Chapter Plodding: 1689 LBCF
This will be the second 'book' I've covered in my Wednesday series called "Chapter Plodding". In my first round, I went chapter by chapter highlighting Coekin's book, The Reluctant Evangelist. For this round, I'd like to go chapter by chapter through a confession of faith I cherish called The Second London Baptist Confession (1689). I did not anticipate working through the Confession in this way, but it will be profitable for me to do so and hopefully you'll be encouraged along the way.
Consider this post my introduction to what I will call the Confession (mostly because writing "The Second London Baptist Confession (1689)" each time I refer to the Confession is just ridiculous). Before I begin, here is where you can purchase your own copy of the Confession or read it for free electronically there as we work through the chapters together. Confessions of faith are important for Christians and local churches. They clearly synthesize what Christians believe the Bible teaches. Confessions aren't inspired by God the way Scripture is inspired by God. Confessions organize and clearly articulate the unchanging truths contained in God's Word.
This particular Confession is important. It is hundreds of years old. It is was carefully crafted by orthodox reformed baptist believers who stewarded the gospel well, their congregations well and submitted their thinking to the authority of Scripture. This Confession articulates a Biblically grounded reformed Baptist faith. In other words, this Confession identifies a certain theological identity animates the church body that subscribes to it.
Now, I will be working chapter by chapter through this Confession on Wednesdays for several reasons:
It is edifying for my own soul to do so.
To introduce you to the 1689 LBCF and help explain it.
To demonstrate the need for more comprehensive statements of faith. Local churches have become too vague in their beliefs. Joel Beeke once said, 'worldliness creeps in through vague statements of faith.' I agree and believe we see evidence of that in local churches all throughout the country.
To demonstrate that churches do not need to write their own statements of faith. Confessions like this one are sufficient. These old statements of faith (and there are many good old ones) have been tested over time and they link us to our brothers and sisters in church history. Statements of faith crafted today are not near as crisp or orthodox as the one we're about to work through and others crafted many many years ago.
Below you will find some very important introductory remarks that give you some brief background on this particular Confession. These remarks come from Dr. James M. Renihan in the Solid Ground Christian Books publication of the Confession. Below are his comments:
Introduction to the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith by James M. Renihan 
In February, 1694, a new congregation, known as the Maze Pond Church from their location in the city, was constituted in London. The very first page of their manuscript church book begins with these words:
We believe the holy Scriptures of the old and new testament to be the word of God, and a sufficient rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience, further herein we agree with a Confession put forth by our brethren the Baptists in the year 1688 and signed at a General assembly by thirty seven of them.
Their intent in stating this was very simple. For this church, the Second London Baptist Confession defined their theological identity. And they were not alone. The thirty seven 'brethren' mentioned were merely representative of over 100 churches in England and Wales which held the Confession in high esteem.
Soon after, it crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and became the theological standard for most Baptist churches in the American colonies, known in the north as the Philadelphia Confession (it was originally printed in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin) and in the south as the Charleston Confession. It is widely recognized as the most important Baptist Confession written in the English language.
It is difficult to pinpoint the time of year when it came from the printer. The first known reference to the Confession is in the manuscript church book of London's Petty France congregation. In that book we read that on August 26, 1677, this note was entered: 'It was agreed that a Confession of faith, with the Appendix thereto having been read and considered by the Brethren: should be published.' This indicates a publication date later in the year, and may also point to the source and editors of the Confession: the Petty France Church and its pastors Nehemiah Coxe and William Collins.
These two men were held in high esteem by their peers, Coxe being the son of the Baptist pioneer Benjamin Coxe, and Collins a divinity graduate of one of the Universities (we don't know which one). It seems likely that they edited a variety of documents, produced the Confession, presented it to their church for approval, and then circulated it among other congregations. Certainly, it was well received and adopted by others, becoming the standard for their churches.
What documents were used in editing the Confession? I imagine a scene like this: on a table is placed an English Bible, a Hebrew Old Testament, a Greek New Testament, copies of the Confession of Faith as well as the Larger and Shorter Catechisms of the Presbyterian Westminster Assembly of 1643-48, the Savoy Declaration and Platform of Polity produced by the Congregationalists who met at the Savoy in London in 1658, and a copy of the First London Baptist Confession of 1646. Perhaps there were other books on the table also. But certainly, the editors employed each of these in thinking through and expression the system of Christian theology they bequeathed to us.
 Remarks are from The Baptist Confession of Faith and The Baptist Catechism published by Solid Ground Christian Books and Reformed Baptist Publications