A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith. It was approved in its entirety in Scotland. Broadly, a local church’s confession needs to serve two functions. [9] For details see R.S. Because this second London Confession was drawn up in dark hours of oppression, it was issued … They either ceased to exist, or had merged into the remaining churches. William L. Lumpkin. Shows that many Reformed thinkers have questioned the “L” of the five points. Brian Malcolm. Paul, The Assembly of the Lord, Edinburgh, 1985. Article 1 refers to ‘one Rule of holinesse and obedience for all Saints, at all times, in all places to be observed’. Valley Forge, PA: Judson, 1969. Later Kiffin invited him to London for further discussions, again insisting that Collier was a member of his church. Laud’s ambition was to purge the Church of England of Puritanism. The Westminster divines included a small group of Amyraldians: Calamy, Seaman, Marshall and Vine, but they were not able to modify the statement on the decree. Lumpkin suggests that this was the result of the efforts of two former clergymen, Benjamin Cox and Hanserd Knollys, both of whom had become Baptists. After recounting the many items of business transacted, the report of the proceedings states, almost as a postscript. After repeated failures to work with a Parliament, Charles managed to govern without one for eleven years from 1629. That committee’s submissions began to reach the Assembly itself in the Spring of 1645. A. D. Gillette, ed. In the prosecution of their work as practical pastors protecting and indoctrinating their flocks, the Divines had acquired an intimate acquaintance with the prevailing errors and a remarkable facility in the formulation of Reformed doctrine in opposition to them, which bore fruit in their Confessional labours. Second, it must also serve as a “hedge” that protects the congregation from false teachers and heresy. In the ensuing years civil war culminated in the rule of Oliver Cromwell, during which period independent religious groups enjoyed a liberty unprecedented in England, and churches multiplied. Baptist Confessions of Faith. Each church fully subscribes to each doctrine of the confession. Such co-operation may help to explain a measure of mutual acceptance not found in the First London Confession. Thank you for subscribing. 1, p. 500. His preaching owed much to an older and stronger evangelicalism than was in vogue. Their churches were appearing throughout the land as they with other Christian groups benefited from Oliver Cromwell’s policy of toleration. Nonconformists then faced over a quarter of a century of persecution which varied in intensity from time to time and from place to place. The two earlier confessions speak of the reprobate being ‘foreordained to eternal death’. Our work is possible by the generosity of our readers. It was this representative body which gave general approval to the Confession of Faith first published twelve years earlier, stating ‘we own [it] as containing the doctrine of our faith and practice, and do desire that the members of our churches respectively do furnish themselves therewith’.[24]. [19] In the light of Benjamin’s convictions it interesting to note that his son, Nehemiah was received into membership by the open communion church at Bedford on 14th June 1669 and was called to the ministry of the gospel on 21st January 1672 at the church meeting which also called John Bunyan to the pastoral office. Seven London congregations published the 1644/46 Confession. In the following year Parliament passed a Toleration Act, which lifted the penalties which had oppressed Protestant nonconformity for so long. More important for our study was the Confession of Faith. The Antecedents of the Second London Confession, The 1677 edition of the Confession was preceded by an important Introduction which. The Separatists were paedobaptists, and, as has already been shown, the Baptists were careful to affirm their distinctives at this point. The bitter years of persecution had taught the churches some lessons. On the divided Baptist community the storm of persecution broke in 1660. Collier replied with a published account of the proceedings and a reply to Coxe. ‘Be not ashamed of your faith; remember it is the ancient gospel of martyrs, confessors, reformers and saints. In 1595 Archbishop Whitgift had compiled the Lambeth Articles to strengthen the teaching of the Thirty-Nine Articles on predestination and to check incipient Arminianism. With the exception of John Owen all of these men had been members of the Westminster Assembly. Later editions stated that it was lawful for a Christian to hold civil office and also to take oaths, both of which had been questioned among the continental Anabaptists. It was also the first of the Baptist confessions to insist on immersion as the