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Archive for the ‘confessions’ Category

I recently discovered a great number of lectures by Francis Schaeffer.  Evidently these are the “L’Abri tapes” that I first saw mentioned in True Spirituality.

I haven’t listened to very many of these yet, but this includes lectures that appear to be the basis of several of his books. These include True Spirituality, No Little People, Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History, Genesis and Science, A Christian Manifesto, The Mark of the Christian and The Finished Work of Christ, among others. I must confess that I am less familiar with his well known apologetical works than I am with some of his others but I’m sure much of that material is there in embryonic form as well.

Overall, a wide variety of topics are covered, from cultural analysis, theology in general (including a series on the Westminster Confession of Faith), apologetics, the arts, etc.  There are also a good many lectures on eschatology, including an exposition of the book of Revelation.  It is well known that Schaeffer was premillennial, which was not uncommon among Presbyterians of his day, particularly among those of his background.  The titles of some of them seem to indicate that he was pretribulational as well.  But those lectures appear to be from the early 1960’s so I don’t know if he ever changed his views as did some others like James Montgomery Boice, for example.  I haven’t read that much of Schaeffer’s work, but I hope to remedy that soon.  However, I have noticed allusions to a future for Israel in some of his writings that were published in the 1970’s.  I do think it’s interesting that a leader who was known for teachings on cultural and other issues would have taught so much on prophetical themes. But most if not all of those lectures were from the early 1960’s, prior to him becoming a popular evangelical leader in the United States and beyond.

There is also a large amount of video material available online as well, perhaps most notably the film version of How Should We Then Live?

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We often hear the cry “No creed but the Bible!”  The Southern Baptist leader B.H. Carroll (1843-1914) provides an answer for this assertion:

“There never was a man in the world without a creed. What is a creed? A creed is what you believe. What is a confession? It is a declaration of what you believe. That declaration may be oral or it may be committed to writing, but the creed is there either expressed or implied.”

“The modern cry, ‘Less creed and more liberty,’ is a degeneration from the vertebrate to the jelly fish, and means less unity and less morality, and it means more heresy. …It is a positive and very hurtful sin to magnify liberty at the expense of doctrine.”

So the statement “No creed but the Bible!” is itself a confession of sorts, although most of those holding to it likely don’t recognize it as such.

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1st London Baptist Confession (1644)

XXXIX BAPTlSM is an ordinance of the New Testament, given by Christ, to be dispensed upon persons professing faith, or that are made disciples; who upon profession of faith, ought to be baptized, 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, is dipping or plunging the body under water; it being a sign, must answer the things signified, which is, that interest the saints have in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ: And that as certainly as the body is buried under water, and risen 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; Mark 15:9 reads (into Jordan) in Greek; 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 or plunge (yet so as convenient garments be both upon the administrator and subject with all modesty).

Appendix to the 1646 Confession of Faith by Benjamin Cox:

Though a believer’s right to the use of the Lord’s Supper doth immediately flow from Jesus Christ apprehended and received by faith, yet in as much as all things ought to be done not only decently, but also in order, 1 Cor.14:40; and the Word holds forth this order, that disciples should be baptized, Matt.28:19; Acts 2:38, and then be taught to observe all things (that is to say. all other things) that Christ commanded the Apostles, Matt.28:20, and accordingly the Apostles first baptized disciples, and then admitted them to the use of the Supper, Acts 2:41, 42; we therefore do not admit any in the use of the Supper, nor communicate with any in the use of this ordinance, but disciples having once been Scripturally baptized, less we should have fellowship with them in their doing contrary to order.

Midland Confession of Faith (1655)

13th. That those who profess faith in Christ, and make the same appear by their fruits, are the proper subjects of Baptism. Matthew xxviii.18,19.

14th. That this baptizing is not by sprinkling, but dipping of the persons in the water, representing the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Romans vi.3,4; Colossians ii.12; Acts viii.38,39.

15th. That persons so baptized ought, by free consent, to walk together, as God shall give opportunity in distinct churches, or assemblies of Zion, continuing in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers, as fellow-men caring for one another, according to the will of God. All these ordinances of Christ are enjoined in His Church, being to be observed till his Second Coming, which we all ought diligently to wait for.

2nd London Baptist Confession (1689)

Chapter 28: Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

1._____ Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of positive and sovereign institution, appointed by the Lord Jesus, the only lawgiver, to be continued in his church to the end of the world.
( Matthew 28:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:26 )
2._____ These holy appointments are to be administered by those only who are qualified and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ.
( Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 4:1 )

Chapter 29: Of Baptism

1._____ Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized, a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins; and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life.
( Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2;12; Galatians 3:27; Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:4 )
2._____ Those who do actually profess repentance towards God, faith in, and obedience to, our Lord Jesus Christ, are the only proper subjects of this ordinance.
( Mark 16:16; Acts 8:36, 37; Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12; Acts 18:8 )
3._____The outward element to be used in this ordinance is water, wherein the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
( Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 8:38 )
4._____Immersion, or dipping of the person in water, is necessary to the due administration of this ordinance. ( Matthew 3:16; John 3:23 )

Carter Lane Declaration–John Gill’s Confession of Faith (1757)

XI. We believe, That Baptism (Matthew 28:19, 20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26) and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of Christ, to be continued until his second coming; and that the former is absolutely requisite to the latter; that is to say, that those (Acts 2:41 and 9:18, 26) only are to be admitted into the communion of the church, and to participate of all ordinances in it, (Mark 16:16; Acts 8:12, 36, 37 and 16:31-34 and 8:8) who upon profession of their faith, have been baptized, (Matthew 3:6, 16; John 3:23; Acts 8:38, 39; Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12) by immersion, in the name of the Father, (Matthew 28:19) and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

The Sandy Creek Confession (1758)

IX. That true believers are the only fit subjects of baptism;, and that immersion is the only mode.
X. That the church has no right to admit any but regular baptized church members to communion at the Lord’s table.

