1689 Baptist Confession of Faith: An Introduction & Resources

The Introduction

I am brand new to Historical Christian Confessions. So why Confessional and why the Westminster Confession of Faith before settling on the 1689? To answer that is to give the long answer.

I was born into a family with some of the most depraved men you'll ever met married to some of the most Godly women you have ever met.

My grandfather up and left my grandma to be with some other chick in Arizona. While adultery and abandonment within covenant vows before the Holy God is a dime a dozen in our day and age, in the 50s & 60s, it was pretty shocking. My grandma ended up packing up the station wagon and snatching his butt back to Texas, you can only guess how much that impacted his impressionable young sons, who were just coming of age in the midst of what we now call the Sexual Revolution.

Adultery? Abandonment? Followed up with pornography, multiple partners, and legalized abortions. My dad, Baby Boomer, became a man in a time when the world so desperately tried to re-write the rules for sex--because if sex is a good thing, why not get as much as you can while you can. And our society has been on a greased slippery slide to hell ever since.

Addicted to Porn? Try working in porn so you can get more porn. That is my story and testimony.

God, in his perfect timing, would snatch the hearts of all three men--and I have no doubt it was on the praying knees of my faithful grandmother, Frances. My mom was a devout Christian but she ended up abandoning me and my brother to leave my violent, abusive, sexual addicted, perverse husband.

2 Timothy 1:5 (CSB) I recall your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and now, I am convinced, is in you also.

Fast-forward my life some time later, through marriages, divorces, porn addictions, working in porn and all of that, God saved me. In the midst of my sorrow, sin, and depravity, God saved me. And by God's grace and in his provision of the internet, I got to meet so many other Christians outside of AoG. Oh my heart. Oh what joy.

I feel like I became Calvinist before I met any other Calvinist or Reformed. But once I went all in the doctrines of grace, I got to meet my Confessional brothers and sisters: Presbyterian, Reformed Baptist, and Anglican among others. In public, there wasn't a lot of talk about confessional but amongst themselves, the often referred to the Westminster, 1689, Three Forms of Unity and Thirty-Nine Articles were constantly mentioned. And I am over here going, "wut?"

I didn't grow up liturgical or in high church. I didn't grow up reciting creeds or catechism. But every time I did, my heart jump with joy because I got to do the same thing that the people of God got to do for centuries. Those are my brothers and sisters. I wanna see what they do because we are both family.

So, for no other reason, I picked the Westminster because of my wonderful friends in the Presbyterian Church of America. And I may not baptize babies, I understand what they are doing and why they do it and could go as far to defend their doctrinal position when it came to sprinkling water on infants.

I started this exposition right before moving to Kentucky. When the KY move was being planned, I thought, "Perhaps this is God's grace for me to move into another denomination?" because there were no Acts 29 churches in Lexington.

And if I had my druthers, I don't see why I would go to a non-denomination generic evangelical church. Why would I not start out with Reformed.

So I did.

An Anglican, Presbyterian, and oddly enough, a church that started as Calvary Chapel.

The Anglican and the Presbyterian churches were nice. But this "Calvary Chapel" church called themselves, "Creedal, Confessional, and adhering to the Five Solas". That doesn't sound like typical Calvary Chapel.

And they were not. Turns out, they were moving away from their Calvary Chapel connection and heading towards 1689 Confessional.

And this is the church we landed. And it is so wonderful. The best part: they don't need me. I get to sit under the preaching of God's word. And they do Bible Study--like I didn't have to start a Bible Study. We study the Bible together and not on our own.

So now, I am attempting, as a layperson, to exposit the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession.

The Resources

Usually when I give resources recommendations, I would say, one or twice a month, I would refer to those resources just to see what other teachers say on the matter and to make sure I am not going off the rails.

When it comes to studying not in my wheelhouse, I will confess to you today, I am going to lean on these resources hard. Like, almost like a crutch. I will unapologetically borrow (aka copy) from these resources.

Of course, I am not a heathen: where I copy word for word, I will footnote it with the quickness.

(Including in each post within the WCF series will be a listing of these resources. Just assume I will be using them with every single post and episode.)

But I do have to divvy these resources up into two categories--which is not split up in the way you think it will be.

