CONFESSION OF FAITH 1655
(VARIOUS PARTICULAR BAPTIST CONGREGATIONS
IN THE MIDLANDS OF ENGLAND)


This post-reformation Particular Baptist Confession of Faith predates most of the confessions in current circulation. It illustrates those issues which concerned these believers at that time and shows links with older teaching.
See also the 1729 Goat Yard Declaration and the 1757 Carter Lane Declaration.

  1. We believe and profess, that there is only one true God, who is our God, who is eternal, almighty, unchangeable, infinite, and incomprehensible; who is a Spirit, having His being in Himself, and giveth being to all creatures; He doth what He will, in heaven and earth; working all things according to the counsel of His own will.

  2. That this infinite Being is set forth to be the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three agree in one. 1 Jn 5:7.

  3. We profess and believe the Holy Scriptures, the Old and New Testament, to be the word and revealed mind of God, which are able to make men wise unto Salvation, through faith and love which is in Christ Jesus; and that they are given by inspiration of God, serving to furnish the man of God for every good work; and by them we are (in the strength of Christ) to try all things whatsoever are brought to us, under the pretence of truth.
    2 Tim 3:15-17; Isaiah 8:20.

  4. That though Adam was created righteous, yet he fell through the temptations of Satan; and his fall overthrew, not only himself, but his posterity, making them sinners by his disobedience; so that we are by nature children of wrath, and defiled from the womb, being shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin.
    Ps 51:5; Rom 5:12-15.

  5. That God elected and chose, in His Eternal counsel, some persons to life and salvation, before the foundation of the world, whom accordingly He doth and will effectually call, and whom He doth so call, He will certainly keep by His power, through faith to salvation.
    Acts 13:48; Eph 1:2-4; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2, etc.

  6. That election was free in God, of His own pleasure, and not at all for, or with reference to, any foreseen works of faith in the creature, as the motive thereunto. Eph 1:4, Rom 11:5-6.

  7. That Jesus Christ was, in the fullness of time, manifested in the flesh; being born of a woman; being perfectly righteous, gave himself for the elect to redeem them to God by his blood.
    Jn 10:15; Eph 5:25-27; Rev 5:9.

  8. That all men until they be quickened by Christ are dead in trespasses; and therefore have no power of themselves to believe savingly. But faith is the free gift of God, and the mighty work of God in the soul, even like the rising of Christ from the dead. Therefore consent not with those who hold that God hath given power to all men to believe to salvation.
    Eph 2:1 Jn 15:5; Eph 1:19.

  9. That Christ is the only true King, Priest, and Prophet of the Church.
    Acts 2:22-23; Heb 4:14.

  10. That every man is justified by Christ, apprehended by faith; and that no man is justified in the sight of God partly by Christ and partly by works.
    Rom 3:20-30 & 8:33; 1 Cor 6:11; Gal 5:4.

  11. That Jesus of Nazareth, of whom the scriptures of the Old Testament prophesied, is the true Messiah and Saviour of men; and that He died on the cross, was buried, rose again in the same body in which He suffered and ascended to the right hand of the majesty on high, and appeareth in the presence of God, making intercession for us.

  12. That all those who have faith wrought in their hearts by the power of God, according to his good pleasure, should be careful to maintain good works, and to abound in them, acting from principles of true faith and unfeigned love, looking to God's glory as their main end.
    Tit 3:8; Heb 11:6; 1 Cor 6:10 & 31.

  13. That those who profess faith in Christ, and make the same appear by their fruits, are the proper subjects of Baptism. Matt 28:18-19.

  14. That this baptising is not by sprinkling, but dipping of the persons in the water, representing the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
    Rom 6:3-4; Col 2:12; Acts 8:38-39.

  15. That persons so baptised ought, by free consent, to walk together, as God shall give opportunity in distinct churches, or assemblies of Zion, continuing in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers, as fellow-men caring for one another, according to the will of God. All these ordinances of Christ are enjoined in His Church, being to be observed till His Second Coming, which we all ought diligently to wait for.

  16. That at the time appointed of the Lord, the dead bodies of all men, just and unjust, shall rise again out of their graves, that all may receive according to what they have done in their bodies, be it good or evil.


NOTES ON THE ABOVE CONFESSION

Some Scripture references seem to have been omitted from this copy.
This is probably not accidental and may even be evidence of its authenticity.
Some of the terminology is very reminiscent of earlier teaching.
CLAUSE 9 - This kind of statement was held to be seditious by King James 1/6. Kings Charles 1 & 2 also, and Donald Cargill, Covenanter, was executed for this.
CLAUSE 14 - extract, "dipping --- the death, burial and resurrection of Christ".
CLAUSE 15 - extract, "assemblies of Zion continuing in the Apostles doctrine and fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers, --- caring for one another ---. Till His Second Coming". This emphasises the principles of an Assembly based on New Testament principles and the meaning and value of the Lord's Supper, Prayers and Fellowship. These features have been lost in some later Confessions and are absent from so many 'churches and chapels' in the present age.
CLAUSE 16 - The entire clause. Also note, the term 'men' is not gender sensitive.