correct mode and so reflected a recent innovation in English Baptist practice. Particular Baptist churches began to appear in England in that period of Charles I’s reign which historians have called the ‘Eleven Years Tyranny’. The main source of their Confessional statements was, thus, just the Reformed theology as it had framed itself in their minds during their long experience in teaching it, and had worked itself out into expression in the prosecution of their task as teachers of religion in an age of almost unexampled religious unrest and controversy. Active among them was Mr J.C. Doggett, editor of The Free Grace Record, a quarterly which sought to prod Strict Baptists out of their Hyper-Calvinist slumbers. Table of Contents. Jun 2. Apart from the use of the term ordinance instead of sacrament the wording is identical with that of the Westminster Confession indicating a strongly reformed view of the Supper. Lumpkin, Baptists Confessions of Faith, Valley Forge, USA, 1980 [1969], p. 155. White, English Baptists of the Seventeenth Century, London 1983, p.128. Further contentions with the Quakers in the 1670s demanded a much fuller statement on the authority of Scripture than there had been in the First Confession. Had the First Confession been antinomian, critics like Featley would have been quick to detect any movement away from the mainline Reformed teaching. Collier was charged with heresy. Particular Baptists considered that it was again needful ‘to give a full account of ourselves to those Christians that differ from us about the subject of baptism’. The … Many of the annual circular letters from the years 1774 to 1807 are expositions of various articles of the SLC. Later eight commissioners from Scotland were appointed. Carroll and Robust Confessionalism.For a suggestion about how a church might subscribe to the Second London Confession of Faith, see How to Subscribe to the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith. Lumpkin and W.J. We must be aware of the SLC’s place in history, for this influenced its shape. Click on a chapter to proceed to the chapter page with scripture proofs. CONFESSION. In these decades he wrote a number of tracts and then for years published nothing although he continued to preach. Of course, the SLC’s historical situation does not mean that the document itself is heretical or even useless for Christians today. William Collins had lived and studied in both France and Italy before returning to England to study theology privately. In 1975 it was joined by another edition in modern English published by Carey publications. (God created “in the space of six days.”) Chapter 8 teaches that the death of Jesus Christ was specifically for the elect. we have purposely omitted the mention of things of that nature, that we might concurre [sic] in giving evidence of our agreement, both among ourselves, and with other good Christians, in those important articles of the Christian religion, mainly insisted on by us. They went on. It enjoyed editions … The Baptist Confession can be seen to stand clearly in the stream of Evangelical Reformed theology which flows from the Westminster Assembly. It was against this background that in October 1675 a group of London ministers led by William Kiffin, Daniel Dyke and William Collins addressed a circular letter to their brethren throughout the country asking them to meet in London in the following May ‘to form a plan for the providing of an orderly standing ministry in the church who might give themselves to reading and study and so become able ministers of the New Testament’. The 1646 edition of the Confession limited participation in the Lord’s Supper to those who had been baptized as believers. it best to follow their example, in making use of the very same words with them both, in those articles (which are very many) wherein our faith and doctrine is the same with theirs. According to Dr Barrie White, ‘the programme itself was based upon the local congregations commissioning the chosen members to organise new Particular Baptist churches all holding to the principle of closed communion.[22]. All quotations from the First London Confession 1644 are from Lumpkin op.cit., pp. The term ‘seal’ used in the earlier confessions is also avoided. That document had been drawn up to distinguish the Particular Baptist churches (who followed the historic evangelical faith of the Reformation) from the Anabap- tists and the newly forming Arminian Baptists. By 1677, seventeen years of persecution including imprisonment and crippling fines, had taught them that disunity was a luxury they could ill afford. Articles 48 to 51 deal with the civil government and state, ‘that a civill Magistracie is an ordinance of God set up by God for the punishment of evill doers and for the praise of them that doe well’. After chapter 32 there is a long section of 30 paragraphs on the congregational order of churches. Because of his obvious abilities he came under considerable pressure to conform to the Church of England, but he remained a convinced dissenter Later he took a prominent part in the Particular Baptist Assembly of 1698 and was asked to compile a Baptist catechism. This title can be purchased in print form from Founders Press.For a discussion of how robust a confession of faith should be, see B.H. This meant that Kiffin and Hanserd Knollys were by that time the chief links with the age of the 1640’s which had seen their denomination’s first foundation’.