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The London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689)

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CHAPTER 23 - OF LAWFUL OATHS AND VOWS

A lawful oath is a part of religious worship, wherein the person swearing in truth, righteousness, and judgment, solemnly calleth God to witness what he sweareth, (1) and to judge him according to the truth or falseness thereof (2)

1) Ex 20:7; Deut 10:20; Jer 4:2.
2) 2 Chron 6:22-23.

The name of God only is that by which men ought to swear; and therein it is to be used, with all holy fear and reverence; therefore to swear vainly or rashly by that glorious and dreadful name, or to swear at all by any other thing, is sinful, and to be abhorred; (3) yet as in matter of weight and moment, for confirmation of truth, and ending all strife, an oath is warranted by the Word of God; (4) so a lawful oath being imposed by lawful authority in such matters, ought to be taken. (5)

3) Matt 5:34, 37; Jam 5:12.
4) Heb 6:16; 2 Cor 1:23.
5) Neh 13:25.

Whosoever taketh an oath warranted by the Word of God, ought duly to consider the weightiness of so solemn an act, and therein to avouch nothing but what he knoweth to be truth; for that by rash, false, and vain oaths, the Lord is provoked, and for them this land mourns. (6)

6) Lev 19:12; Jer 23:10.

An oath is to be taken in the plain and common sense of the words, without equivocation or mental reservation. (7)

7) Ps 24:4.

A vow, which is not to be made to any creature, but to God alone, is to be made and performed with all religious care and faithfulness; (8) but popish monastical vows of perpetual single life, (9) professed poverty, (10) and regular obedience, are so far from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are superstitious and sinful snares, in which no Christian may entangle himself. (11)

8) Ps 76:11; Gen 28:20-22.
9) 1 Cor 7:2,9.
10) Eph 4:28.
11) Matt 19:11.

CHAPTER 24 - OF CIVIL MAGISTRATE

God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates to be under Him, over the people, for His own glory and the public good; and to this end hath armed them with the power of the sword, for defence and encouragement of them that do good, and for the punishment of evil doers. (1)

1) Rom 13:1-4.

It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate when called thereunto; in the management whereof, as they ought especially to maintain justice and peace, (2) according to the wholesome laws of each kingdom and commonwealth, so for that end they may lawfully now, under the New Testament, wage war upon just and necessary occasions. (3)

2) 2 Sam 23:3; Ps 82:3-4.
3) Lk 3:14.

Civil magistrates being set up by God for the ends aforesaid; subjection, in all lawful things commanded by them, ought to be yielded by us in the Lord, not only for wrath, but for conscience' sake; (4) and we ought to make supplications and prayers for Kings and all that are in authority, that under them we may live a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty. (5)

4) Rom 13:5-7; 1 Pet 2:17.
5) 1 Tim 2:1-2.

CHAPTER 25 - OF MARRIAGE

Marriage is to be between one man and one woman; neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband at the same time. (1)

1) Gen 2:24; Mal 2:15; Matt 19:5-6.

Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife, (2) for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, (3) and for preventing uncleanness. (4)

2) Gen 2:18.
3) Gen 1:28.
4) 1 Cor 7:2,9.

It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent; (5) yet it is the duty of Christians to marry in the Lord; (6) and therefore such as profess the true religion, should not marry with infidels, or idolators; neither should such as are godly, be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresy. (7)

5) Heb 13:4; 1 Tim 4:3.
6) 1 Cor 7:39.
7) Neh 13:25-27.

Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity, forbidden in the Word; (8) 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. (9)

8) Lev 18:1-30.
9) Mk 6:18; 1 Cor 5:1.

CHAPTER 26 - OF THE CHURCH

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)

1) Heb 12:23; Col 1:18; Eph 1:10, 22-23; 5:23, 27, 32.

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 error everting the foundation, or unholiness of conversation, are and may be called visible saints; (2) and of such ought all particular congregations to be constituted. (3)

2) 1 Cor 1:2; Acts 11:26.
3) Rom 1:7; Eph 1:20-22.

The purest churches under heaven are subject to mixture and error; (4) and some have so degenerated as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan; (5) 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. (6)

4) 1 Cor 5:1-13; Rev 2:1-29; 3:1-22.
5) Rev 18:2; 2 Thes 2:11-12.
6) Matt 16:18; Ps 72:17; 102:28; Rev 12:17.

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; (7) 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. (8)

7) Col 1:18; Matt 28:18-20; Eph 4:11-12.
8) 2 Thes 2:2-9.

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, (9) that they may walk before Him in all the ways of obedience, which He prescribeth to them in His Word. (10) 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. (11)

9) Jn 10:16; 12:32.
10) Matt 28:20.
11) Matt 18:15-20.

