In a recent post at The Gospel Coalition (also see this older post), Justin Taylor discusses “Biblical Reasons to Doubt the Creation Days Were 24-Hour Periods.”
I’ve written about the creation debates before. And if you’ve talked to me in person about these matters, you’ve probably heard make something like the following comment:
One of the reasons (it would seem to be the main reason) interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 and the nature of God’s creative work have become so stinking controversial is the arrival of evolutionary theories. Since Darwin, proposing anything besides a 24-hour-day-view of the “days” in Genesis 1 immediately became way more controversial than it was prior to Darwin. This is due to the fact that anti-macroevolution Christians view Genesis 1-2 as a battle ground. If you walk there now, you’re going to step on a land mine even if you were not the originally intended target.
I found this tabular comparison between the Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) and the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) by James N. Anderson and thought I’d share it in case anyone else might find it useful.
For those of you who don’t know, in the 17th century, English Baptists constructed an original confession now called the First London Baptist Confession of Faith (1644). It is Reformed in terms of soteriology (the doctrine of salvation). In other words, it’s ‘Calvinistic’ in the typical sense of how that word is often used today.
However, the authors of this second confession basically reduplicated the Westminster Confession in an attempt to align themselves much more closely to Reformed (specifically Covenant) Theology. In other words, they not only sought to align themselves with Reformed soteriology, but also, to some degree, with Reformed theology more broadly.
Nonetheless, being Baptists, they obviously didn’t reduplicate everything in the Westminster Confession. So, we find differences.
This chart makes it very easy to examine those differences.
 For this reason, New Covenant Theology adheres to the First London Confession but rejects the Second.
 Note: baptist distinctives are incompatible with full-on, traditional, Reformed covenant theology by definition of holding to baptist ecclesiology (doctrine of the church).
This is one of my favorite portions in Luther’s writings and one of my favorite illustrations.
The following is from Luther’s short work Freedom of a Christian.
The third incomparable benefit of faith is that it unites the soul with Christ as a bride is united with her bridegroom. By this mystery, as the Apostle teaches, Christ and the soul become one flesh [Eph. 5:31–32]. And if they are one flesh and there is between them a true marriage—indeed the most perfect of all marriages, since human marriages are but poor examples of this one true marriage—it follows that everything they have they hold in common, the good as well as the evil. Accordingly the believing soul can boast of and glory in whatever Christ has as though it were its own, and whatever the soul has Christ claims as his own. Let us compare these and we shall see inestimable benefits. Christ is full of grace, life, and salvation. The soul is full of sins, death, and damnation. Now let faith come between them and sins, death, and damnation will be Christ’s, while grace, life, and salvation will be the soul’s; for if Christ is a bridegroom, he must take upon himself the things which are his bride’s and bestow upon her the things that are his. If he gives her his body and very self, how shall he not give her all that is his? And if he takes the body of the bride, how shall he not take all that is hers?
Mind you, Leon McBeth is publishing this in 1987. Much, much more resurgence of Calvinism among Baptists has occurred since then. …
And overlooking his unfortunately caricaturization (to assume the best: simplifications for ease of understanding) of Calvinism as something like fatalism…
I found McBeth’s comments here, specifically his third and fourth points, rather interesting. And I thought I’d share. These “points” are included in a brief section where McBeth addresses “factors” that have “contributed to the recent resurgence of Calvinism among Baptists. This occurs in famous work The Baptist Heritage (pg. 774-776).
1. “The Calvinists feel they are going back to original Baptists roots.”
2. “The Calvinists react against what they consider shallow evangelism.”
Almost two months (Sept. 4, 1517) before posting his famous 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg Castle Church, Luther released a lesser known but even more radical statement called the Disputation against Scholastic Theology.
By “scholastic theology” Luther was referring mainly to the late Medieval nominalism proposed by some Roman Catholic scholars, in particular William Ockham and Gabriel Biel. Nominalism’s motto was Facere quod in se est, or “do the best that lies within you.” In response to doing the best one could (congruent merit), God would grant grace, namely through the sacraments. Through cooperation with this grace, one could perform fully meritorious deeds (condign merit) that could merit/earn salvation. Clearly such teaching is not only unbiblical (i.e., not found in scripture) but even anti-biblical by its complete reworking of the relationship between grace and works (e.g., Rom 4:4-5; 11:16). Nominalism is what Luther had been trained in; and to this errant theology Luther was reacting. It should also be noted that in these statements Luther believed that he was stating “nothing that is not in agreement with the Catholic church and the teachers of the church” (final statement in his Disputations).
So, what did Luther have to say before his famous 95 Theses? He had a lot to say, and in fact, he was probably more extreme here than in his more controversial 95 Theses.