The Staunch Calvinist

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

Search


You searched for 'Elders'

I've found 15 results!


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 26: Of the Church - Commentary

...he Gospel. 2
  1. Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 14:22-23; Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2 with verses 13-17; 1 Thess. 1:1 with vv. 2-10; Acts 2:37-42; 4:4; 5:13-14
  2. Acts 2:41-42; 5:13-14; 2 Cor. 9:13

The members of local churches are saints by calling or as paragraph 2 puts it, “visible saints” who are visibly manifesting and evidencing their faith and obedience (Rom. 1:5-7; Acts 2:37-42). Notice how they evidence their obedience unto that call of Christ unto Himself. It is not because the Elders of the church could see into their hearts, but it is in and by their profession and walking, which is the only way in which we can judge if one is a Christian or not, albeit a fallible judgment. Those saints by calling do willingly consent to walk together in obedience to Christ's command and thereby giving up themselves to the Lord, and one to another. They do not only commit themselves to the Lord, but also to one another as a local body of Christ to serve and obey Him and also to serve each other. Furthermore, they profess subjection to the ordinances of the Gospel (Acts 2:42), which are baptism and the Lord's Supper.


The saints of God show themselves to be of God in the church, where they do what the Lord Jesus commands them through His Word. They have been called to be saints, i.e., set apart for the purpose of God, and thus to act like that toward each other (1Cor. 1:2; Rom. 1:7). We should willingly be eager to serve each other and to do that with joy and as service to our Savior. We should as brothers and sisters encourage each other to serve the Lord and to help each other in serving the Lord (1Thess. 5:11; Heb. 3:13). It is not the intention of God that believers be lone-rangers, rather, they should be in a church and thus grow in their faith and serve each other. When we show love and render loving service to each other, then the love of Christ will manifest itself amongst us. This is the mark of Christians which the Lord wants them to have (John 13:34-35).


§7 He Hath Given All That Power And Authority

  1. To each of these churches thus gathered, according to his mind declared in his word, he hath given all that power and authority, which is in any way needful for their carrying on that order in worship and discipline, which he hath instituted for them to observe; with commands and rules for the due and right exerting, and executing of that power. 1
    1. Matt. 18:17-20; 1 Cor. 5:4-5, 13; 2 Cor. 2:6-8

Christ hath given all that power and authority for these local churches...for carrying on that order in worship and discipline, which He hath instituted for them to observe (Matt. 18:17-20). Christ has given them power and authority to obey and follow Him and His ways. He has not given them the power and authority to invent ways of worshipping Him or ways how they are to govern the church contrary to His Word. He has given commands and rules in Scripture of how that power is to be executed.


Power, Authority, And Worship

God has granted authority to the officers in a local church to govern their church in accordance to the Word. He has not granted absolute power and authority, but only as the paragraph says, "in any way needful for their [the churches] carrying on that order [His mind declared in His word] in worship and discipline". The Lord has not given the church freedom to invent ways of worshipping God but has given them the authority to order their worship in the way that God prescribes. This is the Regulative Principle of Wor...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day - Commentary

...tradition of men.”

Now we come to the New Testament and there is not a hint that the Regulative Principle, so clearly articulated in the Old Testament, has been changed or that we now operate under a different principle. Obviously, some things have been changed such as sacrifices, the Temple, the priesthood and so on. But concerning those, we have a warrant to understand they’re done away with and fulfilled. But there is not a hint in the New Testament that God no longer regulates His worship or that God is no longer jealous for His worship.

The Jews in this passage were bringing a tradition of the Elders to the same authority as the Scriptures. They required that they wash in a particular way before eating. Therefore, when they saw the disciples of our Lord eating with “defiled hands” they accused them of “not walk[ing] according to the tradition of the Elders” (Mark 7:5). Our Lord’s response is cited above. The first accusation is that they’re hypocrites. They merely appear religious and try to be religious on the outside, but on the inside they’re false. They present themselves as devout to the Word of God, but pay more careful attention to the “tradition of men” than the “commandment of God”. They try to invent ways in pleasing and worshiping God. But God’s response to their innovations is that they are “vain”. This passage the Lord Jesus cites from Isaiah 29:13 from the LXX, which is slightly different from the Hebrew:

Isa 29:13 LXXE And the Lord has said, This people draw nigh to me with their mouth, and they honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me: but in vain do they worship me, teaching the commandments and doctrines of men.

