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Episode 48 — Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 3: Of God’s Eternal Decree, Sections 3 and 4

Series: Westminster Confession of Faith

This week Randy Johovich, Don Maurer, and Marlin Klingensmith continue a discussion of chapter 3 of the Westminster Confession of Faith. They discuss sections 3 and 4 of the chapter: Of God’s Eternal Decree. These sections deal with double predestination, as God elects some and passes by others.

Running time: 36:14

Click here for 48: Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 3: Of God’s Eternal Decree, Sections 3 and 4

Program notes: The following are quoted in this discussion.

Westminster Confession of Faith

Chapter 3: Of God’s Eternal Decree

Section 3. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.

Section 4. These angels and men, thus predestinated, and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 21.

Human curiosity renders the discussion of predestination, already
somewhat difficult of itself, very confusing and even dangerous. No
restraints can hold it back from wandering in forbidden bypaths and
thrusting upward to the heights. If allowed, it will leave no secret to
God that it will not search out and unravel. Since we see so many on all
sides rushing into this audacity and impudence, among them certain men
not otherwise bad, they should in due season be reminded of the
measure of their duty in this regard.

First, then, let them remember that when they inquire into
predestination they are penetrating the sacred precincts of divine
wisdom. If anyone with carefree assurance breaks into this place, he
will not succeed in satisfying his curiosity and he will enter a
labyrinth from which he can find no exit. For it is not right for man
unrestrainedly to search out things that the Lord has willed to be hid
in himself, and to unfold from eternity itself the sublimest wisdom,
which he would have us revere but not understand that through this also
he should fill us with wonder. He has set forth by his Word the secrets
of his will that he has decided to reveal to us. These he decided to
reveal in so far as he foresaw that they would concern us and benefit us.

…For we shall know that the moment we exceed the bounds of the Word,
our course is outside the pathway and in darkness, and that there we
must repeatedly wander, slip, and stumble. Let this, therefore, first of
all be before our eyes: to seek any other knowledge of predestination
than what the Word of God discloses is not less insane than if one
should purpose to walk in a pathless waste [cf. Job 12:24], or to see in
darkness. And let us not be ashamed to be ignorant of something in this
matter, wherein there is a certain learned ignorance. Rather, let us
willingly refrain from inquiring into a kind of knowledge, the ardent
desire for which is both foolish and dangerous, nay, even deadly. But if
a wanton curiosity agitates us, we shall always do well to oppose to it
this restraining thought: just as too much honey is not good, so for the
curious the investigation of glory is not turned into glory [Proverbs
25:27, cf. Vg.]. For there is good reason for us to be deterred from
this insolence which can only plunge us into ruin.

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