Posted: July 28, 2015 by Joshua Knott
When I say “Westminster Standards” you probably either cheer, shrug, or break out in a cold sweat. To the shrugging and the sweaty I want you to know that we’re asking you to read the Westminster Standards, that you’ll survive the experience and that you’ll be blessed and encouraged by the end of it.
I bring this up because, as part of our desire to have the highest caliber teachers and small group leaders, this Fall we’re requiring all of our teachers and leaders to have read the Standards, make note of questions and concerns they have, and submit that to the Shepherding Committee which has oversight over all the Adult Sunday Schools and Small Groups.
Let me be clear about the Session’s intent behind requiring leaders to have read the Standards.
- We are not trying to bind anyone’s conscience.
- We are not requiring everyone to be personally convinced everything in the Standards is 100% Biblically faithful in order to teach or lead a small group.
- We are not on a witch-hunt.
We are trying to make sure that our standards for teaching and small group leadership are connected up with The Standards themselves, which means we want all of our teachers and small group leaders to know the system of doctrine that we, as a church, believe the Scriptures teach.
Still shrugging and sweaty? Let me help you get motivated to read the Standards (which is the Westminster Confession of Faith, Larger and Shorter Catechisms).
1. We’ll help. I’ve slightly re-worked an online 30 day reading plan (pdf version) which takes you through the Standards topically. You’ll read a bit from the Confession, Larger and Shorter Catechism each day. It is available online as well as in print (by request!).
2. The Standards are Biblically faithful. Of course, as a minister in the PCA, I would say this. Still, I say it because it is true.
3. They are Biblically helpful. This is the best man-made summary of what the Bible teaches and it is helpfully organized into categories and questions.
4. They are spiritually rich. I’ve said it before: one Biblically saturated sentence written by the saints of old is worth as much as 20 paragraphs written today.
5. They are beautifully written. The Standards, especially in their original form, have a beautiful economy of language that is a delight to read, memorize, and recite.
Still shrugging and sweaty? Grab an open Bible, a copy of the Standards, and read anyways! Come and see why some people cheer when I say “Westminster Standards” and learn more about what we, as a church, believe the Scriptures teach.