Their worship is merely outward and is therefore false. Even if it would have contained the right “parts of worship” it would have been false because it was not from the heart. But that was not the only case with the Pharisees. Their heart was not right, but the content of worship was likewise not right. They had added to the worship and commandments of God as the Lord accuses them of doing. In the way that they elevated their “tradition of the Elders”, they made void the Word of God and worshiped God falsely and in vain. Calvin notes:

But in vain do they worship me The words of the prophet run literally thus: their fear toward me has been taught by the precept of men. But Christ has faithfully and accurately given the meaning, that in vain is God worshipped, when the will of men is substituted in the room of doctrine. By these words, all kinds of will-worship, ( ἐθελοθζησκεία,) as Paul calls it, ( Col 2:23,) are plainly condemned. For, as we have said, since God chooses to be worshipped in no other way than according to his own appointment, he cannot endure new modes of worship to be devised. As soon as men allow themselves to wander beyond the limits of the Word of God, the more labor and anxiety they display in worshipping him, the heavier is the condemnation which they draw down upon themselves; for by such inventions religion is dishonored.[12]

Philip Schaff notes on Matthew 15:9 that this “vain worship” is “both groundless (without true principle) and fruitless (without proper results).”[16]Christ still, under the New Testaments, holds tightly to the Regulative Principle of Worship. He elevates the commandments of God above the tradition of men. God is to be worshiped in the way which He Himself has instituted. It is His worship and He alone has the ...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 28: Of Baptism and the Lord's Supper - Commentary

...spanand thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ. 1
  1. Matt. 24:45-51; 28:19-20; Luke 12:41-44; 1 Cor. 4:1; Titus 1:5-7

The holy appointments or ordinances are to be administered by those only who are qualified and called to this task, according to the commission of Christ.


Now here there is a little difficulty. Who are the persons qualified to do these things? In a local church, those persons would be the Elders. But, does this exclude any regular member in administering the ordinances or helping in the administration thereof? I do not see any biblical command that only the Elders may do these things, nor any prohibition against regular members helping. Obviously, within the local gathering of God's people, the Elders would undertake to administer the Lord's Supper and Baptism. They may, perhaps, ask the help of some brothers or sisters for the Lord's Supper, for example. To pray for the bread and wine and distribute the elements. I do not see why that would not be permissible. Obviously, having the Elders administer the ordinances is much better, as they are the ones who are in the position to lead the church and are known as the church leaders. Therefore, having them baptize a person or administer the Lord's Supper, is much more authoritative than a regular member. Philip, for example, who was not an elder, baptized the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:38). I do not advise people to go and baptize others outside the church. That is not my point. But rather, my point is that I see nothing in the Bible (I am open for change) which restricts the administration of the ordinances to Elders alone.

As for the Lord's Table, the disciples in the early church in Jerusalem, it seems, were regularly celebrating it (e.g. Acts 2:42). But the Lord's Supper was especially celebrated on the Lord's Day in the corporate gathering of God's people (Acts 20:7). The people of God were gathered on the first day in Troas to celebrate the Lord's Supper. The Corinthians, when they came "together as a church” (1Cor. 11:18) observed the Lord's Supper (1Cor. 11:20). This would indicate that the Lord's Supper is generally to be administered on the Lord's Day in the corporate gathering of God's people. The Lord's Supper should not be celebrated by one person, but rather in a gathering of more people. There may be occasions when a group would want to celebrate the Lord's Supper outside of the gathering of the church, or a sick brother or sister not in the corporate gathering may want to partake of the Lord's Table. I do not see any prohibition of such a thing. But we should note that the common, regular, and normal observance of the Lord's Supper is within the corporate gathering of God's people on the Lord's Day.

