Introduction: Of The Civil Magistrate and Religious Liberty
Chapters XXIV-XXV of the Second London Confession
As we continue our exposition of the Second London Confession, we dig into the confession’s treatment of two issues that are not only biblically and doctrinally important, but strategic for the well-being of any culture, for the stability of society, for the flourishing of humanity, even in its fallen state. I contribute an article on chapter 24 “Of the Civil Magistrate.” Timon Cline contributes an article that gives a deep look into the issue of Baptists in their contribution to religious liberty. We cover some of the same ground, but Timon’s work contains a broader sweep of the issue, is thoroughly documented with valuable footnotes, and has links to a large and informative supportive literature. Reagan Marsh, founding pastor-teacher of Reformation Baptist Church in Dalton, Georgia, has given a carefully documented and exegetically sensitive discussion of chapter 25, “Of Marriage.” His scholarly attention to the whole range of literature and the footnotes supporting his discussion will be an education for those who will carefully look into them. Ryan Denton contributed a review article of David Hall’s The Puritans: A Transatlantic History. Ryan’s clarity and careful interaction gives an inviting overview of Hall’s work. The Puritan background is immensely important for the way in which Baptists expressed their view on the magistrates and on family. This review reminds of the providential contexts in which all of us pursue our callings and seek the most faithful stewardship of our gifts.
Tom J. Nettles