On January 12, 2003, the Calvary Baptist Church of Lamar Colorado adopted the following confession of faith based on the Philadelphia Confession of Faith. This confession of faith expresses what the people of the Calvary Baptist Church of Lamar believe and forms the basis for the conduct of church and individual member affairs.
On September 25, 1742, “the elders and messengers of the baptized [Baptist] congregations in Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, met in Association at Philadelphia.” In that meeting “a motion was made in the Association for reprinting the confession of faith set forth by the elders of baptized congregations [that] met in London, AD 1689, with a short treatise of church discipline, to be annexed to the confession of faith.” The articles were then to be printed by Benjamin Franklin in 1743. This confession was the standard for American Baptist Churches until the middle of the nineteenth century when the churches adopted the shorter New Hampshire Confession of Faith.
When Charles Spurgeon became the pastor of the New Park Street Chapel in London in the 1800s, he realized the importance of securing his people on a solid rock of biblical and baptistic doctrine. For this purpose he reprinted and distributed for his people the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689). He wrote an introduction, instructing his people on its right use. This is what he said:
This little volume is not issued as an authoritative rule, or code of faith, whereby you are to be fettered, but as an assistance to you in controversy, a confirmation in faith, and a means of edification in righteousness. Here the younger members of our church will have a body of divinity in small compass, and by means of Scriptural proofs, will be ready to give a reason of the hope that is in them. Be not ashamed of your faith; remember it is the ancient gospel of martyrs, confessors, reformers, and saints. Above all, it is the truth of God, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. Let your lives adorn your faith; let your example adorn your Creed. Above all, live in Christ Jesus, and walk in Him, giving credence to no teaching but that which is manifestly approved of Him, and owned by the Holy Spirit. Cleave fast to the Word of God which is here mapped out for you.
What Spurgeon said to his people is good for us as well: “Cleave fast to the Word of God which is here mapped out for you.” In these times when doctrinal is of less significance than practical issues, the Calvary Baptist Church stands on the conviction that we must “take heed unto [ourselves], and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this [we shall] both save [ourselves], and them that hear [us]” (1 Timothy 4:16).
The Bible is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.1 While the light of nature, the works of creation, and providence manifests the goodness, wisdom, and power of God so as to leave men inexcusable, these are not sufficient in themselves to give the knowledge of God and His will necessary to salvation.2 Therefore it pleased the Lord at different times and in various ways to reveal Himself and to declare His will to His church.3 In order to better preserve and propagate the truth and to better establish and comfort the church against the corruption of the flesh, the malice of Satan and the world, He has committed this truth wholly to writing. Thus, the Bible is now absolutely necessary because all the previous means of God’s revealing His will to His people have ceased.4
Under the label of Holy Scripture or the written Word of God are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments. Of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. Of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation.
The books known as the Apocrypha, being not divinely inspired, have no place in the canon (or rule) of the Scripture, nor are they to have any authority in the church. They are not to be otherwise approved or used except as human writings.5
The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, does not depend on the testimony of any man or church. Because God, who is truth Himself, is the Author of the Holy Scripture, it is to be received as the Word of God.6
The testimony of the church concerning the heavenly nature of its subject matter, the power of its doctrine, the majesty of its style, the agreement its contents, the unity of its scope (which is to give all glory to God), and its revelation of the only way of salvation should move us to esteem the Holy Scripture reverently. These and many other incomparable and perfect features are abundant evidence that it is the Word of God. However, in spite of this evidence, it is only the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts7 that will fully assure us of the infallible truth and divine authority of it.
