devotional

12NOV
2021

LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 214

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. These are my personal reflections on this beloved historic Particular Baptist confession of the Christian Faith.

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Chapter 26. Of the Church. Paragraph 3a: “The purest churches under heaven are subject to mixture and error…”

There’s always focus on social media on errors in various churches. And of course, there’s plenty of it to go around. But I’d like to take just a moment here to say that there are a great many churches, and Christians, living out the Faith quite well. “Perfectly” even. There always have been! People born from above and thus pursuing love, “…which is the perfect bond of unity.” Colossians 3:14. The church of my God is pictured as a bride on her wedding day in Revelation 21:2 and there’s nothing more gorgeous than a bride on her wedding day! The church as a whole is just like any one of us- if you put a camera on any group and took random pictures, you’d see sin, but if you put a camcorder on them and recorded them for a bit you’d see a group (just like any disciple) growing in holiness and maturity over time.

A pure church is one with Scripture’s 66 books as its sole infallible source for truth. All of its creeds are written underneath all of Scripture as such. Discipleship in God by this truth leads to a duly constituted people with qualified male elders at the headship of the local church under Jesus and its people being given every blessing together that a church can. There’ll be doctrine, passion, growth, discipline and service.

Any good church is filled with truth and God’s power. It’s also filled with sinners who have God’s power and love his truth and still sin. And so, some error is to be expected.

I’m aware of several weaknesses in my theology. I’m a Reformed Baptist, so there aren’t many [joking], but as a person they’re there I know. Areas in what we aptly call the systematics of theology that I’d like to devote more time to. I’d love to have more of a mastery of whole texts like Isaiah and Jeremiah. In these areas, I’m certain there’s reason for me to listen far more than talk with others. My beliefs on several things like this are areas more prone to error than some others. To omission. In every true church that the triune God and his gospel of free grace is believed, there is a mixture of error present. We shouldn’t fear it. We are human beings. Redeemed human beings, but human beings nonetheless. We are all of us on the path of learning as disciples. This should endear our hearts toward each other. Errors can arise in several ways. They can arise from erroneous study. They can arise from un-founded biases, from a lack of experience, from sin, from Satan himself, etc.

The amazing and unique thing about our holy writings is that the audiences in view therein were just like us. It is timeless. We surely live in a different day than they, but the eternal triune God lives in us just the same. We learn from their successes and failures. The churches in Ephesus, Galatia, Philippi and Rome were “subject to mixture and error” too. So, we can have confidence in exactly how God gave us his word for the last two millennia (or the next six) as we carry out his purposes in our day.

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