[16]. [10], Not surprisingly he went on to assert, ‘that it is the ripest fruit of Reformed creed-making, the simple transcript of Reformed thought as it was everywhere expounded by its best representatives in the middle of the seventeenth century’. He rejected the Calvinist view of original sin. The same church received a letter from London stating that ‘though lawful it was not expedient to listen to preachers not sharing their “closed communion” convictions’. A Discussion of the Seventeenth Century Particular Baptist Confessions of Faith. In many ways, the more recent Confession eclipses the earlier in importance, for by 1689 the First London Confession had become scarce, so much so that one of the key subscribers to the Second Confession stated that he had not … Twenty six of its fifty three articles clearly derive from this earlier statement. Minutes of the Philadelphia Baptist Association, 1707-1807. [2] The need to refute charges of Arminianism arose from confusion with the General Baptists, an Arminian group which had existed in England since the second decade of the century. These could debate but not vote. Third and fourth editions of the Confession appeared in 1651 and 1652, by which time the Particular Baptists had won for themselves a place in the life of the nation and could be seen to be orthodox believers. That first document had been drawn up to distinguish newly organized Calvinistic Baptists from the Arminian Baptists and the Anabaptists. Persecu- tion kept the 1677 document from beingofficially endorsed by Particular Baptists until 1689, when the Toleration Act was passed. I recommend it highly as a guide for biblical doctrine. The exception to total obedience to the Law is found in article 17 where Christ is said to have ‘finished and removed all those Rites, Shadowes, and Ceremonies’ that formed ‘the partition wall’. [27] It has of course remained in print ever since and has been translated into many languages. These developments took place at a time when the Particular Baptists having established their Calvinistic orthodoxy were drawing closer to the Presbyterians and Independents under their common experience of persecution. (For example, 8.5: Christ purchased salvation “for all those whom the Father hath given unto him.”) Definite atonement seems to me to be both biblical and consistent with the other four major soteriological points of Calvinism, but it is also the most debated of the “five points.”. The powerful ministry of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones in the nation’s capital made Christians aware of a heritage long forgotten. Nehemiah Coxe was the son of Benjamin Coxe who had been a prominent Baptist in the middle years of the century. [15], The demands of the situation in the 1670s were made more difficult by the lack of suitably equipped ministers. Particular Baptist churches began to appear in England in that period of Charles I’s reign which historians have called the ‘Eleven Years Tyranny’. Featley had objected to the fact that there was no reference to a Christian magistrate and so the omission was rectified. Full-scale debates on the details began in July and about a year later the Confession was substantially finished in its first draft. In 1975 it was joined by another edition in modern English published by Carey publications. [13] There were however both doctrinal and practical reasons why something other than a reissue of the 1644 Confession was needed. Earlier in the mid-1650s the Broadmead Church, Bristol lost a quarter of its members to the Quakers. for the satisfaction of all other Christians that differ from us, in the point of baptism, to recommend to their perusal the confession of our faith, which we do own, as containing the doctrine of our faith and practice; and do desire that the members of our churches respectively do furnish themselves therewith. Churches: The Embassies and Geography of Heaven. Parliament soon found itself at war with the King. Perhaps it is significant that there is no reference to Adam in the context. Please make sure all fields are filled out. In the light of threats of religious uniformity which were being pressed by Presbyterians, a stronger statement on religious liberty was included. With the reign of King Charles II renewed persecution of Protestants began. Collier openly admitted that his views had changed. Baptisms before 1640 appear to have been administered by effusion. They had been involved in fierce debates with the Quakers who were threatening the stability of some of the churches. The two groups of Particular Baptists had so much in common and as they were careful to explain in the Introduction to the Confession they agreed with their Reformed paedobaptist brethren on so many matters as well. A church can—and should!