TH610 - The Westminster Confession
2,280 Standard Tuition Fee
Learning outcomesOn successful completion of this unit, students will
Know and understand
1. The context of the Westminster Confession
i. Confessions of the Continental and British Reformations; the Scots Confession; the Irish Articles;
ii. The historical circumstances of the Westminster Assembly.
2. The content and form of the Westminster
iii. Chapter 1 on the doctrine of Scripture; the use made of Scripture;
iv. Theological methodology;
v. Theological topics;
vi. Covenantal and decreetal schema;
vii. Relations of church and state.
3. The significance of the Westminster Confession
i. Relation of the Westminster Confession to the other Westminster Documents;
ii. Adoption by the Church of Scotland;
iii. Adoption by the Presbyterian churches in the 19th century;
iv. Relation to later Scottish theology: moderatism, evangelicalism, modernism.
4. The place of the Westminster Confession in the Presbyterian Church of Australia
i. The Basis of Union of the Presbyterian Church of Australia;
ii. Place of the Westminster Confession in the denomination.
5. Interpretations and uses of the Westminster Confession of Faith
Be able to
1. Describe the historical context of the Westminster Confession.
2. Account for the 17th century importance of the Westminster Confession of Faith.
3. Outline the content of the Confession.
4. Explain the structure and form of the Confession.
5. Trace the influence of the Westminster Confession.
6. Identify how the Confession is used in the contemporary Presbyterian Church, especially in Australia.
7. Present an analytical evidence-based argument or reflection on aspects of the Westminster Confession of Faith.
8. Discuss interpretations and applications of the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Be in a position to
1. Inform their Christian thinking in both formal and informal study with perspectives about the Westminster Confession of Faith.
2. Show how understanding of the Westminster Confession of Faith is appropriated in personal life and the life of the Presbyterian Church of Australia.
3. Apply the Westminster Confession of Faith to situations and issues in contemporary church and society.
4. Evaluate uses of the Westminster Confession of Faith.
1. Confessions of the Continental Reformation and the British Reformation; the Scots Confession and the Irish Articles.
2. The historical circumstances of the Westminster Assembly.
3. The relation of the Westminster Confession to other Westminster Documents.
4. The adoption of the Westminster Confession by the Church of Scotland and its relation to later Scottish theology; moderatism, evangelicalism and modernism; the adoption of the Confession by Presbyterian churches in the nineteenth century.
5. The structure of the Westminster Confession.
6. Chapter 1 on the doctrine of Scripture, the use Confession makes of Scripture and the theological methodology used by the Confession.
7. A detailed examination of theological topics in the Confession.
8. The covenantal and decreetal schema of the Confession.
9. The Confession’s view of church and state.
10. The Basis of Union of the Presbyterian Church of Australia and the place of the Westminster Confession in the denomination.
a. examine in detail the Westminster Confession of Faith in its 17th century context;
b. consider the continuing significance of the Confession in the life of Presbyterian Church of Australia;
c. encourage students to develop their own theological thinking in interaction with the Confession.
The various primary documents referred to in the Content section above.
Carson, J. and D. Hall, To Glorify and Enjoy God (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1994).
Duncan, L. (ed.), The Westminster Confession into the 21st Century (Fearn: Mentor, 2003).
Letham, R., The Westminster Assembly: Reading its Theology in Historical Context, (Phillipsburg NJ: P & R Publishing, 2009).
Milne, D. J. W., The Westminster Confession of Faith for the Twenty-first Century (Sydney: Presbyterian Church of Australia, 2001).
Reymond, R. L., A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, rev.ed. 1998).
Torrance, T. F., Scottish Theology (esp. 125-53; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1996).