In conclusion, we give the words of Bob Carr:

While there is nothing in the Bible that says that only ministers may administer the ordinances, surely it is reasonable to believe that the baptism of new disciples and the serving of the elements of the Lord’s Supper ought to be under the supervision of the ministers. Ordinarily, they will administer the ordinances themselves. There may be unusual circumstances, however, under which they may delegate the tasks to other men selected by them and recognized by the congregation. The wording of the Confession at this point provides for appropriate flexibility.[4]

 

Footnotes

  1. ^ Many Scriptural references have been supplied by Samuel Waldron's Modern E...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 31: Of the State of Man after Death and Of the Resurrection of the Dead - Commentary

...

In 1 Timothy 6:14, Paul charges Timothy to keep all that Paul has commanded him in the letter (the commandment) “unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ [τῆς ἐπιφανείας τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, tēs epiphaneias tou Kyriou hēmōn Iēsou Christou]”. Timothy should continue following Paul’s commands concerning Elders, deacons, “fighting the good fight” and so on, until the coming of Christ. In 2 Timothy 4:1 Paul charges Timothy under oath in the presence of God and Christ “who is to judge the living and the dead” and “by his appearing [τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν αὐτοῦ, tēn epiphaneian autou] and his kingdom”. His appearing will also bring the appearing and consummation of His kingdom. Paul charges Timothy by 1) God, 2) Christ, 3) Christ’s Second Advent, and 4) Christ’s Kingdom. In 2 Timothy 4:8 Paul says that “the Lord, the righteous judge” will reward him on “that Day” the “crown of righteousness”, but the Lord will not only reward Paul, but “all who have loved his appearing [τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν αὐτοῦ, tēn epiphaneian autou].” At first reading this may indicate that this appearing is about the first appearing, but consulting v. 1 and seeing that the descriptions of both passage fit together. For example, in both verses Jesus is described as Judge and also the use of the word appearing (epiphaneia). Paul is speaking about those who desire and love His Second Coming already! They are eagerly awaiting His Second Coming when His people will be vindicated, their enemies crushed, God glorified and them rewarded. Finally, Titus 2:13 speaks to Christians about fighting against sin and worldliness as we await for “our blessed hope” which is “the appearing of the glory [ἐπιφάνειαν τῆς δόξης, epiphaneian tēs doxēs] of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”. Jesus Christ is described both as our Savior and as our God, and the day when He will come, He will come as such with the all the glory which belongs to Him. This is the blessed hope as then our striving against sin and the persecution against us will stop. We will be granted relief, and all sin will be destroyed in our life. We will be perfectly free from sin. Our enemies and the enemies of God will receive their due punishment.

The only use of epiphaneia which is not in reference to His Second Advent is in 2 Timothy 1:10. Paul teaches that the eternal electing gift of God has now been manifested through “the appearing [τῆς ἐπιφανείας, tēs epiphaneias] of our Savior Christ Jesus”. This could not be understood to be speaking of the Second Advent, but it could be easily understood to be speaking of the Logos becoming flesh (John 1:1, 14). Christ is in the same verse described as the one “who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel”. We have passed from death to life and we have eternal life (John 5:24; 1John 5:13). All these things were accomplished by the Lord Christ and will be fully consummated at His Second Advent. At the present, although we physically die, yet our death serves as the “train ticket” into God’s presence. Death is an enemy which has been forced to serve for the good of God’s people.

The epiphaneia of Christ is the blessed hope of Christians, which is His Second Coming, revelation, and appearing. On that day the Christians will receive a “crown of righteousness” when their “righteous Judge” will come. Until His appearing, Christians should follow God’s commandments and keep them unstained.

The Day Of...


