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1689 London Confession

atpollard

Member
Much ado has been made (and many electrons spilled) over what "Calvinism" teaches/believes. Some have argued that "The Institutes" by John Calvin is the best source, while another argues that the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) or 1689 London Confession (1689) are better references on "Reformed" teaching/beliefs. As a "Particular Baptist", and the creator of this thread ... I choose the 1689 London Confession as our topic of discussion.

My thought is to take it section by section and just post what it says and talk about it.
  • What does it say?
  • What does it mean?
  • Is it Biblical?
  • What is the counterpoint?
  • Does the counterpoint have Biblical support?
  • How does it:
    • Portray God?
    • Impact Evangelism?
What do you think, is this something worth discussing?
(I know I am curious about the 1689 London Confession, since I don't know that I have ever read the entire thing cover to cover ... just parts of it. I am a Southern Baptist and studied the more tempered 'Baptist faith and Message' in my local church.)
 

Of the Holy Scriptures​

Chapter 1​

Paragraph 1​

The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience,1 although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet they are not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and His will which is necessary unto salvation.2 Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in diversified manners to reveal Himself, and to declare (that) His will unto His church;3 and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which makes the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of God's revealing His will unto His people being now completed.4

1 2 Tim. 3:15–17; Is. 8:20; Luke 16:29,31; Eph. 2:20
2 Rom. 1:19-21, 2:14–15; Psalm 19:1-3
3 Heb. 1:1
4 Prov. 22:19-21; Rom. 15:4; 2 Pet. 1:19–20

Paragraph 2​

Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these:

[list omitted]

All of which are given by the inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.5

5 2 Tim. 3:16

Paragraph 3​

The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon or rule of the Scripture, and, therefore, are of no authority to the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of than other human writings.6

6 Luke 24:27,44; Rom. 3:2

Paragraph 4​

The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, depends not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof; therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God.7

7 2 Pet. 1:19–21; 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Thess. 2:13; 1 John 5:9

Paragraph 5​

We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church of God to a high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scriptures; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, and the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, and many other incomparable excellencies, and entire perfections thereof, are arguments whereby it does abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.8

8 John 16:13-14; 1 Cor. 2:10-12; 1 John 2:20, 27

Paragraph 6​

The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men.9 Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word,10 and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.11

9 2 Tim. 3:15-17; Gal. 1:8,9
10 John 6:45; 1 Cor. 2:9-12
11 1 Cor. 11:13,14; 1 Cor. 14:26,40

Paragraph 7​

All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all;12 yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of them.13

12 2 Pet. 3:16
13 Ps. 19:7; Psalm 119:130

Paragraph 8​

The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old),14 and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by His singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic; so as in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal to them.15 But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have a right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded in the fear of God to read,16 and search them,17 therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come,18 that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.19

14 Rom. 3:2
15 Isa. 8:20
16 Acts 15:15
17 John 5:39
18 1 Cor. 14:6,9,11-12,24,28
19 Col. 3:16

Paragraph 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 are not many, but one), it must be searched by other places that speak more clearly.20

20 2 Pet. 1:20–21; Acts 15:15–16

Paragraph 10​

The supreme judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit, into which Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.21

21 Matt. 22:29, 31, 32; Eph. 2:20; Acts 28:23
 
Paragraph 1 appears to make several very bold statements about SCRIPTURE:
  1. Knowledge of salvation is impossible without scripture (nature will not tell you enough for salvation).
  2. Everything God has revealed for us is preserved in the written scripture (there is no extra-biblical tradition revealed by God).
  3. God's revelation is now complete (no new revelation from God is needed).
Do the verses listed support the conclusions?
Does anyone agree or disagree with any points 1689 made or my interpretation of those points?
 
Paragraph 4 and 5 claims the authority of Scripture and proof of that authority rests in three facts: The innate authority of God, the reality that Scripture is His word and the inner confirmation by His Holy Spirit within us.

Does this ring true?
 
Paragraph 7 claims "those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation" are so clear that the "unlearned" can understand them by "ordinary" means.

What does this actually mean? Can a natural man understand? Is the Holy Spirit part of "ordinary means" or not?
 
Paragraph 9 seems like good general advice ... when one scripture seems unclear on a matter (ie. can be read two different ways), look to another scripture that is more clear.

Are there verses that appear (beyond mere first glance) to actually contradict one another so it is impossible to determine which is more "clear"?
 
Paragraph 10 is the battle cry "SOLA SCRIPTURA!" codified into the Confession.
Good for them. Scripture is the ONLY final authority ... no Scripture and Tradition and no Scripture and Magisterium.
 
What do you think, is this something worth discussing?
Excellent Systemic evaluation of the Bible.

