Matrix of Reformed Baptists 1 of 3 [Audio]

brownBob Brown’s Sunday School Lessons from Reformed Baptist Church of Louisville via Reformed Baptist Fellowship

The three part series Matrix of Reformed Baptists seeks to discover the religious, political, and social pressures which formed and developed that which has come to be known as Reformed Baptist Churches. Without knowing something of these shaping influences over the course of seventeen hundred years of Church history, we cannot rightly understand how these churches came to be what they are today.

In Lesson One it will be seen that from the time of Constantine onward the dominant expression of the Christian Church has been that system wherein the State compelled its citizenry to embrace the “Christian” religion. From the 4th century through the 15th century this Constantinian Model of Christianity was Roman Catholicism. After the first few tumultuous and uncertain years of the Protestant Reformation the dust settled and a Constantinian Model of Christianity could be found throughout European countries not only in the Roman Catholic version but also in the Reformed version. But whether Catholic or Reformed it was Constantianism still. It was the Corpus Christianum of old whether supported by a Catholic Emperor or a Protestant and Reformed King.

When in the 16th Century the Pope was removed as head of the Catholic Church of England and Henry VIII declared himself to be head of the Church of England nothing essentially changed. The Church goers in London were just as much compelled in religion under the one as the other. This series of social and political pressures brings us to the turbulent 17th century in England where Baptist Churches were brought into being.


Interview #10 – Tom Ascol – Founders Ministries + Brandon Adams on


On episode 10 of our podcast, we interview Tom Ascol about Founders Ministries.

After that, Brandon Adams joins us to talk about his new site 1689 Federalism and then we talk about some Reformed Baptist headlines and give you a hint of our special guest on next week’s episode.

Books & Sites Mentioned:

Headlines Mentioned:

Sponsor: – A wiki dedicated to the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith, commonly called the 1689, and theology in accordance with the doctrines contained therein.

Post-Interview Music:

The Fightin’ Texas Aggie War [Lyrics & MP3 download]

NEW ONLINE! – The distinctive biblical theology of confessional particular baptists

The rumors were true… this is not just another Reformed Baptist blog/site. Brandon Adams (who you may know from just announced an excellent resource page called “1689 Federalism | The distinctive biblical theology of confessional particular baptists”. It is not just pointing to excellent resources but includes over 60 minutes worth of (very professional) video interviews that he did with Dr. James Renihan, Pastor Richard Barcellos, and Pastor Sam Renihan.

He says,

A new site is online called The site features 5 videos and seeks to explain the covenant theology of 17th century particular baptists and compare it with 4 other views. Check it out.

1689Federalism 1

What are you waiting for? Check it out! (We’ll actually have him on tomorrow’s podcast to talk a little about it and more.)

Is A Confession of Faith Essential?

via Dale Crawford

Listen to readout [5 min.]:

I recently received an email from an individual complaining about churches that require their members to “subscribe to a man-made fallible doctrine-of-man human tradition creed.” There are many well-meaning people today who think it is spiritual to claim the Word of God as their only creed. Much of the debate stems from a misunderstanding of the doctrine of “the priesthood of believers.” Some take this to mean every Christian has the right to take his Bible into a corner and interpret it in any manner he feels led to believe and that no church has the right to infringe upon his beliefs. It is the unfortunate result of the hyper-individualism of our day.

The doctrine of the priesthood of believers (plural) does not mean that every Christian is a priest and, therefore, has the right to believe anything he desires. Rather, he is a priest in a covenant community of believers. The priesthood of believers is not the same thing as “soul competency.” Soul competency declares that every human being has a knowledge of God (Romans 1:18-21) as is personally responsible to God and without excuse. The priesthood of believers requires every believer, as a part of a covenant community, to seek to guard his congregation from departing from the truth once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). This was the belief of the Reformers. Timothy George writes, “For them it was never a question of a lonely, isolated seeker of truth, but rather a band of faithful believers united in a common confession as a local, visible congregatio sanctorum (Founder’s Journal). This is where a confession of faith becomes an essential part of a local church.

A historic confession of faith, like the London Baptist Confession of 1689, protects against the errors and heresies that can destroy a local church. What does the church believe about the essential doctrines of the Trinity or justification by faith or the person and work of Christ? Are the revelatory gifts still given to the church? It isn’t sufficient to simply say, “My creed is the Bible.” Every group claiming to be Christian claims the Bible as their authority including the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. The issue is, what does the Bible teach? Our confession of faith declares what we believe the Scriptures teach.