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

...d that “Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.” But as to his precise identification or what he taught, we don’t know. Either way, they seemed to be teachers in the church and thus in a high position that Paul himself had to excommunicate them from the church. The reasons that Alexander and Hymenaeus exercised (some) teaching authority in the church are given by Pastor MacArthur in connection to those “certain persons” in verse 3:

certain persons. The false teachers were few in number, yet had a wide influence. Several reasons point toward these men being Elders in the church at Ephesus and in the churches in the surrounding region: 1) They presumed to be teachers (1 Tim. 1:7), a role reserved for Elders (3:2; 5:17). 2) Paul himself had to excommunicate Hymenaeus and Alexander, which impels they occupied the highest pastoral positions. 3) Paul detailed the qualifications of an overseer (3:1-7), implying that unqualified men, who needed to be replaced by qualified ones, were occupying those roles. 4) Paul stressed that sinning overseers were to be publically disciplined (5:19-22)…[11]

The expression “handed over to Satan” refers to excommunication whereby one is placed outside of the believing community – the church. He is placed back in the world where Satan’s reign is manifest. Away from the Word of God, the power of God, the Lord’s ordinances, godly fellowship and conduct. Notice the purpose of this excommunication, it is namely “that they may not learn to blaspheme.” These two were excommunicated on grounds of blasphemy and the purpose of this excommunication is that they may not blaspheme. The word βλασφημέω (blasphemeo, G987) means “to speak reproachfully, rail at, revile, calumniate, blaspheme” often with reference to God though not limited to that (e.g. Paul in Acts 13:45). The purpose of this excommunication is that they learn not to blaspheme. Paul describes himself as a blasphemer in 1 Timothy 1:13, but no longer remained a blasphemer when he received the grace of Christ. The Apostles wishes the same for Hymenaeus and Alexander and wants to accomplish this through excommunication, which even if it did not lead them to true repentance it would save the church from their false teaching. But will Satan himself, in fact, teach them to seek Christ? No, he will not. But the idea here is that they learn to see the difference of their life within the faith community and outside of the faith community and see the error of their ways. On “learn” and “blaspheme” a commentary notes:

learn—Greek, "be disciplined," namely, by chastisement and suffering.

blaspheme—the name of God and Christ, by doings and teachings unworthy of their Christian profession (Rom 2:23; Rom 2:24; Jas 2:7). Though the apostles had the power of excommunication, accompanied with bodily inflictions, miraculously sent (2Co 10:8), it does not follow that fallible ministers now have any power, save that of excluding from church fellowship notorious bad livers.[9]

To conclude, therefore, this passage does not, in fact, teach that Alexander and Hymenaeus were true and regenerate believers and now are no longer believers and are unregenerate. But it does show that these men have destroyed their previous religious profession and abandoned their Christian profession.

Hebrews 6:4-6 – It is impossible to restore them again to repentance

Heb 6:4-6 For it is impossible, in the case of tho...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 29: Of Baptism - Commentary

...hich I saw as a sign from heaven. My family would not have been happy about my baptism because they think that my baptism as an infant was valid. Moreover, the Armenian Church is a national church. It does not get new converts, for example. Most infants are baptized and declared Christian, even if they know not the Gospel. Therefore, the only baptism that is practiced and that I have heard of is infant baptism.

I still feel guilty for asking the Lord for a sign when I had already concluded that believers’ baptism is the biblical position and that infant baptism was unscriptural. His Word was clear on this subject. So, after that service, I directly went to one of the Elders and told him that I want to be baptized. After giving my testimony and based on that I was baptized on 16-06-2013.

It is not my purpose in this chapter to overthrow the paedobaptist position by directly arguing against it, but by presenting a positive case for credobaptism—baptism upon the profession of faith. No doubt, we would have to touch upon some arguments or texts which our paedobaptist brethren like to use. But mainly, this is meant to be a positive case of what we (Reformed) Baptists believe.


