Monday, January 7, 2013

Hardshells & The London Confession VI

Chapter 131

Michael Ivey, who I have cited previously in this series, acknowledged that the Confession must surely teach the Gospel means position because he saw that this was the view of Hanserd Knollys, one of the leaders of the Particular Baptists of England who signed both the first and second London Confessions.  If there was any doubt about what the Confession taught on this subject (though there should not be since the Confession states the matter very clearly), a review of the writings of the authors of the Confession would settle the matter. 

It is one thing for the Hardshells at Fulton to say "we think this means," but it is another thing for them to say "we think that the authors of the Confession meant."  In interpreting and understanding the words of the Confession one can also look at the writings of those authors who put their signatures to the Confession.  It is not enough for the Hardshells to interpret the words of the Confession as they think they should be read and understood, but they must also show that this was in fact the view of the men who wrote and endorsed the Confession.  In this posting we will show from the writings of the authors of the old Confession that they believed exactly what they wrote.

William Collins, was one of the signers of the 1689 London Baptist Confession and was a co-pastor of the Baptist Church at Petty France, London.  In the year 1675, William Collins and Dr. Nehemiah Cox were ordained joint elders of the church in Petty France.

Said one author:

"Joseph Ivimey asserts "it is probable that the Baptist Catechism was complied by Mr. Collins, though it has by some means or other been called Keach's Catechism"."

"Such a testimony of his character and abilities well suits one thought to be co-editor (along with Nehemiah Coxe) of the Confession of Faith (see Documentary Sources and Origins of the Confession) and one to represent his church and subscribe it."  (see here)

The following extracts from "Keach's Catechism" (see here) make it apparent what Collins, Keach, and the other signatories of the 1689 Confession believed about the preaching of the Gospel being the means God employs for producing faith and salvation.  Thus, Collins, like Keach, was no friend to Hardshell "anti-means" doctrine.  Also, it is further proof that the Confession itself is but the reflection of what Collins and the other signatories wrote in their personal writings.  This Catechism was originally published to clarify the theology of the Second London Baptist Confession that was written in 1677 and published after the Glorious Revolution in 1689.

Collins gave us these questions and answers (emphasis mine - SG):

Q. 3. How do we know there is a God?

A. The light of nature in man, and the works of God, plainly declare that there is a God; but His Word and Spirit only, do effectually reveal Him unto us for our salvation.

(Rom. 1:18-20; Psalm 19:1,2; 2 Tim. 3:15; 1 Cor. 1:21-24; 1 Cor. 2:9,10)

Q. 4. What is the Word of God?

A. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, being given by divine inspiration, are the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.

(2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16,17; Isaiah 8:20)

This is important for understanding what the authors of the Confession meant by "the Word" by which sinners are effectually to life and salvation.  The catechism, which was attached to the London Confession, says that "the Word" is "the Scriptures."  The catechism says that it is by "His Word and Spirit" that Christ is effectually revealed "unto us for our salvation."

Q. 33. How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?

A. We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us, by His Holy Spirit.

(John 3:5,6; Titus 3:5,6)

Q. 34. How does the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?

A. The Spirit applies to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling.

(Eph. 2:8; 3:17)

I don't know how language could be any clearer and unambiguous.  The Spirit applies the redemption of Christ "by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling."  This is exactly what the Confession itself affirms.  They did not teach that men were united to Christ unto faith, but "by faith." 

Q. 35. What is effectual calling?

A. Effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, He does persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the Gospel.

(2 Tim. 1:9; John 16:8-11; Acts 2:37; 26:18; Ezekiel 36:26; John 6:44,45; 1 Cor. 12:3)

This definition of "effectual calling" uproots the Hardshell description of the experience.  The authors of the Confession say that effectual calling (regeneration, new birth) includes conviction of sin, enlightenment concerning Christ, and actually embracing Christ as he is "freely offered to us in the Gospel." 

Q. 92. What does God require of us, that we may escape His wrath and curse, due to us for sin?

A. To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requires of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption.

