devotional

14DEC
2014

LBCF 1689 Reflections (part 14).

 

Reflections on the Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689. 23 Aug 14 began a perhaps unbroken, orderly, and personal journey through my favorite written confession of faith. This will be my personal reflections on this beloved written codification of the Christian faith according to a Baptist flavor.

 

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CHAPTER 1

Paragraph 10: “The supreme judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit, into which Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.”

 

The previous paragraph of the confession was given separately to make sense of how we search for meaning in texts that are, shall we say, somewhat shadowy. This paragraph speaks of the necessity of claiming the Bible alone as the final witness to any truth. 

     Now, if you’re at all familiar with the church, this can actually seem like a useless platitude. People use Scripture falsely ALL the time. I can hardly believe some of things people teach, “From the Bible.” The worst and most heretical churches have their leaders praised continually by their parishioners as ones who only teach, “From the Bible.” If I hear one more person claim that Joel Osteen teaches, “The Bible” I may react with flu-like symptoms. I hear cults who deny literally everything true claim to do it, “From the Bible.” I hear people, even within the true church, claim that they speak in tongues as a private prayer language, “from the Bible.” I hear female pastors preach, “From the Bible.” I see insane people handle poisonous snakes citing texts, “From the Bible.” Oh my! There is no fighting it. Men, even redeemed men, will arrive at varying conclusions from the same passages, both claiming it to be the right view. What do you do? Be surer than the next guy and remember that you’re a puny speck in a universe so large its size can only be measured by the One who owns it…who ain’t you. Fight for truth, but do so with respect, 1 Peter 3:15. 

     As a Reformed Baptist I believe I have the single best faith on the planet. In all humility I would hope anyone would think that of their Christian denomination as well even though it would differ from my own on numerous inconsequentials. I will lean upon the tradition I love knowing that a) it is surely sound on the essentials, and b) believing it to be the best interpretation of the non-essentials as well. Despite this trust I have in those who’ve gone before me also having God’s guidance, I too always lean mainly upon my own understanding of what the Bible teaches. I am guided by my faith group. Everyone is. There is nothing with this. I can’t claim Peter over Paul, but I can Baptist over Lutheran because the base of the claim is different.

     The LBCF would have us remember that even whole groups, even denominations are commanded by the Scriptures. We go to the Bible first and last. If you were to look at us, our confessions are mirrors we hold up so you can see the book open directly in front of us for as much depth as you’re prepared to look at.

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