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

confessing the faith

Here is the 1689 Confession with modern language that has been brought up several times on our podcast:

Confessing The Faith: The 1689 Baptist Confession For the 21st Century [or on Amazon]

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.


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.)


Essential Confession Issues Of ARBCA Churches by Bob Selph & Jim Renihan [audio]

Bob Selph speakingWe mentioned this earlier this week on the podcast.

This was an address given during the 2005 ARBCA Church Planting School, it is regarding issues surrounding confessional subscription and membership in the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches.

Bob Selph, ARBCA National Coordinator, and Dr. Jim Renihan, Dean of the Institute for Reformed Baptist Studies speak on Confessional imperatives for Church Planting.

Essential Confession Issues Of ARBCA Churches:

Confessional Question Answered & Another Asked – Jeremy Walker

Jeremy Walker got his last confessional question answered (see results here). But now ask another:

OK, folks, we are still in chapter eight, this time in paragraph six, which reads in the original as follows:

6. Although the price of Redemption was not actually paid by Christ, till after his Incarnation, (*) yet the vertue, efficacy, and benefit thereof were communicated to the Elect in all ages successively, from the beginning of the World, in and by those Promises, Types, and Sacrifices, wherein he was revealed, and signified to be the Seed of the Woman, which should bruise the Serpents head; (h) and the Lamb slain from the foundation of the World: (i) Being the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

* 1 Cor. 4.10. Heb. 4.2. 1 Pet. 1.10,11.

h Rev. 13.8.

i. Heb. 13.8.

Here I offer two questions for the price of one:

First, in modern glosses, the word “successively” is almost invariably dropped altogether. I am not sure why this is (enlightenment appreciated). However, my question is, what might be the precise signification of the word? Let me offer some possibilities (feel free to suggest others): could or does “successively” mean “in their turn” and/or “by increasing degrees” and/or “continuously”?

Second, and this is one where no-one has yet offered me a satisfactory answer, one of the proofs for the price of redemption paid by Christ following his incarnation is 1 Corinthians 4.10, which reads: “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonoured!” I understand that in considering the reasons why certain proofs were chosen you have to take into account the whole interpretive tradition but I am intrigued by what the framers of this document intended, and am still trying to work out precisely what sense and nuance they had in mind. Any answers, ideas or suggestions are welcome.

So, fire away, with thanks.

Head on over there if you can help answer.

The Joy Of Confessing Original Sin

Tom J. Nettles writes:

“I recently returned from giving a series of lectures on the New Hampshire Confession of Faith. The exercise was stimulating (at least to me) and gave a real sense of privilege and gratitude for blessing. In particular, I mean the blessing of joining with the saints of decades and centuries gone by in confessing truths that have been revealed by God—redemptive truths that bear within them the matter for endless praise. We get to state and meditate on what Paul called ‘the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things’ (Ephesians 3:9).”

Read the rest here.

Southern Baptists, The Sandy Creek Association and The John 3:16 Conference

sandy_creek-300x187Southern Baptists, The Sandy Creek Association and The John 3:16 Conference.

As recently as The John 3:16 Conference, it has been asserted that the Sandy Creek Association was less Calvinistic and that there were two strains of Baptists that fed into the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention one more Arminian, and the other confessionally Calvinistic;

“Caner noted that Baptist churches from the historical lineage of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association practiced revivalistic evangelism methods 40 years prior to the birth of Charles Finney, who is often credited with originating them during the Second Great Awakening.

This strand of Baptist life, Caner said, ran concurrent with the stronger Calvinistic one from the Philadelphia Baptist Association and both have existed within Southern Baptist life since the founding of the convention.

Caner asserted that much of the theological disunity could be resolved if there was more evangelistic methodological unity, particularly using an altar call.” (Source)

In 2006, the Founders Journal dedicated an entire edition to The Sandy Creek controversy, known as “Sandy Creek Revisited”:

Sandy Creek Revisited

The Raw Calvinism of the North Carolina Separates of the Sandy Creek Tradition

Shubal Stearns and the Separate Baptist Tradition







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.