The book that we’ve previously announced (including what is updated/corrected) is now available from Solid Ground Christian Books and Amazon:
The book that we’ve previously announced (including what is updated/corrected) is now available from Solid Ground Christian Books and Amazon:
…later texts shed interpretive light on earlier texts
“The infallible rule of interpretation of scripture is the scripture itself . . .” (2LCF 1.9).
The infallible rule of interpretation of scripture is the scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture, (which is not manifold, but one,) it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly. (2LCF 1.9)
Coxe said, “. . . in all our search after the mind of God in the Holy Scriptures we are to manage our inquiries with reference to Christ.”
Their Christocentric interpretation of the Bible was a principle derived from the Bible itself, and an application of sola Scriptura to the issue of hermeneutics. In other words, they viewed the Bible’s authority as extending to how we interpret the Bible. Or it could be stated this way: they saw the authority of Scripture extending to the interpretation of Scripture.
Reformed Baptista has begun a series of articles to help women walk through The Baptist Confession. It has been a tremendous privilege to have her as a contributor on CredoCovenant. The following is a compilation of her study helps for the first chapter of the confession. Enjoy.
Preface: I have written that one of my goals for this blog is to go through the 1689. This year, Lord willing, I will do so. It is my hope that this devotional will appeal to women who may be new to the whole “Reformed Baptist” idea, who may find the idea of studying the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith overwhelming. While I have some trepidation in wading in such waters, the knowledge gained will be beneficial for myself, and I pray it will be for you as well. So let’s dip our toe in this stream, shall we? I will mainly use the facsimile edition for my work, copies of which can be found at RBAP.
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.
Introduction: Decrees | Tom Nettles
The Nature of God’s Eternal Decree An exposition of Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Chapter 7 “The Decree of God” From the 1689 London Baptist Confession | Tom Hicks
Predestined to Eternal Life Glory Hidden in the Mystery | Jared Longshore
Reprobation and the Second London Confession “the Second London Confession affirms reprobation, a doctrine which has been and continues to be the subject of much controversy” | Richard Blaylock
Like a Stone? The Perfect Confluence of God’s Providence And Human Freedom | Aaron Matherly
The High Mystery of Predestination An exposition of Paragraph 3 of Chapter 7 “The Decree of God” From the 1689 London Baptist Confession | Fred Malone
Book Review The Gospel Heritage of Georgia Baptists: 1772–1830 by Brandon F. Smith and Kurt M. Smith | Reviewed by Tom Nettles
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.
You can also find his 75 part audio series on the History and Theology of Calvinism here.
The 10th Annual Deep South Founders Conference will gather in Laurel MS on January 26-28, 2017. Our main speaker, James White will focus on the Doctrine of Justification. A pre-conference event, on Thursday evening, will cover the topic, “What Every Christian Needs to Know About Islam.” Other speakers will be Earl Blackburn, pastor of Heritage Baptist Church, Shreveport, Louisiana, Joe Nesom, pastor of First Baptist Church Jackson, Louisiana, and Charley Holmes, president of The Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary.
The registration fee is $40 before January 1. Late Registration, after January 1, will be $60. Scholarships are available upon request. Seminary students may attend free of charge.
The book that we’ve previously announced is now available for preorder from Solid Ground Christian Books for only $28.50 [hardback]:
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.
Here is a sample chapter from the forthcoming book we’ve announced and previewed:
II. Qualifications of God’s Decree
The 1689 London Confession affirms the biblical concept of God’s decree:
LCF 3:1: God has decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass:
It then adds qualifying remarks that highlight three striking corollaries or qualifications of God’s decree:
LCF 3:1: . . . yet so as thereby God is neither the author of sin, nor has any fellowship with any therein; nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.
They observe that God’s decree is consistent with divine purity, moral free agency, and with instrumental liberty and contingency. We now consider these qualifications.