Any thoughts on Chapter 1 and the "1689" view of HOLY SCRIPTURES?
I agree with it. I would tweak the statement "The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient" to say "The Holy Scripture as originally written is the only sufficient" but that might be too technical for the masses.


Everything God has revealed for us is preserved in the written scripture (there is no extra-biblical tradition revealed by God).
Does anyone agree or disagree with any points 1689 made or my interpretation of those points?
None disagreement worry to speak of ....


Paragraph 7 claims "those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation" are so clear that the "unlearned" can understand them by "ordinary" means.

What does this actually mean? Can a natural man understand? Is the Holy Spirit part of "ordinary means" or not?
1 Cor. 2:14 says the natural man cannot understand.
Hmmm ... I think that God loses none of His sheep. I do not think the way to salvation is biblically clear. For example, the statement of faith for this forum states we have to be water baptized to be saved and the same statement says: No human merit or performance earns salvation. Seeing as this is a contradiction, it is obvious the forum proponents can't articulate what it takes to be saved. Similarly, there is so much disagreement on the salvation message that I have to conclude that the message is not clear. Note: Paragraph 7 states: "All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all" but when it comes to salvation the empirical evidence indicates the salvation message is not clear (or if clearness be absolutely true and thus easily articulated then there are a lot fewer Christians out there than I supposed).


Are there verses that appear (beyond mere first glance) to actually contradict one another so it is impossible to determine which is more "clear"?
God doesn't contradict Himself. There are apparently contradictory verses that difficult to explain;. There are explanations, but said explanations are not necessarily accurate.
 
God doesn't contradict Himself. There are apparently contradictory verses that difficult to explain;. There are explanations, but said explanations are not necessarily accurate.
:cool
That's an article of faith.
  • "Yes it appears to be a contradiction and, no, I can't explain it away, but we KNOW that the Bible cannot contradict itself, so it must not really be a contradiction."
I feel exactly the same way, but I can laugh at myself and recognize when FAITH has trumped LOGIC. 😉
 
...oh, I like the way you put it .... (not that the problem went away ... lol)
I can still remember HS Physics studying the nature of Particles and Waves and learning that LIGHT is both a particle and a wave … which is impossible because one is matter and the other is energy, so how can something be both MATTER and ENERGY at the same time. I still don’t understand how light can be both a particle and a wave … but that does not prevent me from using the kitchen light switch. I just acknowledge that I am not omniscient and move on with life.

Biblical Truth is the same way. I understand the parts that I understand and I don’t understand the parts that I don’t understand, but my not understanding doesn’t make either LIGHT or Biblical Truth cease to be real. So I just accept it and move on with life.
 
earning that LIGHT is both a particle and a wave and learning that LIGHT is both a particle and a wave … which is impossible because one is matter and the other is energy, so how can something be both MATTER and ENERGY at the same time. I still don’t understand how light can be both a particle and a wave … but that does not prevent me from using the kitchen light switch.
hmm... we were told that light is not a 'particle or wave', but has properties of each.

I liked Einstein's theories. I can't recall them now accurately. I think something get infinitely big when it approaches the speed of light ... I wondered when they showed the 'enterprise' going to Warp 1 with Picard...they showed the Star Ship as a streak ... an elongated ship. I also heard time stops and that guys that went to moon back lost a second compared to us (if memory serves). God's eternity is also a similar mind bending subject.
...and I also recall university physics class where average exam score was 40% and they had to scale it up so more people passed. It was multiple choice, A thru E and they displayed person's school ID # and their fifty answers and I was looking at them and one guys answers caught me eye .... they went A, D, B, C, C, C, C, C, C,C, C,C, C,C, C,C, C, C, C ... to 50.
I looked at the actual answers and "C" was the worst one. My new physics theory was: don't guess "C" on a multiple choice physics exam.

Biblical Truth is the same way. I understand the parts that I understand and I don’t understand the parts that I don’t understand, but my not understanding doesn’t make either LIGHT or Biblical Truth cease to be real. So I just accept it and move on with life.
I hear you but I know I have bias' ... that so many people are so sure they;re correct but the law of contradiction and their contrary beliefs prove many are so wrong. Theoretically, that could be me. Statistically, it is likely to be me.
Ben Shapiro - What you want to believe you tend to believe and you tend to look for excuses to believe it.
...
at least with Reformed Theology they strive to make the entire puzzle fit together, to eliminate contradiction

