The Context of the Westminster Assembly
For those who love theology, the temptation can be strong to bypass the assembly’s historical context and to focus on interpreting and applying its doctrinal truths to the contemporary church. Grasping the historical context can be perceived as a necessary evil endured for the sake of appeasing church historians. However, understanding the historical context is integral, not incidental, for a full and robust interpretation, exposition, and application of the confessional, catechetical, and ecclesiastical documents that arose from the Westminster Assembly. Indeed, without an understanding of the assembly’s context, these confessional documents are easily misinterpreted, and the richest of components of these confessional formulations are certainly overlooked. This article will explore the historical context of the Westminster Assembly and end with three reasons why all those who draw on the standards and want to understand their theology should continue studying the assembly’s historical context.