New Hampshire Baptist Confession of 1833

General Information

This Confession was drawn up by the Rev. John Newton Brown, D. D., of New Hampshire about 1833, and was adopted by the New Hampshire Convention, and widely accepted by Baptists, especially in the Northern and Western States, as a clear and concise statement of their faith, in harmony with the doctrines of older confessions, but expressed in milder form. The text is taken from the Baptist Church Manual, published by the American Baptist Publication Society, Philadelphia.

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Declaration of Faith

1. Of the Scriptures

We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:21; 1 Sam. 23:2; Acts 1:16; 3:21; John 10:35; Luke 16:29-31; Psa. 119:11; Rom. 3:1-2 that it has God for its author, salvation for its end 2 Tim. 3:15; 1 Pet. 1:10-12; Acts 11:14; Rom. 1:16; Mark 16:16; John 5:38-39, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter Prov. 30:5-6; John 17:17; Rev. 22:18-19; Rom. 3:4 that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us Rom. 2:12; John 12:47-48; 1 Cor. 4:3-4; Luke 10:10-16; 12:47-48 and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union Phil. 3:16; Eph. 4:3-6; Phil. 2:1-2; 1 Cor. 1:10; 1 Pet. 4:11, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried 1 John 4:1; Isa. 8:20; 1 Thess. 5:21; 2 Cor. 8:5; Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:6; Jude 3:5; Eph. 6:17; Psa. 119:59-60; Phil. 1:9-11

2. Of the True God

We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, whose name is JEHOVAH, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of Heaven and earth John 4:24; Psa. 147:5; 83:18; Heb. 3:4; Rom. 1:20; Jer. 10:10 inexpressibly glorious in holiness Exod. 15:11; Isa. 6:3; 1 Pet. 1:15-16; Rev. 4:6-8, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love Mark 12:30; Rev. 4:11; Matt. 10:37; Jer. 2:12-13 ; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost Matt. 28:19; John 15:26; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; 1 John 5:7 ; equal in every divine perfection John 10:30; 5:17; 14:23; 17:5, 10; Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 2:10-11; Phil. 2:5-6 , and executing distinct and harmonious offices in the great work of redemption Eph. 2:18; 2 Cor. 13:14; Rev. 1:4-5; comp. 2, 7.

3. Of the Fall of Man

We believe that man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker Gen. 1:27, 31; Eccl. 7:29; Acts 16:26; Gen. 2:16; but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state Gen. 3:6-24; Rom. 5:12; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners Rom. 5:19; John 3:6; Psa. 51:5; Rom. 5:15-19; 8:7, not by constraint, but choice Isa. 53:6; Gen. 6:12; Rom. 3:9-18; being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin Eph. 2:1-3; Rom. 1:18, 32; 2:1-16; Gal. 3:10; Matt. 20:15, without defense or excuse Ezek. 18:19-20; Rom. 1:20; 3:19; Gal. 3:22.

4. Of the Way of Salvation

We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace Eph. 2:5; Matt. 18:11; 1 John 4:10; 1 Cor. 3:5-7; Acts 15:11, through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God John 3:16; 1:1-14; Heb. 4:14; 12:24; who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon him our nature, yet without sin Phil. 2:6-7; Heb. 2:9, 14; 2 Cor. 5:21; honored the divine law by his personal obedience Isa. 42:21; Phil. 2:8; Gal. 4:4-5; Rom. 3:21, and by his death made a full atonement for our sins Isa. 53:4-5; Matt. 20:28; Rom. 4:25; 3:21-26; 1 John 4:10; 2:2; 1 Cor. 15:1-3; Heb. 9:13-15; that having risen from the death, he is now enthroned in heaven Heb. 1:8, 3; 8:1; Col. 3:1-4; and uniting in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, he is every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Saviour Heb. 7:25; Col. 2:9; Heb. 2:18; 7:26; Psa. 89:19; Psa. 14.

