The Second London Confession On The Doctrine Of Scripture -- By: Robert P. Martin

Journal: Reformed Baptist Theological Review
Volume: RBTR 06:1 (Jan 2009)
Article: The Second London Confession On The Doctrine Of Scripture
Author: Robert P. Martin


The Second London Confession On The Doctrine Of Scripture

Part 4: The Sufficiency of the Scriptures (1.6)

Robert P. Martin

Dr. Robert P. Martin is Pastor of Emmanuel Reformed Baptist Church, Seattle, WA, and Professor of Biblical Theology in Reformed Baptist Seminary, Easley, SC, and editor of Reformed Baptist Theological Review.

Having treated (1) the necessity of Scripture, in order to our having “a sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience,” (2) the identity of the Scriptures over against the Apocrypha and all other merely human writings (the distinguishing mark separating them being the fact of divine inspiration), and (3) the basis for the authority of Scripture (both “in itself” and “with us”), our Confession now comes to another vital theme regarding the Bible’s own doctrine of itself and its place in the Christian faith. In paragraph 6, the subject is the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures.

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. 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, 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.

In this section, the Confession addresses the question, Is the revelation inscripturated in the Bible all that we need to know on doctrinal and ethical questions, or must we look elsewhere to supplement what the Scriptures teach? This question was anticipated in the chapter’s opening sentence, where sacred Scripture is styled “the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience” (1.1).1

Because of its historical, doctrinal, and practical importance, in spite of the brief allusion to this subject at the beginning of the chapter, our Baptist forefathers retained the Westminster Confession’s statement on the Bible’s sufficiency as the sole rule of religious truth, faith, and duty, albeit with some modification (cf., WC 1.6). Of course, the importance of this paragraph’s teaching cannot be overestimated, especially considering ...

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