It Goes Without Saying

Specifically

ESV Reformation Study Bible
Commentary & Edited by R.C. Sproul.
Ligonier Ministries. March 16, 2015.
Goodreads

I am starting to lean towards this particular Study Bible because RC Sproul teaches and references historical creeds, confessions, and catechisms in his study notes. Truly succinct and helpful.


Generally

Christian Standard Bible
Holmon Publishing. 2020.
Goodreads

Many times, many teachers, preachers, and small group leaders (myself included) will "cut straight to the chase" and engage the commentary instead of engaging the Word of God. Remember, the commentaries are not without error—they are the observations of the author.

Slow down, pray, read, chew and meditate.

Note: I use the Christian Standard Bible version on this blog default. Other translations, such as the ESV or the NIV1984, will be noted as such.


ESV Study Bible
Crossway. 2016.
Goodreads

Incredible resource.

If I had to pick just one format (hardcover vs. leather vs. paperback vs. digital), I use it way more in my Olive Tree Study Bible than anything else.


Hebrew Greek Key Word Study Bible.
New American Standard Bible 1977.
AMG International. 2008.
Goodreads


Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible.
NIV 1984.
Zondervan. 2003.
Goodreads


Life Application Study Bible.
NIV 2011.
Zondervan. 2011.
Goodreads


Expositions

Institutes of the Christian Religion: Calvin's Own 'Essentials' Edition.
John Calvin. Robert White (Translator).
Banner of Truth. 2014.
Goodreads

I bump this up to the top because I have just started reading Calvin's Institutes with some friends from church. And halfway done, this is a must have when working through the 1689.

Take a look see at the Table of Contents and compare that to the 1689:

Institutes1689
The Knowledge of GodII. Of God and the Holy Trinity
The Knowledge of Man and Free WillIX. Of Free Will
The LawXVIX. Of the Law of God
Faith, with an Explanation of the Apostles’ CreedXIV. Of Saving Faith
RepentanceXV. Of Repentance Unto Life and Salvation
Justification by Faith and the Merits of WorksXI. Of Justification
The Similarity and Difference between the Old and New TestamentsI. Of The Holy Scriptures
The Predestination and Providence of GodIII. Of God's Decree
Prayer, with an Explanation of Our Lord’s Prayer
The SacramentsXXVIII. Of Baptism and the Lord's Supper
BaptismXXVIX. Of Baptism
The Lord’s SupperXXX. Of the Lord's Supper
The Five Ceremonies Falsely Called Sacraments
Christian FreedomXXI. Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience
The Power of the ChurchXXVI. Of the Church
Civil GovernmentXXIV. Of the Civil Magistrate
The Christian LifeXVI. Of Good Works

I would be absolutely remiss if I didn't have Calvin's Institutes by my side during this writing process.


The Baptist Confession of Faith 1689: Or the Second London Confession with Scripture Proofs
by Peter Masters.
Wakeman Trust. January 1, 1981.
Goodreads


To the Judicious and Impartial Reader: Baptist Symbolics Volume 2.
by James Renihan.
Founders Press. 2022.
Goodreads


And then a new exposition on the 1689 dropping in January from Rob Ventura:

A New Exposition of the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689
by Rob Ventura.
Mentor. January 17, 2023.
Amazon


In the meantime, this Modern Exposition from Samuel Waldron was used as a textbook for his class in seminary:

Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith.
by Samuel E. Waldron.
Evangelical Press. 2013.
Goodreads


Annnnnnnd that's it. One book hard to get, one on the 1644 (for Particular Baptists--which I am not one) and two books that have not dropped.

What do you do?

I will then take the Westminster Exposition from R.C. Sproul and the WCF from Banner of Truth and let the good times roll. Also, the Creedal Imperative is a must have.


Truths We Confess: A Systematic Exposition of the Westminster Confession of Faith
by R.C. Sproul.
Reformation Trust Publishing. 2019. Goodreads

Do you know me? Have you been on this website for longer than a second? Will I always use an R.C. Sproul book if possible? Absolutely yes.

In my humble opinion, Dr. Sproul was one of the greatest Bible teachers of my generation. I have read his commentaries cover to cover. I have studied through his Philosophy courses at Ligonier. When he spoke, I did my best to listen.