The Holy Scripture either expressly states or necessarily infers the whole counsel of God concerning everything necessary for His own glory and our salvation, faith, and life. Thus, nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit or by traditions of men.8 Nevertheless, the inward illumination of the Spirit of God is absolutely necessary to understand savingly the things revealed in the Word.9 We also recognize that there are some things common to society concerning the worship of God and the government of the church that can be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, which, according to the general rules of the Word, are always to be observed.10
Everything in Scripture is not equally plain or clear to all.11 However, what is necessary for us to know, believe, and observe for salvation is clearly revealed in the Scripture so that both educated and uneducated people may, by due use of ordinary means, gain sufficient understanding of salvation.12
The Old Testament in Hebrew, the native language of the Israelites,13 and the New Testament in Greek, which, at the time the New Testament was written, was most generally known to the nations, having been inspired and kept pure in all ages by His care and providence, are, therefore, authentic. Thus, in all controversies of the faith, the churches are to appeal to the Scripture as the final authority.14 The original languages of Scripture are not known to all God’s people. However, God’s people all have a right to the Scripture, being commanded of God to read15 and search it.16 Therefore, the Scripture is to be translated into the common language of every nation.17 In this way, the Word of God is available to all for worshiping Him acceptably and so that, through patience and comfort of the Scripture, they may have hope.18
The infallible rule for the interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself. Therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (not many Scriptures but one only), it must be interpreted by other references in the Word that speak more clearly to the issue.19
The Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit is, therefore, the final authority by which all controversies of faith are to be determined. All decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and peculiar views are to be examined and finally resolved by Scripture alone.20
References: 12 Timothy 3:15-17; Isaiah 8:20; Luke 16:29, 31; Ephesians 2:20; 2Romans 1:19-21; 2:14, 15; Psalm 19:1-3; 3Hebrews 1:1; 4Proverbs 22:19-21; Romans 15:4; 2 Peter 1:19, 20; 5Luke 24:27, 44; Romans 3:2; 62 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 John 5:9; 7John 16:13-14; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12, 1 John 2:20, 27; 82 Timothy 3:15-17; Galatians 1:8, 9; 9John 6:45; 1 Corinthians 2:9-12; 101Corinthians 11:13, 14; 14:26, 40; 112 Peter 3:16; 12Psalm 19:7; 119:130; 13Romans 3:2; 14Isaiah 8:20; 15Acts 15:15; 16John 5:39; 171 Corinthians 14:6, 9, 11, 12, 24, 28; 18Colossians 3:16; 192 Peter 1:20, 21; Acts 15:15, 16; 20Mattew 22:29, 31, 32; Ephesians 2:20; Acts 28:23.
The Lord our God is the one only living and true God.1 His subsistence is in and of Himself,2 infinite in being and perfection. His essence cannot be comprehended by any but Himself.3 He is pure spirit,4 invisible, without body parts or passions. He only has immortality, dwelling in the light unto which no man can approach.5 He is immutable,6 immense,7 eternal,8 incomprehensible, almighty,9 every way infinite, holy,10 wise, free, and absolute (sovereign). He works all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and righteous will11 for His own glory.12 He is loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin. He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.13 He is just and terrible in His judgments,14 hating all sin,15 and will by no means clear the guilty.16
God, having all life,17 glory,18 goodness,19 and blessedness in and of Himself, is alone all-sufficient. He does not need any creature that He has made, nor does He derive any glory from them20 but manifests His own glory in, by, unto, and on them. He is alone the fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things.21 He has sovereign dominion over all creatures to do by, for, or to them whatsoever He pleases.22 In His sight all things are open and manifest.23 His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent of the creature so that nothing is to Him contingent or uncertain.24 He is holy in all His counsels, works,25 and commands. To Him is due from angels and men whatever worship,26 service, or obedience they, as creatures, owe to the Creator and whatever He is pleased to require of them.
In this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences: the Father, the Word (or Son), and the Holy Spirit.27 All are of one substance, power, and eternity. Each possesses the whole divine essence without that essence being divided.28 The Father is neither begotten nor proceeds from any. The Son is eternally begotten of the Father.29 The Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son.30 All are infinite and without beginning. God is therefore but one God, undivided in nature and being, but distinguished by several singular relative properties and personal relations. The doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of our entire communion with God and dependence on Him.
References: 11 Corinthians 8:4, 6; Deuteronomy 6:4; 2Jeremiah 10:10; Isaiah 48:12; 3Exodus 3:14; 4John 4:24; 51 Timothy 1:17; Deuteronomy 4:15, 16; 6Malachi 3:6; 71 Kings 8:27; Jeremiah 23:23; 8Psalm 90:2; 9Genesis 17:1; 10Isaiah 6:3; 11Psalm 115:3; Isaiah 46:10; 12Proverbs 16:4; Romans 11:36; 13Exodus 34:6, 7; Hebrews 11:6; 14Nehemiah 9:32, 33; 15Psalm 5:5, 6; 16Exodus 34:7; Nahum 1:2-3; 17John 5:26; 18Psalm 148:13; 19Psalm 119:68; 20Job 22:2, 3; 21Romans 11:34-36; 22Daniel 4:25, 34, 35; 23Hebrews 4:13; 24Ezekiel 11:5; Acts 15:18; 25Psalm 145:17; 26Revelation 5:12-14; 271 John 5:7; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 28Exodus 3:14; John 14:11; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 29John 1:14, 18; 30John 15:26; Galatians 4:6.