§1 What Baptism Is And Is Not

  1. Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized, a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins; and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life. 3
    1. Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12; Gal. 3:27[1]
    2. Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16
    3. Rom. 6:4

Baptism is an ordinance of ”positive and sovereign institution” (chapter 28:1) and it is an ordinance of the New Testament. Baptism is a sign of...fellowship (e.g. Gal. 3:27) and union with Christ for the party baptized. Baptism is a sign, i.e., something visible representing something invisible (union with Christ). Baptism signifies our fellowship with Him, in His death and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-5). As we are submerged in the water, we picture the Lord's death and ours. As we come out of the water, we picture the Lord's resurrection and ours. Baptism our union with Christ or as it is here called our being engrafted into Him (Gal. 3:27; see chapter 27). It signifies the washing away or remission of sins (Acts 22:16 ). It also signifies our giving up into God or our determination to submit to God, through Jesus Christ and to live and walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4 ), which we have received from the Lord and which baptism pictures. Notice that baptism is called a sign and not the cause or an instrument of fellowship with Christ. It does not cause those things enlisted, but pictures these realities visibly. Which brings us to the subjects of Christian Baptism in the next paragraph.


Things Which Baptism Signifies

Christian Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water, in token of his previous entrance into the communion of Christ's death and resurrection,—or, in other words, in token of his regeneration through union with Christ.[2]

Baptism signifies the new life and the blessings thereof, which the believer has received through faith and repentance. The Confession describes it as “a sign of fellowship with” Christ. Baptism shows our union with Christ, just as He Himself was baptized, so we share in a baptism similar to His and follow His example. Stanford E. Murrell defines baptism as:

an ordinance wherein the washing with w...


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

...of faith.

Sola Scriptura teaches that since the Bible is the only God-breathed revelation to the Church and the world, therefore, it is the highest authority for the Church. Sola Scriptura does not deny other authorities in the Church, as is often erroneously thought. There is a difference between Sola and Solo Scriptura. Sola Scriptura teaches that the Scriptures are the only and sole sufficient, certain, infallible, inerrant, and absolutely authoritative rule of faith for the Church. A special and hard emphasis is placed on the adjectives describing the rule of faith. This does not imply that the Church has no other authorities as the Elders, confessions, creeds, but what Sola Scriptura teaches is that all other authorities are subject to the sole infallible and sufficient authority of the Word. Solo Scriptura on the other hand, which is not the Reformed position, teaches that the Bible is the only authority for the Church, period. It teaches that the Church cannot benefit from creeds, confessions, councils, writings of dead men and so on. We, on the other hand, accept all these things, but we do not blindly accept them, but we have to test them against the “only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience” (paragraph 1).

Since the Scriptures teach their truthfulness, inspiration, sufficiency, and authority, therefore, it follows that they are the only infallible and certain rule of faith given to the Church. To be sure, this does not mean that we may not use other authorities, as councils, creeds, and confessions, but, these authorities are subordinate and are to be examined by “the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience”. Notice that the Holy Scriptures are said to be sufficient on matters of faith and obedience, not all things. We do not find in the Scriptures where we should go to work, how we should start our car and a ton of other things. But that is not the Reformed position on the sufficiency and the sole authority of Scripture. Rather, Scripture is the sole authority and sufficient on matters of faith and obedience, because those things are only known through special revelation, which the Bible is. Scripture is the only and highest authority to decide matters of religion. As paragraph 10 of this chapter asserts:

The supreme judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit, into which Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.

Scripture alone is the supreme judge (notice the adjective), not councils, ancient writers or doctrines of men. In all these disputes, only Scripture is the infallible and highest authority in the possession of the Church. All these things are judged by the Scriptures, but Scripture is not to be judged by these things. We may indeed be corrected in our interpretation of Scripture by these things, but Scripture is not judged or corrected by them. If, in the writings of men we find things for which we see no warrant in the infallible Word, we are not bound to believe these. But if in the Word we find doctrines which we don’t want to believe, we are sinning and are disobeying God Whose Word Scripture is. Sola Scriptura teaches that the Bible alone...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 7: Of God's Covenant - Commentary

...19. Let’s take a look.

