1689 Baptist Confession of Faith
Preface to the Second London Baptist Confession
To The Judicial and Impartial ReaderCourteous Reader: 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 profess) did conceive ourselves to be under a necessity of publishing a Confession, of our Faith, for the information and satisfaction of those that did not thoroughly 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 misapprehension 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 divers 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.
Put forth by the
ELDERS and BRETHREN
(baptized upon Profession of their faith)
in London and the Country.
With the Heart man believeth unto
righteousness, and with the
Mouth Confession is made unto Salvation, Rom. 10:10.
Search the Scriptures, John 5:39.
|CHAPTER 1||OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES|
|CHAPTER 2||OF GOD AND THE HOLY TRINITY|
|CHAPTER 3||OF GOD'S DECREE|
|CHAPTER 4||OF CREATION|
|CHAPTER 5||OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE|
|CHAPTER 6||OF THE FALL OF MAN, OF SIN AND OF THE PUNISHMENT THEREOF|
|CHAPTER 7||OF GOD'S COVENANT|
|CHAPTER 8||OF CHRIST THE MEDIATOR|
|CHAPTER 9||OF FREE WILL|
|CHAPTER 10||OF EFFECTUAL CALLING|
|CHAPTER 11||OF JUSTIFICATION|
|CHAPTER 12||OF ADOPTION|
|CHAPTER 13||OF SANCTIFICATION|
|CHAPTER 14||OF SAVING FAITH|
|CHAPTER 15||OF REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE AND SALVATION|
|CHAPTER 16||OF GOOD WORKS|
|CHAPTER 17||OF THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS|
|CHAPTER 18||OF THE ASSURANCE OF GRACE AND SALVATION|
|CHAPTER 19||OF THE LAW OF GOD|
|CHAPTER 20||OF THE GOSPEL, AND OF THE EXTENT OF THE GRACE THEREOF|
|CHAPTER 21||OF CHRISTIAN LIBERTY AND LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE|
|CHAPTER 22||OF RELIGIOUS WORSHIP AND THE SABBATH DAY|
|CHAPTER 23||OF LAWFUL OATHS AND VOWS|
|CHAPTER 24||OF THE CIVIL MAGISTRATE|
|CHAPTER 25||OF MARRIAGE|
|CHAPTER 26||OF THE CHURCH|
|CHAPTER 27||OF THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS|
|CHAPTER 28||OF BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER|
|CHAPTER 29||OF BAPTISM|
|CHAPTER 30||OF THE LORD'S SUPPER|
|CHAPTER 31||OF THE STATE OF MAN AFTER DEATH, AND OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD|
|CHAPTER 32||OF THE LAST JUDGEMENT|
In England during the 1630's and 1640's
Congregationalists and Baptists of Calvinistic persuasion emerged from the Church of
England. Their early existence was marked by repeated cycles of persecution at the hands
of the established religion of crown and Parliament. The infamous Clarendon Code was
adopted in the 1660's to crush all dissent from the official religion of the state.
Periods of rigorous application and intervals of relaxation of these coercive acts haunted
Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Baptists
Presbyterians and Congregationalists suffered less than did Baptists under this harassment. No little reason for their relative success in resisting government tyranny was their united front of doctrinal agreement. All Presbyterians stood by their Westminster Confession of 1646. Congregationalists adopted virtually the same articles of faith in the Savoy Confession of 1658. Feeling their substantial unity with paedobaptists suffering under the same cruel injustice, Calvinistic Baptists met to publish their substantial harmony with them in doctrine.
A circular letter was sent to particular Baptist churches in England and Wales asking each assembly to send representatives to a meeting in London in 1677. A confession consciously modeled after the Westminster Confession of Faith was approved and published. It has ever since born the name of the Second London Confession. The First London Confession had been issued by seven Baptist congregations of London in 1644. That first document had been drawn up to distinguish newly organized Calvinistic Baptists from the Arminian Baptists and the Anabaptists. Because this second London Confession was drawn up in dark hours of oppression, it was issued anonymously.
A preface to the original publication of 1677 says in part: "... It is now many years since diverse of us ... did conceive ourselves under a necessity of publishing a Confession of our Faith, for the information and satisfaction of those that did not thoroughly understand what our principles were, or had entertained prejudices against our profession ... This was first put forth about the year 1643, in the name of seven congregations then gathered in
"Forasmuch as this confession is not now commonly to be had; and also that many others have since1 embraced the same truth which is owned therein; it was judged necessary by us to join together in giving a testimony to the world of our firm adhering to those wholesome principles .. ."
"We did conclude it necessary to confess ourselves the more fully and distinctly,... and finding no defect in this regard in that fixed on by the Assembly 2, and after them by those of the Congregational way, we did conclude it best to retain the same order in our present confession ... for the most part without any variation of the terms ... making use of the very same words with them both ... This we did to ... convince all that we have no itch to clog religion with new words, but to readily acquiesce in that form of sound words which hath been used by others before us ... In those things wherein we differ from others, we have expressed ourselves with all candor and plainness ... Contention is most remote from our design in all that we have done in this matter..."
