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The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 5
The Orthodox Presbyterian Church ^

Posted on 05/13/2008 5:55:46 AM PDT by Alex Murphy

Chapter 5
Of Providence

1. God the great Creator of all things doth uphold,a direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things,b from the greatest even to the least,c by his most wise and holy providence,d according to his infallible foreknowledge,e and the free and immutable counsel of his own will,f to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.g

2. Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the First Cause, all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly;h yet, by the same providence, he ordereth them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.i

3. God, in his ordinary providence, maketh use of means,k yet is free to work without,l above,m and against them, at his pleasure.n

4. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men;o and that not by a bare permission,p but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding,q and otherwise ordering, and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to his own holy ends;r yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.s

5. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave, for a season, his own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled;t and, to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.u

6. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous Judge, for former sins, doth blind and harden,w from them he not only withholdeth his grace whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts;x but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had,y and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasions of sin;z and, withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan,a whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means which God useth for the softening of others.b

7. As the providence of God doth, in general, reach to all creatures; so, after a most special manner, it taketh care of his church, and disposeth all things to the good thereof.c

TOPICS: Apologetics; Mainline Protestant; Ministry/Outreach; Theology
a. Neh. 9:6. Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee. Ps. 145:14–16. The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down. The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. Heb. 1:3. … who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

b. Dan. 4:34–35. And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? Ps. 135:6. Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places. Acts 17:25–28. Neither is [God] worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Job 38–41. Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,… Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.… Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb.… Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth? Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death.… Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion.… Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder.… Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him? Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty.… Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?…

c. Matt. 10:29–31. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. See Matt. 6:26–32.

d. Prov. 15:3. The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. 2 Chron. 16:9. For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars. Ps. 104:24. O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. Ps. 145:17. The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

e. Acts 15:18. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. Isa. 42:9. Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them. Ezek. 11:5. And the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak; Thus saith the LORD; Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: for I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them.

f. Eph. 1:11. … in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. Ps. 33:10–11. The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

g. Isa. 63:14. As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name. Eph. 3:10. … to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God. Rom. 9:17. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Gen. 45:7. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Ps. 145:7. They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.

h. Acts 2:23. Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. See Isa. 14:24, 27.

i. Gen. 8:22. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. Jer. 31:35. Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name. Isa. 10:6–7. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few. See Ex. 21:13 and Deut. 19:5; 1 Kings 22:28–34.

k. Acts 27:24, 31, 44b. … saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.… Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.… And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land. Isa. 55:10–11. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

l. Hos. 1:7. But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen. Matt. 4:4. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Job 34:20. In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand.

m. Rom. 4:19–21. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

n. 2 Kings 6:6. And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim. Dan. 3:27. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellers, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

o. Isa. 45:7. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Rom. 11:32–34. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counseller? 2 Sam. 16:10. And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so? Acts 2:23. Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. Acts 4:27–28. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. See 2 Sam. 24:1 and 1 Chron. 21:1; 1 Kings 22:22–23; 1 Chron. 10:4, 13–14.

p. John 12:40. He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. 2 Thess. 2:11. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.

q. Ps. 76:10. Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain. 2 Kings 19:28. Because thy rage against me and thy tumult is come up into mine ears, therefore I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.

r. Gen. 50:20. But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Isa. 10:12. Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks. See Isa. 10:6–7, 13–15.

s. James 1:13–14, 17. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.… Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 1 John 2:16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. Ps. 50:21. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.

t. 2 Chron. 32:25–26, 31. But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem. Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.… Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart. Deut. 8:2–3, 5. And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.… Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. Luke 22:31–32. And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. See 2 Sam. 24:1, 25.

u. 2 Cor. 12:7–9. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. See Ps. 73:1–28; 77:1–12; Mark 14:66–72; John 21:15–19.

w. Rom. 1:24, 26, 28. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.… For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature.… And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient. Rom. 11:7–8. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (according as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

x. Deut. 29:4. Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. Mark 4:11–12. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

y. Matt. 13:12. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Matt. 25:29. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. See Acts 13:10–11.

