A Faith to Confess: The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689
Rewritten in Modern English
©1975, Carey Publications, Ltd., 75 Woodhill Road, Leeds, U.K., LS16 7BZ
Reprinted here by permission
CHAPTER 22 – RELIGIOUS WORSHIP, AND THE LORD’S DAY
THE light of nature shows that there is a God who has dominion and sovereignty over all. He is just and good, and He does good to all. He is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, invoked, trusted and served by men with all their heart and soul and strength. But the only acceptable way of worshipping the true God is appointed by Himself, in accordance with His own will. Consequently He may not be worshipped in ways of mere human contrivance, or proceeding from Satan’s suggestions. Visible symbols of God, and all other forms of worship not prescribed in the Holy Scripture, are expressly forbidden.
Religious worship is to be given to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to Him alone. It is not to be given to angels, saints, or any other creatures. Since man’s fall into sin, worship cannot be rendered to God without a mediator; and the only accepted mediation is that of Christ.
God requires all men to pray to Him, and to give thanks, this being one part of natural worship. But to render such prayer acceptable, several things are requisite: it must be made in the name of God’s Son, it must be Spirit-aided, and it must accord with the will of God. It must also be reverent, humble, fervent and persevering, and linked with faith, love and understanding. United prayer, when offered, must always be in a known language.
Prayer is to be made for things lawful, and for men of all sorts now living or as yet unborn. But prayer is not to be made for the dead, nor for those who are known to be guilty of ‘the sin unto death’.
The reading of the Scripture, the preaching and hearing of the Word of God, the instructing and admonishing of one another by means of psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with heartfelt thankfulness to the Lord, the observance of baptism and the Lord’s supper-these are all parts of divine worship to be performed obediently, intelligently, faithfully, reverently, and with godly fear. Moreover, on special occasions, solemn humiliation, fastings, and thanksgivings ought to be observed in a holy and reverential manner.
In present gospel days neither prayer nor any other aspect of religious worship depends for its efficacy on the place where it is performed or towards which it is directed, for God is everywhere to be worshipped in spirit and in truth; as, for instance, in the daily worship carried on in private families, in the worship in which individual Christians engage in secret, and in the worship of the public assemblies. Such assemblies are convened in accordance with God’s Word and providence, and believers must neither carelessly neglect them nor willfully forsake them.
As it is a law of nature, applicable to all, that a proportion of time, determined by God, should be allocated for the worship of God, so, by His Word, He has particularly appointed one day in seven to be kept as a holy Sabbath to Himself. The commandment to this effect is positive, moral, and of perpetual application. It is binding upon all men in all ages. From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ the Sabbath was the last day of the week, but when Christ’s resurrection took place it was changed to the first day of the week, which is called the Lord’s day. It is to be continued to the world’s end as the Christian Sabbath, the observance of the seventh day being abolished.
Men keep the Sabbath holy to the Lord when, having duly prepared their hearts and settled their mundane affairs beforehand, for the sake of the Lord’s command they set aside all works, words and thoughts that pertain to their worldly employment and recreations, and devote the whole of the Lord’s day to the public and private exercises of God’s worship, and to duties of necessity and mercy.
of Faith (Index)