By J. Parnell McCarter



Recently on rfw list a Westminster Seminary California development assistant named Joy Weaver stated: “Our faculty subscribe the Three Forms of Unity and the Westminster Standards ‘ex animo’ “.  This statement should come as no surprise, because at the seminary website (http://www.wscal.edu/about/doctrine/ ) such statements as this are made: “Our understanding of God's self-revelation is summarized in the Reformed confessions: the Westminster Confession and Catechisms, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dort.”  They give the impression that they are committed to these historical confessions with statements such as this: “We are committed to and guided by the great confessions of the Reformation era“.  And the Westminster Seminary California website has webpages purportedly devoted to showing the articles of these confessions. 


So what is the problem with all of this?  It is a lie.   The faculty at Westminster West does **not** subscribe to the Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity .    The Westminster Confession at their website is not even the real Westminster Confession, and the Belgic Confession at their website is not even the real Belgic Confession.  But they do not make clear that they have doctored up such confessions so as to comport with their own wrong-headed, modern notions on political philosophy, for example.  This is why a Westminster Seminary California professor like Dr. Michael Horton can make such wicked statements as this: “Unless we truly believe that it is the business of government to force people to become Christians, the first table of the Law is not to be legislated by the state, but is rather to be proclaimed by the church and is to shape the witness of the church as it is properly related to God by the Gospel. It is the duty of every person, but it cannot and ought not to be the duty of the state to enforce it.” (see http://www.modernreformation.org/mh94godsname.htm )  Such a statement manifestly contradicts the position of the real Westminster Confession (and more importantly the Bible!), which states: “The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven: yet he hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed.”   If Dr. Michael Horton is to be believed that enforcement by the civil magistrate of the first table of the law is no duty, then we must condemn the repentance and command to the kingdom by the king of Nineveh , of whom we read: “For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered [him] with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.  And he caused [it] to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that [is] in their hands.”  And similarly we would have to condemn Nehemiah, of whom we read: “And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and [some] of my servants set I at the gates, [that] there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day.”


Or, to take another example, the real Westminster Confession teaches an historicistic position concerning the Romish Papacy (see www.historicism.net ).  This is why we read in its chapter 25: “nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God.”  But in Westminster Seminary California’s doctored up version of the Westminster Confession, the statement has been expunged.  It seems they quietly expunge any such doctrine they find distasteful, all the while maintaining they adhere to the Westminster Standards.


But the lie does not end there.  The real Westminster Confession of Faith teaches that the world was made “in the space of six days”, which leaves no room for the Framework Hypothesis, which a number of the Westminster Seminary California faculty adhere to. And the faculty there typically rejects clear implications regarding worship as outlined in Westminster Confession of Faith chapter 21.   And other examples could be cited beyond these, but I think the point has sufficiently been proved.


When is this shameful charade going to end?