1689 Federalism responses to New Covenant Guy & Paul Flynn [VIDEOS]


It has been nearly two years since the 1689Federalism.com site was made public. Brandon Adams has added many updates to the site since then. One of the most recent additions is the new Ask a Question page (self-explanatory). Beyond that, within the past several weeks Brandon Adams has been responding to interactions with “1689 Federalism” on YouTube.

You may watch these recent interactions below (video notes include links to content discussed):

1689 Federalism response to New Covenant Guy

Follow-up to Paul Flynn (of Megiddo Radio) on 1689 Federalism [mp3]

‘The Paedobaptists Have Found their Victoria Jackson’ Tom Chantry on Lee Gatiss’ recent Ref21 post

John The Baptist OwenTom Chantry:

[Lee] Gatiss heard some talk about John Owen’s promotion of a baptistic form of covenant theology, and he is very, very concerned to let us know that John Owen was…drumroll please…not a Baptist.

Victoria Jackson
Victoria Jackson

We know, Victoria, we know.

For those of our paedobaptist friends who care to understand, here is what is going on.

…this incident can be filed as yet another beat-down of a Baptist straw-man by misinformed paedobaptists…

Read “The Paedobaptists Have Found their Victoria Jackson”.

Update Feb. 2, 2015: Judging a Book by (Part of) its Cover

Church Membership De Jure or De Facto? [Brandon Adams]

Brandon Adams
Brandon Adams

Brandon Adams writes:

When Presbyterians are first introduced to 1689 Federalism, often one of their first responses is “Oh, so you deny the visible/invisible distinction of the church?” To which we respond “No.” For example, Chris Villi says:

In one of the key statements of the book, Denault writes, “The Scriptures do not provide any possibilities of being visibly in the New Covenant without participating effectively in its substance” (p. 153). This assertion represents one of the most fundamental errors of Baptist theology. Essentially, Denault is arguing that everyone in the New Covenant is truly saved and that it is impossible for an unbeliever to be connected to the New Covenant in any sense. Denault notes that, for Particular Baptists, the New Covenant “did not have an external administration in which the non-elect were to be found” (p. 86).

Again, the denial of the possibility of unbelievers in the visible church is one of the most problematic aspects of the federalism espoused by Denault. Is it really possible to guarantee that there are no non-elect people associated with the visible church? Even more, can this idea of “regenerate membership” in the visible church be defended as biblical? Given that 1689 federalists have always been convinced that true believers cannot lose their salvation, the very existence of a New Testament command for church discipline and excommunication contradicts their position.


1689 Confession 2Yet our confession clearly states in chapter 26:

1._____ The catholic or universal church, which (with respect to the internal work of the Spirit and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ, the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Hebrews 12:23; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:10, 22, 23;Ephesians 5:23, 27, 32 )

2._____ All persons throughout the world, professing the faith of the gospel, and obedience unto God by Christ according unto it, not destroying their own profession by any errors everting the foundation, or unholiness of conversation, are and may be called visible saints; and of such ought all particular congregations to be constituted.
1 Corinthians 1:2; Acts 11:26; Romans 1:7; Ephesians 1:20-22 )

3._____ The purest churches under heaven are subject to mixture and error; and some have so degenerated as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan; nevertheless Christ always hath had, and ever shall have a kingdom in this world, to the end thereof, of such as believe in him, and make profession of his name.
1 Corinthians 5; Revelation 2; Revelation 3; Revelation 18:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12; Matthew 16:18; Psalms 72:17;Psalm 102:28; Revelation 12:17 )

church pewSo where is the confusion coming from? It’s the difference between de jure and de facto.

de jure

[Latin, In law.] Legitimate; lawful, as a Matter of LawHaving complied with all therequirements imposed by law.

De jure is commonly paired withde facto, which means “in fact.” In the course of ordinaryevents, the term de jure is superfluous. For example, in everyday discourse, when onespeaks of a corporation or a government, the understood meaning is a de jurecorporation or a de jure government.

A de jure corporation is one that has completely fulfilled the statutory formalities imposedby state corporation law in order to be granted corporate existence. In comparison, a de facto corporation is one that has acted in Good Faithand would be an ordinarycorporation but for failure to comply with some technical requirements.

de facto

[Latin, In fact.] In fact, in deed, actually.

