The Wicked Westminster Confession
By Chris Duncan
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The Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) is lauded by its adherents as the greatest, clearest, and most orthodox confession of biblical Christianity ever produced. It is purported to be a simple exhibition of the truth, in which much of its content is set forth in opposition to the heresies and errors that have been propounded in various ages. Proponents note that many learned and devout men played various roles of importance in the framing of this confession - men such as George Gillespie, Anthony Burgess, Samuel Rutherford, and William Twisse. It has been asserted that to drift from the Westminster standards is to drift from the Christian faith. This implies that the further one gets from a full subscriptionist position, the further one gets from biblical Christianity. But as I will endeavor to show, full subscription to the WCF necessarily includes subscription to heresy. It is not my purpose here to expose every single possible heretical error nor to point out every word or phrase that some may consider unclear or ambiguous (although I will respond to some ambiguous sections). My purpose is to expose some of the primary works and doctrines of darkness found in the WCF by the light of Scripture. In my responses I will quote or make reference to at least some of the biblical texts that the framers of the WCF cited to support a given doctrine. I will also cite Scriptures not cited by the WCF in order to show that they have mishandled the text (cf. Matthew 4:1-10; 2 Peter 3:16). When Scripture is cited or referred to, the King James Version will be used, since that is the version the men of Westminster used to attempt to prove that their theological positions were biblical.
The Westminster Confession claims a high reverence for Scripture by affirming its necessity, sufficiency, finality, Divine authority, and clarity. Regarding clarity, it speaks thusly:
"The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture" (I.6). "The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; 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" (I.9).
Let us examine the doctrinal contents of the Westminster Confession in view of its own expressed adherence to the Word of God by comparing it to the touchstone of Scripture.
[It must be noted that much of the 1658 Savoy Declaration (SD) and the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith (BCF) are based on the WCF. In exposing the WCF, the SD and BCF will also be exposed when they express the same heresy; thus, if full subscription to the WCF necessarily includes subscription to heresy, then full subscription to the SD or BCF necessarily includes subscription to heresy.]
Chapter 3: Of God's Eternal Decree
III.1. "God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established."
Since the framers of the WCF failed to explicitly define what they meant by the term "author of sin," we must infer what they meant by the proof-texts that they cited. Thus, for the WCF, to say that God is not the "author of sin" is to say that God does not tempt man to sin and that God does not sin. Thus, in ordaining sin, God neither tempts to sin, nor sins Himself in so ordaining. But none of the verses cited by the WCF address the issue of God's active causation of sin. Romans 9:18 and Ephesians 1:11 reveal to us that God ordains whatsoever comes to pass - the former verse contrasting God's unconditional mercy with His unconditional and active hardening, and the latter setting forth God's active working of all things after the council of His own will. Clearly in His unconditional and active hardening of Pharaoh in Romans 9:18, God is not committing Pharaoh's sin of rebellion (cf. 1 John 1: 5), nor is He tempting Pharaoh to sin (cf. James 1:13,17). Romans 9:18 is not addressing any alleged temptation of Pharaoh; it only mentions God's sovereign purpose to display His omnipotent power and wrath in Pharaoh. To actively cause the sin of Pharaoh is not to commit nor tempt the sin of Pharaoh. For God to actively cause sin is not to "author sin" in the way the WCF has defined the phrase.
Evidently the writers of the WCF were concerned about certain alleged inalienable rights of man that God is not allowed to do "violence" to. If a person is forced to do something against his will, then that person has had violence done to his will. Would the WCF adherents say that when God takes out the heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26), it is to do "omnipotent violence" to the person's will? Would they complain that "violence [was] offered to the will of the creatures" when God actively hardened the spirit and made obstinate the heart of Sihon king of Heshbon (Deuteronomy 2:30), or when God stirred up Hadad the Edomite against Solomon (1 Kings 11: 14)? And just like the aforementioned men whom God actively hardened or stirred up the spirit of, so likewise God brought to pass the crucifixion of His beloved Son, which He had decreed from eternity, by actively working in Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel to do what He had determined before would be done by them (Acts 4:26-28). Thus, we see so clearly and lucidly that in the bringing about of the redemptive work of Christ, the liberty of God is established and the liberty of "second causes" is taken away. God, in a holy and active display of His own wrath (cf. Romans 9:18,22), caused the "second causes" to crucify His Son.
The "true and full sense" of the Scripture is that the terms "violence" and "forced" are much too weak to describe God's workings in the will of man when such passages as Acts 2:23, Acts 4:27-28, and Romans 9:18 are taken into consideration. As we see in a passage like Isaiah 10, God is so active in His sovereignty in causing the sins of the Amorites that the word picture put forth is that of a woodsman swinging an axe. Also, we see in God hardening Pharaoh's heart that He is doing infinitely more than "violence," for the word "violence" implies resistance, and we see from Romans 9:19 that God's will cannot be resisted, since His will is omnipotent.
If "nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures" means that God is not forcing a person against his will, then certainly God is forcing no one against his will, and thus no violence is being offered to the will of the creature. Also, as James 1:13 says, God tempts no one; tempting could be considered as a form of "offering violence" to the will of the creature. But if the WCF men meant to deny that God actively controls all of the thoughts and actions (including the sins) of all men without exception, then this would be a blatant denial of His absolute sovereignty. Let us see whether or not the framers of the WCF believed that God is active in His decree of reprobation:
III.7. "The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extendeth or withholdeth mercy, as He pleaseth, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonour and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice."
