Confession statement 21

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

XXI JESUS Christ by His death did purchase salvation for the elect that God gave unto Him: These only have interest in Him, and fellowship with Him, for whom He makes intercession to His Father in their behalf, and to them alone doth God by His Spirit apply this redemption; as also the free gift of eternal life is given to them, and none else.

Eph.1:14; Heb.5:9; Matt.1:21; John 17:6; Heb.7:25; 1 Cor.2: 12; Rom.8:29.30; 1 John 5:12; John 15:13,3:16.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46

  1. April 16, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Hey there,

    I dont think the 1LBC can be read as supporting “limited atonement.” For example, Thomas Lamb was one of the signatories and he subscribed to unlimited satisfaction. You can see some of his stuff here: http://theologicalmeditations.blogspot.com/search/label/Thomas%20Lamb

    Also, the citation from the confession itself does not sustain exclusive satisfaction, eg, Christ died only for such and such, but only effectual intent and application, which Lamb would have agreed with.

    Anyway,
    David

    • April 16, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      Hello, thanks for stopping by.

      As concerning your comment:

      Your argument that one of the signers of the confession did not hold to Limited Atonement, does not disprove that this statement here doesn’t teach ‘limited atonement.’ A reading of the meetings that were held to put together the WCF will also reveal that not everyone there was a Presbyterian and not everyone there agreed on every doctrine. Nevertheless, everyone there agreed to put into the WCF confession only that which could be supported by scripture. I said this to only give you an example and not to affirm that I believe everything in the WCF is doctrinal.

      Also this statement above does not stress anything other than ‘limited atonement.’ Hence it reads:

      ” JESUS Christ by His death did purchase salvation for the elect that God gave unto Him: These only have interest in Him, and fellowship with Him, for whom He makes intercession to His Father in their behalf, and to them alone doth God by His Spirit apply this redemption….”

      Jesus Christ purchased redemtion for the elect that God gave him and these only have interest in him and to them alone the Spirit applies this redemption. With a statement like this it would be foolish to affirm that it teaches ‘unlimited atonement.’

      Also I went to your blog and checked you out. I was intrigued to find that you had an article that argued against a ‘covenant of works.’ You argue against a ‘covenant of works’ by quoting from Paul and trying to show that we are saved by grace alone. In this you do err and distort Christ’s work on our behalf.

      If there were no covenant of works, then all Christ would have had to do is be born and go to the cross. The reason he lived long enough to be subject to the law is that he might fulfill the law in our stead. Therefore his righteous life is imputed to us at the moment we reach out by faith and accept him.

      Therefore we are saved by works. It is the works of another done on our behalf that makes us righteous before God. This is why we affirm all five solas and not just four. We affirm ‘solus christos’ because it is by Christ works alone.

      In conclusion: Christ fulfilled, on the elects behalf, what Adam failed to do.

      Blessings.

      • April 17, 2013 at 6:09 am

        What my friend at Calvinandcalvinism should have done is pointed me to a link that proved that Thomas Lamb signed The First London Baptist Confession of Faith; instead of pointing me to a link that showed that Thomas Lamb taught “unlimited atonement.”

        Thomas Lamb, if I am not mistaken, also taught that ‘original sin’ wasn’t Biblical. If he did, then that would make him a Pelagian and place him outside of Christianity. In other words, he would be a non-Christian and a heretic.

        Here it is for those who want to know: A link pointing to The First London Baptist Confession of Faith and at this page site you will find the signatures of those seven churches’ elders who signed the confession. I can’t find Thomas Lamb’s name on the confession.

        http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/creeds/bc1644.htm

  2. April 17, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Hey there,

    You say: Your argument that one of the signers of the confession did not hold to Limited Atonement, does not disprove that this statement here doesn’t teach ‘limited atonement.’

    David: If Lamb held to an unlimited satisfaction doctrine, then it is not probable that the 1LBC was written to exclude unlimited satisfaction.

    As to whether or not Lamb was a signatory, I will forward your info to a friend. I may have made a mistake.

    If the assumption is correct, then it comes down to authorial intent, that of Lamb and of the collective signatories.

    You continue: A reading of the meetings that were held to put together the WCF will also reveal that not everyone there was a Presbyterian and not everyone there agreed on every doctrine. Nevertheless, everyone there agreed to put into the WCF confession only that which could be supported by scripture. I said this to only give you an example and not to affirm that I believe everything in the WCF is doctrinal.

    David: Sure that is a good point. Do you have names and instances in mind? I am just curious. On the issue of the extent of the satisfaction, tho, men like Muller, Letham, and others now concede that the confession was not worded to exclude the position of the hypothetical universalists (HU) present, namely the bulk of the leadership of the English Presbyterians. In the same way, Dort was not written to exclude that position or to affirm limited satisfaction as normally defined by the L in TULIP.

    You continue: Also this statement above does not stress anything other than ‘limited atonement.’ Hence it reads:

    ” JESUS Christ by His death did purchase salvation for the elect that God gave unto Him: These only have interest in Him, and fellowship with Him, for whom He makes intercession to His Father in their behalf, and to them alone doth God by His Spirit apply this redemption….”

