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Comparison of 1644 Chapter 23
With 1689 Chapter 17
Of The Perseverance of the Saints
London Baptist Confessions of Faith

It is well known that the 1689 Confession of Faith is a Baptist version of the Presbyterian 1646 Westminster Confession of Faith.  It is also generally regarded that the 1644 Confession of Faith is of strict Baptist origin.  While it is admitted that the Westminster Confession was used as the format for the 1689 Baptist Confession, it is important to see the influence the 1644 Confession maintained over the 1689.

This influence is especially seen in Chapter 23 Of the Perseverance of the Saints, specifically in section 1.  The color coded words display the obvious influence of the older 1644 over the 1689. 

By examining the influence of the older 1644 upon the 1689, the impact of the older purely Baptist confession becomes evident and reveals several key differences in sentiment and thinking between the Baptists and Presbyterians.  Likewise, it reveals the perpetuity of like thinking between the older and newer Baptist confessions.

Major differences between the 1689 Baptist and 1646 Westminster confessions are given in Red.

Minor differences between the 1689 Baptist and 1646 Westminster confessions in either word order or spelling are given in Blue.

Text in Bold Red indicates agreement between the 1644 and 1689 Baptist but disagreement with the 1646 Westminster.

It also interesting to note that in Section 3, the 1689 Baptists added the phrase, "yet shall they renew their repentance and be preserved through faith in Christ Jesus to the end."  This is another example of the fact that the 1689 Confession is more than just a "Baptized" version of the 1646 Westminster.  Since the phrase is not found in the 1646 Westminster it is an indication of just how strong their personal beliefs were regarding the "Perseverance of the Saints."

1644 London Baptist Confession

1689 London Baptist Confession

1646 Westminster Presbyterian Confession

XXIII.

Chapter 17: Of the Perseverance of the Saints

Chapter 17: Of the Perseverance of the Saints

All those that have this precious faith wrought in them by the Spirit, can never finally nor totally fall away;

 

seeing the gifts of God are without repentance; so that He still begets and nourisheth in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit unto immortality; and though many storms and floods arise, and beat against them, yet they shall never be able to take them off that foundation and rock, which by faith they are fastened upon; not withstanding, through unbelief, and the temptations of Satan, the sensible sight of this light and love, be clouded and overwhelmed for a time; yet God is still the same, and they shall be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation, where they shall enjoy their purchased possession, they being engraven upon the palms of His hands, and their names having been written in the book of life from all eternity.

1. Those whom God hath accepted in the beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, and given the precious faith of his elect unto, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved, seeing the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, whence he still begets and nourisheth in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit unto immortality; and though many storms and floods arise and beat against them, yet they shall never be able to take them off that foundation and rock which by faith they are fastened upon; notwithstanding, through unbelief and the temptations of Satan, the sensible sight of the light and love of God may for a time be clouded and obscured from them, yet he is still the same, and they shall be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation, where they shall enjoy their purchased possession, they being engraven upon the palm of his hands, and their names having been written in the book of life from all eternity. 1. They whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.
  2. This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father, upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ and union with him, the oath of God, the abiding of his Spirit, and the seed of God within them, and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof. 2. This perseverance of the saints depends, not upon their own free-will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of the Spirit and of the seed of God within them; and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.
  3. And though they may, through the temptation of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins, and for a time continue therein, whereby they incur God's displeasure and grieve his Holy Spirit, come to have their graces and comforts impaired, have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded, hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves, yet shall they renew their repentance and be preserved through faith in Christ Jesus to the end. 3. Nevertheless they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevelancy of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their perseverance, fall into grievous sins; and for a time continue therein: whereby they incur God's displeasure, and grieve his Holy Spirit; come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts; have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon theselves.

  Elder James Taylor

10/25/2006

 

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