Three Benefits Of The Reformed Confession

…We do this first, by our agreed upon confession. Presbyterians confess as biblical the statement of faith found in the Westminster Confession of Faith, which says: “All synods or councils, since the Apostles’ times, whether general or particular, may err; and many have erred” (WCF 31.4). Let’s face it, no church and no actions and decisions made by the church are infallible — or, incapable of making mistakes or being wrong. Of course, it takes humility to recognize it when it happens but it’s an inescapable truth. Church leaders can make wrong and errant decisions.

Second, we reject as destructive to the liberty of the conscience “[T]he requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience” (WCF 20:2). Implicit faith is a blind trust in a person or church that isn’t based on reasonable knowledge and persuasion. This means that the leadership of the church should be prepared to give biblical (or where appropriate rational) reasons for the decisions it makes – using explantion, instruction, and persuasion. People may not be convinced or agree at the end of the day, but we never simply say: “Trust us.”

Third, we seek to ensure that the minority voice can get the most public and widespread hearing possible. Generally speaking, Presbyterians practice this through complaint or appeal – the former is a written statement against any decision or act, and the latter relates to a judicial decision. This is a basic right and privilege that is extended to every member of the church. If a disagreement arises between an individual and the decisions or actions of leadership, there’s a way for them to be heard beyond the local leadership and in a way where errant decisions or actions can be modified or even overturned. Read more»

Kyle Borg, “When Presbyterian Rubber Meets The Road,” The Gentle Reformation


    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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