Back To Our Roots: 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith

 
This ancient document is the most excellent epitome of the things most surely believed among us. It is not issued as an authoritative rule or code of faith, whereby you may be fettered, but as a means of edification in righteousness. It is an excellent, though not inspired, expression of the teaching of those Holy Scriptures by which all confessions are to be measured. We hold to the humbling truths of God’s sovereign grace in the salvation of lost sinners. Salvation is through Christ alone and by faith alone.”  — C. H. Spurgeon
 
Historical effects of the 1689 Confession
 
The 1689 Confession, alongside the Westminster Confession and Savoy Declaration, are considered to be the most important Reformed Confessions made in the English-speaking world. There is no doubt that the 1689 confession relied heavily upon the work already done in writing the two other confessions, but this is not to understate its importance and influence in Baptist churches specifically, and Reformed and Calvinistic churches generally, since that point.

Particular Baptists were quick to develop churches in colonial America, and in 1707 the Philadelphia Baptist Association was formed. This association formally adopted the 1689 confession in 1742 after years of tacit endorsement by individual churches and congregational members. With the addition of two chapters (on the singing of psalms and the laying on of hands), it was retitled The Philadelphia Confession of Faith[2] Further Calvinistic Baptist church associations formed in the mid-late 18th century and adopted the confession as “The Baptist Confession”.

During the Second Great Awakening in America, Particular Baptists and other Calvinistic expressions of Protestant Christianity came under sustained attack from evangelists such as Charles Grandison Finney and theologians such as Nathaniel William Taylor. Many Particular Baptists retreated into Hyper-Calvinism, despite the fact that the 1689 confession does not espouse or support such extremes in Reformed theology.

The 1689 confession remains, to this day, a very important document for all Reformed Baptist churches internationally, allowing them to have an historical confession of faith. The 1693 Keach’s Catechism uses the Confession to teach congregants the basics of the Reformed Baptist faith.

The Keach’s Catechism (also known as the 1677 Baptist Catechism or 1693 Baptist Catechism) is a Reformed Baptist catechism consisting of a set of 118 basic questions and answers from scripture teaching readers the basics of the Reformed Baptist faith.

The Catechism is similar to the earlier Heidelberg Catechism and Westminster Catechism except for the sections on baptism. The catechism followed the 1677 Baptist Confession which was later ratified by over 100 baptist congregations as the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith. The Confession was written by English Particular Baptists, who held to a Calvinistic analysis to give a formal scriptural explanation of their Christian faith from a Baptist perspective. One of the preachers active in creating Confession of Faith, Benjamin Keach, is often attributed with the writing of the Baptist Catechism commonly known as “Keach’s Catechism”, although it was likely compiled by William Collins, Keach’s associate in drafting the Confession. The catechism was officially published by the British Baptists in 1693. The confession which the catechism was based upon was later adopted by the Philadelphia Baptist Association in 1742 in America.

Answer the following questions:

I. What is a Confession?

II. What is a Catechism?

III. Why is it important?

IV. How shall we begin?

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About John
A follower of Christ and sinner who needs his grace everyday.

4 Responses to Back To Our Roots: 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith

  1. Brian says:

    I enjoy reading History of Christianity of our nation, especially around the early to mid 1700s.
    I want to understand all the different denominations that were formed.
    What is the difference in a catechism and confession?

  2. John says:

    1. A Confession is a religious denomination or sect united by a common system of beliefs. I beleive this document has stands through the test of time just like the Heidelberg Catechism.

    2. A Catechism is the instruction of the Lord according to the Bible (Acts 18:25). I believe it helps us to deal with Scriptures accurately. Most people tries to interpret Scriptures by their feelings instead of what God is saying.

    3. We need to continue in our faith in satbility and steadfastness (Col. 1:23).; We must be unify in what we believe in the knowledge of the Son of God…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:13-14). ; Many deceivers (wolves) out there(1 John 2:26).; There are many doctrines that are difficult and we need solid intrepretation – “which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16).; We must teach and raised up new leaders who can “give instruction in sound doctrine and also confute those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9).

    4. Make it a part of your daily routine and teach it to your family and those in your church.

  3. marc mullins says:

    Confession: A statement of “confessed belief”, A synopsis of one’s theology, understanding of self and God and how they relate to each other as shared by others who confess the same beliefs.

    Cathechism is simply teaching by questions and answers. In the context of faith and religion, it is questions regarding all things spiritual, all things eternal as they relate to God and self and life. The answers are provided by and guided by Scripture, with the 1689 closely adhering to the author’s intent and contextual significance as closely as possible without allows ones emotions to impose changes on its interpretations of the Scripture. Look back at how Christ taught, often times we saw a “Did you not know…? questions and answers are time proven methods of teaching and learning.

    It is of most importance merely because without confession and cathecism, one is left to his own devices to determine what is biblical truth. 1689, Westminster etc all have stood the test of time simply because they do not sway from the truth. Truth does not change, Truth unites and truth divides.

    Love me some cathecism, I wasnt really familiar with the intent of confessions and cathecisms even though I have been reciting the Apostles Creed, and other Liturgical confessions since childhood. Now understanding that we must guard the truth, fight for the truth, and faithfully confess and teach the truth, there is no reason every person shouldnt be able to offer a biblical response to any question of doctrine covered in any confession that is orthodox, if they call themselves a born again Chrstian.

  4. John says:

    Here is a good article to read: http://www.founders.org/journal/fj10/article3.html

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