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Classic Calvinism and Confessional Endorsement

July 31, 2008

Introductory Note: These articles were first drafted in 1879 and adopted by the United Presbyterian of Scotland as a Declaratory Statement. At the time, there was considerable hostility to them, claiming that they were contrary to the entire Reformed tradition. However, all the key propositions in these two articles have direct and exact precedents in first generation Reformation Calvinism. These two articles, along with five others were adopted by the Presbyterian Church of Australia in 1962, similarly as a Declaratory Statement.

Redemption:

(i) That in regard to the doctrine of redemption as taught in the subordinate standard, and in consistency therewith, the love of God to all mankind, His gift of His Son to be the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, and the free offer of salvation to men without distinction on the grounds of Christ’s all sufficient sacrifice, are regarded by this Church as vital to the Christian faith. And inasmuch as the Christian faith rests upon, and the Christian consciousness takes hold of, certain objective supernatural historic facts, especially the incarnation, the atoning life and death, and the resurrection and ascension of our Lord, and His bestowment of His Holy Spirit, this Church regards those whom it admits to the office of the Holy Ministry as pledged to give a chief place in their teaching to these cardinal facts, and to the message of redemption and reconciliation implied and manifested in them.

God’s Eternal Decree:

(ii) That the doctrine of God’s eternal decree, including the doctrine of election to eternal life, is held as defined in the Confession of Faith, Chapter III, Section 1., where it is expressly stated that according to this doctrine, “neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established”; and further, that the said doctrine is held in connection and harmony with the truth – that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, that He has provided a salvation sufficient for all, and adapted to all, and offered to all in the Gospel, and that every hearer of the Gospel is responsible for his dealing with the free and unrestricted offer of eternal life.

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