This phrase is used to characterize an officer, a government, a past action, or a state of affairs that must be accepted for all practicalpurposes, but is illegal or illegitimate. Thus,an office, position, or status existing under a claim or color of right, such as a de factocorporation. In this sense it is the contrary of de jure, which means rightful,legitimate, just, or constitutional. Thus, an officer, king, orgovernmentde facto is one thatis in actual possession of the office or supreme power, but by usurpation, or withoutlawful title

Read “Church Membership De Jure or De Facto?”.

Interview #75 – Richard Barcellos – Recovering a Covenantal Heritage: Essays in Baptist Covenant Theology [Audio Podcast]

Recovering Covenantal Heritage


Dr. Richard Barcellos
Dr. Richard Barcellos

On episode 75 of our interview podcast, we interview Richard Barcellos of Reformed Baptist Academic Press about their newest release Recovering a Covenantal Heritage: Essays in Baptist Covenant Theology.

We get into questions such as:

  • What is the book all about?
  • Is it just “1689 Federalism”?
  • Do the 17th century baptism arguments hold water? :P
  • What is a paedobaptist like John Owen doing in this book!?
  • How is Acts 2:39 misused by paedobaptist?
  • + more

We previously had him on episode #55, 39, 21, 5, & 4.


Subscribe to the podcast in a RSS readeriTunesStitcherTuneIn or by Email.


Out Now: ‘Recovering a Covenantal Heritage: Essays in Baptist Covenant Theology’ [RBAP]

Recovering Covenantal Heritage

$27.29 | £22.98 ]

Per Richard Barcellos, RBAP should be getting their copies around the 10th and will be selling them for around $10 less.

Here is the Table of Contents: 

Preface – Richard C. Barcellos, Ph.D.

Introduction – James M. Renihan, Ph.D.



 1. A Brief Overview of Seventeenth-Century Reformed Orthodox Federalism – Richard C. Barcellos, Ph.D.

2. Covenant Theology in the First and Second London Confessions of Faith – James M. Renihan, Ph.D.

3. By Farther Steps: A Seventeenth-Century Particular Baptist Covenant Theology – Pascal Denault, Th.M.

4. The Puritan Argument for the Immersion of Believers: How Seventeenth-Century Baptists Utilized the Regulative Principle of Worship – G. Stephen Weaver, Jr., Ph. D.

5. The Antipaedobaptism of John Tombes – Michael T. Renihan, Ph.D.

6. The Abrahamic Covenant in the Thought of John Tombes – Michael T. Renihan, Ph.D.

7. John Owen on the Mosaic Covenant – Thomas E. Hicks, Jr., Ph.D.

8. A ‘Novel’ Approach to Credobaptist and Paedobaptist Polemics – Jeffrey A. Massey



 9. The Fatal Flaw of Infant Baptism: The Dichotomous Nature of the Abrahamic Covenant – Jeffrey D. Johnson

10. The Difference Between the Old and New Covenants: John Owen on Hebrews 8:6 –  John Owen

11. The Newness of the New Covenant (Part 1) – James R. White, Th.D.

12. The Newness of the New Covenant (Part 2) – James R. White, Th.D.

13. Acts 2:39 in its Context: An Exegetical Summary of Acts 2:39 and Paedobaptism (Part 1) – Jamin Hübner

14. Acts 2:39 in its Context: Case Studies in Paedobaptist Interpretations of Acts 2:39 (Part 2) – Jamin Hübner

15. An Exegetical Appraisal of Colossians 2:11-12 – Richard C. Barcellos, Ph.D.



 16. Reformed Baptist Covenant Theology and Biblical Theology – Micah and Samuel Renihan


Scripture Index

Name and Subject Index

Samples: Preface |  Intro | Chapter 1 | Chapter 10

Paperback: 532 pages

Chapter 1 of Recovering a Covenantal Heritage [PDF] ‘A Brief Overview of Seventeenth-Century Reformed Orthodox Federalism’ [Barcellos]

You can read chapter one of the forthcoming book Recovering a Covenantal Heritage. It begins:


A Brief Overview of Seventeenth-Century

Reformed Orthodox Federalism

Richard C. Barcellos, Ph.D.

