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"Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God." - Jonathan Edwards


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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 17: Of The Perseverance of the Saints - Commentary

  • ^ John M. Frame. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief. (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2014). Chapter 44, p. 1001.
  • ^ Albert Barnes. Notes on the New Testament. Hebrews 6:4
  • ^ A.W. Pink. Exposition of Hebrews. Chapter 26
  • ^ Grudem, Systematic Theology. p. 800.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 801, footnote references removed.
  • ^ John Owen. Exposition of Hebrews. Hebrews 10:28-29
  • ^ Mounce, Expository Dictionary. p. 620.
  • ...

    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 26: Of the Church - Commentary

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    Chapter 26: Of the Church

    What is the church? What is the visible and invisible church? Who is the head of the church? What power does the church have? What is church discipline? What offices are there in the church? What about church membership? What does an elder do and who can become an elder? What does a deacon do and who can become a deacon? What is the work of the pastor? How is a church to govern itself?

    This is the longest chapter in the Confession. Without question, this chapter is different than the sister confessions. The doctrine of the church was and is one of the most important distinctions between paedobaptists and Baptists. Covenant Theology, as noted in chapter 7, is an important difference between our Reformed paedobaptist brethren and us, Reformed Baptists. Practically, 1689 Federalism manifests itself in the doctrine of the church. One of the primary distinctive of Baptist ecclesiology is regenerate membership. Furthermore, the distinction that only those baptized upon a profession of faith may be members of a local church. This distinction and difference must be placed in the light of the huge agreement concerning almost all other areas of the Confession. Our forefathers basically copy-pasted from the Congregationalists and Presbyterians. Alan Dunn observes the following on the historical setting of this chapter:

    On the one hand, our Confession was written in an attempt to distinguish us from the false Roman Catholic Church. We will encounter statements in which Roman Catholic teaching is refuted. On the other hand, our Confession aligns us with churches that proclaim the gospel and worship Christ in obedient submission to Scripture.

    Among such Biblically orthodox churches however, there are yet differences held with honest Biblical conviction. Therefore, our Confession also expresses our Baptistic and Reformed distinctives in contrast to our Presbyterian and non-Reformed brethren.[1]

    §1 The Universal Church Consists Of The Whole Number Of The Elect

    1. The catholic or universal church, 1 which (with respect to the internal work of the Spirit and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ, the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. 2
      1. Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 1:22; 4:11-15; 5:23-25, 27, 29, 32; Col. 1:18, 24; Heb. 12:23[2]
      2. Eph. 1:22; 4:11-15; 5:23-25, 27, 29, 32; Col 1:18, 24; Rev. 21:9-14

    The catholic (meaning universal) church, which is called invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect (e.g., 1 Cor. 1:2; Heb. 12:23). The universal church does not consist only of New Covenant Christians, but of the whole number of the elect who have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ. Notice that the church consists of the elect who are gathered, i.e., converted. In their unregenerate state, the elect are not part of the universal church until they are gathered into Christ. Christ is the head (Col 1:18) and the church is the spouse (Eph. 5:25), the body (Col 1:18) and the fullness (Eph. 1:23) of Christ.

    The word “catholic” means universal and hereby, our forefathers are agreeing with the last part of the Apostles’ Creed: 

    I believe in the Holy Spirit, 9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, 10. the forgiveness of sins, 11. the resurrection of the body, 12. and the life everlas...

    1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

    ...ife, or maintain damnable heresy.
    1. 1 Cor. 7:39; 2 Cor. 6:14; 1 Tim. 4:3; Heb. 13:4
    2. 1 Cor. 7:39; 2 Cor. 6:14; Neh 13:25-27
    1. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity, forbidden in the Word; nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful, by any law of man or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together as man and wife.
      1. Lev. 18:6-18; Amos 2:7; Mark 6:18; 1 Cor. 5:1

    Chapter 26: Of the Church [Return] [Commentary]

