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Does the 2nd London Baptist Confession only permit 1689 Federalism?

On 10, Jul 2015 | In | By admin

No. 1689 Federalism is a view of covenant theology (distinguished by its belief that the old and new covenants differ in substance and that only the new covenant is the covenant of grace) that was held by the vast majority of particular baptists in the 17th century. It accounts for the change in language found in the 2nd London Baptist Confession with regards to covenant theology (in comparison to the WCF). However, this new language was written broadly enough to allow a variety of views to equally confess it. The label “1689 Federalism” is not intended to suggest that no other view is permissible amongst confessional baptists.

For more on this, please see these helpful posts from Samuel Renihan:

Particular Baptists and the Substance/Administration Distinction (Part 1)

Particular Baptists and the Substance/Administration Distinction (Part 2)

4. The confession declines to confess the Westminster model of one covenant of grace under two/multiple administrations, when in the preface it is stated that the same words will be used where agreement exists. It does not teach, employ, or endorse this distinction anywhere else in the confession.

5. The confession does not state a difference of substance between the old and new. While that is the best explanation for the changes from WCF 7 to LBCF 7, it is not explicitly asserted.

6. While the confession positively supports that notion (that the old and new differ in substance), it is probable that it also remains broad enough to accommodate some of the variety within Particular Baptist federal thought.

7. From my reading, the majority opinion of the Particular Baptists was a self-conscious rejection of the Westminster model. And in my opinion, making a Baptist argument within the Westminster Paedobaptist framework is fraught with problems, nor does it take advantage of the rich heritage that our forefathers left us in their writings on this topic.

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