LIBERTY THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

Ordo Salutis

A Theological Research Paper Submitted to Liberty Theological Seminary in partial fulfillment of the requirements for completion of the course,

THEO 530 SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY II

By Michael Vincent Paddy Student ID - 22282275

Lynchburg, Virginia May, 2010

THESIS STATEMENT Ordo Salutis is an important study for any serious student of theology. It overlaps several important theological and doctrinal disciplines in trying to explain a process by which humanity hears, understands, accepts and receives the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ appropriating it for themselves and their salvation. The purpose of this paper is to provide a panoramic view of the historical, denominational and interpretive importance of this doctrine in the practical understanding and application of Soteriology.

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CONTENTS THESIS STATEMENT«««««««««««««««««««««««««««... 2 INTRODUCTION«««««««««««««««««««««««««««««... 4 THE DEFINTION, HISTORY, AND BACKGROUND OF THE ORDO SALUTIS««« 4 THE THREE MAIN DOCTRINAL VIEWS OF THE ORDO SALUTIS«««««««. 6 Roman Catholic«««««««««««««««««««««««««««« 6 Arminian««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««... 7 Reformed««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««.. 9 WHAT THE ORDO SALUTIS TEACHES US««««««««««««««««««11 About Man««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««11 About God««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««12 CONCLUSION«««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««13 GLOSSARY OF TERMS«««««««««««««««««««««««««««14 BIBLIOGRAPHY««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««16

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INTRODUCTION The ordo salutis, the order of salvation, involves the understanding of the process whereby the work of faith of a believer is substantiated and how that immediate and progressive work of faith is viewed by God. ³The ordo salutis describes the process by which the work of salvation, wrought in Christ, is subjectively realized in the hearts and lives of sinners.´1 Is there justification, (pun not intended), for the belief of an order in the salvation process and if so what is it? Does the one who appropriates saving faith need to understand and fully comprehend the ordo salutis to be saved? And if not, why worry about it? Why spend time studying the theological discipline of the ordo salutis? THE DEFINTION, HISTORY, AND BACKGROUND OF THE ORDO SALUTIS ³The order of salvation (Lat. ordo salutis), appears to be brought into theological usage in 1737 by Jakob Karpov, a Lutheran.´2 Though the order itself has been under scrutiny for millennia, the birth of the term can be traced to Karpov. The ordo salutis is a way to try and place in some sense of order the immediate and progressive elements and acts undertook and intervened by God when one becomes a Christian, a child of God through faith and belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Argued by some as an unnecessary study those who disagree would say it stretches the imagination of finite man to understand the workings of God. For many for many the ordo salutis is not an exact theology. To them it contains too much controversy lacking a true

L. Berkof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1938), 415-416. G.N.M. Collins, ³Order of Salvation,´ in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001), 869 4
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spiritual application to the everyday life of Christians. 3 What is the context of the controversy? Too much is made with the structure of the order as to miss completely the most important details of Pauline theology in his writings, specifically what Ridderbos frames as historia salutis, the historical redemption completed by Christ.4 Referred to as order of decrees in some Calvinist circles, Hodge tries to relate the importance of the order in its context of study, ³The question as to the order of decrees is not a question as to the order of acts in God decreeing, but it is a question as to the true relation sustained by the several parts of the system which He decrees to one another«every event that occurs in the system of things is interlaced with all other events in an endless involution«no event is isolated.´5 And again in the context of our trying to understand the ordo salutis, order of decrees in a relational, relative context, ³As our minds are finite, as it is impossible to embrace in one act of intelligent comprehension an infinite number of events in all their several relations and bearings, we necessarily contemplate events in partial groups, and we conceive of the purpose of God relating them to distinctive and successive acts.´6 The ordo salutis does not try to overly scrutinize the particular acts and progression of God¶s saving grace as much as it is an opportunity to all to see the uniqueness of and the extent to which God works in our lives to bring us to saving grace and ultimately an eternity with him.

