1 This is a slightly revised form of an address that Dr. Lee delivered to the Faculty and students of Faith Theological Seminary, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, in March of 1968, during a Conference on the Westminster Confession of Faith.
2 When this address was delivered, the author had not that long removed from his land South Africa in order to become a member of the Faculty at Shelton College in Cape May, New Jersey. Therefore, he had not yet made a complete transition to the use of the American forms of English. The South African forms of English are therefore retained throughout the paper as they were originally written.
Is the man in the pew “called” according to his God-given gifts to
a vocation other than “full-time” professional Christian work? May an
employee honour Christ as Sovereign King while employed by a
company practising unethical labour-management relations or
producing a slip-shod product? Do twentieth-century Christians have the obligation to form “Christian” labour organisations2? What is the
Christian idea of work? Is the Christian calling only to “preach the
These and many other problems are so involved that the
completely satisfactory solution to some of them almost baffles the
human intellect. I will try to introduce these issues by rigidly adhering
to try to answer the main question posed me and given me as the title.
My given title, then, is: “How may we confess Christ in a
twentieth-century expression of the Westminster Confession of Faith
to a changing hostile society?”
Now although Christ, Who is the Truth, as such never changes,
and although the truth expressed in the Westminster Confession
cannot change, society nevertheless changes. Our twentieth-century
society is indeed becoming increasingly hostile to the confession of
Christ, as the prescribed title of my address indeed indicates.
Let us then first of all discuss this twentieth-century society which
is becoming increasingly hostile to the confession of Christ. After that,
let us proceed to examine the way in which the Westminster
Confession confesses Christ, to Whom twentieth-century society is
becoming increasingly hostile. And, finally, let us consider whether we
as twentieth-century Christians may and should confess Christ today
differently from the way in which the Westminster Confession did in
the seventeenth century.
Increasing Hostility of Twentieth-Century Society.
First, let us examine the increasing hostility of twentieth-century
society to our confession of Jesus Christ.
I think we should never forget that the confession of Christ is
always a stumbling block to those that believe not the Gospel. It was
a stumbling-block to man in the first century; a stumbling-block to man
at the time the Westminster Confession was framed in the
seventeenth century; and is also a stumbling-block to man and his
hostile society in the twentieth century.
I think we must further recognize that the offence of the cross is
increasing in our present world, as the apostasy deepens. So from
this point of view, there is a limit to what we can do to stem the rising
tide of society’s hostility to our confession of Christ as such — and of
the things which directly pertain to Christ, such as: His virgin birth,
crucifixion, atonement, resurrection, and ascension etc.
However, what we can do is to confess Christ clearly and
relevantly to this increasingly hostile society. Our confession of Christ