z. Gen. 4:8. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. 2 Kings 8:12–13. And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child. And Hazael said, But what, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing? And Elisha answered, The LORD hath shewed me that thou shalt be king over Syria. See Matt. 26:14–16.

a. Ps. 109:6. Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand. Luke 22:3. Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. 2 Thess. 2:10–12. … and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

b. Ex. 8:15, 32. But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.… And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go. 2 Cor. 2:15–16. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? Isa. 8:14. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 1 Pet. 2:7–8. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. See Ex. 7:3; Isa. 6:9–10; Acts 28:26–27.

c. 1 Tim. 4:10. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. Amos 9:8–9. Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD. For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. Matt. 16:18. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Rom. 8:28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Isa. 43:3–5, 14. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west.… Thus saith the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships.

1 posted on 05/13/2008 6:00:02 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy

I am curious.....
How does your Orthodox Presbyterian Church differ from the PCA, of which I am a member. I was not aware that there was another conservative branch of the Presbyterian Church and am thrilled to see that there is and curious to know about it.

2 posted on 05/13/2008 6:17:49 AM PDT by Apple Pan Dowdy (... as American as Apple Pie)
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To: Apple Pan Dowdy

Apple Pan Dowdy, greetings from a PCA neighbor... If my memory serves correctly, there are several sister reformed denominations which share PCA’s key conservative doctrines (in sharp contrast to the PCUSA’s positions). In fact, the PCA spearheads the administration of a joint sponsorship program for military chaplains from the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), Reformed Presbyterian Church in America (RPCNA), Korean American Presbyterian Church (KAPC) and the Korean Presbyterian Church in America (KPCA). That might be a good indication of their shared beliefs.

3 posted on 05/13/2008 6:47:45 AM PDT by Always A Marine
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To: Apple Pan Dowdy
From the OPC web site: What distinguishes the OPC from the PCA?
4 posted on 05/13/2008 10:20:17 AM PDT by UncleDick (Ron Paul '08)
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To: Apple Pan Dowdy; UncleDick

The link provided by UncleDick seems to provide a fair distinction. OPC is smaller and more unified than the PCA; and while it is no more conservative than the most conservative presbyteries of the PCA, it is certainly more conservative than the bulk of the PCA. The PCA is more aggressive in church planting, which brings both benefits and negative influences.

The OPC and the PCA are in communion through NAPARC, along with the ARP (which may be more conservative than the OPC), The Free Reformed Churches of North America, The Heritage Reformed Congregations, The Korean American Presbyterian Church, RCUS, The Reformed Church of Quebec (ERQ), The Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, and the The United Reformed Churches in North America.

5 posted on 05/13/2008 6:12:51 PM PDT by PAR35
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To: PAR35; Always A Marine; UncleDick

Thank you all for your info. It’s good to hear that there is another conservative branch of the Presbyterian church. I left the (southern branch, can’t recall what its called) years ago when I became disgusted with the teachings of “situation ethics”, and unbiblical theology.

I remember walking out of Sunday school class one morning when the teacher asked, “who here thinks that only Christians will go to heaven?” I raised my hand, and got awful glares from the rest of the class and the teacher. Then they all proceeded to tell me how narrow minded and stupid I was. I asked, “what about the scripture that tells us that there is no other way but by Jesus?” They all laughed and said that was just symbolism and not meant to be taken so literally.

For a while I struggled with my beliefs, as I thought maybe I was wrong to believe the Bible so literally, it just seemed that surely there would have been someone in that class agreeing with me if I was right.

I was very happy to find the PCA and to be able to worship with others who too knew it to be true Word of God. And to hear the pastor’s sermons center on scripture.

You are right that the PCA does emphasis helping form new churches in nearby communities, but we do have many missionaries in the foreign field as well. I guess, I have to agree with that emphasis, as I surely witnessed the fact that so many people right here in America are not hearing the true Word of God, so our outreach is needed here at home as much as abroad.

6 posted on 05/14/2008 1:05:12 AM PDT by Apple Pan Dowdy (... as American as Apple Pie)
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