Eternal Torments in the Westminster Confession

Published: Reformed Theological Review 81, issue 3, December 2022, 173–201.
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The Westminster Confession’s teaching on ‘eternal torments’ has nuances that need to be explored, and the historical context can be brought into sharper focus. Despite an almost deceptive simplicity, the chapters are contextually poignant. Also considered is just how vital eternal torments and eschatology are to the document. Puritanical eschatological expectation was rife in the 1630s and 40s, and Christ’s return was held to be the principal issue, so chs 32–33 are no mere addendum. The proposal is that eschatology, with eternal torments, forms one of the Confession’s metanarratives and is a contender for that which has architectonic status. Eschatology is woven throughout. It is an eschatological Confession.