A. God’s Decree does not Contradict God’s Impeccability.
LCF affirms this qualification: “yet so as thereby God is neither the author of sin nor has any fellowship therein.” God’s decree of sin does not make him its author. Nor does it erase human responsibility and culpability for sin.25 Sinners purpose and perpetrate evil: “you meant evil against me.” God purposes to use human evil for good: “but God meant it for good.”26 Sinners are exclusively to blame for sin. The holy God has neither fellowship with sin nor culpability for it. Rather, he hates and forbids it. Sin is transgression of his law, his revealed will. In Topic 14 I addressed the incomprehensible mystery associated with God’s sovereignty over sin.27
B. God’s Decree does not Contradict Moral Free Agency.
The 1689 Confession also affirms this qualification: “nor is violence offered to the will of the creature.” Man is not a puppet: “howbeit he means not so.”28 God’s decree does not cancel man’s purposes, even his wicked ones. Rather, it uses them in ways man knows not. God does not force the Assyrian against his will to be the rod of his anger. The Assyrian has no intention whatsoever of serving God. The Assyrian freely pursues his own purposes and plans. Yet God before the foundation of the world determined and fixed these free choices of the Assyrian for his own holy and just ends. Such is the wisdom and power of the incomprehensible God with whom we have to do.
C. God’s Decree does not Contradict Instrumental Liberty or Contingency.
The 1689 Confession also affirms this qualification: “nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.” God’s decree is not fatalistic. The God who ordains the ends, also ordains the means. Thus Paul says: “except these abide in the ship you cannot be saved.” (Acts 27:31). God decreed their deliverance but they still must remain in the ship. Further, God even decreed what appear to us as random events.29 God controls chance, what people call “luck.” Again, who can begin to fathom the depths of the wisdom and power of God? Thus, LCF concludes: “in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree.”
The purpose of the SCRBPC is for the edification of confessional Reformed Baptist pastors and other interested men who are in the ministry or training for the ministry. The SCRBPC will function within the theological framework of the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (2nd LCF) and The Baptist Catechism (BC).
Drs. Stefan T. Lindblad, B.A. in History and Classics from Seattle Pacific University, M.Div. from Westminster Seminary California and the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies, and Ph.D. candidate in Systematic and Historical Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary.
From October 24 – Tuesday, October 25, 2016
The series is sponsored by the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies in cooperation with RBAP. The Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies is a graduate theological school which aids churches in preparing men to serve in the Gospel Ministry. For more information please visit irbsseminary.org.
The purpose of the series . . . is to address issues related to the Second London Confession of Faith of 1677/89 (2LCF). . . . The series will include treatments of various subjects by multiple authors. The subjects to be covered are those the series editors (along with consultants) determine to be of particular interest in our day. The authors will be those who display ample ability to address the issue under discussion. Some of the installments will be more involved than others due to the nature of the subject addressed and perceived current needs. Many of the contributions will cover foundational aspects of the self-consistent theological system expressed in the Confession. Others will address difficult, often misunderstood, or even denied facets of the doctrinal formulations of the 2LCF. Each installment will have a “For Further Reading” bibliography at the end to encourage further study on the issue discussed.
~ from the series editors, James M. Renihan and Richard C. Barcellos
A Defense of Confessionalism:
Biblical Foundations & Confessional Considerations
by Arden L. Hodgins, Jr.
[This book] seek to show how creeds and confessions exist in every church, denomination, or association, though they are not always written down…
the biblical warrant for creeds and confessions is established…
a further definition of what a confession of faith is and how it differs from the Scriptures…
the confession is shown to be a consensus document, both in its original formation and in its continued function…
addresses very briefly the matter of words and terms and the need to understand the authorial intent of the confession…
practical applications, addressed primarily to ministers and elders…
Second London Confession of Faith 26.12-15
by James M. Renihan
Theology does not occur in a vacuum. It develops out of real-life situations. Men study the Word of God, contemplate its teaching, and express their conclusions. Often it is the circumstances of life that force them to think more closely and clearly about their doctrinal views and that sharpen the expressions of truth. When Arius challenged the divinity of Christ, Christians faced new questions, and the result of the debate was a clearer view of the deity of our Savior. We could give many illustrations from the history of the Church of that increasing clarity and understanding in the Creeds and Confessions of Christianity.
