To the Judicious and Impartial Reader: Baptist Symbolics Volume 2 (eBook)

SKU 734-1 Category Topics , ,

To the Judicious and Impartial Reader is an exposition of what is popularly known as the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, a document translated into many languages and used by churches around the world for almost 350 years. The Exposition seeks to illuminate and explain the theology of the Confession by setting it into its historical and theological context. It examines relevant primary source expositions of Scripture and theological treatises from the post-Reformation and Puritan eras, including the writings of the men who subscribed to it. Modern readers will be able to discern how the first churches to publish the Confession understood its doctrines and practices.



To the Judicious and Impartial Reader: Baptist Symbolics Volume 2

by James Renihan
©2022 Founders Press
Printed in the United States of America

Additional information



To the Judicious and Impartial Reader is a trove of theological insight and research that situates the Second London Confession in its early modern context. Illuminated by documents and debates of the period, Dr. Renihan shines welcomed light on this important confession of faith. His diligent labors will benefit future generations of Reformed Baptists but it will also serve many others who profess the Westminster Confession and Savoy Declaration. Detailed in its analysis, thorough in its scope, and aimed at the heart, Dr. Renihan’s work is must-reading.

J. V. Fesko
Harriet Barbour Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology Reformed Theological Seminary | Jackson, Mississippi

James M. Renihan presents here a magisterial exposition of the Second London Confession of 1677/1689— the most influential confessional document in Baptist history. A work of solid scholarship and genuine theological retrieval, destined to become a classic. Highly recommended!

Timothy George
Distinguished Professor | Beeson Divinity School of Samford University General editor of the 29-volume Reformation Commentary on Scripture.

This well-researched and historically sensitive exposition offers readers an indispensable guide to the Second London Baptist Confession. In clear, convincing fashion James Renihan explains what the Confession’s language would have meant to its original readers, excavates the various backgrounds which informed its composition, and points contemporary readers towards a fresh appreciation of both the Confession itself and the faith it sets forth. In doing so, Renihan successfully locates seventeenth-century English Calvinistic Baptists within the wider tradition of Reformed Protestantism with which they would have identified.

Dr. Matthew C. Bingham
Lecturer in Systematic Theology and Church History | Oak Hill College

We are indebted to James Renihan for this masterful study of the 1689 Confession in its original historical context. His insights, drawn largely from primary sources and the fruit of more than twenty years of teaching on the Confession, illuminate and explain the text in a most helpful and edifying manner. We are led to understand the controversies of the 17th century, many of which are still relevant today. While we are grateful to Dr Renihan for his labours in historical theology, he reminds us that the ultimate goal is not veneration of the Confession itself; it is a means of leading us back to the Scriptures, to worship and adore the Lord and rejoice in our great salvation. There is much here to profit the reader.

Bill James
Principal | London Seminary

While not a Reformed Baptist myself, I have long appreciated the 2LBCF as a key artifact of Baptist history and theology. Its commitment to historic Christian orthodoxy and its bold proclamation of the formal and material principles of the Reformation, sola scriptura & justification by faith alone, are in and of themselves enough to recommend it as a model of a reformational and catholic (small c!) spirit. When we recognize this spirit alongside the confession’s doctrinal precision and clarity and its exposition of congregational credobaptist distinctives, we see that it is a confession- al model for all Christians, Baptist and non-Baptist alike. James Renihan’s careful consideration of this foundational seventeenth century text elucidates its doctrinal beauty, truth, and goodness and brings it to bear on us today. Through retrieving this early Baptist statement of faith, Renihan aids all traditions in their pursuit of biblical and theological fidelity.

Dr. Matthew Y. Emerson
Professor of Religion | Dean of Theology, Arts, and Humanities Oklahoma Baptist University

This book is required reading for anyone who wants to understand seventeenth reformed theology in general or what it means to be a reformed Baptist.The exposition of the confession sets it in its historical context and illuminates its meaning using the sources of the doctrine summarized in it. It also explores the structure of the confession expertly. Modern Baptists are theologically diverse to the point of confusion in many cases and this study of our origins can help bring clarity to the question of what it means to confess the faith of our forefathers. It is a must read for anyone interested in Baptist theology.

Craig A. Carter
Research Professor of Theology Tyndale University.