The Baptist Catechism, Charleston Association (1813)

Q. Who are the proper subjects of this ordinance? (The Lord’s Supper)
A. They who have been baptized upon a personal profession of their faith in Jesus Christ, and repentance from dead works (Acts 2:41, 42).

New Hampshire Confession (1833)

* Of a Gospel Church We believe that a visible Church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers (66), associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel (67); observing the ordinances of Christ (68); governed by his laws (69), and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by his Word (70); that its only scriptural officers are Bishops, or Pastors, and Deacons (71), whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.
* Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper We believe that Christian Baptism is the immersion in water of a believer (72), into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost (73); to show forth, in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life (74); that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a Church relation; and to the Lord’s Supper (75), in which the members of the Church, by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ (76); preceded always by solemn self- examination (77).

Abstract of Principles–Adopted at the founding of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1858:

XV. Baptism.

Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus, obligatory upon every believer, wherein he is immersed in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, as a sign of his fellowship with the death and resurrection of Christ, of remission of sins, and of his giving himself up to God, to live and walk in newness of life. It is prerequisite to church fellowship, and to participation in the Lord’s Supper.

A Catechism of Bible Teaching by John A. Broadus (1892)

Lesson 11: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

10. Who ought to partake of the Lord’s Supper
A. Those ought to partake of the Lord’s Supper who have believed in Christ, and have been baptized, and are trying to live in obedience of Christ’s commands.

The Baptist Faith and Message (2000) of the Southern Baptist Convention echoes the language of the New Hampshire Confession and the Abstract of Principles:

Being a church ordinance, it [baptism] is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.

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Note: (2/15/09)  Instead of merely linking to a post on the PuritanBoard, where I was then serving as a moderator, I thought that as I transfer older posts to this new blog that I’d include the full text here.  The following is the substance of an email I sent to both the pastor of the congregation in the Presbyterian Church in America that we had been attending and were in the process of joining and also to the pastor of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church of which I was then a member.  My wife and I are now members of a Southern Baptist church.  If I were to write on this subject today I might change a few things about it, but in general the following represents my current views:

Until Saturday night I would have told you that I was a convinced paedobaptist and Presbyterian. I was even prepared to sell most of my Baptist books, even including several ones by and about Spurgeon. However as I had told you in our first meeting, I have always struggled with Acts 2:41 and never thought that passage taken as a whole was nearly as favorable to paedobaptism as many think. No paedo has ever been able to answer it completely to my satisfaction. Whenever I have asked the question (including several times on the PB) I usually get stony silence. Others will respond with some kind of snide comment like “Baptists just don’t get it”. Others will try to argue that there were no children there that day. If I recall correctly during that meeting you responded with something like “we shouldn’t get hung up on one verse” or “we shouldn’t allow one verse to determine things.” However, I suppose I just ignored my concerns up until now. But I read it in context Saturday night and it hit me like a ton of bricks:

Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:41-42

Some will argue that the reference to “breaking of bread” in Acts 2:42 is not necessarily a reference to the Lord’s Supper. It is used as a proof text in the Westminster Standards at WCF 21.5, 21.6, 26.2, WLC 63, 108, 154, 174, 175 and WSC 50 and 88. Several of these are general references to the means of grace but Acts 2:42 is used in other instances as a proof text specifically for the Lord’s Supper.

I interpret these verses to teach that, first of all, those who received Peter’s word that day were baptized (i.e. only those personally professing faith) and that this same group continued steadfastly breaking bread which typically included in those days the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. These two verses, in my opinion, throw the Reformed teaching of paedobaptism and credo communion into serious doubt. It appears that the two choices that do justice to the unity expressed here are either adopting Baptist views or adopting paedocommunion. Unfortunately, many in Reformed churches are opting for the latter. This is why we see so many who come from Baptist backgrounds like Doug Wilson, Gregg Strawbridge and Randy Booth adopting paedocommunion soon after becoming paedobaptists. A whole lot more NT evidence can be marshaled against paedobaptism than can be brought to bear against paedocommunion. Once one has explained away all of the “believe and be baptized” verses in favor of an overarching concept of covenant theology that is imposed upon the scriptures, why let 1 Cor. 11 get in the way of practicing paedocommunion?

I am glad that churches like the PCA have up until this point held the line against paedocommunion. But I believe at this point that the teaching of the Westminster Standards on this subject is inconsistent and am thinking that those who have argued that the western church abandoned paedocommunion after the adoption of transubstantiation because of concerns that the child would throw up the elements have a point. Of course the eastern church has never abandoned paedocommunion and will force alcoholic wine down the throat of children who are barely more than infants.

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