    1. The catholic or universal church, which (with respect to the internal work of the Spirit and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ, the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
      1. Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 1:22; 4:11-15; 5:23-25, 27, 29, 32; Col. 1:18, 24; Heb. 12:23
      2. Eph. 1:22; 4:11-15; 5:23-25, 27, 29, 32; Col. 1:18, 24; Rev. 21:9-14
    1. All persons throughout the world, professing the faith of the gospel, and obedience unto God by Christ according unto it, not destroying their own profession by any errors everting the foundation, or unholiness of conversation, are and may be called visible saints; and of such ought all particular congregations to be constituted.
      1. 1 Cor. 1:2; Rom. 1:7-8; Acts 11:26; Matt. 16:18; 28:15-20; 1 Cor. 5:1-9
      2. Matt. 18:15-20; Acts 2:37-42; 4:4; Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 5:1-9
    1. The purest churches under heaven are subject to mixture and error; and some have so degenerated as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan; nevertheless Christ always hath had, and ever shall have a kingdom in this world, to the end thereof, of such as believe in him, and make profession of his name.
      1. 1 Cor. 1:11; 5:1; 6:6; 11:17-19; 3 John 9-10; Rev. 2-3
      2. Rev. 2:5 with 1:20; 1 Tim. 3:14-15; Rev. 18:2
      3. Matt. 16:18; 24:14; 28:20; Mark 4:30-32; Ps. 72:16-18; 102:28; Isa. 9:6-7; Rev. 12:17; 20:7-9
    1. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, in whom, by the appointment of the Father, all power for the calling, institution, order or government of the church, is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner; neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.
      1. Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:20-23; 4:11-16; 5:23-32; 1 Cor. 12:27-28; John 17:1-3; Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 5:31; John 10:14-16
      2. 2 Thess. 2:2-9
    1. In the execution of this power wherewith he is so intrusted, the Lord Jesus calleth out of the world unto himself, through the ministry of his word, by his Spirit, those that are given unto him by his Father, that they may walk before him in all the ways of obedience, which he prescribeth to them in his word. Those thus called, he commandeth to walk together in particular societies, or churches, for their mutual edification, and the due performance of that public worship, which he requireth of them in the world.
      1. John 10:16, 23; 12:32, 17:2; Acts 5:31-32
      2. Matt. 28:20
      3. Matt. 18:15-20; Acts 14:21-23; Titus 1:5; 1 Tim. 1:3; 3:14-16; 5:17-22
    1. The members of these churches are saints by calling, visibly manifesting and evidencing (in and by their profession and walk...

    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 29: Of Baptism - Commentary

    ...ill holds true for infants!” Well…no. This is not what Peter is saying.

    Joel Beeke and Ray B. Lanning, for example, assert from this passage that “The pattern of God’s dealings with believers and their children, as old as creation itself, would continue as a constitutional principle of the visible church.”[46] After this citation there comes a citation from the Westminster Confession 25:2 concerning the visible church. We’ve largely spoken of the church in Chapter 26, so we will not repeat ourselves concerning the distinction between the invisible and visible church. While we can take issue with many things in this citation and in that chapter, let us consider two things: God’s pattern and the visible church. There certainly was a pattern for God to keep His covenant going through families, but it is sometimes presented as the way that God works, which is overstating the case. It is only from Abraham that the family covenantal principle comes fully into view. Even with Noah, his family was included but so was the whole earth also. Before Noah and between Adam, there was no covenant which was made with “believers and their children.” Furthermore, the texts on the New Covenant should be determinative on the nature of the New Covenant and any “pattern.” There was a millennia-old pattern of God being worshiped through outward means and sacrifices. But it is clear that this pattern was broken because these pointed to the greater fulfillment in Christ and His covenant.

    As to the second issue, the visible church is conveniently brought up in connection with Acts 2:39. But if we read the text, the command, and the promise which is given, why would anyone think it merely concerns the visible church? According to the Westminster Confession, “The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children” (25:2). This is to assume the position before and without trying to establish it. Acts 2:39 does not merely speak of being a church member. But the promise to everyone who repents is that they will be forgiven and given Christ’s Spirit. Beeke’s and Lanning’s chapter is filled with assumptions and unsubstantiated claims.[47]

    We’ve spoken about Acts 2:39 in connection to the relationship between baptism and repentance above, but now we will have to deal with it as it is used by paedobaptists. As we saw in Beeke’s and Lanning’s citation above, our paedobaptist brethren see the continuation of the “you and your seed” principle. In fact, while they acknowledge the promise concerns that which is mentioned in v. 38, yet ‘it is clear that Peter speaks of “the promise” as rhetorical shorthand for the covenant of grace’[48] which in paedobaptist thinking includes believing parents and their children. But this is a simple flattening of the Scriptures and not following the narrative and context of Acts 2. When an equation is made between “the promise” and the Covenant of Grace or Abrahamic promise, then the case of the paedobaptists is concluded before it is argued. But the promise, in fact, is the promise of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4; 2:33), which is given to everyone who believes. Concerning this, James Hubner writes:

    The meaning of “the promise” and the phrase “for you and for your children” refers not primarily to the Abrahamic covenant or the covenant of grace, but to the specific pr...

