If you are a regular follower of this blog you will know of my conviction that concerning the Christian faith there is only one authority, namely the Bible. It is the infallible Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20, 21). What men say about it, including me, needs to be examined by reference to the Bible itself to ensure that what is said conforms to it (Acts 17:10, 11).
Sadly, men in their desire to clarify their beliefs, and for the conduct of Christians and for the running of churches, have written creeds and confessions of faith which do not hold water.
Prior to this I have written about two confessions of faith that do not, in part conform to the Bible. They are:
The Fallibility of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith?
The Westminster Confession of Faith
I wish to draw your attention to another confession of faith which does not entirely conform to the Bible, i.e., The Baptist Affirmation of Faith 1966. A PDF copy of it can be found here:
As with the aforementioned confessions of faith, I’ll select a few instances where the supporting texts do not substantiate what is claimed.
The first discrepancy is found under the heading ‘The doctrine of God’, Section 3, ‘Creation’.
The doctrine of God
God also created the first human pair, male and female. with intelligent and immortal souls, and made after the image of God, being perfectly righteous and holy, and completely able to fulfil the law of God implanted in their nature.
Gen. 1:12; John 1:3; Heb. 11:3; Psa. 19:1; Rom. 1:20; Gen. 1:27; Mat. 19:4; Gen. 9:6; James 3:9; Ecc. 7:29; Job 38 and 39; Psa. 104:24; 33:5, 6; Col. 1 :16; Rom. 11:36; Isa. 43:7; Rev. 4:11
Which of the supporting texts proves that God ‘implanted in their nature’ the law of God? How was that law defined? It certainly couldn’t have be the Torah, otherwise known as the Pentateuch, consisting of the first five books of the Bible. Neither could it have been the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), which some call the Moral Law.
Now, let’s look at:
The doctrine of the grace of God
The Covenant of Grace (2)
Having regard to man’s helplessness as a sinner, God, being both righteous and gracious, has taken the initiative to save his people by his own act of mercy. He has done this by means of a covenant, known as the Covenant of Grace.
Isa. 42:6; 49:7-8; Jer. 31 :31-34; Rom. 4; Titus 1 :2; Rom. 1: 12; Heb. 8:610; John 17:2, 9, 10, 24; Heb. 7:22.
With whom did God make a ‘Covenant of Grace’, and where is it recorded in the Scriptures?
Let’s examine the texts:
Isaiah 42:6 states that ‘You’ (Jesus) would be given as ‘a light to the Gentiles’. This giving would be ‘as’ a covenant. The eyes of the people would be opened. You might say that God was gracious in doing this, but He did not make a ‘covenant of grace’ with the Israelites or with the Gentiles.
Isaiah 49:7, 8 refers to the Redeemer of Israel, and to the fact He would be ‘a light to the Gentiles’ (v 6), and He would be given ‘as’ a ‘covenant’ to the people (v 8).
God is indeed gracious, but He did not make a Covenant of Grace with Israel or with Jesus. If you can describe the Mosaic Covenant (Exodus 19:5,6), it would most certainly not be described as a covenant of grace. It undoubtedly was a ‘covenant of works’. There was only One who could fulfil it, i.e., Jesus, because the keeping of it required a perfect person who was without sin (Hebrews 4:14, 15).
Jeremiah 31:31-34 refers to the New Covenant in the blood of Christ (Luke 22:20; 2 Corinthians 3:6). The New Covenant made the Old Covenant [Mosaic Covenant] obsolete (Hebrews 8:13). Both covenants are ‘biblical’ covenants, unlike ‘theological’ covenants which are not God-made, but are constructs of men. The New Covenant is indeed gracious; however, it is not described as such in the Bible.
Romans 4 speaks of salvation and righteousness through faith according to grace (v 16), but within it there is no mention of a Covenant of Grace.
Hebrews 8:6-10 explains how Jesus’ ministry was superior to that of Moses. He was the promised Priest who would be the Mediator of the New Covenant in His blood.
The other texts (Tit 1:2; Rom 1:12; John 17:2, 9, 10, 24; Heb 7:22) provide no substance to God making a Covenant of Grace with anyone.
Moving on to:
The doctrine of the Christian life
The Lord’s Day (2)
We believe that God has set apart one day in seven and its observance is binding upon all men. It is to be kept holy and is designed also for man’s benefit. The Church has a warrant to observe the first day of the week as the Lord’s Day, because it is the day of our Lord’s resurrection. No detailed instructions are given in Scripture as to the way in which this day is to be kept, but ample allowance is made for works of mercy and necessity. The day is to be used for rest from secular labour and worldly recreation, and for the occupation of the whole person in the worship and service of the Lord.
Ex. 20:8-11; Luke 4:16; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:12; Rev 1:10.
Exodus 20:8-11 was a legal requirement for the Israelites. They were to keep the last day of the week holy and do no work on it. This is not so for believers who are in Christ (Romans 6:11), since He instituted the New Covenant in His blood which made the Mosaic Covenant obsolete (Hebrews 8:13).
Luke 4:16 – Jesus fulfilled the Mosaic Law (Matthew 5:17) on behalf of those who would believe in Him; therefore observing the Sabbath was right and proper for Him until the time of His crucifixion. In fact He was Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8), and He explained how it should be kept, i.e., with ‘mercy and not sacrifice (v 7)’.
The disciples met on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7), but no scripture confirms they did it because Jesus rose to life on a Sunday. Even if there was confirmation, other scriptures point out that no day has to be observed or made special. Paul said, “You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have laboured for you in vain (Galatians 4:10).” He also said, “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ (Colossians 2:16, 17).”
1 Corinthians 16:1, 2 has nothing to do with a directive for observance of the Lord’s Day. Paul ordered individual members of the Corinthian church to put aside money on the first day of the week for supporting the saints in Jerusalem (v 3).
Revelation 1:10 tells of John’s account of what happened when he was in the Spirit, which happened to be a Sunday.
Nowhere in the New Testament is there a directive for Christians to observe Sunday as the Israelites were obliged to keep their Sabbath (Exodus 31:16). Neither is there a directive as to how it should be observed by Christians.
Let us skip to the:
Statement of Faith
The doctrinal standards of the Assembly are the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 and We Believe’, the Strict Baptist Affirmation of Faith (second edition 1973).
As mentioned at the beginning, I have previously identified shortcomings of the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689. Here’s a link to that article:
Be like the Bereans who diligently searched the Scriptures for the truth (Acts 17:10, 11).
Test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21).