God has from all eternity freely and unchangeably decreed everything that comes to pass by the wise and holy counsel of His own will.1 Yet all is so decreed that God is neither the author of sin nor is He complicit with any in sin.2 On the other hand, His decree does not violate the will of the creature nor remove the liberty or contingency of second causes. Indeed, they are established.3 By using second causes to accomplish His decree, God’s wisdom in ordering all things is revealed with His power and faithfulness.4
Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass under any possible conditions,5 He did not decree anything because He foresaw it either as future or as it would likely come to pass under such conditions.6
God’s decree includes, for the manifestation of His glory, that some men and angels are predestinated or foreordained to eternal life through Jesus Christ.7 This decree is for the praise of His glorious grace.8 The rest of men and angels are left to their own sin for their just condemnation to the praise of His glorious justice.9 Predestination is particularly and unchangeably designed so that the number of the elect is certain and definite and can neither increase nor diminish.10
Those who are predestined to life are chosen in Christ to everlasting glory. This choice was made before the foundation of the world, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, in the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will. This choice was made solely of His free grace and love11 without any contribution from the creature as a condition or cause moving Him to choose them.12
As God has appointed the elect to glory, so, by the eternal and free purpose of His will, He has foreordained all the means to bring them to glory.13 Therefore, the elect, and only the elect,14 though fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ.15 Only the elect are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit, and only the elect are in due season justified, adopted, sanctified,16 and kept by His power through faith unto salvation.17
The doctrine of predestination is a deep mystery and should be handled with special prudence and care. Devoting oneself to obeying the will of God as revealed in the Word will lead to certainty about one’s effectual calling and thus should also give one assurance of his eternal election.18 In this way, the doctrine of election will be a matter for praise,19 reverence, and admiration of God. It will also be a matter of humility,20 diligence, and consolation to all who sincerely obey the gospel.21
References: 1Isaiah 46:10; Ephesians 1:11; Hebrews 6:17; Romans 9:15, 18; 2James 1:13; 1 John 1:5; 3Acts 4:27, 28; John 19:11; 4Numbers 23:19; Ephesians 1:3-5; 5Acts 15:18; 6Romans 9:11, 13, 16, 18; 71 Timothy 5:21; Matthew 25:34; 8Ephesians 1:5, 6; 9Romans 9:22, 23; Jude 4; 102 Timothy 2:19; John 13:18; 11Ephesians 1:4, 9, 11; Romans 8:30; 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; 12Romans 9:13, 16; Ephesians 2:5, 12; 131 Peter 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 14John 10:26; 17:9; 6:64; 151 Thessalonians 5:9, 10; 16Romans 8:30; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 171 Peter 1:5; 181 Thessalonians 1:4, 5; 2 Peter 1:10; 19Ephesians 1:6; Romans 11:33; 20Romans 11:5, 6, 20; 21Luke 10:20.
In the beginning it pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,1 for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power,2 wisdom, and goodness, to create or make the world and all that is in it, both visible and invisible. This creative process took place in the space of six ordinary twenty-four hour days. When it was finished, it was complete and without evil, God declaring it all to be very good.3
After God made all other creatures, He created man, male and female,4 with reasonable and immortal souls5 suited to live for God. He was made after the image of God in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness,6 having the law of God written on his heart.7 In this condition, he had the ability to obey that law but could also transgress it, having the liberty of his own will.8
Besides the law written in his heart, he received a command that he should not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.9 As long as he kept this command, he was happy in his communion with God and his dominion over the creatures.10
References: 1John 1:2, 3; Hebrews 1:2; Job 26:13; 2Romans 1:20; 3Colossians 1:16; Genesis 1:31; 4Genesis 1:27; 5Genesis 2:7; 6Ecclesiastes 7:29; Genesis 1:26; 7Romans 2:14, 15; 8Genesis 3:6; 9Genesis 2:17; 10Genesis 1:26, 28.
