devotional

07SEP
2014

LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part Three.

 

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

OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES

 

OF THE OLD TESTAMENT: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, I Chronicles, II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles, Paul's Epistle to the Romans, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Timothy, II Timothy, To Titus, To Philemon, The Epistle to the Hebrews, Epistle of James, The first and second Epistles of Peter, The first, second, and third Epistles of John, The Epistle of Jude, The Revelation
 

All of which are given by the inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.

 

     I affirm these books alone as inspired along with this confession. Like my fathers in the faith, I too, by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in me, now find in these words God’s own words. “Inspiration” is perhaps the weightiest term one can use to define the Bible. Its words are, “inspired.” This means, in the biblical sense, that they’re, “Breathed out or exhaled by God,” 2 Timothy 3:16-17. “Holy Scripture,” “Word of God,” these are titles not rightly given to other writings. These are special writings. God delivered these books to His church perfectly. We Christians have the Bible, and want nothing more. These words, we believe, are delivered to the church universal. They are binding over us all in every generation, and teach us supernatural things. The Bible is not a science book, but it is 100% accurate when it speaks scientifically. It is not a magic book, but is rather to be pursued, studied and mastered. It is a book written by over 40 inspired authors from all walks of life over roughly a 1,500 year time period. It outlines the origins of us all, the history of the Jewish People, and the future of us all. God’s word is transcendent. Though it was written in vastly different times and in an alien culture to my own it’s completely applicable in every way to me today. It changes cultures. It is not a western book; it’s not an American book, or an American Religion. It has changed my people…even though my people hate it for the most part today. It is not locked in its authored time, but is completely timeless. The Holy Spirit uses it in our day in wondrous ways. Think of learning about God like a private class. Consider that the curriculum for that class was collected in phases over a long while. Consider also that the completion of these 66 books now takes a student through every level of learning now necessary to make a person fully “schooled” on the subject. God, in this book, has now opened the classroom up to every willing student for a lifetime of learning. It has both basic and advanced principles.

     There are 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. There are many things that could be listed to show the differences between Old and New Testaments. Basically, it’s all about the life and ministry of Jesus. Jesus lived among us on earth from about 5 B.C. to A.D. 28. His life, death, Resurrection and Ascension divide Old and New Testaments. Most specifically, I believe that He Himself divides them with the shedding of His blood. Cf. Hebrews 9:16.

     These books alone among all on earth contain prophecies so precise and mind-boggling that anyone informed cannot deny the supernatural origin of the text. Prophecy is completely absent from any other religious books. You will not find prophecy in evil books. The Book of Mormon is devoid of it. The Quran is devoid of it. The Vedas are all void of it. Dianetics is devoid of it. Gnostic “gospels” are devoid of it.

     It’s been well said that the Old Testament (OT) is the New Testament (NT) concealed, and the NT is the OT revealed. That’s a great statement! It’s all one story, but it is divided. There are 66 books listed above. This is yet another way the true church is set apart from Roman Catholicism as they list most of the Apocryphal Books as a second canon (more to follow on this later). These 66 books are the same 66 books in our Bibles today. These 66 books were codified and recognized as Scripture from the very first days they were written by Christians. Seriously, I give The DaVinci Code my vote as the most boring and pathetic movie ever made. I just saw it this week. Wow! Dumb. But I digress. These 66 uniquely blessed books were codified and finally canonized between A.D. 367 and 397. The OT was written roughly between 1,450 and 430 B.C., and the NT was written between about A.D. 40 and 90. Between their authorship and our canonization of them nearly 270 years later against the lies of Satan, we can catalog roughly 32,000 quotations between A.D. 70-325 from these books. There are 86,489 direct quotes from outside the Bible cataloged in all from both advocates and opponents to it before it was even canonized. We can reconstruct the entire New Testament (except ~10 verses) from such extra Biblical writers before A.D. 325, so away with any claims as to its unreliability as a historical document. Its writers (thinking NT primarily now) went to their death professing to have seen miracles that changed the world.

     Their writings have changed the world. It is the Holy Spirit by and through them who has done so. These are God’s words. How do you treat them? It is in them alone that you will find the only God who exists or has ever existed. No other books can teach you about God like these. Like this confession, we profess them today. They are our sole absolute rule for life and faith. The idea of a canon is to discover crookedness by something straight. The canon is a measuring rod like a yardstick. We know these books are straight. We have always known this. They are our straight edge to discover crookedness anywhere else. I love this confession for listing these. I profess these 66 books alone not just as a Baptist, but as a Christian.

 

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