Confessions and Declarations

Many before us have helped to summarize and clarify key doctrines of the Faith, and we continue to benefit from them.  These are some of the statements that we have found particularly helpful. Some  are historic confessions that outline important doctrines derived from the Bible and reaffirmed during and after the Protestant Reformation.  Others are more modern responses to various challenges that have been leveled against Biblical Christianity in recent decades.

The London Baptist Confession, 1689

Baptists used the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Savoy Declaration as the basis for their own new confession in 1687.  They did this to show their unity with the reformed branch of the church, but also because Westminster was so beautifully articulated that its language could hardly be improved upon.  It was republished and signed in 1689, after England lifted restrictions on dissenting religious views.  While we  differ on a few details, such as its teaching on the "Christian Sabbath,"1 we are in such hearty agreement with the vast majority of this confession that we find it helpful as a reference point for agreement with other churches who hold to a Reformed Baptist theology.

The New Hampshire Confession, 1833

J. Newton Brown wrote this summary of "warm evangelical Calvinism" that was widely embraced amongst "missionary-minded Baptists" as a means to "correct misimpressions and give an alignment of commitment to deflect the aggressive opposition."2  We like the New Hampshire Confession because it is so concise (the text is only about three pages) yet so comprehensive in its doctrinal scope.  It also avoids some of the historical-cultural references that mark the 1689 LBC as a response to particular issues of concern in that time and place,  so the New Hampshire Confession feels more timeless, both in language and content.  (See the above caveat on Sabbatarianism.)

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, 1978

What we believe about the Bible determines what we believe about everything!  The International Council on Biblical Inerrancy drafted and adopted  this statement in 1978, and it has been a helpful resource for defining the Evangelical position on the inspiration and inerrancy of God’s Word.

The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 1988

The Danvers Statement was prepared by several evangelical leaders at meeting of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in Danvers, Massachusetts to address "widespread uncertainty and confusion in our culture regarding the complementary differences between masculinity and femininity," and its influence and implications in the Church.  

Together for the Gospel Affirmations and Denials, 2006

Both of the above confessions are distinct to credo-baptist (believer's baptism) churches, but we have strong ties — gospel ties! — to others whose views on certain doctrines differ from our own.  At the first Together for the Gospel conference in 2006,  the organizers released a statement that affirmed the unity of all gospel-loving churches, as well as outlining some critical implications of biblical inerrancy as it relates to current cultural pressures on the Church.

The Nashville Statement, 2017

The Nashville Statement was written to address an increasingly common belief in our society, "that human identity as male and female is not part of God’s beautiful plan, but is, rather, an expression of an individual’s autonomous preferences."  Through a series of affirmations and denials, the Statement provides Biblical definition and clarity to a subject that our culture injects with ambiguity and ever-changing mandates.  The challenge to the Church is unavoidable, but our foundation is solid: "We did not make ourselves. We are not our own. Our true identity, as male and female persons, is given by God."
1. To learn more about our understanding of the Sabbath and the Fourth Commandment, check out this article by Brian Sayers.
2. Nettles, Tom. “The New Hampshire Confession: Warm Evangelical Calvinism.” Founders Ministries. Last modified September 17, 2021. Accessed April 5, 2022.