What are main Differences between the 1689 and Modern RB?

Discussion in 'Covenant Theology' started by Dachaser, Jul 27, 2017.

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  1. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I am trying to get a handle on the different flavors within Covenant theology, and so what would be any major differences on how 1689 and the modern RB see Covenant theology worked out?
  2. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    How are you defining "modern RB"? Are these folks who do not affirm the 1689 LBCF? If so, what exactly are these Modern Reform Baptists affirming confessionally?
  3. brandonadams

    brandonadams Puritan Board Freshman

    Patrick, see https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/clarification-on-the-label-1689-federalism.93257/ to understand what he is referring to.

    David, have you viewed the material at http://www.1689federalism.com ?


    A large difference is the view of Israel and the Mosaic Covenant. The 20th century view follows WCF in saying the law was given to Israel as a guide, not as a covenant of works. They also speak regularly of Israel as the church, rather than as a type of the church (though they at times also affirm the latter). They would say that in the Covenant of Grace during the Old Covenant administration, both the regenerate and unregenerate were members, but in the New Covenant administration, only the regenerate are members.

    Here are some lectures from Waldron explaining the 20th century view http://deepsouthfounders.com/previous-conferences/2013-christ-our-mediator/

    and here are some comments on Waldron's lectures https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/waldrons-sermons-on-covenant-theology/
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  4. Tyrese

    Tyrese Puritan Board Sophomore

    I agree more with the 20th Century Reformed Baptist perspective. I guess I'm more Presbyterian in my understanding of Covenant Theology. In my opinion, you can be a committed Baptist and hold to this view without feeling the pressure to embrace infant baptism. If it's not in the Bible you don't have to accept it.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  5. Tyrese

    Tyrese Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'm a bit perplexed by the "20th Century" title. Are we to be believe that there were no Paticular Baptist in the year 1689 or before who held to the view that the covenant of grace was one substance with multiple administrations?
  6. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Would either viewpoint affirm that the church was given to us by God under the NC, and that while the saved under the OC were due to saving grace and included within the Church, its institution was under the NC itself?
  7. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member


    Assuming your answer is the answer that would be given by the member to whom I asked the question, then my question stands:
    If so, what exactly are these Modern Reform Baptists affirming confessionally?

    In other words, where is it (the Modern RB confession) that I can read it?
  8. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I have read modern language versions of the 1689 Confession, but have never seen any Baptist Confession other then the 1689 one.
  9. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    Mod Reminder:

    d. Confessional Requirements: One must hold to either the Westminster Standards, the Three Forms of Unity, the Second Helvetic Confession, or the LBCF to be approved for membership without a waiver. This does not mean that these confessions are viewed as the "Word of God." Rather, these confessions and creeds are taken to accurately summarize the key doctrines of the Bible and allow mutual, like-minded fellowship (Amos 3:3, "Can two walk together unless they be agreed?"). The adherence to any orthodox historical documents assure that the board will be kept "like-minded" in most of the basic points of salvation history and that the fellowship "exhortive and encouraging." Those who seek to modify, depart from, change or disprove the doctrines found in the Confessions will bear the burden of proof to support their claim.

    e. Under some circumstances, the Admins may approve an applicant who does not fully confess one of these historic Reformed confessions but whose soteriological and ecclesiological journey is taking them down that path. This has included some Lutherans, Episcopalians, and some independents in the process of Reforming.​

    The point being, for a waiver one must genuinely be on the journey towards what we hold to be the Confessional basis of the board. If one's journey finally arrives at a place beyond the boundaries of the Confessions stated above, they need to be honest about it and move on.
  10. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    I am going to assume the last sentence bears no connection to the preceding sentence clause related to infant baptism. Correct?
  11. Tyrese

    Tyrese Puritan Board Sophomore

    I think that depends. A Presbyterian friend told me once that my view of covenant theology leads to infant baptism. There seems to be a number of Reformed Baptist who share that sentiment. My response to that is my view of covenant theology does not lead to infant baptism because I don't see it in scripture. I don't feel the need to force something that I don't believe is there.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  12. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    In the future, unless you are posting here, I suggest emphatic statements, "If it's not in the Bible you don't have to accept it" being made in the context of infant baptism on this site, be carefully moderated as personal opinions.
  13. Tyrese

