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Baptist Confession of Faith (1689)

Page 6 (Chapter 21-25)   [Previous Page]   [Next Page]

 

Chapter 21 - Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience

1. The liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel, consists in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the rigor and curse of the law, and in their being delivered from this present evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin, from the evil of afflictions, the fear and sting of death, the victory of the grave, and ever- lasting damnation: as also in their free access to God, and their yielding obedience unto Him, not out of slavish fear, but a child-like love and willing mind.

All which were common also to believers under the law for the substance of them; but under the New Testament the liberty of Christians is further enlarged, in their freedom from the yoke of a ceremonial law, to which the Jewish church was subjected, and in greater boldness of access to the throne of grace, and in fuller communications of the free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of.  ( Gal 3:13; Gal 1:4; Acts 26:18; Rom 8:3; Rom 8:28; 1 Cor 15:54-57; 2 Thes 1:10; Rom 8:15; Luke 1:73-75; 1 John 4:18; Gal 3:9, 14; John 7:38, 39; Heb 10:19-21 )

2. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his word, or not contained in it. So that to believe such doctrines, or obey such commands out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience; and the requiring of an implicit faith, an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience and reason also.  ( James 4:12; Rom 14:4; Acts 4:19, 29; 1 Cor 7:23; Matt 15:9; Col 2:20, 22, 23; 1 Cor 3:5; 2 Cor 1:24 )

3. They who upon pretence of Christian liberty do practice any sin, or cherish any sinful lust, as they do thereby pervert the main design of the grace of the gospel to their own destruction, so they wholly destroy the end of Christian liberty, which is, that being delivered out of the hands of all our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our lives.  ( Rom 6:1, 2; Gal 5:13; 2 Peter 2:18, 21 )

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Chapter 22 - Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day

1. The light of nature reveals that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all; is just, good and does good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart and all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.  ( Jer 10:7; Mark 12:33; Deut 12:32; Ex 20:4-6 )

2. Religious worship is to be given to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to him alone; not to angels, saints, or any other creatures; and since the fall, not without a mediator, nor in the mediation of any other but Christ alone.  ( Matt 4:9, 10; John 6:23; Matt 28:19; Rom 1:25; Col 2:18; Rev 19:10; John 14:6; 1 Tim 2:5 )

3. Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one part of natural worship, is by God required of all men. But that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son, by the help of the Spirit, according to his will; with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and when with others, in a known tongue.  ( Ps 95:1-7; Ps 65:2; John 14:13, 14; Rom 8:26; 1 John 5:14; 1 Cor 14:16, 17 )

4. Prayer is to be made for things lawful, and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter; but not for the dead, nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death.  ( 1 Tim 2:1, 2; 2 Sam 7:29; 2 Sam 12:21-23; 1 John 5:16 )

5. The reading of the Scriptures, preaching, and hearing the Word of God, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord; as also the administration of baptism, and the Lord's supper, are all parts of religious worship of God, to be performed in obedience to him, with understanding, faith, reverence, and godly fear; moreover, solemn humiliation, with fastings, and thanksgivings, upon special occasions, ought to be used in an holy and religious manner.  ( 1 Tim 4:13; 2 Tim 4:2; Luke 8:18; Col 3:16; Eph 5:19; Matt 28:19, 20; 1 Cor 11:26; Esther 4:16; Joel 2:12; Ex 15:1-19, Ps 107 )

6. Neither prayer nor any other part of religious worship, is now under the gospel, tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed; but God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth; as in private families daily, and in secret each one by himself; so more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly nor willfully to be neglected or forsaken, when God by his word or providence calls thereunto.  ( John 4:21; Mal 1:11; 1 Tim 2:8; Acts 10:2; Matt 6:11; Ps 55:17; Matt 6:6; Heb 10:25; Acts 2:42 )

7. As it is the law of nature, that in general a proportion of time, by God's appointment, be set apart for the worship of God, so by his Word, in a positive moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men, in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a sabbath to be kept holy unto him, which from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ was the last day of the week, and from the resurrection of Christ was changed into the first day of the week, which is called the Lord's day: and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath, the observation of the last day of the week being abolished.  ( Ex 20:8; 1 Cor 16:1, 2; Acts 20:7; Rev 1:10 )

8. The sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering their common affairs aforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all day, from their own works, words and thoughts, about their worldly employment and recreations, but are also taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.  ( Isa 58:13; Neh 13:15-22; Matt 12:1-13 )

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Chapter 23 - Of Lawful Oaths and Vows

1. A lawful oath is a part of religious worship, wherein the person swearing in truth, righteousness, and judgment, solemnly calls God to witness what he swears, and to judge him according to the truth or falseness thereof.  ( Ex 20:7; Deut 10:20; Jer 4:2; 2 Chron 6:22, 23 )

2. 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; 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; so a lawful oath being imposed by lawful authority in such matters, ought to be taken.  ( Matt 5:34, 37; James 5:12; Heb 6:16; 2 Cor 1:23; Neh 13:25 )

3. Whosoever takes 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 knows to be truth; for that by rash, false, and vain oaths, the Lord is provoked, and for them this land mourns.  ( Lev 19:12; Jer 23:10 )

4. An oath is to be taken in the plain and common sense of the words, without equivocation or mental reservation.  ( Ps 24:4 ) (Ps. 24:4)

5. 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; but popish monastical vows of perpetual single life, professed poverty, 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.  ( Ps 76:11; Gen 28:20-22; 1 Cor 7:2, 9; Eph 4:28; Matt 19:11 )

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Chapter 24 - Of the Civil Magistrate

1. 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 defense and encouragement of them that do good, and for the punishment of evil doers.  ( Rom 13:1-4 )

2. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate when called there unto; in the management whereof, as they ought especially to maintain justice and peace, 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.  ( 2 Sam 23:3; Ps 82:3, 4; Luke 3:14 )

3. 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; 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.  ( Rom 13:5-7; 1 Peter 2:17; 1 Tim 2:1, 2 )

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Chapter 25 - Of Marriage

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

2. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife, for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and the preventing of uncleanness.  ( Gen 2:18; Gen 1:28; 1 Cor 7:2, 9 )

3. It is the duty of Christians to marry in the Lord; and therefore such as profess the true religion, should not marry with infidels, or idolaters; neither should such as are godly, be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresy.  ( Heb 13:4; 1 Tim 4:3; 1 Cor 7:39; Neh 13:25-27 )

4. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity, forbidden in the Word; 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.  ( Lev 18; Mark 6:18; 1 Cor 5:1 )

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