Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The London Confession, 1644 (Part 3)

VII AND this is life eternal, that we might know Him the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent. And on the contrary, the Lord will render vengeance, in flaming fire, to them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ.
John 17:3; Heb.5:9; 2 Thess.1:8; John 6:36.

VIII THE rule of this knowledge, faith, and obedience, concerning the worship of God, in which is contained the whole duty of man, is (not men's laws, or unwritten traditions, but) only the word of God contained in the holy Scriptures; in which is plainly recorded whatsoever is needful for us to know, believe, and practice; which are the only rule of holiness and obedience for all saints, at all times, in all places to be observed.
Col.2:23; Matt.15:6,9; John 5:39; 2 Tim.3:15,16,17; Isa.8:20; Gal.1:8.9: Acts 3:22,23.

IX THE Lord Jesus Christ, of whom Moses and the Prophets wrote, the Apostles preached, He is the Son of God, the brightness of His glory, etc. by whom He made the world; who upholdeth and governeth all things that He hath made; who also when the fulness of time was come, was made of a woman, of the tribe of Judah, of the seed of Abraham and David; to wit, of the virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit coming down upon her, the power of the most High overshadowing her; and He was also tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Gen.3:15, 22:18, 49:10; Dan.7:13, 9:24, etc.; Prov.8:23; John 1:1,2,3; Heb.1:8; Ga1.4:4; Heb.7:14; Rev.5:5; Gen.49:9,10; Rom.l:3, 9:10; Matt.l:16; Luke 3:23,26; Heb.2:16; Isa.53:3,4,5; Heb.4:15.

Here we see the confession affirming basic truths of Christianity: salvation and judgment, the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, and the true identity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember that one of the major purposes of this confession was to demonstrate that the "Baptist" churches were orthodox churches. They specifically distanced themselves from the label "Anabaptist," and this shows even in what they included in their confession. When we look back at the Schleitheim Confession of a century before the London Confession, we immediately notice that the Anabaptists did not include much in the way of doctrinal concerns in their confession. Doctrine was not their primary concern; ethics was. The Anabaptists were not concerned about distinguishing their doctrine of justification, for example, from the Roman Catholic teaching. They were not concerned to articulate their beliefs about Jesus Christ or the Trinity. They were more concerned to promote godly living and holy churches. By way of contrast, the London Confession, though not by any means exhaustive, was quite concerned to show that its authors held to the fundamental doctrines of Christianity.

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