Our comparison and contrast of the WCF with the 2LC continues through chapter 8, “Of Christ the Mediator.”
|1. It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man; the Prophet, Priest, and King, the Head and Saviour of His Church, the Heir of all things, and Judge of the world: unto whom He did from all eternity give a people, to be His seed, and to be by Him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.
|1. It pleased God in his eternal purpose, to chuse and ordain the Lord Jesus his only begotten Son, according to the Covenant made between them both, to be the Mediator between God and Man; the Prophet, Priest and King; Head and Saviour of his Church, the heir of all things, and judge of the world: Unto whom he did from all Eternity give a people to be his seed, and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.
The greatest difference between the WCF and the 2LC in section 1 is that the latter follows the Savoy in making explicit what was, arguably, implicit (e.g., WCF 8.3) in the WCF, namely the pre-temporal, eternal covenant between the Father, the Son (and implicitly, the Holy Spirit), the covenant of redemption (pactum salutis). In this covenant, the Father is said to give a people to the Son and the Son is said to agree to be the substitute, Redeemer, and surety (sponsor) of that people. The locus classicus for this doctrine is our Lord’s high priestly prayer in John 17.
The Savoy has “according to a covenant made between them both” and the 2LC has “the covenant made between them both.” The WCF does not have that clause. As we saw in the previous installment, the pactum salutis is essential to the Baptist confession since it replaces the Reformed account of the administration of the covenant of grace in the history of redemption (historia salutis).
|2.The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fulness of time was come, take upon Him man’s nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin: being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance.(m) So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.
|2. The Son of God, the second Person in the Holy Trinity, being very and eternal God, the brightness of the Fathers glory, of one substance and equal with him: who made the World, who upholdeth and governeth all things he hath made: did when the fullness of time was come take unto him mans nature, with all the Essential properties, and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin: being conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Womb of the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit coming down upon her, and the power of the most High overshadowing her, and so was made of a Woman, of the Tribe of Judah, of the Seed of Abraham, and David according to the Scriptures: So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, were inseparably joined together in one Person: without conversion, composition, or confusion: which Person is very God, and very Man; yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and Man..
In section 2, the 2LC adds the adjective holy to Trinity. The phrase “the brightness of his glory” is obviously drawn from Hebrews but it comes via the 1LC as does the clause, “who made…he hath made,” which is slightly revised from the 1LC. The 2LC says “conceived by the Holy Spirit, rather than Ghost. I will not keep observing this revision. The clause, “the Holy Spirit coming down…her” comes from the 1LC but the language from “and…Scriptures” is original to the 2LC.
|3.The Lord Jesus, in His human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit, above measure, having in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; in whom it pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell; to the end that, being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth, He might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a mediator and surety. Which office He took not unto Himself, but was thereunto called by His Father, who put all power and judgment into His hand, and gave Him commandment to execute the same.
|3. The Lord Jesus in his humane nature thus united to the divine, in the Person of the Son, was sanctified, & anointed with the Holy Spirit, above measure; having in him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell: To the end that being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of Grace, and Truth, he might be throughly furnished to execute the office of a Mediator, and Surety; which office he took not upon himself, but was thereunto called by his Father; who also put all power and judgement in his hand, and gave him Commandement to execute the same.
This section is substantially identical to the WCF. The phrase, “in the Person of the Son,” is drawn from the Savoy. The phrase “unto himself” (WCF and Savoy) becomes “upon himself.” This is inconsequential.
The calling of the Son by the Father to the office of surety (sponsor) is a very strong indication of an implied covenant of redemption in the WCF.
|4. This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake; which that He might discharge, He was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfil it, endured most grievous torments immediately in His soul, and most painful sufferings in His body; was crucified, and died; was buried, and remained under the power of death; yet saw no corruption. On the third day He arose from the dead, with the same body in which He suffered, with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of His Father, making intercession, and shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the world.
|4. This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake, which that he might discharge he was made under the Law, and did perfectly fulfill it, and underwent the punishment due to us, which we should have born and suffered, being made Sin and a Curse for us: enduring most grievous sorrows in his Soul; and most painful sufferings in his body; was crucified, and died, and remained in the state of the dead; yet saw no corruption: on the third day he arose from the dead, with the same body in which he suffered; with which he also ascended into heaven: and there sitteth at the right hand of his Father, making intercession; and shall return to judge Men and Angels, at the end of the World.
The clause “and underwent the punishment…enduring” is taken verbatim from the Savoy. It is an elaboration of what is already implicit in the WCF. Where the WCF has “grievous torments” the 2LC has “grievous sorrows.” Where the WCF and the Savoy has “power of death” the 2LC has “in the state of the dead.”
|5. The Lord Jesus, by His perfect obedience, and sacrifice of Himself, which He, through the eternal Spirit, once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of His Father; and purchased, not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto Him.
|5. The Lord Jesus by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, which he through the Eternal Spirit once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the Justice of God, procured reconciliation, and purchased an Everlasting inheritance in the Kingdom of Heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto him..