    Tyrese Puritan Board Sophomore

    Will do. But out of curiosity does that mean that someone else's view of infant baptism be reduced to personal opinion?
  14. Tyrese

    Tyrese Puritan Board Sophomore

    I ask because I don't think infant baptism is someone else's personal opinion. I genuinely believe that brothers see infant baptism as a logical conclusion of covenant theology. I'm simply saying that I don't see that.
  15. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Don't take the moderation too personally. Lately, there's been more posted on the topic of covenant theology and baptism in a short time than I remember for a long time. Consequently, the moderators are quick to preempt what may give needless offense to anyone, as he sees it. It's often a judgment call. You should just think of an umpire reacting to the flow of the game.
  16. brandonadams

    brandonadams Puritan Board Freshman

  17. brandonadams

    brandonadams Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes, take a look at some recent threads that discuss this point.
  18. brandonadams

    brandonadams Puritan Board Freshman

    Did you read the link I provided? As it explains, both groups hold to the 1689 Confession. The Confession is written broadly enough to include both views.
  19. Tyrese

    Tyrese Puritan Board Sophomore

  20. Timotheos

    Timotheos Puritan Board Freshman


    I wonder if it would help if you had a list of publications that can be categorized in various forms of Baptists CT? I'm sure there is a continuum that many of these works could be placed upon. I know you have a reading list for 1689 federalism. But do you have a list that categorizes the other views or publications?

    For example, I just purchased Nichols book on CT to see where he fits on the continuum. I know where Coxe/Owen & Denault would be (I'm there w/ them).

    But there are a host of others: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_...=aps&field-keywords=baptist+covenant+theology

    For example, where would Blackburn/Chantry, Van Dorn, Johnson, Griffiths, & Nichols fit into the scheme?
  21. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    This might not be a good place for Brandon to say what he thinks who believes what here. From what I understand the new understanding of 1689 Federalism has some merit and has historical significance. But it is not a monolithic understanding yet. I have problems with some of the claims above as in the Old Fashioned Visa Card pie chart. I was a Reformed Baptist for 30 years. We should look at what they wrote and try to understand them in context. This is too knew to say what a teacher believes without their consent. I have been warned about that from some prominent Reformed Baptist guys.
  22. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I hold and accept the 1689 LBC Confession .
  23. brandonadams

    brandonadams Puritan Board Freshman


    That would be worthwhile.

    Check out http://www.1689federalism.com/category/resources/books/ for comments on several books.

    • Blackburn/Chantry is 20th century
    • Nichols is much closer to 20th century, but he rejects the Covenant of Works, so he is not 20th century. He is in his own camp.
    • Van Dorn is mostly in the 1689 Fed camp, but he has some idiosyncrasies. See post in above link
    • Griffiths is 1689 Fed
    • Brogden is NCT (see review in above link)
    • Johnson is 1689 Fed
  24. brandonadams

    brandonadams Puritan Board Freshman

    Martin, while we should give people time to study 1689 Fed and perhaps revise their views, there is nothing wrong with stating whether or not their existing published works are consistent with it or not.
  25. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Why do some here though insist that a RB cannot see the church as being founded in the NC/NT times, as that would make one a Dispensational? That we must hold with the 1 Covenant of Grace, but with 2 administrations of it?
  26. brandonadams

    brandonadams Puritan Board Freshman

    David, that is a good question, but probably better to start a different thread, or read through the recent threads that address that.
  27. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    The moderators and admins have restored some posts; carry on.
  28. jomawh

    jomawh Puritan Board Freshman

    [To essentially paraphrase the 1689 Fed website...]

    1689 Federalism was prompted by a kind of re-discovery of how 17th century Particular Baptists formulated their take on the doctrine of the covenants, which differs from the historic covenantal view as expressed, to use the language of the Westminster, in one overarching Covenant of Grace with multiple dispensations. The "20th Century View" was prompted by Baptists, greatly influenced by Ligionier and Banner of Truth, who simply incorporated standard Reformed Covenantalism as a matter-of-course (having rediscovered, as it were, Calvinism).

