical texts. For example, when this confession was written in the 1640s, the first-century books and letters which might have been possible contenders for inclusion in the New Testament either existed in fragments only or were missing entirely. The fact that late-dated copies of works like the Epistle of Barnabas or the Shepherd of Hermas were finally located at the turn of the twentieth century only emphasizes further the contrast between the preservation of the New Testament books and other pious literature.

We can determine the text of the Bible and believe it with such confidence that we can actually discuss its jots and tittles, the smallest letters and pen strokes (Matt. 5:18).”1 Hence the importance, for any minister of the word, to learn the original languages. However, on the same principle that they were given for all to read and not just the scholars, the scriptures “are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come.” This section is proof positive that the authors envisioned one of the chief tasks of the church to be the taking of the word of God to all peoples, of all languages. “That the word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.” “All are enjoined to read the Scriptures (Jn. 5:39); and the laity are commended not only for searching them, but for trying the doctrines of their public teachers by them (Acts 17:11).”2 We should also note that the new testament writers often quote from the old testament Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint (LXX).

Dr. Van Dixhoorn also makes a very valuable point with respect to the New Testament phenomenon of speaking in tongues and the gift of translating that activity, so that it would be on a par with the prophetical messages in the common language of the scriptures. “The insistence on translation of the biblical text seems to capture one idea behind Paul’s corrections to Corinthian worship, for he tells them not to communicate in languages that no one can understand (I Cor. 14:6, 9, 11, 12, 24, 27, 28). Hence we translate the Bible so that the Word of God will dwell ‘richly’ or ‘plentifully in all’ (Col. 3:16). Only then will we ‘worship him in an acceptable manner’. Only then will the words of the Apostle Paul at the end of Romans ring true for all Christians: the things written in old times ‘were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope’ (Rom. 15:4).” “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Is. 8:20) “The Scripture cannot be broken” (Jn. 10:35), and ‘endures forever’ (I Pet. 1:25).

1. (Van Dixhoorn, 23)

2. (Shaw, 56)

3. (Van Dixhoorn, 24)

The Westminster Confession Of Faith. Section I.7

“All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all.” We all have those parts of scripture which are not plain. Even those parts that seem clear, like “In the beginning God,” seems clear enough on the surface, but what does it mean? When one seeks an answer to this question, one soon discovers that it means a lot of things! In the previous paragraph, the authors of the Confession made the key point that some things are “expressly set down in Scripture.” It is a critical issue, because the scriptures are the means by which one must know “all things necessary,” first of all for God’s glory. Much attention is placed upon what follows this, namely “man’s salvation,” and certainly getting this right is a critical issue. However, as the catechisms state, ‘man’s chief end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.” (WLC) Now right away, even here in the Confession we see that the faith is like a tapestry, made with threads of many colours, and who can plumb its depth? We are left in awe at both God and the beauty of that salvation which he has wrought.

Every age of the church is always in a battle to both defend and propagate these truths, and perhaps we feel the need to array our armor to defend the fundamentals, so to speak, and we don’t spend the time and thought to see just how wide and deep is this salvation message. Furthermore, the fathers of the Confession didn’t confine themselves to the things necessary for salvation, as far wide, and deep as this is, but it all begins first with everything which pertains to God’s glory, which is everything! So that our “faith” also pertains to everything, as does our “life”. This is just another way of saying that the Christian faith is a worldview pertaining to all of our ‘faith and life’. Salvation, the message of the gospel, is the gospel of the kingdom, and to this end is God’s glory displayed, and why the Lord instructed us to pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This is the scope of the salvation which the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One has procured and continues to exercise in his threefold office as prophet, priest, and king. This is one reason why we must know how to understand the scriptural testimony.

Again, as noted above, in paragraph 6 they also introduced what we call ‘hermeneutics’, or methods and principles of scriptural interpretation. First among those principles is letting scripture interpret scripture. When we come to those truths which are not “expressly set down,” we can and must “by good an necessary consequence” deduce “from Scripture.” This is one side of the same coin, so to speak, the other side being expressed here in paragraph 7, namely applying the same method or principle to understanding what may not be “plain in themselves.” What this all means is that the scriptures, according to our authors, are viewed as a whole body, ‘perspicuous’, that is clear unto all, if we follow certain basic principles, some of which they chose to lay down here in the Confession. Furthermore, they believed that this wasn’t just true for the scholarly, or ecclesiastical order, but for the laity as well. However, we must not miss what they added here, that though all can know how to read their bible, nevertheless there are some, so gifted by God, who have a greater clarity.