Long Winded Observation
The Hermeneutical Spiral and Individual Bias
Inductive reasoning starts with particular facts and moves toward a general truth to interpret particular facts. Deductive reasoning uses a general truth to interpret particular facts.
No one ever comes to the
Bible and simply begins by inductively studying a particular passage. Inductive Bible study leaders may give the impression that they are setting aside their prejudices and simply reading Scripture, but this is not really the case. Baptists tend to read the Bible as if it teaches adult-only baptism, non-charismatics as if it teaches that there is no longer an office of prophet, and Calvinists as if it teaches unconditional election. We all read expecting to find specific things.
In other words, we never see Scripture through completely fresh, unprejudiced eyes. We read particular passages in the light of what we already know ---or think we know--- of Scripture's general teaching. So we both deduce how to interpret particular Scriptures from our general knowledge of the whole of Scripture even as we inductively examine the particular parts of Scripture in order to reach general conclusions about the whole of it. It is never completely clear when we are doing the one task or the other. This delicate, back-and-forth dance that strives to get closer to the true meaning of Scripture is called "the hermeneutical spiral."
When
systematic theology does its job well, it is well aware of this spiral, knowing that a system without parts and parts without a system are equally useless for Christian preaching, faith, and practice. We are not free to impose a system on Scripture (which would be a purely deductive approach), but we are at no greater liberty to assume, rather arrogantly, that we are the first to read the Bible just as it is at face value (which would be a purely inductive approach). Imposing a system on Scripture makes the Bible a slave of tradition, while assuming that we are the first to read it just as it is at face value renders Scripture a slave to unacknowledged personal prejudices.
Good systematic theologians, regardless of their differences, always strive to approach Scripture as students rather than as masters. They also seek to gather together whatever Scripture says anywhere on the same topic and thus interpret the particular parts in the light of the whole, even as they once again test their conclusions about the whole in the light of what they find in Scripture's particular parts-and so on. This dance never ends on this side of Glory. Author Unknown


If Free Will were true, then only luck could lead a man to Christ. Seeing one can't find God with intelligence or logic or philosophy for God says "
1 Cor. 1:19 For it is written and forever remains written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise [the philosophy of the philosophers], And the cleverness of the clever [who do not know Me] I will nullify.”

.... end of my rantings.... :confused2

 
Off topic ,the enterprise d warp distortion is caused by the ultra warp field as it pulls space closer .

Other enterprises dont distort that way ,voyager didn't ,or the defiant
 
1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (traditional)
1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (modern English)

Of God and the Holy Trinity​

Chapter 2​


Paragraph 1​

The Lord our God is but one only living and true God;1 whose subsistence is in and of Himself,2 infinite in being and perfection; whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but Himself;3 a most pure spirit,4 invisible, without body, parts, or passions, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto;5 who is immutable,6 immense,7 eternal,8 incomprehensible, almighty,9 every way infinite, most holy,10 most wise, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will,11 for His own glory;12 most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him,13 and withal most just and terrible in His judgments,14 hating all sin,15 and who will by no means clear the guilty.16

1 1 Cor. 8:4,6; Deut. 6:4
2 Jer. 10:10; Isa. 48:12
3 Exod. 3:14
4 John 4:24
5 1 Tim. 1:17; Deut. 4:15–16
6 Mal. 3:6
7 1 Kings 8:27; Jer. 23:23
8 Ps. 90:2
9 Gen. 17:1
10 Isa. 6:3
11 Ps. 115:3; Isa. 46:10
12 Prov. 16:4; Rom. 11:36
13 Exod. 34:6–7; Heb. 11:6
14 Neh. 9:32–33
15 Ps. 5:5–6
16 Exod. 34:7; Nahum 1:2–3


Paragraph 2​

God, having all life,17 glory,18 goodness,19 blessedness, in and of Himself, is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creature which He hath made, nor deriving any glory from them,20 but only manifesting His own glory in, by, unto, and upon them; He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things,21 and He hath most sovereign dominion over all creatures, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever Himself pleases;22 in His sight all things are open and manifest,23 His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to Him contingent or uncertain;24 He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works,25 and in all His commands; to Him is due from angels and men, whatsoever worship,26 service, or obedience, as creatures they owe unto the Creator, and whatever He is further pleased to require of them.

17 John 5:26
18 Ps. 148:13
19 Ps. 119:68
20 Job 22:2–3
21 Rom. 11:34-36
22 Dan. 4:25,34–35
23 Heb. 4:13
24 Ezek. 11:5; Acts 15:18
25 Ps. 145:17
26 Rev. 5:12-14


Paragraph 3​

In this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, the Father, the Word or Son, and Holy Spirit,27 of one substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undivided:28 the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father;29 the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son;30 all infinite, without beginning, therefore but one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties and personal relations; which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable dependence on Him.

27 1 John 5:7; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14
28 Exod. 3:14; John 14:11; I Cor. 8:6
29 John 1:14,18
30 John 15:26; Gal. 4:6
 
An observation from Chapter 2, Paragraph 1:

First a "Modern English" version ...

