A Topical Outline of the Westminster Confession of Faith

A Topical Outline of the Westminster Confession of Faith

Dr Ligon Duncan

July 10, 2020. https://ligonduncan.com/a-topical-outline-of-the-westminster-confession-of-faith/

1. Holy Scripture
1.1 The necessity of Scripture
1.2 The contents of Scripture (positively stated): canon
1.3 The contents of Scripture (negatively stated): “apocrypha”
1.4 The authority of Scripture
1.5 The authenticity of Scripture
1.6 The sufficiency of Scripture
1.7 The clarity of Scripture
1.8 The immediate inspiration, preservation and translation of Scripture
1.9 The interpretation of Scripture
1.10 The supreme authority of Scripture in all theological controversy

2. God and the Trinity
2.1 God himself
The one, living, true, infinite, perfect God
The spirituality, invisibility, incorporeality, and impassibility of God [and simplicity*]
The immutability, immensity, eternality, incomprehensibility, and omnipotence of God
The unchangeable and righteous purpose of God
The love, grace, mercy, patience, goodness, faithfulness, and forgiveness of God
The generous reward of God
The just and terrible judgment of God
2.2 God in and of himself
The inherent blessedness of God
The all-sufficiency and glory of God
The self-existence (aseity) of God
The sovereignty of God
The omniscience of God
The holiness of God
The worthiness of God
2.3 God the Trinity
The Trinity defined: God is one essence in three persons, consubstantial, co-omnipotent, co-eternal
The personal property of the Father: neither begotten nor proceeding
The personal property of the Son: eternally begotten
The personal property of the Spirit: eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son (filioque)

3. God’s Eternal Decree (comprehensive, eternal, unchangeable, holy, wise, sovereign purpose and plan)
3.1 The scope of the decree defined in relation to sin, choice, and contingency
3.2 The relation of the decree to God’s absolute, exhaustive foreknowledge
3.3 The inclusiveness of the decree (both predestination to life & foreordination to death)
3.4 The absolute unchangeability of the decree as to predestination and foreordination
3.5 The noncontigency of predestination to life, not conditioned or caused by the creature
3.6 The comprehensiveness of the decree, entailing the ends, means and subjects of redemption
3.7 The proximate cause and end of the decree of preterition
3.8 The special pastoral care and prudence required in the handling of this doctrine

4. Creation
4.1 The purpose of creation: the display of the Triune God’s glory
4.2 The creation of man, male and female, in God’s image, with law on their hearts

5. Providence
5.1 The nature of divine providence
5.2 The decree of God, noncontingency, providence and second causes
5.3 The ordinary providence of God, and means
5.4 The providence of God, the fall, and sin
5.5 The providence and the sin of believers
5.6 The providence of God and the sin of the ungodly
5.7 The providence and the care of the church

6. Fall, Sin and Punishment
6.1 The first sin, and the permission, purposes and glory of God
6.2 The consequences of sin for Adam and Eve
6.3 The consequences of their sin for their descendants
6.4 Original corruption and our actual sins
6.5 The persistence of original corruption, even in the regenerate
6.6 The nature and consequences of sin

7. God’s Covenant with Man
7.1 The necessity of God’s covenant as his means for communion and blessing
7.2 The nature of the covenant of works
7.3 The nature of the covenant of grace
7.4 The covenant of grace as testament
7.5 The covenant of grace under the law
7.6 The covenant of grace under the gospel

8. Christ the Mediator
8.1 The election, identity and offices of the Mediator
8.2 The divine-human person of the Mediator
8.3 The unction and vocation of the Mediator
8.4 The willing work of the Mediator
8.5 The atoning work of the Mediator
8.6 The atonement effective for the elect even before the incarnation
8.7 The Mediator’s hypostatic union and the Reformed communicatio idiomatum
8.8 The application of redemption

9. Free Will
9.1 The nature of human freedom
9.2 Human freedom in the state of innocence (posse peccare, posse non peccare)
9.3 Human freedom in the state of sin (non posse non peccare)
9.4 Human freedom in the state of grace (posse non peccare)
9.5 Human freedom in the state of glory (non posse peccare).

10. Effectual Calling
10.1 The subjects and nature of effectual calling
10.2 The effectual call is unconditional, the subjects passive until enabled by the Spirit
10.3 The effectual calling of elect infants and other incapables
10.4 Effectual calling and the non-elect

11. Justification
11.1 The nature of justification
11.2 The alone instrument of justification that is never alone
11.3 The ground of justification in Christ’s obedience and death
11.4 The act of justification is in time, not eternal
11.5 The state of justification and the sins of the justified (simul justus et peccator)
11.6 The nature of justification under the old testament and the new

12. Adoption
12.1 The nature, subjects, basis, and blessings of adoption

13. Sanctification
13.1 The nature of sanctification
13.2 The extent and imperfection of sanctification
13.3 The eventual overcoming in the war of sanctification

