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Westminster Confession of Faith

An Example of False Christianity

 

I. False Insufficiency

The Westminster Confession of Faith begins with a lie in the very first sentence. It states,

I. Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation. (www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs/, underlining added)

First of all, Scripture teaches no such concept (Proverbs 30:5-6). You will not find a single verse that teaches the light of nature and the works of creation are not sufficient to give that knowledge which is necessary unto salvation. Secondly, Paul taught it is sufficient.

Paul wrote in Romans about the gospel which “is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). He declared that this gospel is not only brought by men (Romans 10:14-17), but via the light of nature as well. Speaking in the context of the gospel Paul wrote,

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: "Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world." (Romans 10:17-18)

In other words, yes indeed they have heard the word of God (the gospel). Everyone has heard the gospel. "Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world."

Romans 10:18 is a quote from Psalm 19:4. Psalm 19 says,

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world. (Psalm 19:1-4 NAS)

Men are indeed without excuse. For all men have the gospel (the word of God) preached to them via the heavens every day (“Day to day”). Whether it comes via the heavens or via another human being (preacher), it is the word of God, and “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

Nowhere in Scripture does it dictate that the message must come via another human being (preacher) or a written text for salvation to take place. For any and all who are saved, it is “by grace . . . through faith” (Ephesians 2:8), and “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Paul lets us know the "hearing" comes in at least two ways, a preacher (Romans 10:14-17) and the Heavens (Romans 10:18).

Acts 17:30 says God “commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). Proverbs reveals He is constantly calling men to repentance (Proverbs 1:20-23; 8:1-7; 9:3-6). And no doubt, “He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens” (Romans 9:18). That’s what it comes down to. It does not necessitate a human preacher or a written text. It necessitates God quickening the heart, for "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved" (Rom 10:13), “to all who call upon Him in truth” (Psalm 145:18).

Isaiah 55 declares,

For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11)

One of the things God sends out His Word to prosper in is faith, as Paul wrote, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Thus, one of the things God sends out His Word to prosper in is salvation, and that is the context in which God speaks in Isaiah 55.

Therefore, Scripture reveals God sends forth His Word via human messengers (Isaiah 52:7), via creation (Psalm 19 & Romans 1), and via Wisdom speaking to men (Proverbs 8; Romans 1:19). He gives His Word which is “the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:9). At least one of His purposes in doing so is to save men (Isaiah 55). Nevertheless,“Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14).

So, the Westminster Confession of Faith begins with a lie.

II. False Commandment

It also adds commands unfounded in the Word (Proverbs 30:5-6) and teaches as “doctrines the commandments of men (Matthew 15:9).

For example, in this same chapter in paragraph VIII speaking in the context of the Biblical Hebrew and Greek texts it states,

But, because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated in to the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that, the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an acceptable manner; and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope. (underlining added)

The footnote given to justify this command is,

1CO 14:6 Now, brethren, if I come undo you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, of by prophesying, or by doctrine? 9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. 11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. 12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. 24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: 27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

In these verses Paul is not talking about translating the written word. It is talking about speaking an unknown tongue and then interpreting it (or translating it). This unknown tongue of which Paul speaks is both unknown to the speaker and the hearers (1 Corinthians 14:13-14). So, it is talking about a supernatural event. It is not dealing with translating a known language or reading and searching a written text.

In the Old Testament no command to translate was given. In fact, the opposite is illustrated.

He declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and His judgments to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any nation; and as for His judgments, they have not known them. Praise the LORD! (Psalm 147:19-20)

In the New Testament, His Word clearly “was preached to every creature under heaven” (Colossians 1:23) “in all the world” (Colossians 1:6). But, there is never any command for the written Word “to be translated in to the vulgar language of every nation” so that they might “read and search them.” Indeed, that may be a good idea, but God gives no command to do so. This confession goes “beyond what is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6).

III. False Exegesis

In this same first chapter the Confession states,

IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly. (underlining added)

The above is the sad but common eisegesis of this corrupt age.