The Lord our God is one, the only living and true God. He is self-existent and infinite in being and perfection. His essence cannot be understood by anyone but him. He is a perfectly pure spirit. He is invisible and has no body, parts, or changeable emotions. He alone has immortality, dwelling in light that no one can approach. He is unchangeable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, in every way infinite, absolutely holy, perfectly wise, wholly free, completely absolute. He works all things according to the counsel of his own unchangeable and completely righteous will for his own glory. He is most loving, gracious, merciful, and patient. He overflows with goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin. He rewards those who seek him diligently. At the same time, he is perfectly just and terrifying in his judgments. He hates all sin and will certainly not clear the guilty.

God is both EXTREME in all of his attributes ... EXTREME Love, PERFECTLY Just, HATING Sin ... and immutable (incapable of change) in His emotions. So God is ALWAYS ALL of His attributes. As great as His love compels him to save us, His Justice demands wrong be punished and He Hates our sin. Always, All, At Maximum.

It is truly a terrifying thing to stand before the Living God.
 
It is truly a terrifying thing to stand before the Living God.
Agreed ... initial moment didn't seem promising for Isaiah, Job, Daniel, John, Peter or Paul.
  • Daniel 10:8 So I was left alone and saw this great vision; yet no strength was left in me, for my normal appearance turned to a deathly pale, and I grew weak and faint [with fright].
  • Isaiah 6:5 "Then said I [Isaiah], Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips:... for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts"
  • Job 42:5-6 "I [Job] have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth Thee: Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes"
  • … and a voice from the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased and delighted! Listen to Him!” 6 When the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were terrified.
  • Acts 9:3 As he [Paul] traveled he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him [displaying the glory and majesty of Christ]; 4 and he fell to the ground and heard a voice [from heaven] saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting and oppressing Me?”
  • Revelation 1:17 When I [John] saw Him, I fell at His feet as if dead.
It's the moment after the initial moment where things can turn for better or worse:
Daniel 10:11 So he said to me, “O Daniel, you highly regarded and greatly beloved man, “O Daniel, man greatly loved"
or
"depart from me I never knew you".
 
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1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (traditional)
1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (modern English)

Of God's Decree​

Chapter 3​


Paragraph 1​

God hath 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;1 yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein;2 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;3 in which appears His wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing His decree.4

1 Isa. 46:10; Eph. 1:11; Heb. 6:17; Rom. 9:15,18
2 James 1:13; 1 John 1:5
3 Acts 4:27–28; John 19:11
4 Num. 23:19; Eph. 1:3–5


Paragraph 2​

Although God knoweth whatsoever may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions,5 yet hath He not decreed anything, because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.6

5 Acts 15:18
6 Rom. 9:11,13,16,18


Paragraph 3​

By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated, or foreordained to eternal life through Jesus Christ,7 to the praise of His glorious grace;8 others being left to act in their sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of His glorious justice.9

7 1 Tim. 5:21; Matt. 25:34
8 Eph. 1:5–6
9 Rom. 9:22–23; Jude 4


Paragraph 4​

These angels and men thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished. 10

10 2 Tim. 2:19; John 13:18


Paragraph 5​

Those of mankind that are predestinated to life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love,11 without any other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving Him thereunto.12

11 Eph. 1:4, 9, 11; Rom. 8:30; 2 Tim. 1:9; I Thess. 5:9
12 Rom. 9:13,16; Eph. 2:5,12


Paragraph 6​

As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so He hath, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto;13 wherefore they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ,14 are effectually called unto faith in Christ, by His Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified,15 and kept by His power through faith unto salvation;16 neither are any other redeemed by Christ, or effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.17

13 1 Pet. 1:2; 2 Thess. 2:13
14 1 Thess. 5:9–10
15 Rom. 8:30; 2 Thess. 2:13
16 1 Pet. 1:5
17 John 10:26, 17:9, 6:64


Paragraph 7​

The doctrine of the high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men attending the will of God revealed in His Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election;18 so shall this doctrine afford matter of praise,19 reverence, and admiration of God, and of humility,20 diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel.21

18 1 Thess. 1:4–5; 2 Pet. 1:10
19 Eph. 1:6; Rom. 11:33
20 Rom. 11:5–6, 20
21 Luke 10:20
 
Chapter 3 rolls up its sleeves and gets into IMPORTANT QUESTIONS. Here is found Predestination and Sovereignty. At the heart of the matter is just one really big question:

IS GOD IN CONTROL OF EVERYTHING OR IS GOD NOT IN CONTROL OF EVERYTHING?​

The 1689 comes down FIRMLY on the side of "IN CONTROL" and then looks at what the BIBLE tells us about that "In Control".
 
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