New Covenant Theology and the 1644/1646 London Baptist Confession
There are some who choose to confess the 1646 London Baptist confession rather than the 1677 London Baptist confession. Their reasons for this choice vary, but among them are those who wish to adhere to what is known as “New Covenant Theology.” In making this move, it is claimed, they are identifying with Baptists who did not hold such a “rigid” stance on the law as it is expressed in the 1677 London Baptist confession. However, when examined in its historical context, there is no difference between the views of the early and later baptists concerning the law.
After the publication of the first confession in 1644, certain criticisms and inquiries were made to the Baptists concerning their positions on certain issues. In reply, they revised the confession and republished it in 1646. Benjamin Coxe, father of Nehemiah Coxe, also published an appendix to the confession in 1646 in order to give added clarity to some of the issues in question.
Their stance on the law is quite clear, meaning that if one desires to adhere to New Covenant Theology and use the early Baptist confessions to do so, it can only be against the original beliefs of those who penned those confession. Granted, we are not forced to reproduce or emulate the precise views of our forefathers in every point, especially in matters not addressed by the confession. But the claim that the early Baptists held a lighter stance on the law is untenable.
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