As Baptists, we have never been creedalistic in the sense of placing a man-made statement above Scripture. We would surely never suppose any confession of faith to be infallible, but a historic confession provides the church with a statement of what they believe the Scriptures to teach. Spurgeon wrote regarding the 1689 Confession, “We are happy to join with centuries of believers in confirming this confession of faith. We do not take it as a substitute for Scripture, and we indeed must evaluate this and every other document by the light of Scripture. But it is a wise, organized, and useful statement of what the Bible teaches; a guide as we search the Scriptures and examine our own teachings and practices; and a way of affirming our unity with the many Christians who have treasured these doctrines.”

To be a member of our church, one does not have to fully subscribe to every part of our confession. We recognize the duty of every Christian to interpret the Scriptures according to their conscience. But we explain clearly to every prospective member what our church believes about the essential doctrines of Scripture. Our confession protects our church from the division and schisms that may arise in the absence of a doctrinal standard. And while a person doesn’t have to fully subscribe to our confession in order to be a member, we do demand full-subscription in order to be an officer in our church. Every pastor/teacher must profess full-subscription to our confession. This protects the doctrinal integrity of our church and gives the congregation confidence in what is being taught.

The issue really isn’t whether an individual Christian has the right to interpret the Scriptures according to the dictates of his conscience, but whether the local congregation has the right and duty to clearly state the doctrinal parameters of the church. It is essential that these doctrinal boundaries be clearly stated. This is accomplished by way of a confession of faith.

By way of a final point, there is great value in adopting a historic confession that has been tried and tested by the Christian community for many years. There is no need to “reinvent” the wheel. Again, Spurgeon wrote of the Second London Baptist Confession, “We are happy to join with centuries of believers in affirming this confession of faith.” Trinity Baptist Church heartily agrees, and has also confirmed the 1689 Confession as a faithful expression of the doctrine taught in the Scriptures.

Confessions, Creeds, Cooperation, & Calvinism… Oh, My! – SBC, Renihan, Finn, Fuller + More

dorthyLots of post from this week on the topics mentioned in the title. Thought I would just link them all here:

The Reformed For His Glory blog provides a lengthy quote from the The Reformed Baptist Theological Review Volume 2. 2005. It is Mike Renihan On Hermeneutics And Confessionalism:

Many of us were taught to read and comprehend documents according to a self-centered methodology that assumed that all literature is dynamic. We were taught to ask questions like, “What’s in this for me?” or “How am I to understand this in the present?” or “What is useful for me and what should be overlooked?” This is a reader-response method of reading and studying. With its roots in existentialism, this method implicitly believes that writings are there for the reader’s use. Written words are not understood as conveying truths according to the author’s intent…

Read the rest or listen to readout [9 min.]


The Sovereign Logos blog has started up quite a discussion on a quote from James Renihan (which we previously featured). Comments are currently over 40 and counting on this thread: Why I Am Not A Biblicist. (Later in the week posting Crampton on Creeds, Confessions, and Exegesis to help make the same point Renihan was making.)


Relative to our last podcast, Nathan Finn posted Calvinism, Cooperation, and the Southern Baptist Convention. He writes:

I’m considering this my annual “let’s everyone act like grownups” post, just in time for the SBC [annual convention]. It’s become something of a tradition, I suppose.

Read the rest or listen to readout [9 min.]


In the same vain as above Pastor Nate Akin wrote “The Conservative Resurgence, Calvinism, and Plurality of Elders (Read or listen to readout [7 min.]).”


The Founders Ministries Blog posted What does Calvinism have to do with Marriage?:

But thanks be to God, the Bible teaches that God has a very different kind of love for His people. The fullest expression of God’s love is never conditioned on a human response. The Bible teaches that God’s love is unconditional at the most fundamental level. Certainly, God’s love produces responses in people, but His love is never based on those responses.

Read the rest or listen to readout [6 min.]


New blog at Reformed Baptist Daily, The Importance and Use of Confessions of Faith:

The following is an explanation of why I believe confessions of faith are important for the life and order of the church.

1. Confessions emphasize the authority and centrality of the Bible
2. Confessions focus on fundamental doctrines
3. Confessions help to promote and maintain church unity
4. Confessions help to guard against error in the church

Read the short explanations of each point above.

And then this morning he posted a General outline of the 1689. Read here.


baptist catholicityNathan Finn provided another interesting post which provides much food for thought, Baptists, Creeds, and Corporate Worship:

Though I’m not “liturgical” in the way my Episcopal friends are, I’m an advocate of Baptists reciting the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds as part of our corporate worship gatherings. I wouldn’t want to bind anyone’s conscience on this issue, since I think its adiaphora, but I’m in favor of churches at least periodically confessing the faith verbally through recitation of the ancient creeds.