Indeed, “in Your light we see light” (Psalm 36:9), but the Word never teaches the concept that “when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture . . . it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.” This is a standard of men who rely in their own understanding (contrary to Proverbs 3:5-6). This is unfounded in the Word (Proverbs 30:5-6). It is also used by evil men to deceive the simple minded (Proverbs 14:15). Who says there are “other places that speak more clearly”? Men declare this, but Scripture doesn’t.

For an example of how this is used to twist the Word, see our article on Paul Washer under section III. Washer's Bad Hermeneutics.

IV. False God

A. No Body, Parts, or Passions

In chapter II this Confession reveals they believe in a false God, as they lie about the true God. In the very first sentence of chapter two it says,

I. There is but one only, living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; . . . . (underlining added)

This is so blatantly false. Did the writers of this Confession even read their own Bibles? The Biblical evidence against this is overwhelming.

With man being made in Their image (Genesis 1:26-27), with Him recorded as walking in the garden (Genesis 3:8), with the three Men who are all God who appear to Abraham (Genesis 18), with the Divine Man who wrestled with Jacob (Genesis 32:22-30), with the Lord being explicitly called a “Man1 of war” (Exodus 15:3), with the God/Man who appeared to Joshua (Joshua 5:13), with the God/Man who appeared to Samson’s parents (Judges 13:2-23), with Jesus calling Himself literally, “the Son of the Man2 (Matthew 9:6; etc.), with Jesus calling Himself and His Father “two men” (John 8:17-18), with all the fullness of the Godhead being in Christ “bodily” (Colossians 2:9), etc., etc., it's obvious God has a body (even bodies), parts, and passions. That is, it's obvious when the Bible is believed (John 8:47), and an “anthropomorphic” lie isn't superimposed upon the text.

Webster defines passion as,

: a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something

: a strong feeling (such as anger) that causes you to act in a dangerous way

: a strong sexual or romantic feeling for someone (www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/passion)

Beyond dispute, at the very least, the first two most clearly defines the Almighty. The Bible is filled with the passion of God's anger that causes Him to act in a dangerous way. As it is written,

God is a just judge, and God is angry every day. If he does not turn back, He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready. He also prepares for Himself instruments of death; He makes His arrows into fiery shafts. (Psalm 7:11-13)

The LORD shall go forth like a mighty man; He shall stir up His zeal like a man of war. He shall cry out, yes, shout aloud; He shall prevail against His enemies. I have held My peace a long time, I have been still and restrained Myself. Now I will cry like a woman in labor, I will pant and gasp at once. I will lay waste the mountains and hills, And dry up all their vegetation; I will make the rivers coastlands, and I will dry up the pools. (Isaiah 42:13-15)

Thus says the LORD of hosts: "I am zealous for Zion with great zeal; With great fervor I am zealous for her. (Zechariah 8:2)

The Lord's very name is a passion, “Jealous” (Exodus 20:5; 34:14). It is written,

for as strong as death is love, hard as Sheol is jealousy; its flames are flames of fire, a flame of Yah.3 (Song of Solomon 8:6, a more literal translation)

In the context of romantic jealousy the passion is called a “flame of Yah.”

B. No Contingencies, No Uncertainty

Furthermore, in this same chapter in the next paragraph the Confession states,

In His sight all things are open and manifest, His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain. (underlining added)

This is yet another example of men relying on their own understanding. In Genesis 18 God Himself describes both a contingency and an uncertainty.

I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know. (Gen. 18:21)

This has to do with God knowing. The Lord declares His purpose in visiting Sodom is to find out for certain if things are “according to the outcry,” and He says, “if not, I will know.” The contingency is in the “if not” and the uncertainty is in “I will know,” that is, after He goes down.

In addition, Psalm 81 records something quite uncertain to the Lord.

Sing aloud to God our strength; Make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob. Raise a song and strike the timbrel, The pleasant harp with the lute. Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon, At the full moon, on our solemn feast day. For this is a statute for Israel, A law of the God of Jacob. This He established in Joseph as a testimony, When He went throughout the land of Egypt, Where I heard a language I did not understand. "I removed his shoulder from the burden; His hands were freed from the baskets. You called in trouble, and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah "Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you! O Israel, if you will listen to Me! There shall be no foreign god among you; Nor shall you worship any foreign god. I am the LORD your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. (Psalm 81:1-10)

Another contingency?