God has not only gifted some for the task of a greater comprehension, but he has done so for the benefit of his church, so that these must not be proud nor selfish in the exercise of these gifts, but understand the purpose for why they are given, namely God’s glory. No doubt there is a sense in which the big things, the things indispensable to know in regards to salvation, are of the utmost import, and it was the conviction of the fathers that these matters are clear, when some basic principles of interpretation, such as are found in the scriptures themselves, are understood and applied. These principles, among other things, they call “the ordinary means,” including the means of teachers that God has gifted to the church to this end. The means are actually many and manifold, such that they are indeed “sufficient” to give an understanding of the things therein laid down. Through the proper use of the means provided, one may comprehend what is necessary for salvation, as far, wide, and deep as all things done to God’s glory. Also, it is not enough to know these things, but to then ‘observe’ them, or put them into practice.

“The first chapter of the Westminster Confession of Faith has made statements about the necessity of Scripture, the canon of Scripture, the authority of Scripture and the sufficiency of Scripture. Here we are told about the clarity of Scripture.”1 Sincere study and interpretation to gain greater understanding, is worlds apart from doubt motivated from an antithetical disposition. The fathers, in their context in particular, wanted to make clear, contrary to Roman Catholic doctrine, that anyone can read the scriptures, even those translated into their mother tongue, sufficient to make one wise unto salvation. We don’t need, as desirable as it often is, anyone else to interpret them for us, least of all those who are opposed to the very fundamentals of that word itself. We must acknowledge, that this is an area of spiritual warfare. “It is the original lie of Satan that God, speaking in his Word, needs an interpreter to give man infallible guidance (Gen. 2:17, 3:4).”2 One must realize that in an appeal to any other source for the authority that would supposedly be clearer than the word, is to place that source above the word.

This also holds true for those who are convinced that there are errors in the bible, and since there is, one must decide that which is authoritative and what is not. Even among so-called ‘evangelicals’ there are those who believe that the scriptures are only inerrant on matters of faith. However, who decides what is a matter of ‘faith’, and also, who decides that those parts regarded as such do in fact pertain to those matters. For all their claims and desire for so-called ‘cultural relevance’, these ‘evangelicals’ so truncate the gospel and discipleship in thought and deed, that ‘the faith’ so-called, is only that which is left to someone who has accepted lock, stock, and barrel a secularistic worldview, where so-called ‘faith’ of any sort is but a private socially irrelevant species. Even this Confession itself, attests to being only one interpretation of the word. It cannot be otherwise. “The authority of creeds is determined by scripture, not determinative of scripture.”3 This author fails to see how one can speak of the authority of scripture, when one is engaged in a subjective determination of what parts are without error.

How can the scriptures be clear, if they contain errors? Authority in these matters is inescapable. Scripture claims to be its own authoritative interpreter, and in can be so, logically, because in addition to being the words of men, it also happens to be the word of God, which as Jesus stated, includes every Greek iota, Hebrew yod, and the smallest stroke of a letter (Mt. 5:18). However, clarity does not mean that there are not some things hard to understand. As anyone who enjoys reading can testify, reading is as much an active exercise as is writing. Effort must be expended for good work to be achieved. “Peter reminds us that there are in Scripture “some things hard to be understood” (II Pet. 3:16). It is not the Scriptures but some things in Scripture which are declared difficult to understand.”4 If, as the fathers believed, the scriptures are clear, though some parts are hard to understand, then it clearly means that they are able to convey the truth as we understand it from God himself. His word conveys univocal, unambiguous truth. For this reason it is not warranted, nor is it necessary, to conceive of our knowing as only ‘analogical’.5

Furthermore, “if God has not spoken clearly, how can we be sure that others understand what we cannot.”6 “That the Protestant doctrine on this subject is true, is proved – (a) From the fact that all Christians promiscuously are commanded to search the Scriptures. 2 Tim. iii. 15-17; Acts xvii. 11; John v. 39. (b) From the fact that the Scriptures are addressed either to all men or to the whole body of believers. Deut. vi. 4-9; Luke i.3; Rom. i.7; 1 Cor. i.2; 2 Cor. i.1; and the salutations of all the Epistles except those to Timothy and Titus. (c) The Scriptures are affirmed to be perspicuous. Ps. cxix. 105, 130; 2 Cor. iii. 14; 2 Pet. i.18, 19; 2 Tim. iii. 15-17. (d) The Scriptures addresses men as a divine law to be obeyed and as a guide to salvation. If for all practical purposes they are not perspicuous they must mislead, and so falsify their pretensions.”7 Williamson has a different fourth point from A. A. Hodge which is relevant, but not found in this author’s copy. “The Scriptures address men as a direct divine law to be personally obeyed, etc (Eph. 5:22, 25, 6:1,5,9; Col. 4:1; Rom. 16:2 etc.).”8

1. (Van Dix Hoorn, 21)

2. (Williamson, 13)

3. (Ibid., 13)

4. (Ibid., 13)

5. (This refers to the irrational conception of epistemology and language, or the study of knowledge and its transmission, as espoused by Cornelius Van Til).

6. (Ibid., 13)

7. (A. A. Hodge, 40)

8. (Williamson, 14)