LBCF Reflections. Part 201

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.


Chapter 23. Of Lawful Oaths and Vows. Paragraph 5: “A vow, which is not to be made to any creature, but to God alone, is to be made and performed with all religious care and faithfulness; but popish monastical vows of perpetual single life, professed poverty, and regular obedience, are so far from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are superstitious and sinful snares, in which no Christian may entangle himself.”
The first part of this up until “…popish monastical…” has been dealt with already and is reiterated here in a contrasted setting as something again cautioned as only to be done to God. Not “on” or “by God’s throne,” but that well-understood oaths are to be taken as honorable men and women fully prepared to be held at our word.

The addresses woven throughout this 17th Century confession repeatedly address the Roman Catholic Church for good reason. Not only were these Baptists students of the Bible and students of the great Reformation doctrines that poured forth before them, but they also lived in a land that had- and would again- sway back and forth under the entrapments of the Romish church. It isn’t necessary to go into each point mentioned here at this time, but the readers and confessors of this blessed confession were very well served by their leaders to be cautioned over and over against everything Roman Catholic. Being that the culture so very much would have tempted many of them to go back to the mass and offer again its false sacrifices for sin, these constant warnings smack of the letter of Hebrews and the warnings to the Jewish converts in the First Century. Just as believers were warned not to go back to the temple to offer sacrifices at Moses’ altar, so believers in England were warned not go back to the pope’s altar in any way. Our faith is not the same, our authorities are not the same, our vows are not the same.

“But My righteous one will live by faith;

and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” Hebrews 10:38.
Whether it’s warnings against Catholic superstition, or modern day warnings against rash oaths, either secular or religious, believers must be careful not to ensnare themselves in rash or foolish promises.

Joseph Pittano

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