Book Review: The Baptist Confession of Faith 1689 (Pocket Puritan)

Many thanks to Banner of Truth for a review copy of The Baptist Confession of Faith 1689 in a pocket size format, which is dubbed Pocket Puritan.

Rationale

According to Banner of Truth, “since God has remarkably revived biblical Calvinism among Baptists in recent years, interest in this historic Confession has been renewed.”

Format

Along with a few other notable titles, Banner of Truth has decided to put out these significant works in a pocket size format.  It comes in burgundy, trutone leather, great readable font (9 pt).  The paper is somewhat tan.  In addition, changes have been made in spelling and punctuation to suit modern usage.  My only hiccup:  it has no ribbon.  I believe one would have made this perfect (perhaps I’m asking for too much here).

History of the Confession

In the 17th century these Particular Baptist, part of the wider 16th century Reformation movement, like others around them, published their Confession of their Faith, “for the information and satisfaction of those that did not thoroughly understand what our principles were, or had entertained prejudices against our profession.”

The First Baptist Confession had already been issued in 1644 but by only seven Baptist congregations in London.  It was issued to distinguished Calvinistic Baptists from Arminian Baptists and Anabaptists.  The Presbyterians had issued their Westminster Confession of 1646, and the Congregationalist Westminster Confession, issued their Savoy Confession in 1658.

It must be noted, however, that the Baptist Confession of 1689 was really the Baptist Confession of 1677.  You see, because of persecution and hostility, these Baptists were not allowed to published their Confession.  But when the Act of Toleration became law on May 24, 1689, representatives from 107 congregations met in London from the 3rd to the 11th of September and adopted the Baptist Confession of 1677.

Like the Savoy Confession of the congregationalists, the Baptist Confession was virtually adopted the Westminster Confession, and where it differs with the Westminster, it tends to follow the Savoy Confession.  But there are a few places where these Baptist did not follow either the Westminster or the Savoy Confession.

And 19th century British Baptist Charles Haddon Spurgeon had the following to say about the Baptist Confession:

“I have thought it right to reprint in a cheap form this excellent list of doctrines, which were subscribed to by the Baptist Ministers in the year 1689.  We need a banner because of the truth; it may be that this small volume may aid the cause of the glorious gospel by testifying plainly what are its leading doctrines . . . May the Lord soon restore unto His Zion a pure language, and may her watchmen see eye to eye.”

Spurgeon wrote this when he was only in his second year at the New Park Street Chapel.  He was about 20 or 21.

In conclusion, the Baptist Confession of 1689 remains an important document of what these early English Baptists believed and practiced.  Also, it goes a long way to correct many of the misunderstandings and caricatures of what Baptists, in this case Reformed Baptists, believed.

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This entry was posted in 1689 Baptist Confession, Anabaptists, Baptists, Calvinism, Charles Spurgeon, Westminster Confession and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Book Review: The Baptist Confession of Faith 1689 (Pocket Puritan)

  1. Lon says:

    I agree: a ribbon, and maybe a Moleskine style elastic band would make it perfect. I may have to get one now.

  2. Pingback: What They're Saying About Banner Books (2013 No. 2) - Banner of Truth

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