5. Of Justification

We believe that the great gospel blessing which Christ John 1:16; Eph. 3:8 secures to such as believe in him is Justification Acts 13:39; Isa. 3:11-12; Rom. 8:1; that Justification includes the pardon of sin Rom. 5:9; Zech. 13:1; Matt. 9:6; Acts 10:43, and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness Rom. 5:17; Titus 3:5-6; 1 Pet. 3:7; 1 John 2:25; Rom. 5:21; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood Rom. 4:4-5; 5:21; 6:28; Phil. 3:7-9; by virtue of which faith his perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God Rom. 5:19; 3:24-26; 4:23-25; 1 John 2:12; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity Rom. 5:1-3, 11; 1 Cor. 1:30-31; Matt. 6:33; 1 Tim. 4:8.

6. Of the Freeness of Salvation

We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel Isa. 55:1; Rev. 22:17; Luke 14:17; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent, and obedient faith Rom. 16:26; Mark 1:15; Rom. 1:15-17; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel John 5:40; Matt. 23:37; Rom. 9:32; Prov. 1:24; Acts 13:46; which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation John 3:19; Matt. 11:20; Luke 19:27; 2 Thess. 1:8.

7. Of Grace in Regeneration

We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again John 3:3, 6-7; 1 Cor. 1:14; Rev. 8:7-9; 21:27; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind 2 Cor. 5:17; Ezek. 36:26; Deut. 30:6; Rom. 2:28-29; 5:5; 1 John 4:7; that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth John 3:8; 1:13; James 1:16-18; 1 Cor. 1:30; Phil. 2:13, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel 1 Pet. 1:22-25; 1 John 5:1; Eph. 4:20-24; Col. 3:9-11; and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, and faith, and newness of life Eph. 5:9; Rom. 8:9; Gal. 5:16-23; Eph. 3:14-21; Matt. 3:8-10; 7:20; 1 John 5:4, 18.

8. Of Repentance and Faith

We believe that Repentance and Faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God Mark 1:15; Acts 11:18; Eph. 2:8; 1 John 5:1; whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ John 16:8; Acts 2:37-38; 16:30-31, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy Luke 18:13; 15:18-21; James 4:7-10; 2 Cor. 7:11; Rom.10:12-13; Psa. 51; at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King, and relying on him alone as the only and all-sufficient Saviour Rom. 10:9-11; Acts 3:22-23: Heb. 4:14; Psa. 2:6; Heb. 1:8; 8:25; 2 Tim. 1:12.

9. Of God's Purpose of Grace

We believe that Election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners 2 Tim. 1:8-9; Eph. 1:3-14; 1 Pet. 1:1-2; Rom. 11:5-6; John 15:15; 1 John 4:19; Hos. 12:9; that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end 2 Thess. 2:13-14; Acts 13:48; John 10:16; Matt. 20:16; Acts 15:14; that it is a most glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy, and unchangeable Exod. 33:18-19; Matt. 20:15; Eph. 1:11; Rom. 9:23-24: Jer. 31:3; Rom. 11:28-29; James 1:17-18; 2 Tim. 1:9; Rom. 11:32-36; that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy 1 Cor. 4:7; 1:26-31; Rom. 3:27; 4:16; Col. 3:12; 1 Cor. 3:5-7; 15:10; 1 Pet. 5:10; Acts 1:24; 1 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 2:9; Luke 18:7; John 15:16; Eph. 1:16; 1 Thess. 2:12; that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree 2 Tim. 2:10; 1 Cor. 9:22; Rom. 8:28-30; John 6:37-40; 2 Pet. 1:10; that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the gospel 1 Thess. 1:4-10; that it is the foundation of Christian assurance Rom. 8:28-30; Isa. 42:16; Rom. 11:29; and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence 2 Pet. 1:10-11; Phil. 3:12; Heb. 6:11.

10. Of Sanctification

We believe that Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness 1 Thess. 4:3; 5:23; 2 Cor. 7:1; 13:9; Eph. 1:4; that it is a progressive work Prov. 4:18; 2 Cor. 3:18; Heb. 6:1; 2 Pet. 1:5-8; Phil. 3:12-16; that it is begun in regeneration John 2:29; Rom. 8:5; John 3:6; Phil. 1:9-11; Eph. 1:13-14; and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means-especially the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, and prayer Phil. 2:12-13; Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18; 2 Cor. 13:5; Luke 11:35; 9:23; Matt. 26:41; Eph. 6:18; 4:30.

