Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The London Confession, 1644 (Part 9)

I would encourage you to compare and contrast the teaching on the church given in this confession with teaching prevalent in our day. How is it similar? How is it different? Why do you think there might be these differences? How does the Scripture help us to discern what is correct or incorrect?

XXXIX. THAT Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, given by Christ, to be dispensed only upon persons professing faith, or that are disciples, or taught, who upon a profession of faith, ought to be baptized. [Later editions add, "and after to partake of the Lord's Supper."]
Matt.28:18,19; John 4:1; Mark 16:15,16; Acts 2:37.38, 8:36,37,etc.

XL. THAT the way and manner of dispensing this ordinance the Scripture holds out to be dipping or plunging the whole body under water; it being a sign, must answer the things signified, which are these: first, the washing the whole soul in the blood of Christ: Secondly, that interest the saints have in the death, burial, and resurrection; thirdly, together with a confirmation of our faith, that as certainly as the body is buried under water, and rises again, so certainly shall the bodies of the saints be raised by the power of Christ, in the day of the resurrection, to reign with Christ.
Matt.3:16; John 3:23; Acts 8:38; Rev.1:5, 7:14; Heb.10:22; Rom.6:3,4,5.6; 1 Cor.15:28.29. The word baptizo signifies to dip under water, yet so as convenient garments be both upon the administrator and subject with all modesty. [Later editions add "which is our practice, as many eye witnesses can testify." While reinstituting the practice of baptism by immersion, the Baptists specifically rejected another early church practice which went along with immersion - the practice of baptizing naked. The Baptists wanted to make sure that nobody thought they were doing that!]

XLI. THE person designed by Christ to dispense baptism, the Scripture holds forth to be a preaching disciple; it being no where tied to a particular church officer, or person extraordinarily sent, the commission enjoining the administration, being given to them under no other consideration, but as considered disciples.
Isa.8:16; Eph.2:7; Matt.28:16-19; John 4:2; Acts 20:7; Matt. 26:26.

XLII. CHRIST hath likewise given power to his whole Church to receive in and cast out, by way of excommunication, any member; and this power is given to every particular congregation, and not one particular person, either member or officer, but the whole.
Rom.16:2; Matt.18:17; 1 Cor.5:4,11,13;12:6;2:3; 2 Cor.2:6,7.

XLIII. AND every particular member of each church, how excellent, great, or learned soever, ought to be subject to this censure and judgment of Christ; and the church ought with great care and tenderness, with due advice, to proceed against her members.
Matt.18:16, 17:18; Acts 11:2,3; 1 Tim.5:19, etc.

XLIV. AND as Christ for the keeping of this church in holy and orderly communion, placeth some special men over the church, who by their office, are to govern, oversee, visit, watch; so likewise for the better keeping thereof, in all places by the members, He hath given authority, and laid duty upon all to watch over one another.
Acts 20:27.28; Heb.13:17,24; Matt.24:45; 1 Thess.5:2,14; Jude 3.20: Heb.10:34.35 [cf. 24,25], 12:15.

XLV. THAT also such to whom God hath given gifts in the church, being tried in the church, may and ought by the appointment of the congregation to prophecy according to the proportion of faith, and so teach publicly the Word of God, for the edification, exhortation, and comfort of the church.
1 Cor.14:3, etc.; Rom.12:6; 1 Pet.4:10,11.; 1 Cor.12:7; 1 Thess. 5:19, etc.

XLVI. THUS being rightly gathered, established, and still proceeding in the Christian communion, and obedience of the Gospel of Christ, none ought to separate for faults and corruptions which may, and as long as the Church consists of men subject to failings, will fall out and arise among them, until they have in due order sought redress thereof.
Rev.2,3; Acts 15:12; 1 Cor.1:10; Heb.10:25; Jude 19, Rev. 2:20,21,27; Acts 15:1,2; Rom.14:1, 15:1,2,3.

XLVII. AND although the particular congregations be distinct and several bodies, every one a compact and knit city within itself; yet are they all to walk by one and the same rule, and by all means convenient to have the counsel and help one of another in all needful affairs of the Church, as members of one body in the common faith under Christ their only head.
1 Cor.4:17, 14:33,36,16:1; Ps.122:3; Eph.2:12,19: Rev.2:1; 1 Tim.3:15, 6:13,14; 1 Cor.4:17; Acts 15:2,3; Song of Sol.8:8.9; 2 Cor.8:1.4, 13:14.

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