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Posts Tagged ‘London Baptist Confession’


My journey on the doctrine of baptism was long and at times arduous.  I think it may be pertinent as I review this book about baptism.  I was raised Roman Catholic, and was “baptized” as an infant (I say “baptized” since my parents are nominally Catholic and I question whether I had a right to baptism).  As a new convert, I unknowingly fell into a campus cult that taught you needed to be baptized to be saved.  I knew I was already saved by grace thru faith, but believed I should be baptized so I was.  Soon I was engaging my “discipler” on the issue, driven to better understand Scripture and leave that “ministry”.  I found a Conservative Baptist church in my hometown and enjoyed my new life as a Christian there until I left for Seminary 5 years later.  At seminary I was a credobaptist among paedobaptists, and I was thankful for Dr. Nicole as I also read Kingdon & Jewette to defend my credobaptism from a covenantal perspective.

Finally, 2 years after I graduated from seminary (the first time), the light bulb went on.  A friend jokingly challenged me that my resistance was a reaction to growing up Catholic.  I re-entered my study with “Lord, if this is true help me to see it.”  I saw that I had erroneous presuppositions that led to my resistance of a fully biblical view of baptism.  I had it partially right, but not wholly right.

So, my cards are on the table- are yours?  The power of presuppositions is one of the reasons this discussion is so difficult.  We are not just dealing with biblical texts, but all the presuppositions about Scripture we bring to the table.  This is true about all doctrinal discussions, but this discussion is particularly laden with landmines.  Baptism: Three Views brings three respected theologians together to work through it.

The introduction quotes from Barth, who after writing the quote moved from a paedobaptist position to credobaptist position, about how your anger reveals a vulnerable point in your position.  Could be.  Or it could also be that your sanctification has not sufficiently progressed to patiently deal with a person who is either unteachable or utterly blind of the presuppositions he or she brings to the table.  So be careful about using that quote, folks.

Dr. Bruce Ware, a self-described Progressive Dispensationalist (footnote, pp. 42), is the first to present his view.  He has written many books I’ve found edifying, including God’s Lessor Glory: The Diminished God of Open Theism and the books he edited defending the 5 Points of Calvinism.   He is no theological slouch, which is what makes his presentation all the more disappointing.  I see within it the power of his presuppositions, to it’s detriment.

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The church office got a request from a college student today.  Here it is:

My name is xxxxxxxxxxx. I attend **********, located in  Georgia, a ministry of ***********  Baptist Church. In my Baptist Doctrine class, we are discussing the Doctrine of Salvation. Our professor gave us a project for which we must discover the beliefs of other denominations concerning salvation. My goal is not to debate or discuss the differences between our denominations, but only to understand yours. I have included a few questions below that are part of my assignment; if you would please answer them and send them back I would very much appreciate it, you may be as brief or as detailed as you see fit. Thank you for your time.

Here were my answers:

Here is the information your requested.  I formerly was a Baptist, and the answers for your question are not uniform among Baptists.  You may want to look at the London Baptist Confession of 1689 if you have time.

  1. What does it mean to be saved or born again? Those terms do not refer to the same thing.  To be born again refers to regeneration (all saved people have been regenerated), which means the renewal of heart and will by the grace of God, enabling one to believe on the Lord Jesus to be saved.  Scripture speaks of us as having been saved (justification, meaning we’re saved from the penalty of sin), being saved (sanctification, we being saved from the practice & power of sin) and will be saved (glorification, being saved from the presence of sin.
  2. What must one do to become saved or born again?  Recognizing the difference between the 2 terms, we don’t do anything to be born again- it is a sovereign act of God by the Spirit (John 3).  To be justified, we must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  On the basis of faith as the instrumental means, the Father pardons our sin and imputes Christ’s obedience to us.  We are not just forgiven, but declared righteous!
  3. Is there any proof in a person’s life that they are saved?  The fact of being regenerated and belonging to God will be manifested in persevering in faith, good works, obedience and godly character.
  4. What is sanctification?  It is an act of God’s free grace wherein we more and more die to sin and live to righteousness as we trust in Christ.  In other words, we put death to sin in the power of the Spirit (Rom. 7 as well as Eph. 4 & Col. 3) and progressively grow in obedience.
  5. What is repentance?  It is turning away from what I know of my sin toward what I know of God.  As I grow in my knowledge of both, my repentance deepens and I change.  It is an important aspect of sanctification as well as the other side of the coin regarding faith in justification.
  6. Do you believe in Eternal Security? If not, can a person be saved again? If they can, how does this take place?  I do not believe in “eternal security” but rather in what is called the Perseverance or Preservation of the Saints.  People make false/superficial confessions of faith (see the Parable of the Sower).  Such “decisions” do not save them.  The regenerate who truly believe on Christ will persevere in faith (there will be ups and downs) precisely because God preserves them (John 10:28-29).  Charles Ryrie, who holds to “eternal security” or “once saved always saved”, disconnects this from regeneration and thinks one can stop believing and yet still be saved.  Romans 8:29ff show that God connects all these things so that all he regenerates will be justified, all he justifies will be sanctified, and all he justifies and sanctifies will be glorified.
  7. Are these your personal beliefs or is this the denominational belief?  These are my personal beliefs as well as the denominational standards that have existed for nearly 500 years.

I hope you assignment goes well, and that God works in you to come to a greater knowledge of the truth, a greater love for Christ and a heart that longs to trust and obey.

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