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Confession Exam




The examination on the Confession is an oral exam in committee. The examination is required for ordination. We recommend that all candidates read Robert Letham's The Westminster Assembly: Reading Its Theology in Historical Context (2009). Some candidates come from a continental tradition and are more familiar with the Three Forms of Unity than the Westminster Standards. Others may not have attended a Presbyterian seminary, or their seminary may not have emphasized the Westminster Standards. In these cases the committee may find it necessary to prescribe remedial studies.

From time to time the Ministerial Training Institute of the OPC offers classes on the Westminster Standards. These classes are highly recommended for candidates.

The following are examples of the sorts of questions that will be asked in committee:

1. What does it mean to "receive and adopt the Confession of faith and catechisms of this church"? What is the importance of the words "this church"?
2. Give a brief overview of the historical background to the Westminster Confession and Catechisms.
3. What are the American Revisions to the Confession, and what is their historical background?
4. Please outline the Shorter Catechism.
5. What are the basic hermeneutical principles endorsed by the Confession?
6. What does it mean that God has no passions?
7. Give three examples of how the doctrine of the Trinity is used in our confessional standards outside of the definition?
8. What is Amyraldianism, and how does the Confession respond to it?
9. What is Antinomianism, and how does the Confession respond to it?
10. What do the Confession and Catechisms teach regarding what would have happened to Adam if he had obeyed?
11. How do the Confession and Catechisms speak of Adam's headship of the human race?
12. How does the confession relate the Mosaic covenant to the new covenant in Christ?
13. What does the Confession teach regarding the relation of foreordination and free will?
14. How does the Confession structure the elements of the ordo salutis?
15. How do the Confession and Catechisms explain the relationship between justification and sanctification?
16. What are the three categories of law in the Confession? What is their status in the church and in society? What does "general equity" mean?
17. How does the Larger Catechism deal with the question of how the Fourth Commandment is addressed especially to superiors?
18. What is meant by usury? (LC 142)
19. What is Christian liberty? Can the church bind the conscience? Can the church bind your practice?
20. What does the OPC's Confession mean by "singing of psalms with grace in the heart"?
21. Compare the Confession's teaching on the second ground for divorce with 1 Corinthians 7. How are they applying Paul's teaching?
22. What do we mean when we confess "the catholicity of the visible church" in an age of denominations? (How did the American revisions of 1788 alter the Confession?)
23. What is baptism? How is the grace of baptism communicated to us?
24. What is the minister supposed to do with the elements of bread and wine?
25. What does the Confession say is necessary for us to believe and teach regarding eschatology?


For additional material that the committee has found useful, please see our articles page.

  See also Guide and Expectations for Ordination