Monday, May 27, 2013

Comparing Two Statements of Faith: Part Four

          There is a great deal of agreement in the New Hampshire Baptist Confession of Faith (1833) and the Treatise on the Faith and Practice of the Free Will Baptists (1834).  There are also very stark differences between the two confessions.  Essentially these confessions come down to the differences in theology between a group that is Calvinist and another that is Armenian.  When each group considers the other in error theologically, such differences are not easily overcome.  Where opportunities to cooperate for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God might exist, differences such as those described often serve to obstruct such cooperation. 
          The author does not subscribe to Calvinism/Reformed theology or Armenianism though elements of both systems are present in the author’s theology.  Rather, the author considers himself to be a Baptist with views similar to most held by our Anabaptist predecessors.  The Free Will Baptist confession ascribes too much weight to the actions of the sinner thereby reducing the role of God in salvation to that of spectator.  The New Hampshire Baptist confession says much about what God has done for man and precious little about what God has done in man through salvation.  This seminarian is of the opinion that there is Scripture to support both positions.  Since Scripture does not contradict Scripture, neither position can be completely correct.   

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