The members of these churches are saints by calling, visibly manifesting and evidencing(in and by their profession and walking) their obedience unto that call of Christ; (12) and do willingly consent to walk together, according to the appointment of Christ; giving up themselves to the Lord, and one to another, by the will of God, in professed subjection to the ordinances of the Gospel. (13)

12) Rom 1 :7; 1 Cor 1:2.
13) Acts 2:41-42; 5:13-14; 2 Cor 9:13.

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. (14)

14) Matt 18:17-18; 1 Cor 5:4-5; 5:13; 2 Cor 2:6-8.

A particular church, gathered and completely organized according to the mind of Christ, consists of officers and members; and the officers appointed by Christ to be chosen and set apart by the church (so called and gathered), for the peculiar administration of ordinances, and execution of power or duty, which He entrusts them with, or calls them to, to be continued to the end of the world, are bishops or elders, and deacons. (15)

15) Acts 20:17, 28; Phil 1:1.

The way appointed by Christ for the calling of any person, fitted and gifted by the Holy Spirit, unto the office of bishop or elder in a church, is, that he be chosen thereunto by the common suffrage of the church itself; (16) and solemnly set apart by fasting and prayer, with imposition of hands of the eldership of the church, if there be any before constituted therein; (17) and of a deacon that he be chosen by the like suffrage, and set apart by prayer, and the like imposition of hands. (18)

16) Acts 14:23.
17) 1 Tim 4:14.
18) Acts 6:3, 5-6.

The work of pastors being constantly to attend the service of Christ, in His churches, in the ministry of the Word and prayer, with watching for their souls, as they that must give an account to Him; (19) it is incumbent on the churches to whom they minister, not only to give them all due respect, but also to communicate to them of all their good things, according to their ability, (20) so as they may have a comfortable supply, without being themselves entangled in secular affairs; (21) and may also be capable of exercising hospitality towards others; (22) and this is required by the law of nature, and by the express order of our Lord Jesus, who hath ordained that they that preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel. (23)

19) Acts 6:4; Heb 13:17.
20) 1 Tim 5:17-18; Gal 6:6-7.
21) 2 Tim 2:4.
22) 1 Tim 3:2.
23) 1 Cor 9:6-14.

Although it be incumbent on the bishops or pastors of the churches, to be instant in preaching the Word, by way of office, yet the work of preaching the Word is not so peculiarly confined to them but that others also gifted and fitted by the Holy Spirit for it, and approved and called by the church, may and ought to perform it. (24)

24) Acts 11:19-21; 1 Pet 4:10-11.

As all believers are bound to join themselves to particular churches, when and where they have opportunity so to do; so all that are admitted unto the privileges of a church, are also under the censures and government thereof, according to the rule of Christ. (25)

25) 1 Thes 5:14; 2 Thes 3:6, 14-15.

No church members, upon any offence taken by them, having performed their duty required of them towards the person they are offended at, ought to disturb any church-order, or absent themselves from the assemblies of the church, or administration of any ordinances, upon the account of such offence at any of their fellow members, but to wait upon Christ, in the further proceedings of the church. (26)

26) Matt 18:15-17; Eph 4:2-3.

As each church, and all the members of it, are bound to pray continually for the good and prosperity of all the churches of Christ, (27) in all places, and upon all occasions to further every one within the bounds of their places and callings, in the exercise of their gifts and graces, so the churches, when planted by the providence of God, so as they may enjoy opportunity and advantage for it, ought to hold communion among themselves, for their peace, increase of love, and mutual edification. (28)

27) Eph 6:18; Ps 122:6.
28) Rom 16:1-2; 3 Jn 8-10.

In cases of difficulties or differences, either in point of doctrine or administration, wherein either the churches in general are concerned, or any one church, in their peace, union, and edification; or any member or members of any church are injured, in or by any proceedings in censures not agreeable to truth and order: it is according to the mind of Christ, that many churches holding communion together, do, by their messengers, meet to consider, and give their advice in or about that matter in difference, to be reported to all the churches concerned; (29) howbeit these messengers assembled, are not intrusted with any church-power properly so called; or with any jurisdiction over the churches themselves, to exercise any censures either over any churches or persons; or to impose their determination on the churches or officers. (30)

29) Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22-23, 25.
30) 2 Cor 1:24; 1 Jn 4:1.