In this second volume on Baptist Symbolics, Dr. Renihan gives us his “contextual historical exposition” of the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689. Renihan allows us to hear the discussions of the authors of our Confession as they endeavored to align themselves with historical confessional biblical Orthodoxy. He examines the words and phrases of the Confession with incisive clarity and relevance to our own current situation. Here we learn how to express biblical catholicity while humbly holding to our baptistic convictions that Renihan explains, defends, and endorses with convincing cogency.

Alan Dunn
Pastor | Grace Covenant Baptist Church Flemington, New Jersey

James M. Renihan in his To the Judicious and Impartial Reader: A Contextual-Historical Exposition of the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith has given to the Christian world a veritable exegesis of our Confession.This is the fruit of our beloved brother’s love for Christ, Church, Scripture, and Confession – in that order – and I greatly regret not having this book before, especially since it has been my privilege to study and teach the Confession to the church which I serve. No Reformed Baptist should again teach the Confession before reading this marvelous Exposition.

Francisco Orozco
Pastor | Iglesia Bautista Reformada Professor | Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua Mexico

James Renihan states, “I have made a conscious decision (with a few exceptions) not to interact with modern interpretations of the theological statements of the seventeenth century confessions which may differ from my own conclusions. The aim of this book is not primarily polemic but rather explanatory. From my perspective, the key question is what did the confession mean?” He has been faithful to his purpose and the result is a rich, comprehensive work of historical and systematic theology worthy of a lifetime of study and meditation. His engagement with the complete milieu of theological writing, beginning with the Particular Baptists of the seventeenth-century and including the Puritan literature that would have most influenced them, sets the confession in its most original doctrinal context and yields a rich and faithful engagement with the treasure of doctrinal truth so clearly expressed in it. He has given a four-fold structure to the entire confession, shown the logic of doc- trinal connection between the heads within each of the four divisions, and shown the inner-connections within each paragraph of the various heads. Renihan also has incorporated the genre of “pious meditations” on the family of confessions to which the Second London Confession belongs and has thus been enabled to turn doc- trine into devotion without becoming disconnected from the rigorously developed propositions of divine revelation. This work should be a consistently consulted treasure of truth-centered theological instruction and grace-centered, Christ centered, God-centered spiritual formation.

Tom J. Nettles
Louisville, KY






The Epistle

Unit One: First Principles

Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures

Chapter 2: Of God and of the Holy Trinity

Chapter 3: Of God’s Decree

Chapter 4: Of Creation

Chapter 5: Of Divine Providence

Chapter 6: Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof

Unit Two: The Covenant

Chapter 7: Of God’s Covenant

Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator

Chapter 9: Of Free Will

Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling

Chapter 11: Of Justification

Chapter 12: Of Adoption

Chapter 13: Of Sanctification

Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith

Chapter 15: Of Repentance unto Life and Salvation

Chapter 16: Of Good Works

Chapter 17: Of Perseverance of the Saints

Chapter 18: Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation

Chapter 19: Of the Law of God

Chapter 20: Of the Gospel, and of the Extent of the Grace Thereof

Unit Three: God-Centered Living: Freedom and Boundaries

Chapter 21: Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience

Chapter 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day

Chapter 23: Of Lawful Oaths and Vows

Chapter 24: Of the Civil Magistrate

Chapter 25: Of Marriage

Chapter 26: Of the Church

Chapter 27: Of the Communion of Saints

Chapter 28: Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

Chapter 29: Of Baptism

Chapter 30: Of the Lord’s Supper

Unit Four: The World to Come

Chapter 31: Of the State of Man after Death and of the Resurrection of the Dead

Chapter 32: Of the Last Judgement

The Appendix Concerning Baptism


Appendix A: Outline of the Second London Confession of Faith

Appendix B: A Necessary Distinction: Christ as God and Christ as Mediator

Appendix C: An Index to Richard Muller’s Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms

Scripture Index

You might also be interested in...

Buy the Book

Get the Audiobook Free!

From June 23 to 29, when you purchase the paperback version of The Beauty of the Binary, you get the audiobook free!

Buy the Book

Get the Audiobook Free!

From June 16 to 22, when you purchase the paperback version of Scarlet & White, you get the audiobook free!