Steve Harmon has written on this topic in many places, most notably in his provocative book Towards Baptist Catholicity: Essays on Tradition and the Baptist Vision (Paternoster, 2006). More recently, Steve has written on this topic on his blog, Ecclesial Theology, in a post titled “Do Real Baptists Recite Creeds?” The post is condensed from a 2004 article by the same titled published in Baptists Today (see p. 27).

Read the rest.


CredoCovenant blog posted an excerpt from R.A. Venable’s The Baptist Layman’s Hand-Book, pp.9-10:

Q.2. Are church and denominational creeds necessary and desirable?

A. Creeds or confessions of faith are necessary from the nature of the human mind and the character of revealed truth. Without a creed there could be no preaching, no church organization, no doctrinal fellowship, no evangelical faith, no singing and no praying.

 Q.3. Why do so many religious teachers, both in oral and written discourse, disparage the use of creeds and confessions of faith in matters of religion?

A. (1) When the grounds of their objections are disclosed, it is generally plain that these teachers do not object to creeds as such, but only to such as are out of harmony with their views and oppose their methods. The young man, representing the Young Men’s Christian Association, with a limp Bible under his arm, often objects to creeds, but no one has more creed than he has; he is objecting to any one’s having any creed but his; it is all right to believe as he does. He is not alone. (2) Again, the substitution of a creed for piety and a Christly life has no doubt driven many really earnest people to disparage creeds, regarding them as substitutes for vital Godliness. Good old Andrew Fuller says, “The man who has no creed has no belief, which is the same thing as being an unbeliever; and he whose belief is not formed into a system has only a few loose, unconnected thoughts, without entering into the harmony and glory of the Gospel. Every well informed and consistent believer, therefore, must have a creed–a system which he supposes to contain the leading principles of Divine revelation.” (Fuller’s Works, Vol. 3, p. 449.)


2011 Georgia Association of Confessional Baptists General Assembly [Audio]

The following lectures were delivered at the Georgia Association of Confessional Baptists 2011 General Assembly.

Hank Rast, “Pactum Salutis: The Eternal Covenant of Redemption”

Jerry Slate, “Historia Salutis: The History of Redemption”

Eric Freel, “Ordo Salutis: The Order of Redemption”

Brandon F. Smith, “1689 Confessional Baptists are Covenantal Baptists”

Kurt Smith, “Biography of Georgia Church Planter Abraham Marshall”


Reformed Baptist Origins & The 1689

What reason did Reformed Baptists give for their practice of baptism by immersion upon a profession of faith? Did they claim a line of succession from John the Baptist? Did they concede it was a new doctrine and practice? Or did they, like Calvin with the Gospel, assert it as a recovery? The following is taken from “An Appendix” to the 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith

In the beginning of the reformation of the Christian Church, and recovery from that Egyptian darkness wherein our forefathers for many generations were held in bondage; upon recourse had to the Scriptures of truth, different apprehensions were conceived, which are to this time continued, concerning the practise of this Ordinance.

Let not our zeal herein be misinterpreted: that God whom we serve is jealous of his worship. By his gracious providence the Law thereof, is continued amongst us; and we are forewarned by what hapned in the Church of the Jews, that it is necessary for every generation, and that frequently in every generation to consult the divine oracle, compare our worship with the rule, and take heed to what doctrines we receive and practise.

If the ten commands exhibited in the popish Idolatrous service books had been received as the entire law of God, because they agree in number with his ten commands, and also in the substance of nine of them; the second Commandment forbidding Idolatry had been utterly lost.

If Ezra and Nehemiah had not made a diligent search into the particular parts of Gods law, and his worship; the Feast of Tabernacles (which for many centuries of years, had not been duly observed, according to the institution, though it was retained in the general notion) would not have been kept in due order.

So may it be now as to many things relating to the service of God, which do retain the names proper to them in their first institution, but yet through inadvertency (where there is no sinister design) may vary in their circumstances, from their first institution. And if by means of any antient defection, or of that general corruption of the service of God, and interruption of his true worship, and persecution of his servants by the Antichristian Bishop of Rome, for many generations; those who do consult the Word of God, cannot yet arrive at a full and mutual satisfaction among themselves, what was the practise of the primitive Christian Church, in some points relating to the Worship of God: yet inasmuch as these things are not of the essence of Christianity, but that we agree in the fundamental doctrines thereof, we do apprehend, there is sufficient ground to lay aside all bitterness and prejudice, and in the spirit of love and meekness to imbrace and own each other therein; leaving each other at liberty to perform such other services, (wherein we cannot concur) apart unto God, according to the best of our understanding.