The doctrine of associational churchmanship expressed in our Confession is another one of these circumstances. Our discussion will involve the following: first, the three ways to describe interchurch relations; second, the church in the Second London Confession of Faith (2LCF); third, an overview of chapter 26.1-11 and brief exposition of 26.12-13; fourth associationalism; and finally, a conclusion and application.
The Covenant of Works:
Its Confessional and Scriptural Basis
by Richard C. Barcellos
Moses, writing after the historical acts of creation, utilizes the covenantal name of God, Yahweh, while discussing Adam’s Edenic vocation (Gen. 2:4ff.). Isaiah utilizes concepts that started with Adam to explain the universal guilt of man, while using the word “covenant” (Isa. 25:5-6). Hosea, looking back upon previous written revelation, makes explicit what was implicit in it. The prophet’s inspired words give us God’s infallible knowledge of one of the similarities between ancient Israel and Adam. Both had a covenant imposed on them by God and both transgressed their covenants (Hos. 6:7). Paul, while reflecting on Adam’s Edenic vocation, contrasts the disobedience of Adam and its results with the obedience of Christ and its results (Rom. 5:19). The term “works” in the phrase “covenant of works” contrasts with “grace” and “gift” in Romans 5:17. Paul asserts that Adam was a type of Christ (Rom. 5:14). Adam sinned and fell short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Christ did not sin (Heb. 4:15) and, upon his resurrection, entered into glory (Luke 24:46; Acts 26:19-23; 1 Pet. 1:10-12), a quality of life conferred upon him due to his obedience (Rom. 5:21). This is the life he confers upon all believers.
These scriptural realities, understood by the utilization of the hermeneutical principles of the Holy Spirit as the only infallible interpreter of Holy Scripture, analogia Scriptura, analogia fidei, and scopus Scripturae, led to the confessional formulation of the doctrine of the covenant of works.
When the Second London Confession was published in 1677 (2 editions in 1677) and again in 1688, it included an Appendix seeking to provide further reasons why the Baptists considered it important to form their own churches based on the practice of believer’s baptism. They had been stung by criticism implying that such actions were divisive; that they should have been content to remain in the paedobaptist churches. The Appendix was an irenic attempt to express their convictions about baptism in greater detail than the text of the Confession itself would allow. We publish this appendix here; the only changes we have made are to modernize most of the spelling to conform to contemporary (American!) English standards.
The Baptists address 4 points: (1) ‘Sponsor Baptism’; (2) Baptism on the basis of Covenantal relation to parents; (3) The ‘holiness’ of children in 1 Cor. 7:12ff.; and (4) ‘Household baptisms’. Several other matters are briefly mentioned at the end. Their comments are of great interest. One will notice, for example, that they do not reject the possibility that the children of believers may be considered, in some sense, as covenant children.
We hope that ready access to this Appendix will further understanding of our great Confession of Faith.
Whosoever reads, and impartially considers what we have in our forgoing confession declared, may readily perceive, That we do not only concenter with all other true Christians on the Word of God (revealed in the Scriptures of truth) as the foundation and rule of our faith and worship. But that we have also industriously endeavored to manifest, That in the fundamental Articles of Christianity we mind the same things, and have therefore expressed our belief in the same words, that have on the like occasion been spoken by other societies of Christians before us.
This we have done, That those who are desirous to know the principles of Religion which we hold and practice, may take an estimate from our selves (who jointly concur in this work) and may not be misguided, either by undue reports; or by the ignorance or errors of particular persons, who going under the same name with our selves, may give an occasion of scandalizing the truth we profess.
And although we do differ from our brethren who are Paedobaptists; in the subject and administration of Baptism, and such other circumstances as have a necessary dependence on our observance of that Ordinance, and do frequent our own assemblies for our mutual edification, and discharge of those duties, and services which we owe unto God, and in his fear to each other: yet we would not be from hence misconstrued, as if the discharge of our own consciences herein, did any ways disoblige or alienate our affections, or conversation from any others that fear the Lord; but that we may and do as we have opportunity participate of the labors of those, whom God hath indued with abilities above our selves, and qualified, and called to the Ministry of the Word, earnestly desiring to approve our selves to be such, as follow after peace with holiness, and therefore we always keep that blessed Irenicum, or healing Word of the Apostle before our eyes; if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you; nevertheless whereto we have already attained; let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing, Phil 3. v. 15, 16.
