Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Review: 'Truth's Victory Over Error'

The Westminster Confession of Faith is one of the most important documents of the English-speaking Reformed Churches. The Presbyterian Churches use it (or used to use it) as their primary Confession, the Baptists and the Congregationalists have adopted lightly edited versions of it. It is a standard that must be taken notice of.
This volume, with its characteristic Puritan title, is the first commentary on the Westminster Confesion, originally delivered as a series of lectures to theological students. It is constructed in the formal academic style of the 17th century, in the form of a series of questions and answers on the chapters of the Confesion. We give Question 2 of Chapter 1 as an example of how the book is constructed:
"Are the Holy Scriptures most necessary to the Church?

Yes (2 Tim. 3.15; 2 Peter 1.19).

Well then, doth not the popish church err that affirms the 'true church to be infallible in teaching and propounding articles of faith, both without and against Scripture: and that their unwritten traditions are of divine and equal authority with the canon of Scripture'?


Do not likewise the Libertines and Quakers err in affirming that God doth teach and guide the elect into all truth by the alone instinct and light of the Spirit, without any written word whatever?


By what reasons are they confuted?
1. Because the Scriptures are the foundation upon which the church is built (Eph. 2.20).
2. Because all things are to be examined by the rule of the Word, as the noble Bereans did (Acts 17.11-12).
3. Because unwritten traditions are subject and liable to many corruptions and are soon and quickly forgotten.
4. Because we have life eternal in the Scriptures; therefore they must be most necessary to the Church (John 5.39).
5.Because the Scriptures are given, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works (2 Tim. 3.16-17. And the Scriptures are written that men may believe (John 20.31),"

It will be seen that Dickson uses the Bible to prove heretics wrong. Some of these are heresies we know, others less known. But since old heresies are often recycled, it is good to know why they are wrong! Dickson writes in a style that is not popular today - he is concerned to contend for the truth! This is no book for the postmodern!
This edition also has a biographical introduction introducing Dickson to the modern reader. The layout is excellent, and it is everything we have come to expect from a Banner of Truth hardcover volume.
This is a straightforward book, although fiercely polemical in tone. We do not agree with all of it, but it is well worth the wait that was needed to buy it in England!!!

'Truth's Victory Over Error' is available at £15.50 from the Banner of Truth Trust Here.



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