A Reader’s Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith
Chad Van Dixhoorn
Banner of Truth, 2014
Reviewed by Peter Barnes
There could be no more credible guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith than Chad Van Dixhoorn, who has just edited a five volume edition of the minutes of the Westminster Assembly.
The Confession came about as Edmund Calamy urged the House of Commons in 1643 to “reform the Reformation” by establishing the Church of England more firmly on the full and sufficient authority of Scripture. Van Dixhoorn is a most readable and thorough modern interpreter of the resultant Confession, which was finished in 1646.
At all times Van Dixhoorn is clear in his exposition but he avoids a polemical tone to the work. For example, he deals with the covenant of works in WCF 7.2 – which the Shorter Catechism calls “a covenant of life” (SC 12) – without overtly mentioning modern disputations over both the term and the concept. He is mild in accepting the modern removal of the reference to the pope as “that antichrist” in WCF 25.6.
Some more detailed explanations would help in some places, but the book is over 450 pages so the publishers were probably wise to avoid running the risk of indigestion. Any pastor who wants to lead a group, perhaps a session, in studies on the Westminster Confession will be grateful that he can draw on Van Dixhoorn’s expertise and spiritual help.
Buy it here from Reformers Bookshop