This book explores the doctrine of the church among English Calvinistic Baptists between 1640 and 1660. It examines the emergence of Calvinistic Baptists against the background of the demise of the Episcopal Church of England, the establishment by Act of Parliament of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, and the attempted foundation of a Presbyterian Church of England. Ecclesiology was one of the most important doctrines under consideration in this phase of English history, and this book is a contribution to understanding alternative forms of ecclesiology outside of the mainstream National Church settlement.
It argues that the development of Calvinistic Baptist ecclesiology was a natural development of one stream of Puritan theology, the tradition associated with Robert Brown, and the English separatist movement. This tradition was refined and made experimental in the work of Henry Jacob, who founded a congregation in London in 1616 from which Calvinistic Baptists emerged. Central to Jacob’s ideology was the belief that a rightly ordered church acknowledged Christ as King over his people. The christological priority of early Calvinistic Baptist ecclesiology will constitute the primary contribution of this study to the investigation of dissenting theology in the period.
Publication Date: Jan. 2017
Publisher: Pickwick Publications, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers
Ian Birch is Principal of the Scottish Baptist College where he lectures in Theology and Baptist Studies. He contributed to The Plainly Revealed Word of God? Baptist Hermeneutics in Theory and Practice (2011) and Mirrors and Microscopes (2015). He was winner of the Payne Memorial Essay Prize for “‘The Counsel and Help of One Another’: Origins and Concerns of Early Particular Baptist Churches in Association” in 2012.
Those of the past have given us a wonderful treasury of resources to learn from. As early Particular Baptist’s sought to clarify their position they wisely used existing statement’s of faith in order to provide easy comparison with others. This means that the list of agreements and disagreements can clearly be seen, compared and understood between all the parties involved. This chart lists the comparison between the Westminster Shorter Catechism and a Baptist catechism that was based on it which is commonly called Keach’s Catechism. As there are many version of both catechisms with updating and numbering differences between them, there may be some slight variation based on edition. Spelling differences or small changes in wording that do not substantially change the meaning are kept parallel. Some question may not have corresponding sections in one or the other catechism so they are kept blank. Question 95 of the WSC and 101 of Keach’s is put in bold as the question is the same, but the answer has a key difference. I hope that this will be a beneficial resource in your study.
Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 1. Who is the first and best of beings?
A. God is the first and best of beings.
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever.
Q. 2. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.
Q. 94. What is baptism?
A. Baptism is a sacrament, wherein the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, doth signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord’s.
Q. 100. What is Baptism?
A. Baptism is an holy ordinance, wherein the washing with water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, signifies our ingrafting into Christ and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord’s.
Q. 95. To whom is baptism to be administered?
A. Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him; but the infants of such as are members of the visible church are to be baptized.
Q. 101. To whom is Baptism to be administered?
A. Baptism is to be administered to all those who actually profess repentance towards God, faith in, and obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ; and to none other.
Q. 102. Are the infants of such as are professing believers to be baptized?
A. The infants of such as are professing believers are not to be baptized; because there is neither command nor example in the Holy Scriptures, or certain consequence from them, to baptize such.
When we first interviewed Pastor Jeff Johnson he also shared how he was saved from the brink of suicide. You can find that in the first podcast listed above. It is now in video form from the same interviewer in the video above:
Doctrine and Devotion’s first conference is happening on March 11th, 2017 in the western suburbs of Chicago. This one day event will focus on the use of confessions in the life of the Christian and the local church as it relates to faith and godliness.
You may have read books or watched videos that teach on music and warn against various styles of music, pointing to their association with things that are ungodly. Those discussions about music can be both helpful and at times misleading. They are helpful in that—
They make us aware that we should be concerned about the music we hear.
They expose some very real issues of sin and abuse of music to promote evil. But they can be misleading in that—
They tend to pick on just 1 or 2 styles of music (Rock, Pop), and give the rest a pass.
They often misidentify the problem.