In using the phrase "pass by," the WCF men showed that they believed that God is permissive or passive in at least some of His decrees. Let us examine some of their proof-texts to see if they substantiate this claim that God simply "passes by" the rest of mankind.
In Matthew 11:25-26, Jesus is giving thanks to the Father for hiding the things of the gospel from the wise and prudent and revealing them unto babes. God the Father is said to be doing two things here: hiding from some and revealing to others. It is clear that a supposed "permissive decree" of God is not "expressly set down" in Scripture. Using the WCF's professed principle set forth in I.9, we go to John 12:40 for a fuller and clearer sense of what it means for God to hide these things from the wise and prudent: "He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with [their] eyes, nor understand with [their] heart, and be converted, and I should heal them."
God actively blinds eyes and hardens hearts. Why? So that they should not see nor understand and be converted. In Matthew 11:25-26, God is not passively hiding things but actively doing so by means of blinding and hardening.
The WCF men put forth the following passage as proof of their claim that God is passive in some of His decrees: "For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth. … Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? [What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction" (Romans 9:17-18,21-22).
Since when was the showing of God's power and wrath a passive or permissive display? The cited text says regarding God that "whom he will he hardeneth."
The careful framers of this confession neglected to make mention of verses 19 and 20 - two key texts that determine what kind of "hardening" is being done by God. Romans 9:18-19 sets forth the truth of unconditional mercy and unconditional hardening. It is clear that Paul's objector hates this doctrine of unconditional and active hardening by God, since he says that God would not be able to find fault with the reprobates because the reprobates would not be able to resist God's active decree to harden them.
Those who would consider the WCF to be a paragon of orthodoxy are able to sympathize with the Romans 9:19 objector who would raise a charge against the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul. The WCF adherents object for the very same reason that Paul's objector objects - they both cling to the carnal and unbiblical premise that moral responsibility (or culpability) presupposes freedom from God's sovereign active control. In reply to verse 20, the adherents of the WCF would answer that God did not make the reprobate thus, but that they made themselves thus. But God through the apostle Paul says that He DID make them thus, and who are you, O WCF adherent, to talk back?
Ironically, the WCF men cited verses 21 and 22 of Romans 9 in defense of their semi-deist, semi-dualist position that God is permissive in some decrees. Note that verse 21 does NOT say that God makes one vessel unto honor while "passing by" the vessels of dishonor, but that He MAKES both kinds of vessels. In verse 22 the dishonorable vessels are called vessels of wrath fitted to destruction. In keeping with Paul's analogy, vessels do not make themselves; they do not fit themselves. It is the sovereign Potter who fits and makes them.
The Scriptures that the WCF men put forth do not demonstrate that God is passive in His decree of sovereign ordination of the reprobate to wrath. Jude 4 and 1 Peter 2:8 make it clear that the reprobate are ordained and appointed to their respective condemnations. Those who stumbled at the stone of stumbling, those who were offended by the rock of offence, were not "permitted" or "allowed" to appoint themselves. They were appointed by God to stumble at the Word. If God is said to actively cause the reprobate of mankind to stumble at the Stone of stumbling, then will not the carnal response be: "Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?"?
The Scripture says that God raised Pharaoh up in order to display His power in him. How is God's power demonstrated in Pharaoh if God "passes by" him by giving him more freedom and "allowing" him to harden himself? In the Passover found in the book of Exodus, and in the final destruction of Pharaoh in the Red Sea, we see that God raised up Pharaoh (and by extension all the reprobate) in order to show His wrath and to make His power known in His active and unconditional hardening of Pharaoh. The hardening done by God in Pharaoh's heart is shown to be active and efficient because it is a display of His power, and the hardening is shown to be unconditional because God will harden whom He will.
Certainly there are aspects of God's counsel and will that are "unsearchable" (Romans 11:33; Deuteronomy 29: 29) to finite creatures. But God has clearly revealed in His Word exactly WHY He has chosen to have mercy on some and chosen to harden others: God wants to demonstrate His power and wrath in the reprobate so that those to whom He would show mercy might know that the riches of His glorious mercy found in Jesus Christ alone are what makes them to differ from the Pharaohs of the world (Romans 9:22-24).
The WCF cites 2 Timothy 2:19-20 as a proof-text: "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour." As has been already shown, the reprobates are those whom God has unconditionally determined to damn before the creation of the world. These vessels of dishonor do not ultimately choose for themselves what kind of vessel they will be; rather, by their reaction to the work of Jesus Christ as making the difference between salvation and damnation by demanding and ensuring the salvation of all whom He represented, it is revealed what kind of vessel God has chosen them to be.
An unwavering and steadfast adherence to the biblical doctrine of unconditional reprobation - which necessarily includes active hardening - is not some sort of twisted fascination. On the contrary, this doctrine preserves and protects the purity of the gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone.
The framers of the WCF, under a pseudo-pious pretense of protecting God's holiness, have undermined and blasphemed His absolute sovereignty. For they have imposed their own man-made standard of righteousness upon Almighty God, to which He must conform in order for Him to remain righteous in their self-exalting eyes. They invent absurd and blasphemous fictions in order to retain a false sense of control (cf. Psalm 2:3; Psalm 12:4).
Chapter 4: Of Creation
IV. 2. "After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness after his own image, having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it; and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change. Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; which while they kept were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures."
Adam and Eve did not have the power to fulfill the law of God - only Jesus Christ had the power to fulfill God's holy and inexorable law. Further, because God is sovereign, Adam and Eve were never "left to the liberty of their own will," as if their wills were independent of God's active causation. Adam and Eve were not under a "possibility of transgressing" but under an absolute, inevitable necessity and certainty of transgressing, since God, from eternity, had purposed to glorify Himself through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.
