Confession of Faith

–NOTE–THIS PAGE IS NOT FORMATTED CORRECTLY–I AM WORKING ON FIXING THE PROBLEM–JOEL. 

This page is dedicated to expressing what we at Sovereign God Ministries believe.  It will take some time to fully develope.  We will be posting the text of the Second London Baptist Confession of 1689 and it will serve as our basic document.  I will add explanatory notes in every chapter to help the reader better understand the doctrines, and we will disagree with the 1689 Confession in at least two places.  These disagreements will be clearly noted and an alternate understanding will be offered.

The 1689 Confession, together with the Westminster Confession on which it is based, comprises the thinking of some of the greatest biblical theologians in history.  We will be in perfect agreement with it throughout most of the document.  However, we will disagree with it on a finer point of the law and the sabbath.  We do not enter into disagreement  with these great men of the faith lightly.

We will begin with the first chapter of the confession, and will leave out the preface and list of signatories.  These may be seen at http://www.reformedreader.org/ccc/1689lbc/english/1689econtents.htm.

Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures

1. The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible1 rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience, although the 2light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and his will which is necessary unto salvation.3  Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in divers manners to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto4 writing; which maketh the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of God’s revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.
12 Timothy 3:15-17; Isaiah 8:20; Luke 16:29, 31; Ephesians 2:20; 2Romans 1:19-21; Romans 2:14,15; Psalms 19:1-3; 3Hebrews 1:1; 4Proverbs 22:19-21; Romans 15:4; 2 Peter 1:19,20
2. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these,

Of the Old Testament.

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, I Chronicles, II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Solomen, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations,Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

Of the New Testament.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles, Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Timothy, II Timothy, To Titus, To Philemon, The Epistle to the Hebrews, Epistle of James, The first and second Epistles of Peter, The first, second, and third Epistles of John, The Epistle of Jude, The Revelation.  All of which are given by the5 inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.
52 Timothy 3:16
3. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of6 divine inspiration, are no part of the canon (or rule) of the Scripture, and, therefore, are of no authority to the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of than other human writings.
6Luke 24:27, 44; Romans 3:2
4. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon7 God who is truth itself, the author thereof; therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God.
72 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 John 5:9
5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church of God to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scriptures; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, and the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole which is to give all glory to God, the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, and many other incomparable excellencies, and entire perfections thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet not withstanding, our8 full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.
8 John 16:13,14; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12; 1 John 2:20, 27
6. The whole counsel of God concerning all things9 necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture; unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men.Nevertheless, we acknowledge the11 inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word, and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be12 ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
92 Timothy 3:15-17; Galatians 1:8,9;  11John 6:45; 1 Corinthians 2:9-12; 121 Corinthians 11:13, 14; 1 Corinthians 14:26,40
7. All things in Scripture are not alike13 plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation, are so14 clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of them.
132 Peter 3:16; 14Psalms 19:7; Psalms 119:130
8. The Old Testament in15 Hebrew which was the native language of the people of God of old, and the New Testament in Greek which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations, being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore16 authentic; so as in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal to them17. But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have a right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded in the fear of God to read18 and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they19 come, that the Word of God dwelling20 plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.
15Romans 3:2; 16Isaiah 8:20; 17Acts 15:15; 18John 5:39; 191 Corinthians 14:6, 9, 11, 12, 24, 28; 20Colossians 3:16
9. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the21 Scripture itself; and therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture which is not manifold, but one, it must be searched by other places that speak more clearly.
212 Peter 1:20, 21; Acts 15:15, 16
10. The supreme judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit, into which24 Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.
21Matthew 22:29, 31, 32; Ephesians 2:20; Acts 28:23
 

