The Staunch Calvinist

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


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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 26: Of the Church - Commentary

...tion was given to its visible manifestation in paragraph 2, the following paragraphs concern themselves specifically with the order of the church. A word which is sometimes used in this respect is polity. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives two definitions for polity: (1) “something (such as a country or state) that has a government : a politically organized unit” and (2) “a form of government”[28]. Polity, then, has to do with government, i.e., how things are managed. Since we are speaking of the church then polity has to do with Church Government and how the church is organized. In the words of Mark Dever, “Polity, then, is management, organization, government, and structures of authority.”[29] This is thus the introductory paragraph for the rest of the chapter which touches upon different aspects of the local church on earth.

He calls by His Word and Spirit

The Lord Jesus is the Head of the church and He is her only Head. As Head, He is its Ruler. He gathers His people to Himself. A church, as the Greek word indicates is an assembly of people. John Dagg explains, “The Greek word ἐκκλησία denotes an assembly; and, in this particular, differs from the English word church, which is often used to signify the house in which men assemble for religious worship.”[30] The church is the assembly of God’s redeemed. The word congregation or assembly is a better fit for translation than the word church, which most often denotes the building in our society. We’ve argued in paragraph 2 that local churches should be composed of those who profess the true faith and live in a way consistent with that profession. But whom does He call to congregate? He calls those whom He died for to Himself. We’ve noted the Confessional use of the “Word and Spirit” formula in chapter 13:1

We must understand and believe that the church is the creation of Jesus Christ. It belongs to Him. It is His wife. He takes the initiative to call her to Himself. The way in which He calls her is through His Word and Spirit. Which word is this? It is the word of the gospel which creates spiritual life. Peter speaks of this precious word when he says, “you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God...this word is the good news that was preached to you” (1 Pet. 1:23, 25). God’s word, in the beginning, created the universe, and God’s word has recreated us spiritually. The apostle Paul says, ‘For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’ (2 Cor. 4:6). He compares the creation of the world with the “new creation” of the believer (2 Cor. 5:17). The preached Word is called “the words of this Life” (Acts 5:20). It creates spiritual life and it points to the source of all life. This “word of life” is something to be held onto (Phil. 2:6). It nourishes us as a baby is nourished by milk (1 Pet. 2:1-2).

But this word is not alone. To call His people out of the world, the Lord Jesus sends both His Word and His Spirit. The Word alone, while powerful, convincing, true and good, cannot create life by itself. For that, the Spirit and His work are necessary. But the Spirit does not come alone. He comes with the Word which He has inspired for us. In 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, the apostle connects their being “saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth”. Furthermore, the apostle clarifies ...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 19: Of the Law of God - Commentary


We conclude with Q&A 108 and 109 of the WLC:[15]

Question 108: What are the duties required in the second commandment?

Answer: The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God has instituted in his Word; particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; the reading, preaching, and hearing of the Word; the administration and receiving of the sacraments; Church Government and discipline; the ministry and maintenance thereof; religious fasting; swearing by the name of God, and vowing unto him: as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing, all false worship; and, according to each one’s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.

Question 109: What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?

Answer: The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; tolerating a false religion; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature: Whatsoever; all worshiping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them; all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretense: Whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God has appointed.

The Third Commandment

Exod. 20:7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

See also Deut. 5:11.

General Observations On The 3rd Commandment

The third commandment calls upon us to not dishonor God and the things of God. We understand that by the “name of the LORD” is not simply meant the tetragrammaton (יהוה), but rather more fully—God and the things belonging to Him. Any shallow Bible reader will understand that in the Bible names are important. They are not merely there because they sound nice, but they have meaning. A name is not merely a designation but points to the nature and person himself. For example, in the Great Commission, our Lord says that the disciples should be baptized in “the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). The singular “name” here of the three persons of the Trinity refers to their unity and common Being. It refers to Their nature, character, and authority. Likewise in the third commandment, the Name which is not to be blasphemed and not to be used irreverently does not merely refer to words like “God”, “Jesus”, “Holy Spirit”, “Yahweh” or “OMG”, but rather it refers to all things pertaining to God. In Exodus 34:5-7, God came down to Moses and “proclaimed the name of the LORD.” But how did God do that? Verses 6-7 tell us—by proclaiming His excellences and attributes.

The third commandment forbids and says that God abhors “all profaning and abusing of any thing whereby God makes Himself known”[24] (Keach’s Catechism, Q&A 61). This includes speaking disrespectfully of God and of the things of God, not taking God seriously, failin...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 30: Of the Lord's Supper - Commentary

...://">A Manual of Church Order. (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Pub. 2012, originally 1858). p. 211.
  • a, b Benjamin Coxe. A Thesis Or Position Concerning The Administering And Receiving Of The Lord’s Supper Cleared And Confirmed. 1642.
  • ^ Thomas R. Schreiner, “The Lord’s Supper in the Bible” in Baptist Foundations: Church Government for an Anti-Institutional Age. Ed. Mark Dever, Jonathan Leeman. (Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Publishing Group. 2015. Ebook). Chapter 6.
  • ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church: With Modifications From The Editio Typica. (Double Day; 2nd edition, 2003). p. 370, number 1330.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 395, number 1413.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 371, number 1333.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 395, number 1414.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 381, number 1367. The ellipsis is original.
  • ^ Wayne Grudem. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. (Zondervan, 1994). pp. 992-993.
  • ^ Robert L. Dabney. Systematic Theology. (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1985). p. 802.
  • ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 389, number 1390.
  • ^ Dabney, Systematic Theology. pp. 816-817. Roman numerals substituted.
  • ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 385, number 1378.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 371, number 1333.
  • ^ Ibid., pp. 383-384, number 1374.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 385, number 1377.
  • ^ Dabney, Systematic Theology. p. 806.
  • ^ Dagg, Church Order. pp. 210-211.
  • ^ Dabney, Systematic Theology. p. 803.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 805.
  • ^ Ibid., pp. 806-807.
  • ^ Grudem, Systematic Theology. p. 950.
  • ^ Louis Berkhof. Systematic Theology. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Banner of Truth Trust. 1963). p. 655.
  • ^ John Calvin. Commentaries. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  • ^ Matthew Poole. English Annotations on the Holy Bible. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  • ^ Philip Schaff. A Popular Commentary on the New Testament. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  • ^ John Gill. Exposition of the Entire Bible. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
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