His ministry has had the greatest impact on my Christian life. What I love is that he is a Presbyterian and I am a Reformed Baptist. We don't agree on everything but at a distance, I am certainly mentored and shaped by him.

And in God's great grace, this book was released shortly after his death. This book all but confirmed my unction that I should study the Confessions. I would not have this series without his work and his influence on my life.


The Westminster Confession: The Confession of Faith, The Larger and Shorter Catechism
The Westminster Divines.
Banner of Truth. 2018. Goodreads

How I did come to discover this book? My wife would say I do spend a lot of money and time on the Banner of Trust website. To which I would confess, "I haven't bought every book. I still have thousands left to purchase." One day. Oh, one fine day.

This particular book caught my attention for nothing else but the description, "Biblical References are given in full."

Oh, when it comes to books, I have more than a few hot takes. Number one, endnotes are of the devil and end all be all proof the total depravity of man. Seriously, book publishers, you want more of my money? I would happily spend $5 more on the same book for footnotes instead of endnotes. And if you stick a gun to my head and made me choose, I rather have no notes than endnotes. They suck my soul dry.

Number two hot take: why on earth would you not just list the full Biblical reference. Not just in book but in church's websites, wherever. I remember landing at my last wonderful church, Frontline Church in Oklahoma City. Since I wanted to be a member, I pull down all the resources and materials, including their Doctrine of Statement.

"Beautiful", I thought, "I know where they stand on any statement." Open that PDF up and... complete deflation. They mention the Bible passages but just the location.

So I took the time to redesign and added full Biblical references. To make it work, I had to use three columns of text.

So when I saw the full Biblical references on this resource for the Westminster Confession, I instantly handed over some cash and got this wonderful resource in my hands. Sit and read it with me. You will not be disappointed.


Books

The Creedal Imperative
by Carl Trueman.
Crossway. 2012.
Goodreads

At the time of this post, I have yet to read through this. But when I popped on r/Reformed and asked for a few good resources, this book was overwhelmingly recommended.

I will read this through as we are going through the series.


All That Is in God: Evangelical Theology and the Challenge of Classical Christian Theism.
James E. Dolezal.
Reformation Heritage Books. 2017.
Goodreads


Sources

Site: Doctrine & Devotion
The 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith
with Scriptural References


Commentaries

Calvin's Commentaries.
John Calvin.
Baker. 2009.
Olive Tree


Theology

The Cross of Christ.
John R.W. Stott. 2006.
Goodreads


The Death of Death in the Death of Christ.
John Owen.
Banner of Truth. 2007.
Goodreads


No Condemnation in Christ Jesus: As Unfolded in the Eighth Chapter of the Epistle to the Romans.
Octavius Winslow.
Banner of Trust. 1991.
Goodreads


On the Incarnation.
Athanasius of Alexandria.
St. Vladimir's Seminary Press. 1977.
Goodreads


All That Is in God: Evangelical Theology and the Challenge of Classical Christian Theism.
James E. Dolezal.
Reformation Heritage Books. 2017.
Goodreads


Reformed Dogmatics.
Herman Bavinck, John Bolt (Editor), John Vriend (Translator).
Baker Academic. 2003.
Goodreads


The Wonderful Works of God.
Herman Bavinck.
Westminster Seminary Press. 2019.
Goodreads


Systematic Theology.
Louis Berkhof.
Eerdmans. 1996.
Goodreads


God is Love.
Gerald L. Bray.
Crossway. 2012.
Goodreads


The Existence and Attributes of God, Volume 1-2.
Stephen Charnock, Mark Jones (Editor).
Crossway. 2022.
Goodreads


Systematic Theology.
Charles Hodge.
Hendrickson Academic. 1999.
Goodreads


The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way.
Michael S. Horton.
Zondervan. 2011.
Goodreads


The Complete Works.
John Owen, Lee Gatiss (Series Editor), Shawn D. Wright (Series Editor).
Crossway. 2022.
Goodreads


Knowing God.
J.I. Packer.
Crossway. 2023.
Goodreads


The Works of John Wesley.
John Wesley.
Beacon Hill Press. 1978.
Goodreads