14. Saving Faith
14.1 The source of saving faith
14.2 The nature and acts of saving faith
14.3 The degrees of saving faith

15. Repentance unto Life
15.1 The source of repentance, and the necessity of preaching it
15.2 The nature of repentance
15.3 The necessity of repentance
15.4 The warning and warrant of repentance
15.5 The specificity of repentance
15.6 The practice of repentance

16. Good Works
16.1 The nature of good works
16.2 The place and value of good works
16.3 The ability of good works
16.4 The imperfection of good works (supererogation)
16.5 The imperfection of good works (merit)
16.6 The acceptance of good works
16.7 The works of the unregenerate

17. Perseverance of the Saints
17.1 The certainty of perseverance
17.2 The grounds of perseverance
17.3 The trials of perseverance

18. Assurance of Grace and Salvation
18.1 The certainty of assurance
18.2 The nature and grounds of assurance
18.3 The experience of assurance
18.4 The fluctuations of assurance

19. Law of God
19.1 The law given to Adam in the covenant of works
19.2 The moral law, from fall to Sinai
19.3 The ceremonial law (now abrogated)
19.4 The judicial law (now expired)
19.5 The moral law (still binding)
19.6 The usefulness of the moral law
19.7 The moral law not contrary to the grace of the gospel

20. Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience
20.1 The nature of Christian freedom
20.2 The nature of freedom of conscience
20.3 The perversion of Christian freedom (licentiousness)
20.4 The perversion of Christian freedom (rejection of lawful civil authority)

21. Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day
21.1 The duty and terms of worship
21.2 The object and means of worship
21.3 Prayer as an element of worship
21.4 The content of prayer
21.5 The other elements of worship (reading, preaching, hearing of Scripture, singing, sacraments, etc)
21.6 The place of worship
21.7 The day of worship (Christian Sabbath/Lord’s Day)
21.8 The observance of the Christian Sabbath

22. Lawful Oaths and Vows
22.1 The definition of lawful oaths
22.2 The basis of a lawful oath
22.3 The limits of oath-taking
22.4 The obligations of oath-taking
22.5 The definition of vows
22.6 The parties and purposes of vows
22.7 The limits of vows

23. Civil Magistrate (Civil Authority and Government)
23.1 The divine institution, purpose and power of civil government
23.2 The legitimacy and conduct of Christians in public office
23.3 The limits of civil authority in relation to the church
23.4 The duty of the people to civil authority

24. Marriage and Divorce
24.1 The nature of marriage
24.2 The purpose of marriage
24.3 The prerequisites of marriage
24.4 The explanation of forbidden marriages
24.5 The basis of lawful divorce and remarriage
24.6 The grounds and process of divorce

25. The Church
25.1 The identity of the church in all ages (universal and invisible)
25.2 The identity of the church under the gospel (universal and visible)
25.3 The endowment, purpose, and dynamics of the church’s mission
25.4 The varying visibility and purity of the church
25.5 The admixture, degeneration and preservation of the church
25.6 The head of the church

26. The Communion of the Saints
26.1 The basis and nature of the communion of the saints
26.2 The practical expression of the communion of the saints
26.3 Misunderstandings of the communion of the saints

27. Sacraments
27.1 The definition and purpose of sacraments
27.2 The relationship between sign and thing signified
27.3 The efficacy of sacraments
27.4 The number of sacraments
27.5 The relationship of old to new testament sacraments

28. Baptism
28.1 The nature and significance of baptism
28.2 The element and administration of baptism
28.3 The mode of baptism
28.4 The subjects of baptism
28.5 The necessity of baptism
28.6 The efficacy of baptism
28.7 The frequency of baptism

29. Lord’s Supper
29.1 The institution and purpose of the Lord’s Supper
29.2 The nature of the Lord’s Supper
29.3 The administration of the Lord’s Supper
29.4 Practices contrary to the nature of the Lord’s Supper
29.5 The outward elements and sacramental relation of signs and things signified in the Supper
29.6 The error of transubstantiation
29.7 The way in which we receive Christ in the Lord’s Supper
29.8 The danger of unworthy participation in the Lord’s Supper

30. Church Censures (Church Discipline)
30.1 The government of the church appointed by Christ
30.2 The commitment and nature of the power of the keys
30.3 The aims of church discipline
30.4 The types of church discipline

31. Synods and Councils
31.1 The need for wider church assemblies (synods or councils)
31.2 The work and authority of synods and councils
31.3 The fallibility of synods and councils
31.4 The jurisdiction of synods and councils

32. The State of Men After Death and of the Resurrection of the Dead
32.1 The nature of death, and the intermediate state of the dead
32.2 The last day, the living changed, the dead resurrected and reunited body and soul
32.3 The difference between the resurrection of the unjust and just

33. The Last Judgment
33.1 The nature of the day of judgment
33.2 The purpose of the day of judgment
33.3 The practical use of the doctrine of the judgment

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