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Baptist Confession of Faith (1689)

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Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures

1. The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience, 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; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and his will which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in divers manners to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; 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 makes the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.  ( 2 Tim 3:15-17; Isa 8:20; Luke 16:29, 31; Eph 2:20; Rom 1:19-21; Rom 2:14,15; Ps 19:1-3; Heb 1:1; Prov 22:19-21; Rom 15:4; 2 Peter 1:19,20 )

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:  Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, I Chronicles, II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

OF THE NEW TESTAMENT:  Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles, Paul's Epistle to the Romans, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Timothy, II Timothy, To Titus, To Philemon, The Epistle to the Hebrews, Epistle of James, The first and second Epistles of Peter, The first, second, and third Epistles of John, The Epistle of Jude, The Revelation

All of which are given by the inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life. ( 2 Tim 3:16)

3. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon or rule of the Scripture, and, therefore, are of no authority to the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of than other human writings.  ( Luke 24:27, 44; Rom 3:2 )

4. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, depends not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof; therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God.  ( 2 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Thes 2:13; 1 John 5:9 )

5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church of God to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scriptures; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, and the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, and many other incomparable excellencies, and entire perfections thereof, are arguments whereby it does abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.  ( John 16:13,14; 1 Cor 2:10-12; 1 John 2:20, 27)

6. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word, and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.  ( 2 Tim 3:15-17; Gal 1:8,9; John 6:45; 1 Cor 2:9-12; 1 Cor 11:13, 14; 1 Cor 14:26,40)

7. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of them.  ( 2 Peter 3:16; Ps 19:7; Ps 119:130)

8. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic; so as in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal to them. But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have a right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded in the fear of God to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.   ( Rom 3:2; Isa 8:20; Acts 15:15; John 5:39; 1 Cor 14:6, 9, 11, 12, 24, 28; Col 3:16 )

9. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched by other places that speak more clearly.  ( 2 Peter 1:20, 21; Acts 15:15, 16)

10. 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.  ( Matt 22:29, 31, 32; Eph 2:20; Acts 28:23)

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Chapter 2 - Of God and of the Holy Trinity

1. The Lord our God is but one only living and true God; whose subsistence is in and of himself, infinite in being and perfection; whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself; a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; who is immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, every way infinite, most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will for his own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him, and withal most just and terrible in his judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.  ( 1 Cor 8:4, 6; Deut 6:4; Jer 10:10; Isa 48:12; Ex 3:14; John 4:24; 1 Tim 1:17; Deut 4:15, 16; Mal 3:6; 1 Kings 8:27; Jer 23:23; Ps 90:2; Gen 17:1; Isa 6:3; Ps 115:3; Isa 46:10; Prov 16:4; Rom 11:36; Ex 34:6, 7; Heb 11:6; Neh 9:32, 33; Ps 5:5, 6; Ex 34:7; Nahum 1:2, 3 )

2. God, having all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of himself, is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creature which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them; he is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things, and he hath most sovereign dominion over all creatures, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever himself pleases; in his sight all things are open and manifest, his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to him contingent or uncertain; he is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands; to him is due from angels and men, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience, as creatures they owe unto the Creator, and whatever he is further pleased to require of them.  ( John 5:26; Ps 148:13; Ps 119:68; Job 22:2, 3; Rom 11:34-36; Dan 4:25, 34, 35; Heb 4:13; Ezek 11:5; Acts 15:18; Ps 145:17; Rev 5:12-14 )

3. In this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, the Father, the Word or Son, and Holy Spirit, of one substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undivided: the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son; all infinite, without beginning, therefore but one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties and personal relations; which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable dependence on him.  ( 1 John 5:7; Matt 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14; Ex 3:14; John 14:11; 1 Cor 8:6; John 1:14,18; John 15:26; Gal 4:6 )

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Chapter 3 - Of God's Decree

1. God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established; in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree.   ( Isa 46:10; Eph 1:11; Heb 6:17; Rom 9:15, 18; James 1:13; 1 John 1:5; Acts 4:27, 28; John 19:11; Nu 23:19; Eph 1:3-5 )

2. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions, yet hath he not decreed anything, because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.  ( Acts 15:18; Rom 9:11, 13, 16, 18 )

3. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated, or foreordained to eternal life through Jesus Christ, to the praise of his glorious grace; others being left to act in their sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of his glorious justice.  ( 1 Tim 5:21; Matt 25:34; Eph 1:5, 6; Rom 9:22, 23; Jude 4 )

4. These angels and men thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.  ( 2 Tim 2:19; John 13:18 )

5. Those of mankind that are predestinated to life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love, without any other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving him thereunto.  ( Eph 1:4, 9, 11; Rom 8:30; 2 Tim 1:9; 1 Thes 5:9; Rom 9:13, 16; Eph 2:5, 12 )

6. As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so he hath, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto; wherefore they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ, by his Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power through faith unto salvation; neither are any other redeemed by Christ, or effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.  ( 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Thes 2:13; 1 Thes 5:9, 10; Rom 8:30; 2 Thes 2:13; 1 Peter 1:5; John 10:26; John 17:9; John 6:64 )

7. The doctrine of the high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men attending the will of God revealed in his Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election; so shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God, and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel.  ( 1 Thes 1:4, 5; 2 Peter 1:10; Eph 1:6; Rom 11:33; Rom 11:5, 6, 20; Luke 10:20 )

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Chapter 4 - Of Creation

1. In the beginning it pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, to create or make the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days, and all very good.  ( John 1:2, 3; Heb 1:2; Job 26:13; Rom 1:20; Col 1:16; Gen 1:31 )

2. After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, rendering them fit unto that life to God for which they were created; being made after the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it, and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject to change.  ( Gen 1:27; Gen 2:7; Eccl 7:29; Gen 1:26; Rom 2:14, 15; Gen 3:6 )

3. Besides the law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which whilst they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures. ( Gen 2:17; Gen 1:26, 28 )

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Chapter 5 - Of Divine Providence

1. God the good Creator of all things, in his infinite power and wisdom does uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, to the end for the which they were created, according unto his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will; to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness, and mercy.  ( Heb 1:3; Job 38:11; Isa 46:10, 11; Ps 135:6; Matt 10:29-31; Eph 1:11 )

2. Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly; so that there is not anything befalls any by chance, or without his providence; yet by the same providence he orders them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.  ( Acts 2:23; Prov 16:33; Gen 8:22 )

3. God, in his ordinary providence makes use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them at his pleasure.  ( Acts 27:31, 44; Isa 55:10, 11; Hosea 1:7; Rom 4:19-21; Dan 3:27 )

4. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, that his determinate counsel extends itself even to the first fall, and all other sinful actions both of angels and men; and that not by a bare permission, which also he most wisely and powerfully binds, and otherwise orders and governs, in a manifold dispensation to his most holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness of their acts proceeds only from the creatures, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.  ( Rom 11:32-34; 2 Sam 24:1, 1 Chron 21:1; 2 Kings 19:28; Ps 76;10; Gen 1:20; Isa 10:6, 7, 12; Ps 1:21; 1 John 2:16 )

5. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God oftentimes leaves for a season his own children to manifold temptations and the corruptions of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself; and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for other just and holy ends. So that whatsoever befalls any of his elect is by his appointment, for his glory, and their good.  ( 2 Chron 32:25, 26, 31; 2 Cor 12:7-9; Rom 8:28 )

6. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as the righteous judge, for former sin does blind and harden; from them he not only withholds his grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understanding, and wrought upon their hearts; but sometimes also withdraws the gifts which they had, and exposes them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin; and withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan, whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, under those means which God uses for the softening of others.  ( Rom 1:24-26, 28; Rom 11:7, 8; Deut 29:4; Matt 13:12; Deut 2:30; 2 Kings 8:12, 13; Ps 81:11, 12; 2 Thes 2:10-12; Ex 8:15, 32; Isa 6:9, 10; 1 Peter 2:7, 8 )

7. As the providence of God in general reaches to all creatures, so after a more special manner it taketh care of his church, and disposes of all things to the good thereof.  ( 1 Tim 4:10; Amos 9:8, 9; Isa 43:3-5 )

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