—disagree with much Catholic theology without having to affirm that “the Pope of Rome” is “that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (26.4). They decided to call for help from London. Collier was a significant leader in the West and had earlier been known and loved over a much wider area. Their reasons for broadly reissuing the WCF were, first, to show their broad agreement with the WCF and, second, to distance themselves from emerging groups like the Quakers who were viewed by orthodox Protestants as holding aberrant doctrine. The Banner of Truth magazine began to appear in 1955 and a few years later began its significant republishing programme. The situation was grievous. I do not think it is wise for a church to be specific in its statement of faith about a point of doctrine about which there has been much Reformed debate, historically and in the present. In 1654 the church at Abergavenny was rebuked by the Welsh Association for tolerating such opinions. First London Baptist Confession. The Lambeth Articles were never accorded official status in England, although Archbishop Ussher made use of them in the Irish Articles of 1615. The Banner of Truth magazine began to appear in 1955 and a few years later began its significant republishing programme. It would be interesting to know whether these changes represent a general adjustment in Reformed thinking in the 1670s or whether they are peculiar to the compilers of this Confession. B.B. The 2nd London Baptist Confession of 1689 During the 17-century there were a number of issues in England that help bring about the change from the 1st 1644 LBC to the 2nd 1689 LBC, but more so that the Baptist and Presbyterians would be closer in work and deed than further a part like that we see in America today. Any leaning towards the practice of open communion received little sympathy among the associations. Springfield, MO: Particular Baptist Press, 2002. It re-appeared in 1959 under the title, Things Most Surely Believed Among Us. However when the Baptist Confession describes the Lord’s Supper it suggests that there is more than a sign. Before toleration came with the “glorious revolution” of William and Mary in 1688 two other Protestant denominations issued very slightly-modified versions of the WCF. 1689 Baptist Confession. Dowley, ‘A London Congregation During the Great Persscution’, Baptist Quarterly, 27, pp233-39. In 1674 this literary hiatus ended when he published A Body of Divinity which shocked and dismayed many of his old colleagues. It has been suggested that he played a major part in the compilation of the Somerset Confession of 1656. The revised confession or Declaration of Faith and Order as it was to be called was unanimously approved by the whole Synod which adjourned on 12th October after 12 working days. Memories of those events continued to haunt orthodox Baptists for over a century. An extension of this policy to Scotland provoked rebellion which put impossible … So the Congregationalists issued the Savoy Declaration in 1658 and the Particular Baptists composed the SLC in 1677. Antecedents of the First London Confession, Dr Barrie White has demonstrated that the First London Confession was heavily dependent on the English Separatist Confession of 1596. The Evangelical Library had riches untold ready to be tapped. The majority of the divines, however, were infralapsarians. 1, p. 500. Like Westminster and Savoy it teaches a covenant of grace made between God and the elect sinner in Christ. O Come Let Us Adore Him (feat. Samuel E. Waldron. On the other hand both W.L. Chapter 3. [15] R.D. Laud’s ambition was to purge the Church of England of Puritanism. The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words – but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts. Strictly their existence was illegal, but the confusion of the times afforded them a fair degree of liberty. Darlington, UK: Evangelical Press, 1989. OF FAITH, Of those CHURCHES which are commonly (though falsly) called ANABAPTISTS; Presented to the view of all that feare God, to examine by the touchstone of the Word of Truth: As likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently both in Pulpit and Print, (although unjustly) cast upon them. The earlier statements about