Recovering Covenantal HeritageIt is no secret that various seventeenth-century Reformed orthodox theologians articulated theology utilizing a federal or covenantal model. There are many sources (primary and secondary) available for the contemporary reader which amply display and discuss this model. We will examine briefly a few of the more important federal theologians of the seventeenth century to introduce readers to the world of seventeenth-century federal or covenant theology. This brief survey understands federal theology as a method and not as a distinct school.


Federal or covenant theology did not begin in the seventeenth century. The seventeenth-century Reformed orthodox built upon the labors of their Reformed predecessors, who built upon the labors of others before them. Such theologians as Zwingli, Bullinger, Calvin, Ursinus, Olevianus, Rollock, Perkins, Ames, and Ball all played key roles in the early development of federal theology. We will look briefly at some of the key contributors to the development of federalism in the early and late seventeenth century, and even into the eighteenth century, to provide a wider context to introduce the reader to the thought-world of post-Reformation federalism. This should assist the reader as he continues through this volume. Knowing the historical-theological issues of the most productive era of the formulation of federal or covenant theology (among paedobaptists and Particular Baptists) will introduce readers to the ways and means utilized in such formulations and help understand some of the post-Reformation confessional statements and the biblical and theological issues at stake.

You can read the HTML (text) of chapter one at 1689 Federalism [45 minute readout], as well as find the 18 page PDF below:

Download (PDF, 343KB)

The Covenant Theology of the 1689 Baptist Confession [5-Part AUDIO | VIDEO] by Pascal Denault + Q&A

Pascal Denault lecturing at 2014 Creed & Confession RBS Module
Pascal Denault lecturing at 2014 Creed & Confession RBS Module

Pascal Denault, in a post entitled “1689 Federalism”, writes:

1689 Federalism is the Particular Baptist understanding of the Covenant of Grace as stated in the Second London Confession of Faith of 1689. This particular view is distinct from the Westminster view that holds to the concept of one Covenant of Grace under two distinct administrations which are the Old and the New Covenants. From this view, the Westminster Confession allows the Old Covenant to define the Covenant of Grace (its nature, its stipulations, its blessings) and end up with a Covenant of Grace that is mixed by nature because it includes the physical posterity of all those who profess faith. This understanding was perceived by the Particular Baptists to alter the nature of the New Covenant which is « not like » the Old Covenant (Jer. 31:32) and is pure by nature (Jer. 31:34).


The 1689 Confession rejects the One Covenant/Two administrations view of the Westminster. Instead, it affirms that the Covenant of Grace was only revealed in the Old Testament time until it became a formal covenant when the New Covenant was established. Therefore, the Particular Baptist understanding considers that only the New Covenant is the Covenant of Grace and defines it. This involves that the Old Covenant was not the Covenant of Grace and was only typologically linked to it but was in itself an earthly covenant that came to an end when the heavenly reality was established. Instead of seeing two realities (earthly/heavenly, internal/external) inside of the same covenant of grace, the 1689 Federalism affirms two distinct covenants: an earthly external covenant (the Old) and an heavenly internal covenant (the New). The New Covenant was first a promise that was put under the guard of the Law (the Old Covenant). It was then accomplished, sealed in the blood of Christ and given to believers in the form of a covenant.


In the lectures below, I expose chapter 7 of the 1689 (Of God’s Covenant). These lectures were given at the Reformed Baptist Seminary module on Creeds and Confessions held in Las Vegas October 2014. I offer here the MP3 files [with video from RBS]


You can find a French version of this teaching here: http://www.unherautdansle.net/alliances/

HT501 Creeds and Confessions Banner-3RBS:

Pascal Denault is an ordained minister of a Reformed Baptist church in Quebec and is the author of The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology. In four video lectures below, Pascal discusses the covenant theology of the Second London Baptist Confession of 1689. 


1. The Covenant of Works (7.1):

First, he examines the “covenant of works” as it is formulated in the Westminster Confession, Savoy Declaration, and Second London Baptist Confession in lecture one. 



