Other Reformed Baptists contend that this view of “a single covenant, multiple administrations” is not the view of the signers of the 1689 Confession, but the Westminster Confession. There is a lot of similarity between the two Confessions, therefore, it is not strange for some Reformed Baptists to believe that our Confession (whether they’ve compared the two chapters or not, I do not know) must probably say the same thing as the Westminster Confession minus infant baptism. Therefore, they still operate according to the “one covenant, multiple administrations” model of Covenant Theology and not what we will now discuss, which we believe is the actual view of the Particular Baptists in the 17th century, but more importantly, a more biblical view.
Works like Pascal Denault’s have raised doubts about the idea that our Baptist forefathers shared the same idea of administration in Covenant Theology with our Presbyterian brethren. In his work, Denault argues that for what has come to be known as 1689 Federalism. He goes back to the sources from the 17th century, the same period when the 1689 (which was actually written in 1677), the Savoy Declaration of Faith (1658) and the Westminster (1646) were written to see what the framers of the confessions actually believed. It appears from his research that many Baptists did not actually share the same understanding of Covenant Theology with their Paedobaptist brethren. There were some who did share the Presbyterian covenantal view, no doubt. 1689 Federalism teaches that the Confession is not teaching the “one covenant, different administrations” model of Covenant Theology of Paedobaptists. But as it is obvious from the Westminster that it does teach the “one covenant, different administrations” (by their admission, see Westminster 7:5), likewise it is likewise clear from this chapter that the idea of administration is absent. The framers of the Confession were not trying to be original in wording, rather they were trying to communicate a point of difference with their Paedobaptist brethren. The framers were not ashamed to take long portions from the Westminster and Savoy with little or no textual change (see here the three confessions side by side). But since it is clear that the Westminster is not articulating the same thing about the Covenant of Grace as the 1689 is, therefore we must assume that they are trying to convey a different or a modified form of Covenant Theology.
Reading And Comparing The Paragraphs Carefully
|1689 7:3||Westminster 7:5|
|This covenant is revealed in the gospel; first of all to Adam in the promise of salvation by the seed of the woman, and afterwards by farther steps, until the full discovery thereof was completed in the New Testament; and it is founded in that eternal covenant transaction that was between the Father and the Son about the redemption of the elect; and it is alone by the grace of this covenant that all the posterity of fallen Adam that ever were saved did obtain life and blessed immortality, man being now utterly incapable of acceptance with God upon those terms on which Adam stood in his state of innocency.||This covenant was differently admin...|