05 August, 2019

Minutes of the Westminster Assembly, Session 753—“God’s offer of [Christ] in His word to me as well as to any other man”

The Assembly proceeded in the debate of the Catechism, and upon debate it was
Resolved upon the Q., ‘Q. What is it to believe in Christ? A. To believe in Christ is to receive according to God’s offer, resting on him alone for pardon and all grace and salvation.’ Resolved upon the Q., ‘Q. What ground or warrant have you, being a sinner, to believe in Christ? A. The ground of my believing in Christ is God’s offer of Him in His word to me as well as to any other man, and His commanding me to believe in Him, as well as to believe or obey any other thing in His word. (Minutes, Session 753, in Minutes of the Sessions of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, edited by Alex F. Mitchell and John Struthers [Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1874], p. 309)

“The ‘minutes’ of the Westminster Assembly teach a divine favour for all and clearly show that when the Westminster Standards use the term ‘offer,’ they use it in the sense a gracious favour of God according to which God seeks the salvation of all men and invites them to come to Christ.
Session 753 speaks of God ‘offer[ing Christ] to me as well as to any other man …”


Prof. Herman C. Hanko

In considering this evidence, it is important, first of all, to remember the fact that the propositions stated in those minutes were not indicative of the view of the Assembly itself, but were propositions put forward for debate. It is, therefore, worthwhile to compare the pertinent articles in the minutes with the actual articles in the Westminster Standards.

… The sum of both these questions and answers was formulated by the Assembly in quite a different way [than that presented for discussion in Session 753]. It is found in the Larger Catechism, Q&A 72:

Q. 72. What is justifying faith?
A. Justifying faith is a saving grace, wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit and word of God, whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition, not only assenteth to the truth of the promise of the gospel, but receiveth and resteth upon Christ and his righteousness, therein held forth,[NB, This expression ‘held forth’ is the term word ‘offer,’ HH] for pardon of sin, and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation.



More to come! (DV)

No comments:

Post a comment