LBCF 1689 Reflections (part 67)

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 which is according to a Baptist flavor.




Chapter 5, Of Divine Providence, paragraph 7: As the providence of God doth in general reach to all creatures, so after a more special manner it taketh care of his church, and disposeth of all things to the good thereof.

You cannot learn about the Resurrection of Jesus The Christ by looking at the metamorphosis of a caterpillar. The change of the caterpillar can only teach you about that Resurrection if you already know of the Resurrection. Despite this, it is perhaps a most underestimated truth of Scripture that all men know that God exists. Romans 1:20 says, “since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” An i-pod and being busy with one’s reflection in the mirror at the gym is not an excuse for denying this. All men infallibly know that “God is” even by their fallen natural perceptibility of God’s creation and conscience. By his creation you cannot deny him. Not just “a god”, but “The God” is undeniable. He is no local deity, no god just of this or that. He is God of all. You have to suppress the truth of this because you’re unrighteous to miss it. You can suppress it, but you must work to do so. Nonetheless, no one has an excuse. This is a presupposition we should all work to define and develop in our understanding of mankind.

Aside from the knowledge that can be had by simply a non-foolish appropriation of any natural sense or by any legitimate scientific discipline there is also that knowledge that the confession here calls “special”.

Special revelation is that given through the prophets and the Apostles. It’s God’s “words”. It has come to be 66 total books. These are the 39 book Old Testament writings, and the 27 book New Testament writings. This revelation can only be learned via some form of person to person information transfer. It is a communicated message. It cannot merely be lived; it must also be shared. The church has that message and works to spread it as it is making disciples today. The church is said to be the custodian of that message when it’s told to “…contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Jude 3.

The church (the elect literally scattered across the planet) hasn’t once for one moment failed over the past 2,000 years! It is God’s appointed end and it works perfectly every single time. I say this last part because I believe we have to learn to rightly measure success. Hint: it ain’t by numbers. Often today the misperception of success is assumed only once we’ve taken the gospel to everyone. No. That’s not how we should measure success. We should work for that end, but it’s not that we’ve failed until we do so. God’s church isn’t God. The gospel isn’t merely to “improve upon God’s justice.” Nor is it just “giving everyone a chance to hear”. Ambassadors are not telemarketers. God has his elect; we’ll get them every time. Since the foundation of the world not one of his sheep has been lost. Every soul appointed for harvest has been gathered. Do you think of the church that way, or do you see us as the proverbial “Catchers in the Rye”? just catching all we can? God has used his intended instrument to gather his sheep. It can’t miss because he doesn’t miss.

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