The Westminster Assembly

from Jan 25, 2020 Category: Ligonier Resources

In this brief clip from his teaching series A Survey of Church History, W. Robert Godfrey examines the importance of the Westminster Assembly. Watch this entire message for free.

The English civil war really established the necessity of Parliamentary government along with the monarch, and began the evolution in England towards the kind of Parliamentary democracy that is in England today, so it had that great social political benefit. But it also had very important ecclesiastical benefit, and that came from the decision of the Parliament to establish an assembly of theologians and ministers to decide how to reform the church. And this is known to history as “The Westminster Assembly.” The Westminster Assembly, interestingly enough, was not really a church assembly.

The Synod of Dort, for example, that defeated Arminianism, in the early seventeenth century, was a church synod. The Westminster Assembly was really a Parliamentary committee, it was a political committee in that sense, but it was composed of ministers who were given the responsibility of figuring out how to improve and reform the church in England. And they decided that they needed to reform the church in three ways, just as the National Covenant had talked about “three necessities”” They wanted a clear statement of Reformed doctrine, they wanted a clear direction on Reformed worship, and they wanted a clear Reformed government for the life of the church, and that’s what the Westminster Assembly set about doing.