Edgar Young Mullins (1860-1928) served as the fourth president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s first seminary, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mullins’ book Baptist Beliefs (1912) is one of his most popular writings. His commentary on the Calvinistic New Hampshire Declaration of Faith found at the end of Baptist Beliefs gives an interesting historical perspective on the history and influence of the Declaration.
The New Hampshire Declaration of Faith
Two notable Confessions of Faith have found acceptance among Baptists in America, the Philadelphia Confession, which was promulgated by the Philadelphia Baptist Association, and the New Hampshire “Declaration” promulgated by the State Convention of New Hampshire. The former is a lengthy document. When published in Charleston, S. C, 1813, with the addition of a “Summary of Church Discipline” and “The Baptist Catechism’ ‘, it contained three hundred and three pages. No record is had of the first publication of this Confession, but in 1742 a new edition was officially ordered printed. It bears the imprimatur of Benjamin Franklin. Prof. W. J. McGlothlin, D.D., Ph.D., says in his “Baptist Confessions of Faith”, page 298: “Many churches and other associations, both North and South, adopted this Confession. In recent years it has been losing ground, especially in the North, but it is still widely used and in the South is probably the most influential of all Confessions.”
This Confession is strongly Calvinistic, and it is an exact reproduction of the Assembly Confession, London, 1689, with the addition of two articles, one on Singing Psalms and the other on Laying on of Hands, both of which are commended. The New Hampshire Declaration, as will be seen, came much later and is very much shorter. It was incorporated by Dr. J. M. Pendleton, 1867, in his “Church Manual”; and by Dr. E. T. Hiscox, 1890, in his “Standard Manual”. Recently it has been adopted by the Landmark Convention and as well by the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, the latter making one change which causes “visible” church to read “particular” church.
Dr. J. Newton Brown, 1853, editorial secretary of the American Baptist Publication Society, did more than anyone else to bring this Declaration to its present form. On his own authority he revised it and added two articles. The changes made are enclosed in brackets. The two new articles are numbers VIII. and X. This Declaration has become almost the sole Confession used in the North, East and West, where Calvinism has become most modified by Arminianism. The word ”Declaration” is used for this Confession ‘because the New Hampshire Baptists expressly so decided it should be called. Those who may wish for a more extended discussion of Baptist Confessions are referred to Prof. McGlothlin’s book to which we have referred.
E.Y. Mullins, Baptist Beliefs (Baptist World Publishing Company, 1912) 83-85.
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