the Bible, God and the accomplishment and application of salvation were left untouched. W. Robert Godfrey. In the early years of the twentieth century there was little desire for the system of doctrine taught in the Confession or indeed for that experiential Calvinism expressed in Puritan theology. OR Select a range of biblical books. It was also intended to be an instrument of instruction for the Baptist congregations themselves. The 1646 Confession was originally written in 1644, as an apologetic document to defend seven London Baptist churches against charges of being “Anabaptist.” The 1689 Confession, on the other hand, was essentially a carbon copy of the Presbyterian Westminster Confession of Faith, with a few minor tweaks to make it “Baptist” in nature. And this we did, the more abundantly to manifest our consent with them both, in all the fundamental articles of the Christian religion, also with many others whose orthodox confessions have been published to the World, on behalf of the protestants in diverse nations and cities; and also to convince all that we have no itch to clog religion with new words, but to readily acquiesce in that form of sound words which hath been, in consent with the holy scriptures, used by others before us. The early debates were concerned largely with matters of church government and in this area the Presbyterians won the day. It re-appeared in 1959 under the title, Things Most Surely Believed Among Us. [24] ‘Narrative of the Proceedings of the Assembly’, quoted Ivimey, HEB, vol. The Confession consists of 53 articles and is a full statement of the Particular Baptists position although it is not so detailed as the Second Confession. [6] The 1644 edition contained the statement that baptism is ‘to be dispensed onely upon persons professing faith’, article 39. In the chapter on Creation there is a paragraph not found in the earlier confessions which refers to Adam and Eve receiving ‘a commandment not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’, but any suggestion of a covenant of works is carefully avoided. As a result five London ministers including William Kiffin and Nehemiah Coxe travelled to meet Collier at Southwick near Trowbridge where he was then living. The SLC, then, is a tremendous statement of historic Reformed (and, I think, biblical) doctrine. ‘Be not ashamed of your faith; remember it is the ancient gospel of martyrs, confessors, reformers and saints. In fact 69 turned up and the average daily attendance was between 60 and 80. The Puritan revolution failed. More recently another edition has been published by the Metropolitan Tabernacle. This message looks especially at the First and Second London Baptist Confessions (1646 and 1689) and offers a comparison and contrast. Churches must decide how tightly to draw their theological boundaries, but I believe the SLC is too tight. Thomas Patient, Kiffin’s co-pastor, had died in 1666, Thomas Glasse in the same year, John Wigan in 1665, John Vernon in 1657, Abraham Cheare and possibly John Spilsbury in 1668 and Edward Harrison by March 1674. The Second London Confession describes ‘others being left to act in sin to their just condemnation’. While the 1646 Confession was rooted in a defense against charges of being 'anabaptist.' In chapters 8 and 11 the vicarious nature of Christ’s sacrifice is stated more strongly in Savoy; the 15th chapter on repentance is rewritten entirely. In 1688 James II, Britain’s last Roman Catholic king fled the country in the face of a rising which crystallised around his Dutch and Protestant son in law, William of Orange. This context shows the need that Particular Baptists as a whole felt to issue the SLC. An extension of this policy to Scotland provoked rebellion which put impossible strains on the King’s finances and forced him to turn again to Parliament. This was resisted by Andrew Gifford of Bristol, but he felt the need of the help of his brethren in London. There were of course a number of open membership and open communion churches such as those of Henry Jessey in London and the Broadmead church in Bristol, but these were excluded from the mainstream of Baptist life. May 30. In England Parliament removed the chapters on Church censures and Synods and Councils and modified the statements on Christian Liberty, the Magistrate and Divorce. A Paper read to the Strict Baptist Historical Society 17th March 1989. Potentially more dangerous than these differences was the challenge presented by the changes in the teachings of Thomas Collier. The Baptist Confession of 1689 About the London Confession of Faith of 1689 In England during the 1630s and 1640s, Congregationalists and Baptists emerged from the Church of England. Now he taught that both natures of Christ were eternal. The overthrow of James II in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 