    Welcome To The Staunch Calvinist

    Welcome to The Staunch Calvinist. This is a place where Calvinistic Theology will be displayed. A place where the Doctrines of Grace will be explained and defended. This is a place where the Sovereignty of God is cherished and promoted. We hope you will be ministered to through the material on the website. Our goal is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and honor Him. “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14

    The following document may help you to understand the Biblical case for ‘Calvinism’: God’s Absolute Sovereignty – A case for Calvinism

    I have two sections dedicated to the Doctrines of Grace: defining the Doctrines of Grace & defending the Doctrines of Grace, which are taken from the document above. In the general section, you will find some book reviews and the resources from which I mainly drew the content of the “God’s Absolute Sovereignty” document.

    As a Reformed Baptist, I started the 1689 Confession section wherein I seek to explain the chapters and make a biblical case for what is said on a particular subject. As of 18/09/2016, the commentary is complete:

    1. Of the Holy Scriptures
    2. Of God and the Holy Trinity (the attributes of God and a case for the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity)
    3. Of God’s Decree (I make a case for predestination, election, reprobation and absolute sovereignty even over evil and sin)
    4. Of Creation
    5. Of Divine Providence
    6. Of the Fall of Man, Of Sin, And of the Punishment Thereof (Total Depravity)
    7. Of God’s Covenant (1689 Federalism)
    8. Of Christ the Mediator (including a case for the Substitutionary Atonement, Active and Passive Obedience of Christ, Definite Atonement and answers to passages used against the doctrine)
    9. Of Free Will (with the help of Jonathan Edwards, the consistency of moral agency being found in carrying one’s desires, the inconsistencies of libertarian free will, explanation of necessity and inability)
    10. Of Effectual Calling (with a case for infant salvation)
    11. Of Justification (faith is a gift and regeneration precedes faith)
    12. Of Adoption
    13. Of Sanctification
    14. Of Saving Faith
    15. Of Repentance Unto Life and Salvation
    16. Of Good Works
    17. Of The Perseverance Of The Saints (A positive case for the Reformed doctrine and responses to passages such as Hebrews 6 and the like)
    18. Of The Assurance Of Grace And Salvation
    19. Of The Law Of God (Threefold Division of the Law, the Decalogue before Moses, a brief exposition of the Decalogue, ceremonial and civil laws, the abiding moral law under the New Covenant in the OT prophecy and the NT, Threefold Uses of the Law, The Law and the Gospel)
    20. Of The Gospel, And Of The Extent Of The Grace Thereof
    21. Of Christian Liberty And Liberty of Conscience
    22. Of Religious Worship And the Sabbath Day (A case for the Regulative Principle of Worship and the Christian Sabbath)
    23. Of Lawful Oaths And Vows
    24. Of The Civil Magistrate
    25. Of Marriage
    26. Of The Church
    27. Of the Communion of Saints
    28. Of Baptism And The Lord’s Supper
    29. Of Baptism
    30. Of The Lord’s Supper
    31. Of The State Of Man After Death And Of The Resurrection Of The Dead (Intermediate State Hades, Sheol, Heaven; A Case for Amillennial Eschatology; critique of Premillennialism)
    32. Of The Last Judgment (Endless punishment in Hell contra Annihilationism)