11. Of the Perseverance of Saints

We believe that such only are real believers as endure unto the end John 8:31; 1 John 2:27-28; 3:9; 5:18; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors 1 John 2:19; John 13:18; Matt. 13:20-21; John 6:66-69; Job 17:9; that a special Providence watches over their welfare Rom. 8:28; Matt. 6:30-33; Jer. 32:40; Psa. 121:3; 91:11-12; and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation Phil. 1:6; 2:12-13; Jude 24-25; Heb. 1:14; 2 Kings 6:16; Heb. 13:5; 1 John 4:4.

12. Of the Harmony of the Law and the Gospel

We believe that the Law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of his moral government Rom. 3:31; Matt. 5:17; Luke 16:17; Rom. 3:20; 4:15; that it is holy, just, and good Rom. 7:12, 7, 14, 22; Gal. 3:21; Psa. 119; and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts arises entirely from their love of sin Rom. 8:7-8; Josh. 24:19; Jer. 13:23; John 6:44; 5:44; to deliver them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy Law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible Church Rom. 8:2, 4; 10:4; 1 Tim. 1:5; Heb. 8:10; Jude 20-21; Heb. 12:14; Matt. 16:17-18; 1 Cor. 12:28.

13. Of a Gospel Church

We believe that a visible Church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers 1 Cor. 1:1-13; Matt. 18:17; Acts 5:11; 8:1; 11:31; 1 Cor. 4:17; 14:23; 3 John 9; 1 Tim. 3:5, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel Acts 2:41-42; 2 Cor. 8:5; Acts 2:47; 1 Cor. 5:12-13; observing the ordinances of Christ 1 Cor. 11:2; 2 Thess. 3:6; Rom. 16:17-20; 1 Cor. 11:23; Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor 5:6; 2 Cor. 2:7; 1 Cor. 4:17; governed by his laws Matt. 28:20; John 14:15; 15:12; 1 John 4:21; John 14:21; 1 Thess. 4.2; 2 John 6; Gal. 6:2; all the Epistles, and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by his Word Eph. 4:7; 1 Cor. 14:12; Phil. 1:27; 1 Cor. 12:14; that its only scriptural officers are Bishops, or Pastors, and Deacons Phil. 1:1; Acts 14:23; 15:22; 1 Tim. 3; Titus 1, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.

14. Of Baptism and the Lord's Supper

We believe that Christian Baptism is the immersion in water of a believer Acts 8:36-39; Matt. 3:5-6; John 3:22-23; 4:1-2; Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 8:12; 16:32-34; 18:8, into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost Matt. 28:19; Acts 10:47-48; Gal. 3:27-28; to show forth, in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:20-21; Acts 22:16; that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a Church relation; and to the Lord's Supper Acts 2:41-42; Matt. 28:19-20; Acts and Epistles, in which the members of the Church, by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ 1 Cor. 11:26; Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20; preceded always by solemn self-examination 1 Cor. 11:28; 5:1, 8; 10:3-32; 11:17-32; John 6:26-71.

15. Of the Christian Sabbath

We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord's Day, or Christian Sabbath Acts 20:7; Gen. 2:3; Col. 2:16-17; Mark 2:27; John 20:19; 1 Cor. 16:1- 2; and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes Exod. 20:8; Rev. 1:10; Psa. 118:24, by abstaining from all secular labor and sinful recreations Isa. 58:13-14; 56:2-8; by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private Psa. 119:15 and public Heb. 10:24-25; Acts 11:26; 13:44; Lev. 19:30; Exod. 46:3; Luke 4:16; Acts 17:2, 3; Psa. 26:8; 87:3; and by preparation for that rest that remaineth for the people of God Heb. 4:3-11.

16. Of Civil Government

We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society Rom. 13:1-7; Deut. 16:18; 1 Sam. 23:3; Exod. 18:23; Jer.30:21; and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed Matt. 22:21; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13; 1 Tim. 2:1-8; except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ Acts 5:29; Matt. 10:28; Dan. 3:15-18; 6:7-10; Acts 4:18-20 who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth Matt. 23:10; Rom. 14:4; Rev. 19:16; Psa. 72:11; Psa. 2; Rom. 14:9-13.