If Adam's transgressing was just a mere possibility, then according to this peculiar logic of the WCF, Adam could have possibly fulfilled the law and never transgressed, since he was supposedly "left to the liberty of [his] own will."
The salvation that is found exclusively in Jesus Christ is according to God's eternal purpose. God made the fall of Adam - and in him his posterity - an inevitable certainty by ordaining and causing it to happen. Many who adhere to the WCF speak of things like the fall of Adam and especially the fall of Satan as the "greatest mystery" in all of Scripture. To them, the most profound and perplexing mystery is the origin of sin in created beings. To those who submit to the clear testimony of Scripture, it is not a mystery at all. God ordained and caused the fall so that He might be glorified in the Person of His Son.
Chapter 5: Of Providence
V.4. "The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men, and that not by a bare permission, but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to his own holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God; who being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin."
For the framers of the WCF, a denial of a "bare permission" of the sin of men and angels does not imply an orthodox affirmation of an active causation of the sins of men and angels. Their denial of "bare permission" is simply a denial of God's being an idle or unwilling spectator as he casts despairing and helpless eyes upon his sin-riddled creation. Thus, the WCF desires to affirm a "willing permission" and not an "unwilling permission." For the WCF men, God willingly decreed to permit sin, and they cited Acts 14:16 as supposed proof that God "willingly permits" sin - as opposed to "unwillingly permits" sin - and thus is passive in His decrees that pertain to sinful actions. In comparing Scripture with Scripture, it is abundantly clear that for God to have "suffered" all nations to walk in their own ways (Acts 14:16) is a figurative expression, as is the WCF proof-text Psalm 76:10 where it is said that God "restrains" the wrath of man. How exactly does God go about "restraining" the sinful actions of men? What is entailed in God's "suffering" the nations to walk in their own ways?
"Because thy rage against me and thy tumult is come up into mine ears, therefore I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest" (2 Kings 19:28). God "restrained" the rage (wrath) of man by putting His hook in their nose and His bridle in their lips and turning them back by the way which they came. Psalm 105:25 says that God turned the heart of the Egyptians to hate His people. The WCF cannot get away from God's being active in all of His dealings with men, for to turn is active, and to restrain is active as well. For God to "restrain" those who rage against Him from going forward, He must actively bring them back from whence they came by hook and bridle.
Isaiah 10:6-7,12 is also cited by the WCF as supposed proof that God orders and governs sinful actions by a "powerful bounding" that is passive (passive yet powerful?). After the king of Assyria had made his boast in his own strength and wisdom, God replied through the prophet Isaiah with the following: "Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? [or] shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake [itself] against them that lift it up, [or] as if the staff should lift up [itself, as if it were] no wood. Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire" (Isaiah 10:15-16).
How does one "powerfully bound" an axe by "permitting" it to swing itself? How does one "order" or "govern" the swinging of an axe by "allowing" it to swing itself? Of course, this is absurd. One must actively and powerfully swing the axe.
The nation of Assyria presents to us a clear picture of exactly how God "suffers" nations to walk in their own ways (Acts 14:16). The Assyrian kingdom was the rod of God's anger sent to punish Jerusalem for its idolatry. The WCF would evilly boast that the Assyrian is being "left to his own sinful devices" or "passed by," since it is in the Assyrian's heart "to destroy and cut off nations not a few" (Isaiah 10:7). But the Assyrian is an unwitting instrument of wrath in the hand of God. The WCF is an unwitting sympathizer with the Assyrian king. For they, too, are like unto a sovereignty-denying staff that lifts (i.e., exalts) itself up as if it were not wood. When it comes to sinful actions done by them, they are of the arrogant notion that the axe, the rod, and the staff are "permitted" to move under their own power.
V.5. "The most wise, righteous, and gracious God, doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends."
Surprisingly, Jeremiah 17:9 was not ushered in as a proof-text for denying the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. Most who affirm that a Christian's heart is deceitful and desperately (incurably) wicked appeal to the aforementioned verse. But of course, this verse is misapplied, since God takes away the stony, deceitful hearts out of the elect upon regeneration and gives them new hearts (Ezekiel 36:26-27), and His people are made new creatures in Christ in which "old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
For a more detailed treatment of this subject, see the article entitled "Is a Christian's Heart Deceitful and Desperately Wicked?" in Volume 12, Number 3 of this newsletter.
Chapter 6: Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof
VI.1. "Our first parents, being seduced by the subtilty and temptation of Satan, sinned in eating the forbidden fruit. This their sin God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory."
God did not "permit" the fall; He ordained and actively caused the fall for His own glory. "For of him, and through him, and to him [are] all things: to whom [be] glory forever. Amen" (Romans 11:36). It was God's will to actively cause the fall so that the elect and reprobate would be equally ruined and undone, equally guilty and defiled, and equally in need of a righteousness that neither could produce or be enabled to produce. God caused the fall so that all those with whom He has covenanted to take away their sins may have the ungodliness of their unbelief turned away from them: "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins"(Romans 11:26-27).
The WCF men used Romans 11:32 as a proof-text: "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all." But God's concluding of persons in unbelief is not permissive or passive; it is efficient and active.
The adherents of the WCF apparently find the extreme simplicity of Paul's razor-sharp Creator/creature distinction quite perplexing (Romans 9:19-21). So perplexing is this distinction that they are compelled to dream up concepts that can only be applied to idols and not to the True and Living God. And thus the WCF men and those who believe like them are afraid of, and in rebellion against, God's sovereign causing of evil. So they make up things that are absolutely unbiblical and anti-God in order to make God more palatable to their own and others' depraved minds. To "permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory," means that, at times, the creature is "permitted" to do things apart from God's active controlling sovereignty. This is blasphemy.