    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures - Commentary

    ..."">A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness, p. 48.
  • ^ Bruce, The Canon of Scripture, 31, his italics. As quoted in Adam Brake, Is the Apocrypha Scripture?
  • ^ Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History. Book IV, Chapter 26.
  • ^ Ibid., chapter 22:8.
  • ^ Ibid., n. 1244.
  • ^ Clement’s First Letter to the Corinthianschapters 57.
  • ^ Eusebius, Chapter 26, n. 1314.
  • ^ Allison, Historical Theology, pp. 48-49. Footnote references removed. Content with brackets not mine, but Dr. Allison’s. Emphasis added.
  • a, b Roy E. Knuteson, Why We Reject The Apocrypha, p. 6.
  • ^ Judith 1 (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops).
  • ^ Metzger, An Introduction to the Apocrypha, 50-51. As quoted in Adam Brake, Is the Apocrypha Scripture?
  • ^ Geisler and MacKenzie, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals, 167. As quoted in Adam Brake, Is the Apocrypha Scripture?
  • ^ John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. Henry Beveridge (Hendrickson Publishers Marketing, LLC, 2008), pp. 33-34. 1.7.5.
  • ^ Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 77.
  • ^ Calvin, Institutes, p. 33. 1.7.4.
  • ^ Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Authority, Sufficiency, Finality of Scripture (
  • a, b Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  • ^ The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, ed. J. J. S. Perowne. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  • ^ Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  • ^ Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  • ^ Grave or Hades. See Grudem, Systematic Theology, pp. 582-594
  • ^ Catholic means universal, not Roman Catholic.
  • ^ The History of William Tyndale and his Bibles.
  • ^ Analogy of faith (Theopedia).
  • ^ Charles J. Ellicott, Commentary For English Readers. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  • ^ Matthew Poole, English Annotations on the Holy Bible. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  • ...

    Hebrews 6:4-6, Apostasy and Calvinism"bvfzb">^ John Gill. Exposition of the Entire Bible. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  • ^ Albert Barnes - Notes on the New Testament
  • ^ A.W. Pink. Exposition of Hebrews. Chapter 26
  • ^ Grudem, Systematic. p. 800.
  • ^ ibid., p. 801. Footnote references removed.
  • ...

    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 27: Of the Communion of Saints

    ...their communion one with another as saints, doth not take away or infringe the title or propriety which each man hath in his goods and possessions. 5
    1. Heb. 3:12-13; 10:24-25
    2. Acts 11:29-30; 2 Cor. 8-9; Gal. 2; Rom. 15
    3. 1 Tim. 5:8, 16; Eph. 6:4; 1 Cor. 12:27
    4. Acts 11:29-30; 2 Cor. 8-9; Gal. 2; 6:10; Rom. 15
    5. Acts 5:4; Eph. 4:28; Exod. 20:15

    Saints by profession are they who profess “the faith of the gospel, and obedience unto God by Christ” (Chapter 26:2), who are also called “visible saints”. These saints are bound and obliged to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God (Heb. 10:24-25). They are obliged to attend and participate in the worship and service of God. They are bound to perform spiritual services to each other which tend to their mutual edification. Christians should primarily do things for each other, for mutual edification (Rom. 1:12). As Paul said, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4). This mutual edification and help also  concerns  outward things (Rom. 12:13; see also Chapter 26:5) and not merely spiritual matters. This mutual help and edification is to be the relation wherein they stand, whether in families, or churches. But there are of course opportunities to extend this grace to all the household of faith, i.e., Christians in every place (e.g., Acts 11:29). This could be done through donation or other ways of sending help, for example. Most importantly, their communion one with another as saints does not mean everyone becomes the owner of these goods and possessions (Eph. 4:28). But everyone still retains the right and title of their goods and possessions, although they are to be shared with the household of faith.

    “Saints by profession” refers to those who claim to be believers. It refers to visible saints as we discussed in the previous chapter (26:2). It refers to those who are, according to man’s understanding, true Christians, but they may not be so in their hearts. The point is, everyone who professes to be a believer ought to maintain the holy fellowship and convocation of God’s people for the worship of God. Having treated the subject of our union with Christ, the Confession moves from that majestic subject to speak of our communion with each other. Our union with Christ is the foundation for our communion with fellow believers.

    Our Lord called upon us to love each other (John 13:34-35) and desired that love should be the mark that distinguishes Christians. As the Lord has blessed us with various gifts, so, we must use these gifts to serve each other. The Spirit supplies His people with His gifts for the purpose of serving each other (1 Cor. 12:7). The gifts of God are not to be used selfishly but in order to serve and love each other. Sometimes we may minister to people spiritually—giving them good counsel and praying for them, but other times we may minister to them in physical matters—giving them food, helping them at home, giving them money, and so on. We must display our authentic love to each other for Christ’s sake and by Christ’s power. For Christ’s love has been poured out in our hearts and so we should not hold it in, but let Christ minister to others through us and glorify His holy Name. Christians should act like brothers and sisters because they are, in fact, so. Therefore, they should be ready to share their belongings with each other just as the early church did ...