H. N. Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1975), 173ff.
4 5

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Ibid A.A. Hodge, Outlines of Theology (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1972), 200 Ibid. 204. 5

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THE THREE MAIN DOCTRINAL VIEWS OF THE ORDO SALUTIS So what are some of the prevalent views of the ordo salutis? How is the ordo salutis viewed, defined, and sequestered in different theological mindsets? Roman Catholic The views and doctrinal beliefs of a true Roman Catholic can be as varied as the many denominational sects of the Protestant Church. Narrowing down a precise ordo salutis for the Catholic faith was very demanding and exposed the limitations of one who outside the faith wishes to study certain aspects of their faith and doctrine. The Roman Catholic Church accepts three things as authoritative teaching: the Bible interpreted only by assigned authoritative clergy, tradition based on Catholic Ecumenical Councils, and the Pope. Two scholarly places were available and apologies are made ahead of time if they are not exact in their representation. (Though this shows how mysterious the Catholic faith is and private in their keeping theological thoughts, doctrines and writings in their control). An ordo salutis in Roman Catholicism looks like this: Baptism, Confession, Penance, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Confession, Penance, and Extreme Unction.7 Personal faith seems absent in the ordo salutis more relying an acts of Sacramental participation. The individual parts of the ordo salutis hinge on the intervention of the Catholic Church and the priest assigned to perform the sacramental rituals. Saying the acts are outward signs of what God is doing internally, the reality seems to be that without the performance of the outwards sign, the inward activity is null and is not deemed having been done.

Gleaned from two sources of Roman Catholicism namely, The American Catholic, http://www.americancatholic.org (accessed April 18, 2010), and New Advent, http://www.newadvent.org/ accessed April 18, 2010). 6

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The sacraments also must be done in order. One must receive forgiveness of original sin through baptism and then at the appropriate age of enlightenment to their own sin, First Holy Communion, (first participation of the Eucharist), must be performed. Confession and penance must precede this to receive forgiveness before the sacramental act of the Eucharist is received. The act of receiving the Eucharist is where the belief in the elements of the Eucharist is actually transformed into the body and blood of Christ. It is through the eating and drinking of the said body and blood of Christ that the Eucharist is successfully performed. The rest of the sacraments are achieved in order of their designation by the Church and final fulfillment is Extreme Unction, or last rites, where at death the priest performs the ceremonial sacrament of anointing and prayer with possible confession by the recipient just before death or following the death of the person so that the person might receive leniency in purgatory or immediate access to heaven. The Catholic Church then relies not only on the activity or actions taking place but an orderly obedience to the activities performed in hopes of some mysterious spiritual activity taking place because of the ritual. Arminian An Arminian Ordo Salutis: Prevenient Grace, Faith, Justification, Regeneration, Sanctification, Glorification.8 In the Arminian ordo salutis, prevenient grace, sometimes referred to as enabling grace, is what makes a faith response possible for fallen man to choose. In his eternal state of sin, sin
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Gleaned from several resources of Arminian persuasion, namely, The Society of Evangelical Arminians, http://evangelicalarminians.org/index. (accessed April 22, 2010); http://arminiantheology.com/ (accessed April 22, 2010); http://arminiantoday.blogspot.com/ (accessed April 22. 2010); http://www.presenttruthmag.com/archive/XV/15-3.htm (accessed April 22, 2010). 7

