Subscription to the 1646/1689

Discussion in 'The Confession of Faith' started by W.C. Dean, Jan 11, 2020.

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  1. W.C. Dean

    W.C. Dean Puritan Board Freshman

    Greetings brothers and sisters, this is addressed to those of you who subscribe to the 1646 Westminster or the 1689 London without exceptions.

    What was the most difficult thing you had to struggle with to affirm in your confession? Right now I'm learning more about the Establishment principle as set forth in the 1646 WCF, and I affirm it, but still have to more to learn about it. I'm still trying to figure out what I believe about the Pope, and the Confessions' labels of him. I'm posing this question to my Baptist brethren as well, as the 1689 labels him in the same way.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    For a while, I scrupled the statement about the Pope being the Antichrist. One source that helped me overcome this scruple was actually John Stott's commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2 - even though he did not mention the papacy directly. Another useful source on the same theme is Greg Beale's discussion of that passage in his book on the Temple. Again, he does not mention the papacy directly, but, upon reading it, you have to ask yourself, "If the shoe fits?"
     
  3. Jerrod Hess

    Jerrod Hess Puritan Board Freshman

    10.3, wherein elect infants are saved without being outwardly called by the Word, which the 1st chapter makes clear is the only means of salvation, since faith cometh by hearing.

    Any help or resources on that, and the Pope being the capital A Antichrist would be appreciated!! Thank you
     
  4. Kinghezy

    Kinghezy Puritan Board Sophomore

    There was some discussion on the following thread about elect infants. That discussion was not on the "original Westminster", but I am not sure that this particular question would change between the two versions.

    https://www.puritanboard.com/thread...heology-and-biblical-theology-renihan.100676/
     
  5. W.C. Dean

    W.C. Dean Puritan Board Freshman

    I think the thing that has honestly pushed me closer to believing that the Pope is that Antichrist is Roman doctrine. The more I hear about it the more evil it sounds. I was listening to a FCS(C) minister talk about a Roman catechism today, where it states the Pope's tiara is adorned with three crowns, as he is ruler of heaven, earth, and hell, and that as the Vicar of Christ, he is essentially God on earth in their doctrine. Things have only gotten worse since the Puritans first called him the Antichrist, especially note the council of trent.
     
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  6. Jerrod Hess

    Jerrod Hess Puritan Board Freshman

    Very interesting, thank you.
     
  7. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritanboard Colporteur

    Read John Eadie's The Man of Sin. It is linked below.
    https://archive.org/stream/commentaryongree1877eadi#page/329/mode/1up
     
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  8. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Senior

    Coming from a broad evangelical background, the Sabbath was something that for me required extra time and study. But now, having been convinced from Scripture, it has had a profound impact on my walk with God for the better.
     
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  9. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    Thomas Manton's work on the subject is well-worth reading. Regretfully, apart from isolated extracts here and there, it is the only substantial book by Manton that I have read. (I have a category on Antichrist on my blog, but it needs updating as there are a load of old posts that I need to include in it.)

    P.S. This extract is particularly useful: Thomas Manton on the pope’s “apostolic succession” from Judas Iscariot.
     
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  10. Seeking_Thy_Kingdom

    Seeking_Thy_Kingdom Puritan Board Freshman

    Roberts suggestion of Man of Sin is excellent, I have been reading it myself. This one is also worth looking into:
    Anti-Christ pointed and painted out in his true colours, or, The popes of Rome proven to bee that man of sinne and sonne of perdition fore-prophesied in Scripture by the clear witnessing of Roman Catholicks themselves, who lived and died in the communion of that church by William Guild.
    https://ota.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/repository/xmlui/handle/20.500.12024/A42310#
     
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  11. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    I would say you're not alone on the Establishment Principle, as very few American Presbyterians have been able to affirm it as written. Most groups when they constituted in the US actually modified the language, including the majority of the Seceders and Covenanters, leaving only a few micro-denominations and non-US based denominations in the US holding the original language about the Establishment Principle. Not many US denominations hold to the Pope as Anti-Christ in their Confession either.
     
  12. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    You may appreciate this comparison of the WCF Ch. 23 between major American denominations. I believe @Backwoods Presbyterian posted it here.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    This conference is the best audio resource I know of defending the Confessional position: https://www.christcovenantrpc.org/audio/conferences-lectures/pope-is-antichrist/

    I know that didn't really answer your question, but I hope you find it helpful. As far as the personal side of things goes, this was the last part of the WCF that I came to embrace, and I think it's probably the one people struggle with most.
     
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  14. W.C. Dean

    W.C. Dean Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you, I'll take a listen. It is indeed the last thing in the confession that I, as of right now, cannot affirm without reservations. I think I'm much more closer to it than others, because I said before, I think people don't realize how truly evil papal doctrine actually is. It's funny to me because it seems like the former Roman Catholics here affirm it more easily.
     
