The First London Baptist Confession (first edition) was published in 1644. The second edition "corrected and enlarged" was originally published in 1646. The preface to this edition reads as follows:
A confession of faith of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London, which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions
which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.
"In England during the 1630's and 1640's, Congregationalists and
Baptists of the Calvinistic persuasion emerged from the
Church of England, termed dissenters. Their early existence was marked by repeated cycles of persecution at the hands of the established religion of crown and Parliament.
"Presbyterians and Congregationalists suffered less than did Baptists under this harassment. No little reason for their relative success in resisting government tyrrany was their united front of doctrinal agreement. All Presbyterians stood by thier
Westminster Confession of 1646. Congregationalists adopted virtually the same articles of faith in the Savoy Confession of 1658. Feeling their substantial unity with the paedobaptists suffering under the same cruel
injustice, Calvinistic Baptists met to publish their substantial harmony with them in doctrine."
The First London Baptist Confession was drawn up to distinguish the newly organized Calvinistic (Particular) Baptists from both the
Arminian (General) Baptists and the continental Anabaptists.
The better known "
Second London Confession," published anonymously in 1677, was republished in 1689 with endorsement upon the issuance of the Act of Toleration when William and Mary assumed England's throne. This
Second Baptist Confession of 1689 is basically a re-statement of the Westminster Confession with only the minor changes necessary to reflect the distinctives in baptism.
In that Confession of Faith one will find stress placed upon the law of God summarily comprehended in the Ten Commandments as a rule of life for the believer, as with the Westminster Confession. However, in the First London Confession of 1644, and in
its second edition of 1646, the stress is upon the New Covenant commands, or law of Christ.
Today, the Calvinistic Baptists who prefer a
New Covenant Theology perspective as opposed to the
Covenant Theology of the Westminster Confession adhere to the First London Baptist Confession of 1646 rather than the Baptist Confession of 1689.