(Acts 20:21; Acts 16:30,31; 17:30)

What is stated in this question and answer in the catechism is exactly what is taught in the Confession to which it was attached.  In the Confession the authors affirmed that all who obey not the Gospel will be eternally destroyed and here they say the same thing. 

Q. 93. What is faith in Jesus Christ?

A. Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon Him alone for salvation, as He is offered to us in the Gospel.

(Heb. 10:39; John 1:12; Phil. 3-9; Gal. 2:15,16)

One cannot help but see how the authors of the Old Baptist Confession did not define "faith" as do our modern Hardshell innovators.  They knew nothing of a "faith" that was not cognitive, that did not with the heart and mind embrace the revelation concerning Christ, what is "offered to us in the Gospel." 

Q. 94. What is repentance unto life?

A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, does, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.

(Acts 2:37; Joel 2:13; Jer. 31:18,19: 2 Cor. 7:10,11; Rom. 6:18)

Notice that "repentance unto life," which is discussed in the Confession, is here made to include "apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ."  Thus, it involves cognition.

Q. 95. What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption?

A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption are His ordinances, especially the Word, Baptism, the Lord's Supper and Prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.

(Rom. 10:17; James 1:18; 1 Cor. 3:5; Acts 14:1; 2:41,42)

Language could not be any clearer!  The subject is the communication of the "benefits of redemption."  The "ordinary means" for this communication includes "the Word," and "which are made effectual to the elect for salvation." 

Q. 96. How is the Word made effectual to salvation?

A. The Spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith unto salvation.

(Ps. 119:11,18; 1 Thess. 1:6; 1 Peter 2:1,2; Rom. 1:16; Ps. 19:7)

This verse uproots Hardshellism!  The "preaching of the Word" is "an effectual means of convincing and converting (regenerating) sinners."  And, thus it all is "through faith unto salvation." 

Q. 97. How is the Word to be read and heard that it may become effectual to salvation?

A. That the Word may become effectual to salvation we must attend thereunto with diligence, preparation and prayer, receive it in faith and love, lay it up in our hearts and practice it in our lives.

(Prov. 8:34; 1 Peter 2:1,2; 1 Tim. 4:13; Heb. 2:1,3; Heb. 4:2; 2 Thess. 2:10; Ps. 119:11; James 1:21,25)

What clear words to uphold the means position, which has always been the position of the real Old Baptists. 

This old Catechism was adopted, used, and recommended by the Charleston Association in 1813.  Whoever agrees with this catechism is a real "Old Baptist."

Nehemiah Coxe was the son of the early Particular Baptist leader Benjamin Coxe.  He died in 1688, one year before the adoption of the 1689 Confession.  Coxe was a co-pastor with William Collins and it is said that he and Collins wrote the draft of the 1689 Confession.  Coxe was a qualified physician, skilled in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, and a discerning theologian.

Coxe wrote:

"It is sad to consider, how many there are among professors, that live in the world, as if there were no truth in the report of that which is to come, and have the meanest esteem of the most necessary means of salvation, viz., the Word, and ordinances of Christ, and a Gospel ministry; can expend perhaps an hundred pounds per annum, more or less, for the convenience, ornament, or delight of a frail carcase, but will not bestow half so much for the poor, or the support of Gospel worship."  (From a funeral sermon preached by Coxe in 1681)

Coxe, another signatory to the Confession, says that "the Word" and "a Gospel ministry," are "the most necessary means of salvation." 

Hercules Collins was a leading Particular Baptist pastor in London and was a signer of both the 1644 and 1689 London Baptist Confession. 

In his Catechism we read (see here):

Q. 21 What is true faith? A. True faith is not only a knowledge and conviction that everything God reveals in his Word is true; it is also a deep-rooted assurance, created in me by the Holy Spirit through the gospel, that, out of sheer grace earned for us by Christ, not only others, but I too, have had my sins forgiven, have been made forever right with God, and have been granted salvation.