The 1689 On Scripture – What is the basis for the Christian faith?

Bill Brown, over at Spurgeon Blog, writes:

What is the basis for the Christian faith?  Ask that question and you’ll receive a myriad of answers.  Perhaps the better question is, “Who is the basis of the Christian faith?”  According to scripture, it is Jesus Christ.  According to scripture.  In our post-modern world few people will be so “narrow” minded to rest their spiritual convictions on scripture alone.  The latin phrase for “scripture alone” is sola scriptura.  It has been one of the hallmarks of Christianity since the beginning of the Reformation and the Protestant movement.  One of the great confessions of the Christian faith is the 1689 London Baptist Confession.


Bill Brown (@1689baptist) is an Elder at  Grace Baptist Church of Odenton, Maryland.

Theonomy, Christian Reconstruction, and the 1689 [Audio]

The 1689 sets forth a three-fold division of the Law:


1689 Confession 219.2. The same Law that was first written in the heart of man, (Rom. 2:14-15) continued to be a perfect rule of Righteousness after the fall; & was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in (Deut. 10.4) Ten Commandments and written in two Tables; the four first containing our duty towards God, and the other six our duty to man.

19.5. The moral Law doth for ever bind all, (Rom. 13:8-10; James 2:8, 10-12) as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof, and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the (James 2:10-11) authority of God the Creator; who gave it: Neither doth Christ in the Gospel any way dissolve, (Matt. 5:17-19; Rom. 3:31) but much strengthen this obligation.


19.3. Besides this Law commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel Ceremonial Laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, (Heb. 10.1; Col. 2:17) prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly holding forth divers instructions (1 Cor. 5:7) of moral duties, all which Ceremonial Laws being appointed only to the time of reformation, are by Jesus Christ the true Messiah and only Law-giver who was furnished with power from the Father, for that end, (Col. 2:14, 16-17; Eph. 2:14, 16) abrogated and taken away.


19.4. To them also he gave sundry judicial Laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any now by vertue of that institution; their general (1 Cor. 9:8-10) equity onely, being of moral use.

Theonomists acknowledge only a two-fold division of the Law. See Sam Waldron’s “Theonomy: A Reformed Baptist Assessment. Here is a snippet:

Is the Theonomic view of the Mosaic “Judicial Law” consistent with the Reformed tradition? 

Dr. Sam Waldron
Dr. Sam Waldron

This is a pressing question for Theonomists. On the one hand, in asserting “the abiding validity of the law in exhaustive detail” they appear to teach the binding obligation of the “judicial law” of Moses on society today. On the other hand, the divines of the Westminster Assembly and Calvin, their mentor, clearly teach the “expiration” of the judicial law of Moses and deny that it is as such binding on nations today. The critical statement in the Westminster Confession of Faith is found in 19:4. Having clearly distinguished the moral, ceremonial, and judicial law, the Confession states, “To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require.” Calvin elaborates on this very point in his Institutes. His statements are so similar to that of the Confession that it is probable that here as in so many other places he had a formative impact on the Confession.

“I will briefly remark, however, by the way, what laws it may piously use before God, and be rightly governed by among men. And even this I would have preferred passing over in silence, if I did not know that it is a point on which many persons run into dangerous errors. For some deny that a state is well constituted, which neglects the polity of Moses, and is governed by the common laws of the nations. the dangerous and seditious nature of this opinion I leave to the examination of others; it will be sufficient for me to have evinced it to be false and foolish. Now, it is necessary to observe that common distinction, which distributes all the laws of God promulgated by Moses into moral, ceremonial, and judicial; and these different kinds of laws are to be distinctly examined, that we may ascertain what belongs to us, and what does not. . . .

