Radio interview w/ Michael Haykin on “The Baptist Story: From English Sect to Global Movement” [Iron Sharpens Iron]


From a recently posted Iron Sharpens Iron Radio from July 5, 2016 with Chris Arnzen:

michael haykinDR. MICHAEL HAYKIN,
Professor of Church History & Biblical Spirituality (2008),
Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies at
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY
& author of
Baptist Story BookTHE BAPTIST STORY: From English Sect to Global Movement

2 hour audio [mp3]:

Six Ways a Church Should Use a Confession of Faith [Jeff Robinson]


Particular Baptist churches planted in the tumultuous soil of 17th century England grew up and bore fruit under a nasty set of doctrinal and methodological accusations, including that they subscribed to libertarian free will, denied original sin, that their pastors baptized women in the nude, and were opponents of church and crown.

Perhaps their most virulent and colorful opponent, Daniel Featley—a separatist persecutor deluxe—derisively dismissed our Baptist forebears, writing in a venom-filled pamphlet, “They pollute our rivers with their filthy washings.” Such was Baptist life under Charles I.

These nefarious charges and numerous others arose from leaders of the state church and led to decades of grinding persecution for Baptists. Seven churches returned fire, but not by brandishing the sword of steel or by hurling theological invectives. The seven carried out their war for truth by wielding the sword of the Spirit. The product was the most comprehensive expression of orthodox Baptist theology ever written—the Second London Confession of 1689.

church pewThe signers of that venerable confession lived and moved in an age in which most local congregations wrote confessions of faith for a number of reasons, one of them to demonstrate their commitment to the historic Christian faith. Additionally, they sought to manifest their solidarity with the prevailing forms of Calvinistic orthodoxy as well as to expound the basic elements of their ecclesiology. The Second London Confession also aimed at refuting popular notions associating Particular Baptists with the radical wing of the Anabaptist movement on the continent.

Of primary importance, they saw biblical warrant for the practice of confessionalism in texts such as 1 Timothy 3:16, where the apostle Paul’s inspired pen produced a brief but beautiful display of the mystery of godliness:

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.

Fast-forward to 2016 and many Baptist churches continue to have statements of faith “on the books” as a part of their foundational documents. Yet, I’ve found that many churches do not know how useful the confession can be beyond establishing subscription to certain core doctrines. This raises a fundamental question: How should a local church use their confession of faith? Here are six ways a church might use a confession of faith. I owe at least four of these to my friend Sam Waldron’s fine work, A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith(Evangelical Press). Confessions of faith should be used:

1. As an affirmation and defense of the truth…

2. As a baseline for church discipline…

3. As a means of theological triage and Christian maturity…

4. As a concise standard by which to evaluate ministers of the Word…

5. As a doctrinal basis for planting daughter churches…

6. As a means of establishing historical continuity and unity with other Christians…

Read more on the above six points.

Consider the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith [J. Ryan Davidson]

1689 Leather EditionJ. Ryan Davidson:

Huddled together in 1644, representatives of 7 churches gathered to summarize their common confession, and to distinguish themselves from the Anabaptists and the Arminians. It was a time of turmoil, and the river of the Reformation had swept across the banks of London. This was one of the first of several non-Anglican groups in that century to put pen to paper and confess their faith. Two years later, the Westminster Assembly would produce its own confession (WCF), and then in 1658, the Congregationalists would follow suit (Savoy Declaration). That original group of 7 churches was the Particular Baptists. Amid persecution, and to show their solidarity and theological agreement in many ways with the Presbyterians and Congregationalists that had since written their own confessions, a larger crop of Baptists would draft the 1677 Baptist Confession with great reliance on the WCF and Savoy, however due to persecution, this document would not be published until 1689, giving it the name that it is known by today: “The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith”. This Confession was classically theist in its view of God, covenantal in its view of Biblical Theology, “Calvinist” in its soteriology, and would show alignment with the Westminster Confession of Faith on the Ordinary Means of Grace and the Law. I grew up Baptist, became Calvinistic in my soteriology in my teen years, and have found a wonderful home in the confessional roots of Baptist theology as a pastor in my mid-thirties. To me, this Historic Confession, similar to the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Savoy Declaration, is worth considering for at least five reasons:

  1. For Baptists influenced by the ‘New Calvinism’, it is helpful to see that for Baptists, Calvinism is not “new”…

  2. It contains a wonderful vision for the Christian life…

  3. There is value in saying more sometimes…

  4. Historic Confessions ground us…

  5. Believer’s Baptism has much of its roots in a Covenant Theology…

Read the explanations of each of the five above points.