1John 17:3, 17; Heb. 11:1-3; James 2:19
2Rom. 4:18-21; 5:1; 10:10; Heb. 4:14-16
3Matt. 16:15-17; John 3:5; Acts 16:14
4Rom. 1:16; 10:17; 1 Cor. 1:21
5Rom. 3:21-26; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-10
6Gal. 2:20
7Rom. 1:17; Heb. 10:10

This destroys the Hardshell notion that saving faith is non-cognitive and brings no Gospel knowledge.  This saving faith, said Collins, is "created in me by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel."  Further, Collins knows nothing of a non-cognitive "faith" for he says that "true faith" is a "knowledge and conviction." 

Q. Is then Salvation restored by Christ to all men who perished in Adam?

A. Not to all: but to those only who by a true Faith are ingrafted into him, and receive his benefits.

John 1: 12 and 3: 36. Isa. 53: 11.  Psall. 2: 12. Rom. 11: 20. Heb. 4: 2 and 10: 39.

Again, how much clearer can the authors of the Confession be?  Only a blinded Hardshell cult member will fail to grasp what is meant by faith being the means whereby sinners "are ingrafted into him and receive his benefits."

Q. What is Faith?  (page 7)

A. It is not only a knowledge, whereby I surely assent to all things which God hath revealed unto us in his Word, but also an assured trust kindled in my heart by the Holy Ghost, through the Gospel, whereby I make my repose in God, being assuredly resolved that Remission of Sins, everlasting Righteousness, and life is given not to others only, but to me also, and that freely through the Mercy of God, for the Merits of Christ alone.

Heb. 11:13. Jam. 2: 19. Gal. 2: 10. Rom. 4:16. and 5: 1 and 10:10.  Rom. 1: 16 and 10:17. I Cor. 1: 21. Mar. 16: 16. Acts 16:14. Mat. 16: 17. John 3: 5. Gal. 5: 22. Phil. 1: 19. Rom. 3: 24, 25. Acts 10: 45

Does Collins define "faith" as do our Hardshell brethren?  Did he think that there was such a thing as "non-cognitive faith"?  Did he think that there was true traith apart from hearing the Gospel? 

Q. But why art thou called a Christian? (pg. 12-13)

A. Because through Faith I am a member of Jesus Christ, and partaker of his anointing, that both I may confess his name, and present my self unto him a lively Sacrifice of thankfulness, and also may in this life fight against Sin and Satan  with free and good conscience, and afterwards enjoy an everlasting Kingdom with Christ.

Acts 11: 26. I Cor. 6: 15. I John 2: 27. Isa. 59: 2. I John 2: 28. Matt. 10: 33. Rom. 12: 1. Apoc. 5: 8. I Pet. 2: 5. 2 Tim. 2: 12. Rom. 6: 12, 13. Apoc. 1: 6. I Tim. 1: 18, 19.

Q. But when thou believest all these things, what profit redoundeth thence unto thee?

A. That I am righteous in Christ before God, and an Heir of eternal Life.

Rom. 1: 17. John 3: 36. Rom. 3: 4 and 22, 24, 25, 28. Rom. 5: 1. Gal. 2: 16. Eph. 2: 8,9.

Q. How art thou righteous before God? (pg. 22-23)

A. Only by Faith in Christ Jesus.  So that although my Conscience accuse me that I have grievously tresspassed against all the Commandments of God, and have not kept one of them, and further am as yet prone to all Evil, yet notwithstanding if I embrace these Benefits of Christ with a true Confidence and Persuasion of mind, the full and perfect Satisfaction, Righteousness and Holiness of Christ, without any Merit of Mine, of the meer Mercy of God is imputed and given unto me, and that so, as if neither I had committed any Sin, neither any Corruption did stick unto me, yea as I my self had perfectly accomplished that Obedience which Christ accomplished for me.

Rom. 3: 9. Rom. 7: 23. Rom. 3: 22. Joh. 3: 18. Tit. 3: 5. Eph. 2: 8,9. I John 2: 2. Rom. 3: 24. Deut. 9: 5,6. Ezek. 36: 22. I John 2: 1, Rom. 4: 4,5. 2 Cor. 5: 19. I Cor. 5: 21.

Q. Why affirmist thou that thou art made Righteous by Faith only?  (pg. 23-24)

A. Not for that I please God through the Worthiness of meer Faith, but because only the Satisfaction, Righteousness and Holiness of Chrit is my Righteousness before God, and I cannot take hold of it, or apply it unto my self any other way than by Faith.