Let me give you some guidelines for thinking about music as it relates to sin…
Each of the Quarterly Updates has reports from four cooperative efforts of ARBCA: Foreign Missions, Home Missions, Publications and Theological Education (IRBS). You will see reports from foreign and home missionaries, in depth articles about mission efforts around the world, updates on theological education in this quarterly.
The Midwest Regional Founders Conference will gather on February 28-March 1, at the First Baptist Church, Fenton, Missouri. Dr. Michael Haykin is our main speaker as we apply the lessons learned at the Wittenberg door almost 500 years ago to today churches. Other speakers include Dr. John Greever, Dr. Joshua Wilson, Terry Coker, and Dr. Curtis McClain.
I have been surprised over the last several years to sense a rise of views which I associate with Hyper-Calvinism or “Half-step Hyper-Calvinism.” Forty years ago I with my wife were new members of the Reformed Baptist Church of Grand Rapids (now called Grace Immanuel Reformed Baptist Church). This church was one of only a handful of Baptist churches in the United States espousing the doctrines of grace. And we were staunch five-pointers. So we were called, of course, Hyper-Calvinists. We always thought this odd because to us five-point Calvinism was just Calvinism and thus could not be Hyper-Calvinism.
As the years wore on, the church grew. More and more of our members began to come from various Dutch Reformed denominations in the large Dutch Reformed community in Western Michigan. We began to be aware that there were folks in that large Dutch Reformed community who really did at some level deserve the name Hyper-Calvinists.
We had discovered the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith. It was the Confession of our church. In it were not only the doctrines of grace (including particular redemption). In it also we had discovered the doctrines of the free offer of the gospel (chapter 7, paragraph 2) and common grace (14:3). More study assured us that both these doctrines were in the original confessional statement of the doctrines of grace, the Canons of Dort.
Yet at least one of the local Dutch Reformed denominations not only denied the free offer and common grace. It was built on a denial of those doctrines. Its leaders continued in a vehement polemic against the free offer and common grace (Spurgeon’s so-called two track theology) which affirmed both the dimensions of God’s will (known variously as secret and revealed or better as decretive and perceptive).
For this reason, the leaders of RBCGR were frequently engaged in a two front war. We had to fight the Arminianism of the local Baptist churches and institutions, but also the Hyper-Calvinism or Half-step Hyper-Calvinism of the Dutch Reformed denomination mentioned above. We were confident that our Reformed Baptist brethren shared with us our position.
Now, however, I am aware of blogs and brothers which have if not verbally, at least virtually, have adopted substantially the views of the Hyper-Calvinism or Half-step Hyper-Calvinism mentioned above. Brother Curt Daniel has a couple of times invited me to speak at the yearly conference of his church in Springfield, Illinois. Since he wrote his dissertation on the subject of Hyper-Calvinism, I talked to him about my concerns. One of the results was the interview which I want to share with you in three blog posts that are to follow.
Grace Immanuel Reformed Baptist Church and the Reformed Baptist Seminary will be hosting a conference to commemorate the 500 year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. If you are a pastor of a local church, ministerial aspirant, RBS student, or RBS graduate, we would like to invite you to attend. Dr. Robert Gonzales, Dr. Brian Borgman, and Pastor Greg Nichols will be speaking on how the great truths recovered during the Reformation are relevant for the present and the future. Don’t miss it!
To register, click on the link below and then click on “Registration Form.” Special note: To check if housing and transportation is available (to and from the airport, and to and from the conference) call Rosey Nolan (GIRBC secretary) at 616-742-1137 or email her at email@example.com.
RBAP is offering the hardback facsimile edition of the 1677 Second London Confession of Faith for $15.00 plus s/h, suggested retail $20.00. This edition includes a preface by Dr. Mike Renihan, “To the Judicious and Impartial Reader,” table of contents, the text of the Confession, and “An Appendix.” This version has the original wording and original Scripture references, both of which have been slightly altered in subsequent versions. It is highly recommended to purists and serious students.
RBAP currently has 30 copies so you should act quickly if you want a copy. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with name, address, title, and quantity. You will need to be able to pay via check or Paypal. Once the email order is received on our end, your order will be placed and an invoice will be emailed.