Outside of Westminster, there is no Calvinism…

Which is what St. Cyprian would probably say if he were sitting on a North American Presbyterian study committee.  There are many varieties and interpretations of Calvin–indeed, many Calvinism(s).  Indeed, my friend at EvangelicalCalvinist–his work on T.F. Torrance–has completely destroyed the soteriological structure of the Westminster Confession of Faith, and I commend him for it.

On the other hand, as the recent controversy on the Federal Vision demonstrated in Presbyterian circles, it really doesn’t matter what these Calvinisms say, and quite frankly it doesn’t even matter what Calvin said.  The only thing that matters is  The Westminster Confession of Faith.   Unfortunately, that is not good enough, since the original Confession is fairly theocratic–libertarians in California opted out for modifying it.   Therefore, the next conclusion:   the only thing that matters is how the Westminster Confession of Faith is interpreted by specific Reformed synods.

But what of those who are not part of a synodal Reformed body?  In large part they are free to do whatever they want.  Secondly, they have the advantage of  being allowed to jettison aspects of Westminster Federalism that are clearly faulty.   Their main drawback, though, is that independent churches usually don’t have a long shelf-life.   They are often birthed in schism and if they don’t schism later on, they usually dwindle over a generation or two.

Another more serious problem, though, is that neither group can seriously pretend to have the faith once delivered to all the saints for the simple reason if new truth and doctrine break out, then by definition it can’t be part of the faith once delivered to all the saints.

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6 comments on “Outside of Westminster, there is no Calvinism…

  1. Bobby Grow says:

    That is a rockin’ vid.! 🙂 I agree that Free church is not perfect, but then neither is the hierarchy 😉 . I understand your point, but the way I’m going to parse ecclesiology won’t fit into an “Episcopelian” gvt., per se. I want to see the esse of the church grounded in the triune inter-relations themselves, grounded in the hypostatic union and mediated through the vicarious humanity of Christ; so that “all” structures in this “world,” even His Church, stand in creaturely servitude to Him. Or, that He stands over and against His own Church; and if we collapse that into a particular Church structure (like Roman Catholic or Greek/Russian Orthodox), then this whole order of being gets screwed up (and there’s no distinction between the “head” and the “body” and the “body” and the “head”).

  2. Craig French says:

    I searched Bobby’s site, and I couldn’t find where he destroyed Reformed soteriology. Was there one or two posts which you found particularly persuasive? I’m genuinely curious.

  3. Jacob Brown says:

    Forgive me for noticing, but the Synod of Dort, and its Calvinistic statements predated the Westminster by around 50 years or so, so what does that do for “Outside of Westminster, there is no Calvinism…”? And I am not a Calvinist, but was surprised by the title and thesis, is all. Love your blog

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