What I have said will be more clearly understood, if in all laws we properly consider these two things-the constitution of the law and its equity, on the reason of which the constitution itself is founded and rests. Equity, being natural, is the same to all mankind; and consequently all laws, on every subject ought to have the same equity for their end. Particular enactments and regulations being connected with circumstances, and partly dependent upon them, may be different in different cases without any impropriety, provided they are all equally directed to the same object of equity. . . . Whatever laws shall be framed according to that rule, directed to that object, and limited to that end, there is no reason why we should censure them, however, they may differ from the Jewish law or from each other. The law of god forbids theft. What punishment was enacted for thieves, among the Jews, may be seen in the book of Exodus. The most ancient laws of other nations punished by theft by requiring a compensation of double the value. Subsequent laws made a distinction between open and secret theft. Some proceeded to banishment, some to flagellation, and some to the punishment of death. False witness was punished, among the Jews, with the same punishment as such testimony would have caused to be inflicted on the person against whom it was given; in some countries it was punished with infamy, in others with hanging, in others with crucifixion. All laws agree in punishing murder with death, though in several different forms. The punishment of adulterers in different countries have been attended with different degrees of severity. Yet we see how, amidst this diversity, they are all directed to the same end. For they all agree in denouncing punishment against those crimes which are condemned by the eternal law of God; such as murderers, thefts, adulteries, false testimonies, though there is not a uniformity in the mode of punishment; and, indeed, this is neither necessary, nor even expedient. . . . For the objection made by some, that it is an insult to the law of God given by Moses, when it is abrogated, and other laws preferred to it, is without any foundation; for neither are other laws preferred to it, when they are more approved, not on a simple comparison, but on account of the circumstances of time, place, and nation; nor do we abrogate that which was never given to us. For the Lord gave not that law by the hand of Moses to be promulgated among all nations, and to be universally binding; but after having taken the Jewish nation into his special charge, patronage, and protection, he was pleased to become, in peculiar manner, their legislator, and, as became a wise legislator, in all the laws which he gave them, he had a special regard to their peculiar circumstances.”


Also see Dr. Waldron’s three-part lecture series “Theonomy: A Reformed Baptist Assessment

I. Introductory Considerations [66 min. mp3]:

II. A Critique of Theonomic Eschatology (Theonomic Postmillennialism) [67 min. mp3]:

III. A Critique of Theonomic Ethics [85 min. mp3]:

The Nicole Institute Of Baptist Studies

Nicole Institute of Baptist Studies

Mission and Vision:

The Nicole Institute of Baptist Studies exists to prepare leaders for the church who are marked with “a mind for truth, and a heart for God,” by imparting to them the riches of Reformed theology and piety while also conveying a robust Baptist vision of the church and its ministry.

In keeping with the mission of RTS, the Nicole Institute of Baptist Studies seeks to offer excellent theological education that is winsomely Reformed and missional. Our design is to serve the church in all branches of evangelical Christianity, especially that branch which is committed to “believer’s only” baptism. We seek to prepare our students for servant leadership through a program of graduate theological education that is based upon the authority of the inerrant Word of God, which is comprised of the 66 books of the Bible.

The Nicole Institute equips its students for ministry, primarily through pastoral preparation, to be servant leaders in a variety of ministry, missions, and church settings. This preparation is designed for, but not limited to, those desiring to serve in any number of the various Baptist denominations, Independent churches, Sovereign Grace Ministries, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Evangelical Free, and Acts 29 network. Students with affection for Reformed theology and a commitment to “believer’s only” baptism will find the Nicole Institute at RTS Orlando an effective and fruitful place to prepare for ministry.

As part of a confessional seminary, the Nicole Institute operates within a confessional framework in order to promote the great doctrines of the faith, which were laid down in Scripture, restored to the church by the Reformers, and affirmed by Baptists in the 1689 Confession of Faith and the Baptist Catechism of 1693.

For more information on NIBS, you can email our Interim Director, Rev. Barry Peterson, at

Learn about some of the men influential in Baptist studies…

read more here…

Who Speaks for Reformed Baptists (Part 2)


The 1689 Confession itself best defines a Reformed Baptist Church.


Our Confession is the best safeguard for the local congregation and for Reformed Baptists as a whole.


In a sea with so many diverse and changeable voices, the Confession tells the world what we, as Particular Baptists (what called themselves) or Reformed Baptists (the more modern term), believe.  It gives us a point of unity and heritage with our like-minded reformed brethren.  It stands as the definitive Statement of Faith for our churches.  Our Confession speaks for us and has stood the test of time.  We should learn from it, study the heritage behind it, and discover in even greater ways from our Particular Baptist forefathers the truths contained in that age old document.  It does a great job defining “the things most surely believed among us.”

by Steve Marquedant for Reformed Baptist Fellowship (full text here)

Part 1 here.

New Updated 1689 Confession: Confessing The Faith – The 1689 Baptist Confession For the 21st Century

confessing the faith

Confessing The Faith: The 1689 Baptist Confession For the 21st

Edited by Stan Reeves
©2012 Founders Press
ISBN: 978-0-984-9498-5-4
60 pages (soft cover)

Recommended by Michael A.G. Haykin, Sam Waldron, Richard Barcellos & Robert “Bob” Gonzalez

Stan Reeves serves as an elder at Grace Heritage Church in Auburn, AL, and is a professor at Auburn University.  He also serves as the webmaster for Founders Ministries.