Chapter III:13: Reduction of Fundamental Articles to Heads

These Articles are able to be reduced to certain Heads, which it is immediately evident are to be reckoned among the Fundamentals by an application of the Criteria just now given.


1. To the Principium of believing, or the Scripture to be reckoned as θεοπνεύστῳ/inspired. Although our AUTHOR with respect to the individual parts of Scripture, of which sort formerly certain were doubtful, as appeared in Chapter II, § 13, if be absent heretical depravity in the rejection of necessary dogmas, which are drawn from other parts as well as from these, does not dare to establish equal Necessity: which is also the same observation of TURRETIN,[1] Theologiæ Elencticæ, locus II, question VI, § 17, where he notes, that from the testimony of the Holy Spirit, whereby the faithful are persuaded of the Divinity of Scripture, the agreement of all that have that Spirit does not then follow in receiving equally the individual Books: for, as He is not given to all in equal measure, so neither does He imbue all with equal light of understanding both with respect to the Principium of Religion, and with respect to its dogmas, nor move all with an equal efficacy to assent: and hence he concludes that some Protestants were able to doubt concerning one or the other Canonical Book, because they were not yet sufficiently illuminated by the light of the Holy Spirit. Concerning this Principium of Religion our AUTHOR treats in Chapter II.


2. To a Knowledge of the Triune God, concerning which dogma we shall see with our AUTHOR in Chapter V, as Most Perfect, as it is demonstrated in Chapter IV, as declaring His Perfections, both in the works of Creation, concerning which see Chapters VIII, IX, of Preservation, concerning which Chapter X, and of Redemption, concerning which Chapters XVII, XVIII, XX, and in the eternal Decree of these, concerning which there is discussion in Chapters VI, VII; and Worship worthy and agreeable to His Perfections, which is delineated in Chapters XI, XII, XXV, XXVI.


3. To the Misery of Man, which contains within it Sin and Punishment, extended to all, as is demonstrated in Chapters XV, XVI.


4. To a Knowledge of Christ as Mediator, with respect to His Natures, concerning which Chapter XIX, compared with Chapter V; with respect to His Offices, concerning which Chapters XVIII, XX; with respect to His States, concerning which Chapter XXI; concerning His Benefits, concerning which Chapters XXIII-XXV, XXVII, XXVIII, XXXIV.

[1] Francis Turretin (1623-1687) was a Genevan Reformed theologian of Italian descent. After studying at Geneva, Leiden, Utrecht, Paris, Saumur, and Montauban, he was appointed as the pastor of the Italian refugee congregation in Geneva (1648), and later Professor of Theology at academy (1653). His Institutio Theologiæ Elencticæ has been heavily influential in Reformed circles, shaping Charles Hodge’s Systematic Theology and Herman Bavinck’s Gereformeerde dogmatiek.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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