Reformed, Puritan, And Baptist: A Comparison Of The 1689 London Baptist Confession Of Faith To The 1646 Westminster Confession Of Faith -- By: Paul M. Smalley

Journal: Puritan Reformed Journal
Volume: PRJ 02:2 (Jul 2010)
Article: Reformed, Puritan, And Baptist: A Comparison Of The 1689 London Baptist Confession Of Faith To The 1646 Westminster Confession Of Faith
Author: Paul M. Smalley


Reformed, Puritan, And Baptist: A Comparison Of The 1689 London Baptist Confession Of Faith To The 1646 Westminster Confession Of Faith

Paul M. Smalley

The purpose of this article is to compare the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession to its 1646 Presbyterian predecessor, the Westminster Confession of Faith.1 The author’s thesis is that the Particular Baptists wrote the 1689 Confession to identify themselves publicly with their Reformed and Puritan brothers, while asserting their distinctive Congregationalist and Baptist theology.

In 1677, English Particular Baptists produced a confession of faith which closely mirrored the 1646 Westminster Confession of Faith. More precisely, it followed the 1658 Congregational revision of the Westminster Confession, known at the Savoy Declaration.2 In so doing, the Baptists did not merely alter the sections of the confession regarding baptism and church order. Instead, in 1677, they supplemented a number of sections with statements from their earlier 1644 confession, known as the First London Confession.3 This 1677 confession seems to be largely the work of William Collins and Nehemiah Coxe, pastors at the Petty France Church in London. The new Baptist confession was published again in 1689 with the

signatures of Particular Baptist leaders such as Hanserd Knollys, William Kiffin, and Benjamin Keach. Today it is known as the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith or the Second London Confession.4

The 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith was adopted by American Baptists meeting in Philadelphia in 1742, and thus was known as the Philadelphia Confession.5 It was also taken up again in the nineteenth century in England by the Baptist Charles Spurgeon. Spurgeon wrote of the confession,

This little volume 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 of faith, and a means of edification in righteousness. 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 an 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...

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