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Article 10 of the London Confession of 1689 Examined

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					Article 10 of the London Confession of 1689 Examined
                                      Submitted by: Elder Bill Allen

         When was the last time you actually read the 1689 London Confession? It is presented by
some Primitive Baptists, who are preaching Reformed type doctrine, as THE STANDARD of
Baptist faith and practice. They go running back to it every time they get into doctrinal trouble
over what they preach. They waive it around like a banner, like a badge of honor and identity.
Once an elder told me that he wished the Fulton brethren in 1900 had recognized the problems
inherent in the 1689, gave it to the Absoluters if they wanted so bad, and had spent their time
productively drafting a uniquely Primitive Baptist document. I must say that I agree. Below is just
one of the problematic articles, no. 10, of the 1689 with the 3 related Fulton footnotes. My
problem with the Fulton footnotes is not that they where themselves unsound. They were quite
sound, but the Fulton brethren were deceiving themselves in thinking that the 1689 was basically
sound but just not properly understood. The 1689 is just a thinly veiled Presbyterian Westminster
Confession that has been made more "bapistic". If we take the wording of the 1689, particularly
in this article, for what it clearly says in plain English it can be easily seen that it is a hopeless
wreck of a document that no amount of footnotes, explanations, or wishful thinking can fix. I'll
make some comments in the body of the article below in square brackets [ ] to demonstrate. My
point is that we should NOT make any endeavors to lay claim to the 1689 Confession but instead
should do what the Fulton brethren did not and that is let those who believe such things have it as
the Calvinist confession that it clearly is.

1689 London Confession with Fulton Footnotes Chapter 10 Of Effectual Calling.

1. Those whom God hath predestined unto life, He is pleased in His appointed and accepted time,
effectually to call,(1) by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are
by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; (2) enlightening their minds spiritually and
savingly to understand the things of God; (3) taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto
them a heart of flesh: (4) renewing their wills, and by His almighty power determining them to
that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; (5) yet so as they come most
freely, being made willing by His grace. (6) 10.1 [Note, this says the effectual calling is by the
His Word and Spirit. It is vital to the understanding of this article to discern exactly what they
mean by the use of "Word". The Fulton brethren correctly insist that on the Living Word, i.e.
Christ, is the source of the Effectual Call. Unfortunately, they would like us to believe that is
what this article says. I contend that this is wishful thinking. They are imposing what we know to
be the truth on what other men have said in an effort to white wash something that would have to
be otherwise rejected if taken for what it says. I contend the authors of this confession were
consistent in their use of "Word". Below we will see what that means.]

1. Ro 8:30; 11:7; Eph 1:10-11, 2Th 2:13-14.
2. Eph 2:1-6.
3. Ac 26:18; Eph 1:17-18.
4. Eze 36:26.
5. Dt 30:6; Eze 36:27; Eph 1:19.
6. Ps 110:3; SS1:4.

2. This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything at all forseen in
man, nor from any power or agency in the creature,(7) being wholly passive therein, being dead
in sins and trespasses, until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit;(8) he is thereby
enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it, and that by no
less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead.(9)
[This portion of the article gives a very mixed message as to the effectual call. On the one hand it
is presented as a pure work of God as in the resurrection, but on the other as “grace offered” and
“conveyed”. This leaves the distinct impression that the effectual call is not completed in a
singular act of the Holy Spirit, but that the Holy Spirit is only the initiator of it and that an act of
the volition of the new creature finishes it up. The use of “conveyed” clearly implies that the
effectual call is being brought to the creature by the Holy Spirit through secondary means, rather
than directly. It leaves me with the impression that the preached word might very well be the
means of conveyance. It certainly does not distinctly eliminate the possibility by the wording of
this part. It is very difficult to find any sort of satisfactory interpretation of this portion while
accounting for 100% of the language used. Suffice it to say that this is not how Primitive Baptist
teach the subject of the effectual call. Also, don't forget the authors just said in the part 1 that the
"Word" was the source, or jointly source with the Spirit in this call. We must still determine what
is meant by "Word" in this article.]
7. 2Ti 1:9; Eph 2:8.
8. 1Co 2:14; Eph 2:5; Jn 5:25.
9. Eph 1:19-20.
3. Infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit;(10) who
worketh when, and where, and how He pleaseth;(11) so also are all elect persons, who are
incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word. 10.3.
[This part is the one that tells the tale. It reveals something as to the usage and meaning of
"Word" in the entire article. The first clause is clear enough. The infant is regenerated and saved
by Christ through the Spirit as are all elect persons. Amen! However, notice that at the end the
stipulation is made concerning lack of being called by the ministry of the Word. This makes it
clear that these men are contending that the ministry of the Word is NOT the same as being save
by Christ through the Spirit. The Fulton brethren had already insisted that the "Word" meant
Christ in this article. This third part of the article clearly demonstrates that this is absolutely not
the case. The authors have separated what they mean by "ministry of the Word" from Christ and
his work through the Spirit which is what all sound Primitive Baptists understand the work of
Christ the Word to be. The authors are saying in the plainest of English that the elect are
regenerated by Christ through the Spirit if they are otherwise incapable of being outwardly called
by the ministry of the Word. This ministry of the Word is therefore not the same as regeneration
by Christ though the Spirit. Regeneration by Christ through the Spirit is given here as an
ALTERNATIVE what the authors appear to be stating is the regular means of regeneration, i.e.
the ministry of the Word. Any honest reading of this portion must result in the conclusion that the
ministry of the Word is meant to be the preached or written word. The truth is that all the elect are
indeed regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit. The preaching of the word, or ministry
of the Word as the authors state it, is irrelevant . Remember, in part 1 of the article the effectual
call is said to be by His Word and Spirit. They list two things as being coworkers in the effectual
call, Word and Spirit. We can now see they do still list these things as different and that Word is
NOT Christ, but the preached word. Keep this in mind s we look at the last part of this article.]
10. Jn 3:3,5-6.
11. Jn 3:8.

