Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What the Calvinist Baptists Leave Out

In the last couple of weeks I've been studying the early confessions of Baptists. I find it humorous that on most Calvinist websites, they point to the London Confession of 1644 as "the First Confession" of Baptists. Conveniently they ignore the first true Baptist confession put together by Thomas Helwys in 1611. (See www.generalbaptist.net/resources/confessions/helwys.htm ) The reason they claim the 1644 London Confession is that it bolsters their claim that the first Baptists were actually calvinist/Paritular. Not so...

Helwys had led a group of English Baptists back to England and planted a church, and wrote this declaration of faith, clearly identifying the first "Baptists" to see the atonement as general (for all mankind) and to understand that man -- though totally depraved -- retains free will, that when called by the Holy Spirit through prevenient or precedent grace, is enabled to receive or reject God's grace unto salvation.

I hope to post much more on this subject in the coming weeks -- though I am on my way to teach a class at the moment. I look forward to exploring this subject further.

J. Dale Weaver, M. Div.

1 comment:

Ben said...

I will be interested to learn from your research; I do, however, have serious doubts that you will find any conclusive evidence that the original Baptists had any theological semblance to modern Free Will Baptists.

I would also like to apologize on behalf of myself and other Reformed Baptists who tend to make asses out of ourselves when in dialogue about doctrine; however, most of us have battled our own church experience and tradition to come to the conclusions that we reach after consulting the Scripture, and we are therefore convinced. For me personally, it was not as though I wanted to believe that I worshipped a God who shows indiscriminate, pre-ordained preference for souls. It actually sounded pretty sick. But confronting the Scripture's teaching on election and the scope of the atonement is totally necessary for understanding God. Once you see things and reform your thinking, you can't stop telling other people about it. Admittedly, it often smells like arrogance, but often, it is a lot more like surety and passion to help others see the Truth about salvation.