Saturday, May 18, 2013

Comparing Two Statements of Faith: Part One

This series was originally posted a couple of years ago while I was a seminary student at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.  I was asked to remove it by an adjunct professor after one of his students "used" the material for a similar assignment.  Lesson: good schools are checking up on the assignments submitted by their students.    

          I love studying history.  Of course, those who know me would not be surprised to learn that this includes church history but I am also quite interested in world history.  The history lessons taught in so many schools neglects the impact that the church has had on history over the centuries.  This sad truth is a topic for another day!

The study of various confessions of faith is essential in understanding the changes that occurred in different periods of history.  Such a study is also necessary for the student desiring to more fully understand how the positions of differing denominations formed and how things came to be in the present day.  To that end, this monograph will compare and contrast the New Hampshire Baptist Confession of Faith (1833) with the Treatise on the Faith and Practice of the Free Will Baptists (1834).  Both groups share a common understanding of a number of issues and yet they differ on others.  Given the constraints of the current assignment, this paper will compare three similar positions held by both confessions and then contrast three positions.

          The three positions both confessions hold in a similar view are on the Scriptures, the Fall of Man, and the Attributes of God.  The differences to be discussed are the Ordinances, Election versus the Gospel Call, and Perseverance of the Saints.  The Treatise on the Faith and Practice of the Free Will Baptists (1834) is fully Armenian in theology while the New Hampshire Baptist Confession of Faith (1834) is decidedly Calvinistic in theology.  It is for this reason the differences between these points is so stark when compared side by side.  While any number of other combinations are certainly possible, these similarities and differences are of great interest to me.  The conclusion will briefly offer the my thoughts on both confessions as well as the possibility of cooperation between congregations that would embrace either confession.

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