EXPLANATORY NOTES:  The Bible is the Word of God.  It is without error.  It can not fail.  It does not “contain” the Word of God, as in, some of it is inspired and some of it isn’t ispired.  We believe that EVERY WORD of the Bible proceeds out of the mouth of God.  No one can be saved without the light of scripture in the form of the Bible itself, or Bible-based preaching, or other Bible-based communication such as tracts and other literature.  We should base all of our beliefs and practices, without exception, on the Bible alone.  In areas not directly addressed in scripture, we must make decisions based on sound biblical principles.  The principle of love toward God and our neighbors is applicable in all situations.While the Bible is effective in nominally curbing the sinfulness of unsaved people, and unregenate people may hear the preaching of the word and show some passing interest in it; nevertheless the word does not effect them in a saving way because the things of God cannot be understood by the natural man.  But those that have been born again by the Spirit of God are brought by the Word into a state of faith, growth, holiness, and ultimate deliverence from this world of sin.Furthermore, when the Holy Ghost “moved” men to write down the Word of God, He did it through the particular language and personality of the man so moved, so that when we read Matthew’s Gospel, we are reading divinely inspired words, but those words are in Matthew’s voice.  Likewise with the Gospel of John, whose voice is obviously different than Matthew’s, but equally inspired nonetheless.At Sovereign God Ministries, we prefer the King James Version of the Bible, but we do not believe it is the only useful version, nor do we believe that it is “inspired” in the same sense that the original manuscripts were inspired.  We recognize that the King James Version translators did not in every case make the best translation, and some later versions do a better job than the KJV in translating certain passages.  Nevertheless, we regard more recent translation with caution, because most of them question the validity of certain texts, using an arbitrary rule in saying that older manuscripts are “better” than the less ancient copies.  We do not consider the age of a manuscript alone as the determining factor in it’s validity.     

 

Does that make God a sinner?  After all, if everything is decreed, that means that evil and sin is also decreed.   While it is true that God decreed evil and sin to come to pass, we must be careful to know that while God created man with the potential for sin, He did not cause him to sin.  God created Satan, but He did not make him sin.  It can even be said that God created evil, but He did not create sin.  Sin came into the world by the disobedience of Adam, who sinned by his own free choice.  

Yet this was all planned and decreed to happen for a purpose.  The purpose of evil and sin is to make redemption necessary for man to worship God, which worship is to the Glory of God.  Only a redeemed sinner can worship God with a greater heart of praise than the angels.   

Chapter 4: Of Creation

1. In the beginning it pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, to create or make the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days, and all very good.
( John 1:2, 3; Hebrews 1:2; Job 26:13; Romans 1:20; Colossians 1:16; Genesis 1:31 )
 

 

 
 

 

2. After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, rendering them fit unto that life to God for which they were created; being made after the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it, and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject to change.
( Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:7; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Genesis 1:26; Romans 2:14, 15; Genesis 3:6 )

3. Besides the law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which whilst they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.
( Genesis 2:17; Genesis 1:26, 28 )
 
 

 

Chapter 2: Of God and of the Holy Trinity

1. The Lord our God is but one only living and true God; whose subsistence is in and of himself, infinite in being and perfection; whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself; a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; who is immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, every way infinite, most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will for his own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him, and withal most just and terrible in his judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.
( 1 Corinthians 8:4, 6; Deuteronomy 6:4; Jeremiah 10:10; Isaiah 48:12; Exodus 3:14; John 4:24; 1 Timothy 1:17; Deuteronomy 4:15, 16; Malachi 3:6; 1 Kings 8:27; Jeremiah 23:23; Psalms 90:2; Genesis 17:1; Isaiah 6:3; Psalms 115:3; Isaiah 46:10; Proverbs 16:4; Romans 11:36; Exodus 34:6, 7; Hebrews 11:6; Nehemiah 9:32, 33; Psalms 5:5, 6; Exodus 34:7; Nahum 1:2, 3 )
2. God, having all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of himself, is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creature which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them; he is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things, and he hath most sovereign dominion over all creatures, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever himself pleaseth; in his sight all things are open and manifest, his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to him contingent or uncertain; he is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands; to him is due from angels and men, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience, as creatures they owe unto the Creator, and whatever he is further pleased to require of them.
( John 5:26; Psalms 148:13; Psalms 119:68; Job 22:2, 3; Romans 11:34-36; Daniel 4:25, 34, 35; Hebrews 4:13; Ezekiel 11:5; Acts 15:18; Psalms 145:17; Revelation 5:12-14 )
3. In this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, the Father, the Word or Son, and Holy Spirit, of one substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undivided: the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son; all infinite, without beginning, therefore but one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties and personal relations; which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable dependence on him.
( 1 John 5:7; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Exodus 3:14; John 14:11; 1 Corinthians 8:6; John 1:14,18; John 15:26; Galatians 4:6 )
Explanatory Commentary:  God is a trinity; or, as some have said, God is “triune” – “three in one”.  This does not mean that there are three Gods as some unitarian and “oneness” practitioners have falsely alleged.  God is one, but He manifests himself in three co-equal, co-eternal “persons” – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  This truth cannot be missed, for we plainly see that the “Logos”, the Son of God, from the 1st Chapter of John, was in fact the “maker” of all things in the creation; hence, they mystery of Genesis 1, “let ‘us’ make man in ‘our’ image”, is revealed.

