Creeds and Confessions

Is the 1689 Baptist Confession Sufficiently Missional?

Evangelistic outreach and missions is of prime importance to the church. But neither the Westminster Confession (WCF) nor the Second London Baptist Confession (2LCF) gives much expression or emphasis to the church’s responsibility to take the gospel to all the nations. The chapter “Of the church” (WCF, ch. 25; 2LCF, ch. 26), is an exposition of the nature of the church universal and local, its authority, its institution, its membership, its government, its worship, and its fraternal relations. But the chapter offers no clear and comprehensive summary of the church’s duty to publish the gospel outside the four walls of its sanctuary.

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A Few Creeds Plus the Bible: How to Shepherd a Church toward the Use of Confessions

"The purpose of creeds and confessions in the life of the modern church—in this case, Baptist churches—is the subject of much debate. Unfortunately, many churches fail to see the positive impact of creeds and confessions and, in so doing, disregard them altogether." - Church Leaders

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The Importance of Creeds

Using the London Baptist Confession of 1646 in the Local Church

Reformed Baptists are drawn to the London Baptist Confession of 1689 (originally issued in 1677) because it so closely mirrored the popular Presbyterian Westminster Confession of Faith. But the first two London Baptist confessions of 1644/1646 offer a window into history and a resource for Baptists today that is slightly different in its emphases. The London Baptist Confession of 1646 is Reformed and Baptist in its theology while emphasizing the newness of the New Covenant era that began with Christ. This article explores some of the benefits and challenges of using the London Baptist Confession of 1646 in the local church today.

Appealing Qualities

There are three appealing qualities of this Confession that are worthy of highlighting.

The Confession was originally drawn up and signed by seven churches in London in 1646. This was a “corrected and enlarged” edition of the first confession, published in 1644. The title of the original Confession of 1646 was: “A Confession of Faith of Seven Congregations or Churches of Christ in London, Which are commonly (But Unjustly) Called Anabaptists.” A copy of the original Confession of 1646 is widely available on the internet. An edition printed by Matthew Simmons and John Hancock in Popes-head Alley, London, 1646 is available online from The Angus Library and Archive at Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford.

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