Anthony Burgess and the Westminster Doctrine of Assurance

  • Jonathan Lair Master

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (awarded by OU/Aberdeen)


This work is an examination of the a 17th century theologian and pastor Anthony Burgess (d. 1664), and specifically his contribution to the doctrine of the assurance of faith codified for many in the Westminster Confession of Faith. Burgess’ contribution to an understanding of assurance is found in his two-volume treatise on assurance, Spiritual Refining, and is especially relevant given his status as a delegate to the Westminster Assembly.
Burgess’ writings are informed by three aspects of his personal background. The first of these is his status as part of the English Puritan movement in the 17th century; the second is his status as a pastor; the third is his scholastic training, which informed his method of argumentation on the assurance of faith.
After examining these three key elements, this study then looks briefly at the contemporary debate on the Reformed doctrine of assurance. This study then examines the nature of the Westminster Confession itself. It analyses how the Assembly was designed, and how it operated with respect to its consensus on assurance. After establishing this, it assesses the way in which Burgess expanded on the Westminster consensus, doing so in ways which were fundamentally different from others of his day, particularly John Owen and Thomas Goodwin.
Date of Award1 Jun 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Edinburgh
SupervisorNick Needham (Supervisor) & Robert Shillaker (Supervisor)

Cite this