My Treasured Possession

Exod. 19:5-8 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” 7 So Moses came and called the Elders of the people and set before them all these words that the LORD had commanded him. 8 All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the LORD. 

This is a classic case of a covenant. The Lord lays a condition upon the people of Israel. This condition is that they must obey Him and keep His covenant, then His blessings will follow. The blessings, among other things, are that Israel would be God's treasured people from among all peoples and they will be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, reflecting the holiness of their covenant Lord and spreading His fame. We can already see the conditionality laid upon the covenant blessings, just like it was the case with the Abrahamic (Gen. 17:9-14), so it is with the Mosaic. The people of Israel would need to be obedient to the Lord to be His treasured possession and enjoy His covenant blessings. Likewise, we see the response of the people to the Lord's offering, which is important to note. This is unlike what happens, for example, in the New Covenant where the Lord sovereignly and unilaterally initiates the covenant and fulfills its condition through His Spirit in His people. In this covenant, there is a condition for the people to fulfill themselves. They must obey God and keep His covenant, otherwise, those promises will not be fulfilled. A. W. Pink summarizes the terms in this way:

Not only is the word covenant used, but the transactions at Sinai contained all the elements of a covenant: the contracting parties were the Lord God and Israel; the condition was, "If ye will obey my voice indeed"; the promise was, "Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Ex. 19:6); the penalty was the curses of Deuteronomy 28:15, and so forth.[45]

The Covenant Lord Speaks

Exod. 19:17-18 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. 

The sight is terrifying. God has condescended to make a covenant with sinful man and that in some kind of visible way. By coming down on Mount Sinai, the people truly were terrified by the awful sight. The Lord then warns Moses that the thought should not come to the people to come upon the Mountain lest they perish. What follows then in chapter 20 are the Ten Commandments, which are the summary of the moral law written upon every heart (see chapter 19 more on the Law of God and an exposition of the Ten Commandments). But now it is spoken by God to His covenant people as the summary of this covenant which He is making with them.

The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments are common to man. They are the basic moral law, which we know by virtue of the fact that we are created Imago Dei (in the image of God, see here on the image of God). Paul argues in Romans 2:12-15 and 1:18-32 that the basic things of the law concerning our duty to God, for...


1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

... Gloucester Samuel Ewer Pastor Hemstead Herts Edward Man Pastor Houndsditch London Charles Archer Pastor Hick-Norton Oxon
In the name of and on the behalf of the whole assembly.

 


CONFESSION OF FAITH

Put forth by the Elders and BRETHREN Of many CONGREGATIONS OF Christians

(baptized upon Profession of their faith) in London and the Country.

With the Heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the Mouth Confession is made unto Salvation, Rom. 10:10.
Search the Scriptures, John 5:39.


Table of Contents

  1. Of the Holy Scriptures

  2. Of God and the Holy Trinity

  3. Of God's Decree

  4. Of Creation

  5. Of Divine Providence

  6. Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the punishment thereof

  7. Of God's Covenant

  8. Of Christ the Mediator

  9. Of Free Will

  10. Of Effectual Calling

  11. Of Justification

  12. Of Adoption

  13. Of Sanctification

  14. Of Saving Faith

  15. Of Repentance unto Life and Salvation

  16. Of Good Works

  17. Of the Perseveraance of the Saints

  18. Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation

  19. Of the Law of God

  20. Of the Gospel and the Extent of Grace thereof

  21. Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience

  22. Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day

  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

  32. Of the Last Judgement

(More) Scriptural references have been added from Sam Waldron's excellent Modern Exposition of 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith.


Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures [Return] [Commentary]

  1. The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience 1, although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable 2; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and his will which is necessary unto salvation 3. Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in divers manners to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church 4; and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary 5, those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased. 6
    1. Isa 8:20; Luke 16:29; Eph 2:20; 2 Tim 3:15-17
    2. Ps 19:1-3; Rom 1:19-21, 32; 2:12a, 14-15
    3. Ps 19:1-3 with vv. 7-11; Rom 1:19-21; 2:12a, 14-15 with 1:16-17; and 3:21
    4. Heb 1:1-2a
    5. Prov 22:19-21; Luke 1:1-4; 2 Peter 1:12-15; 3:1; Deut 17:18ff; 31:9ff, 19ff; 1 Cor 15:1; 2 Thess 2:1-2, 15; 3:17; Rom 1:8-15; Gal 4:20; 6:11; 1 Tim 3:14ff; Rev 1:9, 19; 2:1 etc.; Rom 15:4; 2 Peter 1:19-21
    6. Heb 1:1-2a; Acts 1:21-22; 1 Cor 9:1; 15:7-8; Eph 2:20
  2. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these: 
    OF THE OLD TESTAMENT OF THE NEW TE...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 19: Of the Law of God - Commentary
The 1689 Second Baptist Confession Of Faith Confession Commentary Reformed Baptist Chapter 19 Law Of God Law Of Moses Law Of Christ Moral Law Decalogue Ten Commandments Thomas Watson John Calvin Robert Dabney Westminster Standards Catechism Civil Law Judicial Law Ceremonial Law Threefold Division Of The Law

...otnote-2" id="footnote-marker-2-1" rel="footnote"[2]

And then Dr. Barcellos adds:

As noted above, the Moral Law is summarily comprehended in the Decalogue, not exhausted by it. Though the formal promulgation of the Decalogue had a unique redemptive-historical context and use, it is nothing other than the Natural Law incorporated into the Mosaic Covenant. This is one of its uses in the Bible but not all of its uses.

The Decalogue contains the summary and the essence of the Moral Law, but it does not contain all the moral laws. For example, there is no “thou shalt respect Elders”, but we understand that this is comprehended under the fifth commandment to honor our parents, and derived from it.

Positive Law

Positive Law simply said is a moral law which has no basis in nature or is not self-evident, but is based upon a commandment of God. Dr. Barcellos defines positive laws as:

Positive laws are those laws added to the Natural or Moral Law. They are dependent upon the will of God. These laws are “good because God commands them.” They become just because commanded. The first Positive Laws were given to Adam in the Garden (Gen. 1:28; 2:17), as far as we know. Subsequent Positive Laws are spread throughout the Old and New Testaments. Positive laws can be abrogated for various reasons. They are not necessarily universal or perpetual. Some obvious illustrations of Positive Law in the Old Testament are circumcision and animal sacrifices and two New Testament illustrations are baptism and the Lord’s Supper under the New Covenant...Neither circumcision, animal sacrifices, baptism, or the Lord’s Supper are either universal or perpetual.[3]


§1 God gave to Adam a law of universal obedience written in his heart

  1. God gave to Adam a law of universal obedience written in his heart, and a particular precept of not eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; 2 by which he bound him and all his posterity to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience; promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it, and endued him with power and ability to keep it. 3
    1. Gen. 1:27; Eccles. 7:29; Rom. 2:12a, 14-15[4]
    2. Gen. 2:16-17
    3. Gen. 2:16-17; Rom. 10:5; Gal. 3:10,12

Adam was given a law of universal obedience written in his heart (Rom. 2:14-15). Even in his innocence, man was never without the law of God (chapter 4:2). This law is a law of universal obedience, i.e., it concerns everyone. The location of this law was not in stone, but in his heart; it was inward. In addition to this law, he was also given a particular precept of not eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16-17). By obedience to the law and the precept he was given, he was bound along with all his posterity to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedienceEveryone was to obey all of the law, exactly as God required and forever. This law being given in the context of the Covenant of Works had promises and threats. For a law without a covenant has no rewards or threats. But when it is placed in a covenantal context it has rewards and threats. The reward or promised life was upon the condition of obedience, which is implied if they did not breach the covenant but would eat of the tree of life (Gen. 2:9; 3:22). But death was the punishment for the breach of the commandments and the covenant (Gen. 2:17). Furthermore, God endued Adam with the power and ability to keep ...