CHAPTER 27 - OF THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS

All saints that are united to Jesus Christ, their head, by His Spirit, and faith, although they are not made thereby one person with Him, have fellowship in His graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory; (1) and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each others gifts and graces, (2) and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, in an orderly way, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man. (3)

1) 1 Jn 1:3; Jn 1:16; Phil 3:10; Rom 6:5-6.
2) Eph 4:15-16; 1 Cor 12:7; 3:21-23.
3) 1 Thes 5:11, 14; Rom 1:12; 1 Jn 3:17-18; Gal 6:10.

Saints by profession are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification; (4) as also in relieving each other in outward things according to their several abilities, and necessities; (5) which communion, according to the rule of the gospel, though especially to be exercised by them, in the relation wherein they stand, whether in families, (6) or churches, (7) yet, as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended to all the household of faith, even all those who in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus; nevertheless 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. (8)

4) Heb 10:24-25; 3:12-13.
5) Acts 11:29-30.
6) Eph 6:4.
7) 1 Cor 12:14-27.
8) Acts 5:4; Eph 4:28.

CHAPTER 28 - OF BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER

Baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of positive and sovereign institution, appointed by the Lord Jesus, the only lawgiver, to be continued in His church to the end of the world. (1)

1) Matt 28:19-20; 1 Cor 11:26.

These holy appointments are to be administered by those only who are qualified and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ. (2)

2) Matt 28:19; 1 Cor 4:1.

CHAPTER 29 - OF BAPTISM

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; (1) of remission of sins; (2) 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.
2) Mk 1:4; Acts 22:16.
3) Rom 6:4.

Those who do actually profess repentance towards God, faith in, and obedience to, our Lord Jesus Christ, are the only proper subjects of this ordinance. (4)

4) Mk 16:16; Acts 8:36-37; 2:41; 8:12; 18:8.

The outward element to be used in this ordinance is water, wherein the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. (5)

5) Matt 28:19-20; Acts 8:38.

Immersion, or dipping of the person in water, is necessary to the due administration of this ordinance. (6)

6) Matt 3:16, Jn 3:23.

CHAPTER 30 - OF THE LORD'S SUPPER

The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by Him the same night wherein He was betrayed, to be observed in His churches, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance, and shewing forth the sacrifice of Himself in His death, (1) confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits thereof, their spiritual nourishment, and growth in Him, their further engagement in, and to all duties which they owe to Him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with Him, and with each other. (2)

1) 1 Cor 11:23-26.
2) 1 Cor 10:16-17, 21.

In this ordinance Christ is not offered up to His Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sin of the quick or dead, but only a memorial of that one offering up of Himself by Himself upon the cross, once for all; (3) and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same. (4) So that the popish sacrifice of the mass, as they call it, is most abominable, injurious to Christ's own sacrifice the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect.

3) Heb 9:25-26, 28.
4) 1 Cor 11:24; Matt 26:26-27.

The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed His ministers to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to a holy use, and to take and break the bread; to take the cup, and, they communicating also themselves, to give both to the communicants. (5)

5) 1 Cor 11:23-26.

The denial of the cup to the people, worshipping the elements, the lifting them up, or carrying them about for adoration, and reserving them for any pretended religious use, are all contrary to the nature of this ordinance, and to the institution of Christ. (6)

6) Matt 26:26-28; 15:9; Ex 20:4-5.

The outward elements in this ordinance, duly set apart to the use ordained by Christ, have such relation to Him crucified, as that truly, although in terms used figuratively, they are sometimes called by the names of the things they represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ, (7) albeit, in substance and nature, they still remain truly and only bread and wine, as they were before. (8)

7) 1 Cor 11:27.
8) 1 Cor 11:26-28.

That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into the substance of Christ's body and blood, commonly called transubstantiation, by consecration of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant not to Scripture alone, (9) but even to common sense and reason, overthroweth the nature of the ordinance, and hath been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries. (10)

9) Acts 3:21; Lk 24:6, 39.
10) 1 Cor 11:24-25.

Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this ordinance, do them also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually receive, and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of His death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally, but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses. (11)

11) 1 Cor 10:16; 11:23-26.

All ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion with Christ, so are they unworthy of the Lord's table, and cannot, without great sin against Him, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries, or be admitted thereunto; (12) yea, whosoever shall receive unworthily, are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, eating and drinking judgment to themselves. (13)

12) 2 Cor 6:14-15.
13) 1 Cor 11:29; Matt 7:6.

CHAPTER 31 - OF THE STATE OF MAN AFTER DEATH, AND OF THE RESSURRECTION OF THE DEAD

The bodies of men after death return to dust, and see corruption (1) but their souls, which neither die nor sleep, having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them. (2) The souls of the righteous being then made perfect in holiness, are received into paradise, where they are with Christ, and behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies; (3) and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell; where they remain in torment and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day; (4) besides these two places, for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.

