This is the second book in the series Recovering our Confessional Heritage. The series is sponsored by the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies in cooperation with RBAP. The Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies is a graduate theological school which aids churches in preparing men to serve in the Gospel Ministry. For more information please visit irbsseminary.org.
The purpose of the series . . . is to address issues related to the Second London Confession of Faith of 1677/89 (2LCF). . . . The series will include treatments of various subjects by multiple authors. The subjects to be covered are those the series editors (along with consultants) determine to be of particular interest in our day. The authors will be those who display ample ability to address the issue under discussion. Some of the installments will be more involved than others due to the nature of the subject addressed and perceived current needs. Many of the contributions will cover foundational aspects of the self-consistent theological system expressed in the Confession. Others will address difficult, often misunderstood, or even denied facets of the doctrinal formulations of the 2LCF. Each installment will have a “For Further Reading” bibliography at the end to encourage further study on the issue discussed. ~ from the series editors, James M. Renihan and Richard C. Barcellos
“Theology does not occur in a vacuum. It develops out of real-life situations. Men study the Word of God, contemplate its teaching, and express their conclusions. Often it is the circumstances of life that force them to think more closely and clearly about their doctrinal views and that sharpen the expressions of truth. When Arius challenged the divinity of Christ, Christians faced new questions, and the result of the debate was a clearer view of the deity of our Savior. We could give many illustrations from the history of the Church of that increasing clarity and understanding in the Creeds and Confessions of Christianity.
The doctrine of associational churchmanship expressed in our Confession is another one of these circumstances. Our discussion will involve the following: first, the three ways to describe interchurch relations; second, the church in the Second London Confession of Faith (2LCF); third, an overview of chapter 26.1-11 and brief exposition of 26.12-13; fourth associationalism; and finally, a conclusion and application.” ~ James M. Renihan
In a time when the visible church of Jesus Christ is considered irrelevant by modern society and many Evangelicals view denominations and ecclesiastical associations as too restrictive, this treatise on associational churchmanship is more needed than ever. Dr. James M. Renihan has written invaluable material that every serious Christian who loves Jesus, and the object Jesus loves most—the church—should read, study, and put into practice. This work is scholarly and simultaneously very practical. Apply what is written, and God will be glorified and Christ’s kingdom will be enriched and extended.
Earl M. Blackburn
Heritage Baptist Church
Dr. Renihan’s condensed work on chapter 26 of the Second London Confession of Faith of 1677/89 provides an excellent primer on Baptist ecclesiology. Whilst other church traditions may employ descending (Episcopal) or ascending (Presbyterian) hierarchies to promote inter church relationships, Dr. Renihan explains how Baptist churches have developed reciprocal and cooperative relationships for the good and prosperity of all the churches of Christ. Baptists are to be truly independent but not isolated. This volume provides historical context, gleans theological insights from the Second London Confession and explains practical out workings of Baptist Associations. Dr. Renihan writes with warmth, experience, and a genuine concern for biblical churchmanship. Pastors and church members alike will benefit from the volume’s accessibility and noble challenge. In a time of ecclesiological indifference or isolation, we need to recover biblical principles and practices that better reflect the beauty of Christ’s bride. I warmly commend this work to all who love Christ and his church, and desire to see more congregations faithfully conformed to God’s word.
Michael Prodigalidad, Ph.D.
Pastor, Stanmore Baptist Church
Sydney, NSW, Australia
About the Author
James M. Renihan, Ph.D., is Dean and Professor of Historical Theology at the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies, Westminster Seminary California, Escondido, CA. He is author of Edification and Beauty: The Practical Ecclesiology of the English Particular Baptists, 1675-1705, Wipf & Stock and editor of Faith and Life for Baptists: The Documents of the London Particular Baptist General Assemblies, 1689-1694.