The Purpose of the 1689 London Confession of Faith [James Brown Jr.’s 3-part Audio Podcast]

Here is another podcast from a 1689’r that just hit our hard-working Bapti-Bot’s radar, though it has been around since 2010!

James Brown Jr.Standing Firm James Brown Jr:

This year marks the 325th anniversary of the 1689 Second London Confession of Faith. In recognition of the impact this confession has played in our history and its significance for our future, we restarted our podcasts [RSS | iTunes] to highlight this standard of confessional Reformed Baptists.


We began with three podcasts focusing upon the purpose of the 1689…


In these three podcasts we attempt to set forth the purpose for the publication of the 1689 London Confession of Faith. The spirit of this document cannot be separated from its content. It was the purpose of these English Baptists to show our unity with the catholic Church and our distinctions as Baptists within the universal visible Church.

Here are the podcast:

1689 confessionThe Purpose of the 1689 London Confession of Faith

In this episode, we will begin examining the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. Instead of beginning with its historical background or content, we will begin by looking at the reasons it was drafted to be used as the basis of the London association of Credobaptist churches. Their intent, purpose and the nature of the document is revealed in its Preface to the Reader. If we are going to recover true confessionalism, it must include the purpose and not just the content. In other words, we must recover the spirit of the confession along with the letter of the confession.


[Purpose 1: To set forth the Reformed Baptist principles.]


The Purpose of the 1689 London Confession of Faith – Part 2

In this episode, we will continue our examination of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith…


[Purpose 2: To set forth the Reformed Baptist unity among all orthodox Reformed churches... podcast even getting into some Covenant Theology]


The Purpose of the 1689 London Confession of Faith – Part 3

In this episode, we will continue our examination of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith…


[Purpose 3: To set forth Reformed Baptist distinctives.


Purpose 4: To set forth our liberty within the church universal.


Purpose 5: To set forth their mission of reformation.]


James Brown Jr.
James Brown Jr.

James Brown Jr. is a pastor at Reformed Church of the Holy Trinity, a 1689 London Baptist church plant in Mooresville, Indiana. He is an ordained Baptist minister who has served Independent and Southern Baptist Churches in Indiana and Georgia since 1998.

James is a Gulf War veteran having served in the United States Marine Corps. He and his wife, Sonya, have 8 children and 1 grandchild.

He is also one of the speakers at the upcoming “Baptists, Confessionalism & the Providence of God” Conference“.

Dr. Renihan’s Exposition of the entire 1st LBC 1644/1646 [3 Videos]


[ 1644 | 1646 ]

Three videos from IRBS [The Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies] Continuing Education classes have been posted of Dr. James Renihan’s Exposition of the First London Baptist Confession of Faith:

irbs prev james renihan bow tie

Intro, Outline, and Unit 1 of the Confession (paragraphs 1 through 6) [49 min. video]:

Units 2, 3, and 4 of the Confession (paragraphs 7 through 32) [75 min. video]:

Units 5 and 6 of the Confession (paragraphs 33 through 53) [67 min. video]:


Here is the book Dr. Renihan recommends at the beginning of the lecture:

Baptist Confessions of Faith by William LumpkinBaptist Confessions of Faith Hardcover by William Lumpkin
[New | Used]

Confessing the Faith in 1644 & 1689 [James Renihan]

1689 confession

Here’s a post from The Sovereign Logos [Patrick’s blog] from a couple of years ago, featuring Dr. James Renihan’s comments on the origins of the First and Second London Baptist Confessions. Enjoy!

