Thank you, one and all, for your responses here and on Facebook to the question about Chapter 8, paragraph 2, of the Confession of Faith, and the reference to the Son as Creator.
I am glad to say that I am in agreement with those who have responded, and am glad to have my sense confirmed. In summary, here would be my thinking on the matter, working roughly from the lesser to the greater:
- The interpretation that the phrase refers to the Son himself is consistent with the normal grammar and punctuation of the confession here and throughout.
- The chapter and the paragraph as a whole deal with the person of Christ as Mediator, and one should anticipate that he would be the subject of such a statement. As David pointed out, the structure of the paragraph as a whole also points to the Son at this point.
- The historical antecedents (specifically the 1644/46 and the 1596 True Confession) carry us in this direction.
- It is consistent with the teaching of Scripture as a whole, and with the specific teaching of such portions as John 1.1-3, Colossians 1.16-17 and Hebrews 1.3, 10.
Because this online brains trust thing can be fun, another question will follow shortly.
In chapter 8 of the 1677/89 Baptist Confession of Faith, concerning Christ the Mediator, the second paragraph begins as follows (with original puncutation):
The Son of God, the second Person in the Holy Trinity, being very and eternal God, the brightness of the Fathers glory, of one substance and equal with him: who made the World, who upholdeth and governeth all things he hath made: . . .
Many of the modern editions basically read it as if it said that the Son of God is of one substance and equal with God who made the world and who upholds and governs all things he has made (i.e. they ditch the first colon).
Others of the modern editions read it as if it said that the Son of God is of one substance and equal with the Father. A second statement follows to the effect that the Son made the world and upholds and governs all that he made. In other words, they take the colon (as it often is employed in the confession) as starting a new clause concerning the subject of the paragraph, the Son of God.
Normally, one might turn to the commentaries on the Westminster Confession to see if any further light might be shed, but the phrase in question is introduced by the Baptists (the Savoy gents do not use it either). Without wishing to prejudice anyone in a particular direction by further discussing the punctuation of the Confession or considering which interpretation (if either) is more theologically full and/or accurate, or indeed by stating my own inclination, I wonder if any friends of the blog might opine on this one, especially Baptists who have taught this part of the confession.
Answers on a postcard, please, or failing that, in the comments section below. Thanks in advance.
Mr Chantry dissects the Pharisee:
So that is what a Pharisee really is: a moralistic, legalistic antinomian. Too many in our lawless age assume that this is oxymoronic, that legalism and antinomianism are and must be opposites. This is simply untrue. Legalism and antinomianism are instead the twin children of moralism. Here is how it works . . .
Find out how it works here.
Glad to say that I have been sent what I hope will be the cover of the next book (see right). Life in Christ is a brief attempt to consider something of the Christian’s experience of God’s lovingkindnesses, his sense of God’s tender mercies and great goodnesses, and his relationship with God and his responses to God’s dealings with him. I am not sure when it will be out (probably some time later this year) and there are already other projects on the go, of which more information as it comes.
I am delighted with the design (nice, clean, simple, green) and I hope that the book will be useful.
A friend draws my attention to the website of the Evangelical Times, a British Christian newspaper, with the opportunity to sign up for a monthly newsletter. Other resources include suggestions for prayer topics and material to encourage prayer for particular countries, including powerpoint presentations which introduce a particular country and provide relevant prayer points. Also available, though I have not seen or used it, is a developing resource library for church youth groups, with a monthly presentation suitable for young people based around a question from the Shorter Catechism. Enjoy!
The voice is the preacher’s primary tool, and we need to keep it in good condition. Reminded of and freshly and uncomfortably impressed with some of the elements of vocal hygiene, and being very willing to help other preachers keep their voices healthy, and equally to spare anyone the experience of a doctor inserting what looks and feels like a car aerial into your nasal cavities, or worse, herewith some counsels (garnered over many years) on vocal hygiene tailored to the preacher, arranged topically, some or all of which may be helpful to some. A lot of it is sanctified common-sense, and I should imagine that most preachers do most of it almost naturally.
Read the counsels at Reformation21.