WCF: Of Effectual Calling (X.4)

“Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet they never truly come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved: much less can men, not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature and the law of that religion they do profess; and to assert and maintain that they may is very pernicious, and to be detested” (X.4).

The Westminster Confession would condemn those who contradict Christ by saying that men can reject Him as the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) and yet still be saved—they say that such an affirmation is “very pernicious, and to be detested.” The WCF men cite Galatians 1:6-8 against those who believe that those persons “not professing the Christian religion” are nevertheless shown to be saved persons by their diligence to frame “their lives according to the light of nature, and the laws of that religion they do profess.” Thus, the WCF repudiates and condemns the type of inclusivism that insists that those who have heard of and rejected Christ are saved persons.

It is by means of the previous section (X.3) that they expose themselves as hypocrites. In section 3 they said that elect persons are regenerated and saved by Christ, but in ignorance of Christ. This is a blatant contradiction of Romans 10:1-4. God through the apostle Paul says that those who are ignorant of—and thus not submitted to—His righteousness are seeking to establish their own righteousness and are therefore lost. The WCF, on the other hand, says that they are saved.

The WCF hypocrisy is exposed when they condemn those who believe that ignorance of God’s righteousness may or may not mean that one is not submitted to this righteousness, but who cares if they are submitted to it or not since they are saved anyway by zealously trying their best to “frame their lives according to the light of nature and the law of that religion they do profess” (contra Romans 10:1-3).

The WCF men condemn those who say that a knowing rejection of Christ as the end of the law for righteousness is NOT indicative of lostness. But they will commend to themselves their own belief that in “extraordinary circumstances” some who are merely ignorant of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel are NOT going about to establish their own righteousness, but are, nevertheless “regenerated, and saved by Christ” (X. 3). What kind of Bible-contradicting irreverence is this?

Romans 10:1-4 condemns BOTH the WCF adversaries’ “pernicious” inclusivism, and the wicked WCF inclusivism. The WCF condemns a knowing rejection of Christ. Romans 10:3 agrees with this condemnation since a person has obviously not submitted themselves to a righteousness they are knowingly rejecting. BUT Romans 10:3 ALSO condemns the WCF’s evil exception made for those who likewise, have obviously not submitted themselves to a righteousness they are ignorant of. In short, BOTH types of inclusivism—the more “conservative” inclusivism of the WCF and the more “liberal” inclusivism of their adversaries–are a wicked contradiction of Romans 10:3.

The WCF rejects as pernicious the belief that men who are ignorant of the imputed righteousness of Christ as the end of Law for righteousness, may, in spite of this be saved. They think that it is a detestable thing to assert that those who are establishing a righteousness of their own by means of their diligent attempts “to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and the laws of that religion they do profess,” can nevertheless be saved. But the framers of the Westminster Confession of faith were blind to their own pernicious and detestable view that was substantially no different than that view which they accurately labeled as pernicious.

The WCF teaches the detestable doctrine that those who are ignorant of the righteousness of Jesus Christ revealed in the gospel are nevertheless “regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit.” God the Holy Spirit teaches through the apostle Paul that ignorance is no excuse (Romans 10:1-4). But the WCF teaches that ignorance IS an excuse.

Romans 10:3 condemns the WCF adversaries’ inclusivism of section 4 like this: A person is not and cannot be submitted to a righteousness that he rejects. Romans 10:3 likewise condemns the WCF inclusivism of section 3 like this: A person is not and cannot be submitted to a righteousness that they are ignorant of; you can’t be submitted to a righteousness you don’t know about or haven’t heard preached about (Romans 10:3, 13-17).

The WCF would deny that they believe that a man can “be saved in any other way whatsoever.” But their exception put forth in section 3 regarding the elect person who is “regenerated and saved by Christ” in spite of his ignorance of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel (Romans 1:16-17; 3:21-22; 10:1-4), shows that they too, ought to be labeled as detestable and pernicious.

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