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Francis Turretin – God Has Bound Us To The Scriptures

1 Nov

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SECOND QUESTION: THE NECESSITY OF SCRIPTURE
Was it necessary for the word of God to be committed to writing? We affirm.

1. As in the preceding question we have proved the necessity of the word, so in this we treat of the necessity of the Scriptures (or the written word) against the papists. For as they endeavor studiously to weaken the authority of Scripture in order the more easily to establish their unwritten (agraphous) traditions and the supreme tribunal of the pope himself; so, for the same reason, they are accustomed in many ways to impair its necessity in order to prove it useful indeed to to the church, but not necessary. Yea Cardinal Hosius does not hesitate blasphemously to say, “Better would it be for the interests of the church had no Scripture ever existed”; and Valentia, “It would be better had it not been written.”

2. As to the state of the question, keep in mind that the word “Scripture” is used in two senses: either materially, with regard to the doctrine delivered; or formally with regard to the writing and mode of delivery. In the former sense (as we said before), we hold it to be necessary with respect to God. For two thousand years before the time of Moses, he instructed his church by the spoken word alone; so he could (if he wished) have taught in the same manner afterwards, but only hypothetically (on account of the divine will) since God has seen fit for weighty reasons to commit his word to writing. Hence the divine ordination being established, it is made necessary to the church, so that it pertains not only to the well-being (bene esse) of the church, but also to its very existence (esse). Without it the church could not now stand. So God indeed was not bound to the Scriptures, but he has bound us to them.”

3. Therefore the question is not whether the writing of the word was absolutely and simply necessary, but relatively and hypothetically; not for every age, but now in this state of things; nor relatively to the power and liberty of God, but to his wisdom and economy as dealing with man.


~Francis Turretin~




Institutes of Elenctic Theology – Volume 1 (Phillipsburg, NJ; P&R Publishing; 1992) p. 57.

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Thy Word Is Still Truth

31 Oct


Thy Word is Still Truth

Thy Word Is Still Truth
ed. by Peter Lillback & Richard Gaffin
WTS Price: $33.0

This new collection of Reformed thinkers’ writings from the Reformation to today brings together key documents on the inerrancy of Scripture in one readable volume.

Albert Mohler:
“We have needed this book for a long time. In Thy Word Is Still Truth, Peter Lillback and Richard Gaffin have drawn together the comprehensive witness of the church on behalf of the total truthfulness and inerrancy of Scripture. No serious reader can doubt the case for inerrancy made so consistently and clearly in these pages, and no serious defender of Scripture can be without this vital volume that amounts to the most massive arsenal of documentation for the inerrancy of Scripture ever assembled in a single book.”

What’s Inside?
In addition to including all the major confessions and catechisms, Thy Word Is Still Truth includes seminal articles on the doctrine of Scripture from the following authors:

Oswald T. Allis, William Ames, Herman Bavinck, Louis Berkhof, Henry Bullinger, John Calvin, Edmund P. Clowney, William Cunningham, Raymond B. Dillard, Jonathan Edwards, Sinclair B. Ferguson, John M. Frame, Richard B. Gaffin Jr., Louis Gaussen, Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg, Archibald Alexander Hodge, Charles Hodge, John Knox, Peter A. Lillback, Martin Luther, J. Gresham Machen, Adolphe Monod, John Murray, John Owen, Vern S. Poythress, Moisés Silva, Charles H. Spurgeon, Ned B. Stonehouse, Francis Turretin, Zacharias Ursinus, Cornelius Van Til, Geerhardus Vos, Bruce K. Waltke, Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, Robert Dick Wilson, John Witherspoon, Edward J. Young, and Ulrich Zwingli


Table of Contents (Major Sections):

Part One: Sola Scriptura: The Reformers’ Rediscovery of the Written Word of God.
Part Two: The Reformed Confessions
Part Three: The Early Reformed Interpretation
Part Four: The Doctrine of Scripture in Reformed Orthodoxy
Part Five: The Doctrine of Scripture in the Scottish and Dutch Legacy
Part Six: Other Nineteenth-Century European Contributions
Part Seven: The Doctrine of Scripture in the Theology of Old Princeton
Part Eight: The Theology of Scripture of the Founding Fathers of Westminster
Part Nine: The Birth of Biblical Theology
Part Ten: The Authority of the Old Testament and New Testament Canon of Scripture
Part Eleven: The Challenges to the Reformed Doctrine of Scripture
Part Twelve: The The Westminster Controversy
Part Thirteen: Conclusion

Read the detailed table of contents and the introduction here:


TWISTA Special Opportunity:

Donate $200 or More to Westminster Theological Seminary and receive this beautiful, limited edition, leather bound copy of Thy Word Is Still Truth signed by the editors.