  15. W.C. Dean

    W.C. Dean Puritan Board Freshman

    23.3 would be the only thing in the OPC Confession of Faith I would take exception to if I were to be ordained. Perhaps I had a easier time affirming the Establishment principle because I've studied lots of different political affiliations. I even used to be a monarchist. My point being, American secular politics are not the only thing I've known. Thank you for the resource.
     
  16. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Sophomore

    It makes sense to me that a denomination would want to confess its position on the establishment principle, but I'm not so clear on why the pope as THE antichrist - the individual future fulfillment of specific passages of Scripture - rises to quite the same level. Is it sufficient to believe that the pope, historically and in the present, has been an antichrist - a manifestation of the seductive (as well as persecuting) power of the evil one? I don't want to hijack the thread but it would be interesting to hear someone explain why the original WCF is not only a plausible interpretation of those passages with a long and reputable history (it certainly is that), but is sufficiently important to the system of doctrine to need to be confessed. Particularly in a document that chose not to confess a particular millennial view.
     
  17. W.C. Dean

    W.C. Dean Puritan Board Freshman

    I believe Thomas Manton specifically based an article about why it's important to consider the Pope the Antichrist as described in WCF 25.6, I would check Reformed Covenanter's blog under the category "Antichrist" as he collects the articles and essays of various theologians, especially the Puritans. I think the position is at least one that should not be dealt with lightly, or just considered a product of their time. I would say it's notable that the Puritans considered the office the Antichrist, and the office has actually gotten worse since then. A product of our time would be to label the Pope as such because papal doctrine has become more evil. Also I think you'll be hard pressed to find someone who views the Pope as the Antichrist without a post millenial view, or some variation of amillennial. I think most would agree the 1646 WCF (more than the 1788 WCF) has a notably postmillenial outlook. In that sense the Papacy as the Antichrist is just an element of that eschatology.
     
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  18. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Same here. I have no problem saying the pope is an antichrist, but I can't go with the exegesis that he is the man of sin.
     
  19. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    It is difficult to say as I came aligned to the original WCF somewhat all at once. Nevertheless, when I think about the prejudices of my mind and heart, I think my greatest struggle would have been with the papacy as Antichrist. The reason being is that I adopted a very sceptical attitude towards prophecy due to the excess of dispensationalism which rendered any thought towards prediction and fulfilment with disregard. Coupled with my default idealism I couldn't see that the scripture would be specific about anything regarding the identity of a prophesied figure.

    Once, however, I began to study the matter it became clear to me that the New Testament was predicting the rise of a corrupting power/figure within the church.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
  20. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    I found George Marsden's discussion of pope as antichrist interesting. The New England puritans debated which pope was the first antichrist believing that a literal 1000 years past that would mark the start of the golden age. That would place the new age as starting in the 1600s or early 1700. I wonder what they'd think 300 something years later? (Recognizing, of couse, that this wasn't a monolithic view.)
     
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  21. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    Is that discussion to be found in the Jonathan Edwards biography? Or is it in a stand-alone essay? I have read a few of his books, but they were dealing with 19th and 20th-century material.
     
  22. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    Yes, it is sufficient. The Bible sees the Antichrist as an evil supernatural person, while, historically and in the present, each pope has been and is currently a mere human being who eventually dies and is replaced by another.
     
  23. W.C. Dean

    W.C. Dean Puritan Board Freshman

    While I do appreciate that we are peacefully conversing on the nature of the papacy, I do want to point out that my main point with this thread was to hear from those do affirm the Puritan doctrine of the Antichrist, along with other difficult doctrines. Not to say the dialogue hasn't been helpful, because it has. Thank you everyone for responding.
     
  24. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, it's in the longer of his two works on Rev. Edward's. I loved the insights into colonial America and the puritans.
     
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  25. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    That's a problem with some types of historicism. You have to keep rewriting your program.
     
  26. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    Thanks, Jean.
     
  27. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    I think that point is fair enough, to be honest. I am not a hardcore historicist by any means. Sorry to break the hearts of Reformed Romantics. And I think that it is also fair to say that some arguments on behalf of the pope being the antichrist have been a little far-fetched. Recognising this point does not mean that you are out to deny the doctrine; it just means that you have retained objectivity and are willing to engage in some self-criticism.
     
  28. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    I will post this one here rather than starting a new thread:

    Certainly be it as it will, that there have been, are and will be many Antichrists, and false teachers, which oppose themselves against Christ, yet there is one of them to whom this title is, by an unhappy excellency, principally due. ...

    For more, see John Cameron: The papacy is the antichrist.
     
  29. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Graduate

    I would say that it was written in a particular time and historical context. I see no need to confess that the pope is the Antichrist. But people are entitled to there opinion.
     
  30. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Another interesting difference between the WCF and the 1689 Baptist confession is the 1689 distinguishes between the Covenant of the Redemption and the Covenant of Grace more so than the WCF. I suspect it reflected a later creedal development - the 1689 was written about 30 years after the WCF. See the 1689 Confession 7:2 and 7:3
     
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