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.
Pulling back the current, why Tuesdays in the Pastoral Epistles? Too many passages to mention but the sweetness of 2 Timothy 1:5 about Timothy’s grandmother, Lois, always remind me of my precious, praying Mim-maw, Frances.
Now, of course, my Mims faithfully attended church and did so in an amazing, Bible-believing, Spirit-filled Assemblies of God. And being her grandsons who would come to live with her as teenagers, we had to go to church with her as well. (How AoG am I? Not only was I in Royal Rangers, I did achieve the Gold Medal of Achievement.)
But I digress.
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, 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.
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.
The truth that there isn’t a lot out there. First, get this little book as a handout for your congregation:
The Baptist Confession of Faith 1689: Or the Second London Confession with Scripture Proofs
by Peter Masters.
Wakeman Trust. January 1, 1981.
By God’s great provision, within the next few months, two will be dropping. One from James Renihan for Volume 2 to this set:
For the Vindication of the Truth: Baptist Symbolics Volume 1
by James Renihan.
Founders Press. 2021.
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.
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.
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 channel? Will I always use an R.C. Sproul book if possible?
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 Charismatic. 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.
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.
You have sent countless saints ahead of us to help shape us, equip us to do you will today. But if we had no one else, we would have you dwelling in, your Spirit empowering us and giving us life, and your Son and his righteousness so that we can be in your presence forever. Thank you for you grace and mercy--in which we are not only saved to you, but for us to live, move, and have our being. Praise your holy name forever. Amen.