LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 246

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 30. Of the Lord’s Supper. Paragraph 6: “That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into the substance of Christ’s body and blood, commonly called transubstantiation, by consecration of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant not to Scripture alone, but even to common sense and reason, overthroweth the nature of the ordinance, and hath been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries.”

We’re still seeing speech here against Rome’s (in their day) only rather recently codified transubstantiation idea. In just 1563 after the formative Council of Trent, Rome made official her condemnatory stance against anyone who would deny their un-biblically developed Eucharistic views. Now, here in England about 126 years later Rome’s views are being exhaustively opposed in a formative Baptist confession of faith. You have to try to understand the day. Also remember that Rome was identified since the Reformation era long prior as apostate on the Gospel and has still not recanted. I say this last part because this obviously makes a consideration of these points not just something for late seventeenth century Brits.

The elements of the Lord’s Table, as discussed already, take on no change of substance of any kind. I had the table this morning at my church. What a blessed and wonderful reminder of my religion it was to my soul! Oh, how I love the Table of Christ! I noticed some tiny crumbs in my hand just before we ate. I did not shake off some of Jesus’ body onto the floor. And the cracker and juice that remained in my hands were not at all worthy of worship. It goes against all reason and logic to teach the superstitions of the Catholic Mass. I would as soon gaze upon a sacred relic than eat a priest’s crackerly god. The Catholic Eucharist is undiluted idolatry.

On a drive home last night I recorded a brief audio talk called, “Why I Am a Biblicist” that I invite you to. Biblicists speak of Scripture alone, but speak of this with Scripture as the supreme authority, not Scripture as their only authority. It’s just that nothing else even comes close. Here in the confession they speak of “Scripture alone” and then also of “common sense and reason.” This is a proper order of things. Of course, there are confessions that distill the doctrines of the Faith. Of course, the church also has delegated authorities in her pastors. Of course, there are theologians God uses as major influences in their generations. There are debates, councils, heresies, and a number of other religious, economic, social, and ideological factors that affect a culture’s dictums like Luther’s war with a 450-year-old Romanism made him weaker in some areas of Christian theology while making him stronger in others. Luther had issues with James…I’d argue because of his fight with the Catholic church of his day. Metaphorically speaking he needed strong eastern, western, and southern defenses, but his northern defenses were naturally weak.

We test ideas by Scripture. It is a packaged deal given to the church. Jude 3. All matters can be settled there by Christians. Its 66 books are able to make us ready in everything. 2 Timothy 3:16-17. If something cannot be settled there it either cannot, or need not, be settled at all. We lose the ordinance of the table when we make it into a non-efficacious sacrament that never perfects. We maintain the ordinance when by it- as ordered- we remember the sacrifice of Christ, once for all time complete, that itself perfects all those for whom it was done. Hebrews 10:14.

Joseph Pittano

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