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Study: The 1689 London Baptist Confession as Systematic Theology

January 2, 2015

Lately I have begun studying the 1689 London Baptist Confession: as a good summary of Christian doctrine, as compatible with historic premillennialism (and the actual view of many of the writers of the 17th century confessions) , and the confession that Charles Spurgeon used for his church,  complete with his own catechism.

The following Sermon Audio lecture series (by Arden Hodgins at Trinity Reformed Baptist in California) was recommended to me –  not yet complete but quite in-depth, with 230 messages so far over the course of several years, done as a systematic theology covering the many topics in the 1689 confession.

So far I have listened to several messages: the introduction plus the first topic (chapter 1 of the confession), regarding the Bible itself: revelation, inspiration, cessation (five lectures on this specific topic), illumination, interpretation and translation.  At least some of this overall topic I recognize from other systematic theologies, such as this one from S. Lewis Johnson I listened to (in part) a few years ago. The section on illumination addresses three aspects of scripture’s authority: its sphere, the basis of its authority, and recognition of this authority. Here I notice the Baptist covenantal perspective, which (unlike the 20th century systematic theology of classic/revised dispensationalism) understands and presents Van Tillian presuppositional apologetics, pointing out the problem with the “Josh McDowell style” evidential apologetics, along with several good references to Van Til, including the following great quote:

The Bible is authoritative on everything of which it speaks. Moreover, it speaks of everything. We do not mean that it speaks of football games, of atoms etc. directly, but we do mean that it speaks of everything either directly or by implication. It tells us not only of the Christ and His work, but it also tells us who God is and where the universe about us has come from. It tells us about theism as well as about Christianity, it gives us a philosophy of history as well as history. Moreover, the information on these subjects is woven into an inextricable whole. It is only if you reject the Bible as the word of God that you can separate the so-called religious and moral instructions of the Bible from what it says for example about the physical universe.

I look forward to further listening to these lectures related to the various topics from the 1689 Confession, including a few lectures affirming biblical young-earth creation with analysis of various compromise views: one on “debunking Evolution,” plus a full lecture on the gap theory and another on the day-age and framework ideas.

While in one area I, as a Spurgeon-style historic premillennialist, disagree with this particular teacher’s view (amillennialism), there is much here to learn in overall study of many other doctrines. The 1689 confession itself limits its statements on eschatology to “allow for” any millennial view (except, as noted in the first linked article above, the later-developed pre-trib view which splits the timing of the Second Coming). In the 230 messages so far, Ardin Hodges presents only two lectures in “overview” of millennial views, for a more neutral perspective than found in Sam Waldron’s “Modern Exposition of 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith” (1989 edition)  (note Amazon reviews here).

  1. January 2, 2015 at 8:12 am

    Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.

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