For the clause, “satisfied the justice of his Father, and purchased” the 2LC has “satisfied the justice of God, and procured reconciliation…”. The revision of “Father” to “God” comes from the Savoy.
|6. Although the work of redemption was not actually wrought by Christ till after His incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefits thereof were communicated unto the elect in all ages successively from the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types, and sacrifices, wherein He was revealed, and signified to be the seed of the woman which should bruise the serpent’s head; and the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world: being yesterday and to-day the same, and forever.
|6. Although the price of Redemption was not actually paid by Christ, till after his Incarnation, yet the vertue, efficacy, and benefit thereof were communicated to the Elect in all ages successively, from the beginning of the World, in and by those Promises, Types, and Sacrifices, wherein he was revealed, and signified to be the Seed of the Woman, which should bruise the Serpents head; and the Lamb slain from the foundation of the World: Being the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Here we return to the nature of redemptive history. Both the Baptist and Reformed confessions have the virtue, efficacy, and benefits of redemption “communicated to believers…in and by those promises, types and sacrifices”—the Baptists have “shadows. Some Baptists have taken issue with my use of the “Lutheran” prepositions “in, with, and under” to describe the administration of the covenant of grace during the types and shadows but those were the prepositions the Reformed used as can be seen here in both the Baptist and the Reformed confessions. Does this mean that the Baptists agreed with the Reformed about the nature of the covenant of under the types and shadows? It seems to me that there is a material difference between “revealed” and “administered” but here the language is formally identical.
In this section, the Baptists agree (at least formally) with the Reformed. Did the framers of the 2LC have, shall we say, a higher view or a more profound view of the administration of the covenant of grace under the types and shadows than some contemporary Particular Baptists? Is there tension between chapters 7 and 8 in the 2LC? It is an interesting question. Is the 2LC a careful revision of the WCF (in light of the 1LC and Savoy)? If so, the shift from the language of administering to the language of revealing (in ch. 7) is intentional. Yet, the absence of revision here is puzzling. What if, however, chapters 7 and 8 are coherent and “reveals” in 2LC ch. 7 means “administered in, with, and under”? On balance, it seems that the use of the language of administration by the Baptists is has to be considered an elaboration of their doctrine (in ch. 7) that the covenant of grace was disclosed in the types and shadows but it seems unlikely that it means that the substance of the covenant of grace was present in, with, and under the types and shadows. This is the major underlying question between the two traditions: is there one covenant of grace variously administered in the history of redemption? Is the New Covenant a new administration of the covenant of grace or is it something else. It seems that, for the Baptists, the New Covenant must be, one way or another, substantially different from the whatever transpired in the types and shadows.
Another interesting difference between the 2LC and the WCF. The latter has “the work of redemption was wrought” and the former has, “the price of redemption…paid.” There is no material difference but the rhetorical shift is interesting.
Finally, under this section, the WCF has “beginning of the world” and the 2LC has “foundation of the world” and the 2LC re-arranges the words “being yesterday and today the same…”.
|7. Christ, in the work of mediation, acteth according to both natures, by each nature doing that which is proper to itself:(n) yet, by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature, is sometimes in Scripture attributed to the person denominated by the other nature.(o).
|7. Christ in the work of Mediation acteth according to both natures, by each nature doing that which is proper to it self; yet by reason of the Unity of the Person, that which is proper to one nature, is sometimes in Scripture attributed to the Person (k) denominated by the other nature..
The 2LC has “acteth” for “acts.”
|8. To all those for whom Christ hath purchased redemption, He doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same, making intercession for them, and revealing unto them, in and by the Word, the mysteries of salvation, effectually persuading them by His Spirit to believe and obey, and governing their hearts by His Word and Spirit; overcoming all their enemies by His almighty power and wisdom, in such manner, and ways, as are most consonant to His wonderful and unsearchable dispensation.
|8. To all those for whom Christ hath obtained eternal redemption, he doth certainly, and effectually apply, and communicate the same; making intercession for them, uniting them to himself by his spirit, revealing unto them, in and by the word, the mystery of salvation; perswading them to believe, and obey; governing their hearts by his word and spirit, and overcoming all their enemies by his Almighty power, and wisdom; in such manner, and wayes as are most consonant to his wonderful, and unsearchable dispensation; and all of free, and absolute Grace, without any condition foreseen in them, to procure it.
Where the WCF and Savoy have “making intercession for them,” the 2LC adds “uniting them to himself by his spirit [sic]…” Regularly Baptists write to me to ask for whom Christ is making intercession. In this section, the WCF answer this question. He is making intercession for his elect. For the Baptists, this answers the question “whom should we baptize?” For the Reformed it does not. We distinguish between the substance of the covenant of grace (Christ and his benefits) and its external administration.
Presumably against the Remonstrants/Arminians, the 2LC intensifies the end of the section by adding the phrases, “and all of free, and absolute grace…it.”
9. This office of Mediator between God and Man, is proper onely to Christ, who is the Prophet, Priest, and King of the Church of God; and may not be either in whole, or any part thereof transfer’d from him to any other.
This section is absent in the Savoy and the WCF. It does not seem to signal any departure from Reformed theology. It is drawn largely from the 1LC.
10. This number and order of Offices is necessary; for in respect of our ignorance, we stand in need of his prophetical Office; and in respect of our alienation from God, and imperfection of the best of our services, we need his Priestly office, to reconcile us, and present us acceptable unto God: and in respect o our averseness, and utter inability to return to God, and for our rescue, and security from our spiritual adversaries, we need his Kingly office, to convince, subdue, draw, uphold, deliver, and preserve us to his Heavenly Kingdome.
Again, this section is absent from the Savoy and WCF and is drawn almost entirely from the 1LC.
The 2LC may be a revision of the WCF (it is that), via the Savoy but it not only that. It is also, in parts, an attempted synthesis of the WCF with the 1LC.
©R. Scott Clark. All Rights Reserved.
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