    The staunch 1689 Federalist would be adamant that holding to a "baptized" Westminsterian Covenantalism would open up such baptists to certain strong covenantal arguments for paedobaptism. I recall Les from the Reformed Pub, when he "came out" as a Presbyterian, sparred with Tanner and simply repeated" yeah, but you could apply that same logic to circumcision-" against all the arguements brought against paedobaptism- a rebuttal which presupposed that the Old Covenant is the same in substance as the New. With what the 1689 Federalist could arfue

    I personally remain only partially convinced either way, but I could see myself becoming a Presbyterian if I end up finding that 1689 Federalism isn't tenable.
  29. brandonadams

    brandonadams Puritan Board Freshman

    For what it's worth, I would never say that if someone doesn't agree with 1689 Federalism they should become a paedobaptist. The 20th century view still has insurmountable (in my opinion) objections to the paedobaptist view. I just don't find the view, as a whole, as biblical or consistent as 1689 Federalism.
  30. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I've been pretty busy lately but finally found some time to review some of this information and, in particular, wanted to make some observations about the presentation of the video.

    1. I found it odd that they spoke of Baptists being "robbed" of the their covenant theology. This is after all the information they had given about books published by P&R people as if it was the fault of P&R publishing that Baptists didn't know their own theology.

    2. I found it interesting that, at one point, someone pretty much admits that "you can't get there from here" and that using this CT leads to paedobaptist conclusions (in spite of others stating that Reformed Baptists have lodged "insurmountable" objections to the PB view.

    3. This is my most pejorative statement but I can't help but think of Acts 5:38 when Gamaliel notes that, if a movement is from man it will not survive.

    In other words, there is something artificial to me about this "resurgence" and my saying so will not win me any friends but I want to make some observations as a Church man that I think Baptists really ought to consider.

    What is it about Baptist ecclesiology, theology, or practice that permits them to "lose" the prolegomena of their very identity as Baptists?

    A Church's identity is not formed by a group of scholars unearthing books from 400 years ago discovering that, in reality, this is what a majority of Baptists believed at the time.

    A Church's identity is formed by generations of common understanding and practice and the handing down of understanding and practice.

    We've got some new members that just came out of Sovereign Grace and they appreciate the mature practices we have in our denomination. It would be foolish of me to take credit for them because they've been handed down over centuries of Church men leading people in worship and practicing Church discipline. The Pastors are from a long line of those who have been examined and then examine others to enter their Presbytery. I've been on our theological examining committe for about 6 years and have lost count of the number of Pastors who were once interns we were helping to refine how they expresed and understood key theological ideas.

    I liken it to the Marine Corps, which has an identity where a Marine from WWII can still relate to Marines today. There's a 92 year old veteran of Iwo Jima who talks to young Marines all the time and they share a common ethos that's been handed down for over 225 years. Some things change with the times but the core of it is preserved by those who keep the traditions and train others to do the same.

    How odd it is to me, as someone who leads a Church, to think of some historical research as essentially re-casting Covenant Theology as a matter of theological study but it has lost all contact with the history and traditions of the Church that has existed for over 400 years.

    Look, Presbyterians have their problems and I'm not trying to be triumphalistic, but this is a good example to me of the inherent instability of Baptist theology to pass on its body of truths and traditions. While it may well be the case that this WAS THE Covenantal view of Baptists in the 17th Century it actually bears no organic connection nor does it function as any kind of constitutional imperative to any except those who decide to re-think it for their congregation. It also doesn't fix the other things that flow out from that understanding - all the ways that Church life and traditions may have been formed over generations but now, from ground zero, each Church will have to form its own ways that it will hand down to the next generation this apparently critical aspect of Baptist theology.

    What will be the result 400 years from now if the Lord should tarry? Will it again be lost? What in Baptist practice will keep that from happening?

    At the end of the day, while it is interesting that individuals come to some new insights the function of a Confession or Creed is for the Church. If a fundamental principle cannot be preserved across generations then I question whether Gamaliel has a point that Baptists ought to wrestle with.
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