Therefore He said that He would destroy them, had not Moses His chosen one stood before Him in the breach, to turn away His wrath, lest He destroy them. (Psalm 106:23; see also Deuteronomy 9:9-19)

Jesus’ own return is uncertain to Him. He knows not when (Mark 13:32).

Also, the Lord Jesus’ miraculous powers were contingent on the people’s faith.

Now He could do no4 mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. (Mark 6:5)

The Word does not declare as the Westminster Confession of Faith, “nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain.” It illustrates just the opposite.

C. Not The Creator of Evil

In chapter III this Confession again lies about the true God and promotes a false God. In the first sentence of chapter three it states,

I. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, . . . .

Earlier in chapter II the Confession states,

He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things; . . . .

Yet, here in chapter III they deny their own words that “all things” are “of” “through” “and to” Him (Romans 11:36) by claiming God is not the author of sin.

Later, in chapter V the Confession claims God is the “Creator of all things,” but here it shows they really don’t mean “all things” as they claim. They deny He is the Creator of sin. If God truly ordains “whatsoever comes to pass” (as the Confession claims), then God indeed is the Creator (author) of sin. As it is written,

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil:5I the LORD do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7 KJV)


O LORD, why have You made us stray from Your ways, and hardened our heart from Your fear? Return for Your servants' sake, The tribes of Your inheritance. (Isaiah 63:17 NKJV)


Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not? Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good? (Lamentations 3:37-38 KJV)


Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? (Amos 3:6 KJV)


Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. (2 Samuel 12:11-12 KJV)


And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. (Ezekiel 14:9 KJV)

And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and everyone shall eat the flesh of his friend in the siege and in the desperation with which their enemies and those who seek their lives shall drive them to despair. (Jeremiah 19:9)


And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 KJV)

For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. (Romans 11:32 NKJV)

For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36 NKJV)

The footnote verse for the above quote in the Confession is James 1:13 which says nothing about God being the author or not of sin, but speaks to the fact that God is not tempted nor does He tempt (entice to sin). Likewise given is 1 John 1:9 in which is stated,

God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Amen, “Good and upright is the LORD” (Psalm 25:8). But, that does not mean He is not the Creator of everything including evil. He expressly says He is (Isaiah 45:7; Romans 11:32, 36; etc.).

And, even though "in him is no darkness at all," "Clouds and darkness surround Him" (Psalm 97:2; see also Exodus 20:21; Deuteronomy 4:11; 5:22-23; 2 Samuel 22:10-12; Psalm 18:9-11).

V. False Free Will

In chapter IV the Confession states,

II. After God had made all other creatures, He created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after His own image; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it; and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, . . . . (underlining added)

Nowhere does Scripture teach they were left to the liberty of their own will. Just as God making man upright (Ecclesiastes 7:29) was God’s will upon man, so man’s fall was God’s will upon man. As it is written,

The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. (Proverbs 16:4 KJV)

For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)

Jeremiah declares,

O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps. (Jeremiah 10:23)

Likewise Proverbs states,

A man's heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps. (Pro. 16:9)


A man's steps are of the LORD; how then can a man understand his own way? (Pro. 20:24)

VI. False Covenant

In chapter VII the Confession states,

II. The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam; and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.

Adam could have had eternal life simply by eating some fruit. All they would have had to do is eat from the tree of life (Genesis 2:9). But after the fall, the Lord prevented this. As it is written,

Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever" - therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.
(Genesis 3:23-24).

VII. False Salvation

In the first sentence in chapter XI (Justification) the Confession states,

I. Those whom God effectually calls, He also freely justifies; not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God. (underlining added)

The statement “not by infusing righteousness into them” is directly against Romans 3:22.

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. (Romans 3:21-22)

God’s righteousness is “to all and on all who believe.” That equals God “infusing righteousness into them.” God (Christ) lives in the believer (Galatians 2:20). The “righteousness of God” lives in the believer. How much more infused can it be? Christ is the righteousness of God (John 16:8-10; 1 Corinthians 1:30), and that righteousness lives and acts out godliness in the life of a believer. Thus,

If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. (1 John 2:29)


Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. (1 John 3:7)

This is why on the Day of judgment it will be a matter of those who lived a righteous life and those who didn’t, as Jesus declared.

Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth-- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. (John 5:28-29; see also Psalm 15; 24:3-6; Matthew 25:31-46; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 6:7-8; Revelation 22:14-15; etc.)

All believers have Christ living in them, and this produces righteous living. Righteousness (Christ) is infused into believers (Romans 3:22; Galatians 2:20).

In this same chapter the Confession claims,

II. Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification: yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but works by love. (underlining added)

This is an explicit denial of several passages of Scripture, and the exact opposite of James 2:24.

You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. (James 2:24)

But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:36-37)


who "will render to each one according to his deeds": eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness-- indignation and wrath,tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law(for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; (Romans 2:6-13)

VIII. So Small and So Great

In chapter XV the Confession claims,

IV. As there is no sin so small, but it deserves damnation; so there is no sin so great, that it can bring damnation upon those who truly repent.

Scripture does not teach these things (Proverbs 30:5-6). First, in Matthew Jesus mentions a sin so small it does not receive damnation.

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:18-19)

There is no comment on whether it deserves damnation or not. But, clearly damnation is not given, for such a one is “least in the kingdom of heaven.”

Second, whether true repentance is possible or not in this case, Scripture does not say. But, there is a sin so great that it brings certain damnation with no possible forgiveness forever.

Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. (Matthew 12:31-32)

Furthermore, Proverbs 1 warns,

Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,Because you disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my rebuke, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, When your terror comes like a storm, And your destruction comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD (Pro. 1:24-29).

IX. More False Commandments

A. False Prayer Prohibition

In chapter XXI the Confession forbids what God does not.

IV. Prayer is to be made for things lawful; and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter: but not for the dead, nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death. (underlining added)

The footnote given for the underlined section is 1 John 5:16.

If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. (1 John 5:16 KJV)

John refuses to say “pray for it.” This is not a prohibition against praying for it. It is simply a refusal to instruct to pray. The Confession twists 1 John 5:16 into a command when it is simply a statement.

B. False Prayer Instruction

Also in chapter XXI the Confession states,

VI. Neither prayer, nor any other part of religious worship, is now, under the Gospel, either tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed:

After the temple was destroyed, in Babylon Daniel made a regular practice of praying with his windows open toward Jerusalem.

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. (Daniel 6:10)

What's the significance of Daniel praying with his windows open toward Jerusalem? The passage doesn't say. But, it is significant to note: Jerusalem is God.

Walk about Zion, And go all around her. Count her towers; Mark well her bulwarks; Consider her palaces; That you may tell it to the generation following. For this is God,6 Our God forever and ever; He will be our guide Even to death. (Psalm 48:12-14)


If I forget you, O Jerusalem, Let my right hand forget its skill! If I do not remember you, Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth-- If I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy. (Psalm 137:5-6)


In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Jeremiah 33:16)

C. False Sabbath

Also in chapter XXI the Confession states,

VII. As it is the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in His Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment binding all men in all ages, He has particularly appointed one day in seven, for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him: which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week: and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week, which, in Scripture, is called the Lord's Day, and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian Sabbath.

This is a “tradition of men” (Colossians 2:8), and is contrary to holy writ. Paul says,

One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. (Romans 14:5)


So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17)

Moreover, nowhere does Scripture teach the Sabbath was changed to the first day of the week (Proverbs 30:5-6). The Confession gives for a footnote for this 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 and Acts 20:7 neither of which say anything about a Sabbatical change. The first speaks of a collection being made on the first day of the week, and the second mentions the disciples came together on the first day of the week. It is an assumption and addition to God’s Word to make these into a Sabbatical change.

After the above quote in the next paragraph the Confession states,

VIII. This Sabbath is to be kept holy unto the Lord when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations, but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.

This is a commandment of men (Matthew 15:8-9) nowhere found in God's Word (Proverbs 30:5-6).

