The Westminster Standards & the Ordo Salutis

Discussion in 'The Confession of Faith' started by scottmaciver, Jul 20, 2018.

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  1. scottmaciver

    scottmaciver Puritan Board Sophomore

    I wonder if I can have some input in relation to the Westminster standards & the Ordo Salutis. Would you say it was correct to state that the Westminster confession doesn't support an Ordo Salutis, as such? Gaffin said that the standards do not spell out a particular Ordo Salutis.

    However, Fesko said, "the Ordo is present not only in terms of the logical ordering of the confessions treatment of Soteriology but also a number of key statements within those chapters..."

    Furthermore, Warfield said that the Westminster Divines dealt with “the order first of the benefits conferred under the covenant (Vocation, Justification, Adoption, Sanctification) and then of the duties required under the Covenant (Faith, Repentance, Good works, Perseverance, Assurance).

    In short, does the Confession have an Ordo Salutis & if so, how would it best be described? I tend to say that it does have an Ordo Salutis, but I would appreciate some clarification on this.
  2. scottmaciver

    scottmaciver Puritan Board Sophomore

    The other thing is, if this represents a rough Calvinist Ordo, the Confession seems to follow a similar pattern from chapters 10-18, but then nothing on glorification, unless you take that under chapter 32, "On the state of men after death, and of the resurrection of the dead."

    As I say, your thoughts would be appreciated on this.
  3. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    It might be helpful to explain what Gaffin is getting at. Gaffin supports the idea of one umbrella benefit that includes under its shade all the other benefits. That one hyper-benefit is union with Christ. Within union are two types of benefits: justification-type benefits and sanctification-type benefits. The former (which include justification and adoption) are legal in nature (though their connection to union keeps them from being cold and lifeless), instantaneous in their execution, and perfect at once. Their other type of benefit includes everything related to the renewal of the inner man. This would include regeneration, effectual calling, faith, sanctification, and glorification. These are all processes (some longer than others!) that carry on within the Christian by the power of the Holy Spirit. So, Gaffin is seeking to say that the WS do not rule out the kind of structure to the ordo that Gaffin postulates. Gaffin rejects the idea of an ordo that begins with election, then effectual calling, then regeneration, then faith, then justification, then adoption, then sanctification, then glorification, the so-called "golden chain" model of things, as if these things all follow in sequential order. I agree with Gaffin. There are certain things that we can say come before certain other things (regeneration before faith, for instance). However, parsing out the exact relationship in time among all the benefits does not seem like a particularly fruitful endeavor. So Gaffin is simply saying that the WS describes all these benefits without necessarily putting them in a sequential order.
  4. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    My thoughts as well.
  5. scottmaciver

    scottmaciver Puritan Board Sophomore

    That is very helpful Lane. Much appreciated for taking the time to respond!
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