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Seeing Christ in All of Scripture: Hermeneutics at Westminster Theological Seminary

Lillback, Peter A., ed.; Poythress, Vern S., Duguid, Ian M., Beale, G.K., Gaffin Jr., Richard B..

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“The genuine believer takes the whole of Scripture as a living organism produced by the Holy Spirit to present Christ to him. On every page of Scripture, he finds traits and traces of the Mediator.”
Geerhardus Vos, Reformed Dogmatics

“Jesus was the Messiah because he fulfilled what had been spoken concerning Him in the Old Testament. He was the very One of whom the prophets spake. He came into this world for the explicit purpose of fulfilling what they had written concerning Him.”
E. J. Young, The Study of Old Testament Theology Today

“The Old Testament follows God’s one great plan for human history and redemption, and the plan is not only from him, but centers on him: his presence in his incarnate Son. . . . The witness of the Scriptures to Christ is the reason they were written—
and of him and through him and to him are all things (Rom 11:36).”
Edmund Clowney, Preaching Christ in All of Scripture

“God seeks spontaneous and loving acceptance of his Word. As he wanted this in paradise, so he wants it now. Christians must be, like the Apostle Paul, all things to all men in order to save some. Firm and insistent in their ultimate objective, they must approach their goal suaviter in modo.”
Cornelius Van Til, A Christian Theory of Knowledge

From the Introduction

Dr. J. Gresham Machen established Westminster Theological Seminary to produce “specialists in the Bible” who would preach and teach “the whole counsel of God.” Following Machen’s lead, Westminster has historically stood for the truth of Scripture. One dimension of this commitment is that Westminster teaches its students to preach Christ from the entire Bible—from both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

In order to fulfill its founding vision, Westminster’s faculty members, throughout the seminary’s history, have taken an “ex animo” vow, that is, a sincere, heartfelt commitment, to the Westminster Standards. These confessional documents, the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, are held as the best expression of the system of biblical truth—“the whole counsel of God”—thus far developed in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is from these documents that the seminary takes its name.

This introduction calls attention to the consistency of biblical interpretation that exists today at Westminster Theological Seminary. The harmony among the theological disciplines at Westminster is due to a shared method of interpreting Scripture, a shared hermeneutic, that is drawn from Westminster’s confessional standards. Although expressed in distinctive ways, Westminster’s hermeneutic remains cohesive and compatible throughout the theological curriculum. It is my privilege, then, to introduce this collection of brief essays written by four of Westminster’s leading scholars. Herein, you will find a witness to the hermeneutical unity at Westminster through the perspectives of Dr. Vern Poythress, Dr. Iain Duguid, Dr. Greg Beale, and Dr. Richard Gaffin. Their reflections span the whole of Scripture and express the deep continuity that courses through the diverse fields of biblical interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary.

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