By His wise and holy providence, God upholds, directs, disposes, and governs all creation1 from the greatest to the least2 for the purpose that they were created. All that He does in the creation is to the praise of His glory,3 reveal-ing His almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, infinite goodness, and infallible foreknowledge by the free and immutable counsel of His own will. God’s foreknowledge and decree are the source of all things, by which everything occurs immutably and infallibly.4 Nothing happens by chance or occurs outside His Providence.5
Ordinarily God orders things according to second causes (or means), either by necessity, freely, or contingently;6 however,7 He is also free to work without,8 above,9 or against any means10 if He so pleases. This control extends even to the fall of Adam and all the subsequent sinful acts of both men and angels.11 His determinate counsel not merely permits but actually determines what He wisely orders and powerfully governs12 to the many dispensations of His holy ends.13 In this, however, the creatures’ sinful acts proceed only from the creature and not from God as a cause. He, being most holy and righteous, cannot be either the author or approver of sin.14
God often permits His own children for a time to suffer temptations either to chasten them for their sins or show to them the strength of their own corruption or the deceitfulness of their own hearts. These occasions should humble and draw the believers to a closer and constant dependence upon Him for their support. They should also make them sensitive to present occasions of sin and more watchful against future occasions. These temptations may also serve other just and holy purposes.15 Whatever happens to any of God’s elect, however, is always by His appointment for His glory and their good.16
God, the righteous Judge, blinds and hardens wicked and ungodly men according to their sins.17 He not only withholds His enlightening and convicting grace from them18 but may also withdraw the gifts they already have,19 exposing them to sin and its corruption.20 This leaves them to their own lusts, temptations of the world, and the power of Satan.21 Left to themselves, the ungodly harden themselves, even by those means God uses to the soften others.22
The Providence of God, in general, reaches to all creatures but especially to the care of His church, disposing all things for good.23
References: 1Hebrews 1:3; Job 38:11; Isaiah 46:10, 11; Psalm 135:6; 2Matthew 10:29-31; 3Ephesians 1:11; 4Acts 2:23; 5Proverbs 16:33; 6Genesis 8:22; 7Acts 27:31, 44; Isaiah 55:10, 11; 8Hosea 1:7; 9Romans 4:19-21; 10Daniel 3:27; 11Romans 11:32-34; 2 Samuel 24:1; 1 Chronicles 21:1; 122 Kings 19:28; Psalm 76:10; 13Genesis 1:20; Isaiah 10:6, 7, 12; 14Psalm 50:21; 1 John 2:16; 152 Chronicles 32:25, 26, 31; 2 Corinthians 12:7-9; 16Romans 8:28; 17Romans 1:24-26, 28; 11:7-8; 18Deuteronomy 29:4; 19Matthew 13:12; 20Deuteronomy 2:30; 2 Kings 8:12, 13; 21Psalm 81:11, 12; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; 22Exodus 8:15, 32; Isaiah 6:9, 10; 1 Peter 2:7, 8; 231 Timothy 4:10; Amos 9:8, 9; Isaiah 43:3-5.
When god created Adam upright and perfect, He gave him a righteous law by which he could keep his original innocence in obedience. If, on the other hand, he disobeyed, he would die.1 Nevertheless, Adam did not remain in his perfect condition very long. Satan, using the subtlety of the serpent, subdued Eve and then, by her, seduced Adam. Without any compulsion, Adam willfully transgressed the law of creation and the command given to him in the eating of the forbidden fruit.2 In His wise and holy counsel, God was pleased to permit this transgression, having purposed it for His own glory.
Our first parents sinned and fell from their original righteousness and communion with God. Adam’s posterity also fell in him, bringing death on the whole race.3 Mankind is now dead in sin4 and completely defiled in every faculty and part of both soul and body.5
By God’s appointment Adam represents the whole race; thus, his sin and guilt are imputed to and a corrupted nature conveyed to all his posterity by ordinary generation.6 Being conceived in sin7 all are by nature children of wrath8 and servants of sin by which they are subject to death9 and every misery, spiritual, temporal and eternal, unless the Lord Jesus sets them free.10
Out of this original corruption all actual transgressions come11 because all humans are utterly indisposed, disabled, and contrary to all good, being wholly inclined to every evil.12 The corrupt nature remains during this life even in those who are regenerated,13 pardoned by Christ, with the old nature put to death; yet both the corrupt nature and its tendencies are truly and properly sin.14
References: 1Genesis 2:16, 17; 2Genesis 3:12, 13; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 3Romans 3:23; 4Romans 5:12-21; 5Titus 1:15; Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:10-19; 6Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22, 45, 49; 7Psalm 51:5; Job 14:4; 8Ephesians 2:3; 9Romans 6:20; 5:12; 10Hebrews 2:14, 15; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 11James 1:14, 15; Matthew 15:19; 12Romans 8:7; Colossians 1:21; 13Romans 7:18, 23; Ecclesiastes 7:20; 1 John 1:8; 14Romans 7:23-25; Galatians 5:17.
©2002 Cause of God and Truth Publications. Permission granted for non-profit reproduction in original form. Other uses require written permission.