Let it not therefore be judged of us (because much hath been written on this subject, and yet we continue this our practice different from others) that it is out of obstinacy, but rather as the truth is, that we do herein according to the best of our understandings worship God, out of a pure mind yielding obedience to his precept, in that method which we take to be most agreeable to the Scriptures of truth, and primitive practice.
It would not become us to give any such intimation, as should carry a semblance that what we do in the service of God is with a doubting conscience, or with any such temper of mind that we do thus for the present, with a reservation that we will do otherwise hereafter upon more mature deliberation; nor have we any cause so to do, being fully persuaded, that what we do is agreeable to the will of God. Yet we do heartily propose this, that if any of the Servants of our Lord Jesus shall, in the Spirit of meekness, attempt to convince us of any mistake either in judgment or practice, we shall diligently ponder his arguments; and account him our chiefest friend that shall be an instrument to convert us from any error that is in our ways, for we cannot wittingly do any thing against the truth, but all things for the truth.
And therefore we have endeavored seriously to consider, what hath been already offered for our satisfaction in this point; and are loth to say any more lest we should be esteemed desirous of renewed contests thereabout: yet forasmuch as it may justly be expected that we show some reason, why we cannot acquiesce in what hath been urged against us; we shall with as much brevity as may consist with plainness, endeavor to satisfy the expectation of those that shall peruse what we now publish in this matter also.
For more on this check out:
While many who visit our site will be familiar with the Second London Confession (often called the 1689 Confession), usually they have only seen the text of the Confession itself. But when it was first published, it also included a letter to the reader as well as an appendix. Here, we present this Letter. It is our hope that these materials will further the understanding of this wonderful document.
Judicious and Impartial
It is now many years since divers of us (with other sober Christians then living and walking in the way of the Lord that we professe) did conceive our selves to be under a necessity of Publishing a Confession of our Faith, for the information, and satisfaction of those, that did not throughly understand what our principles were, or had entertained prejudices against our Profession, by reason of the strange representation of them, by some men of note, who had taken very wrong measures, and accordingly led others into misapprehensions, of us, and them: and this was first put forth about the year, 1643. in the name of seven Congregations then gathered in London; since which time, diverse impressions thereof have been dispersed abroad, and our end proposed, in good measure answered, inasmuch as many (and some of those men eminent, both for piety and learning) were thereby satisfied, that we were no way guilty of those Heterodoxies and fundamental errors, which had too frequently been charged upon us without ground, or occasion given on our part. And forasmuch, as that Confession is not now commonly to be had; and also that many others have since embraced the same truth which is owned therein; it was judged necessary by us to joyn together in giving a testimony to the world; of our firm adhering to those wholesome Principles, by the publication of this which is now in your hand.
And forasmuch as our method, and manner of expressing our sentiments, in this, doth vary from the former (although the substance of the matter is the same) we shall freely impart to you the reason and occasion thereof. One thing that greatly prevailed with us to undertake this work, was (not only to give a full account of our selves, to those Christians that differ from us about the subject of Baptism, but also) the profit that might from thence arise, unto those that have any account of our labors, in their instruction, and establishment in the great truths of the Gospel; in the clear understanding, and steady belief of which, our comfortable walking with God, and fruitfulness before him, in all our ways, is most neerly concerned; and therefore we did conclude it necessary to expresse our selves the more fully, and distinctly; and also to fix on such a method as might be most comprehensive of those things which we designed to explain our sense, and belief of; and finding no defect, in this regard, in that fixed on by the assembly, and after them by those of the Congregational way, we did readily conclude it best to retain the same order in our present confession: and also, when we observed that those last mentioned, did in their confession (for reasons which seemed of weight both to themselves and others) choose not only to express their mind in words concurrent with the former in sense, concerning all those articles wherein they were agreed, but also for the most part without any variation of the terms we did in like manner conclude it best to follow their example in making use of the very same words with them both, in these articles (which are very many) wherein our faith and doctrine is the same with theirs, and this we did, the more abundantly, to manifest our consent with both, in all the fundamental articles of the Christian Religion, as also with many others, whose orthodox confessions have been published to the world; on behalf of the Protestants in divers Nations and Cities: and also to convince all, that we have no itch to clogge Religion with new words, but do readily acquiesce in that form of sound words, which hath been, in consent with the holy Scriptures, used by others before us; hereby declaring before God, Angels, & Men, our hearty agreement with them, in that wholesome Protestant Doctrine, which with so clear evidence of Scriptures they have asserted: some things indeed, are in some places added, some terms omitted, and some few changed, but these alterations are of that nature, as that we need not doubt, any charge or suspition of unsoundness in the faith, from any of our brethren upon the account of them.
