Summary: The reformation gave rise to many denominations, including the baptists. In this lesson we see how reformed theology is an important part of baptist history.
When I began this series, I listed 14 individual lessons which we were going to cover regarding the history of the church.
The goal of this course was not to cover every historical event in the past 2,000 years, as that would be beyond our grasp.
But instead, it was to show the clear consistent testimony of truth which has been preserved down through the ages within the church.
In the early years, the Ecumenical Councils and Creeds bore witness to the truth.
Unfortunately, as corruption found its way in, so did a removal of the ability of ecumenism in any meaningful sense.
Last week, we noted that denominationalism is the result of the fracturing which occurred after the Protestant Reformation, but that it was a fracturing which was necessary because what was being held together in Rome was not truth, but it was undeniably heretical.
So, now instead of ecumenical councils providing strong creeds and affirmations for the worldwide church, a local church (body of believers) must decide which group or denomination with which it will have an affiliation - if any at all.
Its not just about finding a right “flavor” of Christianity, as some have suggested.
It is about finding the truth, and upholding the truth.
Our church, just in the past weeks, affirmed the Elder’s Decision to join the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals.
In doing so, we made a commitment that we would stand for the truths of Reformed Theology in our promotion of the Gospel of Christ.
Within the group FIRE, there is also a consistent understanding of Credo-Baptism, that the ordinance of baptism is for believers only; thus, we have not only established ourselves as Reformed, but also as Baptistic in our practice of the ordinances.
In our church, we do not practice the baptism of infants (known as Paedobaptism), but rather we baptize only those who have made a personal profession of faith in Christ and repentance of sins.
As such, because we have taken positions which are both Reformed and Baptistic, I wanted to spend an evening of this series dealing with two documents which are more recent (less than 400 years old) which we can and should look to as guides for our church.
I. 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith
II. Abstract of Principles
I believe in these two documents, we will see clear testimony of our reformed and baptistic forefathers which not only agrees with our understanding of Scripture, but also gives weight and substance to many of the positions that we hold.
Certainly the ancient creeds have tremendous value for our faith; but we need not discount these more recent confessions and their value as well, for they contain great wisdom for the modern church when employed correctly.
The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith
The 1689 London Baptist Confession of faith is one of the most important Reformed documents in the english-speaking world.
It was preceded and highly influenced by two other important Reformed documents:
The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646)