In Covenanted Uniformity in Religion, Wayne R. Spear reassesses the Westminster Assembly from the standpoint of the Scottish commissioners and their influence in the drawing up of the ‘Form of Church Government.’ Spear begins by placing the Assembly in its historical setting and giving an overview of how it conducted its business. Then, following the order of the ‘Form of Church Government,’ he traces each significant expression from its origin in a committee, through its debate and modification in the Assembly, to its final placement in the document. Finally, Spear evaluates the responses the document received in England and Scotland, showing that the Scots failed to achieve some of their most cherished goals in the Assembly debates and thus establishing it as a truly deliberative body.
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Looking for more resources on the Westminster Assembly? Check out The Westminster Confession of Faith, Larger and Shorter Catechisms, and Subordinate Standards.
Dr. Wayne Spear’s study of the discussion of church government at the Westminster Assembly has for decades remained hidden in the relative obscurity of scholarly libraries. It is a cause for rejoicing that it is now being made available to a wider public. Carefully researched and written with a gracious clarity, it is enormously helpful in walking us through the long and complex debates on church government in which the Westminster divines engaged. Dr. Spear brings out the role of the small group of unusually gifted teaching and ruling elders sent to the Assembly as commissioners from the Church of Scotland. The value of Covenanted Uniformity in Religion extends far beyond the world of academic study and discussion, where it will certainly be welcomed.
—Sinclair B. Ferguson, professor of systematic theology, Redeemer Theological Seminary, Dallas, TX