Chapter 7: Of God's Covenant With Man
VII.2. "The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience."
[This is repeated and expanded upon in Chapter XIX, "Of the Law of God," Section 1: "God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works, by which He bound him and all his posterity, to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience; promised life upon fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it: and endued him with power and ability to keep it."]
Here the WCF engages in vain, speculative nonsense. The necessary implication of this teaching is that God promised Adam an opportunity to thwart His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus. For according to this teaching, if Adam had persevered in obedience through the alleged "probationary period," he then would have vitiated the cross of Christ, robbed Christ of His redemptive glory, and impugned the righteousness of Christ. The WCF framers and adherents believe that there was a time in which man could have been saved by his works.
Here the WCF, by means of its ridiculous hypothetical, denies the absolute necessity of the atonement. The righteousness of Christ that is imputed to believers is insidiously impugned by the notion that Adam was, by his own righteousness, his own obedience, capable of earning the kind of life that believers now have in Christ. This is an antichristian attempt to rob Christ of His glorious deliverance from wrath of all whom He represented by saying that Adam was capable of "delivering" all whom he represented from a hypothetical fall and subsequent curse and wrath. Evidently, the establishing of an everlasting righteousness is not exclusive to Jesus. In the WCF vain and speculating mindset, Christ is not unique as far as obtaining everlasting life for all whom He represented goes; this capacity is given to Adam as well.
The Scriptures speak of Christ as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20). It also speaks of God's "eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 3:11). Is there any room for an obedient Adam in the aforementioned verses?
The WCF cites Romans 5:12-20 as a proof-text. Romans 5:14 says this: "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come."
The framers of the WCF posited the speculative notion that Adam could have, by his obedience, earned exactly the same reward as Christ did by His obedience. The irony of this ridiculous position is that by their unbiblical idea of the parallel between Adam and Christ, they vitiate the parallel. Notice that the focus of Romans 5:12-20 is dissimilarity. This dissimilarity is shown in Paul's parallelism of the sin (disobedience) of Adam with the righteousness (obedience) of Christ. Without a type, there can be no antitype. The WCF men want to make Adam wholly and entirely like Christ, and in doing so they blaspheme. For if Adam was entirely like Christ in respect to his supposed obedience that he was capable of meriting, then Christ as the antitypical representative of His people is made void, and Adam ceases to be "the figure of him that was to come" (Romans 5:14).
Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling
X.3. "Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth. So also are all other elect persons who are uncapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word."
Lurking behind this deceptive cloak of the acknowledgment of the Holy Spirit's sovereignty in regeneration (John 3:8) is a denial of the gospel as the power of God unto salvation to everyone believing (Romans 1:16). It is clear that the Spirit will regenerate whomever He wants, and it is equally clear that those who are regenerated are immediately caused to believe the message of the gospel of the Person and Work of Jesus Christ: "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me" (John 15:26). "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6). "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God" (1 Corinthians 2:10-12).
All of the elect without exception - from the elect infant, to the elect mentally handicapped person, to the elect heathen in some remote geographical location - will be regenerated and saved by Christ and will immediately be given a knowledge of Him. The WCF contradicts this truth conveyed in the Scriptures cited above.
It must be further stated that when the elect have the gospel of Jesus Christ revealed to them by the Holy Spirit, it is always, without exception, done through the ministry of the Word of God: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, 'Lord, who hath believed our report?' So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:13-17).
Paul rhetorically asks: How may one call on and believe in One of whom they have not heard? Of course, the answer is that NO ONE can call on or believe in Jesus Christ if they have not heard of Him by having His gospel preached to them, and that is why there is to be the outward ministry of the Word.
But how do the adherents to the WCF answer Paul's question? They contradict Paul by saying that even though a person - whether an elect infant or any other elect person - has never heard of Christ, he can nevertheless be regenerated and saved by Christ while remaining ignorant of Christ. The insidious implications of this Christ-dishonoring, Word-repudiating doctrine are seemingly endless. One (of many) would be that Paul should have given a small qualifier in Romans 10:3, saying that ignorance of the righteousness of God does not necessarily imply a going about to establish one's own righteousness. If Paul had been a supporter of the WCF, he might have qualified Romans 10:3 further by affirming that it is possible to be submitted to what one is ignorant of. But of course, Paul is a disciple of Jesus Christ, and like all disciples, he rejects such gospel-denying assertions.
The WCF cites Luke 18:15-16 as a proof-text. In its context, this passage conveys the message of Jesus that one is to receive the kingdom of God as a little child, and those who do not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall not enter into it (verse 17). The WCF stops at verse 16 and draws the illogical conclusion that little children and/or infants are "uncapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word." These architects of destruction come to the text of Scripture with their false premise regarding the mental capacity of infants. They assert that infants cannot believe due to their alleged lack of mental capacity or to the "fact" that infants cannot hear and understand anything while inside their mother's womb. But Jesus Christ Himself obliterates this pseudo-scientific-psychological nonsense by saying that infants and/or little children ARE ABLE TO RECEIVE the kingdom of God (Luke 18:17).