nature, it would be impossible for man to choose salvation alone without the grace provided by God. The belief that every aspect of humanity has been corrupted by the effects of sin, man is still able to believe in and to choose to enter into a relationship with God by the power of the Holy Spirit who enables, convicts, and draws the individual. Faith being the God ordained condition that must be met before God will save. In the Arminian view faith is a synergistic act in that it is a genuine response that is made possible by God's enabling grace through the actions stated by the Holy Spirit. There are other aspects or expressions of salvation that are not explicitly included in the«ordo. Adoption, for instance, would probably be included under both regeneration and glorification. Regeneration would include the commencement of adoption while glorification would include the culmination of adoption. Election would be tied to union with Christ. We would become the elect of God upon our union with Christ (the elect One) as we would come to share in His election through union and identification with Him. Faith joins us to Christ (Eph. 1:13) and all of the spiritual blessings that reside in Christ become the believer's upon union with Him (Eph. 1:3-12).9 The Arminian view keeps a safe enough distance from a completely out of control Divine, completely ignoring God¶s sovereign control and authority when it comes to free-will and choice. The Arminian places justification prior to regeneration and all that follows, since one must first receive forgiveness and have sin removed prior new life and the attaining of holiness (sanctification). One cannot have life while still under the condemnation of sin and the wrath of God for "the wages of sin is death"10. And one cannot be made holy apart from justification.11 So

Ben Henshaw, The Arminian and Calvinist Ordo Salutis: A Brief Comparison, (2009), http://evangelicalarminians.org/The-Arminian-and-Calvinist-Ordo%20Salutis-A-BriefComparative-Study (accessed April 22, 2010)
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Romans 6:23 8

the moment we are joined to Christ we are cleansed by His blood and new life and holiness immediately result from that cleansing. Predestination would have reference to the predetermined destiny of believers through union with Christ. Believers have been predestinated to ultimate adoption and conformity to the image of Christ (glorification). Predestination does not have reference to God's predetermination of certain sinners to become believers and be ultimately saved. Rather any mention or reference of predestination has to do with the ultimate end, not beginning of one¶s faith and belief. Sanctification is the ultimate goal based on an Arminian theology with the ultimate sense of holiness, being pursued. It is the act of the human will whereby one might ³live without conscious or deliberate sin.´12 The weakness in this ordo salutis is the challenge of trying to see the ordo as a whole, not individual acts and actions. The ordo salutis began in Lutheran thought but does not become the sole authority of a correct theology concerning the order of salvation. Reformed The most agreed reformed ordo salutis is, effectual calling issuing in, regeneration, faith, leading to justification, and ultimately glorification.13 Unlike the Catholic Church¶s ordo salutis, the reformed view is seen not so much as various movements or actions but as a unitary process where the recipient of the grace involved is not fully aware of the individual acts. The Arminian

Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994), 712 R.V. Pierard, ³Holiness Movement, America,´ in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2 ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001),
nd 13 12

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G.N.M. Collins, 870. 9

view seems to lend itself to a progressive awareness, even a goal to achieve the levels found in the order. Though there are two major views of reformed thought involved in coming to a conviction of the ordo salutis, namely supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism (the former believing God decreed both election and reprobation of humanity where the latter believe that reprobation was only in God¶s foreknowledge not decreed), the reformed view understands and accepts a the interaction and involvement of a sovereign God who acts on behalf of humanity to bring about the order through his grace. Of the three views it is the reformed view that seems to bring conformity and at the same time unity to the salvation process. When looking at Paul¶s epistle to the Romans one sees the need for an intervening God who can help a reprobate humanity unable to discern and lift themselves from their predicament.14 It is only God who through his gracious intervention on behalf of humanity15 that the process can be obtained and secured. The reformed view points to the text in Romans 8:28, 29, 30 to show both the benevolence and graciousness of God to remind us that he will bring a good outcome through his own will and determination. It also shows the unified progressiveness of the ordo salutis to achieve the ultimate purpose our transforming sanctification and ultimate glorification for his glory. The ordo salutis is a fruit of the reformation where before the reformation nothing of significance was done in the area of soteriology.16 This sets us up to see that it was the reformers