2. The Covenant of Grace – Paedo view (7.2):

Next, in lecture two, he summarizes the “covenant of grace” as it has been traditionally formulated among Reformed and Paedobaptist theologians. 



3. The Covenant of Grace – Credo view (7.3):

In the third lecture, Pascal highlights the unique contribution offered by the Particular Baptists in the 2LBCF to a theology of the covenant of grace. 



4. Summary and conclusions:

Then he summarizes his study on the covenant theology of the 2LBCF and highlights the practical ramifications in lecture four. 



5. Q&A (Dr. Bob Gonzales and Pascal Denault):

Finally, a Q&A session featuring Bob Gonzales and Pascal Denault deals with questions related to confessions of faith and covenant theology. Enjoy!




The Case for Credobaptism from a 1689 Federalism perspective [Sam Renihan]

place for truth header

Brandon Adams over at 1689Federalism.com writes:

Place for Truth: A Voice of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals posted two articles recently. One arguing for paedobaptism [link], the other for credobaptism.


Sam Renihan
Sam Renihan

Samuel Renihan wrote an excellent summary of 1689 Federalism’s case for credobaptism. I highly recommend reading it, printing it, and saving it.


Consequently, there has never been a covenant wherein “believers and their children” constituted the paradigm for covenant membership.

Debating Owen, Round 472 [Adams]

john-owen-700Brandon Adams, blogging at Contrast, thoroughly addresses some claims about Owen’s view of covenant theology which would seem to imply that Baptists Couldn’t Possibly Know What They’re Talking About:

In a recent Facebook discussion about covenant theology (I haven’t been able to join the group), someone posted some quotes from Pascal Denault’s “The Distinctive Covenant Theology of 17th Century Particular Baptists.” A paedobaptist objected, as is common, to the quotations from John Owen:

to say that Owen developed in this respect is not fair to Owen unless he himself recognized a departure from his previous statements and positions, which we have no evidence of. Rather, his words should be interpreted in light of his whole theological construct, not what statements he made in one place, unless he consciously and explicitly repudiated his prior assertions.


What would constitute evidence? Does he have to say “Dear reader, I previously held a different view, but now I have changed my mind (just in case it wasn’t obvious from what I just said)”?

A case could be made that Owen presupposed that the Mosaic economy was one of grace, rightly understood, in that he makes statements to that affect, that he presupposes it as an idea in his sermons and other theological works


So this is the question: Did Owen hold to classic WCF covenant theology? Did he believe the covenant of grace was an overarching covenant administered by the historical, biblical covenants? Did he believe the the Mosaic covenant was a gracious administration of the covenant of grace?


Before looking at his evidence, it should be noted that any attempt to place Owen’s commentary on Hebrews 8 within the context of presuppositions found elsewhere in Owen’s writings still has to explain what Owen meant in his commentary on Hebrews 8 (this person never offered an explanation).

Read the rest of this intriguing post here.

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“.

Particular Baptists & the Substance / Administration Distinction Part 2 [Sam Renihan]

covenant theology federalism header 2

Sam Renihan
Sam Renihan

Sam Renihan follows up on a post he wrote June 2013:

Some time ago, I posted a lengthy piece intending to offer some balance to the strong push with which “1689 Federalism” was being put forward. The point was to make it clear that there were some Particular Baptists who held to a more “Westminster” style of federal theology. As the examples of this other flavor I mentioned Robert Purnell, Robert Steed/Abraham Cheare, and Thomas DeLaune.


I want to reevaluate some of the thoughts in that post for three main reasons:


  1. I missed some vital elements of argumentation in those authors’ writings which yield a somewhat different picture of their federalism.
  2. I want to remind readers to be careful with the language of “administration.”
  3. I want to reaffirm that a more “Westminster” style of federalism was present among PB’s.


I consider these reasons to be “live” issues because of some recent blogs by an internet-friend of mine, Enrique Junior Duran [yes, our own “Bigg Dippa”]:



I intend this post to be a friendly reply, and a help, to him. A reply because I think we both have not understood Steed/Cheare correctly, and a help because I’m adding another author that I think Junior would find a lot of agreement with…

Read the rest of Particular Baptists and the Substance/Administration Distinction (Part 2) [21 minute readout]