D. False Oath

In chapter XXII under “Of Lawful Oaths and Vows” the Confession states,

Yet it is a sin to refuse an oath touching any thing that is good and just, being imposed by lawful authority. (underlining added)

This is yet another commandment of men (Matthew 15:8-9). No one is obligated to make an oath. The footnote given for this command is Numbers 5:19-21; Nehemiah 5:12; and Exodus 22:7-11. Yet, Jesus said,

But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No.” For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. (Matthew 5:34-37)


But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your "Yes," be "Yes," and your "No," "No," lest you fall into judgment. (James 5:12)

X. False on Marriage

Another doctrine of men can be found in chapter XXIV under “Of Marriage and Divorce” in which is written,

I. Marriage is to be between one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, . . . . (underlining added)

Nowhere does Scripture lay any such general prohibition upon men. An overseer or a deacon is to be a one woman man (1 Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6), but other men have the freedom to have more than one wife.

Several godly men of the past were polygamous (Abraham, Jacob, Gideon, Caleb, David), and God never condemns them for it; but this Confession does. This Confession disobeys James 4:11-12 and acts as the Lawgiver. If God does not forbid something, it is lawful (1 Corinthians 6:12; 10:23; Titus 1:15).

Some deceivers use Matthew 19:9 to claim polygamy is wrong.

And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery. (Matthew 19:9)

This verse says nothing about polygamy. The man in this verse doesn’t have two wives. He divorces one and takes another. Jesus calls that adultery. He does not say simply taking on a second wife equals adultery. Divorce is a treacherous act, covers one's garments with violence, and is something God hates (Malachi 2:16). Such language is never found against polygamy.

Moreover, “adulterers” will not “inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9). Abraham was no adulterer, but he was polygamous; and he certainly inherited the kingdom of God (Matthew 8:11).

Plus, if taking on a second wife was adultery, then God commanded adultery in the law. See, for example, Deuteronomy 22:28-29 & 25:5-10. Neither passage qualifies the man being single. Thus, these laws apply to both single and married men. And, if married, it is a command to take on a second wife.

XI. False on Divorce

In this same chapter the Confession also states,

In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce and, after the divorce, to marry another, as if the offending party were dead.

This is a lie. In 1 Corinthians 6:1-10 Paul condemned the Corinthians for suing each other, and in the next chapter he writes,

A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife. (1 Cor. 7:10-11)

The verse given in the footnote (Matthew 19:9) to justify this false doctrine does not teach a lawful divorce. Matthew 19:9 says nothing of the lawfulness or unlawfulness of divorce. It addresses whether or not adultery is being committed. To understand God’s view of divorce, Jesus gave it prior to Matthew 19:9. In Matthew 19:6 Jesus said,

So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.

Jesus hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). It is not lawful, as the Confession claims. For more on divorce, see our article on Divorce and Remarriage.

XII. False Profession

In chapter XXV the Confession claims,

II. The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation

Profession means nothing. “Those who are of faith are sons of Abraham (Galatians 3:7).

Jesus said,

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:21-23)

As is evident from Jesus’ words there will be many who profess to be in the family of God, but they are liars. As it is written,

He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1 John 2:4)

XIII. False Antichrist

In this same chapter the Confession claims,

VI. There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ. 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 exalts himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God.

This is a lie. The Pope is certainly anitchrist (2 John 7), but the “man of sin, and son of perdition” has not been revealed yet. When he is revealed,

he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:4)

Since there is presently no temple of God, there certainly isn’t any man of sin sitting in it. And, the Catholic church is no temple of God. It is a temple or church of Satan (as in Revelation 2:9; 3:9 "synagogue of Satan").

XIV. False Baptism

In chapter XXVIII under “Of Baptism” the Confession states,

III. Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary; but Baptism is rightly administered by pouring, or sprinkling water upon the person. (underlining added)

Here the Confession does not follow what is in the Word. There is no pouring or sprinkling found in Scripture. What is found is exactly what they say “is not necessary.”

So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. (Acts 8:38-39)7

Immediately after the above the Confession claims,

IV. Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, but also the infants of one, or both, believing parents, are to be baptized. (underlining added)

Here is yet another doctrine and command of men (Matthew 15:8-9). Scripture never specifically instructs infants to be baptized, as this Confession does.