    David: Okay so this is a meaty part. 1) all HU proponents held that salvation was infallibly purchased for the elect, so that line does not entail limited satisfaction. All HU proponents held that Christ makes effectual intercession for them, and that redemption is efffectuall applied to the elect. The only line that could entail a limited satisfaction is the comment that only the elect have an “interest” in Christ. What does that mean and entail exactly? The word “interest” was laden with theological import in the 17th century. Later there were big disputes relating to the free offer with regard to who exactly has an “interest” in Christ.

    You continue: Jesus Christ purchased redemtion for the elect that God gave him and these only have interest in him and to them alone the Spirit applies this redemption. With a statement like this it would be foolish to affirm that it teaches ‘unlimited atonement.’

    David: Not foolish at all. Men like Davenant, the leading English HU advocate at Dort, exactly affirmed that Christ infallibly purchased salvation for the elect.

    As to the Covenant of Works, that was actually written by Stam, and given that its another subject, I will pass for now. If you want to talk about it separately, I am more than willing.

    So what does it mean that only the elect have an interest in Christ in early 17thC theology?

    Thanks for your time,
    David

  3. April 17, 2013 at 8:35 am

    You say: Here it is for those who want to know: A link pointing to The First London Baptist Confession of Faith and at this page site you will find the signatures of those seven churches’ elders who signed the confession. I can’t find Thomas Lamb’s name on the confession. http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/creeds/bc1644.htm

    David: Ah thanks for that. My bad. I was thinking of Paul Hobson. As soon as I saw the list from your link I thought of him. http://theologicalmeditations.blogspot.com/search/label/Paul%20Hobson

    Thanks for that.
    David

  4. April 17, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Regarding Lamb and original sin, do you have the source for that? That would be great to clarify that point.

    Thanks,
    David

  5. April 17, 2013 at 9:04 am

    One last comment on Lamb. I am re-reading his small tract on Particular Predestination. He has a section which is a rebuttal to this claim: “To prove that the soule doth not come from the parent, and consequently that there is no original sin.”

    In: Thomas Lamb, A Treatise on Particular Predestination (London: Printed in the year, 1642).

    The section is hard to read and there is no page numbering, but on the third page of this section he clearly affirms that due to Adam’s sin, all of his posterity became bound in sin. I see nothing to indicate a denial of original sin. Nor do any of the basic biographies list that as a problem. He may have been a traducian with regard to the creation of the soul–I am not sure at all–but I don’t see, yet, evidence that he denied original sin. What I am reading presently is that he affirmed it. If you have a title and page number that would be great.

    Thanks,
    David

    • April 17, 2013 at 10:04 am

      I was just going by what I got off the net. I am not in the habit of reading many theologians who were obscure or rarely heard of.

      Also I especially do not read them in order to develop my theology. My theology is developed as I read scripture. Nevertheless, I do believe that much can be learned from reading those who have come before us and therefore we ought to peruse their material.

      Up until you commented on my post I had never heard of Thomas Lamb, even though I have 10, 000 + books; dating back into the 1500’s.

      Thanks for clarifying that he did not hold the Pelagian position, though.

      • April 21, 2013 at 8:56 am

        Both confessions were signed by those who believed in ‘Limited Atonement.’

        Signers of the 1644

        William Kiffin, Thomas Patience, John Spilsbury, George Tipping, Samuel Richardson, Thomas Skippard, Thomas Munday, Thomas Gunn, John Mabhatt, John Webb, Thomas Kilcop, Paul Hobson, Thomas Goare, Joseph Phelpes and Edward Heath. (Volume I A History of the Baptists-Pg 208)

        William Kiffin-”He is regarded as the father of the ‘Particular Baptists.’” (McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia;) (Kiffin signed the 1644 and 1689 Confession; http://www.ccel.org/creeds/bcf/bcfsubs.htm#signatories)

        John Spilsbury-”served as pastor of the first Particular Baptist Church. He strongly opposed infant baptism and Arminianism. He did not think a church could exist without a clearly stated public confession of faith. His influence is largely responsible for the production of the confession of faith produced by the Particular Baptists churches of London in 1644.” (Nettles, Tom; Ready for Reformation; copyright 2005; pg xviii.)

        “Beginning their confession with a statement about God, they said, “That God as he is in himselfe, cannot be comprehended of any but himselfe”. Of course, that did not stop them, as it does not stop us, from continuing to write fifty-two additional articles explaining God to others! A document advocating Calvinism, it reflected much of the TULIP theology of the Synod of Dort and the five points of Total depravity, Unconditional predestination, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and the Perseverance of the saints. Indeed, Article III, though common in early Calvinistic Baptist life, may sound a bit strange to some Baptist ears today. It said, “God had in Christ before the foundation of the world, according to the good pleasure of his will, foreordained some men to eternal life through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of his grace, leaving the rest in their sinne to their just condemnation, to the praise of his Justice”. At the heart of such a statement is the belief that salvation is a gift of God’s grace, not something humans achieve.” (Center for Baptist Studies; http://centerforbaptiststudies.org/resources/firstlondon.htm)

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