The story of the infant John the Baptist is a lucid instance that utterly demolishes the WCF's Satanic lie that not all regenerate persons necessarily believe the gospel (contra Mark 16:16; John 16:7-11; Romans 1:16-17; 2 Corinthians 4:2-6; 1 John 5:20). Another verse to beat this dead heretical horse is John 17:3: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." The men of Westminster contradict Christ by saying that those who have never heard of Christ, since they have never been called by the outward ministry of the Word, nevertheless are regenerated and saved by Christ. Christ says that eternal life is to know Him. The WCF says that there are some who have eternal life who do not know Him.
Chapter 14 of the WCF confirms this heresy by saying that "The grace of faith ... is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word," meaning that it is not always wrought by the ministry of the Word.
X.4. "Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet they never truly come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved: much less can men, not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature and the law of that religion they do profess; and to assert and maintain that they may is very pernicious, and to be detested."
As if the WCF were not being heretical enough above by their rejection of the gospel as the power of God unto salvation to everyone believing, it now adds sin to sin by an equally pernicious declaration that others not elected, although called by the ministry of the Word, share in what they call "common operations of the Spirit."
It is quite the unbiblical leap to say that the reprobate literally partake of (or share) common operations, since the Bible clearly shows that the operations of the Holy Spirit are very specific. The Holy Spirit operates exclusively in the hearts of the elect, in order to cause them to believe the truth (John 14:17) concerning the Person and Work of Jesus Christ (John 15:26; 16:7-15).
Hebrews 6:4-5 is what these unstable and unlearned men desired to twist in order to promote their own destruction: "For [it is] impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come." What does it mean for the unregenerate person to "partake" of the Holy Spirit? Since the Holy Spirit only leads people to Jesus Christ and His righteousness as the only ground of salvation (1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 2 Corinthians 4:2-6), to "partake" of the Holy Spirit here does not amount to "common operations."
In God's providence, there are those who will make a profession of the true gospel but who later repudiate that initial profession (1 John 2:19) and subsequently go out from among the people of God. But while they were there, they heard the Word of God preached and were "enlightened" with the knowledge of Christ (Hebrews 6:4; 2 Peter 2:20). Hindsight shows that since they went out from among us, their close proximity with the people of God was NOT a true and literal partaking in the unity of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:3), but was instead a superficial profession of that unity.
Thus, Hebrews 6:4 is NOT speaking of a literal partaking of dreamt-up "common operations" of the Spirit, but simply an association with true believers by worshipping and fellowshipping together and being exposed to the preaching of the true gospel from the Holy Spirit-inspired Word. Their affiliation with believers was not real, but false. They did not savor the good Word of God but spit it out. And though they did "partake" of the Holy Spirit in the sense of external involvement with things such as the ministry of the Word, they did not partake in the sense of any blasphemous "common operations" of the Spirit, since His work is not to enlighten men apart from giving to them "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6) and apart from causing them to "know the things freely given to [them] by God" (1 Corinthians 2:12).
For more detailed information on false notions regarding the Holy Spirit, see the articles from past issues of Outside the Camp entitled "Pernicious Puritan Preparationism" (Volume 13, Number 1) and "Holy Spirit Conviction" (Volume 13, Number 2).
Chapter 13: Of Sanctification
XIII.3. "... the regenerate part doth overcome …"
The implication here is that a true Christian has a "regenerate part" and an "unregenerate part." If the WCF framers believed that Christians have an "unregenerate part," then it would fit well with their heretical belief that the Christian's heart is deceitful (V.5).
Chapter 18: Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation
XVIII.3. "This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties, before he be partaker of it: yet, being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation in the right use of ordinary means, attain thereunto. And therefore it is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure, that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance; so far is it from inclining men to looseness."
Hebrews 11:1 is a clear refutation of the WCF assertion that assurance is not of the essence of faith. Faith is a confidence of things hoped for, a certainty of things which are not seen. (For further expounding concerning this, see the article "Faith is Assurance" in Volume 9, Number 3 of this newsletter.) The Hammer of Truth breaks this rock in pieces (Jeremiah 23:29).
The WCF makes an attempt with 1 John 5:13 to prove that true believers may "wait long" before having assurance. John connects belief in the Son of God with knowledge of eternal life. The WCF disconnects (separates) belief in the Son of God with knowledge of eternal life. John says that those believing in the Son of God KNOW that they have eternal life. The WCF contradicts this by saying that the ones believing in the Son of God may wait a long time before coming to knowledge of it. If any professing believers SAY they believe in the Son of God but do not KNOW they have eternal life, then they have NOT yet received the Spirit of God, since it is through the Spirit that God causes true believers to know the things FREELY GIVEN to them by God (1 Corinthians 2:10-12 - ironically, the WCF uses this as a proof-text in this section!).
God gives this knowledge of eternal life freely as an immediate and inevitable fruit of the Spirit's regenerating work (John 17:3; Romans 8:15-16; Galatians 4:6; 1 John 5:20). This blessed truth exposes the miserable lie of the WCF that this knowledge does NOT FREELY come upon regeneration but only after a lengthy time of going about to establish a self-righteousness that a person may hope in and ground his assurance of eternal life upon (cf. Romans 10:1-4).
IF one is waiting long and conflicting with many difficulties before he is a partaker of assurance, then he is NOT "fully persuaded." And if one is not "fully persuaded," then he is staggering by unbelief (Romans 4:20). To "conflict with many difficulties" in this sense is to STAGGER BY UNBELIEF. The WCF says that a true believer staggers. The WCF believes that there are believers who are NOT fully persuaded that what God has promised, He is also able to do.