See Romans 3, and Romans 7 to see both the extent and impact of the sin nature and the judgment of God on man as well as man¶s inability to justify himself before God.
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See Philippians 1:6, and 2:13. 10

who brought to us the conceptual understanding of God¶s instantaneous and progressive work of grace on our behalf. WHAT THE ORDO SALUTIS TEACHES US The ordo salutis is a valuable study for anyone who wants to understand God and his relationship to mankind in the history of redemption. About Man Intellectual prowess, technological advancements, and plain self-sufficiency cloud our faculties and judgments when it comes to how needy we really are. The ordo salutis allows anyone and everyone see any attempt on the part of humanity to save and sanctify oneself as pride and the temptation to displace God and Jesus Christ as Lord of our salvation and life as arrogant foolishness. For many, salvation is an act of the will to receive Christ and as simple as it seems to the believer, God working in us and through us to achieve this is both complex and profound. We in our finite humanity do not see that salvation and entrance to heaven is not singular goal God had in mind for us. It is ordo salutis which gives us a glimpse, God ³having begun this work of transformation, he continues and completes it with sanctification being an important part of the order. ³Sanctification is a process by which one¶s moral condition is brought into conformity with one¶s legal status before God´17 The puniness of mankind is seen in the awesome righteous act of the ordo salutis and we cannot if we truly understand it, ignore our own helplessness in trying to be something we could never become apart from the gracious hand of God.
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L. Berkof, 417 Millard J. Erickson. Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1998), 980.
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About God There is a passage of scripture used by Paul as a sort of doxology ending a section of his epistle to the Romans: Oh, how great are God¶s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the LORD¶s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice? And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back? For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.18 It is the question that has been asked through the ages. Even children are taught a prayer in giving thanks for their meal, ³God is great, God is good, thank you Father for this food.´ It is the greatness of God and his goodness that can be seen in the ordo salutis. It gives us understanding of the benevolent love of the Father who acts on behalf of sinful humanity to bring humanity into a perfect relationship to himself for his glory and our benefit. It is the greatness in God¶s ability to do any and all things for us and on our behalf, and greatness in his compassionate benevolence towards us his undeserving creation. It reminds us of God¶s sovereignty and power which when missed in nature itself, can be seen in the transforming power of a changed life. The order reveals the extent of God¶s sovereignty over the power of sin and Satan to reveal sin, remove it from our life and remove the stain of it from our existence. Who else has the ability and right to do that? Lastly to see and understand the ordo salutis is to get a glimpse into the heart of God who like a passionate pursuer of a loved one, can overcome and remove any and all obstacles humanity faces as God prepares them for an eternity with him.19

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Romans 11:33-36 See Romans 8:38, 39 12

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CONCLUSION The ordo salutis is a theological treatment of the saving work of God in and through the life and soul of sinful man. It is a worthy study to help increase our capacity and understanding of the work of God on our behalf. And though there are some varied views and beliefs concerning their appropriation and outcomes, its true purpose can be clearly seen. The ultimate outcome is to show the awesome power of God, his benevolent and gracious decrees with the end being a new man, (woman), regenerated to the original plan and model, the image of God complete both in his cognitive ability and his holy and righteous persona, free from sin and wholly devoted to God and his glory forever and ever. The Westminster Catechism answers the ultimate question right out of the starting gate: Q. 1. What is the chief end of man? A. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.20 It is the study and understanding of the ordo salutis that shows the extent to which God is his love and grace provides, works, and achieves this end.

G.I. Williamson, The Westminster Shorter Catechism: For Study Classes, 2nd ed. (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2003), 1 13

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GLOSSARY OF TERMS Adoption ± ³How Israel and Christians may be children and heirs of God.´21 Calling, Effectual Calling ± ³God summoning men by his Word and laying hold of them by his power to play a part in and enjoy the benefits of his gracious redemptive purposes.´22 Faith ± ³Regularly used to denote the many-sided religious relationship into which the gospel calls people²that of trust in God through Christ.´23 Foreknowledge ± ³God¶s prescience or foresight concerning future events«all things, past, present, and future; external and internal; material, intellectual, and spiritual²are open to God.´24 Glorification ± Those who died in Christ when resurrected will be given new bodies²a final and full ³redemption of our bodies´25 Justification ± ³To pronounce, accept, and to treat as just«not penally (sic), liable, and«entitled to all the privileges due to those who have kept the law.´26 Perseverance ± the doctrine of belief that every Christian can be sure he will continue in a state of grace to the end of his earthly life.27 Predestination ± ³God¶s predetermination of persons to a specific end«an aspect of God¶s rule over all he created and sustains.´28 P.H. Davids, ³Adoption,´ in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001), 25 J.I. Packer, ³Call, Calling,´ in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001), 199 Packer, ³Faith,´ in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001), 431 G.W. Bromiley, ³Foreknowledge,´ in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001), 458 J.K. Grider, ³Glorification,´ in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001), 484 J.I. Packer, ³Justification,´ in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001), 643 R.E.O. White, ³Perseverance,´ in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001), 908 14
27 26 25 24 23 22 21