made possible the passing of the Toleration of Act of 1689 which granted a restricted freedom of worship for orthodox dissenters. In the Commonwealth period a number of Baptist associations had emerged, each of closed communion churches. Give Today. He was later to write a reply to John Owen’s Death of Death. In 1645 the Western Association recognised him as an evangelist although he had been involved in such work for years. PURPOSE OF LOCAL CHURCH STATEMENT’S OF FAITH. Because we acknowledge the word of God written to be the supreme authority in all matters of faith, morals, and … The Baptist Confession shows a modification in the area of covenant theology. He taught that Christ died for all men and used the terms ‘election’ and ‘calling’ in a non-Calvinist way. In the Appendix the compilers stated, ‘we…are not at a full accord among ourselves’. They were however the objects of considerable suspicion. This statement of faith has played a significant role in Baptist life since its first appearance. Evangelicalism generally was dominated by Arminianism and even such Calvinism as survived in England was largely Hyper-Calvinist and forgot the existence of the Confession. The SLC was intended to distance the Baptists from questionable groups and to show their orthodox Protestantism, vis-à-vis other Reformed Protestants. Southbridge, MA: Crowne Publications, 1990. The Second London Confession was thus intended to be a contribution to Reformed Christian unity. The label "1689 Federalism" is not intended to suggest that no other view is permissible amongst confessional baptists. Above all live in Christ Jesus, and walk in Him, giving credence to no teaching but that which is manifestly approved of Him, and owned by the Holy Spirit. It returned to Parliament with the necessary proofs in April 1647. The relevant entry for 26th August 1677 reads, ‘It was agreed that a Confession of Faith, with the Appendix thereunto, having been read and considered by the brethren, should be published’. In July 1689 a group of London Baptists sent out an invitation to their brethren to attend a General Assembly to be held in the capital from 3rd to 12th September. On the authority of the Minute Book of the Petty France Church in the City of London, Ivimey ascribed authorship to the pastors of that church, William Collins and Nehemiah Coxe. First, it must provide an outline of the church’s theology that will determine the contours of the church’s teaching and preaching ministries. 4.1 seems to require belief in a literal six-day creation. From: To: OR Custom Selection: Use semicolons to separate … Within three months John Doggett could write, ‘hundreds have already sold in a most encouraging manner and it has been welcomed not only by strict Baptist ministers but also by many others’. Above all, it is the truth of God, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. The final edition of the Confession concentrated on those areas of common agreement and did not attempt to legislate on the finer points of difference in this area.[9]. What happened to the other 3? May 29. Article 7 elaborates. After repeated failures to work with a Parliament, Charles managed to govern without one for eleven years from 1629. More recently another edition has been published by the Metropolitan Tabernacle. 2. The Particular Baptists could be embroiled in a very damaging controversy. Three factors lead to this conclusion. (See 22.7-8.) Evangelicalism generally was dominated by Arminianism and even such Calvinism as survived in England was largely Hyper-Calvinist and forgot the existence of the Confession. But that does not mean that the SLC should be used as a local church statement of faith. Warfield however considered that the final shape of the Confession was forged in the experience of these men as preachers and pastors. In 1646 and after the words, ‘the Scripture holds out to be’ were omitted. fession than the previous Baptist confession of 1644. 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Co-Operation may help to explain their beliefs s day, another point on which conservative Christians.! 14 ] of tracts and then for years published nothing although he had been issued by Baptist... London Baptist Confessions ( 1646 and subsequent editions the word ‘ onely ’ removed... Be specific enough that it summarizes the doctrinal convictions of the Somerset of! ] for details see Williston Walker, the demands of the older language, quoted Ivimey, HEB,.... Proposals of Parliament and of the 1689 Confession to purge the church of England had! Translated into many languages of suitably equipped ministers write a reply to Coxe copy to Richard Cromwell, the in! Has already been shown, the report of the Confession of Faith the., then, is a tremendous statement of Faith govern without one for eleven years from 1629, 1980 1969.