Mark 9:24 is cited by the WCF as a proof-text. The context of this passage concerns the healing of the wavering man's son, not the assurance of his salvation. Salvation and the assurance thereof is nowhere in this text. But let us apply it to Romans 8:16 to see if the WCF men are not misapplying the text like their father did before them (cf. Matthew 4:6). Romans 8:16 says that the Spirit of God bears witness with the spirit of the true believer. Does the true believer say, "I believe the Spirit is witnessing with my spirit; help my unbelief that the Spirit is witnessing with my spirit"? Of course not. God through the apostle Paul says that the Spirit DOES WITNESS. The WCF says that the Spirit allows the true believer to languish in self-righteous doubts. Let God be true and the WCF a liar.
Another WCF proof-text is Psalm 77:1-12. In verses 7-9, the Psalmist asks a series of rhetorical questions that the WCF men take as the Psalmist's doubting. Yet it is because God has redeemed His people (v. 15), and it is because God does wonders and has declared His strength among His people (v. 14), that He will not forever cast off His people (v. 7), and thus will forever pour out mercy upon them (v. 9) and remain ever faithful to His promise (v. 8) to save His people conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone.
The WCF framers use Psalm 88 as another proof-text, twisting it to presumptuously say that a true believer can believe that He is under God's wrath. The writers of this heretical document exhibit yet again their cavalier attitude toward the sacred text. They do not even adhere to their own confession that says they are to search out verses that speak more clearly (I.9). Consider verses 7 and 16: Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah. ... Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off." We know what these verses CANNOT mean, since the Scripture does not contradict itself. Since the Spirit witnesses with the believer's spirit that he is a child of God who believes the gospel - which includes faith in Christ's blood as a propitiation (Romans 3:25) - then obviously Psalm 88:7 and 16 do not refer to the believing Psalmist. Just as David spoke not of himself in Psalm 16:10 but of the resurrection of Christ, so the Psalmist spoke not of himself in Psalm 88:7 and 16 but of the propitiatory work of Christ whereby He suffered the unmitigated fury of God the Father for the sins of His people.
[As an aside, the WCF men, who promoted the singing of Psalms in worship, promoted the singing of DOUBT - of UNBELIEF - to the Lord by their interpretations!]
Those who adhere to this section of the WCF are the unregenerate men who "vainly deceive themselves with false hopes, and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God, and estate of salvation" (XVIII.1). Out of one side of their mouths, they say that the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ is the sole ground of being in God's favor, but out of the other side, they say that their own established righteousness is what gives them assurance of being in God's favor. They say that justification is by Christ's righteousness but assurance of justification is by their own righteousness. They say that salvation is by Christ but assurance of salvation is by works. This is salvation by works; this is justification by works. In the WCF's blinded eyes, the more righteous one becomes in his character and conduct, the more assured he becomes; and if one is less righteous in his character and conduct, the less assured he becomes. According to this demonic scheme, if one really wants to be fully assured of salvation, then all he needs to do is keep the law perfectly. He needs to work out a perfect righteousness, and when he fails at that, he needs to suffer the penalty of the law for this failure. Contrary to these blasphemous notions, God's Word shows that the function of His law is to show forth God's perfect standard of righteousness that His people may learn their natural inability to meet that standard; rest in a Substitute who would and did meet that standard on their behalf; and strive to obey Him out of love, thankfulness, and a desire to glorify Him (Galatians 3:10-12; Galatians 3:24; Hebrews 13:15). The WCF perverts this purpose of the law in their blind zeal to establish their own righteousness as that which gives them assurance of acceptance before God. They are ignorant of the righteousness of Christ as the sole ground of acceptance.
What of making one's calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10)? We have seen above how one does NOT make his calling and election sure. One does not do it by bringing forth dead works and fruit unto death (Romans 7:5; Hebrews 9:14). The WCF fatally confounds and confuses the fruits and evidences of salvation with the ground of salvation. James says that faith without works is dead faith (James 2:17). Hebrews says works without faith are dead works (Hebrews 9:14). If assurance is in some way based on the sinner's works and not based solely on the work of Christ, then this person does NOT have faith. And all of these so-called good works on which they are basing some of their assurance are in reality dead works (Hebrews 9:14) and fruit unto death (Romans 7:5). Hebrews 5:9 says that Jesus Christ "became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." Obedience to Christ is a necessary fruit or result of eternal salvation, but to base one's assurance at least in part on this obedience is to not obey at all; it is to not trust Christ at all. It is to exhibit a deadly ignorance of Christ as the end of law for righteousness to everyone who believes (Romans 10:4).
The Christian's obedience to Christ DOES NOT form any part of the ground of his assurance of his justification, and hence, his justification itself. To assert that assurance of one's justification is attained by works is to assert that one's justification is attained by works. Where one's assurance is ultimately founded is where one's hope is grounded.
If we BELIEVE in Christ, then we will OBEY Christ - making one's calling and election sure by believing and obeying. And if we BELIEVE in Christ, then we will NOT think that our obedience to Christ gains or maintains our salvation/justification (or the assurance of our salvation/justification). We will NOT think that our obedience to Christ forms any part of the ground of our salvation/justification (or the assurance of our salvation/ justification). From regeneration to final glory, it is all the work of Christ - His blood that really atones, His imputed righteousness that really justifies, apart from any wicked and anti-christian contribution from the sinner (Romans 3:28; Galatians 2:16). Assurance that we are justified is grounded solely upon the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.
XVIII. 4. "True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as, by negligence in preserving of it, by falling into some special sin which woundeth the conscience and grieveth the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation, by God's withdrawing the light of His countenance, and suffering even such as fear Him to walk in darkness and to have no light: yet are they never so utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart, and conscience of duty, out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may, in due time, be revived; and by the which, in the mean time, they are supported from utter despair."