Prevenient Grace ± is a divine grace which preceded human choice and decisions concerning the truth and acceptance of the gospel. Regeneration ± Re-creation ³of fallen human nature by the gracious sovereign action of the Holy Spirit«a radical and complete transformation wrought in the soul.´29 Repentance ± Signifies a contemplated change«to turn back, away from, or toward. Can also mean regretting, having remorse.30 Sanctification ± ³To make holy«set apart from common, secular use as devoted to some divine power.´31

S.R. Spencer, ³Predestination,´ in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001), 950 J.I. Packer, ³Regeneration,´ in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001), 1000 C. G. Kromminga, ³Repentance,´ in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001), R.E.O. White, ³Sanctification,´ in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001), 1051 15
31 30 29

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BIBLIOGRAPHY American Catholic. http://www.americancatholic.org (accessed April 18, 2010). Arminian Theology. http://arminiantheology.com/ (accessed April 22, 2010). Arminian Today. http://arminiantoday.blogspot.com/ (accessed April 22. 2010). Berkof, L. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1938 Bromiley, G.W. ³Foreknowledge.´ In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd edition, edited by Walter A. Elwell, 458-459. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001. Collins, G.N.M. ³Order of Salvation.´ In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd edition, edited by Walter A. Elwell, 869-870. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001. Davids, P.H. ³Adoption.´ In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd edition, edited by Walter A. Elwell, 25-26. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001. Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology, 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1998 Grider, J.K. ³Glorification.´ In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd edition, edited by Walter A. Elwell, 484. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001. Grudem, Wayne A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994. Henshaw, Ben. The Arminian and Calvinist Ordo Salutis: A Brief Comparison. (2009) http://evangelicalarminians.org/The-Arminian-and-Calvinist-Ordo%20Salutis-A-BriefComparative-Study (accessed April 22, 2010) Hodge, A.A. Outlines of Theology. Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1972 Kromminga, C. G. ³Repentance.´ In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd edition, edited by Walter A. Elwell, 1012. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001. New Advent, http://www.newadvent.org/ (accessed April 18, 2010). Packer, J.I. ³Call, Calling.´ In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd edition, edited by Walter A. Elwell, 199-200. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001. ². ³Faith.´ In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd edition, edited by Walter A. Elwell, 431434. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001. ². ³Justification.´ In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd edition, edited by Walter A. Elwell, 484. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001. 16

². ³Regeneration.´ In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd edition, edited by Walter A. Elwell, 1000-1001. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001. Pierard, R.V. ³Holiness Movement, America.´ In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd edition, edited by Walter A. Elwell, 564-565. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001. Present Truth Magazine. http://www.presenttruthmag.com/archive/XV/15-3.htm (accessed April 22, 2010). Ridderbos, H.N. Paul: An Outline of His Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1975 Society of Evangelical Arminians. http://evangelicalarminians.org/index. (accessed April 22, 2010). Spencer, S.R. ³Predestination.´ In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd edition, edited by Walter A. Elwell, 950. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001. White, R.E.O. ³Perseverance.´ In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd edition, edited by Walter A. Elwell, 907-909. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001. ². ³Sanctification.´ In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd edition, edited by Walter A. Elwell, 1051-1054. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001. Williamson, G.I. The Westminster Shorter Catechism: For Study Classes, 2nd ed. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2003.

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