Conference to discuss the role of the Westminster Confession of Faith

A conference will look at the changing role of the Westminster Confession of Faith in the modern era.

General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
The Theological Forum was instructed to review the status of the Westminster Confession of Faith at the 2018 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

Formally adopted by the Church of Scotland in 1647, the document has shaped Presbyterian churches around the world, particularly in their understanding of doctrine.

Westminster, Confessions and the Church will feature four papers presented by experts from a range of backgrounds and will conclude with a panel discussion.

The one-day event will be hosted at the University of Edinburgh's New College on Wednesday 8 May and tickets are open to all.

Issues with the Westminster Confession have been raised over the years at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, most recently in 2018.

Following an overture from the Presbytery of Melrose and Peebles, the Theological Forum was instructed to review the status of the Westminster Confession.

Writing in Life and Work, Convener of the Theological Forum Rev Dr Donald MacEwan said: "It is still the principal subordinate standard of belief in the Church of Scotland, and ministers and elders continue to subscribe to it when ordained and, for ministers, when inducted to a charge.

"Nevertheless there have been reservations about its status for many years.

"In particular, some have questioned its approach to secular authority, or its insistence on its particular account of predestination.

Since the General Assembly he said "the Forum has begun to explore the questions".

"We have discussed the Confession, reviewed Assembly reports about it and looked at how sister churches across the world approach creeds and confessions.

"But we are conscious that we need to have as many voices as possible."

Speakers:

  • Paper 1: Professor Paul Nimmo, "From Confessing to Confession: Discerning the Season under Heaven."
  • Paper 2: The Very Rev Dr Stafford Carson, "Recovering Reformed Catholicity."
  • Paper 3: Professor Amy Plantinga Pauw: "Looking Back, Looking Forward."
  • Paper 4: Professor David Fergusson: "A Subordinate Standard-Where Next?"

Tickets cost £15 or £7.75 for students.

The conference will be held at New College, Edinburgh University, and begins at 10am with tea and coffee.

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