When the seventeenth-century English Puritan-dominated parliament
became embroiled in a conflict with Charles I, the members of the
Long Parliament sought military assistance from the Scots. The
Scots, however, also desired to see a united Reformation of church
and society and proposed a covenant to institute a greater
religious uniformity in the three kingdoms. The English parliament
established the Westminster Assembly to prepare the documents for
that uniformity. One of those documents, the Westminster Confession
of Faith, addressed the major theological disputes of the day; one
of which centred on whether God still revealed His will outside of
the Bible. The book concludes that the Westminster divines believed
that God still directed people in all of life, though revelation
which come immediately from God had ceased now that the church had
the completed Scriptures. In the opening chapter of the Confession,
the divines of Westminster included a clause which implied that
there would no longer be any special immediate revelation from God.
Means by which God had once communicated the divine will, such os
dreams, visions, and the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, were said
to be no longer available. However, many of the authors of the WCF
accepted that 'prophecy' continued in their time, and a number of
them apparently believed that disclosure of God's will through
dreams, visions, and angelic communication remained possible. How
is the 'cessationist' clause of WCF 1:1 to be read in the light of
these claims? This book reconciles this paradox in a detailed study
of the writings of the authors of the Westminster Confession of
Faith. 'Garnet Milne presents us with a much-needed study .... He
builds his case by presenting judicious and thorough evidence from
a large number of both primary and secondary sources. lt is a
fascinating and groundbreaking book ... and clarifies a remarkable
amount of profound, theological detail.' Joel R. Beeke, from the
Foreword 'Connecting the past to the present is always a difficult
but necessary task for the responsible Christian theologian. Dr
Milne's work is a good example of how modern questions can be
sensitively engaged in a manner which gives due respect to the
great formulations of the past without either imposing Procustean
criteria on such historic discussions or simply historicising such
to the point of irrelevance.' Carl R. Trueman, Professor of Church
History and Historical Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary,
Philadelphia, USA 'Scholars in puritan studies are increasingly
alert to the variety of the movement's theology and spirituality.
Garnet Milne's carefully-argued conclusions will provide a major
resource for the reassessment of the most critical of puritan
doctrines - the sufficiency of Scripture.' Crawford Gribben, Long
Room Hub Senior Lecturer in Early Modern Print Studies, Trinity
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