Witness this Scriptural sledgehammer smash the WCF's lie that assurance is virtually quenched in the heart of a true believer by a supposed "withdrawing" of God's light: "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6).
Since it is Almighty God who shines the light of the knowledge of His glory in the face of Jesus Christ, can it be that those to whom He gives this knowledge can resist it and so choose to remain ignorant of it? 2 Corinthians 4:6 and many other passages show that the Spirit of God continually witnesses with the true believer's spirit. Faith is assurance. Thus, this "seed of God" and "life of faith" is ALWAYS fully persuaded and is totally confident of the salvation that is found in Christ alone: "We are confident, [I say], and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8). "For to me to live [is] Christ, and to die [is] gain. But if I live in the flesh, this [is] the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better" (Philippians 1:21-23). "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance" (1 Thessalonians 1:5). "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him" (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10).
True believers do NOT "have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted." The JOY of their salvation can be at times diminished, as Psalm 51:8,12, and 14 demonstrate, but this is not loss of assurance as the navel-gazing proponents of the WCF would like to have it.
The Westminster men once again show their recklessness with the text of Scripture by putting words into the mouth of David in Psalm 31:8. In context, David is speaking of the various ways that God had providentially delivered him from the hand of his enemies. In verse 22, he acknowledges that he spoke in haste when he said that he was cut off from before God's eyes. This is about hasty speech concerning providential protection, not ignorance of the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ as the believer's sole ground of bold assurance to enter into the Holiest (Hebrews 10:19).
"But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God" (1 Corinthians 2:10-12).
The WCF is a document penned by the natural man who has the spirit of the world. Its framers and adherents do not believe that assurance of salvation is an immediate and inevitable result of the Spirit's regenerating work. They do not believe that knowledge of the things freely given by God is the portion of every true believer without exception. They do not believe this because they have not received the Spirit that is of God, but the spirit that is of the world.
"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Romans 8:15-16).
Miserable and hateful comforters are the WCF teachings by promoting, strengthening, and establishing these people in refuges of self-righteousness (Isaiah 28:15). They tell them peace, peace, when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14; 8:11). They do not believe that entering boldly into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus is of the essence of faith (Hebrews 10:19). The blood of Jesus is NOT the ground of their assurance and hope. They must seek to supplement, to add to, to replace, to subvert, to usurp, to substitute the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ with their own "works of righteousness" as what makes the difference between having confidence to enter into the Holiest, and virtually no confidence to enter into the Holiest. The WCF's boldness to enter into the Holiest - that is, if they do enough "good works" to have that assurance, that boldness, "revived" - does NOT come from the blood of Christ ALONE but from their own efforts (cf. Romans 10:3). What pride, what arrogance, what audacity to dare make an attempt to enter in in this manner. Remember Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1-3).
"But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ" (Galatians 4:4-7).
The WCF rejects the Biblical truth that every true believer without exception continually cries Abba, Father.
Those who doubt are "supported from utter despair" because they have NOT yet despaired of their own righteousness as the sole ground of acceptance before God. If they would despair of their own righteousness and hope in the righteousness of Christ alone, they would never doubt, they would never be shaken, for they would have their foundation on the Rock of Jesus Christ: "Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him [cometh] my salvation. He only [is] my rock and my salvation; [he is] my defence; I shall not be greatly moved. ... My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation [is] from him. He only [is] my rock and my salvation: [he is] my defence; I shall not be moved. In God [is] my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, [and] my refuge,[is] in God" (Psalm 62:1-2,5-7). "They that trust in the LORD [shall be] as mount Zion, [which] cannot be removed, [but] abideth for ever. As the mountains [are] round about Jerusalem, so the LORD [is] round about his people from henceforth even for ever" (Psalm 125:1-2).
The ground of one's assurance IS the ground of one's salvation, and the ground of one's salvation IS the ground of one's assurance - Christ alone! The Spirit does not operate a self-righteous assurance in allegedly "spirit-wrought fruit," since the Spirit convicts God's people of the truth that Jesus Christ and His righteousness is the only ground of salvation and hence their only assurance and hope of salvation.
Chapter 24: Of Marriage and Divorce
XXIV.5. "In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce and, after the divorce, to marry another, as if the offending party were dead."
It was a fatal calculation of Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:9, and Romans 7:2-3 that brought the framers of the WCF to the conclusion that these verses upheld the confessional structure of marriage and divorce. Since the WCF's focus is primarily upon the lawfulness of the so-called "innocent party's" marriage to another, we focus there as well. Matthew 19:9 is thought by WCF adherents to be the unassailable pillar-text regarding the "innocent party's" right to marry another. Taking the WCF's own professed principle (i.e., I.9), we see that the "innocent party" of Matthew 19:9 will be caused to commit adultery in Matthew 5:32. The true interpretation of the "exception clause" (as it is commonly called) is that whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication (Matthew 19:9), causes her to commit adultery (Matthew 5:32). Thus, from both of these passages the conclusion is clear: The "innocent party" is CAUSED by the other spouse to commit adultery upon their marriage to another. The "innocent party" is the one who is put away apart from a matter of fornication and is caused to commit adultery, and the one who marries this wife who was put away by no fault of her own commits adultery with her (Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9).