Moreover, what if an unbelieving parent did not want the infant to be baptized? This Confession declares immediately after the above,

V. Although it is a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, . . . .

So, here they condemn such a one and call it “a great sin” not to obey their command, a commandent of men.

In Acts 16:31 Paul and Silas told the Philippian jailer,

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household. (Act 16:31)

And so,

immediately he and all his family were baptized. (Act 16:33)

Some may assume this “all” includes infants. After this it says,

Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household. (Act 16:34)

Clearly, those who were baptized believed.

It is true that God “commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30), in which repentance includes being baptized (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). But, the problem is, we cannot repent for others (infants or otherwise). Any baptism must be the result of faith (Hebrews 11:6) and repentance on the part of the believer. Otherwise, God will not be pleased. As it is written,

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6; see also Romans 14:23)

Now, it is also true that infants can believe. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb (Luke 1:41-44). If an infant wanted to be baptized, it should not be forbidden.

This Confession believes so strongly in infant baptism that it claims God’s grace upon the baptized infants.

VI. The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongs unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in His appointed time. (underlining added)

Scripture does not teach any particular grace upon baptized infants, since baptized infants aren’t even discussed (Proverbs 30:5-6).

XV. False Afterlife

In chapter XXXII the Confession speaks of heaven and hell and states,

Beside these two places, for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledges none.

There are two problems with this statement. First, 1 Peter 3 speaks of,

the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared (1 Peter 3:19-20).

Second, the afterlife is not a state in which they are “separated from their bodies.” For example, the rich man in Hades is in his body. He has eyes and a tongue and is “tormented in this flame” (Luke 16:23-24). Also, Jesus made it quite clear the afterlife is physical and includes men’s bodies. Speaking in the context of the resurrection Jesus said,

But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him. (Luke 20:37-38)

In other words, by Moses’ time Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were already in resurrected bodies, even though their bodies on earth were still in the grave. Likewise, in 2 Corinthians 5 Paul confirms believers will be in physical bodies after they die (2 Corinthians 5:1-4; see also Ephesians 2:6).

Endnotes:

1 יְהוָה אִישׁ מִלְחָמָה (yehvâh 'iysh milchâmâh) – Yehvah is a Man of war.

2 ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (ho huios tou anthrôpou) – the Son of the Man

3 שַׁלְהֶבֶתְיָה (shalhevetyâh) – flame of Yah; see NAS “flame of the LORD

4 οὐκ ἠδύνατο (ouk êdunato) – “he could do no” or it could be translated, “he was unable to do”

5 The word “evil” is the Hebrew word רָע (râ`) which is identical to the English word “bad.” God creates “bad” which includes evil.

6 כִּי זֶה אֱלֹהִים אֱלֹהֵינוּ (kiy zeh 'elohiym 'elohêynu) – For this is God, our God

7 βάπτισμα (baptisma) - “baptism” (e.g. Luke 3:3) = “immersion” - What is typically translated “baptism” (which is more of a transliteration than a translation) is immersion, and this can be seen in the use of this Greek word, as it is used for being “buried with Him through baptism” (NKJV Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12). Also, its figurative usage of Christ’s death and resurrection depicts an immersion as well (Matthew 20:22 [Mark 10:38]; Luke 12:50; see also Matthew 12:39-41; 16:4; Luke 11:29-32). Also, the verb form βαπτίζω (baptizô) besides being used for “baptize” is also used for washing (e.g. Mark 7:4; Luke 11:38) and being immersed into the Red Sea (1 Corinthians 10:2). It is also used in the LXX in 2 Kings 5:14 for when Naaman dipped in the Jordan 7 times. Moreover, the closely related noun βαπτισμος (baptismos) is used for washing (e.g. Mark 7:4, 8 [RT]; Hebrews 6:2; 9:10). Also, another related word is βαπτω (baptô) that means to “dip” (e.g. Luke 16:24; John 13:26; Revelation 19:13). There is a Greek word for “sprinkle” (ῥαντίζω, hrantizô) and it is found in Hebrews 9:13, 19, 21; 10:22; 11:28; 12:24; and 1 Peter 1:2.

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