I Cor. 1: 30 and I Cor. 2: 2. I John 5: 1.

These questions and the answers to them make it clear what the authors of the Confession believed about faith and its relation to salvation.  The answers clearly show that they believed that faith was  necessary for salvation and this is exactly what they affirmed in the Confession.

Q. Seeing then that only Faith maketh us Partakers of Christ and his Benefits, whence doth it proceed?  (Pg. 25)

A. From the Holy Ghost, who kindleth it in our Hearts by the preaching of the Gospel, and other Ordinances, and confirmeth it by the use of the Sacraments.

Eph. 2: 8 and 6: 23. John 3: 5. Phil. 1: 29. Mat. 28: 19,20. I Pet. 1: 22, 23.

Here they show that they believe that faith is produced by the means of Gospel preaching and that they know nothing of the kind of "faith" that the Hardshells speak about, a faith that does not come by the Gospel and that is non-cognitive.

Q. Of what Parts consisteth the Conversion of Man unto God? (pg. 47-48)

A. It consisteth of the mortifying of the old Man, and a quickening of the new Man.

Rom. 6: 4,5. Eph. 4: 22, 23, 24. Col. 3: 5, 8, 9, 10. I Cor. 5: 7. 2 Cor. 7: 11

This is very clear.  The authors of the Confession view "conversion" as being all the same as the "quickening."  This is denied, however, by the Hardshells.

In his book "Mountain of Brass," Collins wrote (see here):

"The sanctification of the church at Thessalonica, and their belief of the truth (2 Thess. 2:13), was in order to that salvation they were chosen and appointed unto from the beginning (1 Thess. 5:9). In a word, our calling, justification, and glorification, are all the effects of God's eternal purpose."

Again, Collins writes what is the belief of the London brethren who authored the London Confession and it is clear that he believed what is stated in the Confession and what the Hardshells deny that it teaches.

English Particular Baptist, Hanserd Knollys, of London Baptist Confession fame, and an early preacher in America, was unlike our modern Hardshells and Hyper Calvinists, for he believed that the gospel was a means in salvation. Knollys said:

"So often as the Gospel comes to any Soul not in word only, but in power and in the Holy Spirit, 1 Thessalonians 1:5, there is a Miracle wrought in them that receive the Gospel, Luke 7:22, and they then receive the Holy Spirit with his graces and gifts… So then we need not stay [i.e. wait] for a Ministry with Miracle, being we have a Word with Miracle."  (Knollys - "The Shining as a Flame of Fire in Zion," London: 1646, as cited by Haykin in "English Particular Baptists of the 17th Century")

Michael Ivey, as we have already seen, acknowledges that Knollys believed in Gospel means and here is another citation which proves it.  Knollys was a signer of both the first and second London Confessions.

Here is an article from John Spilsbury's personal confession of faith.

"I believe that God of his grace, in his own time, effectually calls such as shall be saved to the knowledge of the truth, who is said, of his own will to beget us by the word of truth: in which work of grace, nature is as passive, as a child in the parents begetting of it; and so God by His Spirit works faith in the hearts of all such to believe in Christ, and his righteousness, only for justification. And thus they are made righteous before God in Christ, and so conformable to the will of God the Father through the Son; and also made holy through the work of regeneration, and the holy Spirit of grace dwelling in them; yet all such have still, as long as they live here in the flesh, remaining in them, an old man, that original corruption, the flesh that wars against the spirit, which hinders them in their obedience both to God and to man, and many times draws them to that which is evil, and contrary to their intentions; yet all of them shall through Christ overcome, and safely be brought to glory at last."

Though Spilsbury did not sign the second London Confession, having died prior to its writing, he was nevertheless one of the first leaders of the London Particular Baptist churches and what he expresses in the above citation is what was the common faith of the churches who endorsed the London Confession of 1689.

All this testimony is simply further proof that the authors of the London Confession believed in Gospel means and that the effort of the Fulton elders was nothing but an attempt to convince their own cult members that they did not believe it, but it is nothing but a deception intended to deceive their own members.

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