17. Of the Righteous and the Wicked

We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked Mal. 3:18; Prov. 12:26; Isa. 5:20; Gen. 18:23; Jer. 15:19;Acts 10:34- 35; Rom. 6:16; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in his esteem Rom. 1:17; 7:6; 1 John 2:29; 3:7; Rom. 6:18, 22; 1 Cor. 11:32; Prov. 11:31; 1 Pet. 4:17-18; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in his sight wicked, and under the curse 1 John 5:19; Gal. 3:10; John 3:36; Isa. 57:21; Psa. 10:4; Isa 55:6-7; and this distinction holds among men both in and after death Prov. 14:32; Luke 16:25; John 8:21-24; Prov. 10:24; Luke 12:4-5; 9:23- 26; John 12:25-26; Eccl. 3:17; Matt. 7:13-14.

18. Of the World to Come

We believe that the end of the world is approaching 1 Pet. 4:7; 1 Cor. 7:29-31; Heb. 1:10-12; Matt. 24:35; 1 John 2:17; Matt. 28:20; 13:39-40; 2 Pet. 3:3-13; that at the last day Christ will descend from heaven Acts 1:11; Rev. 1:7; Heb. 9:28; Acts 3:21; 1 Thess. 4:13-18;5:1-11, and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution Acts 24:15; 1 Cor. 15:12-59; Luke 14:14; Dan. 12:2; John 5:28-29; 6:40; 11:25-26; 2 Tim. 1:10; Acts 10:42; that a solemn separation will then take place Matt. 13:49, 37-43; 24:30-31; 25:31-33; that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy Matt. 25:35-41; Rev. 22:11; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Mark 9:43-48; 2 Pet. 2:9; Jude 7; Phil. 3:19; Rom. 6:32; 2 Cor. 5:10-11; John 4:36; 2 Cor. 4:18; and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness Rom. 3:5-6; 2 Thess. 1:6-12; Heb. 6:1-2; 1 Cor. 4:5; Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:2-16; Rev. 20:11-12; 1 John 2:28; 4:17.


The New Hampshire Baptist Confession

Advanced Information

(1833)

Published by a committee of the Baptist Convention in that state, the New Hampshire Confession is one of the most widely used Baptist statements of faith in America. The confession was reissued with minor changes in 1853 by J. Newton Brown of the American Baptist Publication Society, and in this form attracted greater attention among Baptists in America. The confession has influenced many Baptist confessions since, including the influential Statement of Baptist Faith and Message of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1925.

The confession is relatively brief, containing sixteen short articles ranging from "the Scriptures" to "the World to Come." Much of it recapitulates the faith of orthodox Protestants generally. Its article on Scripture, "the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried," contains this often repeated statement: "It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter." Similarly evangelical are the articles on God ("the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth") and salvation ("wholly by grace; through the Mediatorial Offices of the Son of God").

Other parts of the confession are more baptistic. It defines "a visible Church of Christ" as "a congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant," and the "only proper officers" for such a church are "Bishops or Pastors, and Deacons." Baptism "is the immersion of a believer in water" as "a solemn and beautiful emblem" of "faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour."

The general tendency of the confession is moderately Calvinistic. It speaks of the "voluntary transgression" of the fall, "in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners." God's election ("according to which he regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners") is said to be "perfectly consistent with the free agency of man." The blessings of salvation, furthermore, "are made free to all by the Gospel." True believers "endure to the end."

When it was first published, the New Hampshire Confession provided a common standard for a wide range of Baptists, strict Calvinists and moderate Arminians, revivalistic Separates and orthodox Regulars, Landmarkers and others who did not believe in a universal church along with those who did. Today many modern Baptists, though still unwilling to treat the statement as a binding rule of faith, still find the New Hampshire Confession a sound standard of Christian belief.

M A Noll
(Elwell Evangelical Dictionary)

Bibliography
W. L. Lumpkin, ed., Baptist Confessions of Faith; R. G. Torbet, A History of the Baptists.



The individual articles presented here were generally first published in the early 1980s. This subject presentation was first placed on the Internet in December 1997.

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