William and Mary assumed England's throne in 1689. On May 24 of that very year the Act of Toleration was enacted. Within two months, seven London pastors called for a general meeting of Baptists from England and Wales. Representatives of one hundred and seven congregations met in London from September third to the twelfth. They adopted the Confession of 1677 with the following endorsement:
Preface to the Second London Baptist Confession
WE the MINISTERS and MESSENGERS of and concerned for upwards of one hundred baptized congregations in England and Wales (denying Arminianism), being met together in London, from the third of the seventh month to the eleventh of the same, 1689, to consider of some things that might be for the glory of God, and the good of these congregations, have thought meet (for the satisfaction of all other Christians that differ from us in the point of Baptism) to recommend to their perusal the confession of our faith, which confession we own, as containing the doctrine of our faith and practice, and do desire that the members of our churches respectively do furnish themselves therewith,
|Hanserd Knollys||Pastor||Broken Wharf||London|
|John Harris||Pastor||Joiner's Hall||London|
|William Collins||Pastor||Petty France||London|
|Robert Steed||Pastor||Broken Wharf||London|
|George Barret||Pastor||Mile End Green||London|
|Richard Adams||Minister||Shad Thames||Southwark|
|Andrew Gifford||Pastor||Bristol, Fryars||Som. & Glouc.|
|Thomas Vaux||Pastor||Broadmead||Som. & Glouc.|
|Thomas Winnel||Pastor||Taunton||Som. & Glouc.|
|Richard Tidmarsh||Minister||Oxford City||Osen|
Because the title page of the newly
subscribed creed bore the title "TheBaptist Confession of Faith adopted by the
ministers and messengers of the General Assembly which met in London in 1689" the
Second London Confession, originally composed in 1677, has ever since been called
"The 1689 Confession".
This became the most popular confession of Calvinistic Baptists in the English speaking world. It enjoyed editions in Britain in 1693, 1699, 1719, 1720, 1791, 1809. In 1855 C. H. Spurgeon issued a new edition. It was only the second year of his ministry at the New Park Street Chapel. Spurgeon wrote, "I have thought it right to reprint in a cheap form this excellent list of doctrines, which were subscribed to by the Baptist Ministers in the year 1689. We need a banner because of the truth; it may be that this small volume may aid the cause of the glorious gospel by testifying plainly what are its leading doctrines ... May the Lord soon restore unto Zion a pure language, and may her watchmen see eye to eye." He addressed these remarks to "all the Household of Faith, who rejoice in the glorious doctrines of Free Grace." Other British editions have appeared in 1958, 1963, 1966, 1970, 1972, 1974.
In the later 1600's Benjamin Keach and another minister of London published the 1689 Confession with two articles added, one on "the laying on of hands" and another''the singing of psalms". When Elias Keach, son of Benjamin, became a Baptist minister in America in 1688, he became a part of the Calvinistic Baptists who formed the Philadelphia Baptist Association in 1707. Through him the Second London Confession with his father's addenda was adopted by the Philadelphia Association. For years the association appealed to the confession, formally adopting it in 1742. The first edition of the "Philadelphia Confession of Faith" was printed by Benjamin Franklin in 1743. Under this name the 1689 confession became the definitive doctrinal statement of Calvinistic Baptists throughout the colonial and early United States periods. Associations in Virginia (1766) Rhode Island (1767), South Carolina (1767), Kentucky (1785), and Tennessee (1788) adopted the confession. It came to be known in America 85 "The Baptist Confession".
Familiarity with the Confession and its doctrines declined in the latter half of the 1 9th and first half of the 20th centuries. But since God has remarkably revived Biblical Calvinism among Baptists in recent days, interest in this historic confession has been renewed.
In this edition care has been taken to be faithful to the original edition of 1677. Changes have been made in spelling and punctuation to suit modern usage.
The words of C. H. Spurgeon are an appropriate conclusion to this introduction:
"This little volume," he wrote, "is not issued as an authoritative rule, or code of faith, whereby you are to be fettered, but as an assistance to you in controversy, a confirmation in faith, and a means of edification in righteous- ness. Here the younger members of our church will have a body of divinity in small compass, and by means of the Scriptural proofs, will be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in them.
Be not ashamed of your faith; remember it is the ancient gospel of martyrs, confessors, reformers and saints. Above all, it is the truth of God, against which the gates of Hell cannot prevail.
Let your lives adorn your faith, let your example adorn your creed. Above all live in Christ Jesus, and walk in Him, giving credence to no teaching but that which is manifestly approved of Him, and owned by the Holy Spirit. Cleave fast to the Word of God which is here mapped out for you."
Grace Baptist Church
1These early Baptists were conscious that the 1644 Calvinistic Baptist Confession predated the 1646 Presbyterian Confession and the 1658 Congregationalist Confession.
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