Comparison of Anabaptist Confessions
Submitted to Dr. Almer Smith
In Partial Fulfillment
Of the Requirements for the Course
History of Baptists
April 2, 2010
When comparing one item to the other there will always be differences and similarities this is the essitanial aspect of comparing. For purposes of this paper, the two Anabaptist confessions, which will be looked at, are as follows. The New Hampshire Baptist Confession and the Free- Will Baptist Confession. The Basis of the New Hampshire Confession rests on the Calvinistic view of theology verses the Free-Will Baptist whose foundation is rooted in the Armenian aspects of theology. The very core of the differences between these two confessions lies in the positions of Armenian and Calvin theology, which will be the focus of this paper. An added difference, which warrants a little time is the stance the Free Will, took from the New Hampshire on the view of Ordinances of the church. Wrapping up will focus on how doctrinal differences between the two will affect the movements in their spheres of influence. Doctrine on God
The focus of theology starts with a look at God, who He is and how He responds to those He has created. The view of God a person chooses will direct the flow of the flow of the person's theology. This being said the discussion would start with God. The New Hampshire Baptist (NHB) believed that God knew all things and therefore new exactly what would happen even before it happened because He determined it that way. The NHB looked at God as having complete and utter sovereignty over all creation. It is under this notion the NHB believed that God knew those who would chose to become His elect from the sinful nature of humanity. The NHB looked at this as an outpouring of God to all that would choose to live for Him. The NHB looked at this as God's "eternal purpose." One of the areas this confession does not mention is why God chooses one over another. God election is solely based upon His goodness and holiness, that He would be glorified according to His nature. God places His glory above all things in so much He commands there will be no other God before Him. On the other hand, the Free-Will Baptist (FWB) believes God does not preordain people to be called to Him. FWB believes God only ordains the ends, not the middle, or the means. The FWB believes God gives humankind a sort of power. This power would be considered free will. Free will or the power to choose and therefore determine what things may come by the hand of man. The FWB believe God governs by" moral law and motives" men were thought of as having the ability to bring about the ends He desired.FWB could not understand how a man could be responsible for his action if he does not have the freedom to create possibilities of his own choosing. FWB attempts to break down the concept of the NHB and the idea of God having foreknowledge of all things verses His foreordination of all things. The FWB believes that all things are with God from the beginning to the end. The FWB believe God's knowledge of the events does not cause them to happen, the FWB also believe that not all the things God knows will happen. FWB knows that God is omniscience but they deny His foreordination of all things such as the HHB does.
The FWB have an understanding to which makes God in some very dependent of the creature or creation. They also have an issue with God's foreknowledge and His foreordination and could not break apart the bond between them. Although both needed to define God's omnipotence. God knows what will happen and what will cause thing to happen, therefore while He knows some of the happenings, He also knows what will be needed should we need a way out. FWB focuses on God's willingness to act on certain things or react and allow history to unfold as it would. The Nature of Man
The NHC confession of Faith believes the...