1) Gen 3:19; Acts 13:36.
2) Ecc 12:7.
3) Lk 23:43; 2 Cor 5:1, 6, 8; Phil 1:23, Heb 12:23.
4) Jude 6-7; 1 Pet 3:19; Lk 16:23-24.

At the last day, such of the saints as are found alive, shall not sleep, but be changed; (5) and all the dead shall be raised up with the selfsame bodies, and none other; (6) although with different qualities, which shall be united again to their souls for ever. (7)

5) 1 Cor 15:51-52; 1 Thes 4:17.
6) Job 19:26-27.
7) 1 Cor 15:42-43.

The bodies of the unjust shall, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonour; the bodies of the just, by His Spirit, unto honour, and be made conformable to His own glorious body. (8)

8) Acts 24:15; Jn 5:28-29; Phil 3:21.

CHAPTER 32 - OF THE LAST JUDGMENT

God hath appointed a day wherein He will judge the world in righteousness, by Jesus Christ; (1) to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father; in which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged, (2) but likewise all persons that have lived upon the earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds, and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil. (3)

1) Acts 17:31; Jn 5:22, 27.
2) 1 Cor 6:3; Jude 6.
3) 2 Cor 5:10; Ecc 12:14; Matt 12:36; Rom 14:10, 12; Matt 25:32-46.

The end of God's appointing this day, is for the manifestation of the glory of His mercy, in the eternal salvation of the elect; and of His justice, in the eternal damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient: (4) for then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that fullness of joy and glory with everlasting rewards, in the presence of the Lord; but the wicked, who know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast aside into everlasting torments, (5) and punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power. (6)

4) Rom 9:22-23.
5) Matt 25:21, 34; 2 Tim 4:8.
6) Matt 25:46; Mk 9:48; 2 Thes 1:7-10.

As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there shall be a day of judgment, both to deter all men from sin, (7) and for the greater consolation of the godly in their adversity, (8) so will He have the day unknown to men, that they may shake off all carnal security, and be always watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come, (9) and may ever be prepared to say, "Come Lord Jesus; come quickly". (10) Amen.

7) 2 Cor 5:10-11.
8) 2 Thes 1:5-7.
9) Mk 13:35-37; Lk 12:35-40.
10) Rev 22:20.

Signatories to the Confession of Faith

We the Ministers, and Messengers of, and concerned for upwards of, one hundred Baptized Churches, in England and Wales(denying Arminianism), being met together in London, from the third of the seventh month to the eleventh of the same, 1689, to consider of some things that might be for the glory of God, and the good of these congregations, have thought meet(for the satisfaction of all other Christians that differ from us in the point of Baptism) to recommend to their perusal the confession of our faith, which confession we own, as containing the doctrine of our faith and practice, and do desire that the members of our churches respectively do furnish themselves therewith.

Hansard Knollys, Pastor, Broken Wharf, London, William Kiffin, Devonshire-square, Jn Harris, Joiner's Hall, William Collins, Petty France, Hurcules Collins, Wapping, Robert Steed, Broken Wharf, Leonard Harrison, Limehouse, George Barret, Mile End Green, Isaac Lamb, Pennington-street, Richard Adams, Minister, Shad Thames, Southwark, Benjamin Keach, Pastor, Horse-lie-down, Andrew Gifford, Bristol, Fryars, Som. & Glouc, Thomas Vaux, Broadmead, Thomas Winnel, Taunton, Jam Hitt, Preacher, Dalwood, Dorset, Richard Tidmarsh, Minister, Oxford City, Oxon, William Facey, Pastor, Reading, Berks, Sam Buttal, Minister, Plymouth, Devon, Christopher Price, Abergavenny, Monmouth, Dan Finch, Kingworth, Herts, Jn Ball, Tiverton, Devon, Edmond White, Pastor, Evershall, Bedford, William Prichard, Blaenau, Monmouth, Paul Fruin, Minister, Warwick, Warwick, Richard Ring, Pastor, Southampton, Hants, Jn Tomkins, Minister, Abingdon, Berks, Toby Willes, Pastor, Bridgewater, Somerset, Jn Carter, Steventon, Bedford, Jam Webb, Devizes, Wilts, Richard Sutton, Pastor, Tring, Herts, Robert Knight, Stukeley, Bucks, Edward Price, Hereford City, Hereford, William Phipps, Exon, Devon, William Hawkins, Dimmock, Gloucester, Sam Ewer, Hemstead, Herts, Edward Man, Houndsditch, London, and Charles Archer, Hock-Norton, Oxon.


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