Romans 7:2-3 is the proverbial nail that the Westminster Assembly used to hammer into its own interpretational coffin. Those who wrote the WCF could not get away from the clear truth that death is the only event that dissolves a marriage. How then could they reconcile this clear truth with their vile, immoral, preconceived notions of the lawfulness of remarriage after divorce? They were logical enough to realize that a real death contradicted their fanciful interpretation of the relevant Matthew texts. But they did not humbly acknowledge the error of their way on that day. They dreamt up a creative phrase instead - "as if the offending party were dead" - and in their arrogance, they gave it meaning. This is what 2 Peter 3:16 gives such clear warning about. To violently wring and twist a figurative "as if" death out of literal (real) death is to be a glowing example of one who violently wrests the Scripture to his own destruction.
In comparing this damnable heresy of the WCF with the words of Jesus Christ, we see that the "innocent party," so far from being encouraged to lawfully marry another, is said to be caused to commit adultery with whosoever shall marry him or her. In an ironic twist, the learned men of Westminster show themselves to be the corrupt ones who are apt to study arguments unduly for the express purpose of justifying the wickedness of adultery.
We have witnessed a horrible thing in this section of the confession. We have seen the theologians at Westminster Abbey give a nefarious nod to the commission of and continuance in adultery. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, that none may cease from wickedness (Jeremiah 23:14). They are destroyers of souls who are without understanding (cf. Proverbs 6:32).
For a fuller treatment of the stark contrast between the Biblical position of marriage and divorce and the heretical WCF position, see the articles from past issues of Outside the Camp entitled "The Law of Marriage" (Volume 10, Number 3) and "What Constitutes Marriage?" (Volume 12, Number 2).
Chapter 25: Of the Church
XXV.4. "This catholic Church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less visible. And particular Churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the Gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them."
The Westminster Confession of Faith is one of many responsible for blanketing much of the theological landscape in the darkness of ignorance. Those individuals, churches, and denominations applauding and adhering to this confession have been enveloped by this pernicious python. And yet, even in the grimmest and darkest of times, God has always preserved His gospel by reserving for Himself a remnant according to the election of grace who will never bow the knee to Baal (Romans 11:5-6). The framers of the WCF, along with those who profess adherence to its heretical contents, have bowed the knee to Baal. The true gospel is not taught and embraced in the "churches" that consider the WCF a bastion of orthodoxy, for the WCF denies that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone believing (Romans 1:16) by making exceptions for elect persons who are "uncapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word" (X. 3).
Idolatry includes attributing to God qualities of character that DO NOT belong to Him, NOT attributing to God qualities of character that DO belong to Him, and attributing to the creature qualities of character that belong to God alone. The framers of the WCF have changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man (Romans 1:23). One instance of this idolatrous and blasphemous exchange in the WCF is witnessed where God is said to leave men "to the liberty of their own will" (IV. 2), denying the absolute sovereignty of God. Another instance is where the WCF says that "life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience" (VII.2), attributing a quality to Adam that can only be found in Jesus Christ, the ONLY one who could EVER establish an everlasting righteousness that ensures and demands the everlasting life of His people. The framers and adherents of the WCF also deny the transforming work of the Holy Spirit by saying that Christians have deceitful hearts (V.5) and that unregenerate people can have common operations of the Spirit (X.4), showing that they believe in a false Holy Spirit. Worship of the true and living God is not being "performed more or less purely" in the "churches" that house this confession; rather, they are doing service in their respective synagogues unto a god which by nature is no god (Galatians 4:8).
XXV.5. "The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error; and some have so degenerated, as to become no Churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan. Nevertheless, there shall be always a Church on earth to worship God according to His will."
Those professing "churches" that hold to the heretical contents that have been outlined and expounded upon in this article are NOT true churches that have simply been subject to both mixture and error. On the contrary, they have so degenerated in their doctrines that it is clearly manifest that they are no true Churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan. For wherever a true Church is found, the true gospel is always found (Isaiah 52:7; Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 3: 15). The damnable heresies of the WCF have served only to undermine the true gospel of salvation conditioned solely on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ that comes not in word only, but also in the powerful assurance-causing work of the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:5). One instance of this undermining was seen in the section "Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation" (XVIII), where it was said that true believers can go through periods of time uncertain of whether or not the Spirit of God is witnessing with their spirits that they are children of God. If a person doubts that the Spirit is witnessing with his spirit, then he can be sure that the Spirit is in fact NOT witnessing with his spirit, since Paul clearly said that it is the Spirit who bears witness with the believer's spirit (Romans 8:16). If the person is unsure that the Spirit is testifying to him about Christ, then it is certain that the Spirit is not testifying to him (John 15:26).
In addition, churches that hold to the WCF's section "Of Marriage and Divorce" (XXIV) are guilty of tolerating, endorsing, and encouraging adultery, based on the framers' making up their own unscriptural justification of it ("as if the offending party were dead"). These churches reek of adultery, being filled with the putrid stench of adulterers and adulteresses that reaches the Holy nostrils of God, who says that adulterers will be judged and will not inherit His kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Hebrews 13:4).
May God's people continue in passionate devotion to Jesus Christ, patiently laboring for His name's sake, continuing to honor His truth by testing those who would try to subvert it by means of a surreptitious hand (Revelation 2:2-4). Those who have been given by the blessed Spirit eyes to see and ears to hear will weigh this Westminster Confession of Faith in the balances of Scripture and will find it desperately wanting. Any professing churches that believe any of these blasphemous teachings - or say that a true Christian could believe them - are not true Churches, but synagogues of Satan (Revelation 2:9). In stark contrast to how the WCF adherents worship, may we worship the Father in spirit and in truth.
"But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23-24).
"The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What [is] the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. [Is] not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer [that] breaketh the rock in pieces?" (Jeremiah 23:28-29)