At the recommendation of Brandon Adams, I just finished reading a wonderfully informative article on the development of two very important Baptist confessions of faith: The First London Confession of 1644, and the Second London Confession of Faith (1689). If you are interested in Church History (and you should be), particularly Particular Baptist history, be sure to check this one out.

Pastor James M. Renihan is Dean and Professor of Historical Theology at the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies at Westminster Seminary California in Escondido, CA.

Try to imagine a situation like this: You live in a large city, the capital of your country. You are a member of one of a handful of churches, just beginning to grow and be noticed in the city. But it is illegal for you to meet with your brothers and sisters. For as long as anyone living can remember, there has been only one legal religion, and every attempt to disagree with that one religion has met with opposition and persecution.


As your churches grow, rumors begin to spread. A hundred years before, some people with beliefs that were marginally similar to your own had been involved in a terrible rebellion in another country relatively close by, and rumors were beginning to spread that your churches would do the same kinds of things. What would you do?


That is something of the situation facing the members of seven Calvinistic Baptist churches in London in 1644. In the space of a few short years, their numbers had grown, and people were beginning to take notice of their presence in London. But it was often not a friendly notice. In 1642, an anonymous pamphlet entitled A Warning for England, especially for London; in the famous History of the frantick Anabaptists, their wild Preachings and Practices in Germany was published. It is an amazing piece of work. The author, in 9 double sized pages, described the sad events of Munster, Germany. Rebellion, sedition, theft, murder are all charged to the “anabaptists.” Throughout, there is no mention of anything but these events from another time and place—until the very last sentence of the pamphlet which stated “So, let all the factious and seditious enemies of the church and state perish; but, upon the head of king Charles, let the crown flourish! Amen.” The warning was in one sense subtle, but in another brilliantly powerful: beware! What was done in Germany by the anabaptists may well happen again in London, if these people are allowed to spread their doctrines.


So what did the Baptists do? The situation was potentially explosive. They knew that it was essential to demonstrate that they were not radicals, subversively undermining the fabric of society. To the contrary, they were law-abiding citizens, who were being misrepresented and misunderstood by many around them. They wanted and needed to demonstrate that they were quite orthodox in their theological beliefs, and that they had no agenda beyond a faithful and conscientious commitment to God and His Word.


As the Baptists faced these circumstances, they decided that they needed to take action to relieve the fears and misinformation spreading. God had blessed their efforts thus far, and they did not want to see those efforts frustrated by the rumor and innuendo of their enemies. So they adopted a practice frequently used by others in the last 150 years—they issued a confession of faith so that anyone interested in them might be able to obtain an accurate understanding of their beliefs and practices.

You can read the rest of Pastor Renihan’s excellent article here.

For those who are interested, James Anderson has created some documents which are very helpful in comparing confessions: A Tabular Comparison of 1646 WCF and the 1689 LBCF and A Tabular Comparison of the 1646 Westminster Confession of Faith, the 1658 Savoy Declaration of Faith, the 1677/1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, and the 1742 Philadelphia Confession of Faith.

New Covenant Theology and the 1644/1646 London Baptist Confession

There are some who choose to confess the 1646 London Baptist confession rather than the 1677 London Baptist confession. Their reasons for this choice vary, but among them are those who wish to adhere to what is known as “New Covenant Theology.” In making this move, it is claimed, they are identifying with Baptists who did not hold such a “rigid” stance on the law as it is expressed in the 1677 London Baptist confession. However, when examined in its historical context, there is no difference between the views of the early and later baptists concerning the law.

After the publication of the first confession in 1644, certain criticisms and inquiries were made to the Baptists concerning their positions on certain issues. In reply, they revised the confession and republished it in 1646. Benjamin Coxe, father of Nehemiah Coxe, also published an appendix to the confession in 1646 in order to give added clarity to some of the issues in question.

Go to the Particular Voices blog to see this short writing from Benjamin Coxe.