Donate Here.
(217 copies remaining as of 09:50EST, 10/31/13)

John Calvin – Scripture’s Authority Arises Not From the Church

26 Oct

A most pernicious error widely prevails that Scripture has only so much weight as is conceded to it by the consent of the church. As if the eternal and inviolable truth of God depended upon the decision of men! For they mock the Holy Spirit when they ask: Who can convince us that these writings came from God? Who can assure us that Scripture has come down whole and intact even to our very day? Who can persuade us to receive one book in reverence but to exclude another, unless the church prescribe a sure rule for all these matters? What reverence is due Scripture and what books ought to be reckoned within its canon depend, they say, upon the determination of the church. Thus these sacrilegious men, wishing to impose an unbridled tyranny under the cover of the church, do not care with what absurdities they ensnare themselves and others, provided they can force this one idea upon the simple-minded: that the church has authority in all things. Yet, if this is so, what will happen to miserable consciences seeking firm assurance of eternal life if all promises of it consist in and depend solely upon the judgment of men? Will they cease to vacillate and tremble when they receive such an answer? Again, to what mockeries of the impious is our faith subjected, into what suspicion has it fallen among all men, if we believe that it has a precarious authority dependent solely upon the good pleasure of men!

~John Calvin~






Institutes of the Christian Religion, Volumes 1 & 2, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, The Library of Christian Classics (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011) Vol. 1.7.1. p. 75.

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John Calvin – We Must Come to the Word

23 Oct

We must strive onward by this straight path if we seriously aspire to the pure contemplation of God. We must come, I say, to the Word, where God is truly and vividly described to us from his works, while these very works are appraised not by our depraved judgment but by the rule of eternal truth. If we turn aside from the Word, as I have just now said, though we may strive with strenuous haste, yet, since we have got off the track, we shall never reach the goal. For we should so reason that the splendor of the divine countenance, which even the apostle calls “unapproachable” [1 Tim. 6:16], is for us like an inexplicable labyrinth unless we are conducted into it by the thread of the Word; so that it is better to limp along this path than to dash with all speed outside it.

~John Calvin~






Institutes of the Christian Religion, Volumes 1 & 2, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, The Library of Christian Classics (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011) Vol. 1.6.3. p. 72-73.

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John Calvin – Students of Scripture

13 Sep

Now, in order that true religion may shine upon us, we ought to hold that it must take its beginning from heavenly doctrine and that no one can get even the slightest taste of right and sound doctrine unless he be a pupil of Scripture. Hence, there also emerges the beginning of true understanding when we reverently embrace what it pleases God there to witness of himself.

~John Calvin~






Institutes of the Christian Religion, Volumes 1 & 2, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, The Library of Christian Classics (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011) Vol. 1.6.2. p. 72.

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Herman Bavinck – The World Is Never Godless

31 Jul

All knowledge of God rests on revelation. Though we can never know God in the full richness of his being, he is known to all people through his revelation in creation, the theater of his glory. The world is never godless. In the end there are no atheists; there is only argument about the nature of God. The recognition is universal of a power greater than human beings themselves, to whom they owe piety.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 2: God and Creation (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2004) p. 53.

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Herman Bavinck – Agnosticism Serves Pantheism

22 Jul

Not a single agnostic is prepared in the end to restrict himself or herself to saying that the matter [whether there is a God] is unclear (non liquet). Spencer, for example, keeps saying that we do not know the Absolute; at the same time he has an idea of it, demonstrates its existence, and assigns an array of properties to it. He asserts that it is not a negative but a positive concept; that it is the cause of everything; that is is a power mostly analogous to our will, infinite, eternal, omnipresent (etc.). This certainly is no longer agnosticism, but a very specific kind of knowledge and a rather well-defined God-concept. Agnosticism, inherently untenable and afraid of atheism, serves in the end to justify a pantheistic God-concept.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 2: God and Creation (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2004) p. 51-52.

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Herman Bavinck – A Middle Way Between Knowing God Fully and Not Knowing Him At All

19 Jul

What we know of God we know only of his revelation and therefore only as much as he is pleased to make known to us concerning himself and as much as finite humans can absorb. Knowledge of God, accordingly, can be true and pure, but it is always most relative and does not include but excludes comprehension.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 2: God and Creation (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2004) p. 51.

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Cornelius Van Til – A Definite Conception of Everything in the Created Universe

15 Jul

Van Till

It is not a sufficient description of Christian theism when we say that as Christians we believe in both the transcendence and the immanence of God while pantheistic systems believe only in the immanence of God and deistic systems believe only in the transcendence of God. The transcendence we believe in is not the transcendence of deism, and the immanence we believe in is not the immanence of pantheism. In the case of deism transcendence virtually means separation, while in the case of pantheism immanence virtually means identification. And if we add separation to identification, we do not have theism as a result. As we mean a certain kind of God when as theists we speak of God, so also we mean a certain kind of transcendence and a certain kind of immanence when we use these terms. The Christian doctrine of God implies a definite conception of the relation of God to the created universe. So also the Christian doctrine of God implies a definite conception of everything in the created universe.

~Cornelius Van Till~




The Defense of the Faith (Phillipsburg, NJ; P&R Publishing; 2008) p. 32.

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Cornelius Van Til – Bible Based Theism

11 Jul

Van Till

To engage in philosophical discussion does not mean that we begin without Scripture. We do not first defend theism philosophically by an appeal to reason and experience in order, after that, to turn to Scripture for our knowledge and defense of Christianity. We get our theism as well as our Christianity from the Bible.

~Cornelius Van Till~




The Defense of the Faith (Phillipsburg, NJ; P&R Publishing; 2008) p. 28-29.

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