confessions

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We're an unashamedly confessional Presbyterian church!

What this means for us is that we are persuaded that the Word of God describes a doctrinal stance and a practical stance that we are compelled to uphold in all we do! We believe that the church is to be led by elders and preachers with connection to other churches who can hold us accountable and bring encouragement to us in our labours. We believe that the church is to be fed by the Word of God and that this is our sole authoritative standard for faith and practice in our church. We won't be carried away by the whims or fads of any given decade. We believe that the Westminster Standards (the Westminster Confession of Faith together with the Westminster Shorter & Larger Catechisms) are true and excellent summaries of the doctrine of Scripture. We are therefore confessional in our understanding of scripture because we confess (believe) in common ways of articulating the glorious truths of God's Word!

The rich history of the Protestant Reformation has especially deep roots in the Scottish Presbyterian churches that flourished in previous centuries. We are striving, in dependence upon the Lord, to maintain this rich heritage with its immense treasuries of devotional writings, doctrinal teaching, and scriptural study! We want our lives to be impacted by the lives of godly believers from the past and therefore our Sunday services are places where you'll hear voices from the past and our Wednesday night study is a place where we are very carefully studying church history!

Are you looking for a Presbyterian church or want to know more about Presbyterianism? We'd love to talk with you about it!

(Thanks for the photo, Aaron Burden on Unsplash)

"Fresh Reasons for Doxology" in the "Details of His Saving Plan"

In his recent book on the Westminster Confession of Faith, Dr. Chad Van Dixhoorn writes,

"Many of the topics raised in this confession of faith have deterred the faint-hearted, such as the problem of evil, the divine decrees, and the freedom or bondage of the will. The [Westminster] assembly offers careful sketches on each subject as well as clear counterpoints to associated errors; both new initiates to Christianity and seasoned theologians will find these outlines helpful."

"Why is it not enough to speak simply about being 'saved' or being 'in Christ'? Why must the confession also define 'justification' and 'imputation' and 'forgiveness'? If I am to be candid, it seems to me that one reason for the specificity of the confession has to do with the simple pleasure of its authors. Thoughtful Christians sometimes develop an appetite for God that can become an insatiable desire to discover fresh reasons for doxology.... We are told to rejoice in the details of his saving plan and in the distinct blessings we receive from God and his gospel. Serious students in Christ's school become instinctively equipped to enjoy every brush stroke on the canvas of God's revelation of redemption, and not simply the final effect that the Master has produced."

"The other reason why we see a careful attention to precise terminology in this confession is that labelling can promote learning. We see this in chemistry or grammar. We see this in theology too. Take the doctrine of justification as an example. The Scriptures tell us about a true righteousness being credited to those who do not deserve it and a free gift of forgiveness purchased for sinners. Sometimes the Scriptures tether this credited righteousness to justification, sometimes they tie forgiveness to justification. The authors of this confession, like many Bible readers before and after them, noted these frequent associations of words and ideas and, in this case, concluded that 'justification' must be the Bible's umbrella term for credited righteousness and divine forgiveness, two distinct but united aspects of the one doctrine of justification."

(Quotes from Chad Van Dixhoorn, Confessing the Faith, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2014) Available online here: https://banneroftruth.org/us/store/theology/confessing-the-faith/

Van Dixhoorn's argument that "labelling promotes learning" and that there is a simple pleasure to be found in the careful study of God's Word really resonates, doesn't it?! Do you rejoice in the "details of his saving plan"? Do you enjoy seeing the various brush strokes being laid down in Scripture to describe the ministry and work of our Saviour? Do you find something deeper than curiosity and stronger than wonder at work in your heart as you see the previews of our Saviour's work in the shadows of the Old Testament people, events, and places? 

Let me (Pastor Norm) be one of the many who recommends this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about the Westminster Confession of Faith and the background to each of the articles of the Confession! It's a great resource and tool for growing in your understanding of sound biblical teaching. Highly recommended!