In those things wherein we differ from others, we have exprest our selves with all candor and plainness that none might entertain jealousie of ought secretly lodged in our breasts, that we would not the world should be acquainted with; yet we hope we have also observed those rules of modesty, and humility, as will render our freedom in this respect inoffensive, even to those whose sentiments are different from ours.
We have also taken care to affix texts of Scripture, in the margin for the confirmation of each article in our confession; in which work we have studiously indeavoured to select such as are most clear and pertinent, for the proof of what is asserted by us: and our earnest desire is, that all into whose hands this may come, would follow that (never enough commended) example of the noble Bereans, who searched the Scriptures daily, that they might find out whether the things preached to them were so or not.
There is one thing more which we sincerely professe, and earnestly desire credence in, viz. That contention is most remote from our design in all that we have done in this matter: and we hope the liberty of an ingenuous unfolding our principles, and opening our hearts unto our Brethren, with the Scripture grounds on which our faith and practise leanes, will by none of them be either denyed to us, or taken ill from us. Our whole design is accomplished, if we may obtain that Justice, as to be measured in our principles, and practise, and the judgement of both by others, according to what we have now published; which the Lord (whose eyes are as a flame of fire) knoweth to be the doctrine, which with our hearts we must firmly believe, and sincerely indeavour to conform our lives to. And oh that other contentions being laid asleep, the only care and contention of all upon whom the name of our blessed Redeemer is called, might for the future be, to walk humbly with their God, and in the exercise of all Love and Meekness towards each other, to perfect holyness in the fear of the Lord, each one endeavouring to have his conversation such as becometh the Gospel; and also suitable to his place and capacity vigorously to promote in others the practice of true Religion and undefiled in the sight of God and our Father. And that in this backsliding day, we might not spend our breath in fruitless complaints of the evils of others; but may every one begin at home, to reform in the first place our own hearts, and wayes; and then to quicken all that we may have influence upon, to the same work; that if the will of God were so, none might deceive themselves, by resting in, and trusting to, a form of Godliness, without the power of it, and inward experience of the efficacy of those truths that are professed by them.
And verily there is one spring and cause of the decay of Religion in our day, which we cannot but touch upon, and earnestly urge a redresse of; and that is the neglect of the worship of God in Families, by those to whom the charge and conduct of them is committed. May not the grosse ignorance, and instability of many; with the prophaneness of others, be justly charged upon their Parents and Masters; who have not trained them up in the way wherein they ought to walk when they were young? but have neglected those frequent and solemn commands which the Lord hath laid upon them so to catechize, and instruct them, that their tender years might be seasoned with the knowledge of the truth of God as revealed in the Scriptures; and also by their own omission of Prayer, and other duties of Religion in their families, together with the ill example of their loose conversation, have inured them first to a neglect, and then contempt of all Piety and Religion? we know this will not excuse the blindness, or wickedness of any; but certainly it will fall heavy upon those that have thus been the occasion thereof; they indeed dye in their sins; but will not their blood be required of those under whose care they were, who yet permitted them to go on without warning, yea led them into the paths of destruction? and will not the diligence of Christians with respect to the discharge of these duties, in ages past, rise up in judgment against, and condemn many of those who would be esteemed such now?
We shall conclude with our earnest prayer, that the God of all grace, will pour out those measures of his holy Spirit upon us, that the profession of truth may be accompanyed with the sound belief, and diligent practise of it by us; that his name may in all things be glorified, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.