Chapter 3: Of God’s Decree

1. God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established; in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree.
( Isaiah 46:10; Ephesians 1:11; Hebrews 6:17; Romans 9:15, 18; James 1:13; 1 John 1:5; Acts 4:27, 28; John 19:11; Numbers 23:19; Ephesians 1:3-5 )

2. Although God knoweth whatsoever may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions, yet hath he not decreed anything, because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.
( Acts 15:18; Romans 9:11, 13, 16, 18 )

3. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated, or foreordained to eternal life through Jesus Christ, to the praise of his glorious grace; others being left to act in their sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of his glorious justice.
( 1 Timothy 5:21; Matthew 25:34; Ephesians 1:5, 6; Romans 9:22, 23; Jude 4 )

4. These angels and men thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.
( 2 Timothy 2:19; John 13:18 )

 
5. Those of mankind that are predestinated to life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love, without any other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving him thereunto.
( Ephesians 1:4, 9, 11; Romans 8:30; 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Romans 9:13, 16; Ephesians 2:5, 12 )
EXPLANATORY NOTES:  God does not learn things – on the contrary, He decrees things.  One of the basic attributes of God is His omniscience (all-knowing).  If God knows everything, past present and future, then it follows that He can not learn anything.  God knows what He knows, not because He learned what would happen, but because He decreed what would happen.  Nothing happens that was not decreed by God.  Nothing.  The events of time are not left to blind chance, and neither is the Kingdom of God built by blind chance.  It’s all by design and has a purpose.  

Chapter 5: Of Divine Providence

 

1. God the good Creator of all things, in his infinite power and wisdom doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, to the end for the which they were created, according unto his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will; to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness, and mercy. 
( Hebrews 1:3; Job 38:11; Isaiah 46:10, 11; Psalms 135:6; Matthew 10:29-31; Ephesians 1:11 )
2. Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly; so that there is not anything befalls any by chance, or without his providence; yet by the same providence he ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.
( Acts 2:23; Proverbs 16:33; Genesis 8:22 )

3. God, in his ordinary providence maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them at his pleasure.
( Acts 27:31, 44; Isaiah 55:10, 11; Hosea 1:7; Romans 4:19-21; Daniel 3:27 )

4. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, that his determinate counsel extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sinful actions both of angels and men; and that not by a bare permission, which also he most wisely and powerfully boundeth, and otherwise ordereth and governeth, in a manifold dispensation to his most holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness of their acts proceedeth only from the creatures, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.
( Romans 11:32-34; 2 Samuel 24:1, 1 Chronicles 21:1; 2 Kings 19:28; Psalms 76;10; Genesis 1:20; Isaiah 10:6, 7, 12; Psalms 1:21; 1 John 2:16 )

5. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations and the corruptions of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself; and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for other just and holy ends. So that whatsoever befalls any of his elect is by his appointment, for his glory, and their good.
( 2 Chronicles 32:25, 26, 31; 2 Corinthians 12:7-9; Romans 8:28 )

6. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as the righteous judge, for former sin doth blind and harden; from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understanding, and wrought upon their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had, and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin; and withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan, whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, under those means which God useth for the softening of others.
( Romans 1:24-26, 28; Romans 11:7, 8; Deuteronomy 29:4; Matthew 13:12; Deuteronomy 2:30; 2 Kings 8:12, 13; Psalms 81:11, 12; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Exodus 8:15, 32; Isaiah 6:9, 10; 1 Peter 2:7, 8 )

7. As the providence of God doth in general reach to all creatures, so after a more special manner it taketh care of his church, and disposeth of all things to the good thereof.
( 1 Timothy 4:10; Amos 9:8, 9; Isaiah 43:3-5 )

 

 

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