4. Others not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have
some common operations of the Spirit,(12) yet not being effectually drawn by the Father, they
neither will nor can truly come to Christ, and therefore cannot be saved:(13) much less can men
that receive not the Christian religion be saved, be they never so diligent to frame their lives
according to the light of nature and the law of that religion they do profess.(14) 10.4

[Now, the final proof is laid that the Word under consideration by the authors is the preached
word and not the Living Word. This part says that there are those who are not elected, who are
called by the ministry of the Word. This means just what it says. We all know and believe that the
bible can be preached to those not elected. We also know that it will not change their nature in
any way because it is not the effectual call. We also know that Christ is not effectually calling
those not elected. Such would of course be nonsense, and obvious proof that the authors do not
have Christ, the Living Word, in mind when they are speaking of the ministry of the Word.
Finally, note that last portion of part 4. It speaks of those who receive not the Christian religion.
The Christian religion as it is put here is that which men would receive to follow in their lives
after hearing the preached word. Yet we are told here that men who do not receive this preached
word are doomed to eternal separation from God n Hell, i.e. not saved, the end for those not
elected. We can only conclude from this and the above article that the only exception to this is for
infants or idiots, because other men are capable of rationally hearing the word preached - whether
it is ever actually preached to them or not! Yet the other parts of this article also insist that the
Word works with the Spirit or is part of the effectual calling. So, we can conclude that for the
elect - excluding infants and idiots - the ministry of the Word, the preached word, is a guaranteed
fact of the effectual call. Can you see the slippery slope at work here? For the preached word to
be a guaranteed fact for the elect, it must be PREDESTINATED. If the preached word is
predestinated for the elect, so is the minister, and so is the church. If this is the case, then any to
who the word is not preached must not have been elect anyway and if not elect, the bound for
Hell. This is Absolutism and Fatalism at its worst, but that is precisely what you get wen take this
tenth article of the 1689 London Confession for what is says in plain English. The Fulton
Footnote for this part of the article does not take the rest of the article into account in any way and
is a weak attempt to explain this forth part away without coming to grips with what is being said
as a whole. Brethren, if this vital bible subject is so completely mishandled by the 1689 London
Confession, why should any confidence be placed in it by Primitive Baptists. It is a Calvinist
confession, let them have it!]

12. Mt 22:14; 13:20-21; Heb 6:4-5.
13. Jn 6:44-45,65; 1Jn 2:24-25.
14. Ac 4:12; Jn 4:22; 17:3.

(Fulton Footnotes)
10.1: We do not understand that sinners are effectually called by the written word in any sense
out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature to grace and salvation but by Christ,
the Word of God. The quickening and renewing of the Holy Spirit prepares the sinner to answer
the gospel call, as seen in Section 2; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 John 4:6

10.3: We understand this section to teach that all persons dying in infancy are of the elect, and
will therefore be saved. We do not understand from this that infants and insane persons are saved
in a manner different from the manner in which all other elect persons are saved. The word
"others" in Section 4 has no reference to infants, but adults who are subjects of the ministry of the
Word.

10.4: We understand for man to be spiritually profited by the gospel he must have been born of
God and made partaker of his divine nature, and by the words "common operations of the Spirit"
is understood as teaching that the gospel has an enlightening and moral influence upon all rational
men.

				
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