A Brief Introduction

Anytime we embark on a new endeavor, we do so with a goal in mind, with some purpose that compels us to travel down a particular path. Likewise, when we announce that endeavor to others and submit it to public scrutiny we can expect to hear that age old question: “Why?” More particularly for this blog, why another blog in an internet landscape saturated with them? Why add more noise in a space that seems positively cacophonous? If we wanted to narrow it down further, why a blog devoted to documents centuries removed from us in their initial authorship and cultural climate?

The answer to these questions can, perhaps, be best answered by the men of the Westminster Assembly themselves. Students of the historical milieu that gave birth to the Assembly and the Standards they produced can easily identify a principle purpose of that esteemed body of Divines: reformation. Indeed, it is hard to deny this fact of purpose when the ordinance of the English Parliament calling the Assembly to gather states: “whereas…as yet, many things remain in the liturgy, discipline, and government of the Church, which do necessarily require a further and more perfect reformation than as yet [has] been obtained…it is thought fit and necessary to call an Assembly of learned, godly, and judicious Divines…”[1] Yet, as straightforward as this purpose of the Assembly was, that is not the purpose that we desire to pursue. If the contents of this blog were to be instrumental in effecting reformation in areas where it is desperately needed, we would happily accept such a consequence. But our aim is something else and our purpose something more. That aim is best expressed in the vow taken by each member of the Assembly to “…make most for God’s glory, and the peace and good of this church.”[2] It is our sincere hope that what is produced here, in keeping with our forefathers’ concern, will unify and not divide, promote peace and not conflict, and glorify God and not ourselves.

The manner in which the Assembly sought to make “most for God’s glory, and the peace and good of this church”, was the development of “uniformity in religion.” In service of this end, they sought to produce a unified standard of truth detailing what was to be believed about God and what duty God required of men. Their pursuit came to fruition in the form of the Westminster Standards: the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. These Standards set down a beautiful summary of the doctrine found in the Scriptures themselves. The Confession of Faith carefully, eruditely, and precisely lays out a deposit of faith rooted deep in the Word of God. The Catechisms aim to take that faithful expression of Christian doctrine, teach it to believers, and work out the practical implications in the lives of those same believers. Though the Standards did not produce the reformed uniformity in religion the Divines so longed to see in the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, they were to have a lasting impact on the church for many years to come. Those Standards are still held to be a true and faithful summary of what is to be believed from Scripture by Reformed and Presbyterian denominations the world over.

Through an exposition and application of the truth expressed in these Standards from so many years ago, it is our sincere hope that A Standard for Living might play some small part in bringing glory to God and peace and good to His Church – Soli Deo Gloria

[1] Westminster Confession of Faith, (1958; repr., Glasgow: Free Presbyterian Publications, 2009), 13.
[2] Ibid, 15

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